Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 7/26/18

12:00
Jay Jaffe: Hey hey, party people! As if there weren’t already a shortage of hours for me in this week — between the impending trade deadline, my Replacement-Level Killers series, Hall of Fame Induction Weekend (with travel to Cooperstown), a couple of TV appearances, the one-year anniversary of The Cooperstown Casebook’s publication, social obligations, podcasts, parental obligations and, wait, what was that other thing? Ah, SLEEP — I appear to have opened this chat queue early. The questions are piling up, so let’s get to it!

12:01
stever20: loving the replacement-level killers series….  for the Rockies with the way Desmond has bounced back- they have to just keep him at 1b and ignore the first 6-7 weeks of the season now right?  Far bigger areas to worry about?

12:04
Jay Jaffe: Glad you’ve enjoyed the series! Including the pending publication of the corner outfielders piece (today) and centerfielders (tomorrow, fingers willing), the Rockies have RLKs at every position besides 3B (Arenado) and SS (Story). Jeff Bridich is the boy who doesn’t have enough fingers to plug every hole in the dike… if he were also simultaneously shooting holes in said dike by playing Gerardo Parra et al. Realistically, the Rockies are going to play Desmond somewhere anyway, but they desperately need another couple of bats if they’re going to stay in this thing.

12:05
Lilith: I’m curious about your definition of an “inner circle hall of famer”. If you had to create statistical cut-off points for who is a hall of famer, and who is in the inner circle, where would you, personally, put that line? 90+ WAR? 60+ WAR7? Some other stat altogether?

12:08
Jay Jaffe: In the Cooperstown Casebook, I divided Hall of Famers at each position into three tiers, the Elite, the Rank and File and the Basement. The Elite are ones who exceed the career, peak and JAWS standards at their position. Circa the Hall of Fame’s 75th anniversary of its opening in 2014, there were 75 such members. Now, that doesn’t include some particularly noteworthy players, most notably Jackie Robinson, who obviously belongs on that top tier but had his career shortened by the color line. But to the extent that I care to distinguish the top shelf from the rest, that’s more or less my working definition.

12:08
Bo: Strasburg back on the shelf… Does this qualify for “something extreme” that Mike Rizzo referred to regarding becoming sellers?

12:11
Jay Jaffe: Probably not, even if he’s done for the season. As rough as it’s been, the Nationals have too much upside to wave the white flag right now. Murphy’s been improving, Ryan Zimmerman’s back, Harper is trending upwards (albeit slightly). I haven’t counted them out yet, but losing Strasburg again is a blow.

12:11
Bo: The Braves rotation could use an upgrade… Should they acquire help before the deadline, who’s the odd man out? Teheran?

12:14
Jay Jaffe: The bottom line is that you can’t have too much pitching, particularly on a young team where guys are going to head into uncharted territory, innings-wise. My guess is that if/when the Braves add a starter, giving Folty and Newcomb breathers at some point — a turn skipped here or there, a brief flirtation with a six-man rotation — is part of the plan.

12:14
Nick : Trevor Hoffman gets inducted to the Hall of Fame. He could be the last Padre for a longgggg time. Who do you think the next one would be?

12:14
Jay Jaffe: Fernando Tatis IV

12:15
AJ: So the yanks look like they’re closing in on J.A. Happ.. I don’t see why they need to make this move, it seems more likely that they’ll get essentially what they got out of Jaime Garcia last season from him, though I guess it depends what they give up.

12:16
Jay Jaffe: You apparently haven’t been paying attention to the struggles of Sonny Gray, Domingo German or (lately) CC Sabathia.

You.
Can’t.
Have.
Too.
Much.

12:16
Jay Jaffe: Pitching

12:17
Rollie’s Mustache: What will happen first: The Blue Jays playing on real grass or Montreal having a major league team?

12:18
Jay Jaffe: Canada did just legalize marijuana and the Blue Jays are out of the race, so…

Seriously, it’s a lot easier to upgrade or get a new ballpark than it is to get a new franchise, so the answer to this is always going to be the Blue Jays.

12:20
David: What’s your closest comp to what Soto has been doing as a 19-year old?

12:26
Jay Jaffe: Bryce Harper is standing right there, man. Granted, the shape of Harper’s production in his age-19 season (121 wRC+, 4.4 WAR) is a different shape from that of Juan Soto (155 wRC+, 1.8 WAR), it was also over a 597 PA season compared to Soto at 231.

It’s actually a tougher comp than that. Soto has the highest wRC+ of any 19-year-old with at least 200 PA; Mel Ott, at 140 in 499 PA is ranked second, but he was also already in his 3rd MLB season. 3rd-ranked Tony Conigliaro, 138 wRC+ in 444 PA, might be more apt. See https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=2…

12:26
Eppler’s inner Dipoto: Can the Angels bundle a few controllable relievers to get a solid prospect? Anyone interested in Kinsler or Maldonado?

12:29
Jay Jaffe: Maldonado might be of interest to the Yankees, who just lost Sanchez for a month, as well as a few other teams, but he’s not going to bring back much more than a lottery ticket. Likewise for Kinsler, who may be an August waiver guy if he goes on a 2-week binge. But I don’t think there’s any huge windfall to be had by dealing their relievers.

12:29
AT: Is Daniel Murphy healthy and ready to go?  His numbers in July are good (.300 with some pop)

12:31
Jay Jaffe: Fun with arbitrary endpoints time: he’s at .308/.356/.423 (110 wRC+) since 6/22. A bit higher if you move the line closer. I’d say he’s moving in the right direction.

12:32
redsfan123: Any thoughts on Eugenio Suarez? 8th in baseball in wRC+, and has been killing the ball all season. (And he missed 3 weeks of the season).

12:34
Jay Jaffe: Very underrated player. I’ve been on the Suarez train for awhile, said nice things about him in previous chats and our positional power rankings this spring. Glad he’s making me look somewhat intelligent.

12:34
Rox Fan: Is there a rental bat out there who makes sense for the Rockies?

12:34
Jay Jaffe: Can they rent the New York Yankees for two months?

12:35
Dave: I know the Nats aren’t trading Harper. But just for fun, what’s the best realistic package you could imagine for him?

12:39
Jay Jaffe: take the Machado package and replace Diaz with a top 10 prospect, another top 100 guy and 3 side dishes. Limiting it to contenders, maybe it’s the Astros in a package topped by Kyle Tucker?

12:39
Ricky: Trades seem to be sneaking up on people more than usual this year. Are teams better at plugging leaks, or is this a result of fewer beat reporters and news staff?

12:42
Jay Jaffe: Maybe it’s some of what you mentioned but I think it has more to do with teams not waiting until the deadline to make their moves. It’s tough for a reporter to maintain the last-48-hours intensity over a two-week span.

12:43
Jordan: Did the Jays do well in the Oh return?

12:45
Jay Jaffe:

As I haven’t even read anybody’s take on the trade, you’re better off waiting to see what Eric and Kiley have to say about it than waiting for me to form an opinion after 2 minutes of “research”

12:45
Ricky: Any chance the Sox can get Gavin Lux from the Dodgers for Soria + Cedeno, if we also take Forsyth’s contract?

12:49
Jay Jaffe: The Dodgers are understandably very wary of trading Lux, but I could see that kind of framework — Forsythe plus somebody it might hurt to lose – being applied to whatever big move they make by the deadline

12:51
Jason Gottlieb: Is the Yankees bullpen the best in recent memory? I don’t remember the last time a team had at least four closer caliber relievers. (Chapman, Britton, Betances, Robertson)

12:54
Jay Jaffe: I’m not sure yet if Britton is back to being closer-caliber, but it’s an impressive collection of talent, and imagine what happens if they get Tommy Kahnle back from the minors in working order. YES Network researcher James Smyth has some fun stuff via this thread

130+ Career Save Trios, @StatsBySTATS helped me finish the list
1996 Orioles Myers/McDowell/Orosco
2001 Dodgers Ols… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
25 Jul 2018
12:54
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: As an expert on the HOF, your specialty is perhaps the slowest-moving one on Fangraphs. There are no weekend trades, no guys suddenly tearing up the AFL, no pitchers playing third to get GIFs of. Other than actual elections and the seasonal awards, there are few time-sensitive articles to write. Do you like the ability to take your time, or do you wish that things were more dynamic? I imagine very few articles “write themselves” the way they might when Scooter hits five homers or the Yankees trade for Britton and precisely no one is surprised at what either team did.

12:58
Jay Jaffe: Fortunately, Hall of Fame coverage isn’t my only marketable skill! I like to be able to take my time, but there are time-sensitive pieces on that beat, too — Robinson Cano and Chase Utley come to mind — and the exhaustion that comes with the election cycle, from late November into January, takes its toll, too.

Mostly I’m just lucky I tapped into a renewable resource and built the credibility to become a go-to in that area. It’s opened a lot of doors for me.

12:59
Conner from AZ: Do you find it as dumb as I do that MLB completely nullifies games like the Red Sox-Orioles last night? The players all produced real results in a real competition. But because the game didn’t go some arbitrary length of time, we are just going to say it didn’t happen? Why can’t games just resume from where they stopped play?

1:01
Jay Jaffe: I’d be in favor of a rule requiring the resumption of any game that is started, if it has playoff implications.

1:01
PTBNL: Given their record, are you surprised to see the red sox pop up so often in the replacement-level killer series (2B, 3B, C)? Or does that kind of fit with the stars&scrubs roster approach the team has taken?

1:03
Jay Jaffe: It kind of fits, but let’s not discount the impact of injuries (Pedroia, Vazquez). Betts is so head-and-shoulders above just about anybody in the league besides Trout and Jose Ramirez that he alone allows them to gut out a situation, and the strength of the outfield certainly helps.

1:03
Colin: How do you feel about the Statcast Outs Above Average fielding metric?  Do you favor it over DRS/UZR, or is it too new at this point?

1:06
Jay Jaffe: It’s a bit too new. When I can get an approximation in runs of what 5 or 10 outs above average means, and incorporate it into a WAR framework,  or at least contrast it with what one says (as we do with BP catcher framing data), I’ll pay more attention.

1:06
mike sixel: Love your series on killers…..Some Twins fans think the team should keep Escobar, and offer him a QO (they have almost no payroll committed next year)…..18MM for Escobar?

1:09
Jay Jaffe: Thank you! It’s a fun one to write and I’m glad it’s been well-received. Escobar doesn’t have a very long track record of stellar  play, but I think it’s tough to go too far wrong in issuing a QO. On the other hand, it’s a dick move by a team if they don’t intend to keep him, because as we’ve seen in recent years, it can crush a mid-level guy’s market.

in short, Minnesota is a land of many contrasts, and I’d do the humane thing and trade Escobar at the deadline, then re-evaluate how much I want him back after the season ends.

1:10
Scott: Doesn’t your division short a player like Sandy Koufax, who’s short in all three?

1:15
Jay Jaffe: Yes, so? Koufax had a short career AND a short peak. Even in his top six seasons, two of them are missing about a third of the time due to injuries., and the impact of his home park had a massive effect on the numbers and the perception of his talent. The special distinction of the no-hitters and postseason dominance aren’t captured by WAR, but they’re not captured for anyone else, either, so if I’m making an objective determination on a cutoff point, I’m fine if it has a miss like that.

I love Sandy Koufax as much as any Jewish third-generation Dodgers fan can, but I’m not blind to the nuances of case. If I needed one pitcher to win one game, he’s at or near the top of my list, but his career wasn’t that of Randy Johnson or Walter Johnson.

1:16
Da Bum: I’m growing concerned that Bryant had a chronic shoulder issue that explains his disappearing power the past two years. Talk me down from the ledge Jay!

1:18
Jay Jaffe: I dunno how chronic it is, but the link between the shoulder issue and lesser power is almost certainly more than a coincidence. That said — and I say this without having not looked closely — I wonder if Bryant has gone too far in the other direction when it comes to tweaking his swing to cut down on strikeouts, a change he made a couple years ago. It might be time to review that.

1:18
Bo: I’m loving the RLK series so far! Is there a place to view WAR by position for all 30 teams?

1:21
Jay Jaffe: Thanks! Go here: https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=0… and then adjust the split (and the year) to the position you want. Click on the team just to see its players in only that position; toggle to the Advanced tab if you want to see wRC+. This area is one of my favorite little features of FanGraphs!

1:21
Bo: Which teams that are reasonably in playoff contention have too many holes to fill to remain competitive?

1:23
Jay Jaffe: The Rockies stand out as one, and I think I’d put the Brewers there as well, particularly once you compound the effect of losing Suter to Tommy John surgery

1:24
AT: Why not Manny Machado as the padres next HOF’er?  It seems to me that he’s exactly who a team on the back end of rebuilding should target, because they’ll have him for all their good seasons.

1:25
Jay Jaffe: There’s going to be no shortage of bidders for Machado’s services, including some of the bigger spenders, so I’m not going to assume he lands in SD.

1:25
Billy Bonds: Thanks for chatting with us, Jay. Regarding JAWS: both career WAR and peak WAR are weighted equally in the calculation (as they are added and divided by two). How much thought was given to making it a 50-50 split? Do you think both measures are equally important when considering a person’s HOF case, or were you just trying to keep the math simple and easily understood/applicable? Thanks again!

1:30
Jay Jaffe: The choice has a lot to do with simplicity. When I started JAWS, I was using BP’s WARP, whch had a lower replacement level, and using a player’s best 5-year run, allowing for injuries and military service, as peak. At some point within the first couple of years I did a quick and dirty study and decided that 7 years at large made for a better fit with who’s in/out; 5 was too fiew and at 10, you might as well be using career WAR.

From an objective standpoint, that decision might be worth reviewing, but to me, erring on the side of simplicity while acknowledging that JAWS has its limitations is the best way to go.

1:30
Bo: While you can’t have too much pitching, 10 of the Braves’ top 20 prospects are pitchers due to arrive sometime between now and 2020, all with FV 45 or above. Is now the time to start dealing some of them?

1:31
Jay Jaffe: I think they can afford to deal from depth in order to enhance their chances this year, yes.

1:31
Alan: When Pujols is inevitably elected to the HOF, which hat will he wear? His stat distribution screams STL, but he’ll still be employed by the Angels under the personal services portion of his contract, or whatever it’s called. Will that have any affect on how he’s enshrined?

1:31
Jay Jaffe: I’d bet strongly on the Hall imposing a Cardinals hat on him in the event that there is resistance. The numbers and the championships make that an obvious pick.

1:32
BigDavid: Do you think the Mets can get a better return on Wheeler than the Rays received for Eovaldi?   Should they even trade Wheeler?

1:33
Jay Jaffe: Better return: yes, because Wheeler has another year of club control and has been a bit better this year.

Should they? eh, I’m not sure I want the current car of clowns making even the smallest decisions about the future direction of the team.

1:33
All Cats Are Beautiful : Just wanted to let you know I’m still boycotting the HOF until Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins receive apologies and an invitation. I’m not the only one.

1:36
Jay Jaffe: that’s a helluva grudge to be carrying, particularly as the president who slighted them, Dale Petroskey, resigned more than a decade ago. I was pretty pissed with how he handled that situation, but if I can get over it, I think you might be able to

1:36
hscer: let’s no gloss over the fact that Mel Ott was a reasonably good MLB hitter by 17/18

1:38
Jay Jaffe: Wasn’t trying to gloss over it. The fact that he was in his 3rd year at age 19 should have made his competence in that area clear, but if it needs saying: through age 19, Ott had a 127 wRC+ and 4.4 WAR, tied with Harper to that point https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=0…

1:39
Jay Jaffe: Important trade and amusing update

First was @Feinsand not @SenFeinstein

Brewers acquire Joakim Soria @SenFeinstein 1st
26 Jul 2018
1:39
Bo: LAA sending Maldonado to Houston!

1:39
Jay Jaffe: confirmed

Angels deal catcher Martin Maldonado to Astros ocregister.com/2018/07/26/ang…
26 Jul 2018
1:39
Adam: Hello, Jay! I’m hoping to purchase your book as a birthday gift to my dad, the biggest baseball history nut I know. Is there a particular vendor you prefer buyers to go through?

1:41
Jay Jaffe: If you’d like a signed copy and won’t be in Cooperstown this weekend, you can buy from Politics and Prose in Washington, DC, which probably still has stock on hand from my appearance there a couple weeks ago, or Greenlight in Brooklyn, where I’ll go and sign AND personalize the book on demand: https://cooperstowncasebook.com/2017/07/21/signed-copies-of-the-cooper…

1:41
ben: Sam Miller has a new piece about Bartolo Colon making the HOF. Fun piece (as usual), but zero chance of happening, right?

1:43
Jay Jaffe: Even if we assume Jack Morris’ election lowered the performance bar enough to make Colon’s candidacy credible — and here I should point out that Bart is 139th to Jack’s 163rd in JAWS ranking — the PED suspension is a huge stumbling block. If it’s gonna keep A-Rod, Palmeiro and Manny out, it’s gonna keep him out as well.

1:43
mb: What do you see the Brewers doing in the next week? They have been connected to seemingly everyone

1:43
Jay Jaffe: as the Soria move shows, they’re making moves. I’d expect something to upgrade at least one middle infield spot and add a starter

1:43
Cole Hamels: Tell me something to make me feel good about myself please

1:44
Jay Jaffe: You look positively dashing with a mustache. Grow it back and your trade stock will rebound.

1:47
Jimmy: Is Nolan Arenado finally going to win the MVP Award this year?

1:47
Jay Jaffe: Maybe? Though I think Freddie Freeman could get a lot of love, too.

1:48
Josh in DC: I have no idea which one of the fangraphs crew I’m supposed to ask this, but … did you know that Mo Vaughn, during his Red Sox’ career, regularly had BABIPs over 350? How is that possible (for a big guy)?

1:48
Jay Jaffe: He pulled the ball A LOT but infield shifts weren’t common during his career.

1:49
Wes: Reports are that Astros acquired Maldonado from the Angels. Is this a wierd trade, or am I thinking about it wrong?

1:49
Jay Jaffe: Insurance for McCann, who underwent knee surgery early this month and might not be back until September

1:50
Tyler: Why would Harper get more than Machado?  Machado is the better player right now.

1:50
Jay Jaffe: The Nationals are still contenders and reluctant sellers, whereas the Orioles were DOA and motivated to move Manny

1:51
stever20: what % chance do you give Greinke of making the HOF?

1:53
Jay Jaffe: probably around 50%, maybe more. He’s just outside the top 50 in JAWS and could easily be top 40 by the end of next year.

1:53
Joshua: What are your thoughts on Dale Murphy for the Hall of Fame? Statistically, he would be an outlier, but for a good 7-9 year period he was one of the faces of baseball. I do not think he belongs especially since more qualified players have not yet been inducted (Grich, Whitaker, Allen, Oliva), but people seem to have strong feelings both ways since he was always seen a great man.

1:55
Jay Jaffe: Covered him as part of the 2018 Modern Baseball Era Committee ballot https://www.si.com/mlb/2017/11/13/hall-fame-cases-steve-garvey-don-mat…. A lot of people want to give him extra points for character but I find the whole character clause, which was written by a commissioner who spent 24 years upholding the color line, to be worth less than the toilet paper it should have been printed on.

1:56
Bo: At what point can we start believing in Johan Camargo? It’s not like he’s getting lucky at the plate, BABIP is hovering around .300, and his defense at 3B is terrific.

1:56
Jay Jaffe: I’ve been onboard for a few weeks. I don’t see 3B as a must-fix for the Braves.

1:56
C: Let’s say Tampa calls up NYY and offers Archer for Frazier, Sheffield, Cessa, and Acevedo. Good or bad deal for NYY?

1:56
Jay Jaffe: that’s way too much given Archer’s ups and downs in recent years.

1:57
GG: Do you think halladay can go to HOF?

1:57
Jay Jaffe: Yes. Possibly 1st ballot given the circumstances

1:57
Adam: Speaking of Pujols and the JAWS seven-year peak, how often do you find that a player’s seven best seasons all happened in succession (e.g. Pujols from 2003-2009)?

1:57
Jay Jaffe: it’s rare!

1:58
Jay Jaffe: wow, look at the clock. I intended to cut this off at 90 minutes but here we are. Time to go! Thanks for stopping by to spend some time here and happy deadlining!

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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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