HomeTrending MLB NewsJay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat - 3/12/24

Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 3/12/24

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2:03
Jay Jaffe: With that, let’s get going.
2:03
wheelhouse: I’m trying to rebalance here, but if Cole is out for the season, do you think the Yankees are:
A) a threat for the third wild card
B) 100% dead in the water, stick a fork in them
2:05
Avatar Jay Jaffe: To borrow from Monty Python for a line that’s often quoted in our household, “A fair question and one that in recent weeks ‘as been much on my mind.”

2:07
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think the answer to that depends upon how close to the best versions of themselves other starters such as Cortes, Rodón and Stroman are in 2024. If the two holdovers pitch as they did last year, the Yankees will be toast
2:08
Avatar Jay Jaffe: if the three of them pitch up to their capabilities and if they get a decent fill-in, all isn’t lost, but it may very well cost them down the road — either via a trade or a necessary payroll cut if they were to add a big salary to this year
2:08
Killjoy: I know the mantra “spring training stats are meaningless,” and usually they are. But are there stats that you do look for in a good or bad way? I saw Chris Gilligan’s article last week on pitchers with increased velo in ST and wondered if that was a stat (like K%) that stabilizes quickly.
2:10
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I really mostly ignore spring stats. Especially early in the spring it’s easy to stand out if you’re ramping up quickly but too often it’s just that some pitchers are more prepared to do so than others.
2:11
Angels vs devils: Is Nolan Schanuel the second coming of John Olerud—or Luis Arraez? Will the Angels stick with him even if he hits just 10 HRs a year?
2:14
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I don’t think he’s the second coming of either of them but his profile is more like that of Arraez in that it will be high contact/lower power. He may have some vaguely Olerud-like plate discipline but Olerud had a bunch of 20-homer seasons and I don’t expect that from Schanuel
2:15
Beer Inspiration: It’s cold and rainy in Humboldt County, CA, where I live. Having friends over for chili and Dodgers (me) vs. Giants (everyone else) preseason smack talk tomorrow night. Any beer recommendations?
2:16
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’d imagine Pliny the Elder is pretty accessible there, and Russian River’s Blind Pig IPA, too
2:17
Avatar Jay Jaffe: On the Twitter craft beer thread that I’m on thanks to Eno Sarris, Cellarmaker turns up a lot as well. Haven’t had any of their stuff but I know it’s highly regarded
2:17
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Speaking of Pliny, Ben Clemens sent me some a couple weeks ago. Now that’s what I look for in a teammate!
2:17
Johnnywaffles: Hypothetical: It’s 2034 and the HOF has changed its committees (again). There is an era committee for 1950-1985 and you have been asked to chair the committee to create the ballot. No players from that era have been added since the present. Who do you put on the ballot? Note: Clemens is in another era.
2:20
Avatar Jay Jaffe: ooh, hmm. Dick Allen, Bobby Grich and Bill Freehan come to mind. Thurman Munson, Dwight Evans, Lou Whitaker as well. If I’ve got eight slots as the current ballot, let’s add some pitching… Luis Tiant and Dave Stieb would be good ones.
2:20
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The problem with that is that there are so many good candidates that the votes could get spread too thin to get anyone the 75% consensus needed.
2:23
Guest: Should JD Davis be more angry at a) the Giants; b) his agent; c) his union
2:24
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Davis got caught in something of a perfect storm because he’ll only get a fraction of his $6.9 million arb win. Via ESPN:

“Under baseball’s collective bargaining agreement, negotiated contracts for arbitration-eligible players are guaranteed, while salaries decided by an arbitration panel are not. That allowed the Giants to release Davis for 30 days’ termination pay, which came to $1,112,903.”

2:27
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It looks like the Giants filed at $6.55 million but that there was some bad feeling about the timing of it relative to the possibility of a settlement so i’d say the team is probably to blame more than any of them. That said, I think Davis’ own limitations as a player are what made him vulnerable to being in this position.
2:28
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It’s all a pretty tough break for him one way or another, and he’s going to get a lot less once he signs elsewhere
2:28
birds birds birds: If you’re gonna pay a huge AAV for (probably) a single season of a pitcher, then having that guy miss all of spring and start the season late seems like a huge problem.  With every passing day Snell/Monty are hurting their single season AAV.  Assuming they’re not morons (or at least Boras isn’t), does that mean they actually still think they’re getting 5-6 years?
2:28
Avatar Jay Jaffe: at this stage I think it’s more likely they get something like the Bellinger deal, shorter term and with opt-outs.
2:29
Mike Ortman: Way too early HOF question for the “Classic Baseball Era” committee: Are you for candidates like Jim McCormick, Bobby Mathews, Bill Dahlen, and Sherry Magee?
2:31
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The only candidate from among those that quickens my pulse is Dahlen, but he was also not a great guy even by turn-of-the-century ballplayer standards. Though I do agree McCormick is overlooked, 19th-century pitchers from before the days of 60-foot-6 don’t do much for me, and I think his election would satisfy at most tens or maybe hundreds of people. I’d much rather see Negro Leagues candidates on the ballot in place of all four of those guys.
2:31
Misplaced A’s Fan: Will Curtis Mead and Miguel Vargas have fantasy relevance this season?
2:32
Avatar Jay Jaffe: More likely Mead than Vargas, I think — he could make the Rays and see time at multiple positions. I don’t see much future for Vargas in LA
2:33
Pumpsie: Still amazing to me that the Yankees and Dodgers did not end up with ANY of the premier FA shortstops of the last few years. When Lindor, Correa, Seager, Turner et al were approaching FA, it seemed inevitable that one would be a Yankee, one would be a Dodger. Do they regret their decisions to not allocate resources up-the-middle?
2:35
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think the Yankees OUGHT to regret staying out of that market because they haven’t gotten much in their place (Volpe will be fine but could have been slotted elsewhere in the infield). While I think the Dodgers would have been better off signing one of those guys, it now makes sense that they were keeping their powder dry for Ohtani. Still, they’ve vulnerable up the middle even if the Mookie experiement continues to pay dividends, because Lux is a bit of a mess
2:35
Kevin: Love all your work, Jay. What are the top few things you now understand about baseball that you didn’t know five or ten years ago?
2:38
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Thanks, Kevin. I’d like to think I understand everything better than I did 5-10 years ago but especially how to use Statcast data — which is a constant learning process — and getting a better feel for when different stats stabilize. Even so, the more experience I gain, the more I appreciate how much there still is to learn.
2:41
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Apparently the Dan Evans tweet didn’t show up so here it is as a screenshot:
2:41
Avatar Jay Jaffe:
2:41
birds birds birds: FG Depth Charts has Acuna with 135 runs this year!  As a median projection!  Is it really possible that the median is something that happens once every 3-4 years?
2:43
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Wow, that does seem … kinda high. We’ve had just nine seasons of 135 or more runs scored since 2001 so yeah, i’d probably take the under on that. Though I think he’ll score a ton of runs in what looks like a formidable lineup
2:43
Southside Sam: Hi Jay,
Do you think we’ll ever see a primary knuckleball pitcher again in the MLB, or has the pitch has been phased out to the history books?
2:44
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Sadly I think it’s the latter. With velocity so readily available, and with the ability to use technology to experiment with grips and optimize pitches, we’re going to see fewer junkballers survive long enough to turn to the knuckler. I really hope I’m wrong about this
2:45
Nate: Do you see Joey Votto playing for the Blue Jays this year?
2:46
Avatar Jay Jaffe: More likely than not. Not as a full-timer, and he’ll almost certainly start the season in Buffalo, but I think that if he’s stayed in shape, being a second offseason removed from shoulder surgery ought to mean that he’s stronger.
2:46
Chip: Could the Yankees hypothetically run $400mm payrolls perpetually given their revenue?
2:47
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Probably but they’d get less bang for their buck since a higher % of that would be tied up in taxes and would compromise their player development since they’d be picking lower, etc.
2:47
Reliever hall: Do Kenley and Kimbrel have shots at the hall? Why is K rod ignored so often
2:51
Avatar Jay Jaffe: As for K-Rod, other than the save total, he’s a clear step or two down from Wagner in run prevention and in dominance, to say nothing of his character, about which the less said the better. Many voters feel there’s already too many relievers in the Hall; with Wagner so close to election, K-Rod may be caught in a bit of a backlash. But he also had an ERA more than half a run higher
2:51
Mike Ortman: After the Oscars this weekend, what are your top baseball movies?
2:54
Avatar Jay Jaffe: the same as they were before: Bad New Bears and Bull Durham are tops and I never tire of them. I enjoy Eight Men Out despite the historical inaccuracies. The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars movie, with Richard Pryor, Billy Dee Williams, and James Earl Jones is kind of a sleeper pick.
2:56
birds birds birds: Votto’s HOF case is basically fully baked at this point – there’s no more round numbers to reach, his rates won’t change much.  I’m thinking though that going back to Canada, being real happy in the dugout, giving a few more delightful interviews and generally reminding everyone they love him is probably the biggest boost to his HOF chances I can imagine.
2:57
Guest: Is it possible that Snell and the other Boras clients on the FA market will go unsigned into opening day?
2:58
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’d say that seems most unlikely. I’d guess by this time next week he’s signed.
2:58
birds birds birds: Re: the pitchers and missing spring, I meant that if they’re signing a short-term opt-out deal, then the signing team is only getting value from them in 2024, and by not signing these guys are actively hurting their 2024 value
3:00
Avatar Jay Jaffe: sure, they’re taking a risk. But it’s not as though their eggs are only in one basket (I would expect multiple opt-outs) or that their suitors will be unaware of the context of this season if they have slow starts. It’s not a hard-and-fast “unless you get to 4.0 WAR there’s no reason to opt out” situation.
3:00
rob: The Braves 5th starter spot seems likely to be either Lopez or Elder, but in the (fairly likely) even that neither is any good, and AJSS & Waldrep likely need more time in the minors, what’s the move? Could there be a reprise of the 2019 Keuchel situation?
3:02
Avatar Jay Jaffe: As in will they go outside the organization? i think just about every contender can afford to dip into the market of unsigned free agent starters and take a flyer. Michael Lorenzen? Jake Odorizzi? Rich Hill? They’re all out there, as is Keuchel who’s been legitimately terrible for three straight years.
3:04
KC Pain: How do Holliday and Vlad compare when he was a prospect?
3:07
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Just looking at Eric Longenhagen’s grades atop their player cards, it looks like Vladito was at least a full grade higher in terms of future value for the offense categories and MUCH higher in terms of present value: 65 PV/70 FV hit and game power, 80/80 raw power for Guerrero, 45/60 for hit, 25/60 for game, 50/60 for raw

On the other hand, Holliday has a clear edge in speed and defense. Both graded out at 70 FV prospects, just got there via different routes.

3:07
bringbackpologrounds: Who is more likely to be the Venezuelan GOAT in 2035: Cabrera, Altuve, or Acuña?
3:10
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Cabrera’s combination of 3000+ hits and 500+ homers is tough to beat. Altuve will have his work cut out just to get to the former. Acuña’s power/speed combo is so tantalizing that if he stays healthy he could at least be the most exciting of the three, but we’ve already seen one major injury from him and at least a couple other scares.
3:11
birds birds birds: Do you put any weight on the idea that the HOF isn’t merely for guys who were excellent ballplayers, but who additionally carried a certain extra je ne sais quoi?  Like, maybe I’m nuts, but I can’t help but feel Andrew McCutchen has been a more important part of baseball than the statistically superior Bobby Abreu or Jim Edmonds.  Have I become old and am just complaining about computers pointing out I’m wrong?
3:14
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think your subjective viewpoint is doing most of the work there. McCutchen is the only one of them who won an MVP, but Edmonds was a key part of two pennant winners, for example.
3:15
Matt VW: Regarding baseball movies: any love for Major League? Parts of it admittedly haven’t aged well, but I think its on the field stuff–just being about the game and not baseball as vaporous metaphor for X–holds up just fine.
3:17
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It’s a fun movie, and I like it a lot, but it’s not on my top tier. The ones I named share in common a tendency for sharper critiques of baseball’s culture and its place as the national pastime.
3:17
Hugh: Is Everson Pereira + Oswald Peraza enough for Cease?
3:19
Avatar Jay Jaffe: no. If it were, that deal would have been done awhile ago. My guess is the White Sox would want either Spencer Jones or Jasson Dominguez as the top prospect from the Yankees, and that they’d want 3-4 prospects total.
3:19
RH: Where do you like to sit when attending a ballgame?
3:21
Avatar Jay Jaffe: high third base side in the infield is kind of my default. This is where my friends and i sit for our partial season package at Yankee Stadium
3:21
Avatar Jay Jaffe:
3:22
Avatar Jay Jaffe: If I can be a bit lower without paying through the nose, even better but I tend not to splurge too much for tickets, since it’s rare that a single game means so much to me when I can get into any ballpark I need to during the regular season via my credential.
3:23
Chip: Related to Cole’s elbow – have you ever heard of a player looking for ‘multiple opinions’ on something that could be fairly benign? It seems like that’s the buried lede there.
3:24
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think there are second opinions a lot more than you probably hear about, but while this may feel like belt-and-suspenders territory, there aren’t many players on $300 million deals to exercise that kind of caution over.
3:25
DF: I know I should let it go, but isn’t the Mariners missing out on Soto one of the biggest whiffs of the offseason? I don’t know what discussions they may have had, but it’s hard to imagine a better fit on a one-year deal. And they easily could have matched what the Yankees sent to SD. Thoughts?
3:29
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think if you’re comparing them, a lot comes down to tolerance of risk. The Yankees could afford to take one by clearing out a lot of upper level depth plus King while knowing they can spend big if needed, and live with the likelihood Soto would walk away as a free agent, while the Mariners didn’t feel like they were as well positioned to do so given the even greater likelihood Soto departed.
3:30
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Ok folks, that’s it from me here. Chats might be scarce for the rest of the month due to PPRs and travel but I’ll try to get one in. Enjoy spring training!

 

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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