Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat – 8/20/19

2:00
Meg Rowley: Hi all, and welcome to the chat — allow me a few minutes to schedule a piece and then we’ll get started

2:09
Meg Rowley: Ok, I am back.

2:09
Meg Rowley: Thanks for your patience

2:09
Lunar verLander: Do you think baseball players (on average) have more fun at their jobs than non-baseball players (again, on average)? I know it’s their job & they get evaluated based on their performance just like non-baseball players, but they ARE doing something they’ve wanted to do since they were a kid, so that has to contribute to it somewhat, yeah?

2:11
Meg Rowley: I think probably, yes. I think all jobs have things that are not fun (I love my job very, very much and I have weeks where a beer on Friday evening is quite welcome) but the highs of getting to do a thing you’ve worked toward forever have to be pretty great. Now, I’m sure there is variation year to year. I don’t imagine anyone playing for the Orioles is having as much fun as anyone on the Astros. But it’s a pretty great job, even though it is a deeply weird job, and a hard one.

2:12
Ryan: I know they can’t really discuss their jobs, but do you get the feeling that Carson and Jeff are enjoying what they do?

2:12
Meg Rowley: My sense from chatting with them is yes. Which makes me happy because I care about each of them as friends, but also sad, because it makes much less likely they come home to FanGraphs dot com.

2:13
Xolo: It seems like whenever a manager is fired, 99% of the time it’s written off as the front office scapegoating him but when is it actually justified?

2:14
Meg Rowley: I don’t know that it is as high as 99%. Being unable to work with the rest of the organization in a constructive way seems like an actual problem, as would repeated strategic errors resulting from bad process.

2:14
Meg Rowley: And of course, a lot of being a manager is actual personnel stuff we never see.

2:14
Wes: I had a dream last week that Dan was hired by the Marlins. I have not seen a post from Dan since then and he did not show up for his chat yesterday. (I don’t do Twitter.) Please reassure me that he is on a vacation.

2:14
Meg Rowley: Dan’s just on vacation. Rest easy.

2:15
Chimichanga: Way too early 2020 postseason predictions.  Your thoughts?

AL East:  Yankees
AL Central:  Indians
AL West:  Astros
AL WC1:  Red Sox
AL WC2:  Twins

NL East:  Braves
NL Central:  Cubs
NL West:  Padres
NL WC1:  Dodgers
NL WC2:  Reds

2:17
Meg Rowley: You’re overly optimistic about the Padres (and I say that as someone who really likes what SD is doing), and I’m not sure I would take the Reds as the other Central team to make it. Also curious to see what an A’s team with healthy pitching the whole season can manage.

2:18
Hall of Famer: Where am I throwing the ceremonial first pitch of the World Series?

2:19
Meg Rowley: Chavez Ravine

2:21
JustCurious: Is the chat schedule on the home page still accurate? Obviously not complaining about free chats, just trying to figure out when to avoid meetings at work

2:22
Meg Rowley: Mostly — there are sometime changes due to travel or vacation, but we try to announce those on twitter.

2:23
Angels in Outfield: Did you know that the Angels only have commitments to 5 players (plus one option) in 2020? And only 3 players (Trout, Pujols, Upton) in 2021? What are the odds they can use that crazy flexibility to contend in a couple of years?

2:24
Meg Rowley: I think they are painfully aware of how bad it would be to waste Trout, and have shown a willingness to spend in the past, so my money is on them using theirs.

2:24
Trent: Are the As or Rays more likely to make the playoffs?

2:25
Meg Rowley: Rays — could shift if the A’s pitching coming back is amazing, but Rays. But also? It’ll be close.

2:26
Nolan: Will Corey Seager or Aaron Judge ever equal or surpass their rookie WAR totals?

2:27
Meg Rowley: Greater confidence that Seager does, mostly because the bar is easier to clear, but also because, even though they’ve both had injuries, I’m not sure how well a body as big as Judge’s ages.

2:27
Nahtan: If you had to start a team from scratch tomorrow with either Gavin Lux or Wander Franco as your blue chip MI prospect, would you go for Lux’s present day potential, or Franco’s higher insane(r) upside?

2:30
Meg Rowley: Franco — everything is plus, he plays short, and he’s so stinkin’ young. Lux is a very good player, don’t get me wrong, but Franco looks like a truly superlative prospect. Near-perfect.

2:30
Arthur Kinney: Can the Indians make the Wild Card Game with Hand continuing to struggle the rest of the season

2:33
Meg Rowley: Yeah, I think so — the starters coming back are the real difference, though the contrast between Cleveland’s bullpen vs. say New York’s over the weekend was at times stark

2:33
Sanford: Is the NL Cy Young Ryu’s to lose so long as he keeps his ERA under 2.00? Any chance Scherzer gets Kershaw’d by missing too much time? Does deGrom have a case?

2:35
Meg Rowley: No, I don’t think so — the ERA will sway some voters, but there are plenty of stats where Scherzer has the edge, and the WAR gap isn’t trivial. It’ll depend when he comes back and how well he pitches (I mean, duh) but it’s a gigantic innings gap, either.

2:36
Other Ryan: Between the Brewers, Cardinals, and Cubs, which fanbase should be the most upset if they miss the playoffs?

2:37
Meg Rowley: Should be? I guess the Cardinals just based on the drought, such as it is.

2:37
Stros fans errywhere: What to make of Correa leaving last night with more ‘Back discomfort’?

2:38
Meg Rowley: Human bodies are fickle, and often cruel, though if any team can absorb a hit like that…

2:38
Mr Cub: The little league classic is exactly what the cubs needed to get their mojo back, right?!

2:38
Meg Rowley: I remain disappointed that the Little League Classic does involve major leaguers playing little leaguers.

2:38
Trevor: Should the Astros be interested in extending Carlos Correa?  Or does his injury history pose too great a risk?

2:39
Meg Rowley: Interested, absolutely — they are going to have some tricky decisions to make assuming a not-huge (though still sizable) payroll, but yeah, they absolutely should be. Some of these injuries have been pretty weird.

2:40
The IL: What single injured and likely to return player has, in your view, the biggest impact on a team’s october chances? Kluber (that new injury doesn’t seem good), Carrasco, Correa (who seems hurt again), about 5 yankees? Glasnow?

2:40
Meg Rowley: I’ll take any of the Cleveland starters.

2:40
Clark W. Griswold, Jr.: His Excellency Clayton Kershaw has looked damn good the last two months with the slower slider, hasn’t he? I smell a big bounce back year in 2020 if he can stay off the DL.

2:40
Meg Rowley: He has looked very good, and it is really neat, and I think it will be useful to managing our expectations to just assume there will be some IL time baked in every season.

2:41
Based: Where did Sheryl Ring go? I love her work and have missed it these past couple months

2:41
Meg Rowley: She had an opportunity at Beyond the Box Score she was excited about and is writing over there now — you can still read her stuff, and she’s been doing her usual good work.

2:42
Other Ryan: If Yelich and Trout switched skill levels overnight, how long would it take before Yelich was accepted as the best player in the league? My guess is it would take a while(2 seasons maybe?), since there would be a lot of “inertia” in people considering Trout the best player in baseball.

2:42
Meg Rowley: I think that’s right, because I think we would assume Trout is hurt, and expect him to bounce back — also these aren’t such huge differences that we would assume a Freaky Friday.

2:43
Steaming Hot Fajitas: Players’ Weekend: Cool and fun? Or kinda silly?

2:43
Meg Rowley: I think anything that highlights these dudes’ personalities and individuality is good.

2:43
Sanford: What World Series match-up are you rooting for this year? Dodgers/Astros would be Good Baseball, but i find myself feeling like Braves/Twins would be a delight.

2:44
Meg Rowley: I kinda just want Dodgers/Astros. Gimme the best guys doing the best stuff.

2:44
Roland: Which of Oakland or Tampa Bay will finally get a new stadium?  And at some point, does MLB need to acknowledge that neither city might come through, and thus seriously consider realignment/relocation before those stadium situations get resolved?

2:45
Meg Rowley: Oakland seems much more likely to me than Tampa, though if the Rays move to Portland, Jeff might have to work in an office for the first time in… a long time. Wonder which he’s rooting for.

2:45
Mark: Do you think the juiced balls are here to stay?

2:45
Meg Rowley: Considering that offense would collapse without them, I’m inclined to say yes, but a lot about this process hasn’t been especially well-considered so my official stance is shruggy emoji guy.

2:46
v2micca: Do you think that the Acuña v. Soto discussion will stay interesting longer than the Trout v. Harper debate did?

2:47
Meg Rowley: Is this a debate in the same way as Trout vs. Harper? If so, then there seems to be greater consistency on both sides, rather than just one, in the early going here, so yes?

2:48
Ryan: Now that the season is upon us, what is your take on pumpkin beers?

2:48
Meg Rowley: Some of them are good, some of them are very bad, most of them make the mistake of thinking pumpkin pie spicing and pumpkins are the same thing, and people should just drink what they like.

2:49
40 Man Constraints: I’ve paid more attention the past few years around teams getting something because you don’t want to use lose a player for nothing to the Rule 5 Draft because you can’t get him on to your 40 man. I get that but don’t you think there needs to be a stronger attempt to recoup more value?

2:50
Meg Rowley: I think they try to maximize the players they receive already. If they’re really good prospects, they’re not really considered fringe 40 guys and then it’s a different convo — if they’re marginal, teams know they have minimal leverage.

2:50
JustCurious: Should pitchers hitting (in the NL)/fielding be taken into account in the Cy Young voting? Basically should the award go to the best player who is a pitcher or the best at actually pitching?

2:52
Meg Rowley: Best at actual pitching, though I think I’d split that as pitching/fielding vs. hitting, as fielding your position is part of pitching. That said, I think we should be more open to pitchers for MVP, in which case, you take the whole deal into account.

2:52
Cove Dweller: Does Mattingly have a case to return as manager for the Marlins next year (besides arguing that he was there for the worst of times)?

2:52
Meg Rowley: This is going to sound snarky, and I don’t mean it to, but I have no earthly idea.

2:53
Edward: How close to unanimous will Trout come in winning the AL MVP?  (Put differently, how many old-school holdouts are there who won’t vote for a player on a non-contender?)

2:53
Meg Rowley: I think the case is going to be pretty overwhelming, and while he isn’t on a contender, his traditional stat case is also super compelling. Call me an optimist but I hope unanimous.

2:54
Ralph: Meg… more of a personal question. My daughter is six years old. I would love her to grow loving the game of baseballl. I grew up romantically listening to the game with my grandfather. I take her to MiLB games. I have not taken her to a MLB game as of yet  She likes to go out and play catch and take batting practice with daddy. What else can I do to cultivate that love? What drew you? Like I said, I would love to find “the answer”. Not sure there is a recipe, but would love to find one.

2:55
Meg Rowley: Exposure to the game for sure, but honestly, kids are gonna like what they like, and it’s probably important for her to know that, too, so she doesn’t feel pressure to like a thing she’s iffy on (if she gets to that place).

2:55
Los Angeles Bills: If the Dodgers were to lose in the WS AGAIN, they’re basically the Bills, right? Like, how many pennant banners can you hang before people stop caring you can win only your league?

2:56
Meg Rowley: I uhhhh would not have picked the Bills as my first comp, no.

2:56
Pujols: Is there any level of performance I could produce in the final 3 years of my contract that would complicate my HoF chances? For example: 3x Chris Davis’ 2018 line.

2:56
Meg Rowley: I think he’d retire before he got there, and even then, I don’t know that he could do it.

2:57
Curry: Not to overreact to one start, but TJ Zeuch threw a no hitter in the minors last night.  Between he and Nate Pearson do the Jays have enough SP talent to contend for a wild card as early as next year?

2:57
Meg Rowley: I think that statement qualifies as overreacting to one start.

2:58
EW: They predicted, with all of the youth folks, Trout would likely cease to be perennially best (barring severe injury) at about age 32 or 33. If that is true, who overtakes him in 4/5 years? Tatis, Acuna, personwedon’tknowyet?

3:00
Meg Rowley: Those two among actives, and if Franco lives up to his billing, he’s in there.

3:01
Guest: What’re your thoughts on Boston after this year? Do you think they trade Betts? That rotation is looking paper thin with Porcello gone and injuries to Price & Sale. Plus they are without many prospects for depth in the near future too. But their young position player core is pretty great

3:01
Meg Rowley: I uhhh do not think they trade Betts.

3:02
Last September: Are you at all sad that this is the last September with 40-man rosters? I enjoy watching the strategy as managers make moves knowing they have virtually unlimited benches and bullpens.

3:02
Meg Rowley: I am — I know the games can drag, but getting a look at those dudes is great and it means a lot to them.

3:03
Archer: What are your thoughts on adding a mercy rule? Five years ago, I feel like I would have said no way, but the amount of position players pitching in meaningless games has made me start to think it’s a decent idea.

3:03
Meg Rowley: We also have just an absurd number of blow outs. I don’t think I’m in favor right now, but I’m more open to thinking about it than I’ve been in years past.

3:04
Who else?: Not being snarky, but what other team would be considered a persistent championship runner up to which the Dodgers could be compared if they were to lose again?

3:04
Meg Rowley: place in the landscape, approach of the team, franchise history all strike me as different

3:05
Innocent Person: When will you accept my Instagram request?

3:07
Meg Rowley: Thought about not putting this into the chat, because it’s a bummer and gives some amount of satisfaction to a person who may be trolling, but shall end with a reminder that joking around after women identifying troubling behavior with shades of that behavior is pretty dopey, and not helpful, and it would be nice to not see it.

3:07
Dodgers Game 4 starter: Who would be your game 4 playoff starter for the Dodgers? Assuming Ryu, Buehler, Kershaw 1-2-3. Options include: Hill (IL), May, Maeda, Gonsolin, Urias.

3:08
Meg Rowley: Probably Maeda

3:08
Dan: As someone who as lamented the cost of attending MLB games in the past, I would hope you would never seriously consider supporting a mercy rule. When a family spends several hundred dollars to attend a game, they deserve 9.

3:08
Meg Rowley: This is a fair point I had not considered.

3:09
Me: Over or under 50% chance that Cole stays with the Astros?

3:09
Meg Rowley: without inside info, I’d say under just based on what he’s likely to command and their decision to bring in Greinke.

3:09
Fair enough: My dodger fan friends are incredibly frustrated and calling themselves the Bills though. But your points are valid.

3:10
Meg Rowley: Oh, I would not make any claims to know how it feels as a fan.

3:10
Meg Rowley: I am unfamiliar with the experience of perpetual contention.

3:10
Mason: Thinking about a mercy rule…if teams were allowed to forfeit, do you think they would? On one hand, I would think a manager might consider forfeiting before using a position player to pitch, but on the other I could seem the backlash being quite strong if a manager forfeited a game.

3:11
Meg Rowley: I can’t imagine they would

3:11
Meg Rowley: I can’t imagine we can have baseball in a world of frequent forfeits — we make the Orioles play 162. Can you imagine if they could just go home and eat snacks?

3:11
Seamus Catuli: Meg, please weigh in on the Popeyes vs Chik fil a/everyone else chicken sandwich debate

3:12
Meg Rowley: Eat what you like best imo

3:13
Smucky the Cat: Outside of EW, what other podcasts do you like?

3:14
Meg Rowley: I listen to a lot of podcasts on film, tv, and pop culture, and have a regular political pod rotation, but honestly, the thing I get the most excited for when I have a new episode is How Did This Get Made?

3:15
Meg Rowley: Alright, pals, I need to get rolling so I can edit before a podcast recording. Thank you for the questions, and sorry for what I didn’t get to.

3:15
Meg Rowley: Until next week!





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.

4 Comments
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Tea_Wreck
3 years ago

Don’t mistake the farce that The Bills are now with what they were when in the early 90s. They’re a shanked field goal from being a Super Bowl champion, followed by being sacrificed at the altar of the NFC. A hypothetical Dodgers team losing 3 WS in a row is a good comp for the Bills streak of successful futility.

mookie28member
3 years ago
Reply to  Tea_Wreck

It would be the perfect comp if they lose the WS again this year. I’m assuming it wasn’t really understood.

Tea_Wreck
3 years ago
Reply to  mookie28

They need to lose the next two and then be sold to the Wilpons to get the true Bills Experience.

Although, to be fair to Ms. Rowley, the Bill’s have probably been a joke her entire adult life, and they probably haven’t been a serious contender since she’s been out of diapers.

Terencemember
3 years ago
Reply to  Tea_Wreck

The 1991-1992 Braves are probably a better comparison for where the Dodgers are at right now. In 1993, they won 104 games and lost in the NLCS. Baseball postseason is a crapshoot.

If this goes on any longer the 96-99 Braves would also be a better comparison than the Bills. Imagine a world where the 2013-2027 Dodgers are like the 1991-2005 Braves. 14 Division Championships, 1 year lost to a strike, a .605 winning percentage (98-65 average season for 15 years!), 6 Cy Youngs, 2 MVP’s, and 1 Championship. Baseball postseason is a crapshoot.