: Good afternoon, folks! Welcome to another edition of my weekly chat — the first one in two weeks. It’s been a lively time around Casa Jaffe-Span lately due to pending real estate transactions; I missed last week’s caht and was late setting this one up. Since i’m also late in securing lunch, I’m going to let the queue fill up for a few more minutes and then light this candle.
: Is this the stadium proposal that gets done in St. Pete?
: This isn’t just a proposal, they actually appear to have a deal, so yes. Other than the fact that they literally could not get any other deals done until now, what I don’t get is how this one solves one of the big problems that Tropicana Field has faced, which is simply getting to the ballpark given its location.
: Because this park will be right near the current one
: and it’s a dome, not even a retractable.
: it will be interesting to see how this ignites the discussion of expansion to 32 teams. When I wrote about Salt Lake City’s surprising bid, it was clear that solving the Oakland and Tampa Bay stadium issues was necessary and both have now been, uh, dealt with.
: With this years injury at Dodger Stadium, has Judge ruined his chances at the HOF? What would he need to do next year and the following years to still be a solid case?
: For Judge it’s a missed opportunity to have a big season, but even with jsut 3.4 bWAR, he’s improved his peak score
: (apologies, I’ve got some incoming work communiques to tend to amid all of this)
: Do you see aj preller and Brian cashman keeping their jobs for much longer? I almost get the sense each of their styles would suit the opposite franchise better than the current
: Despite their teams’ disappointing seasons and some anger from their fan bases, there’s zero sign so far that either of them is on the hot seat from ownership; unless they decide to walk away, the job will be theirs for at least another year.
: That said, it’s clear that changes are coming to both organizations this winter. Probably a new manager in San Diego, and a lot of roster turnover. Definitely some front office overhaul in New York based on what Hal Steinbrenner said a few weeks ago about outside consulting evaluating the org (ugh, the McKinseyfication of baseball)
: How many years until the Contreras brothers are the best brother catching duo in MLB history?
: i’m not sure they’ll ever get there. Even if you’re only counting fWAR (to capture some of the framing), Yadier and Bengie Molina have totaled 66.2, the Contreri 25.3, and I’m skeptical that Willson remains at catcher for the entirety of his career.
: I’ve heard a few people comment that the long list of injury woes for Dodgers pitchers is partly the fault of the organization and not just random bad luck. Perhaps due to the club trying to max out their pitcher’s speed at the expense of the pitcher’s health, etc. I’ve also heard Tampa can also be grouped in here. What do you think? Are these analytically-advanced clubs worse for their pitchers’ health? Do the clubs deserve blame? Is this something that deserves more discussion, or is just hot air?
: That’s a good question that deserves a longer look but offhand it seems like it’s mostly hot ai. The Rockies lost two pitchers to Tommy John surgery, as did both the Dodgers and Rays, this year and I don’t think anyone would describe them as foremost in analytics. The Angels will have three once Ohtani gets his, and same.
: What could be happening is that the success of the Dodgers and Rays in playing deeper into October is taxing those arms more than teams that don’t go to the playoffs
: (and to be clear, arm injuries are about just more than TJ surgery tallies)
: Odds the new stadium really boosts attendance long term despite still not being in Tampa?
: after an initial improvement, probably pretty slim, esp. if the new place seats only 30,000
Just thinking about Harold Baines’ career and the power of milestones. He finished his career with 2866 hits, 488 doubles, and 386 home runs and dropped off the ballot after his second year. His teams also lost 75% of a season during his career due to the 1981 strike and 1994/1995 strike. I suspect if those strikes did not happen, he would have achieved 500 doubles and 400 home runs and gotten close enough to 3,000 hits that he might tried to extend his career to achieve that milestone. If he had ended his career with 3,000/500/400, would he have been voted into the hall of fame by the writers even though his value by WAR would probably not have dramatically changed?
: he’d have been first-ballot because of the 3,000 hits. Nobody in 2007 was paying attention to WAR because neither FanGraphs nor B-Ref had introduced their version of it, and few voters were paying attention to Baseball Prospectus’ WARP and JAWS (trust me, i know this)
: That’s how Jim Rice got elected, after all
: Votto is a slam-dunk HoFer at this point, right?
: I’d say pretty close to slam dunk. Advanced stats and voters both love him
: gonna make certain Cincinnati scribes SOOO MAD
: What’s the likely timeline for MLB expansion now that the Rays and A’s stadium situations have an end in sight?
: I expect we’ll hear something at the All-Star break if not before
: Would you rather see a KBO or NPB game?
: I’d watch both if they had easy availability here in the US
: not every day, mind you, but I’d love to check out the stars of each league
: Hi Jay. Given that he’s now retired, do you have thoughts on how Cole Hamels will be received by HOF voters? My first thought is he stacks up well to his time but if he’s evaluated on earlier standards might fall short
: I can see him lingering around the bottom of the ballot for a few years like Mark Buehrle (he’s 71st in JAWS, Buehrle 78th). I’m more inclined to vote for him than Buehrle — he packed a bit more value into about 500 fewer innings — but I don’t see him gaining much traction
: Are you looking forward to zombie-runner-free baseball in the postseason? Will it feel weird or refreshing (or both)? At some point, will we all be so used to starting extra innings with a runner on that it does feel strange to have no one on? And will that make it easier to eventually implement it in future postseasons (not that I want it)?
: Honestly I generally stop paying attention to extra-inning games after the 10th because the rule is so dumb and 3- or 5- run innings seem common the deeper you dig into the bullpen (case in point, the Dodgers’ 6-2 win in 11 over the Mariners on Saturday, after the two teams went scoreless through 9).
: So I welcome the return of Real Baseball in October
: What’s the best way to understand how much a team has on contracts next year? RosterResource is great but we don’t have arbritration projections yet.
: I don’t think anyone in the industry has arbitration projections. yet, so I think you’re on your own until about mid-October when we start to see those
: I’m a little confused on the 3-way tiebreaker possibilities. My understanding was that if the Reds tied the Dbacks and the Cubs for a spot the Reds would win because of head to head records against both, but that’s not how you have it. Can you clarify?
: Here’s what I wrote:
“Suppose for example that the Phillies claim a spot, the Giants fade out of the picture, and the other four teams wind up tied for two spots. In that case, the Marlins (11–7, .611) would have the advantage over the Reds (14–12, .538), Diamondbacks (10–9, .526) and Cubs (9–16, .360) in terms of head-to-head records and would get one Wild Card spot.”
That part is right, but this is wrong:
“Instead of continuing with that pecking order, however, the other three teams would be re-ranked as follows: Diamondbacks (8–5, .615), Reds (11–9, .550), Cubs (7–12, .368).”
: You’re right in that because the Reds have winning records against both of the other teams, they win that one without tweezing out the win%
: Will update, thanks and apologies for the confusion.
: It’s hard to out-hit a September staff ERA of around 6, even for these Braves’ bats. How big of a problem is the pitching staff going into the playoffs?
: I recommend not dwelling too much on September stats too much. The Braves will be able to throw a rested Strider, Fried, Elder, and Morton at opponents, and that’s a pretty strong front four. I might be a bit more concerned about the Braves’ bullpen; the team may indeed be more vulnerable than they’ve looked for most of the season.
: Could the Sox trade Verdugo for a SP? I’d be interested in Tommy Edman too: elite defensive 2B and speed on the basepaths = two things we’re missing
: I don’t think you’re going to get anything on the scale of Edman for Verdugo, and not just because the former has two years of club control remaining, the latter one.
: Teams are well aware of Verdugo’s lapses at this point. His stock is down.
: What do you think of end of year pitcher rookies? Sawyer Long, Boyle, etc. Other teams just worn out and dont put stock in it or breakout?
: Are you asking me to call 10 MLB innings from Gipson-Long and three from Boyle a breakout?
: Watched Long Gone Summer last weekend to commemorate the 25th anniversary of 62. Good to see your smiling face as one of the honored interviewees!
: What happens when the new St. Pete stadium opens and Rays fans still don’t show up?
: They launch a nonsensical pitch to get a stadium built in Montreal to play in for half the season?
: Ketel Marte: finally healthy again or outlier year? Is this a level of performance we can expect going forward (assuming health)?
: Marte has shown himself to be a very volatile player, with star-level odd-numbered seasons and league-average even-numbered ones in a pattern that goes back to 2018. He’s totaled 4.8 WAR in the evens (2018, 20, 22) and 12.3 in the odds, and even if you make allowances for the pandemic, the gap is striking and seems to be driven a fair bit by BABIP. Probably worth a closer look — maybe I’ll write about him.
: If Mookie wanted to maximize WAR, which position would he play?
: If you believe the small-sample metrics (and I would caution against that) then second base is probably where he could sustain above-average defense, whereas I think he’s decent/passable/sometimes spectacular at shortstop
: Injuries aside do you have any concerns about Cody Bellinger in 2024? I picked him as a flyer for this year and have gone from “well maybe he can…” to “wow he’s back!”.
: He’s another volatile player and a relentless tinkerer with his mechanics, so I’d worry about sustaining this level, but I do think the upside is there
: Is Bobby Witt Jr doomed to be the AL Central version of Mike Trout?
: That presumes the Royals can even pretend to contend, and boy howdy for as much as the Angels are a mess they’ve at least sort of done that-ish for most of Trout’s run
: All the HOF focus is (for good reason) about who gets in, but I’m really curious about the guys who will never get in, but manage to stick around on the ballot – the Torii Hunters and Mark Buehrles. Have you looked at what makes those sort of players? Like, will Bartolo Colon hang around on the ballot? Adam Jones? Curious what you know about the topic.
: So much of who lingers on the ballot is about who else is on it — Johan Santana and Kenny Lofton had better careers than the guys you note but they arrived during incredible crunches for space on the ballot, not only in terms of pure talent but also the PED-created logjam that caused the likes of Bonds, Clemens and others to linger where they would have otherwise been elected easily.
: I can see Colon hanging around because of his bulk career numbers (no pun intended) and cult status but that seems less likely for Jones.
: Have you ever thought about updating and doing a new Cooperstown Casebook. If I remember correctly from the book, the guys who had the highest JAWS and weren’t currently enshrined have all been elected except Bobby Grich, Dick Allen, Andruw Jones, and Schilling. Maybe once they are all elected but it’s a wonderful book and I just wanted to know from the source if an updated one was coming eventually.
: (re-running this one with the full question since I didn’t see it before)
: I’ve thought about it a lot and haven’t ruled it out, but it’s… complicated to say the least. The publishing industry has changed a lot since 2017, when that book came out
: The book is officially out of print, however, and there are no plans to print more copies, so if you’re trying to score one, best of luck (I have a few on hand for those who wish to purchase signed ones — hit me up on social media)
: Sorry, accidentally hit send too early. What has AJ Preller done wrong over the past couple of years? It seems a lot more bad luck than bad team building, unless there’s a chemistry issue I’m missing. Otherwise, his worst moves are in the distant past (Hosmer).
https://theathletic.com/4874799/2023/09/19/san-diego-padres-disaster-s…) and that my wife stayed up into the wee hours editing, Preller seems to be a better evaluator of talent than people-manager. His style is to outwork, outwork, outwork without adjusting to evolving circumstances, and that’s not necessarily one that wears well: Based on what I read in The Athletic piece that ran today (
: The current team does seem to be lacking in situational hitting, but it doesn’t help that guys like Machado and Bogaerts have been at much less than 100% due to injuries.
: Any idea why for the last two years Bregman can’t hit lefties after destroying them his first few years?
: Maybe he needs to know what’s coming?
: I say that with tongue only partially in cheek. Bregman has never been as good overall as he was in 2018-19 (not 2017, notably). 137-107 split in wRC+ over the past three years, tilted towards righties. Worth a closer look at some point.
: How do you feel about Smokey Joe Wood as a high peak, short career candidate for the Hall of Fame? Outside of a single start and two relief appearances in Cleveland he’s got a 1.99 ERA and 146 ERA+
: very interesting career as an elite pitcher and then, post-injury, an OK part-time outfielder, but it’s not like he was racking up value in the latter phase (6.7 WAR in 460 games spread over five seasons). I don’t see enough to merit election
frugality , and worried that without a ton of top names, other teams with a bit more willingness to spend will outbid each other for mid-tier arms that the Reds would normally try and scoop up.: What’s the status of/your current opinion of the offseason FA market for SP? Asking as a Reds fan desperate for the club to sign someone, who is aware of the Reds
Related note – J. Urias can shove rocks.
: The market will also have Blake Snell off a possible Cy Young win, Aaron Nola off a meh season, Sonny Gray, Kershaw, Giolito, Montgomery, Flaherty, Maeda, and possible opt-outs from Stroman and Eduardo Rodriguez. There’s a lot of options to do… something, but some of them are higher risk than others.
: If Adam Wainwright doesn’t get hurt and has seasons in 2011-2012 that mirrored the two years before and after them (let’s say he even wins a CYA), would that 6 year run be enough to seriously consider him for the HOF?
: It certainly keeps him on the conversation longer, but we’re talking about a guy who would have ~52 WAR instead of ~41. that would barely crack the top 100 in terms of career WAR and would probably be somewhere around 48 JAWS, Hamels-Santana-Hudson territory.
: Thoughts on incorporating some of the newer defensive metrics into JAWS? BB-Ref’s dWAR based on DRS seems to be getting phased out.
: Where do you see them phasing it out?
: also you’re probably misunderstanding dWAR
: which is the sum of whatever defensive metric is being used (Total Zone through 2002, DRS thereafter) plus the positional adjustment
: I’m not opposed to integrating newer defensive metrics into JAWS if they’re doing it as part of their defensive component (they’ve already done it before) but I’m not homebrewing something to replace publicly available metrics
: Seems like a season with 0 200 inning SP is coming down the pipe in the near future. Do you think this a point of no return? Will it ever swing in the other direction again?
: Remember last year when everybody was turning cartwheels over how good Sandy Alcantara’s 228-inning season was?
: his performance has taken a step back and he’s got a strained flexor, so that’s not a great advertisement for an outlying workload. I don’t see the trend in workload reductions reversing without wholesale changes in the way pitchers are managed.
: It’s pretty clever of mlb to buy Rawlings to control the ball. Do you think it’s in Manfred’s best interest to juice and kill the ball depending on upcoming free agent classes?
: I don’t think MLB is nearly that capable of pulling off such a conspiracy, sorry.
: Ok folks, time for me to get along. Thanks so much for stopping by today and for bearing with the rocky beginnings of this week’s chat. Take care!
: oops, i’ll allow the follow-up here
: I’ve just read that newer stats such as OAA and its derivatives are better for evaluating defense than DRS, which is still the main component for bWAR.
: to be clear: if B-Ref integrates OAA into WAR, I will be happy to use it, just as I’m happy to use our WAR, which uses OAA as the range component for UZR (not replacing UZR entirely) in calculating value.
: ok, that’s it.
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.