Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 5/31/18

12:02
Jay Jaffe: Good day and welcome to another edition of my Thursday chat. If I’m a little distracted today it’s because my parents are visiting from Salt Lake City and are prone to (figuratively) tugging at my sleeve for a bit of guidance. With that in mind, let’s get to it!

12:03
Duck Duck Goose: Why did I fly into the scoreboard last night?  Bad launch angle or was my exit velo too low?

12:03
Jay Jaffe: I’m going to go with bad eyesight on that one. Yeesh.

12:04
CJ Cron: Am I making the All-Star game? And how much better would the Angels have been with me around and Albert Pujols gone?

12:08
Jay Jaffe: I’ve never been much of a Cron-head, but yes, you’re off to a pretty good start (.269/.332/.486, 125 wRC+, 1.0 WAR for those who can’t be bothered to look it up), and yes, that’s 1.2 WAR ahad of Pujols at a fraction of the cost. I’m not sure that’s really All-Star caliber, though, and might suggest that catcher Wilson Ramos (.313/.356/.479) is putting together a more impressive season at a less crowded position, ASG-wise

12:08
Greg: Do you agree with Buster that less stolen bases and less hit and runs makes the game less interesting?

12:12
Jay Jaffe: I enjoy variety, and do think that baseball is better when players can show off their speed. Over the past few decades, we’ve learned that the break-even point for such strategies tends to be higher than previously assumed, so we’re seeing fewer steals and hit-and-runs, and I think that’s producing a less exciting brand of baseball. It’s more fun, in particular, when two teams with contrasting strategies go head to head, but right now, that’s in short supply.

12:13
THE Average Sports Fan: Are we seeing the beginning of Joey Votto slowly becoming Joe Mauer?

12:16
Jay Jaffe: As I noted earlier today, in the comments to my Anthony Rizzo piece (https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/anthony-rizzos-dramatic-turnaround/), since I wrote about Votto on  April 20 (http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-reds-slump-has-extended-to-joey-vot…), he’s posted a 168 wRC+, three points ahead of last year, and he’s up to 132 overall. I wouldn’t worry too much about the performance aspect of it.

As for the way the fan base has been conditioned to resent high-salaried players on teams that cry poor — something that we’ve seen all too much of in the case of Mauer — ugh. Those are the real losers, the ones who can’t appreciate greatness even if the great player is stuck in a lousy situation.

12:16
John: If a pitcher goes 9 innings without giving up a hit, but manages to surrender a run and loses the game, is it still considered a no-hitter?

12:17
Jay Jaffe: A no-hitter can still be in effect with a run allowed, but the game has to be completed without a hit. Rich Hill allowing a 10th-inning homer after nine no-hit innings, as he did against the Pirates last year, is not considered an official no-hitter. It’s just a raw deal.

12:17
Matt: Why are the Rockies so dumb and continue to bench Dahl?

12:18
Jay Jaffe: Cue my weekly rant about not being able to understand how the Rockies apportion playing time to their outfielders and first basemen. They must be playing eight-dimensional chess in a checkers world.

12:19
Lou: Is Ross Stripling the real deal?

12:23
Jay Jaffe: Not top-10 starter level, no, but the guy is missing enough bats (59 in 48.1 innings, including 42 in 33 IP as a starter) to merit a full-time spot. He and Walker Buehler have certainly helped keep the Dodgers afloat at a time when their rotation has been decimated. not to talk out of school too much, but I believe Jeff Sullivan may be taking a look at Stripling in the near future.

12:23
Jsto: Ohtani or Torres for AL rookie of the year?

12:24
Jay Jaffe: Torres has been great thus far, but If Ohtani can continue doing what he’s doing — which is basically without precedent — I’m not sure how he can’t win the award. That said, we’ve still got two-thirds of a season to go, more or less, and a lot can happen.

12:24
Brett: ROS: Hoskins or Votto?

12:25
Jay Jaffe: Votto, no hesitation. As I said, he’s back to his old, productive self already, and I’ll take his track record any day.

12:25
Greg: I know that Altuve is the favorite, but does Torres have a shot as a write in?  Lot’s of NYY fans who can stuff the electronic ballot box.

12:27
Jay Jaffe: Torres *is* on the official ballot, so there’s no need for a write-in, but voting-wise, I don’t see him unseating Altuve, who’s a fan favorite around the majors and not prone to any anti-Yankee sentiment.

12:27
Joe Schlmo: Is JA Happ the best starter available this deadline?

12:29
Jay Jaffe: Off the top of my admittedly crowded head, it’s probably him and Cole Hamels as the top two, and cash/complication-wise, he’s the easier one to obtain since Hamels has a partial no-trade list that probably requires picking up his $20 million option for next year to get around.

12:29
jack82: What’s your thoughts about Darvish? Will he rebound this season? Long term?

12:32
Jay Jaffe: Wrote about Darvish recently (https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/yu-darvish-and-the-good-fastball/). If he’s healthy – never a trivial matter for pitchers — I do think he’ll turn it around. Let’s not forget that he’s had three teams in his ear about his mechanics and repertoire over the past 10 months, worked with three different sets of catchers and coaches, and has the language barrier to deal with, too. I know Cubs fans and the hot-take end of their beat have the red-ass about his rough start, but I think in time he’ll be fine.

12:32
Big Murph: The “Elite 4” of starting pitchers should expand to 7 and include Verlander, Sevy, and Degrom, yes?

12:34
Jay Jaffe: I assume you mean Scherzer, Kershaw, Sale and Kluber as the other four? I think you could argue that guys like Strasburg, Cole and Syndergaard may be on the fringes of that upper tier, too, depending upon the timeline you’re considering.

12:35
Rays: When are we going to get some recognition for putting together a group of players we knew were talented and would be able to feed off one another’s positive energy (instead of being doom and gloom about Longo’s departure)?

12:37
Jay Jaffe: Maybe when you stop throwing nickels around like they’re manhole covers? On the one hand, I respect the Rays’ capacity for innovation, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t also very uncomfortable with the blatantly cost-cutting nature of many of their recent transactions and the inherently anti-labor tilt of their bullpenning experiment.

12:38
DBRuns: Can we get some love for Jose Ramirez? He’s having a remarkable season that’s been overshadowed by Mike Trout and Mookie Betts. With 17 career WAR at age 25, we have to be talking about a player with hall of fame chances, correct?

12:42
Jay Jaffe: Jose Ramirez is a helluva player who deserves more love, but his WAR total through age 25 (17.9 now using rWAR and the Play Index) isn’t particularly noteworthy. Even if he adds another 5 wins this year via that version — taking him to 8.7 for the season — his total with respect to all position players would be tied for 69th with Willie Davis and Donie Bush, ahead of some HOFers but well behind a lot of guys who missed. See for yourself: http://bbref.com/pi/shareit/jehqY

12:42
James: Is Trevor Bauer the most interesting man in baseball?

12:43
Jay Jaffe: No. I respect the intellect when it comes to pitching, but his public persona is a turnoff, at least to me. Also, Shohei Ohtani is the most interesting man in baseball.

12:44
Bear: What is your favorite ballpark you have been to?

12:48
Jay Jaffe: That’s a tough call. I’ve been to one game at AT&T, Target Field and old Tiger Stadium, and all were great for various reasons, but is it fair to make the call based on such a small sample size? Then again, the number of parks I’ve been to if you raise the bar even to 3 visits is basically the old and new NY parks plus Dodger Stadium. Based on various criteria, I could make some kind of argument for Dodger Stadium, Citi Field and Yankee Stadium 2 (the one that closed in 2008, with an unparalleled atmosphere) among that latter group. I’ll also put Camden Yards (2 visits) on the upper tier from among the 21 I’ve visited.

12:48
Jay Jaffe: The complete list, pulled up from a chat a couple weeks back:

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.

12:48
Kyle: What is the feeling about Brandon Nimmo, is he for real? At a minimum, the place discipline seems legit.

12:48
Gene Parmesean: Would you take Brandon Nimmo or Clint Frazier right now?

12:52
Jay Jaffe: Nimmo over Frazier is easy given what the former has shown in 400+ plate appearances in MLB, particularly his plate discipline. I’m not sure that he can sustain the power — the only place he’s slugged .500 before in any amount of playing time is hitter-friendly Las Vegas — but then again, we’re in an era where players have consciously been able to unlock new levels of power by tweaking their swings, so never say never there.

12:52
Hard hit rate: My pick for likeliest MLB exec to have burner Twitter accounts is Derek Jeter, but who would be most entertaining?

12:54
Jay Jaffe: I imagine that Brian Cashman, Theo Epstein and Billy Beane would be among them, but for some reason, I bet A.J. Preller would be the most outrageous.

12:54
Ben: Thoughts on Franmil Reyes? Boy, does the ball sound like it’s in pain when it leaves his bat

12:58
Jay Jaffe: I haven’t seen much of him but he’s a BIIIIIIG boy with big raw power, and the rest of his game seems pretty unrefined. On a going-nowhere Padres team, I’m all for seeing what he can do with a few hundred plate appearances, but I’m not sure he’s more than a curiosity based on the reservations of prospect hounds.

12:58
Guest: Do you really think player-devaluation is a partial motive behind the Rays bullpenning?

1:00
Jay Jaffe: I don’t think the possibility can be dismissed out of hand, particularly given the backdrop of the organization’s moves over the past several months. It’s a novel way to stay under what appears to be a very tight budget.

1:01
Hoser: 69th all time among position players seems pretty damn good to me

1:03
Jay Jaffe: Re: jose Ramirez, it’s not bad at all, but if you look at that list, it’s not particularly instructive as to HOF fates. There are dozens of HOFers with lower WAR to that point in their careers, and about three dozen players with higher WAR who missed.

1:03
Mike: Would Hamels make it through wavers with his contract? Can he be traded after the deadline ala Verlander?

1:05
Jay Jaffe: probably, but I’m not sure that the Rangers have any incentive to keep him past July 31 — he’s got no long-term attachment to Texas and at most just one more year under contract, so i think he’ll be easier to move, particularly with the Dodgers and Yankees possibly involved.

1:06
David: Adam Dunn’s career bWAR is only 17.4…is that entirelyy a function of defense and baserunning/BA? His offensive numbers are basically exactly the same as Teixeira, who has 52 WAR. What’s going on there?

1:06
Jay Jaffe: Basically, yes. In terms of B-Ref defensive WAR (that’s fielding runs plus positional adjustment) his -28.9 (!) is the lowest of all-time http://bbref.com/pi/shareit/yHDLw

1:06
King Jaffe Joffer: Kole Calhoun:  2014-17 averaged .260/.325/.425—2018: .147/.198/.182   we are beyond “April” & small sample sizes.  Any clues/insights?  Hiding an injury?  SP found  hole in his swing?

1:07
Jay Jaffe: I don’t exactly know, but you’re right, something is up, and it’s worth a closer look. he’s been putrid.

1:07
Smokey: I have an abundance of starting pitching but could use a bat or two (7×7 H2H with the 2 extra cats as OPS and K’s in batting). Who should I be asking for if I offer guys like Greinke, Nola, or Morton?

1:07
Jay Jaffe: You should be asking for somebody who knows anything about fantasy circa 2018. It ain’t me, babe.

1:08
KBO Wildcard: how long until the Orioles realize that leaving Chris Davis on the DL for the rest of his contract might be better for them? Or should they maximize his at bats as the most overt tank-job ever?

1:11
Jay Jaffe: I don’t think the Orioles c. 2018 are the most overt tank job ever given the 1916 Athletics, and the 2011-13 Astros, none of whom had a player close to the caliber of Manny Machado for any length of time (end-stage Napoleon Lajoie doesn’t count). I also know that the players’ union would let the O’s stash Davis on the DL for the duration of the deal. But yeah, that contract, woof.

1:12
Matt: Is Ellsbury actually this fragile, is Brian Cashman stretching the truth, or some combination of then with Brian Cashman causing Ellbury’s physical injuries?

1:14
Jay Jaffe: Ellsbury’s long litany of injuries makes his current time on the DL more plausible, but we certainly don’t know everything that’s going on here. If I’m him and I’m healthy, I’m asking Cashman for a trade on a daily basis.

1:14
Mountie Votto: Why isn’t Billy Hamilton running anymore?

1:17
Jay Jaffe: Well, he’s been dead since 1940… Oh, you mean the non-Hall of Fame Hamilton? I’m not really sure other than the fact that a) you can’t steal first base, even if your OBP is below .300 and b) he’s losing some playing time in what’s effectively a four-man outfield.

1:17
Babe Lincoln: 1916 Athletics?  Please educate us, oh wise one.

1:19
Jay Jaffe: 36-117 (.235) during one of the A’s teardown phases. Jon Wertheim wrote about them at length for Sports Illustrated on the occasion of their centennial. https://www.si.com/mlb/2016/07/21/pathetics-1916-philadelphia-athletic…

1:19
AC: Who would have thought that both Verlander and Scherzer would have their best seasons AFTER they left the Tigers?

1:21
Jay Jaffe: On the one hand, it’s a surprise, but their spending was such that it would have been tough to justify keeping Scherzer at the time he departed, and it was clearly time to get Verlander off the books last year.

1:22
Mountie Votto: Re: Billy Hamilton, he’s always had a near-.300 OBP though. He’s only ATTEMPTED 11 SBs, and has 9 on the year. In the first half of last season, he was 38 for 43 in SB attempts and had a .319 OBP.

1:23
Jay Jaffe: Oh, I know. Again, I’m not really sure. Maybe the change in managers has something to do with it? Maybe he’s nursing an undisclosed leg injury? It’s probaly worth tugging on the sleeve of a Reds beat reporter to ask him. Tell C. Trent I sent you.

1:24
Hello: You seem like you’d be a mean drunk

1:25
Jay Jaffe: I can assure you that’s most untrue. I just don’t suffer fools gladly, particularly in chats or on social media.

1:25
Kiermaier’s Deviated Septum: Jay,  could you address the details of the Super II deadline and what it  really means for prospect call ups/ control etc etc. I thank you and Vlad Jr. Thanks you.

1:29
Jay Jaffe: The basics are these: Players with three full years of service time are eligible for arbitration, as are the top 22 percent of players in the two-to-three year range; it’s the latter guys who are designated Super Twos. The deadline for who makes that cutoff is not a fixed point, but you can bet each front office has somebody who’s tracking it. What it means is that a team whose player misses that cutoff date (which is generally sometime in June) will get an extra half-season of service time out of the player before his salary jumps from being a function of the league minimum to something more expensive and merit-based.

1:29
Jay Jaffe: It’s something that the players have agreed to via the CBA, but that doesn’t mean it’s not prone to abuse, and in the Blue Jays’ case, it’s about goddamn time Vlad Jr. was called up.

1:30
Sidney Ponson: How would you asses Yadier Molina’s HOF chances? Numbers don’t really seem to be there, but the consensus seems to be he has significant  quantifiable qualities that seperate him.

1:32
Jay Jaffe: What I wrote about Molina nearly 14 months ago still applies. Based on the metrics we have, he doesn’t appear to be HOF-worthy, but his reputation and the fact that there’s a lot about catcher defense/staff handling that we haven’t been able to quantify means that we can’t entirely dismiss the possibility that he’s worthy on a statistical basis, and I do think that he’ll get a good deal of support. https://www.si.com/mlb/2017/04/06/yadier-molina-cardinals-contract-hal…

1:32
Rahul: how worried should we be about Goldschmidt?

1:32
Jay Jaffe: I’m starting to worry, yeah. I’ve got something planned in the near future that will take a closer look at him

1:32
MortalWombat: Do you think we will see Justus Sheffield this season?

1:34
Jay Jaffe: Yes. Domingo German isn’t cutting it, Sonny Gray is a mess, and you don’t know that Jordan Montgomery will remain healthy once he returns. It makes sense that the Yankees will take a look at Sheffield sometime before July 31 so as to calibrate their level of need in the starting pitcher market.

1:34
Greg: Buster also postulated that over 30 guys are having trouble keeping up with the 95+ fastballs most every reliever throws.  Other than a few guys like Trout, Harper and Correa, most guys don’t become FA available until close to 30 (Judge, Sanchez etc.).  Is the day of the 5 plus year FA contract for hitters coming to an end?

1:38
Jay Jaffe: As a generality, I’m not sure how much truth there is to Buster’s observation, but intuitively, it makes some sense, and it’s been on my mind regarding Goldschmidt, because the numbers show that he’s having trouble with high velo this year.

I do think we’ll see some kind of tug-o-war over when players reach free agency in the bargaining leading up to the next CBA, and it could get ugly. But I think we should be braced for the likelihood that change will be incremental rather than radical — maybe it becomes five years, with arbitration for a higher % of players in the 2-3 class, but give-backs somewhere else. I wish I had a crystal ball.

1:38
Rick: The fact that two of these guys are made of glass aside, what is the NL going to do when the Nats are sporting Murphy again with a Soto, Eaton, Harper OF???  Scary.

1:40
Jay Jaffe: They’ve done a great job weathering the storm with a less-than-full complement of players, but the Nationals are bound to regress, just as every team eventually does. The good news for them is that they’re back in the drivers’ seat in the NL East.

1:40
Marshall: Can we call Ross Stripling The Stripling Warrior?

1:41
Jay Jaffe: his nickname of “Chicken Strip” — which he wore on his players’ choice jersey last year and which according to Joe Davis is self-imposed, cracks me up. I’m not sure you can top that.

1:41
Big Murph: While on the topic, Syndergaard or Degrom?

1:42
Jay Jaffe: deGrom. Less in the way of raw tools, but seems to be the wiser of the two.

1:44
Matt: Jay, what do you think the Nationals do about their impending roster crunch? All four of Daniel Murphy, Adam Eaton, Ryan Zimmerman and Brian Goodwin are set to come off the DL in the next few days, and some of their replacements (Soto, Reynolds, Adams, etc.) have been raking. They can’t keep all of these guys on the 25 man, so do they end up sending Soto back down to avoid having to release someone?

1:48
Jay Jaffe: Good question. Goodwin’s out of options, but he’s clearly the expendable one from that group (sorry, Brian). Eaton you probably push back to center field because Taylor isn’t hitting. Soto is hitting too well to farm out, but I think in a short-term roster crunch they have to. I don’t know how to solve 1B other than to concede that Zimmerman is no longer guaranteed playing time.

1:48
Phil: Just something interesting about Ross Stripling… here are his ranks among SPs with at least 35IP: 4th in K%-BB%, 3rd in SIERA, 8th in DRA, and 4th in xwOBA. Those are 4 very good stats in which to be ranked in the top 10.

1:49
Jay Jaffe: Yup. The fact that he’s carried such great K and BB rates into the rotation tells me this is a guy who deserves a regular starting spot. Given the number of injuries the Dodgers have had, it appears they’ll get a longer look at him

1:49
John: Is it time we start mentioning Aaron Nola in the same category as Jacob Degrom, Severino, Thor??

1:51
Jay Jaffe: he’s an excellent pitcher who’s working his way towards the top, but he doesn’t miss as many bats as those guys, so I’m not sure he belongs in that rarefied air.

1:51
FS: If player A has higher WPA but lower WAR than player B, then is there any specific difference between either numbers where you would covet player A more than player B?

1:52
Jay Jaffe: Sure. I want to know both players’ positions, ages, and track records beyond those numbers. I also want to know how big a sample size I’m dealing with.

1:52
Austin: Should Toronto trade Josh Donaldson

1:52
Jay Jaffe: Yes. This isn’t their year and it’s time for Vlad Jr.

1:54
GERB: Did you know theres never been a 3rd baseman with a 10WAR season? Jose Ramirez is on pace for 11.7. What are the odds he does it?

1:56
Jay Jaffe: Al Rosen did get 10.1 rWAR in 1953 (I still prefer that flavor for historical discussions given JAWS), but yeah, other than that, it’s pretty weird that we’ve never seen a 10-win season at third.  I love Ramirez but also think he’ll cool off some, though even then, he’s got a shot. Worth a closer look!

1:56
Gatsby: I can’t help but think the Yankees and Mets are perfect trade partners on paper. What kind of package would the Yankees have to open with to make the Mets interested in moving Degrom?

1:56
Jay Jaffe: The Wilpons will never trade a star to the Yankees. Full stop.

1:57
Jay Jaffe: OK folks, i think we’ve flogged this horse enough for one week. Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll do it again, oh, in about six days and 22 hours.

We hoped you liked reading Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 5/31/18 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, 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.

Comments are closed.