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August 13, 1:23 PM ET
Chat with Scouts Inc.'s Keith Law

Keith Law
  (1:00 PM)

Complimented much, but never blushing ... I'm back.

Chad (shreveport,LA)

Klaw, thanks for the chat. Is Robert Stock eligible for next year's draft, and if so, how high do you think he could go? Top 10?

Keith Law
  (1:01 PM)

He is eligible, he's really regressed since HS, and I wouldn't take him in the top two rounds.

Dennis (Santa Clarita, CA)

Klaw, Why is the waiver wire info secret, at least to fans. Why can't MLB set us a web page where fans could see the waiver wire details in real time? What would be the harm? Bloggers going nuts?

Keith Law
  (1:02 PM)

I know for outright waivers, the concern is not letting the players know they're on waivers. I don't see why major-league waivers (the kind we're talking about this month for trades) are kept secret; MLB should at least allow teams to say when a player has cleared or been blocked.

Will (Milwaukee)

Keith, could you put odds on the likelihood that Westmoreland and Alvarez are in Vanderbilt jerseys next season?

Keith Law
  (1:02 PM)

40% and 10%.

Curtis (KC)

Keith, great to have you back. Mike Moustakas seems to have finally figured out the Midwest league, posting a 1.130 OPS with 6 HR so far in August. Does this change your thinking on him at all?

Keith Law
  (1:02 PM)

Tiny sample.

Chris (Falmouth, MA)

hey KLAW, When will your top Cape Cod leaguers list come out?!?!

Keith Law
  (1:03 PM)

Probably in the next few days - it's about 80% written.

Corey (Madison, WI)

Keith: I recently finished your top two (The Master/Tender is the Night), and while I enjoyed both immensely (especially The Master; "Tender" is awfully tragic) I'm more concerned with your top 2 in the NL- Who do you think is coming out of the National League- Cubs or Brewers (or other)?

Keith Law
  (1:04 PM)

I'd take the Cubs, with the deeper roster and stronger pen, over the Brewers, with the better 1-2 punch in the rotation.

Dre (Chicago)

Would you try Mark Reynolds at 2B when The Justin Upton comes off the DL next week? or keep Reynolds at 3B, leaving Augie Ojeda at 2B, and sending Chad Tracy to the bench?

Keith Law
  (1:04 PM)

I'd bench Tracy. Reynolds at 2b sounds like a big defensive dropoff, and Brandon Webb might go postal.

Jason (Miss)

Have you heard any reasons why Nolan Reimold is still in AA?

Keith Law
  (1:05 PM)

I have not and was wondering the same thing. He's been there for the equivalent of over a full season - he should be in AAA.

Dan (des monies)

RE: Moustakas, if he was moved to catcher, he would be a top 5 C in the minors?

Keith Law
  (1:05 PM)

Yes, absolutely.

Jon (DC)

Nats sign Nieto, but it looks like "no" on Crow. Thoughts?

Keith Law
  (1:06 PM)

That's what I'm hearing on Crow as well. Sounds like ownership relented somewhat on the signing budget, but not enough to slide Crow in, and to his/his advisor's credit, they're sticking to their guns. I wouldn't read anything into the indy league signing, though - that's just posturing.

Ronak (NY)

Do you still think Fernando Martinez is top-notch prospect?

Keith Law
  (1:06 PM)

Yes.

Wrong again (MA)

Keith, you've said many times that Jed Lowrie would have to move off shortstop. Well, he the new shortstop for the Red Sox. How did your keen eye miss this?

Jacob (Brooklyn)

Do you disagree with the idea that Longoria being out actually strengthens his MVP case if the Rays collapse without him? Or are you an idiot?

Keith Law
  (1:08 PM)

I've been called an idiot by some people with strong knowlege of the subject of idiocy. And I have to say that was one of the weirdest arguments I've seen in a long time, that a player's injury *helps* his MVP case.

Nick (New York)

KLaw -- As of today, Matzek or Purke? Davidson or Tate? I'm taking Matzek/Davidson.

Keith Law
  (1:08 PM)

Me too. I like Purke's arm a ton but the lowish slot concerns me.

jd, ny

Keith, whats up with Cole, Bleich, and Bittle?

Keith Law
  (1:09 PM)

Cole is less than 50/50 to sign. Bleich will sign and get over slot. Bittle's got some arm trouble and will go back to school.

Chris (NYC)

Is Strasburg the unquestioned 1.1 right now? What are the knocks on him?

Keith Law
  (1:10 PM)

He's definitely the top guy on my pref list for the spring. His fastball command needs work, and I've seen days where his breaking ball was ordinary. But the class is down in every area (college arms, college bats, HS arms, HS bats), and Strasburg is head and shoulders ahead of any other candidate.

JM (Pembroke Pines, FL)

Michael stanton is having a monster season. Who does he compare to? and just how good is he?

Keith Law
  (1:11 PM)

He's having a monster power season, but the rest of his performance isn't so impressive - poor plate discipline, huge K rate. He could just be the next Jason Stokes (sans wrist injuries).

Dan (DC)

Rumor is that Matusz wants a major league deal. This is normally a terrible idea, and the O's are probably particularly hesitant given the Loewen fiasco, but might he be the type of guy where it's worth it, considering most are projecting him to be a fast riser anyways?

Keith Law
  (1:11 PM)

Yes, he's a rare case where I might relent on a major-league deal. He should be in the big leagues inside of 18 months anyway.

Jack (Chicago)

Jim Hendry is never mentioned among the elite GMs in baseball. Sure he has not won a WS yet, but looking at his track record he has made some great deals with only one glaring mistake (Juan Pierre). The Jim Edmonds and Reed Johnson signings may be the difference between the WC and division championship. Is it time to give Hendry his due?

Keith Law
  (1:12 PM)

A lot of his moves haven't had time to go sour - the eight-year Soriano contract looks fine now, but when it's half done we might be saying otherwise. But I will say that Hendry's entire reputation has turned around since December '06. He's put together a good and fairly complete roster and been aggressive about upgrading it.

Mike (Schaumburg, IL)

Hey Keith, is Carlos Quentin still a rookie? With Longoria's injury, does this move CQ above him in the voter's eyes?

Keith Law
  (1:14 PM)

He exhausted his rookie eligibility in 2006. The rule is 130 big league at bats or 50 big league IP or 45 days on the active roster during the 25-man limit (i.e., before 9/1).

Bryan (Tampa)

Keith.. Will the Rays sign Kyle Lobstein before the deadline?

Keith Law
  (1:14 PM)

Yes.

Ryan (Pittsburgh)

Do you see Pedro Alvarez being like Wieters and Moustakas (I think) a year ago and, just when it looks like they won't get a deal done and they'll miss the deadline, they agree to terms because Alvarez relents?

Keith Law
  (1:14 PM)

I think he and Hosmer will sign around 11:59 pm Friday night.

Daniel (Stockton, CA)

What's the ceiling of SS Brandon Crawford?

Keith Law
  (1:14 PM)

John McDonald.

Nick, Texas

Will the Rangers get Smoak signed? Think about a Hamilton, Smoak, Davis 3-4-5 in the future!

Keith Law
  (1:15 PM)

Yes, I think he and Robbie Ross will sign tomorrow.

Frank (New Haven)

Hey Keith, my bandmates and I have our first gig tonight, any suggestions for a band name?

Keith Law
  (1:16 PM)

Anthony's Trollops.

Patrick (Minneapolis)

What's your thoughts on Bill Smith's tenure as a GM? So far I'm not a huge fan of either the Garza or Santana deals.

Keith Law
  (1:17 PM)

If they keep Santana instead of trading him for Nothing Special, Oh Kay, and Not Much, they're 3-4 games up right now and potential October favorites. Although, to be fair, the keep vs trade decision may have been ownership's and not Smith's.

Tom (Boston)

Should the fact that Meyer at least apparently has a number be encouraging for Sox fans? Odds he signs?

Keith Law
  (1:17 PM)

The Sox aren't optimistic.

Casey, LA, CA

If you had to win a world series in the next 2 years who are you taking? Dice-K or Billingsley?

Keith Law
  (1:17 PM)

Billingsley.

Brian (Bloomington, IL)

Dp you think Lars Anderson can develope into a middle of the lineup MLB hitter?

Keith Law
  (1:18 PM)

Yes.

Todd (Dennis, MA)

Keith, from a scout's perspective, if a young kid, say in the 12-14 year-old age, wants to learn pitches other than fastballs, what would you recommend considering effectiveness and low potential for arm damage?

Keith Law
  (1:18 PM)

Changeup.

Dan (Nutley, NJ)

TBJ finish over .500? 62-59 now, but after today 28 straight vs NYY, BOS, TB, CHI, MIN.

Keith Law
  (1:19 PM)

They could end up around 83-84 wins. And then we'll hear about how they would have won 90+ if it wasn't for all the injuries. Because, you know, that Rolen injury was TOTALLY unforeseeable.

Danny (NYC)

Keith, love your chats! Got a Mets question for you - is Daniel Murphy the real deal, or is he swimming well in the shallow end of the pool but destined to drown in deeper waters?

Keith Law
  (1:20 PM)

I'll see the Mets in a few weeks, but I think he's a fringe-average regular or a great 4th OF.

mitchell (texas)

Is David Murphy still a 4th OF in your opinion? and how high do u see derek holland in your top 100 next year?

Keith Law
  (1:23 PM)

Yes, I tend to feel that way about hitters with .321 OBPs who play in great hitters' parks and don't hit lefties. If Holland keeps cruising in AA, he's at least top 50, chance to be top 25-30.

Jonathan (Tampa, FL)

What is your take on Pablo Sandoval? Can he catch full-time or is he destined for first?

Keith Law
  (1:23 PM)

I never saw him catch - he was at the Futures Game but didn't suit up behind the plate. He's awfully heavy to stay back there 140 times a year, though. He can hit.

John (Oakland)

Hey KLAW--At what point to teams just stop dealing with Scott Boras's players, whether that is the draft or free agency. It just seems that there is more headache and overpayment then there is value.

Keith Law
  (1:25 PM)

Next year, he will be advising Strasburg, Green, Ackley, and Oliver, at the least. If you pick in the top 4, are you really going to scratch those four guys off your list?

evan (cincinnati)

Any word on Alonso?

Keith Law
  (1:26 PM)

Reds aren't optimistic, but I think he'll sign. Him, Smoak, Posey (close to signing) ... what's their alternative, go back and have a better year? Not bloody likely.

Pat (Boston, MA)

Why did Seattle pick Josh Fields and then wait until the deadline to sign him? Originally, I thought the only defensible reason for the Mariners to pick him would be to get him to the majors asap (this season perhaps)

Keith Law
  (1:26 PM)

He's a senior - no deadline. He can hold out till May. To your main point, it was a mistake all around, compounding every day they fail to sign him. But hey, Bill Bavasi and Bob Fontaine have been doing this a long time...

Flemming (Copenhagen, Denmark)

So surprised the Snakes traded for Dunn. They don't need more K's. Sure, Dunn hits 40 HR's and OBP's around .380, but what about grit and determination and all that stuff. Surely that must matter, too.......no? Ok.

Keith Law
  (1:27 PM)

They learned he has Seasonal Affective Disorder and figured more sunlight would reignite his passion to play baseball.

Blaine (Harrisburg)

How many O's crack your top 100 next year? I'm thinking Wieters Tillman Matusz and Arrieta. Do Reimold or any of the AA pitchers make it?

Keith Law
  (1:28 PM)

That's a dangerous game without sitting down to mock out a 100, but I'd definitely have Wieters, Tillman, Matusz, and Reimold on there. Arrietta would be borderline - I don't see a huge upside, although his performance has been solid to date.

Junior (Fort Wayne, IN)

Doesn't Richard Wright's Native Son have to be near the top of the pantheon of modern literature?

Keith Law
  (1:29 PM)

It made my top 100.

Brent

Where do you think Gordon Beckham plays for the White Sox SS or 2b? He seems like a player who could be in the bigs by 2010. Thoughts? Thanks.

Keith Law
  (1:30 PM)

Shortstop. Natural range might be a little short but he makes up for it with good reads and instincts. He's destined to be overrated as a scrappy white guy who plays hard (but I do like him quite a bit).

Will (NY)

Whos the early favorite for number 1 on next years 100?

Keith Law
  (1:30 PM)

Wieters.

Mason Barrett (Morristown, NJ)

Re: Murphy, how can classify Shea as a "great hitters' park"? Unless you ding 1 out the corners or are Mike Piazza, HRs are very hard to come by in Queens.

Keith Law
  (1:30 PM)

Different Murphy.

Shawn (NYC)

Best SP in the minors is...

Keith Law
  (1:31 PM)

Price, bar none.

Ben (Omaha, NE)

Keith, you say Beckham will be a SS, does that mean you think he will play somewhere other than Chicago or are you playing Alexei Ramirez somewhere like CF or 2B?

Keith Law
  (1:31 PM)

Ramirez is a small train wreck at SS. I think he's a CF ultimately. Plays too out of control for the middle infield.

Chris (NYC)

I dont understand why you dont live the save rule. Brian Stokes threw 4 innings last night in a 12-0 game to get his first save. I was on the edge of my seat

Keith Law
  (1:32 PM)

I don't mean to speak ill of the dead, but the idea that the invention of the save rule was a positive achievement by Holtzman is absurd.

Briks, Philly

Wieters should be Rookie of the Year in '08. Look at how Baltimore is struggling without him.

Keith Law
  (1:33 PM)

Only if he gets hurt for a few weeks in August.

Jonathan (Tampa, FL)

Jim Bowden has to be fired before the end of the season right? No way the Nats let him take part in the Winter Meetings and in free agency this offseason. He ruins everything!

Keith Law
  (1:35 PM)

Everyone is assuming that job becomes vacant after the season, between the poor team performance and his involvement in the Dominican bonus/embezzlement scandal. Seattle's open, Philly will open (but may just be filled internally), and it is possible that Toronto, LAD, NYY, and SF could have openings, although none of those is better than 50% right now.

pj (london)

what do the giants have in Alderson and Bumgarner? potential #1's, 2's, other? Would they be better off trading these guys this offseason for bats? Or just keep assumulating talent and check back in 2010?

Keith Law
  (1:36 PM)

Potential #1s. I wouldn't make it a strategy to trade either of those guys, but you never say never and label a player untouchable.

Pat (Boston, MA)

At the time, I remember Jordan Danks being considered a stretch or even a favor to John Danks, yet he is asking for over slot anyway. Does this make any sense?

Keith Law
  (1:37 PM)

No, there is no way I'd give him the ~$600K he wants. They screwed up enough by taking Kenny's kid in the sixth round; don't compound the error.

Grant (Atl GA)

Is it really necessary to own a chef's knife and a santoku blade? Would it be better to own one quality blade or to try and budget the both of them?

Keith Law
  (1:37 PM)

I'd just go with the chef's knife. I own one of each, but use the chef's knife far more often.

Mike (Baltimore, MD)

what is with the Yankees' pitcher development? With all the arms in the minors (Brackman, Horne, Marquez, Betances, Sanchez, Melancon, etc.) why are we still having to deal with the likes of Rasner and Giese?

Keith Law
  (1:39 PM)

Brackman's hurt. Horne's hurt (again) and terrible when he tried to come back. Marquez has been awful (and where's that Yankee fan who tried to snark me over Marquez last year?). Betances is several years away. Melancon's a reliever, ultimately. They don't have anyone close and good enough to come fill those spots.

Bob (Tinley Park, IL)

Since I'm a scrappy white guy, though you haven't answered any of my other questions, I will try another one. Of the places you mentioned, where would you like to be the GM if you had your choice?

Keith Law
  (1:40 PM)

I don't want to answer that question when we're discussing GM seats that are still occupied. Even in the abstract, it's not fair to those GMs to make it sound like I want their jobs.

Chris (NYC)

Price or Strasburg

Keith Law
  (1:40 PM)

Price.

Mike (Tampa, fl)

How does Michael Givens compare to this years #1 Tim Beckham?

Keith Law
  (1:41 PM)

Significantly less advanced as a ballplayer. I'd like to see more of Givens on the mound, actually.

Pat (Boston, MA)

Do you see Scheppers or Melville signing?

Keith Law
  (1:41 PM)

Less than 50%, and 100%.

Jared (Seattle, WA)

Hey Keith, love the chats. Obviously hoping that Washburn clears waivers soon and finds himself a new home. That said, I'd like to know what you think of another Mariner. Raul Ibanez has been going nuts lately, any reason we can't try and swing a waiver wire deal for some prospects? What kind of haul do you think we might get in return? Thanks!

Keith Law
  (1:42 PM)

I think Ken Rosenthal wrote that both guys had been claimed.

Fred, Columbus

Scouting report on Dallas Buck? Can Owings get it done as a ML starter or should they try him in the OF?

Keith Law
  (1:43 PM)

Pre-TJ surgery ... after his freshman year at OSU he was 91-94 with ++ sink and a good slider, then OSU slagged him and he was 86-88 the following summer with good sink or 89-91 and dead straight. Haven't seen him since the surgery, but even so I'd rather give him a good six months or so of pitching before evaluating him. You can see how long it took Liriano to recover - stuff was still down in April, now it's most of the way back.

Pat (Boston, MA)

Is Micah Owings going to clear waivers? I know he is injured right now and technically can't be sent through yet.

Keith Law
  (1:44 PM)

It's irrelevant in the big picture - if he's blocked, he'll be traded to the Reds in the next waiver period instead (when everyone clears).

Nick (Pitt)

The whispers in the local paper up yonder is that the holdup w/ Alvarez is the desire for a major league contract, something Pit doesnt want to do. If you had to guess, which side, if any, do you see caving on this issue? Would a player like Alvarez (or better put, Boras) accept an even higher bonus in place of a major league deal?

Keith Law
  (1:45 PM)

Yep, it's happened a few times. Wieters took a minor league deal, and so did Jered Weaver.

Alexei Rameriz

Is it possible for my OBP to be lower than my BA?

Keith Law
  (1:46 PM)

That is an experiment you are fully qualified to carry out.

Jeremy (NY)

Is Eddie Kunz the answer?

Keith Law
  (1:46 PM)

No.

James (Seattle WA)

Last time you said the Mariners should do a complete teardown and rebuild (I agree.) But would you deal the top asset--Felix--or just build around him?

Keith Law
  (1:47 PM)

I'd set an extremely high price on him. Never say never ... would you take Longoria and Price for him, for example? ... but he'd be the one guy there I'd be most inclined to keep. Well, him and Adam Jones. Oh.

Anthony (Columbia, MD)

Is Jeremy Guthrie on his way to becoming a solid number one? He's put up pretty good numbers this year and could have had a couple more wins if he had some run support earlier in the season.

Keith Law
  (1:48 PM)

He's more of a 2/3. You really have to miss more bats to be a #1.

Brian (Brooklyn)

After reading your Owings question I got me thinking...For post July 31 deals can teams always claim that a player is PTBNL and wait until the next waiver period?

Keith Law
  (1:49 PM)

Yes - Adam Stern for Javy Lopez is one example.

Daniel (Stockton, CA)

Off the top of your distinguished head, where would you currently place a Bumgarner and an Alderson in a Top 100 Prospect list?

Keith Law
  (1:50 PM)

Top 40, at least. I'm still higher on Alderson than Bumgarner; even though Bumgarner has the higher ceiling, Alderson is much more polished.

marcos

A fun game to play is: How many pitchers can hit better than Andruw Jones? It's a treat the whole family can enjoy.

Keith Law
  (1:50 PM)

Takes too long.

Jeff (Minneapolis)

Could Scott Baker be an ace? Does he have the highest ceiling of any of the young twins starters (sans Liriano)?

Keith Law
  (1:52 PM)

Back-end guy, tops.

Will (NYC)

Hi Keith, love the chats. Could Jesus Montero be an all-star level 1b? How do you project Zach McAllister? If Dellin Betances can get his walks down, do you like his upside?

Keith Law
  (1:52 PM)

Yes, at least a #3, and sure why not.

Jeremy (NY)

What Olympic events are you watching?

Keith Law
  (1:53 PM)

Remarkably little. We record the 5-hour block at night and watch it in about 90 minutes. BTW, synchronized diving = weirdest. sport. ever.

Justin (Chicago)

"He's more of a 2/3. You really have to miss more bats to be a #1." What does that make Greg Maddux for his career?

Keith Law
  (1:54 PM)

This is the Greg Maddux with 3300 strikeouts and four seasons of 190+, right? Is that the guy you're talking about?

Chris (wheaton)

Can you explain why strikeouts are a big deal? Isn't an out, an out? thanks so much!

Keith Law
  (1:55 PM)

For a hitter, right, they're not a big deal. But a pitcher who misses bats is much less dependent on his defense. Strikeouts also seem to have more predictive value for pitchers as they move up the ladder.

Mitchell {NYC}

Yanks seem to have NO intention to move Jesus Montero off catcher has he improved defensively this year and at 18 should continue to improve. Offensively he is dominating a league made up of players 3 years or more older then him. He has to be in the top 2 or 3 catchering prospects? How would you rate his upside as oppssed to Wieters {whos is 4 years older}.

Keith Law
  (1:55 PM)

I wouldn't put him in the top 2 or 3 catching prospects because I don't believe he'll end up a catcher. I don't enjoy pretending.

Allyson, Dallas

Will Holland and Feliz both be in your top 25ish minor league players?

Keith Law
  (1:56 PM)

Feliz will be in the top 10.

Underage Chinese Gymnast, Beijing

Is kevin Youkilis as good a player as Mark Texiera? I know he usually falls off towards the end of the year (youkilis) but this year he seems to be embracing the cleanup role now that Manny's gone.

Keith Law
  (1:58 PM)

Youkilis is having a better year than Teixeira, but if you're asking me on whom I'd bet for, say, 2009, I'd probably take Teix - more power, switch-hits, at least Youk's equal on D. Someone else asked about Youk's MVP chances - he'd probably be in my top 5, definitely in my top 10, and has absolutely no shot with the dinosaurs.

John (Columbus)

Do you think that there is a chance that old teammates of C.C. and Cliff Lee could win both Cy Youngs this year?

Keith Law
  (1:59 PM)

"In what league is Sabathia going to win the Cy Young?" asks Brandon W. of Phoenix, AZ.

Jonathan (Tampa, FL)

If you were Commish for one day what changes would you make? Would you make the NL have the DH?

Keith Law
  (2:00 PM)

I'd like to see the DH in both leagues but it wouldn't be a priority. My current #1 pet peeve is running over the catcher at the plate. This isn't football. Enforce the obstruction rule and then penalize any runner who tries to clean the catcher's clock.

Ryan (NY)

Maddux only had 2 years over 190. Also, I think the poster was more referencing the K/9 (which usually hovered around 6-7) rather than accumulated K over his career (3000 K is more approachable when you pitch 20+ years). Though, your overall point about Maddux is well taken.

Keith Law
  (2:02 PM)

1991, 92, 93, and 98 (204) were all over 190, right? I'm looking at his baseball-reference page right now. His strikeout rates were very good; he was also a groundball pitcher and historically stingy with the walk. I'm preaching to the choir, aren't I?

jw(nh)

perhaps in a league where CC goes 11-0 and leads his team to the WC over said Mr. "W" and the writers start shanking each other for the chance to vote for him first and write drivel about his 'broad shoulders carrying an inexperienced team' while other's talk about how he faded in the play-offs last year and is only pitching well b/c it's his walk year....yeah, I'm gunna head over to fjm for 5 min. brb

Keith Law
  (2:02 PM)

This is essentially the logic that got Shannon Stewart votes in '03.

Jack, Northern NJ

Pet Peeve #2: Fine umpires who do not call a pitch a strike when a player leans into the zone and is HBP.

Keith Law
  (2:03 PM)

Absolutely. And is it too much to ask for uniform strike zones? Screw instant replay, I'd rather see automated ball/strike calls.

Brandon (Nashville)

We going two hours today?

Keith Law
  (2:03 PM)

Daughter has a doctor's appointment at 3:30 so I'll be done by 2:45.

Peter - Chicago

Are you serious, KLAW? Have you even seen Alexei Ramirez play second? He's electric. His arm alone makes plays that the average guy couldn't make. Try watching some games before making up your mind, pal.

Keith Law
  (2:04 PM)

I love this logic. 1) Analyst says something bad about my favorite player. 2) Present vague, anecdotal evidence. 3) Assume that Analyst has never seen player. But, um, yeah, I've seen him. He belongs in the outfield.

George (Oakland)

Where do you rank the Giants farm system? Who would you rank as their top 5 prospects?

Keith Law
  (2:05 PM)

Top 5 overall. Top prospects ... Alderson, Villalona, Bumgarner, Gillaspie, Sosa. Posey slides in at the top when he signs.

Grant (Atl GA)

Any reason why you prefer Henckels over Shun or the others?

Keith Law
  (2:06 PM)

Grip. Just very comfortable for my hand. It's entirely a personal decision, though - I don't think there's an objective reason to choose one brand or another.

Dan (Atlantic City, NJ)

What's your opinion about Michael Taylor's potential? He has adjusted nicely at Clearwater after a rough start.

Keith Law
  (2:06 PM)

I'm a big skeptic on him - great athlete, showed me next to no baseball skills when I saw him as an amateur.

Jonathan (Tampa, FL)

Would you ever vote for a reliever for the Cy Young award?

Keith Law
  (2:08 PM)

If he threw 100+ innings with outstanding performance, sure. Probably not a #1 vote, but in the right year a guy like that could sneak in. But a 60-inning reliever? No.

Tony (Brooklyn, NY)

Ian Kennedy projects as a 3/4, 4/5, or worse (better)right now? Thanks!

Keith Law
  (2:08 PM)

I'd slide him down to a 5. I think in hindsight I overrated two things - his AA performance and his ability to repeat his delivery.

Mike Chicago

I know you think RBI's are worthless, but aren't they an indication, over 162 games, at who had a good season? Look at the top 10 in each league. Also, isn't it an indication of something when a #3 hitter like Mark Grace never drove in 100 runs, but still batter over .300 every year?

Keith Law
  (2:09 PM)

RBI are too context- and playing time-dependent. What does RBI tell me that, say, VORP doesn't? Or even the imperfect but easy-to-figure OPS?

John: (Boston)

How impressive is the Sox player development to have Pedroia, Ellsbury, Youkilis, and Lester contribute exstensively to 1 world series already and now they've supplanted another home grown SS in Jed Lowrie?? If not for the Lugo mistake Theo would have a ton of cash to throw around this winter!! I love the home grown player, hoping that Reddick is next!

Keith Law
  (2:10 PM)

They're a machine. Jason McLeod hasn't gotten enough credit for how productive their amateur scouting dept has been over the last three-plus years.

Jw(nh)

On 'repeating delivery' is there any reason to have a play pitch from a wind-up over the stretch? It would seem stretch is more easily repeatable. Less velocity or more arm/should strees?

Keith Law
  (2:11 PM)

I'm not a kinesiologist (although oddly enough, one year with TBJ my work visa said I was ... made for an interesting chat at immigration), but it looks like pitchers find it harder to maximize their strides when working from the stretch.

Danny(Philly)

Theres a lot of hype around Lou Marson. But what about Travis D'Arnaud? I know hes a lot further away and is 3 years younger but could he ultimately become the better prospect by next year?

Keith Law
  (2:12 PM)

If we ignore the timing differences I'm a little more bullish on d'Arnaud. Marson has a good idea at the plate but hits the ball on the ground all the freaking time.

Fred, Columbus

You mentioned OPS is imperfect...can you explain the flaws?

Keith Law
  (2:13 PM)

The biggest is that it underrates OBP. You're adding two fractions with differing denominators, which is bad math, but because the ranges are different for OBP and SLG, the former ends up underweighted.

Josh (Lincoln, NE)

Who do you like for AL MVP at this point?

Keith Law
  (2:14 PM)

Sizemore, Kinsler, A-Rod. But we all know that to join the BBWAA, you have to sign an oath to uphold the honor of the RBI.

Josh (Montréal)

What do you think of Paul Byrd? It seems like if he had real value, the Indians would've been able to get a prospect for him.

Keith Law
  (2:15 PM)

Good pickup to provide some bulk innings, but that's about it. He's a below-average starter in the AL. I am shocked that no NL team wanted to take a flier - Mets would be an obvious fit.

Brandon

Tex, k-Rod, Garret Anderson, Jon Garland, Juan Rivera, Figgins and Izturis all have expiring deals. Who stays and who goes?

Keith Law
  (2:16 PM)

I hope they just turn the page on Anderson already. I'd be inclined to put all my eggs in the Teixeira basket and let the others go, if I could.

Mark (Yonkers, NY)

Would you say that Slugging percentage is a better indicator for a player than Average?

Keith Law
  (2:16 PM)

It tells us more.

Andy (New Jersey)

With a vote for Sizemore aren't you taking the valuable out of the equation and just making it a Most Outstanding Player award? At least Kinsler and A-Rod are on teams that potentially could make the playoffs.

Keith Law
  (2:17 PM)

Value is value, independent of team performance. Your line of thinking is, unfortunately, rampant among the people who actually vote for these awards, but it is objectively incorrect and a completely outdated way of thinking about baseball.

Chris (wheaton)

Would you rather have Posey or Beckham? Why? Esp with Brignac and the dilusion that is Navarro.

Keith Law
  (2:18 PM)

Beckham. Just a better overall prospect.

MJ (Edmonton)

I agree with you knocking Alexei for his poor plate discipline and defense. However don't you have to give the guy some credit for stepping right into the majors with no time in the minors and hitting for a high average and power?

Keith Law
  (2:19 PM)

I'm not sure how to answer to questions about giving someone "credit." Should I send him a card? Flowers? Fruit basket? Hitting for average is nice, but the .326 OBP tells us more about his production than the .306 average.

Ryan (Boulder)

I recenty came across your top-100 book list, and I must say nice job giving credit to Dashiell Hammett for writing the noir masterpiece that is Red Harvest. I still prefer Raymond Chandler for my hard boiled prose, however.

Keith Law
  (2:19 PM)

Hammett is a little more sparse and direct. Personal preference.

Jack (Toronto)

Any chance the CG number puts Halladay over the top for the AL CY? Or will the BBWAA(note the last A stands for America), get blinded by W/L record and location and vote for Lee?

Keith Law
  (2:20 PM)

Lee's got to be close to a lock to win right now. And yes, voters will be blinded by W-L record, like they are almost every year.

Jonathan (Tampa, FL)

The D-Backs could end up with 9 of the first 75 picks in next year's draft due to free agents walking. With that many picks do you see them going for signability guys or probability guys who will sign for slot since they have so many picks? What would you do in that scenario? They can rebuild the farm system in no time.

Keith Law
  (2:22 PM)

I'd mix it up - you don't have to go all in one direction. Line up the players on the board in order of ability, take the best guy available with each pick, and as you go if you realize you're spending too much, then you can start dialing down towards the best guy who'll take slot. That's the rare "battlefield decision" a team should make in the draft room.

Tony (Chicago)

With his recent tear, does Josh Vitters seem likely to still reach his 30 HR potential?

Keith Law
  (2:22 PM)

Yes.

Bob (Tinley Park, IL)

Has Ryan Theroit surprised you? Before the season, you said he was not a starting shortstop.

Keith Law
  (2:23 PM)

Yep, definitely surprised me. Improved his walk rate. I still don't care for him as a player and doubt he tops this season - he's got no power and mediocre instincts.

AJM (Ely MN)

What are you thoughts on D. Span, is this year a mirage?

Keith Law
  (2:24 PM)

Now his plate discipline improvement strikes me as real. He could be an average everyday CF, although he still doesn't profile in a corner.

Ben (Charlotte via Columbus)

Here's the beef I have with Arod being named MVP. I was watching him with no out, guy on second base in Toronto. Instead of hitting a ground ball to the right side to get the runner over, he swung for the fences, only to pop out. I don't think a .204 average warrants MVP consideration.

Keith Law
  (2:24 PM)

Hitting to the right side to get the runner over - but making an out in the process - is not a good tradeoff. I hate seeing players congratulated for making an out that way. A-Rod did the right thing by taking a regular swing.

Pat (Boston, MA)

After Bowden, do the Red Sox have any pitching prospects that project to be Mid-rotation or better?

Keith Law
  (2:25 PM)

Well, if we consider Casey Kelly as a pitcher, then he's one.

Mike (San Diego)

Help me out here Keith. An hour and a half and no Padres questions? Tell me if you agree with my Padres lineup in 3 years: 1B: Adrian, 2B: Antonelli, SS: Greene (hopefully not), 3B: Headley, LF: Kulbacki, CF: Hunter, RF: Huffman.

Keith Law
  (2:26 PM)

I don't see Antonelli as an everyday guy, and Huffman might have to be a DH. Jury's out on Hunter but this year is a good step forward for him - good athlete with the tools to hit and hit for average power. Kulbacki's also DH-ish but he'll be passable in left. Anyway, that's not a very good lineup, even in the best case scenario.

Damian (Buenos Aires)

Odds Hissey, Westmoreland and Meyer sign with Boston?

Keith Law
  (2:28 PM)

90%, around or slightly better 50%, and 20%.

Keith Law
  (2:30 PM)

Peace to those homies and I'm outta here ... till next week.