Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat – 4/23/19 by Meg Rowley April 23, 2019 2:00 Meg Rowley: Hello all, and welcome to the chat. We’ll get started in just a second here. 2:02 Gene: I’m very bored in Economics. Will the Mets pitching be fine? 2:02 Meg Rowley: Hmmm maybe? 2:03 henryv: Best former Seattle baseball team name: Pilots, Hustlers, Yannigans, Clamdiggers, Siwashes, Chinooks, or Turks? 2:03 Meg Rowley: Clamdiggers or Chinooks imo. 2:03 CamdenWarehouse: I was happy to hear you are on the right side of the almond/soy/etc milk vs. juice debate 2:04 Meg Rowley: It just means a particular thing. 2:04 Meg Rowley: And we already have a word for it! 2:04 Meg Rowley: Also, almondmilk is bad for the environment, so there. 2:04 Lawrence: Vogelbach, Alonso, Tatis and others are off to excellent starts; who are your picks to win the ROY awards? 2:05 Meg Rowley: Vlad Jr. remains my AL pick. My NL pick remains Paddack for now, though those dudes are off to good starts. 2:05 Meg Rowley: Sorry Daniel, but I do not believe you will win AL ROY. 2:05 facilmente: do you think marcus stroman will ever be more than a 3war #2/#3? 2:06 Meg Rowley: At this point, no, not really, though a three-win No. 2 or 3 is still a very good, useful player. 2:06 Davy: The new writers are so good! You guys nailed it. 2:06 Meg Rowley: We are very pleased with what they have done so far. It’s so exciting to get to know new voices and I’m glad our readers are enjoying them, too. 2:07 Trent: Who wins the AL East? 2:07 Meg Rowley: I think I still think the Yankees ultimately, but I want the Rays to win because well, there are worse things than wanting your pals to be happy. 2:07 breasily: Should I be dismayed at how AJ Pollock is faring thus far as a dodger? or small sample size and I’m simply just having commitment issues with the AAV/yrs on his deal 2:08 Meg Rowley: I would advise not caring how other people spending their money, or worry too much about April numbers. 2:08 2-D: Are you still watching any college ball? 2:09 Meg Rowley: Still some, yes! Not as much as I was before the major league season kicked off, but some. 2:09 Meg Rowley: The uniforms remain very bad much of the time. 2:09 Colin: Rob Manfred has said he’s more interested in getting new stadiums for the Athletics and Rays than he is in expansion, but which city would you most like to see get a new team? FWIW, Montreal and Portland seem to be the front-runners right now. 2:10 Meg Rowley: I would like for Seattle to get the Super Sonics back, we miss them very much and would like to cheer for them again. So along similar lines, Montreal. 2:10 Meg Rowley: I would like for Montreal to get a team. 2:10 Felix: Is this Niko Goodrum surge fo real? 2:11 Meg Rowley: It seems unlikely that it is this real, but it is promising. 2:11 Meg Rowley: Ben Clemens wrote a good thing about it https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-tigers-found-a-diamond-in-the-rough/ 2:11 Dmitry: Fun question.. if Mike Trout had to start every AB down 0-2, what would his WAR be? 2:12 Meg Rowley: I find it so very human that our impulse with Trout hypotheticals is always to find a way to make the best baseball player any of us have every seen, worse. 2:13 Yolo: I was optimistic about the ability of the Angels to build a winner around Mike Trout, given their willingness to spend big on players like Justin Upton and their ability to otherwise add talent, as through the Ohtani signing and an improved farm system. But their rotation has been a dumpster fire this season, and their strategy of signing bargain options like Harvey and Cahill has been a disaster. Will the Angels ever put together a winner with Trout? 2:13 Meg Rowley: I think they will. They have a long time to do so. 2:14 Meg Rowley: You should take my answer seriously because I sometimes root for the Seattle Mariners, and if anyone who does that can look on a long stretch of years and say, “yes, there will be victory, let us be hopeful” you should believe them. We know pain. 2:14 Magic Kingdome : It’s July 23. The trade deadline is looming. Where would the Mariners need to be (e.g., W-L record, place in standings, GB) for you to think they should go for it and trade for help? Or alternatively, start selling? 2:15 Meg Rowley: I think they should stick to their plan, and if there are opportunities to move guys for useful talent, they should do that. 2:15 Meg Rowley: Have you watched Mariners pitching this season? It is very bad. 2:16 Meg Rowley: This is not a team that is set up for a lengthy playoff run. 2:16 Meg Rowley: I think the front office knows that. So then you worry about ownership. 2:17 Roger: Which “ace” with an ERA currently over 5 will end up having the worst overall season: Nola, Syndergaard, Sale, Cole, or Carrasco? 2:18 Meg Rowley: Worried about Sale. Feels weird to say. Nola in there, too. 2:19 Faithless Friar: Let’s say the Mets miss the playoffs. What would it take for the Padres to land Michael Conforto in a trade? Need a lefty bat. 2:20 Meg Rowley: I think I got this question last week and I think my answer is the same that that scenario doesn’t seem like their most likely one to a good bat. 2:20 Thomas: Most HRs rest of the year: Mariners, Dodgers, or Brewers? 2:20 Meg Rowley: Dodgers, Brewers, Mariners 2:20 Trent: The Mets are tied for the division lead despite a 5.45 ERA from their pitching staff (and a 5.42 ERA from their starters), but the rotation still figures to be a strength, especially with the good news on DeGrom. Are the Mets the favorite to win the NL East? 2:20 Meg Rowley: I like the Nationals and Phillies better. 2:21 Shick Nields: What is Zach Greinke this year? I scammed him from another team in fantasy but am not sure if I’ll regret it. 2:21 Meg Rowley: A human person, a pitcher, a son, an enigma, a home run maching? 2:21 Meg Rowley: machine, even 2:22 jobin: If you sort by negative defensive runs so far this season, you find 2/3 of the Mariners OF at the top in Domingo Santana and Mallex Smith. Santana (-9.1 in 24 games) is on pace for ~-60, which would break the record of -44.8 by about 33%. It’s no secret this is not a defensively gifted team, but how much of that number is real? And are these poor ratings exacerbated by playing right next to one another? 2:23 Meg Rowley: I would be very careful about early season defensive metrics, just very very careful, maybe don’t touch them or sit in the same room with them but, it is not a good defensive team, oh no no no. 2:23 Jart: Do you ever wonder what happened to Mat Latos’s cat, Cat Latos? I have been thinking about it for weeks! 2:23 Meg Rowley: Pretty sure that cat died? Oh man, I am sorry to be the one to tell you. 2:23 Peter: When did you start writing about baseball? Did you have another job at the time? Any tips for getting started? 2:25 Meg Rowley: I did. I worked a full-time non-profit job to pay the rent. I would write as much as your schedule allows. Just get all the reps you can. Anyone can write one or two good things. Full-time writers distinguish themselves in the grind of doing that regularly. And read as much as you possibly can. It’s really almost as important as writing as much as you can. 2:29 Meg Rowley: I’d also offer, by way of encouragement in an industry that is not stable and has very few full-time gigs, and can just be very scary and awful this little story. Thanksgiving of 2017, I was depressed and discouraged, and doing terribly at my real job, but too busy with that to write as much as I wanted or thought I needed to to be an obvious full-time hire. I told myself that 2018 was my last season. On December 7, I got a text from Jeff Sullivan letting me know that David Appelman was going to reach out to me about a full-time job. 2:30 Meg Rowley: On December 12, I gave my old job my two weeks notice. 2:31 Meg Rowley: You should be clear eyed about how random and unfair and strange and lacking in stability this business can be. But your luck really can change that fast. I was ready to quit. Now I’m the managing editor of FanGraphs. I was very lucky and worked hard and networked, but it can work out sometimes. 2:32 Ozzie AH! BEES!: Hi meg, do you think the Yankees’ injuries are related to a change in hitting philosophy that emphasizes dingers? 2:32 Meg Rowley: Not really 2:32 John: Thoughts on Yelich’s crazy home/road splits? 2:33 Meg Rowley: He plays in a park that aligns very well with his strengths and that is great, but he also has these underlying strengths, which good for him. 2:35 Meg Rowley: sorry my internet was a bit funky there for a second 2:35 Meg Rowley: Hello, I am back. 2:35 Magic Kingdome : Is this the year the Rays should add some salary at the trade deadline and go for it? 2:38 Meg Rowley: So the funny thing is, the Rays should always add some salary because they spend so little, but I could see them waiting for a few more of their many many many prospects to spend, but also, they’ll never spend a lot. 2:39 Theodore the Munificent: You mentioned on last week’s EW podcast your predilection for hats. Is there a particular throwback or color scheme you’d love to see (could be Mariners or another team)? 2:39 Meg Rowley: I have an embarrassing number of Dbacks hats for someone who doesn’t like in Arizona. Just a bushel of ’em. 2:41 Sdorf: Is Ian Desmond done? 2:41 Meg Rowley: yeesh, he’s… been done? 2:41 Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: Re: Seattle team names, Chinook is a group of indigenous people from the Pacific Northwest. Unless you want the mascot to be a tandem-rotor helicopter, aren’t we trying to get away from using indigenous groups as team names? 2:42 Meg Rowley: Typically has been in reference to the type of salmon, but the point is well taken 2:42 Bo: Can you elaborate on almondmilk being bad for the environment? I’m legitimately curious. 2:43 Meg Rowley: Almonds take a lot of water to grow. California is famously without water much of the time, and almonds are grown there. 2:43 Lenny Faedo: Is it good and healthy to get excited about the Twins’ chances? 2:44 Meg Rowley: Enjoying things, even temporarily, is almost always good so long as it doesn’t hurt other people. It is good to like things. Love them even, even if they are fleeting. 2:44 Nick: Has Syndergaard just been incredibly unlucky? It seems that way just from the eye test of his games. 2:44 Meg Rowley: it is the hair. 2:44 Thumper: How much of a problem is it that almost all of the Mariners EXCEPT Dee Gordon are below average to very bad defenders? 2:45 Meg Rowley: Depends on when you’re talking about, I guess. This year? I mean, it is a problem, but also they aren’t really in it for this year anyhow. A lot of the worst offenders won’t be playing on the team when they’re good or are playing out of position. 2:45 Meg Rowley: Don’t know that Dee Gordon is really all that stellar, either. 2:46 Thumper: Should Jay Bruce be bumped to the curb to give Braden Bishop more time in MLB, or is it smarter to ride the fatherly wisdom of Almighty Bruce into the sunset and let Bishop conquer all that is AAA in 2019, then re-evaluate terrible defense next year? 2:47 Meg Rowley: Braden Bishop is fast and plays good defense but isn’t an everyday starter in the majors to my mind so… 2:47 A nervous Cubs fan: Can Yelich and Goldschmidt please promise to only have their best games against each other? 2:48 Meg Rowley: I doubt you get that lucky, though it sure has been fun, huh? 2:48 Thumper: Would your faith in the process of baseball be damaged if the Mariners won the World Series this year when they clearly are not that good? 2:49 Meg Rowley: No. The AL isn’t good, and a lot of weird crap can happen in short series. 2:49 rhett: what’s one rule you would implement to make baseball more fun ? 2:51 Meg Rowley: Courtesy of Brendan Gawlowski, I would say, make the outfielders gloves smaller. 2:51 Meg Rowley: I got your balls in play right here. 2:52 CamdenWarehouse: How much non-FG baseball writing are you able read these days? 2:52 Meg Rowley: I try to read a lot of it, because it is very important to keep up on the discourse, and also, there is a lot of good writing out there right now. 2:52 Thumper: Are you sorry that Mike and Alyssa Zunino didn’t name their new child Zooropa? Or Bambino? 2:53 Meg Rowley: heh, no, but happy for them, and for Mike’s home run yesterday 2:53 Thumper: Which fanbase do you think is generally the happiest about the state of their fandom? And if this is not overlapping in the Venn Diagram of your first answer, which experiences the least stress in their fandom? 2:54 Meg Rowley: To love anything is stressful because you fret over it and fretting is stressful. That said, uhhh I’d imagine the Padres? You’re ahead of schedule, you get to watch Machado play third every day, Tatis is great fun, and you have reinforcements coming. 2:54 Matt: Do you think Cubs vaunted window of contention may end up closing earlier than many thought? 2:55 Meg Rowley: Yes. 2:55 I want MiLB Box Scores: Am I the only one who thinks the MiLB app is laughably terrible? No box scores? Buttons that don’t work? Really? 2:55 Meg Rowley: It is so, so, so, so bad. 2:55 Meg Rowley: It is laughably terrible. 2:57 strelok: obviously, Bellinger’s performance isn’t currently sustainable, but how well do think he will have performed by the end of the season? Has he stepped up to Seager’s level as MVP candidate? 2:58 Meg Rowley: The changes to the approach have paid off so far, the body looks great (don’t work blue, he’s added good weight it would seem), and the versatility is very powerful. 2:59 Meg Rowley: Is that an MVP candidate? At this point, sure. That list is pretty long in April, but sure. 3:00 Bobby Tables: Vogelbach has too much service time to qualify for ROY anyway 3:00 Meg Rowley: Shockingly he does not! 3:01 Meg Rowley: His Rookie status is intact through this season. 3:01 Rick: I saw the Rangers have rolled out a massive chicken tender called the “Fowl Pole” at their ballpark concession stands. What is the single best novelty concession you’ve seen or eaten at a baseball game? 3:01 Meg Rowley: I didn’t hate the grasshoppers. I thought I would. I didn’t. 3:01 Sportsmanship: T/F: teams should line up to shake hands like in little league as opposed to the winning team shaking hands with themselves regardless of home team? 3:01 Meg Rowley: Not opposed, but not passionately for, either. 3:02 St. Pete : You said “the AL isn’t good.” Do you really think it’s that much weaker than the NL this year or was it largely sarcasm 3:02 Meg Rowley: There are far fewer teams trying to win, and one entire division that is pretty bad. 3:02 Cave Dameron: Who should we trade? Franmil Reyes or Hunter Renfroe? 3:02 Meg Rowley: I’m not a huge Renfroe fan. 3:03 2-D: How would you ration your viewing on a night when there is potentially the NFL draft, MLB games, NBA playoffs, and NHL playoffs on? 3:03 Meg Rowley: I don’t really watch the NBA much (no team, but Go Storm), or the NHL. I imagine on Thursday I’ll have the Draft on my TV and baseball on my computer. 3:04 Meg Rowley: Especially since the Seahawks pulled off this Frank Clark trade and I need to see the exact moment when they trade out of that pick. 3:04 Guy: What do you think of Narvaez thus far? 3:04 Meg Rowley: The framing has been average, which for him is amazing. 3:05 Meg Rowley: He seems to do better receiving from his knee, but the lateral movement is… very bad, and he seems to struggle with actually catching the ball sometimes, so that is very fun. 3:06 Meg Rowley: But all in all, less bad than I expected it to be. 3:06 80 Hit Tool: Willians F’n Astudillo. That’s all. 3:06 Meg Rowley: Eric and Kiley: We’re putting an 80 on Astudillo’s hit tool. Meg: Good. 3:07 Green & Gold: How disappointing is the realization that the NHL regular season is meaningless? 3:07 Meg Rowley: Future Meg may be sad about this but Present Meg doesn’t have an NHL team, so she’s doing ok. 3:07 KBO Vet: Who has the best bat flips in MLB? 3:08 Meg Rowley: I remain a fan of the bat drop, personally. I like bat flips, too, don’t get me wrong, but I think it sends the same statement but is easier to recover from if you have a long fly out. 3:08 White Sox fan: Give me some reason to be optimistic about the White Sox please. 3:09 Meg Rowley: Yoan Moncada’s change in approach seems to be legit 3:09 Meg Rowley: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/yoan-moncada-is-different/ 3:10 Thumper: What is the best way to get “up to the minute” statcast information (e.g. spin rate on a pitch, combined with movement data, swing path, etc.)? Is there a way to track all available data in game via MLB (or other source)? 3:10 Meg Rowley: Game day has it in the game feed I think? 3:11 Meg Rowley: And Savant has a bunch of stuff in its game feed as well 3:11 Meg Rowley: For instance, today’s Detroit/Boston game: https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/gamefeed?game_pk=565033&game_date=2019-… 3:11 mamsk: how tf do you watch the NFL over the NHL? for shame… 3:12 Meg Rowley: I like football. I feel badly about it, if that helps, but I grew up in Seattle without a pro hockey team. 3:12 Ralph Rowdie: Who will be more fun to watch over the next 5+ years Alex Bregman or Matt Chapman? 3:15 Meg Rowley: Jeez, that is very tricky. Hmmmm. I enjoy them both very, very much. I guess I’ll say Bregman just because I think it is good for baseball to have this kind of heel? 3:15 mamsk: here’s hoping that changes in a couple years once seattle’s team starts playing! playoff hockey is unmatched and football sucks 3:15 Meg Rowley: You are very free to like what you like, and I am happy for you, having a thing you like. 3:16 Thumper: Would you like to see the MLB playoffs run like the college world series round robin-thing? 3:16 Meg Rowley: Wouldn’t be opposed to there being a new way for the Mariners not to make the postseason. 3:16 Mario Mendoza: Yanks should get Bruce to play 1B and OF, and just deal Bird somewhere when he gets healthy, right? 3:17 Meg Rowley: I think the Yankees will be fine and think we should be happy for Bruce has done so far, knowing it likely won’t last. 3:17 Derek: What would the reaction be to someone carrying their bat around the bases after a home run (a la Pedro Cerrano in Major League)? More or less widely accepted than a bat flip? (I really, really, really want someone to make this their “thing”, like Edwin Encarnacion’s parrot.) 3:17 Meg Rowley: Sadly, I think it might actually be against the rules? 3:17 Bo: With the uptick in HRs so far, everyone is quick to credit the baseballs themselves. Seems a little hasty, no? 3:17 Meg Rowley: I think the analysis so far seems pretty compelling. 3:18 CubFan: What are you expecting from Vogelbach ros? Does he warrant playing everyday? 3:18 Meg Rowley: I don’t think he keeps hitting quite like this, though with the baseball what it is who knows. And yes. They don’t really have to evaluate that until Seager is ready to come back. 3:19 Something: What are you thoughts on Jeff McNeil? Is he a 140+ wRC+ guy? His BB%, K%, and ISO are also all wonderfully consistent with last year. 3:19 Meg Rowley: Like, Jeff McNeil, think Jeff McNeil is good. 3:19 Adam: Next person who gets plunked for batflipping should batflip and run to first instead of charging the mound 3:19 Meg Rowley: I like this suggestion, though fear what would happen during their next at-bat. 3:20 Larry: A fun baseball rule would be if the batter could choose to run to 1st or 3rd whenever the bases were empty which sets the the direction for the rest of the inning as soon as one reaches base safely 3:20 Meg Rowley: Our readers are the best 3:20 Joe Joe: If the ball went back to pre-2016 conditions, is there any hitter that you would think would be adversely affected more than most? 3:21 Meg Rowley: So Domingo Santana comes most immediately to mind but because I was looking at his numbers earlier, mostly. 3:21 Cole: Do you think Roenis Elias will be good enough in the closer role moving forward? 3:21 Meg Rowley: For the 2019 Seattle Mariners? You bet. 3:22 TD: I was ready to write off Clint Frazier but is his hot start for real? He still strikeouts a lot and chase pitches but he has really stepped up this season 3:22 Meg Rowley: I think it best to hold off until we see a long stretch where he is free from the concussions. 3:23 stat fiend: most entertaining baseball stat off the top of your head? 3:23 Meg Rowley: Jay Bruce has a .167 BABIP and a .597 slugging 3:23 CubFan: wrt Vogelbach question….I guess I was asking when Seager does come back. Seager goes to 3B, Healy goes to the bench? Vogelbach continues to DH on a daily basis or does he platoon? 3:24 Meg Rowley: Healy has an option and Vogelbach doesn’t, so that might make the decision for them. 3:26 Meg Rowley: Alright, friends, my internet keeps dipping out, and I need to edit anyhow, so I will call it there. 3:27 Meg Rowley: Thanks for all of the questions, and sorry for what I didn’t get to. 3:27 Meg Rowley: Kiley put out our first mock draft of the year, so be sure to take a look at that: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/mock-draft-1-0-the-top-ten/ 3:27 Meg Rowley: Otherwise, have a great rest of your week.