Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat – 6/12/18 by Meg Rowley June 12, 2018 12:00 Meg Rowley: Good morning, and welcome to the chat! 12:00 Meg Rowley: There are a lot of Mariners questions in the queue, but I will do my best to pepper in others! 12:00 Luke Basewalker: Who’s the next big prospect to get the call now that Adames is up? 12:01 Meg Rowley: Apart from A Pitcher Needed for injury, I’d think probably Senzel if he’s healthy 12:01 Brendon: How has Edwin Diaz been this season? 12:01 Meg Rowley: Brendon, he’s been very good! 12:02 Meg Rowley: A 41.5 K% seems good, is that good? 12:03 Meg Rowley: Really though, I think the command/control improvements this year have been the most impressive to me. 12:03 Meg Rowley: He had times last year when there seemed to be very little feel for where the fastball was going. Now he does, still has the slider, and still throws 100. 12:03 Brent Suitor: There’s no delicate way to ask this, but: How happy are you with the presumed increase in Mariners playoff odds due to the significant injury news from a certain division rival? 12:03 Meg Rowley: It is just the dumbest, worst thing. 12:04 Rich: If Ohtani does need Tommy John couldn’t the Angels use him as a full time DH next season. I would think Gleyber went down around the same time last year and he doesn’t seem phased by the injury. 12:05 Meg Rowley: As much fun as him sending the ball to Jupiter is, his greatest value to the Angels is the pitching. I am not a doctor, so maybe I am wrong about this, but if hitting at all impedes the recovery (and I would think it would?) I imagine he sits. 12:05 clint frazier: i wanna do mlb stuff, pls help trade me 🙁 12:06 Meg Rowley: I imagine you’ll do MLB stuff again at some point here. 12:06 Pika pika: You get one free pass to change/add/remove any rule in baseball to improve the sport. What change do you make? 12:06 Meg Rowley: I hate that you can reach on a dropped third strike. Hate it. HATE HATE. Also, they fight too much. They should stop fighting. 12:06 Mattyb: How much would you like to see Vogelbach play over the next few weeks? I wouldn’t mind seeing him start almost every game against righties 12:07 Meg Rowley: It is something of a bummer that first base remains such a persistent hole for Seattle. 12:08 Meg Rowley: So sure, give time to Vogey. Neither is lighting the world on fire, and you’re prettttty limited on defense if you do, but sure. 12:08 Bort: Why do the Mariners persist in giving at bats against righties to Ryon Healy when a) he’s bad, and b) they have Daniel Vogelbach on their roster? Wouldn’t the smart play here be to shoot Healy into the sun — or, I don’t know, trade him to Kansas City — and give Vogey his due? 12:09 Meg Rowley: Come now, I think Healy is a useful piece, just probably not as a full-time starter. 12:09 Meg Rowley: We should also remember that Vogelbach hasn’t cloaked himself in glory when given longer stretches in the majors. 12:10 Adam: Talk about your feelings about Felix Hernandez right now in this season. 12:11 Meg Rowley: Mostly just sad. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do justice to what Félix meant to Seattle at a time when the Mariners were just god awful. 12:11 Meg Rowley: That the rest of baseball didn’t see him throw innings that mattered in October when he was one of the best pitchers alive is a damn shame. 12:12 Adrian and Hanley: Who will pick up one of us first? 12:12 Meg Rowley: I’m tempted to say Adrian just because Hanley was released a minute ago and is still sitting out there. 12:12 Pizza Rat: I have triumphed over the Bridge Trolls and Rock Pigeons! And I think you have to tell Travis that I now have the best team hat in baseball. 12:13 Meg Rowley: They are shockingly good hats considering they involve literal trash and vermin. 12:13 Mookie Betts: But seriously, I’m actually better than Aaron Judge, right? Like, true talent level-wise? Right? Right…? 12:14 Meg Rowley: I think so. Mookie’s skillset seems less exploitable. He’s been really good for longer. And he’s younger. 12:15 Meg Rowley: They are both very good players, having good year’s but Mookie’s good year is better! 12:15 CamdenWarehouse: I guess baseball is going to need a new top story for June/July with the Ohtani news. Any guesses on the major narrative(s)? 12:15 Meg Rowley: I can already see the “How the West(s) was won” headlines as both the NL and AL sort themselves out there. 12:16 Meg Rowley: We’ll probably talk a lot about Lindor and Ramirez when (if?) Cleveland goes on a little run because we really aren’t talking enough about either right now. 12:17 Meg Rowley: And then there’s the very tempting Yankees/Red Sox thread. 12:17 Adam: How did you cope with seeing Ohtani pick the Angels over the M’s? 12:18 Meg Rowley: A fun personal story! When he was announcing his decision, I was on the phone with one David Appelman about this job I now have. So I was better protected than many a Mariners fan by virtue of the fact that my greatest professional dream was coming true. 12:18 capconstrained: Fangraphs has been a little slow on how good Andujar has been this year. 12:19 Meg Rowley: He’s going to merit additional discussion for sure. 12:20 Meg Rowley: 140 wRC+! 12:20 Meg Rowley: He isn’t the best player on his own team, so we might not talk about him as much as we should. 12:21 Slurve: How impressive is a Mariner victory over a 2 HR Trout game? I’ll bet the Angels don’t lose too many when he does that…what is going on with that team in the PNW? there must be something unmeasurable by even advanced stats.. 12:21 Meg Rowley: According to the Play Index, it has never happened before! 12:22 Meg Rowley: Trout has hit two home runs in 11 games (including last night’s) and the prior 10, the Angels have won. 12:22 Meg Rowley: Three of those wins came against Seattle. 12:22 Kev: Hi Meg! Thanks for chatting. The American League is stacked at shortstop. It seems like Jean Segura is more than deserving of an All Star Game invite, but he’s never even mentioned in articles I’ve read, both here and in national media. References to the best shortstops in the A.L. list the obvious: Machado, Lindor, and then Simmons, Correa, Bogaerts, and even Eduardo Escobar, but Segura is often omitted. What does he have to do to get noticed? 12:23 Meg Rowley: It is a very crowded field, and I think players like Segura, who don’t walk much at all, don’t hit a lot of home runs, and hit a lot of junk pitches for hits, are sort of out of fashion. 12:24 Meg Rowley: I think there is a case to be that it is an aesthetic that is under appreciated in today’s game. 12:24 Meg Rowley: It can be a lot of fun to have a guy who is seemingly just always on base. 12:24 Matt: Should I dump Devers? 10 team 6 keepers 12:24 Meg Rowley: You should ask an actual fantasy expert, but only because I care about you personally. 12:24 Guest: People have been saying not to rebuild around pitching prospects, but isn’t that kind of what the Phillies have done? All of this pitching depth and good young arms and now going out and pouncing on position player FAs next year 12:25 Meg Rowley: I think the valid concern about building around pitching prospects is that pitching is bad for you and no one should ever do it, whereas position players are perceived as less risky health wise, though obviously they can bust just as easily. 12:25 Adam: What 2018 draft pick are you most excited to see play in the bigs? 12:26 Meg Rowley: Allow me a cheap, sentimental answer: all of them. There are very few moments in baseball I like more than seeing guys get called up for the first time. It’s a lovely miracle, and we get to experience it with them. 12:26 Tommy Kahnle: Have you seen the size of my thighs? The are legion. Last year I crushed a baseball between them and tried to show the team, but everyone kept exclaiming about how they couldn’t believe Aaron hit the ball so hard it got literally flattened. 12:27 Meg Rowley: I try not to remark on such things because I am accused of having a prurient interest, but they are indeed legion. 12:27 Adam: Looks like Paul Goldschmidt has remembered how to hit a baseball! Assuming the D-backs will remain in contention for a playoff spot, where do you think they’ll try to improve at the deadline? 12:28 Meg Rowley: Pitching I’d expect. The offense should sort itself out (it would be nice to see Lamb pick it up) but the pitching is thin because of injury. 12:28 Oyster Burns: how good is marco gonzales really? there a higher ceiling than what we’re seeing? is the regression monster lurking? 12:28 Meg Rowley: Allow me to look something up. 12:31 Meg Rowley: Drat, my query timed out. 12:31 Meg Rowley: I will admit that I was (and maybe still am) something of a Marco skeptic coming into the season. 12:32 Meg Rowley: He couldn’t seem to go deep into games and that appeared to be a feature rather than a bug. But his secondary pitches have taken a step forward. 12:33 Meg Rowley: I think he is significantly more useful than I expected. I tend to prefer strikeout guys, and he’s likely not going to be that, but this version of him is better that I thought they would see. 12:33 Nick : Can the Mariners really make the playoffs without adding another starting pitcher? 12:34 Meg Rowley: How dare you disrespect Wade LeBlanc like that? I mean, really. How. Dare. You. 12:34 Meg Rowley: (it would be nice if they had more pitching but I don’t think they can really afford to get it) 12:34 Nick : Is there a scenario where the Padres make a deal for a controllable major league starter this summer? 12:37 Meg Rowley: As in, someone to pitch for them right now? I’m not sure why they would. They are projected to finish well out of contention. They’re playing for the next good Padres team, but the arrival of that team is still a ways off. 12:37 tb.25: I will submit one thing better than chatting about baseball for a bit: watching a healthy Ohtani 12:37 Meg Rowley: 🙁 12:38 Little Jerry Seinfeld: I don’t understand all the love Michael Fulmer gets. He seems more of a middle of the rotation starter than a frontline one. He’s not a big strikeout guy. His FIP is 4.27 this year. What am I missing? 12:38 Meg Rowley: Has there been a lot of Fulmer hype this year? Am I missing the Fulmer hype train? 12:38 Meg Rowley: His rookie year was impressive. People love good rookies. I don’t think there’s been a lot of talk of him since. 12:39 Gest : How do you differentiate FIP and SIERA? 12:39 Meg Rowley: I never use SIERA. 12:39 Safety Stegosaurus: Is the “Angels are wasting Trout” narrative a bit overblown? Wasted implies to me that they haven’t been trying, but the nature of their transactions over his tenure suggests to me they’re trying. 12:40 Meg Rowley: I think they are trying. But their trying hasn’t resulted in much. 12:41 Meg Rowley: I wrote the Angels essay for the BP Annual a few years back and I think this point still stands: as soon as you have the best player in baseball, maybe the best player ever, people expect you do something with him. They expect you to win World Series. As soon as you have one Mike Trout, just one, you’re in trouble. Because you better win. 12:41 Flex: By measure of wRC+ Jason Heyward is an above average hitter. No question, that is all. 12:41 Meg Rowley: Well would you look at that. 12:42 Meg Rowley: Heyward has shown the ability to hit and hit well for extended stretches in the past. I sort of always assumed he’d do it again. 12:42 CamdenWarehouse: You have an opportunity to put trees in the outfield and you don’t take it? 12:42 Meg Rowley: I have the capacity to delight in smaller joys. 12:42 Ozzie Ozzie Albies Free: They say to never meet your heroes. So what happens if I run into you at the Denver meet up? 12:43 Meg Rowley: I’d expect that I tell you to pick a different, more deserving hero and then we have a nice conversation. 12:43 Paul: Forget Bumgarner. Yankees fans are tossing around names like Snell and Berrios. In other words, potentially great pitchers who still have years of control left, and will never be traded for anything short of absolute highway robbery. Have we now reached Peak Yankees Fan, or can we expect Kershaw for Frazier to be suggested at some point? 12:44 Meg Rowley: All fanbases think that their front office can fleece another front office. Every fanbase, since forever. 12:44 Lunar verLander: Have you ever seen a day with more injury news than last Friday? Ohtani and Familia all to the DL, Strasburg pulled early (and eventually put on DL), Mets announced Syndergaard’s start on Sunday pushed back…that’s a lot, right? 12:45 Meg Rowley: I imagine there have been worse days just because I am always hesitant to think we’ve truly seen the WORST day, but it was really very, very bad. 12:46 Sean: The Pirates were up 5-0 going into the bottom of the 7th. Hurdle decided to bean Chris Owings (the Dbacks worst hitter) for “retaliation” to an unintentional HBP. The Dbacks then scored 9 runs in the 7th and 8th innings. Poetic justice for something that no longer belongs in the sport? 12:47 Meg Rowley: Assuming my editorial calendar at THT allows (you all knock on wood right stinking now), I am going to be spending too much time on this very notion shortly. But in answer to your question, yes. I wish every single intentionally beaned player came around to score. 12:47 Meg Rowley: Every last one of them. 12:47 Meg Rowley: It might be the only thing that stops it from happening. 12:48 Michael conforto: Am I ready to ready to be dropped? How much is the shoulder effecting my swing? 12:49 Meg Rowley: I assume this is a fantasy question, but I am taking it because it has appeared that Mets fans and the Mets themselves are down on Conforto, which I both get a little and also find to be completely insane, given the other issues on the roster. Love the serviceable centerfielder you have, imo. 12:49 Meg Rowley: But also yeah, the shoulder might still be bugging him a little. 12:49 Grafsikov: Is Manny Margot finally turning it around? Pleeeeease? 12:50 Meg Rowley: June has been encouraging, hasn’t it? 12:51 George: Brewers were 21-0 in games in which Josh Hader appeared prior to last night. The fact that it was Jason Heyward (he of the .456 OPS vs LHP this year) who got the game-tying hit off him is proof that baseball is, and always will be, weird as hell sometimes. 12:51 Meg Rowley: Really just the weirdest. 12:52 fryerfly1: Should I trade Brad Hand and Adam Eaton for Keuchel and Kyle Hendricks? Essentially; predictions for Eaton, and what’s wrong with Keuchel? 12:52 Meg Rowley: Keuchel’s pretty close to what he’s always been, just a little less effective. I think he’ll be fine. 12:52 Zihuatanejo: With Dave gone, the biggest hole in the FanGraphs chat rotation right now is someone who can analyze ridiculous imaginary trades. Can you be that person, Meg? I need to know which non-impact low-minors prospect my favorite team should offer for both deGrom and Syndergaard. 12:53 Meg Rowley: Wasn’t Dave’s response to these sorts of things normally to tell everyone to calm down and go outside? 12:53 Doctor Parrot: Do you believe in tanking? 12:54 Meg Rowley: Like, do I believe it exists? I think that tanking can be a real bummer for fans, and sometimes you get a World Series at the end of it but sometimes you don’t and then you’ve spent a bunch of years wasting people’s love and attention. I also wonder how well it works when everyone is doing it. 12:54 Jonny: If we have a Nationals-Mariners World Series this year, would you be disappointed at the Mariners having to share the first time in the World Series experience? 12:55 Meg Rowley: I cannot imagine a scenario in which I will ever, ever, ever be disappointed at the Mariners being in the World Series. 12:55 Meg Rowley: Mostly because my mom has told me that I should be open to new things. 12:56 Gatsby: Looking back at this past offseason, who do you think has been the worst signing? 12:56 Meg Rowley: A lot of those pitchers sure look bad, don’t they? 12:57 The Old Buccaneer: Can we address how dumb an “anonymous NL Exec” texting a reporter to trash Harper as losing me-first player is? 12:57 Meg Rowley: The best thing to do when faced with attention seeking behavior is ignore the attention seeker. Makes them absolutely crazy. 12:58 Tom: How do I get my wife to enjoy baseball more? 12:58 Meg Rowley: By letting her just like what she likes and you liking what you like, and everyone just liking their own stuff and hoping some of that stuff overlaps? 12:58 Sean: Have you already written your intentional HBP piece or is that a work in progress? 12:59 Meg Rowley: Work in progress. See, sometimes you decide to do something and then it takes a really long time because you are a completist by nature. Then Carson sighs heavily. 12:59 Jordan: Mariners and World Series, what an oxymoron!! 1:00 Meg Rowley: lol good one! Got me! 1:00 Butters: Assuming no major injuries or suspensions further befall the Mariners, do they add anyone in the second half, or do they ride with the team that has been so successful for 66 games? 1:01 Meg Rowley: I think what I liked so much about the trade with the Rays is that they acknowledged they didn’t have a lot to give up in trade, and just decided to get better to stay in the race rather than get better to win in the post-season. They might make some minor moves, but I think this is the Mariners team you’re gonna get, for better or worse. 1:01 YOAT: How bad is the Alex Cobb deal looking right now? Could the Orioles unload him? 1:01 Meg Rowley: Who would want him? 1:02 Meg Rowley: The best you can say is that the FIP isn’t as bad as his ERA but his FIP still starts with a five. 1:02 Meg Rowley: Maybe a team thinks they can fix him, but everything has just gotten… worse. 1:03 Bo: How different will the Braves’ rotation look come August? Teheran/McCarthy out, Soroka/Gohara/Allard in? 1:03 Meg Rowley: I’d expect something like this, but I don’t think it takes until August. 1:03 Rockie Dangerfield: A FIP that starts with a 5, you say? Sounds like he’d be an upgrade in the Rockies bullpen 1:04 Meg Rowley: Let’s talk about this Rockies bullpen. You guys seen this Rockies bullpen? 1:04 Meg Rowley: Mike Petriello tweeted a crazy stat earlier today. 1:04 Meg Rowley: Over the last 14 days, the Colorado bullpen has allowed 46 runs. 1:05 Meg Rowley: 46! For contrast, he notes, the Astros bullpen has allowed 62 runs all year. 1:05 Meg Rowley: It’s a bad bullpen. 1:05 54: Is Ketel Marte breaking out? In a baseball way, I don’t care much about his complexion. 1:07 Meg Rowley: Earlier in the season, he seemed like he was almost making too much contact. I don’t think he’s the 242 wRC+ guy he’s been in June, but I’ve always been a believer. 1:08 Todd: I’ve recently discovered a love for my local advanced-A team. It’s in a poor and forgotten city, and I think the club does a good job of making baseball accessible to folks that can’t make it out to the big team: $0.50 hot dogs, free tickets with a bus pass, bounce houses and picnic tables. But then I remember that a lot of the guys providing the entertainment won’t make it past advance-A and probably eat a lot ramen – and that all likely contributes to the accessibility I liked at first. How do I solve all that in my head? Community at the expense of a few – like that one Le Guin story. 1:09 Meg Rowley: Well I’ll tell you this: the ballpark stuff isn’t because they are paying the guys so little. We should decouple ticket prices and in-game entertainment from player salaries in our minds. They are separate. As for how you engage with the enterprise as a whole? 1:10 Meg Rowley: Well I feel badly a little bit every day. 1:10 Meg Rowley: That’s one way I deal with it. 1:10 Chet: How is Leonyis Martin the 30th most valuable player by fWAR? Did he change something when I wasn’t looking? 1:10 Meg Rowley: You know it is weird. He’s done this before, and then suddenly come back to earth. 1:11 Meg Rowley: But normally the falling back to earth has happened by now. 1:11 Steve: What happened to Didi? Do you expect the power to come back? How many homers does he finish with? 1:12 Meg Rowley: I haven’t said much about it because I feel bad highlighting when guys have bad stretches because they already feel horrible about it. 1:12 Meg Rowley: But Didi has one of the wildest month-to-month drops in wRC+ I’ve ever seen. 1:12 Meg Rowley: In March/April, his wRC+ was 199. 1:13 Meg Rowley: Excuse me! 201. 1:13 Meg Rowley: 201! 1:13 Meg Rowley: In May, it was literally zero. 1:13 Meg Rowley: Literally zero! 1:14 Meg Rowley: I think the power surge was always a little weird and unlikely to sustain. I think he probably ends up with a line a lot like he had last year, where he is a little better than league average and plays good defense. 1:14 tb.25: Thinking about visiting Safeco in July. Night game and day game. Recommended eateries near the ballpark? And will I need to bring a jacket? 1:15 Meg Rowley: You may need a jacket for later innings. 1:16 Meg Rowley: The food in the ballpark is pretty good these days. For spots around Safeco, without knowing what you like to eat, I would recommend venturing up toward Pioneer Square, where there are a lot of options, or over to the International District for dim sum. 1:16 CamdenWarehouse: a jacket in July? wow, I don’t get the Pacific Northwest 1:16 Meg Rowley: It can be really variable. It might be 90 and gorgeous and no problem, but it also might be 65. 1:17 Meg Rowley: It probably won’t be humid because we don’t mess with that east coast nonsense over here. 1:17 Billy: Hi Meg, and thanks for the chat. Do you think it would make sense for MLB to dissolve the AL and NL as separate leagues if they bring the DH to the NL, and reorganize things by geography? 1:17 Meg Rowley: I don’t know that that would wholly necessary. It’s already somewhat aligned that way within each League. 1:18 Meg Rowley: And you can’t really do anything about teams in Florida or the northwest having to travel a bunch. 1:18 seattlecougar: The Mariners are running a promo where for $98 you can get into all 14 July home games. Does it bother you as much as it bothers me that a team this good needs to discount tickets this much to fill the stands during peak summer? 1:19 Meg Rowley: I think that it is wonderful that more and more teams are striving to make the ballpark experience accessible for people who aren’t super wealthy. 1:19 Meg Rowley: The ballpark is where you make life long fans. It’s where baseball gets you. And it is one of the few places where different sorts of folks come together in public. 1:20 Dan: Is what Eugenio Suarez is doing sustainable? Is he really a 30 homer, .300 ba guy now? 1:21 Meg Rowley: He seems to have taken a legitimate step forward. 1:22 Meg Rowley: He might not be exactly a .300 guy, but the split between his stats and his expected stats isn’t crazy, and the BABIP isn’t so high above what he’s done in that past that I would attribute this to something fluky. 1:22 Grumpy Old Man: NOOOOO. ME GROWLEY. 1:22 Meg Rowley: Took until almost the end of the chat today. 1:23 Dan: Is Paxton doing something differently to stay healthy this year? I know it’s impossible to predict, but do you think he pitches 200 innings this year? 1:23 Meg Rowley: First of all, turn around three times and spit and also throw salt over your shoulder. 1:23 Meg Rowley: In the offseason, he talked a lot about diet and just trying to be more generally fit. 1:24 Meg Rowley: Paxton is a weird one because yes, he has an injury history you have to consider but a lot of that history is fluky stuff 1:24 Meg Rowley: He got hit in the elbow with a come backer. He’s had blisters. He had sort of general, not in very good shape stuff. 1:25 Meg Rowley: He seems to take his routine and staying fit very seriously now. 1:25 Meg Rowley: I also wonder how the mechanical adjustment has helped. 1:26 Meg Rowley: I don’t know that we’ll see many 200 inning guys this year, but the Mariners have to be doing some weird ritual every day. 1:26 Meg Rowley: As Paxton goes, so goes their season. 1:26 Brooklyngail: Freddie Freeman leads all National League players in:– fWAR– wRC+– wOBA– doubles 1:26 Meg Rowley: Doesn’t it seem like we never talk about him enough? 1:26 The Old Buccaneer: If Bumgarner were to be traded to the Yanks do you think he goes full clean-shaven or leaves the mustache? 1:27 Meg Rowley: I don’t pray in my own life, but I will now pray every single day that we get a mustachioed Bumgarner. Don’t care for what team. 1:27 Guest: So much for answering non-Mariners quetions 1:27 Meg Rowley: I’ve answered a bunch! 1:27 shrug emoji: Harper to… the Rays 1:28 Meg Rowley: Oh calm down now. 1:28 Kev: If pitching in Colorado is hard, even for elite arms, then I’d imagine that pitching in Colorado is really, really, really hard if you’re a bullpen arm. 1:28 Meg Rowley: It is a very weird thing that we ask a baseball team to baseball on the moon. That seems like it would be very hard. 1:29 Meg Rowley: We also all thought this strategy was a weird one for them to pursue and well, it has worked out about as well as we all thought. 1:29 Meg Rowley: Alright friends, I need to get rolling. Editing and writing awaits. 1:30 Meg Rowley: If you’re in the Denver area next Friday, please do drop by the meetup. 1:30 Meg Rowley: We’ll be at Wynkoop from 6 to 9 pm (I know, I know. Nice) 1:30 Meg Rowley: The area we reserved is upstairs, we’ll provide snacks, you buy your own beer. 1:31 Meg Rowley: Until then, thanks for chatting.