Meg Rowley Chat – 4/5/18 by Meg Rowley April 5, 2018 2:00 Meg Rowley: Hello, and welcome to the chat! 2:01 Meg Rowley: As those of you who read Eric’s Tuesday chat may have noticed, we are going to be swapping days starting next week to make sure the prospect chats are broken up by non-prospect chats. 2:01 Meg Rowley: Though you should all feel ok asking Eric and Kiley non-prospect questions. They know a lot about this baseball thing. 2:01 Nostradamaso Marte: How’s your Ichiro reunion feeling? 2:02 Meg Rowley: That home run rob may have justified the whole deal, honestly. And then he followed it up with an infield single! 2:02 Meg Rowley: Such Ichiro! I still think that signing is going to end uncomfortably, but it has been ok so far. 2:02 Bryan Daniel Carter: Do they Astros ever drop to .500 again this regular season? 2:03 Meg Rowley: No, no I don’t. They are just really very good at a bunch of stuff. 2:03 Relsh : I don’t think I’ve ever seen an organization alienate its core customers like MLB did with yesterday’s Facebook stream. Is there any hope on this cruel world for them to change direction on this? 2:04 Meg Rowley: I think they are locked in to doing it, so no, I don’t think they change direction completely. I do think the broadcast itself could get better, though. 2:05 Meg Rowley: And probably pretty easily. Not having a score bug on the right side that can literally obscure players in the field? That seems like it would be easy to take care of. 2:05 Turkey Sandwich : I’ve had a torn rotator cuff for a few months. I’m almost embarrassed to say that when the doctor suggested a PRP injection, my first reaction wasn’t, “Oh crap,” — it was, “Cool! Tanaka had that!” 2:06 Meg Rowley: We relate to things we like in weird ways! And you don’t even have millions hanging in the balance if it shouldn’t take, though we of course hope it will. 2:06 2-D: Any significant takeaways from Matt Harvey’s first start? 2:07 Meg Rowley: This is going to sound like damning with the very faintest of praise but he looked like a major league starter? 2:08 Meg Rowley: Now what with the averaging 92 on the fastball and a crummy looking slider, the sort of slider is a 4 or a 5 but hey, that’s a starter and we weren’t sure that was going to be true there for a while. 2:08 Omega Red: 2:09 Meg Rowley: Rodney is the best player to enjoy when not having to worry about results in all of baseball. All of it! 2:09 Mike: Mitch Haniger! 2:09 Meg Rowley: Mitch Haniger! When he was healthy last year, he was pretty good! 2:10 Meg Rowley: He isn’t, you know, 332 wRC+ with a 20% walk rate and just a 10% K rate good, but he’s good! 2:11 Ethan : Thoughts on Tyler Mahle? Consensus seems to be mid rotation guy, but I think he’s a too of rotation guy. Dominated pretty much every level he’s been at, up to 97, 2 above average secondaries. 2:13 Meg Rowley: He sure looked good in that one start, or at least, the parts of it I saw. I think the concern comes from the stuff not being especially overwhelming, and the secondaries being closer to slightly above average than near-great. 2:13 Ethan: With the season starting earlier than ever, why would the mlb schedule so many opening series to be played in cold weather cities? TB at NYY for example 2:13 Meg Rowley: Everyone wants home games in the summer. 2:14 Meg Rowley: There are enough warm weather/dome ballparks that if they really wanted to, they could avoid most of the cold but even if the weather is good, games are a greater draw when school is out. 2:14 Meg Rowley: So it isn’t as simple as letting the weather dictate the schedule. 2:16 Monroe: If the Ms didn’t sign Felix to a five year extension for 135 million, would their outlook for 2018 be any different? 2:17 Meg Rowley: They might think of themselves as having more money at their disposal but I don’t think Felix’s extension is what is holding them back. While they are an aging team with a lot of $100 million+ contracts, we should be skeptical of teams saying they can’t afford things. 2:17 Joe: Is Gabe Kapler ruining it for the rest of us? 2:18 Meg Rowley: There have been two kinds of issues: the potentially too cute by half bullpen stuff, and the actual problem of trying to bring in a guy who isn’t warm. 2:18 Meg Rowley: I would hope the latter is easy to correct. 2:19 Meg Rowley: For the other, I’m still of the opinion that we don’t know enough yet. There is a learning curve on these things. 2:19 Meg Rowley: That said, not everyone does analytics well, and him being a poor practitioner is also a very real possibility. 2:20 Patrick: Hi Meg, do you think Rougned Odor will turn back into a .250-.260 hitter? Don’t like him hitting in the bottom of the order. 2:20 Meg Rowley: Where else would you put him until he shows there has been some positive change in the approach? 2:21 Meg Rowley: I don’t want to pile on, but the dude just had a historically bad year at the plate. The power is still there but good grief was that a bad season. 2:21 Sean: I don’t think the Diamondbacks want many home games in the summer 2:22 Meg Rowley: When the roof is closed, I’ve heard it is quite pleasant in the summer! 2:22 Meg Rowley: And it’s about butts in seats. It’s a lot easier to get kids (and their parents) out to the park when school is out. 2:23 Justin: How much of managing is hard skills (literally knowing how a hitter/pitcher looks based on your level of understanding of baseball) and how much is the soft skills of both communicating with players/execs and dealing with media? As an educator, I really need to know my stuff, but if I can’t communicate it or exhibit emotional intelligence…. 2:24 Meg Rowley: The in-game strategy and general baseball smarts certainly matters, but a crazy amount of being a manager is people management stuff we never really see. 2:26 Duncan: Paxton confidence one game in?!?! 2:27 Meg Rowley: I am not that concerned. We’ve seen his command slip at times before, the secondary stuff was still good, the velo was there, he was throwing to a non-Zunino Mariners catcher, and he was facing a good lineup. 2:27 Meg Rowley: If we’re a couple starts in and it still looks like this, it’ll be different but sometimes guys have crummy days. 2:28 Chuncey Wiggins: Who do you like to win the Masters? 2:28 Meg Rowley: Someone who is good at golf (it is golf, right?). It isn’t my game, though I am pleased it brings many other people joy. 2:28 mcmadbat: How soon before we see an Ohtani extension and for how much? 2:30 Meg Rowley: Hmmm very good question. How much, I don’t know. How soon? Him having this nice start seems like it would help them avoid accusations of having worked something out in advance. 2:31 Meg Rowley: The Phillies signed Kingery before he ever took the field! Ohtani is doing this! Extensions are warranted! 2:31 Meg Rowley: They also presumably have very little urgency to do anything. 2:31 Keith Hernandez: Conforto homered off Strasburg. How many more of those before we can stop holding our breath over his shoulder? 2:33 Meg Rowley: I always hang on to worry about guys who got hurt in the way he did for an illogically long time, because if he got dinged up just swinging who is to say it won’t happen again. 2:33 Meg Rowley: BUT, it’s a new medical staff and he just homered off Stras, and those are both good things. 2:34 TKDC: If Ohtani signs an extension in 2018, how convinced will you be that it was pre-arranged? 2:35 Meg Rowley: Some, just because the world is full of tricksters, but I also think MLB has shown recently that they can mean business when team’s misbehave, so only some. It would be a hell of a risk to take. 2:35 Early Baseball: Have you changed your opinions on any teams ~5 games in? 2:35 Meg Rowley: Not changed my mind all the way. 2:36 Meg Rowley: But that said, an Ohtani who can do this (assuming he keeps doing it) is a big part of why I liked the Angels as a WC2. 2:37 Meg Rowley: Cleveland’s lineup looks less fearsome than it did with Santana but that seems like a very small sample thing. 2:37 Mark: How crazy was that EE inside the park home run? 2:37 Meg Rowley: Easily one of my favorite baseball things in recent memory. Could only have been improved by him carrying the parrot around with him. 2:38 Burt Reynolds: Do you have more faith in Ohtani or Darvish at this point? Their arrows seem to be trending in different directions. 2:39 Meg Rowley: I don’t want to overreact to one Darvish start. Darvish is very good. I don’t want to overreact to one Ohtani start. Ohtani is very good and also new. 2:40 Meg Rowley: I think obviously you are right that they are trending in different directions but that has everything to do with one of them being 31, almost 32 and the other being 23. 2:40 Puffinstuff: How many at bats do you give Healy before you begin to worry that this is not going to solve your long term first base problem? 2:41 Meg Rowley: I have never been a Healy believer, so I worry now! 2:41 Meg Rowley: Stay sharpish, Vogey! Be ready with a bat that plays very soon, Evan White! 2:42 Nick: 35 degrees at the Twins home opener today. My mother is there. 2:42 Meg Rowley: Hey remember to call her, ok? It is a nice thing to call your mom. 2:43 Justin: Tanaka might just quietly come through and have the best pitching season of the people-who-are-lumped-together-because-of-their-nationality. 2:44 Meg Rowley: Pretty good so far! And really, isn’t that further argument that we should really appreciate them for the sorts of pitchers they are, even as we delight in the fact that they bring diversity to baseball? 2:45 Peter: Why did baseball decide not to have a full slate of games on Friday? I loved having almost every team in action starting at 7. Is this going to be the norm all season? 2:46 Meg Rowley: It has been a weird start, hasn’t it? Lots and lots of day games, a bunch of off days, and then you fold in the cancellations and it has felt a bit halted. I think that it evens out in sort order. 2:46 Meg Rowley: I think they built in the off days anticipating weather nastiness. 2:46 Jkim: On a scale of Mike Trout going 0-5 in a random game to Mark Prior’s career after 2003, how panicked should Dodger fans be with Kenley’s terrible 2 outings so far? 2:47 Meg Rowley: Travis just wrote a good piece on this very question: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/kenley-jansen-and-april-and-march-alar… 2:47 Meg Rowley: The answer is some, I think. 2:48 Meg Rowley: Velocities are down this time of year. I think we probably haven’t made enough hay out of the release point changes. I think it’ll probably be fine. 2:49 Adam: Over/under 45 homers for Bryce this year? 2:49 Meg Rowley: Under, but over 32. 2:49 Meg Rowley: Why 32? I dunno, it seems right. 2:50 Mike: Is the perception on Boegarts busted? he has averaged 4 WAR the last 3 years and is only 25 but I feel like people are down on him. 2:53 Meg Rowley: I guess maybe for some. 2017 was a relatively down year, but not in a way that I think portends something permanent. 2:53 Wally Backman Overdrive: Robinson Cano- Should the M’s dump him for prospects if they can? 2:54 Meg Rowley: What team is taking that contract? The best years of it have probably already happened, and it doesn’t get much cheaper as time goes on. 2:54 Meg Rowley: If they could, sure, that would be part of the rebuild but I am skeptical. 2:54 Dan: According to fWAR Kevin Pillar has been the 18th most valuable outfielder in MLB since 2015. 2:55 Meg Rowley: Love too defense. 2:55 Lunar verLander: With the rise in home run rates, is Barry Bonds record in trouble of being broken? 2:55 Meg Rowley: Allow me to look up one thing. 2:56 Meg Rowley: I don’t think so. Here is why. 2:58 Meg Rowley: The closest active player to Bonds is Pujols with 615. We don’t know that the ball will stay this way. It is just such a crazy gap to close, even in this environment. 2:59 Cha Seung Baek: Will the Mariners continue with 2 1B only players when Cruz gets back and they need a fifth starter? 3:01 Meg Rowley: There will surely be some shuffling when Erasmo comes back, Gamel is healthy, and Cruz is ready to come off the DL. Most immediately, I wouldn’t be surprised if they sent Motter back to Tacoma. 3:01 2-D: Do you think the MLBPA is considering the Blackmon extension a win? 3:02 Meg Rowley: I would think so. He doesn’t have to worry about the market, he gets $100 million+ as an over 30-year-old. They should always want everyone to get as much as possible but I thought it was a fair deal, especially given his age and how Coors complicates the perception of him in the market. 3:02 Tlaloc: Which outdated baseball thing would you rather have back?: World Series day games, triples-friendly ballparks, or 250+ inning pitchers 3:03 Meg Rowley: Selfishly as a writer who likes to sleep at reasonable times, World Series day games. But that is the least interesting answer. 3:03 Meg Rowley: Triple-friendly parts is the real one. Triples are great fun. 3:04 Ethan: I think he meant the single season record of 73 3:04 Meg Rowley: Ehhhhh still a no, I think. 3:05 Meg Rowley: But it sure would be interesting to see how a new home run record aided by the juiced ball would be talked about. And of course, quite fun to see. 3:05 Big Joe Mufferaw: How do you feel about players openly showing more emotions after homeruns or striking out people? I like it, as long as there is no stare downs and mean mugging 3:06 Meg Rowley: I can’t imagine what it would take to psyche yourself up to be a professional player; I can imagine the feeling even less when it works out how you want. I think guys can express joy without being jerks to their opponents, and I like it when they do. 3:07 Joe: Are the Orioles toast? 3:07 Meg Rowley: /tugs at collar uncomfortably 3:08 stever20: how concerned should Dodgers fans be right now on their start? 3:08 Meg Rowley: Right now? Not very. 3:09 John Oleruds Helmet: Work argument over what’s harder scoring a goal in NHL or getting a hit in MLB. My instant choice was getting a hit but stats like shots on goal percentage say it’s scoring a goal. Thoughts?? 3:10 Meg Rowley: The actual act of making contact with a baseball seems like it would be much harder; fielders make the actual is it a hit part more complicated. I will admit to not knowing enough about hockey to realllly know though. 3:10 Meg Rowley: Ok all, I have to run a bit early. Carson is traveling for Pitch Talks (go see him tonight if you are in Toronto!) and has asked me to make sure the site doesn’t burn all the way down. 3:12 Meg Rowley: Reminder for next week: I will be chatting Tuesdays starting next week. Eric will take this spot. Thanks for hanging out and sorry for what I couldn’t get to!