t1


2:05
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Good afternoon, folks, and welcome to the first edition of my chat in 15 days. Scheduling issues have prevented me from sticking to my usual Monday time slot, so thanks for bearing with me.
2:08
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It was great to get to see some live baseball in 2020, and I’m hopeful the powers that be will make arrangements to stream more of it so that baseball-starved overseas viewers can partake
2:08
Pat’s Bat: Loved your article on Taiwanese baseball.  Why aren’t we all playing Taiwanese fantasy baseball right now?
2:11
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Thanks, and good question! In a league with just four teams, the prospects for a fantasy game would be somewhat limited, but I think the bigger issues are getting ahold of the statistical feeds to run a game, and to do so without losing anything in translation. There’s a potential for a lot of confusion with so many players sharing the same surnames — I counted seven Lins and three Chens in the starting lineups of the Monkeys and Guardians in the game I wrote about, and there are a couple different variants when it comes to transliterations of those names
2:11
Ryan: Someone last week in a chat asked about Hall of Famers and the opposite of Peak WAR/WAR 7. That is, which HOF player, if you added up their *worst* seven seasons, would have the *lowest* WAR total? Ken Griffey, Jr. seems to be a likely candidate to me, considering his fWAR for his worst seven years adds up to negative 2.5 WAR. Do you know of any HOFers who can “beat” that total?
2:14
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Hmmm, offhand, no. For some entries in The Cooperstown Casebook, I note stretches of production that were meager or even below replacement level, but offhand those aren’t occurring to me. Via the Play Index I can tell you that, say, there are 13 HOF position players who produced less than 2.0 WAR from age 33 onward, but that’s not quite the same thing http://bbref.com/pi/shareit/Rl3Ky
2:14
Justin: Is Ryne Sandberg overrated?
2:16
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Eh, I don’t think so. He’s ninth in JAWS among second basemen despite producing just 4.9 WAR after age 33, and retiring at 36, which left his traditional stats a bit light. But he fares well in WAR thanks to excellent defense (+66 runs), baserunning (+33 runs) and double play avoidance (+11 runs) to go with his bat. He’s a no-doubt Hall of Famer to me
2:16
Cliff on baseball: When considering the Mt. Rushmore of baseball, you’d HAVE to include Josh Gibson…am I right?!?!?
2:18
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I find “Rushmore” exercises to be absurd because they allow for so few choices. Really, after Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson, one can come up with several plausible combinations . Should Gibson be there instead of Satchel Paige or Oscar Charleston or Willie Mays? I’ll leave that debate to somebody else
2:19
Joel: Is 2021 the year that at least one of (Bonds, Schilling, Clemens) gets in? Seems like a lean year otherwise?
2:22
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Particularly with no ballot newcomer being anywhere close to Hallworthy, I think Schilling could get in based upon his having received 70% last time around, but the pandemic and the election are dual powder kegs for his combustible mouth. There’s almost certainly too much resistance to Bonds and Clemens (~61%) to make the jump.

Here’s a thought, with this year’s induction ceremony quite possibly about to be scrubbed (the decision will come down in early May): would a voter have changed his or her mind about voting for Schilling knowing that s/he wouldn’t have to listen to his speech this summer? I guess the same question could be applied to the Gruesome Twosome.

2:22
Stephen Strasburg: Am I better than Scerzer? Who would you take.
2:25
Avatar Jay Jaffe: no, despite Strasburg’s stellar 2019,  I think Scherzer, with his strong track record, durability, and perennial Cy Young contention is still the better pitcher if I had to pick one to have for 2020. In a couple of years that might change but consider the two pitchers’ gaps in FIPS this past season (2.45 for Max, his third straight year below 3.00, and 3.25 for Stephen, his second year in a row above 3.00).
2:25
Sanford: Any thoughts on Posnanski’s “The Baseball 100” over at the Athletic? One can argue about the rankings, but he didn’t seem to take them uber-seriously, and so I didn’t either. I found it to be less of a countdown and more of a celebration of the some of the greatest players ever, and a beautifully written one at that.
2:26
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. One can quibble about individual placements in the rankings but I think they generally check out, provoking when necessary, and he found some great insights and stories to share about oft-covered players
2:26
Bored: With Larry Walker getting in to the hall what does the rest of Arenado’s career have to look like for him to get into the hall? (assuming he stays a Rockie just for fun)
2:36
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Let’s take this from a bWAR/JAWS standard and work backwards:

Arenado has 37.5 bWAR through seven seasons, which is just 5.6 below the peak standard at the position. His first two seasons are low-hanging fruit when it comes to boosting that score, 2.5 and 3.6 WAR, respectively, so a pair of 5-WAR seasons would trim that to a 1.7-WAR gap while pushing him to 47.5 career WAR. If he never had another peak season, he’d still meet the JAWS standard by getting to 70 career WAR, meaning adding another 22.5. Of course, losing part or all of his age-29 season doesn’t help, but this seems achievable. As he doesn’t walk a ton, I don’t see that he’ll be particularly impeded towards 2,000 hits, and should have well over 400 or even 500 homers if he stays with the Rockies. Of course, that was up in the air even before the outage; we’ll see how it plays out.

2:36
Stephen: Competitively, what teams most benefit from a shortened or canceled 2020 season and what teams are most harmed? For example, the Mets/Red Sox may benefit in not playing this year in that their star pitchers are undergoing TJ surgery. Another: some “older” teams may be harmed by skipping a year that was theoretically within their competitive window.
2:40
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The one that comes to mind the most is the Dodgers, who were forecast by our system to be baseball’s best team and who will lose Mookie Betts to free agency after this year; Justin Turner will be a free agent as well. The team can re-sign both, but that’s no given.

The Astros, who had the AL’s oldest lineup last year and stand to lose George Springer and Yuli Gurriel to free agency after this season, also come to mind, but their rotation already has some question mark, as I noted when Justin Verlander went down with a groin injury that required surgeyr

2:40
eloquentboot: Jay, I’ve been led to believe that you are an expert in family budgeting. Give me your best budgeting advice please.
2:40
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Good lord, whatever gave you that idea.
2:42
Avatar Jay Jaffe: “If you have multiple children, sell one so that the rest can live more luxuriously,” — is that the kind of family budgeting we’re talking about? I’m full of terrible ideas like that.

From a more practical point of view, learn to cook, and in particular cook lots of dishes with low-cost ingredients like beans, chicken thighs, and/or pasta. There, that’s about the best advice I can give you.

2:42
86-45: A-Rod/Mets competing against Jeter/Marlins – Greatest rivalry ever?
2:42
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I mean, the Marlins don’t even have a competitive ballclub right now, so let’s hold off on that.
2:46
Ron: One pitcher has to face Mike Trout ten times. If Trout gets on base at least 3 times, the 2020 season is cancelled, but if the pitcher gets Trout out at least 8 times, baseball can safely return as of June 1st. What current pitcher do you choose (assuming Trout is trying his best to get on base)? All time?
2:50
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Well, we’re probably screwed, but if I’m going on past head-to-head records as predictive — not a good idea generally, but i don’t have time for a more elaborate methodology here — he’s hitless in 10 PA against Hyun-Jin Ryu and has gotten on base twice in 18 PA against Wade Miley, three in 18 PA against Jon Lester and — comparatively not-so-small-sample alert —a .279 OBP in 61 PA against Hisashi Iwakuma. From the all-timers, I think I’d go with Pedro Martinez or Sandy Koufax.
2:54
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I read part of it this morning but didn’t get to give it close scrutiny. I hate the idea of contracting the minors in this way and particularly some of the teams that are on the chopping block (including the Staten Island Yankees and Ogden Raptors, two clubs whose games I’ve attended and would be saddened to lose), but this now appears inevitable, and I’m hopeful that if this does go down, it significantly improves the lives of the minor leaguers who are still involved in terms of much more pay and less travel.

I do think that the loss of so many minor league teams and jobs will cause fewer multi-sport athletes to consider baseball, however, and so this strategy will do nothing to reverse some of the team’s longstanding problems when it comes to increasing urban participation and moving closer to the center of the sports spotlight again.

2:54
Mountie Votto: How’d 420 treat ya?
2:56
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Uh, in our stay-at-home lives, every day looks pretty much the same. I celebrated my fifth wedding anniversary on Saturday, and we ordered a nice dinner in, but other than that, we’re just marking time, prisoners to this virus and an inept governmental response.
2:57
Billy Beane: Not to totally discount the older teams just continuing to get older, but players will almost certainly ‘age’ a little less in a year when they don’t accrue the wear and tear of a 162 game season. How the extra rest compares to the actual, literal creep we all take towards the Grim Reaper, I don’t know, but it isn’t implausible that an extra 3-4 months of rest or, (god forbid) a cancelled season, would add almost as much as it subtracted for some older guys.
3:01
Avatar Jay Jaffe: My hunch based in part on the career gaps of players on the Hall of Fame path is that missing a year creates the risk for a player to lose his edge when it comes to reflexes and physical and mental conditioning, offsetting whatever advantages there may be when it comes to reduced wear and tear. I don’t think we have anything definitive to go by.
3:01
Section329: mlb.com just broadcast Felix s perfect game! I got there in the 9th to watch the glory. They are also showing Humbers no hitter(which I was also at Safeco for) on MLB network now.Woohoo baseball
3:03
Avatar Jay Jaffe: it’s good that our current outage allows us to appreciate so many great games and moments. I haven’t had much time to do so myself; because of the added child care responsibilities that come with having a preschooler home all day, I don’t get enough downtime to kick back and watch much in the way of replays. I’m envious of those who do.
3:03
Jerry: Who do you think are the most likeliest managers after Bochy and Francona to be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in the future years through those committees? Piniella? Johnson? Leyland? Baker?
3:06
Avatar Jay Jaffe: From among that latter quartet, I think Leyland has the strongest case but Piniella came within one vote on the 2019 Today’s Game ballot, and so he’s probably at the head of the line while Johnson got “less than five” votes for the second straight time and Leyland was left off the ballot again. So I’d guess it’s Sweet Lou though that doesn’t mean I endorse it
3:06
Jeries: Who are the odd men out when the White Sox rotation is fully healthy.  5 spots for 7 guys: Giolito, Keuchel, Gonzalez, Lopez, Kopech, Rodon, Cease
3:09
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The funny thing about counting rotation chickens is that they’re so rarely healthy that it really doesn’t matter much. It seems pretty clear that Giolito and Keuchel are locks, Kopech has great upside, Gonzalez is something of a placeholder, and the rest will depend upon health (esp Rodon) and making improvements (the other two, both of whom had ERAs and FIPS above 5.00 last year.
3:09
Matt A: If baseball gets cancelled for the year, what is the likelihood of taking a few of the best players from each team and making a mini-all star tournament, similar to the world baseball classic, as a September/October compromise?  Seems like it would be a fun idea
3:09
Avatar Jay Jaffe: in the abstract it seems like a nice idea, but I’m sure there are reasons it won’t happen.
3:10
Chamaco: MiLB contraction – any idea why MiLB is caving now? Total bummer
3:11
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’m sure that there was some degree of posturing initially, but also that enough teams are in precarious enough financial shape that this outage — which has the potential to wipe out the entire minor league season — is killing off some of the teams that would have been contracted anyway
3:11
Travis: There’s been historical picking over of most eligible veterans, and some positions are underrepresented in the HoF (C, 3b, etc) BUT not counting most recent expansion (Marlins, Rockies, et al) what Teams are most underrepresented in the Hall? Not sure if that’s answerable in chat form
3:11
Avatar Jay Jaffe: a good research project. I’ve actually got an idea that’s *sort of* along these lines but it’s only in the planning stages
3:11
Alex: Whether he ultimately needs the nudge or not, is Greinke good enough with the glove and bat to materially improve his HOF case?
3:15
Avatar Jay Jaffe: he can’t do much with the bat as an Astro, but Greinke has produced 5.1 bWAR via offense, and that counts towards his JAWS. his fielding is already baked into his run prevention numbers, but the perception of it certainly underscores his athleticism. He’s closing in on the JAWS standard (59.6 vs 61.6) and should get to 3,000 strikeouts, but I’d vote for him today if he never threw another pitch.
3:15
olethros: I realize he’s a little light in the WAR/JAWS department, but Mark Buehrle is a lot closer than most people think to Hall-worthy, and I’d personally vote for him.  He’s got a lot of individual and team accomplishments that don’t show up in the metrics that for me tip the scales in his favor.
3:16
Avatar Jay Jaffe: You’re free to believe that, and on some level I don’t disagree; the championship and the no-hitter/perfect game combo are feathers in his cap. But from a WAR/JAWS/run prevention standpoint, I just don’t see him as having a good case. See

I think Buehrle had a very good career but I don’t see him as HOFworthy. 89th in JAWS, well below the standard, and while he has some interesting hooks (perfecto, no-hitter, 2005 championship), they’re not unique in the context of HOF arguments

6 Mar 2020

3:16
Adam: Regarding impact of missed time, I feel like missing a year because you went to war in the 40’s/50’s is different than missing a year while chilling in your sunbelt mansion …
3:20
Avatar Jay Jaffe: well, in either case— as well as with regards to player strikes — it’s not as though you can pinpoint individual players having control over the circumstances. Staying at home during a pandemic may not be as heroic as serving one’s country at war, but anyone doing so is doing his/her part in the time of a crisis, and a whole lot of those athletes who aren’t playing have stepped up to offer support in some way or another.
3:21
Kevin: What are the odds that a somewhat older pitcher like Chris Sale can come back from TJ and be reasonably successful?
3:24
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It’s not an automatic, and I don’t recall any recent age-based studies, but John Smoltz, the first TJ’d pitcher to reach the Hall of Fame, comes to mind. That said, he spent a good chunk of time relieving after undergoing surgery at age 34, and relievers such as Billy Wagner and Joe Nathan number among the more successful old-TJ guys.
3:25
Dave: I’ve heard you talk about a potential “modern pioneer” category for the HOF, which would pave the way for someone like a Bill James or a Curt Flood to get in. What would have to occur to allow for this to happen? Is it possible under the current system?
3:27
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It would take a decision by the Hall of Fame board of directors and some cooperation with the screening committees that make up the ballots so as to highlight such individuals for consideration. It would probably have to be driven by the desire to honor a given individual, but from among that group on the board, I don’t think a James or a Flood or a Dr. Frank Jobe has enough to overcome the inertia.
3:27
Jerry: Do you think elite players under 2000 hits now have a chance to be voted into the hall via younger and more stat heavy voters? Because Buster Posey and Chase Utley may end up without 2000 hits, and I wonder whether they can fare better than Jim Edomonds’ or Bobby Grich’s time on the HOF ballot.
3:30
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’m hopeful, but we’re 3 1/2 years away from Utley hitting the ballot and currently watching Andruw Jones getting meager support (19.4% in year three, a big jump up from the single digits but still far from election). I think the stigma against
3:31
pitch_out: If, through some type of cosmic contract obligation, you were forced to sit down for a one on one interview over lunch for one whole hour with either Curt Schilling or Aubrey Huff, which do you choose?
3:31
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’d board a rocket into the sun rather than spend 30 seconds with either.
3:31
Adam: Not trying to cast aspersions – just saying that past history of missed seasons is probably useless. Guys have home gyms, nutritional advantages, ect.
3:32
Avatar Jay Jaffe: That’s a fair observation, for sure. But the longer this outage goes, I suspect that it’s still harder to maintain focus.
3:33
Dr. Doom: I really want to teach my four-year-old a little bit about baseball. Given that the last two years of all MLB games are free, is there a game that jumps to mind that would be cool for a kid’s first? I was thinking maybe something with a walkoff, at least one home run, or something high-scoring that might keep his attention (maybe not the whole game, but I’m not opposed to only showing the last 2-3 innings). I’d love you thoughts. And thanks for continuing to write and do these chats!
3:34
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’d have to think about this one for awhile. the Bryce Harper grand slam walk-off comes to mind, I don’t know a kid that wouldn’t get excited about seeing that if s/he had some inkling of what was going on. Others feel free to offer ideas in the comments once this chat ends.
3:35
Sean Huff-Scheidel: Another HoF question for you. Not yet eligible or “character clause” guys aside Reuschel has to be the biggest pitcher snub. Who’s next though Saberhagen?
3:39
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Kevin Brown is 0.1 below Reuschel in the JAWS rankings and had the higher peak by about a win and a half, plus far better run prevention (127 ERA+ to 114), and more big postseason moments. They’re both a bit below the HOF standard but I’d call him the bigger snub, and I’d put Luis Tiant ahead of Reuschel too due to his cultural impact.
3:40
LK: Hey Jay thanks for chatting, I’d like your take on the Phils, it seems you can argue both ways how good they are.  Girardi at the helm, Didi now at SS,  Wheeler now in the rotation. You got Harper, Hoskins, and Realmulto leading the offense, with Cutch, Didi, Segura, and Kingery penciled in every day, and you can probably add Jay Bruce to that list.  Behind Nola and Wheeler you got Arrieta, Eflin, & Velasquez.  Neris closing.  Are you impressed with this?  How do you view the Phils going into 2020 if there is a season?
3:42
Avatar Jay Jaffe: They’re a team with some legitimate strengths and some question marks, most notably center field, third base, and rotation spots 3-5. They project to place fourth in a tough division, right around .500, which tells me that they need some of those question marks to turn into exclamation points, while hoping that enough goes wrong in either Washington, Atlanta, or Queens to make headway in the division.
3:43
Guest: I know JAWS is based on bWAR, but do you consult fWAR or WARP much when noodling over HOF stuff?
3:43
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Yes. Particularly for catchers I want to look at what BP’s metrics say, and I do want to note where there are discrepancies in fielding metrics.
3:44
pirates hurdles: I rarely see McCutchen on lists of current players with a shot at the Hall, but he has 50 WAR in the bank and time to get up in the 60s given his last couple of years level. Face of a franchise and lots of media cred. Thoughts?
3:47
Avatar Jay Jaffe: he’s 30th in JAWS among center fielders ( 44.8/38.4/41.6), nowhere near any standards yet, and has netted 7.1 WAR over the past five seasons. He’s still got time to post some bounceback years in his 30s (he’s 33), but he’ll have to be unusually productive at that age to have a fighting chance, particularly at a position where there are already players whom some consider to be snubs (Lofton, Andruw, Edmonds), and looming HOFers Beltran and Trout.
3:48
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Ok folks, I’m out of time today. Thanks so much for stopping by! Hopefully I’ll get back to my usual Monday slot next week but stand by in case things change.


 

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.





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