Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 6/3/22Baseball 

Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 6/3/22

2:00
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Good afternoon, folks, and welcome to another edition of my Friday chat! A bit of housekeeping before I dive in…

2:02
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Today I’ve got a piece on Joc Pederson’s non-fantasy football exploits, mainly based upon his pulverizing of baseballs https://blogs.fangraphs.com/joc-pedersons-giant-step-forward

2:03
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Yesterday I took a look at Noah Syndergaard’s new-look approach https://blogs.fangraphs.com/new-look-syndergaard-struggles-in-return-t… and earlier this week I checked in on Dominic Smith’s demotion https://blogs.fangraphs.com/dominic-smiths-slide-sends-him-back-to-tri… and a rough weekend for the White Sox https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/underachieving-white-sox-drop-keuchel-…

2:03
Avatar Jay Jaffe: There will be no chat in this spot next week as it’s the last day of school for my daughter, but the week after that, I’ll be rappin’ at ya from Cape Cod!

2:04
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Oh, and I spoke to the great Jayson Stark about the late, great Roger Angell for this week’s FanGraphs Audio podcast! https://blogs.fangraphs.com/fangraphs-audio-jayson-stark-on-roger-ange…

2:04
Avatar Jay Jaffe: And now, on with the show…

2:05
A Boy Named Yu: What’s for lunch?  I’m trying a new local Mexican place that had a crazy lunch special of 4 enchiladas (1 beef, 1 chicken, 1 cheese, 1 bean) for $5.99.  Hopefully it’s up to grade and I don’t get sick…

2:06
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I got falafel from a nearby place called Hummus, Inc. I ate a metric ****ton of meat last weekend during my college reunion festivities and have tried to go lighter this week, with variable results.

2:07
A Boy Named Yu: Any chance Willson Contreras doesn’t get traded now with how well he’s been so far this season?  It’ll be a sad day for this Cubs fan as that would only leave Hendricks left from the 2016 title team…

2:09
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It doesn’t sound like the Cubs have been keen on extending him, so I’d imagine that he’s likely to be traded. Par for the course under the current regime, as they’ve been pretty thorough in their teardown. I’m sure they’d trade Hendricks if he were pitching better.

2:09
Bad Bill: Does the record-setting battery longevity of Wainwright/Molina give Waino a shot at the Hall of Fame, since Molina is almost certain to make it?  Or is his objective qualification (to the extent that JAWS, etc., are objective) still too weak?  I’m seeing echoes of Trammell/Whitaker here.

2:13
Avatar Jay Jaffe: IMO it’s an interesting point in their favor but hardly one that on its own justifies election. Trammell and Whitaker (both HOF-worthy) broke the games-as-teammates record previously held by George Brett (an obvious HOFer) and Frank White (a very good 2B but clearly non-HOF). Wainwright is a stronger candidate than Wright, but with only 2,434 innings, no Cy Youngs, little black ink, and a modest S-JAWS, I don’t regard him as Hallworthy and I don’t think many other voters will either.

2:13
Vermonty: Firing Girardi is not going to the Phillies OF into a bunch of Willie Mays’

2:15
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Girardi didn’t build this roster or the weak farm system underlying it. Surely there are things he could have done here and there that might have applied a few band-aids to the current situation, and maybe another manager could have gotten better results, but the team’s shortcomings were obvious and too big to ignore. Yet they pushed on nonetheless, and so shouldn’t be surprised that it came to this.

2:15
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Joel Sherman had a pretty good diagnosis of the situation

1/Forgive the string, some thoughts on the Girardi firing: I feel like this is the movie project that has has gone through 2 directors and a lead actor who have all failed, but I put more weight on the directors. The Klentak/Dombrowski regimes gave Girardi a Frankenstein’s
3 Jun 2022
2:15
Sullen in San Diego: I still think it’s possible my club trades Hosmer this summer. Am I nuts?

2:18
Avatar Jay Jaffe: In the abstract, selling high on a player who has struggled for most of the past four years makes perfect sense, and A.J. Preller is an aggressive enough GM that he might be the guy to do it. But Hosmer is very popular among teammates, and trading him carries risk as well. From my May 3 piece on him (https://blogs.fangraphs.com/after-years-of-struggle-in-san-diego-eric-…):

“[H]e’s been a popular player in the clubhouse even in lean times, and for a team that’s had its share of internal problems in recent years, trading a player whom The Athletic’s Dennis Lin recently called “a revered teammate and, especially for younger major leaguers, a steadying presence” is a huge risk.

2:18
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Color me skeptical that the Padres deal him now; this strikes me as a move that’s more likely to be made in the offseason if he can complete a strong year

2:19
John: This Yordan Alvarez deal makes a great deal of sense for both parties right?

2:21
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The guy can f’ing hit, and he’s had injury problems, so at first glance this makes sense. It’s worth a closer look, and I’ll probably be the one to look into it for Monday

2:21
Avatar Jay Jaffe:

Slugger Yordan Álvarez and the Houston Astros are in agreement on a six-year, $115 million contract extension, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN. Contract kicks in next season. Biggest contract ever for a DH and $26M/year for 3 FA years. And Astros lock up a great hitter.
3 Jun 2022
2:22
Mucho: Andrew McCutchen’s slump/season so far: mostly bad luck or cause for concern?

2:23
Avatar Jay Jaffe: His batted ball stats are similar to last year, but his walk rate is way down, and his chase and swing rates are way up. I know I’ve cited this article a million times in the early season but it fits the classic pattern of what Eno Sarris suggested was a batter pressing https://theathletic.com/928555/2019/04/17/sarris-how-bryce-harper-and-…

2:23
Guest: Cincy low-key has a ton of advanced SP talent. Should they try to extend Castillo or cash in and trade him?

2:26
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The Reds have had strong rotations for the past several years and should have worked hard to build around a core. I don’t know that Castillo is in a spot where trading him is going to change the direction of an org that’s adrift — he’ll have less than 1.5 seasons remaining before free agency come August, so yeah, i’d try to sign him

2:26
Ben Affleck: How does Goldie’s HOF case stack up? Is he a first ballot guy?

2:29
Avatar Jay Jaffe: He’s not there yet — few guys are at age 34 — but he’s building a solid case for himself.

 First Base (24th):
    53.6 career WAR | 42.2 7yr-peak WAR | 47.9 JAWS | 5.7 WAR/162
  Average HOF 1B (out of 23):
    65.5 career WAR | 42.1 7yr-peak WAR | 53.8 JAWS | 4.9 WAR/162

He’s probably going to improve that peak score this year, as he’s at 2.9 bWAR now and his 7th-best season is 4.7. he’s got strong postseason numbers but has never gotten further than a Division Series, so a playoff run would help his cause, too

2:30
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Correction on Alvarez: Ben Clemens beat me to the punch and will write about him.

2:30
Randy: Is Jose Trevino another Cashman find? 90 wrc+ gets him to what, 3/4 WAR?

2:32
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The post-Posada Yankees have generally been way ahead of the curve in employing catchers good at pitch framing, and so it’s easy to understand why they went out and got Trevino, who by our numbers was 8.8 runs above average in that department in part-time work (713 innings) last year. I don’t think anybody expected him to hit, and I wouldn’t expect his 114 wRC+ to continue. I think he’s probably going to come in at 3+ WAR, which would be a big boost for the Yankees.

2:32
Joe: Long term outlooks on Jameson Taillon / Nestor Cortes?

2:34
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It’s very tough to project pitchers long-term when they improve so rapidly ad then disappear so suddenly due to injuries, but if you’re asking whether what the pair in question is doing is for real, I think it very much is. That’s not to say that they’re going to keep pitching like Cy Young candidates, but these aren’t 4/5 starters we’re talking about

2:35
Key Flaw: Happy Friday Jay! After you discussed it in your chat a while ago, I bought the Pot Belly Giardeniera (from Amazon) and it is really good! Except I really don’t like it on a sandwich, but absolutely love it over rice. The olives and the peppers (the taste and fresh crunchiness) really makes it. What else do you think it would be good with (I need more excuses to eat it and add it to things)?

2:36
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Happy to help! It’s good stuff. I’ve never tried it on pasta but i’d bet it works there too. I like the rice idea and will have to try it like that sometime

2:36
A Boy Named Yu: I regret to admit that I had never heard of Roger Angell.  If you could pick one collection of his for me to start with, which one would it be?

2:39
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Wow! Are you in for a treat. The Summer Game, his first book (1972) is just so unbelievably good and groundbreaking that it’s tough to suggest anything else, but the collections (Once More Around the Park and Game Time) have good cross-sections of his work if you’d prefer to dabble.

2:39
John: Thanks for all the great work you! Just curious, what is the most unpleasant thing about your job?

2:43
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’d be hard-pressed to call anything about this truly unpleasant, but long commutes to the ballpark limit the on-site coverage I do, and the gap between what teams are doing and what the public has access to is growing. A lot of the analysis I do winds up being more labor-intensive than it should be, even things like collating multiple searches from Baseball Savant, and so it takes awhile to identify certain points of inflection worth highlighting

2:43
Kendrys Morales and the Big Steppers: Hi Jay. The A’s own MLB’s longest hit streak, having not been no hit since 1991. They also have the league worst batting average this year. What do you think is the probability that the A’s get no hit this year?

2:44
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It seems reasonable that the odds would catch up to them sooner or later, and right now, with their current roster, it wouldn’t surprise me if they wind up on the short end of a no-hitter.

2:44
James: With Yordan getting paid, would think the Astros look to extand Tucker next. What type of contract would you expect relative to Alvarez?

2:46
Avatar Jay Jaffe: He’ll get more than Alvarez, as well he should, but at last report the two sides were far enough apart that they broke off negotiations. I don’t have direct access to Dan’z ZiPS projections so he’d be the one to ballpark a projected contract

2:46
Guest: In honor of Yordan’s new deal with the Astros… how is his nascent HOF case looking? Longevity is probably the biggest question mark, right?

2:48
Avatar Jay Jaffe: He hasn’t even had a 4-bWAR season. Nascent is generous in describing his case. Dude can hit, and if there’s growth, look out, but he has no safety net of defensive value to keep him around if he doesn’t.

2:48
Pat Kelly’s Potential: Maybe this is a silly question but is the number of future Hall of Famers playing during any given year relatively static? And if so, approximately what is the number?

2:50
Avatar Jay Jaffe: No, it has varied widely from era to era. Here’s a graph I keep:

2:50
Avatar Jay Jaffe:

2:51
Avatar Jay Jaffe: That’s Hall of Famers per team per year, broken out into BBWAA- and committee-elected

2:51
Avatar Jay Jaffe: the big peak in the middle there is the period where the Frisch-Terry-Hoyt Veterans Committee ran amok

2:52
Key Flaw: I had been on the fence thinking about Andruw Jones and the Hall of Fame when I realized (probably from something you wrote) about how similar his and Ken Griffey Junior’s careers are. Both came up really young at 19, both had really great years in their 20s, and both fell of to almost replacement level at age 30. The only differences are that Griffey hit more home runs and played for 5 or so years longer to get his counting stats up (and he was more famous). Yet Griffey got almost 100% of the vote and Jones is still waiting. Is it really mostly marketing and brand that got Griffey so much support?

2:56
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The two players’ career patterns bear some similarities but Griffey was a much better hitter, and so he stuck around much longer. It’s much easier to quantify (and celebrate) offense than defense, and Griffey was also much more outgoing and well-regarded within the game, so he kept getting chances where Jones ran out of them, particularly after his DV arrest.

2:57
Guest: Would 3,000 hits and/or another MVP solidify Altuve’s HOF case? Or is it going to be in jeopardy regardless due to the scandal?

2:57
Avatar Jay Jaffe: 3,000 hits is a virtual guarantee for the Hall

2:59
Avatar Jay Jaffe: And I suspect that whether or not he gets to 3,000 or a 2nd MVP award (which definitely would hel), Altuve’s reported ambivalence regarding the trash can banging scheme will probably carry the day there

3:00
Avatar Jay Jaffe: i don’t think I know any voters who have given credence to the buzzer story — that’s one for the tinfoil hat bunch

3:00
Devos: Would you be more or less interested in MLB if they went back to 1993 format – two huge divisions. two teams in each league make playoff. It seems like Dodgers-Giants was the first playoff series in a long time that broke through nationally because both teams were loaded.

3:01
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think I like 2 divisions per league more than 3, but in either of those breakdowns the Dodgers and Giants are paired together due to geography so I don’t see where going back to the older format makes such a matchup more likely

3:01
A Boy Named Yu: What was more surprising – Salvy Perez’s 50 HRs last year or Brady Anderson randomly going off for 50 back in the 90’s?

3:04
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Anderson’s season was so out of nowhere. He’d never hit more than 21 homers and had just 41 in the three seasons prior to his hitting 50. Perez (who actually only hit 48 last year) had reached 27 twice, and had totaled 65 in his three previous seasons, one of which was the pandemic-shortened one (and of course i’m not counting his full year missed due to injury).

3:04
Josh: Is xwOBA broken? Or in need of a recalibration ?

3:07
Avatar Jay Jaffe: xwOBA doesn’t get recalibrated until the end of the season. Tom Tango did a good thread on this recently.

@YankeesSlut You have to be careful here. Each of those seasons had their models recalibrated at end of season. So, you are comparing the first two weeks of 2021 to the recalibrated model of 2021.

Once the 2022 model is recalibrated at end of 2022, you won’t see that 25 point difference.

22 Apr 2022
3:07
A Boy Named Yu: What is the shortest dominant career a guy could ever have that you would support for the HOF?  Like 5 years of 8 WAR for example?  Career ends out of his control, i.e. injury or illness

3:08
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’d probably need more specifics than that. Obviously a player has to have played in parts of 10 seasons to be qualified for the Hall in the first place. Five eight-win seasons within that context but almost nothing else would be interesting but I’m not sure it would be enough, unless it’s somebody doing something as singular as Shohei Ohtani.

3:09
Dave: Patrick Wisdom hits home runs better than most baseball players. This is not a question.

3:09
Avatar Jay Jaffe: he’s on my list as a player to look into sometime down the road

3:09
WinTwins0410: Jay, a couple quick questions: 1) Should Jim Kaat just stop broadcasting?  (Seriously.)  And 2) I assume you don’t see his latest comment as being disqualifying for his election/induction, so more broadly, I’d wonder: Is there anything done by a HoFer that would lead you to conclude that that guy should be fired from/pressured to resign from the Hall?  I ask this totally seriously (recognizing that an offhand “Nestor the Molester” comment by a 83-year-old man, while ridiculous, also is a long way from murder!), as it came up in the past regarding O.J. Simpson.  I know several hockey hall of famers have been pressured into resigning over the years (Gil Stein, Alan Eagleson).

3:12
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I don’t think Kaat has any business being on the air anymore but no, I don’t see that as pertinent to his HOF case, weak tea though it was. I’m not sure exactly where the line should be but I think if a living HOFer were convicted of murder, rape, treason, sedition, or something else that’s quite serious that the institution could just say, “Yer out!”

3:13
Rudy: Is Joey Gallo done for good?  Seems like a DFA candidate

3:15
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Gallo’s quality of contact is generally fine, but he’s not making enough of it. He’s another guy who fits the pattern of swinging and chasing far more often than normal, and so I think some of it comes back to his approach, which needs some re-thinking. he does enough things well that I don’t see the Yankees just DFAing him, but trading him even while his value is low is another matter.

3:16
Grant: Is it not reasonable to assume HOF/team/year would decrease with expansion? i.e. is it fair to assume that if x% of players from, say, the 1960s make the HOF, the 1990s should also have x%?

3:21
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The problem with that line of thought is that the player pool has expanded so dramatically, first via integration and then via Latin America, and it’s raised the caliber of competition. Trying to keep a similar player-per-team level of Hall of Famers consistent across eras is almost certainly a futile task, and I’m not about to say that we should be admitting players at a level equivalent to that peak on the graph, but at the same time it’s clear that more recent eras are underrepresented.

3:21
Avatar Jay Jaffe: (sorry, this is a tough one to answer in a chat format)

3:21
ironcurtain: I think we’re seeing the actual Robby Ray this year; and not his 2021 Cy Young season.

3:22
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Agreed, the 2021 season is the anomaly, while this looks a lot like his 2018-19

3:23
Young Man: Jay, how do I break the news to anybody alive in the 70s that Joey Votto will most likely be a hall of famer? I’ve started with an easier topic, like talking about the 2020 election with my grandparents, but could still use some help. Thanks!

3:23
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Haha good luck

3:24
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I touched on Votto’s case in this piece, particularly the last few grafs https://blogs.fangraphs.com/joey-vottos-gotten-his-groove-back/, but I think that does only part of the job.

3:24
A Boy Named Yu: Is there a big debate in the future over how good he really was if Trout somehow doesn’t hit some of the big career milestones, i.e. 3000 H, 500 HR?

3:27
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Eh I don’t think it will be that big a surprise if he doesn’t become a 3000/500 guy; I’m not worried about the homers unless he has a severe injury. He’s playing in a very strange era for offense, with hits especially hard to come by even if you’re not walking 100 times a year. We’ll all be aware of the pandemic-shortened season and the injury-shortened ones, but the three MVP awards and four (!) runners-up already tells anybody who’s listening that this guy was perennially the best if not always acknowledged as such by the hardware.

3:28
Mookie: What’s up with Trout why can’t he get a hit right now? This makes me sad.

3:29
Avatar Jay Jaffe: he’s in a 4-for-31 slide, which doesn’t seem to me like a big deal, but it’s coincided the Angels generally not scoring and losing, so it probably looks worse. Unless there’s an underlying injury I wouldn’t worry about his current rough patch, but man do I hold my breath every time he gets hit by a pitch

3:31
cm: I am not in a panic re: Rutschman’s hitting, but just watching it he seems like a .250, 20 hr, .350 OBP guy.  That’s great for a catcher but not some offensive monster.  Your thoughts?

3:34
Avatar Jay Jaffe: His near-term ZiPS projections are in the .260/.350/.455 range, with 20 homers, and projection systems are pretty conservative in general, so I think you can expect a bit more — but even that’s a 4+ WAR player, which at catcher goes a long way. There were 4 who reached 4 WAR last year, but just 2 in 2018 and ’19 (Realmuto and Grandal both times). That’s exceedingly rare, and therefore quite valuable.

3:34
adambulldog: C. Beltran is proving to be a pretty good TV analyst. Agree or disagree? Also, your current opinion on his HoF chances?

3:35
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I haven’t entirely warmed up to him in the booth yet but he’s at least off to a solid start. I do think the higher visibility will help his cause, and I’m hopeful he gets another chance to manage, because he’s got a lot more to give the game.

3:37
Mr. Burrito: I love Chris Taylor. He’s fun to watch and root for. But he swings and misses at an outrageous number of balls in the strike zone, and I’m always amazed that his numbers are as good as they are. This year feels like a borderline tipping point for him… Got any thoughts about how his all-or-nothing batting style might age? I’m concerned because I also love the Dodgers and Taylor is in year one of a four-year deal.

3:38
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’m a huge Taylor fan, and yes, his strikeout rate is too high right now and his Z-Contact too low, but he’s still producing at a high level and I’m not tremendously worried. I don’t think the Dodgers are, either; after all, he struck out a near-high 28.7% last year and still got paid.

3:39
Avatar Jay Jaffe: to clarify: i’m not tremendously worried that he’s going to continue having these kinds of contact problems for a longer period.

3:40
Avatar Jay Jaffe: OK folks, I have to roll. We’re taking the kiddo to Aaron Judge Bobblehead Night at Yankee Stadium and need to get there early, so I’ve got a full list of things to do before then. I won’t be chatting next week but we’ll do it the week after from lovely Wellfleet. Until then, take care!

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