Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 7/16/21 by Jay Jaffe July 16, 2021 2:01 Jay Jaffe: Hey folks, good afternoon and welcome to my first chat of the second half of the season. I’ve got a piece up today on All-Star Game MVP Vladimir Guerrero Jr. with an eye on the areas he’s improved https://blogs.fangraphs.com/vladimir-guerrero-jr-is-soaring-to-new-hei… 2:02 Jay Jaffe: and also not one but two podcast appearances, one with Dan Szymborki for FanGraphs Audio in which we discussed the Home Run Derby, All-Star Game, and Joey Gallo https://t.co/XNafn24I3L, and one with Kevin Goldstein in which we not only discussed the aforementioned festivities and some Hall of Fame stuff but also chatted with a reader who’s getting his PhD in studying graffiti (?!) https://t.co/I8hUS5v68d 2:03 Jay Jaffe: Anyway, on with the show 2:04 Steve: What is wrong with Wander Franco? An 80 hit tool? Swings at balls and let’s strikes go by. 2:04 Jay Jaffe: Guy’s been in the majors less than a month. Mike Trout hit .220/.281/.390 in 40 games in 2011. As Kevin Goldstein would say, calm down. 2:04 Jay Jaffe: Baseball is hard 2:06 J: Feels like the Cubs’ return on Pederson is pretty surprisingly solid right? 2:07 Jay Jaffe: i think so. platoon guy with 2 1/2 months left on an expiring contract in exchange for a 40+ FV prospect? He may never pan out but it’s not like Joc was going to bring in a starting pitcher 2:08 Rakin’ in Reykjavik: Greetings from Iceland! I’m in a fantasy baseball group with a lot of Chicago fans (both teams) and one particular gentleman is convinced that Javy is better/more valuable than KB because he is more “clutch”. Having already tossed things like WAR, OPS+, and runs created at him to no avail, what can I do to demolish this absurd opinion once and for all? Also, does Javy provide any value at all for any franchise besides the Cubs? 2:10 Jay Jaffe: wow, i didn’t know there were baseball fans in Iceland! Feel free to point out that Bryant has about 15 WPA in his time as a Cub, while Baez has… 0.68 https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=y…. Their Clutch scores are both pretty similar, -3.52 and -3.73. IN YOUR FACE, so-called friend of my new friend Rakin’! 2:12 Jay Jaffe: Of course Baez is still a valuable player, an above-average defender at a premium position with a bat that’s league average or better in most years. The shape of h is production is a little weird sometimes due to contact and on-base issues but for the most part he’d help just about any roster 2:12 Bobby: Covid outbreak on the Yankees might hurt them for the next 5-10 days. If they fall even further behind before the trade deadline will they become sellers? 2:13 Jay Jaffe: It’s possible, despite what they’ve said in recent weeks. And SMH, this is a real mess they’re in, with 6 players out as they head into a series with AL East-leading Boston. Whoever on the team wasn’t vaccinated and got sick may have put the nail in the coffin of their season. 2:14 CW: Just curious why the live scoreboard isn’t updated to today? Love the site 2:14 Jay Jaffe: I will ask 2:14 Bobby: By the way, Meg hasn’t held a chat in almost two months. Is everything alright? 2:16 Jay Jaffe: I can’t speak for Meg but keeping this site up and running with the volume of articles we’re publishing is a huge task. Throw in occasional travel and the fact that July is a high-volume month due to draft/All-Star/deadline stuff and you can understand that all of us have to prioritize what we can do. 2:16 JupiterBrando: How many Home Runs Derbys does a guy need to win before it actually starts to boost his Hall of Fame case? 2:17 Jay Jaffe: Man, who knows? It literally has yet to matter in a single HOF case. The multiple winners so far are Griffey, Prince Fielder and Alonso, and guys, I don’t think Prince is getting in. 2:18 Estevão: Liam Hendriks pitched for the 2014 Royals. That seems weird. Imagine if he was LIAM HENDRIKS at the time 2:20 Jay Jaffe: I remember Hendriks as a 6+ ERA starter on the 2011-13 Twins, and was surprised when he began to put it together in Toronto, and even moreso when he emerged as a relief ace in Oakland. It just goes to show that the bullpen remains a viable path for a whole lot of failed starters. 2:21 Jay Jaffe: Re the live scoreboard: “fixing that right now…I think that there was only one game and it was not played yesterday is tricking the system into thinking it’s still yesterday” 2:21 Jacob: How often is Trackman/Statcast wrong about Ball Flight Distance, Exit Velos, Pitch Location and Pitch type? What is it most often wrong about? 2:23 Jay Jaffe: That’s a question best asked of somebody who works for MLB, such as Mike Petriello or Tom Tango, but if I can hazily recall some conversation awhile back, it’s most likely to struggle on balls that go straight up. I’m not sure if that was before the transition to Hawkeye or not. When I was doing my Derby writeup there was one player who had a few launch angles missing but that’s about it. 2:24 jaysfan9293: is there anything to read into the twins’ offered buxton extension as to their plans for beyond this year? they’re not really in a great place to tear down from but I don’t know whether this roster can be competitive during buxton / berrios / garver’s final years of control either. additionally if they do decide to sell what do you estimate a berrios package to look like? (aside from value, does minnesota want help immediately and would they prefer pitching prospects as I’ve heard around) 2:28 Jay Jaffe: Rosenthal reported that if Buxton rejects the deal, he’s likely to be traded either this season or this winter. I don’t know how serious they are about a full-scale teardown; on paper they have a fair bit of talent that’s under club control, but some years they just sink like a stone. As for what they might get for Berrios — it’s really tough to know without knowing whether they’re looking to retool on the fly (in which case, an MLB-ready starter is probably part of the package) or going into a bigger teardown. 2:29 Jay Jaffe: just so we’re clear: i’m going to tell you all that calibrating trade packages on the fly 30 times in one chat isn’t going to happen. 2:29 Steve Herd: Are we nearing the point where vaccinated players start to put their collective feet down and demand that the stubborn holdouts get their shot for the good of the team? 2:34 Jay Jaffe: the situation is so polarized that I don’t think that’s going to do much good. Maybe the Yankees’ situation scares some players straight as to the consequences of their refusals, but the ones that weren’t going to listen to gentle, rational persuasion aren’t going to listen to angry demands. If I understand correctly, what would really help is if the FDA would grant full authorization to the vaccines, because their status as emergency use authorization opens up the question of whether employers can demand their employees be vaccinated under such conditions. 2:34 Johnny5Alive: Unlike the Yankees, Mets still aren’t at 85%. Is that the thing that’s going to cost them a playoff spot 2:35 Jay Jaffe: Given that one of the teams pursuing them, the Phillies, is in the same boat, i’m not so sure. 2:35 Estevão: if the opportunity is there the Red Sox should consider signing a SS (Story for instance)move Bogaerts to 3B or 2B. Devers could 1B?DH. they have money and Bogaerts really shouldn’t play SS long term 2:36 Jay Jaffe: Moving Bogaerts off shortstop would make sense, but Devers has improved significantly at third base, and moving him across the diamond just to accommodate another move drains a whole lot of value. 2:36 Jay Jaffe: All of which is to say that at some point, the Sox may look to trade one of the two. 2:37 Derek: Also you can catch Meg three times a week on Effectively Wild (which, for my money, is the best baseball podcast around)! 2:37 Jay Jaffe: Yes, the podcast stuff takes up a hell of a lot of Meg’s time too. 2:37 Guest: Maybe an article idea, but since Dan has been doing zips time warp articles, I was curious if you’d be willing to weigh in on them for the HoF’s and other older players since you’re also a historian of the game. Specifically, I just marvel at Lou Gerhig’s page and always wonder what-if (aside from viewing him as probably the best 1B ever) from the zips perspective and what or maybe how that would change/shape perception of players that many of us never actually saw live. 2:39 Jay Jaffe: teaming with Dan on some ZiPS/HOF content is an idea that crosses my mind on a monthly basis if not more frequently. It’s a matter of finding time to do them, particularly when one or both of us isn’t buried in something bigger 2:40 Estevão: Did you know that taking Kershaw off the list, Derek Holland is the active LHP with the most regular season shutouts in all of baseball 2:40 Jay Jaffe: 2:40 Derek: Missed that Kelenic was called up again today! How do you think he fares in his second go-roung? 2:42 Jay Jaffe: Better than the first. There was a ridiculous amount of pressure that greeted his arrival given all that went on over the winter, and in addition to putting up dreadful numbers, the reports are that he was mentally overwhelmed. The Mariners believe he’s in a better place and able to handle this now. I hope they’re right. 2:42 Joe: Will Bellinger turn it around in the 2nd half? 2:43 Jay Jaffe: I think so. His numbers for July are terrible but his barrel rate for the month is about 14% and he’s hitting a lot of balls in the air. 2:44 Walton Dilcox: What goes into sports rumors? I find that “reportedly” “there are signals” the Cubs are looking to extend Rizzo and Baez to be hilarious because it’s saying nothing yet is News in the 21st century 2:47 Jay Jaffe: generally rumors like this come from agents and executives, sometimes first-hand off the record, sometimes second-hand, which is when you get more vague terms like “signals.” I will say that the Bryant-trade/Baez-Rizzo-re-sign concept has been out there for months — in part due to Bryant’s grievance and Rizzo’s previous contract — and if things break along those lines it won’t be a shock. 2:48 Jack Morris: Which 2 pitchers ROS out of Stripling, Sandoval, J. Ross & L. Webb? Thanks! 2:48 Jay Jaffe: Can’t say I have any great idea about your needs in fantasy but if I’m assembling a roster i’d like Webb and Sandoval (assuming you’re talking Patrick not Pablo) out of those four. 2:49 WinTwins0410: Jay, help me understand: why is Rick Reuschel’s career fWAR so high (68.2), relatively speaking? He had kind of an odd career, and although he had some fine years, it surprises me a little that his WAR is so high. Just intuitively, I’d expect it to be closer to the high 50s than the high 60s. 2:54 Jay Jaffe: Here’s something that Baseball-Reference’s Adam Darowski wrote awhile back about Reuschel with respect to bWAR, which accounts for the fact that he was generally very hurt by his defenses and pitched in very tough ballparks http://hallofstats.com/articles/rick-reuschel-hall-of-fame-valueFrom an fWAR standpoint, the park adjustments matter, but defense is stripped out, he was very good at preventing walks and homers. 2:55 FriarFan: Hello from nearby Washington Heights! I’m wondering whether we should be concerned long term about Tatis’ issues throwing from short. I wasn’t too concerned in his rookie year, was delighted to see him looking so polished in the pandemic season, but the massive regression this year has me worried he might not be a sustainable player at SS long term. 2:57 Jay Jaffe: I think there are very legitimate concerns about his defense, and reportedly a year ago, the Padres entertained the idea of trading for Lindor and moving Tatis to center field. https://theathletic.com/1604663/2020/02/13/why-the-padres-have-enterta…. I doubt anything is imminent but I wouldn’t be surprised if two years from now he was playing somewhere besides shortstop. 2:57 Farhandrew Zaidman: What do you make of Andrew Friedman’s comments that the Dodgers aren’t necessarily locked in on acquiring starting pitching and may just make ‘pen moves instead? 2:58 Jay Jaffe: probably some element of posturing to that 2:59 Maddoning: Been to Drummer’s Cove yet? I kayaked through there in early June, lots to see with turtle and horseshoe crab season…near high tide of course! Don’t want to get stuck in there…. 3:00 Jay Jaffe: Yes, walked around there a few times at low tide while we were on the Cape during June. Saw a ton of horseshoe crabs, dead and alive. 3:00 The Stranger: Assuming current usage, how many years as an elite hitter/pretty darn good pitcher does it take for Ohtani to have a real HoF shot? 3:01 Jay Jaffe: if he gets to 10 years and is still doing the 2-way thing while being above-average, I like his chances at the Hall. His will be a singular candidacy with no real precedent. 3:01 dave: Just saw where Starlin Castro is now on admin leave for domestic abuse charges; I’ve been holding him as a marginal player and because our 10 team NL only league is so shallow….but Alcides Escobar is available, is he a reasonable pick up given the Nats situation? Other choices: Pillar, Torreyes, Maton, Alejo Lopez, Zimmerman, 3:05 Jay Jaffe: Alas, my wife just published a story about Castro at The Athletic moments before the chat started. Not much in the way of details so far. https://theathletic.com/2711372/2021/07/16/starlin-castro-placed-on-ad… While I realize that you have a fantasy-related question that pertains to this, I’m going to let you solve that one without my input, hopefully while thinking about how trivial it is compared to what’s going on in the player’s life and that of anyone whom he may have harmed. 3:05 WinTwins0410: Jay, I read your excellent 2014 SI.com piece about Ken Boyer and your general view that he belongs in the Hall. For as long as I can remember, Ken Boyer has been a staple on veterans committees. What’s your thought on why he hasn’t been able to get over the hump? His premature death and general absence from the baseball world? Crowded ballots? A lack of a push from St. Louis writers? A general lack of flashiness? I “get” that he really doesn’t have any shot at the Golden Days committee this year; I realize that Allen, Kaat, Minoso and Oliva all are likely to draw more votes than Boyer. 3:08 Jay Jaffe: I’m very pro-Boyer here. I think the fact that he’s not in owes to a combination of the factors you mention plus the voters’ general difficulty in balancing the offensive and defensive demands of third base. Both the position and the era have a backlog of strong candidates, and so he escapes notice. He was kind of Ron Santo before Santo, except as a better defender with a higher profile thanks to his MVP award and championship. Got a lot of thoughts about this in The Cooperstown Casebook. 3:08 Kevin: How do you think the Astros “glut” of good starting pitchers play itself out in the playoffs? 3:12 Jay Jaffe: Funny I was just talking about my concerns over their rotation depth with Kevin on the aforementioned podcast. Greinke has a sore shoulder, guys like Garcia and McCullers are going to have workload concerns at some point, and Framber suddenly has command issues. That McCullers played a significant part in the team’s 2017 championship coming out of the bullpen should serve as a reminder that teams will always find roles for their best and most able-bodied pitchers come postseason time. Ask me in September what they do and we’ll see; for now, i’d hardly be surprised if they add a starter at the deadline. 3:12 steve: Do you drop Alzolay for Patrick Sandoval in a Mixed 12 team league with QS? 3:12 Jay Jaffe: in a New York minute. 3:14 KB: Is Kris Bryant anywhere close to a Hall of Fame trajectory? 3:16 Jay Jaffe: He’s checked a couple of significant boxes with the MVP and championship but 27.5 bWAR at age 29 isn’t what I’d call a HOF trajectory — there are 3B who are in who had less at this point, but they’re in *in spite* of that age-WAR combo, either having gotten a big break from the voters or actually had very strong 30+ careers. https://stathead.com/tiny/YWN4g 3:16 Robbie: What team do you think would be the best fit for Byron Buxton if the Twins don’t resign him long term? 3:21 Jay Jaffe: A team like the Mets who need a real center fielder — oh yeah, i found a way to flog that dead horse, baby — would make sense except for the fact that the Mets still seem to have a hard time keeping players healthy. He’d make some sense for Houston, who have gotten more out of Myles Straw than I expected. Maybe the Rangers, even though Adolis Garcia has had a breakout season and good numbers; you can move him to a corner. 3:22 Pumpsie Green: For contracts, how do you rank the upcoming FA shortstop class now? I think you had it Seager-Correa-Story-Baez once Lindor signed his extension. Has it changed, or has Semien moved into the group for you? 3:24 Jay Jaffe: Semien is 2-4 years older than those other guys so I don’t see him getting as big a deal but in terms of risk, I’d be more comfortable with spending less on him than going big on Story or Baez given their 2020-21 inconsistencies 3:24 Josh R: Do you know if these 4 or more weeks that Bauer is on leave are counted as “time-served” against an eventual suspension? This whole thing is so sordid and weird. I don’t know if I even want hm to ever come back or if he is being railroaded. 3:26 Jay Jaffe: if he is suspended, yes, those admin days will count as time served towards a suspension. 3:26 B: Why did Clayton Kershaw agree to make a commercial where a guy hits a ball so hard off of him that he has to get in a car and drive to catch it? 3:26 Jay Jaffe: because he’s got a sense of humor? 3:26 Pumpsie Green: Do the Red Sox have the legs to win the division? Seems like their schedule is markedly more difficult from here on out, but while the Rays are close they do have a bit of distance from others in the division. 3:28 Jay Jaffe: I don’t think it will be a cakewalk but they do have Sale on the way back, and I’d assume they further augment their pitching. I thought the Yankees might at least be set up for a run back to relevance but this outbreak probably seals their fate for 2021, which leaves one less team for Boston to fend off. 3:29 Jay Jaffe: folks, i have to pack it in right now. thanks for your questions, I’m sorry that I can’t get to more, but hopefully we’ll get another shot at this next week. Until then, please stay safe!