Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 4/1/22

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Good afternoon, folks! Welcome to the April 1 edition of my chat. This April fool is still recovering from having accidentally sent my mom’s birthday gift to my Brooklyn apartment instead of her Salt Lake City residence.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: In housekeeping news, my second entry in our Positional Power Rankings series went live this morning https://blogs.fangraphs.com/2022-positional-power-rankings-right-field…

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I also did first basemen https://blogs.fangraphs.com/2022-positional-power-rankings-first-base/. And before that I was visiting my folks and skiing (advance celebration for my mom’s 80th bday), which is why you haven’t seen much of me on the home page lately

Avatar Jay Jaffe: But… that’s about to change. I’ll cover the Pollock/Kimbrel trade for Monday — had to see it about 18 times before I was willing to concede it was real and not an April 1 conspiracy on the part of the industry’s newsbreakers.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: In other news, happy Jon Spencer and the Hitmakers release day to those celebrating! https://jonspencerthehitmakers.bandcamp.com/album/spencer-gets-it-lit

Avatar Jay Jaffe: And now, on with the show…

Rachel: deGrom, how worried are you? Thanks!

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Shoulder? Worried.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: He’s the best pitcher in baseball but that consistently high velo is going to take its toll on his arm one way or another

South Side Life: Not that the White Sox weren’t frontrunners in the AL Central already…but what’s the ramifications of the Pollock trade?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: l’ll have more on this on Monday but it shores up an area of weakness at least somewhat, though Pollock doesn’t have much experience in right field and Vaughn is projected to make some advances, and he’s one of the guys losing playing time. The bullpen is the weaker for it, though that was a pretty pricey setup man to have around, and things never really jelled for Kimbrel in that role

Gord: Do you think the Mariners should try and trade for another starter like Manaea or Montas or should they roll with Matt Brash and his filthy slider?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: You can never have too much pitching, and counting on a guy who has topped out with half a season of Double-A to be a key contributor is generally folly. Either of those guys would be significant upgrades.

Blake Bell (in Toronto): Hi Jay. Given the uptick in examining Dave Stieb’s career, what’s a path/timeline for Stieb to be considered for Cooperstown? Thx!

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Assuming Stieb is in the Modern Baseball bucket, for players who made their greatest impact between 1970–1987, he would be eligible for consideration to appear on the 2024 ballot, to be voted upon in December 2023. That era is stacked, though, and by the traditional numbers, he’s got a very uphill battle to get on that ballot.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Speaking of Stieb and our mutual nemesis:

Avatar Jay Jaffe:

Watched Part 3 of @jon_bois‘ great Dave Stieb series, and in addition to getting to see the part about when he finally finished his long-sought no-hitter, I learned that Jack Morris was *an even bigger asshole* than I had previously believed.

This is how baseball moves.

Captain Ahab: The Story of Dave Stieb, Part 3 | Dorktown

youtube.com/watch?v=eaTCyQ… jay jaffe fangraphs chat 4 1 22 1

1 Apr 2022
Robert: Any players you are targeting far ahead of their ADP?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I haven’t played fantasy baseball in over a decade, haven’t written about it in almost that long. You’re barking up the wrong tree, I’m afraid.

ben simmons’ jumper: is it just me or does the kimbrel for pollock swap seem to favor chw a lot?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think it’s a good deal for both sides. LA gets to give more at-bats to Lux, Taylor, and Muncy and takes 60-70 innings away from their lesser relievers.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: as to why the Dodgers didn’t just re-sign Jansen at that price, well, now they’ve lowered the payroll and gained a draft pick, which — if you can distance yourself from the sentimental aspects of retaining Jansen — is a nice little maneuver, all else being equal (which it may not be).

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Again, more to come on Monday

Holding My Breath on deGrom: Should we as fans be sad that umps being given mics to explain replay calls was instituted at the same time that Joe West retired?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Let us not look gift horses in the mouth. Joe West has retired!!! And we’re getting improved communication from umpires!!! Everybody wins until we have to hear from Angel Hernandez.

Steve: Did you see the photo that showed Citi Field’s 2021 beer menu? Miller High Life is listed as a craft beer! Is the deGrom news some sort of karmic punishment?

Avatar Jay Jaffe:

I know what y’all really want to know. jay jaffe fangraphs chat 4 1 22 3
31 Mar 2022
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I strained my eyeballs rolling them at that one

Avatar Jay Jaffe: nice to see Radiant Pig on the menu there. Both of those hazy IPAs are in regular rotation at Casa Jaffe-Span.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Also a big fan of Sloop’s Juice Bomb IPA

Ragbrai: What does 1B in Milwaukee look like at the beginning and end of year. Does Huira take over eventually or does Telllez out play him?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Hiura is deep in the tall grass right now and I wonder if he needs a change of scenery. Tellez, despite the mediocre numbers, hit the ball hard last year and improved his results when he got less pull-happy.

As assumptions go, I’m picking the guy whose trend arrow is pointing in the right direction to have the job at the end of the year.

Guest: Who are some under-the-radar-ish RPs that might become studs in holds leagues?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Blake Treinen!

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Sorry, that’s the extent of my fantasy advice today.

Corey: I believe all the noise about top prospects making opening days rosters is not actually going to result in that many on opening day rosters, hunter greene notwithstanding.  The incentives just have not changed that much.  I can’t believe J-Rod, Stott, and Abrams will make OD rosters, for example. I want to be wrong.  Am I wrong?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think you’re right, sadly (I’m not sad you’re right — you have the good sense to show up to a FanGraphs chat, after all — I’m sad that the industry isn’t doing enough)

Avatar Jay Jaffe: the math is this: if you keep the guy down long enough to game his clock and get an extra year before free agency, there’s really only a small chance he claws that back by winning Rookie of the Year or placing second. Like, even in the best of circumstances, it’s much less than a coin toss of a chance.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’m not saying all of those guys will be sent down to start the year, mind you, just that this well-meaning facet of the CBA doesn’t go far enough.

tz: Happy Birthday Mama Jaffe!!!

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Thank you! It’s her 80th, and thankfully she’s in good enough health to enjoy it (as is my father)

Bill: Julio is going to be a 5+ WAR player this year, isn’t he?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: i think 3-5 is more reasonable and obviously the total depends in part on playing time and when he’s added to the roster. The talent is there for 5+ but expecting him to reach it at 21, without Triple-A experience, is a tall order. Immediately hitting the ceiling is never the most likely outcome.

Shave those damn sideburns!: Do you view Ohtani as a higher than average injury risk?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Relative to the average pitcher? Absolutely, not only because of the high velocity but also the extra impact of batting. Even if his arm is perfectly sound, there exists a chance he could get hurt being hit by a pitch. I hate to think about things in those terms, but as risk evaluations go, that’s where we’re at

manlikefox: increased PA for Edwin Rios? Either as DH or RF? Having a healthy/good spring…

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Sure, he could be a beneficiary of the Pollock trade if his shoulder has healed

Paul M: Do you think Conforto signs before the draft?  He’s still a great LF but it seems like everyone has forgotten him

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Apparently he strained his right shoulder in workouts and wanted to wait until he was healed before agreeing to a contract. I think he’ll sign  before the draft, and probably sometime this month if he’s actually healthy. https://nypost.com/2022/03/30/ex-met-michael-confortos-injury-slowing-…

Georgia: Gonna be in Williamsburg for the marathon next month. Got any food recos?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I was thinking about this place today, still have never been

BIRRIA LANDIA — The famous Birria spot at the Metropolitan/Lorimer stop.

I liked the birria tacos I had last time … but these are unreal. The lemon’s a great touch. Just $3 a taco! This place is worth the hype and the long line. And only waited about 10 min. 😍😍😍😍😍 jay jaffe fangraphs chat 4 1 22 5

20 Mar 2022
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I actually don’t get up to W’burg very often — can’t recall the last meal I ate there b/c it was pre-pandemic — but I am a big fan of Fette Sau (BBQ)

Ragbrai: How does Atl OF play out before and after Acuna returns?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Ozuna-Duvall-Rosario/Heredia to start the year, then ideally Ozuna-Acuña-Duvall/Rosario, possibly with Acuña playing center only part of the time.

B: Think Pujols hits 21 HRs this year?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: no. He won’t get enough playing time, nor should he.

Shave those damn sideburns!: Thinly veiled fantasy question: will Juan Soto get his counting stats or is he going to be Bonds lite with all the intentional walks?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: The IBB will cut into his counting stats a bit, but we do have him forecast for 140 total walks (145 last year) in 672 PA, and still getting to 36 HR and 113 RBI. In terms of cutting into his counting stats, I’d worry more about the possibility he lands on the IL, which he’s done annually for the last 3 years, maxing out at 151 games and 659 PA

Sad over Fishman: Do you think the dodgers make another move to shore up their starting rotation? things look thin after kershaw – and there are a lot questions over how many innings he can really give you

Avatar Jay Jaffe: The rotation appears to be their biggest vulnerability. I suspect that once they get clarity on the B**** situation (which assuming he’s suspended for some length of time will give them some breathing room payroll-wise) they will make a move.

Nate: Oh god, I was having a good day till you pointed out we’ll have to listen to Angel Hernandez speak now. Haha

Avatar Jay Jaffe: i’m just here to rain on everybody’s parades, sorry!

Pat: Not only is Jack Morris an A’hole, but, he made a racist comment against Asian’s during a broadcast last year..on top of being a boring announcer..& yet, Tigers brought him back as a commentator anyway.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Much moreso than when I was arguing against his Hall of Fame case, I am thoroughly convinced Jack Morris sucks as a human being.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: This is what Pat is referring to last year https://www.freep.com/story/sports/mlb/tigers/2021/08/18/jack-morris-s…

Avatar Jay Jaffe: and there’s his misogyny, which is part of a bigger and much sadder story that is not for the faint of heart https://deadspin.com/the-writer-who-was-too-strong-to-live-1785661187

Votto Go Bye-Bye-O: Now that the Reds aren’t really contenders/are rebuilding, and given their desire to “match payroll to resources” and given that he’s a power-hitting commodity who might help a contender, how would you rate the chances of Votto being traded from 1 to 10?

(Hypothetically speaking – this seems too terrible even for the Reds to do)

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Spitballing here but the only way I could see it happening would be if he specifically agrees to a deal to the Blue Jays so he can try to reach a World Series while playing for a Canadian team.

Grant: What realistic options do you think the Giants have in regards to trading for a new 3B?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Longoria’s finger injury — surgery to repair a damaged ligament in his right index finger, specifically — is expected to keep him out for 6 weeks. Teams generally don’t make big deals for something like that at the start of the season, and I suspect the Giants will gut it out with some combination of Flores, La Stella and Estrada there. They’ll miss his defense more than his bat, as all three of those guys project to have higher wOBAs than he does.

werthless: The royals are mashing baseballs this spring. How do you see them allocating playing time between vets (Dozier, Santana, etc) and the hoard of young talent coming up? Is there a market for guys like Santana and Dozier?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Wrote about both positions in my PPRs. I don’t see either of those guys having much value in trade coming off such lousy seasons with the bat.

Guest: How much of a concern is Oneil Cruz’s swing type, in terms of his potential susceptibility to strikeouts, for his longterm big league career?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’m not the prospect guy, just one reading prospect lists, but even with a 30 present/40 future hit tool via Eric Longenhagen, he’s a 60-grade prospect (occasional All-Star, at least). Baseball America has the hit tool at 50 and the overall grade at 65 (perennial All-Star). So yeah, there’s a bit of concern but not a ton because of the other tools

Robles: Victor Robles only seems to go backwards as the Nats try to fix his poor choices in the outfield and his broken offense. Might an elder star like Nelson Cruz have an effect or does Robles need to go somewwhere new to start again?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: It couldn’t hurt, and the Nationals have nothing but time to see if they can fix him.

Sad Mariners Fan: How bad did Jerry blow the off season? We missed every FA bat that he was quoted saying he wanted not just 1, but 2 of. He never got the second pitcher he wanted. Our only bullpen add was the corpse of Sergio Romo. You guys don’t even have the M’s projected at .500 this year.. Talk me off the ledge please!

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Well, they did invest $115 million in the reigning AL Cy Young winner, traded for a big bat (Winker) and a very good multiposition regular (Frazier), and avoided blocking one of the top positional prospects (Rodriguez). I think that’s a pretty decent offseason, though maybe another bullpen arm would be a good idea. It’s not like Dipoto is likely to look at the roster on April 1 and say, “Yup, don’t need to make another move ’til November.”

FIP: Can we remove intentional walks and inside-the-park homeruns from FIP? Including them defeats the whole purpose of trying to isolate the pitcher’s skill from his environment

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I always used to calculate FIP by removing IBB and adding HBP, but really, it makes almost no difference. IPHRs are exceedingly rare enough to ignore in this context, too, and almost all of them are well-struck balls. The reality is that with FIP, ERA, and xERA you’ve got a lot of tools to evaluate the gap between actual and expected runs allowed, which is much better than relying upon just one of those.

Georgia: How much of an advantage could Toronto stand to gain with most visiting teams presumably missing some players?  I know it’s hard to know exactly without knowing who will be out, but this feels like it’s going to be a big deal

Avatar Jay Jaffe: (the math was not right)

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I bet Dan can model this with ZiPS, but it’s not huge. If we assume that the drop is from an 8-win player to a replacement level one (and it won’t be), times one such swap per team, times 10 games in Toronto for some AL East competitors… that’s half a run per team per intradivision game, max of about 5 runs per team, maybe a two-win swing in the division max? And probably closer to one win? Not nothing.

Greg: Rank these bats for 2022 – Harrison Bader, Brandon Marsh, Josh Rojas.  thx!

Avatar Jay Jaffe: sticking only to bats, I’d go Bader, Rojas, Marsh (very close between the first two)

The 6ix: Which stars are unvaccinated and will therefore not be able to play in Toronto? Judge seems like one.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: The epoch of finding out, as far as Yankees fans are concerned, begins with their May 2-4 series in Toronto. Rangers, A’s, Red Sox, Astros precede them on the schedule.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Nobody has a definitive list of who is/isn’t vaccinated but Anthony Rizzo was not, by his own admission, last year. Likewise for the Red Sox’s Chris Sale, while it’s been reported that Xander Bogaerts hasn’t had his shots. Aaron Judge has evaded the question. Trevor Story reportedly got vaccinated so he could complete the deal with the Red Sox.

Color Coordinator: Hi Jay. Thanks for the chat. Fuchsia or Teal?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’m not a big fan of teal for sports teams but I like it for interior decoration!

Avatar Jay Jaffe: true story: i decided to move to NYC while driving a teal rental car (Kia) that I absolutely hated; my insurance was paying for it after my car was stolen in Boston while visiting my girlfriend (I lived in Providence at the time). I loathed the color and everything about the situation and wanted to live somewhere that I didn’t need a car. Moved to NYC 3 months later and i’ve never regretted it, but I’ve come around on the color.

Ragbrai: Does seem to be more “closer by committee” situations than normal this year? Is that necessarily a bad thing?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Injuries and hot hands tend to sort these things out more often than not.

RJD: Think the ASG should give 1 extra spot to legacy players? Pujols should go regardless of season, but at the same time, not take a spot away from a more deserving player?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Seems reasonable.

Guest: Is Votto already a hall of famer?

Avatar Jay Jaffe: yes. Wrote this before his strong finish https://blogs.fangraphs.com/joey-vottos-gotten-his-groove-back

Guest: is this not a decisive demonstration of position players being more valuable than relievers? can’t imagine ever wanting a ~4 win position player over someone who will pitch 60 innings

Avatar Jay Jaffe: if you’re talking about Pollock, he hasn’t reached 4.0 WAR since 2015, last year was his first time since then even reaching 3.0 WAR, and he projects around 2.0. The Dodgers believe they can make up those 2-3 wins in-house between their remaining position players and bullpen. I don’t think this proves anything other than two GMs looking at their rosters and trading from surplus.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: ok folks, time for me to call it a day here. Thanks so much for stopping by! We’re six days away from Opening Day and I think we’re gonna make it!

E: Bogaerts was asked and said that he got vaccinated in the off season.

Avatar Jay Jaffe: noted

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