Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 9/23/19

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Good afternoon, folks, and welcome to another edition of my Monday chat. Excuse the slow start on my part – I’ve got a piece on Domingo German, DV suspensions, and the postseason that’s going live soon and that requires more attention than most posts when it comes to an editorial pass. On a lighter note… well, things aren’t great for Team Entropy (update coming tomorro) but we’ll manage. And now, on with the show…

TomBruno23: How about that Cards-Cubs series?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I did not actually watch much of it, alas. Because the weather is so good here in NYC, and because the next few weekends will be so hectic, I spent much of my weekend with my daughter — her first trip to the Bronx Zoo on Saturday and then first to the Metropolitan Museum on Sunday. Very fun times.

Less so for the Cubs, apparently. Between their mounting injuries and the ongoing failures of Craig Kimbrel — who, let’s face it, can’t possibly be at 100% right now — it’s a grim ending for them, and a bummer for #Team Entropy. It’s an impressive showing by the Cardinals, and the fact that the Yelich-less Brewers have risen to the occasion while the Cubs have fizzled is impressive as well.

stever20: Where do you think Maddon is managing next year?  I’d think he’d look really nice in say DC.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Given that the Nationals have rebounded from their dreadful start to (likely) make the playoffs, I don’t see Davey Martinez getting ousted. If it’s an NL East landing spot for him, I suspect that the Phillies are the more likely destination — particularly when held in contrast to the Mets; i can’t see them willing to pay his high salary or see him willing to sign on for the chaos that comes with working for the Wilpons. Maybe the Padres, but as with Philadelphia, the firing of the managers often suggests that the GM is next on the chopping block, so I’m not sure how attractive either scenario is.

Mike Sixel: Would you put either Gibson or Perez on the Twins post season roster?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think a lot of it depends upon matchups. I’d consider Perez, who even during his second-half slide has still been effective against lefties. I wouldn’t expect him to go five innings but there may be a relief role or a short-starter (opener, even) situation that makes sense. As for Gibson, it sounds like his illness has cost him so much strength and rendered him ineffective.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Ok, the Domingo Germán piece is live. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/domingo-german-wont-pitch-in-the-postseaso…

Avatar Jay Jaffe: It’s not really about the Yankees, it’s about lining up the DV policy with the PED policy when it comes to postseason eligibility. I’m sure people have thoughts

Dave: Good god, are the Royals really going to hire Matheny?

Avatar Jay Jaffe:

Ned Yost announces his retirement and Mike Matheny is expected to become next #Royals manager
23 Sep 2019
Avatar Jay Jaffe: oh, that is f’ing perfect.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: assume I’m pasting in 20 consecutive Skype ROFL emojis here.

TK: True/False: Marcus Semien is the player that Yankees fans think DJ LeMahieu is

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Uh… I’ll go with false. I don’t think anybody’s laboring under the illusion that DJ is a slick-fielding shortstop, and I think that it’s largely old school-minded media that believes he’s an MVP candidate, not Yankees fans.

Semien has had an outstanding, 7.3 WAR season — nearly double last year’s 3.9 WAR, while DJ has been very, very good at 5.4 WAR. He’d been as high as 4.4 WAR before, and while he’s the older of the two players, I think we can just say that they’ve been among the season’s biggest surprises, that their fans ought to be overjoyed at their contributions, and call it a day. It’s not an either/or situation

andycannolis: If you were the Orioles GM and you had to make a protected list for an expansion draft, who would you put on that list?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: The obvious ones are the guys who have been worth at least 2 WAR this year, which is Villar, Mancini, Alberto, Means, and Bundy. Add to that anybody who was at least a 40-grade prospect at some point recently (Santander, Harvey, Tate, Stewart, and maybe I’ve missed some others). That still probably leaves you with plenty of room to add a few more fringe guys but those I think are the priorities.

Charles Logan: Would you vote for the following for the HOF if they retired right now (assuming yes for Kershaw): Scherzer, Verlander, Greinke and Sabathia?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: All of ’em, even while acknowledging that Sabathia’s isn’t as strong as the others.

Aaron Judge: Is it possible I am now underrated? 14 HR in the last 31 games, somehow 10th in AL position player bWAR (14th fWAR, though weirdly not showing up on lists because not technically qualified), missed two months.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Yes, i do believe a certain segment of the baseball world is underrating Judge due to his long absences. But holy Moses, they underestimate him at their peril.

Zilliax: Who do you think will be the Cub’s manager in 2020? Girardi a good possibility?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think Girardi is a possibility but hardly automatic even given his previous Chicago connections. It’s been reported that the team pursued Mark DeRosa and Raúl Ibañez — both of whose names come up quite often as potential firs-time managers — to add to Maddon’s coaching staff last year as well as Aaron Boone, who obviously went a different direction. Carlos Beltran is another recently retired player who could draw interest, and maybe either Ron Wotus or Hensley Meulens if the Giants choose one over the other to succeed Bruce Bochy. Or both, if they go a very different direction.

Zilliax: If the Brewers take home field against the Nationals in the NL Wild Card, are they the favored team, even against Scherzer/Strasberg?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’d say that the difference in quality of starting pitchers can easily outweigh the home field advantage, particularly given the gap between those two pitchers and Milwaukee’s top starter, which is… uh, Teddy Higuera?

Guest: In general, do you prefer ERA or FIP when evaluating a guy for HOF?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: ERA, but really ERA+. FIP is handy, particularly for looking forward, but over the course of the number of innings in question, the ERA is a truer indication of a pitcher’s talent than FIP.

Guest: How many WAR does deGrom (32.3 bWAR) need over the next 3 seasons (ages 32-34) to give himself a reasonable HOF shot?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Probably at least 15. If we assume he does exactly that, he’d be at 49.4 career,  42.4 peak (both of those including offense) and 45.9 JAWS. That would put him a couple points of where Cole Hamels was heading into this year (his age-35). Raw win totals might still be a problem but if he wins this year’s Cy and gives himself a shot at one more, i’d say he’s in play

Emily: Thanks for your time Jay. What is a realistic return if the Red Sox were to trade Mookie Betts? Is the Goldschmidt deal a good template? Mookie is younger and better, but more expensive, same team control, and less receptive to an extension offer.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: yeah i think the Goldschmidt deal is probably the template. And i think the Dbacks did pretty well there, given that Carson Kelly is a young two-way contributor at a premium position and that Luke Weaver appears to have taken a step forward. If Andy Young, the third player in the deal, helps, this could wind up looking like a heist, particularly if Goldschmidt’s 2019 downturn is the beginning of the end.

hayden: The A’s bullpenned last year’s WC, which I thought was probably the right decision, though the results were panned as a death knell for the “opener.” How should they handle this year’s? The back-on-fire Manaea? The pitching-like-it’s-2013 Homer Bailey? Just say eff it and give Luzardo his first GS?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’d go with Manaea. He’s their best pitcher, and neither the Rays nor the Indians have very big platoon splits. The Indians do have a pair of switch-hitters (Lindor and Santana) that could complicate things, but I think getting a few innings out of Manaea and going to the bullpen from there is the team’s best bet.

Wes: After listening to you on the FanGraphs Podcast then the Ringer MLB Show, I think you need to appear more frequently on these.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: it’s a rare day when I turn down a podcast request, so the door is open. I enjoy doing them, just don’t have time to make one of my own.

Desperate Times: In light of Craig’s Molina-in-4-graphs article, is there any way to quantify that in a catcher’s worthiness for the hall?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: the pitch-blocking and stolen base stuff is already part of BP’s catcher metrics, as is pitch framing. And Molina does quite well there. it’s the very modest offensive profile that I trip over and that suppresses his career WAR.

Cliff: Do the Dodgers jump into the Rendon race this off season or do they just plug Muncy at third and roll with Lux at 2B and Turner at 1B?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I can’t see them investing upwards of $100 million in him when they have so many inexpensive, cheap and young or at least club-controlled players.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: the configuration is more likely Turner at 3B and Muncy at 1B

Scherzers_Blue_Eye: Nats without Rendon aren’t contenders, are they?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Well, if they don’t put a third baseman out there, then a lot of balls are gonna get through.

Seriously, if they lose Rendon, their chances probably take a hit, but I’d wait to see how they replace him before presuming they’re DOA. Likewise when it comes to Strasburg, who can opt out.

pumpsie: Has Fangraphs made a conscious decision to not address the multitude of recent suspensions? Personally, I like that we only get articles on players who are actually playing baseball, but the repercussions of a suspension can be similar to a long-term injury, and those are covered in-depth.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I don’t think we’re consciously avoiding any of them — I’ve written about Pineda and Germán in the past two weeks. Addressed Urias and Herrera to some degree in the latter, with Herrera coming up several times in the context of Phillies-related articles.

A lot of it comes down to the strengths of our stable of writers and their appetites to address a topic. DV , in particular, isn’t an easy or a fun one to write about, but I took up the challenge this time. Generally,  focusing on the performance-related angles wrt suspensions (how will Team X get by) is pretty secondary.

Adam: Which father-son duo involving current Blue Jays produces more career WAR, the Biggios or the Guerreros?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Guerrero, though I’m impressed by what Biggio has done so far

Clown Town: I saw it noted recently that the Red Sox traded away Babe Ruth a century ago, and now they’re seemingly poised to trade off Betts.  Does this mean that Betts is going to have a HOF career as a pitcher?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Good for a chuckle. I wouldn’t put it past Mookie given how skilled he is at seemingly everything.

Grover: If Maddon leaves the Cubs does he retire?  Is he a possibility for the Giants or Padres?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’m not sure if he’s a great fit for either. Addressed the Padres’ situation above. The Giants seem to need a more substantial overhaul, and I’m not sure what his appetite is for that, though I guess having, like, 3 years of job security and playing in that ballpark isn’t the worst medium-term outlook.

Guest: deGrom favorite for NL Cy?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Between Scherzer and deGrom, it’s too close to call. Read Craig Edwards’ in-depth look at the metrics https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-2019-nl-cy-young-voter-guide/ and the companion piece for the AL https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-2019-al-cy-young-voting-guide/

There’s no obvious answer in either league; who you vote for should depend on what you’re prioritizing as far as performance.

Mason Jarre: Do you think Gerritt Cole takes whatever he learned with him in Houston to wherever he goes next (assuming it’s not Houston)?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I mean, it’s not like what he learned is team property that he has to hand in. Presumably he’s got a good understanding of how he got his groove back and wherever he goes (if he doesn’t stay in Houston) they’ll help him craft a similar plan.

Bobby abreu : What do you think of my hall of fame candidacy? Am I going to get over 5% of the vote?

Avatar Jay Jaffe:

I think Abreu is a one-and-done, sadly. Spoke about him recently with @TimothyRRyder metsmerizedonline.com/2019/01/mmo-ex… and there’s a bit more here twitter.com/JoshuaGruber1/…

@jay_jaffe Do you think Bobby abreu will get below 5% in the voting next year? His stats portray a borderline HOFer but seems like a guy who would fall below 5% like Edmonds or Lofton. Thoughts?
17 Jan 2019
Adam: Odds a pitcher plays first base for at least one batter this postseason?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Kolarek maybe, if the Dodgers’ other bullpen problems (Jansen primarily) don’t burn down the whole deal beforehand.

branik best: Have you discussed Danny Duffy’s interview on mental health? Late to the chat. Matheny would be another step in the wrong direction.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I haven’t, and haven’t read much in the way of details about what he said, though I admire him for coming forward and hope it encourages other people — players and non-players alike — to get help in addressing their mental health needs.  

Mike Matheny is one person I wouldn’t hire to manage my sock drawer given his track record. I wouldn’t hire him to manage an empty sock drawer, even.

Jeff: Francisco Lindor trade: this offseason, 2020 TDL, or 2020-2021 offseason?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think you have to start laying the groundwork to trade him this winter. Particularly given that he’s coming off a strong season, the risk of a lesser return starts to increase considerably if, say, he starts slowly next year or gets hurt early again.

Tom: Do you think Johan Santana gets into the HOF with the Modern Day Committee?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Not anytime soon. It’s very rare even for a <5% guy to make it onto a committee ballot; he’s got to overcome that inertia first.

Grover: Despite all the money, the Dodgers have yet to really be major players in free agency under this new regime, in part because of outstanding player development, they don’t really have to.  Do you think this is a case of waiting for the right guys (Rendon? Cole?), or is it just a front office philosophy to not give out long term contracts to guys in their late 20s/early30s?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think it’s a combination of those things. I expect if and when they venture in that direction it will be for a free agent still in his 20s, maybe Betts or Lindor.

Ralph Rowdie : Who do you expect to be baseball’s second best player next year?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Right now it’s either Yelich or Betts and I don’t have a good reason to think it won’t be one or the other, though maybe Bellinger can crash the party, too.

Adam: Which do you personally enjoy more, a Day 163, or a World Series game 7?  Does it change depending on how many games there are on Day 163?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Game 7. I love Game 163(s) but nothing compares to having a championship on the line.

stever20: Won’t Scherzer’s only 172-173 innings be a bridge too far for a lot voters(assuming he only makes 1 more start)?  Especially considering what the voters traditionally look at- wins equal, ERA de Grom is better, more strikeouts- how is it not going to be de Grom in a blowout quite frankly?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I looked at that myself a few weeks ago. The fact is that both of those guys have things working against them. Plus, Ryu has rebounded, and if you’re going by wins and ERA, he beats them both right now.  Like I said, I think it’s too close to call. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/scherzer-trying-to-re-maximize-momentum/

Avatar Jay Jaffe: OK folks, there are still plenty of good q’s in the queue but I’ve got a whole mess of things to deal with so I’m going to pull up short instead of crashing into the wall. thanks for stopping by, and look for a Team Entropy update tomorrow and a piece on Felix Hernandez on Friday.

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... and Mastodon @jay_jaffe.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
3 years ago

what exactly does de Grom have working against him? he’s #2 ERA to Ryu, 197 IP is #3, 248 K’s lead the league. And #2 in FIP to Scherzer.

And even though it’s not as meaningful to a lot of the voters – de Grom leads Scherzer now in both WAR….

Just don’t see Scherzer’s case at all. Being out there means something to voters.

3 years ago
Reply to  stever20

Read the article and you’ll find out.

3 years ago
Reply to  abgb123

but that article was 3 starts ago for both guys…

if they were even then….

de Grom 2-0 0.43 ERA 1 bb/28 k’s. 21 ip
Scherzer 1-2 4.58 ERA 4 bb/26 k’s 17.2 ip

I’d say that’s a huge difference. What today exactly is Scherzer’s case. That you probably would want him for the future? OK, great. That’s not what awards are for. They are for who the best pitcher was for that SEASON. And with the numbers that we have- it’s been de Grom, and frankly, it’s not been that close.