Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 5/17/18

12:01
Jay Jaffe: Good afternoon/morning and welcome to another edition of my weekly Thursday chats.

First, some housekeeping. In last week’s discussions of favorite sandwiches in NYC, I mourned the loss of the fried chicken sandwich from Van Horn Sandwich Shop, but I neglected to mention the loss of a sandwich that trumped even that: the Italian at Bierkraft, a Park Slope specialty beer shop that also did great subs. For meats, theirs had house roasted  ham, hot sopressata, proscuitto di Parma and something called petit jesu, which is a garlic-and-red-wine salami that looks like this https://stinkybklyn.com/shop/charcuterie/petit-jesu/. Also arugula, tomato, onion, roasted red pepper, balsamic and EVOO.

12:02
Jay Jaffe: That and a pint or bottle of any craft beer was a reliable go-for dinner or a picnic lunch back when my wife lived nearby. And per my complaint about not being able to get a decent Italian sandwich nearby — no, i’m not paying $18 f’ing dollars to the place with 150 different combos at Dekalb Market, edit your damn menu — it’s because none will ever measure up to that one.

(and yes, I do have a jpg of a menu for a place that went out of business three years ago. What’s weird about that?)

Accountability about sandwich remembrances is what I’m here for.

12:02
Marshall: Would you vote for Chase Utley for HoF?

12:04
Jay Jaffe: Hell yes. Hugely underrated player because he was not only an exceptional hitter but fielder and baserunner as well. Ninth in JAWS at 2B https://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/jaws_2B.shtml but I think he’s gonna get burned by the Rule of 2,000 as he needs 126 more hits and I’m just not sure he gets enough playing time to get there.

12:05
John Oleruds Helmet: Mr Jay! Enlighten thou with thy wisdom across the chativerse!! With the way front offices have devalued aging veterans and the prominence of players increasing their launch angle at the expense of contact, could a 3000 hit player become an impossibility in our lifetime like the 300 win pitcher has become??

12:08
Jay Jaffe: Well, we’re probably going to see Miguel Cabrera and Robinson Cano reach 3,000 within a few years, but after that, it could be awhile, as nobody active has more than ~2,100 and the guys that do (Markakis and Reyes) are 34 and 35. But I do think somebody like Altuve and of course Trout will have shots at it, if they stay healthy. We’ll have more of ’em than we do 300 win guys, for sure

12:09
Alec Asher Wojciechowski: Do you know how suspensions and the DL work? Why is it that Gurriel couldn’t serve his suspension on the DL, but Cano can?

12:10
Jay Jaffe: Not 100% sure about this but discipline for what Gurriel did was at the commissioner’s discretion, whereas the DL stuff must be codified somewhere in the Joint Drug Agreement.

12:11
capconstrained: Last time through the Sox rotation, this is IP by starter:

Sale 5
Rodriguez 5
Porcello 6
Pomeranz 4
Price 5.1

A few more like these and the Yanks will be sitting pretty.

12:13
Jay Jaffe: Every team goes through streaks and slumps. Between Sonny Gray,  Masahiro Tanaka and the fact that Domingo German couldn’t maintain his no-hit prowess forever, the Yankees rotation has its own issues to get through. This race is gonna last the whole season.

12:14
Richard: Feels like the Blue Jays are trying to remain competitive while also regularly playing Kendrys Morales, two forces that are at odds with each other. With fewer balls in play than usual, could they call up Vlad and attempt to move Donaldson to shortstop? Would help the lineup. Could the defense survive?

12:16
Jay Jaffe: I think it’s far more likely that if/when Vlad Jr. comes up, he and the less-than-mint-condition Donaldson will be sharing 3B and DH spots. I know he started there a couple times last year, but I don’t see him playing SS except in a late-game move.

Russell Martin, OTOH…

12:17
Tristan: Feels like Brandon Belt is continuing the breakout we started to see last season. Is he the top 1B in the NL West right now?

12:18
Jay Jaffe: he’s had the best quarter-season of any of them, but I’m not ready to count out Goldschmidt (whom I looked at in today’s piece http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/losing-pollock-isnt-the-d-backs-only-pr…) or Bellinger from that discussion if we’re talking about the bigger picture.

12:21
Justin: Is anyone noticing that Aaron Judge really is as good as he seemed like last year? Just fewer dingers and Not Being Trout (or Betts), I guess

12:22
Jay Jaffe: Yes, very much noticing. I think Travis Sawchik has something on him today or tomorrow

12:22
Chapultepec Audiorama: If you were forced to kick out 3 HOF members based solely on on-field performance, which 3 would get the boot?

12:24
Jay Jaffe: Tommy McCarthy, a 19th century OF who should be in as a pioneer, and two from among the Frisch group of Jesse Haines, Chick Hafey, High Pockets Kelly, JIm Bottomley and Freddie Lindstrom.

12:25
Zock Jr.: Just want to say up front that I hate pitcher wins. BUT. A friend and I are discussing them, like ya do. And, unless Verlander or CC pitch til they’re Colonesque, nobody’s getting to 300 again, right?

12:26
Jay Jaffe: Verlander, Greinke and Kershaw are the guys who have at least a puncher’s chance.

12:27
curdybuff: when are the dodgers done?

12:28
Jay Jaffe: I think when Matt Harvey and his Boeing-model ERA beat them in his Reds debut.

12:32
Jay Jaffe: Oh man, some chin music from a predecessor

@jjcoop36 @jay_jaffe @fangraphs yo I was going to say something about the sandwiches thing. i’m about to grow a damn mustache over here.
17 May 2018
12:32
Jay Jaffe: I should point out that I’m not the one making these sandwiches. That beat’s all you, Eno.

12:34
Ben: How do you see the Astros

12:34
Jay Jaffe: with MLB TV, mostly. Houston’s too far a commute

12:35
Guest: Is Ian Kinsler done being a star? Last year he took a pretty big step back and now he’s 35 with a 67 wRC+

12:36
Jay Jaffe: He’s not off to a great start, is he? I don’t have a great handle on the specifics of the why, so he might be worth a closer look.

12:36
Puente: Was your lukewarm assessment of Wisconsin beer just a ploy to get prideful Midwesterners to send you bottles of Ale Asylum and New Glarus?

12:38
Jay Jaffe: Uh, sure. But if Wisconsinites really want to impress me, they’ll send me bricks of 10-year aged cheddar cheese. Any state can produce good beer, but cheese is their 80-grade tool.

12:39
Roll Tribe: At what point does CLE ownership start looking at the coaching as the source of the issues plaguing CLE?  “Tito Tenure” indeed…

12:41
Jay Jaffe: this is the kind of what-have-you-done-for-me-lately crap that belongs on sports talk radio. They won 102 games last year, took it to Game 7 of the World Series the year before and despite a few minor issues and injuries are in first place in a terrible division at the one-quarter mark. But yeah, let’s fire the manager.

12:42
Kristen: What kind of dollars/years will the better offseason FA SP’s like Corbin/Pomeranz get?

12:42
Jay Jaffe: Given Corbin’s falling velocity and Pomeranz’s long history of injuries, let’s see if they survive the regular season first.

12:44
Marshall: What do you think is the “right” size for the Hall of Fame? Should it be scaled based on some percentage of roster size*team number?

12:47
Jay Jaffe: I looked at historical levels of representation in The Cooperstown Casebook. Through the 2017 elections, for the 1885–1993 period, the average was 1.79 Hall of Famers per team per season, the equivalent of 54 Hall of Famers active. For the period from 1961–97, it’s 1.36. I think that’s more realistic given the closure of the VC pipeline — but it’s much lower than that for the 1990s onward.

12:47
Gus: Can’t beat Court St Grocers.

12:47
Jay Jaffe: I’ve never been. will check into this.

12:49
Dub: Do the Dodgers play Bellinger more in OF like last night for the rest of the year?

12:49
Jay Jaffe: I’m not sure I see a long-term need to get Max Muncy playing time, or to further crowd the OF situation, but Bellinger’s versatility and athleticism is a nice thing to have.

12:49
Andre: Would you trade Kershaw for Goldschmidt?

12:50
Jay Jaffe: No and no.

12:50
Peter: Am I the only one tired of the unbalanced schedule? I know the players prefer if it because it provides less traveling, but a balanced schedule would provide fairer chances for teams in regards to playoff chances. More teams would be able to take advantage of a weak division. And even as a Yankees fan, I am tired of Sawx-Yanks 19 times a year.

12:52
Jay Jaffe: I’m pro unbalanced schedule, and I’ll make no apology. Would love an even number of teams in each division so that they could all be intradivision games down the stretch.

12:52
Rockie Dangerfield: The common wisdom is that teams have vastly superior analytics to what’s available publicly.  However, the Rockies seem to think Desmond, Cargo, and Parra are legit starting options.  How does one square those two ideas?

12:53
Jay Jaffe: Like everything else in life, there’s a spread of talent even at the top level, and different front offices have different skills. The ability to figure out who should play in the Colorado outfield is definitely not one of the Rockies’ strengths, and i’ve been saying so for years.

12:53
Evan: For awhile, Kershaw/Scherzer/Kluber/Sale were clear four best pitchers in baseball. Has Verlander made it a clear five?

12:54
Jay Jaffe: Yeah, between the great bounceback in 2016 and his run with the Astros, Verlander is definitely in the mix.

12:54
Austin: In the same vain, what about a Pollock FA deal given his unflattering injury history?

12:56
Jay Jaffe: The elbow and thumb fractures are traumatic injuries, which is to say that they don’t give me concern about chronic problems like scar tissue and a loss of cartilage. I do think he might want to consider the benefits and costs of his all-out style as it pertains to his aging body, but he’s hardly the only player facing that.

12:56
daro: Should the Braves try to trade for Machado at the deadline?

12:58
Jay Jaffe: They’ve got the depth of talent to do so, but I assume that if they were to do this — which they should only do if they’re still clearly in the hunt come July 31, and even then I’d think long and hard about the price — they would shift him back to 3B and not disrupt Dansby Swanson’s development.

12:59
Ethan: Scooter Gennett has a 305/351/531 line over the last calendar year with 31 dingers…

12:59
Jay Jaffe: We are living through ridiculous times.

1:00
Matt: Any idea what percentage of hall-eligible players are in the hall?

1:01
Jay Jaffe: At the time the book was published, it was 6.8% of all players with at least 10 years of major league experience (where for HOF purposes a single game is enough to count as a season), and 16.3% of players with the practical qualifying thresholds of 5,000 PA or 2,000 IP.

1:01
Slurve: If Trout has 8-10 more years at a similar level to his current status (regression for old, etc.) can the dimwits who don’t vote for him for the HOF be exposed and their future voter status be taken away?  It’s egregious that there has NEVER been a unanimous entry.

1:03
Jay Jaffe: It’s. A. Vote. I do think that the voting should be fully transparent, but you can’t force somebody to vote some way, otherwise what’s the point of having a vote?  

If Trout  has 8-10 more years like the ones he’s just had, Cooperstown is going to be renamed Troutville and there will be a 100-foot high statue of him on Main St.

1:03
kevinthecomic: Where does Ozzie Smith fit in all time worst HOFers?  Has to be near the top, errr bottom, right?

1:05
Jay Jaffe: FFS, we’ve been over this. He’s a top 10 SS (8th in JAWS) thanks to his fielding and yes, his offense — including his baserunning, which was very valuable.

Gotta think about park adjustments, man. https://www.si.com/mlb/2017/12/06/omar-vizquel-hall-fame-ballot-2018

1:07
Jack Glasscock’s Cup: Lindor moved down to clean-up over the past few games:  bad idea or just horrible idea?

1:10
Jay Jaffe: Other than “hit your best players somewhere towards the top of the lineup” I don’t think about batting order much anymore, and my life is much richer because of it. That said I see no reason to ever bat Rajai Davis first, even against a lefty. Not Francona’s best idea, for sure.

1:10
Austin: How do you feel about Andrelton Simmons HOF?

1:12
Jay Jaffe: He’s gonna need a bunch more 5-WAR seasons, which isn’t out of the realm of possibility given the advances of his bat and the maintenance of his defense, SSS concerns this year aside.

1:12
Scott: People need to start comparing Vizquel to Mark Belanger, not Ozzie.

1:15
Jay Jaffe: Except the defensive metrics don’t even suggest he was as good as Blade (the only SS with more fielding runs above average than Ozzie). I think Davey Concepcion might be the more apt comparison — very good player, some flash for sure, but possibley a bit overrated due to the quality of his teammates. In terms of the total package, Belanger is 40th in JAWS, Vizquel 42nd, and Concepcion 45th.

1:15
Matt: Why do so many people who have issue with “Why wasn’t Player A unanimous” have such a hard time understanding that this is almost 100% the product of the rules of voting that require voters to game their votes?

1:18
Jay Jaffe: The limited ballot space is definitely one constraint. We can’t know how often somebody games the ballot — the crowd of worthies was certainly big enough when Griffey was elected that we can’t rule it out — but I doubt it happens that often. Then again, all it takes is one voter doing so to toss unanimity out the window. With Derrick Goold’s Binary Ballot idea (yes or no on every candidate) maybe we’d finally get somebody with 100%.

1:18
Pat: I always thought the HOF should be a certain # of players per generation, not a % of players. Thought being the players added from expansion aren’t HOF’ers, so really you are lowering the standard by using a % of players being HOF’ers. Thoughts?

1:21
Jay Jaffe: With the fall of the color line and the opening of Latin America and Asia as talent sources, the player pool has expanded more rapidly than MLB has. Going simply by % of players doesn’t really work because we’re now lousy with 13-man pitching staffs, and none of those relievers save for maybe a few closers is ever going to be in the same sentence as a discussion of legit HOF candidacy. IMO, it’s players per team per year, as I described above, that is a better yardstick to go by.

1:22
Ethan: Do you consider Eugenio Suarez a top 10 3b?

1:25
Jay Jaffe: Yeah. He’s not in the top half dozen (Donaldson/Bryant/Arenado/Ramirez/Rendon/Turner, order them however you want)  but there’s a case to be made for him vs. Seager, Beltre, Longoria, Bregman… depending on the timeframe you’re looking at.

He is not, as you asked in a different q, “Arenado light” – his glove is nowhere nearly as good.

1:25
Babe Lincoln: Are the JAWS rankings posted somewhere?

1:27
bonnie: Maybe it’s because of my Cardinal-tinted glasses, but how can you think Ozzie is one of the worst HOFers ever?

1:28
Jay Jaffe: the only way one could come to that conclusion would be if batting average and home run totals were the criteria.

1:28
Kent: Who is the better offensive player? Didi Gregorious or Nomar Mazara?

1:29
Jay Jaffe: Didi, his current slide notwithstanding. He’s proven that he can put together a full season as a league-average-plus hitter, Mazara has yet to do so (though I remain optimistic)

1:29
GP: Should the Reds try to trade Scooter Gennett to the Mariners for a prospect? Not only do you get a prospect, but you free up a position for Senzel, when he comes back. If you don’t move Gennett, where will Senzel play? And how much of an impact bat could Senzel be?

1:31
Jay Jaffe: I think a trade of Scooter for a prospect is an eventuality, later this summer. So long as Senzel is battling vertigo issues, there’s less urgency, and there’s no reason the Reds should limit themselves to the Mariners as trading partners.

1:31
The Old Buccaneer: Puig just hit is 3rd HR in 4 games… can he still be an All-Star quality OF?

1:31
Jay Jaffe: baseball is certainly more fun when he is, so I hope so.

1:32
Jack Glasscock’s Cup: how will catchers be graded for the hall of fame in the future?  Yadi has the narrative, but his career is basically russell martin.  Will framing/catcher ERA, etc be a part of the discussion?

1:36
Jay Jaffe: Framing will certainly be part of the discussion. Catcher ERA not so much. It takes decades to stabilize.

1:37
Slew : Talk about Kluber and the HOF. Seems like he’s going to struggle with the counting stats, so what does he need to do? A 3rd CY and a WS MVP?

1:40
Jay Jaffe: Kluber’s big problem is that he didn’t have an above-replacement season until age 27, and I’m not sure how many more 200-inning seasons he’ll have given his age and the current environment. If he pockets a 3rd Cy, that would make him a very interesting case, but even then, if the voters can turn away so many 2x winners, they’ll eventually turn away a 3x one if his career is short enough.

1:43
Ted: What do you make of Sabathia’s HOF chances? I think they didn’t look good a few years ago but the mini renaissance at the end should help the narrative along.

1:43
Nomar Mazara: How do you feel about me ROS? Think I can be as good as Bellinger?

1:44
Jay Jaffe: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/where-nomar-mazara-seems-to-have-improv…

There are signs of progress, but Mazara’s gotta elevate the ball more consistently. He lacks Bellinger’s speed and athleticism, so no, I don’t think he can be that good an all-around player, but if he maintains his current gains against lefties, he could be a good one.

1:45
MarlinsGuy: Albies has been fun to watch, but I keep waiting for the other show to drop. Is your sense that he is a true talent 130-140 wRC+ kind of player?

1:48
Jay Jaffe: I’d guess he’s a bit over his head as far as the power is concerned, and would like to see that walk rate — which is about half of last year’s — rebound somewhat. But he’s already a top-five 2B, and that’s with 99 games in the majors

1:48
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: How many Major League stadiums have you visited? Do you have a vested interest in Team Hall of Fame exhibits the same way that you enjoy discussing Cooperstown?

1:52
Jay Jaffe: and now the part where I have to count them on my fingers again. Bear with me

4 NY parks
2 in Minnesota
2 in DC
Fenway, Camden Yards, Jacobs Field, Tiger Stadium (RIP), Kaufman, Safeco, RBIA, Miller, Wrigley, Dodger Stadium, AT&T, Petco and as of next month, Coors.

That’s 21. I’m all for teams doing their own HOF and making a thing of it. Celebrate ’em!

1:52
Nick: Speaking of schedule, it feels like some teams got the shaft more than usual with travelling. Seattle this past week with a make-up day in Minnesota then flying home for a game the next day. Others playing the same team outside of their division six times within two weeks and then being done. Was there a massive shift in how scheduling was done this year?

1:54
Jay Jaffe: Not that I know of but Seattle perennially has it worse than any other team in terms of travel because they don’t have anybody else very close to them.  Wish this was updated http://mlb.mlb.com/schedule/interactive-team-map.jsp?team=sea&season=2…

1:54
John: Something i learned just now that shocked me. There are significantly more MLB teams that have their home dugout on the 1st base side than the 3rd base side.

1:55
Jay Jaffe: Given that it’s the case in both Yankee Stadiums that I’ve ben to — where I’ve attended a couple hundred games (?) over the years — home dugout on 1B side feels normal to me.

1:56
ChatzMcGree: Since you claimed that you hate Joey Votto and that he was done forever (or something like that), he’s hit .314/.478/.570.

1:57
Jay Jaffe: #fixed

1:57
NYTT: Is freddie Freeman the best 1B in baseball? Where would you rank him among the best hitters in baseball?

1:59
Jay Jaffe: Coming into the year, i’d have placed Freeman just outside the group of Goldschmidt/Rizzo/Votto. I’m not sure than 1/4 season is a big enough sample size to dramatically alter that except to say that I’m fine including him in the top four.

1:59
Jay Jaffe: wow, where does the time go?

1:59
Jay Jaffe: Thanks for stopping by, folks! We’ll do this again real soon. Like in seven days!

We hoped you liked reading Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 5/17/18 by Jay Jaffe!

Please support FanGraphs by becoming a member. We publish thousands of articles a year, host multiple podcasts, and have an ever growing database of baseball stats.

FanGraphs does not have a paywall. With your membership, we can continue to offer the content you've come to rely on and add to our unique baseball coverage.

Support FanGraphs




Brooklyn-based Jay Jaffe is a senior writer for FanGraphs and the author of The Cooperstown Casebook (Thomas Dunne Books, 2017). 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.

newest oldest most voted
bookbook
Member
bookbook

So the Mariners have geographic challenges. Shouldn’t the schedulers work to mitigate that, rather than exacerbating it, as they seem to do every year?

Moate
Member
Moate

No, but ownership could fix it by moving to Vegas if that would make you happy.

(On a serious note: how? Scheduling 162 games in 2-5 game blocks for every team with an equal number number of home and away games for each team while also attempting to minimize travel distance and accounting for seasonal weather patterns and also proving even splits for divisional series and also adjusting for the shifting inter league division moves each year is already very very very complex math. And you can never predict rain outs. )

baycommuter
Member
Member
baycommuter

Sporting solution: Take whatever city Amazon chooses for its second headquarters and have the Mariners play half their home games there.