Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat – 4/9/19 by Meg Rowley April 9, 2019 2:00 Meg Rowley: Hello and welcome to the chat! 2:00 Estuary Ruiz: Hey Meg! Are there any FG meetups scheduled for this summer? 2:01 Meg Rowley: We will definitely do a meetup in Boston before Saberseminar, as is our tradition. 2:02 Meg Rowley: And it is sounding increasingly like we will do a meetup in Cleveland around the All-Star game, as we’ll already have a number of folks in town for Futures Game stuff 2:02 Meg Rowley: more details/certainty on that in the weeks to come but we will be sure to keep everyone posted! 2:03 Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: If Trevor Rosenthal pitched to Chris Davis in an empty forest, would it make a sound? 2:03 Meg Rowley: I’d hope they might chat about their struggles and find comfort and friendship in the very hard time they are each having at work. 2:03 jackson: it feels insignificant in the scheme and depressiveness of the entire world but the cuban MLB agreement being scuttled sucks 2:04 Meg Rowley: I don’t think it is a small thing. This decision means that real people’s lives and safety is going to be impacted. It is really awful. 2:04 Srhkthew2: What’s the best way to respond to criticism of your work, or to have it stop bothering you? 2:05 Meg Rowley: With an eye to what you can improve, and understanding that we are all learning and trying and failing but also succeeding all the time. I don’t think we should be indifferent to criticism, but we also can’t let it consume us. Also, when you figure out how to do that reliably, will you please let me know how you did it? 2:06 Meg Rowley: I’d like to spend more of the 2-4 AM hours sleeping instead of fretting. 2:06 Conner from AZ: Meg, every time I watch a pitcher intentionally throw at a hitter because he stared at a HR I lose a little faith in humanity. Is this practice ever going to end? 2:08 Meg Rowley: Entirely? No. I think stricter punishment could more thoroughly extinguish it, but the some of the same personality traits that lead to these guys being able to do their jobs so well also lead these guys to be dopes who express anger in this way. 2:08 James: Enjoying the dynamic btw you, Ben, and Sam on the podcast, but I’m also missing the solo show. I’m sure you’re busy, but are there plans to resume the standard Fangraphs Audio episodes? 2:09 Meg Rowley: Yes, and this week. There were some travel/positional power rankings/opening week issues that got in the way, but FG Audio shall resume! 2:09 Rey Diablo: How dumb is it that starting pitchers get a 5 game suspension then, get to “appeal,” only to drop their appeal the day after their next start so all they do is get pushed back a day? 2:09 Meg Rowley: It doesn’t seem likely to disincentivize bad behavior, that’s for sure. 2:10 Chris: How good a prospect would the mariners need to get to justify trading any of their hitters right now to avoid a public relations disaster? 2:11 Meg Rowley: A much better one than teams, who surely don’t think much of this small sample, are likely to give? That said, I don’t think most fans are under the impression this is sustainable. 2:11 Syndergaardians of the Galaxy : As a fan of teams that try, was Dan’s article on the Reds the most depressing thing ever? 2:12 Meg Rowley: It is a very real bummer, but also, there’s nothing to suggest they won’t keep trying, so it isn’t as if we’ll never see a good Reds team again. 2:12 mamsk: joey gallo thoughts? he just keeps progressing. 2:13 Meg Rowley: His walk rate is my favorite early season stat. 2:13 NotGraphs Revivalist: Why do I love this game that brings me so much anxiety and despair? 2:14 Meg Rowley: Because it lets you experience those feelings in a way that is low stakes, allowing you to let them go more easily, while punctuating them with fun in between. 2:14 Marinerds: Over/Under on the Mariners year-end win total: 87 2:14 Meg Rowley: Under 2:14 Captain America: Besides Harper and Realmuto, who else on the phillies make them so much to watch? 2:16 Meg Rowley: Rhys Hoskins is fun. Jean Segura plays in a way a lot of players now don’t, which provides some aesthetic variety. Cutch is fun. Herrera is fun. Aaron Nola? Oh very fun. 2:16 Larry Legend: Why don’t you use as many commas in your chats as you do in your tweets? 2:16 Meg Rowley: Uh, I don’t know? 2:16 mamsk: who is more likely to have a 6 win 2019, joey gallo or nomar mazara? 2:17 Meg Rowley: Joey Gallo 2:17 Vogey!: Hi Meg. Skip has to play me at least semi-regularly while I’m raking like this, right? 2:17 Meg Rowley: Yeah, and with Seager still out and Healy still at third, the path to that playing time is much easier. 2:17 Jeff M: Why do you think sports fans view a beloved player’s departure in free agency as such a betrayal? The Bryce breakup with Washington seemed mutual at best, but that was some homecoming reception. 2:19 Meg Rowley: Because as human beings we develop affinity and affection for a place, we’re trained as fans to root for the laundry rather than those who wear it, at least if push comes to shove, and we struggle to understand why other people don’t love our places as much as we do. How dare you prefer somewhere else to here? Here is the very best. Our affection for the here, which by definition can’t move, means our rancor gets directed at the person or entity that can move and elects to. 2:19 Rdilillo: I’m heading to Seattle at the end of the month. Can you recommend any good restaurants, esp. Italian and or seafood? 2:20 Meg Rowley: For seafood (and apologies, some of these are kinda spendy): 2:20 Meg Rowley: http://www.westwardseattle.com/ (great food, amazing view) 2:20 Meg Rowley: https://www.thewalrusbar.com/ 2:21 Meg Rowley: https://rockcreekseattle.com/ 2:21 Meg Rowley: https://www.elliottsoysterhouse.com/ 2:22 Meg Rowley: My favorite Italian place in Seattle isn’t so fancy but the food is amazing. 2:22 Meg Rowley: https://www.salvatoreristoranteitaliano.com/ 2:22 Meg Rowley: It will be full of mostly middle-aged-ish Italian folks, which is how you know it is good. 2:23 theonight: Should I, as a Blue Jays fan, listen to today’s game at work? Or would that negatively impact my ability work? 2:23 Meg Rowley: I struggle to listen to radio broadcasts while working– I think because they have to chat more than the TV broadcast, it distracts me more thoroughly. 2:24 not giants fan: How does the Giants’ bullpen meltdown affect their sport in the fun rankings? Gotta move them up at least one tier 2:24 Meg Rowley: Eh, does it though? The most fun thing about that game was the Tatis home run. 2:24 Barbados_slim: The giants blew a 5 run lead to the padres. Is it time for a rebuild? 2:24 Meg Rowley: Yes, but that was already true? 2:25 Barbados_slim: Any chance orioles send chris davis down to triple a to get his groove back? 2:25 Meg Rowley: I was talking about this with someone the other day– what level would he need to go to for you to feel confident he’d hit and build confidence. Because it would need to happen right away for the demotion to help and not make things worse, I’d think? 2:25 Javy Baez: I’m sad my swim slides, no look tags, and ability to get hits without holding on to my bat doesn’t make you, Sam, and Ben think the Cubs are more fun 2:26 Meg Rowley: You are great fun. One of the most fun players! Your team managed to have a worse PR offseason than the Mariners, who are being sued for work place discrimination. How… how did your team manage that? That seems like it takes work. 2:27 Meg Rowley: Friends, a moment, I hear my neighbors cat engaged in some sort of fight and want to make sure she isn’t in danger. 2:27 Meg Rowley: Ok, the cat is fine. 2:27 fake kevin: Wouldn’t employing hockey’s fighting rules (1-on-1) pretty much eliminate pitchers throwing at people? 2:28 Meg Rowley: It wouldn’t result in fewer fights, though? 2:28 Gemini: It’s going to snow 12-15 inches in Minneapolis wednesday through Friday – why? 2:28 Meg Rowley: Well you see, when cold temps and water love each other very much. 2:29 pelkey: I’ve long thought you’re a person of serious insight and your chats have only deepened that belief 2:29 Meg Rowley: You say that, but I also sometimes write about players pooping themselves so… 2:30 Nathan: What hypothetical baseball event could happen in 2019 to make you lose your baseball writing objectivity and morph into full-on fan mode? 2:30 Meg Rowley: The Mariners pitching staff could Freaky Friday with Cleveland’s starters and the Yankees bullpen. 2:31 Fave Dave: Are the Red Sox and the Cubs going to be meaningfully impacted by their unexpectedly dreadful starts to the season? 2:32 Meg Rowley: Yes, though I think the Cubs more so, and I liked the Yankees to win that division anyhow. 2:32 Meg Rowley: When we did our staff predictions, I didn’t have the Cubs making the playoffs and I don’t feel any differently now. 2:33 Billy Beane: What happened with the cat? 2:33 Meg Rowley: Whatever it was fighting with appears to have run off. Cat is ok. 2:33 Jeff: Do you think that the Cuban player issue is significant enough that the MLBPA would initiate a strike? 2:34 Meg Rowley: What about the current state of world affairs suggests to you that that would result in a change of policy? Also no– a strike isn’t the right instrument for that sort of protest — the league isn’t the one that made this call. 2:35 losingseason: over under for when the current futility run of Chris Davis ends? what will the AB total be? 2:35 Meg Rowley: It has to happen soon, but also, that isn’t the real question– it’s what happens when the next run of futility starts. 2:35 Ian: To heck with seafood. Tell Rdilillo to go to Queen Sheba’s for the best Ethiopian food imaginable. Order the bamia. 2:36 Meg Rowley: Another good option! 2:36 OrioleOptimist: To further add to attempts at diagnosing the reason behind Chris Davis’ fall, could there be some issue with his eyes the he and O’s are not revealing? I saw him absent-mindedly plucking eyelids after one of his ABs against the A’s. His inability to pick up fastballs might be a result of that maybe? 2:37 Meg Rowley: I would imagine that if there were a reason like that, we would hear about it every day. Every day! Wouldn’t it be marvelous if it were so easy as him not being able to see properly? 2:37 Thank you: I was really worried about my favorite writers leaving ever since Dave did but now that the season has started I’ve seen writers putting out a lot of the same content for which I started reading this site. Thank god baseball is back. 2:38 Meg Rowley: Obviously we miss the folks who have departed the site. We remain very fond of them and selfishly, I miss getting to read them. But I think we have a really terrific team doing just wonderful work, and as you said, the presence of baseball makes writing about baseball much more fun 2:40 Ron Kulpa: Am I really just going to completely get away with it? 2:40 Meg Rowley: I doubt it? This stuff takes a while. 2:41 JKD: So, there are a lot of dingers yes? And a lot of walks. It seems also that relievers are doing badly in all of these things. So I ran the numbers and of total batters faced by relievers so far in 2019, 1.59% have been hit by a pitch (1.11% in all of 2018, 1.2% just in April); 3.284% have hit a HR (2.796%; 2.512%); and 10.430% have walked (9.246%; 9.686%). So it sure seems like relievers are worse? Or hitters are better? Or possibly there is something going on with the BALL?!? I think maybe there is something going on with the ball. 2:42 Meg Rowley: Rob Arthur took a look at this over at BP and early results and all that, but yes, it would appear that the ball is different again this year 2:43 Meg Rowley: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/article/48260/moonshot-the-bas… 2:44 Marinerds: How dare you underestimate my win total this year!!! Fun aside, you have to think that severe regression is coming soon with that horrid bullpen and defense. 2:44 Meg Rowley: I can’t imagine they are going to keep scoring 8 runs a game 2:44 luke weaver (non) believer : luke weaver. 10 team. h2h. am i holding on, or cutting him loose? 2:45 Meg Rowley: You’re asking a fantasy expert! Because I care about you! 2:46 Ryan: Re: The Cubs’ fun level. Obviously there isn’t a right way to be a fan, but is it wrong for Cubs fans to try and ignore the PR nightmares and try and just be a fan of the team? I’m not looking forward to the Sinclair TV deal, I’m disappointed the Cubs still employ Addison Russell, and I’m incredibly thankful none of the Ricketts have my email address. Am I wrong to still want the Cubs to succeed? 2:48 Meg Rowley: Woof, I don’t know. I don’t think there is a ton of ethical consumption to be had here just generally (here being in baseball). I don’t think you have to stop rooting for them. And even counterbalancing your consumption with donations to charity to offset some of the teams behavior is complicated because that’s about doing good but also justifying stuff to yourself. I don’t think you’re wrong, especially if you’re grappling with the complexity of it, and trying to do some good in whatever way you can. Mostly, I’m really sorry that this is how the team you like best has chosen to repay your affection and attention. 2:49 Concrete Fan: Is Matt Chapman in your ‘overall top-5 third basemen right now’? 2:49 Meg Rowley: Yes, for sure. 2:49 David: Is Daniel Vogelbach the answer the Mariners have been searching for at first base? 2:49 Meg Rowley: In the field? Absolutely not. The bat sure is fun right now, though. 2:49 Meg Rowley: Vogelbach is absolutely better in the field than he used to be. But he is a liability there, even at first. 2:51 Rey Diablo: The Rays, Meg, the Rays. So fun this early on. 2:51 Meg Rowley: They are indeed very fun. 2:51 JupiterBrando: would it be satisfying for Chris Davis to end his hitless streak on something like a weak dribbler down the third base line? I almost wonder if he’s selling out for a home run to end it because anything else would make it all feel pointless 2:52 Meg Rowley: I can’t speak to how he feels but I know that my own desperation would be such that it wouldn’t matter. Just get a real hit that no one can say was because the official scorer was taking it easy on you. 2:52 Nate: Chris Sale’s final ERA this season: above or below 3.75? 2:52 Meg Rowley: Below 2:52 BenZ: In 47 PA Mike Trout has a .367 / .574 / .933 line and in 32 PA Chris Davis has a .000 / .125 / .000 line. If somehow (use a lot of imagination here) their starts were exactly reversed, which would surprise you more? Davis with a 290 wRC+ start or Trout with a -76 wRC+ start? 2:53 Meg Rowley: Oh, this is a fun question. 2:53 Meg Rowley: Trout for sure. 2:53 Meg Rowley: Davis has been bad for a while now. Mike Trout is the best player in baseball. 2:54 Meg Rowley: it is a testament to how good he is, how other worldly, that him being momentarily bad, which happens all the time even to very good players, seems so aberrant compared to someone being really good for a minute, which happens to bad players all the time 2:55 Ryan: Hi Meg. I have been listening to the old Cistuli/Perry chats recently. Please don’t let these go away. They really should be archived at the Library of Congress. True American tresures. 2:55 Meg Rowley: We have no plans to eliminate those. I like to listen to old episodes from time to time, too. 2:55 Marc: Hi Meg- I noticed in past Effectively Wild episodes that Ben and Jeff both mentioned that their enthusiasms for specific teams had been “sanded away,” while you seem to still be a staunch supporter of the Mariners. Is there something about working in your field that causes writers to lose their fandoms and you’ve avoided that same fate, or did they simply give up their love for specific teams in return for impartiality? 2:57 Meg Rowley: Not so staunch. I’d still prefer they win more than I’d like them to lose, but the feeling is definitely not where it once was. I think it is less a concern about being impartial (I mean, I’m a Mariners fan — I am realistic about how often they are very bad), and more that you just watch a lot less of any one team because you have to and want to know more. 2:57 Anonymous: Is the whole ‘every team gets an All-Star’ thing a rule or more of a guideline? Asking for a friend in San Francisco. 2:57 Meg Rowley: It’s a rule. Every team gets one. 2:58 P: Pyramid Brewing Co. outside the stadium. I don’t typically like their beer or fruity but the Apricot Ale was a fantastic. 2:58 Meg Rowley: The bigger question is why does almost everything near Safeco close nerd-early during the season? 2:58 Meg Rowley: Damn it, T-Mobile. 2:59 Anonymous: “Nerd-early” is when I leave house parties. 2:59 Meg Rowley: Jesus, you go to house parties? 3:00 Meg Rowley: The best part of your 30s is knowing what you want. You know who you are, who you want to spend time with, how precious that time is. You know all that, and feel confident in it, and so, at least in my experience, you can say, “No, I shall not attend, but thank you.” 3:01 Meg Rowley: In your 20s you think you can do anything, but I would submit that knowing you don’t actually want to is way, way better. 3:01 Nolan: Despite the serious injuries to Lindor and Clevinger, the Indians will win the central by __ games? 3:02 Meg Rowley: I am going to say 5 in the spirit of the question, but that division could get realllly interesting very quickly if it wanted to. (makes meaningful eye contact with Twins) 3:02 Bo: Thought exercise: from this season forward, who will accumulate the most WAR among active players? 3:04 Meg Rowley: My instinct here is to say Acuña/Tatis/Vladito (yeah, I said it) just because they are so young, but man, isn’t it cool that Trout is still a good option? 3:04 Rod Beck’s Horseshoe Moustache: Have you spoken to Jeff is he alive tell him I miss him 3:04 Meg Rowley: I have (sent a music rec to him this morning, in fact), he is alive, and doing well, and I will pass that on. 3:05 Meg Rowley: Alright pals, I have to get going so that you can read some daily prospect notes. 3:05 Meg Rowley: Thank you for all the questions, and sorry for what I didn’t get to. Everyone have a great week!