Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 4/26/18

12:00
Jay Jaffe: Good morning or afternoon folks, wherever you may be, and welcome to another edition of my Thursday chat.

12:01
Corey: Aaron Judge is not an 21 year old phenom, but he still has just 710 ML ABs and he’s got an wRC+ north of 200 again. Are we taking his greatness for granted already?

12:03
Jay Jaffe: I think there’s the danger of that happening in some quarters, particularly given an understandable desire to resist the volume of coverage and hype that comes with success as a Yankee. But with his shoulder healed, he’s certainly showing again that last year wasn’t entirely a fluke.

12:04
Murdoc: Favorite run or lift to lap at Snowbird?

12:06
Jay Jaffe: I’ve skied at Snowbird for 99% of my time in the sport. My favorite run is off the tram, down Upper Primrose Path and into the lower Cirque and then Anderson’s Hill. Man, it’s been 3 years since I’ve gotten to do that because of the book and the baby. I miss skiing.

12:06
BK: What is the highest probability you would give to a rookie of making the Hall of Fame? Over under 5%?

12:08
Jay Jaffe: It depends upon the rookie. An overall number one prospect who’s reaching the majors for good at 20 years old and then succeeding, I might say 5-10%. That’s just off the top of my head; guys who can stick at that age are by far the best HOF prospects.

12:09
Dexy’s Midnight Fowlers: Is Sir Didi’s world-beating performance to date sustainable? Did we wildly underestimate his ceiling?

12:11
Jay Jaffe: the power is real, the question is the extent to which the improved plate discipline sticks. I do think he’s been underestimated to this point in his career, and I’m guilty of that too, but this would seem to be a pretty extreme breakout whose true dimensions will take some time to reveal themselves

12:11
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: If Mike Soroka had the career outcome of Mike Sirotka, would the Braves be disappointed?

12:13
Jay Jaffe: I reflexively keep checking B-Ref to see if the former is the son of the latter, but the answer there is still no. A Sirotka-like career, with some time to establish himself and then two very good seasons followed by disappearance due to major shoulder injury, would be a sad tale.

12:15
Dexy’s Midnight Fowlers: Joey Votto: slump over? To the extent that you can even call it a slump– he’s already 3rd in xwOBA.

12:15
Jay Jaffe: He’s certainly looked much more Votto-like since I published this https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-reds-slump-has-extended-to-joey-vo… (you’re welcome, Joey)

12:16
Corey Seager: What is wrong with me?  Am I just slumping or or what?

12:16
Jay Jaffe: You are saddled with the burden of being my NL MVP pick. I apologize and hope that somebody with a more spiritual bent is praying for your well-being.

12:17
Bo: How far back would the Nats have to be to toy with the idea of trading Bryce at the deadline? What would a theoretical return look like?

12:18
Jay Jaffe: They would have to be in danger of relegation to Harrisburg to do that. Not happening, I don’t think, but ask me again in late June.

12:18
tyler: Pete Rose is 315 all time in Wrc+ tied with greats like Sal Bando, Roy Sievers, Gary Matthews.  Why do we consider him such a great hitter again?

12:21
Jay Jaffe: Rose was an incredible table-setter who provided 24 years of a .375 OPB in a league where .331 was the park-adjusted average, and he could play a number of positions very well. He overstayed his welcome, which takes some of the shine off his batting stats, and ultimately he disgraced the game, but he could f’ing play up until about age 40.

12:21
Dirk Diggler: On a scale from 1-10 how concerned are you about Sonny Gray?

12:22
Jay Jaffe: 8. He’s a mess right now.

12:22
Jon: Kenta Maeda– with all those incentives in his deal for IP, what are the chances he’s more resistant to leaving rotation than he was last year? And if he sticks, can he hold at or near current K%?

12:25
Jay Jaffe: I’m not convinced he can sustain it but with a 14.4 % swinging strike rate and a 33.7% K rate, I’m impressed thus far. Might be worth a closer look if he’s still doing this in a few more starts.

I do think his agent and the Dodgers should discuss restructuring his deal so as to make a bullpen path palatable and lucrative, at least as an alternative — just to say, you’re covered just fine if we believe this is in the best interests of the team.

12:25
Henry Rowengartner: What would your walk-up song be?

12:27
Jay Jaffe: “Uncontrollable Urge” by Devo has long been my choice, and while I didn’t get to use it as at-bat music, I did use it when throwing out a first pitch at an El Paso Chihuahuas game last August. Video evidence of this exists https://cooperstowncasebook.com/2017/09/10/the-trip-to-texas/

12:27
Henry Rowengartner: Verlander on the Astros has been an absolute beast. At 35, can he do this for the whole season?

12:29
Jay Jaffe: not to the extent of maintaining a 1.36 ERA, but I do think he’s capable of another Cy Young-worthy season given that he did have one as recently as 2016.

12:30
Flip: Bryce Harper has a .211 BABIP. Any thoughts why?

12:31
Jay Jaffe: Because it’s April? In the absence of actual investigation, I’ll go with that

12:31
Bobby B.: Jedd Gyorko is a good baseball player. Why don’t the Cardinals let him play more baseball?

12:33
Jay Jaffe: I know he’s been dealing with a hamstring injury and assume that the team knows more about it than I do. But yeah, you’d figure he’d have more than 21 PA by now

12:34
Johnny Cueto: Do you believe in me? Am I great again?

12:35
Jay Jaffe: I never stopped believing in you, Johnny, but I hope you’re not pitching on a bum ankle.

12:35
Johnny: You know, not to get all sentimental right now but the late Kevin Towers was laughed at when he traded top pitching prospect Trevor Bauer for Didi Gregorius those many years ago. The Internet made a mockery of KT calling Didi potentially special, having a Jeter-like quality. I guess my point is that people like KT will and should be missed. They bring an insight that is inspired.

12:38
Jay Jaffe: Yes, I noted Towers’ assessment when I wrote about Didi https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/didi-gregorius-steals-the-spotlight/, and I’m somebody who rolled my eyes at the time. He’s been vindicated on that one, for sure, and the sad occasion of his passing brought out an entire industry that testified to his baseball smarts.

12:39
Moltar: If Matz & Wheeler & Harvey can’t last int he rotation, where do the Mets turn? Vargas is coming for one of those spots, but after that, is it Lugo back from the ‘pen? Then what? Are they in the market for SPs around the deadline?

12:42
Jay Jaffe: Lugo, and possibly Gsellman… sooner or later it may be time to Bring Back Bartolo. Hell, call R.A. Dickey, too. But yeah i think they’ll be in the market for an arm come July 31

12:42
Sean: How much does Patrick Corbin look like Randy Johnson right now?

12:43
Jay Jaffe: He’s shorter, has a better haircut and no viral videos of exploding a bird. I’m not sure I see the resemblance.

12:43
Mounds Guy: I’m in a full dynasty league. Do you like Moncada or Bellinger more long term?

12:44
Jay Jaffe: I don’t play any kind of fantasy baseball so don’t take this as any kind of useful opinion, but I’d take Bellinger because his game is already in place and there’s a lot more to it than just the dingers.

12:44
.300/.400/.500: If you could eliminate one beer style from your rotation for th rest of your life, what would it be? (No cheating by saying “light pale American lagers” or whatever)

12:45
Jay Jaffe: I’ve dabbled in sours but haven’t found much use for them. I’d give up lagers before I’d give up ales, porters, or stouts.

12:46
Gastronomy: Do you have more fun watching funky pitchers like Josh Hader or “cheese with ease” guys like Verlander?

12:48
Jay Jaffe: As a Hall-watcher I’ve got a special interest in Verlander regardless of what he’s throwing, and it’s the starters-with-stuff in general that tend to guide my viewing choices.  But it’s always worth stopping to check out the wide variety of weird relievers, too.

12:48
Tat: What are your thoughts on CCs chances for HOF?

12:50
Jay Jaffe: They’re fading unless he can get back to the point where he’s a good bet for six innings or can pitch into his early 40s. Gotta pad those stats to have a chance in the eyes of some voters, and even then, a look at how long it’s taking Mussina and Schilling to break through doesn’t suggest his chances are high.

12:51
CubFan: Lance Lynn, getting off to a slow/bad start or something more  worrisome? Seems like walks are killing him. I’m always leery of guys switching leagues, especially NL to AL.

12:52
Jay Jaffe: I’m leery of leaping to judgment on guys who signed so late, which goes for Cobb as well, not to mention a whole lot of other players given this weird winter/spring — it seems like a lot of those guys are starting slowly ,and I can’t blame them. Planning to do a roundup next week.

12:53
Louis: Is Mauer to Hall effectively dead?

12:54
Jrp1918: The A’s offense and Manaea no hitter have me really excited about the rest of the season. Unrealistic hope for a wild card ?

12:56
Jay Jaffe: I wasn’t very high on them to start the year but they’ve certainly got an interesting collection of players. The hot start of the Angels complicates the A’s path to a wild card, since you figure the division will probably produce two playoff teams (the Astros being the other)

12:57
Mark: Acuna just homered!

12:58
Jay Jaffe: Alas, I missed it while chatting with you, so I guess I’m the sucker. I did write about his debut and what it means for the Braves https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-brave-new-acuna-era/

And now I will pause to find a clip of the shot

12:59
Jay Jaffe: Hot damn, Acuña!

This is AWESOME?? Welcome to the big leagues, Ronald Acuña! @FOXSportsBraves @Braves #ChopOn
26 Apr 2018
12:59
Coz: Of all the writers at Fangraphs, who would be the best at actually playing baseball?

1:00
Jay Jaffe: Not the 48-year-old guy with Hamburger Shoulder, I can assure you of that.

1:01
Mike: Does FanGraphs, or another resource you know of, keep tabs on hitters’ strikeouts looking vs. swinging? I’d like to see where Moncada falls in that regard.

1:03
Jay Jaffe: The answer to questions like these is almost always B-Ref, and in this case here you go https://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/AL/2018-pitches-batting.sht…

Similarly, I was scratching my head about where to find how often a team had the platoon advantage yesterday and after awhile I figured it out https://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/NL/2017-situational-batting…

1:03
Andy: Love me some Acuna but damn, could Homer Bailey have put that more on a tee?

1:04
kevinthecomic: They don’t call him HOMER Baily for nuthin’

1:04
Bob Dobalina: What’s your opinion on Sixpoint?

1:08
Jay Jaffe: Once upon a time they were a very cool, trend-setting brewery. Then they stopped producing Righteous Rye (available in cans) and Brownstone (harder to find), and now they are nearly dead to me. Objectively, they’ve been surpassed by a dozen local breweries at least in terms of buzz-worthy beer, and while their products aren’t bad at all, I don’t think I’ll ever lose the sense that they betrayed me.

1:08
John: Hey Jay, was looking at Ichiro’s b-ref page and, if I’m reading it right, he comes under an average hall of famer on the gray ink and hall of fame standards. Am I missing something as to why that would be? His black ink and monitor scores are way above the average…

1:11
Jay Jaffe: I don’t think it’s worth sweating at this point; Black/Gray Ink is less important (and less meaningful) now that we have so many ways to evaluate careers. And let’s not forget that the man didn’t debut in the majors until he was 27!

1:12
Desperate, confused Marlins fan: who would you rather have for the next 10 years? Acuña or Ohtani?

1:13
Jay Jaffe: Good question. I’d say it’s a very tough choice, as reflected by the split in the prospect lists regarding who’s #1. I’d give a slight edge to Ohtani just because of the multiple options (pitcher/hitter) and the perception that his ceiling is higher, but Acuña probably has the more solid floor.

1:13
Scott: What older player has helped his HOF the most through one month?

1:14
Jay Jaffe: Verlander, I think. His performance thus far suggests he’s in for a big year and has found a new lease on life, baseball-wise

1:14
Billy : Tyson Ross is back?

1:16
Jay Jaffe: I dearly hope so, but the number of true post-thoracic outlet syndrome surgery successes is small, as I was discussing with a handful of people on Twitter yesterday. Kenny Rogers, Aaron Cook, Alex Cobb, Jaime Garcia, and not much else

1:17
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: Re: Soroka-Sirotka, but you are forgetting that the White Sox jettisoned Sirotka for David Wells in what became “shouldergate.” ~10 WAR for basically three-to-five years, then moving him on for David Wells before he “mysteriously” never pitches again? Don’t forget Kenny Williams said he was DELIGHTED by that outcome.

1:17
Jay Jaffe: Oh, yes. that was a damn mess.

1:18
Jarrard: How much of an impact do you see Melky Cabrera having this year?

1:20
Jay Jaffe: He’s had more success in even-numbered years than odd ones, in part because he never seems to stay healthy for too long, but I’d guess that with the late start, he doesn’t have a ton of impact.  WAR in 1-1.5 range, maybe?

1:22
CungyMyBungy: When you look behind the curtain, Didi’s tremendous start can be attributed to the ballpark.  Look at his splits and they ain’t purty!  Thoughts?

1:22
Jay Jaffe: This year’s splits may be driven by Yankee Stadium but here’s from what I wrote earlier this month:

1:22
Jay Jaffe: And no, that’s not just Yankee Stadium at work; while 29 of his 54 homers during that span came at home, he’s got an 86 wRC+ there (.251/.292/.415) compared to 110 on the road (.300/.335/.448). That split is driven by groundball and flyball rates that are basically reversed (38%/42% at home, 42%/37% away), a 51-point BABIP gap (.265 versus .316) and a substantial strikeout split (15.4% versus 11.8%).

1:23
Gary: Tommy Pham has 9 career WAR in less than two complete seasons of playing time. Where the hell do the Cardinals find these guys?

1:26
Jay Jaffe: The Cardinals have a great organization, but it also took them until he was 29 to give him 200 PA in a season.

1:26
Scott: It looks like you jinxed Joey Votto. He’s starting to hit again

1:26
Jay Jaffe: He can join Gary Sanchez and Paul Goldschmidt in the line of players to thank me for inspiring them to return to greatness.

1:27
Brian CashGod: Follow up question – please tell me there is an annual Fangraphs softball game?!

1:28
Jay Jaffe: I’m still pretty new here, so I have no idea what kind of stuff goes on annually here. Maybe when we have our staff trip in June such a thing will transpire. I’ll let you know

1:28
Justin: Why are so many people trying to prove Didi isn’t good? We know he’s not THIS good. He’s so fun! Let him be fun.

1:28
Jay Jaffe: just as sharks will die if they don’t keep swimming, haterz aren’t allowed to take a moment off from hatin’

1:29
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: The commissioner is concerned about the pace of play and times of games. With guys going deeper into counts, should there be a limit to foul balls before being awarded a strikeout?

1:29
Jay Jaffe: No.

1:30
Mark: Have the Blue Jays turned the AL East into a 3 horse race?

1:31
Jay Jaffe: it feels more like a two-way race for 2nd behind the Red Sox, but they’re in it.

1:31
54: Seeing any concerts this Summer?

1:33
Jay Jaffe: I did just see Patti Smith do a short set that featured a cameo by Bruce Springsteen (it was for the premiere of her Horses concert film at the Tribeca Film Festival) but for the first time in awhile I don’t have tickets to any upcoming shows.  I’m sure that will change soon. Just heard about My Bloody Valentine at Hammerstein Ballroom, which in my experience is a terrible place for acoustics, so I’m leaning PASS on that one, but I gotta get out and see some rock now and again or I’ll go mad.

1:33
Dexy’s Midnight Fowlers: It must be April if Asdrubal Cabrera is leading the NL in BA. Expecting significant regression there?

1:33
Jay Jaffe: That question pretty much answers itself, no?

1:34
Dexy’s Midnight Fowlers: Dexter Fowler has been a disappointment so far– great patience as usual but not hitting the ball as well as last year. Do you expect him to pick it up or is this the beginning of a decline?

1:35
Jay Jaffe: He started slowly last year, too. I wouldn’t panic just yet.

1:35
Dan: Hey Jay! What are your thoughts on rodon when he eventually comes back? Does he ever live up to the hype?

1:38
Jay Jaffe: I hope he fights Godzilla again, that would be epic.

<checks earpiece>

Oh, Carlos Rodon, not Rodan. I don’t expect him to be an ace, but I certainly think he can be a useful mid-rotation guy if healthy

1:38
jimcanuck: Bundy and Snell both hit MLB in 2016.  After two seasons, looks like they are breaking out into the frontline starters they were projected to be.  Is this the typical timeline for a breakout?

1:39
Jay Jaffe: It doesn’t seem atypical, even when you account for Bundy making his MLB debut back in 2012, when dinosaurs still roamed the earth.

1:39
skyric: I have thoroughly enjoyed your Hall of Fame articles and arguments that I have come across.  You have taught me a lot.  What is your take on why Jim Edmonds fell off the ballot his first try? Should he get in?  I’d also be interested in your views on Ted Simmons and Larry Walker.

1:42
Jay Jaffe: Thank you! As noted in connection with that Mauer piece linked above, Edmonds falling short of 2,000 hits was an easy cue that he would fall short of election one way or another. The overcrowded ballot did him no favors, nor did the proximity of better candidates such as Kenny Lofton and Andruw Jones, who haven’t gotten much love from voters either and both have stronger cases according to JAWS (Andruw’s another Rule of 2,000 guy, I’m afraid).

I’ve got whole chapters on Simmons, Walker and Andruw in The Cooperstown Casebook— which I hope you’ll buy if you haven’t already — but the short answer is that I’m in favor of all three being elected.

1:42
kevinthecomic: Multi Player question:  Carlos Santana, Neil Walker and Zach Cozart — 2018 performance to date due to small sample size or beginning of the decline phase of their careers?

1:44
Jay Jaffe: SSS is the more likely explanation, not just for these guys but for everybody doing everything. I do wonder a bit more about Walker given his relatively recent back woes, but I’m also a guy who’s generally on his bandwagon.

1:46
Desperate, confused Marlins fan: Is Harper always going to leave something to be desired or can he have a 5-7 year peak that we look back and say wow he was reaallly good?

1:47
Jay Jaffe: His problems have generally been health-related; he’s really, really good, and right now he looks like it’s 2015 again.

1:48
Alex: Ozzie Albies is leading the majors in XBH and has more XBH than singles. Could you please help me tamper my excitement/expectations

1:48
Jay Jaffe: I could  help you temper them but the league might crack down upon me for tampering with them.

1:49
Benny Agbayani: Go see Hop Along at Brooklyn Steel next month

1:49
Jay Jaffe: Never heard of ’em, but that’s not saying much given how hard it is for me to take up new music given my allotted time for same. i did just see Ty Segall at Brooklyn Steel a couple weeks ago. That was outstanding.

1:50
Mark: Votto grand slam!

1:50
Jay Jaffe: There, I fixed it.

1:51
Zach: What’s the biggest issue with HOF voting right now?

1:54
Jay Jaffe: 1. That Minnie Miñoso and Dick Allen aren’t in.

2. That Bobby Grich and Lou Whitaker can’t get on a small committee ballot.

3. The 10-man ballot rule is still a problem, one that will clear up somewhat in the next few years whether or not Bonds and Clemens (whose ongoing presence is part of the problem, as they’re taking up a ton of votes but not getting to 75% yet) are cleared.

1:55
Louis: You think Altuve is on his way to HoF?

1:57
Jay Jaffe: I *hope* so, and collecting 200+ hits a year is a good way to make tracks towards Cooperstown. But my head tells me to temper my expectations given the extent to which second basemen tend to arrive and peak earlier than other positions

1:57
Bo: Who will ultimately prevail in the NL East and why won’t it be the Mets?

1:59
Jay Jaffe: I still think the Nationals wind up atop the division. The Mets are going to need some lineup upgrades; Adrian Gonzalez already looks kaput, the Asdrubal hot streak isn’t going to last forever, and they’re probably gonna need a catcher, too

2:00
Jay Jaffe: OK folks, at the risk of overstaying my welcome, that’s it for this week’s chat. Thanks for stopping by!

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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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feslenraster
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feslenraster

Also, Mets bullpen is already imploding. Just a matter of time before the rotation fizzles, unfortunately for us Mets fans.