Chat with Keith Law
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, MLB Insider and draft guru Keith Law will be here to take your questions on the MLB draft, which takes place Tuesday and Wednesday.
Law is the senior baseball analyst for Scouts Inc. Before joining ESPN, Law served as special assistant to the general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays and was a writer for Baseball Prospectus.
Send your questions now and join Law to chat Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET!
Keith Law (3:07 PM)
Klawchat: Better late than never.
Why did Stassi fall so far?
Keith Law (3:08 PM)
Signability, more than anything. I know at least one team that was concerned about the fact that he has missed time more than once due to injuries. But he can really hit and if Oakland signs him and Krol that's a hell of a draft.
Jay (Granite City IL)
Keith, what do you think of the Cardinals second round pick, Stock? Is he a pitcher or a catcher?
Keith Law (3:10 PM)
For me, he's a catcher - or more accurately he is NOT a pitcher. But he regressed considerably behind the plate at USC (remember all those stories about how working with Chad Kreuter would be so good for him? Yeah, me too. Didn't happen). Different kind of upside play for St. Louis - but I like it in that it's a risk-lover's move.
DOUG FOSSETT (FREDERICK)
Do you the Boston's 5th round pitcher Braiden Klein will sign or go to UVA?
Keith Law (3:11 PM)
When I talked to him last month, he was pretty insistent that he wanted to go to school. Of course, having a million bucks or so waved in your face can change your mind, but he seemed resolute.
Malcom (Fort Myers, Fla.)
Wondering how much higher or lower Nick Franklin might have gone had Seattle not taken him with number 27. The Red Sox seemed locked in on Feuntes there, same with the Yankees after that. Seems the Cubs wanted a college player at 31, but what about the Rays at 30 or the Rockies at 32? Any chance?
Keith Law (3:12 PM)
He wasn't going round one, not to any of those teams. There may have been someone on him in round two for his defensive potential, but I doubt it. It was clearly an overdraft; one team I talked to after yesterday didn't have him as a day one guy at all.
Any thoughts on the Raul Ibanez PED accusations or his response to them?
Keith Law (3:14 PM)
I haven't heard them, but if this is just "player has an uncharacteristically hot stretch so he must be on something," then that's shameful to even suggest it. He's been one of the best hitters in the NL this year. Why do we have to assume that there's something fishy about it?
Greg (Denver, CO)
Honestly- what are the odds of the Rockies signing Matzek? This seems likely to get nasty, with Matzek's early interviews seemingly indifferent to being drafted ("I get to play 1st base at Oregon!") and the poor-house Rockies with two other draft picks rated in the top 17 by Baseball America.
Keith Law (3:15 PM)
It's already getting nasty. I've become a good bit less optimistic in the last 18 hours on that one. He and Purke are probably the least likely to sign of the first rounders.
Were Paxton and Eliopoulos good value where the Jays picked them, or were they feeling the heat from people who think they should have as many Canadians on the club as possible?
Keith Law (3:16 PM)
Both were good value picks for where they were taken. If they get Paxton signed, that could be a steal - you know I rated him pretty highly, and I still think that if he has a good final start and doesn't choose Boras for an adviser, he's higher on everyone else's boards too.
Derrick (Tulsa, OK)
Were you at all surprised Oliver fell to the 2nd round? Do you see him as a starter or reliever in the pros?
Keith (Seattle, WA)
Do you think the Mariners drafted underslot at 27 and 33 knowing they'd have to fork over a ton of money to sign Ackley? Is it a little strange that they drafted 5 position players on the first day of a pitching-rich draft?
Keith Law (3:18 PM)
It would be hard to justify those two picks on any grounds other than financial grounds.
Steve (Durham, N.H.)
Mike Minor wasn't even in your top 60 last summer, but he went in the top 10 picks this year. What caused the discrepancy -- were you off, or is Atlanta?
Keith Law (3:18 PM)
That top 60 was a ranking, not a projection. But I think Atlanta is vastly overrating Minor - he was absolutely not one of the top ten players in this draft.
Keith Law (3:20 PM)
Now I'm getting unsolicited press releases from the media folks at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Unless they have someone in the string section who can hit the breaking ball, I'm going to say that this is a mistake.
Keith, Are there any teams which, regardless of who they pick, you don't criticize because of the track record of picks that maybe you haven't agreed with but have turned out ok? I'm thinking maybe the Twins and Brewers (Mariners now with Jack Z?) would fit?
Keith Law (3:22 PM)
That would be an abuse of trust, no? You read me because you know I'm objective. I tend to call/email around when a pick surprises me, but I do that regardless of who makes the picks. Incidentally, if I let reputations affect my thinking, I'd be pretty critical of any pitcher the Mariners take, since the Brewers' recent pitching picks haven't on balance been that good, and the stories I've heard on Gallardo were that Jack didn't want him.
How quickly can Leake make it to the the majors with the Reds?
Keith Law (3:22 PM)
He should be in the majors inside of 12 months or the Reds and I both whiffed on our evaluation.
Klaw, the Brewers selection of Arnett was one of only a couple first rounders you were on break for in the blog last night...your thoughts on that pick and Milwaukee's supplemental selections? Thanks.
Keith Law (3:25 PM)
I like Arnett as kind of a "gut feel" guy, so I think it's a great pick - it's top of the rotation stuff in a great athlete with good results in a bad conference. I do worry about lack of track record - I've never seen him live since he didn't pitch over the summer - and how hard he was worked this spring.
Tim M. (Baltimore)
What are your thoughts on the Orioles top 3 picks? Was it an embarrassing pick to take Matt Hobgood with the 5th overall pick?
Keith Law (3:28 PM)
No, that's crazy. Prep pitchers are unpredictable enough that calling taking the
Ryan V. (San Jose, CA)
Is this new chat format as frustrating for you as it is for those of us reading?
Keith Law (3:29 PM)
Yes. And, as you might imagine, I have made my feelings on the new software known to those responsible.
Joshua (Annapolis, MD)
Why are the Phillies in love with tool-laden athletes who can't hit a baseball? Can you say anything nice about their draft?
Keith Law (3:30 PM)
They'll definitely win the Gulf Coast League flag-football title this year.
IC (Houston, TX)
What are your thoughts on the Astors draft? A lot of fans over here are dissapointed...should we be?
Keith Law (3:31 PM)
I like Mier a lot - he can really field and throw, can run, should hit for average. After that, it's not very exciting, not much upside. Curious to see where they play Meyer - he has some potential behind the plate, much less as a 3b.
You never finished your reply about Matt Hobgood with the 5th pick for the Orioles. I'm interested in what you think of that pick.
Klaw (3:35 PM)
Here it is - turns out the number sign breaks the software:No, that's crazy. Prep pitchers are unpredictable enough that calling taking the number-18 overall guy instead of the number-8 overall guy "embarrassing" would be wrong. Sure, I liked Wheeler more, and I would have taken him, but Hobgood is in the discussion. Givens is the other potential impact guy they took - I'm assuming they'll leave him on the mound and probably let him start for a year or two before deciding on whether he should go to the pen. I think he's a potential front-line setup man/closer.
Never too early. Top 5-10 for 2010 Draft!
Klaw (3:39 PM)
Sorry, more technical problems.
Klaw (3:39 PM)
Jason and I are working on a 2010 lookahead piece for Friday.
Will the twins give either Bullock or tootle a chance to start?
Klaw (3:40 PM)
It's possible - they did it with Gutierrez last year, with some success so far - but I think Tootle's future is in the pen.
Joseph (Sacramento, CA)
Keith, why have some of the CA prep catchers fallen? Stassi went much later than expected, due to the aforementioned contract demands, but Susac is still available. What is happening with him? I thought catchers were actually an "overdraft" position. Thanks.
Klaw (3:41 PM)
I'm pretty sure Susac went about a half-hour ago. Phillies? Anyway, it's price. And there are questions about Susac's swing and Stassi's shoulder.
Mark (San Diego)
Why hasn't anybody taken AJ Griffin yet?
Klaw (3:42 PM)
I think he's going to go back to school and be the Friday night starter. His stuff was down by year end because they worked him so hard. That's a good rotation next year with him and Blair. And I will never, ever turn down a chance to do a scouting trip to San Diego. Maybe I'll bring the family - I understand there's a zoo there of some note.
Were you surprised that Detroit took Turner over Matzek? Turner's obviously fits the David Chadd profile, but Matzek isn't exactly a soft-tosser.
Klaw (3:43 PM)
They were on Turner for a month - I wouldn't expect to see them call an audible in that situation unless Strasburg fell into their laps. And although I prefer Matzek, Turner has a quicker arm and more consistent velo.
UNC Fan (Omaha)
I know you are not high on Matt Harvey but do you consider him a 1st rounder next year?
Klaw (3:44 PM)
Yes, but he has to have a better season to nail that down. To put it another way, if you asked me to name 20 first-rounders for next year, I probably would omit him, but if you asked me to name 40, he'd be on it.
Dan (Des Moines)
Any picks in day 2 that had you saying "that's a great pick"?
Klaw (3:46 PM)
Stassi, Krol, Songco, Bailey, Hagerty (let the man catch!), Ryan Jackson (off my 100, but good value for that pick). And Brooks Raley at 200 - wow.
Derrick (Tulsa, OK)
Tyler Lyons went in the 10th round to the Yankees, 4 or 5 rounds lower than most around here thought. Did his 2 starts in 4 days, throwing a total of 218 pitches in the regionals have any impact on his draft status? Are there other reasons he slipped or did he go about where most thought he'd go?
Klaw (3:47 PM)
His stuff was down all year, and so was his performance. He might even be a "summer follow" - let him go pitch in a wood bat league in June, send some scouts in, see if the month or so off helps bring his stuff back.
Zac (San Diego)
Thoughts on some of the early second day picks of the Sox? Who's likely to sign out of some of the Younginer, Volz, Jacobs, Kline type picks? Thanks
Klaw (3:48 PM)
As usual, I love their draft. Klein is the least likely to sign. Volz would seem to have the least leverage and be most likely to sign - stick him in the pen and let him go.
Keith, if teams draft 50 guys, how many do they actually want to sign and put in the system? All 50 would mess up the minors for them obviously. So what is the actual thinking?
Klaw (3:50 PM)
Depends on the club but most sign 20-30 guys, maybe 35 if they want to release some older guys from extended spring training rather than return them to rookie ball.
You've talked a bit about Matzek already - it seems like the Rockies finally took some high-upside and not "safe" guys with their early picks, since they had three of the first 34. Overall assessment of those three, factoring in signability as well as projection?
Klaw (3:51 PM)
Definitely a strong start - Brothers has a first-round arm and he's not a bad-performance guy either. Wheeler is solid, I think he stays in center unless he runs into Fowler, and his bat plays there (but not in LF/RF). Paulsen I don't get - mediocre defensive 1b, seems like in Colorado you should overemphasize defense.
Chris (Orange, NJ)
Hey Keith, I was wondering why you think the Yankees decided to go with catcher J.R Murphy with Max Stassi still available. How do you rate the Yankees draft so far this year with Heathcott and Murphy?
Klaw (3:53 PM)
Just speculating, but they probably knew they were going to have to spend two million on Heathcott and didn't want to have to drop another two on Stassi and then have no flexibility later in the draft. Those are the kind of players the Yankees should be taking - no more Ian Kennedys, not up top.
Klaw, I was wondering what you thought of the Mets' draft. Since they picked so late, I wasn't expecting any true impact players, but do you think they passed on any players with signability concerns so they could pay slot (not even going to get into that!)
Klaw (3:54 PM)
Matz is probably an over-slot guy, but otherwise it's a pretty conservative group.
Any thoughts on Pittsburgh's second-day picks? Den Dekker appears to have been a nice value selection. Great call on Sanchez by the way.
Klaw (3:57 PM)
Thanks. I don't like den Dekker at all - never did, and he killed any shot at redemption when I saw him at the SEC. Anyway, they have done some of what they said they would do, reallocating money to grabbing good HS pitchers in later rounds. Consider this: They could end up with Sanchez, Cain, Baron von Rosenburg (I'm going to pull a Simmons and push that nickname until it sticks), and Stephenson for less than it would have cost to sign Matzek, never mind another couple hundred grand for three slot picks later.
Thoughts on Jays drafting Daniel Webb, seem to recall he was rated fairly high previously but has struggled of late
Klaw (3:58 PM)
I was threatened with bodily harm by a cross-checker if I put Webb on my top 100 this year. I'm not even sure it was safe to take that question.
When you say "those are the kind of guys the Yankees should be taking" do you mean they should have taken Stassi over Murphy?
Klaw (3:58 PM)
I meant taking guys like Heathcott and Murphy. Stassi too, but I wasn't criticizing the Murphy pick.
Keith, what are your thoughts on the twins leaving last years top picks: Hicks, Hermsen, and Ladendorf in extendeds for this long?
Klaw (4:01 PM)
I hate it. Ladendorf is 21. If he can't break camp with a full-season club at 21, he is not a prospect. (And I liked him in the draft, so I'm really confused.) Hicks was excellent in the GCL - he should have seen low-A this year. Hermsen is the one I can understand, as he was unpolished and was probably a two-year short-season guy from the start.
Chris (Newport Beach, CA)
Keith, I look forward to all your chats. Very important draft for the Angels, how did they do yesterday? I know you didn't like their first pick, but what about the rest? Thanks!
Klaw (4:03 PM)
They took Jake Locker. I just discovered that - Locker doesn't even play college baseball, just played in a small wood-bat league last year where he out-athleted everybody. Anyway, they took a lot of raw HS players and hard-throwing college arms with so-so to bad control. There's a lot of upside but much of it is low-probability to me.
What are the "Character Issues" with Slade Heathcott? Thanks!
Klaw (4:05 PM)
It's not really him, it's his parents. His father is in jail on drug charges and his mother is out of the picture as well, so the unstable home situation is a concern to some teams/scouts. I don't think corruption of blood is a good scouting philosophy, personally.
$5 to ESPN. Hate the new software. (I realize you probably can't post that)
Klaw (4:06 PM)
Can and will. But send the $5 to the GlobalGiving project.
Did you see Marrow is back to being a SP again?
Klaw (4:07 PM)
That was last night. I believe Seattle returned him to the bullpen before breakfast today, but got indigestion after their second lattes and then put him in the rotation again.
Any thoughts on Billy Hamilton?
Klaw (4:08 PM)
Can run. Can't hit. Best of luck.
Did you expect Chad Jenkins to go in the 1st Round?
Klaw (4:09 PM)
Yes - I had written more than once that he was in Toronto's mix, and he was in the mix as high as 10, although that was only if Washington's board blew up a little.
bruno (san francisco)
thoughts on the giants draft?? as good as recenet years?? Can Dominguez and joseph eventually help their lack of power?
Klaw (4:10 PM)
Good values up top, even more if they can sign Graham. I'm not a Dominguez fan. I know they'll catch some flak for taking a catcher so high, but Posey will start 2010 in the big leagues and Joseph will start it in low-A or extended spring. That's plenty of space.
Keith (Carlsbad, CA)
Thoughts on the Padres draft thus far? Please tell me it's looking better than their last, oh, I don't know, 20 drafts?
Chris (Somerset, NJ)
Any thoughts on Shaver Hansen? At least he has interesting bloodlines, no?
Klaw (4:11 PM)
Liked him last summer, liked him a lot less this spring.
Kyle (Buffalo, NY)
Not a draft question but maybe you want to answer that one: What happend to Phil Hughes' slider? If I'm not mistaken he threw a pretty good slider in HS. Did he ditch that pitch completely? Why?
Klaw (4:12 PM)
I've only seen him fastball-curveball with an occasional change.
Mel, Jr. ((Bal-tee-more, hon))
Klaw, how do you feel about being referred to as the, "Mel Kiper, Jr. of the MLB draft?" Your hair has nothing on mine!
Klaw (4:13 PM)
That's why I keep it short for the draft every year. I know I can't hang with the pompadour.
Peter (Los Angeles)
Thoughts on Dodgers first pick Aaron Miller? LHP with minimal exp. Another snag by Logan White? Also odd the Dodgers sign Gould?
Klaw (4:14 PM)
I don't think Gould needs first-round money to sign unless his price spiked in the last week before the draft. That's a sleeper draft for me with him and Miller - Miller faded a little down the stretch and it may have depressed his value in a lot of eyes (including mine).
Kevin (San Diego)
Keith, you never answered the question about your thoughts on the Padres draft thus far....
Klaw (4:16 PM)
Well, I think I did, but the chat software ate it. Like the change in approach, willingness to take prep guys, attention to upside. That's not the basket of players I would have chosen, though, except for Hagerty. I'm not huge on Tate, Williams, or Sampson.
Klaw (4:17 PM)
Mikolas has a chance as a reliever - he was a decent grab at that spot.
Twins were high on UofMN shortstop Derek McCallum and took him in the fourth round. A reach?
Klaw (4:18 PM)
Not at all - I had him at the end of my top 100, which is close to where they took him. Like him, that's better than just a "take the local kid" pick.
Any draft-wrap columns planned? assigning grades, etc?
Klaw (4:19 PM)
I'll do another wrap piece today but I don't do draft grades.
Is Damien Magnifico the best name of the draft?
Klaw (4:21 PM)
Brooks Pounders is tough to beat. If he makes the majors, I am officially predicting a Bill Simmons Brooks Pounders/Boogie Nights joke.
JJ (Liberty Twp, OH)
Did that BC closer who pitched 9 innings last week get drafted yet?
Klaw (4:22 PM)
Yesterday - Belfiore is his name. Wood went day in the 5th. He might have to sign the contract with his non-pitching arm, though. Incidentally, I see Augie ben Doggie is going to skate on this. I guess it doesn't matter what you do to your players - or behind the wheel of your car - as long as you have some championship rings. Shame on the University of Texas. One wonders if they teach their students to avoid accountability too.
What's the average budget for a team for its draft? What's the range? It seems like paying an extra 500k or a million to lock up 5 years of Stassi would be worth it over
Klaw (4:23 PM)
I agree with what you said before you got cut off, at least. Range is five to ten million for a single club.
Keith, The Dodgers just took Rich Shaffer in the 25th round....how does he project in the majors?
Klaw (4:24 PM)
I think that's just a flier - he's very likely to go to school.
Renfroe - SS or P?
Since you don't do grades, care to give a team you thought has had the best draft so far? Just one team...
Klaw (4:24 PM)
Klaw (4:24 PM)
When was the last time the Braves had a good draft?
Klaw (4:25 PM)
2007 brought Heyward and Freeman. Was that a bad draft? I'm curious what has to happen for you to call it a good one. Ruth and Mantle on day one, and Lefty Grove in the 28th round?
Have you heard any response from the U. of Texas regarding Wood? Do you expect to?
Klaw (4:27 PM)
Of course not. They want it to go away so they can avoid the reality that their baseball coach is reckless, incompetent, and believes himself to be above any sort of accountability. They should just make him chancellor if they're not going to rein him in or fire him.
Klaw (4:28 PM)
Other good drafts, focusing mostly on the top few rounds where odds are kids will sign: Texas, Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Toronto, Colorado (if they sign Matzek), San Francisco.
Buzzmaster (5:16 PM)
Hey everyone. We were having some tech issues with Keith...so he finished up the chat.