Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 6/17/22 by Jay Jaffe June 17, 2022 2:02 Jay Jaffe: Good afternoon, folks! Welcome to the Cape Cod edition of my Friday chat, as I am nearing the halfway point of my stay in Wellfleet. 2:04 Jay Jaffe: This week has been a mostly working one. Today I wrote about the two no-hit bids that were broken up in the ninth, along with some history https://blogs.fangraphs.com/miles-mikolas-and-tyler-anderson-both-had-…. A friend reminds me that I missed a chance for a Roger Angell tie-in with his coverage of Mike Mussina’s near-perfecto from 2001 https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2001/09/24/legends-of-the-fens 2:05 Jay Jaffe: Yesterday I covered the dreadful Tigers offense, https://blogs.fangraphs.com/an-historically-bad-offense-is-just-one-of…, and earlier this week I hit the Braves’ winning streak https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/acunas-return-is-just-one-piece-of-bra… and Walker Buehler’s injury https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/walker-buehlers-three-months-off 2:05 Jay Jaffe: I have yet to see a Cape Cod League game — the plan is to do so Tuesday, but I’m just back from the Edward Gorey House in Yarmouth Port, which I highly recommend 2:06 Jay Jaffe: Connecting it back to baseball, official MLB historian John Thorn sent this along John Thorn @thorn_john @jay_jaffe @dgoold Everything connects to baseball, of course. 17 Jun 2022 2:07 Jay Jaffe: It’s from a drawing done for Sports Illustrated in 1983 https://catalogue.swanngalleries.com/Lots/auction-lot/BASEBALL-EDWARD-… 2:07 Jay Jaffe: And with that, let’s get on with the show 2:07 jazzrunner12: Do you think Buster Posey’s momentum for the Hall will renew focus on Munson and Freeman’s cases. Munson seems a particularly good analogy since his career was also cut short. 2:10 Jay Jaffe: Maybe but I doubt it. The changes to the Era Committee process (covered here https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-hall-of-fame-shakes-up-its-era-committ…) are going to crowd out all but the most obvious candidates, since only eight can be considered per slate. I think it’s going to be very hard to convince the Historical Overview Committee that such longshots should be in their respective groups of eight. 2:10 jazzrunner12: Is there any hope for Joey Gallo & Aaron Hicks the second half of the year? Yankee fans have tar and feathers ready for both. 2:14 Jay Jaffe: I have far more hope for Gallo, whose .486 xSLG and 19.3% barrel rate suggest he’s hitting the ball considerably harder than his slash numbers show (including his.354 SLG). Even so, he’s got to cut down on the strikeouts because he’s just not making enough contact. Hicks’ quality of contact has been dreadful, so I don’t harbor much hope for him 2:14 The Batman: I was looking at Sandy Alcantara’s page when I realized that for every year of his career, no matter how many innings he has pitched, his ERA has been lower than every other estimator like FIP, xFIP, xERA, and SIERA. Even Marco Gonzales, my previously considered king of beating estimators, has had years where his ERA underperformed. Beyond Alcantara being amazing, what would lead to something like that? Because it seems…unusual. 2:15 Jay Jaffe: Offhand, strong defensive support and good performance with men on base (and/or in scoring position) will generally lead to a pitcher outdoing his ERA estimators. I haven’t looked closely enough at Alcantara to tell you what’s going on there. 2:15 John Olerud’s Helmet: Hello Mr Jay! The HOF is awesome of course but i want a museum that recognizes players who had excellent careers but fall short. My first inductions my man John Olerud, Ray Durham and Garret Anderson. 2:16 Jay Jaffe: Stop by the Hall of Very Good, in Utica, or the Hall of Solidly Above Average For a Long Time, in Albany 2:16 Guest: Miguel Cabrera still has another year left on his contract. But Detroit is going nowhere fast, and he has nothing left to prove in the game. What are the chances he hangs it up at the end of this year? 2:18 Jay Jaffe: I don’t see it happening, since he’s actually having a superficially better season than at any time in the past few years. Maybe with a regime change (merited given Al Avila’s lack of success) and a generous buyout he hangs ’em up but I don’t get the sense that’s in the offing. 2:18 Jay Jaffe: I did hear a rumor this week about a potential Hall of Famer who is ready to retire. Can’t say much more than that right now, i’m afraid. 2:18 Dookie: Butter or mayo on the lobster? 2:19 Jay Jaffe: I generally prefer butter but for lunch today I had a cold lobster roll with mayo at P.J’s, as it was the only option and I had a craving. 2:20 Zach: Is Alejandro Kirk a top-3 catcher in baseball right now? He’s an excellent hitter and his defense has been surprisingly great. 2:22 Jay Jaffe: We know the large lad can hit, and his defensive metrics are good but he does DH a lot (16 games this year, 34 at catcher). I’m not ready to say that two months elevates him into the top three when he’s only 10th in WAR and sixth in wRC+ over the past calendar year, to use one cutoff. 2:23 Jay Jaffe: I believe Justin Choi is going to write about Kirk for next week. 2:23 Who’s Fabio?: Happy Friday Jay – are you buying into Santiago Espinal as a 4-5 win player? Through 63 games he’s got 2 – are there holes that the casual eye (mine) does not see? 2:26 Jay Jaffe: He’s produced 4.0 WAR in 155 games over the past two seasons, including good defense, and while he outdid his statcast numbers considerably last year they’re in line this year. I’m skeptical he’s a true 5-win player but 4ish seems realistic 2:26 Honkus Wagner: any momentum on Stieb to the HOF? 2:26 Jay Jaffe: As I said above, the format change is a major blow to outsider candidates, particularly those who haven’t gotten on a ballot before. 2:27 Honkus Wagner: Chances of Helton making the HOF? how much impact do you think Walker getting in has there? 2:28 Jay Jaffe: He got 52% in his fourth year of eligibility so I think it’s a question of when, not if. The Walker election certainly opened the door for him. I guessed 2024 for him in my five-year outlook here https://blogs.fangraphs.com/dialing-it-down-a-notch-the-next-five-year… 2:29 Wink: Jesse Winker is having the worst year by far of his 5 year career. Walks and SO numbers are near his career best, yet he has been God awful. Any insight? 2:31 Jay Jaffe: offhand, he went from a park that was hugely favorable for lefties to one not so favorable, and picked the wrong time to start hitting more balls in the air. His quality of contact numbers are grim. probably worth a closer look, especially as he just signed a modest extension 2:31 Dookie: Seriously tho, wtf with the Royals not calling up Vinnie or Pratto? Is that the worst run organization behind the Rockies? 2:31 Jay Jaffe: I’m getting the sense that the Dayton Moore era has run its course 2:32 Marshall: What are reasonable expectations for Tony Gonsolin going forward? 2:34 Jay Jaffe: I’d be shocked if he went much past 120-130 innings this year given his past workloads, but as it is, his rest-of-season ZiPS projection has him finishing with a 2.63 ERA in 119.1 innings, and his ROS Depth Charts projection has him finishing at 3.05 in 150.1 innings. Pretty impressive 2:36 The Dude: Is it possible neither O’Neill nor Carlson are long term starters for the Cards in the corners? Last year looks like a big outlier for O’Neill and Carlson just looks super vanilla 2:36 Jay Jaffe: They’ve both taken steps backwards this year, but they’re young, cheap, and homegrown, and the Cardinals aren’t going to give up on them without trying to fix them. 2:37 Yanks On Fire: Saw a note that if the Yankees played .500 ball the rest of the year, they’d finish with 96 wins. Leaving aside the postseason for now, how great is this Yankees team? Buy or sell this as an all-time regular season great team? Is there anything that’s holding them back from actual greatness? 2:40 Jay Jaffe: It’s a very impressive team, though I’m not yet ready to put it with the 1998 one given its obvious weaknesses (Gallo and Hicks, for example). They do look like a championship contender right now, though 2:41 John: I see several scouting blurbs – especially about HS or similar aged players – that include “room to add strength.” Besides being a euphemism, that strikes me as odd. Is the idea that it’s more advantageous to have “room to add strength” than to actually have strength? I’m picturing a scout saying 8-10 years ago that Tristan McKenizie had room to add strength. Yeah, well, he still does. Sometimes it never comes. 2:42 Jay Jaffe: I’m not a scout or a prospect guy but I think that generally refers to a big player who has the so-called “projectable frame” — a guy who looks like he could add muscle. McKenzie is a Giacometti sculpture, and I don’t know where you put the meat on him LOL. 2:42 Jay Jaffe: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%27Homme_au_doigt#/media/File:L’Homme_a… 2:44 The Dude: Trea Turner over/under $250m next contract? 2:45 Jay Jaffe: Unless he picks up the pace a bit and more or less matches last year’s production, I’ll take the under because he’ll be heading into his age-30 season 2:45 Bill DeWallet: If Goldschmidt wins the MVP this year and then gracefully declines for the rest of his 30s is getting in the Hall ? 2:47 Jay Jaffe: I don’t think he needs an MVP award to become Hallworthy. He’s matched the peak standard and is about 1 WAR away from turning this into one of his top seven seasons and further increasing it. First Base (24th):54.4career WAR |42.27yr-peak WAR |48.3JAWS |5.8WAR/162 Average HOF 1B (out of 23): 65.5 career WAR | 42.1 7yr-peak WAR | 53.8 JAWS | 4.9 WAR/162 2:48 Farhandrew Zaidman: Lobster rolls or crab cakes? Assume they are both sourced from their respective peak sources. 2:48 Jay Jaffe: oh man, tough call. I generally prefer lobster but crab is more bang for the buck and a good crab cake is tough to beat. 2:48 hi: any idea when riley greene gets called up? he’s not exactly lighting it up in toledo. does he need to? 2:49 Jay Jaffe: Given the ****show in Detroit right now and the struggles of Torkelson, i don’t see why you’d call him up into that mess unless he was absolutely tearing up Toledo. And I think he really has to do that. 2:50 Logan: If the HOF came to you and said we will throw open our archives and our artifact collection for you to guest curate any exhibit you’d like, what would that exhibit be? 2:53 Jay Jaffe: Oh wow. Offhand, i’d say do something centered around Minnie Miñoso, covering the Negro Leagues, the early years of integration when the quota system prevented him from cracking the Cleveland lineup, and the gradual influx of Latin (and esp. Cuban) players for whom he became such an icon. That, or something about the Dodgers being the franchise that represents the game’s melting pot – integration and international. 2:53 Sirras: Jay, you can’t drop a rumor like that and say nothing! You’re killing us!! 2:53 Jay Jaffe: In the words of Bugs Bunny, ain’t I a stinker? 2:54 Marshall: I Greinke done? 2:55 Jay Jaffe: if he can’t strike out more than 11% of hitters, I don’t know how he’s going to survive for long. The hitters will tell us if he’s done — if he doesn’t first. 2:57 Marty McFlyball: I’m genuinely more curious about the math than a fan who thinks Fangraphs metrics hates my favorite team: Why do the Postseason odds still favor the Astros over the Yankees? 2:58 Jay Jaffe: Huh? they don’t except for better odds of winning the division, and that’s because the Blue Jays are stronger competition than the Angels. The Yankees have the World Series edge, 12.7% to 12.6% 2:58 Marty McFlyball: Is Kevin Gausman really worth 25% more wins above replacement than the next best starting pitcher in baseball? What am I missing? 3:02 Jay Jaffe: His fWAR is off the charts because his walk and home run rates are so low while he’s throwing so many innings. By bWAR, which goes by runs allowed, he’s not even in the AL’s top 10. As usual, the truth is probably somewhere in between 3:02 The Dude: Who gets the bigger overall contract: Ohtani or Soto? Different answer by AAV? 3:02 Jay Jaffe: Soto gets the longer deal because of the more predictable nature of hitters, Ohtani the higher AAV because holy Jesus Alou there’s nobody like him on the planet. 3:04 Farhandrew Zaidman: Do you think MLB’s (eventual) switch to a schedule where every team plays every other team each year will have an aggregate affect on players’ HOF candidacy? Boost players who spent their careers in strong divisions and hurts players in weak ones? 3:05 Jay Jaffe: the balanced schedule more or less does away with the distinction of divisions as they pertain to scheduling, so if anything I think this does more to even things out than to boost or hinder players in certain divisions. 3:06 Max Power: The Willie Calhoun situation is weird. When farmed a month ago, he wanted to be traded and claimed that the org was making him change his swing (see Matt Carpenter). Then he was DFA’ed…and passed through waivers unclaimed. Instead of selecting free agency (which was his right), he accepted the assignment to AAA again to keep his major league salary. Now Texas has a disgruntled player (w/o much of a position) playing out the string this year. I was surprised no one took a chance on him in another org. Your thoughts? 3:08 Jay Jaffe: He’s 27, has produced -2.2 WAR in 927 PA, and is a liability on defense. I mean, that’s as replacement level as it gets even before we’re talking about resisting the organization’s suggestion to change his swing. The KBO beckons, methinks. 3:08 David: Cody bellinger is doing better than last year but still has a wRC+ under 100. Is it time to be concerned or will he bounce back? 3:09 Jay Jaffe: I was optimistic at the outset of the season but not so much now. I can’t even keep track of all the tinkering. 3:10 Sullen in San Diego: How much longer can the Padres win with no offense? 3:12 Jay Jaffe: They literally have a league-average offense (100 wRC+) and six of their 10 players with 100 PA have a 107 wRC+ or better. They’re scoring 4.75 runs per game. What exactly are you expecting? 3:12 Homer: You digging Spencer Strider? I think he’s a blast to watch with the finish on his pitches, and that ‘stache! 3:13 Jay Jaffe: Impressive early returns. The question is whether either the slider or change — or both — can be consistent enough to give him multiple looks from a lineup. The numbers so far say yes, but SSS. 3:14 Homer: You have any thoughts on Gavin Lux? His hit tool and power were pretty highly rated coming out of MiLB, yet he hasn’t shown much I”d argue. Thank you. 3:16 Jay Jaffe: He always had high groundball rates so I’m not surprised that under less hospitable conditions he’s not showing as much power but jeez, after ups and downs over the past few years the guy is carrying a .364 OBP and 114 wRC+ while contributing at 2B and LF. He’s having a nice season. 3:17 3B HoF: Does something like 2,000 hits/350 HRs/65 WAR and another 5 or so GG get Arenado into the Hall? By those numbers, he’d be a bit short via JAWS, but would still have a reputation as the best Def 3B of his generation. (Yes, he’ll likely finish with way more hits, but I’m starting conservatively here) 3:17 Jay Jaffe: He’s got six more years under contract and already has 1,419 hits so if he only gets to 2,000 then something has gone very wrong. 3:17 Jay Jaffe: He’s got work to do to get to the Hall but I think it’s quite doable 3:19 JG: Was 2019 peak Bregman? Any tangible reasons he’s been on such a downer since then? 3:20 Jay Jaffe: He’s had a lot of injuries, and while he hits the ball in the air more often than, say, Lux, he doesn’t hit the ball that hard that consistently (single-digit barrel rates), so again, I’m not surprised that the power isn’t what it used to be. 3:20 Guest: Could Adujar have a starting role of the Yankees traded him or is he just looking for a more important bench role? 3:21 Jay Jaffe: He’s probably a second-division regular, a flyer in some trade for bullpen help. Your newest Pittsburgh Pirate come August? 3:22 person: “I did hear a rumor this week about a potential Hall of Famer who is ready to retire.” Trout, obviously! 3:22 Jay Jaffe: Nailed it 3:22 Dan: If you had six healthy but young starters you wanted to limit the innings on would you go six man rotation or have the two with the least endurance pitch on the same day and hope for four inning each? 3:22 Jay Jaffe: I think I’d go 5-man rotation and rotate some of them through the piggybacking roles 3:23 Dan: Is Judge getting more WAR because he is playing center or is the fact that he’s playing a harder position offset by the fact that he’s better at the easier position? 3:24 Jay Jaffe: his defensive numbers are pretty close to average at both positions but about half of his innings are in CF, which is giving his WAR a nudge. Not as big a nudge as hitting for a 1-freakin-9-6 wRC+ thoiugh 3:24 Guest: If deGrom was a reliever, could he consistently hit 105 MPH or so? 3:25 Jay Jaffe: probably not even between trips to the IL 3:25 Guest: Realistic teams you could see pursuing Ohtani? It’s easy to say every team will want him, obviously, but what about legitimate interest in giving him a historic deal? 3:25 Jay Jaffe: The Mets and Giants would be my guesses for teams that could break the bank on him. 3:25 Too Sullen in San Diego?: Have you checked the box scores recently? They just put 41 runs on the Cubs in a series. 3:26 Jay Jaffe: passing this along 3:27 Jay Jaffe: not gonna share your PJ’s-related story, erghammer, but yikes, that is unsettling 3:27 Guest: If Xander Bogaerts hypothetically got to 3,000 hits (say he stays relatively consistently and plays till he’s 40) but had a lackluster WAR due to his defense, does he make the HOF? 3:27 Jay Jaffe: 3,000 hits will trump WAR, but it won’t trump PEDs. 3:27 Pedro: I have a bet that I would kiss the plaque of Dwight Evans if he ever made it into the Hall. Thoughts on whether the Veterans Committee will put him in? 3:27 Jay Jaffe: He had a solid debut a couple years ago, and thus has a fighting chance 3:28 Aj: Thoughts on the candidacies of the three potential Hall of Fame Closers (Jansen, Kimbrel, and Chapman)? I know relievers are volatile, but I really think this season might be the death blow to Chapman, and I just don’t trust Kimbrel. Would you say Jansen is most likely to get into the Hall or is this all just my recency bias? 3:28 Jay Jaffe: The short version is that they’ll all need to find another gear if they’re going to get there. Right now I’m a bit more optimistic about Jansen than I was at the outset of the year, and less so on the other two. 3:29 Jay Jaffe: OK folks, lots of good questions still in the queue but I have done enough work for the week and need to go on a gallery walk. 3:29 Jay Jaffe: Thanks so much for stopping by. Unless it’s pouring i”m unlikely to have a chat next week as I finish out my Cape Cod stay but you’ll probably see a piece from me on the site. Stay safe!