Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 3/15/18 by Jay Jaffe March 15, 2018 12:00 jjp: Do you fill out a March Madness bracket? If so, who do you have winning it all? 12:02 Jay Jaffe: I had *planned* to fill out a bracket, but being under the weather and rather swamped for the past couple of days — my own version of March Madness — I didn’t get around to it. NBD, I didn’t watch a single college basketball game this year, and my interest in NCAA sports has basically been stabbed 23 times by so many scandals and revelations over the years. I’ll probably check in on the tournament but with the University of Utah not in it, I have no dog in this hunt. 12:03 Aaron : Hey Jay, Keeper help! H2H 5×5 categories, keep 3, as first 3 picks of draft, can keep forever. Betts, Bellinger, G. Sanchez, Syndergaard or Bregman? who you got? Thanks 12:05 Jay Jaffe: Standard issue response: I’m sorry but I don’t play fantasy baseball anymore, and don’t want to misrepresent myself as being a useful source of information in that realm. That said it would seem to me that Sanchez, a power-hitting 25-year-old catcher with the defensive skills to hold the position for awhile, is the way to go here. 12:05 Sharp: Tom Boswell thinks that this offseason’s FA pricing means that Harper will be lucky to get 7/250 next year. How wrong is he, and why? 12:10 Jay Jaffe: I think Harper can get into the $300 million range with a longer deal than that, but for as much as I love the kid’s game, I’m also among those who believe that he has to put together a 2015-like season — healthy and dominant for 150sh games — to get there. Put that MVP season aside and he’s averaged 3.6 WAR in his other years (it’s better than that if you prorate, obvs), which is nice but hardly transcendent. 12:10 Zonk: Should Bill James be in the Hall of Fame? 12:13 Jay Jaffe: Yes, I believe so, but it’s hard to se his path there. He’s never been a BBWAA member, and only one non-BBWAA member (Roger Angell) has ever won the Spink Award for writers (which isn’t the equal of a plaque). It’s very tough to make the case for him as a plaque-worthy executive because he’s not the day-to-day guy at the front of the Red Sox. I do think there should be a modern pioneer/innovator category by which a Veterans Committee can recognize him, Pete Palmer, Sean Forman and a few others. 12:14 Vegan Man!: Who is the true Villar – 2016 or 2017? Or is it as simple as somewhere in between? Thanks! 12:18 Jay Jaffe: Man, that is a very tough question, one I’ve written about recently in the context of the Brewers’ mediocre projection (https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/lets-talk-about-the-brewers-mediocre-p…) and Neil Walker’s prolonged free agency. He’s young enough and not so far removed from 2016 that his upside should be dismissed, but I think that the Brewers should have done a better job of protecting themselves in case he hits like he did in 2015 and 2017. 12:18 Can’t read good: Jay! What are you thoughts on what is going on with the lineups in Colorado at OF and 1B? 12:22 Jay Jaffe: I gave this some thought yesterday while working on our Positional Power Rankings; I’m writing about third base, where Arenado is obviously a stud, but our Depth Charts currently have both Pat Valaika — who had a big power breakout last year, with 13 HR in less than 200 PA — and prospect Ryan McMahon in the backup mix. McMahon, originally a 3B, has expanded his defensive palette but his chances at winning the 1B job would seem to be decreased by CarGo’s return and thus Ian Desmond’s destination. I expect we’ll get more clarity in the next week. 12:23 My Dude: My dude, it would befit you to up your response speed. Two q’s every ten minutes ain’t much of a chat. You don’t need full sentences/grammar or whole paragraphs, just bang ’em out, my dog. 12:24 Jay Jaffe: My dude, I chat every week, and I’m gonna do it my way. 12:24 John: It’s hard to wrap my head around some of Manfred’s thinking regarding game length and juiced balls. He’s clearly not a dumb person, but these don’t feel like moves/statements made in good faith. 12:27 Jay Jaffe: In some ways, Manfred has a tough act to follow because Selig introduced so many innovations that have stuck. Manfred wants to take ownership of a new wave of innovations that help steer MLB out of some of the problems that have since emerged, but he’s got a big problem when it comes to transparency in the juiced balls situation, and has made a total hash of the pace of play thing, as though he wants to be seen as doing something besides sitting on his hands — but failing to get a plan with the players’ buy-in. 12:31 Matt: Where does Alex Cobb end up? Is he waiting for contenders to lose a good SPs in Spring Training and make himself the only available options for teams to bid against each other for? 12:31 Jay Jaffe: I still think he makes a lot of sense for the Brewers via a one-year deal but I think it’s going to come down to a pitcher suffering a season-ending injury in spring training and calling his number. 12:31 Vegan Man!: Can Jose Peraza hit enough / get on base enough, to be a valuable regular for the Reds? Thanks! 12:32 david: I remember seeing someone post a spreadsheet on pitcher velocities in spring training, it was either Zimmerman or Collette, but I can’t find it on the site. Can I get a quick link to the article or spreadsheet? 12:33 Jay Jaffe: I haven’t laid eyes upon said spreadsheet but my colleagues were discussing this via Slack earlier this week and somebody said it’s a Pitch Info thing, which means I suggest asking Dan Brooks or Harry harry Pavlidis if you can’t find it. Though I’m pretty sure either Jeff or Jason could point you towards it as well. 12:33 abelWingnut: who will have the better season: greg bird or matt olson? how about over the next three years? 12:36 Jay Jaffe: Good question — it’s tough to bet against Bird, a lefty who can take advantage of that short porch in Yankee Stadium, particularly when Olson is hitting in the Oakland Mausoleum and probably primed for regression from that 24-homers-in-59-games debut. So I’ll go with Bird. 12:36 Vegan Man!: Is there any evidence that blister issues persist for pitchers from year to year? Or is it more of a fluke? Thank you! 12:37 Jay Jaffe: I’ve never seen a study of it. I think it’s a matter of finding a method to avoid them and continuing to do that, which is tough to do when the season’s clock is ticking and you want to get back on the mound to help your team. 12:38 John: Will Justin verlander be in the hall of fame? 12:38 Jay Jaffe: I think so, if he can hold onto some of the gains he’s shown in the past 2 seasons. 12:38 Nick Pappagiorgio: If Kershaw retired right now, (1) would you vote for him for the HoF and (2) what percentage do you think he would get in his first year of eligibility? 12:40 Jay Jaffe: Yes. If he retires now, he’d be on the 2023 ballot; I become eligible in 2021. Three Cys and 5 EA titles in 10 years is HOF-worthy, less via JAWS than the Koufaxian loophole. Clear dominance for a significant stretch of time. 12:41 HugoZ: Bro, you don’t get it, you’re dealing with the ADD generation now, you’ve got to…uh, who am I talking to again? 12:42 Jay Jaffe: YMMV, but I’ve never really thought of a chat as a compelling thing to watch in real time so much as a place to dispatch your question and then check back. 12:42 pirates hurdles: The velocity spreadsheet is on Jeff Zimmerman’s ST notes posts on rotographs. It is something he is compiling himself. 12:44 Jay Jaffe: There you go. I’m new here so I don’t always know where to look, but start here https://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/author/wydiyd/ 12:44 divine chanteuse: I understand what the Rays are doing with this 4 man rotation yadda yadda whatever, but does Cobb make sense for them on a 1-year deal if he comes down to a Moustakas-esque price range? Obviously he makes sense on any team at that price, but the Rays are the one team he isn’t feeling the negative effects of the qualifying offer. 12:46 Jay Jaffe: Given their direction in the past couple of months, I think the Rays would rather have the compensation for the qualifying offer that Cobb turned down. If his salary gets down to Moustakas level ($6.5M, right?) I think there are a number of teams that would be in on him. 12:46 Vegan Man!: Outside of Kershaw and Max, who are some legit candidates for the NL CY Young? Thanks! 12:48 Jay Jaffe: If healthy, Syndergaard and Strasburg stand out as possibilities. Carlos Martinez if he can recapture whatever it was that went missing last year. Darvish if everything comes together like it did from late September until the World Series (when pitch tipping was the issue). 12:48 Geebs: You should get used to rapid fire or you’re in trouble come the playoffs game chats 12:49 Sonny: Are any ST results worth reacting to? Seems like injuries and velo drops/gains are the only really ‘sticky’ events for regular season predictions. 12:50 Jay Jaffe: There was that study regarding spring power spikes a few years ago, but I haven’t seen anybody update it in awhile so I don’t know how its held up during the Launch Angle Revolution. But yeah, you noted the things I have an eye on, that and pitchers’ gradual progession in workload. 30-45-60-75-90 pitches or thereabouts 12:51 Sam: On a scale of Buster Olney to Keith Law, where do you see yourself falling on the v. important baseball writer snark scale? 12:52 Jay Jaffe: Snark-wise, I suppose I tend towards Olney in my for-publication writing and Law on social media, but there are certainly a ton of exceptions in both cases. 12:52 Sonny: Do you have an MLB.tv team picked out for 2018? You’re required to cover the whole league but is there an under the radar team you have your eye on? 12:55 Jay Jaffe: Beyond the Yankees in the Eastern time slot and the Dodgers in the Pacific one, I have tended to check in on the Nationals, Indians and Astros most often. If the Twins start well, I might check in on them more, because of Buxton especially. And I’d like to see as much Ohtani (and of course Trout) as I can, so I hope the Angels are at least watchable. 12:56 Vegan Man!: Same question for the AL CY Young (outside of Sale and Kluber). Thanks! 12:56 Jay Jaffe: Severino, Verlander, Carrasco, and if he can stay healthy, McCullers. 12:56 Vegan Man!: Can Yandy Diaz join the revolution, or are the Indians going to hold him back from getting in on the fun? Thanks! 12:58 Jay Jaffe: I was just writing the Indians’ 3B PPR capsule before this chat and wondering, then I saw this Tito quote when I went looking for Jeff Zimmerman’s notes: https://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/spring-training-notes-3-12-18-diaz-b…. Short answer: Indians are wary of forcing the issue. 12:58 Roughneck Odor: Do you have any inside info that pitch tipping was Darvish’s problem in the WS? You seem to state it as fact. 12:59 Jay Jaffe: Beltran hinted at it, Eduardo Perez gave a pretty good explanation the day after, and Verducci reported it as well. Given the extent to which Darvish’s results were so dramatically awful, and that he had the problem before in July, yes, I’ll trust all of that as being as close to the truth as we can get. 1:00 Mark: Never underestimate the need for stimulation of the bored office worker baseball fan. 1:00 Jay Jaffe: Judging by the fact that some people leave upwards of a dozen comments to a single article, yes I am aware of that fact. I was a bored office worker once, too. 1:01 Ryan: Do you attribute Dexter Fowler’s 2017 to dealing with injuries or the beginning of the end? 1:04 Jay Jaffe: Fowler got off to a slow start, and the shape of his offensive production was a bit different in terms of OBP/SLG, but he merely moved from a 128 wRC+ to a 121, so I don’t really see a big problem there. His defense was back in the red, perhaps due to the scenery change; I know the 2016 gains were said to be related to positioning. 1:04 Charles Finley: Will AJ Pollock exceed the Lorenzo Cain contract if his 2018 campaign matches his 2015 effort? 1:06 Jay Jaffe: if that happens i think he might wind up with a deal in that ballpark, but it depends who his suitors are. The missing time and falloff in 2016-17 will certainly be an excuse for teams to try to lowball him. 1:06 Aaron Judge: What’s the bigger surprise – that I openly tried to recruit Manny Machado to the Bronx, or that I did something even slightly controversial to begin with? 1:08 Jay Jaffe: The latter. The recruitment itself seemed pretty innocuous; somebody showed Bryce Harper tweeting at Giancarlo Stanton in the past, and that should have drawn as much response. Maybe my brain is too crowded by my own mental to-do lists but I don’t really remember an outcry. 1:08 cooldude: Are the balls juiced? 1:08 Jay Jaffe: Yes 1:09 Zach: Very stupid hypothetical. How bad would Harper and/or Machado have to be this year to not receive a QO? 1:10 Jay Jaffe: Unspeakably bad. But if this were the NFL and they knelt for the national anthem, all bets would be off. 1:10 AC: Dipoto’s comments about how they built a team around fly ball pitchers and athletic outfielders nails a factor of the home run increase that I feel like doesn’t get acknowledged a lot: why aren’t owners/GMs more outraged at the league for changing the balls? A lot of GMs spent millions of dollars building teams based on known parameters and projections, and a lot of that went in the trash once baseballs started going over the fence at a historic rate. It’s one thing to be wrong about a player, but to have an important aspect of the game to change without discussion/notification seems like it should have ruffled more feathers than it has. 1:11 Jay Jaffe: that’s a good question to which i don’t have a short, easy answer. Just putting it out there for some further thought. 1:11 Moltar: Is the Mets’ injury management still an issue? Signs point to Yes. Jeff Wilpon still calls the shots, after all. Plus in his press scrum yesterday Calloway said he didn’t even know that Cespedes was going for an x-ray, couldn’t explain why he wasn’t getting an MRI (which brings up bad memories of Ike Davis’ ankle), and said that any other questions would be answered by a press release. Calloway seems like he knows what he’s doing, but the way the Mets handle injuries is such a disaster, from both an on-field and PR perspective. 1:12 Jay Jaffe: As I wrote the other day while citing the latest Cespedes controversy, it seems like it could be. That was a disasterpiece. 1:14 Pete: Luke Weaver….why isn’t he getting more respect from the prognosticators? Was it the two stinko starts he ended last season on? Given Weaver’s K-BB rate….he looks pretty darn good. 1:15 Jay Jaffe: Our Depth Charts projections call for him to deliver 2.7 WAR in 140 IP via a 3.79 ERA and 3.78 FIP. For a pitcher with MLB numbers of 1.4 WAR, 4.56 ERA and 3.61 FIP in 96.x IP, that seems like ample respect. 1:15 Humboldt Crabs: Which OFers make the Dodgers Opening Day roster and which are left on the outside looking in (traded, DFA’d, optioned to AAA): Puig, Taylor, and Kike Hernandez are the obvious onces to be rostered. After that, Joc Pederson, Andrew Toles, Matt Kemp, Trayce Thompson, and Alex Verdugo need to be sorted out. 1:19 Jay Jaffe: Man, this is one clusterf*ck because of their inability to find a taker for Kemp. Barring injuries, definite no on Thompson and Verdugo, yes on Taylor and Puig. Toles is easy to send down for regular work given last year’s season-ending ACL injury and the fact that he has minor league options remaining. That leaves Kiké, Joc and Kemp, which is possible to break camp with but probably untenable for very long in terms of egos and flexibility 1:19 Joe: Whats the deal with grape nuts? You open the box.. No grapes.. No nuts. 1:20 Jay Jaffe: Because my 18-month-old daughter was able to reach a box of them, I tried Grape Nuts (which my wife eats) for the first time in my 48-year life the other day and was astonished at how flavorless they were. Better used as packing material. 1:21 Carson Cistulli Sabathia: Aaron Sanchez is blister free, he says. What can we expect from his comeback year? 1:21 Jay Jaffe: I wouldn’t be surprised to see him recover his 2016 form. He’s a guy I’d like to write about in the next several days and take a closer look 1:21 Andy: Waino is seeing his velocity up around 92-93 in ST. Is that a sign of good things to come or is it the dying breath of a pitcher on the brink of retirement? 1:24 Jay Jaffe: Another guy I’ve got a mind to look at more closely. I do wonder about whether he’s getting to that velo because of the shorter stints. He hasn’t averaged 92 in a season since 2009 (via Pitch Info). and last year was at 90.6 by their data. 1:24 Mark: Are you a Ute? If so, I think I just found my new favorite Fangraphs writer… 1:26 Jay Jaffe: I grew up less than a mile from the University of Utah campus and started going to their basketball games in 1977-78, the height of the Chambers/Vranes era. My parents still live in that same house, but I went away to school (Brown U) and except for the summer after freshman year haven’t lived in SLC, only visited. But they’re my college team of choice when I choose to care. 1:26 Charles Finley: 46 and becoming a dad…unreal. 1:27 Jay Jaffe: I’m a late bloomer in that area, I guess. Fatherhood is amazing — my daughter brings me more joy than anything else I’ve ever experienced 1:27 cooldude: So forgive me if you’ve written about this elsewhere, or someone has, but what percent of the home run explosion do you think is attributable to the new ball and what percent is the Statcast/launch angle revolution? What what percent if any is “other”? Thanks for your time. 1:28 Jay Jaffe: 1:29 Jay Jaffe: I don’t know the proportions but both the ball and launch angle revolution are factors. Check the work of Ben Lindbergh and Rob Arthur in this area 1:29 Mark: Re Utah: That’s awesome, I also grew up less than a mile from the campus and my parents still live there as well (although I’m considerably younger, I grew up in the Majerus era. That 1998 loss was probably my first real sports heartbreak moment). 1:32 Jay Jaffe: 1998 brought some heartbreak — up by 7 on Kentucky with 5 minutes to go in the championship game, wasn’t it? But for somebody who had grown up seeing them get to the Sweet 16 so many times and then lose, watching them bump off North Carolina and Arizona was incredible. I feel far more disappointment over the Jazz failing to beat the Bulls in the NBA Finals in the 1997 and ’98 NBA Finals. Yes, I used to care a lot about basketball. Pretty much ended with the Stockton/Malone era in Utah. 1:33 Cozart’s Donkey: you never answered the Peraza question you posted earlier! 1:36 Jay Jaffe: Whoops. “Can Jose Peraza hit enough / get on base enough, to be a valuable regular for the Reds?” I *think* he can be a useful stopgap or maybe a bit better than that, but if the team is serious about moving Nick Senzel to shortstop, this is basically a make-or-break year for Peraza. Gonna wrap up shortly… 1:36 Rickcir: Why don’t the Indians work a trade to send Jose Ramirez to Atlanta for a great pitching prospect or more? 1:37 Jay Jaffe: Because at the very least Jose Ramirez is already a top 10 player in the AL. 1:38 Marshall: I tend to think only a player’s 10 best seasons should matter for HoF consideration (where 10 is admittedly arbitrarily chosen). If you took this approach, what would your threshold, in terms of WAR, for a hall of famer? 1:40 Jay Jaffe: No idea offhand. I chose to use career and 7-year-peak WAR because it highlights the contrast between two rather distinct types of careers that can lead a player to the Hall. If you use 10 years as peak, you don’t get much in the way of different answers than if you use career WAR. 1:40 Mountie Votto: Salutations, Sir Jaffe! Should the Reds take a look at Alex Cobb, if they could get him for 2-3 years, or is it not worth it to add another injury-prone starter to the mix? 1:41 Jay Jaffe: I think he’d be a solid addition there but if he’s willing to settle for 2-3 years, I’d bet he has options among teams that are closer to contending. 1:43 Zonk: Thank you for your article on the Brewers projection! Speaking of which, do you think the Blue Jays projection at 86 wins is too high? In the same division as Yankees and Red Sox, why is the model optimistic? 1:44 Jay Jaffe: They’re a potential flip side to my Brewers piece, potentially a good topic for a closer look! 1:44 Jay Jaffe: And with that, I’m out of here for this week. I hope you enjoyed the chat, and didn’t get stabbed 23 times while watching my occasionally slow responses crawl by. See you next week!