Home Baseball Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 6/27/23

Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 6/27/23

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Avatar Jay Jaffe: Good afternoon, folks! I’m back from my annual foray to Cape Cod and at my usual battle station for the Tuesday chat.
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Current listening: Sparks, since I’m seeing them at the Beacon Theater tonight.
Avatar Jay Jaffe: And now, on with the show
babbganoush: Thoughts on Manoah getting shelled by 17 yo kids?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It’s obviously not what you want, but it’s important not to overreact here (and the average age of the Yankees he’s facing is 19 not 17). There’s a reason Manoah is retooling in the FCL rather than at Triple-A, and it’s because the intermediate results really don’t matter. It’s a high-offense league (5.8 RPG), the caliber of defense is yikes (18% of all runs are unearned) and we have no batted ball info to go by at this juncture. As with pitching development, pitching fixes are non-linear; it could just be a matter of a tweak or two having radically different results.
Harry: Give me a concern level on Giancarlo Stanton? Historically a streaky guy so I tend to believe everyone should take a breather. Rumblings of a trade across town has to be the craziest thing I’ve seen.
Avatar Jay Jaffe: medium. He’s not hitting well since his return (.121/.215/.241), striking out a ton (33.8%), not hitting the ball as hard, or being as aggressive as usual. I have to think something is mechanically wrong, perhaps in relation to a less-than-full recovery from his hamstring strain, and the added pressure of not having Aaron Judge in the lineup can’t be helping.

I can’t imagine anyone trading for him right now, but I don’t think this is the end for him by any means

Dan in Toronto: Hi Jay, which 3 AL teams will make the playoffs as Wild Cards this year?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: If I had to guess, I’d probably go with the Astros, Orioles, and Angels, which would additionally be a nice change of pace given the recent absences of the last two of those teams
Sammy So-so: Do you know if the much shorter games this season have had an effect on viewership numbers and attendance? Are the games just more enjoyable to those of us who were watching anyway, or has the quicker pace of play begun to attract new fans? Thanks as always, Jay.
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I don’t have anything on viewership. Attendance is up by about 9% compared to this time last year but only about 4.5% compared to all of last season. I’m not sure we can attribute that to shorter game times; I don’t think people buying pre-season could have anticipated the effect would be this great. More to the point, I think the benefits in terms of both TV and in-person attendance are likely to take longer to unfold.
Eric: If the Dodgers pitching struggles continue, what’s the best team in the NL West?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think it’s a real toss-up. Looking at BaseRuns winning percentage based on underlying offensive and defensive components, the Giants (.561), Dodgers (.555), Padres (also .555) and Dbacks (.538) are closely bunched together, with the Dodgers having played the hardest schedule and having the easiest remaining one. I’d say it’s a coin toss between the Giants and Dbacks if not the Dodgers
Mt Elden: Vlad Jr is currently 17th in WAR among qualified 1B and late last week was like 13th in wRC+. Was that 2021 season where he posted superstar numbers an aberration and is he more likely to just be a good player going forward?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think he’s been kinda banged up (knee, wrist) and also that he’s been a bit unlucky relative to his batted ball numbers. Check his .311 xBA and .547 xSLG. I still expect him to be top tier at some point
OCody Bellinger: What type of deal do you think I’m looking at in the offseason?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Maybe 3/$60M? The bat is back to league-average (though ahead of his x-stats) and the defense in center can certainly carry that. i don’t see a huge deal in his future
Henry: Now that we’ve seen Acuña return to pre-injury production levels, what’s your confidence level in him winding up in Cooperstown?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Certainly higher than in April. Was thinking I’d write a follow-up to my pessimistic piece on him earlier this year. Will have a more heavily HOF-related thing as Induction Weekend nears.
FannyGraphy: Hello, is there any way to look up stats for a Starting Rotation only? Not an entire pitching staff? Like if you wanted to see what team had the best rotation season ever?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: you can get team starting pitcher splits by choosing “Starters” on the fourth nav bar of the stat interface:
Avatar Jay Jaffe:
Guest: Thoughts on ROS outlook for Freddy Peralta and Cristian Javier? I’m in a 12 team league with QS. Looking at Mackenzie Gore, Lance Lynn, and Alex Cobb as potential pickups on the wire.
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Not fantasy-specific to your league but if you’re asking me which of those pitchers I like most ROS it’s Javier (over Peralta, whose health history isn’t great) and Cobb
ADHD+: I see a lot of talk about launch angles when it comes to Jordan Walker. I’m still getting familiar with launch angles/batted ball statistics, so in your opinion what would be an ideal launch angle for Walker based on his hitting profile?
Matt: Do you think the phillies will make the playoffs?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’m not especially bullish on their chances but I wouldn’t be shocked.
Byron Denniston: How was Cape Cod? Catch any CCBL action?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The two weeks passed too quickly, and I was bedeviled by back spasms to one degree or another until the last few days — that meant less beach walking (no dunes hike in the first year my daughter was old enough to try this) and a couple of beach days skipped.
Avatar Jay Jaffe: We did see one CCBL game, Yarmouth-Dennis at Orleans, and it was fun to be back in that environment, but my daughter was especially attention-hungry so it was a little hard to focus on the game even as we stayed until the 8th inning. My daughter went home happy as she won a plushie firebird in the raffle
Byron Denniston: Why don’t the Cardinals just trade Goldschmidt and move Walker to 1B?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Well, he has full no-trade protection for one thing, and they really like having him around. Plus it’s not automatic that a bad outfielder can become even an adequate first baseman (see Adam Dunn).
Byron Denniston: Wth is going on with Moniak?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The guy is on an insane BABIP heater. .431 BABIP combined with a 3% walk rate and 30.7% strikeout rate. Fun while it lasts but I wouldn’t count on it to last forever
Nick: What do you think is  the most predicting stat for a Pitcher in Single A to be successful in the MLB?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: probably either K% or K-BB%
warpath: I’m moving to Philly next month, any experience or tips for a baseball fan in the city?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Only that you probably shouldn’t wear the full Mets kit to Citizens
Avatar Jay Jaffe: (I’ve never been but hoping to remedy that this summer)
James: How many more years of 2-way greatness ensure Ohtani a hall of fame spot? Say he maintains this pace for 2 more seasons and then is league average for the next 5 years, is he in?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: If Ohtani gets to the 10 qualifying seasons (i.e., plays through 2027), he has my vote, and I don’t really care what JAWS says about it, because it’s been f’ing remarkable and unprecedented. That said, he’s already at 30.2 combined bWAR and 30.2 JAWS, and improving upon the low-hanging fruit in his peak score (-0.4 WAR in 2020, 2.5 in ’19) could push him to a 40+ peak pretty quickly.
Joaquim: Hi Jay. Help my dodger fan friends and I settle a debate: who’s the scariest WC opponent between Miami, SF and SD?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: i think it’s the Padres because as much as they’ve underperformed, those guys are very talented and i still believe it’s gonna come together sooner or later
Nervous Flyball Pitcher: As writers, how do you feel when you publish an article, and then data that shows up immediately afterwards refutes your argument? Either data that undermines your original assertion(s), or new observations altogether?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: well, for one you (I) try to anticipate what seeing contradictory data might mean, and a lot of times that comes down to pointing out where sample sizes are short, where other issues might be clouding our observations, and so on. but even if you do all that, you have to be prepared for things to change and make you look silly — it’s baseball, it’s unpredictable, players are humans, and right now the paths to improvement are more open than ever. Stardom can be one swing plane change or one grip change away.
Avatar Jay Jaffe: You have to develop a thick skin and understand there are times you’re gonna be wrong — and if you read me, you’ll know that i try to acknowledge that it can be instructive to be proven wrong.
Buttered Muffins: Can the Mets just use this disaster of a season to enhance their chances of signing Ohtani by trading XYZ player(s) and their contracts away while keeping a competitive core intact?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think it would be very hard to move money (Scherzer and Verlander)  while keeping a competitive core intact since the decline of that core seems to be part of the problem. If Cohen wants to spend, he’ll spend, but he’s not going to get Ohtani by shaving nickels off the payroll so he can plug the rotation with Megill and Peterson
Condor: I know it’s unlikely Ohtani would sign, but why couldn’t the Orioles put together the best free agent pitch? With a ton of cost-controlled talent, a rising team, and the DH slot open for many years due to all that youth, almost no other team could “afford” Ohtani like the Orioles. Consistently beating the Yanks and Red Sox in their division would also do wonders for his legacy. Thoughts?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: neither Angelos nor Elias seem to believe in spending money, so don’t think a team currently running a $63 million payroll will have the stomach to pay Ohtani the $50 million a year or upwards he’s going to command.
Guest: There appears to be about 18ish of 30 teams in contention for a playoff spot and we’re almost to the All-Star Break. Plus it seems unlikely teams like the Padres and Cardinals will sell. Who are FOR SURE sellers and what is even for sale?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: that’s more than I can fit in a chat window but I think it’s pretty clear the Royals, White Sox and Cubs will be among the sellers.
mac: the yankees’ player dev is completely inscrutable to me, for hitters in particular. with one 6’7 exception, they seem to get lauded for their system but produce so few above-average enduring MLB-caliber regulars that they’re left with an old, injury-prone lineup of mid-30s veterans all trending downwards. is there one fatal flaw in their approach, is the next crop of prospects likely to fare any better than clint frazier and justus sheffield, or is it time to clean house and install a much more modern crew who weren’t appointed when a Bush was in the white house?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: congratulations on writing the longest sentence in the history of chats.
Avatar Jay Jaffe: obviously, the answer is YES, but to which question i’m not sure.
Avatar Jay Jaffe: There’s a longer article in this (not by me) but if you are going to complain about Frazier and Sheffield — neither of whom the team drafted, those were trades — not panning out you have to count Gleyber Torres (also a trade) among their successes even with a couple of lean years, and Gary Sanchez had some good ones early on as well. Yes, the Yankees have struggled to produce position players, but it’s too early to judge Volpe as a failure, and they’ve been very good at producing pitching, which they’ve used to fill other holes on their roster. Reliance on above-average but not star aging veterans who have become increasingly fragile — rather than getting in on the likes of Machado, Correa, Semien, Lindor — has cost them some flexibility. Is it time for a change? Maybe.
Jake: Do you think a knuckleballer will ever be able to make it as a full time big leaguer again? Or is the peak now an up/down spot start guy, like Waldron or Jannis
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I don’t think it’s out of the question we can get another regular but let’s just say the field is wide open when it comes to who it might be.
Trevor: Do you have a favorite minor league club?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Not really. I do go see more Cyclones games than any other but I don’t get particularly attached to the players, whom I see maybe once or twice. It’s fun to see what’s going on with the Salt Lake Bees, in my hometown, because they have had some fun players there. Speaking of which, here’s Jo Adell hitting the longest tracked homer in Statcast history, 514 feet:

Jo Adell goes 514 feet for the Salt Lake Bees

21 Jun 2023

emarkaye: With Manfred putting his foot in his mouth (yet again) concerning the A’s potential relocation (plus his Time interview and bringing up his work with the *Astros), has anything done by MLB (commissioner, administration, teams, owners) put a significant dent in your love for the sport? It’s a business, yes, but at some point with the publicly funded stadiums and the leadership talking out of both sides of its mouth and how teams are happy to turn a blind eye with Caribbean youths to save a buck (never mind the ad creep everywhere), has your passion went up, stayed the same, or went down since you were a kid?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I mean if Bud Selig and the hardliners couldn’t kill my love for baseball with collusion, attempted contraction, the strike, and the bungled PED response, Rob Manfred doesn’t stand a chance. He can’t even carry Bud’s jock.
Aussie M’s Fan: What are King Felix’s chances for HOF? I feel like his peak was worthy but may have dropped off too quickly. Thanks
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Low, I’m afraid. His peak didn’t last long enough and he faded too quickly.
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I have him 96th in S-JAWS with 49.7 career WAR, 38.5 adjusted peak WAR, and 44.1 S-JAWS, the last of which is just 0.1 below Koufax but without all of the peripheral stuff that made Koufax special — the records, the no-hitters, the postseasons, the sudden retirement. Felix is well below Cole Hamels (71st) and Sabathia (55th) among the recently… inactive (I can’t say retired since Hamels supposedly isn’t, though he last appeared in a game in 2020).
Jake S: No real question, just wanted to share that I recently finished The Summer Game by Roger Angell. Delightful, as expected, but especially interesting to read about his thoughts on expansion and team movement in the current context of the Athletics. Sometimes it feels like the current ownership situation is unique to now but his words on the Senators and westward expansion/movement could fit right in to a FanGraphs post today.
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The Summer Game is eternally a great book
Murph: The Reds are projected by FanGraphs to have the 3rd-worst run differential in the NL ROS. Do you think that is in the right ballpark?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: on the one hand that seems extreme, on the other, for all of its potential that rotation hasn’t performed; everybody but the injured Hunter Greene has a FIP of 5.00 or higher.
Yo-Yo: Re: Walker, he was considered to be a surprisingly okay third baseman for his size. I’m assuming he could make the switch to first, but I’m not aware how hard the switch from third to first is.
Avatar Jay Jaffe: a fair point. Some do handle it better than others, and IMO, since it’s his arm that is his best tool for fielding (not his speed or range), it’s largely wasted at first.
Moose: What do you make of Patrick Bailey’s inability to hit from the RH side in the minors turning into a legit asset in the majors? Already has 3 MLB hrs from that side, after only 2 at all levels in the minors
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It shouldn’t be too surprising that some players make bigger strides when coached at the major league level. That said, offhand I don’t know anything about the ballparks he was playing in, or what the underlying batted ball data tells us. he might have just missed several homers
Mike: If the Angels make the playoffs, why is it so sure Ohtani is leaving?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It’s not, but some writers can’t help but fall over themselves with he latest gossip/speculation/horserace about where he’ll go
emh: What would it take for the HOF to open their doors to Bill James? Is it possible under the current rules or would they have to change the rules?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The most likely route would be in the so-called “writers wing,” as he could be nominated for the BBWAA Career Excellence Award, which was done for Roger Angell (when it was still known as the Spink Award) despite his never having been a member. He’d still have to win that election, and I don’t have any way of handicapping that one — a ton of people within the BBWAA respect his work but they probably skew to the younger side, which means they may not all have the vote (you need 10 years of consecutive membership, just as for HOF voting).
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The other way would be to be nominated as a pioneer and go up for election against the manager, execs, and umpires of the post-1980 era. That’s not easy when the nominations are limited to eight every three years under the new system, and that half the voters are HOFers, with many of them stuck on a back-in-my-day mindset.

Your “new statistics” hurt the game. It’s not equal. Baseball is in trouble. That wasn’t the case before people who have done nothing in this sport had a say about how it’s played

The people who don’t pay any attention to the “old” baseball statistics (Wins, RBI, Batting Average) are exactly like the people who won’t pay any attention to the new statistics. They just parked on the other side of the road, that’s all.

13 Jun 2023

WinTwins0410: Jay, I enjoyed your series on S-JAWS and pitchers from various decades.  Did you ever conclude that series, or is that something you’ll get back to?  IE, I don’t recall seeing articles involving pitchers born in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, but maybe I just missed those?  Thank you for doing those — the ones I read were both entertaining and informative.
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I am hoping to return to the series, probably after the trade deadline passes
marmol: You seem pretty sure the red hot Cubs will be sellers. Winners of 11 of their last 14, rotation and bullpen both looking as good as they have all season…. idk.
Avatar Jay Jaffe: They’ve run hot and cold all year. They’re only three games out of first place in a weak division, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be so close in late July. We’ll see
Jerry Buchek: Did STL lock themselves into two albatross contracts in one offseason, especially for a team whose payrolls haven’t kept pace with the league in awhile? Arenado’s defensive drop in one year has to be historic.
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Arenado’s defensive metrics are meh right now but the real problem with the Cardinals is poor roster construction and a hot-garbage rotation.
Guest: Hi Jay – thoughts on the Pirates? Are they building towards something or spinning their wheels?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Steps in the right direction, I think. Keller, Suwinski, Cruz, Reynolds, and now Davis are all players I can envision being part of a contending team in the near future (perhaps as near as a few hot weeks)
Krusty: Question re. Ohtani for JAWS/WAR/HOF-y type stuff: WAR might-maybe-even-probably does underrate him by a few runs or perhaps a bit more (depending on how you value that 26th roster spot, the 13/13 pitcher/position player caps, etc.)

Obviously, actual IRL Ohtani’s HOF candidacy probably isn’t going to turn on whatever this turns out to be over the course of his career, but… that could compile over a 15+ year career to a meaningful number of wins, no? Does that rate as important for you? Or is it just a one-off?

So, I’m curious what your #take on this is, re. how it impacts how you handle him, how JAWS might handle him, his candidacy, etc? (And apologies for yet another Ohtani question)

Avatar Jay Jaffe: the various accounting issues and assumptions built into either version of WAR probably amount to a few wins over the course of a career. That said, the issue is not something that is going to change the more qualitative evaluation and appreciation of him as a genuine unicorn.
Tel: When you’re getting ready for a chat do you open a few key reference sites that you use frequently so you can look up numbers quickly?  I saw the King Felix question and your response pop up in real time and was surprised at first when the initial response didn’t have the JAWS numbers in it (before the second part put them in)  Then I thought – well, I can’t expect him to know all those numbers off the top of his head.
Avatar Jay Jaffe: i open stuff like JAWS rankings — or even playoff odds, standings pages, player pages, whatever — as needed, which is why this chat isn’t as rapid-fire as some. Sometimes it’s better to check the work rather than just going on reflex
Avatar Jay Jaffe: OK folks, this was a fun one today and I’m sorry I can’t get to more of your questions.
Avatar Jay Jaffe: next Tuesday is July 4, so you won’t have a chat from me then, but enjoy the holiday!


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.

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