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Chat: Jay Jaffe

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Friday July 23, 2010 1:00 PM ET chat session with Jay Jaffe.


Time for a pinch hit-and-run chat about the Hall of Fame's latest class with Jay Jaffe.

Jay Jaffe: Good afternoon, and welcome to today's chat. For those of you expecting Steven Goldman in this space, I'm told that he lost a wrestling match to Whitey "The Iron Sheik" Ford at Yankee Old-Timers Day. The doctors have asked him to stay off his question-iere, so here I am.

Ben (NYC): I'm all ready to start banging the Scott Rolen-for-Cooperstown drum. Wouldn't it be nice if his body would cooperate for just a little longer? I'd probably induct him now, but his chances would improve with at least 108 more hits, right?

Jay Jaffe: Agreed. It really would be nice if Rolen's body would cooperate long enough for him to turn what's been a great half-season into a great full one which burnishes his credentials. Yes, he absolutely needs those 108 hits to get to 2000, because the writers haven't voted in anyone from the expansion era with less than that.

K. Olbermann (New York, NY): What does JAWS say about George Steinbrenner's chances of making the Hall of Fame?

Jay Jaffe: Oh, a wise guy, eh? JAWS is notably silent on the non-numerical aspects of the Hall, even moreso when it comes to owners. Joe Posnanski recently had an excellent post on the small sample of them in the Hall of Fame. Suffice it to say that if Tom Yawkey, an open racist who ran his team like a country club and spent lavishly in pursuit of a championship that never came is in the Hall of Fame, then Jeffrey Loria belongs, to say nothing of the twice-suspended Steinbrenner.

That said, I do believe you can make a stronger case for him than that. Yes, it's possible the Yankees might not have won without his suspensions given that the groundwork for both was laid during them, but anyone who thinks he was divorced from the team's affairs during that period is deluded - read John Helyar's excellent Lords of the Realm to find out how involved he was in the Catfish Hunter signing, for example. I think he belongs. So does a previous Yankee owner, Jacob Ruppert.

Nick Stone (New York, NY): What's up with Phil Hughes? His numbers lately haven't been too impressive. Fatigue? Over-reliance on the cutter? Has the league adjusted to him and does he need to make a re-adjustment? Injury?

Jay Jaffe: Hey, Nick, thanks for dropping by! As I noted first via Twitter yesterday (@jay_jaffe) and then again in today's Hit List, Hughes has a 6.85 ERA since the Yankees skipped his turn a few weeks back, and a 5.51 ERA over his last 11 starts. I think everything you mentioned could be a factor in varying degrees, with the bottom line being that he doesn't seem to be getting as much movement on his pitches, and hitters are responding better. Let's not forget the fact that he's pitched a ton of competitive innings this year already, far more so than he's been on pace for in recent years, and could be having a physical and mental impact on his game.

bobbailey (Canada): If you were Mat Latos wouldn't you be a bit PO'd about the attention imbalance given 22 year old pitchers?

Jay Jaffe: I have to think Latos understands what's at stake, both with regards to the season and his career. It's far more important that he's around in September/October than July, anyway, and while there's a risk that he'll take some time to rediscover his form with this enforced vacation (see Hughes, Phil), it's probably less than letting him pitch 200 innings at his tender age after doing about 120 last year.

Chomsky (NY): Ok, so Gordon is up. Do we really think he'll hit MLB pitching this time around? His minor-league numbers are: 2006: 1016 OPS 2009: 1009 OPS 2010: 1018 OPS Major-league totals: 744 OPS

Jay Jaffe: If there's one team for whom there is absolutely no reason not to find out whether that's true, it's the Royals. I do think he will, because there remains a whole lot of data to suggest that guys with 1000 OPSes in the minors generally do, and because the scouts who see him still think highly enough of him. And I think that this move to the outfield could help.

Roy Oswalt (Houston): Houston is going to screw this up, aren't they? They're going to trade me for less than what I'm worth.

Jay Jaffe: Well, it's very tough to get more than you're worth these days, isn't it? Actually, I should say it's tough to properly value what it's all worth - your services and the chances that adding you will actually result in a trip to the playoffs or a championship. But given all of the issues that come along with trading for Roy Oswalt - injury risk, contract size, option - it shouldn't be a surprise if any GM, let alone Ed "Gimme Your Third-Best Reliever Times Two" Wade emerges with a less-than-optimal package here.

dianagramr (NYC): Hardest player name for you to spell?

Jay Jaffe: I can spell Doug Mientkiewicz and Jarrod Saltalamacchia with the best of them, and I know my Derrek Lee, my Derrick Turnbow and my Derek Jeter, to say nothing of my Jarrod Washburn and my Jered Weaver and my Jaret Wright. I was a spelling bee champ in sixth grade, and also finished second in fourth and third in fifth.

The one that gets me is Mark Teahen. I ALWAYS spell it Teahan, and right now I just had to look again to see that I got it correct.

WARPspeedfreak (Headspace): Where do you rank Jim Thome among possible Hall of Famers? There doesn't seem to be much buzz except from the bees. Care to stir up that nest?

Jay Jaffe: I certainly think Thome belongs, and so does JAWS, which had him one point ahead of the 1B standard at the outset of the year. Even so, he's well behind Frank Thomas, Jeff Bagwell, Mark McGwire on the scale, and below Keith Hernandez and Will Clark. Not having an MVP award has led to the perception that he's just an accumulator, and I think he's gonna be a guy whose candidacy gets fought over for little reason. He belongs, though.

SIERAmist (Clean Coal Fantasyland, WV): How about Fred McGriff? Big HR guy with no steroid taint.

Jay Jaffe: Unless he's added a few homers since December, what I wrote back then (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=9871) still applies:

For years now, there's been talk of the fact that with his 493 homers, McGriff might unseat Dave Kingman (442 homers) as the player with the highest total not to make the Hall of Fame. Jose Canseco (462 homers) has already erased the so-called "Kingman Line," but then his transgressions insured he'd never make Cooperstown anyway. There's bound to be a certain nostalgia among voters for McGriff, who hit the majority of his shots before the pharmaceutically-fueled assault on the single-season home-run record began, and an acknowledgment that the round-numbered milestone he fell short of means less today than it did a generation ago.

Even so, McGriff doesn't have a particularly strong case for Cooperstown. Despite the two home-run titles, he's well short of the Black Ink of a typical Hall of Famer (though that Jamesian metric fails to adjust for expansion). He never won an MVP award (his top single-season WARP total of 6.8 isn't quite MVP territory), and while he did place in the top 10 in the voting in six straight seasons (1989-1994), he only cracked the top five in 1993. JAWS-wise, that stretch of six-win seasons still isn't enough for him to measure up to the average Hall of Famer on peak score, and he's even further below the standard on career WARP. The shape of his JAWS line is very similar to that of Tony Perez (59.0/41.3/50.2), but that particular Doggie had five pennants, two rings, and a more famous dynasty to his name. The guess here is that he'll fall far short, but linger on the ballot for a long time.

Follow up, Bob Bailey (Not Canada): I think Bob was referring to Strasburg's press attendants vs Latos' relative obscurity. Another follow-up on the Padres: Hitter or starting pitcher?

Jay Jaffe: I think this is the part where somebody does the Johnny Carson golf swing pantomime, because that angle went totally over my head. Specifics always help. That said, I have to think most pitchers would probably just as soon not have quite as much scrutiny on them as Strasburg has - pitch well and it will come to you anyway, no need to add any extra pressure to what's already among the toughest jobs in all of sports.

I think the Padres need another mid-order bat if they're serious about this thing. Right now it's Adrian Gonzalez and the Seven Dwarves in that lineup even after you adjust for the difficulty of hitting in Petco.

krissbeth (watertown, ma): Where's the next big competitive advantage in baseball going to come from? In the past, it was international scouting, then statistical analysis of offense (and pitching, to a lesser degree). What's next on the horizon?

Jay Jaffe: Having said what I said above about Hughes and Latos, I have to think the breakthrough comes when somebody figures out how to navigate young pitchers through the injury nexus, keeping them healthy and effective. Obviously, the way the Yankees handled Joba Chamberlain last year was suboptimal, and Hughes' struggles raise the question of whether they're making the same mistake again.

If I owned a team and could figure that out, I'm pretty sure I'd be baseball's next billionaire.

Guillermo (Montevideo, Uruguay): hi Jay! So, we went pretty far in the WC (I am talking 'bout La Celeste here). And, coincidentally or not, Uruguay was the only South American team using some sort of "Sabermetrics" system. From what I´ve heard, this kind of things are extremely rare in soccer, since that sport suffers from the same "old school" mentality as baseball. So, no question here, just to comment that, down here in Montevideo, we´re still celebrating! 4th place in the WC doesn´t come along that often (in fact, Uruguay has the record of 3 fourth place finishes, and one not to be overtaken soon, since the only country with 2 is the now defunct Yugoslavia). Besides, the guys from the team have shown great proffesionalism and a way to carry themselves that can lead only to profound respect for their effort.

Jay Jaffe: Yo Guillermo!

I meant to write about this somewhere, but I'll say my piece here. I enjoyed this past World Cup immensely, in part because along with getting wrapped up in the US team's fate I latched onto the Uruguay team from the get-go. I was already sympathetic to the cause, having come away impressed with Montevideo from visiting last fall, but their style of play and particularly the relentless attack of Diego Forlan made them one of the most riveting teams to watch in the whole tournament. I loved the Posnanski piece about "Garra Charrua" and the history of Uruaguayan soccer (http://joeposnanski.com/JoeBlog/2010/07/01/the-meaning-of-garra/). And let's face it, for the incredible spectrum of human drama that sports can produce, the Uruguay-Ghana match was just about the pinnacle of triumph and heartbreak.

So I'm pretty proud of the team too, and glad I got to connect with some people including BP's possibly lone Uruguayan reader, and I'm thinking I've got to get the cable package which carries La Liga so I can see more Forlan in the future.

birdman (alcatraz): Try to associate Mark Tea-HEN with birds - playing positions along the fowl [sic] lines

Jay Jaffe: I try and I try and I try. It may have taken hold, but even so I still had to check.

The VORPal Sword (Minniehaha, MN): Jay, you're take on Carl Pavano's big comeback season? Also, what are the best places to eat in Cooperstown if you're taking your girlfriend's mother out to dinner during induction weekend and you plan to ask her (the girlfriend's mother) to marry you?

Jay Jaffe: Pavano's got a career year going, in part because he is making the necessary sacrifices to Jobu after skimping on them during his New York days. That said, his 3.98 SIERA suggests some regression is in store - the 1.2 BB/9 may be real but the .253 BABIP won't last forever - and I'm still skeptical he gets through the year without a 15-day vacation or more given his history. Plus I'm sticking pins in my Carl Pavano voodoo doll every night. It ain't working, but then those of you who understand the Jaffe Reverse Jinx already knew that.

No idea about dining in Cooperstown, particularly as it relates to creepy marriage proposals, though I do remember liking the burger I had a few doors down the street from the museum when I was there with my then-girlfriend in 2000. Probably the nicest thing this woman (who broke up with me a month later) ever did for me was to suggest the detour to Cooperstown amid our one roadtrip together, and to let me go back to the museum after dinner.

achaik (maine): Has Vladdy done enough for a Cooperstown plaque? If no, what more does he need?

Jay Jaffe: As I wrote last summer, he's a bit short (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=9416), and he's actually even shorter now with a more recent set of numbers, first because the system hates his defense and second because the bar at RF is high (Ruth, Aaron, Ott, Frank Robinson).

That said, with productivity into his late 30s via a couple more years like this one, his bat will compare favorably, and in the end, that's what's going to sell his case to the public. 500 homers would be a good idea for him (he's at 427).

Ben (NYC): Best bars in New York?

Jay Jaffe: My personal favorites are Bar Great Harry in Brooklyn, 11th Street Pub in the East Village, Beauty Bar on 14th St in the EV.

My least favorite bar on the entire planet, as I discovered last week, is Hogs and Heifers in the Meatpacking District. Skanky, coked-up bartenders shouting at you with a megaphone over the jukebox to put away your cell phones and buy more drinks while tattooed biker muscle leers at you... not my idea of a good time.

David (CT): How will Larry Walker fare his first time on the HOF ballot? Will he get in eventually, and does he deserve to?

Jay Jaffe: As I wrote in that Vlad piece, Walker's a bit short too. He retired a bit early and didn't reach 400 homers despite his time in Colorado, where the stats prop up his case on the traditional merits a bit. I don't see him with an easy route to Cooperstown, and would be surprised if he fares better than 25-30% his first time around.

Jason (Nashville): Hudson, Hanson, Jurrjens, Medlen, Teheran, Beachy, Minor, Vizcaino, Delgado. Which five do you think will be the Braves 2012 rotation?

Jay Jaffe: The first four, probably. Absolutely not Vizcaino, who's in High-A this year and just 19 years old. Beyond that and I'm just guessing wildly about guys I know almost nothing about.

Alex Belth (Bronx): Jay, did you see the piece William Rhoden wrote in the Times this week about Steinbrenner and Curt Flood and the Hall? He said if George makes it, Flood should make it first. I have to admit to having reservations about Flood being in there even though I wrote a book about him, admire his off-the-field actions, and would be more than happy to see him honored. What are your feelings about Flood and then George being in the Hall?

Jay Jaffe: Yo, Alex! If Flood makes it, it won't be because of his merits as a player, it will be some kind of unique honor. He was a legitimate whiz in center field but not a tremendous hitter even after adjusting for the times; at best I see him coming up with a case somewhere between Lou Brock and Johnny Damon - a run at 3000 sprinkled with some postseason chops - if his career had continued and his challenge had never happened.

As for Steinbrenner, I'm for it. The man was probably the game's most influential owner after O'Malley, who's finally in and should have been a long time ago.

bflaff1 (Phila., PA): Hi Jay, any thoughts on the wisdom/benefit of firing a hitting coach, specifically Milt Thompson? I know the bats have been off pace this year in Philly, but the offense had a nice track record prior to this year.

Jay Jaffe: As Matt Swartz said on Twitter last night, it's very difficult for an outsider to have any feel for whether such a move is merited. Not only is it difficult to isolate performance but it's also impossible to quantify the interpersonal issues that come into play.

I beat the drum for the firing of Yankee pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre for years, but when I actually examined the numbers, found that the entirety of the underperformances on his watch boiled down to the late-period declines of Roger Clemens and Randy Johnson (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=4552).

The bottom line is that most of the time such firings boil down to interpersonal relationships or the need to satisfy bloodlust via the ritual sacrifice of the coach overseeing the underperforming unit - pitching coach, hitting coach, third base coach, offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator - it crosses sports.

Weezer (New York, New York): Why does that guy want to ask his girlfriend's mom to marry him?

Jay Jaffe: Gotta be a pop culture reference I'm missing. There are a lot more of those these days. Kids (sigh)...

sweet lou (Pitt): Jay, did you catch big Prince trying to knockout the Buc catcher last night? cheap shot, or a legit move?

Jay Jaffe: I didn't see it - haven't found a clip yet; anyone? - but as Joe Sheehan has pointed out eleventy-bajillion times, when a catcher blocks the plate without the ball, it's an interference call which should be enforced. If somebody got in Prince Fielder's way without the ball, jeebus cripes, that's their funeral.

Charlie Wies (???): ...bloodlust sucks

Jay Jaffe: But I'm thirsty now!

Olinkapo (Flushing, NY): I didn't think it was possible for a 23-year-old starting pitcher to flourish in The Big Apple yet still fly under the radar. Yet, there's Jonathan Niese, just sorta doing his his thing every five days. What are your thoughts on him?

Jay Jaffe: Agreed, he's having a pretty decent season under the radar, one of the small number of things that have gone as intended in the Mets rotation. His 3.84 SIERA certainly suggests he can pitch at this level even if the breaks even out for him. I just hope that he doesn't fall victim to whatever bizarre series of maladies will inevitably eat the Mets up during the second half.

DanDaMan (Sea Cliff): Jay- so the Yankees have a history of playing up their prospects/youngsters only to trade them. Do you think this is intentional do increase their trade value? I can see that work with the media, but why would that work with these other clubs who have their own scouts?

Jay Jaffe: I think they tend to hype them a bit, yes, though maybe less so than in the past. But I also think it's true that there's been more to their prospects, particularly the hitters, than what we've seen on the page, numbers-wise. Robbie Cano's minor league translations certainly didn't portend this kind of success, and likewise thus far with Brett Gardner and Austin Jackson.

I do think we in the stathead community have gotten a bit too comfortable with the idea that you can devalue scouting information in favor of translations or whatever. It's clear that that's generally a bad idea, and that you'll get a much better picture of a prospect if you can combine reliable scouting information with good stats and projection systems.

Dingers Blog (Los Angeles): Do you think there's a chance Torre uses any other reliever than Broxton or Kuo the rest of the season?

Jay Jaffe: Man, watching the Dodger bullpen has become quite an ordeal lately, as Torre has burned through yet another set of high quality arms who were too successful for their own good - Ramon Troncoso, please join Corey Wade in the Scott Proctor Memorial Lounge, and if you see Ronald Belisario, tell him he's needed there too. Oh, and Mr. Kuo, your third Tommy John surgery is scheduled. Same side, correct?

Sean-Rod (St Pete): Am I being punished or something? My condo floods and makes me miss a flight and next thing I know I go from the everyday 2b to chopped liver over the last 2 weeks.

Jay Jaffe: Between you, Reid Brignac, Jason Bartlett and Ben Zobrist, the Rays certainly have a lot of middle infield options to sort through, and a lot of ways Joe Maddon can try to match them up. So long as you're still on the roster, it's pretty likely your turn will come, though you may be the low man on the totem pole given how much organizational love there is for the other three.

Jquinton82 (NY): Who has more lives this summer: Jerry Manuel or a cat?

Jay Jaffe: It's Jerry Manuel, I think, but like Schrödinger's cat, he's quite possibly already dead.

Delino DeShields (Houston): Do you think the Astros drafted me so they could eventually trade me for an undersized, future Hall-of-Famer?

Jay Jaffe: As a Dodgers fan, all I can say is "too soon."

frank (Vegas): hey Jay, any truth to the Carmona to the Bucs rumor? and why would the Bucs want to even consider this move?

Jay Jaffe: Haven't heard any buzz on this but it would seem to me the last thing the Pirates need is another guy who relies upon putting the ball in play rather than missing bats. They get an endless supply of the pitch-to-contact guys from the Yankees in exchange for occupying the Kansas City Athletics Memorial Farm Club position in perpetuity.

All of which means that I fully expect Ryan Doumit to be in pinstripes soon, and probably Garret Jones, too.

Clint (Chicago): We've seen Ruben Amaro in action, and I'm coming around to the conclusion that he's just not good at being a GM. It's being papered over by a big payroll and the talent left behind by Gillick, but I just see him slowly driving that team down like Minaya and Hendry have done to their teams. What say you?

Jay Jaffe: I concur, at least to a certain degree. The Ibanez deal looked great in year one, but now it looks bad, and the failure to keep Lee to team with Halladay looks bad. I'd be plenty concerned that the Ryan Howard deal is the start of a Zambrano/Soriano-like trend.

That said, this year's model has had to deal with an inordinate number of injuries; they've had Utley and Rollins together for something like a dozen game. It's tough to hang a GM for that.

dianagramr (NYC): Good afternoon Jay! Of those currently HOF-eligible, which player had the longest career with nowhere near the stats to merit consideration for the Hall? (aka an overly long mediocre career)

Jay Jaffe: On the most recent ballot, David Segui's JAWS came in about 40 points below the HOF standard at first base, a pretty wide gap. Shawon Dunston was about 56 shy, but that was before WARP's replacement level got raised; a quick check tells me he's still even further off than Segui. Among the pitchers, the worst I recall coming across was Bobby Witt, who today would be about 43 points below the average HOF starting pitcher.

Clark Griswold (Inside a Christmas tree): Do you think the A's will call up Michael Taylor any time soon? He had a poor first half and was hampered by injury. Has been on a nice little tear recently, though. Previous two seasons in the minors were excellent. I'd rather see him out there than Travis Buck....

Jay Jaffe: Kevin Goldstein knows far more than I do about the situation. Earlier this week, he said he'd be surprised if Taylor were up before September. I have nothing informative to add to that, except that with the A's seemingly out of it but now down Ryan Sweeney as well, it wouldn't hurt to take a bit of a longer look at him than September, with its distortions in terms of talent level, traditionally allows.

mattymatty2000 (Portland, OR): Were the Angels right to not resign Lackey and Figgins?

Jay Jaffe: They're certainly looking pretty smart right now, aren't they? That said, I have a hard time believing both of these guys are just going to slide off the table into oblivion irreversably. Figgins almost certainly to be dealing with some kind of injury or emotional issue to crater as badly as he has. Lackey... well, I guess there were signs over the past couple of years that he was breaking down a bit. He always seemed to fare pretty well against the AL East teams, but he has moved to a much tougher park.

dianagramr (NYC): If they can "Moneyball" into a movie, then the BP Annual should be next. So, who plays you in the movie?

Jay Jaffe: Johnny Depp, because that dude can grow a mustache, and also because Robert Goulet is too old.

Or maybe Will Arnett, because he looks great in the type of western shirts I favor...

Guillermo (Montevideo, Uruguay): So, Jeter has had a down year... any idea on his next contract? What will/should the Yankees do? We already have a HUGE albatross contract (A-Rod), we can´t possibly give the Captain more than 4 years, 5?

Jay Jaffe: I think it's going to come in well under the 5/$100m bar that it might have been if he'd reeled off another 2009 campaign. Wouldn't surprise me if it was as short as three years just to keep the annual value high enough to save face.

JZirinsky (Washington, DC): Jay: Should I go see Inception this weekend or to to see the Drive-By Truckers in concert?

Jay Jaffe: Never seen the Truckers, myself, though I like some of what I've heard on album. Facing a similar choice myself tonight between the Sadies and Garth Hudson (the Band) versus Inception. Probably leaning the latter, because that's what the lady wants.

Heat Peanuts (bag): 1) Will Haren and Oswalt get traded? 2) What teams will pick them up? 3) Care for a heat peanut?

Jay Jaffe: It sounds as though at least one of them will get dealt. I have a hard time imagining the Cardinals emerging with either, though, especially if they need take on salary long-term because of their situation with Albert Pujols.

I still think the Phillies come out with Oswalt, and that it's probably not a great idea because that team's ship may have sailed as far as their 2010 chances.

Steven Goldman (Reports of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated): Hudson! Hudson! And then head up state for one of Levon Helm's midnight rambles. The lady needs to understand the greatness of THE BAND. PS, last night, a 3' x 3' bathroom mirror that had been peacefully hanging on the wall for approx. 20 years suddenly leaped to its death. Jay, why does furniture commit suicide and how can we prevent it?

Jay Jaffe: It LIVES! The lady knows the greatness of the Band, for sure, but she's also a film buff to an even greater degree. We explored the possibility of seeing Helm only to find that tickets were something like $125 apiece, more than I could afford even on the eight-figure salary + incentive package I'm being paid to answer questions like these.

As to the death of furniture, in recent months I've had three picture frames which weren't hung but just leaning on furniture fall down, two of them breaking glass, and the other breaking an objet d'art. Sometimes you get tired of hangin' around waiting for something to happen, I guess.

Yatchisin (X-ville): No question, just some advice--don't miss the Sadies. They really ripped it up as John Doe's back-up band last summer. Plus they know Neko Case.

Jay Jaffe: Oh, I am fully on board with the Sadies, having seen them several times in recent years in venues from small to large, fronting themselves and backing the lovely Ms. Neko (saw that show with BP colleague Neil DeMause), and Jon Langford.

Oh, and I LOVE the John Doe/Sadies album. Just spun it yesterday in fact. My iTunes tells me I've played every track through nine times, suggesting it's an album that I never interrupt.

jerjapan (Toronto): Go see the Sadies and Garth Hudson Jay! The Sadies put on a fantastic live show - either supporting or on their own. Inception is due for a good long run ....

Jay Jaffe: The one question I have here is whether the Sadies are backing Hudson - I know he appeared on their live album. If that's the case, I'm probably in.

The VORPal Sword (Minniehaha, MN): Sometimes love takes unusual and unexpected turns. Certainly it was nothing I had planned, although the fact that the age difference between them is kind of minimal didn't hurt. It started because she's not into baseball but SHE is, we both have the same favorite player (Ronnie Belliard), and that's just too good for me to pass up. Don't judge me, man.

Jay Jaffe: Was watching Mets-Dodgers last night and Ron Darling said something about the way Ronnie Belliard keeps resurfacing; my reponse was something to the effect that with that gut, he's quite buoyant.

Ben (NYC): No need to get down and dirty with JAWS, but how do you see Jorge Posada's Hall chances stacking up? I assume the bat would play, but once we deduct the necessary points for defense and historically bad baserunning, would there be enough left? How much weight have Hall voters historically assigned to the defensive component of catcher performance?

Jay Jaffe: Covered Posada a few times, it's one that inevitably comes up; most recently I wrote about him in the context of Joe Mauer (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=10380). He's gotta keep hitting for a couple of years, still.

Interestingly enough, our defensive system showed him at +23 coming into the year, where the average Hall catcher is +69. The evidence suggests the voters do value defense when it comes to their Hall backstops; tack 100 FRAA onto Ted Simmons (who's at -24) and he's probably in.

Jay Jaffe: All right, folks, thanks for stopping by to spend some time chatting with me today, and thanks to Steven Goldman for a special cameo, particularly in light of his recent wrestling injuries. We'll both be back to yack at you very soon!

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