Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 7/29/22

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Good afternoon, folks, and welcome to another edition of my Friday chat. I’m back from a great weekend in Cooperstown, where I survived the 7-man induction ceremony in the blistering heat and got to do some cool stuff like go to the BBWAA party for Lifetime Achievement Award winner Tim Kurkjian at the Otesaga Resort Hotel, the Saturday evening cocktail party in the Hall of Fame plaque gallery, and the party the White Sox threw on behalf of Minnie Miñoso.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’ve been writing up a storm since returning, with just one entry to go in my annual Replacement Level Killers series, highlighting the biggest lineup holes on contenders. The corner outfielder installment just went up a little while ago https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-2022-replacement-level-killers-left-fi…

Avatar Jay Jaffe: With the trade deadline just 4 days away, i see no shortage of questions in the queue about potential trades. I’ll get to some but i’m not going to dwell upon too many because I’m not somebody who has a deep knowledge of prospects and farm systems.

Bill: Likelihood of Soto landing spots by percentage?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Based on multiple reports it appears that the Padres and Cardinals are the two teams way out in front of the pack because of their mixes of controllable young major leaguers and high-ceiling prospects. I’d say that while it’s possible that no trade goes down, we’re looking at a 47.6289% chance of the Padres getting him (that’s an exact figure, btw), about a 31.4858333% chance of the Cardinals getting him, the Dodgers at 4.97367%, the Yankees at 3%, and then the rest of the field making up the remainder.

T: Do you think Strider and Harris would be enough to headline an Ohtani trade? And would you think about it if you were the Braves?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Funny thing, I just plugged those into the Baseball Trade Values site and it called it a “minor overpay” in the Angels’ favor, so I think that’s actually on track as the start something that could work.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: And yes, I’d certainly think about it if the Angels were into it. Both of those prospects have risen quickly this  year but there does still seem to be some concern about Strider winding up in the bullpen and whether Harris can hold onto those gains.

Oakland: If Montas, Murphy, and Laureano are moved, where does our our farm rank after the trade deadline?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Gonna go out on a limb and suggests that’s all going to depend upon the returns. THE BOARD has the A’s farm system ranked 21st right now https://www.fangraphs.com/prospects/the-board/2022-in-season-prospect-…

EP: Would it take a better package for Seattle to acquire Montas as opposed to Castillo because the A’s are in the division? Or is that type of thing overblown?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Probably a little overblown but not out of the question that it could be a factor. Of course that’s assuming the two trade candidates are equal, and here I’d favor Castillo a bit

Theo Epstein: Do the Red Sox buy, sell, or both?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: i suspect they’ll reshuffle, selling off some pending free agents (Martinez, Vazquez, Eovaldi) and trying to get some controllable players in hopes of a better showing next year

Max: How would the approach the deadline if you were in Mike Elias’ position?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I wouldn’t push too hard towards contending this year. Trade pending free agents if the offers are good, trade Santander because the corner outfield market is limited.

>this guy<: with the disclaimer that no one is pulling for anyone’s unemployment, which 4 or 5 disappointing or rebuilding teams’ f.o. staffs have the hottest seats? Thanks, I’ll hang up and listen

Avatar Jay Jaffe: If Detroit isn’t among those five then i just have no interest in this exercise

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Red Sox and Royals stand out as others

McBain: As an old Padre fan, I find myself ready to part with almost any prospects to improve the chance of a WS before I shuffle off this mortal coil. Justifiable or selfish?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: If history has taught us anything it’s that teams (and fans) tend to hug their prospects too closely. Most of them don’t pan out to be the kind of studs that will be missed.

andrew friedman: assuming I dont trade for a top player (castillo/soto/ohtani) what is the top prospect I end up trading away

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Maybe Michael Busch given Lux’s solidification

viceroy: Middle infield is a bit of a wasteland with so many contenders playing subpar guys out there or established guys underperforming. Who are big names on the move and are there any potentially surprising moves like sticking a powerful bat at 2nd as some teams have done in the past?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: If you count Ian Happ as a second baseman — and he’s made just 4 starts there in the past 3 seasons so you can be forgiven for not doing so  I think he could be the biggest one moved. I don’t see any stars moving because the pending FA market is guys like Brandon Drury and Donavan Solano. Wrote about the situation here https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-2022-replacement-level-killers-second-…

Guards: Do u expect Cleveland to have a busy deadline and what type of moves do you think they will look  to make

Avatar Jay Jaffe: they’ve supposedly been among the more aggressive teams in their pursuit of starting pitching, but they’re apparently also listening on controllable guys like Civale and Plesac.  

The Twins, Guardians & White Sox – separated by just 3 games in the AL Central – are among the most aggressive teams in the pitching market right now, per sources. According to one executive from a potential seller, “They all think they have a shot and are trying to get better.”
28 Jul 2022

I don’t think they’ll upgrade at catcher given that they’ve been on the RLK list with him two years in a row with virtually identical performances

Steven: The HoF festivities happening during games is really silly in my opinion. How do you feel? Did you speak with anyone in Cooperstown during your trip who said they want it changed? It seems so perfect to have it during the all star break.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: You absolutely cannot get the All-Star and Hall of Fame festivities opposite each other and expect any kind of coverage for the latter, and no, I didn’t hear anybody suggesting they would want the two to go up against each other. What needs to change is that the draft shouldn’t be during the All-Star festivities. I also wouldn’t mind if Inductions got moved to , like, Labor Day weekend so the heat isn’t quite so oppressive (note to self: buy a lighter-weight sport coat for next year).

Jack: Based on what you’re hearing, how likely is it that the Angels move Ohtani? How does an Ohtani deal compare to a Soto deal in terms of prospects, given fewer years of team control?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think it’s far less likely that Ohtani gets moved than Soto. As for the returns, our 2022 Trade Value series, where Ohtani ranked 26th and Soto 6th, should help give you an idea of the relative returns.

Curious Jorge: Who is the most talented player – and one who established a level of talent in the major leagues – who didn’t make the Hall of Fame? (Whether due to injury and/or surprise decline and/or early retirement, or whatever). JR Richard comes to mind for pitchers, maybe? Hitters? Kal Daniels is one, but I don’t think he quite established himself fully. Eric Davis? Darryl Strawberry?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens

The Chicken: What was the best part of the HOF weekend?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Seeing the enshrinement of O’Neill and Miñoso, two pivotal figures whose careers crossed from the Negro Leagues into the integrated majors. It was bittersweet to see them inducted, mind you, since both have passed away after having their hearts broken by falling short while they were still alive, but  there was a lot of joy and closure with their inductions.

On the subject of those, I had some great conversations with Negro Leagues Museum president Bob Kendrick, U of Illinois professor Adrian Burgos, Jr. (a big Miñoso booster), and Hall president Josh Rawitch, among others. And I had a brief but emotional conversation with Miñoso’s widow, Sharon. Powerful stuff.

James: Yordan is currently having the best non-Bonds season of the last 25 years. I feel like that should be talked about more

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Mike Trout says hi, like about eight times over.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Alvarez is having a great year with the bat, carrying a 202 wRC+, but he’s got limited defensive value and he’s DHing about 60% of the time. Even Bryce Harper’s 2015 (197 wRC+ and 9.5 WAR) is gonna wind up miles ahead of Alvarez.

Fan of a last-place team: Will the struggles of Tatis, Acuña, and even Trout dampen enthusiasm of front offices to clear out their farm systems for Soto and potentially offer him a long-term, $500 million-plus extension?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Did the struggles of Pujols and Cabrera dampen enthusiasm for Trout, Betts, Lindor, Tatis, etc?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: It’s a limited number of teams that are willing to sign players to big deals like that, but history has shown that there are always some out there

Dude: Would the Orioles consider offering up Grayson Rodriguez and Gunnar Henderson for either Soto or Ohtani? Way to make a big splash and say, “We have arrrived?”

Avatar Jay Jaffe: it’s not going to happen for Soto since there’s a lot of animosity between the two Beltway teams; they haven’t made a trade since the Expos moved to Washington. For Ohtani the pair is probably a bit much given just the one remaining year of control after this. I don’t see the current regime in Baltimore as being aggressive enough to try it either.

Quan: any plans to add fielding stats to the Splits Leaderboard

Avatar Jay Jaffe: doubt it. If even one full season of fielding data is noisy, then a month or half a season is a waste of space

45 blows billygoats: What are the possible landing spots for Montas?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Every team looking for starting pitchers, which is every contender.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: i’m not trying to be snarky here, i literally think the list in double digits and gaming out the scenarios in this context is probably not a good use of my time.

KCbbq: Would the Orioles seriously consider trading Mullins to the Astros for SP help such as Urquidy?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: If they were going to trade Mullins (33rd on our series list and under control through 2025) they would have to do better than Urquidy as the return, more like Framber Valdez (28th on our list) would be appropriate.

Mike: Doesn’t it feel like Gallo, away from the constant expectations/pressure in NY, would do well in Milwaukee or other locations?  Or is that just wishful thinking?  He always K’d a lot, but it just seems every at bat (every pitch) is under a microscope now.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I sure hope he can do better elsewhere because it’s been a sad story watching him here in NY (i have this open and am looking forward to reading it https://theathletic.com/3460126/2022/07/29/joey-gallo-yankees-expectat…). I don’t know that the Brewers would be a great spot for him as they’ve had a hard time straightening out hitters who have gone south. I think his approach needs a significant overhaul and that probably takes an offseason of work

brad penny for your thoughts: at the end of 1994’s The Scout, brendan fraser’s character steve nebraska, pitches a perfect game against Stl striking out 27 batters on 81 consecutive strikes (he also hit 2 homeruns).  would that instantly make someone a HOF’er?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: No. Not only would he not yet be qualified based on the 10-year requirement but the voting rules expressly say, “No automatic elections based on performances such as a batting average of .400 or more for one (1) year, pitching a perfect game or similar outstanding achievement shall be permitted.”

45 blows billygoats: Do you see the Giants as buyers or sellers?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Sellers. This isn’t their year; they went a bridge too far with the Belt-Crawford-Longoria core and none of them has stayed healthy enough

Dan: If a team had a pitcher with a short term injury that they wanted to trade could they have him miss a start for “personal reasons” rather than admit they needed preventative rest. Or would this 100% become known.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I can’t imagine a team trading for pitching without requesting to look at a pitcher’s medical files first. And if it did get out there that a team was hiding something, they would probably find it harder to deal going forweard

Juan Soto: Is it true I’m a tad overrated ? Not a long career body of work . WAR padded by BB and OBP. Limited highlights (one huge double ) in post season run (hello Howie Kendrick ) . Why the hype ?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: no

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Look at that list of highest OPS+ through age-23 seasons (1000 or more PA since 1900): Ted, Ty, Trout, Stan, Albert, Tatis, Soto, Mathews, Reggie, Mickey. That’s Cooperstown territory. AND Soto already has a World Series ring with stellar performances both there and in the Division Series.

Mike: Does Tampa make a huge splash at the deadline or just stick this one out with the injuries piling up?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: They’ve got one of the deepest systems in the game and I suspect they’ll do something substantial.

Ms Fan: Does Kelenic, Brash, Marte, Stoudt get me Drury and Castillo

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I doubt Kelenic has much value right now since he has yet to sustain any major league success. But hey, play around with this https://www.baseballtradevalues.com/trade-simulator/

James: I meant best non-Bonds offensive season. Obviously being a DH counts off a lot in WAR

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Alvarez is having a great year still ~300 PA short of where Harper (197 wRC+) and Cabrera (193 wRC+ in 2013) wound up. If he doesn’t regress over the next 2 months we’ll be talking a lot about it.

Pete: What kind of return could Syndergaard get? 45FV prospect seem reasonable?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: 45 seems high given his current level of performance and lack of bats missed. You can see the grades of the players traded last summer here https://blogs.fangraphs.com/ranking-the-prospects-traded-during-the-20…. My guess is something more 40ish.

WinTwins0410: Jay, how would you compare the speeches given at the induction weekend vs. speeches in past years?  I watched the speeches and was very impressed — the speeches in particular by Tony Oliva, Jim Kaat and Big Papi all struck me as especially good, as well as the one from Gil Hodges’ daughter.  Your thoughts?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: It was a very good and pretty tight set of speeches. All the ones you listed were great, but one that really sticks with me is the one Dave Winfield gave on behalf of Bud Fowler, a history lesson on the obstacles the man faced. Impressed the hell out of me. The Oliva one was a reminder of the joy we might have gotten from some of the other deceased players had they lived.

Owen: Is Arte Moreno the worst owner in baseball?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: At least he spends money? I’d still rather watch a team owned by him than the ones owned by Castellini and Nutting.

Guest: Any chance the Cubs get a top 100 prospect in return for one of their trade pieces during the next week?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I would think so. Conteras is one of the top rental bats out there AND he plays a premium positio, and Happ has another year of control after this one.

Bardo Bill: You think the Red Sox front office is (should be?) on the hot seat because they’ve been eviscerated by injuries this season? I don’t follow the logic.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I going into the season with JBJ in a prominent role should have tipped us off that their plans were pretty half-baked. That and the weakness of their first base plan.

Phil: I am catching up on this chat late so you addressed this a while ago, but: I would he shocked if Bloom were at risk. My impression was that he had an understanding with Henry that he wouldn’t be able to truly get his plan started until most of the Dombrowski contracts were up (which is this winter except for Sale).

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Maybe that’s true, but I haven’t been impressed with the job this regime has done. If I’m an AL East competitor I’m pretty happy to watch it remain in place knowing that they’re unlikely to keep the Bogaerts/Devers pair and that their rotation looks so shaky

Didace: “WAR padded by BB and OBP.” Like that’s a bad thing?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: right? I’m still laughing at that one.

Guest: Do you think Xander Bogaerts is in for a rude awakening when he hits free agency and no team wants to pay him like a premier shortstop? Or do you see a team like the Cubs or Angels offering him a huge deal (around $200-250 mil) anyway?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: more the latter if not necessarily those teams.

Joe: Am i the only one who think the baseball trade values website is a little off?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: TBH I haven’t spent much time on it, but people were talking about it recently because of The Athletic’s article on Soto and it’s fun to play around with.

Nuke Laloosh: If anything the injuries have bailed the Red Sox FO out of more deserved criticism…that and one hell of a 5-6 week run.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: that makes some sense

Hole Camels: Can you explain the Phillies’ lack of any kind of reliever pipeline? Seems like most teams are able to pump out serious quantity and at least some quantity, yet every year the Phillies are forced to patch their bullpen with castoffs with disastrous results. Has to be an org issue at this point right?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: It does seem like it. One thing that I see from teams like the Yankees and Dodgers is that every year they seem to find guys who didn’t fit with other orgs and use a combination of analytics and coaching to implement tweaks in repertoire and maybe mechanics that turn them into above-average relievers.

Phil: Would there be much of a return for Eovaldi? I know this ia true for any pitcher, but it seems hard to trust either the health or the not-giving-up-lots-of-home-runs.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: A good way to allow fewer home runs is to not pitch in Fenway Park, or the AL East in general

Guest: When Greinke makes his induction speech, how likely is it that he’ll just say “Thank you” and walk off the stage?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: it’s tough to imagine any HOF inductee not thanking family and some coaches in even the briefest of speeches.

Colton: Do you think the Reds will end up dealing Mahle by the deadline? His buzz has went down a bit, assuming part of that is from coming off and injury.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Yes, unless his medicals are really bad.

Dr. Mantas Tobogan: Rank the needs for the Phillies: SP, RP, CF, SS

Avatar Jay Jaffe: They have one of the strongest rotations in the game by our numbers. Sure, they could always use more but I have to think CF and SS are bigger priorities than adding a starter. Maybe RP is between those two if they think Stott is close to turning a corner this year.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Ok folks, lots of good questions and bad trade proposals still in the queue but I’ve got to call  it for the day. Thanks for stopping by! We’ll be all over the deadline coverage as usual next week. Stay cool

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, and a Hall of Fame voter since 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jay_jaffe... and BlueSky @jayjaffe.bsky.social.

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1 year ago

None of the Team Statistics are showing up today. Can somebody look into this ASAP?