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August 18, 7:13 AM ET
Chat with Scouts Inc.'s Keith Law

Keith Law
  (1:02 PM)

I'm forecasting a drought ... for Ben Rama.

Andrew (centereach, NY)

Which attribute is most likely to get the person into the hall of fame ? Variteks amazing game calling, Rice?s immeasurable fear factor or Eckstein?s unmatched hustle and grit?

Keith Law
  (1:02 PM)

That's a $5 fine for Klawbaiting.

John (Boston)

Klaw, How would you rate Bostons draft? I really wish they could have landed Meyer and Marquis.

Keith Law
  (1:04 PM)

I dare anyone to post a greedier comment than that in today's chat. Boston had, if not the best draft, top 3.

Billy (DC)

After failing to sign Aaron Crow, how is the Nationals organization viewed within the industry? And will the MLBPA ever sign off on a "hard" slotting system?

Keith Law
  (1:06 PM)

They're not viewed in a positive light, or at least the GM isn't. There's a fair amount of schadenfreude out there over his involvement in the Latin American scandal and the mishandling of Crow. (By the way, Brett Wallace is in AA and Aaron Hicks is tearing up the Appy League. Either would have signed for slot at #9.) The union would sign off on hard slotting in exchange for other major concessions, but I wonder if that would just lead to an antitrust lawsuit (or challenge of the exemption).

Stewie Griffin (Quahog)

Laporta or Lars?

Keith Law
  (1:06 PM)

Lars.

Mike: (Chicago, IL)

How good the 9th round pick of the Cubs, Jay Jackson, he is striking out everybody where ever he goes?

Keith Law
  (1:07 PM)

Arm strength with a very sharp ~90-mph cutter. Could move very quickly in a relief role. Bad delivery scared teams off of him.

CG IL

What is your take on W. Sox pick Jordan Danks re: the money he signed for and his ceiling?

Keith Law
  (1:07 PM)

Overpaid, don't see him making enough contact to contribute at the big league level. But hey, at least they signed Kenny Williams Jr.!

Chioke Hassan, Baltimore,Md

Dear Keith Could you see the Brewers getting rid of Prince Fielder?

Keith Law
  (1:08 PM)

I'm assuming they'll release him next week some time. Why would they get rid of him?

Greg (Boston)

Keith, What's your beef with the RBI stat? Shouldn't that be the top stat of how productive a guy is at the plate? I want a guy who consistently drives in a ton of runs because it means they are able to get the big hit win needed. You can't argue that its not harder to hit with men on base than when no one is on.

Keith Law
  (1:09 PM)

It's easier to hit with men on base. Pitcher's working from the stretch.

Sean (MIAMI, FL)

Where would the Marlins farm system rank? In the top 5 in all of baseball?

Keith Law
  (1:09 PM)

Not in the top 5.

Patrick (City of Angels and Smog)

Keith, the starting OF for the A's next year is Carlos G, ... ummm... Murton and ... ummm.... ?

Keith Law
  (1:10 PM)

Why not Ryan Sweeney?

Mike (Bloomington IL)

Be careful, Greg may be KLAWbaiting.

Keith Law
  (1:10 PM)

I thought that. We might need to institute a kangaroo court, fines payable to the Jimmy Fund if I catch you Klawbaiting.

Phil Hughes (Bronx?)

KLaw - what do you think about the reportedly return of my stuff during my most recent rehab campaign? Scouts and organization heads [Nardi Contreras] have gushed about my returned velocity [92-94 hitting 95 several times], my willingness to throw the change and my introduction of a cutter in placed of my pedestrian slider. With Mariano Rivera on my side, maybe I could develop the cutter into a plus option to throw to lefties. I know I am ancient in terms of age [22], but do you think Yankees fans will ever give me a fair shake. Oh yeah, and what do you think I'll be in the future? Thanks, Philip.

Keith Law
  (1:11 PM)

Oh, wait, someone from the Yankees gushed about my stuff? Well, that settles it. He's the next Nolan Ryan.

Jeremy (NY)

Is Dice-K's strand rate sustainable? Is it possible he actually has the skill to get himself out of jams, or will all those baserunners eventually start crossing the plate?

Keith Law
  (1:11 PM)

No, it's not sustainable, and it's possible Terry Francona will go out to the mound to take him out and strangle him instead.

Brett (WI)

Keith, how will picks 15 & 16 in next years draft be affected by the Nats having pick 9A? For example, if the season ended today, Houston would have the 15th pick. But since the Nats have 9A (or 10), the Astros would really be selecting 16th overall. Is that pick still protected if they sign a type A free agent? Would they lose their 1st or 2nd round pick if they did sign a type A? I don?t believe any team has ever had a compensation pick in the first 15 spots, so how does this work? Thanks.

Keith Law
  (1:12 PM)

My understanding is that those picks are designated as #A picks to keep it simple - picks 1 through 15 are protected, picks 16-30 are not, regardless of what "A" picks are mixed in.

James (North East, MD)

Wieters will be the best catcher in baseball in 5 years, true or false?

Keith Law
  (1:13 PM)

If Joe Mauer is still a catcher at that point, I'd stick with him.

Jeremy (Oakland)

Ryan Sweeney: Singles: 67. 2B, 3B, HR, BB combined: 38.

Keith Law
  (1:13 PM)

I'm not a huge Sweeney fan, but the question was who the third outfielder would be. He's the obvious candidate, right?

mike (Ny)

KLaw are you going to provide any insight or just useless rants and stupid comments?

Keith Law
  (1:14 PM)

All of the above, but I might save the insight until after you leave.

Eamon (Thule AB, Greenland)

KLaw, Lars Anderson has continued to shred at Portland. Any chance of a September call-up and who are the Sox corner infielders in 2010, Lowell's walk year?

Keith Law
  (1:15 PM)

I doubt he or Redick sniffs the big leagues this year. Anderson has to be in the big leagues in 2010 barring a major injury next year. I can't see a scenario where he's not ready by April '10.

John (Baltimore)

So you basically poopoo'ed on Tillman in your report from last night's game. Is he more of a #4 starter going forward?

Keith Law
  (1:16 PM)

I disagree with that. Great frame, good delivery, touched 93, plus curveball. That's a bad report? They aren't all Kershaws and Jobas. He looks like a durable #2 to me as he develops - don't forget he's only 20.

tim (pa)

Let say, this years draft is weak and next year?s draft projects to been very strong. What would prevent a team from not signing a draft pick so that they could get the extra pick the following year.

Keith Law
  (1:17 PM)

Nothing. It's alleged that the Reds did this under Bowden with Jeremy Sowers, who didn't want to sign anyway, although the compensation then was a sandwich pick rather than an #A pick. It's a terrible idea, though, because projecting a draft 12 months out is damn near impossible, and there is a significant value loss in getting a player a year later.

Josh (Lincoln, NE)

What do you see Ian Stewart developing into? All-star, solid MLB'er, AAAA?

Keith Law
  (1:17 PM)

Above-average MLB'er.

Howell (Memphis TN)

Do you think it's true, that stats like VORP and WARP under value walks b/c OBP inherently under values walks?

Keith Law
  (1:18 PM)

That's probably a question for Keith Woolner more than me, but most "advanced" stats are calculated from individual batter events (like BB, HR, etc.).

Pete (Chicago)

In the Comments section of your blog post on Crow, you said: "And that '$3.5 million' offer from the Nats to Crow isn't what it seems." What did you mean?

Keith Law
  (1:19 PM)

The best I can give you is that it was offered at a point at which it was meaningless. If the Nats were willing to go to $3.5 million, they should have offered it earlier than they did.

Tom: St. Louis MO

What are your thoughts on Yost having Sabathia pitch the 9th the other night when he had already throw 110 pitches and the Brewers had a 7 run lead?

Keith Law
  (1:22 PM)

Idiotic. I'm not sure which is more likely to cause the Brewers to lose in their NLDS - their flammable bullpen, or their addled manager.

Benjamin: Lawrence, KS

Keith, take a minute and step out of the Northeast. After a decent draft, how far do the Royals move up in the rankings?

Keith Law
  (1:23 PM)

I'm sorry, my contract mandates at least 60% Northeast questions to maintain our reputation for East Coast bias. The Royals' system got a huge infusion, rivaling Boston's haul, and they'd have to be at least top 10 by now. They may have nabbed two top-half-of-the-first-round talents in Hosmer and Melville.

Jeremy (California)

Brian Wilson blew a save last night, only his third of the season. Now I don't have grand illusions that Wilson is a great reliever, but, being home-grown, under the Giants' control for several years, and very cheap, he strikes me as a top-notch Armando Benitez Prevention Device. Is that crazy? What would you do with the Giants' bullpen, if anything?

Keith Law
  (1:26 PM)

I love that phrase - Armando Benitez Prevention Device. Every team should have one. Like a vest for your bullpen in the city of sucks. Oh, and I think the Giants' pen will fill up over the next few years with the starter prospects they have who don't pan out in the rotation. Going externally to fill the pen would be a mistake.

John (L.A.)

Keith, you're a Saint. How do you have the patience to deal with a bunch of strangers being downright rude to you? Keep up the good work, your chats are the highlight of my internet-browsing week. Oh, and true or false--Matt Kemp is NL MVP sometime in the next five seasons.

Keith Law
  (1:27 PM)

He has the ability, but he's got more development at the plate ahead of him than I would have expected last offseason. In other words, he's coming along more slowly than I thought, or he wasn't as far along as I thought. So I'd say false.

Brian (Santa Barbara)

KLaw, you can pick either one or the other: Appetizer vs. Desert David Eggers vs. David Sedaris Post-Manny Dodgers vs. Post-Dunn D-Backs Thanks, always love the chats-

Keith Law
  (1:28 PM)

Dessert, no opinion, D-backs by two games.

Sam (Lake Bluff)

Excited for the new Alton Brown show?

Keith Law
  (1:28 PM)

I was unaware of this. But now I am excited.

Joe (SD)

Speaking of idiotic, Cain threw 125 yesterday!! Granted guys like Clemens used to throw 130-140 no sweat, but what do you think might be the lasting effects on poor 24 year old Matt?

Keith Law
  (1:29 PM)

I don't object to 125 pitches per se. I object to having a starter throw that many when his team has a 7-run lead in the ninth inning. If you don't have one reliever capable of getting three outs without giving up 7 runs, you need to reevaluate your bullpen.

Benjamin: Lawrence, KS

So how would you rate how Moore has done in KC? Neyer gives him a C+ stating he doesn't know how to spend money and the minor league system is still bare.

Keith Law
  (1:31 PM)

The system is not bare, not after this draft. Moustakas and Cortes are both good prospects, even if I'm a little below the consensus on them. Bare is, say, the White Sox' system. The Royals lack depth but have a couple of potential impact guys. Maybe more than a couple if you think I'm light on Moustakas.

Aaron (Pacifica, California)

Who does Tim Lincecum remind you of?

Keith Law
  (1:31 PM)

Nobody. That's what's so great about him. And I think it'll be a very long time before we say that some HS pitcher reminds us of Tim Lincecum.

Drew (Mpls)

Dear 2013 Keith Law, what kind of player is Aaron Hicks in your time?

Keith Law
  (1:32 PM)

Just getting established in the big leagues, showing good raw power and athleticism.

Tim (Dallas)

Longterm as a starter: Holland or Feliz?

Keith Law
  (1:32 PM)

Both.

Shaun (Nashua, NH)

Hey Keith, What do you think of the Red Sox draft after signing their top 16 picks? Now that all of the signings have occurred who do you think had the best haul?

Keith Law
  (1:33 PM)

I've answered part one ... Red Sox, Royals, Giants.

Steve (Baltimore)

Jim Palmer threw well over 150 pitches the majority of his career. Also before they even had a 5 man rotation. He turned out to be a solid pitcher and a HOFer.

Keith Law
  (1:34 PM)

This would be relevant if baseball today was exactly like it was in the 1970s.

Patrick (Louisville,KY)

How do they pick what questions you answer, and how would you rate the Phillies draft?

Keith Law
  (1:35 PM)

I pick. Lot of tools and ceiling but way too risky for my tastes. I could see taking Hewitt with an extra pick, but I'd want to have some probability in there too. My editor pointed out to me this morning that Hewitt has now struck out in over 50% of his pro at bats.

Alon (Brooklyn via Israel)

Just curious? Did you ever read the graphic novel the Watchmen?

Keith Law
  (1:35 PM)

/blatant

Steven (Toronto)

If you had too would your rather throw big money at Perez or Burnett this winter?

Keith Law
  (1:36 PM)

You're forcing me? Burnett. But I'm not happy about it.

Mike (Charleston, SC)

Teacher, what grade would you give Neal Huntington and Co. so far? They've gotta rank pretty high in terms of the draft, right?

Keith Law
  (1:39 PM)

I'm fine with Alvarez at 2, although I ranked him behind Posey, Smoak, and Hosmer. They gave $900K to a HS pitcher with a bad shoulder (Quentin Miller), whom some teams took off their boards for medical reasons. Grossman has tools but is very raw. No second rounder since they didn't sign Scheppers. I don't see the argument that this was a great draft for them. Where Huntington's done well is in his ability to execute a trade and get good value in deals where the other team's top prospects were made unavailable. I think more GMs than just Dave Littlefield struggle to craft deals like the ones Huntington made.

Jack, Northern NJ

KLaw- As a Met fan, I am concerned about the organizations plan with Pelfrey through the rest of the year. He has pitched 154 inning through last nights game. Last year, combining is MLB and MiLB IP, he had 152. If the 5-man rotation holds, he will get 7 turns through the rest of the year, leaving less than 5 IP per appearance so as to not excees the +30 rule (182 IPs). Given the pennant race the Mets find themselves in, I can't imagine them pulling Pelfrey for a start. He is, however, projected to go the last day of the year. If the Mets continue into the post-season, this problem will only become worse. What would you do in this instance?

Keith Law
  (1:40 PM)

He's throwing well and has been much more efficient with his pitches of late. I'd try to baby him a little bit, taking him out of starts if his pitch count starts rising too early, giving him an extra day off when I can (don't the Mets have a lot of off days the rest of the way?), but there's no way I pull him. The alternatives are awful.

Josh (Smithtown, NY)

Klaw - after the way Jason Knapp has pitched in the Gulf Coast League do you see him being a reliever?

Keith Law
  (1:41 PM)

Those two clauses aren't connected; I'm not changing my opinion on a player after 31 innings of performance. So yes, I still think he's a pen guy, more on delivery than anything else.

Derrick (Tulsa, OK)

Do you think baseball should be an olympic sport? Have you followed this year's olympic baseball at all?

Keith Law
  (1:42 PM)

I don't care about it either way. I haven't followed it. If MLB isn't going to send its best players, then they might as well take it out of the Olympics. At least softball gets the best players to participate.

Pete (FL)

Keith which top prospects get called up after Sept. 1? I'm guessing Ramus and probably Wieters, maybe even Michael Bowden, but anyone else?

Keith Law
  (1:43 PM)

Rasmus is still out with the knee injury, I believe. Wieters isn't a lock to come up. Most obvious guy is Price. Scherzer should be back up.

MW (WI)

Isn't is obvious that the Brewers were never interested in CC's long-term health? I believe they traded for him precisely for this reason - to use him like a hotel room. They get what they want and leave the mess for someone else...

Keith Law
  (1:43 PM)

The hotel room analogy only works if they remembered to secure a late check-out time of October 31st.

Josh (LA)

Kuo has been getting touched up a little of late. Has he been utilized correctly this year by Torre? I'm hoping another injury isn't in his future.

Keith Law
  (1:44 PM)

Long relief is a pretty good role for a guy with chronic arm trouble. I would be concerned about them trying him in the rotation again, as much as I like the stuff.

Patrick (SF, CA)

Keith, I may be dumb, or just lazy, but I can't seem to find anywhere online which first rounders did not sign (and I don't wanna go to each team's website and look). Can you help me out? From Jim's chat yesterday it sounds like Yankees, Red Sox and Nationals did not sign their first round picks. Anyone else? Thanks.

Keith Law
  (1:46 PM)

Nationals and Yankees didn't sign theirs. The Mariners have yet to sign Josh Fields, their first-round pick, but he's a college senior and the 8/15 deadline didn't apply to him. The Red Sox signed their guy a few weeks ago.

Zac (MN)

Hey Keith, last week you said Baker was a back of the rotation starter at best. What do you think about the other young Twins pitchers (slowey, blackburn, perkins, liriano). Outside of Liriano, is there a 2/3 in the bunch?

Keith Law
  (1:48 PM)

Liriano's a potential #1, obviously, but the rest are all 4/5s tops. They succeed by never walking guys, but they're reliant on their defense, and we're not talking about pitchers with plus stuff or out pitches.

Ken Sanzotta (Rochester, NY)

Westmoreland: Tools only, or a ball player?

Nick (Portland, ME)

KLaw- wouldn't it be in the best interest of both MLB and college baseball to bump the August 15 signing deadline to July 15?

Keith Law
  (1:49 PM)

I agree. I don't think there's any practical difference between those two dates.

Steven (Grand Forks, ND)

In a preseason chat, you mentioned Jason Kubel as a player who would break out this year. Is this the kind of year you envisioned him having?

Keith Law
  (1:51 PM)

I had somewhat higher hopes for him, especially in the OBP department, but the Twins seem to discourage their guys from working the count. That may or may not be the reason for his fringy walk total. He's got power, though, and I thought that he just needed more reps to come back from the lost season.

Keith Law
  (1:52 PM)

Whoops, the answer to the Westmoreland question was that he's pretty polished for a cold-weather HS kid.

Brian (Brooklyn)

Did I read that Aaron Crow has to pitch in an independent league this year? If so, why can't he go back to college? All of these guys have "advisors" anyway so I would assume that is not why he lost he eligibilty

Keith Law
  (1:53 PM)

He chose to go pitch in an independent league; I speculated that the extent of the work that his advisors did for him (negotiating with an MLB club, which is forbidden by the NCAA) made his eligibility questionable enough for him to go the indy route. Besides, why go back to Missouri and get worked hard every Friday night from late February to May in often lousy weather?

Brian (Brooklyn)

Do teams actually discourage guys from working the count or is it an organizational decision not to place an emphasis on that type of player will filling out a roster?

Keith Law
  (1:54 PM)

It's a fair question and I don't have a direct answer. One heuristic rule I use is for players who come to that team from outside the org and who become less patient. Or even guys who are patient in the minors and become less so in the majors.

Mondo, Connecticut (really)

You never answered Ken's question on Westmoreland? Who projects better, him or Hissey?

Keith Law
  (1:54 PM)

Westmoreland > Hissey.

Izzy (DC)

I read a quote from Orioles scout Dean Albany explaining that many high school kids pitch in some sort of summer league (often with high competition), so the Aug. 15 deadline is to give the team an ability to properly evaluate a player's talent vs. real competition and how much they're willing to give him.

Keith Law
  (1:55 PM)

I don't share that opinion. HS kids get signed directly out of the draft all the time. I wrote on the draft's second day that the Royals already had a deal done or very close to it with Melville. MLB tells teams like that not to announce the deals until the deadline day because they don't want other agents to use them for leverage.

Pat (Pitt)

There was talk of Andrew McCutchen not even getting a cup of coffee this year. Whats the logic behind that? Its gotta be purely arbitration based, right, because its not like he couldnt at least do what the sacks of potatoes they run out there now are doing?

Keith Law
  (1:56 PM)

Arbitration clock wouldn't likely be affected by a September callup unless they thought he was going to spend roughly half of 2009 in the minors too. I'd call him up.

jd (fl)

klaw a little marlin talk please!! with all the young starting pitching we have im trying to figure out who to follow the most.wich pitcher right now do you see has the most upside and ace like potential?

Keith Law
  (1:57 PM)

Of the young guys, Olsen and Volstad both have 2/3 stuff, but neither misses many bats. I've never seen West, who missed all of 2007 with a SLAP lesion in his shoulder.

Jeremy (NY)

Alderson/Bumgarner or Anderson/Cahill?

Keith Law
  (1:57 PM)

Can I have them all? I'll take the SF kids.

Ryan (Arlington, VA)

Do you see Mike Pelfrey turning a corner this season for the Mets? I still think he needs some kinda' breaking ball that he trusts....looked like he threw about 8 sliders last night. Keep up the great work.

Keith Law
  (1:58 PM)

What I've seen of him on TV matches what you said. I don't think this approach would work in the AL, but it doesn't have to all come together at once for a young pitcher. He's commanding his fastball better. That's a good first step.

Brian (Boston, MA)

Alexei Ramirez keeps hitting. Is this guy a legit rookie of the year candidate?

Keith Law
  (2:02 PM)

$5.

Joshua (Annapolis, MD)

will Greg Golson ever "get it"

Keith Law
  (2:02 PM)

I'm skeptical. He's played a lot of pro ball already without doing so.

Derrick (Tulsa, OK)

As a Padre fan I was disappointed to see them sign Dykstra. I wanted an extra 1st rounder next year. Do you agree with me or do you can you change my mind?

Keith Law
  (2:03 PM)

I didn't view him as a first-round talent - more second-round for me - and he has medical issues. So I would have probably offered about half of what he got, and if he declined, taken the pick next year. I didn't see his full medicals, though, so I'm going off partial info.

Adam (Pittsburgh, PA)

Giada is a great cook...discuss.

Keith Law
  (2:05 PM)

That's $20. I expect to see the emailed receipt of your Jimmy Fund contribution by tomorrow.

Victor (NYC)

Mark Melancon or Casey Weathers?

Keith Law
  (2:05 PM)

Weathers.

Mike

Is Adam Ottavino turning into the next Chris Lambert or is there hope?

Keith Law
  (2:05 PM)

I think he's an okay reliever in the big leagues.

Gustav (Istanbul)

Is there a better short story than Bartleby, the Scrivener?

Keith Law
  (2:06 PM)

Bernice Bobs Her Hair.

Jimmy Coulas

I realize it is single A, but Gordon Beckham has been tearing it up in his first few games. When do you think the Sox would call him up?

Keith Law
  (2:07 PM)

He could certainly be up by the start of 2010 and I wouldn't be shocked to see him up next September. I think he's well developed already - not much upside, just a very solid player.

Josh (Tampa)

Check is in the mail: If Alexei Ramirex got more RBI's, would he move ahead of Longoria for ROY? What if he showed for Eckstein like hustle?

Keith Law
  (2:08 PM)

I know you're baiting but I'll give a serious answer: Will the voters bother to consider defensive value? Longoria's real RoY case isn't just on his bat, but on his glove, whereas Ramirez' glove is well below average. A plus glove at third is worth a heck of a lot and should keep Longoria in the running, assuming he comes back and adds to his counting stats.

Chris(NJ)

What's the best snack to enjoy during one of your chats: olives, cheddar cheese cubes, or Fruity Pebbles?

Keith Law
  (2:08 PM)

No fine - that was well done.

Jarid (St.Louis)

NL MVP ?

Keith Law
  (2:09 PM)

Has to be Pujols, right? Leading the NL in VORP, plus-plus glove. Whether or not they make the playoffs is irrelevant. AL either A-Rod or Sizemore (happy now, Jacob?).

Benjamin: Lawrence, KS

Keith, two Royals questions, one chat. A minor miracle. What are your thoughts on Ka'aihue? He is creating quite a stir around here.

Keith Law
  (2:10 PM)

He'll have to prove it at the big league level for me. He might be a Cust-like DH. Great guy to have in your system, though - you don't want to have to look externally for that type of player - but I'd hate to see him end up costing Billy Butler any PT.

alex (nj)

KLAW-love the chats and follow them regularly. Must have missed something though because I'm not sure what this KLAWbaiting is. Please explain?

Keith Law
  (2:11 PM)

People asking questions they know will get a rise out of me.

Josh (Lincoln, NE)

You just KNOW the voters are going to give it to Carlos Quentin if the Sox make the playoffs.

Keith Law
  (2:12 PM)

Absolutely. This idea that the MVP has to come from a playoff team is like a failed intelligence test for the BBRAA.

Gray (Chicago)

Interesting choices for MVP. Having not researched, last time neither MVP made the playoffs?

Keith Law
  (2:13 PM)

Good question. Seems like it's becoming less likely to happen rather than more.

Benjamin: Lawrence, KS

What does that mean, "a great guy to have in your system, though - you don't want to have to look externally for that type of player."

Keith Law
  (2:14 PM)

In other words, you don't want to have an open DH spot at the big league level and have to fish around in the minor league FA pool to find a fill-in guy.

Murray (Chasston)

At least they know the acronym for BBWAA.

Keith Law
  (2:15 PM)

It's a joke, stolen from Joe Sheehan.

Mal (ny)

Quentin 398 obp 585 slugging Arod 397 obp 589 slugging Quentin also bats 80 points higher with RISP What am I missing about not putting Quentin in the debate?

Keith Law
  (2:15 PM)

Below-average defensive LF versus Sizemore, an above-average defensive CF. Offensive performance should be considered relative to position - the standard for a LF is lower than that for the CF.

Dan (DC)

I'll give you this: you clearly aren't sucking up the BBWAA for membership

Keith Law
  (2:16 PM)

I've told them I'm not interested. They made up a reason to exclude me and Rob, and refused to back down when shown that their arguments were fabricated. Joining now would only increase their credibility.

Eamon (Thule AB, Greenland)

KLaw, what are the chances of seeing Bowden and/or Bard in Boston before September 1st?

Keith Law
  (2:17 PM)

Bowden has an outside shot. I doubt we'll see Bard at all this year.

Dave (Chicago)

Keith, first, thanks for all the chats, baseball info, and book suggestions; aside from your dislike of Portnoy's Complaint, I've agreed with most of your reviews. Second, what do you make of Dice-K's season? He seems to always be in trouble, but if he had the innings, he'd have the second best ERA+ in the AL. Has he just been extraordinarily lucky?

Keith Law
  (2:18 PM)

Touched on this earlier, but yes, I'd say he's been extraordinarily lucky. How a guy with his stuff pitches away from contact is beyond me, to say nothing of his underutilization of his changeup.

Robert (Lyndhurst, NJ)

Not including 1994, the last time both MVPs didn't make the postseason was 1987 - Andre Dawson (last place) and George Bell (2nd place). Pre-wild card, though.

Keith Law
  (2:19 PM)

Well done. Good point about the WC and whether that has skewed the votes - does the presence of more viable candidates on playoff teams hurt the chances of other candidates?

Matt (GA)

The nation's best recruiting class is....? Vanderbilt Kentucky, or Georgia?

Keith Law
  (2:20 PM)

Those are the top three for me ... Kentucky, Vandy, Georgia. SEC baseball rocks.

Dennis (Boston)

Any chance Pedrioa ar Youk get mvp votes?

Keith Law
  (2:20 PM)

I think Youk will get some downballot votes. He'd be ... probably 3rd on mine, if I had one, which I don't, and likely never will.

Ryan (Chicago,IL)

Glad to see we have answered 2 questions about Bowden being up in the big leagues this year. But in no way is ESPN bias towards the northeast.

Keith Law
  (2:20 PM)

I answers what you asks.

Justin <- Lover of the killer Klaws sense of humor

Keith 0 Can you tell me anything about two prospects the Yankees received when they traded Latroy Hawkins to the Astros and Albert Gonzalez to the Nats? Thanks killer klaw!!!

Keith Law
  (2:22 PM)

Good org guys. Perez might get a cup of coffee.

Don (Chino Hills. CA)

Why is the SEC so good in football and now baseball? Nothing else to do in that part of the country?

Keith Law
  (2:23 PM)

Warm weather schools dominate in baseball anyway, but give Vandy credit for becoming not just a good baseball program but a very tough place to sign kids away from. Joe Esposito turned down $1.5MM from the Royals (I think that was a bad call, but we'll see in three years). Very few schools get kids to turn down that kind of coin.

Greg (atlanta)

Is it an espn bias OR is it a fact the northeast has more sports fans so more questions are asked about those teams?

Keith Law
  (2:23 PM)

I also think the 1 pm chat = more east coast readers online. I did a chat at 4 pm once and thought I got way more west coast questions.

Tony (Chicago)

So Quentin's 154 OPS+ to Sizemore's 134 Ops+ is over come by defense? Really? we're not talking about a few percentage points here. I get your point on defense, but I'm not sure it justifies your Sizemore answer

Keith Law
  (2:25 PM)

It's not just defensive value, but value of the offense relative to their position. What I'm saying is that getting Sizemore's stats from your CF is more valuable than getting Quentin's stats from your LF, because it's easier to find a good LF to go with Sizemore than it is to find a good CF to go with Quentin. This lies at the heart of how I value players for the MVP discussion or for rankings of free agents or amateurs or whatever.

Kevin (Baltimore, MD)

What is your opinion of Oriole pitchers David Hernandez and Bradley Bergensen. Do you project either to be successful in the majors?

Keith Law
  (2:26 PM)

Hernandez might, no plus pitch, good deception, great feel. Bergesen is probably too fringy.

Alon (Brooklyn via Israel)

What do you think about Murphy on the Mets? And what did you mean by "blatant" on the Watchmen?

Keith Law
  (2:26 PM)

I've said good fourth outfielder on Murphy before, but I'll see him for the first time in about two weeks. The Watchmen comment was blatant Klawbaiting - I hated that book.

Erich (CT)

What's your projection of Travis Snider? High strikeout guy, but with a lot of power? Will he make enough contact to be an everyday major leaguer?

Keith Law
  (2:27 PM)

All-Star RF with big power.

Alex (NY)

So assuming some dope signs Pavano in the offseason, do the Yanks get draft picks?

Keith Law
  (2:27 PM)

No, because they won't offer him arbitration, and he hasn't pitched enough to earn Type A or B status anyway. I'd give Pavano a minor league deal - wouldn't you?

Louie (Tampa...by way of NYC)

Why would an org with the money of the Yankees fail to sign a first round pick like Cole? And without signing him, how bad does thier draft look now?

Keith Law
  (2:28 PM)

He wanted to go to school. Money really wasn't the deciding factor. It wasn't a strong draft for them once you delete him from the equation. I liked Lassiter some last summer, but I have to say I haven't found a non-Yankees/non-Klaw scout who felt the same way.

John Illinois

Aron Poreda; future starter or setup guy?

Keith Law
  (2:29 PM)

I'm torn - starter build, starter fastball, secondary stuff not there yet, strikeout rate too low to start. But let's not consign him to the pen yet.

Matt (nyc)

Keith, Ive been trying to get this question through for the past 3 chats, help me out here. I know that every report I read about the yankees prospects overrates them big time. That said what do you think we can expect out of Melancon?

Keith Law
  (2:31 PM)

I think he's at least a solid setup guy.

Chris (Phoenix)

How good could Jarod Parker be? Better future Parker or Scerzer?

Keith Law
  (2:31 PM)

Parker, but there's a big timing difference there - Scherzer can pitch in the big leagues right now.

Jeff (LA)

You don't buy into Oliver Perez? On a game to game basis he drives you nuts, but the overall stats for the last two years places him as one of the top 4-5 left-handed starters in baseball (behind CC, Hamels, Johan of course).

Keith Law
  (2:32 PM)

... pitching in the National League, in a good pitchers' park, with Reyes Wright and Beltran behind him. I'm just saying he's had some things go his way. Burnett's had a great D behind him, but he pitches in the AL and in a slight hitter's park.

Jon London UK

Any Yanks fans apologised for knocking you for saying Melky was a 4th outfielder? Seriously If Burnett leaves does that leave TBJ and JPRs strategy of gutsy pop hitters and pitching in tatters for next year?

Keith Law
  (2:34 PM)

Hah! That's funny. They're probably too busy killing me for saying Montero's not a catcher. A lot in Toronto depends on McGowan - sounds like he could miss some of next year, and then when he comes back, how long until he's his old self, if ever? Doc-Marcum-McGowan is a good start if all three are healthy.

Jeff (Detroit)

Earlier in the chat you said that a hard slotting system could be had for certain concessions. Do you think we will reach a point where the international players become part of the draft? What would have to happen for that to occur? Thanks.

Keith Law
  (2:35 PM)

I know several front offices that want the owners to push for an international draft in the next CBA negotiation.

Charles (San Jose)

Klaw, your average ESPN baseball chat lasts longer than one from another sport. Is that a directive from your editors, or do you and Neyer just enjoy our company?

Keith Law
  (2:35 PM)

All they ask of me is that I go one hour. I stay because I enjoy it.

Wayne (Little Rock)

I wish you guys would quit using the "AL" - "NL" excuse.

Keith Law
  (2:36 PM)

I wish the leagues were somewhat comparable. And I wish for a million dollars and a pony.

Daniel (san diego, ca)

After the draft, you said a lot of people were down on the Padres draft, but you didnt hate it. How do you feel after the signings? Dykstra, Darnell, Decker, Forsythe, Tekkote, ect. Seem solid, right?

Keith Law
  (2:37 PM)

Solid, no stars (although Decker's off to a star's start), some good value. I really liked Forsythe off team USA, and I think Tekotte can be an everyday CF in the majors.

chuck, minnesota

you commented the twins do not seem to encourage working the count earlier. how do you explain longtime organization guys like mauer, morneau, span all being very patient hitters?

Keith Law
  (2:39 PM)

I'm not sure how that disproves the theory - and Span's walk rate has dropped (13 UIBB in 133 PA) since he moved to the leadoff spot and doesn't have the Automatic Out hitting behind him any more.

Joe (Blacksburg, VA)

Isn't it funny how most people value players based on their fantasy value? Hence the unreasonable love for guys like Alexei Ramirez and complete disregard for defense.

Keith Law
  (2:40 PM)

If you grew up reading a daily paper, like I did (Newsday), you probably grew up thinking about players in these terms because that's how most baseball writers have written about players. I didn't start to change my views on players until the mid-90s, right after I got out of college. If you were chatting with 1992 Klaw, I'd be arguing *for* wins and RBI and all that other garbage. I'd also be talking endlessly about grunge bands from Seattle and how guys who cook and read Jane Austen are a little questionable.

Charlie (DC)

I'm going to keep asking, because I value your opinion more than anyone else on ESPN, and because I work at a government office so I have the time. What do you think of Anderson Hernandez? Is he anything more than a utility infielder?

Keith Law
  (2:41 PM)

No, I think that's what he is. (My tax dollars at work!)

Derek (WI)

How high are you on Alcides Escobar?

Keith Law
  (2:42 PM)

I'm a little confused about how he's suddenly become the bees' knees in Prospect Land. Plus runner with good bat speed and poor pitch recognition, good glove at ss potentially great, no pop, so-so instincts.

Jon (DC)

Keith, you had quite a bit of detective fiction on your 100 list. Have you read modern detective fiction such as James Ellroy or George Pelecanos and if so what are your thoughts?

Keith Law
  (2:43 PM)

The only modern detective novel I've read is "Don't Look Back," by Karin Fossum, which a reader loaned to me last year (thanks, Abel). Pretty good. Not as snappy as Hammett/Chandler, but who is?

Victor (NYC)

They should have sent Cano and his lazy butt down to Trenton (AA) when they demoted Melky. All hitting talent aside, he has to rank among the worst in terms of baseball IQ when he's at the plate.

Keith Law
  (2:44 PM)

In the first half of last year, this is what he was, but in late June he started to show a lot of progress in that dept. I have no idea what happened to cause him to regress so fully.

Nick (NYC)

Keith -- looks like a solid group of catchers in this year's HS class. How do you rank them right now? Stassi/Walsh/Elander/Maddox/Bailey/Zunino/Susac? Can Walsh stay behind the plate (his bat might play at 1b, no?)? Thanks!

Keith Law
  (2:45 PM)

Walsh was the best bat of the group for me. Stassi has some pop and moves around well behind the plate, but I didn't like his approach or swing. Maddox has a good arm, prob the best of that group.

Zack (Maryland)

What are your thoughts on Nolan Reimold?

Keith Law
  (2:46 PM)

Average to above-average everyday LF. More likely above-average. .300/.380/.475?

Ian

If you want a clever detective story, try "Three bags full" - it's about sheep trying to find who killed thier shepherd. Baseball question - Ben Revere crack the top 100?

Keith Law
  (2:47 PM)

He has to, even with the lack of secondary skills (walks/power), given his performance this year. (Oddly enough, he's not that young for the league - played most of the year at 20.)

fred (csulb)

jensen Lewis is a Closer.. what do you think?

Keith Law
  (2:48 PM)

I'm not sure he'll get the Ks you want to see in a closer, but he has plus control and is very aggressive. Give Cleveland credit for giving him a chance to work his way back from a bad start.

Jeff (DC)

I found 100 Years of Solitude really hard to get into, but worth the effort when it was finished. Is Love in the Time of Cholera worth a read?

Keith Law
  (2:49 PM)

No, it didn't come close. Try Allende's The House of Spirits instead.

brett (boston)

why hasn't tony pena jr started his conversion to pitcher? the royals have SS covered for the present and the future and the guy was hitting 92+ with a decent breaking ball. seriously

Keith Law
  (2:49 PM)

I couldn't agree more. It will be much easier and faster for him to learn how to pitch than it will be for him to learn how to hit.

Jen (San Francisco)

Keith, will you father my child? If Pablo Sandoval is for real I wouldn't mind him as the father. Seriously though, can this guy hit and will Giants find a position for him next year?

Keith Law
  (2:52 PM)

First time I've gotten that offer. I think he can hit - boy did he come out of nowhere - and I think the Giants could find a position for anyone in this chat next year. They have to try him out at catcher, though. The marginal value of him as a catcher vs as a 1b is enormous.

JimBeau (Left Coast)

Hey Klaw!! I didn't see it, but did Weglarz really hit the top of a flagpole in cf? What's the top end on his power development (already love the plate control), and what do you think his ETA is? Thanks.

Keith Law
  (2:53 PM)

Knocked Harvey Danger right off of it. I think we're looking at 25+ homers now, with a chance for even more. ETA probably no sooner than late 2010, more likely 2011. Hoping he goes to fall league ... and hoping that someone in Cleveland reads this.

Vern (SF)

But why play him at C when Buster Posey is ont he way....

Keith Law
  (2:54 PM)

Creating value for your players is never a bad idea. If Sandoval can catch, and Posey gets there quick, you trade Sandoval or at worst slide him back to 1b.

Pete (STL)

How impressive is Brett Wallace's jump to AA. How often does a position player make it to that level the year he is drafted? Also, Nico Vazquez is becoming somewhat of a cult hero in the Cardinals blogosphere. How high a ceiling do you see for him?

Keith Law
  (2:55 PM)

I can't think of the last one, because players that good typically don't sign in time to play that summer. I think Nico's a potential All-Star who hits for average and power but might slide to 2b.

chris (hartford, ct)

Did you read Michael Chabon's "Yiddish Police Officer's Union"? It was definitely a genre book and fell apart a bit at the end, but it was also one of the best detective books I've read.

Keith Law
  (2:56 PM)

I have not but I've been told repeatedly to read Kavalier &#x26; Clay. Currently reading Henry Roth's "Call It Sleep."

Taylor (Toronto)

Assuming the Jays keep all four how do Lind, Wells, Rios and Snider fit into the outfield next year? Who's the DH?

Keith Law
  (2:56 PM)

Snider probably starts the year in AAA. Lind is the worst OF of the four, but he could also play 1b.

Lou (NYC)

Harvey Danger? Flagpole Sitta? En serio? tsk tsk.

Keith Law
  (2:57 PM)

I'm not sick, but I'm not well. And I'm off - no chat next week, back on September 4th. And if you're in St. Louis, I'll be on Bernie/Randy's show today at 5:20 pm your time. Thanks!