Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 2/19/21

2:01
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Good afternoon, and welcome to another edition of my Friday FanGraphs chat. That’s four in a row, my longest streak in quite some time!

2:02
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Today I’ve got a fun piece that grapples with the possibility that Fernando Tatis Jr. has already shown us enough to suggest he could wind up in the Hall of Fame — an article that’s confusing the hell out of people for whom binary answers are the only answers. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/fernando-tatis-jr-has-a-clear-shot-at-coop…

2:03
Avatar Jay Jaffe: As I write this, i’m listening to the first edition of Kevin Goldstein’s new podcast. I don’t generally get to listen to podcasts because it’s very hard to think of words when somebody is speaking words in my general direction, but I’m excited to hear what KG and co-host David Roth are up to  https://blogs.fangraphs.com/chin-music-episode-1-the-regal-beagle/

2:03
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Word of warning: if you have a question about prospects, all I’m going to be able to do is point you to articles about prospects. I’m not Eric Longenhagen

2:03
Avatar Jay Jaffe: And with that, on with the show…

2:04
MM: Hey Jay!  Do you think the Tatis signing will affect negotiations between the Dodgers and their shortstop Corey Seager?

2:05
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I don’t think the Dodgers are about to go into instant reaction mode just because the Padres handed out a big extension, and given that Seager is a Scott Boras client, I don’t think it’s at all likely that he’ll sign without testing free agency first.

2:07
Moonlight Graham: Enjoyed your Tatis Hall of fame article. Which sub 23 player do you think after Soto, Acuna, and Tatis has the best shot / clearest path at the hall right now?

2:13
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Good question. There’s nobody who’s anywhere close to that obvious, because at this point age is everything, and you’ve got guys like Luis Robert, and Bo Bichette who have demonstrated clear ability but are or will be 23 this season versus guys playing at 21 or 22 who haven’t quite gotten it down yet. Vlad Jr., who turns 22 next month, might be the best bet among those with MLB experience, but already there are enough concerns about his body and his defense that he’s got nowhere near the odds that Tatis and the other guys you mention have. A better bet would probably be on überprospect Wander Franco, who’s about to turn 20, and who figures to get substantial playing time by the end of his age 21 season.

2:13
Grand Admiral Braun: Kris Bryant O/U: 125 wRC+ in 2021

2:14
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’ll take the over on that. Guy has a 137 career wRC+ and only the most recent 147-PA slice below 126

2:14
jmarsh123: Given his new contract, do you think that Tatis Jr is ever capable of hitting 2 grand slams in the same inning or does the financial security make him lazy?

2:15
Avatar Jay Jaffe: His genetics tell us that if anybody is going to hit three grand slams in one inning, it’s this guy

2:17
Nick: Which team most needs to sign Jake Odorizzi?

2:19
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The Cubs, if they’re not going to continue to rip apart their roster at the seams. They project for 79.2 wins in a division where the leader projects for 81.8 (Brewers), and Odorizzi, who projects to produce 2.0 WAR, would more than cut that gap in half based on the projections for Mills, Arrieta, and Trevor Williams.

2:20
Brad NJ: thoughts on my favorite sleeper prospect Jeferson Espinal?

2:21
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Yes! My thought is that I’m not the guy you should ask, and that Eric or Kevin is a much better choice for that kind of question

2:21
Jeff: Do you have any guesses on why James Shields and Cole Hamels saw their velocity climb so much in the early 30s?

2:22
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Velocity increases most often owe to better mechanics/more efficient deliveries

2:22
Nick: Do the Padres’ moves the last couple years make us view the Eric Hosmer contract more charitably?  It may have been an overpay, but it obviously isn’t an albatross that is restricting the team’s ability to make expensive free agent signings (Machado), take on salary in trades (Darvish), or extend their best players (Tatis).

2:24
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I mean, it’s still a horrible-looking contract; through three years, the guy has netted 0.4 WAR, and his next 1-win season will be his first for the Padres. What it does tell us is that yes, this ownership isn’t using that as an excuse to continue spending money — and to spend it more wisely on younger, higher-upside talent.

2:24
Guest: You had a lot of thoughts on Almora to the Mets, so what are your thoughts on Pillar? Since Almora was cheap and has options, does Pillar make at least a bit of sense as a righty who hits better and is better than Nimmo (if not stellar at this point) in CF? With Almora potentially AAA depth?

2:29
Avatar Jay Jaffe: As a platoon complement, yes, he makes some sense, but his defensive metrics in center have fallen off (-14 DRS in ~2500 innings over past 3 years) to the point of concern, he’s a guy with a career 87 wRC+ whose only season above 100 was last year’s abbreviated one, and between his homophobic slur from a few years ago and his All Lives Matter bullshit from this past summer, he comes off as a heel. As a response to the corner in which they’d painted themselves, it’s probably the right next move, but I think that on the whole, they could have done significantly better than piecing together a platoon from the remainders in February..

Which isn’t to say that they’ve had a bad winter on the whole. The Lindor/Carrasco acquisition is excellent for their needs, and I like the Taijuan Walker signing, which i’ll cover here for Monday.

2:29
MB: Hello! Any update on whether there will be Pace data for pitchers in 2020?

2:31
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I don’t have an update, sorry. I’ve asked, but clearly there’s a massive coverup that goes all the way to the top.

As we get the data from the Pitch Info folks, it’s their tree you should probably be shaking http://www.pitchinfo.com/

2:31
Jack Is Puzzled: Walker has barely pitched over the past three seasons and is a prime candidate for significant regression next season. I can’t understand why the Mets focused on him over Odorizzi, is there something I’m missing? He’s younger but seems like an overpay for a high-risk, mediocre-reward sort of move.

2:36
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think it makes more sense to regard Walker’s 2020 season as a work-in-progress after missing most of 2 years. I mean, it’s Odorizzi who was limited to 4 starts by injuries last year. Walker may not post a 2.70 ERA next year, but the bet is that he can do better than a 4.60 FIP.

Until we know what Odorizzi signs for, it’s tough to get a full evaluation but I suspect based on what we’ve heard that the money and structure that Walker signed for wasn’t enough for Odorizzi.

2:37
Jeff: Jay, what if I told you that Kris Bryant also Aged during those 147 PAs? He’s 29 ffs not a pup

2:37
Avatar Jay Jaffe: 29? My god, it’s time to take him behind the barn and end things.

2:37
45 blows billygoats: I’m seeing a lot of knee jerk reactions to the Arenado move now considering his home/away splits. Given the ball going back to normal, shouldn’t he fall even more?

2:41
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The post-Coors success of hitters as varied as Matt Holliday and DJ LeMahieu should serve to remind that one can’t simply assume that the road stats of a Rockies player are an accurate measurement of what he’ll do after changing teams. Arenado’s not going to put up the same numbers in STL as he would have in COL, but that doesn’t mean he’s gonna be mediocre.

2:41
MM: More likely HOFer:  Machado or Harper?

2:43
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Manny. He’s got about a 6-bWAR advantage through their age-27 seasons because he plays a skill position well, and it’s reasonable to see him continuing to do so

2:44
Guest: Thoughts on my favorite sleeper band, Jefferson Airplane?

2:45
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Love ’em. When I was in high school, i taped the entire 2-CD anthology, 2400 Fulton Street, off the radio, and they’ve remained one of my favorites from that era.

2:46
Speaking of Hos…: % chance that Hosmer gets to 3,000 hits? If he does, and Pads win maybe a series, there any chance that somehow the Padres have three HoF infielders right now?

2:46
Avatar Jay Jaffe: LOL

2:49
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Hosmer’s got a career batting average of .278, and 1,492 hits through age-31, which is to say that he’s not even halfway there. The only two players with 3,000 and career batting averages under .280 are Cal Ripken, an elite defender at shortstop, and Rickey Henderson, who put up a .401 OBP for over 13,000 PA (Hosmer’s at .336). In other words, he lacks the things that will keep him around once his offense takes an even further turn downward

2:49
Drew: Any idea as of when they are going to announce who the new writers are at the site?

2:50
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I have no insight into the progress of our search other than to suggest “sometime in the future” which probably isn’t a helpful answer. Sorry.

2:50
Grand Admiral Braun: Any thoughts to the Cubs’ 87-88 mph rotation?

2:51
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It’ll work out fine if you’re Kyle Hendricks. If you’re not Kyle Hendricks, it probably won’t work fine.

2:51
Process: As a Hall of Fame voter, you’ll presumably be casting ballots for the foreseeable future. Each year, its possible to see writers changing their minds from “no” to “yes” and vice versa for varying reasons. Based upon your virtual ballots/knowledge of your thought processes/etc., what kinds of criteria and circumstances do you foresee that would make you change your thinking on candidates? (Either to “no” or to “yes”, and not thinking/asking about anyone specific)

2:56
Avatar Jay Jaffe: My thinking doesn’t change all that often except in terms of prioritizing a guy in the context of ballot space concerns. The walking shitshow that is **** ********* aside, my biggest reversal, I think, has been on Sheffield, and that has mostly had to do with exactly that, ballot space; I didn’t include him on any of my virtuals from 2014-19, but added him last year  and still had room for him on my actual ballot this year. I decided that the certainty we have of him as an elite hitter matters more than the uncertainty we have over exactly how bad he was defensively. and the fact that he wasn’t always in a situation where a manager had the option to DH him.

2:57
Joe: What are your thoughts are the current depth charts team war projections: Yankees, Dodgers, Gap, Padres, Blue Jays ?

2:59
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The Mets and Braves should be ahead of the Blue Jays (they are in our projections) and there are few other teams about as good as Toronto is, including the White Sox and Twins.

2:59
Question Marks: Of the injury question marks (so, not the “quality” question marks like German, Garcia, etc), which of Taillon, Kluber, and (eventually) Severino do you think has the best chance of being able to provide, oh, 30-40 good October innings for NYY (since we all know that’s what they really want)?

3:00
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Throwing a dart, I’ll say Taillon, who’s further removed from his TJ than Sevy (August 2019 vs. February 2020)

3:01
Guest: Who would you take for the first six (i.e., team-controlled) years of his career: Ian Anderson, Sixto Sanchez, or Tristan McKenzie?

3:03
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Anderson, so long as he doesn’t whip out a flute and start hopping up and down on one leg. Was VERY impressed by what I saw of him late in the year, stuff as well as poise. Sixto didn’t miss enough bats for my taste though it’s worth noting that the 2020 projections like him significantly more than the other two.

3:03
Jeff: Thoughts on the Cubs, in the eyes of the fanbase, going from too old and expensive to too young and cheap? Will the porridge ever be right for this really cool fanbase that embraced Lovable Losers?

3:04
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I don’t think one can fault the fanbase for the way ownership is handling this situation

3:04
Dial: IIRC, you used to project Bonds to make it on his last ballot.  Given the way the HOF vote went, does he make it? Did the “empty year” help him?

3:08
Avatar Jay Jaffe: the last time I projected Bonds and Clemens making it in their 10th year was two years ago, but in that time, they’ve gained 2.7% and 2.1% respectively, which is to say that they’ve basically been stopped in their tracks. It’s now clear to me that there aren’t enough voters changing their minds for them to be elected by the writers, particularly as character issues continue to occupy a larger share of the discussion

3:08
Mike – Toronto, ON: Do you think if Delgado played the majority of his career for a US-based team he gets more HOF love? He’s pretty clearly deserving of a longer look than he got.

3:11
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I don’t think playing in Toronto itself was the hindrance, it was the crowd on the ballot circa 2015 (16 guys with 50 JAWS or higher) and perhaps to a lesser extent the fact that he only made the playoffs once — which I guess you can pin on the Blue Jays for undergoing a drought but I think the outcome wouldn’t have been much different if he’d spent those years in Pittsburgh or Kansas City

3:13
RichCampbellPhD: Chapman, Judge, Story born within 365 days of each other. Each with 20-21 bWAR. Which has best HOF shot?

3:15
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Judge is a year older in terms of “baseball age” (he’s heading into his age-29 season, the others into age-28) and has had a very hard time staying on the field. Coin toss between the other two, really

3:15
jmarsh123: More serious question.  If Tatis does indeed meet his highest projection how high on the list of bad trades does Shields-Tatis climb?

3:16
Avatar Jay Jaffe: higher than Bagwell-Anderson, to say nothing of Brock-Broglio

3:16
Dee Arby: How’s fatherhood treating you? I’m also going to be an older papa, curious to see how you’re holding up?

3:17
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I love being a father! It’s everything I’d hoped and more (I did not imagine I’d be buying so much Lego so soon!) but the added strain of navigating care of a young child during a pandemic has taken years off my life.

3:17
Avatar Jay Jaffe: and the act of reading a book from start to finish is a fantasy unto itself

3:17
robertobeers: Is Buster Posey a HoFer?

3:19
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’d vote for him if he never played another inning, but I doubt that most voters would agree. The fact that he’s so far from the magic 2,000 hit line (1380) heading into the final guaranteed year of his contract has me concerned. I’m hoping he has a great season

3:19
Mike Ortman: Reading a Felix Hernandez comment in an article yesterday, he said his goal is the Hall of Fame, and he acknowledged that his numbers need some help. Has anyone representing a player ever consulted with you on their player’s HOF outlook?

3:20
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I contributed a few thoughts to that article by Dan Connolly https://theathletic.com/2397728/2021/02/18/an-entertaining-felix-herna…. But no, nobody connected to a player has ever asked me about such matters.

3:20
Guest: If you’re a fan, you’ve probably heard the White Rabbit isolated vocals- but if not, it’s a treat:

3:21
Avatar Jay Jaffe: haven’t heard this, thanks!

3:21
B: Hey Jay, Don Drysdale or Rick Reuschel?

3:21
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Drysdale. My god, he must have been terrifying to face.

3:22
Moonlight Graham: Will we ever see more incredible defenders sub par batters get into the hall? Vizquel’s case looked stalled before his off field issues re-emerged. Andrelton has an interesting case, but it feels the hall won’t be seeing these players again.

3:25
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Simmons’ fielding numbers are off the charts. 191 runs above average via B-Ref despite playing only 133 games the past two seasons, and just 0.6 JAWS behind Vizquel in about one-third of the playing time.

Hall-wise, I mean, you’re basically describing the case for Yadier Molina, who owns a 98 OPS+ for his caree, isn’t likely to nose it back above 100, and will probably be elected without me including him on a ballot.

3:26
Scott: I have been harping for years at the injustice of Jethro Tull not being in the Rock HOF. So you have any sway there?

3:27
Avatar Jay Jaffe: i loathe the RRHOF. It’s just a complete troll job as far as who’s not in, and doesn’t capture my imagination the way the baseball Hall of Fame does. . I could sit here and name 100 bands that should be in and aren’t but so long as I have their albums it doesn’t matter a bit to me.

3:28
Jeff: Thoughts on Marco Gonzales of the Mariners? Seems like a breakout candidate

3:29
Avatar Jay Jaffe: 9.2 WAR over the past three seasons (3.8 per 180 innings). I’d say he’s already broken out.

3:29
Drew: If Judge stays healthy the next two years do you see him getting a $200 million dollar deal or will his age hinder him and we’d expect something more of the Springer range (which is still really really good obviously)

3:31
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’d say the Springer range sounds about right. I don’t see $200 million unless he stays healthy enough to hit the 40+ bombs a year that he’s capable of

3:33
Stu: We are definitely going to have a 3 year take-cycle about Russell Martin’s HoF candidacy, and nobody seems to realize it yet. His contemporaries with comparable WAR make it inevitable.

3:33
Avatar Jay Jaffe: we’re already in year 3 if you start here https://blogs.fangraphs.com/framing-the-hall-of-fame-cases-for-martin-…

3:33
Moonlight Graham: The hall criteria feels numerically focused right now, but do players still get bumps from how amazed people were when they saw them play or iconic plays? Andruw Jones in general, but especially his spiderman catch, comes to mind.

3:33
Avatar Jay Jaffe: You’re confusing Andruw and Adam Jones I think?

3:33
Guest: Are the Astros sneaky good or sneaky bad?  I cannot decide…so many unproven but talented young players (Yordan, Tucker, Framber Valdez, Urquidy) and then of course Altuve’s bounce back potential and if Correa actually plays 140+ games…Just so many wildly different outcomes.

3:36
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The rotation really lacks depth. We have them 20th, with Greinke, Lance Jr. and Framber all in the ~2.8 WAR range and then meh, with Urquidy the only other guy above 1.0. Altuve’s a concern, and they haven’t adequately replaced Springer in center field.

3:37
Guest: I had to look up Posey’s stats- I did not realize that fWAR valued his defense that highly. That led me down a rabbit hole to discovering that, if you look at accumulated defensive value from 2010-2019, the top 12 players are all catchers! Except for Andrelton Simmons, which really says something about his defense. But anyway, I’m curious- why is it that catchers are accumulating much more value than any other position? I mean, I know it’s a super important position- but it just seems a bit odd to see how much they dominate that chart.

3:38
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Our defensive system includes framing runs, and Posey is elite in that area. As multiple analysts have shown, there’s actually big value created there by the best framers over the course of a season, though the spread from best to worst has lessened over time as teams have caught on (pun intended) to what makes for good framing and what doesn’t.

3:38
Pat: Delgado is a guy that could have really helped his HOF chances by hanging around a few years. He was still a really good hitter at age 37, got hurt & just retired. He could have used 3-4 years as a DH to get his HR total from 473 into the 525-550 range & his RBI into the 1700-1800 range. Doing it on a playoff team would have been even better,

3:39
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Generally, retiring at age 37 doesn’t bode well for election to the Hall because it means leaving major milestones on the table.

3:39
Mr. Byrnes: Do you like Elvis Costello?

3:43
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Yes, especially the first two albums, but I’m not as keen on him as some people are. Like, I play my Nick Lowe albums a lot more often than I play Elvis.

Very cool moment from many years ago that I was lucky to witness: Costello joining Lowe and Robyn Hitchcock on stage for a surprise acoustic encore

3:43
Jason: Sean Manaea is projected for a 4.37 FIP. His career worst was 4.26. What is the projection system seeing in him that portends a career worst season this year?

3:44
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Regression in general, and in his case some disconcerting Statcast numbers as they pertain to hard contact.

3:44
Dave: What did ya have for lunch?

3:48
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I had what has become my staple make-at-home sandwich, tasty but not tremendously unhealthy: Boar’s Head Cracked Pepper Smoked Turkey (which keeps well and doesn’t get slimy), Grey Poupon, Hellman’s Mayo, Muenster, sliced cucumber (which we always have on hand), Potbelly Hot Pepper Giardanera (secret ingredient), on Arnold Country White bread (which keeps well). I’ve made this sandwich 2-3x a week for the past year and have managed not to get sick of it — or to waste much in the way of bread or deli meat that needed to be thrown out (this is key). Sometimes I sub in Jarlsburg, sometimes leftover bacon, sometimes a schmear of guacamole if we have it.

3:49
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It ain’t gonna win any awards from Ted Berg or Eno Sarris when it comes to creativity, but it’s promoted some healthier lunch habits than I’ve managed in the past.

3:49
Sam: How do you view Josh Donalson who looks good as a HOF  candidate in terms of 7 year peak but may not reach the career totals (including 2,000 hits)?

3:50
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Almost certainly screwed unless he can remain productive until about age 39 or 40. The short year really cost him.

3:50
Sam: Have you started working on a Casebook sequel? Are you planning on a second book?

3:50
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I have a ton of material and ideas for Book II but haven’t formalized a search to find a home for it

3:51
Being an older Dad is Awesome: Given the Walker is in and Rolen will soon be in when will Jaws and WAR be the counting stats considered for HOF instead of hits, hr, etc?

3:51
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think we’re still a ways off from the advanced stats completely obscuring the traditional ones. I’m very glad that they’re part of so many voters’ deliberations, though

3:52
Avatar Jay Jaffe: on that note, it’s time for me to pack up. I have some errands to run in the slush. Stay safe and warm, everyone, and let’s do this again next week!





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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