Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat – 6/11/19

2:00
Meg Rowley: Hello everyone, and welcome to the chat.

2:01
Meg Rowley: A few things to highlight in case you missed them during our very busy week of draft coverage.

2:01
Meg Rowley: FanGraphs is headed to Cleveland for a Very Special Event the weekend before the All-Star Game.

2:02
Meg Rowley: We will have a fun panel of fun folks, which is why tickets are $15 (free with FanGraphs membership).

2:02
Meg Rowley: Hope to see everyone (or errr 90 of you) there.

2:03
Meg Rowley: Also, if you missed any of our nifty draft coverage, which I think was very, very good, it’s all here and handy for you to find: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/category/2019-mlb-draft/

2:03
Tyler Flowers: Hello Meg, with summer rolling around have you had the chance to do any gardening?

2:04
Meg Rowley: I have done very little gardening, sadly, though I did plant some things, and mostly remember to water them, and now that the neighbor kid has a crisp $20 to his name, the lawn is even mowed.

2:04
2-D: Who do you want and/or think will win the College World Series?

2:06
Meg Rowley: Being very inexpert, I just assume Vandy, because well, they’re very good. What I watched of Michigan in the regionals was very fun. I like some of the bats on Arkansas very much. I don’t really have a preference, other than that everyone stay healthy.

2:06
Billy Beane: Hi Meg, did you watch the Warriors game last night? Are you a Kevin Durant fan because of his former Sonic-dom or a Raptors fan because of your Canda-adjacentness?

2:07
Meg Rowley: I did watch, though through the back end of a migraine cloud, which means I surely hallucinated an arena full of folks cheering KD’s injury?

2:08
Meg Rowley: I would prefer the Raptors win but will love Durant forever, Bring Back Our Sonics, etc etc.

2:08
2-D: Have you ever been to Cleveland? How many people have told you to eat at Slyman’s?

2:08
Meg Rowley: I have not. None, but probably because most of the folks I’ve talked to about my trip are also out-of-towners.

2:09
HappyFunBall: I’m not one to get bent out of shape about an exhibition game, but the early All Star popular vote results are pretty amazing. When do we get to go back to a cadre of elites suborning democracy?

2:10
Meg Rowley: I don’t want to tell you not to care about this. I once deeeeeply cared about this. And I know that players really care about being All-Stars, so a certain amount of integrity in the system is a good idea. But generally, I think these things work themselves out. Also, having seen Hall of Fame returns and players’ All-Star preferences, I’m not sure how much shifting the voting body matters.

2:10
cavebird: Deadspin actually has a story file archive titled “LOLMETS.”  Is it wrong of me to enjoy that?

2:10
Meg Rowley: Nope, I don’t think so. They often do very goofy stuff.

2:11
Magic Kingdome: Looking toward the future, would you rather be the Mariners or Royals?

2:11
Meg Rowley: Probably the Mariners, if for no other reason than the odds that you spend are much greater.

2:12
CamdenWarehouse: Is the FanGraphs residency still a thing?

2:13
Meg Rowley: Yes, but a for the moment napping thing. We’ve sort of landed on it not making a ton of sense to do during the offseason, because it is hard for everyone to write then, and with a bunch of new contributors and me (until last week) running both THT and FanGraphs, and also needing to occasionally sleep, something had to give. We will resume … soonish? Soonish! At some vague soon time!

2:14
Jon G: Given the Kimbrel signing, myriad bullpen hiccups, and somewhat risky rotation profile, how hard would you push for a Will Smith or Ken Giles prior to the deadline, if you were in charge of such things for the Cubs?

2:14
Meg Rowley: I imagine other clubs with similar need who did not sign Craig Kimbrel will be in line ahead of them.

2:15
Guest: It feels like FG hasn’t covered the Rays much this year. They’ve been in on June article, and the last one before that was May 16. Anything in the pipeline?

Full Disclosure: I haven’t had time to keep up with the chats this season, so my complete apologies if they are being talked about there.

2:16
Meg Rowley: Jeff, you can just call me.

2:16
Meg Rowley: (They were part of a few in May, but point well taken.)

2:17
Tom: So, I have to say, and this pains me to say this…Fangraphs used to be a “visit multiple times daily” site…today I realized it fell off my quick links on Google because I don’t visit nearly as regularly as I used to. I’ll go days at a time without checking in.

2:17
Meg Rowley: You should stop by more often — in addition to many of your old favorites, our new contributors are doing some really excellent work.

2:18
Hi: Your tweets about pasta make me want pasta.

2:18
Meg Rowley: Eat pasta, imo.

2:18
Bryan: Did you watch the brawl?

2:19
Meg Rowley: I did not — was busy with other stuff at the time.

2:19
Ralph Rowdie: Who ends their career with a higher WAR: Kershaw, who is 31 and has 63 career WAR but has noticeably declined or Scherzer, who is 34 and has 55 career WAR but is seemingly at the top of his game still?

2:20
Meg Rowley: I think they’ll end up pretty close because while you’re right to say that we’re starting to see Kershaw’s decline, I expect it to be a gradual one, so he still has productive time ahead of him. Might give the edge to Scherzer right this second just because of durability.

2:21
Balked: What will the Indians do if Jose Ramirez never busts out of the slump?

2:21
Meg Rowley: Not a whole lot? The season is probably sunk, but his contract is hardly a burden and maybe he comes out of it, at least enough to move if it comes to that.

2:22
Slothrop: Are you at all concerned about how developments in this sport have invited an influx of tech/finance bros (read: white guys) into the game and how this might shut certain types of people out of jobs (people who have historically been typecast as bad at math)? Also how this particular crowd has never demonstrated itself to be concerned with progressive values? Why do we never interrogate the consequences of this trend, even if we recognize the value of it

2:24
Meg Rowley: The current makeup of front offices concerns me greatly, though I think “people who have historically been typecast as bad at math” isn’t quite how I’d characterize that issue. But I think we talk about the potential consequences a lot? In some ways, moving the typical baseball ops person away from being a former player opens up a lot of opportunity, and I do know teams that really do take seriously the idea of diversifying the talent pool. But it is slow, and even worse on the scouting side.

2:24
Disgruntled Dodger Fan: How can I get the FO’s attention and let them know how terrible their RP corp is? Baez on the mound is a blown hold waiting to happen and Joe Kelly apparently idolizes Joe Blanton. The bullpen is LAD’s weakest link. It has been for some time. Shore it up!

2:25
Meg Rowley: I think they probably know it is bad. They’re pretty smart over there. It is a testament to how good the rest of the roster is that it hasn’t been an issue that has shown up in the win/loss column yet, but I imagine they will be players at the deadline.

2:25
Blackbeard: Would it be couth to roll stag to the Fangraphs Cleveland event?

2:26
Meg Rowley: As far as we’re concerned? Of course! Folks are very friendly at these events, and lots of people roll in solo. Now, how comfortable you personally are with crowds of strangers, I won’t speculate.

2:26
Billiam Burton: The season has officially began, Mike Trout is atop the WAR leaderboard

2:27
Meg Rowley: By a hair, meaning the difference between him and Bellinger isn’t really that significant, but hey, that was true when Bellinger was slightly ahead of Trout, too.

2:28
Yelwor Gem: What are your thoughts on Dipoto’s partial rebuild of the Mariners so far? Do you think they’ll be competitive any time in the next few years?

2:30
Meg Rowley: I am excited about Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez; I am Very Concerned about Justus Sheffield. I think there is a strong possibility that at most one guy from their regular line up now is relevant when they are again. I think there can’t be many franchises that are more annoyed by all these extensions than the Mariners. I think they could be competitive in say 2021. I’m not sure Jerry’s around when they are.

2:31
Lunar verLander: I think last week you said you didn’t think that BOTH Kimbrel & Keuchel would sign before your next chat (today). Are you surprised by how quickly they both signed?

2:32
Meg Rowley: I guess I am because I said that, though honestly, I shouldn’t have been. Of course teams really waited til right after the draft. Of course they did.

2:35
Tom: Can the Cardinals still win the NL Central?

2:35
Meg Rowley: I think it will be difficult but I don’t think a Wild Card is out of the question.

2:36
DH: is the game “better” with me?

2:36
Meg Rowley: I think it is fine to not like the DH, but I like the DH, because I grew up watching the best DH.

2:36
Morbo: How did you decide to leave the world of finance and political science and become a full time baseball writer? More importantly, how did you make the transition?

2:38
Meg Rowley: I left finance because I was stressed and bored at the same time, and I figured out it wasn’t really consistent with my values. I left political science because while I really liked it, the sports part of my work (it was there, don’t worry about it, just trust me) was way more interesting than the political theory part, and the academic job market terrified me. And I wrote a lot for not a lot of money, worked full-time, and was pretty depressed and close to giving up before I got super, super lucky.

2:39
Dylan: As I’m typing this, Luke Voit just hit another home run. Don’t the Cardinals deserve heavy criticism for jettisoning him away while trading for and extending Goldschmidt who may be on the decline?

2:40
Meg Rowley: I think the Cards have had plenty of player dev successes, I think Goldy will be fine, and that you can’t win ’em all. I think they probably want the trade back, but remember, we didn’t know what Voit was going to be over a longer period. Heck we’re still sorting that out.

2:40
David Kelton: Do you prefer ice cream in a mini plastic helmet or nachos in a large plastic helmet?

2:41
Meg Rowley: Ice cream in a mini plastic helmet because it is tasty and I don’t enjoy feeling over-full.

2:42
Bob: Mike trout is inevitable

2:42
Meg Rowley: Like the sun or stepping on a lego if there are remotely any legos nearby.

2:42
Bo: Would you rather see the Home Run Derby field be comprised of players based on: (1) season HR totals; (2) raw power and majestic moon shots; or (3) “lifetime achievement” home run hitters?

2:42
Meg Rowley: A mix of all three to the extent that I have thought about it at all.

2:43
Loons: Who would you say has been the most valuable piece of the Twins season thus far?

2:44
Meg Rowley: the general answer is probably an annoying getting much more from everyone than they expected, but if I had to pick one person, I guess I’d go with Odorizzi being this good because I was very skeptical he would be

2:44
Meg Rowley: Pretty rad to see Buxton and Polanco having these years so far though

2:45
Braden: I noticed last week you mentioned DiPoto’s tenure would end sooner than later also. I was under the impression ownership was bought into the long-term plan he has?

2:47
Meg Rowley: I think they are bought in to Dipoto (Dipoto, not DiPoto, but FanGraphs, not Fangraphs), but he still has to pull it off. I think there are a lot of smart people who work for that org, and Jerry sells a vision well, but I’m not totally persuaded he can pull it off.

2:48
Bing : Does The BOARD have info on draftee signings?

2:50
Meg Rowley: THE BOARD is updated with draft slot and team, as well as reports.

2:51
Meg Rowley: From the guys’ wrap up: Because we are maniacs [Meg in her chat note: can confirm, they slept very little while they did very good work and it made their editor Fret], we’re already midway through a clean sweep of all of our rankings. Since the signing deadline for the draft is July 15, we won’t know who is going back to school and who is joining a pro club for sure until then, but we have a way around this. Any player drafted in the top 10 rounds, as well as any college draftees, are assumed to be signing, while any high school player drafted outside the top 10 rounds is assumed to be going to the school to which he’s committed. There will likely be a handful of unsigned top 10 round prospects, who are often impossible to handicap at this point since post-draft physicals are usually the reason, and some college players will head back for their senior season, but we’ll just adjust those as we learn their fates.

2:52
Meg Rowley: They’re going to add all the top 10 round guys, and any 11th round or later dudes with confirmed deals and 35+ or better FV to team prospects lists this week and into next. Soon (vague soon!) they’ll take the graduated prospects off those lists and re-do the top 100.

2:52
H.H.: The Astros have 3 All-Star caliber OF’ers (Springer, Brantley, and sorta Reddick). They just promoted Alvarez who could be that caliber, and have Tucker (another top prospect waiting in the wings) – not to mention Straw, Fisher, Kemp etc … What will they do?

2:52
Meg Rowley: keep a bunch for depth, and perhaps consolidate some

2:53
Pokemon Sword: Odds that we see a motivating hospital bed video of David Ortiz for game 7 of the Stanley Cup? I kind of just want them to let him recover in peace.

2:54
Meg Rowley: I think everyone appreciates the seriousness of what happened and will prioritize his health and recover over anything so gauche as that.

2:54
Bing : Who is the more pleasant surprise as a Mariner fan: Vogelbach, Kelenic, Fraley, Julio, or Gilbert?

2:55
Meg Rowley: Gilbert for me, just because we weren’t sure if the velo would come back like we were hoping/expecting.

2:56
adimiz92: If the Red Sox ramp up their game in the second half, who do you see as the offensive player to lead the way?

2:58
Meg Rowley: I think the answer is what you’d think (Mookie) but boy would it be nice to see a really good Jackie Bradley Jr. assert himself. It isn’t as dire as it was, but it still isn’t great.

2:58
Bing : If you had to pick a conceptual area of baseball that you think is changing the most, or most interests you, what’s your fancy?

3:02
Meg Rowley: I guess generally how hitters respond to the velo spike. I do wonder (though they aren’t the only org to ever do this) how player dev groups like the Astros’ insistence on a lot of similarity in their pitching population (or the Dodgers building a bunch of hitters who strike out a bunch and hit for big, big power) creates some bio diversity issues, for lack of a better term.

3:02
AF: Does Mike Montgomery know that he’s given up the two longest hit balls of the 2019 season (486 ft to Desmond and 482 ft to Mazara)?

3:03
Meg Rowley: Seems like a pretty data friendly guy, so maybe. Though once the ball is over the wall, I wonder how much the actual distance matters to you. Counts the same.

3:03
the Electrician: Meg did the chat end without you saying goodbye? I’M STILL HOLDING ON. I’LL NEVER LET GO JACK.

3:03
Meg Rowley: Barring an internet outage, would never.

3:04
Bing : You can make one rule change to any part of baseball (game mechanics, free agency, draft etc)- what’s your move?

3:04
Meg Rowley: One change? JUST ONE? Get rid of the draft. No more drafts. Get out of here with any more drafts.

3:05
sadface: Dan banned me from is chat for using “less” instead of “fewer” in my question, do you think he was serious?

3:05
Meg Rowley: Probably not, but it also isn’t a tricky rule to remember.

3:05
Buckets: Thoughts on the 8th inning in the Dodgers/Angels contest last night?

3:06
Meg Rowley: That based on how many questions I have gotten about it, I should go watch it.

3:06
Meg Rowley: (damn you, migraines, you are the worst)

3:06
Meg Rowley: Alright pals, my phone is buzzing and there are notifications piling up, so I must depart.

3:07
Meg Rowley: I won’t be chatting next week, because I will be on vacation starting Friday and will not be working or online or any such thing. I hope you enjoy baseball in my absence and are nice to the writers, and to Dylan Higgins, who will be in charge til I get back.

3:08
Meg Rowley: Have a great week, and sorry for what I didn’t get to!

We hoped you liked reading Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat – 6/11/19 by Meg Rowley!

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Meg is the managing editor of FanGraphs, the host of FanGraphs Audio, and the co-co-host of Effectively Wild. Her work has appeared at Baseball Prospectus, Lookout Landing, and Just A Bit Outside.

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Thank you, just thank you