I have to be quiet today - I'm doing this chat from A-Rod's hall closet. It's, um, part of my research.
Keith, Great chat as usual. What's your ceiling for Villalona? Thirty five-forty homer .280 average?
The best part about this question is that it was submitted two hours before the chat started. Forty-homer power. .280 might be aggressive given his contact issues now, but he's very young and has bat speed.
Steroids, Aids. This used to be my favorite time of year.
Seriously. My TV hit on Monday was 90% A-Rod/steroids. Blame the mainstream media writers who still think that steroids (or HGH) are huge performance enhancers.
Keith, you often talk about racism in the sport of baseball, saying that players are perceived differently because of their respective races, with the minority players usually being perceived in a more negative manner. Couldn't the opposite be observed when comparing Dunn and Howard? I think most perceive Howard as the better player, and he is certainly being paid a lot more, although both are bad defenders and very comparable hitters.
They're not really that comparable, though - Howard is a career .279 hitter, Dunn has never hit .270 in a season. There's enough value difference, magnified by the focus on AVG over OBP, to explain the way they're perceived.
Keith, if you had to redo your top 100 prospects list right now, are there any changes you would make?
I think I was too hard on Jesus Montero's positional question. He should have been 15-20 spots higher.
Would Grant Green instantly become the Padres top prospect if they were to draft him in June?
Yes. As long as they don't draft Pratt Bush, whoever they take will be their top prospect when he signs.
Is Jed Lowrie going to be given the job this year or will the Sox continue to try to justify Lugo's ridiculous contract?
I believe it's Lowrie's job to lose.
Does Dunn signing with the Nats put more pressure on the Dodgers to sign Manny?
Their plans B and C (Abreu) were both removed from the market yesterday, so yes, it does. Boras just gained the leverage he was looking for.
Speaking of the Padres: When BA projects Kyle Blanks as an outfielder, are they being realistic, or just trying to squeeze him into the hypothetical lineup?
That would be the biggest outfielder I have ever seen.
Why would the Mlb look to punish ARod for his admitting of taking PED, when other people within the league admitted to PE D and didnt get anything?
That's one of the dumber memes of the week. They can't punish A-Rod. Period. So stop bringing it up. And to the blithering idiots in NY saying the Yankees should release A-Rod - just stop talking. It would be better for everyone if you just ... stopped ... talking.
Keith, do you think it would be a good idea for the Yankees to take a long hard look at DJ LeMahieu in the '09 draft? Does LeMahieu project to be a major league impact player at SS?
He's not a shortstop. I'm not sure he's a first-rounder, although he could end up there, but he is not going to play shortstop in the majors.
Do you see Gio Gonzalez starting the season in the A's rotation and if so what kind of numbers do you project from him? Thank you
Their rotation is pretty up in the air, but I think it's likely he's in it on Opening Day. I see an ERA that's out of line with his peripherals and too many walks for a guy with a so-so fastball, but also a good K total.
Is there a good way to measure the best situational hitter (not just clutch, but moving runners and making productive outs). Do GM's take this into account? If so, doesn't Orlando Hudson make a lot of teams better?
There are no productive outs. Just discard the term. Unless a run scores directly on the play, an out nearly always puts a major dent in your run expectation for the inning. So GMs who take "productive outs" into account are ... bad GMs.
Keith, what do you expect from Rick Porcello in 2009? Is he going to be a Jon Garland type? A Brandon Webb type? Roy Halladay?
Jon Garland? Holy crap. They're ... nothing alike. I'm not sure if you're just going off of Garland's silly rep as a groundball pitcher (which he's not), but you're comparing a guy who projects as a #1 starter to a careerlong 4/5. Just wow. To your other guys, he's more like Doc than Webb in my mind.
Keith, Who do you see making a leep to the big leagues other than possibly the obvious (Neftali Feliz, Derek Holland, Elvis Andrus)for the Rangers this year. My wildcard is Kasey Kiker, talking about kiker, any lefty that can throw in the mid-ninties, and has a strikeot curveball and what is regarded now as a plus changeup should be able to make it in the big leagues right.
I like Kiker, but you've got a bad scouting report there. Mid-90s?
K Law Who do you think is left in the june draft for the yankees first pick? Do Kentrail Davis, Purke, or any other potential early round picks last that long or do we draft California HS shortstop Jiovanni Miller?
It is way, way too early to think about who might be there at the end of the first round. (It's Mier, by the way.)
The A-Rod story strikes me as one of the more anti-climatic sagas of the past few years. What seems to have slipped by with almost no comment is that the Yankees were aware he tested positive when they signed him. So pretty much the palyers didn't care, the teams didn't care and clearly Selig probably hadn't even raised to a level of consciousness capable of pondering of caring.
And the statistical record say any benefit he derived was negligible. Yawn.
OK then K-Law -- answer the question: Who could the Nats have received in a trade for Soriano that is better then Zimmermann and Smoker? Dukes doesn't walk? Did you do any research today? He had 50BB in 81 Games. You're article today was garbage!
Harsh words from a guy who can't figure out your vs you're. Smoker's velocity was down and he spent most of the year on the shelf. I wouldn't hang my hat on him, and as good as Zimmerman is, he projects as a mid-rotation starter. That's not much of a return for a player who was in the midst of a huge contract push that year and for whom there was a lot of interest. But when your GM keeps asking teams for packages that make them hang up on him (as happened at least once in '07), you're not going to get anywhere in your rebuilding process. (Note the correct use of "you're" and "your" there, Dan. You might learn English if you stick around.) Compare Washington's trade results to other teams that have used the trade market to rebuild - Cleveland, Oakland, Texas. They converted their veteran players into younger assets. The Nationals have not.
Keith, this year the early consensus seems to be that the top four amateur draft prospects are all collegians: RH pitchers Stephen Strasburg and Alex White, shortstop Grant Green, and first baseman/outfielder Dustin Ackley. How likely is it that those are the first four picks and what other players could break into the top of the draft?
If the draft was today, those would be four of the top six or seven picks. Tyler Matzek and Shelby Miller (HS arms) would both be in the mix, and I think someone in the top ten will take a shot on Donovan Tate as an athlete with huge upside. There are some other college arms who could sneak into the top five by June, though, like Andy Oliver.
Keith, follow-up re: "productive outs," please. There may be no prductive outs, but aren't outs that at least move a runner up deemed less unproductive than outs that fail to advance a runner?
The positive value of moving a runner up a base is dwarfed by the negative value of the additional out in just about every base-out state. The exceptions (off the top of my head) are an out that scores a run and an out that takes you from 0 outs and runners on 12x to 1 out and x23.
Keith, I know you recently saw 3B Matt Davidson at a SoCal showcase. I realize Josh Vitters from the '07 draft is the better prospect, but how close to Vitters is Davidson? How does Davidson compare to Matt Dominguez from that same '07 draft? Thanks!
Vitters and Dominguez were both better prospects at the comparable time in their draft year - Vitters had more bat, Dominguez a much better glove. But Davidson benefits by being one of the best hitters in a very weak HS bat pool.
Keith, I checked out the KLAW 100 and noticed a lack of non fiction. Are you familiar with Eric Larson's books?
The Klaw 100 was limited to novels.
Angry KLaw, good to have you back!!
Good to be here.
If steroid/HGH provides, as you claim, "negligible" benefits, then why do athletes continue to take chances by using them? And do you feel that Barry Bonds hitting 73 HRs compared to what he would have hit sans 'roids is "negligible"...
This is easily one of the stupidest arguments made in favor of steroid usage. Athletes use steroids because they BELIEVE they will help. People take echinacea because they think it will cure colds, despite copious evidence that it does nothing. That "immune system booster" Airborne is useless, yet it's sold in every drugstore in the country and has to be racking up millions in sales ... even though it's a vitamin C megadose which can actually reduce your immune system's ability to fight off an infection. Athletes who take steroids are just as dumb as people who take Airborne or echinacea or who buy into Ponzi schemes, and the fact that there are people who do these things doesn't make doing those things smart.
Way to dodge the question: so who was available for Soriano that was better then what the Nats received? Oh yeah it's ZIMMERANN (two N's)
Keith - Ty Wigginton signs with Baltimore for $6 million over 2 years. The Twins have zero power at that postion and shouldnt expect any better overall offensive production from their limited options. Is it fair for Twins fans to start questioning Smith? Bartlett/Garza for Delmon used up his mulligan, yes?
I don't like Wigginton as a hitter at all - he's a dead-pull RH hitter who was boosted by a great home park for dead-pull RH hitters in 2008. And he's a bad fielder. For a team that wants to contend, like Minnesota, he wasn't a good choice.
KLAW, Anytime someone mentions how effective steriods are I have two words for them Neifi Perez!!!!!
Manny Alexander. The anecdotal-evidence game is useless. Studies done on HGH indicate no enhancement to athletic performance.
Are the questions really this bad this week are you just feeling extra snarky?
Lot of "bad" questions this week, but let's face it, silly fans like Dan (still ranting, but we're moving on) make the chats more fun.
If steroids don't help, explain my contract year.
It was a contract year.
Any chance the Feds shake down Selen Roberts for her sources? Those people have committed the biggest crime in this whole story.
There's no federal shield law, right? Not only do I expect her to be asked to divulge her sources, the only correct ethical course of action for her is to divulge them. From a normative point of view (rather than a legal one), the benefit from producing this information does not, in my opinion, justify how the information was obtained (the sources violated a federal court order) or the invasions of A-Rod's privacy and that of the other 103 players. I'd really like to see the leakers face the consequences of their actions, which I can only imagine were done out of spite. This wasn't exactly Watergate - did anyone hear the news on Saturday and think, "Wow, baseball has a steroids problem? That's news to me!"
Do you think the acquisition of Dunn will once again bring up the Milledge trade rumors? What type of trade value does Milledge have on the open market?
They won't get 100 cents on the dollar for him, since he was hurt and didn't play well in the first half.
KLaw, I think I have the solution to this whole steroid/statisticle mess. Simply legalize steriods and HGH for pro baseball and mandate that every player must take steroids & HGH. This way all will be on equal footing and there won't be any cheaters.
JC Bradbury has been pushing for legalization of HGH, since it doesn't enhance performance anyway. He and others have argued (correctly, I believe) that banning these substances is a tacit indicator that they are effective in enhancing performance.
Should the other 103 players be named? I understand it was supposed to be confidential, but what about the 93-95% of the players that were clean? Shouldn't the union be looking out for the clean players who are now lumped in with the others just by association? Or am I looking at this incorrectly?
The union has to look out for everyone. The harm done to the 103 players whose names haven't been leaked - but will be, eventually, of course - if their names get out is enormous, while the harm done to "clean" players (actual clean players, and users who just haven't been caught) if the names aren't revealed is relatively small.
Come on Klaw, now lets be fair. If Dan is content with his team constantly battling for 4th place in the NL East, that's his prerogative right? Clearly he is happy with the lack of direction Bowden is taking that team, why else would he be defending his team. The Nats: Feel the excitement of 4th place.
I'm trying to get Dan's address so I can send him a NATS TOWN pacifier.
Turning the question around ... assuming you took over on October 1, 2008, what would you have done to improve the Nationals? Would you have signed any of the younger players to extensions? What signings (if any) would you have made? What players would you have looked to deal?
In that situation - bad team, bad system - you trade every veteran who isn't nailed down. Everyone. Example: Joel Hanrahan had a nice season. Put him on the market - he's a good-not-great reliever on a team where the bullpen should be a postafterthought. By October 1st, Guzman's new deal was already in place, but as soon as I could flip him, I'd do so. There is NO value to winning 76 games instead of 70 right now, and Nats fans (and bloggers) are increasingly seeing through Stan Kasten's Orwellian doublespeak about the farm system. (Chris Needham's Stanspeak translator is a new favorite running gag of mine.) And stop asking for the top prospect of every team that calls about your players. The inability to get deals done is clear; that means it's time to change the approach.
Is it just me or are the ESPN and SI baseball writers sniping one another? Today alone Verducci criticized Peter Gammon's interviewing prowess, and today ESPN's Neyer took a piece about Abeu's defence written by SI's Heyman and basically called Heyman an idiot for not realizing abreu was a terrible defensive outfielder.
Well, there's a real discussion to be had about the SI writers' original story, which I hinted at above. I haven't seen either of the pieces you mentioned.
So you're saying I should be marketing a placebo to professional athletes as an undetectible strength enhancer/energy booster? Brilliant! (As long as sucrose isn't on the list of banned substances. Although Selig is dumb enough to believe the marketing hype and ban it). Klawanoxin? Klawsybri? Klawabrex? What should we call it?
No, you've got it backwards. Get it banned first, then sell it to players.
If the Nats put the money spent on Dunn into higher bonus payments in the draft and/or additional signings from overseas, would that make a significant impact down the road? This seems like a waste of resources, but does it hamper draft/scouting efforts?
That's an unfair criticism until we see what they do in June. Strasburg alone will probably cost $10-12MM, and they have to drop another $2MM on the pick they get for screwing up the Crow negotiations last year. If they go cheap with either pick, then yes, it will be fair to question the allocation of resources. I do a lot of critical analysis, but I like to wait for a team to screw up before calling them out on the screw-up.
Is griffey guilty by association?
K-Law: With all the research ML scouts do, who would you say is the worst #1 draft pick ever: Matt Bush, Bryan Bullington, Matt Anderson, Shawn Abner? Or maybe it's Danny Goodwin who was drafted #1 overall twice and I don't think ever played in the majors...
Steve Chilcott should be in the mix. I'd go with Bullington, though. The Pirates said after taking him that they projected him as a #3 starter. DRAFT FAIL.
Any KLAW culture questions today, or too much BB going on? If I have to pick a language CD course, which one?
I've been backloading those questions in the last few chats till the second hour. Pimsleur.
Continuing the Nats' chat, does Dukes win the CF job from Milledge? Also, better player long-term Fowler or Carlos Gonzalez, and why?
This was affected by my mistake in this morning's column, but the main point stands: Dukes and Milledge HAVE to play every day. They're young and have a chance to be part of the first decent Nats team. Developing them is the priority. If Dunn takes away PT from either guy, the move was a mistake. Fowler - just a better baseball player, better feel for the game, better approach at the plate, great defender in center with good reads off the bat.
What's Aaron Crow doing nowadays? Did his non-signing drop his draft status much?
He'll pitch in an indy league in Texas this spring. I expect he'll go in the top 10 picks.
Keith, I am not asking you to call out a colleague (well I guess I am!), but yesterday Rob Neyer posted this after an article suggesting A-Rod's admitted PED use perhaps only helped him with an extra homer or two: "Even if you assume that performance-enhancing drugs have had a measurable impact on statistics -- which is far from settled, by the way -- you wouldn't expect to see a particular player do extraordinarily unexpected things. It's safe to say that if Alex Rodriguez had never broken a single law or a single rule, he would still today be on track for 800 home runs." I think it is safe to say that Mssrs Bonds, McGwire, and Clemens all did extraordinarily unexpected things. I also think it is safe to say that if PED's didn't have a noticeable impact on statistics, players wouldn't use them (I do realize there is no way to have an authoritative study done, using lab rats or human guinea pigs isn't the same as World Class athletes competing on the highest level). Would you please share your thoughts on this matter?
I've covered a lot of this, but it's worth pointing out that Clemens' career path isn't that of a PED user; he became a command/control guy in the 2000s, rather than returning to form as a power guy. Perhaps he used something that kept him healthy, but I've never quite understood why people get so outraged over that. If something keeps you healthy, or helps you recover more quickly, isn't that a Good Thing? What's next - banning cortisone? ibuprofen? ice?
Why are you so snarky?
Snark and baseball smarts are the skills dat pay da bills.
Never heard your thoughts on Abreu. What do you think of the signing? Put him the 2 or 3 hole, part-time DH for 5 mill? Ok, right?
Love it. My writeup will be up later today. I'm particularly jazzed to see him hitting ahead of Teixeira and Salmon.
Better deal: Dunn, 2 for $20M or Howard, 3 for $54? I think the Phillies drastically overpaid.
It's like the Phillies were so scared of losing in arb again that they just gave Howard the store. Are they not aware that he's been in decline for two years? Doesn't hit lefties? Can't field? Has a bad body?
How about some non steroids talk? Do you or any other baseball writers you know play fantasy baseball? If not, is it just not as exciting as the real thing?
I haven't played since before I went to Toronto. It holds no appeal to me now.
Teixeira is a Yankee...
Do I get $5 for successfully baiting a reader?
My question is this, why dose the government have to get involved with baseball. Its a sport, they shouldn't be able to regulate what goes on. Steroids weren't illegal in the MLB at that time. Why are they getting in trouble for the past?
The government shouldn't be involved at all. It's a chance for district attorneys and Congressmen to get their mugs in front of cameras on an issue where there isn't much opposition (it's not like anyone is campaigning for more steroids in baseball). It's also a colossal waste of taxpayer money.
Another productive out question - no outs, man on second, 2 strikes, doesn't moving the runner to second pay dividends?
No, you're worse off with 1 out x2x than you were with 0 out 1xx.
Please stop with the roids.....The fans that pay all the checks dont care. We want to hear about the game not this crap anymore..PLEASE STOP
I don't think we ever heard--how was the vacation?
Good, but it got terribly cold in Orlando at the end of the trip. Disneyworld was the emptiest I've ever seen it - Space Mountain had no wait on a sunny (cool) Monday afternoon at 2:30.
PECOTA predicts that Matt Wieters will hit .311/.395/.544 with a .319 EQA, 20 points higher than any other catcher. I know Wieters is a stud, but this seems way to high of a projection for a 22 year old catcher with zero AB's above AA. What are your thoughts?
PECOTA was built using major-league stats, so I don't think it's as reliable on hitters without any big-league data. I mean, if Wieters does that, that's your AL MVP right there.
Keith, who's the better pro prospect among these college sophomore shortstops -- G-Tech's Derek Dietrich or Rice's Ricky Hague? Does Dietrich stick at SS in the pros?
Dietrich. I'm going to defer answering the SS question ... I just haven't seen him play there enough.
Keith, how good can Adam Miller be in the Indians' bullpen this year? What major leaguer does he compare to?
I think he could be a dominant setup guy or closer for them, perhaps not on Opening Day, but by year-end, if he can just stay healthy.
KLAW, are you going to the College Classic in Houston this year? Any prospects to look for on Rice, UCLA or any of the other teams participating?
Planning on it. Baylor is stacked - Kendall Volz will be the best prospect there.
Do you think the Jays did the right thing in stretching Cecil out to be a starter?
Fowler or Rasmus. More ABs this year? Who do you like better for this year and beyond?
Rasmus on both points. Fowler isn't ready to step in and hit at the big-league level. I do like him, but he needs more time in the minors.
Hey K-Law, no mention of Brien Taylor for the worst #1 draft pick ever? Even if you assume that he would have been a stud without the arm injury, isn't the fact that he's the type of player who'd get into a bar fight to begin with a red flag?
That's revisionist. He was one of the best HS pitching prospects ever. I don't know anyone who had that kind of concern about his makeup before he was taken. He got in a bar fight defending someone - his brother, I think. Stupid, maybe, but we're not talking Matt Bush or Jeff Allison here.
Hi Keith love the chats and respect your opinion highly, but we clearly disagree on our interpretations of the "benefits" of steriods. I believe that if you assume Bonds and McGwire/Sosa used steriods, that it proves to me that the human limit in baseball over 162 games is ~61 homers in the same way 100-102 mph seems to be the human limit in terms of velocity...and only with steriods can you hit 70...you don't see that point?
I don't agree with it at all. I think we'll see 62 homers in a season again. Perhaps at the next expansion. It's not a coincidence that McGwire/Sosa went off in an expansion year, and so did Maris/Mantle in '61.
Has Jemile Weeks justified him being picked 12th or were all the experts correct in saying he wasn't that good?
It's too early to say that anyone was correct on a pick made eight months ago. He has 19 pro games under his belt.
Speaking of PECOTA, what are your thoughts in general about projection systems? Any value to a FO?
Absolutely, as long as it doesn't become the exclusive evaluation tool. PECOTA's very good - I wasn't saying that it was bad, just that I trust it more on players with major-league experience.
What is the connection with upswing in homers and expansion?
Twenty-five to thirty pitchers who were not good enough to pitch in the majors in the prior year will suddenly have substantial roles in the majors in the expansion year. You tend to see more extreme performances in expansion years for this reason.
What happened to Humberto Sanchez? He was the centerpiece of the Sheffield deal a few years back.
Blew his elbow out and missed two years. He was back and throwing in relief in September. Still has good velo, still fat.
I asked this earlier, not sure if you didnt see or just prefer other questions, but what were your reasons for leaving Brett LAwrie out of your Top 100. thanks Keith!
Lack of position. I severely downgrade players whose position is uncertain. He can't catch. I'm not sold on him at 2b.
KLAW,have missed the chats last couple weeks,glad you're back. Alot of talk flying around about changing players stats if they have been on steroids,your thoughts,thanks
Just wanted to mention that there was a chat last week, linked from the dish. It conflicted with someone else's baseball chat, so it was kind of hidden on the MLB index page.
I know it's early for the draft, but what do you think the Nats will do at #10? Do you think they have to take a college guy (Minor, Oliver, Gibson) or do you think they can go with a HS guy like Purke or Tate if they slide down? Thanks
More NatsChat ... look, it's all going to come down to money. Oliver and Tate are Boras guys, and so is Strasburg. Will they be willing to spend $14-15 million on their first two picks? Do they have to go cheap at 10 to afford Strasburg at 1? I don't know the answer. Dana Brown and Mike Rizzo may not even know the answer yet.
Your thoughts on Juan Cruz's situation? This guy is getting royally screwed through no fault of his own.
An unintended consequence of a terrible rule. They should just eliminate draft-pick compensation.
I think that you're more "chappy" than "snarky." Anyways, as a Padres fan, should I be worried about the drop-off after the first two picks (assuming they are Strasburg & Green), or will another player emerge who is on their level?
The dropoff is after Strasburg. White, Green, Ackley, Oliver, Crow, Gibson, Tate, Matzek, Purke, Miller ... there's a clump of guys in the 2-10 group, but Strasburg is the Kenyan marathoner who's about eight city blocks ahead of the Americans behind him.
Back on languages, I asked this on The dish and got no response (admittedly, I went back a few months to find the post and comment): Any experience with the Pimsleur audiobook chips vs. the CDs? The chips seem to be the cheapest, most convenient option, but I figure that means there?s a catch.
I apologize for not answering. Might have been during my vacation. I haven't tried the audiochips.
After Guinness, whats your favorite beer?
I like Harpoon's Oktoberfest, Paulaner Salvator (?) doppelbock, Anchor Porter.
Do you have any favorite words that you like to use? I love the word accoutrement. And sans.
Sanguine. Took me forever to remember what it meant, so I deliberately started using it so that I wouldn't forget. Now I'm not very sanguine about my ability to stop using it.
Has Gavin Floyd made you a believer?
Obvious regression candidate for 2009.
Wow Keith you are the man today is there anything better then hearing Nats fan defending Bowden?
It amuses me no end. I'm accused of a personal vendetta because I point out the obvious: He's bad at his job, with a healthy track record to prove it. How about those original Guzman and Castilla signings and the two draft picks they gave up for them? Those worked out well. It just goes on and on.
Keith my main man, what is up with Matt Antonelli? What type of a pro do you see him as?
Utility guy. Would still like to see the Pads try him in CF.
In line with your Nats vs Cle, Oak, Tx reasoning, does it make sense for the Jays to shop Doc for a great rebuilding package? They don't appear likely to jump Bos, TB and NY anytime soon and may even be falling behind the O's.
Well, you could argue that 2010 looks decent - Marcum and McGowan healthy, Cecil fully ready, Snider and Lind established. But the division is indeed brutal.
Klaw, do you think Jason Donald can make the transition to 3B, and if so is he instantly the Phils' top prospect to replace Feliz? He knocked the snot out of the pitching in AFL, but he's blocked at 2B/SS for the foreseeable future..
I think he's a trade candidate. He could play 2b or ss everyday for someone now.
Klaw, better prospect for the Marlins, why have you ranked Logan over Mike Stanton? Stanton seems to be the cream of that crop with the bat.
Morrison's more polished and closer to the majors. Stanton has much more raw power, of course, but I prefer Morrison's overall hitting package.
Keith, do you have anything written up online about your Iceland recommendations? Or are they scattered throughout chat transcripts?
Hm, there was a post on the dish ... might have been lost in the database crash in December.
RE: your top 100 books on the dish, how often, if ever do you plan on revising it? Every year, every five years, etc. Any books you've read since the list that would find their way onto your list?
I'll do a revision this summer. Any book I read that's a candidate for the next iteration is tagged as 'klaw 101.'
Interesting take on Rabbit, Run today. Does a protag have to evolve throughout the course of the book to make it viable to you? What about devolution?
He has to develop, somehow. Either direction is fine. Rabbit is an idiot at the start of the book and an idiot at the end. I'm curious whether he remains an idiot through all three sequels.
Is Bowden really that bad though? Stole Jesus Flores in the rule V draft.. and then pawned off his terrible catcher at 5 million a season (Schnedier) to the mets... and the Willingham/Olsen deal was a pretty nice one for them no? A lot of teams in the NL east could use a solid RH bat and young lefty starter with good stuff...
I loved the Milledge acquisition for them, and liked the Willingham/Olsen deal. Flores - he had a .296 OBP last year. The jump from single-A to the majors may have severely retarded his development. Jose Guillen did the same thing and didn't turn into a decent player until he was 27. So I'm not going to put that in the win column just yet. I'd rarely if ever take a single-A hitter in the Rule 5 draft.
Is it safe to say that almost every era of baseball has a dark moment? and it will always revovle around money? I mean 1919 we have the black sox rigging the series to turn a few bucks, then Pete Rose bets on his teams to make a few bucks, now the steroid era which is about putting butts in the seats, hitting the ball a long way and.. guess what make a few more million when you hit FA.
I'm thinking baseball up until 1947 has a hell of a lot to be ashamed about.
Ever read The Pickwick Papers? I'm enjoying the heck out of it. Hilarious stuff.
Loved it. It's on the klaw 100. Best Dickens book of the 3 I've read (Great Expectations and Tale of Two Cities are the others).
Keith, thanks to you I started reading more literature/"grown up" books. For the most part, they're pretty darn depressing and it makes me not want to read them, kind of like you and "The Road." Is there stuff out there that's remotely uplifting?
The Dud Avocado, which I just wrote up the other day, was hilarious and clever and smart. There are many great comic novels in the western canon that won't make you feel like you're reading young adult lit - authors like Waugh, Wodehouse, Amis.
Are you a fan of Henry James' "Portrait of a Lady?" It's supposed to be the best "realism text" from that period (whatever that means).
I got 50 pages into the Ambassadors and sold it the next day. People use him as an example of a great prose writer. It was like swimming in tar.
Ask Reds fans if Bowden is really that bad.....
He did a better job there than he is in Washington, but it was a different industry. The scrap-heap approach worked then because there weren't many other scavengers at the garbage dump.
What kind of hitter do you see Gordon Beckham developing into? Seems he has decent power. Is opening day 2010 a reasonable ETA for him to arrive in Chicago as a regular?
I wouldn't be surprised if he showed up this year, and I would take his glove at short over Alexei's.
My story had its comedic moments
That's A Confederacy of Dunces, and absolutely, it did. Also Our Man in Havana. If on a winter's night a traveler. Tom Jones. The Pickwick Papers. You won't run out of great comic novels any time soon.
Funny. Mets fan always bring up losing Jesus Flores in the Rule V draft as one of Omar's biggest blunders.
It's not zero-sum - leaving him unprotected was a mistake, but that doesn't mean that drafting him was a great move. Flores projected better as a player who got a full year in AA and half or a full year in AAA than as a guy who jumped from A-ball to the majors.
What are your thoughts on expansion? Relative to population, there are fewer teams now than since the 50s. There is also the fact that youth baseball in America is more organized now that ever, and international players are making a greater impact. Maybe I'm just dying for a team here in SLC, but don't you think it is time to start serious discussions about expansion? Thanks Klaw, stay mean.
Expansion has to be off the table for a good five years now. You need very good economic times for that to make sense, especially if you're trying to sucker voters into building you a new stadium. (Speaking of which, here's hoping Miami-Dade has the good sense to realize that in the middle of a terrible recession, giving a private business that doesn't create many good local jobs a free stadium is a terrible idea.)
You should have never mentioned my Alexei. But I do like your thinking, and an earlier idea about moving Alexei to centerfield. Right now, they're hoping Jerry Owens plus Brian Anderson plus ??? equal one CF. I'm not optimistic.
Owens has 20 power. Anderson doesn't do enough of anything to be an average CF. Good luck with that.
You insinuate a lot with your thoughts on Raines' "HoF snubbing," especially comparing him to Molitor, batter/fielder-wise? How does this explain Kirby Puckett? Or the fact that Willie Randolph (and Bobby Grich, for that matter) were more valuable than Raines?
I never said the voters wouldn't elect ANY minority players. Randolph and Grich were not better players than Raines.
Trying one more time - talk to me about the Rays closer situation. Does Percival worry you? Could Niemann do the job? Should he?
Hell yes, probably, and eventually.
Your thoughts on the sheriff in South Carolina attempting to build a case against Michael Phelps?
I'd bet a month's worth of klawbait donations that said sheriff already has a publicist.
Who's most at fault for the Astros horrible farm system?
Keith, I know there is no analytical way to discern how many homers were added to Bonds' totals through PED's. But, is it reasonable to assume that given the spike in his HR totals at an advanced age, maybe 10-15 HR/year were added to his totals?
I wouldn't argue against someone saying he had 10-15 extra in 2001. Where the argument breaks down is in trying to explain that year as an outlier in a career that is in and of itself an outlier. Did he just get better stuff in that year? He was probably using the same stuff in 2002 that he did in 2001, right? Doesn't that tell you we should be looking for another explanation for the 2001 spike?
You've said Jesus Montero doesn't project to be a big league catcher. With A-rod and Teix at the corners and Jeter expected to be somewhere in the outfield in the future where do you see montero playing?
First base, for someone else, I suppose.
Keith, I'm cooking for a group on 10 next Tuesday and pasta has been requested for the vegetarians. I also want the pasta to go as a side for chicken breasts stuffed with goat cheese, spinach and sun dried tomatoes. Any suggestions for a lighter sauce?
Keith, many people seems to think that Babe Ruth is (without an argument) the greatest player ever. Now, I think that even though He would have been great anyways, the fact that He didn't face the very best players of that era (no african americans or latinos of color) makes it impossible to compare him to guys like Mays, Aaron, etc. What's your take on this?
It's unanswerable. The best you can do is compare a player to his era. It's true that Ruth faced weak competition because of industry racism, but the answer isn't to discard what Ruth did either.
Did you ever post any thoughts on the Pie/Olson trade? Can Pie hit for LF?
I won't give up on Pie - I think he just needs an extended opportunity. I like the swing and the power potential, but the approach is a little wobbly. I'm pretty sure he's not a fan of the breaking ball.
I don't know why people think that any anomalous spike must have been PEDs, as though this hasn't happened for years. What about Davey Johnson in 1973, among others? Early steroid user, or just the kind of thing that happens occasionally?
Given enough hitter-seasons and hitter-careers, we should expect to see a handful of wacky outliers, right?
Will your statement of "The jump from single-A to the majors may have severely retarded his development" apply to the Everth Cabrera, the Padres selection in the Rule-5?
Any evidence out there that the ball itself was juiced during the late 90s and early part of this decade?
Unprovable, but not out of the question. The offensive spike from 1992 to 1993 was enormous. Expansion explains a lot of it, but you can't say that in one offseason half the industry sat on a needle.
I dont think this has been asked yet, do you think the rest of the names should be made public? I know a lot of players want it to happen to clear their name.
No, violating another 103 players' privacy is not the solution.
Who would you rather have in 3 years...Hanson or Bumgarner? I don't understand how some favor Bumgarner over Hanson after Hanson dominated at higher levels.
Bumgarner's left-handed and does it a little easier.
If you look at Bond's OPS by season he gets a HUGE spike late in his career (lasting for more than one season). Yeah its a crude way to look at it, but it starts right about the time the cream and the clear were rumored to have started.
I don't dispute that, but I'm saying two things. One, a single player's weird career path is not compelling evidence that PEDs really E your P. Two, why did Bonds' P get all E^2 in 2001 and then regress in 2002? PEDs alone can't explain that.
Umm..didn't they just prove the cream/clear don't do anything? By let facts get in the way of a useless witch-hunt.
I'm not sure which is more apt, "useless" or "witch hunt." Except, of course, that there's now a cottage industry around this stuff. How many books have been written about PED usage in sports?
I HATE all this steroids talk, and quite frankly I'm not offended in the least by players using PED's, they didn't do anything to me. However, what if Pujols is one of the remaining 103? I think he's the one big card (no pun intended) left that deal a finaly haymaker to MLB.
I said the same thing to a radio producer the other day. And you know what? He's the next star the MSM will try to tear down. They finished off Bonds. They're just about done with A-Rod. The only thing saving Pujols is that he has a WS ring. But someone will gun for him shortly.
I kinda agree with Verducci; I thought Gammons interview was extremely powderpuff. I guess A-Rod and Boras knew they would get an easy interview that way.
I didn't see it except for the bit they showed when I was on ESPNews on Monday, so I can't give you an opinion. That said, you don't get the player to sit down at all if you're going to take the gloves off. Is it better to have an interview where the hardest questions aren't asked, or is it better to have no interview at all?
Klaw! Thanks for the 5 Guys recommendation! I ate there and got food poisoning.
You got food poisoning from a well-done burger? No, you caught a virus. Or you got too drunk.
Hey Keith, can you please give us some breakout candidates for 2009?
I'll do an article on that later this month, just like last year.
How much better would my offensive numbers be if I didn't play half my games in Petco Park?
I didn't realize how severe his career splits were: .264/.336/.439 home, .299/.360/.544 road, and that includes two partial years with Texas. Even if he was a "true" .290/.350/.530 hitter, with that defense, he's one of the ... what, top 5 first basemen in the game? Behind Pujols and Teixeira, and probably Youkilis. Just eyeballing it, I think he has a case to be 4 or 5.
Thoughts on the 10th grader (sorry, forgot his name) who hit that 502 ft. HR in the derby at the Trop? Does the ability to hit a ball ridiculously far in BP have any projection value?
Bryce Harper. The fact that he can hit a ball that far (metal bat, of course) in BP is impressive, but it's the combination with a great swing, a good eye, a plus arm, and good actions as a catcher that makes him such a stud prospect.
Keith, speaking of arguments that make me shake my head and think: logic fail (to steal your line)..."steroids were not illegal in baseball prior to blah blah blah). They are illegal in the United States!!! Just because it doesn't say in writing that you can't kill someone doesn't mean you are allowed to shoot the pitcher you owns you when you step in the batters box!
So that's a legal matter. It's not MLB's place to enforce the laws of the country. And by the way, Bonds, Clemens, Tejada ... they're being charged/have been charged with perjury, not with steroid use.
You can downplay PED's impact on performance all you want - your motivation to do so is to minimize the relevance of the fact front office types knew/know a large number of players take PEDs and did nothing but acquire and pay them a good salary (except for Jose Canseco after 1998).
No, my motivation is to get the most accurate picture possible. God forbid.
If you don't believe in productive outs, do you not believe in me?
For non-pitchers, no, not really. Bunting for hits, yes, absolutely, but the pure sacrifice? I'd sooner buy a six-pack of Old Mildred.
I say it's better to have no interview at all. In this case, any further questions coming A-Rod's way will basically be answered with a "I've already addressed that subject and won't talk about the past" answer.
I disagree. I'd rather have the interview.
I thought the steroid questions were stopping?????
That was my intent, but more than half of what I'm getting is related to PEDs right now.
Who is more likely to unseat the Angels in the West -- Texas or Oakland?
Oakland. Texas' pitching ... no. Not yet.
Morneau gets no credit for being an elite first baseman? his defensive numbers were just as good as Youk's
He's not in a class defensively with the guys I mentioned.
How much does/should BABIP factor into prospect evaluation? Carlos Santana got a nice lift from BABIP both before and after the trade.
Hitter BABIP isn't as luck-determined as pitcher BABIP, for one thing. And I have never seen a study on minor-league player BABIP rates - you'd expect the range to be wider, right? A really good hitting prospect could put up BABIPs in the minors that, for a major-leaguer, look absurd.
Can a player reject being taken in a the Rule 5 draft? Or do they have not input until they become a free agent?
The player has no rights to reject it. You have to have six years of minor-league service or get released before you have that kind of rights.
Thanks for the great - and lengthy - chat (SENT 3:09 PM). When he's been on the field, Cristian Guzman has put together a decent triple slash line since September '05. PECOTA projects this "peak" to continue in '09. Are you a believer?
No, not at all. I'd take the under on that line (a .320 batting average).
Use your pork brine all the time. It's like the lights came on. Do you recommend something similar for chicken on The Dish?
Any brine will do. Salt and water do most of the work anyway.
All right, I'll politely ask again as it has nothing to do with PED's. When, if ever, can Juan Cruz sign with another team without them forfeiting a draft pick? Alternatively, can he sign with his original team after May 1st and then get traded?
After the draft. He can sign with Arizona and be traded immediately if he waives his no-trade rights (valid for six months from the signing date otherwise).
Bud said he is considering reinstating Aaron as the Home Run leader. Where do all those homeruns from Bonds go. Do the people who paid to go to those games get their money back since they didn't happen?
So he can just declare whoever he wants to be the leader in any category? Will he reinstate Walter Johnson as the strikeout leader? This is like Mr. Burns ordering Smithers into the miniature replica of the Spruce Goose. "<click> Get in."
Has any athlete who has done less evil things, ever been more villified than ARod?
No. How about the relative treatments of A-Rod and Ray Lewis?
re: The record books. Wouldn't Bud have to reinstate Ruth as the career HR leader? Aaron used amphetamines...
Ruth used booze. Reinstate Frank Baker!
Keith, Bud said Arod shamed the game. I think Bud continues to shame the game by his repeated attempt to dupe cities into financing ballparks.
No, the shame is on the dupes.
Thoughts (besides yawn) on what appears to be Griffey's imminent return to Seattle?
PR move. Not really a fan of those signings. Way too much risk he takes playing time away from a Balentien.
No room for David Copperfield on your top 100? I'm re-reading it now and it strikes me as the Stan Musial of novels.
Haven't read it - only an abridged "Moby Book" when I was maybe 7.
Hey Klaw, What's your (note the proper use of your vs. you're) best recipe for short ribs?
Smitten Kitchen (great food blog) did a good recipe recently. The basic formula is brown on all sides, add aromatics (removing most of the rendered fat, which is good for frying potatoes, though), add liquid (beer!), braise for 90-120 minutes, then finish on a grill or in a 450 degree oven to re-brown.
Gallardo or Parra? Both 2/3 types?
Gallardo. Both have 2 potential.
Better teen pitching prospect: 90 FB w/very good curve, or 94 FB w/no decent breaker? (i.e. do you agree with Callis that in general adding velocity is much more likely than markedly improving breaking stuff?) Thanks, KLaw!
Reposting: Yes, I agree with Jim. I think you are born with the curveball in your wrist or you're not.
I only did a quick skim but I didn't see Smoltz on your top 50 FA list. Am I blind or did you not rank him because of the injury potential? Have you changed your mind?
Did not rank him because he's hurt now.
Will Eric Byrnes go back to being a beast this year?
He never was one. Fourth. Outfielder.
Braden Looper to Milwaukee for 1yr/$5 mil. Yay or nay for the Brewers?
Modest yay. They needed some bulk innings.
Maybe it was the peanut oil on the 5 guys fries. Peanuts are your enemy now. Thoughts on Elijah Dukes' potential for 2009?
I actually like Dukes - he's just not hitting for the power I'd expect from him, given his size and swing and the fact that he's probably a LF/RF rather than a CF. He's one of, what, three guys in that lineup now who might draw 60 walks in a full season?
That would Bumgarner pretty impressive, right? He didn't have much of a breaking ball coming out of high school.
He didn't throw one at all until his senior year, part of a plan to keep him healthy.
Did you eat frozen custard during your trip to Milwaukee some time ago? How do you rank it compared with ice cream? To us, its no contest.
Agreed. Frozen custard > ice cream any day.
The year Rickie Weeks finally breaks out into .390/.480 range is 2009? Never?
Sure. I said it was going to happen last year, so I'm not exactly the authority on Rickie Weeks.
Should the Mets just consider Castillo's contract a sunk cost and make him a very overpaid hotdog vendor or batboy, as opposed to a very overpaid 2b? Then, perhaps, they can just go out and trade for/sign someone else (Hudson?).
You're still here? Nice....do you ever go to a baseball game just for the joy of the game? Or are you almost always on assignment? Do you ever go see a local college or high school team that you know has no prospects and just enjoy the game? Or would you rather spend that time with your family and reading fiction?
If I'm not working, I don't go to the park. I'd rather be home with my family.
Bucholtz, Lester, and Bowden...Are all three 1-2 types?
Yes on the first two.
According to BA the Giants are considering moving Bumgarner up to AA. Would this be a mistake to skip A+?
No, given his dominance in low-A and the fact that their high-A team is in the worst league at that level.
OK, over 2000 questions submitted, only half from Angry Dan. Thanks for stopping by!