Meg is a feature writer at Baseball Prospectus and a Kyle Seager enthusiast.
Megan Rowley: Hi all, and welcome to the chat. The Mariners are winning, Cleveland may never lose again, and Rhys Hoskins is still very good at baseball. Let's get started.
Dusty (Colorado): Wander Javier, top 5 prospect SS right now?
Megan Rowley: Craig Goldstein says, "Meg, you don't have to answer prospect questions. You're a Mariners fan. What do you know of prospects?" Jarrett Seidler says, "Maybe in a year or two, but not yet." I say not all who Wander are lost (hello, welcome to the chat).
dipotonotdipoto (Seattle): Which player is most likely to get a spider tattoo?
Megan Rowley: Are we talking a spider or a spider web? Because well, fun fact: Nick Franklin has a spider web tattoo on his elbow. Go Google it...I'll wait. Yeah. Made that choice on purpose. Thought that was a good idea. We all make mistakes when we're young.
FRANCE (Deepest, darkest Peru): Who has the best chance to develop into a modern day Ben Oglivie?
Megan Rowley: I was discussing this with fellow BP writer Patrick Dubuque and we landed on two answers: first, a player like Ben Oglivie is just less likely now, if what you mean by Ben Oglivie is a player who is probably a bit under-appreciated in his time, and isn't remembered quite like you'd think when he retires. Oglivie hit 41 home runs in 1980! Led the league! A speedy outfielder with pop isn't going to fly under the radar as much in the era of fantasy. But if we're looking for a comp... maybe someone like Steven Souza if he sustains or Charlie Blackmon if he struggles? Those are Patrick's suggestions, so if you don't like them you should blame him, but I think he's got the right idea.
Bloodybaboon (New York): Meg,
What is Rhys Hoskins' ceiling?
Megan Rowley: High? Very high up there? Taller than the Empire State Building-- shorter than the Cascades. Realistically, we're probably looking at it. I wouldn't think he'll hit home runs at quite this rate going forward (in the time it has taken me to type this, he has homered again, probably. Unreal.), but this looks pretty real. The contact is good, the weird outfield experiment seems to be nearing an end. He looks to have settled a lot of questions. This or something like it over a season would be a pretty nifty ceiling, and it's cool for Phillies fans to have this to root for.
Joe (Albany): What is Kyle Seager's best culinary skill?
Megan Rowley: Grilling. And when he realllly stretches? Grilling.
Paul (Rude): Which non-Kyle Seager is the next best "Seager"? A) Folk Singer Pete Seeger, B) Rock Singer Bob Seger, C) Zimbabwean cricketer brothers Michael and Christopher Seager, or D) Kyle's younger brother Corey Seager?
Megan Rowley: The ranking is: Corey Seager, Pete Seeger, Michael and Christopher Seager, then Bob Seger. YEAH YOU HEARD ME BOB.
Also, shouts to Justin Seager, who appears to be a very nice young man I'm sure his parents are quite proud of.
ricknett (Texas): Why are you such a big fan of adult Caillou?
Megan Rowley: (realizes this is in reference to Kyle Seager) you. monster.
Imagine you were a Mariners fan. Now imagine the last couple of years of prospect development without Kyle Seager. You imagine it! That's why.
Jquinton82 (NY): Biggest difference for Teheran recently vs earlier in the season? Is the anything to explain the bounce back?
Megan Rowley: Admitting that I watch only some Braves baseball because I can only tolerate so much bad baseball, I don't think there's a big new thing. He's always had a lot of variance in his game. He's striking out more guys in the second half; that's neat. He's walking a similar number, but it might be costing him less. The FIP's better, so that's encouraging. I'd have to look into his pitch mix to see if there's something more there.
Vaquero (PHX): Do you have a suggested course of action for when a cheerleader dance party breaks out all around you at work?
Megan Rowley: Dance along if it's appropriate, go buy a hot dog if it's not.
Tom (San Francisco): Looking toward 2018, what is the A's optimal use of Matt Olson, Ryon Healy, Khris Davis, and Renato Nunez? Healy, Davis, and Nunez have no defensive value, while Olson plays first base well and right field less well. Olson has trouble hitting lefties, while Nunez and Healy hit them well. Davis is getting expensive, while Healy, Olson, and Nunez are all cheap.
Megan Rowley: My guess is that it shakes out in largely the same way in has this year. I guess they could try to trade Davis, but I'm not sure what all that profile gets them, and he's not that expensive. Healy is... limited defensively, you're not moving Chapman off third because he's actually good, and so to first it is for Olson. Renato Nunez hasn't shown he can really do stuff at the Major League level. Maybe next spring he shows something that changes the calculus; maybe you platoon first, but I don't think you plan around him.
Roger DeSwanns (Out and About): What do you do if you're Jerry DiPoto with the pitching staff this winter? And is 2017 Mike Zunino (currently 13th in BP WARP) peak Mike Zunino?
Megan Rowley: Can we take a moment to appreciate the 2017 Mariners pitching situation? The club has used 40 guys. 40. 4. 0. I watched so much Yovani Gallardo and Sam Gaviglio and (checks sheet)... Christian Bergman. My Christmas family party trick is going to be memorizing all 40 pitchers and reciting them in order of first use, which I imagine will mean I'll be able to sit in the corner and drink an eggnog alone the whole time. So if you're Dipoto, and you're using your holiday the same way, I assume you pencil in Paxton, Felix, Mike Leake, Erasmo Rameriez, then (mumbles mumbles). Gotta imagine they'll try to get some cheap back end guys and throw them in with Marco Gonzales and Ariel Miranda and see where they end up. Unless they make a move for Ohtani...
Now, on to Mike Zunino. I think that offensively, this is peak Zunino. Maybe he adds a bit more in average. He probably hits more home runs over a full season. The approach looks solid now. NO REALLY IT DOES. But this is a productive major leaguer and that's a huge win for him and the org. The thing I'm hoping rebounds in 2018 is the defense. His framing is starting to come back, after being awful in the beginning. If we see a real jump forward in value, it's marrying the offensive improvements with defense approaching what we saw in 2014. But honestly, given the journey, this version of him is a pretty neat thing.
1-800-CONTACTS (SEE-attle): How many trades could a Dipoto trade if a Dipoto could trade trades?
Megan Rowley: You know how you had to spend a minute with DRA to really wrap your head around it? The math involved in answering this question is more complicated than that.
Trixie (San Diego): Any theories about the Dodgers' sudden collapse?
Megan Rowley: Streaks are so weird. We ascribe so much meaning to things happening in sequence. If the Dodgers had played .500 ball, we'd think nothing of it, given the lead they have. But because it's all lumped together, we're inclined to think it means something, even though (apart from injuries) most studies suggest September performance doesn't really correlate to October performance. They've played some really gnarly-looking baseball, but what do they really have to play for? I think it is just weird. Baseball can be so weird. Right now, they're beating the Giants 4-1. If they string a few together, I think we all calm down.
MonkeyEpoxy (CO): Joey Gallo is awesome - borderline the best. This is a giant 6'5" monolith who can hit big ass dingers and be worth 6.5 baserunning runs. And plays a neutral-to-slightly-below-average 3B. And walks a lot. And K's a lot. Please extol his virtues. Also, tons of dingers. Many dongs. A multitude of home runs. He hits a whole lot of home runs is the gist of this comment. And home runs are awesome. And I want to bathe in the calls of anyone and everyone and anyone who shall ever exist who doubted him. I really just want everyone to acknowledge the the 15% walk rate, 36% strikeout rate, and 8% home run rate. And bow down to the 59% Three True Outcomes. Joey Gallo is our 3TO God, may he be praised, in perpetuity.
Megan Rowley: Joey Gallo is awesome, because Joey Gallo is weird. He's so weird! His game is weird, and he's so tall. He's also awesome because, in the midst of that weirdness and 36% strikeout rate (good gravy), he has still managed to be delightfully entertaining to watch. Given the direction that baseball is heading, the prospect of entertaining 3TO Gods, as you put it, seems like a good thing, because soon it may be all we have.
Jim (Mesa): What is the roof's ceiling?
Megan Rowley: the outside part
dipotonotdipoto (Seattle): If you could turn one player's first and last names into three names, which would you choose? (e.g. Luis Valbuena becomes Luis Val Buena.)
Megan Rowley: Adeiny Hecha Varria
Alex (CA): How would you react if the Mariners signed Ohtani? What if the Rangers signed him?
Megan Rowley: Can I throw a parade, or do I need special permits?
Can I call out sick, or do I need a doctor's note?
Rob Mains (Finger Lakes Wine Country): 1. Potential Mariner FAs are Chooch, Valencia, Alonso, and Dyson, plus Gallardo has a $2M buyout and Iwakuma's is $1M. Safe to say none will be playing for Seattle next year? 2. If the Mariners were to issue a 2017 highlights DVD, what would be the theme song?
Megan Rowley: Someone has to be the backup catcher. I doubt it is Chooch. Someone has to play first base. It could be Daniel Vogelbach, but he doesn't seem ready, so either they go get a guy or look to retain the guy(s) they have now (cheap answer, but it's my chat). Though I am sure he is a nice person, I never want to see Yovani Gallardo pitch again. For anyone. Ever. He looks so miserable. I think Kuma is done. Dyson is the really interesting one for me. The market for his kind of defense first, plus speed guy is always funky, and now he's hurt, so I'm sure there will be concerns about his speed. If he has a market, well, that's what speed do, and I bet he goes elsewhere so he can play full time rather than split with Haniger/Heredia. If he doesn't, I could see them trying to bring him back. As an aside, it's a real shame for Dyson, who was finally going to maybe get paid. So I hope someone pays him. He's been a real treat to watch.
Wright (HuskerLand): Where's Jay Buhner?
Megan Rowley: In his truch, on his way to buy another truck.
Shaemus (Muncie): I hate to say this, but has Jerry Dipoto ever produced a good farm system? Sean Newcomb is the only top pick he's ever drafted that has been good.
Megan Rowley: shruggy emoji
In LA? Nah. In Seattle. Nah (yet?).
Jeff (Indianapolis): What is your opinion on SBnations business model?
Megan Rowley: Just speaking for myself, I was very fortunate to receive great mentorship and exposure at Lookout Landing. I made really great friends, and important contacts who have helped to get me other work. I wouldn't be at BP, or have gotten to write for JABO, or VICE Sports, if it weren't for my time there. I don't think that happens for everyone. I also think that people should be paid fairly for their work, which is a problem industry-wide, and that it is reasonable to have very real concerns about the exposure-as-comp model when the writing jobs that exposure is supposed to help you get are rapidly disappearing.
Karl Dragon (SeaTac): Thank you for making my choice on whether to reup my subscription easy.
Megan Rowley: I hope that means that we can be grateful yet again for your support of Baseball Prospectus. Because we really do appreciate it. And if not, please don't hold others responsible for my terrible puns!
Will (ATX): AL Wild Card: who ya got? And how frustrating is it that it's not the M's?
Megan Rowley: Right this very minute? I think the Yankees in WC 1, Twins in WC 2, although, HOW WITH THAT PITCHING?!
If not the Twins, then the Angels, although, HOW WITH THAT PITCHING?! Also, we need to talk about Andrelton Simmons' year more.
If not the Twins or the Angels, then the Mariners, although, even with Paxton and Felix coming back this week, HOW WITH THAT PITCHING?!
Henry Cotto (Real Washington): I'm suddenly concerned about the M's outfield depth whereas 4 months ago I felt like they were set forever. Should I be concerned?
Megan Rowley: They're in better shape than they were in 2016, 2015, or 2014. They're in less good shape than they were in the first half of this year. The defense is really good; Haniger's bat coming around is encouraging, and even Gamel is hitting a little better, albeit very recently. I continue to be curious how Kyle Lewis factors in long term, and how his health shapes up. I was never a big O'Neill believer, so his departure doesn't change stuff for me much.
Ghandieagle (Seattle): It's a burger cook-off between Mike Zunino and Kyle Seager. What burgers do they grill, who grills the better burger, and which three Mariners are the judges? Yes, Mike gets his promotional grilling apron.
Megan Rowley: Neither strike me as great epicureans, though I could see Mike Zunino mixing in Italian spices and Seager incorporating barbecue. As for judges, I'm not sure of all three, but Nelson Cruz is definitely in the mix.
Jon (NY): Will Luis Severino win a Cy Young in the next 5 years?
Megan Rowley: Will he? Who's to say. Can he? I mean, we aren't talking about his year much because of Sale and Kluber, but Severino's been really impressive, so could he? Sure.
Jim (Chandler AZ): What is the logical endpoint to the low BAvg, swing up slugging trend? Will .205 batting lines become sustainable and normal? Do you forsee a player with a sub .200 Bavg and a WARP over three at any point?
Megan Rowley: It seems likely, given how much they talk about it, that the League will have an interest in intervening before it gets there. So I see the logical endpoint being a rules change or a change to the physical environment (i.e. the mound height) to alter the offensive environment and shift us away from three true outcomes. I think we as writers and very close fan observers tend to fuss a bit too much about how noticeable the current environment is to casual fans, but it's clearly noticeable to MLB, and they don't want a leauge of sub-.200 dudes out there, no matter how many dingers they hit.
Wright (HuskerLand): Zunino gonna hit 40 bombs next year, strikeouts though, over/under 200?
Megan Rowley: Could hit 40, over .200, similarish K%
Jamal (Seattle): Who was the Mariners' best left fielder ever -- John Mabry, Butch Huskey, or Rich Amaral?
Megan Rowley: Rich Amaral
GhandiEAGLE (Seattle): The emerging Ohtani situation has me hyped and fascinated just by the sheer uniqueness of its existence, and no matter what will be a blast to follow. However, in a hypothetical world where the M's seriously attempt to sign him, how do they give him the at-bats he will undoubtedly include as part of his signing?
Megan Rowley: It's really fascinating. Probably the thing I'm the most excited to watch unfold in the offseason other than an almost prurient interest in what the Angels do with their increased payroll flexibility.
And uh, corner outfield with some DH?
Megan Rowley: Ok folks, time for me to go check in on the Dodgers. Thanks for all the great questions, and sorry for what I didn't get to. Hope to do it again soon. And as always, if you have prospect questions, please feel free to bother Craig on twitter. Thanks!