Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat – 9/18/18 by Meg Rowley September 18, 2018 2:00 Meg Rowley: Hello, and welcome to the chat! There are a lot of Mariners and Mets questions in this here queue, but I’ll try to mix it up as much as possible. 2:00 Mr. Dobolina: Who is your favorite Cubs player 2:01 Meg Rowley: Hey look at that! Baez is hard not to like, and why try hard to enjoy an enjoyable thing less. I was pretty wrong about his ability to take a step forward. He has been great, great fun. 2:01 Jedidiah: The Mariners could save $14 million next year by installing Vogey as their DH. They’re not going to do that, are they? 2:02 Meg Rowley: I think it is a toss up whether or not they bring Cruz back. They’ve expressed public interest in that, but teams fib sometimes, and he’ll be sure to test the market anyhow. 2:02 Meg Rowley: I would like to see Vogelbach get something approaching anything like regular playing time, and I would very much not like to see him playing first so… 2:03 Gil: What dish would the Mariners be if you converted them to food? 2:03 Meg Rowley: First half: perfectly crisp lettuce, which is an underratedly wonderful food. Second half: no-longer warm oatmeal 2:03 Steinergk: If you were choosing a young core to build around, say you’re applying to be a GM and could pick any team, and your goal was contending by 2020, which team would you pick to build around? 2:04 Meg Rowley: I would pick the Astros if I were feeling lazy and didn’t want to wait or do work to get a good thing because they’re youngish and really good, but I guess the Padres otherwise. 2:05 Bo: As an Atlanta sports fan who has been jaded too many times to count, when can I start sweating out the East crown? If the lead gets under 5 when we open play with the Phillies this weekend, my nightmares may begin. 2:05 Meg Rowley: So here is the thing about this. 2:05 Meg Rowley: I am never going to tell another person to worry less. 2:05 Meg Rowley: I worry about strangers. 2:05 Meg Rowley: And like, strangers I will never, ever meet. I am actively concerned for Willie Nelson at the moment. 2:06 Meg Rowley: But the Braves have what, 12 games left to play? 2:06 Meg Rowley: And are currently 6.5 up on a Phillies team that often looks pretty bumfuzzled. 2:06 Meg Rowley: You shouldn’t not worry if you’re a worrier. But maybe worry about a different thing. 2:06 Meg Rowley: Worry about Willie Nelson! 2:07 ThatsNotMyMonster: So many good bullpens in the playoffs! Will Boston’s one weakness cost them dearly? 2:07 Meg Rowley: Maybe! 2:07 Meg Rowley: Could be true. 2:07 Meg Rowley: It would be the thing I’d fret over as a Red Sox fan. But only because you have to worry about something. 2:07 Lamish Hinklater: Soup or salad? 2:08 Meg Rowley: Salad. I really like greens. 2:08 The Yankees’ Panic Button: Status: PRESSED 2:08 Meg Rowley: If I may offer yet another meditation on worry, your worst outcome is that your favorite team has to travel for a playoff game. 2:09 Meg Rowley: That is a suboptimal outcome, and I am trying to better access my own empathy for those in comparatively good positions. 2:09 Meg Rowley: But that isn’t so bad! 2:09 ThatsNotMyMonster: Is Milwaukee equipped for a 1-game playoff vs. COL/STL/LAD? Do you like their chances to advance and face the Cubs in the NLDS? 2:09 Meg Rowley: I would be the most concerned about the Dodgers, but then again, I don’t think the Dodgers will have to play in the Wild Card, so isn’t that handy? 2:10 Meg Rowley: But yes. I like that Brewers team a lot. One-game playoffs are always something of a tossup but I like them a lot. 2:10 Steinergk: What are the best baseball tools you’ve seen live? any that you’ve give 80 grades? 2:10 Meg Rowley: Recently? Hmmmm. 2:11 Meg Rowley: Dee Gordon’s speed. Stanton’s power. 2014 Felix’s changeup. 2:11 Meg Rowley: I miss that pitch with my whole heart. 2:11 Bread Gardner: Today’s game against Boston was scheduled at 1pm so it could be played before Yom Kippur started. Due to rain, it’s been postponed to 7pm. This feels like an omen from on high. 2:12 Meg Rowley: I’m not a religious person myself, but I’d like to think God is occupied with more pressing business. 2:12 Jug Dudy: If Yelich and Baez perform about as expected over the final 2 weeks, but the Cubs win the division, who wins the MVP? 2:12 Meg Rowley: I suppose it depends, as it often does, on which WAR you ascribe to. 2:13 Meg Rowley: We have Yelich with almost a full win on Baez; BP like Goldy the best of all the NL position players; B-Ref likes Cain. 2:13 Meg Rowley: Me? 2:13 Meg Rowley: Give. deGrom. the. MVP. you. cowards. 2:13 VogelSlam: Hey Meg, Where would you weight the following odds opening day 2019 1) Vogelbach is M’s DH/1b 2) Vogelbach is not in the M’s system at all 3) Vogelbach is on the Rainiers. 2:14 Meg Rowley: I think it the least likely he isn’t in the system at all. So I guess 3, 1, 2, though I don’t think the gap between 3 and 1 is huge. 2:15 Meg Rowley: There are a lot of things I’d like to candidly ask Jerry Dipoto, but one of the things would be what he thought he was getting in Vogey, and how it differs from what he did get. 2:15 Meg Rowley: It isn’t as if Vogelbach was some lithe young center fielder at the time of the trade, and then showed up in spring as our Large Adult Son. 2:16 Meg Rowley: I don’t really get their plan with him, especially given how god awful Healy has been. 2:16 Meg Rowley: Sometimes it is makeup thing, but I haven’t heard anything to suggest that. 2:16 Kevin: If Pat Venditte had to get Tommy John on his left arm, would the Dodgers let him pitch right handed while he recovered? 2:17 Meg Rowley: A moment while I look something up 2:17 Meg Rowley: (A further moment as I battle coffee shop wifi) 2:19 Meg Rowley: I was looking to see if we had his splits by his handedness, which I don’t believe we do, but if we assume he pitches right on right, and left on left, there isn’t a huge split this year so yes maybe? 2:19 Meg Rowley: He’s less useful without the flexibility but 2:19 Ronibus: Do you have any “unpopular” sabermetric opinions? Mine is that cycles are significantly more awesome than 3 HR games even though they’re less valuable. 2:19 Meg Rowley: I wish we would recognize that we won more often and stop fighting 2008’s battles. 2:20 Cartulo: Next year Mets have deGrom, Thor, Wheeler, Matz, Lugo, Gsellman, Swarzak, Rosario, Conforto, Nimmo, Alonso, McNeil, Cespedes, Frazier, Plawecki, Lagares. Health and some positive regression, is that a Wild Card team? 2:20 Meg Rowley: (extreme Charlie Brown about to try to kick the football voice) definitely in the running! 2:20 Syndergaardians of the Galaxy: The Mets ownership has taken a lot of heat over the notion that the next GM should have more of a scouting inclination. But perhaps this isn’t wrong. After all, the analytics saw the Mets as contenders in both 2016 and 2017. Perhaps a more scouting inclined FO would have made better choices? 2:21 Meg Rowley: I think they have gotten grief because they appear to have not listened to or invested heavily in analytics, and made some pretty gnarly decisions as a result. 2:21 Meg Rowley: That is not the fault of scouting mind you 2:21 Meg Rowley: It’s the fault of [Meg’s hottest baseball take] them not being deserving of one of baseball’s 30 franchises. 2:22 Finding Nimmo : Jeff McNeil and Amed Rosario are 2nd and 3rd respectively in hits since August last I checked. Do you see this carrying over into next season? 2:23 Meg Rowley: My answer to this is the frustrating “Eh, not sure.” 2:24 Meg Rowley: I know that folks over at BP especially were in on McNeil much earlier than the rest of us, and we’ve seen a couple of guys like this who have blossomed kinda late, but he’s a 26-year-old who didn’t really warrant much attention earlier. Gotta see this for longer. 2:25 Meg Rowley: As for Rosario, I need more than two weeks of really good hitting. 2:25 Apocalypse Now: How awesome will it be when the Red Sox clinch the AL East in Yankee Stadium this weekend? 2:25 Meg Rowley: Our greatest mistake as fans and human beings is assuming that others are as invested in our grudges as we are. 2:26 Pham Grafs: You know what’s interesting? Though the top six position players by WAR are all in the AL, the top four rookies are all in the NL. Look, I thought it was interesting. 2:26 Meg Rowley: The rookie talent over there is incredible, though the AL isn’t without its own very good stories. 2:27 stever20: how important do you think this offseason is for the Phillies. Since August 7, they are 12-24 and have a better record only than the Orioles(9-28). Is Gabe Kapler going to enter next year with a lot of pressure to get off to a good start? 2:28 Meg Rowley: They’re a team whose good years are supposed to be arriving now. I count this year as a success even though they are fading now. But yes of course. You sell fans on years of bad baseball by paying off those years with seasons of good baseball. The bill is coming due. 2:28 Bortles!: Your level of excitement for the return of the Good Place? 2:28 Meg Rowley: I am not exaggerating when I say that a non-zero part of my mental health is dependent on getting to spend time with those goofs very soon. 2:29 Bread Gardner: Inquiring minds want to know: where do you fall on the sandwich alignment chart? 2:29 Bread Gardner: https://flowingdata.com/2017/05/02/sandwich-alignment-chart/ 2:30 Meg Rowley: What diseases could we have cured if we didn’t care so much about how other people enjoy food? 2:30 Meg Rowley: I suppose I am a structure traditionalist/ingredient rebel 2:31 Raymond: Are the Rays going to compete with the other AL East Powerhouses next year? If so, do the Orioles then have a shot at 121 losses? 2:32 Meg Rowley: A lot will depend on how their arms get healthy, but I think they will contend for a wild card spot. I have a hard time seeing them challenge for the division as currently constituted. 2:32 Meg Rowley: Maybe they’ll surprise us all, and spend a little money this offseason! 2:32 Meg Rowley: lol no. 2:33 Mr. Dobolina: Baez is maybe the most exciting player in the entire league right now … if he’d only lower that K% though! 2:33 Meg Rowley: I mean, I think he’s doing pretty alright. 2:34 Meg Rowley: Part of the skillset that makes him so exciting is the same profile that has him strikeout at the rate he does. 2:34 Bread Gardner: I kind of feel like your description of the Mariners as crispy lettuce but then cold oatmeal largely describes the Yankees, too… 2:34 Meg Rowley: You guys have to stop being so sad. It isn’t time for you to be sad. That’s our thing. You do your playoff thing. 2:35 On a Motte o’ Piya: Would you rather have an average career but be on multiple championship teams, or be a sure HOF-er but play on bad teams? Basically, would you rather be Hunter Pence or Votto/Trout? 2:35 Meg Rowley: So the split here is a little weird because if I could be maybe the best baseball player ever, I think I would want to be that. That seems prettttty rad. So if I could be Mike Trout, I’d be Mike Trout. 2:36 Meg Rowley: But otherwise, winning a bunch of World Series while being pretty good and wonderfully weird sounds great. 2:36 Meg Rowley: Basically yes, make me Hunter Pence, please. 2:36 The Boat: Where else would Nelson Cruz go? Not a lotta DH demand around the league 2:36 Meg Rowley: Now playing in Houston… 2:36 Bartolo: Which Marlins pitcher should groove one for David Wright? 2:36 Meg Rowley: Literally all of them. 2:36 DDC: The NL 2:36 Meg Rowley: But also? The AL! 2:37 ashamed old man: is dave roberts a dumbass? 2:37 Meg Rowley: No. 2:37 Meg Rowley: You might be kinda rude, though. Something to consider. 2:37 stever20: What do you think about Cleveland using Bauer in the bullpen for the playoffs? 2:38 Meg Rowley: Seems like the best option. He hasn’t pitched since… 2:38 Meg Rowley: Since August 11th. 2:38 Meg Rowley: It seems too much to hope that he could be ready for a starter workload. 2:38 Sir Nerdlington: The MLBPA finally has a knowledgable negotiator. Hooray players. Without a ton of leverage, however, what can be expected? 2:39 Meg Rowley: I would imagine we will see some sort of work stoppage at some point. 2:39 CamdenWarehouse: Red Sox could worry about Willie Nelson too 2:39 Meg Rowley: They could! Do it for this singer that means a lot to me personally, Red Sox. 2:40 Outta my way, Gyorkass: Please talk me out of the Brewers derping their way to something like a 3-8 finish and missing the playoffs. 2:40 TJB: The Rockies are screwed, right? They’re playing like crap, Story looks like he’s done until spring training, and they’re down to two starting pitchers who can be counted upon. 2:40 Meg Rowley: The downside of being in a tight race is that you worry all the time. The upside is all of this matters. 2:40 Tyler: Why worry about Willie Nelson? He seems to have his priorities right. 2:41 Meg Rowley: He’s 85. 2:41 Mr. Dobolina: Will the Cubs run the NL playoff board? 2:42 Meg Rowley: For all their goofing around, I still really like that Dodgers team, so I like them or the Cubs to lose to an AL team in the World Series, yes. 2:42 CamdenWarehouse: The Mariners worst outcome is looking pretty darn good to Orioles fans too 2:42 Meg Rowley: Someone always has it worse. 2:43 Doug: Can we call a summit to bring people together to determine just one single WAR? Or can we just average fWAR and bWAR? I don’t like there being two especially with such large gaps. 2:43 Meg Rowley: Don’t forget WARP! 2:43 Meg Rowley: I think the differences are really valuable. They help us think critically about what does and does not work well. 2:44 Meg Rowley: Even among saber people, there are disagreements about our theories of baseball and value. 2:44 Meg Rowley: That conversation can get snarky and insidery, but it has value. 2:44 Hampy: NL Cy Young – Scherzer, deGrom, or Nola? Where do you come out on that award? 2:44 Meg Rowley: deGrom. 2:44 Meg Rowley: I don’t think you’ll find many dissenters on that question here. 2:45 Jonny: Which potential World Series would have the worst ratings? OAK-COL or OAK-MIL? And best? NYY-LAD? NYY-CHC? 2:46 Meg Rowley: Jeff always jokes about how bad pageviews are for Rockies posts, so probably one involving the Rockies. 2:46 Meg Rowley: Yankees-Dodgers seems like it has to be the best. 2:46 DDC: The NL’s history with the one-game playoff shows how dumb the new Wild Card format is. An ump show cost the Braves in 2012, the Pirates had their peak ruined by two individual pitchers, and the team with the 2nd best record in the NL (probably the Brewers) has to do a one-gamer because they play in the same division as a big-spending juggernaut. Do you favor a different format? 2:46 Meg Rowley: I think the Wild Card properly incentivizes teams to try to win their divisions. 2:47 Guest: Who wins a WS first TOR or TB? 2:47 Meg Rowley: Tampa. 2:47 Meg Rowley: YEAH I SAID IT. 2:47 Meg Rowley: But really, I think Tampa. 2:47 Chuncey Wiggins: What’s the worst kind of fan to sit around? Noisy, rude, and drunk? Messy, no sense of personal space, and smelly? Or is it a Multi-Level-Marketing salesman whose adamant that you try their vitamins? 2:48 Meg Rowley: The first two sound like one kind of fan, and as a woman, the real answer is the sort who tries to explain the game. 2:48 Huh: Whats wrong with Willie Nelson and why should we worry about him ? ? *oblivious* 2:49 Meg Rowley: Friends, he is fine as far as we know, but he is 85 and I worry about that all the time. 2:49 Guest: Does Baltimore’s plan maybe make sense in retrospect? Start rebuild when NYY/BOS/TB are firing on all cylinders for the present and future so that hopefully they’ll come out of it when those teams are regrouping 2:49 Meg Rowley: I think you’re ascribing more planning to the timing than is maybe justified, and perhaps discounting how far they have to go. They need to retool the whole org. 2:50 Craig Swan Lake: Are there any Jewish baseball players sitting out YK this year that we know of? 2:50 Meg Rowley: Not that I’m aware of. 2:50 NotGraphs Revivalist: Hey Meg, thanks for chatting. Are hard-hit foul balls considered in any measure of advanced stats? Like if a guy hits a ball 450 feet, but 6 inches foul, does that show up anywhere? xwOBA or something? Idk, I just feel like those events are so close to being important that we could probably learn something from them 2:51 Meg Rowley: I’d have to ask Mike because I’m not 100% sure, but I don’t believe so. I imagine those balls are in the meta data somewhere because in theory they are all tracked but I think (I think!) that xwOBA only considers balls in play. 2:52 Bat: Hey Me Growley. 2:52 Meg Rowley: Sup. 2:52 Hello: Dark horses for Harper/Machado? I feel like we could get an upper-middle class team (Blue Jays, Mariners, Cardinals) blowing one of them out of the water a la Cano. 2:52 Meg Rowley: I don’t think the Mariners are anywhere near wanting to add another big contract to the books 2:52 Meg Rowley: They are hilariously top heavy as it is. 2:53 Meg Rowley: I really think it’ll be the usual suspects. 2:53 ThickTanPretzel: I’ve always appreciated Pittsburgh pro teams to adhering to essentially the same black/yellow/gold color scheme. Would you like it if your city went for that kind of cohesion, or prefer each team doing its own thing? 2:54 Meg Rowley: In Seattle the only team that deviates strongly from the blue/green/white (albeit of varying hues) is the Storm, but since they just won their third championship and have the scheme they have for Sonics reasons, they get to do whatever the hell they want as far as I’m concerned. 2:54 Matt: Have we talked enough about Jeff McNeil lately? What is more surprising: how good at baseball he is, or he fact that he’s 6 months older than Bryce Harper? 2:54 Meg Rowley: the first one because of the second one 2:54 Rogelio: Is it weird that I think win totals should absolutely not matter for Cy Young voting, but should matter for MVP voting? deGrom is deBest pitcher in baseball and should be lauded as such, but I don’t think he’s the most “valuable” player if the team never wins when he plays. 2:55 Meg Rowley: This is going to sound snarky and I don’t mean it to at all: what does valuable mean then? 2:55 CamdenWarehouse: you baseball chat in public spaces? you must not laugh at the chats the way I do 2:55 Meg Rowley: Not normally, but my internet is down today. 2:55 Bork: The Orioles are wearing Braille lettered Jerseys today to support the National Federation for the Blind. 2:55 Meg Rowley: I think this is very cool. 2:56 The Name Is Kershawayton Kershaw: If I opt out of my contract, will the Dodgers try and get me back? If not, who’ll be their starter on Opening Day 2019? 2:57 Meg Rowley: Yes, they would. My guess is he’ll opt out but re-sign with them, albeit on maybe a shorter deal than he would have hoped going into the year. 2:57 Grant: Petriello had an article today about how good the Astros are. From an Angels fan to a Mariners fan, can we agree to send them back to the NL? 2:57 Meg Rowley: I’ll send them wherever they need to go to not do trades like the Osuna deal. 2:57 Nicole: In your opinion which postseason bound team is facing the most pressure to win a title this year? 2:58 Meg Rowley: It’s funny, before this year I thought the answer to this was going to be Cleveland but the Twins look kinda lost and the White Sox rebuild doesn’t look like I thought it would. 2:59 Meg Rowley: I’d say whoever gets that second NL wild card. 3:00 Huh: This chat has 45FV: strong tendancy to pull grounders into infield shift, raw athletic talent in outfield to chase down balls in gap. Too much Vogelbach at this point in time to predict any future success but still young with time to improve 3:00 Meg Rowley: I have the queue I have 3:00 Mr. Dobolina: What is your favorite go to stat for hitter evaluation? 3:01 Meg Rowley: wRC+ is pretty neat 3:01 EK: Matt Chapman: Future MVP candidate, slightly overrated, or due to regress? 3:02 Meg Rowley: He’s almost sure to get down ballot MVP consideration this year. 3:02 Meg Rowley: Like every AL player he has to contend with Trout existing in the AL, at least for now, along with guys like Lindor and Betts, but I think he’s legit. 3:03 Davey Jones’ Lockerroom: Do you think the buzz about how amazing it is that Ohtani is actually both an amazing hitter and pitcher has been lost a little because a) he’s injured, b) he’s a little boring, and c) Angels? Or are people fully clear on how amazing that is? 3:03 Meg Rowley: I think they are pretty clear but if you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend Ben Lindbergh’s recent piece on him at the Ringer, which lays it out pretty clearly. 3:04 Meg Rowley: https://www.theringer.com/mlb/2018/9/14/17858936/los-angeles-angels-sh… 3:04 Ginny: it’s starting to become apparent to me, in year 7 of wasting Mike Trout, that Arte Moreno should be considered in near the same light as Angelos and the Wilpons. Agree/disagree? 3:04 Meg Rowley: Disagree. 3:04 Meg Rowley: Some of the deals have been really bad, but bad in pretty surprising ways. 3:04 Meg Rowley: He does meddle and that isn’t great, but he will spend money. 3:05 the world’s smallest violin: Why do you think Yankee fans constantly complain when they have rarely had to face any real suffering? 3:05 Meg Rowley: All suffering we suffer feels and is real. That on a relative basis we are well off is often hard to remember while we feel sad. 3:05 Meg Rowley: It is good to reflect on it, lest we lose perspective. 3:06 Meg Rowley: But there are a lot of ways for seasons to disappoint. 3:06 James: Would 39 year old Nelson Cruz be a better option than American Hero Tyler White? 3:07 Meg Rowley: Nelson Cruz isn’t likely to be super expensive. 3:07 tb.25: A burrito is a sandwich. Fight me. 3:07 Meg Rowley: I literally refuse. 3:08 Meg Rowley: You should have whatever food opinions you like as long as they don’t involve you eating like, a dolphin or another person 3:08 Shobae Ohtani: Do you think the A’s should use a “Bullpen Day” for the AL Wild Card? 3:09 Meg Rowley: Sorry for the lag on some these, friends. 3:09 Meg Rowley: The wifi is a touch spotty here. 3:10 Meg Rowley: I would start Fiers and then go to the bullpen at the first sign of trouble, which is what I think they will do provided he’s available. 3:10 Grant: Tell me why the NLCS won’t be Cubs – Dodgers again 3:10 Meg Rowley: Why would I do that? 3:11 Adam: If deGrom wins the Cy Young, what do you think the reaction will be among baseball traditionalists (e.g. Harold Reynolds)? How hopeful are you that this may spark lots of *productive* conversations about sabermetrics? 3:11 Meg Rowley: I think reasonably hopeful, actually. 3:11 Meg Rowley: Félix already blazed this trail. 3:12 stever20: how crazy is it that the Dodgers season got put in peril due to Seager having UCL damage to his elbow, and now might win the division due to Story having UCL damage to his elbow 3:12 Meg Rowley: pretty normal baseball crazy 3:12 LKS: Isn’t there still a better way to align the playoffs if you value winning the division so much? Why should an 88 to 90-win team (like the Braves/Dodgers) have such a huge advantage over a 92-94 win team (like presumably the Brewers)? I’m guessing the fix will come with a 32-team league, but I’m not sure how yet. 3:12 John: You know who else is 85? Chuck Grassley! 3:13 Meg Rowley: Significantly less time spent worrying about him. 3:13 Stuafoo: What is one legitimate baseball thing that Mike Trout is the worst at? (No cheating by saying something like he’s the worst at being bad) 3:13 Meg Rowley: Not caring about being famous 3:14 Meg Rowley: Which incidentally, is a pretty good human trait 3:14 Frank Lyman: Regarding McNeil/Rosario… “since August” is more than 2 weeks. Just sayin’ 3:15 Meg Rowley: Sure, but Rosario’s advanced stats suggest he’s only been a well-above average hitter for about that long. His August wRC+ was 102. Sept is 142. 3:16 Meg Rowley: 102 is above average and well above where he was, but I assumed the question was excited about the more exciting number. 3:16 DJ Tanner: Anyone else notice that Gerald and his do you like prospects question is gone? 3:16 Meg Rowley: I don’t put everything in the queue in the chat. 3:17 Morbo: In reference to your statement, “You should have whatever food opinions you like as long as they don’t involve you eating like, a dolphin or another person.” What if the dolphin and/or person gave informed consent? Or, better yet wanted nothing more out of life than to be eaten like the animal in ‘The Restaurant at the End of the Universe’? 3:17 Meg Rowley: I like chats but sometimes they make me feel tired. 3:18 Meg Rowley: Alright folks I gotta mosey 3:20 Meg Rowley: Thanks for questions, and sorry for what I couldn’t get to. 3:20 Meg Rowley: I’ll be back next week, with better wifi!