Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 3/5/21 by Jay Jaffe March 5, 2021 2:00 Jay Jaffe: Good afternoon and welcome to the sixth straight week of my Friday chat — and yes, clearly I’m keeping track. 2:01 Jay Jaffe: While the queue fills up, a bit of housekeeping. This week, I took a look at the potential fits for free agents Jake Odorizzi (http://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-remaining-market-for-jake-odorizzi/) and Jackie Bradley Jr. (http://blogs.fangraphs.com/finding-a-fit-for-jackie-bradley-jr/) 2:02 Jay Jaffe: Then I doubled back to Bradley today after he signed with the Brewers and joined a crowded outfield (http://blogs.fangraphs.com/figuring-out-jackie-bradley-jr-s-brewers-fi…) 2:02 Jay Jaffe: I also took a quick look at the impact of the announcement that the start of the Triple-A season will be delayed at least four weeks (http://blogs.fangraphs.com/in-expected-move-mlb-delays-triple-a-season…) 2:03 Jay Jaffe: Also, a piece I worked on about our team-level rotation projections is being held over to next week, as we needed to tweak our assumptions regarding innings per start and thus total rotation innings, which were a bit outdated. 2:04 Jay Jaffe: Anyway, on with the show! 2:04 TOOTBLAN: Was it a mistake for the Red Sox to not re-sign Jackie Bradley, Jr.? His 2/24 contract (which could be 1/12 with the player opt out) appears reasonable. Couple that with his defense, average bat, and popularity in Boston, and it seems to me that not re-signing him is a missed opportunity (assuming he would have signed the same contract with the Red Sox as he did with the Brewers). 2:06 Jay Jaffe: I don’t think the Sox or many of the other teams I highlighted had much to lose had they landed Bradley that deal, and I had them on the list of good fits because while Verdugo projects to be good enough to cover center field, the solutions at the corners— Franchy in left, Renfroe in right — project as a couple of 4th or 5th outfielders with too much playing time. 2:07 Jay Jaffe: With Renfroe’s lefty-mashing abilities they could have at least done a 2-position platoon, with Verdugo covering CF against LH starters 2:08 David: Anyone else as excited as I am about no DH in the NL this year? 2:08 Jay Jaffe: Meh. I’m not. I’ve been ready for the universal DH for years and the likelihood of it being part of the next CBA makes this year without it just seem kind of silly. Still, if it’s in exchange for no expanded playoffs, which is the way MLB rigged it, then fine, whatever. 2:09 Joe: With AAA delaying the season, how will that affect any 2021 prospect debuts. Seems like teams would want guys in something closer to real-game action before being thrust into the Bigs instead of back field baseball, right? 2:12 Jay Jaffe: I think it’s going to vary from team to team and player to player. While the prospects themselves may be itching for real game activity, I don’t see it likely that teams are going to accelerate the arrivals of too many of them especially given the ways that they work to hold their service time down even if not as brazenly as the Mariners planned to with Kelenic. If I understand the announcement and the subsequent reporting correctly, teams won’t be able to recall players from lower levels of the minors directly; they’ll have to go through the alternate site system, with its stronger health and safety protocols. 2:12 Jay Jaffe: Beyond that, I’m sure Eric Longenhagen and Kevin Goldstein probably have better insights into some of the specifics of players and teams. 2:13 Tom: Harrison Bader > Jackie Bradley, Jr, no? 2:16 Jay Jaffe: His defensive numbers were nothing special last year but his bat rebounded, even with just a .226 AVG. Double-digit barrel rate, 113 wRC+. His weakness against righties (career wRC+ of just 83) gives me pause, because unless you’re Kevin Kiermaier you can’t get away with that as a platoon guy. I’d rather roster JBJ and a lefty masher at least if we’re talking 2021 and not multilple years from now 2:16 Nathan: I was looking at Lance Berkman’s player page and was impressed with his peak WAR production. What did he need to do to get more serious HOF consideration? 2 healthy seasons to close out his career and 400HRs? 2:20 Jay Jaffe: Fantastic hitter but a short career. Not getting to 2,000 hits (he had 1,905) all bur ruled him out of the HOF conversation, but we’re also talking about a guy who leaked runs on the bases and in the field (albeit not horrendously so). He’s close on 7-year peak as a left fielder (39.2 WAR vs 41.7 for the standard), but his 7th best season was just 3.8 WAR; he needed another 5+ there to go with the 2,000 hits (400 homers would have helped, too), and even then he would have been more than 10 wins short of the career standard. there are far worse players in the Hall but I don’t see him getting anywhere in small committee-land down the road 2:20 Tom: St. Louis Cardinals have announced the nominees for their local Hall of Fame. Keith Hernandez, Lee Smith, Matt Morris, Edgar Renteria, and Steve Carlton. Only one inductee this year. If looking solely at time as a Cardinal, Keith Hernandez is the correct vote, right? 2:20 Jay Jaffe: Easy call, yes 2:21 John: Has Dan ever used the Zips wayback machine to estimate out curt flood after 1969 to get a sense for what a normal end game would have looked like for him ? 2:21 Jay Jaffe: I don’t think so. that’s a good idea! 2:22 Eric the Red: Interested in your thoughts on Jason Heyward’s HOF chances. He’s more than halfway to average RF career WAR and his peak should rise. 2:24 Jay Jaffe: Not happening barring a major career turnaround. He got off to a great start, with four seasons of 5.5 WAR or more through age 25 but just 8.6 WAR in 5 seasons since, and 38.4 WAR total. For comparison’s sake, by this stage, Andruw Jones had 61.0 WAR, and we see that a whole bunch of voters have reservations about his career fall-off 2:24 David: Whats your drink of choice while doing these chats? 2:26 Jay Jaffe: seltzer with grapefruit juice. I’m generally not a day drinker, or even a daylight drinker, except maybe on weekends. Not that I wouldn’t like to crack one open but when you’re the parent of a small child, having 3 drinks before dinner is a special-occasion-only thing, at least in this household 2:26 fake baseball fan: IS their a favorite for Jake Odorizzi right now? Astros? Minnesota? CUbs? 2:27 Jay Jaffe: I have to think that with the Framber and COVID-19 news the Astros — who already looked like a fit to me, in part because of the Click-Tampa Bay connection —are the leaders. I don’t see either of the other two teams signing him unless he REALLY wants to go back to Minnesota on a sweetheart deal. Cubs aren’t happening 2:27 TomBruno23: Joe Altobelli’s death leaves 24 living men who have managed a team to a World Series title. I thought it would be a more exclusive list, similar to the 10 living men who lost the World Series and never won it all. 2:30 Jay Jaffe: RIP Joe Altobelli. He was managing the Giants when I started watching baseball, and his Giants blew a September lead in 1978. Always seemed weird to me that Earl Weaver won only one World Series, the same as Altobelli despite getting to three others. But I know Altobelli was a well-regarded baseball man. Anyway, in answer to your question I suspect it has something to do with the parity that’s taken over the game at the top. Even with the Yankees and Giants winning 3 or more titles under the same skipper during the Wild Card era the fact that we haven’t seen any team win back-to-back since the 1999-2000 Yankees leaves a lot of room to distribute the glory. 2:30 Tomasreffers: will we ever have a fielding based HOF case again (besides the guys on the ballot today and Yadi)? 2:34 Jay Jaffe: Buster Posey’s an outstanding hitter who might struggle to reach the all-important 2,000 hits threshold, but his framing numbers are so strong that he should be HOF worthy assuming he can hang on a bit longer. Andrelton Simmons already has a 35.6 JAWS, just 0.6 below Vizquel, so if he can shake off his recent injuries and play regularly, I think he’ll be somebody to talk about. 2:35 resumeman: What do you expect from Yarbrough this year? 2:37 Jay Jaffe: The one thing that sticks out in his projections is a high homer rate (1.38 per nine on his depth chart projex). His GB/FB has been on the rise, and he does a very good job of generating soft contact, and has a career HR rate of 1.0 per nine. So I’ll take the under on his projected 4.35 ERA and 4.56 FIP, wouldn’t surprise me if he were under 4.00 in both. 2:39 MoonBeamMcSwine: Andres Gimenez, Amed Rosario, Yu Chang and Cesar Hernandez as a four part rotation for Util, 2B, SS and days off for Jose Ramirez at 3B for the Indians.. Does this make sense/work for you? 2:43 Jay Jaffe: No, because rosters are going to be 26 players, and in fact Roster Resource has Cleveland going with just a 3-man bench, with Hedges at C, Rosario as IF/OF and Luplow as OF (Hernandez and Giménez in the lineup). I don’t think Chang profiles as useful enough to be a 4th, would think that a lefty power bat off the bench makes some sense. 2:45 Sharps: are there any years where a rule that the top vote-getter for the hall automatically gets entry would have caused problems? 2:48 Jay Jaffe: No, not really. All of the top vote-getters in years of shutouts got in within a couple of years by one route or another. It would be a perfectly reasonable way to go in years that nobody hits 75% to take the leader because the odds say almost certainly that person will get in some day. That said, when that one person is noted insurrection supporter Curt Schilling, we’re working in uncharted territory 2:48 TomBruno23: You were a Mets fan growing up, right? Who was your favorite player as a kid…anyone under the radar besides your Strawberry and Gooden types? 2:50 Jay Jaffe: No, I grew up a Dodgers fan. Didn’t have much affinity for the Mets esp once they got good but I liked Mookie Wilson and Rusty Staub, also Hubie Brooks from the days when they were still a pretty crummy team 2:51 Cube Jockey: A group of 16 people put Harold Baines in the HOF. A decent percentage of them played with and/or managed him. Do you take the baseball writers election less seriously now, knowing that whoever doesn’t get in just needs to win over 12 non-analytical voters at a later date? 2:53 Jay Jaffe: I think the committee process needs reform. I’d be in favor of doubling the size of the committee and making anybody who had a direct connection to him as manager, GM or teammate recuse themselves on that particular vote. Maybe there are 3 guys in the room connected to the next Baines equivalent so he has to get 75% of 29, or 22 votes, instead of 24 or 32. 2:54 Jay Jaffe: Wait, i misread your question. 2:55 Jay Jaffe: i think the flaws with the committee system show the writers’ vote — with its large sample — to be a superior system in that regard, even if it, too, is an imperfect process. Remember, it’s been only a few years that the line has started moving again with regards to living ex-player candidates elected by committees; we had a long stretch of nobody getting in by that route; it was a death sentence for a candidacy. 2:55 fake baseball fan: Vizquel’s best comparable non-Hall of Famer is ___ 2:56 Jay Jaffe: Dave Concepcion and Mark Belanger, but with not as much peak value. Solid component of perennial contender, but too limited in his all-around game to be a HOFer. 2:57 TomBruno23: Do you enjoy watching college baseball? I get all excited in February, watch a few innings here and there and then forget about it once Grapefruit/Cactus gets underway. 2:59 Jay Jaffe: I can’t say I really watch much of it, though for a couple of years I did have assignments to cover televised CWS games. I go in not knowing very much at all, and it takes awhile to adjust to the aluminum bats and the bunting, but it’s still baseball and still enjoyable. I liken it to beer, it may not be my favorite brand or style, but it’s still beer, and how bad can that be? 2:59 Mike Ortman: Could not be more excited to have Yu Darvish on my Padres. Feels like he has had a more remarkable career than his BR page reflects. Does he have an outside chance at the Hall, or zero chance? 3:01 Jay Jaffe: He hasn’t done enough to put himself in the picture, with just 25.0 career WAR including offense through his age 33 season. He has one season with WAR higher than 3.5. I’d love to see him go bananas for a few years and give it a run because when he’s on, he’s so watchable 3:01 TomBruno23: Say where you went to undergrad by naming the best player from the school…Max Scherzer. 3:02 Jay Jaffe: Well, nobody remembers Fred Tenney even though he was much, much better but It’s just absolutely bonkers if you stop to think about Bill Almon being the 1-1 of the 1974 draft until you consider what a fly-by-night organization the Padres were 3:03 Maddoning: Planning a trip this year to Drummer’s Cove? If you kayak there in June there are alot of turtles in the grass along the cove, and it’s horseshoe crab mating season! Good times! 3:03 Jay Jaffe: Yup, heading to Wellfleet again in June! Hope to see more horseshoe crabs, as we saw a bunch last year — which seemed like the first time they were in abundance in the years I’ve been going 3:04 David: 26 player roster and only a 3 man bench? I miss 5 player benches. 3:04 Jay Jaffe: We live in terrible times 3:06 thomas: Who are your top 5 third basemen? I have Rendon, Bregman, Ramirez, Arenado, and Chapman in that order. The first two are interchangeable, and the last 3 are all close too in my opinion. 3:09 Jay Jaffe: I’d say those are probably the five, with Machado number 6, and I’d have Arenado and Chapman outside the top 3 based on last year’s injuries. I don’t know if there’s really a wrong order within those two sub-tiers but i like the extra dimensions that Ramirez’s SB and switch-hitting abilities add. 3:09 Jay Jaffe: Just flipped over to the Angels-A’s exhibition so as to see Ohtani’s start as I want to write about him and the Angels next week 3:10 Jay Jaffe: I have Roku for my office MLB.tv sub and I spent 30 minutes yesterday trying to find the damn remote so i could watch a game — I hadn’t used it since replacing my desk and wi-fi system. It was comical and sad. 3:11 david: who do you think is the next unanimous hall of famer. pujols? ichiro? trout? 3:11 Jay Jaffe: I think Ichiro has a shot. 3:11 fake baseball fan: ___ voters will leave off Trout or Pujols for some weird reason. 3:12 Jay Jaffe: Trout will be unanimous, 3-5 will leave Pujols off because they don’t believe his age was accurate 3:13 Guest: You talked about Carlos Correa still being on a potential path to the HOF last week, especially when looking at production relative to age. I can understand him being on track to compile good career totals, based on a fairly early start; but how would you evaluate his peak, at this point? If he does not have a few more really strong seasons, it seems like his peak would include his first few strong seasons and the past 3 more middling ones- would it be good enough? 3:15 Jay Jaffe: it’s tough to get a full picture of his peak given that he’s played only 6 seasons, and three of those with fewer than 100 games (2 with fewer than 81 games). He’s banked two seasons of 6+ WAR already ,though there are a lot of players with 4 or more such seasons through age 25. I think we’re still looking at a lot of potential rather than established greatness. 3:15 love that curve: do you think sale will be pitching at a high level at the end of the season, or will 2021 be a prelude to 22? 3:18 Jay Jaffe: I think history has shown us again and again that pitchers who undergo TJ rarely return to full form immediately. I also think it’s worth noting that we’ve seen fairly few superstar-level starters undergo TJ in the first place. Just one is in the Hall (Smoltz), and Verlander will be second even if he returns as just a shadow of his former self. I’ll have more on this later this season. 3:18 jamesdakrn: What’s your gut call on Choo’s statline in KBO this season? 3:18 Jay Jaffe: I bet he tears it up. .320/.430/.550 3:19 jamesdakrn: Shouldn’t the Hall acknowledge some of the best international players as well? While Ichiro is a surefire HoFer, i think we should recognize the contribution of guys like Fernando Valenzuela, Hideo Nomo, Chan Ho Park & others as well 3:20 Jay Jaffe: I like the idea but it’s the National Baseball Hall of Fame, not the International one. Would love to see those guys you named, perhaps they could do an annual award in honor of international play, in parallel to the Buck O’Neil Award. 3:21 John: I disagree on your committee answer . Players, managers, and execs from the era are great resources. Writers, by and large, have never played the game. All one has to do is read the columns of many of the writers to know they are not all qualified. 3:21 Jay Jaffe: I didn’t say they should be excluded from the process, just recused with regards to a given candidate to whom they’re obviously linked so that there’s not a direct conflict of interest in the voting. 3:21 Bring Back Mookie: Last summer, I saw a group of 13 seals at a sunset on Duck Harbor in Wellfleet. It was wild. 3:23 Jay Jaffe: wow, that sounds great. We’ve done a walk to the seals but not since the baby arrived; we were just talking about whether she could handle the walk this year and I think we’ll give it a shot 3:23 Sanford: Thanks as always for your great work, Jay. Any thoughts on the recent card market boom? Ever get into collecting yourself? 3:25 Jay Jaffe: Thanks for the kind words. I was into card collecting as a kid, which basically was from 1978 (eventually completed that Topps set, albeit nowhere near mint condition) to about 1983. I was long gone by the time it turned into a speculator’s game. I pick up cards here and there every year but mainly because I just like the feel of a stack in my hands. something to look at and ponder I did buy some card sheets to house and display my several packs of Gummy Arts cards. I’m entertained what I guess we might call the custom card market but Gummy is the only set I’ve bought anything from. 3:26 Jay Jaffe: Which reminds me that for my birthday last year my friends chipped in for this to be commissioned: 3:26 Jay Jaffe: 3:26 Jay Jaffe: one of my all-time favorite birthday gifts 3:26 resumeman: You mentioned a Roku. I just fired mine up for the first time – is it me or did they totally screw up the MLB app? Forward/backward 1-minute intervals? No line score to switch between innings? Am I missing something? Really seems like it’s going to be a poor experience 3:27 Jay Jaffe: I didn’t look closely while firing it up either yesterday or today but I recall it being pretty bare bones. Even the Apple TV one isn’t great but you can navigate a bit better. Nothing gives you the same control as the desktop computer one 3:29 Jay Jaffe: Two strikeouts for Ohtani in the first so far, haven’t seen the velo readings 3:29 Jay Jaffe: Fabian Ardaya @FabianArdaya Shohei Ohtani blows a fastball past Matt Olson. Seems like the pitch plays (even with no velo reading). 5 Mar 2021 3:29 Pat: Why would Pujols age being inaccurate make a difference in his HOF unanimousity (New word!!!). He still what he did..Of course, some writers are the morality police, so I’m assuming that’s what you’re getting at. 3:30 Jay Jaffe: yes and the belief that he therefore shouldn’t have gotten the contract he got from the Angels 3:30 Dave: Buy or Sell- bouncebacks from Arrieta and Trevor Williams? 3:30 Jay Jaffe: buy but not strong buy because of the Cubs’ defense and maybe a comfort-level thing for Arrieta 3:31 Dee Arby: “it’s still beer, and how bad can that be?” Beer, while makes you think it helps you, is actually terrible for your body and mind. So…it can be pretty bad. 3:32 Jay Jaffe: i think you’ve missed the point here, Dee 3:32 Jay Jaffe: ok folks, I have a radio spot coming up in a couple minutes so we’re gonna wrap momentarily 580 Sports Talk @580Sportstalk Show today: -KU athletics decision on its department–#royals actually have depth?-What Royals starter is the x-factor–#kubball survives scare-Fill in the blank-WIWWY @jay_jaffe at 2:35 on MLB@CoachBBallard at 3:35@coachbruceweber at 5:35 Listen: alphamediaplayer.com/580wibw 5 Mar 2021 3:32 Guest: Fernando was so good he caused a mania. Shouldn’t that be worth some extra credit somehow? 3:32 Jay Jaffe: Agree 100% 3:33 Jay Jaffe: Ohtani puts two on but gets a 3rd strikeout on a nice breaking ball chase 3:33 Jay Jaffe: OK folks, thanks for stopping by! See you next week, and until then PLEASE stay safe.