Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat – 4/28/2021

Meg Rowley: HI everyone, and welcome to the chat. Going to grab a fresh cup of coffee and then shall get started.

o’s: will we ever see chris davis again?

Meg Rowley: Perhaps around town, having a coffee, running some errands…

Meg Rowley: I’m sure when he’s completed his injury rehab that he’ll be back, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see his playing time taper. There’s too much left on the contract and the club too far from contention for him to totally fall off, but getting a better sense of what they have in their young guys and any veterans who cycle through is too valuable to afford him a ton of ABs.

Andy: Where can my young daughter and I watch/listen to women analyze baseball. Podcasts do not hold her attention, but she enjoys broadcasts and YouTube channels like Fuzzy. She’s growing frustrated with the lack of voices like hers around a game she loves so much

Meg Rowley: There’s always the Yankees radio broadcasts, which are an audio option on MLB dot TV. And while their games might not be the most scintillating, you could try Orioles radio, where I believe Melanie Newman is doing play by play.

Meg Rowley: Once she’s more interested in podcasts, there are a number that I can recommend – that space still has work to do obviously, but is better diversified than most booths right now.

Guest: Do you happen to know why the projected team Win/Loss totals on the 2021 Projected Standings page and the 2021 Playoff Odds page don’t always match?  The latter is based on Depth Charts, is the former based on different projections?

Meg Rowley: The playoff odds use the depth chart projections (which are a 50/50 mix of ZiPS and Steamer plus a playing time estimate) to simulate the season 20,000 times, taking strength of schedule into account.

Andrew: How long do you think it will take before the Rockies are competitive again?

Meg Rowley: …

Meg Rowley: I think GM candidates should probably present a seven year plan to ownership rather than the typical five.

Meg Rowley: There are good parts of the org. I think their amateur scouting is good, for instance. But there’s so much work to be done. It isn’t just a matter of their player dev being bad or their pro scouting being a mess or their R&D group quitting en masse this offseason. It’s all those things at once and they play baseball on the moon. In some respects they remind me of the early days of the most recent Marlins rebuild, where a not small part of the project was just building out the technology and people infrastructure so that the front office was actually set up to go do the things you have to execute well to construct a competitive roster.

Meg Rowley: And of course, the Rockies ownership isn’t changing.

Meg Rowley: So yeah, maybe a seven-year plan?

Sad, Confused Marlins Fan: Jazz now hurt because the baseball gods hate us. Isan Diaz szn??

Meg Rowley: He’s been recalled! He… isn’t as fun as Jazz, but then who is? I think there’s still swing-and-miss risk with Chisholm but his walk rate in the early going is tremendously encouraging, and of course, we know he hits the ball hard when he does connect. Did I turn your question about Díaz into a chance to talk about Jazz? I mean, sure, I did, but that’s more fun than wondering if Díaz’s hit tool develops.

James: Hi Meg. I, as well, am a Mariner fan. Sometimes (like the last 20 years) I kinda wish I weren’t. But it’s too ingrained! I assume you’re the same (why else would you be on board, still.) If you could choose to be a fan of any team

Meg Rowley: Being a full-time writer/editor tends to sap your feelings of active fandom, so that issue has sort of taken care of itself for me, though who knows how I’ll feel or how much I’ll feel when they finally make the playoffs again. But if you’re going to pick a new team, root for the Padres imo. The NL of it all lets you hold onto the Mariners with very little conflict and the Padres are wildly fun.

Micah: Buxton MVP odds?

Meg Rowley: A fun thing for those who forget about the qualified hitter filter on our leaderboards to do would be to knock down the number of PAs and then notice that Buxton is tied for second with Acuña behind Trout among our position player WAR leaders.

Meg Rowley: 257 wRC+! Slugging .847! A .485 ISO!

Meg Rowley: What fun!

Meg Rowley: Now, do I think he’ll sustain that, or even a very good version of that? Probably not to this degree, and you always worry about injury with him. Plus when it comes to MVP stuff, I wonder how his superlative defense factors for voters. On the one hand, it’s amazing, and his batting line is nothing to sneeze at. On the other hand, I think voters tend to be a little more skeptical of guys who derive a lot of their value from defense, and I don’t think Trout’s defensive reputation has been calibrated down as much as it should be. So I’ll say that this is Trout’s to lose but damn if it wouldn’t be fun for Buxton and Vladdy to give him a run for his money.

TKDC: Is Ben Clemens getting a raise for absolutely nailing his predictions of Carson Kelly and Keston Hiura? Or at least a pat on the back?

Meg Rowley: I frequently tell Ben how good he is at his job, but I’ll pass along your kind words as well, which I’m sure he’ll appreciate.

Isolated Thinker: Looks like we may have an argument against shortening the game, per Adam Silver’s advice to Manfred.  Your thoughts on the idea that more game time, especially between pitches = more in-game betting revenue opportunities?  Could we really see batters taking their time getting in the box in a big spot, for example?

Meg Rowley: More than they already do?

Meg Rowley: On the one hand, I’m glad that someone was able to put a compelling argument to Manfred about why baseball is good. On the other hand, the reason, in my considered opinion, sucks! and also how embarrassing for him that another sport’s commissioner was the one to make the case.

Meg Rowley: I know a lot of people have fun betting on sports. I know a lot of people also struggle to control how much the bet on all sorts of things. Sports betting is just wildly far removed from how I engage with the sport, so while I guess I’m glad that something might stem the impulse to trim and shorten, it’s a pretty big bummer that this is the something.

Meg Rowley: The good reason to think that is that I think it is ethically… tricky to have the league involved in betting on the sport, and I worry about how well prepared they are to deal with that. The bad reason is that I’m probably going to have to better understand gambling and I really don’t want to?

Zach: Why aren’t stats on the leaderboards updated in real time? I know you can access the full season stats through the split tab but why not just make it the default if you already have the data?

Meg Rowley: Because most people want to see a complete day’s worth of data rather than a mix of games in progress and not yet started.

Sigh…: Does PRP ever work on a pitcher’s elbow?  Every time I see the phrase I just get ready for the TJ in seven months.

Meg Rowley: Tanaka is the example of it working out that comes most readily to mind.

Guest: will Bohm break out of his sophomore slump, would you rather want him or Hayes rest of season when Hayes returns?

Meg Rowley: Hayes, if only for the defensive play

GraphsFan: What do you think the M’s will do with the OF logjam once Kelenic does come up? Haniger to DH & France to 2B? Trammell down? Rotate 4 OFs with everyone geetting equal time off?

Meg Rowley: Don’t think you want France playing the field that much. Imagine Mitch stays in right with some days off at DH, France DHs primarily, and then they sort out who of Trammell/Haggerty gets optioned (Marmolejos is out of options).

Guest: It seems like trading Story for a Machado-type package and then Marquez for some more prospects could put them on the next wave of rebuilds behind the Orioles and Marlins. That and maybe a manager/GM willing to play young guys.

Meg Rowley: I’m really curious to see how active they’ll be considering that the person now in-charge 1) is a business rather than baseball guy 2) has a whole other job he’s doing.

Meg Rowley: But then again they traded Arenado with a bad GM in charge and the same rather thin ops group in place, so who knows.

45 blows billygoats: You have a 2 hour drive later today. What does your podcast list look like for the drive?

Meg Rowley: I blew through all the back episodes of You’re Wrong About during my last move. Now I have to wait for new episodes, and it is very distressing, but those if you’re looking for something new and ok with a non-baseball pod. I’ve also been listening to the Charles Manson run of episodes of You Must Remember This, and it is excellent.

Bobby: At what point in the season is a small sample size no longer a small sample size?  It’s still April but almost May and the Mets offense is putrid.  Lindor, Conforto, and McNeil are bad while Smith and Alonso are barely adequate.  I’m really hoping Lindor is not the next Baerga or Alomar.  Middle infielders come to the Mets and their career goes into the toilet.

Meg Rowley: I think it is going to be fine. I think the dip in Lindor’s Barrel% isn’t great, but I think it’s going to be fine.

Chris: Vlad Jr has been living up to the hype of 2 years ago. Will we ever be able to guess how much was needing MLB At Bats, how much was getting into better shape, how much was attitude? He seems to be better at D because he says he tries to make plays, not avoid missing them.

Meg Rowley: I’m not sure we’ll ever know the exact mix. I also wonder how much it helps that he’s not the only bat anymore, which I don’t say to suggest Vlad caves to pressure or whatever, but it has to be a lot of pressure to be the only guy.

reg mowley: An apple is an objectively better fruit than a pear, why is this?

Meg Rowley: Easier to predict optimal ripeness.

Guest: Outside the Rockies, what is the next front office that does not follow or get input from a metrics point of view?   Also if you could own one MLB team which one would it be?

Meg Rowley: Not every team is the Dodgers but there really wasn’t another team like the Rockies. They were just so… weird.

Meg Rowley: And if I could own any team, it would be the Mariners. It would make my family very happy to have a winning Mariners team and I would feel very fancy walking around town after my Mariners made the postseason.

Joe: I have baseball fans not quite interested in metrics , what primer or books do you think would be a good intro for them.

Meg Rowley: Do they want to be interested in advanced stats?

Meg Rowley: Start there! Might be weird for the managing editor of FanGraphs to say but… not everyone has to look at baseball like we do. I think it is good for front offices to do that, and it enhances my understanding and enjoyment of the game, but my grandpa has no idea what wRC+ is and has a great time at games.

Johnny5Alive: Sporer chatting at the same time, what a jerk?

Meg Rowley: Not a jerk, just probably got delayed from earlier. Now everyone can go ask him their fantasy questions. Everything is coming up Meg, really.

Blues K-Lews: Where do the Mariners spend money next offseason? The farm has a lot of promising pitching and outfield prospects, Evan White is locked in at firstbase, they’ve committed a lot of time into developing JP Crawford and there aren’t many exciting thirdbasemen on the free agent market next year.

Meg Rowley: Pitching. They could spend it on pitching. They will still need pitching. Why not more pitching? Beyond that I’d see what Travis d’Arnaud is up to and look to the shortstops anyhow. If you can get Story or Correa, you just do it. Seager is actually my favorite of those bats and he probably has to move to third at some point anyhow, but who knows how keen on Seattle he would be after Mather shit-talked his brother.

Meg Rowley: They really should have just given Kolten Wong an extra year last offseason but

Me Growley: Sadness and disappointment is as inevitable as a Keston Hiura strikeout. All things are relative in this most relative of all worlds. Does success for my Brewers count if it is merely being the top of the NL Central dungheap?

Meg Rowley: I think the divisional context should perhaps inform how competitive you think they’ll be in October assuming they win but yeah, it counts.

Meg Rowley: Take it from someone whose childhood team hasn’t been in the playoffs since she was still a kid: it counts.

RH: Do you know if pitchers are hitting in the high minors in NL on NL matchups this year?

Meg Rowley: I wasn’t totally sure about this but asked JJ Cooper, who said: Default is pitcher hits in NL-NL AA and AAA but at AA, teams can agree to use DH.

Guest: Bartolo- athletic, or not? Someone on Twitter (granted, a cesspool) called him unathletic this morning, and when challenged to justify it, they mentioned his weight- which feels awfully lazy. He always seemed pretty spry to me, even towards the end.

Meg Rowley: Yeah, I think there are a lot of ways to be athletic. Setting aside that most all pro athletes are more athletic than most all of us, certainly softer-bodied guys can be just plain out of shape or have limited range of motion etc. but not by default.

Meg Rowley: Catcher is a really clarifying position when it comes to this I think

Meg Rowley: Ok all, I’m sorry for what I didn’t get to today, but I have to scoot so I can prep for a podcast.

Meg Rowley: Thanks for all of the questions, and until next time, be well!

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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1 year ago

“Once she’s more interested in podcasts”

Can confirm that someone can reach middle age without ever developing this taste. I didn’t like talk radio in the 90s, either.