Chat with Jayson Stark
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN.com senior MLB writer Jayson Stark will drop in to chat about the MLB season.
Jayson Stark has been a senior baseball writer for ESPN.com since 2000. His regular contributions include the newsy Rumblings and Grumblings column and his tilted look inside baseball's numbers and quirks, the Useless Information Department.
Send your questions now and join Stark Friday at 1 p.m. ET!
Jayson Stark (1:02 PM)
Welcome. We've got a lot to get to this week. I'd love to kick around yesterday's award picks, Nyjer Morgan and whatever else is on your mind. And remind me when we get toward the last 15-20 minutes that I do have a trivia question for you. So let's get started.
Mike (New York)
13.I cannot buy into ?King Felix? being a lock for the CY young. Since when wins did not mean much? Shouldn?t it be taken into consideration which pitcher provided the most wins for their team when started. Doesn't wins, more or less, play into a pitcher's chances in the hall of fame?
Jayson Stark (1:05 PM)
Thanks for getting into this, Mike. I'm not one of those people who says, unequivocally, that wins are meaningless. Are they an overrated stat in this day and age? Yes. But meaningless? No. So I'm not willing to just trash the win column, like a lot of people are, come Cy Young time. But I also believe the Cy Young is a performance award: Who has pitched the best? And it's tough to ignore the difference between how good CC's team is and how good Felix's team is, especially offensively. Felix beats CC in pretty much every category except wins, and beats him convincingly in ERA and WHIP. So let's see how this turns out. But as much as I admire and respect CC, I don't think he has pitched better than Felix Hernandez this year.
Bob (Bob City)
The answer is Roy Oswalt! Fastest trivia answer ever baby!!
Jayson Stark (1:06 PM)
Always a good answer. Usually, though, we at least wait till I'VE ASKED A QUESTION! Sound the gong, Bob. You're outa here.
As a Yankees fan, please tell Mike from New York that he's an idiot. I love Sabathia, but Felix has outpitched him this season.
Jayson Stark (1:08 PM)
I love it when Yankees fans call each other idiots. But play nice. We're going to conduct this chat with more class than that from now on. But on a side note, I agree!
Ron (St. Lous)
I noticed on your NL MVP ballot you had Halladay as 5th? Please tell me that is a joke!
Jayson Stark (1:08 PM)
He leads the league in VORP and WARP. You can look it up.
I think the fans deserve a consistency in Award Voting, the Cy Young should be chosen the same way each year as determined by the voters. My point being every year until now CC would win hands down.
Jayson Stark (1:09 PM)
So wait. Your point is that we're not supposed to evolve with the times? In an age where starters no longer pitch deep into games, and where we have more information to evaluate pitchers other than "wins," we're supposed to just vote the way people voted in 1962? Sorry. Don't see it.
Larry (Gainesville, FL)
If it's a performance award than Mariano Rivera wins it hands down.
Jayson Stark (1:11 PM)
You know, Larry, I'm the guy who has proposed a new BBWAA award for relief pitchers, which should get voted on either this fall or this winter. And one big reason is that Mariano has been one of the most dominating players of the last 20 years, has never won a single major award and has barely even been considered for any major award. This is one more year just like that, where the guy has a 1.11 ERA and he has no chance to win anything. Hopefully, my BBWAA colleagues will see the light on this.
Can we at least factor in the fact that CC has been pitching in the middle of a pennant race, with the rotation in disarray, basically carrying the team on his back for the last month?
Jayson Stark (1:12 PM)
I agree with that. I believe in factoring in EVERYTHING. But I also believe that this is not the Most Valuable Pitcher award. So it's only a piece of that puzzle, not the determining factor.
How can Konerko not be in the Top 5 for MVP in the AL? He is having a much better year than Longoria or Mauer.
Jayson Stark (1:14 PM)
He was No. 6 on my list. It got down to him or Mauer, and I had a tough time overlooking what Mauer has meant to the Twins since Justin Morneau went down. He has a .460 OBP and a 1.023 OPS since the break. But Konerko has had a great year. I totally agree with that.
Jayson, yesterday in KLaw's chat, he suggested that when voting for RoY, he considers a rookie's future potential, as well as the rookie's season. ie, Heyward gets bonus points for a higher ceiling. Do you agree with this sentiment?
Jayson Stark (1:16 PM)
That's an interesting take. But I'm not sure it's what we're instructed to do as voters. I agree that Heyard probably has the highest ceiling of any rookie in the NL. But for me, this is supposed to be about this year. And those two down months after he hurt his thumb are going to play a part in how we evaluate him. I have an NL ROY vote this year, so I've been thinking about this nonstop.
Josh (Knoxville, TN)
Jayson, I know this is a week late, but how can you even start to compare Strasburg's "season" to other pitchers? He had a great start, but that's all it was - a start. He only faced one team more than once and he was decidedly worse in the 2nd game, but of course we shouldn't draw many conclusions from that small sample size either. He might wind up being the greatest pitcher of all time, but it's crazy to compare his abbreviated season (good as it was) to the full seasons of other pitchers.
Jayson Stark (1:18 PM)
Josh, I fully recognize that the guy didn't pitch all six months. But I looked at all seasons in which any starting pitcher made 10 starts or more -- which is two fewer starts than Strasburg made -- and compared him to all of them. I understand that what a guy does in 12 starts isn't the equivalent of what a guy does in 33 starts. But my point is, he's something special, and he was headed for a season -- of whatever length -- that we've almost never seen. And that's true, regardless of the fact he didn't make it to the finish line.
Last night you had a tweet: "Nope. He hasn't hit .300 as a Yankee. RT @hriefs A-Rod also has hit .300+ for 3 teams." - You know you're wrong right?
Jayson Stark (1:20 PM)
This was in regard to yesterday's trivia question about players who have hit .300 for three different teams. ARod's career average as a Yankee is .296, according to baseball-reference.com. So what am I wrong about? If he was answering the actual question, about guys who have hit .290 or better for three different teams, ARod is indeed one of the answers.
To me, what Nyjer Morgan did in Florida was just old school, hard nose baseball (barreling into the Marlin catcher Pete Rose-style and charging the mound after getting thrown at twice for it). I even enjoyed the WWE antics. Is this becoming the No Fun League?
Jayson Stark (1:23 PM)
Hey, I'm all for fun. But I disagree with you that what Nyjer did was all in the name of fun. When he charged into the catcher, he was more obsessed with bowling the guy over than actually scoring the potential winning run in extra innings. So while I'm not sure that was dirty, it was still dumb. I also think he knew exactly what kind of reaction he was going to provoke by stealing those bases. Then he charges the mound when he gets exactly that kind of reaction? That was over the top, Ron. And the WWE antics will be looked at, rightly, by MLB as inciting the crowd. And even though it was Florida and "crowd" might be stretching it, there's no way they can condone that. He was out of line, period.
Matt (New Jersey)
Jayson, I have a great deal of respect for the Twins organization and their players. They consistently win and remain competitive. However, the ultimate goal is to win a championship. Every year it seems they have enough to win the division, yet lose in the first round. When are we going to see the year where they add enough at the deadline to go for a title? They could have made a move for Cliff Lee...imagine them finally having an ace to lead them into October (all due respect to Liriano). What do you think?
Jayson Stark (1:25 PM)
My understanding is that they aggressively tried to trade for Cliff Lee. The Mariners just preferred the Rangers' and Yankees' offers to their offer. And they've just hiked the payroll above $100 million by trading for Matt Capps and Brian Fuentes. So it's hard to compare this regime to, say, the 2004 Twins. They're in to win, from this vantage point.
Brian (A Van down by the River)
Back to CC/Cy...isn't it also reasonable to believe maybe CC's ERA is higher because of his run support. A pitcher pitches differently up 5 runs in the 7th vs. tied at 1... he doesn't have to be as "fine" (make em' put it in play etc.) I never hear anyone bring up this point...
Jayson Stark (1:26 PM)
You know, Brian, you must have excellent cable and internet access down by the river, because I do agree with that to a point. But again, it's only one thing to consider, and it's very difficult to quantify. I wasn't trying to pretend that this is a cut-and-dried decision. It's not. And if CC ends up with 10 or 12 more wins than Felix, it's going to be even tougher.
Completely disagree Jayson - how is it ok for Florida throw at Morgan for stealing bases while trailing by 11 in the 4th inning? That game isn't decided yet - it's not even half over!! We knock these guys when they give no effort, and now you're going to knock them for playing the game and not rolling over? Florida was out of line here, not Morgan
Jayson Stark (1:29 PM)
You're misreading what I said. Absolutely, they should continue to play the game. But I took a look at this yesterday -- there will be more on this in the Sandwich Awards blog later today -- and since the 2000 season, there has been only one other stolen base by any player with his team trailing by that many runs. And that was at Coors Field. The fact is, it's dumb baseball even to risk getting thrown out stealing when you're behind by that many runs. And Nyjer Morgan LEADS THE LEAGUE in getting caught stealing, so it's not as if there was no chance of that happening. I admire playing hard at all times. But if you view what this guy did in the context of that series, I have a tough time believing that's all this was about.
Jayson, you listed Bard on your AL ROY ballot, but i'm pretty sure he isn't eligible. Is he?
Jayson Stark (1:30 PM)
You're right. I've since fixed that. Our friends at Baseball Prospectus listed him on their rookie VORP leader board and confused me momentarily. But I've had quite a few emails, tweets and comments on this chat about it. So just to clear that up, you're right. I was wrong. I screwed up!
albtead (Vernon, TX)
What is your opinion on CJ Wilson? Is he someone the Rangers should lock up long term or is he the next Scott Feldman?
Jayson Stark (1:33 PM)
This guy has a big future. Spectacular stuff. Loves the big game. And really growing into what being a starting pitcher is all about. My only concern in locking him up long-term is that he's making a gigantic innings jump after pitching out of the bullpen. I'd wait to see how he bounces back next year first. But his free-agent clock is ticking, so I know they can't wait any longer than that.
Luddy (Lubbock, TX)
What does Neftali Feliz have to do to win the ROY this year? I know his era is a little high, but in the end look at the how many 1 run lead saves he's had this year.
Jayson Stark (1:35 PM)
Neftali Feliz is one of my favorite pitchers to watch in the whole sport. Lightning bolts come out of that guy's hand. Did you know he threw a pitch at 103 mph the other night? Just nobody noticed because he wasn't named Aroldis. I think this race is probably down to him or Austin Jackson. And as I point out, Jackson is having a special year, one matched only by Ichiro in the 53 years since baseball defined "rookies." That pushed me into his column, but not by much.
Fair enough Jayson, but Florida shouldn't be throwing at Morgan for playing "dumb baseball" - I still think that Morgan started it, then Volstad evened the score, and it should have ended there, but Florida didn't let it go. I blame Volstad for the ugliness that occurred more than Morgan
Jayson Stark (1:37 PM)
You're right. He probably should have let it go. But again, go back and look at the video of Morgan's stolen bases. He slid into both second and third hard, trying to spike anybody in the neighborhood. And I believe he knew exactly what he was doing. So it wasn't as easy for Volstad or the Marlins to look the other way as people are painting it to be.
Scott (Panama City, Florida)
How is Clay Bucholz not even discussed in this chat when talking about AL CY award. He will most likely finish with 19 or 20 wins and if he pitches the last 5 starts like he did in August he will lead the majors in ERA. How does Felix or CC get the nod over that season?
Jayson Stark (1:39 PM)
He deserves to be right in the middle of this argument. I agree with that. He leads the league in ERA and adjusted ERA-Plus. And if he finishes out the year the way he's pitched the last few weeks, he could easily win. I just find the CC-versus-Felix debate fascinating on a million levels.
William (Dallas )
Using that logic Jayson... Feliz is more then likely going to have a year that No Rookie has ever had when he gets 40+ saves
Jayson Stark (1:41 PM)
You're right on that. And I'm not trying to dismiss him in any way. One thing that makes ROY voting so hard is trying to compare hitters with pitchers. In this case, these two are so close, I lean slightly toward the every-day player because he's impacted more games in more ways. But we're not through writing this script yet. So Neftali could easily win this thing.
Jayson Stark (1:42 PM)
Thanks! OK, here goes. I got to thinking about this as Carlos Gonzalez put himself in position to join the 30-30 Club: Only three active players have had more than one season with at least 30 homers and 30 steals. It's a group you probably wouldn't think of. So name them. And no cheating! (I'll start taking answers in about 5 minutes.)
Jayson, Morgan slid head first when he stole second and third. I'm pretty sure that makes it difficult to spike someone...
Jayson Stark (1:43 PM)
OK, I exaggerated there. But he went into both bases hard and overslid in the direction of the infielders who were covering to make sure they were aware of what he was doing. Maybe I misread the intent, but I don't think so.
John (Los Angeles)
Jason, given the financial information coming to light in the McCourt divorce, does MLB have the authority or any other maeans to force the sale of the Dodgers?
Jayson Stark (1:45 PM)
I don't think MLB would have the right to force a sale based on the info that's emerged in a divorce trial. But it does make you wonder how MLB could have approved that purchase in the first place. It's clear the McCourts were seriously over-leveraged and under-financed. And it's also clear MLB is praying that whoever emerges with the team feels forced to sell when this trial is over.
Jayson, what if the Phillies and Braves end up in a tie and both nab playoff spots. Who is the division winner and who gets the wild card?
Jayson Stark (1:46 PM)
That would be determined by the season series. And right now, the Braves lead that with six games to go. So that's an interesting little subplot as they head toward the finish.
Joel (Washington, DC)
Jason, Jose Tabata just finished the longest rookie streak without going hitless for more than a game since Ichiro in 2001. Assuming he's really 22, doesn't he look like a future all-star?
Jayson Stark (1:48 PM)
Well, playing for the Pirates increases his chances of being an all-star. But I'm not convinced yet he's a centerpiece player. He does have a very good approach at the plate, though, and he's a good-looking hitter. But I'm not sure he'll hit for enough power to be an all-star in the non-Pirate sense.
Lee (Seattle, WA)
Jimmy Rollins for sure...
Jayson Stark (1:49 PM)
OK, it's trivia time. Nope. Rollins only has one 30-30 season. Keep guessing.
Imre (Missoula, MT)
Alfonso Soriano for the 30-30 club?
Jayson Stark (1:49 PM)
That's one. He actually has four 30-30 seasons, the most of any active player. Good guess!
Borat Sagdiyev (Kazakhstan)
Soriano, A-Rod, Kinsler? And obviously Oswalt
Jayson Stark (1:50 PM)
Sorry! ARod and Kinsler have one each. Pretty sure Oswalt has never done it. But he has played left field!
Jayson Stark (1:50 PM)
Good try. But only one 30-30 season.
Soriano, Brandon Phillips, and Sizemore
Jayson Stark (1:51 PM)
Nope. Brandon Phillips also has only one.
John (Reading, PA)
Jayson Stark (1:51 PM)
Good work, John. Abreu has gone 30-30 twice. So it's Abreu, Soriano and one more.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
Jayson Stark (1:52 PM)
No sir. Never done it.
Mike (San Diego)
VLAD THE IMPALER!!!
Jayson Stark (1:52 PM)
Way to go, Mike. Actually had a lot of people guess Vlad. Just had to build the suspense. Vlad has done it twice, back in the days when he was slightly more spry than he is at the moment. Thanks for playing. Good work, everybody!
Charlie K (New York)
How underrated is Clayton Kershaw? To do what he's done at only age 22, is nothing short of amazing. He's one of the best pitchers in baseball and he deserves some credit.
Jayson Stark (1:53 PM)
He's had a fantastic year. Really grown in a lot of ways, especially in command of pitches other than the fastball. There's a Cy Young in this guy's future. But it won't be this year.
Brendan Sullivan (Washington D.C.)
Aroldis Chapman is coming into the MLB as reliever, potentially following the same path as David Price...are we witnessing a new approach to pitcher development in lieu of the Strasburg issue...it also worked with Phil Hughes?
Jayson Stark (1:56 PM)
I'm not sure the Reds are following this path because it was the master design. They're following it because it's the best way to use this guy as a weapon that can help them win this year. Chapman still has a long ways to go to make his stuff translate into being a dominating full-time starter in the big leagues. This is what he can do right now to make an impact. But he has major maturing to do, in every way, before he's a guy they can safely run out there 33 times a year and get any kind of reliability from.
Luke (Saint Paul)
Say Valencia finishes out the season in the range he is now, He has to beat Austin jackson right? He is beating him by quite a bit in every rate state, and how can a guy on pace for 150 Ks win ROY?
Jayson Stark (1:57 PM)
Not so sure of that, because Jackson is going to have so many more plate appearances. I think Valencia has a chance to sneak into the top three, though. He's been sensational for that team.
Will the Phillies really let Werth go? They can't get creative with the finances for 1 year until Raul is gone? I cringe at Raul, Shane and Brown, when it should be Brown, Shane and Werth
Jayson Stark (1:58 PM)
At this point, there's essentially no chance they can bring him back, unless they move a ton of money (i.e., Ibanez primarily) this winter. They're already at $146 million for next year without him signed, and they're not going to be a $160-M team.
J.T. (Downingtown, PA)
If you had to pick today, gut feeling, first thought...Who wins the World Series?
Jayson Stark (1:59 PM)
My gut feeling right now? I like Rays over Braves.
Don A (Cincinnati)
What do you think about the reds this year?
Jayson Stark (2:00 PM)
I love that team. I just have the feeling they may be more built for April-September than for October. They have plenty of pitching depth. But to win the World Series, you need to dominate one end of the game. And they don't have a dominating starter or a dominating closer. Other than that, I like everything about them. Love how they play.
Jayson Stark (2:01 PM)
Well, it's that time again. I can only take one more. Sorry.
Cheese (Washington, DC)
Rays & Braves? Wow, how bad would the ratings be for THAT? Selig would cancel the WS.
Jayson Stark (2:03 PM)
You know what? I could care less what the ratings would be. This isn't American Idol. You can't vote for which teams you'd like to see provide the biggest-rated World Series. I think that would be a fun World Series, personally. The Rays are as fun to watch as any team in baseball. The Braves have something magical going. It's the Rays' last chance to win before Carl Crawford exits. It's the Braves' last chance to win one for Bobby Cox. I'll take those plot lines, even if the Neilsen people won't.
Jayson Stark (2:03 PM)
Thanks to everyone who checked in. You really elevated the Cy Young debate, and that's what we're here for! Seeya all next week in Chat Land.
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