Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat – 3/15/18

2:00
THE Average Sports Fan: How would you feel about getting rid of extra innings and just having 9 inning ties?

2:01
Meg Rowley: Hi and welcome to the chat. Yes, I jumped the gun with a question, but to answer it: If the idea is to prevent injury in the minors, then I’d prefer a tie rather than the weird theater of a runner on second.

2:01
Meg Rowley: Sadly, I don’t think that is the purpose here. I think the purpose is as a laboratory for the majors, and boy would that be a dumb bummer.

2:02
Meg Rowley: I’ve been with Manfred on mound visits and pitch clocks and automatic intentional walks, but this feels like a fundamental misunderstanding of his product. Extras are exciting!

2:02
Uncle Charlie: Hi Meg! Do you do fantasy questions?

2:03
Meg Rowley: Never very well! But this is a great chance to encourage you read Fantasy Preview Week over at The Hardball Times! Those guys actually know what they are talking about.

2:03
Brian Carper: Hi Meg — what are your favorite essays from the BP annual this year?

2:04
Meg Rowley: I thought the whole crop was pretty strong this year. I really liked the Reds essay– it was a cool approach to considering that team.

2:05
Meg Rowley: Travis’ essay was excellent (unsurprisingly). I liked Emma Baccellieri’s a lot. It was a good year.

2:05
Snoopy: what are the specific reasons many players don’t want to play for the Oakland A’s these days? Is it the faciltiites? that they trade players so frequently? Seems to me the A’s – yea I’m biased – more often than not field

2:05
Snoopy: competitive teams, tho not for a few years now. The grass at the coliseum is beautiful, Oakland weather rocks, and white shoes!! what’s the beef?

2:07
Meg Rowley: I think part of it is competitiveness. That ballpark is the sort of place I would be weirdly protective of if I were an A’s fan (great vibe and good beer selection), but it can’t be the first place guys want to play. A lot of things motivate free agents, and some of them aren’t money, but also, some of them are. Oakland isn’t in a great spot there either.

2:07
Billy Beane: …If I stay here are you going to engage in pleasantries with me (‘Chat’, if you will) or pull my hamstrings?

2:07
Meg Rowley: I think we should always try to be kind to one another. Your hamstrings are safe.

2:07
Sharp: There’s gonna be a guy who makes a MLB roster this spring and blindside people.  Who will that guy be?

2:08
Meg Rowley: I think the real answer to this is a weird bullpen guy. The other real answer may be whichever Mariners have working bodies.

2:09
Abner Doubleday: Favorite Mariners *backup* catcher of the past 15 years?

2:09
Meg Rowley: Jesus Sucre. There was a weird day where he sorta ruined Cole Hamels and it was fun and surprising.

2:09
Travels: Mike Zunino was born in 1991, almost the exact halfway point between the release of Major League and Major League II. Is it possible his birth inspired the character Jack Parkman, or was Zunino born as a manifestation of the writer’s visions of Parkman?

2:10
Meg Rowley: I like the part of this that assumes Zunino is a star, but not the part that assumes he’s a jerk. He is, by all accounts, a very nice young man.

2:10
Dennis: Thank you for the chat, Meg. Where do you think Greg Holland eventually signs, and for how much? The fact that the Rockies made him a qualifying offer must be killing his market. Do you think the Angels might sign him?

2:12
Meg Rowley: It is weird how quiet the chatter about him has been, especially with so many of the other FA’s coming off the board. I could see LA. He’s also be an interesting fit for the Rangers, even though I like Claudio and am intrigued by whatever Lincecum ends up being.

2:12
Help: Back to back chats from Jay and you means that my Thursday is not very productive. I’m sure my boss isn’t too thrilled.

2:12
Meg Rowley: We are very appreciative though, and promise not to rat you out.

2:12
Jared: If Cotton is on the fast track to TJ surgery wouldn’t it be of better interest to the A’s to spend on Cobb rather than rush Puk?

2:13
Meg Rowley: This makes a lot of sense to me and I don’t think it will happen. But then again, Cobb makes sense for a lot of teams, so shruggie emoji guy.

2:13
Sonny: How much influence do high end FA’s wield? If Kershaw opts out and demands whatever org signs him must agree to pay a living wage to their entire MiLB system would the org say no?

2:14
Meg Rowley: I mean, some for sure, but there is no way an org ever concedes that kind of labor shift in the course of contract negotiations. Imagine the calls they’d get from other clubs. But if he did ask for that, I’d sure think Kershaw was a cool guy for trying.

2:15
Billy Beane: Have you had a chance to watch any of Dee Gordon in CF? sounds like the experiment is going well.

2:16
Meg Rowley: TV can make this stuff tricky to judge, but he sure has looked comfortable out there. The dude is just so dang fast, and we knew that, but the routes he’s taking to the ball and how he plays the wall have looked good, too.

2:17
Meg Rowley: I’d encourage folks to check out Travis’ piece on Gordon: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/perhaps-dee-gordon-was-out-of-position…

2:17
Meg Rowley: All the good Dee Gordon stuff.

2:17
Sonny: Spring Training is good because it’s actual baseball while it’s still snowing. Spring Training is great because some times outfielders play catch with kids in between innings.

2:18
Meg Rowley: Agreed although both of those things sometimes happen in the regular season when it really counts. Cleveland and Minneapolis in April aren’t not snowy.

2:18
Charles Finley: Do the Rays trade away any more players before Opening Day?

2:19
Meg Rowley: I doubt it. Gosh, poor Rays. Poor Rays fans.

2:19
Uncle Charlie: How do you think the Brewrs outfield glut shakes out? Over/under 500 PA’s for Domingo, Braun, and Thames?

2:20
Meg Rowley: I was talking about this with a Brewers buddy, and I’d say Over/Under/Under, with Braun’s under being mostly about injury

2:20
Pale Hoser: What are your thoughts on Tim Anderson? He sure has no plate patience however he is an interesting mix of middle infield pop and speed. What kind of numbers do you think he puts up this year?

2:22
Meg Rowley: He had a pretty good last month without a crazy BABIP, so that has to be encouraging but he just never walks at all, and the K% is still high. I’d expect better than the crummy mid-part of the season, worse than September. I’m intrigued by the reports out of camp that he wants to steal a bunch more bases. That could be neat.

2:22
vince clortho: There were many grim jokes in the leftier corner of baseball internet about Ohtani getting sent down for service time manipulation. However… as gross as it is, if he wants regular at bats, he might need some reps down there? That’s too crazy right? Really looks lost though.

2:23
Meg Rowley: I… look, I never want to underestimate the mustache twirling potential of business types, but I’d be surprised if it happens at this point. That might be wildly naive on my part. I think based on everything they’ve said, his value is really the arm. I also don’t think the shaky spring start means a whole lot, though you’re right that more regular ABs would help with the adjustment.

2:23
Dann: Fun with HBP frequency: in 2017, catchers were the position most frequently hit (78.67 non-IBB PA/HBP), SS’s the least (183.89). Tyler Flowers? 1 HBP per 18.45 PA. Catchers REALLY seem to be leaning into the OBP revolution (* position determined by exporting 2017 defensive data, sort by player id asc/innings desc, dedup, vlookup onto offensive sheet)

2:24
Meg Rowley: I always wonder how much of this is that catchers are just big bodied dudes who assume they know exactly where the zone is, and think they can take a couple in the arm or the back.

2:25
Rog Mewley: What if the draft was tied to market size instead of record? Maybe with a lottery to mix it up year-to-year? As a tanking solution?

2:26
Meg Rowley: Lot of ways to incentivize winning. I’m reluctant to use the draft to do that because it limits player choice. If we’re starting from scratch, I wonder what a salary floor and no draft would do.

2:27
Billy Beane: Boo to ties! Collect your tar and feathers ladies and gentlemen, we must run this fellow out of the town!

2:27
Meg Rowley: [extreme Janet on The Good Place voice] Not a fellow.

2:28
Ivan’s dad: Cubs getting TV money by the year’s end.  Word is they’re gonna jump the tax. In order of 1-2-3 which is the most/least likely…

1 – Harper signs with the Cubs to join his BFF Bryant. The latter gets an extension. Both deals close to 3/4 billion total (with opt-outs, of course, because that’s the “in-thing”).

2 – Harper signs with the Cubs gets an opt out after 3 so he & KB can bruh it up in another city for Bryant’s FA year in 2022.

3- Cubs aint signing Harper, but extend their “non-Boras” Players (Contreras, Hendricks, Baez, Schwarber…)

2:30
Meg Rowley: I think I’d take the field on Harper and the Cubs just because I am a coward and hate predictions about free agent signings. Jeff made a very good point tangential point about this in his Arrieta post, which is that contracts and opt outs are getting more complicated and are likely to continue to get more complicated as time goes on and teams try to protect themselves from downside risk.  The point re: Harper was that his contract is gonna be very weird and crazy. I tend to agree. It’ll be a huge investment and whatever club signs him will be nervous about that not working out.

2:31
Bob Loblaw: I understand the frustration surrounding the Marlins, Pirates, A’s, and Rays payroll situations, and the MLBPA’s grievance, but shouldn’t there be more frustration around the Mets?  Largest market, RSN, new stadium, and they’re routinely in the middle or lower third of MLB payrolls.

2:32
Meg Rowley: I might suggest that you follow fewer Mets fans than I do on twitter. I get the sense that their fanbase is quite agitated about the spending.

2:33
Meg Rowley: They’ll always be the team whose owners literally were duped in a Ponzi scheme. There will always be grumbling and joking about their finances, especially if everyone gets hurt again.

2:33
Adenolith: Do you think the players actually dislike the pace-of-play stuff or could this be an opportunity to look like they’re giving something up come the next CBA?

2:34
Meg Rowley: I think they do have some sincere concerns. A lot of pitchers and catchers are bothered by the mound visit thing, and think there will be cheating.

2:34
Meg Rowley: And more than that, the idea that Manfred would change the game unilaterally (yes, I know, he is able to do that) isn’t popular.

2:35
Meg Rowley: And also yes, they might be concessions, though for what I’m not sure. It isn’t much of a bargaining chip when your boss can just do it anyway.

2:36
vivalajeter: Dom Smith is hurt, Adrian Gonzalez is hitting like an old player with a bad back, Nimmo is playing very well and Conforto is allegedly going to return to the lineup sooner than expected.  Why wouldn’t Jay Bruce get more time at 1B this spring?

2:36
Meg Rowley: It’s an interesting question. Hold on one second, let me look something up.

2:38
Meg Rowley: Looks like he’s had 14 games at 1st in his career. Not inspiring. I still think they probably stick with A-Gon until Smith comes back.

2:39
Zachary: Do you feel that the players themselves or the Players Association wants a change in how the service time is defined? As a Reds fan, I think Nick Senzel and Tyler Mahle should be part of the team leaving spring training, but they will be sent down to exploit an extra year under team control. As the owners share of profit goes up and if free agency continues its current trend, it would seem that the players could get back some of their leverage in the next CBA by redefining service time or having clear punishments for service time manipulations, such as Kris Bryant’s.

2:40
Meg Rowley: I’m sure they both do. I imagine that conversation will take place within a larger push by the union to get more money to players earlier in their careers. If the age-30 FA market continues to go like this one, they’re really going to need to. How successfully they do that remains to be seen.

2:41
Meg Rowley: They’ve relinquished so much ground over the years. Getting it back is going to be painful.

2:41
Rooting for Dee: I find Dee Gordon to be one of the most likable players ever popped for PEDs. I’m a Dodgers fan and have continued rooting for him beyond his days with “my” team, including since his suspension. Should I feel bad about this?

2:41
Meg Rowley: I don’t see why you would. He seems to be a delightful guy who does good work off the field and is a lot of fun to watch.

2:42
Meg Rowley: I wouldn’t tell anyone how fussy they ought to feel about PEDs. I do not feel especially fussy about them.

2:42
Willie Calhoun’s Big Ol’ Butt: I am so excited to see what Willie Calhoun can do at the plate! What rookie(s) are you most excited to see in regular season MLB action this year?

2:43
Meg Rowley: Calhoun was a lot of fun during his call up last year, though we’ll have to wait for more.

2:44
Meg Rowley: Hi sorry, my internet cut out for a moment. Very weird.

2:45
Meg Rowley: Otherwise Acuña

2:45
Dan: Is it possible that Shohei needs time in the minors to be an acceptable position player? Is there any way if his pitching is as good as expected there is positive value in getting him minor league at bats?

2:46
Meg Rowley: It is certainly possible he might have real work to do, and more at bats would help. But if his pitching is as good as expected, I’d be surprised if the Angels pass that up to further his potential as a two-way player. I’d find it more likely they do that for service time reasons, if they do it.

2:47
Charles Finley: Are LAA planning on giving up the DH to let SO hit?

2:47
Meg Rowley: I don’t think so.

2:47
Mac Gwire: Jeff has hockey; August had basketball. Do you have a favorite sport to watch other than baseball?

2:47
Meg Rowley: I am still a football fan, though less and less every year as I feel more and more implicated by the sport.

2:48
Meg Rowley: My family’s text chain is currently engaged in a spirited debate about whether we keep our season tickets for the Seahawks.

2:49
Meg Rowley: I am very excited for the NHL to come to Seattle. I loved going to hockey games when I was in Madison. Hockey live is such fun, though I may have to bug Jeff occasionally on some of the finer points.

2:49
Matt Klentak: Altuve Machado or Betts, pick one

2:51
Meg Rowley: For Philly? Like, you just get to grab one? For funnsies? I mean, for today right now, I guess Betts?

2:51
Meg Rowley: I dunno if we talk enough about how Matt Klentak sounds like the name of a science officer on a Star Trek show. We should talk about that more, probably.

2:52
Playing 2nd base is underrated: The Terrace and ruthless parking behavior aside, how do you like Madison?

2:53
Meg Rowley: Madison is a wonderful mid-sized city. All college towns should also be state capitals. It means grown ups live there and there is stuff to do away from campus.

2:54
Eldridge Cleaver: How early should Acuna get drafted in a dynasty league?

2:54
Meg Rowley: It seems like the answer is early. Doesn’t it seem like that?

2:54
Desperate, confused Marlins fan: how long do you think it will take for MLB to establish a a floor or cap? ( I know we have the luxury tax;that helps)

2:55
Meg Rowley: The union resisted a floor for a long time because they assumed it would mean a hard cap, but since the competitive balance tax operates effectively as a soft cap, I think it’ll be on the table next CBA time.

2:56
Meg Rowley: Plus having those is one of the ways leagues like the NBA have made having a predetermined split of revenue work.

2:56
Meg Rowley: I’m increasingly convinced that’s important for the MLBPA to fight for.

2:56
Rox Fan: You used “state capitals” and “grownups” as if they are somehow associated.

2:57
Meg Rowley: I rarely admit it, but I have been owned online.

2:57
Hanna: Can a floor be adjusted for market size for each team?

2:58
Meg Rowley: I think we ought to stop taking for granted the idea that smaller-market teams can’t spend more. They are limited in ways the Yankees aren’t, but they aren’t this limited.

2:58
Rockie Dangerfield: What ingestible that isn’t currently offered in a ballpark would you most like to see added to the menu?

2:59
Meg Rowley: I am very spoiled because my closest MLB ballpark, Safeco, has very good ballpark food. It might just have good food. My roommate has some pretty serious wheat and gluten allergies, so for her sake, I’ll say more gluten free options?

3:00
Still hoping: Expectations for Maikel Franco?  Can improve his game, or this is it and he will be replaced at some point this year by even younger talent?

3:00
Meg Rowley: I like him, but last year was rough business.

3:01
Meg Rowley: 2015 was so bright and shiny and promising, but he needs to make very real adjustments. I’d imagine the leash isn’t that long.

3:02
Meg Rowley: Especially with guys like Kingery out there, trying all sorts of defensive spots.

3:02
Sonny: I abandoned my NFL season tickets four years ago. I can honestly say there hasn’t been a game I ‘missed.’ I miss the family get together aspect of it but Sundays are amazing!

3:03
Meg Rowley: And now your family presumably gets together to do other stuff! The Seahawks might be dismantling at the perfect time for me to shift my interests elsewhere.

3:03
Matt Klentak: Miguel Sano suspension going to come after opening day? Im starting to think they wont suspend him, if they had anything on him the would have announced it by now, right?

3:04
Meg Rowley: You’d be surprised how long these things can take. I don’t say that with any inside info on if he’ll be suspended or when we’ll hear about it, but not having heard doesn’t necessarily prove anything.

3:05
Playing 2nd base is underrated: Why is Keon Broxton apparently getting more trade interest than Domingo Santana?

3:06
Meg Rowley: Is he? I guess it depends what you’re looking for.

3:07
Meg Rowley: They both have room to improve, and they’re already impressive. Broxton’s defense might be really (or more) intriguing to some I suppose.

3:08
Red Sox: Do we remember how to hit homers this year? JD is just one guy and we still have a lot of doubles guys, but it seems like we should hit a lot more in this era and ballpark

3:09
Meg Rowley: It does seem like you should, huh, and I expect that you will. Imagine how much worse you’d feel if it had just been Mitch Moreland.

3:09
Mark: Well, it might help to put the question

Why is it that baseball prospects take so long to matriculate to the major leagues? Many other sports around the world regularly have teenagers contribute. Is it simply a matter of a gap between the highest amateur levels and the Majors?

3:10
Meg Rowley: There’s the gap in play; there’s the fact that other sports (basketball, American football) outsource their minor league systems to college. But as we’ve seen in the last few years, guys keep coming up younger.

3:10
Charles Finley: Do you have an opinion on the works of Anton Chekhov, one of which I’m reading rn?  Or is that a Carson q?

3:11
Meg Rowley: I find Chekhov valuable even though I don’t find him enjoyable to read.

3:11
Rockie Dangerfield: Let’s replace the mound with one of those dice popper bubbles from Trouble.  If it pops before the ball’s out of the pitcher’s hand, it’s a balk.

3:12
Meg Rowley: As I’ve said before, the worst thing about the runner on 2nd after the 9th rule (ok maybe like, the 10th worst thing) is that it isn’t weird enough.

3:13
Merv Throneberry: Which speedster do you like better (and who will play more)…Jonathan Villar or Eduardo Nunez?

3:14
Meg Rowley: I think Villar will play more, and Nunez will probably make more of his chances.

3:14
Meg Rowley: Villar has a much wider range of outcomes though. He could make me look awfully silly. He would not be the first.

3:15
Aaron Judge: What if I am actually this good though? I was injured for my slump…

3:15
Meg Rowley: There are reasons to be skeptical of you, but the things you do really well, and the extreme extent to which you do them well, make me think you’ll be good. Great even, especially if you stay healthy.

3:16
Meg Rowley: The 9-year-old version of myself is really annoyed at how good the Yankees are going to be. I suppose 31-year-old Meg isn’t much happier, though she realizes she should be.

3:17
eotis: how much of a bounceback are you expecting for KSeager this year?

3:17
Meg Rowley: I waited this long to take a Kyle Seager question. Please clap.

3:18
Meg Rowley: His 2017 BABIP was down from his career average (.262 vs. 285), so I expect of that will sort itself out.

3:19
Meg Rowley: He’s such a weirdly consistent player. He consistently hits at least 20 home runs. He consistently has a slow April, no matter what his spring is like.

3:19
Meg Rowley: Seager isn’t a guy who will get suddenly much better, but so far he’s found small things to get better, and he’s a pretty good all around player as a result.

3:20
eotis: *clap*

3:20
Meg Rowley: /bows

3:20
Rockie Dangerfield: Are boneless wings named the way they are just because adults are too arrogant to admit chicken nuggets don’t suddenly suck just because you turned 16?

3:20
Meg Rowley: holy crap

3:21
Velo: Speaking of Judge, is the best thing you can do as a hitter, if you could choose one thing to excel at, hitting the ball harder than everyone else? Obviously you want more than one thing, but if you can only choose one.

3:21
Meg Rowley: Probably yes, if I could choose just one. Hit the ball hard, hit the ball in the air, and hit to all fields. He hits the ball so dang hard.

3:22
Modern Artery: In regards to the Seagers, is Kyle “the personality kid?”

3:23
Meg Rowley: He’s not a social media person, and doesn’t seem to love doing press, but when caught in candid moments on broadcasts, I think maybe? Not sure how he compares to Corey.

3:23
Meg Rowley: OR JUSTIN. Will no one think of Justin?

3:23
Post Malone: Do you even sabermetrics?

3:23
Meg Rowley: Yes.

3:23
Post Malone: How much total game time did automatic intentional walks save last year?

3:24
Meg Rowley: Hold please, let me find something.

3:25
Meg Rowley: Dang it, Google is failing me. I recall Craig Goldstein at BP looking at this when the rule was introduced, and finding that it doesn’t save a ton of time, but does save some time.

3:26
Meg Rowley: Remember all the uproar over the automatic intentional walks? I don’t even notice now. We’re very adaptable.

3:26
Sonny: Extra Inning weirdness: Every inning past the 9th you must drop a fielder. 2 OFs in the 10th, 2of/3inf in the 11th, and so on

3:26
Meg Rowley: See this I could get behind. But honestly, extras are fine. They’re exciting.

3:27
Meg Rowley: Well they aren’t exciting in innings 12-13, but then they get exciting again.

3:27
Dennis: Raymond Carver or Henry James?

3:27
Meg Rowley: Henry James

3:27
Russell Wilson: Which NFL team did you support before I joined the team?

3:27
Meg Rowley: The Seahawks. And you’ve betrayed yourself. Russell would never be so rude.

3:28
Charles Finley: The Yankees could have been lovable-good, with all the homegrown stars and clever trade acquisitions (Didi, Hicks) but they just HAD to rub your face in it and go get Stanton for Starlin freakin’ Castro.

3:28
Meg Rowley: If anyone comes out seeming unlikable in that trade, I don’t think it is the Yankees.

3:28
Sonny: If Corey Seager doesn’t acknowledge his brother in his player’s weekend jersey this year can I assume he’s a monster?

3:29
Meg Rowley: They all seem like decent folks, honestly.

3:29
31 year olds.: We are the best age. Carry on.

3:30
Meg Rowley: Being 31 is great. Being over 30 is great. You feel so empowered in your decisions. You feel empowered to say no to things and not fib that you have other stuff to do.

3:30
Guest: Did you ever buy a Yuniesky Betancourt shirsey?

3:30
Meg Rowley: No, though I have the bobblehead.

3:31
Meg Rowley: Alright folks, I have to go get some editing done. Thank you for hanging out. I hope everyone’s hamstrings made it out in one piece.

3:32
Meg Rowley: Next week I might be chatting on a different day as I’ll in Arizona to check out Dee Gordon’s centerfield defense.

3:32
Meg Rowley: This same time, probably on Wednesday.

3:32
Meg Rowley: Until then!





Meg is the managing editor of FanGraphs and the co-host of Effectively Wild. Prior to joining FanGraphs, her work appeared at Baseball Prospectus, Lookout Landing, and Just A Bit Outside. You can follow her on twitter @megrowler.

2 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
fjtorres
4 years ago

FWIW:

It looks like in a typical year around 220 games go to extra innings.
That is around 9% of games played in a season. Works out to one every other week per team.

Not sure it constitutes a problem.

Captain Tenneal
4 years ago
Reply to  fjtorres

Plus the vast majority of those end after 10 or 11. I looked it up once but it was like 70% have no more than two extra innings.