Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat – 10/22/19

2:00
Meg Rowley: Hello all, and welcome to the chat.

2:01
Meg Rowley: A few World Series bits and bobs for you in case you missed them.

2:01
Meg Rowley: Ben Clemens previewed the series: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/postseason-preview-the-2019-world-series/

2:02
Meg Rowley: and also entertained a pitching hypothetical that is Interesting: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/should-the-nationals-duck-gerrit-cole/

2:02
Meg Rowley: Devan wrote about Fernando Rodney’s interesting postseason resume: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/fernando-rodneys-next-incredible-feat/

2:03
Meg Rowley: Craig put tonight’s Game 1 matchup in perspective: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-greatest-world-series-game-1-matchup-h…

2:03
Meg Rowley: Brendan ranked this century’s World Series: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/ranking-the-world-series-of-the-21st-centu…

2:04
Meg Rowley: And we continue our crowdsourcing efforts. And yes, in response to folks’ questions, the players will start to improve as the ballots go on. Ballot 3: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/contract-crowdsourcing-2019-20-ballot-3-of…

2:05
Meg Rowley: Also, tickets are still available for our Nov 21 New York event: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/announcing-fangraphs-live-new-york/

2:05
Meg Rowley: But they are going fast, so while it is a ways out, I’d encourage folks to grab ’em while they can. If you aren’t able to join us, we’ll be releasing the program as an EW pod.

2:06
Meg Rowley: And having stalled, here is Jay Jaffe on what could prove to be a critical advantage for the Astros: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/astros-advantage-against-breaking-balls-co…

2:07
Meg Rowley: Lastly, we will have chats for every World Series game. On deck tonight is Day, Jay, and RotoGraphs’ Ben Kaspick!

2:07
Meg Rowley: Phew. Ok, lets get to your questions.

2:08
Jon G: How big of a bummer is it that the best baseball team we’ve seen in a long time is run by some of the most abrasive people in the game?

2:09
Meg Rowley: It’s a not-small bummer. There are, because humans are prone to being jerks, jerks in every org, but the Astros’ approach to this stuff, particularly when it comes to the press, particularly around issues like Osuna, stands out as particularly egregious.

2:10
Meg Rowley: I’ve never had the pleasure of working with Stephanie, but her reputation is sterling, her account has been backed up by multiple other reporters, and she and SI afforded the org a chance to comment before her story went live.

2:12
Meg Rowley: For the Astros to question her integrity, and then to (so far) fail to apologize after her account was corroborated, is despicable.

2:15
Meg Rowley: Women work in the Astros org. They are fans of the team. They cover the team. These women were just trying to do their jobs. And this is what they were met with — some twerp of an AGM who, in a moment when he might have expressed excitement about reaching the World Series, or joy in Jose Altuve, or honestly, any one of a multitude of positive human emotions, decided to stick it to a couple of women, presumably because the broader baseball discourse has had the audacity to keep talking about this trade. It’s exhausting and phenomenally disappointing.

2:15
Jeremy: Mallex Smith winning the SB crown with 0 fWAR got me curious. Can you think of any league leader in a major statistical category who had a worse fWAR? Seems like an interesting article. Obviously “major” is up for interpretation.

2:16
Meg Rowley: Oh this is a good one. SB would be the one that comes immediately to mind as the most likely, though perhaps there is an NL player whose offensive accomplishments are undone by truly terrible fielding? Good question.

2:17
CamdenWarehouse: Why do baseball teams insist on trying to alienate fans? I just don’t understand

2:17
Brian: The Astros are fun but I want to throw them into a river!

2:17
Bring Back Jeff: Sooooooo, go Nats I guess? Right? Assistant GM Dipshit McLoudMouth pretty much locked that up?

2:19
Meg Rowley: The last 24 hours is going to understandably sway the rooting interests of a lot of neutral observers, and that is totally fine. I do think it is probably good to remember that all teams are bad in some way, if not this exact way, and while it is very strongly ok for incidents like this to sway how you root (and while fans should grapple with their own favorite team’s yuckiness), wielding incidents like this against Astros fans as a way to make them feel bad strikes me as its own kind of yuckiness.

2:19
Meg Rowley: So many yucky things!

2:19
NotGraphs Revivalist: I tried to fabricate a better matchup than Scherzer-Cole. I failed. This is gonna be awesome

2:20
Meg Rowley: The starting pitching this series is stinking amazing.

2:20
hooha: What does the offseason plan look like at Fangraphs?

2:21
Meg Rowley: We’re gearing up for our Top 50 free agent post, once again helmed by Kiley McDaniel, with player commentary from many of your FanGraphs favorites. That’ll launch post World Series. Also, blink and we’ll be in prospect list season.

2:21
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: On the note of the 2001 World Series, here is your reminder that Byung-Hyun Kim owns a sushi restaurant in San Diego! https://www.yelp.com/biz/umi-sushi-san-diego

2:21
Meg Rowley: Well this is delightful.

2:21
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: Was it too much to ask for just a “The Houston Astros are alarmed at recent allegations directed towards an employee and are investigating the situation internally.”?

2:21
Meg Rowley: Apparently!

2:21
hooha: Are you expecting another slow offseason this year?

2:23
Meg Rowley: I think it’ll look a lot like last year, where everything is slow, the top of the market is still lucrative, and the rest of the class gets less than they would have in prior years. I’m really interested to see how quickly Cole’s market materializes and resolves.

2:24
Meg Rowley: I have heard of several teams that are highly motivated to sign him (which, duh) but he is also rep’ed by Boras.

2:24
Hire Joe Morgan?: Meg!  Are you chatting this evening as well?  That would be a lot of chatting.

2:24
Meg Rowley: I shall chat, along with Eric Longenhagen, on Saturday.

2:24
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: Regarding Brendan Gawlowski’s ranking of the World Series, 2000-present, where would you diverge? Do you agree with the premise that post-9/11 Yankees-Diamondbacks was a better series than the curse-breaking Cubs-Indians series?

2:24
Meg Rowley: Yeah, I think I do. That Cubs/Cleveland series was great but 2001 was spectacular.

2:25
MikeM: Where do the Yankees go from here?  They actually pitched as well as the Astros in the ALDS but didnt hit with RISP.  There is an obvious rotation upgrade path for them (spend money on Cole or Strasburg or both!) but where can they realistically upgrade the lineup?

2:26
Meg Rowley: Better health luck accomplishes a lot of it, though that is tricky to count on, and will probably come with some regression from the all-worlds role player performances they got. Would imagine pitching will be the focus.

2:26
E: So the Indians were right that they would be able to beat up the lesser AL Central and other AL teams to win 90+ games, did they not account enough for the other good AL teams having that same advantage?

2:28
Meg Rowley: The issue with their approach, which assumes a weak field (rightly, as you note) is that you reduce your margin for error. Yes, spending doesn’t always work, and yes, Cleveland’s approach almost did, but it didn’t. You don’t even have to spend $300 million on Harper and Machado. They could have just made Michael Brantley a qualifying offer. Like, as a starting point? They could have tried to retain their own very good player?

2:29
Guille: 114, 140, 134 are Mike Trout’s games played the last three seasons. Is he starting to get a little injury-prone? are we going to get robbed out of those huge totals he could put up?

2:29
Meg Rowley: I’m not overly concerned about it based on the nature of the injuries.

2:30
Chris: Do you expect the league to step in and deal with this situation or is it more likely they try and ignore it?

2:31
Meg Rowley: I expect they will investigate. I don’t know what if any action they will take. They have to be furious. This is the worst possible time for them to have a story like this out there (to be clear, would be bad and reprehensible no matter when it happened), though I guess people will talk about the ball less now maybe? What a time to be a fan!

2:32
GMPadres: What probability would you guess that Preller is able to convert the assets he assembled into a championship contending team?

2:32
Meg Rowley: I expect there will be consolidation in that system, yes. They have prospects to net very good players. Will it all work? Not sure they win a World Series (who is sure about that) but I think they’ll be a contender in pretty short order here.

2:32
Kimball: On a topic of a less morally-painful thing to enjoy, in a chat a while back, you recommended an Italian restaurant in Seattle.  I wrote it down, but lost the post-it before I had a chance to go.  Can you share the name/location again?  Thanks!

2:33
Meg Rowley: Salvatore’s!

2:34
notBillJames: Meg, if a starter came into tonight’s game, which one would make you the most anxious?

2:34
Meg Rowley: Tomorrow’s because man, what happened tonight to necessitate that?

2:34
Lunar verLander: What do you think are the odds that any significant repercussions are brought against Taubman or the Astros?

2:35
Meg Rowley: I remain tired and cynical and think he’s still working there when pitchers and catchers report.

2:35
E: While he was not the leader, Dante Bichette had 141 RBIs and 0.9 fwar in 1996

2:35
Meg Rowley: This is a good one

2:36
Pete: How much hope for humanity is reasonable for me to place entirely on Sean Doolittle right now?

2:37
Meg Rowley: Just a slice — not because Sean appears in any way unworthy of that hope, but because one guy can only do so much. I do think he has a very important voice in the game, and I am grateful to him for using it. I hope others follow his example, and that those who have already shown they will keep doing so.

2:37
Guest: As an Astros fan who defended the way the Aiken incident played out and a few of their other irksome dealings of years past, I’m finding it harder and harder to rationalize my fandom. It absolutely makes no moral sense, but it doesn’t even make business sense. Who in the world is in charge of their PR?

2:38
Meg Rowley: My sense and my sense from others in baseball is that to assume this is an issue of the PR part of the org doing a bad job is to let the rest of the org entirely too much off the hook.

2:39
Meg Rowley: Which isn’t to say there aren’t good eggs working for Houston. But this is a problem that starts much higher up than whoever is drafting their public statements.

2:39
Marina: This whole Houston fiasco has once again helped me appreciate the excellent work of all the women covering baseball, yourself included, in an incredibly tough field. Thank you for your great analysis and the perspective you bring to the sport.

2:40
Meg Rowley: Appreciate that. All the women I know who work in baseball media (and in front offices) just want to do good work with people who respect them.

2:42
Meg Rowley: I am fortunate to work at a place where all of my coworkers are equal to that. I know a lot of other women who are similarly fortunate, and there are many orgs where this wouldn’t fly. But we still have work to do, and it’s really, really important that women aren’t the only ones responsible for advancing that convo, and that we acknowledge the places where various identities crosscut to make things relatively easier or harder.

2:42
Matt W: Will there be daily chats throughout the offseason?

2:42
Meg Rowley: We’ll maintain our chat schedule, with the usual possible deviations for vacations, holidays, book projects, etc.

2:42
stever20: Do you think the pendulum has swung back to starters this fall- and going forward- or is it just a blip and bullpenning will continue to be the norm?  How would the new rules if at all impact that?

2:44
Meg Rowley: I would imagine the new rules drive any course correction the most. Clearly uhhh having really good starters is good! There being rules that necessitate longer outings will help, but I think we’re more likely to see more relievers who go a little longer as we are starters going back to seven innings per.

2:45
Bring Back Jeff: Is it ever kind of exhausting to be the one that everyone seems to come to with their questions and takes on this kind of crap?

2:45
Bring Back Jeff: To be clear, it’s “Crap” in that the continued behavior is deplorable nonsense, not in that the discussion is overblown in any way.

2:49
Meg Rowley: Yes, it can be. I will admit that I often struggle to know when it is ok for me to take a play or two off and cede the floor to other voices, and when it is important for me, both as the managing editor of an important publication and as a woman in a senior position in baseball media, to speak up even when I feel like a thing is obviously bad, indeed so obviously bad that I shouldn’t *need* to say something because can’t we all agree this is obviously bad? A lot of the time, I feel compelled to. Sometimes, I am too tired or bummed to do it. I’m still figuring that balance out.

2:51
Meg Rowley: And obviously a lot of other women, and people generally, chime in on this stuff. Sometimes the story has a wrinkle that means I’m not the right vessel. I try really hard to listen to those who have lived experience that makes their stories, perspectives, and voices more relevant and more central when those moments arrive. I don’t do it perfectly by any means, but I try to think about that before I tweet or say something.

2:51
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: Which 2.0 fWAR player of either team would swing the series most by being swapped to the other? Ryan Pressly or Will Harris would be a boon for the Nationals; Sean Doolittle would be a lefty for the all-RHP Astros.

2:52
Meg Rowley: I think if the Nationals suddenly found themselves possessed of a Will Harris or Ryan Pressly, a lot changes.

2:52
Meg Rowley: Will Harris has been overlooked but also very good for a long time.

2:52
Meg Rowley: Washington would loveeee to have a Will Harris. Or a Pressly. Man, they’d love that.

2:52
stever20: I think obviously the 3 batter rule is huge- there goes the LOOGY(but also occationally the ROOGY)- but the IL going to 15 days is going to prevent during the season a lot of the almost daily restocking of the bullpens that have been going on the last few seasons.  That’s going to be a lot harder to do now.

2:53
Meg Rowley: Yup yup — I think this stuff moves the needle a lot, though like I said, mostly to long relief guys, guys with a more complete repertoire being more valuable.

2:53
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe:

The Astros have released the following statements from assistant GM Brandon Taubman and owner Jim Crane
22 Oct 2019
2:54
Meg Rowley: I am unimpressed!

2:54
Meg Rowley: We know people were offended! The whole… excuse a swear…

2:54
Meg Rowley: here comes the swear

2:54
Meg Rowley: gonna do a swear

2:55
Meg Rowley: here it is!

2:55
Meg Rowley: the whole fucking deal is that the behavior was offensive.

2:56
Meg Rowley: From Apstein’s SI story: The outburst was offensive and frightening enough that another Houston staffer apologized.

2:56
Meg Rowley: That they would accuse a BBWAA member of fabricating a story and then not apologize is…. and here comes another swear…

2:56
Meg Rowley: ready?

2:56
Meg Rowley: here’s the swear…

2:56
Meg Rowley: fucking ridiculous.

2:57
Big Fan: Meg, I’ve had an empty feeling since the Braves lost, and I cringed yesterday when someone mentioned them to me.  It’s sort of a “don’t mention the war” thing and I’m somewhat disinterested in anything Hot Stove season and pitchers and catchers reporting.  Just wanted to get that off my chest.

2:57
Meg Rowley: It’s ok to take a beat and regroup after your favorite team’s season ends.

2:58
Meg Rowley: Fandom does not require consistency. This about you enjoying something! It is ok to have moments when you enjoy other things more, or this thing not at all.

2:58
Scott: Aren’t you also concerned about the underlying logic of Taubamn’s statements?  A market inefficiency is trading for players who beat their significant other. What can MLB do about that?

2:59
Meg Rowley: I think that making players suspended under the policy ineligible for the postseason in the season of their suspension would go a long way.

2:59
Meg Rowley: It wouldn’t get rid of trades like this entirely, but it would help.

3:00
Meg Rowley: Jay wrote a really good, thoughtful piece on this https://blogs.fangraphs.com/domingo-german-wont-pitch-in-the-postseaso…

3:00
Geoff: I’m eating wasabi peas. Aren’t wasabi peas great?

3:00
Meg Rowley: Geoff, they are wonderful.

3:00
stever20: how surprised are you after game 6 that Pressly is active?  That looked really bad real time.

3:01
Meg Rowley: Not terribly, but only because they said postgame they expected him to be alright.

3:01
noname: Are there any players you think the crowd’s FA estimates are going to be wrong on?

3:01
Meg Rowley: We will have a few international free agents toward the backend, and I think readers still struggle to gauge that stuff accurately. Always room for something silly around the relievers, too.

3:02
Meg Rowley: Ok pals, I need to get going. Apologies for what I didn’t get to, and for the swears.

3:03
Meg Rowley: Thank you for reading us so far this postseason. We’ve had a blast, and hope you have too. The Game 1 chat will go live at 7:30 ET, with the guys hopping in closer to first pitch.

3:03
Meg Rowley: The rest of the crowdsourcing ballots will go live over the next few days. Thanks for filling those out, and for your suggestions on how we can improve them next year.

3:04
Meg Rowley: Hope everyone can enjoy the World Series, despite the nonsense. Have a good week, and be good to each other.

We hoped you liked reading Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat – 10/22/19 by Meg Rowley!

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Meg is the managing editor of FanGraphs, the host of FanGraphs Audio, and the co-co-host of Effectively Wild. Her work has previously appeared at Baseball Prospectus, Lookout Landing, and Just A Bit Outside.

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fjtorres
Member
fjtorres

For Verlander to pitch today, the game would have to have just started and something awful happened to Cole.
Not very likely. One hopes.
(No need to apologize for merrited emotional responsss. Sometimes even all-caps is not enough.)