Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 8/9/18

Jay Jaffe: Hey gang , and welcome to this week’s chat. Apologies for forgetting to reschedule last week’s chat — because of the July 31 trade deadline, I swapped toddler care days with my mother-in-law, who is clutch (I normally take Tuesdays), then forgot how that would impact my normal schedule. Anyway, the deadline, my trip to Cooperstown, and my discovery of an awesome new sandwich shop in DUMBO (Untamed) are now under my belt, and we are all (metaphorically) richer for it. Onward…

Scott: Did you catch any of Fiers start yesterday? I thought he looked great and might even be a WC starter candidate

Jay Jaffe: I saw a bit of it, mostly as background while I finished up a forthcoming piece on Felix Hernandez. Fiers has bedeviled the Dodgers before, no-hitting them in 2015  soon after being acquired by an Astro. He’s a streaky pitcher, and I’d guess he’s got a shot at starting the WC game if he looks like he did last night

Gerb : Hey Jay, so back at the end of May I mentioned that Jose was on pace for a GOAT 3B season, and then you wrote a great article about it! At the time he had accrued 3.7 WAR through 244 PAs. I just wanted point out that since then he has added 3.8 WAR through his next 252. Are we at the point that 10 wins in a more likely than not?? Also apparently he’s decided he’s going 40/40

Jay Jaffe: Jose Ramirez’s ROS projection is for 2.0 WAR, so if you assume that’s the center of the distribution of a large number of outcomes, then he’s got a decent shot at 10. Dan Szymborski is a better person to ask about probabilities though, especially as he’s the guy with the projections. Regardless, he’s having an MVP-caliber season, and the longer Mike Trout sits with his wrist thing, the more possible that becomes

Nelson: Hey Jay, Max Sherzer sure seems on a HF path right? Just the hardware alone should put him in

Jay Jaffe: He’s certainly building a good case for himself, with 3 Cy Youngs and counting, but he’s 34 and has “only” 156 wins and 2,365 strikeouts. He’s significantly behind Kershaw, Greinke, Verlander and Sabathia in JAWS, but if he keeps on keeping on, I think he’ll be in strong position. It would take a lot for the voters NOT to elect a 3 or 4x CY guy

Bruce: What would Degrom need to do to win the Cy with single digit wins? Have Scherzer completely unravel down the stretch?

Jay Jaffe: Right now deGrom has a half-run edge in both ERA and FIP. I do think there’s a lot of sympathy for his plight, and the recent CY voter group has shown it can look past win totals in picking its winner, so I think he’s actually got a decent shot if he keeps this up, single-digit wins or not.

Andrew: You see Soto get thrown out last night? Might have been the weakest ejection I’ve ever seen.

Jay Jaffe: That was some horseshit umpiring

Rick: Lorenzo Cain or Starling Marte?

Jay Jaffe: Is that even a question? I’d Cain every day of the week. Legitimate MVP candidate and a human highlight film as a defender

54: Jay are you aware of a precedents for returning from calcified heels- in baseball, or any major sport? I tried googling it but it was yucky as hell so I stopped. The Mets say it is not career threatening but they said the same thing about Ike Davis and David Wright just before they killed them.

Jay Jaffe: I haven’t heard of any precedents, but if it’s the Mets, you assume death or permanent disability is the most likely outcome, then count your blessings if the guy even makes it to his next birthday.

Nick: This is the dumbest question you’ll get today, but I was just discussing it with a friend – Let’s say Mike Trout played two more seasons at his current pace to reach the 10 years needed for eligibility in the HOF, then retired at 28. If he stayed in shape and announced a comeback attempt at the age of 33 during his Cooperstown podium speech, what would the Hall do? Does he lose his plaque? Obviously someone would sign him, right?

Jay Jaffe: There’s nothing preventing a comeback post-election, but I do think if he retired on his own power at 28, he wouldn’t get the same level of near-unanimity that he would if, to use Jeff Sullivan’s term, he were to fall victim to a storm-chasing accident. A certain segment of the voters would hold out.

It’s a moot point, almost certainly, since there’s no way Trout could walk away from potentially hundreds of millions that he could make if he were still able-bodied.

yerp: NOOOOOOOOOO, Travis!

Obviously, very excited for him. But also sad for Fangraphs.

Jay Jaffe: in case you’re wondering what this is about: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/saying-goodbye/

It’s been an honor to be teammates with Travis for the past six months, because we’ve been longtime admirers of each other’s work. We finally got to meet on the staff trip in Denver, and spent more than half of the Rockies game we attended just talking one-on-one abut baseball. It was a rare opportunity that I’m grateful for. I know he’ll crush it wherever he goes, and I know that FanGraphs will continue to be great even as talented folks move on.

kevinthecomic: We would have chatted with your mother-in-law, FYI……..

Jay Jaffe: She is a great person and a very talented writer herself! Paula Span writes for the New York Times, covering aging and wellness https://www.nytimes.com/column/the-new-old-age as well as, uh, grandmothering (The Bubbe Diaries, you’ll have to google that one).

David: Re: Juan Soto. To be fair, in his prior at bat, Soto was already jawing with the umpire, and the umpire let him talk. However, it was the next at bat where he came up and continued to jaw, which was why he was thrown out.

Jay Jaffe: To be fair, nobody comes to a ballpark to see an umpshow. I haven’t pored over the footage, but I don’t think the ejection was warranted.

Tom: Matt Carpenter – best first baseman in MLB?

Jay Jaffe: If I’m going by any kind of multiyear true talent consideration, then it’s either Joey Votto or Freddie Freeman (with Goldschmidt and Rizzo having taken small and large steps back this year, respectively).

Steven: What’s up with Adam cimber? Can’t strike anyone out since going to Cleveland? Zero K’s so far since being traded (zero!)

Jay Jaffe: the guy has gotten 13 outs as an Indian so far and has been hit a bit. That’s a pretty small sample, but maybe he’s going though some fatigue or something where his stuff isn’t sharp. I wouldn’t lose a ton of sleep over it

Philip-Florida: I gotta ask, do you stand behind the % to win World Series as they are published today?  I ask because Indians (20 games back of Sox) are listed MORE likely to win WS?!?

Jay Jaffe: The playoff odds system isn’t mine, and we present more than one set of odds so as to enhance understanding of the questions we’re trying to answer. The regular version, which incorporates rest-of-season steamer/Zips projections, actually shows the Red Sox with a 15.9% chance at winning the WS, Indians at 14.2%, so already you’re missing something. The Season-to-Date odds give the Sox about a 21-10% edge Only the coin flip odds put the Indians ahead of the Red Sox, and that by all of 0.2%. You can read more about the methodologies here https://www.fangraphs.com/standings/playoff-odds/about

Johnny Coconuts: There’s a significant gap in career WAR for modern shortstops between the adjacent Alan Trammell (63.7) and Jimmy Rollins 49.6). Do you view Trammell as more of a jumping off point, or would you consider someone like Lindor for HOF if he ends up somewhere in the middle (perhaps assuming he wins a WS)?

Jay Jaffe: the JAWS standard (average of career and 7-year peak bWAR) is 55.0. Trammel is at 57.8 — a bit better than a HOF SS needs to be to earn my vote, Rollins at 39.3, so far short that I wouldn’t think twice about leaving him off my ballot. Between Lindor, Correa, a hopefully healed Seager and who knows who else, we’re at least 15 years away from seeing where these guys land relative to those two.

Jim: Does a Kershaw that can’t break 91 mph and induced 4 swinging strikes last night still opt out after this year?

Jay Jaffe: I’m not about to read too much into a single performance, but I have a feeling Kershaw’s 3 straight years of injuries turn the opt-out into a quiet extension with the Dodgers.

Jason: Hi Jay, hope you’re having a nice day. Not sure if you’ve discussed it before, but what are your HOF odds for guys like Goldschmidt, Rizzo, and Freeman? I’m assuming Votto’s closer than them so I wouldn’t include him in that group.

Jay Jaffe: JAWS & age so far: Goldy 38.0, 30 y/o, Freddie 30.9, 28 y.o, Tony 27.5, 29 y.o. If I had to guess I’d probably say 30%, 20%, 15% — Rizzo won’t make it if he’s already going into decline, and he’s at just 1.5 WAR this year.

Bo: Odds that Markakis receives a QO? Would he take it, or will someone offer him 3 years?

Jay Jaffe: I’d think he gets the QO, he’s earned it, but he’ll do better than that I think. Wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Braves re-up him given the high esteem in which they hold him.

In general, it’s very tough to go wrong with a one-year deal, and there is zero reason not to offer a guy coming off a strong year one, on the off chance he takes it and you defer having to take an even bigger risk in his long-term production

NotGreinke283920120: Zack Greinke might be the most underrated pitcher of all-time, maybe next to Mussina. Not a question.

Jay Jaffe: He’s got a Cy Young award and two of the largest contracts for a pitcher in history. I’d say he hasn’t been underrated at all.

Chinaski: So Jayson Werth said this: “… I think it’s killing the game. It’s to the point where just put computers out there. Just put laptops and what have you, just put them out there and let them play. We don’t even need to go out there anymore. It’s a joke.” Do people really misunderstand the purpose of data analysis to this degree? Or is he just lashing out?

Jay Jaffe: Sasquatch is angry and needs to go back into the woods

Humpty: Super loved your tweet about football the other day.  I’m totally with you on it… at this stage in my existence, give me extra innings of the O’s-ChiSox over any nfl nonsense.

Jay Jaffe: thanks! I seem to have touched a nerve

Football? They still play that sport with the concussions and the non-guaranteed contracts and the threatened suspe… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
8 Aug 2018
ResumeMan: Any idea why Dan’s chat page always stays on the “live chat” app for so long rather than reverting to a transcript almost immediately like the other chatters? I have some work-imposed technical headaches reading the “live” version most of the time, so I tend to wait till the chat is over and read the transcript.

Jay Jaffe: Converting the chat to transcript is a manual process done post-chat by the person in question. Maybe Dan expects the interns to do it for him? I don’t think we have interns, btw. I’ll show him your note.


Jay Jaffe: we’re going to tape a few very good dogs together until we figure out a better idea. He’ll be hard to replace.

Bo: Harper out of the lineup today… How worried should Nationals fans be about the rest of the season?

Jay Jaffe: Regardless of Harper’s knee, on a scale of 1-to-cracking-each-other’s-skulls-open-and-feasting-on-the-goo-inside, I’d make sure to have a hammer and a spoon somewhere in the house, but it’s not yet necessary to keep them in your pockets.

Pine Needles: Some friends and I were debating who is a more likely HoFer, Yadier or Mauer. JAWS makes it pretty clearly Mauer, do you agree with your metric?

Jay Jaffe: I think they’ll both wind up there https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/yadier-molinas-climb-towards-coopersto…

Russ: has any rookie top-25ish prospect ever had as terrible a season at the plate as scott kingery is this year? he’s been beyond dreadful, and far worse than i expected him to be.

Jay Jaffe: Brandon Phillips comes to mind immediately, but there may be more. Phillips was #7 on Baseball America’s list in 2003, when he went on to hit .208/.242/.311. Still had an excellent career, but he was also 22 years old at the time of his struggles, where Kingery is 24

Mark: Rosario, Swanson, Crawford, and Arcia were all top SS prospects who have disappointed to quite a degree. Which, if any, of these players is most likely to become somewhat close to what was expected?

Jay Jaffe: that’s a better question for Eric and Kiley than it is for me. Of that group, I’m still highest on Swanson

Jake : Hey jay, how do u incorporate postseason success into your view of HOF? Furthermore, do you have Lance Berkman in with his high JAWS and postseason success?

Jay Jaffe: Postseason isn’t something that can be quantified in the way that JAWS can, but it’s certainly worth considering as part of the more subjective areas of a HOF case (which in my mind might account for at most 20-25% of a case).

Berkman is 20th in JAWS among LF, about 8 points off the standard. Even with good postseason numbers, I still think that he’s shy. It’s basically a moot point since he has “only” 1,905 hits and the voters haven’t elected anyone with fewer than 2,000 from the post-1960 expansion era. There are at least half a dozen Rule of 2000 guys ahead of him that I’d advocate for before I’d think about pushing for Berkman. Grich, Utley, Allen, Minoso, Munson, plus Votto and Posey even if they don’t get there b/c they’re already ahead of the peak (WAR7) standards at their positions.

Chicken Sandwich: Is Joey Votto good anymore? 1 HR in his last 40 games, 8 XBH.  Or, do we not care enough about power from him while he posts an almost .500 OBP?

Jay Jaffe: Dude has a 136 wRC+ even while slugging .427 this year. The SLG isn’t a great sign for the future, but you can put a 136 wRC+-ing 1B in my lineup any day without complaint.

Mattyb: What will the Mariners do with Felix? Phantom DL stint?

Jay Jaffe: a question I address in my forthcoming piece, which the editorial elves are currently varnishing. I’m told it will run at 1:30 pm ET

Oyster Burns: who is your favorite player to watch for purely aesthetics?

Jay Jaffe: Not sure I can decide on just one. Among them: Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa, Yasiel Puig when he’s hot, Lorenzo Cain, Kershaw, Scherzer, Verlander, Bartolo, Beltre.

Mike: Knee jerk reaction to the HOF Mauer comment is hell no.

Jay Jaffe: yeesh, what are you, a Twins fan?

Wrote this about Mauer a few months ago. https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/joe-mauer-and-the-rule-of-2000/

cm: Re: Trout and comeback after Hall of Fame.  It almost happened with Jim Palmer.  He was in the Hall when he went to Spring Training with the Orioles.  He ended up realizing he didn’t still have it though.

Humpty: Mauer for HOF?  I have to disagree.  Hall of very good?  Yes.  I’ll be very surprised if he makes Cooperstown tho.

John: Any thoughts on Sam Miller’s recent piece that maybe 200 wins is the new 300?

Jay Jaffe: Haven’t read it but I have something in the works as 200 pertains to Verlander et al.

Anonymous: Is Bumgarner a HOF-er?

Jay Jaffe: No. Obviously, he’s got postseason credentials for days but his JAWS is just 31.4 right now, 243rd among SP. He has just one 5.0 bWAR season to his credit, and his fastball is declining. https://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/jaws_P.shtml

Bo: How has Anibal Sanchez found such success this year? Is he doing anything different?

Jay Jaffe: I haven’t looked closely — might be worth investigating — but I’d assume that health is a big reason for his rebound

Scott: Joey Votto or JD Martinez, who’s the smarter hitter?

Jay Jaffe: Votto, but I’m impressed the extent to which Martinez has revamped his game over the past 5 years.

Mike: With Miller back and the bullpen appearing to be stabilized, does Cleveland fit in with the AL superpowers (Boston, NY, Houston) or are they still a few steps below?

Jay Jaffe: they’re below that top tier, but i guess we’ll see to what extent come October.

PD: Miguel Tejada was 24 and had a 74 +wRC and -0.5 WAR.

Jay Jaffe: Another good one for the Kingery/Phillips question. Tejada was BA’s #6 prospect when he struggled with a cup of coffee in 1997 and then #10 entering the aforementioned season.

Oyster Burns: would you be more concerned about andujar’s obp or glove?

Jay Jaffe: More concerned about the glove given the metrics (-9 UZR, -14 DRS in 2/3 of a season) than the .324 OBP. That will play so long as the power is there, and brother, the power is THERE

silvpak: elvis andrus on the vizquel/smith path? 29 years old and over 1500 career hits already, seems to have a decent shot at 3k.

Jay Jaffe: His defensive numbers — and his WAR7 — are much more Omar than Ozzie. He’d have to maintain his current league average-ish offensive production for me to believe he has any real shot at getting to 3K.

Humpty: How is Bumgarner a No “obviously”?  He’s only 29.  Lots of baseball in that arm I suspect.

Jay Jaffe: please reread my answer. The “obviously” was connected to his postseason credentials. My basis for suggesting he’s not going to have the staying power is what I wrote about his fastball here https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-giants-are-going-nowhere/. Felix Hernandez is yet another reminder that heavy use in 20s does not portend strong 30s for a pitcher, especially once that fastball declines.

James: Simmons a potential HOF? averaging 5 WAR (2013 – 2017) and already has 5 this year, plus he is an elite defender who’s offense is getting better each year

Jay Jaffe: I think he’s got a real shot. His WAR7 is already at 33.7, and that is with fewer than seven full seasons played!

Woad Raider: Trevor Story is hitting for average and not striking out as much? Is he now one the NL’s best SS now? That power and his speed are amazing!

Jay Jaffe: He’s shored up his game nicely. His 3.4 WAR is tied with Trea Turner for tops among NL SS this year, so I think he’s at least in the discussion. I’d put both of those guys behind a healthy Corey Seager, but since Corey Seager isn’t healthy right now…

CubbieBlues: Hey Jay, many thanks for chatting. Are there any managers or front office execs who you think are going to make the HoF?

Jay Jaffe: among execs, Cashman and Epstein are quite likely and likewise for Bochy and Francona among managers, and Scioscia has a shot

Jay Jaffe: OK, the Felix piece is out https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/exile-for-king-felix/ and I’m about to go have leftover instant pot chicken tacos (https://lifemadesimplebakes.com/2017/07/instant-pot-shredded-chicken-t…) for lunch. Thanks for stopping by today!

Roman Numeral Three: Where do you stand on Bernie Williams?  If Jim Rice is a HOFer, why didn’t Bernie get more love?

Jay Jaffe: Dreadful defensive metrics, different electorates.

Jay Jaffe: and with that, good day!

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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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