Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat – 7/10/18

12:00
Meg Rowley: Good morning, and welcome to the chat!

12:00
Meg Rowley: Carson has some away from his computer business to attend to, so I’ll just be going an hour so as to ensure that FanGraphs does not burn down in his absence. But for now? Chat!

12:00
Zonk: The contract is a sunk cost, but is Albert Pujols even worth a roster spot at this point into next season?  If the answer is no, how does this play out for the Angels and Albert?

12:01
Meg Rowley: He’s a marginally better hitter than last year? Pujols has not been good, and the feel good milestones are pretty much behind him now, but also, he isn’t the real reason the Angels aren’t in a Wild Card spot.

12:02
Meg Rowley: Given how the org has dealt with big, bad contracts in the past, I’d be surprised if they cut him outright.

12:03
Meg Rowley: In my own life, I once faced a decision between making finance money and being happy and satisfied, and decided to make a lot less, but I also wasn’t making Pujols’ salary. I imagine a time will come when it isn’t worth it for him anymore, but I wonder if that will be more a function of physical discomfort (he looks like running isn’t fun for him) than pride.

12:03
Donnie: Whitley, Buehler and Flaherty for Nola in a dynasty league? Who wins?

12:04
Meg Rowley: You for getting to ask Justin a fantasy question and getting a real answer!

12:04
Q-Ball: Anthony Rizzo hasn’t been good this year.  Just a slump, or are there underlying causes for concern?

12:05
Meg Rowley: I’d need to watch more (I’m realizing I probably am not watching the Cubs enough. Note to Meg: watch more Cubs) but from the numbers it looks like stuff isn’t falling in for hits like it has in the past. He’s getting shifted on more and doing less with it. Barring some weird injury thing, I’d expect he adjusts. He’s a good hitter.

12:05
Slapshot: Out of the All Star weekend events – Futures Game, Home Run Derby, All Star Game – which one holds the most interest for you?

12:06
Meg Rowley: As my interests have shifted from those purely of a fan to those of someone who does baseball stuff to pay rent, I’ve enjoyed the Futures game more and more just because it makes me sound like less of a dope when asked about those players.

12:06
Meg Rowley: Last year’s Derby was great.

12:07
Sadman: Hi meg!

12:07
Sadman: We need more bathroom and sanitation articles at Fangraphs. It makes my heart glad to see you meet those needs.

12:07
Meg Rowley: My parents are just so proud.

12:07
Q-Ball: Early returns on Eric Hosmer are not very good….was that contract a mistake for the Padres?

12:07
Meg Rowley: I should say upfront that I don’t get really fussed about bad teams that aren’t really ready to contend spending money, even when it seems like too much for too little production.

12:08
Meg Rowley: But like, who cares? It doesn’t stop me from buying snacks because it isn’t my money and it gives fans something to be excited about. But it doesn’t look like a great deal, no.

12:08
Raymond: The top 10 NL hitters by wRC+ with at least 200 PA are Muncy, Suarez, Aguilar, Freeman, Realmuto, Goldschmidt, Belt, Nimmo, Kemp, and Arenado. Throw in Cervelli at 12 and Markakis and 14 and that has to be one of the most surprising leaderboards in recent memory.

12:09
Meg Rowley: In a year when a lot of playoff stuff looks like it will be settled early, and largely involve the teams we thought, I am so genuinely grateful for the Nick Markakis and his Max Muncy and hell, Matt Kemp. Markakis and Kemp are surprising for a different reason than Muncy but what a cool thing.

12:10
Guest: Thoughts on NYYs interest in Machado?

12:10
Meg Rowley: It sounds like a good idea that could happen and that we will all regret. Like in Terminator when they were all like “Skynet sounds cool.”

12:10
Zock Jr.: Meg! Fangraphs is starting to feel a little bit like the Golden State Warriors. You just keep adding great writers. It’s getting to be a real Murderer’s Row. You folks rock.

12:11
Meg Rowley: I am very fortunate to work with people who are both good at what they do and generally very nice, and who do serious analysis that allows me to write about paper cups.

12:11
Bort: There was a piece on the Athletic suggesting the Mariners should re-sign Nelson Cruz. That’s crazy talk, right?

12:11
Meg Rowley: Ehhh is it?

12:13
Meg Rowley: Obviously, these things depend on the market but I don’t think a 38-year-old DH is going to be outrageously expensive. The Mariners are in a weird spot. I truly think this is the big hurrah (though I’ve been saying that since 2015), but guys like Haniger and Gonzales and Diaz and Paxton taking steps forward makes me more confident they’ll be a .500 team next year than I did at the beginning of this year.

12:14
Meg Rowley: Cruz is a good hitter who is extremely popular in the clubhouse. Wouldn’t be terrible.

12:14
Pio: Last week, there were plenty of memes about how baseball is better than basketball because there aren’t any super teams and now the Yankees might acquire Machado and presumably flip Andujar for a frontline starter. Whoops.

12:15
Meg Rowley: This is not a knock on your question, but few things are more boring to me than “please like my sport” twitter. All sports are good; all sports are awful. All sports have competitive cycles that have pros and cons.

12:15
Kyle A: It would be interesting to see a post done about deserving all-stars (based off best stats for that year) vs who was actually voted and the years in which it was most egregious. Side note: lets chat about hiking/wilderness. Which hikes are on your 2018 summer to-do list?

12:16
Meg Rowley: There are many, many such articles floating out there, with the caveat that it is hard to know specifics of the player vote.

12:16
Meg Rowley: I have seen much more of a conversation among players on that score than in years past however.

12:16
Meg Rowley: Pitchers are rightly very annoyed that Blake Snell didn’t make it.

12:17
Meg Rowley: As for hikes, I would like very much to do more in the North Cascades. It is such a gem of a place, and I haven’t taken full advantage of it.

12:17
Matt D: Thoughts on the unsigned 1st rounders?  Isn’t it kind of penny wise and pound foolish for a team to let go of someone in that talent tier over a (relatively) few marginal dollars?  “Sorry we couldn’t sign you, we needed that half a million dollars to pay the last guy in our bullpen.”

12:17
Meg Rowley: Would that that money were going to players on the 25-man.

12:18
Meg Rowley: They do have some limitations on slot value, etc. but it was a bad year for this sort of thing. Have to hope it makes teams think more critically about it.

12:18
April: Why do teams play 3-4 game series in season? Why not 5-6 games? Would dramatically reduce travel, you’d get to see each pitcher in the starting 5, and you’d have “X Team Week” to promote to fans.

12:19
Meg Rowley: I would expect the answer is that, at least for games played out of division and absent some change to how many games teams play or how many opponents they play, it would mean collapsing what is currently a home and away series into one team’s home series. The White Sox don’t enjoy playing the Yankees, but they want them to come to town, you know?

12:20
tb.25: I went to click on the FG header ‘Meg Growley will be chatting’ but I got sent to Justin’s chat. When I returned to the homepage, your header got replaced by his. Doesn’t FG know I would rather discuss Mariners and the woods over fantasy sports?!

12:20
Meg Rowley: I brought this up with Carson and I think we’re going to tweak the schedule so that one of us goes a little later in the afternoon so we aren’t double booked. I know it can be confusing and also splits the audience.

12:20
tb.25: Also, welcome back

12:20
Meg Rowley: Hey thanks!

12:21
Ben: Is 250 PAs too small to call Dom Smith a bust yet?  It’s been real ugly.

12:21
Meg Rowley: Yes. I’m not like, super high on him, but yes.

12:21
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: Do you know if MLB had the authority to prevent the incredibly tone-deaf selection of domestic abuser Aroldis Chapman to the ASG? The legal system and the league’s domestic violence policy have finished with him, but there is absolutely no reason he needs to be paraded around for marketing purposes. The union might not like it, but I and countless others prefer our baseball without people who fire guns into the garage while the partner they allegedly choked hides in the bushes.

12:23
Meg Rowley: I understand what you mean. But I think that if I were going to make one change to the league’s DV policy, it would be to make the player ineligible for the postseason in the year they’re suspended. It would reduce some of the icky incentives around trading those guys and sends a message it is as at least as important as PEDs.

12:25
Meg Rowley: Most DV advocates will tell you that zero tolerance policies aren’t the way to go. That leaves us to navigate these icky moments. I’d like to think about it more, but I’m not sure that if guy serves his suspension and doesn’t reoffend, that banning him permanently from the All-Star game is the right move. And his presence in the league, on a team like the Yankees means he is being used for marketing purposes.

12:25
2-D: Cleveland lost a game earlier this year 2-3 despite outhitting Chicago 14-4. What do you think the difference in hits need to be to all but guarantee a victory?

12:25
Meg Rowley: Allowing no hits would probably help?

12:26
Meg Rowley: Let me see if I can do a quick B-Ref query.

12:27
Meg Rowley: Hmm this is taking too long for the chat. I wonder what the greatest differential is.

12:27
Nate: I’m going to be visiting Safeco Field later this month for the first time (12th ballpark for me). What points of interest should I see at the stadium?

12:28
Meg Rowley: If you’re a beer person, there is good beer (I’d look in the ballpark app and see what’s local). If you’re sitting on the club level, there is a very good salmon sandwich. It is very fun to watch BP from out by the bullpens. And take some time to do a lap of the upper concourse. The city views are amazing.

12:28
Meg Rowley: Also they are playing relevant baseball. Just the wildest thing.

12:28
Rockie Dangerfield: If you take into account how much All Star selections matter in salary negotiations, I reckon the roster construction actually has greater consequences than the game itself.

12:29
Meg Rowley: I think it matters a lot to the players, too.

12:29
Meg Rowley: We tend to be down on the whole enterprise and for good reason, but I bet it really does bum Blake Snell and Jean Segura out that they didn’t make it.

12:29
Meg Rowley: You go to just one All-Star game and we call you “Former All-Star So and So” when you retire. Just one!

12:30
Josh: Is Aaron Hicks a Top 5 CF in baseball all of a sudden?

12:31
Meg Rowley: Top 3 by our numbers! Hicks strikes me as the sort of guy we don’t talk about enough just because he’s on the Yankees and they have so many dudes worth talking about.

12:31
Meg Rowley: But he is quite good.

12:31
Meg Rowley: And Cain at two. What a nice pick up by the Brewers, my stars.

12:32
Zachary: Do you think teams that are “buying” at the deadline would be able to get pieces for cheaper than most years due to the fact that there are fewer contenders at this point that in most years?

12:32
Meg Rowley: Maybe some, but remember, teams don’t have to sell now. They can always wait until the offseason, when more teams (at least in theory) will believe they have a shot at 2019.

12:32
Poised: Would extending Trevor Story and letting Arenado walk be a wiser strategy for the Rockies?

12:34
Meg Rowley: Trevor Story is having a fine year but also, one of those players you named in Arenado. Now, I will also admit that I have a hard time getting a beat on when the Rockies are really out of it, or about to be for a while because they play baseball on the moon and sign some truly bad deals. But Arenado’s only 27 and he’s really good and those are guys you want. Who are they getting to play third who’s better?

12:34
Kvn: I think that the best sign for any O’s fan on 8/1 would not be a successful Machado trade (which has essentially been mandated), but a successful trade of a controllable piece like Gausman or Givens. They won’t be around by the time the team is competitive and it would at least signal that the people running the franchise are facing the reality of that franchise’s future. Do you agree?

12:35
Meg Rowley: Honestly, I think they should try to move any player with value. They are a bad team.

12:35
Cool: Since the ASG is purely exhibition now what’s stopping there from being huge expanded rosters so that players like Blake Snell are always on the team?

12:36
Meg Rowley: I think there’s some value to the idea of these guys being the very best. But then they should work harder to pick the very best.

12:36
Friar Fanatic: I’m a Padres fan. My crush loves baseball but is a Dodgers fan. Why is life unfair?

12:37
Meg Rowley: You get to have a crush and you share a common interest. Life seems pretty good!

12:37
Meg Rowley: Crushes are so fun, and so it baseball. (Almost) everything is coming up Friar Fanatic!

12:37
Bad Natitude: If you could add another skills-based competition for current MLB players to the All-Star weekend festivities, what would it be and who would you invite to compete in DC next weekend?

12:38
Meg Rowley: Personally I would like to listen to a player panel discussion of why they like Twin Peaks, but I’ll concede that would have limited appeal.

12:38
stever20: Will folks finally start not talking quite as much about Tyson Ross as being a top target for the trade deadline?  He’s got a 6.26 ERA in the last 8 starts- and trending worse.

12:38
Meg Rowley: Are folks talking about that much?

12:38
Justin: Is it weird that I think the Red Sox might win the division but that I… think the Yankees would prevail in a series? (Not that we would be guaranteed that having to play the one-game, but still).

12:39
Meg Rowley: Between two very good, pretty evenly matched teams, I’m not sure there is a weird outcome?

12:39
Neal Pionk: Does the A’s recent play pressure Dipoto into giving up a guy like Lewis or Carlson for Happ?

12:40
Meg Rowley: Well Sam Carlson just had TJ and Lewis isn’t all the way back from the knee, but even setting that aside, ehh, maybe some but not a whole lot more than some.

12:41
Manny Machado: I don’t know if I want to be in the playoffs every year more than I want to play shortstop. Help me decide!

12:42
Meg Rowley: I think that while he hasn’t been good at short, I don’t think he’s been as bad as the metrics say and also, I’d imagine he’ll make rational choices mostly about life changing money.

12:42
NYY Outfielders: We are better than the NL All-Star outfielders what is going this shouldn’t be happening

12:43
Meg Rowley: They’re good and you guys should have fun and chill!

12:43
Asking for a friend: How long after he is out of baseball does Pujols admit his actual age? Before/During/After his HOF speech?

12:44
Meg Rowley: Why would he and why would we really want him to? It’s past not but considering that this was a decision also borne of some very real immigration stuff, we could just leave it alone.

12:44
Bread Gardner: One time I asked you about Mike Trout farting and you answered very clinically. I choose to believe that my question led to you writing an article about farts.

12:45
Meg Rowley: That article was published before that chat, but it is a very strange little beat I have over here.

12:45
stever20: So for Nationals and Bryce Harper- what are the odds he slingshots out of a great HR derby to a great 2nd half?  I know normally we see the opposite impact- but given Harper’s struggles he can’t get much worse???

12:46
Meg Rowley: The most amazing Bryce Harper thing is that because of the home runs, he still has a 123 wRC+. I think Harper will be just fine. It’s just a matter of when that sets in.

12:46
CamdenWarehouse: Do your parents read your stuff here?

12:46
Meg Rowley: They do when I send it to them.

12:47
Meg Rowley: One time I had to tell my dad he couldn’t get a BP subscription just to yell at a troll in the comments, though. So maybe they read more regularly than I think.

12:47
Brian: What is the best color of pants for a player to do a wee in?

12:47
Meg Rowley: Black? White or gray, and you can see the mark.

12:48
All Cats Are Beautiful : Do you think a forward looking team would ever keep all of their prospects in extended spring training so they could get more time to play/practice and less time riding the bus?

12:49
Meg Rowley: This is a great question for Eric or Kiley but no because you want pitchers to face very good and diverse hitting and hitters to face near-MLB quality pitching and you probably have to go out of the complex for that eventually.

12:49
NL Playoff Teams: Do we have any realistic chance of winning the World Series? The outlook seems… dire.

12:50
Meg Rowley: I get what you mean, but I think you’re underselling some NL teams, particularly the Cubs and also, weird junk happens over seven games.

12:50
Kvn: True or false: the race between the Orioles and Royals for last place in all of baseball will be tighter than the race for the second wild card spot in either league by Sept. 1st.

12:50
Meg Rowley: Jeez, I think this is true.

12:51
YKnotDisco?!: Free Delino DeShields. Excellent defense and base running has value in (all) tight games (thinking playoffs). Which contender would be a good fit, even if its off the bench?

12:51
Meg Rowley: If it’s off the bench, many of them.

12:51
All Cats Are Beautiful : They should do fastest round the bases and outfielder throwing accuracy games at the ASG too.

12:52
Meg Rowley: Fastest round the bases sounds like a good way to get guys hurt. Throwing accuracy sounds like it could be sorta boring? The best part of baseball is when all the little parts come together for a game. Even the Derby drags after a few rounds.

12:52
Brian: Which is the more valuable asset Lindor or Ramirez?

12:53
Meg Rowley: I think I would say Ramirez but it is damnnn close

12:54
Meg Rowley: They are both so good. I wish Cleveland was more impressive because it would mean more people appreciating their respective seasons.

12:54
Gary Sanchez: Hola! So my various nagging injuries are gonna be healed up by the time I come back. I’m due to regress back to being super great, right?

12:54
Meg Rowley: I’ll never understand why Gary Sanchez being good (he is very good) is so controversial.

12:54
YKnotDisco?!: Which colleague has the best sense of humor?

12:55
Meg Rowley: All of my colleagues are funny in their own ways.

12:55
Bork: Hello friend!

12:55
Meg Rowley: Bork, I am honored.

12:55
All Cats Are Beautiful : Have any players or team personel made you feel uncomfortable, intimidated, or less than because of your gender?

12:56
Meg Rowley: I don’t really report, so my exposure to players is actually very limited. My closest team relationships are (perhaps unsurprisingly) with the Mariners, and everyone I’ve worked with has been wonderful. There are a lot of bad stories out there, but I have been personally fortunate.

12:57
Meg Rowley: It is a bummer to have to think of it that way though, huh?

12:57
YKnotDisco?!: IYO, is baseball the hardest of the 4 major sports to evaluate talent?

12:58
Meg Rowley: I think the amount of time required for player development makes it really tricky. We’re lucky in that the stats are more developed in baseball, and there are some damn good scouts out there, but it is really hard.

12:58
Meg Rowley: Makes what scouts do all the more impressive to me. It’s like, the coolest kind of imagination.

12:58
Brian: What is the best realistic upgrade for CLE with an eye towards the playoffs?

12:58
Meg Rowley: Bullpen arms would help a lot.

12:59
Natitude Adjuster: Over/under Juan Soto’s next 5 seasons’ WAR: 15.0?

1:00
Meg Rowley: Five seasons? I’d say… my heart wants to say over, because the offense is so incredible, but I might end up around there. Or maybe just some over. The defense needs some work, and maybe he has a down season because of injury or something. But he could also just rip off a crazy, crazy year.

1:01
Meg Rowley: Hmmm… weird internet hiccup there.

1:01
Meg Rowley: Sorry folks. Comcast is laying fiberoptic cable, and it has been an annoyance.

1:02
Meg Rowley: I have to get rolling, mostly because my internet might be forcing me too, but also because Carson needs to get moving.

1:02
Meg Rowley: I’m sorry for how many questions I didn’t get to. I promise two hours next week!

1:02
Meg Rowley: Until then, be well, friends!

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Meg is the managing editor of The Hardball Times and a contributing writer to FanGraphs. Her work has appeared at Baseball Prospectus, Lookout Landing and Just A Bit Outside.

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1 Comment on "Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat – 7/10/18"

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Mathews
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Mathews

Nimmo- has the hand injury affected hid performance? Or was he just a “flash in the pan” that pitchers caught up to?