Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 4/29/22

2:01
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Good afternoon, folks! Welcome to what is going to be an abbreviated version of the usual festivities, as I have to be out the door at about 3:15 ET.

2:02
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The quick housekeeping: My week featured pieces on the Hall of Fame’s Era Committee shakeup https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-hall-of-fame-shakes-up-its-era-committ…, Mike Trout’s hot start https://blogs.fangraphs.com/amid-fits-and-starts-mike-trout-might-be-g…, Bryce Harper’s elbow https://blogs.fangraphs.com/checking-in-on-bryce-harper-full-time-desi… and more.

2:03
Travis: You buying Kyle Wright? Anyone planning on a Wright article? I’m curious if the changes he made are sustainable.

2:07
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I haven’t had a chance to lay eyes on Wright but I know people are talking about his hot start. He’s been lit up at the major league level before, but the Braves thought highly enough of him to make him a top-5 pick five years ago. We know pitching development is non-linear, so it shouldn’t be a shock when a guy takes a big leap forward, especially when it comes with a jump in velocity — often suggesting cleaner mechanics and possibly better command as well.  I imagine we’ll have coverage of him soon enough, either from me or someone else

2:08
Chip: Should Yankee fans stop whining about their team now? Or is there something else they should be angry about?

2:10
Avatar Jay Jaffe: They should be comforted by the strong start, but I think they have reason to be concerned about the team’s catching situation, the overreliance upon aging players, and the fact that they didn’t land one of the star shortstops who hit the market. As irate as they were in the spring? No, but I think ownership could be doing more to fortify this team (even given their huge payroll).

2:12
Guest: Eric Hosmer: Great start, unsustainable BABIP
Jurickson Profar: Great start, ridiculously low BABIP
Hosmer doesn’t seem to be a different hitter, so is he really just lucky?  And is it possible Profar is a different hitter now and actually has some upside left?

2:15
Avatar Jay Jaffe: .472 BABIP for Hosmer! and a 3.1 GB/FB ratio! He’s pulling the ball A LOT more (47.3%, up 17 points from last year) and it does seem to be paying off, in that his .330 xBA and .491 xSLG are quite good.  I wouldn’t hold out a ton of hope for sustainability, though. i still don’t know what to make of Profar but I don’t think either his 152 wRC+ or .186 BABIP are very representative. Might be one to look at next week.

2:16
pak: Hi Jay, I’m wondering if Joey Wendle is worth some comments or even a write up. The Marlins are playing him to his strengths against righties, but after 58 PAs, his K% is about 10% (23% last year.) Change of approach at the plate?   He also has 4 SBs in April. Thanks for your time.

2:17
Avatar Jay Jaffe: He’s swinging more often yet missing a lot less, which is interesting. Well ahead of of his x-stats including a .366 xSLG. I’ll need to see a lot more before I’m convinced.

2:18
John: Charlie Morton has 2x start next week. Would you roll with him or Alex Wood vs STL?

2:20
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The Cardinals have a 150 wRC+ against lefties so far., so under normal circumstances I’d roll with Morton, but he’s off to a rough start so far and I don’t know what the matchups are. That’s the solve-for-x variable.

2:21
tony la bussa: you seen CHW’s xstats vs their actual stats? they’re missing 150 pts of slugging as a team lol

2:22
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Wow. Everybody is in the red in terms of SLG – xSLG except for Cleveland (.002), and MLB as a whole is down 63 points so bear that in mind.

2:22
Avatar Jay Jaffe: You can find the MLB averages atop this page, which is handy https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/leaderboard/expected_statistics

2:23
Mr Baseball: Bob Uecker still great….  how about a Brewers World Series for him in 2022?

2:23
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I have no objection to good things happening to Bob Uecker, who’s one of the greats

2:23
Matt (Oceanside): Hey Jay, hope you are doing well! I know you aren’t the prospect guy, but Ben said we would be getting the Dodgers’ prospect list this week….it’s Friday…. hep me hep me 🙂

2:23
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Sorry. I don’t know what’s going down in that department.

2:24
Yeah Well Hiura Towel: Doesn’t really seem like Stanton will make the Hall eh?

2:25
Avatar Jay Jaffe: If he stays healthy he’s still got a very good shot at 500 HR (he’s at 350) and at least some shot at 600. He’s not in great shape as far as WAR/JAWS but the qualitative aspect of his home runs will be worth a little something extra

2:25
Avatar Jay Jaffe: 43.9career WAR |35.17yr-peak WAR |39.5JAWS |5.3WAR/162
  Average HOF RF (out of 28):
    71.1 career WAR | 42.4 7yr-peak WAR | 56.7 JAWS | 5.1 WAR/162

2:25
Frank Thomas the Tank Engine: I’m intrigued by the Dave Stieb bandwagon. What is the most important thing it can be doing to help him get on the next ballot?

2:26
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Getting on the Contemporary Ballot this November would be a good start, because you can’t get elected if you’re not on the ballot. I still think it’s going to take a longer time than a single appearance, though, and the competition for ballot space and attention is going to be particularly fierce under this new format.

2:27
Nick: have you had Alewife beer? Love it!

2:29
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’ve had one or two Alewifes but I don’t seem to have logged them in Untappd. Would be great if I started seeing their stuff at the grocery store

2:30
108stitch: whats up with Trevor Story

2:31
Avatar Jay Jaffe: What did he get, like 2 weeks of spring training? Signing with a new team and moving to a new position with very little time to acclimate is a tall order.

2:31
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I wouldn’t jump out the window yet

2:32
glt4dc: I’m familiar with how Ted Williams, famously, didn’t win the MVP in 1941.  But why didn’t he win in 1942, he looks like a stronger candidate across the board compared to the MVP winner that year, Joe Gordon. https://www.baseball-reference.com/awards/awards_1942.shtml

2:34
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Williams did not get along great with some of the sportswriters of the day, so that didn’t help his cause in MVP voting. Not sure whether that was the year that Boston writer Dave Egan left him off his ballot entirely but according to lore his doing so one year cost Williams an award.

2:34
bosoxforlife: Do you think that putting humidors in all 30 parks is playin g a major role in the decline of HR’s. It is clear the ball is not carrying.

2:36
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It may very well be a contributing factor, and so might the use of the single less-bouncy ball that was introduced last year (though it apparently wasn’t the only version of the ball used). Eno Sarris and Ken Rosenthal had a look at home run rates and the downturn at the Athletic https://theathletic.com/3272450/2022/04/26/baseballs-arent-flying-as-f…

2:36
Avatar Jay Jaffe: take-home quote:

“All of that should mean that the humidors have been dampening offense by reducing the balls’ bounciness, because of the current state of humidity around the league. The deadened ball now fully adopted by the league is reducing the balls’ bounciness as well. The humidor and ball may also be reducing offense by the way they interact, increasing drag by increasing the seam height.

“Yet, the effects might be reversed as the more humid months come and the humidor instead dries up the balls. And the two-ball controversy last season, along with the length of time necessary to test and implement a new ball, likely means the league will not make an adjustment with the ball or humidor in the middle of the season.”

2:37
bushupking: What does Jo Adell’s declining strikeout rate over the past 10 days or so tell us, if anything?

2:38
Avatar Jay Jaffe: that maybe forming an opinion about a player — especially a highly-regarded 23-year-old with comparatively little major league experience — after two weeks of play under less-than-ideal circumstances isn’t the best way to go?

2:39
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Just gonna start tapping this sign:

Not every young player is a finished product and this year’s early season is pretty extraordinary given the compressed nature of spring training.

2:40
StickyStuff: Is a major crackdown coming now that video has surfaced of Cole wiping sticky stuff on his butt? When will MLB get to the bottom of this?

2:40
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Crackdowns are rarely caused by a single instance of anything

2:40
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I haven’t heard anything about any impending crackdown, either

2:41
The guy who asks the lunch question: What’s for lunch?

2:43
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I had frozen seafood paella from Trader Joe’s. it came recommended from some food blog devoted to such things. It… was ok. Underseasoned but the seafood wasn’t bad. Not sure I’ll buy again but it will tide me over until I can order real paella in a restaurant

2:44
Insert Witty Name Here: Hunter Greene starting today in COL. Do you think his lower Velo was intentional last time out? If it’s still only around 95, would it be time to worry?

2:46
Avatar Jay Jaffe: By his own comments and those of his manager, he didn’t seem tremendously alarmed, but I think we’ve seen the increased risk factor that guys pushing the envelope face. At some point or another he’s going to have to rein in his velocity a bit to survive.

note his comments here https://www.daytondailynews.com/sports/greene-not-concerned-with-drop-…

2:48
Hosmer: Are teams not shifting on Hosmer when the recent data says they should be? How long do opponents tend to take to adjust to hitter profile changes?

2:49
Avatar Jay Jaffe: That’s a good question to which I don’t know the answer. I would imagine that a few weeks worth of data might be actionable. We’ve seen Hosmer have stretches like this where he’s more pull happy. To wit:

2:49
Avatar Jay Jaffe:

2:51
Gertrude: Gimme your top three managers in baseball.

2:53
Avatar Jay Jaffe: tough to decide on the spot but Craig Counsell continually impresses me, and Bob Melvin always seems to get more out of whatever he’s got than I expect. Cash, Francona, Kapler, Roberts, Showalter, Dusty, Maddon… I’m not sure who else i’d put in a top 3 or even a top 5 but those are the guys I’d at least nominate

2:55
Nasty Nestor: How about me?!

2:55
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Didn’t we touch upon this last week? https://fantasy.fangraphs.com/nestor-cortes-is-for-real/

2:56
TomBruno23: Yadier Molina….Toast?

2:57
Avatar Jay Jaffe: He’s 39 and already said this is his last season, I don’t think anybody should be surprised if he falls off, but I don’t think 40 PA is enough to tell us whether that has definitively happened.

2:57
JV: Anthony Rizzo’s Hall numbers are nowhere close to Giancarlo Stanton.  But isn’t Rizzo considered the better player by concensus?  Does Rizzo have any chance for the Hall?

2:58
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Rizzo is a very popular player who does a lot of things pretty well, and he’s off to a very good start. I don’t see him as having a great shot at the Hall — I’d put his odds well below those of Stanton.

2:58
Avatar Jay Jaffe: First Base (48th):
38.0career WAR |32.17yr-peak WAR |35.0JAWS |4.3WAR/162
  Average HOF 1B (out of 23):
    65.5 career WAR | 42.1 7yr-peak WAR | 53.8 JAWS | 4.9 WAR/162

2:59
WinTwins0410: Jay, apart from managers, executives and umpire (singular, since really only the unremarkable Joe West), who else came out a big winner in the revamped Era Committee process? To me, it seems like Tommy John now has a better shot of getting in the Hall than before. He was going nowhere in his prior cohort, and he’s now in a cohort that strikes me as comparatively weaker (Dick Allen notwithstanding). I realize that some of this depends on how many Negro League players a future screening committee places on the eight-person Classic ballot. I also think Dave Parker, Thurman Munson and even Bobby Grich might see better electoral prospects on the Classic ballot. Which *players* do you think are (likely) the biggest winners in this revamped process?

3:00
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I need to think about this more, TBH, and may do a full piece on it in the not too distant future. I don’t think a guy like Munson who has had trouble getting on ballots and getting anywhere on them is in great shape one way or another. Likewise Grich.

3:01
Grant: How many future HOF 3B are active in 2022?

3:02
Avatar Jay Jaffe: As many as 4? Decent chances for Machado and Arenado, a bit further to go for Jose Ramirez, need a strong finish from Evan Longoria but he hasn’t even played yet this year so I would call that a long shot

3:03
Kretin: Ok, what should we make of Taylor Ward?

3:03
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Haven’t read it since it just went up 12 minutes ago but Dan Szymborski just wrote this https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-angels-hot-start-is-partially-taylor-m…

3:04
Avatar Jay Jaffe: WE HAVE NEWS

3:04
Avatar Jay Jaffe:

BREAKING: Major League Baseball has suspended Trevor Bauer for two full seasons.
29 Apr 2022
3:04
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Two years

3:05
Avatar Jay Jaffe: that is starting today, does not include credit for adminstrative leave.

3:05
bosoxforlife: Hard to leave Devers off the list. If he plays to 35 thenumbers should be very good.

3:06
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Devers has 11.1 career WAR. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

3:06
Avatar Jay Jaffe: 5.4 WAR in 2019, 3.5 last year with -13 DRS. I’m not sure he’s a 3B long term

3:07
barney gumble: hey Jay. why is it that different positions have disparate average HOF WAR, even though WAR is meant to fairly compare players across different time periods/positions? I would think that different positions would still have very similar average HOF WAR (aside from pitchers)

3:08
Avatar Jay Jaffe: We’re still working with comparatively small samples (~20-25 per position except 3B and C), the lines about who belongs where aren’t all that clean, and HOF elections weren’t based on WAR to begin with. We shouldn’t be too surprised that the mattress is lumpy.

3:08
barney gumble: how can they not credit Bauer for admin leave? not that I’m outraged, per se, just curious from a legal perspective

3:11
Avatar Jay Jaffe: to the extent that I understand it: MLB had enough cause to put him on administrative leave based upon its jointly-agreed policy. He got paid during that period of time, also per policy. If the policy were different he might have gotten an even longer suspension, and things might have unfolded differently.

But I’m not a lawyer either. So don’t take that to the bank.

3:12
bosoxforlife: Yelich’s bunt against the shift was the key to the Brewers 9th inning win yesterday. Jason Stark on MLB.TV right now said that even  50 %  success rate amounted a 1,000 OPS. I think the players think that they have be successful all the time or it is a bad play and don’t understand the value of the play.

3:12
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Well, i think it’s also not as easy to bunt as just telling a guy to lay one down and it will all work out.

3:13
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It takes a lot of practice, and i think for a lot of players, especially sluggers, they’d have to renew that practice

3:13
bosoxforlife: Much too much importance in determining WAR is given to the position a player plays. Freddie Freeman should not be penalized in WAR simply because he plays 1st base. I laugh when I hear somebody say that picking bad throws in the dirt is a random act  or that range isn’t important.

3:14
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I wish we had a better way of quantifying the value of 1B scoops

3:15
Avatar Jay Jaffe:

If Bauer were willing to consider a settlement, he could have negotiated for some or all of the 111 games he has missed on leave to be counted as part of the settlement. Bauer instead is appealing, and if he loses, he will miss 435 games.
29 Apr 2022
3:15
Avatar Jay Jaffe: OK folks, I have to duck out early as planned. We’ll chat more next time. In the meantime, take care!





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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bosoxforlifemember
16 days ago

Regarding the defensive value of the 1st baseman, with the shift against right-hand hitters so common, the 1st baseman now has a far more room to cover than the SS. As the game is played now I would rather have Dick Stuart playing SS and Ozzie Smith at 1st.