Author Archive

2019 Positional Power Rankings: Introduction

Welcome to the 2019 positional power rankings! As is tradition, over the next week and a half, we’ll be ranking every team by position. This is always something of a funny exercise. You read FanGraphs every day (thank you!) and are well-versed in the goings on of the offseason, glacial though they may have been at times. You probably know that Bryce Harper is on the Phillies, and that Manny Machado is a Padre, and that Brian McCann found his way back to Atlanta. You probably recall that Craig Kimbrel, who was tied with Kenley Jansen for the best individual reliever projection in last year’s iteration of this series, is still unsigned. You almost certainly do not remember every 30-something free agent who ended up on the Texas Rangers, but that’s ok. I’m the managing editor of FanGraphs, and I’ve been surprised by a few of those guys while watching spring training action. All of that is to say, you know what’s going on. And yet the anticipation of the season, the sound of wooden bats, and those clear, sunny days, makes you want to read even more about baseball and what it might look like over the next seven months or so. This is our answer to that impulse.

This post serves as an explainer for our approach to these rankings. If you’re new to our rankings, I hope it helps to clarify how they are compiled and what you might expect from them. If you’re a FanGraphs stalwart, I hope it is a useful reminder of what we’re up to. If you have a bit of time, here is the introduction to last year’s series. You can use the handy nav widget at the top to get a sense of where things stood before Opening Day 2018.

Unlike a lot of season previews, we don’t arrange ours by team or division. That is a perfectly good way to organize an exercise like this, but we see a few advantages to the way we do it. First, the positional rankings allow us to cover a team’s roster top to bottom, with stars and role players alike receiving some amount of scrutiny, while also placing those players (and the teams they play for) in their proper baseball context. By doing it this way, you can easily see how teams stack up against each other, get a sense of the overall strength of a position across the league, and spot places where a well-deployed platoon may end up having a bigger impact than an everyday regular who is just ok. We think all of that context helps to create a richer understanding of the state of things and a clearer picture of the season ahead. Read the rest of this entry »

FanGraphs Audio: Eric Longenhagen, Live From the Desert

Episode 857

Lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen joins the program to discuss MLB’s recent rule changes, what they portend for baseball, how they will alter the aesthetics of the game, and how necessary they are for its health. We then turn our attention to the Houston Astros and all the many rumors that surround their approach to scouting and player development, before devoting some time to a consideration of FanGraphs’ recent trip to the greater Phoenix area, and the baseball games we watched while we were there.

Be sure to follow FanGraphs’ dedicated prospect twitter account, FanGraphs Prospects, for prospect-related news and pre-draft and spring training updates to The BOARD.

Don’t hesitate to direct pod-related correspondence to @megrowler on Twitter.

You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or other feeder things.

Audio after the jump. (Approximate 1 hour 5 min play time.)

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Introducing Our New Contributing Writers

In January, we put out an open call for contributing writers. The response we received was overwhelming. Over 500 people submitted applications, and we are very grateful that so many smart, passionate baseball writers wanted to be a part of what we do here. It made for some really difficult decisions (and a rather long hiring process), but we are very excited to welcome six new contributors to our ranks.

A quick note to those who applied but weren’t hired: please keep writing. A number of people who have come to work for the site weren’t hired on their first go, but kept getting reps elsewhere on their way to making us regret having passed them by initially. Just because there wasn’t a home for you at FanGraphs this time around doesn’t mean that there won’t be one later, and in the meantime, public baseball analysis will be made better by your good words and good work.

And so, without further ado, allow me to briefly introduce the writers whose work will be debuting on these electronic pages soon.

Rachael McDaniel
Rachael has written at Baseball Prospectus, Vice Sports, and The Hardball Times, authoring work encompassing a whole range of baseball topics past and present. Rachael is currently in the creative writing program at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and following the conclusion of the academic year, will assume the role of managing editor of The Hardball Times in addition to writing at FanGraphs as a contributor.

Twitter handle: @rumhamlet

Devan Fink
Devan has spent the last two years as a featured writer at Beyond the Box Score and the previous four years blogging for his own website, Cover Those Bases. He loves analyzing the latest current events and trends in baseball, ranging from the most minute aspects of the game to the largest, most impactful tendencies league-wide. Outside of baseball writing, Devan is currently a senior at James Madison High School, where he serves as an editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, The Hawk Talk, and as the captain of the debate team. He will be attending Dartmouth College next fall, where he plans to study quantitative social science. Devan resides in Northern Virginia with his parents, brother, and his four-year-old cockapoo, Ike.

Twitter handle: @DevanFink

Sung Min Kim
Originally a broadcast journalism student at Maryland, Sung Min took a sports writing class as a fun elective and went from there. Since his debut at The Hardball Times, he has been writing about the Yankees at River Avenue Blues. He has also written about Asian baseball for publications like VICE Sports, The Sporting News, Baseball Prospectus, and The Athletic. Sung Min will explore different aspects of Asian baseball while also writing about major league subjects.

Twitter handle: @sung_minkim

Ben Clemens
Cardinals fans may recognize Ben as a writer from Viva El Birdos. He always wanted to play baseball and be a famous writer growing up — he got ‘baseball’ and ‘writer’ at least, though he’s still working on ‘play’ and ‘famous.’ Working in financial markets made him interested in the decision-making and game theory aspects of baseball; he’s now answering the truly important questions, like whether Matt Carpenter should swing more on 3-0. He lives in New York but will soon be moving to San Francisco.

Twitter handle: @_Ben_Clemens

Audrey Stark
Audrey attended her first MLB game in June 2003 with her Girl Scout troop. While watching Albert Pujols through binoculars from an upper section of Busch Stadium II, she realized that baseball was the best sport on the planet. Audrey began writing for SBNation in 2016 at Beyond the Box Score; she has also contributed to Viva el Birdos and Federal Baseball. She has a degree in political science.

Twitter handle: @HighStarkSunday

Octavio Hernandez
Once a beat writer in the Venezuelan Winter League before becoming the assistant GM for Leones del Caracas in that same league, Octavio currently works for Diablos Rojos del Mexico as the chief of the Advanced Metrics department. Now he’ll return to his roots as a writer, focusing on Latin American major league players along with providing some insight into what’s going on in the Mexican League and the Caribbean Winter Leagues. He is a man with a mission: to help Latin American baseball get on board with advanced metrics. He hopes you will join him on his ride.

Twitter handler: @octaviolider

You’ll begin to see work from these six writers appearing at FanGraphs soon. We hope you’re as excited for them to get going as we are.

Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat – 3/12/19

Meg Rowley: Hi everyone, and welcome to the chat!

Dr. Strange: What’s your opinion on the suggestion of lowering the mound/ moving it back?

Meg Rowley: I think two feet is super aggressive, and is probably a bad idea.

Meg Rowley: The effect it’ll have on perceived velocity is likely to be pretty significant, and I’m not convinced the league has a great handle on just how significant.

Scarlet Witch: How much money will Trout demand? Over/under $375 million?

Meg Rowley: Over. He should demand the over.

Read the rest of this entry »

FanGraphs Scottsdale Meetup: Tonight!

FanGraphs is headed to Arizona for spring training, and we want to share a few drinks and some baseball talk with our readers. So come join us today, Friday, March 8 from 7 to 10 pm at the Two Brothers Scottsdale Tap House & Brewery. We’ve reserved the upstairs loft, and will have appetizers for everyone. It’s a great chance to meet other baseball fans and chat with a bunch of your favorite FanGraphs writers.

If you plan on joining us, we would appreciate you RSVPing using this handy Google form, so we know how much food to order.

Friday, March 8 from 7 to 10 pm
Two Brothers Scottsdale Tap House & Brewery, upstairs loft
4321 N. Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale

FanGraphs/RotoGraphs Attendees

  • David Appelman
  • Alex Chamberlain
  • Sean Dolinar
  • Craig Edwards
  • Dylan Higgins
  • Jay Jaffe
  • Brad Johnson
  • David Laurila
  • Eric Longenhagen
  • Kiley McDaniel
  • Al Melchior
  • Meg Rowley
  • Paul Sporer
  • Rian Watt
  • Jeff Zimmerman

We hope to see you there!

Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat – 2/26/2019

Meg Rowley: Hello all, and welcome to the chat!

Meg Rowley: Allow me to press “publish” on a post. A moment.

Meg Rowley: Ok, the moment has passed!

Meg Rowley: The button was pressed!

Meg Rowley: Let us chat.

Bread Gardner: Nobody seems to understand that the Yankees held off on signing Machado so they could sign Nolan Arenadohhhhhwaitasecondoops.  (But seriously, did anyone actually buy that?  And good for Nolan!)

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FanGraphs Audio: Jeff Sullivan Animorphs Into a Sting Ray

Episode 856

Having announced his imminent departure from FanGraphs for the Tampa Bay Rays, Jeff Sullivan joins the program one last time to discuss his experience as an online baseball person, the future state of what Jeff has called “the one good place on the internet,” and the geography of Florida spring training. Plus, Jeff shares what he can about what he’ll be doing for the Rays, and I share an Emotional Tale designed to make Jeff squirm.

Don’t hesitate to direct pod-related correspondence to @megrowler on Twitter.

You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or other feeder things.

Audio after the jump. (Approximate 46 min play time.)

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FanGraphs Audio: Eric Longenhagen Welcomes College Baseball

Episode 855

Lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen joins the program to ring in the start of the college baseball season. Who did Eric see as he took in games this past weekend? What is he looking for at this early juncture? How can you, the listener, best follow along at home? Plus, we discuss some of the quirkier differences between the collegiate and pro games, and the highly suspect behavior Eric observed from one Stanford fan. We also consider how Manny Machado’s signing, in conjunction with San Diego’s very good farm system, might shift the Padres’ competitive window. Those takes and more on this episode of FanGraphs Audio.

Be sure to follow FanGraphs’ dedicated prospect twitter account, FanGraphs Prospects, for prospect-related news and updates to The BOARD. And check out all of the great work from the recently concluded Prospects Week, including this year’s Top 100 prospects list.

Don’t hesitate to direct pod-related correspondence to @megrowler on Twitter.

You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or other feeder things.

Audio after the jump. (Approximate 57 min play time.)

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Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat – 2/19/19

Meg Rowley: Hello, and welcome to the chat.


Mark: Mannnnyyyyy!!!!!!!


CamdenWarehouse: Congrats to Dave Cameron!

Chris: I heard some guy signed. Your thoughts?

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Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat – 2/12/19

Meg Rowley: Hello and welcome to the chat!

Meg Rowley: Allow me a brief moment to retrieve my coffee from the microwave.

Meg Rowley: Shall be back shortly.

Meg Rowley: I have returned. Many thanks for your collective patience.

Chris: Have the odds the Padres land Harper gone up or down since your last chat?

Meg Rowley: I suppose down slightly, though I still think I think that he ends up in Philly. I still think I think that.

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