Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 3/1/18 by Jay Jaffe March 1, 2018 12:00 Jay Jaffe: Howdy folks! Welcome to today’s chat. It’s four weeks until Opening Day and two weeks until the Ides of March — beware! 12:00 Mattyb: Why will the Mariners make the playoffs this year? 12:02 Jay Jaffe: Hmmm, I think they have a pretty good shot if the entire Astros squad get abducted by aliens and the Angels squad gets lost in a cave. I think they can hold their own in a three-team division with the A’s and Rangers. 12:02 Nate: Honest question: Why do YOU think Hosmer got $100M more than guys like Duda and Morrison? 12:04 Jay Jaffe: He’s an above-average player who’s riding a positive trend, young enough to still be in his prime, and very marketable. Plus the Padres have to put some money somewhere or they’d be part of that MLBPA grievance like the Pirates, Rays et al. 12:04 Harold: What lineup in history featured the most HOFers at one time? 12:06 Jay Jaffe: I did a thing last year at SI after somehow stumbling across a 1928 A’s-Yankees game which featured 12 future Hall of Famers, plus five bystanders who didn’t play (including both managers and one ump). https://www.si.com/mlb/2017/05/24/new-york-yankees-philadelphia-athlet… 12:06 CamdenWarehouse: Do you read anything Jack Morris going to Hall so soon after his case was debated for years? Like are we seeing something change before our eyes about who is going to get in and who isn’t? 12:07 Jay Jaffe: No. He was always going to have a better shot in front of a small committee of which half were Hall of Fame players instead of the writers. Once he got to 60% from the writers, the outcome was inevitable. It’s still not a good choice, but now it’s just another committee snafu. 12:08 ballsandgutters: Jon Jay, Jay Jaffe and Jaff Decker walk into a bar. Just Kidding welcome to FG. IRT your Kershaw article, will we ever see Kershaw money again to a pitcher in this age of bullpenning? 12:11 Jay Jaffe: Haha, thanks. On the one hand, I think it could be awhile before we see another $200 million contract for a pitcher after Kershaw unless somebody times the market just right, but maybe if Chris Sale has another season of his 2017 caliber when he’s a FA after 2019. Also, Ohtani is gonna get paid big-time if he lives up to the hype 12:11 JSDee: why don’t the dodgers just release matt kemp? 12:12 Jay Jaffe: If they cut him now, they’d be on the hook for all of his remaining salary ($43 mil IIRC). The idea is that they trade him and somebody/bodies with club control in exchange for reducing that number 12:13 Rockie Dangerfield: What if the warning track was a moat instead of dirt? 12:14 Jay Jaffe: On the one hand, I think teams’ liability insurance would go up considerably. On the other, it would make for quite a spectacle when an outfielder falls in, especially if you stock it with exotic sea creatures. Can’t wait to see Yasiel Puig uncork a laser to 3B with electric eels wrapped around him! 12:15 Nelson: Any truth to the reports that you had your wife hire Eno at the Athletic just so that you could get his old job and his top-rated Thursday chat slot? 12:17 Jay Jaffe: I had no idea his chat was so popular. I’m flattered to have stumbled into such a coveted timeslot. Contrary to rumors, I don’t control the hiring at The Athletic, and neither does Emma. Eno was already writing for their Bay Area site when he was added to the national one. Needless to say, I hope it works out well for all of us! 12:17 BK: Gotta be one of those 70’s or 80’s all star games 12:20 Jay Jaffe: There were 19 future HOFers in the 1966 All-Star Game — a number that could increase if Dick Allen ant Tony Oliva get in eventually — but come on, that’s a different category. https://www.mlb.com/news/19-hall-of-famers-in-1966-mlb-all-star-game/c… 12:20 Colby: 6×6 league with AVG and OPS. Gattis or Realmuto, both are going around the same ADP on ESPN. I typically draft catcher with my last pick, but my predictions are showing value for both of these guys. 12:21 Jay Jaffe: Sadly, I’m really not much for fantasy questions, as I haven’t played since 2011. and haven’t written about it since 2012. 12:22 Zonk: So, basically, you’re not too high on the Mariners….. 12:24 Jay Jaffe: I don’t think they’ll be bad, I just think they’re stuck in the middle again, with an aging roster and a big payroll. My last full column at SI was about what they could do, but some of the low-cost options I suggested (Lucas Duda, Carlos Gomez) have been snapped up. They’re a team that could benefit by throwing money at Jake Arrieta, at least in the short term https://www.si.com/mlb/2018/02/08/seattle-mariners-free-agency 12:24 E: When you are not thinking about baseball, what do you enjoy doing? 12:27 Jay Jaffe: I have a vast music collection that runs from 1920s-’30s country music to the complete works of LCD Soundsystem, with tons of classic and indie rock in between. Love to go out and see a band at a small venue, even if it’s by myself once in awhile. Love to sit on the couch watching movies — good and bad — with Emma while having a craft beer or two. Enjoy cooking — I’m the executive chef of this household, and learning to use our new Instant Pot. A very large portion of my free time these days is spent parenting, which is great but all-encompassing. 12:28 BK: How much would batting averages drop if the mound was raised 1 foot? 12:28 Jay Jaffe: a whole foot? Probably a lot. .220s? .230s? I don’t think that would be a lot of fun after the initial novelty wore off. 12:29 Jeff: What do you think of the HOF chances for guys like Sabathia and Verlander? It’s probably never been a SP period, let alone work the kind of innings those guys did. 12:30 Jay Jaffe: Sabathia, Verlander, Greinke, Scherzer… I wrote about this a few times recently in the context of Halladay and Santana. I think the voters are going to have to come around to changing standards as to what constitutes a HOF pitcher or we’ll never see another until Kershaw. 12:30 Mariners Fan: Cano, Beltre and Ichiro are pretty much guaranteed Hall of Famers right? What what more does Felix Hernandez need to do to have a good shot? 12:32 Jay Jaffe: Yes on those 3. 3,000 hits is still automatic unless there’s a PED link. Felix Hernandez needs a third act to his career because muddling along at his 2016-17 clip, with injuries and underperformance, isn’t getting him closer and voters aren’t wild about long denouements. 12:33 Sloth: Joey Votto hall prediction? How does he have to perform to be a lock? 12:35 Jay Jaffe: I answered a few questions about this for Trent Rosecrans at The Athletic. Since it’s behind a paywall and not all of you are subscribers, here’s a taste: The short answer for as to what Votto needs to get into the Hall is longevity, and his contract through 2023 would seem to guarantee that, barring major injury. I don’t think he’d get a ton of support if he retired today, or even after one more big season, but fortunately that’s not on the table. Even if all he does now is add a few 3 WAR seasons and some lesser ones, he’ll surpass the JAWS standard within a few years, and any season above 4.8 further pads his peak score. Of course, not every voter looks at things that way. From an historical standpoint, the first big thing he has to do is get to 2,000 hits (he’s at 1,586) because no candidate whose whole career took place in the post-1960 expansion era has been elected with fewer than that. 12:35 Jason: Ohtani vs Acuna for the next 5 years? Does concern for a pitching injury push you towards Acuna? 12:36 Jay Jaffe: Injury risk and age-to-level, yeah, I lean Acuna. But I think it will be fascinating to see what Ohtani does simply because it’s so novel. 12:37 Jeff: I am a big believer that sports fans have been conditioned to look at athletes as overpaid while turning a blind eye on owners run away with free stadiums, tax breaks, and increasing profits and revenues. It’s to the point where we don’t want the owners to take the hit for how minor leaguers get treated, we collectively seem to put the blame firmly on the MLBPA, who needs to share the wealth. Collectively are sports fans as dumb and unintentionally evil as it might seem in certain POVs? 12:38 Jay Jaffe: I’m with you until the final sentence. I don’t think sports fans are dumb and evil so much as reluctant to think too hard about certain issues because they view their time watching sports as entertainment and escape. It is maddening that they take the side of billionaires against millionaires, though 12:38 Stringer Bell: Why are the O’s not in mega tank mode right now? Only 1 top 100 prospect, contract years for almost all their good players, absolutely no pitching…can you convince me there’s a light at the end of the tunnel or are we in for another 17-straight losing seasons? 12:40 Jay Jaffe: Peter Angelos has always been the oddest duck among owners, and I gather that he’s reluctant to go the tank route. But sooner or later something has to change. The seemingly inevitable departure of Machado would suggest that’s a good time to plunge into rebuilding, which isn’t to say that it will happen that way for them 12:40 Justin: I saw you once at the Two Boots off of Times Square and I shouted your full name and we talked for half a second. Do you remember that? You rock! (Actual baseball question: do Yankees shatter HR record?) 12:43 Jay Jaffe: I’ve been recognized in public several times, which is always strange and flattering, but I don’t remember Times Square, though I guess it might have been in the 6-month period when I was in the rotation on ESPN’s Olbermann Show. With Stanton, Judge, Sanchez and Bird all (hopefully) healthy, I think this Yankees squad has a shot at the record of 264, hit by the 1997 Mariners. The Yanks hit 241 last year and added Stanton, so… 12:43 Sloth: I am shocked Votto’s hit total is so low given how great of a hitter he is. 12:44 Jay Jaffe: Those walks really cut into the hit total. Offhand, i wonder what the highest career batting average is for a player who never had a 200-hit season, or even a 190-hit one (his high is 185). 12:44 Josh R: Bill James needs to be in the Hall of Fame. How would this happen? 12:46 Jay Jaffe: In theory, James could be nominated for and win a Spink Award. The BBWAA has recognized a non-BBWAA member exactly once, when the great Susan Slusser spearheaded an effort to recognize Roger Angell. I don’t think James would be greeted with quite that level of acceptance among the scribes, though. What I really think heeds to happen is for the Hall to resurrect the Pioneer designation or create a new one (Innovator?) to collect a few folks like James, John Thorn, Pete Palmer, Sean Forman and others 12:48 tb.25: Higher probability outcome – Giants win 85 or 75? Projections have them around 82 12:49 Jay Jaffe: I think 85 isn’t unrealistic. I don’t think they were a true talent 91-loss team last year, they were something of an outlier. Still think the rotation is an arm short, though. 12:50 EbenezerBatflip: Who has the better year, Pomeranz, Porcello or Price? 12:51 Jay Jaffe: Price — he’ll be the team’s second-best starter behind Sale (to answer a similar question in the queue).. I’ll bet on the track record even if his time in Boston has been rather rocky. 12:51 CamdenWarehouse: James would get the support in 5-10 years, right? As the number of writers directly or indirectly shaped by him skyrockets. 12:52 Jay Jaffe: I think more like 10-20. Not out of the question but his time as an exec/consultant kind of clouds things a bit. 12:52 Bill Jones: When do the positional power rankings get posted? That series is my primary source for draft prep 12:52 Jay Jaffe: I think we’re assigning those to writers next week so I imagine mid-March is when they run. Don’t quote me on that, I’m the noob here. 12:52 Q-Ball: Speaking of Hall of Fame, I bet Theo Epstien has already punched his ticket. Would you agree? 12:53 Jay Jaffe: Hell to the f’ing yeah. He’ll be one of those guys who gets in on the first ballot after he retires or turns 65. 12:53 Mr Punch: Ted Williams (.344) never had 200 H 12:54 Jay Jaffe: that was easy. He had seasons of 193 and 194, though he also had the disadvantage of the 154-game season. Anybody want to dig up the expansion-era record? 12:54 Sircharles: Lets say Phillies grab Arrieta, think that puts them close to the WC? 12:56 Jay Jaffe: Only if an extraordinary number of things go right for them. We have them forecast for 74 wins. Figure a great Arrieta season is maybe 6 wins better than their 5th starter, and that the variance for a given team projection — including such a season for Jake — is about 8 wins in either direction. it could happen, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it. 12:57 Scott: I think the overall decline of union membership across the US has led to decreased support for the MLBPA, which means increased support for the owners during contract negotiations 12:58 Jay Jaffe: There’s that, sure, and probably also the fantasy baseball-driven cultural shift from wanting to be Bryce Harper/Mike Trout to wanting to be Theo Epstein. 12:58 Taste the Rockies : Do you look down on people who don’t drink craft beers? 1:00 Jay Jaffe: I try not to. It’s possible to be very into wine or whiskey in a similar way to being a craft beer fan, and that probably has a correlation with having similar interests in other areas as compared to a beer drinker who settles for Bud/Coors/Other Big Piss. 1:00 kevin: Over/Under: Pedroia has a 15% chance at making the hall of fame. 1:01 Jay Jaffe: Over; offhand i’d say it’s about 2x that. He’s got the MVP, ROY and rings, but he does have to stay healthy, and he’s had a hard time doing that. 1:01 Babe Lincoln: Trout HOF odds if he retires tomorrow? Harper HOF odds if he retires tomorrow? 1:04 Jay Jaffe: Both have to get to 10 years (playing at least 1 game in 2020) to be eligible. Trout would almost certainly y get an Addie Joss-type exception if the unthinkable happened. Harper has a whole lot left to do, starting with playing a bunch of 140+ game seasons. Today I’d put Trout at 99.9%, Harper at 30-40% thanks to his early start and hardware. 1:04 Tyler: How is tony gwyyn a first ballot hof and Dwight evans is not even in? 1:07 Jay Jaffe: the electorate has always overvalued high batting averages. Milestones help as well, as does being perceived as a true star. Guys who derive a high % of their value from walks and defense tend to be underrated by voters, and that describes Evans and many others just outside 1:07 brant brown dropped the ball: would it violate the cba to make a deal that has an opt-out after, say, year four, with super-low salaries for six more years, so that at the outset the cbt value is prorated over ten years? i know that after an opt-out there’s a “fix” that happens, effectively charging the team for the upcharge they avoided at the outset of the deal. but if the dollars were low enough on the back end, that charge wouldn’t be that large. 1:11 Jay Jaffe: I’m not 100% sure on this one but I do believe that it’s within the rules. Not that the CBT will be a concern for the Padres, but that’s sort of what Hosmer’s deal does, with 5 years at $20M and 3 at $13 M for an AAV of $18 M (there’s also a $5M signing bonus) 1:12 Davy: How much does an average team make on their TV deal? Is there any way to look that up? I’m asking as a Nats fan, since I know theirs is suboptimal. 1:13 Jay Jaffe: Wendy Thurm tracked that stuff a few years ago, and more recently Craig Edwards wrote this https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/estimated-tv-revenues-for-all-30-mlb-t… but that was in 2016, and I imagine the numbers have changed. 1:13 TJ: Mauer HOF? Nearly decade as top catcher, MVP but underrated as his top skill is on-base. Another 3 years- 3 WAR players. Gwynn is in and I argue given Mauer time at catcher, obp and defensive skills should be recognized 1:14 Jay Jaffe: I think Mauer gets in, though a Twins blogger recently joked that it might be the first time a team’s fan base works to thwart such an effort. Wrote about his case here in November https://www.si.com/mlb/2017/11/02/world-series-playoff-hall-fame-proje… 1:14 Alec: Could the case be made for Robinson Cano best 2B ever? (unbiased!) 1:17 Jay Jaffe: Even if you concede that the game is much different than it was when Lajoie, Hornsby and to a lesser extent Eddie Collins (the top 3 in JAWS) were dominating, I think it’s hard to see him surpassing Joe Morgan due to the gap in on-base skills 1:17 John: People mostly have a positive outlook on Manfred, but hasn’t he been pretty abysmal? The lying over changed baseballs, publicly considering idiotic ideas nearly once a week, the Marlins, the way he dealt with Gurriel in the world series… 1:20 Jay Jaffe: I think he’s been sort of disappointing, but c’mon, Bud Selig was far more maddening AND had a hand (or two) in collusion, the 1994 strike and the PED mess. That’s abysmal and yet the case can also be made that he’s the best commissioner the game has seen. In short, Rob Manfred is a land of many contrasts 1:21 RK: how long into the season will it take before we have some sort of answer as to whether the ball is still the “enhanced” version or not? 1:22 Jay Jaffe: Considering that this home run trend really took off after the 2015 All-Star break, I think we need a full season to really know. 1:22 Babe Lincoln: Why is HOF your area of focus? 1:25 Jay Jaffe: Honestly, I kind of lucked into it. Circa 2001, when I created Futility Infielder, the New Bill James Historical Abstract came out and had those top 100 rankings based on Win Shares. I looked at the 2002 and ’03 HOF ballots in that light and the work got an order of magnitude more attention than my usual ramblings. Baseball Prospectus invited me to do something for them in the winter of 2003-04, and I stumbled into a WARP-based JAWS system. Giving tools to internet-based users has helped turn HOF ballot season into a spectator sport and I’ve been lucky enough to be at the forefront of what’s become a renewable resource for content. 1:26 Matt: Andujar just looks liked he missed a ball and sent it over the fence just to the left of CF. He’s breaking camp with the team, and going to put up a line of .270/.350/.450 with 28 HRs. What say you, Mr Jaffe? 1:29 Jay Jaffe: It’s certainly possible he breaks camp with the team but I think the arrival of Brandon Drury and the presence of Gleyber Torres and Tyler Wade in the 2B/3B mix reduces that.. and I think such a line is more or less around his 90th percentile PECOTA projection in terms of rate stats. 1:30 Tris: Is Gary Sanchez the most important player in the Yankees lineup? 1:32 Jay Jaffe: IMO it’s Judge — how repeatable is his 2017 in total? Can he avoid that type of deep second-half slump? How is his shoulder? Sanchez will be fine. That homer he hit yesterday made the hair on my neck stand up 1:32 BK: More WAR this year, Acu~a or Swanson? 1:32 Jay Jaffe: Acuna, in a partial season. Poor Dansby. 1:33 Jimmy: Who is Jay Jaffe? 1:33 Jay Jaffe: Who are any of us, really? 1:33 Nap: Which of these guys make the HOF: Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Joe Mauer, Dustin Pedroia, Felix Hernandez, David Price 1:35 Jay Jaffe: I’d say Mauer and Pedroia are the most likely. I think Rollins is a committee type but not a great one. I worry about Utley. Don’t think either Price or Felix is going there unless they start laying down Cy-caliber seasons again. 1:36 silvpak: jaffe, thrilled to see you here at fangraphs (i’m the dude from the brooklyn bowl dinosaur jr. show) and holding strong on the sarris beer vertical. question: given austin barnes’ elbow twinge this spring, utley’s advanced age, kelbert ruiz and will smith on the horizon, and forsythe coming to the end of his deal, what’s the likelihood LAD will, as the season progresses, start getting barnes more 2b experience? i have visions of craig biggio dancing in my head. 1:38 Jay Jaffe: Hey there! that’s an interesting possibility, especially because I think that Forsythe is the escape hatch the Dodgers use if they need to take on salary in mid-season while remaining under $197M — trade his $9M AAV, muddle through with in-house options and add a #2 SP or something. Dunno if Barnes can figure it out to the level of Biggio but he could be a very Zobristian player for a few years. 1:40 Bruce: I’ve been readin you for years and youve definately created a cool and interesting niche for yourself, but do you ever get tired of “does this guy deserve to be a HOFer” questions? 1:41 Jay Jaffe: Not really, no. I’m thrilled that I get to write about baseball daily for a living, and willing to play the hits every night, so to speak. 1:41 Zonk: At what point would it be “too late” for a free agent to be ready by opening day? Probably different for a pitcher or hitter? 1:44 Jay Jaffe: Definitely different for a pitcher than a hitter given the methodical ramping up of pitch counts and the potential for setbacks if a guy tries to work too hard. Like, I’d bet Arrieta doesn’t debut until mid-April if he signs today. For a position player, I think signing by next week is still doable — get lots of extra at-bats in minor league and split squad games 1:44 EbenezerBatflip: Mookie Betts over/under 25 HRs? 1:44 Jay Jaffe: Over. The guy’s two full seasons are 31 and 24, after all. 1:44 EbenezerBatflip: Does Sale strike out 300 guys again in 2018? 1:45 Jay Jaffe: No, my guess is that he paces himself a bit more gently this year, consciously generating contact in order to save some mileage 1:46 isaac: which AZ pitcher be affected by the humidor the most? Which AZ batter? 1:48 Jay Jaffe: I’d go with Robbie Ray and Zack Greinke, the pitchers with the highest FB rates, as getting the biggest bounce from the humidor. Tougher call on the hitters, maybe Jake Lamb? 1:48 Q-Ball: Brewers project for 78 wins right now on Fangraphs. That seems really light, doesn’t it? How do you account for that? 1:49 Jay Jaffe: It does seem light, yes. Wow, even. Really doesn’t like the Villar-Arcia middle infield, (combined 2.1 WAR for all options there), and sees only Yelich, Cain and Shaw as position players with >2 WAR; last year they had 4 plus Bran pro-rates to at least that. They do need another SP or two as well. 1:52 Mark: Now that Chase Utley has secured a 2 year deal, isn’t he a lock for Cooperstown once he reaches 2000 career hits? 1:53 Jay Jaffe: He’s not even a lock for 2,000 hits. 150 short, had 73 last year. If Scott Rolen is a tough sell for voters, Utley might be even tougher. 1:54 Jake: Do the Cardinals have enough starting pitching to make it through the season? 1:57 Jay Jaffe: They do look a bit thin. Nee to get Reyes back on a reasonable schedule and get a much better version of Wainwright than the 2016-17 one. With Meg Rowley’s chat set to begin at 2, last question, I’ll see if I can find a good one… 1:58 ASReitz: Prediction – J. Arrieta gets ___ Yrs for ___ 2:00 Jay Jaffe: 5/$125 M with an opt-out after two, from… (throws darts)… either the Cardinals or Brewers. 2:00 Jay Jaffe: Thanks for stopping by, folks! It’s fun to get back in the swing of things. Now go bother Meg….