Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 6/18/24

Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 6/18/24
Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 6/18/24

Avatar Jay Jaffe: Tomorrow I’ll have something on the Yankees and Anthony Rizzo’s broken arm. Injuries have cut into my list of players I was planning on checking into; some of those might have to wait until after I return. We’ll see
MP: Kelenic going to get an article soon about turning his season around? Just a hot streak or do you think some of this can stick?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Kelenic is 24 years old, and while that’s too young to write off, a quick look at his splits and trends tells me not to get very excited about two hot weeks. Yes, he’s hitting the ball harder but not that hard, he’s also chasing more than you’d like, and unlike last year, he’s really struggling against lefties.
Section 34: Will Fangraphs ever do an Orioles top prospects list this year?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Assuming they don’t secede from Major League Baseball, I would think so, but I don’t make the schedule. I imagine they’re coming soon – obviously, it’s a deep system with lots of interesting players who are becoming more relevant as the July 30 deadline approaches.
Matt VW: Most observers at the start of the season felt the Red Sox would be sellers at the deadline. Are they still on track to do so, or will they keep pursuing a wild card berth in an effort to placate an increasingly disaffected fan base?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: they’re three games above .500 and 2.5 out of the third Wild Card spot, with the next-closest team 2.5 games in back of them. I think if they sold under those conditions, the resulting fury from Red Sox fans would make the Boston tea party look tame. Now, if they lose ground, it’s a different story, and we’ve got six weeks to see what unfolds.
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I do think the Sox have made some decent progress this year. The rotation has been a nice surprise, and some of the youngsters — Duran, Abreu, Wong in particular — have been impressive, as was Casas before his injury. They’re moving in the right direction.
Francisco Lindor: 70 career WAR…are you taking the over or the under?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’ll take the under but not by much — I want to see a bit more consistency with the bat. He’s dug himself some early holes on the offensive side and so his slash lines are unremarkable. but man, he’s an impressive defender. I think he’s a HOFer in the making.
KC Pain: Ben Rice got the call and seems pretty universally meh on scouting reports. 40s and like a 35-40 grade overall. Recent performance change any of that?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Check in tomorrow. Eric hasn’t been wowed by him, especially on the defensive side, and his future probably isn’t at catcher (he’s allowing about 2 SB per game and has a ridiculously low CS%). Perhaps the bat progresses more quickly if he sheds the tools of ignorance.
Avatar Jay Jaffe: (I’m hoping to get more input from Eric for the Rizzo piece)
Tigers fan: Which current player do you think will have the greatest HOF career/legacy? Trout, Ohtani, Judge Soto etc.?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think all four of those guys are going to wind up in Cooperstown with impressive but very different legacies. Trout passed the JAWS average for center fielders before his 27th birthday (https://blogs.fangraphs.com/mike-trout-is-now-an-average-hall-of-famer…). Ohtani is a two-way player like we’ve never seen before. Judge’s power is incredible, as is Soto’s batting eye. If Ohtani can return to pitching well while still hitting well, I think he’s the answer but I think that one way or another we’ll be talking about all of these guys 50 years from now (maybe not me, as I’ll be 104 years old).
Oil Can Boyd: As a follow up, he is one Andrew on of 13 players in MLB history to have 2,000 Hits, 400 Doubles, 45 Triples, 300 HR, 200 SB.
Oil Can Boyd: Just noticed that Cutch has the same number of career ho.srz as Edgar Martinez. As a Pirates fan, I always saw him as a Hall of Very Good player, but squinting, I do see a HOF resume.
Avatar Jay Jaffe: whoops, got those two out of order .Sorry, no, Andrew McCutchen does not have a strong case for the Hall nor is he a good comp for Edgar. Edgar owns a career 147 OPS+ and 68.4 WAR, and that’s factoring in his time at DH. Cutch owns a 127 OPS+ and 49.3 WAR, and it doesn’t look like he’s gonna get to 55 let alone 68. It’s a very nice career but he hasn’t really been an above-average player consistently in his 30s, and the junk-drawer collection of stats you cited isn’t going to sway anyone. Who cares about 45 triples?
2016? I Hardly Remember ‘Em: Strictly speaking, is it possible that the Cubs roster transferred the “Billy Goat Curse” onto themselves in place of the franchise? Joking aside, hard pressed to think of a more prominent team where the collective core (Bryant, Rizzo, Baez) faded from its peak and/or failed to live up to its promise so prominently – are there any other cases in your mind that compare?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I can’t think of a similar case offhand, which isn’t to say that there aren’t comps. Oddly enough I think one of my colleagues is considering a look at those three Cubs’ arcs. You’ll know it when you see it.
C-Low: Any reason why you didn’t write about the Os losing Bradish, likely for the year? I’ve seen a lot of injury articles but not even a sentence about all the Orioles pitching injuries.
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I wrote about the Bradish and Means injuries in February and was focused elsewhere when both went down more recently, though I expected we would cover it. Apparently it slipped through the cracks. I’m sure we’ll check in on the Orioles’ rotation at some point in the not-too-distant future because obviously they’ll be in the market for help.
DJ Tofu: Is it possible to say roughly how much WAR a player can gain in WAR from a specific PA, compared to making an out? e.g. if Player A currently has 2.0 WAR and in today’s game he had 1 HR, 1BB and also made 2 outs, is there a quick way to get his WAR tomorrow? Thanks.
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Sort of… If you go to our leaderboards page and choose “Live Stats — Today” from the Splits dropdown you can see all of the hitters’ performances, but the WARs only go to one decimal and that may not be fine enough since few players increase their WARs even by .1 in a given day. You can also choose “Live Stats — Full Season” and get the running total, then compare it to the previously published version.
Broken Bat: Padres and how to get a SP… I thin Padres must be burning the midnight oil in trying to determine how to grab a Tier 1 SP. The long term contracts bind sending a positional mlb player other than Kim. But what about Estrada and maybe a prospect say for Lugo or someone like that. Does Estrada now have perceived value?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The Royals are contenders so they’re not trading Lugo. Names I’d think could be available would include Crochet, Flaherty, Severino (if the Mets can’t sustain this surge), Quantrill, maybe Luzardo. As for the concept of turning Estrada into something more valuable at the deadline, this article is probably applicable:


Avatar Jay Jaffe: You’re asking about obtaining ready rotation help instead of a prospect, so it’s not quite parallel, but most teams have relievers who could plausibly come out nowhere to go on a 25-inning hot streak, so nobody is giving up huge value for those of some other team.
Seeking Solutions: Dear Professor Jaffe, what’s your best current idea to help jumpstart the absolutely miserable offensive environment in the game right now?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Um, how about banning the shift? Oh, they tried that?? Welp.

I think the two answers that are most plausible are to monkey with the strike zone itself, a time-honored tradition (see 1968-69, for example) and to more transparently juice up the baseball. Unless you’re prepared for an onslaught of home runs, I think you’d have to pair the latter with an increase in fence heights — maybe to a minimum height of X feet, or having a certain % of the fences in each ballpark meet that standard — which would keep more balls in play but make extra-base hits more common.

AL Central Casting: To your knowledge, has anyone analyzed the number of broken bats over the course of baseball history? Is this even do-able without watching every game? I assume they were less frequent the farther back you go (heavier bats with a different shape and pitchers didn’t throw as hard), but what other factors would there be? Is it just me or were there more broken bats 10-20 years ago?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The US Forest Service even got in on it!
Jason N: Is Tatis getting back on a HoF track?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: He’s hitting better than last year but I don’t think we can say it’s enough to put him back on track after just a couple of months of improved production. Besides, the bigger issue will be whether BBWAA voters forgive his PED suspension, which is something we have yet to see the necessary 75% supermajority do for any player who has been suspended. Until that happens – and I wouldn’t hold my breath, since the question now pivots around A-Rod — there isn’t much to talk about.
Showbusiness77: Hi Jay … thanks for the chat. Do you think Brent Rooker’s early season success was a mirage? Do we think he finds his way out of this terrible slump to be some X% of where he was?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Rooker had a nice breakout last year and is actually ahead of that in terms of his wRC+, SLG, and Statcast numbers. I wouldn’t give up on him.
Cards fan: I see lots of ideas about increasing SP workloads and reducing the parade of relievers (finagle DH usage, make relievers face more than 3 batters, kill the AAA shuttle etc ). What would you do to increase the role of the SP?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Trim the number of pitchers on the roster to 12, increase the mandatory number of batters faced for a reliever (or an opener, for that matter) to four or five, and impose harder limits on the amount of churn that happens on rosters with regards to relievers being shuttled to Triple-A and back
RynoatSecond: Jay, with the automated strike zone an inevitability at some point, do you think MLB will take the opportunity to lower the effective strike zone, thereby dis-incentivizing the high’s 90 fastball that is unhittable up there? The game is quicker but I still don’t think they’ve fixed the core issue of the game which is enough balls in play.
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think that even if we get the challenge system version of ABS — which seems to be more likely than the every-pitch version as players and teams greatly prefer it — we’ll see some rejiggering of the strike zone, and that could help address the issue [late note: The Athletic’s Jayson Stark reports that the ABS system in Triple-A is now only going to be a challenge system]
Philly Steve: Are the 2024 Phillies the best team in modern history? Seems like a good shot that Harper, Turner, Schwarber, Nola and Wheeler all make it into Cooperstown.
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Keep your pants on, Steve. Harper is increasingly likely to wind up in Cooperstown, and Nola probably has the best shot of any pitcher this side of Gerrit Cole, but Wheeler got a late start and is going to have to remain exceptionally durable and effective, and neither Turner nor Schwarber are on HOF tracks statistically; the latter’s best season by bWAR is 3.2, and his next-best is 2.3. Good luck with that.
Jake Rogers Appreciator: Appreciated the Flaherty article! I feel like his bounceback has gone a bit under the radar given how awesome Skubal has been. You mentioned at the end he’s a good trade or extension candidate, what would you do with him if you were in charge in Detroit?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Glad you enjoyed the piece. He’s clearly taken to working with the current coaches so I think if he’s open to an extension I’d try to re-sign him.
MH: How astonishing is it that Brandon Belt has not found a new team yet?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It’s a bit of a surprise but he’s a limited player, as a DH who could occasionally play first. Even given last year’s impressive wRC+, he didn’t hit the ball tremendously hard, and so he was way ahead of his Statcast expected numbers, plus his strikeout rate spiked, I doubt he hasn’t had *any* offers, but the question of money and pathway to regular playing time may have been issues that prevented him from signing. Not everybody is willing to come to camp on a minor league deal or, at this stage, spend a month riding the buses or in extended spring training in order to try to justify a roster spot.
Guest: You jinxed Jo Adell! ; )
It would appear those gains from the article have dissipated. Any hope left besides a change of scenery and/or a miracle?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Ha! Ouch. Adell seemed to have adjusted but the league adjusted back. Hopefully he can still call upon that brief success, but I do wonder where his head must be at given his recent numbers.
Red sox fan: The initial reports had Breslow> Bloom. How does it look to you now?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Breslow >>> Bloom
Ben: With Means/Bradish out, how many of the starting pitchers that the Orioles have left are legitimate playoff starters. Corbin Burnes, Grayson Rodriguez and???
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Cole Irwin is probably OK as a fourth starter on a short leash but they clearly need one more good pitcher in the mix to go with those two.
Nick: Nice article on Flaherty! How do you consume baseball during the season? Do you focus on one game? Have multiple screens? Always curious to hear how the analysts / writers watch the games
Avatar Jay Jaffe: on most nights, if I’m watching I tend to default to Yankees or Mets games in the 7 pm slot and/or Dodgers games in the 10 pm slot, then flip around if those games are lopsided or I know I’m writing about somebody on another team. Sometimes that means going back the next day and watching segments of an archived game to get a feel for what was happening in a big inning or with an injury or something. It varies.
Reds Enjoyer: Thanks as always for the chat Jay. How much of the blame for the Cubs season so far does Jed Hoyer deserve? From the outside looking in, it looks more like they’ve been victims of unforeseen regression (e.g. Dansby, Alzolay) than actual poor roster construction.
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Some of the blame has to fall on the players. I’m not sure what to make of Swanson and Hoerner struggling so badly. The rotation has been good, and the acquisition of Michael Busch is holding up well. Bellinger has been unremarkable but he’s hardly the biggest problem. I’ve never been convinced about Morel as more than a stopgap, and the bullpen is a fright. So, some of the blame has to fall on Hoyer and some on Counsell as well, but I don’t think there’s a single thing you can point to and say THIS is the cause of their problems.
Guest: You think Walker Buehler can get back on the right track this season?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The velocity is there, but the stuff is down and so is the coommand. I think it’s going to take some time for him to figure out what works now as opposed to what worked 2018-22.
Correa: Correa is having a great year and even better past few weeks. He gets lost in the shuffle of amazing AL SS but what are your thoughts on his HOF path?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Hoping to write about him soon. I still think he’s in good shape HOFwise, especially if this hot streak heralds a return to his previous level of performance
KC Pain: Why are so many teams (it seems, def not the Padres) apprehensive to make moves early vs deadline? Flaherty aggravated something already and youd think their need of bats, plus surplus of arms Madden, Manning, Jobe, etc. a move would be done now vs gambling on 6 weeks. Plus, didnt the Tigers do this with Fuller (Fullmer?)), Boyd, and then botch the landing with ERod and Lange last year?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Mainly because nobody wants to look dumb by making a trade too early and feeling like they overspent as buyers or undersold as sellers. So the timing matters — and I think most teams are going to wait as long as they can before convincing themselves (and ownership) that they’re truly out of it. Let’s not forget that the high cost of selling now includes a major PR hit that can have multiyear ramifications as far as ticket sales and such.
Tjf167: Given how many “bad” choices are already in the HOF, where would you set the career WAR line at for there just not being an argument for letting guys kn
Avatar Jay Jaffe: With the exception of catchers, relievers, and mid-career players, I don’t think we have much to discuss until a guy hits about 50 WAR.
Nate: Is Aaron Judge the guy that likely breaks through the Rule of 2,000 (hits) with the BBWAA? Or do you see anyone else out there that might get there sooner with the BBWAA?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think Andruw Jones or Chase Utley could be the ones to topple the Rule of 2,000 long before Judge retires. And if they don’t, Buster Posey will.
Booney: Do you value all components of WAR equally (even though, definitionally, this is the point)? Marcus Semien is making an interesting late career HOF case, yet even if he gets to 60 or so career WAR, part of me wonders how is overall resume will be viewed if he continues to rack up a lot of that from the defensive side. He’s on pace to have another ~6 WAR year but with a rather unremarkable .750-ish OPS and a heavy contribution from dWAR
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I always want to know multiple defensive measures if possible, even if they’re contradictory. I think most voters are harder to convince than I am with regards to defensive value which is why a shorter career/higher peak guy like Utley, Andruw, or Semien could have a tougher time breaking through.
Tjf167: The mid 80s Yankees weren’t even able to make the playoffs with apex Rickey Henderson, Winfield and Mattingly. Easily the worst waste of a core. Trout/Ohtani up there though.
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Trout and Ohtani have never been surrounded by enough good players but yeah those Yankees teams were certainly disappointing given all of the talent they squandered.
Guest: but how to increase SP innings and decrease SP injuries
Avatar Jay Jaffe: If I knew the answer to this I wouldn’t be chatting here, alas.
KJ: What’s your go to place for oysters in/around Wellfleet?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Mac’s Shack is probably my top spot for oysters (ran into a famous baseball writer there last night!). I had them a couple nights ago at Winslow Tavern and they were tasty but had a bit too many shell fragments for me to enjoy them to the max — and in an area where most of the oysters are of the same variety, the delivery matters.
Truro local: love the outer cape shout out!!!!
Avatar Jay Jaffe: My favorite Cape restaurant is Blackfish in Truro! Headed there later this week!
glyonstribe: Lindor’s got the hype and the contract, but Ramirez is ahead in most stats. Who would you take for the rest of their careers?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Some people tend to talk about Lindor as though his defense doesn’t matter. It’s not an either-or proposition where one can just compare his offensive numbers to a slugging third baseman and consider the matter settled. If I’m working with their current contracts I’d rather have the less expensive Ramirez, sure, since they’re vaguely similar in value, but if I needed more defense I could do pretty well with Lindor at short.
Guest: Jay do you think there will be a pull back with sports betting partnerships with MLB given the leagues history with gambling and the issues that have already appeared?
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I ****ing hope so.
Avatar Jay Jaffe: ok folks, that’s it for me this week — and probably will be up to my neck in sandcastles and oysters next week. Thanks so much for stopping by, and stay cool!


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, and a Hall of Fame voter since 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jay_jaffe… and BlueSky @jayjaffe.bsky.social.

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