Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 9/20/18

12:02
Jay Jaffe: Good afternoon and welcome to another edition of my Thursday chat! Thanks for stopping by. I don’t have anything witty to say, but the thumb is healing nicely — had my two stitches out on Sunday and the thing no longer looks like a trainwreck in a plate of rigatoni. Let’s get to it.

12:03
stever20: totally get what you think should happen with Sale and the AL Cy Young.  But what do you think will happen should Sale not get to 162 innings?  Does he have a realistic shot?

12:05
Jay Jaffe: That’s a very good question, and with the Red Sox taking a particularly conservative approach such that he’ll fall short of 162 innings (he’s at 150 and figures to have two turns left, both possibly after his team clinches the division) I think the race might be up in the air. I’m starting to think that Blake Snell’s combination of 20 wins and an ERA title might carry the day, regardless of the strikeouts (where he’s a respectable but not dominant 8th) and the advanced metrics.

12:05
tb.25: What does JAWS say about Chris Sale? I realize I haven’t seen much on his HOF candidacy except his appearance on some JAWS tables (and if you’ve written about him, forgive me!)

12:10
Jay Jaffe: Sale’s at 43.0 WAR as he nears the end of his age-29 season, which isn’t historic but is 11th since the start of 1969. It’s a mixed bag in his neighborhood, with five obvious HOF types at the top (Clemens, Blyleven, Kershaw, Pedro, Maddux) at 50.5 to 62.8, then Felix at 50.0, Appier at 45.8 (big drop), Seaver 45.3, Saberhagen 44.9, CC Sabathia at 43.4 and then Sale; Verlander’s 9 spots lower at 36.4 and there are guys like Stieb, Gooden, Tanana and Zambrano between them, with Mussina (37.7) the only real HOF type guy in the middle.

Bottom line: it’s all going to depend on Sale’s ability to carry this into his 30s, and avoid what happened to Felix, but he’s got a good base to build upon.

12:11
pkddb: Using whatever method you feel needed, was there a more dominant pitcher you have experienced in your adult life than Pedro in his prime?

12:13
Jay Jaffe: Pedro’s numbers are remarkable, as was his performance, but Randy Johnson had a more visceral quality about his dominance — the capacity to induce sheer terror with that height, that reach and that velocity — as well as remarkable durability, which I think together place him ahead of Pedro within my own pantheon.

12:13
Bo: Touki looked better yesterday than Teheran or Newcomb have been recently… Any chance he gets the nod as 4th starter in the NLDS?

12:16
Jay Jaffe: I think I’ve had a Teheran question in every single chat I’ve done at FanGraphs thus far. It’s very clear that the Braves value Teheran’s experience and durability beyond the numbers, and I can’t imagine him not getting a start in the playoffs if he’s healthy, given the lack of experience elsewhere in the rotation.

With 16 walks in 23 big league innings standing as the entire body of a 22-year-old’s major league work, I’d be shocked if Touki is a playoff starter unless there’s an injury elsewhere.

12:16
Sacred of my own shadow: The Oakland A’s are going to make the playoffs right? Tell me it’s going to be okay because I’m running dangerously low on Ativan.

12:17
Jay Jaffe: They have a 5.5-game lead over the Rays with 10 games remaining. Our odds have them at 99.4%. Relax.

12:18
Bork: Puig’s moonshot last night was fueled by rage. His house was robbed for a FOURTH time.

12:20
Jay Jaffe: Maybe he should hire a couple security guards?

I’m loathe to  draw too much of a connection between the robbery and the home run, but Puig is a player whose ability to focus seems to vary widely. When he’s locked in, though — well, we’ve seen what can happen.

12:20
Imamonsterman: Luke Voit huh?  Seems like the Yankees have found something pretty good

12:23
Jay Jaffe: He’s been a great addition, a big upgrade over both Bird and Tyler Austin. He’s got a 180 wRC+ since joining the Yankees on August 2; that’s 5th among players with at least 60 PA in that span and tops among those who were dealt in the days/weeks leading up to the deadline, though Tommy Pham (173) has a 20-PA advantage (124 to 104)

https://www.fangraphs.com/leaderssplits.aspx?splitArr=&strgroup=season

12:23
Joe: I’m curious if you think the playoff odds models could be made better by a higher drift rate. This year in particular the models are making particularly extreme predictions for the playoffs that don’t reflect the revealed quality of the squads involved.

12:25
Jay Jaffe: You know that there are multiple versions of our odds page, right? You can look at the season-to-date version (https://www.fangraphs.com/standings/playoff-odds/season-to-date/div) or the coin flip version (https://www.fangraphs.com/standings/playoff-odds/coin-flip/div) as a contrast to our projection-driven one.

12:25
Vslyke: The A’s suddenly have a severe OF crunch – do you think any of Laureano, Fowler, Canha, Martini, or Piscotty will be dealt this offseason?

12:28
Jay Jaffe: Fowler’s been so bad that he’s probably back in Triple A next year and Martini’s a 28-year-old rookie with 45 games under his belt. Hell, Laureano has only played 39 games. The A’s can deal from strength in this area if they choose but I don’t see this is a severe situation — it’s not like we’re talking about a bunch of guys with long track records of success.

12:29
Nate: What player has been hurt the most in the HOF voting by the 5 year wait period?  Pete Rose?  McGwire?

12:33
Jay Jaffe: Those might be the top two. I do wonder what would have happened had the Rose stuff not blown up before he was elected. I think the Hall would have been placed in a very awkward position.

BTW, I think the “What about Pete Rose” response  when it comes to the question about how the Hall should handle PED users is about the dumbest thing that can come out of a person’s mouth. The difference is massive in terms of breaking a rule whose consequences had been clear for more than half a century versus one where there was legality (in the case of andro) and no enforceability (in the case of MLB’s Vincent-era paper ban on PEDs).

12:33
Trout is our Lord and Savior: Is this the best version of Mike Trout that you’ve seen? Do you think he could actually win AL MVP this season?

12:36
Jay Jaffe: The defensive metrics give a clear edge to his 2012 rookie season but he’s a better hitter now, for sure. I do think that Betts, who has missed about as much time and yet has a similarly astronomical WAR, will win the award due to the bonus of his team making the playoffs versus the Angels’ .500-ish showing.

12:37
Jake Junis Priest: Do you have a take on the Adam Jones situation? Nixed a deal because he was worried about losing playing time with the Phillies before free agency, but now the O’s play him sparingly to “audition” the young talent, which is both true (Cedric Mullins) and false (Joey Rickard). Is it just pettiness? I’d been hoping the O’s would bring him back as a veteran presence, but now…

12:41
Jay Jaffe: It’s been a less-than-desirable outcome for both sides, but I don’t see anything wrong with how either side has handled this. Jones, whose bond with the city of Baltimore is unique, exercised a right that players fought for and won over 45 years ago., and as he said, the Phillies were less than a perfect fit given the probability of him playing part-time at a relatively unfamiliar position as he heads into free agency. The Orioles, going nowhere, are looking to their next phase, which I think they have every reason to.

12:41
Willians A-su-su-studillo: How many extra votes does dark horse candidate JD get if he wins the triple crown?

12:43
Jay Jaffe: Hopefully fewer than Miguel Cabrera did in 2012, because we don’t need a repeat of that. Winning the Triple Crown is very cool, but those stats are imperfect proxies for value, and defense should definitely matter, particularly when we’re comparing an elite defender and a DH-caliber one.

12:45
Pat: I am always surprised when I see that Zack Greinke has more WAR than Verlander, among others.  A. How is that?  B. Is Greinke’s career one that will end up being overlooked when HOF voting comes? He’s played for a bunch of teams, most of them in small markets (& even LAD is a West Coast team), doesn’t have one notable skill to hang his hat on, doesn’t have notable post-season success, etc.

12:47
Jay Jaffe: Right, I need to write about Zack, who’s having a very solid but not award-caliber season . Let me try to get to that sometime in the next week.

12:48
Jay: I’m assuming xFIP is a big component of pitching WAR…why not use xwOBA which directly measures the quality of contact? xFIP seems to assume league average damage on balls in play.

12:52
Jay Jaffe: xFIP is not actually used in our version of WAR. It’s been around a lot longer than xwOBA, about which there’s still some question as to what it’s actually measuring (i.e., is it predictive). I know Craig Edwards was playing around with an xwOBA-driven version of WAR in his recent Cy Young breakdowns — might be worth asking his opinion on this stuff as it’s more informed than mine.

12:52
Fahad: Lets talk about prospects.

12:53
Jay Jaffe: Your prospects for getting good prospect info out of me are nil. Best to wait for Kiley or Eric to chat.

12:53
Guest: Pretty sure you meant 5th there for Voit not 50th

12:53
Jay Jaffe: Whoops yes, transcript edited.

12:53
Guest: How would MLB handle a story of a current HOFer being on a steroid report? For example, what if it suddenly comes out that Pedro was on steroids? Would they spike the story? Do they remove him from the Hall?

12:56
Jay Jaffe: Spike the story? You think the Hall has that kind of power? ha. For as strident as the opinion of Joe Morgan and some of the institution’s other board members may be, I have a hard time imagining the Hall opening Pandora’s Box regarding a PED-related situation such as this. It would be a mess no matter how they handle it.

12:56
Roman Numeral Three: Speaking of Voit: if he hits one more home run for the Yanks, he’ll be the *twelfth* person to have  double digit homers in a Yankee uniform this season.  That’s more than crazy, right?

12:58
Jay Jaffe: Wrote about this today https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-yankees-have-a-shot-at-some-home-r…. Historically, he thing about having so many players with 10+ homers is that it can indicate outstanding depth but also interchangeable mediocrity. Bird, Sanchez and Walker, for example, are part of that count and each has a wRC+ below 90; together they’ve combined for 1.0 WAR.

12:58
stever20: Do you think we’re ever going to see a limiting of the September roster callups?

12:59
Jay Jaffe: I bet there’s some kind of rule change in the next CBA. Maybe the addition of a few active spots for September games. I don’t get the sense this is very high on the priority list, though it does pertain to the larger issue of service time.

12:59
Dan the Mets Fan: Who do you advise for a catcher starved team this offseason: Grandal or Ramos?

1:01
Jay Jaffe: Grandal is more than a year younger, much more durable and a better defender.

1:02
Lou: I wanted to explain to a “fire Dave Roberts” coworker of mine the concept of reverse splits so I looked up Puig on Fangraphs and to my surprise he has one at-bat as a LHH against a LHP.  Is this a mistake?

1:02
Jay Jaffe: Saw that, and yes, I believe so. It doesn’t show up on the B-Ref splits, which suggests it’s a bit of bad data that we have not filtered out.

1:03
Bread Gardner: What do the Yankees do with Gardner after the season?

1:07
Jay Jaffe: Picking up his $12.5 million option would seem to be a no-brainer because even with this year’s offensive struggles, he’s been a 2+ WAR player. He’s now a 10/5 guy, though, so he can block any trade that’s not to his liking. With Stanton, Judge, Hicks and Frazier, I think the Yankees probably work hard to figure out a way to deal him somewhere he’s willing to go.

1:08
Guest: Does Mike Trout finish his career with th emost 2nd place MVP finishes of all time?

1:09
Jay Jaffe: He’s already at 3 and I think the record is 4, shared by Ted Williams and Stan Musial,. With a possible runner-up finish this year, yeah, I think this is one record Trout might claim eventually.

1:09
Zihuatanejo: Building on the PED question, can you imagine *any* scenario in which the HoF would remove an already-enshrined player?

1:13
Jay Jaffe: I think gambling allegations on a Rose/Shoeless Joe level would do it, if it were connected to a modern player as opoosed to, say, more evidence in connection to the Ty Cobb/Tris Speaker allegations, which date to pre-Black Sox days (barely).

1:13
stever20: If I told you back in June that Kershaw would have more innings pitched on September 20 than Sale, would you ever have believed it?

1:14
Jay Jaffe: Yes, because Sale was so gassed late last year.

1:14
Stevil: Do you think Machado lands with a club willing to play him at SS, or is he truly destined to be a third baseman?

1:16
Jay Jaffe: My guess is that question is centered around the Yankees, who could plausibly add him at 3B and consider moving Andujar (whose defensive metrics at 3B are dreadful) to 1B or trading him. I can’t see, like, the Indians coming up with the kind of dough it would take, and then keeping Ramirez at 2B and Lindor at SS, because they’ll eventually have to pay the latter too. Otherwise I think he signs somewhere as a shortstop

1:18
Pio: There are 4-5 potential Hall of Famers available in FA this winter. Has there ever been an offseason like that before?

1:19
Jay Jaffe: Well, there’s an offseason article idea. The first free agent class in the winter of 1976-77 had Reggie, McCovey, Fingers, Dick Allen and Bobby Grich. I’d have to look to see if others had similar.

1:19
jack: What kind of production can we expect from Rafael Devers at his peak? This is not a good season for him, and finished to be benched. But he’s 21. What do you expect from him long term?

1:21
Jay Jaffe: Devers has dealt with so many injuries this year that it’s tough to get a read on him. His defensive metrics are lousy and he’s got a lot of swing-and-miss. At the same time, he’s just 21. I think he’ll be fine in the long run, maybe not star level but solid. It’s worth asking Dan Szymborski for some projections though

1:21
JACK: Will Kenley Jansen be good, as usual, in 2019 or are there serious concerns about his health?

1:23
Jay Jaffe: Knowing what we know, and that he’s headed for offseason surgery, I’m willing to bet on a bounceback, perhaps not to his peak levels but still a star caliber closer.

1:23
Josiah: Rockies just did the one thing they could not afford to do: get swept. Chatter around Rockie internet land is that its time to trade Arenado. What say you?

1:25
Jay Jaffe: I honestly don’t get the thinking. They can’t build an outfield for shit, and have some terrible contracts, but they have a wonderful nucleus of young pitching, plus one of the best left-side infields in the game. If they can’t find a way to keep up Arenado, it’s time for the Monforts to sell.

1:26
Yankees: Speaking of that, what about Andujar to LF (plus signing Machado)? His problem at 3B is mostly range, which would remain an issue at 1B.

1:28
Jay Jaffe: Left field in Yankee Stadium is huge, which is why the Yankees have used a CF-caliber defender there in Gardner. I don’t see Andujar as able to pull that off. I also see his footwork as the bigger problem than range, and maybe that mitigates with a move.

1:28
Spiggy: How many of the articles that appear on Fangraphs originate from chat ideas? What’s your best guess at the percent?

1:29
Jay Jaffe: I have no idea. For me, it might be 10% — one every couple of weeks.

1:29
Roman Numeral Three: What’s the modern standard for relievers getting elected to the HOF? After Mariano gets on the ballot, I can’t think of a single active reliever that would get past the first year of voting.  Is this an issue with the hyper specialization of the position, or an issue with lofty career requirements for induction?

1:31
Jay Jaffe: The standards still aren’t all that clear because the relievers who have been elected largely reflect the evolution of the role. I don’t see anybody getting in via the writers after Mariano for a long time, but Lee Smith is probably gonna get in via committee. After that, who the hell knows? Might be waiting around to see if Kimbrel and/or Jansen can stay healthy and dominant long enough, or hoping that a committee smiles on Billy Wags.

1:32
Frank Lyman from Amherst: But Ramos is a much better hitter (than Grandal).

1:35
Jay Jaffe: Eh, not so sure about that. Ramos has a 104 career wRC+, Grandal 114. Past three seasons its’s 122-114 for Ramos, but in ~300 fewer PA, which gets back to the durability issue. I like Ramos a lot but I wouldn’t touch him with a 10-foot clown pole given his injury history.

1:35
hi: do the mets have the best starters 1-3?

1:36
Jay Jaffe: I think you’d have to put the Astros and Indians in that discussion, at the very least. I think which way you go from there depends upon how many seasons you’re considering because attendance counts.

1:36
stever20: What did you think with what Lovello did last night with Arizona- having the AAA team basically play.  And how baseball is it, that it actually worked?  Any shot that this could spark them, or are they done?

1:38
Jay Jaffe: Lovullo’s statements had my eyebrows straining, for sure. I’m still trying to figure out what to make of them. Is he losing his mind? Is he losing the clubhouse? I need to know more before I make a judgement on that.

The one thing I do know is that the Diamondbacks are toast for 2018. 5 back in the wild card with 9 to play. Playoff odds of 0.5% See you next year.

1:38
Josh: As a dedicated Team Entropy member, what are the (incredibly slim) odds that the Yankees, A’s and Rays all finish the season with the same record?

1:40
Jay Jaffe: Our ties page puts the odds of a 2-way tie for WC2 at 0.7%, and a three-way tie at 0.0%, which is to say 0.0499% or lower, as we only go out one digit. There’s a 0.6% chance of a three-way tie in the NL though https://www.fangraphs.com/standings/playoff-odds/fg/tie-breaker

1:41
Dan the Mets Fan: Answer more questions about Jeff McNeil.

1:41
Jay Jaffe: Why?

1:41
McNeil before Zod: Solve the equation: Bruce + Vargas + x = j. Zimmermann + s. Greene

1:41
Jay Jaffe: by my math, x = ¯\_(?)_/¯

1:42
Will: Do you expect Newcomb to continue to develop, or this is more or less who he is?

1:44
Jay Jaffe: Seems like a pretty sharp fall-off since the start of August (3.23 ERA/4.04 FIP before, 6.52 ERA/4.60 FIP since), and I’d imagine at least some of that is fatigue. I expect him to be better than a league-average guy based on what we saw earlier in the year

1:45
Conner from AZ: What does Goldy need to do to have a legitimate HoF case? His career was a late starter so the counting stats will never get there, but like 4 more 5 WAR seasons?

1:47
Jay Jaffe: He’s not far off the peak standard (40.1 WAR for him, 42.7 for the HOFers) and has some low-hanging fruit within that — three 5.0 WAR seasons would get him to that and about half the distance remaining to the career standard (which is 66.8). Like everybody else, remaining healthy and productive past his mid-30s is key, because guys who fade before then don’t make it.

1:48
David: Do you think the Dodgers would be serious contenders to resign Machado and sort out the positioning later with Seager coming back?

1:48
Jay Jaffe: No, I think it’s more likely they go for Harper, even though there’s a much larger spread of uncertainty in his future performance.

1:49
Eric: Can you make a case for Baez being NL MVP.  While his OBP is lacking, and from an offensive perspective, Yelich may be having a better season, to me, he provides so much more in the non-offensive categories of the game

1:50
Jay Jaffe: Baez has defense, versatility and an incredible highlight reel. He may win this, though I think if I had a ballot I’d strongly consider deGrom ahead of any position player given how tightly they’re bunched.

1:51
Jay Jaffe: With that, it’s time to bring down the curtain on today’s chat. Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you 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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stever20
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stever20

Sale’s biggest question for the HOF is going to be health. He’s thrown a lot of innings(3rd most since 2012) and his body started to wear down this year.- not to mention all the 2nd half slumps he’s had…..