Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat – 4/16/19 by Meg Rowley April 16, 2019 2:01 Meg Rowley: Hello all, and welcome to the chat. Allow me a moment to schedule a post, and then we’ll get started. 2:09 Meg Rowley: Alright 2:09 Meg Rowley: I am here 2:09 Meg Rowley: Thank you for your patience! 2:09 dmitry: I get the Yanks, they’ve been killed with injuries.. but why are the Sox so bad so far? 2:10 Meg Rowley: Turns out that when your pitching is shaky it can be tricky to win baseball games. 2:11 Meg Rowley: Some of the bats aren’t quite where expected either. 2:11 Adalberto Mondesi Relaford: Should I be more excited about Pete Alonso or more concerned about Robinson Cano? 2:11 Meg Rowley: Be amped about Alonso imo. What a treat he has been. 2:12 Meg Rowley: This is a profile that we tend to be nervous about, but as Eric and Kiley said when they ranked him, when it does work out, this is what it looks like. I doubt he sustains this home run rate but damn is it fun. I think Robbie will be fine. 2:12 Eric: Should/would the Mariners sell high on Encarnacion? 2:12 Meg Rowley: Yes and yes. 2:12 Meg Rowley: But, I think M’s fans would be well served to temper their expectations of what they will actually get in return for him. 2:13 JH: So I brought this up a few months ago and was kind of blown off (I think I raised it in a jokey way), but seriously, it’s pretty jarring to see K. Hernandez referred to by his nickname sans accents. It pretty much only happens in chats. Any chance we can get a FG moratorium on unintentionally publishing ethnic slurs by not answering such questions? 2:14 Meg Rowley: I don’t publish questions about him sans accents for that reason– I’ll bring it up to the staff. 2:14 Meg Rowley: Because yes, it is not good. 2:14 Dan: I’m really excited about all the extensions. I think most fans are happier when their teams are consistent. Do you think this is true on average or is it because nearly everyone I know is a Yankee or Red Sox fan that I think that and most fans prefer roster turnover and the implicate hope that allows? 2:16 Meg Rowley: I think that fans are generally in favor of their favorite team holding on to good, young players, regardless of the team they root for. I think that when most fans bring up concerns about the extensions we’ve seen lately, it has mostly been about the potential economic impact that has to the game 2:16 Derek: Do watch Game of Thrones? Thoughts on the premiere? 2:16 Meg Rowley: Yes, and I will hold off on sharing, as it will be the subject of a FanGraphs Audio segment recording this very afternoon. 2:17 Meg Rowley: I do think it is really weird that MLB is so into that show. 2:17 Meg Rowley: I mean, I get it. It is the biggest TV show on the planet. Very popular! So many close relatives sleeping together, though! 2:17 Scotty: How does it feel to have drafted the funnest set of teams? 2:17 Meg Rowley: I won’t lie, I feel very haughty and superior and yes, I know this is an unappealing aspect of my personality. I do know that. 2:17 Derek: The Red Sox currently have the second worst run differential in the majors! 2:18 Meg Rowley: Seems bad. That’s my opinion as a professional baseball sort. 2:18 Faithless Friar: Obviously, the Padres need some pitching help. They also look like they could use a solid OBP-contributing left-handed hitter. Anybody you think they can target within the next year? Perhaps Michael Conforto if the Mets take a dip? 2:18 Meg Rowley: Don’t think the Mets will be looking to part with Conforto. 2:18 Bo: At what point does it stop being daily news that Keuchel/Kimbrel haven’t signed? 2:18 Meg Rowley: When they have. 2:19 Mike: Does Vogelbach deserve a full time role? How does that happen when Seager returns? 2:19 Meg Rowley: If the bat continues to play like this, yes. How? Probably sending Healy down, as he has an option. Crummy, but seems most likely. 2:20 Bo: Who has the biggest cause for concern? Gotta be the Sox, yes? 2:20 Meg Rowley: In the AL East? Yes, barring further injuries for the Yankees, though both teams should be looking at Tampa and feeling Nervous, imo. 2:20 Boston and New York: Would you be more worried if… all your pitchers (and a lot of your hitters) were just… bad… or if more than half your team was hurt? 2:21 Meg Rowley: I’d probably be more worried if I were a fan of another team, but accepting the parameters of your question with less snark, probably would prefer they be hurt than just crummy. Lot of good players on both those teams though. 2:22 Me Grow Ley: Will the Angels offense get better when Ohtani and Upton are back? They have an insane BB% and K% and lead the league in bases loaded at bats, but they cant seem to drive in any runs 2:23 Meg Rowley: Yes, it will be better. It will probably be significantly better, in fact. I am very much looking forward to watching Ohtani again. 2:23 Jimmy N. : Need to wonder I have an IL nightmare on my hands to start the season. I have Upton, G. Polanco, Matt Olson, David Dahl, Jimmy Nelson, A.J. Puk, and now Ryan McMahon riding the pine and need to know if Jimmy Nelson or A.J. Put are worth holding onto. I’m in a 12 team dynasty league with 33 roster spots with three IL spots. 2:24 Meg Rowley: The once a chat reminder to bug our fantasy experts with these questions. Not because I don’t care, but because, in fact, I care very much about you personally. 2:24 Big League Choo: The pitch framing fWAR adjustments have vaulted Brian McCann & Russell Martin ahead, by a smidge, of Yadier Molina in career WAR. All 3 are 35/36 and reached the bigs around the same time. Yet I feel like the general narrative has been that Molina is the superior player and the only one really discussed in HOF terms. Does the framing data change how you perceive these three backstops? Is Molina’s reputation enhanced by having played for one team while Martin & McCann have bounced around a bit? 2:26 Meg Rowley: As a pitch framing appreciator, I’m all for defensive acumen helping to drive a HOF case, though I will leave it to Jay to carry the assessment from there: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/framing-the-hall-of-fame-cases-for-martin-… 2:26 Derek: Is Cody Bellinger really an MVP-caliber player right now or is he still riding some early season small-sample luck at this point? 2:28 Meg Rowley: I don’t think he does quite this all year, but I’m pretty impressed with him. Seems to have added some good weight to the frame, the body composition looks good, and remember in the 2017 WS when he just could not pick up breaking stuff to save his life? That looks a lot better. 2:29 Big League Choo: It greatly pleases me when all major sports teams in a city share a color scheme. Pittsburgh is a fantastic example (Pirates, Steelers, Penguins, Riverhounds). Think of how much versatility fans get out of their clothing purchases! If I were Sports Tsar, I would mandate that an NBA expansion team in Seattle adopt a green/navy/silver scheme. 2:29 Meg Rowley: I will always be partial to the Sonics color schemes, and the Storm already go a different way than the rest of the city’s teams, so I am fine with there being a basketball-specific exemption. 2:30 Meg Rowley: But generally, I agree. 2:30 Syndergaardengnomes: Why do so many bullpens look so bad this year? 2:30 Meg Rowley: It doesn’t help that the ball appears to be pretty different. 2:30 jv: Kike Hernandez’s name is not spelled with the accent. I get why people object to it, but including the accent is incorrect Spanish, as the accented vowel in the name is the i. If you want to include an accent to distinguish, it should be on the i. If you want to be sensitive to the accidental use of a slur, you should probably also be sensitive to the language of origin. 2:31 Meg Rowley: All of which can be solved by just using his full name. 2:31 Ethan: Should M’s fans be excited for our prospects? Shed has been killing it in Tacoma and Dunn has been having really good outings. Any other prospects I should be looking into outside of the top 15 or so? 2:32 Meg Rowley: He isn’t outside the top 15, but Julio remains the most interesting guy to me. The assignment was pretty aggressive and I am really curious to see how he does. 2:33 Meg Rowley: Won’t play as important a role, but I find Wyatt Mills interesting. 2:33 Meg Rowley: Eric and Kiley’s M’s list can be found here for reference: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/top-25-prospects-seattle-mariners/ 2:33 Meg Rowley: Lots of Mariners questions today. 2:33 BK: Gendry for Iron Throne 2019 2:34 Meg Rowley: Hot take: the current hair cut is terrible. 2:34 Judge and Correa: I think we sometimes forget these people are, mostly, young men around the same age. Correa and Judge were talking about GOT on Instagram. I like that they mostly seem to like each other, as much as we seem to want them to hate each other. 2:36 Meg Rowley: I can’t imagine what it is like to be a professional baseball player. I have a supremely strange job, and it is nowhere near as strange of a job as their job. Some of my very closest friends (like, as human beings, not as folks I say hey to at Winter Meetings) work for other outlets. Technically, they are competition, but there is so much to be said for finding people whose company you enjoy, and who like the same things, and know what the hell you’re talking about when you describe your work day. 2:37 Hello: Thoughts on a landing spot for Blake Swihart? 2:37 Meg Rowley: I hope he goes to Tampa and hits a billion dingers (sorry, Zuni, but woof buddy do you need a breather). 2:38 Ethan: Do you have any advice for someone who wants to start writing about baseball? 2:39 Meg Rowley: Read. Read as much as you possibly can. Read and read and read. That way, when you start writing, you’re familiar with the conversations happening in the game, with the research that has already been done, with editors expectations of what work is publishable. Read, and read, and read. 2:39 Nate: Do you prefer the Sonics old green and yellow/gold color schemes? Or the dark green/yellow/red ones like the Storm’s? Not that the first ones were bad, but I remember being kind of bummed when they switched back from the second 2:39 Meg Rowley: I like them both, actually. 2:39 Jared T.: Is it as hilarious to you as it is to me that the Mariners have a reliever with “Sad” in his name? (And also, yikes @ his appearance in last night’s game vs CLE.) 2:40 Meg Rowley: I want a jersey. I want a tattoo. It is everything I have ever wanted. 2:40 Meg Rowley: The Mariners have brought me great joy in my life, but baseball also helps me deal with human sadness in a low stakes way and so I love Sadzeck. May he pitch for 1,000 years. 2:41 Dave: When you attend a ballgame, do you try to make sure you’re not notable for an observant writer to generate a column idea, or do you try to present colorful attire/behavior to help a fellow writer out? 2:42 Meg Rowley: I try to be as nondescript as possible when I am there as just a fan, because I know that I owe the internet a great debt for having goofed on other people’s reactions for so long, and that I will surely have to settle accounts at some point. 2:42 Meg Rowley: There’s a reason my twitter avi has me in a catcher’s mask. 2:43 Brian: How is a spanish name without an accent an ethic slur? Am I missing something? It’s not like everyone’s keyboard has a bunch of vowels with accents on em. 2:44 Meg Rowley: It’s easy to add accents from a keyboard (which, that’s a good practice to get into anyhow, so that you’re spelling the name properly) but uhhhh just think about it for a second? 2:44 Johnny5Alive: Can the Mets really win in spite of Callaway? I feel like he learned nothing from last year, and this team is going to spiral again. 2:45 Meg Rowley: The team has better players now, so they might just be ok. But also, imagine not wanting to use Díaz in high leverage spots. 2:45 Sanford: Just a heads up: Pete Alonso is still listed as “Peter” on his player page here, though he formally goes by “Pete” now. 2:45 Meg Rowley: I’ll ask Appelman, but pretty sure this is how we’re getting in data files, at least currently. Can take a little while for that stuff to get updated. 2:46 Johnny5Alive: He literally said “Diaz will only get three outs” during the regular season. 2:46 Meg Rowley: I know. It’s goofy. 2:47 Taco: What the heck is going on with baseball? Offense is crazy in 2019 so far. I don’t like it. 2:47 Meg Rowley: The ball appears to be different. 2:47 Ryan: Which team with a record currently under .500 do you think has the best chance to make the playoffs? 2:48 Meg Rowley: Hot take: I think the Yankees and Red Sox will be ok 2:48 Meg Rowley: The piece I was getting up before chatting gets at this. Good stuff from Jay: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/what-the-16-game-mark-tells-us-about-teams… 2:49 KD: I was thinking about a home for Brad Miller after he was DFA’ed. He isn’t a candidate for a team not planning to be in contention, so that limits his opportunities. But he has played all IF and OF positions in the Majors. He’s only 29 and seemed to be doing okay in Cleveland so far. Any thoughts? 2:49 Meg Rowley: Cleveland sure could use him! 2:50 Meg Rowley: Really don’t get that one on their part, but what about their roster construction this year has made a lot of sense? 2:51 Dave: I get that balls in play are more dynamic, but the heart of baseball is the batter/pitcher struggle. So while more TTO means fewer athletic plays, it also means more drama from the central conflict. But it seems like all the analysts think these changes spell doom for the game, I just don’t get it. 2:52 Meg Rowley: I don’t mind strike outs. I don’t mind home runs. I am concerned that the ball is moving around this much, because it suggests a haphazard approach to manipulating the offensive environment, which I would prefer to be driven by the players anyhow. 2:54 Trent: Who are your Rookie of the Year picks at this point? Can players like Vlad, Jr. or Nick Senzel catch up to the likes of Vogelbach, Alonso, Tatis, and Lowe, given the sizable head starts for those players? 2:55 Meg Rowley: Yes, absolutely. Also, you heard it here first, but Dan Vogelbach isn’t gonna be the rookie of the year. 2:55 Meg Rowley: Imagine you have a dude who can thump the ball but is way way better 2:55 Meg Rowley: Poor Dan. 2:55 Unimportant: Mets won a tough road game against a division opponent. Seems like all anyone wants to talk about is what they won in spite of. I’m hoping maybe Callaway and the brass have some new food for thought, strategy-wise, but mostly I’m happy just to have the win, and that they’re still in first. Especially after 3/5 of their first series being on the road against the Nats, Braves, and Phillies! 2:56 Meg Rowley: Analysts don’t engage with team decision making in the same way fans do. 2:56 Meg Rowley: That doesn’t make the way fans engage bad, to be clear. 2:56 Meg Rowley: But it does mean that we’re going to look at different stuff 2:57 Rey Diablo: I am am sad to live in a world where Joey Votto is no longer Joey Votto. 2:57 Meg Rowley: yeahhhhhhhh 2:57 Trey: Who would have a more salutary effect over the rest of the season if a team acquired him today: Dallas Keuchel or Madison Bumgarner? 2:59 Meg Rowley: Depends on the team. I do think part of what has gone with Keuchel is that some of the contending teams that could use starters have made trade offs between defense and getting some good bats in the lineup. 3:00 Tommy John : why is sending ryon healy down “crummy?” in 1490 PA he has been worth 0.9 war with .298 OBP.. it’s time for JD & SS to stop lying about him being a replacement player ? 3:00 Meg Rowley: I imagine he wouldn’t care for it. 3:00 Dan: How many players could you name and effectively no one would say you’re wrong to call them a top 10 player? I hold it’s either 2 or 20 and no way is it 10 3:01 Meg Rowley: I think it is closer to 20 than 10. 3:01 jobin: just so you folks will hopefully see this– is there any way to get rid of AL pitchers showing up in ‘batting’ leaders when looking at team pages? i assume they show up because they technically have ‘games played 3:01 jobin: that got cut off– but basically you just wind up with a giant block of useless info between the 0.1+ WAR batters and the negative WAR batters 3:01 jobin: https://imgur.com/a/yQuVycj hi! here’s a visual of what i mean: any way to get rid of this? maybe a 1 PA option along with the other PA filter options? 3:01 Meg Rowley: The easiest way to do this is through the leaderboards 3:02 Meg Rowley: Where you can filter on team, position, and a PA threshold simultaneously. 3:03 Meg Rowley: For instance: https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=1… 3:03 Me Growl Ey: Which recently acquired Mariners prospect has you most worried with their early season performance? Sheffield has not looked very good… 3:03 Meg Rowley: I think Sheffield will be fine, but might end up being a very fine reliever. 3:03 Meg Rowley: But they also have no reason not to keep developing him as a starter and see where it goes. 3:04 David: What is Ljay Newsome’s ceiling in the majors after increasing his velocity? 3:05 Meg Rowley: Probably still a spot starter guy, but as Eric pointed out in his Daily Prospect Notes yesterday, he’s off to a strong start, so maybe there’s more there: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/daily-prospect-notes-4-15-19/ 3:05 Ethan: May I ask why you don’t think they should develop Sheffield as a starter? I thought that was part of the plan. 3:05 Meg Rowley: No reason not to keep developing him as a starter. 3:05 Meg Rowley: No reason not to. 3:06 Meg Rowley: Ok folks, I need to get some editing done before I podcast, so I will leave it there. 3:06 Meg Rowley: Thank you all for your questions, and sorry for what I didn’t get to. 3:06 Meg Rowley: Have a great week, and I’ll chat with you all next week.