Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 7/8/22

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Good afternoon, folks! Welcome to another edition of my Friday chats. Apologies that it’s been awhile — travel and holidays have gotten in the way.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: A bit of housekeeping: today I’ve got a piece on Shohei Ohtani’s improvement as a pitcher https://blogs.fangraphs.com/ohtani-the-pitcher-has-overtaken-ohtani-th…

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Yesterday I looked at what’s gone wrong for the Giants https://blogs.fangraphs.com/giant-steps-backwards-for-last-years-107-g…. Earlier in the week I looked at the anticipated returns of the Red Sox’s Chris Sale (https://blogs.fangraphs.com/with-a-rough-stretch-approaching-red-sox-l…) and the Mets’ Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom (https://blogs.fangraphs.com/for-slumping-mets-help-on-the-horizon-in-s…) as well as the disarray both rotations had been in due to injuries.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Also wanted to share this obituary of Dodgers superscout Mike Brito, who passed away yesterday at 87. Ubiquitous around Dodger Stadium with his radar gun and his Panama hat, he signed 32 future major leaguers including Fernando Valenzuela, Julio Urías, and Yasiel Puig  https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/obituary-mike-brito-legendary-…

Avatar Jay Jaffe: [color: var(–primary-app-color);]

Took this picture of Mike Brito last year. He loved his ⁦@Dodgers⁩ World Series rings and took great pride in wearing them. Lock them in a safety box? Not for Mike Brito! Loved that he was so proud. RIP to a true baseball ⚾️ man and such a calm, friendly person.
8 Jul 2022

[/color] That’s some serious bling

Avatar Jay Jaffe: And now, on with the show

Jacob: Is there any precedent for what’s going on with Eduardo Rodriguez and the Tigers right now? I can’t think of any other instances in modern baseball where a player asked to be put on the restricted list and then went radio silent

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Nothing that A couple years ago Ben Zobrist left the Cubs in the midst of a divorce (marital issues are reportedly at the heart of Rodriguez’s absence), but in that case there was no language barrier or international factor involved. I’m surprised that the Tigers can’t reach Rodriguez through his agent (Mato Sports Management, according to Baseball Reference) but, uh, that isn’t the most competent front office so who knows what’s really going on?

Dan McGraw: Does Aaron Judge have a pathway to the Hall?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: The talent is certainly there. He’s in the midst of his fifth season that *should* wind up to be worth well north of 5 WAR, but he’ll have to be very productive into his late 30s, and find a way to stay on the field.

Ken Griffey Sr: What’s the deal with Yelich this year?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: .251/.346/.384, 107 wRC+. His second straight year of a .130-ish ISO. Better batted ball stats than last year (.460 xSLG) but I have to wonder if his back issues have just sapped his power permanently.

Big Joe Davis: Hi Jay, how do you feel about the news the Alber Pujols and Miguel Cabrera will be at the All-Star game even though they are both nowhere near that level of player anymore?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Seems great. I can’t get worked up about it when they’re not costing anybody a roster spot and are each likely to get 1 PA at most.

Dan McGraw: Does Evan Longoria have a shot at the HOF?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Probably not, if he does wind up retiring at the end of this season, which he’s said to be considering (see my Giants article above). He wouldn’t make it to 2,000 hits (he has 1,850) and he’s not there on any of the JAWS categories:

Third Base (18th):
57.6career WAR |41.97yr-peak WAR |49.8JAWS |5.0WAR/162
  Average HOF 3B (out of 15):
    68.4 career WAR | 43.0 7yr-peak WAR | 55.7 JAWS | 5.1 WAR/162

Beltré, Rolen, Dick Allen Graig Nettles, and Ken Boyer all have much, much stronger cases.

Pat: What do you think of Tinker-Evers-Chance as far as the HOF? I vacillate between “they weren’t that good” & “they were the 3 best position players on a team with a historic run of success & it was a different game back then, so you can’t just look at the #’s”.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’m more in the latter camp but it’s a mix. On the one hand, players from the early 20th century should have a wider separation from the pack because the quality of play was so much lower, but on the other, the Cubs dominated the NL for a significant stretch in those days. Tinker was the best of them by JAWS, and he’s merely 26th at the position.

Justin: Is Andy Pages shaping up to be a Joc Pederson/Kyle Schwarber/Rhys Hoskins type who hits .240 with 30 hrs? Or is Pages expected to have a better hit tool?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’m not the prospect guy but Eric’s write-up of him intrigues me (https://blogs.fangraphs.com/los-angeles-dodgers-top-51-prospects-2022/). Definitely seems like he’s got the power and contact issues to fit in that camp but he also has more defensive ability. “His speed under way and his defensive instincts give him a chance to stay in center field, which would obviously give Pages a little more margin for error as a hitter. If he stays in center, he has a star-level ceiling. If not, then he has a whiff-prone, traditional right field profile driven by obvious impact power.”

Harmon Ripkowski: There’s been a lot of chatter on whether Giancarlo Stanton can reach 500 or even 600 HR.  What about Reggie’s 2597 strikeouts?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Doubt it. Look at it this way: he’s about 74% of the way to 500 homers (has 368) but only 63% of the way to 2,597 strikeouts (he has 1,634). Even given the likelihood of decline I can’t see him making up the ground between those two percentages.

Stephen: I went to a couple of minor league games in June and was a big fan of the pitch clock. What are the chances it actually makes it to MLB?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I believe it’s when, not if, and probably in 2024 if not next year.

Sodo Mojo: With the Mariners reach .500 and now relevant in the Wild Card picture what should they do before the dead line to improve their chances?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: They’ve gotten a 68 wRC+ and 0.2 WAR from second base (mainly Adam Frazier), which is Replacement Level Killers territory. And they need more pitching, just like everybody else.

Phil: Is it my imagination, or is there a level of psychological or emotional analysis of Manfred going on that one never saw with Selig? I certainly recall Selig being criticized for decisions he made or didn’t make, but I don’t remember his personality being so thoroughly dissected. Is this right, and if so, does it say more about Manfred or the state of baseball media/internet/fandom?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Selig’s tenure largely preceded the age of Twitter, so I think there was less armchair psychology, but it’s not like he wasn’t a worthy target of a billion angry blog posts for the ways he messed with the game. Collusion, contraction, PEDs… maybe it was less personal but I do think it had its share.

Sabey Sabes: How long does Ohtani have to maintain this level of performance to make the HOF?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Ohtani is five years into his major league career. If he’s still good enough to do both at a star level five  years from now he’d definitely get my vote, and if he’s even good enough to merit doing both of those at any kind of level of competence he’d probably get it. This is a level of sustained, combined performance unseen in MLB.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: (tweaked the wording of that last sentence)

Guest: How many innings more will Strider get this year?  Is the rule like 30 more than the previous high?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: That’s been a rule of thumb, and it would get Strider to about 125-130 (60-65 more from this point). My guess is that the Braves will be cautious, get him to about that level and then move him to the bullpen because obviously he’s got the weapons to do late-inning work.

Harmon Ripkowski: The Baltimore Orioles have the 8th most wins in the AL.  Didn’t see that one…

Avatar Jay Jaffe: As Dan Szymborski wrote the other day, they’re not good but they’re interesting https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-orioles-arent-good-but-they-are-intere…

Bobbo: Do you expect the Giants to be buyers, sellers, or both at the trade deadline this year? What % chance that they will move Rodon versus % chance they will trade for Willson Contreras?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think it’s much more likely that they’re buyers than sellers, barring a continued slide this month. They’ve underperformed relative to their projections and their peripherals and I expect them to rebound from where they’re atnow.

Farhandrew Zaidman: Trying to make a point via hyperbole on this one re the MVP – If the Angels and Yankees swapped Judge for Ohtani straight up, the Angels are a worse team and the Yankees are at least as good if not better, right?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: interesting thought experiment but I’m not sure this one works as well as you suggest. The Yankees are for the moment very well situated in starting pitching but their outfield depth has been stretched to the point that Judge has played more innings in center field than in right. Trading Judge for Ohtani straight up doesn’t solve that; it’s not like you’re going to play Ohtani or Giancarlo Stanton in center. You’d need another trade (say, Taillon or Montgomery for an outfielder) to make it work.

EVs: “That isn’t the most competent front office.” Kevin Goldstein begs to differ. He says their reputation within other orgs is very sound.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I didn’t see where he said that, but if he did, I’d guess we’re basing our impressions on different areas. The Tigers rebuild has been a disaster so far; they’ve come up with a lot of young talent but have yet to convert it into any on-field success, and right now their two big contracts from last winter (Rodriguez and Báez) have turned out poorly

Bruce in 2023: You think Darick Hall can continue with the power and not hurt too much with the Avg?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: A week ago I’d never heard of the guy. We don’t have a scouting report on him and I haven’t seen one at the other major outlets, not that i’ve looked hard (he doesn’t get a capsule in the 2022 BA Handbook or on MLB Pipeline, for exampl). So I’ll go with “probably not”

Richard: Hi Jay. What are the chances for eventual HOF induction for Tommy John and Luis Tiant? And who gets in first?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Low, particularly with the latest Era Committee changes (see https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-hall-of-fame-shakes-up-its-era-committ…). Maybe eventually TJ surgery puts John over the line but neither of those guys has gotten much traction in recent committees and if they’re competing for votes with the likes of Dick Allen and a backlog of Negro Leagues players I think it’s going to be hard to change that.

Smiling Politely: I remember using Mike Brito as a landmark at Dodger Stadium to give my friend directions to our seats because everyone could spot him with the hat and the radar gun. He was the Polaris of the park, and it’s hard to think about it without him and Vin in it. Anyways — Gavin Lux is quietly approaching a .300 avg/380 OBP. Do you think his power creeps up over time? I think of him as a guy whose development got interrupted by COVID and ppl forgot about.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Maybe a bit, but I think that even with the strong grades (65 raw, 60 game from 2020) it’s worth noting that he’s only sustained his power numbers in hitter-friendly environments. The guy’s 24 year old with a 122 wRC+ and the ability to play competent-or-better defense at multiple positions. That should be plenty.

TKDC: Has anyone done more to increase their hall of fame chances this year than Paul Goldschmidt? Arenado? JoRam?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Good question, offhand I’d say Goldschmidt but this is something I’ll probably look at more closely in the coming weeks

Mets Fan: Is Keith Hernandez a hall of famer? Seems like no one has ever played first base like he did, and that should count for something on its own

Avatar Jay Jaffe: From The Cooperstown Casebook (2017):

Avatar Jay Jaffe:

Avatar Jay Jaffe: First Base (20th):
60.3career WAR |41.27yr-peak WAR |50.8JAWS |4.7WAR/162
  Average HOF 1B (out of 23):
    65.5 career WAR | 42.1 7yr-peak WAR | 53.8 JAWS | 4.9 WAR/162

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think he’s got a reasonable case despite the non-traditional offensive profile, but him being on the outside doesn’t keep me lying awake at night the way the absence of, say, Dick Allen does

Astro: Thoughts:
Mets should surprise everyone by overwhelming Angels with a trade offer for Shohei + then go to a 6-man rotation the rest of 2022. He helps improve the rotation and DH instantly. The Mets can go 6-deep and it would give deGrom/Scherzer some extra rest ahead of October. If Mets cannot re-sign deGrom, they pivot and go all in on resigning Shohei.

Mets should trade JD Davis (plus maybe a lower ranked prospect) to Detroit for Robbie Grossman and Andrew Chafin to help with their lefty problems. Grossman should be cheap and is still doing damage against lefty pitchers this year. Chafin would be the Mets best lefty reliever and is a luxury for Detroit in a lost year.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think the Mets are a likely landing spot for Ohtani at some point (probably not August 2) but good lord the pissing and moaning from Scherzer about the Dodgers curbing his usage to be available in October is why he spurned them to sign with the Mets in the first place. Well, that and money.

WHIP appeal: Why are certain players missing from the leaderboard ranks? Off the top of my head, Ohtani and Spencer Strider are two, but I’ve seen more omissions.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Under the Mininum Innings drop-down you’ll need to make a selection for something besides “Qualified” because they both have fewer than one inning pitched per team game (Ohtani not by much)

RTJ: Who is the best SP to not make the hall of fame due to injuries, and will it be Jacob deGrom?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: deGrom (42.4 WAR/39.8 Peak Adj/41.1 S-JAWS) is about nine points behind Johan Santana (51.7/45.0/48.3) and both are well behind Wes Ferrell (60.1/47.5/57.3), who pitched just 2,623 innings, with fewer than 600 outside of a 10-year stretch.

BettsBellingerCaruso: Kimbrel: Will he perform to his 2.00 FIP level or do you think there’s something off w/ him that just gets him unable to deal w/ a runner on base?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: He’s got mechanical issues (“too rotational” is a term both Cubs and Dodgers coaches used) that he can’t seem to shake and that seem to manifest themselves more when he’s got men on base. I’d think he could clear them eventually but here we are.

Tony: At this point, if I set the over/under at 0.5 for the HOF chances of Kimbrel, Chapman, Jansen, which side are you taking?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Under. Very rough year for Kimbrel and Chapman. Jansen was pitching pretty well until being sidelined by an irregular heartbeat again.

On hearing the news about Jansen a couple weeks ago it occurred to me that people forget Atlanta is 1,000 feet above sea level, which makes it one of the higher-altitude parks, and altitude can have an effect on arrhythmias. I wonder if that’s been a factor.

Harmon Ripkowski: Hi. My thoughts, with all the questions you’ve gotten about Dave Stieb, is that no 20th century pitchers other than Clemens and Schilling will go into the Hall.  At a guess, maybe John or Tiant, but I’ve little confidence

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Beyond the Big Insurrectionist Baby, I think the next 20th century hurler to go in may well be from the Negro Leagues. Redding? Donaldson? Maybe.

brony la russa: where do the chisox go from here? do they look at Atlanta last year and buy or do they trade at least expiring contracts and ‘reload’ tho not rebuild?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I suspect they’ll try to patch things up and get back in the race. They’re too talented to be languishing like this and it’s  not like the AL Central is a powerhouse division.

All star game: Is this the year Kershaw finally gets to start the all star game? It would make up for the time they picked Harvey because it was in New York.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Since I made the case for Shohei Othani to start for the AL, I had in mind a tangent on making the case for Kershaw for the NL but chose not to pursue it. To these eyes starting Kershaw — who’s been really, really good when available — makes a lot of sense, but it’s going to be tough for a manager to pick against Gonsolin, who’s 11-0 with a 1.62 ERA AND pitches for the host team as well.

AnotherAnnoyingDodgerFan: What kind of starter (e.g. Ace, #2-3, 4-5) do you think Tony Gonsolin settles in as long-term?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I don’t think anybody really knows but 2 or 3 seems possible right now, particularly as he’s going 6-7 innings routinely these days.

Ben: It looks like Ohtani and Alvarez could both end up being legitimate MVP candidates if they keep up what they are doing, especially if Judge cools off or misses time. I know Alvarez has played a good bit of LF and Ohtani has been even more valuable as a SP, but has there ever been a season with 2 incredibly valuable DHs?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Using bWAR there have been just four seasons with two players who made at least 50% of their appearances as a DH and were worth 5.0 WAR or greater: https://stathead.com/tiny/BzGxn

Avatar Jay Jaffe:

Avatar Jay Jaffe: All but Hafner Hall of Famers, wow.

Quarantino Martinez: I was encouraged by Gallo drawing some walks this week. Does that say more about my desperation or a potential (mild) turnaround for him?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: i wish i knew. I still think he can be an All-Star caliber player but he’s really scuffling.

Chase: Luis Castillo or Frankie Montas good fits for the Dodgers? Another package for Juan Soto possible at the deadline?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I don’t think the Dodgers are going to go that big at the deadline. Definitely not big enough to land Soto

Phil: Did you read Justin Choi’s piece on consistency? I found it quite interesting for thinking about Jackie Bradley, who is the streakiest hitter I’ve closely followed (and one of my favorite players, though not so much for hitting). Last time he was a free agent I was surpised at the offer he got. What kind of role do you think teams will imagine him in this time around? Will some team out there think of him as an everyday player? I’d rather he stay in Boston but that will obviously only happen for 4th OF money, if that.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Yes, I liked Justin’s piece (see https://blogs.fangraphs.com/measuring-this-seasons-most-and-least-cons…). With a 57 wRC this year after last year’s debacle, I don’t see JBJ ever getting a major league deal north of $5 million again, and I wouldn’t be surprised if his next contract is a minor league one.

Steve: Forgive me if you’ve answered this previously, but have you been able to incorporate enough Negro League data into JAWS to determine the most glaring omission or two?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I have not included Negro Leagues data in JAWS, and right now it makes my head spin to think about the difficulty of doing so. I think it’s great we have WAR for the select major Negro Leagues, and worth using for certain applications, but there’s still a lot of obstacles to folding that into JAWS. I also think we have a pretty good idea of the top Negro Leagues candidates outside the Hall and not all of them have cases that are WAR-driven.

Guest: Gut feel, do you think the Pirates will produce a HOF level player who plays the majority of their career in Pittsburgh in your lifetime?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: (consulting actuarial tables)

Avatar Jay Jaffe: no.

Scuffy mcgee: who is the most disappointing hitter in baseball right now and why is it Yoan Moncada

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Moncada certainly eyeballs as one of the big disappointments, but the guy has already done two IL stints for oblique and hamstring so I think it’s safe to assume that his struggles have something to do with those. I’m far more mystified by the ostensibly healthy Gallo, for example

Alby: Ohtani question: Traditionally prospects have been steered to either the mound or batter’s box with the explanation that they need to focus on one or the other to max out at that skill. Is it even possible for Ohtani to be better than he is at either hitting or pitching if he just concentrated on one or the other?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I imagine that if he gave up pitching that his offensive numbers would look more like last year’s than this one’s, probably with adequate-or-better outfield defense thrown in, but it’s really difficult to imagine him getting much better than that. Mind-blowing.

Scuffy mcgee: Max muncy, clearly not healthy or sharp decline?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I have to think that the UCL he tore last October and didn’t have surgery on is at least partly responsible for his struggles.

James: What is your explanation for the Astros being 2nd in wRC+ but 12th in runs/game? I know it probably isn’t Dusty’s fault but I like blaming his batting order.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Some of it is sequencing and big holes in the lineup at catcher and 1B. Probably worth a closer look at some point.

Freshbasil: As an idiot (pirates fan) I’m coming around to the idea of trading Reynolds and maybe Bednar now.  With the obvious RP and OF needs of major contenders they’d have to receive an incredible return at this point.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Both have a lot of club control years so I’d imagine they’d get strong returns but because neither is a star ,I don’t think they’re going to be game-changing returns

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Ok folks, time for me to wrap up here. Thanks for stopping by!

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

Mets have nothing to offer the Angels from their farm that would even come close to Ohtani-level, lmao