Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat – 4/14/20

2:00
Toshi: Hi, thank you for chat. If the MLB season ends well into November, I am wondering if these games late in season need to be played in ballparks with roofs. How many ballparks have roofs?

2:01
Meg Rowley: Including the Rangers’ new digs, by my count there are eight ballparks with roofs, either retractable or fixed.

2:02
Meg Rowley: One of those is the Rogers Centre, and I suppose we don’t know what international travel might look like come November, and some of the others are in places that will be mighty chilly, but even still, with the parks in warmer parts of the country, there should be plenty of places for playoff games to be played when the time comes.

2:03
Jinder: Let’s pretend all of the covid stuff hasn’t happened, for a moment, which of these pitchers did you expect to have the best 2020: Darvish, Kluber, Lynn, or Paxton (pre-injury)?

2:03
Meg Rowley: Darvish – the way he was coming on late last season was pretty impressive.

2:04
Meg Rowley: I just bake in time lost to some sad, funky bit of nonsense for Paxton at this point.

2:04
Brian: In your opinion, if MLB moves forward with utilizing spring training ballparks for part or all of the season, would that favor hitters, pitchers, or indifferent?

2:06
Meg Rowley: I think pitchers are going to have weird-ass years no matter where they play. I think the heat and humidity will get to everyone, but probably be worse for hitters because of how often they’re out in it?

2:06
Brian: In dynasty leagues, how does Severino’s recent injury woes (shoulder and TJ) impact your long term outlook on him?

2:07
Meg Rowley: As someone who doesn’t play fantasy baseball, it doesn’t. From an actual on-field perspective, far too early to say. I don’t want to assume a return to full strength, even as I hope for one.

2:08
Nolan: WAR7 is the stat that’s often used to assess a Hall of Fame player’s peak, based on the player’s cumulative WAR in his best 7 seasons, but it makes me wonder: which Hall of Fame player has put up the worst 7 seasons in the course of his career?  Which HOFer, in other words, would have the lowest WAR total if you summed up the WAR from his worst 7 seasons?

2:08
Meg Rowley: This is a terrific question for Jay’s next chat.

2:10
Jeff: As a baseball fan, I’m cautiously optimistic about the Arizona-Florida Plan. As a Marlins fan, I’m a bit nervous about having to come up with a whole new gimmick if half the teams are doing the whole play-in-an-empty-ballpark-in-Florida thing.

2:11
Meg Rowley: I wouldn’t worry too much – the thing is, if there are games in Marlins Park, we’re going to be so stupid amped for baseball you don’t need a gimmick

2:11
Meg Rowley: there will be baseball

2:11
Meg Rowley: can you imagine?

2:11
Logan: If the 2020 season does not happen, how do you think the free agent market will react to Semien, LeMahieu, and other players who had excellent but largely unexpected 2019 seasons?  Presumably all players will receive smaller contracts than they otherwise would because of the impact of a cancelled season on teams’ revenues, but will players like Semien and LeMahieu–who are deprived of the chance to demonstrate that 2019 was not a fluke–be harmed to a greater degree?

2:13
Meg Rowley: I suppose possibly, though I think with LeMahieu demonstrating that he could have a good year away from Coors will matter most, as will Semien having put up a second good season at short.

2:14
Meg Rowley: But I think we’ll see a lot of guys take one-year deals to try to re-enter the market after a more normal season, though they’ll also be in a new CBA. How they balance those factors will be interesting.

2:14
Rob k: At this point, I think the best way to keep us thinking about baseball is to leak every idea they have to bring baseball back, especially the bad ones. Five inning games with Home Run Derby tiebreakers. Play every game in Russia. Mid season redraft if teams have outbreaks. Just keep the content machine humming.

2:14
Meg Rowley: While they’re at it, gimme that Red Sox report. Gimme it. Give. It. To. Me.

2:15
Meg Rowley: I think it is very fair to note the issues with these plans. I think it will be fair to criticize them if one is enacted that shows an indifference to public health. But some of the response has been a little odd to me. As I said on EW last week, you don’t plan Thanksgiving dinner the night before. That’s how you end up with no pie.

2:15
See! You! Later!: Can you tell us about FanGraphs Prep?

2:16
Meg Rowley: The response to the idea was great and showed there was interest, so now we’re in the process of chatting with educators on the best way to execute.

2:16
Meg Rowley: We’ll have more in the coming weeks.

2:17
Soundwave: Meg, Meg, she’s our friend. We’ll chat with her until the end!

2:17
Meg Rowley: I mean, at some point I have to make more coffee, but thanks!

2:18
Timmy P: Is Yandy Diaz an everyday player? Are you buying his “emergence”?

2:18
Meg Rowley: Depends on the rest of the infield. He can’t really handle third, so it becomes a matter of where you can shift him to hide him as much as possible. Rays have a lot of guys like that.

2:19
#1 Flan: I asked Ben this yesterday, but favorite baseball books? I just finished “Nine Innings” and “Summer of ’49” and am looking for more. Thanks!

2:20
Meg Rowley: Grab The Summer Game and Five Innings by Roger Angell.

2:20
Meg Rowley: Dollar Sign on the Muscle is also wonderful.

2:21
Meg Rowley: My two extremely biased recs are The Only Rule Is it Has to Work by Sam Miller and Ben Lindbergh, and Eric and Kiley’s new book Future Value, which officially released today. I think they are objectively very good, but must acknowledge my pal status.

2:21
brad: they cant really be thinking of 7 inning games, that will destroy fantasy baseball with Wins and saves being out of whack

2:22
Meg Rowley: I don’t say this to diminish it as concern to you, but I doubt strongly that is going to matter to them.

2:22
Meg Rowley: They need baseball. We need baseball. They will do whatever allows them to play the most baseball.

2:23
Choco: How do you think about rookie SPs in a short season? How would you rank these: Puk, Urquidy, McKay, Kopech?

2:23
Meg Rowley: Not really a short season consideration but Kopech, Puk, Urquidy, McKay.

2:24
bk: Meg, do you know when the next update on draft content will be?

2:24
Meg Rowley: Later this week is the plan

2:24
Meg Rowley: Gotta get the Rangers list out the door first.

2:24
TJ: As a pretty introverted person who works (worked, now) from home – the first few weeks of this thing were manageable with some semblance of optimism we’d see any sport by July. Now, gosh has this thing just taken a severe toll on my mental health and place of optimism. But, joblessness certainly doesn’t help with that either.

2:25
Meg Rowley: I’m really very sorry to hear that. I don’t know how much of a help it is to hear, but you are not alone in struggling. I do think we’ll see some kind of baseball this year, if it helps.

2:25
Julian: Do you think fans will be able to attend games before a vaccine is widely available? I wonder if the 2021 season is in jeopardy if not

2:25
Meg Rowley: I think that will widespread testing, yes, or if we have more successful therapeutic interventions. I think the real question is, what will the appetite for it be?

2:26
brad: if they play 100 games in 2020 for arguments sake, how much do players get paid?  how does that affect the luxury tax?  I assume they get paid 100/162 times their contract.

2:29
Meg Rowley: It’s prorated for the number of games played in that case.

2:29
Meg Rowley: per Passan and Kiley: When determining which teams have exceeded luxury-tax thresholds, the league will base it on what full-season salaries were supposed to be, not prorated salary payment. The taxes paid, however, will be on a prorated basis. And if there is no season, there will be no taxes owed, implying every team would reset to the lowest competitive balance tax threshold.

2:29
LK: Hi Meg, thanks for chatting! 3 related questions for you: Do you think the Red Sox investigation was completed, or still ongoing and suspended?  If there is a 2020 season, when would be the right time to announce the results?  Does the timing of that announcement depend on whether or not they are found guilty?

2:31
Meg Rowley: Yes, it appears so, based on the league’s response to court cases that allude to the results. Give it to us now? Right now? Let my baseball site talk about it right now? And no, I don’t think so.

2:31
Big League Choo: How about every other inning the batters must run the bases clockwise? This isn’t NASCAR, these are athletes that can handle right turns! Would make fielding more interesting too with infielder handedness.

2:31
Meg Rowley: I think we can keep a lot of normal baseball intact. I think it is important to do that.

2:31
Kj: Thanks for all you guys do!

2:31
Meg Rowley: Thank you so much for reading!

2:32
Jeff: Hi Meg, thanks for the chat. Is there a timeline for when teams, particularly Tampa and Oakland right now, will get their free relief stadiums?

2:33
Meg Rowley: Unsure what the current state of affairs is for Tampa. Oakland was conducting an environmental impact assessment on the proposed ballpark site. But I’d imagine all of that is on hold at the moment.

2:34
Faithless Friar: Which current contenders do you think will be sellers within a year or two?

2:36
brad: any word on a star player possibly refusing to play a season in Arizona separated from his family especially if they have a baby, like a Trout or Harper star level player?  Roman reigns refused to participate in the main event at WrestleMania…

2:38
Meg Rowley: No. The time spent away from family is absolutely a consideration (though it’s probably worth noting that a lot of international players deal with that under normal circumstances), but I haven’t heard anything like that.

2:39
Meg Rowley: Given how quickly things are changing, and how far from final these “plans” are, it is hardly a surprise.

2:40
BarryBondsJuicedForOurSins: I appreciate everyone’s desire for baseball and don’t mean to be Debbie Downer, but there’s not going to be any baseball this year, especially in Florida.  Just look at the response of the federal government and Florida government.  It’s been (gestures wildly) not great, Bob.

2:40
Meg Rowley: I think everyone acknowledges the challenges – I also think they have to try to find something workable.

2:40
Rich: Hi Meg.  Do you think the Arizona-only plan or the Arizona-Florida plan is more likely to be adopted by MLB and the players’ union (assuming they adopt one or the other, of course)?

2:41
Meg Rowley: I think the Arizona-Florida plan is more workable, despite the distances between facilitates, because it puts less pressure on facilities like Chase, and allows for a much more workable broadcast schedule.

2:41
HappyFunBall: Given the general lack of sports content at the moment, I think the LAST thing MLB wants to do is release the Red Sox report. Maybe they’ll use the NFL draft as media cover, or maybe we just never see it.

2:42
Meg Rowley: I know what they want, I’m saying what I, the managing editor of FanGraphs dot com wants. (The commissioner did commit to releasing the report, so we’ll get it eventually.)

2:43
Derek Smalls: Do you know if MLB is talking to other sports, like say the PGA? IMO golf should be the easiest to reboot…except for the travel, both to different locales and the international makeup of the participants–so maybe not so easy. But I still think we’d see golf before baseball. Also, I can’t believe any sport wants to be first one back, money be damned. Though maybe I’m underestimating the money factor. Thoughts?

2:43
Meg Rowley: I think the travel is a much greater barrier than you’re  giving it credit for.

2:44
Meg Rowley: Also, while they certainly want to be safe, I think if they’re within spitting distance of that, baseball would love to be the first sport back. I

2:44
Meg Rowley: imagine they all would.

2:44
MB: How is Fangraphs doing?

2:45
Meg Rowley: The response to our initial request for membership was incredible, and the support since has been wonderful. We are so grateful for this community.

2:45
Meg Rowley: That said, we still have some pretty ambitious membership goals.

2:46
Meg Rowley: We know this is a crummy time to ask for help, but we don’t know when baseball will be back or what the advertising landscape will look like when it does.

2:46
Chochoclate milk mustache: What is your preferred type of milk?

2:46
Meg Rowley: I take half and half in my coffee and then whatever the recipe calls for when cooking?

2:47
The Masked Dancer: You obviously can’t play games while maintaining social distancing. Batters/catchers, holding runners on 1B, players in the field going after a fly ball, etc.  But if you somehow could, what would a final-out World Series celebration look like on the field?  Would all players and staff spread out all over the field and start dancing?

2:47
Meg Rowley: I hope so!

2:48
Meg Rowley: I love the idea of them choreographing something in advance, and then getting to see how that choreography holds up given the emotion of the moment.

2:48
Faithless Friar: This was posted without a response:Which current contenders do you think will be sellers within a year or two?

2:49
Meg Rowley: Whoops sorry – Cleveland and the Cubs

2:51
Faithless Friar: Thank you!

2:51
Meg Rowley: You’re welcome – I got distracted.

2:51
Chamaco: In addition to purchasing a Fangraphs membership (done!), would visiting the site daily or multiple times a day also help?

2:52
Meg Rowley: Depends on if you’re ad free or not, but yes, because you get to participate in chats and download pods and engage with something that isn’t COVID.

2:53
Chris: Is there any sense how the pandemic will affect negotiations between MLB and the minor leagues? I seriously doubt there will be a minor league season and who knows if MILB teams can survive a year of no baseball.

2:54
Meg Rowley: The last it was reported, MLB wants to continue with the PBA negotiations, while MiLB, understandably, wants to delay them.

2:54
Meg Rowley: This from Evan over at The Athletic is a good primer.

2:55
Meg Rowley: There seem sure to be teams that won’t make it, and the shortening of the draft is likely to take its toll.

2:56
Leland: All the other real world problems and fights being equal, some part of me can’t help but feel slightly relieved that many injured players, like Mitch Haniger, won’t miss any games due to injury From a baseball and stats perspective, it’s almost like their injuries were forgiven (even though they’re all very real, especially uh Mitch’s). Does that make sense?

2:58
Meg Rowley: Totally. I’m glad that guys aren’t going to have to play through injury, and have time to heal too. Obviously terrible circumstances, but that side effect isn’t a bad one.

2:58
South Sider: What do you think is the latest possible date that MLB would be able to start the 2020 season before giving up and canceling the whole season?

2:58
Meg Rowley: A season that looks like a season? August. A Goof-Ass Goof Thing? That can stretch wayyyy later.

2:59
Kj: What is your favorite ballpark food? Here in Milwaukee, it’d be sinful to go without a beer & brat!

3:00
Meg Rowley: A great thing about T-Mobile is the presence of Din Tai Fung AND Ivars AND good tacos.

3:00
Meg Rowley: Truly a gift of a spread.

3:00
Personal Question: When you attend ballgames, do you prefer to sit as close as possible to the field, wherever it may be, or do you prefer to sit somewhere with the best view of the field?

3:02
Meg Rowley: Kinda depends. The upper deck in Seattle is beautiful if you’re on the first base line because you get the whole field and the skyline. If I’m at a game to see a particular pitcher, behind home half way up. Depends on the park and foul territory.

3:02
Jeff: Wait, so would it help if people who are ad-free members logged out and, to paraphrase Ray Liotta at the end of Goodfells, interacted with the website like a regular schnook?

3:02
Meg Rowley: Indeed, though those who are ad-free have already done so much!

3:03
Derek Smalls: Do you think any player would elect to NOT play this year, citing health concerns? Would they be able to do so, if so inclined? Obviously they’d then be forfeiting their salary for the season, but if a player was in his last year of contract, would they then be a free agent at the end of the season, or would they still owe the team one more year?

3:04
Meg Rowley: I think some might think about it – maybe guys who are nearing retirement. But I think it’ll likely be motivated more by what it takes to stay in shape and come back than fear of getting COVID-19.

3:05
Brownpants: Do you think Evan White will hit enough to become an above-average first baseman?

3:06
Meg Rowley: Think there’s a chance – the swing change appears to have unlocked appreciable power.

3:06
Meg Rowley: Also the defense is legit amazing.

3:06
Kj: Did you play ball as a kid/young adult? If so, were you a power hitter or more the “Punch & Judy” type?

3:06
Meg Rowley: I did not. I was a dope and refused to play softball because it wasn’t baseball. Wish I had been less of a dope.

3:06
Chris: Is Felix Hernandez more likely or less likely to make the braves?

3:07
Meg Rowley: The same likely – I think teams will have expanded rosters and need pitching, which offsets Cole Hamels likely health, the lack of which was how Félix seemed likely to make the team before.

3:08
Meg Rowley: Ok pals, I gotta get rolling.

3:09
Meg Rowley: Again, thank you so much to everyone who has become (or already was) a member. Also, thank you to everyone who isn’t a member, but has read the site. That helps too!

3:10
Meg Rowley: We remain deeply grateful for everyone’s support.

3:10
Meg Rowley: I hope you and yours are safe and well.

3:10
Meg Rowley: Until next week!





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.

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random Colorado guy
2 years ago

I agree with Meg about the idea of Jay doing something (I’d hope for an article rather than just answering a chat Q) on the worst 7-year WAR total for any Hall of Famer. That seems like a very interesting question to raise. However, I surmise that the discussion starts and ends with just one position-player name: Lloyd Waner. There might be more room for argument with pitchers.

Craftcj
2 years ago

Pujols might be a real contender after he’s inducted. By fWAR, his worst 6 seasons right now total 0.3 WAR, and he might drag that down further with another subzero WAR season in 2020 or 2021.

random Colorado guy
2 years ago
Reply to  Craftcj

Heh. Interesting point. I didn’t realize AP had been THAT bad.

While we’re one the subject of players who hung around much too long, I am reminded of a certain holder of some significant records — notably the one for most total hits in a career — whose worst seven years, if I calculate it correctly, contributed exactly zero fWAR.

No wonder he isn’t actually in the Hall of Fame. Except in Cincinnati, obviously.

Sarachim
2 years ago

Ichiro’s seven-year valley is worth just 1.1 WAR. That puts him above Waner and Pujols, but just barely.