Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 9/15/20

2:01
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Good afternoon and beware the Ides of September. As I wait for the queue to fill up, here’s the first look at MLB’s freshly-announced playoff schedule:

2:01
Avatar Jay Jaffe:

The 2020 @MLB Postseason will begin with the AL Wild Card Series on Tuesday, 9/29, while Game One of the 2020 World Series at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas will be played on Tuesday, 10/20.
15 Sep 2020
2:02
Avatar Jay Jaffe: This might be too much baseball:

No travel = no travel days for the DS and CS. The World Series will end on October 28. at the latest.
15 Sep 2020
2:02
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Note that after the so-called Wild Card round, which will be played at the sites of each league’s top four seeds, the rest of the games will be at neutral sites, hence no Dodgers in Dodger Stadium, etc.

2:03
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Because ties will be settled in the most exciting way of all — mathematically — this year’s Team Entropy is a bit less chaotic than the past, but I hope still helpful in explaining how this playoff format works. Here’s the NL picture https://blogs.fangraphs.com/team-entropy-2020-more-like-un-tropy-right…

2:04
Avatar Jay Jaffe: let me spin up Toots and the Maytals’ Funky Kingston (RIP Toots Hibbert) and we’ll get on with the show

2:05
Cueto’s Shimmy: I usually skip around MLB.tv to watch the best pitchers, but Cueto quick pitched and shimmied his way to #1 in my heart. Who else comes to mind as pitchers who are more “interesting/unique” than elite? In Ben’s chat, he came up with Dylan Cease, Chase Anderson and Yusmeiro Petit. Any additions? Thanks!

2:06
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Luis Castillo and Dustin May come to mind, though the former isn’t that far off from elite.

2:07
Chris: Based on the metrics, aren’t the Padres a better team than the Dodgers at this moment?

2:08
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The Padres have the better offense, the Dodgers the better pitching and defense (nearly 40 points of defensive efficiency and 25 DRS)

2:08
Avatar Jay Jaffe: though you wouldn’t have known it watching the late innings last night, when the Dodgers stunk on ice

2:08
Christian: When you watch DeGrom pitch, do you say to yourself “I am watching a HOFer”?

2:09
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’d say that I’m watching a guy who has a shot at the Hall but a very unconventional case thanks to his late arrival.

2:09
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: Woah, no travel days! Isn’t that a huge change for teams because the usual strategy is three starters?

2:11
Avatar Jay Jaffe: if you study it you’ll find that most teams actually use four starters in the postseason, even if #4 gets the fifth-starter/short treatment these days. What this is going to change, I think, is the ability to keep going to the same top relievers every day; 2-on, 1-off is doable for most but 3 straight is a bigger ask.

2:11
Chris: So the Astros have to play their ALDS games in Dodgers Stadium?  I can’t wait to see what the Dodgers fans have in store for the players during their stay in LA!  (For the recent 2-game series in LA, they had multiple airplane banners and 100+ fans chanting “We hate you!” at the team’s entrance to the stadium.)

2:12
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It’s a lot of sound and fury, signifying very little but allowing fans to vent. Didn’t stop the Astros from coming back against Jansen the other day, did it?

2:12
Christopher: What is the biggest hole (e.g., bullpen, first base, back of the rotation) on a playoff contender right now, and how should that contender address it?

2:13
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The Indians outfield is just a gaping vortex of suck and since today’s the last day they can add somebody to the roster to be postseason-eligible, they’re going to need a time machine to fix it.

2:14
Avatar Jay Jaffe: they’ve gotten a 51 wRC+ from that outfield and -1.1 WAR

2:15
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The Phillies’ bullpen has a 7.18 ERA and 5.88 FIP. I recommend all the righties try to throw lefty and all the lefties try to throw righty. That will fix things for sure.

2:15
pg: Will the regular season extra innings rule apply to post-season as well?

2:15
Avatar Jay Jaffe: yes

2:16
Gil: Hi Jay,

Excited as I am about the sale of the Mets to anyone other than the Wilpons, what are your expectations for the immediate and long term future of the team? I certainly want to be excited but there are a lot of variables here that are difficult to account for without having the Cohen ownership actually in charge for a while.

2:19
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I don’t think anybody really knows what Cohen’s going to bring. Based on past ownership changes, I think we can expect that we’ll see a new GM at some point, and if so a new manager, but perhaps not immediately. What I imagine could happen would be to bring in a president of baseball operations above Brodie, basically reviewing whether or not he should be GM and Rojas managing, and also doing the same with the scouting and player development departments, etc.

2:20
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I know this: they ain’t gonna go out and sign Mookie Betts.

2:20
Haley: Marlins at 80% playoff odds.  Is this basically a fluke of the short season and expanded playoffs, or perhaps a situation similar to the 2015 Astros or Cubs, where the rebuild came together sooner than anticipated?

2:20
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It’s a combination of all of those things to some degree, plus the calamities that have befallen the Mets and Nationals.

2:21
Joshua: In the last chat with Ben he said he liked this offseason trade idea, what do you think: Nats send Carter Kieboom and Wil Crowe to the Giants for Mike Yaz and Brandon Belt. Have at it!

2:23
Avatar Jay Jaffe: No, giving up way too much good young talent for a going-on-33-year-old who hasn’t had a good full season since 2016 (and has just 1 year of control) plus a fun late bloomer who’s already on the wrong side of 30.

2:23
Tom: Cleveland’s outfield worse than St. Louis’s?

2:23
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Cardinals +1.3 WAR (2.4 WAR advantage) and 85 wRC+ (34-point advantage) so yes

2:23
Doug: What is better result for MLB. Dodgers vs Yankees World Series? Or White Sox vs Padres?

2:25
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Dodgers-Yankees will bring in the highest viewership numbers. White Sox-Padres wouldn’t be a disaster (Chicago is a big market, after all) and a chance to showcase a lot of young talent on the national stage. I don’t think either is a losing proposition.

2:25
Nick: Would the Rangers’ new ballpark still have been an option to host the World Series if the Rangers had any chance of being in the World Series?

2:25
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Likely no, since the league is keeping every team at a neutral site past the first round.

2:27
Guest: Will there still be 28-man rosters in the postseason?

2:27
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Yes, apparently with 12-man taxi squads

2:27
Buffalo Blue Jays fan: With the special committees getting pushed back a year, Schilling being connected (in name at a minimum) to a charity embezzlement scam, and no realistic first year names, do any players have a shot at making the Hall of Fame this year?

2:30
Avatar Jay Jaffe: it’s quite possible we’ll see nobody elected by the BBWAA. Schilling (70.0%), Clemens (61.0%) and Bonds (60.7%) are the top three returning candidates, Vizquel (52.6%) too far off (and too polarizing) to get there in one year, and none of the new guys is likely to even get 5%. That still leaves the four honorees from this year’s postponed festivities to induct, so there will (hopefully) be something to celebrate in Cooperstown next summer.

2:30
Logan: Re: Holes on playoff contenders: who fills out the starting rotation for the Braves in the post-season?

2:30
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, Niekro

2:31
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Or more likely some combination of Ian Anderson, Max Fried, Cole Hamels, and an opener.

2:32
nervous fan: I am afraid expanded playoffs may be here to stay — hard to put the financial toothpaste back in the tube — but I fear they would really kill the intensity of the regular season. What’s your read on how likely we are to go back to the 10-team playoff we’ve seen in recent years?

2:33
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think people are going to be overwhelmed and numbed by 4-8 games a day in the first round this year and that we’ll get back to 10 teams next year

2:35
Trent: Which World Series in your life time has been most exciting, and which did you find most boring?  For me, the answers would be 2001 or 2016 for the former, and 2005 or 2008 for the latter.

2:38
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’m not going to generalize about half a century worth of World Series but sweeps are almost invariably dull as dishwater (2004, ’05, ’07, ’12, to confine them to the time in which I’ve been writing about baseball). All of the recent 7-gamers have been real rollercoasters

2:38
Rain: …what about rain? Playoff 7 inning doubleheader battles?

2:38
Avatar Jay Jaffe: not sure about that. Haven’t seen if they’ve made an announcement about that while i’ve been in this chat

2:39
Benny: How would you rank Russell Martin, Ben Zobrist, and Felix Hernandez in likelihood to return to MLB next season, taking into account both desire and ability?

2:40
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Hernandez appeared to have made the Braves so I’d put him first. Martin publicly said he was planning to play this year but nothing ever materialized. I don’t think we ever heard anything similar from Zobrist, though.

2:40
pg: Next ten years, who you taking- Trout, Tatis, or Juan Soto?

2:42
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Tatis given that he’s shored up his defensive woes whereas Soto, for as fantastic a hitter as he is, is already DH-ready already (-8 UZR and -13 DRS  in about 2 seasons worth of playing time)

2:42
Joe: I know the small sample size is making it hard to judge things, but what should Yankees fans be most worried about going forward? Injuries? Cashman? Sanchez? Stanton’s contract?

2:44
Avatar Jay Jaffe: For the remainder of 2020 it’s the rotation and Sanchez. The Stanton deal may be a problem but come on, this team isn’t going to be stopped in its tracks by one bad contract

2:44
Andi: Phillies annual fall from contention imminent?

2:45
Avatar Jay Jaffe: they’re likely to make the participation-trophy playoffs (~66%)

2:46
Scott: who Is your favourite for nl cy young

2:46
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Probably deGrom, with Darvish and Burnes (!) in the picture too

2:46
Chris: Why is manfred having teams play in 283 aqi?

2:48
Avatar Jay Jaffe: it’s seriously ridiculous that they’re playing through that. As a matter of player safety, this deserves MLB’s attention right now, even if it means moving games to neutral sites.

2:48
Trent: Overwhelmed by too many playoff games?  Sports fans cite the first two days of March Madness as some of the best days in sports because of the number of games.  Sign me up for a baseball version.

2:49
Avatar Jay Jaffe: not all baseball fans are wired that way. Not everybody is going to sit through 2 4-hour games back-to-back

2:50
Avatar Jay Jaffe: but yes, if you love it, more power to you. I’m exhausted thinking about our coverage plan, though.

2:51
Ry: So in order to contextualize this season, I exported the FG leaderboard and calculated the WAR for every player if they were given 600 PA (WAR/PA*600). Miggy Rojas is playing out of him mind 9.7 WAR pace…. feel like more should be written about him

2:54
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Good for Rojas but don’t expect it to last Hot streaks of even 93 PA (his total to date) aren’t that uncommon, and in his case, his 88 mph average exit velo doesn’t support that extreme slash line

2:55
WinTwins0410: Jay, I know that you’re not a supporter of Andy Pettitte for the Hall of Fame. But I’m curious — by what percentage points do you think the HGH admissions are hurting him with the writers. IE, he got 11% of the writers’ vote this past year. What percent do you think he’d be garnering from the writers if Pettitte hadn’t admitted to using PEDs? 25%? 40%? 20%?

2:56
Avatar Jay Jaffe: maybe 10-20 points? 3.85 ERA plus comparatively modest strikeout total given his longevity, no Cys… compare him to Mussina and he’s a significant step or two behind in everything but postseason volume.

2:56
Grisham: Tatis vs. Trout for the next ten years is reasonable, but what about, say, the next five or seven?  I’d still probably take Trout over either of those timeframes.

2:57
Avatar Jay Jaffe: the shorter the timeframe the more the arrow still points towards Trout, I think (though this year’s defensive decline is a concern)

2:57
And1: Are injuries to Wheeler, Hoskins and JT included in that projection?

3:00
Avatar Jay Jaffe: For every team, the playoff odds is a combination of performance to date, schedule ahead, and individual player projections, which include our estimates of playing time. We have Realmuto projected for 31 PA remaining, Hoskins 0 (UCL ouch), and Wheeler 15 innings. The thing is that those are pretty small numbers and the increment of shifting some time over to backups doesn’t do a ton, not when, like, the banged-up Mets are their closest pursuers.

3:00
Trent Hauser: Who do you like in the Phillies pen during the playoffs?

3:02
Avatar Jay Jaffe: pretty much anybody but the guys they have.

3:03
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Parker hasn’t been bad

3:03
Rohit: Thoughts on Freddie Freeman’s shot at the Hall? What would you need to see in the next 5+ years for him to get there?

3:07
Avatar Jay Jaffe: He’s 31 and has a 31.9 peak score (WAR7), with just one season above 6.0 and three seasons of at least 5.0. Four more at exactly 5.0 would take him to 37.2, which is still 5.5 shy of the standard at the position. In other words, he’s gonna need to put together several six-win seasons to look like a good candidate. Votto has five of ’em plus one at 5.9 Cabrera four of them plus one at 5.8. Both are above the peak standard — that kind of volume will get Freddie there.

3:08
Benny: What order do you have Freeman, Rizzo, and Goldschmidt in Hall likelihood? What about Arenado, Machado, and Rendon?

3:09
Avatar Jay Jaffe: This is probably an article topic, not a chat answer but I don’t see much chance for Rizzo

3:10
Freddie Franchise: Who would you choose as the starting LF for the Braves next season, assuming the DH is gone: Ozuna or Duvall?

3:11
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Ozuna — younger, far better on-base skills, better defender, higher ceiling

3:11
Greg: What do you make of Shogo Akyama’s future in the majors?

3:13
Avatar Jay Jaffe: He’s hitting .228/.347/.283 with an average exit velo of 85 mph. I haven’t really followed closely as to what’s happened but he looks like a 5th outfielder with defense and base-stealing specialties. For $7M/year, that’s pricey.

3:13
Lorenzo: Probably not Betts like you say, but can you envision the Mets now possibly getting the green light to go hard after guys like Realmuto and Bauer?

3:13
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Possibly though I though Bauer was on record as wanting to go year to year with his contracts.

3:14
Bart: Sorry, what is 283 aqi?

3:15
Trent Hauser: Favorite sleeper SP during the 2020 playoffs?

3:16
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Maybe Sixto Sanchez, who has just 32 IP so far (1.89 ERA, 3.26 FIP)

3:16
Trent Hauser: How do you like Jose Berrios moving forward? Could hit FA at 29/30

3:17
Avatar Jay Jaffe: He’s never really broken out but has been a very solid 3-4 WAR pitcher. It will all depend on how he withstands the workloads

3:17
Appa Yip Yip: Trying to figure out who my NL postseason bandwagon team will be and it’s a tossup between the Padres and the Dodgers. Who would you choose?

3:19
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I can understand if people are tired of the Dodgers  — the Padres are a lot of fun and have in Tatis one of the most electrifying players in baseball. On the other hand, the Dodgers have been so good for awhile without cashing in a championship and losing out to two teams that were busted for sign-stealing, so I can understand hoping they get their due.

3:19
Chris: FanGraphs exists because people care about baseball.  A lot of fans still care very much about the fact that the Astros cheated and got away with it.  I don’t think you should say a mass expression by fans at Dodgers stadium “signifies very little.”

3:20
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’m not sure it was enough to qualify as “mass” but your point is taken

3:20
Sammy So-so: This will make my fellow NYM fans mad, but J.D. Davis shouldn’t be playing anywhere in the field and isn’t a good enough hitter to be a full-time DH. I think he’s more of a good bench player. Am I wrong?

3:22
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Davis is too brutal defensively to play in the field regularly. 119 wRC+ is about the floor of what you’d hope for a DH, though it’s tough to say no to a .376 OBP regardless of power. With Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith on the roster, I’m not sure there’s much need for Davis.

3:22
Trent Hauser: Why do the Cubs seemingly have more success turning ML pitchers around than developing MiL pitchers?

3:26
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I mean, it wasn’t so long ago that we were watching the likes of Darvish and Chatwood go to seed on their watch, though yes, it feels like forever since they drafted and developed a good pitcher. Theo has always preferred to trade for them, i guess

3:26
Lorenzo: It would seem foolish for Bauer not to cash in and reverse his one year at a time strategy if he keeps up this pace.  I’d imagine he’d get offers of at least 3/$75M or more

3:27
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’m not sure if he’s still committed to the bit, as I generally try to avoid what’s coming out of his mouth. But yes, it makes sense to cash in given the likelihood of injuries and year-to-year performance dips (such as his 2019).

3:30
TKDC: Jenna West at SI said the runner on second rule won’t apply in postseason.

3:31
Avatar Jay Jaffe: MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince had it in late August but I guess I missed it. Yes, no extra innings rule in the postseason, though I wouldn’t be at all surprised if  we’re going to see the rule used next year as well https://www.mlb.com/news/faq-for-2020-baseball-season

3:32
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Ok folks, I’ve reached my pitch count. Thanks for stopping by today! We’ll do it again next week.

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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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