Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 3/14/23

2:01
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Good afternoon and Happy Pi Day, folks! I’m in the middle of a snowstorm with a sick kiddo underfoot and a contractor overstaying his welcome, but we’re gonna try to get this one in.

2:03
Avatar Jay Jaffe: ‘Tis the season when I plug away at the Positional Power Rankings, so I haven’t published anything since Friday’s look at how the injuries of some high-profile starting pitchers will be handled within their various rotations https://blogs.fangraphs.com/painter-rodon-gonsolin-and-quintana-are-th…

2:04
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Since then, we’ve gotten word that José Quintana’s injury could indeed keep him out of action for a few months, à la Chris Sale (whom I also wrote about last week https://blogs.fangraphs.com/chris-sale-begins-his-latest-comeback/)

2:05
Avatar Jay Jaffe: On the subject of starters I also took a look at the most- and least-improved rotations following a busy offseason https://blogs.fangraphs.com/spotlighting-this-seasons-most-and-least-i…

2:05
Chip: Most knowledgeable people make the point that you shouldn’t read too much into spring training results, mostly referring to misplaced optimism or pessimism. What if a guy is continuing an already bad trend? I’m thinking specifically of Spencer Torkelson who was bad last year, changed his bat, and now is bad in spring training. Is he, just, maybe not a major league player?

2:08
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Count me as one who thinks you shouldn’t read too much into spring results, or dismiss a 23-year-old with 70-grade raw power after just 404 major league plate appearances. Should he be in the majors yet? Maybe not, given his modest results at Triple-A. Should you build your fantasy roster around him? Hell no. But 29 spring ABs in the first half of March against variable competition tells you nothing about where his career is going

2:08
A Jolly Good Oberkfellow: While he’s far from HOF-worthy, is there any chance you might write about Joe Pepitone upon his passing the other day?

2:10
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Alas, I’m too swamped. I loved the Pepitone stories in Ball Four but didn’t get far in his autobiography, which just depressed the hell out of me. RIP to a real character. I definitely recommend Dan Epstein’s Rolling Stone piece on him from 2015 https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-sports/joe-pepitone-on-sm…

2:10
Snoozy: Yankees need to trade an IF for an SP right?

2:11
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I don’t see it happening right now; they’re not trading Peraza or Volpe, and IKF won’t get them a starter. Maybe they trade Gleyber later this summer if they need to make more room for the kids but that’s a long ways off.

2:12
Avatar Jay Jaffe: and it’s still not clear which way the shortstop battle is going to go.

2:13
Hans Dog: Sorry:   I traded Trout for Franco +2, Rodon, and Mead +3.  While he’s my all time favorite player, I felt like I had to do it.  Worth it??

2:13
Avatar Jay Jaffe: i’m not a fantasy player but that seems like a decent deal

2:13
Padfather: Does a player playing primarily for one team help his HOF chances? ie machado; does signing long term with the Padres help his perception among writers now since he’ll have larger contingency of fans and writers advocating for his election vs if he were to play for different teams during his tenure?

2:15
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think there’s probably a slight advantage to single-team players, and we’ve seen guys who bounced around like McGriff and Sheffield (and before that Dick Allen) struggle to gain traction, but I’ve never studied the situation very systematically.

2:17
JW: Do you think Volpe breaks camp with NYY? Still seems like they’d have one too many IF

2:17
Avatar Jay Jaffe: i think it probably takes an injury in the infield to get both Peraza and Volpe on the roster

2:17
Farhandrew Zaidman: In honor of Pi Day, here’s your random stat: Mike Marshall finished with a career ERA of 3.141, 4 digits of Pi, and continues to have the single most impressive relief season in the form of his 1974 season. 106 games, 208.1 IP, 2.42 ERA, 1.186 WHIP. What a stud.

2:18
Tatis: Hey Jeff, would love to hear your thoughts on Tatis going into this year and his long-term outlook in light of the shoulder surgery and two wrist surgeries this off season.  The projections don’t seem to count the injuries and I have to assume he’s closer to 130 WRC+ than he is 160 WRC+ this year which is still great but perhaps there is further downside…

2:19
Avatar Jay Jaffe: it’s Jay, not Jeff here…

I don’t have a percentile breakdown of his projections but I’d be a bit wary of that 159 wRC+ forecast myself after the shoulder and wrist surgeries, and at the very least treat him as a high-variance player who could have some real problems recovering form… but could be spectacular

2:19
Mr. Redlegs: Not a question, but I love the WBC! So cool watching A ball guys get their chance against hall of famers like Miguel Cabrera and striking them out.

2:22
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’m enjoying the hell out of it but all those late nights watching the goings-on in Taiwan and Tokyo left me pretty sleep-deprived. It’s very cool to see younger players and Remembered Guys stepping up against bigger names. Vance Worley striking out Mike Trout? Love it. This one was even better:

A 21-year-old, 5-foot-9-inch Nicaraguan pitcher with a fastball that hardly breaks 90 mph struck out Juan Soto, Julio Rodriguez and Rafael Devers in today’s ninth inning.
 
A Tigers scout signed him on the spot.

es.pn/405SCpa

13 Mar 2023
2:22
random Colorado guy: I noticed Paul Goldschmidt atop Dan’s “likely bust hitters” list last week.  I won’t ask you to second guess Dan, but how much decline would Goldy have to have for you to consider his 2023 season a bust?  Odds on it happening?

2:25
Avatar Jay Jaffe: “Bust” is such a relative thing, but obviously, it’s very hard to expect a 35-year-old player to repeat last year’s 7.1 WAR season. I’d be happy if he returns 5 WAR this year (which eyeballs at about a 65th percentile projection via Dan’s table) but would only be disappointed if he falls short of 4 WAR (40th percentile).

2:25
Lorenzo: If you were able to vote for Will Clark on your ballot, would you?  What are his odds of ever getting in via committee? Thanks

2:29
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I like Clark more than I do McGriff or Hodges, to choose a couple of obvious reference points, but he’s just 27th in JAWS at first base, about seven points off the standard, and that’s too low for me even without considering the fact that on an Era Committee ballot he’d inevitably be up against stronger candidates. I don’t see him as having much chance of getting elected but man could that dude hit

2:29
Mac: Yankees’ lineup underratedly really bad? No offense at C, LF, SS, 3B, now CF, Rizzo now injured. Season over?

2:29
Avatar Jay Jaffe: yes, they should fold.

2:29
Sanford: Ever been to a Cylcones game? If so, how was the experience?

2:32
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’ve been to dozens of Cyclones games over the years — tough to believe they’ve been around since 2001 — and my daughter really enjoys them, so we’ve hit about two per year lately. She loves running the bases after the game so she’s stayed to the end several times. It’s a good little ballpark with a great view of the Coney Island rides past and present (the defunct parachute drop past right field is my favorite), decent amenities, and excellent promotions (Mo Willems night). Highly recommend, especially if you’ve got younger kids!

2:32
WinTwins0410: Jay, I hesitate to ask you for your thoughts on another writer, but I’m curious: I don’t think I’ve ever seen you reference Chris Bodig, who runs the Cooperstown Cred website, in your writing.  Do you two know each other?  (I have to believe you do)  Do you have any thoughts on his work?

2:35
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I have met Chris and I like his work a lot! He’s done a very nice job of building his website (http://https://www.cooperstowncred.com/) We correspond a lot on Twitter and I do read him — but I sometimes try to steer clear of his views on candidates until I’ve formulated my own thoughts

2:35
IKantField: What’s your take on Andrew Vaughn this year? Big step forward with the new hitting coach?

2:37
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Just wrote about him within the first base PPRs. I think the new regime will serve him well, as getting him out of the outfield alone is worth a win. He’s young and hits the ball very hard; ZiPS is high enough on him to consider him a breakout candidate.

2:37
Tstats: Happy pi day! Do you know if savant plans to update the pitch arsenal visualization page to include sweepers and slurves?

2:37
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I would imagine that’s coming but you’d have to ask Tom Tango or Mike Petriello

2:38
Phil: Somebody called you Jeff? Didn’t Jeff leave Fangraphs years ago, for the Rays or some such?

2:38
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Jeff Sullivan now works for the Rays. Jeff Zimmerman is still here, doing his thing on the fantasy side.

2:39
Milwaukee Beers fan: What’s your read on the NL Central pecking order right now? I get the Cardinals as favorites but it feels like EVERYONE is picking St. Louis when the Crew were slight favorites going into last year. Please don’t tell me the Cubs might be good again; I can’t take it

2:44
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think the gap between the Cardinals and the Brewers has grown relative to last season, in part given the addition of Contreras to the former and the trade of Wong to Seattle by the latter. Milwaukee’s second base situation even made my Weakest Positions on NL Contenders list https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-weakest-positions-on-national-league-c…. There’s still a very big separation between those two teams and the Cubs, and let’s face it, the Reds and Pirates are barely trying at the ownership level.

2:46
Mac: Real question: is there something about Kyle Schwarber that makes him translate better as a playoff(/WBC) hitter than it seems like someone with his profile as a hitter should? Or are the playoffs just “a crapshoot” as kids these days say

2:49
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Schwarber is a very disciplined hitter who has a ton of big-game experience. He turned 30 this month and already has 15 postseason homers in 52 games, with a 142 postseason wRC+ compared to a 121 mark during the regular season. I hesitate to use the word clutch but I think it’s clear he seems well-wired for the spotlight.

2:49
Vermonty: First Yankee traded: Hicks, Donaldson or IKF? I’m thinking all 3 will go this year

2:49
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Almost certainly IKF since remaining salary isn’t a factor.

2:51
mmddyyyy: Do all teams employ translators?

2:54
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Since 2016, MLB teams have been required to employ Spanish-language translators, the result of an effort spearheaded by Carlos Beltran https://www.mlb.com/news/carlos-beltran-gets-spanish-translator-progra…

I don’t know of any team with a Japanese or Korean player who doesn’t employ a translator for them.

2:54
Phil: It’s frustrating to me that mid-career elite players are so often discussed in terms of contracts and late-career ones in terms of the Hall of Fame, both of which are to some extent distortions of what really matters to players and fans. Can we figure out some alternative vocabulary? Is the term “franchise player” meaningful in a baseball context the way it is in basketball? Can we stop using “ace” to mean the #1 pitcher on a staff so we can reserve it for the best pitchers over all? Are there other terms that we can debate in friendly ways without defaulting to money or future voting by a bunch of grumpy writers?

2:55
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Hey, I do lots of discussion of mid-career elites in terms of Hall of Fame chances!

2:58
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I do get what you’re saying, at least to a degree, and I think that on the analytical side there’s often a whole lot focus on dollars and production, but I think much of that is seasonal — the offseason is a time we talk free agency, contracts, budgets and the like. But there’s so much else out there, and during the regular season there are so many ways of analyzing performance that get away from age/contract considerations.

2:58
Gashouse Gorilla: Any ready-for-primetime prospect likely to be held back for “seasoning” as a means of lengthening control period?

3:03
Avatar Jay Jaffe: We’ll see what happens with the Yankees (Volpe especially), and there are other situations where a ready-ish prospect could probably help more than a veteran (Francisco Alvarez and Brett Baty come to mind on the Mets) but I do think that the new CBA has done a lot to reshape the landscape here.

3:04
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Put it this way, are there guys out there you’re seeing who look like they’re going to get jerked around like Kris Bryant?

3:04
Bison: Really appreciate your HOF commentary!  Any thoughts on future executives who might get the hall call?  Cashman, Theo, Billy B?

3:04
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think all three are very likely to gain entry once they retire.

3:08
Freezy: Do you like the contract extension for Corbin Carroll? It’s much more than reigning ROY Michael Harris got for the same length.

3:12
Avatar Jay Jaffe: both in the short and longer terms, Carroll has a much stronger projection than Harris (see https://blogs.fangraphs.com/corbin-carroll-reduces-snake-eyes-risk-by-… and https://blogs.fangraphs.com/rookie-standout-michael-harris-ii-signs-72…). I still can’t believe the Braves are able to sign these guys so cheaply. I like the deal from Carroll’s standpoint a lot more than for Harris, but if history tells us anything, it’s that he won’t remain a Diamondback for the duration.

3:12
Lou Perltzman: Tar was clearly a better movie than Everything Everywhere All At Once, right? JAWS backs this up I’m sure

3:15
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Didn’t see Tar. In fact, if you don’t count the excruciating, bizarre 15 minutes of Elvis that we watched, I only saw three of this year’s best picture nominees: Everything (loved it, already watched again), Triangle of Sadness (disliked but not on the scale of my wife’s contempt for it), and the Fabelmans (ok, with a BIG bonus from a couple of late cameos).

3:15
Philly Astroturf: Friendly reminder that the research linking Philadelphia’s astroturf to cancer isn’t conclusive. Fangraphs community, of all people, should recognize that statistical outliers can happen. Not saying that there isn’t a “there” there, but at the same time, we shouldn’t jump to conclusions.

3:17
Avatar Jay Jaffe: No, it’s not conclusive, but it is pretty goddamn remarkable and depressing how many players who spent their careers on some of these turfs have died of similar cancers. I absolutely think the issue merits more study.

3:17
Nick: Are you concerned with swing and miss for Jordan Walker?

3:21
Avatar Jay Jaffe: not tremendously, but only because the prospect writers I’m reading don’t seem overly concerned. He’s a top five prospect in the eyes of many and 12th on our list, so it seems unlikely to be a dealbreaker.

3:18
Mr. Redlegs: Also late night/early morning WBC action has been my light at the sleep deprived tunnel as a new parent

3:21
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Sorry got ahead of myself by punching in two questions there

3:22
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The WBC sleep deprivation tunnel was me in 2017. I have fond memories of my daughter (about 7 months at the time) just starting to sit up during the WBC. We watched the Netherlands pull off some upsets while playing on her foam mat

3:22
Jesse: What do you make of the Dodgers’ plan to play Mookie 20-30 games at 2b? Is this preparing Mookie for a late-career move to a less demanding position or a function of their lack of up the middle depth?

3:23
Avatar Jay Jaffe: They like their moving parts, and Mookie seems to like playing second base. With Lux out of the picture and Taylor more likely to be needed at shortstop, they want to maximize their options. I doubt we end up with 20-30 games of him there if they struggle with outfield production, though.

3:24
Pro For baseball: Anything on. Profar?  Sounds like player greed over took reality.

3:26
Avatar Jay Jaffe: yes, what a greedy player, trying to get paid to play baseball. greedy, greedy player.

3:28
Avatar Jay Jaffe: At last note, Profar was getting interest from the Rockies. I think he’s found himself in this limbo because his agents  misread the market; he’s a bit of a tweener in terms of not having a strong enough track record for production at a corner, and not a good enough defender (especially in the infield) anymore to be a superutilityman. Ben Clemens had a good look here recently https://blogs.fangraphs.com/why-has-no-one-signed-jurickson-profar-yet…

3:28
mmddyyyy: When did baseball become your full time job? How many HOF careers have you covered from debut to election?

3:33
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I believe it was 2007 when I started writing full-time though I had a pretty good payday project in graphic design the following year. Since I began writing about baseball in 2001, I’ve covered a lot of careers from debut  to ballot, at least, but we have yet to elect anyone whose career began in ’01 or later so I can’t say that I’ve done that yet.

3:34
Phil: By “a la Chris Sale,” you mean that Quintana’s injury is like the one Sale had last year, right? You don’t have some new horrible information that’s not widely reported yet?

3:35
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I meant that a rib fracture can sideline a pitcher for a few months, but in double-checking to see that I hadn’t missed anything I just saw where Billy Eppler said that the pitcher will have surgery to remove a benign lesion on one of his ribs, which, yikes:

3:35
Avatar Jay Jaffe:

Billy Eppler says that José Quintana will have surgery to repair a lesion on one of his ribs.

The results of a biopsy came back benign. Quintana’s absence will extend past at least July 1.

14 Mar 2023
3:36
Dan the Man McGRAWWWW: Does Goldy or Freeman get into the Hall?

3:37
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Particularly after last year’s MVP season, I think Goldy’s in good shape, and Freeman is so good and so steady that I think he’ll get there as well.

3:37
Joe: Votto can be an enigma in many ways–is there a chance he would announce he’s going to retire at the end of the season instead of making the Cincy FO make that decision next offseason?

I know he’d be walking away from money, but if he’s struggling, I could see his pride talking too.

3:40
Avatar Jay Jaffe: this is the final guaranteed year of his contract, and he’s got a $7 million buyout of his option. That’s there for a reason, and I don’t see him walking away from it barring some midseason retirement that restructures his remaining money into some kind of deferral plan.

3:40
Freezy: Do you think we will see players start getting elected to the HOF unanimously soon? I’d like to imagine Ichiro has a chance to be the first position player to do it.

3:41
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’ve written that Ichiro is the obvious choice but I doubt we’ve got any others on the radar even with the slam-dunk numbers for Pujols and Cabrera

3:41
Avatar Jay Jaffe: ok folks, time for me to roll

3:41
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Thank so much for stopping by this week! Enjoy the WBC and the spring baseball!





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, and a Hall of Fame voter since 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jay_jaffe... and BlueSky @jayjaffe.bsky.social.

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dozingoffdadmember
11 months ago

Philly Astroturf’s question at 3:15 brought to you by the good people at the Synthetic Turf Council