Sorry I'm late. I was just catching up on Shaun the Sheep episodes.
How good can Wilmer Font be? Does he have a chance to make a Feliz-ian type leap in the next couple years?
Yes - the stuff is almost as good as Feliz's, perhaps equal to it, and the delivery's a little better suited to starting. But missing a whole year with arm and weight issues really hurts your prospect status until you show they're behind you.
What do you think of Brandon Morrow moving back to the pen for the M's. What's the future for Jeff Clement with Seattle? Any possiblity that Jack Z can trade Yuni Betencourt and Clement and get good value back?
I don't understand the development plan for Morrow at all. You certainly don't the let player just dictate it based on which side of the bed he woke up on that morning. Morrow should be starting, and if that has to be in AAA, so be it. Even if you think he's a reliever long-term, there's benefit to having him start for a year in the minors. Clement should be their catcher of the present, never mind the future. Sunk costs, ladies.
After watching Poreda in Arizona- Starter or reliever?
He's a reliever right now, but I have hope his slider will improve with time.
Who is the better hitter long term: Smoak or Chris Davis?
Number of Oreos you can eat in one sitting or Jeff Francour's walk total in 2009?
1/3 of the way into the amateur season, has the #2 pick in the Draft (behind Stras) become any clearer?
No, less so, if anything. I'd probably go with Ackley now, but White could reclaim it, and Matzek and Miller are in that mix.
Have any of the Spring scouting reports on Pedro Alvarez given you additional optimism or do we really need to see him over a full minor league season to judge how good he might be?
I've talked to people who've seen him and they're seeing what I've seen - good bat, great power, iffy body, unlikely to stay at 3b.
Following up on Morrow, if he really is closing, does that make the Josh Fields signing look worse? Hindsight is 20/20, but still.
Yes, yes it does. But, if you watched the draft show, you know that Bill Bavasi and Bob Fontaine can't be questioned.
Any shot of Aaron Crow jumping up to the #2 spot?
Yes, I forgot about him. Definitely in that mix.
Jeff Niemann, 28 starts in 2009, over/under? If over, for who? TB, SD, PIT?
Under. You could go 2.8 and I might still say "under." Good luck getting that arm to hold up in the rotation.
Pedro Alvarez sounds a lot like Dayan Viciedo.
Better body, but both guys have + raw power. Not a bad comp, but Alvarez is better.
McLouth had a good season last year, but with McCutchen coming strong, wouldn't it make sense to try and move him sometime this year? The Bucs aren't challenging anyone this year, so why pay McLouth when he (probably) maxed out last year and isn't a star? A good field prospect and arm isn't too much to expect is it?
I would have moved him this winter; he was awful defensively and didn't do much with the stick after Memorial Day. That three-year extension could look pretty bad if he picks up where he left off.
Keith have you done any draft work yet? Are Chad James, Chris Jenkins, or Jacob Turner 1st rounders and can the Yanks get one with their Cole pick, I think 28A?
You might check the ESPN Draft Blog, which Jason Churchill and I have been updating for, oh, I don't know, six weeks now. James and Turner are worthy first-rounders, Jenkins is not.
ne chances behind halladay and the other young pitchers...litsch...mcGowan.....the offense does just enough and the blue jays sneak in as a wild card?
I'm debating how many significant digits would be required to express the chances of that happening.
Klaw, can you tell me why I'm reading a lot of coverage from reputable baseball sites that consider the Royals a sleeper? They have 2 batters that get on base at an above average clip and their staff behind Grienke, Meche & Soria is well below average. What am I missing?
Nothing. PECOTA has two potential starters projected to post OBPs over .340, one of whom (Butler) the team is determined to bury at all costs. Davies could be better - I've heard good things about his curve this spring - but, um, Ponson? Ramirez? Are we just not paying attention?
How do you think Rick Porcello, Trevor Cahill, and Brett Anderson will do in their rookie seasons?
I'm most optimistic about Anderson this year - he's the most polished with the deepest repertoire. Cahill worries me the most, with the worst command of the three and reports from a couple of scouts that he gave up a lot of hard contact this spring.
Should I be concerned about the health of Cole Hamels?
Buster Posey, based on his stats, had a nice spring; when can we expect him to be the everyday catcher for the Giants? Next spring? This September?
September is probably realistic. He's going to start at San Jose - that team is stacked, by the way - but I can't imagine he's anywhere below AA in mid-June.
KLaw question regarding sample size...How big does a sample size have to be before scouts start to take notice? I've read a lot about how Kyle Davies strong finish to the season, which I think only included his final 5 starts, is reason to suggest he's turned a corner. Isn't that sample size a bit small to even suggest he's going to break-out? How many ML starts or at-bats do you think is necessary to truly gauge a players' long-term ability?
Final five starts = five starts in September, which probably included facing a number of hitters who were in AAA a month earlier and aren't major-league caliber. By a similar token, beware of first-half/second-half minor league splits - remember that the caliber of play in a minor league will change over the course of a season as the best players are promoted.
Follow-up on the Bucs. McClouth notwithstanding, don't the Pirates eventually have to draw a line in the sand and actually build toward SOMETHING? Seems like an endless cycle of trading vets for prospects, letting prospects begin to mature into players, then trading them for more prospects.
Sure. I just don't see the guys to keep on that roster. McCutchen will be one. Alvarez will be one. Tabata might be one. They have a chance to nab another one at #4 this June. But extending Freddy Sanchez isn't the answer.
K-Law, did you see Franklin Morales and Dexter Fowler in Arizona? If so, when do you think they will be ready to ocntribute to the big league club?
I didn't see the Rockies - every time they came to Phoenix it seemed like they were using Hirsh and Greg Smith and really I'd rather light myself on fire than watch those guys.
KLaw, the level of snarkiness and intelligence you combine is unparalleled. I preface by saying I AM a Yankees fan: I have been having an argument regarding Austin Jackson and Lars Anderson. I believe - as most scouts do - Anderson is currently the bigger, impact prospect of the two, as the stats prove out. The opposition believes because Jackson plays CF, a premium position, and Anderson plays just an average 1B, the less demanding position, that they are arguably equal prospects. What is your take?
Lars. Not even close.
Have you seen Gavin Floyd pitch this spring? Does it look like he can come close to repeating last year's success, or was his contract signing a bad move by the White Sox? Thanks.
I wouldn't say the contract was a bad move, but he's probably my #1 regression candidate this year. His ERA wasn't sustainable anyway, and he lacks any kind of true out pitch.
Did the O's give up on Hayden Penn too quickly?
It was never going to work for him in Baltimore and he was out of options.
Follow up on the San Jose Giants...how many legitmate major leaguers are on that squad? Also, you recently took a look a Nick Noonan and said he "bars" his arm, causing you to doubt him long term. What does that mean?
I explained that in the comments below that article - it means his front elbow is nearly locked because he sets up with his hands so far back. Posey, Villalona, Bumgarner, Alderson, Gillaspie, maybe Kieschnick, probably Quirarte, I guess Crawford could be John McDonald ... pretty good group.
Keith, the other day Buster Olney was previewing the AL West and said Matt Holiday is the best hitter in the division. I wouldn't even put him in the top 5. 1. Hamilton 2. Guererro 3. Ichiro 4. Kinsler 5. Chris Davis, yes Chris Davis. Thoughts?
Guerrero doesn't belong on that list any more. Hamilton's better than Holliday. Kinsler is if you're talking offense relative to position. Wow, that division is really bad.
And Chris Davis ... come on. It was fun while it lasted.
With young studs Bruce and Votto, and cyyoung candidates Cueto and Volquez....along with the departure of Griffey and Dunn...where do te reds finish this year?
Is Alderson really going back to San Jose? He posted great numbers in a fully season at that level last year.
The rumor in Giants camp was that he would probably start there and come to the Eastern League when the weather warmed up.
Keith, when will the media start viewing guys with DUIs as "worse" than those accused, alleged, and those who admitted using "PEDs"? Joba has pled guilty and while Donte Stallworth is only charged now, the reports don't make him out as a villain like Bonds or Arod even though he killed a man.
They're only thinking of the children, Jon.
Have the numbers ever been run on how big of a disadvantage it is to play in the 6-team NL Central compared to the 4-team AL West in terms of playoff chances. Pretty unfair.
Yeah, it's terribly unfair to have to beat the tar out of Pittsburgh and Houston this year. I weep for them.
Quicker path to the big leagues --- Smoak or Lars Anderson? Does Smoak get called up this year?
Lars is blocked, Smoak isn't.
How concerned are you about the Halos starters? I'm really worried about Lackey.
I'm much more worried about Santana. I wouldn't be shocked if he missed half the year or more.
Was Lannan's 2008 a fluke?
A little bit. He's a fifth starter.
Well, it looks like Porcello is starting the season in Detroit, is it a mistake to rush him or does his spring give you confidence that he can be a league average (or better) starter for the Tigers?
It's probably rushing him - whereas Perry could have pitched in the majors last year - but in their defense, Robertson is useless and Willis is worse than that. And Porcello's ability to get groundballs should help him survive.
KLaw, you not like Chris Davis? Seems like a 22 year old that hit like he did last year would be a pretty high on your list of players. Especially, hitting in the Rangers lineup in that ballpark.
He's become extremely overrated over the course of about half a year of playing time. And the fact that he's in that ballpark doesn't make him a better player - it might make him a better fantasy pickup, but it doesn't affect his core skill set.
What are the odds that both Jordan Zimmerman and Shairon Martis impress this year? Which pitcher is more likely to be successful over the long term?
Zimmerman's the better long-term prospect, and I think the better short-term one as well. If there was a Rookie Pitcher of the Year award, he'd probably be my preseason NL pick.
Keith, Did you see Sandoval at third? Did he look serviceable there or is he a butcher. And does his bat "make up" for his defensive inefficiency?
The ball hit to him, he's fine. Just don't ask him to move much to his left ... or his right.
Am I insane for thinking that a healthy Luis Castillo is worth about a 3 to 7 game jump in the standings for the Mets this year?
Astros WIns Over/Under 74? And who is worse - Ed Wade or Drayton McClane?
Under. At the end of the day, this mess is McLane's fault. Delusions of contention, refusal to pay for draft picks, interfering with the GM. He needs to hire a top GM candidate and leave him the heck alone.
The Phillies won 92 games last year with Adam Eaton in the rotation for 4 months, with Kyle Kendrick in the rotation for > 5 months and with most of their lineup having worse regular seasons than they had in 2007. That being the case, if Hamels is healthy - yes, a big if - how many games do you see them winning?
Fewer than 90. Moyer's a regression candidate. Utley may or may not be healthy. Ibanez < Burrell. Bullpen performed at the right tail of expectations. Hamels you mentioned. There's a lot of downside risk there.
Khalil Greene's resurgence - should I believe it?
That implies that once upon a time he was very good. Maybe it's more of a surgence. And no, don't believe it.
Wade can't be that bad. He was in charge when the Phils' built its core homegrown talent - Hamels, Howard, Utley, Rollins, Myers. Not a bad group there.
All drafted by Arbuckle except ColeHamels, who was drafted by Marti Wolever. Wade had nothing to do with them. He just happened to be in the GM chair when his employees made some smart picks. A GM can't just take credit for great draft picks made by his scouting staff.
Do you see Chris Iannetta getting more starts at catcher this season?
Paul Maholm has been really impressive this spring and wasn't too bad last year either. Any chance he has a Cliff Lee type year or anything close?
Klaw-- I'm a Dodger fan that isn't buying into the Matt Kemp is a budding superstar buzz. What are the chances he never becomes more than a less-patient Trot Nixon?
I'm in the budding superstar camp. When Trot Nixon was Matt Kemp's age, he had 4 big league at bats. Kemp has over 1000.
ETA for Tommy Hansen?
The moment Tom Glavine gets blasted into retirement.
Hey Keith, Liked the piece on Cutler and can't wait for the Phoenix food reviews. Could you tell me what the difference between Hosmer and Moustakas is, and who has the higher ceiling and/or better bat?
Hosmer has the better bat and more power, and is already at a position we know he can play and play well. Moustakas has almost as good of a swing and a much better arm, but isn't as athletic as Hosmer and may still have to change positions. Both good prospects, but if you're telling me to pick one, I'll take Hosmer.
I think you missed answering the question about Castillo being good for 3 to 7 games in the standings.
I thought I answered it, but if not, does it really require one? I try to avoid dealing with insane people as much as possible.
Klaw for this season only, sandoval or wieters?
Sandoval is going to get a full season of playing time while Wieters will probably only get about four months. Wieters is the better player but if you're asking a fantasy question you might be better off with Sandoval.
"All drafted by Arbuckle except ColeHamels, who was drafted by Marti Wolever. Wade had nothing to do with them. He just happened to be in the GM chair when his employees made some smart picks. A GM can't just take credit for great draft picks made by his scouting staff. " If draft picks don't define a bad or good GM then what does? I assume the GM's rely on those same people who make picks to give feedback on players in trades?
Draft picks are pretty far down the list of GM evaluation criteria. How about trades, free agent signings, roster construction, coaching staff construction, for starters? And no, every team maintains a separate pro scouting staff; while free agent scouts will do pro coverage over the summer, there is a separate group of scouts who are strictly responsible for seeing minor and major leaguers.
More insane - the guy who asked the Luis Castillo question or Grady Fuson, overseer of a top 5-10 farm system?
Fuson. I put them at 21 and thought I overrated them.
5.00 ERA for Ricky Romero, over or under?
Your reasoning on Wade makes it sound like you are willing to criticize a GM for bad draft picks made by his employees, but not credit him for good picks made by his employees. At the end of the day doesn't he hav ethe final say?
I told a story once about a GM who used that final say to overrule his amateur scouting staff. Let's just say I'm not a fan of that management style.
At least Fuson wasn't the one who took Matt Bush No. 1. Is that the worst pick in recent memory, if not ever?
I have a feeling Moskos over Wieters is going to come pretty close. Clement over Braun, Tulowitzki, Bruce, McCutchen comes to mind. Reynolds over Morrow and Lincecum. And that's without using hindsight.
Are you on the Ubaldo Jiminez bandwagon? He'll never be a WHIP leader, but can you see 200 IP, 200 Ks and an ERA south of 4.00?
That's not that different than what he did last year, so sure.
Hi Keith, A few thoughts on the Pirates, if you could? Broad or specific, dealer's choice. Thanks.
Like I said above, I'm not a fan of the philosophy of locking up players to long-term deals just because they're the best young (youngish?) players you have. Freddy Sanchez, McLouth, Capps, Snell ... they're just not that good.
You're crazy if you think the Phillies win less then 90 games. They have the best infield in MLB, the best outfield in their division and a top flight bullpen. Yes, the starting pitching is only average, but the rest is so far above average I have to think you're wrong. I think cole hamels injury news is over rated though I do not expect him to post cy-young numbers, he will absolutely win 15+ games and I wouldn't be surprised to see the phillies in the 92-95 win catigory this year.
Let's look at some projection systems' results for the Phillies this year. PECOTA: 87. RLYW: 86. CHONE: 87. I guess the computers are crazy too.
Keith, is it true that you're in the best shape of your career, learned a few new remarks and also are shooting for a career year?
Sort of going through a dead keyboard period here. I'm not concerned, though.
Does Rickie Weeks good spring indicate that this may be the year...again?
I'm trying to figure out how many more disappointing years I'll give him before I admit that it's not happening. The skills are there.
Bumgarner question....you had him 88-91 with a little extra. Other reports mid to upper 90's. What gives?
I saw his first start of the spring.
KLAW, not to keep belaboring the GM/scouting point, but take the Pittsburgh Pirates organization as an example. The Ed Wade logic would then signify that their GM is/was not at fault for the Pirates' lousy draft history. That can't be right, can it?
A GM whose SD consistently makes bad picks but doesn't make a change is at fault. A GM who overrules his scouting staff and forces bad picks is certainly at fault. But I'm not clear how you can just blame a GM whose SD makes bad picks for 2-3 years when the GM is typically not involved in the draft at all, especially not beyond the first round.
In a similar vein as the Bumgarner question, you had Strasburg at 98. Are the reports of him throwing 102 wrong, on bad guns or just a rare occurrence that isn't going to happen every start?
I think everyone is getting WAY too hung up on specific readings. I had him at 99 twice. I'm sure someone in the section had one of those pitches at 100. The point is that it's an 80 fastball and it's going to get big league hitters to swing and miss.
Where's Angry Dan and why hasn't he come to my rescue lately?
I heard you were hiring him to be your PR lackey in that Dominican team you're buying with Rijo.
Just ate at 5 Spot last night. In spite of Rachel Ray's recent appearance, still a good local joint. Ross Ohlendorf and Franklin Morales have both made their respective teams' rotations coming out of spring training. What's your take on them?
Ohlendorf's a good middle reliever/setup guy for me. Morales had #1 starter potential before his loss of velocity last spring.
Why so much hate for Nate McLouth? I know he does not cover the most ground, but awful defensively? He won the Gold glove, at 5 assists, 1 DP, an only 1 error in 1300 innings in CF! And another thing, it was his first year as an every day starter! Isn't it normal to see a dip late in the season for guys who are not use to playing that many games? I know he has never been seen as having a ton of potential by scouts, but its nice to see a guy work hard and overachieve his potential rather than all the duds who are tabbed as the next great thing.
He's awful defensively. Just accept it and move on with your life.
"beware of first-half/second-half minor league splits - remember that the caliber of play in a minor league will change over the course of a season as the best players are promoted." You ignored this with me when the 2008 draftees joined my league.
The GCL doesn't start till after the draft. There's no "before."
Keith, I have a question that's always perplexed me, and forgive the length. Can you explain exactly how the minor leagues work? Does each team have it's own owner and GM? Are the GM's allowed to trade players to other minor league teams? Do the owners collect revenues these teams bring in, or does everything funnel through the major league club, and they have final say over everything from the MLB team to the PSL single A team? Thanks
The GM of a minor league team runs the business side. An affiliated team has no control over who's on its roster. Some are independently owned, while a handful are owned by the parent club (the Red Sox bought their Salem affiliate to get out of the Cal League).
Keith, which current prospect is your opinion of (higher or lower) far different than the general consensus among scouts?
I'm more harsh on guys who need (or project to need) a position switch than most people - guys like Alvarez, Montero, Moustakas.
What are your thoughts on the Cubs rule 5 pick-up, Patton? Does he look like a guy who could stick with them all year?
Saw him, don't see him sticking, command was awful.
keith law is awful defensively!!!
Who the heck are the Houston Sooners?
Who's the A's first baseman in 3 years: Barton, Doolittle, Carter, or someone else?
Doolittle, unless he ends up in RF, in which case Carter.
Chances that Grant Green falls to the Orioles?
He could slip at least to 4. His defense is getting poor reviews this spring.
Whats your take on Daniel Murphy? And does J Up's poor spring worry you as far as a possible breakout is concerned. Thanks Keith!
Murphy's a very good platoon outfielder. Yes, I don't like seeing breakout guys have awful springs, but I've always said spring training stats are meaningless so I ignore those concerns.
Keith, if you had to project right now, who do you see the Padres picking at #3? Is Kyle Gibson in the mix?
He'd be a stretch, not a bad choice, but a little bit of a reach there - and exactly the kind of conservative pick that has led the Padres into the bottom third of farm systems. At least three of White, Ackley, Matzek, and Miller will be there, and only one (Ackley) is a Boras advisee.
Hey Keith, Have you heard anything about the kid who is tearing up the Big East playing third for West Virginia? Dan Dibartolomeo? Saw him play, lot of promise..
Sophomore. Not eligible for the draft.
Is it me or are there actors that have been on Sesame St. for 35+ years?
Bob, Maria, and Luis all go back to at least the mid-70s. Bob might have been on the first season, which would be 40 years ago.
pssst. I am glad Bowden is gone...I've said as much many times. But I am glad people are still thinking about me.
You should make a fan page on Facebook. You have a cult following within my cult following.
Hey Keith, Are Ryan Spillborgs Spring stats a sign of a potential "breakout" season or nothing more than a hot Spring? Thanks Keith.
"Joy in the Morning" or "Code of the Woosters"?
Choosing is impossible. They're all good.
But not all the draftees come into the league the moment the draft occurs. There was a noticeable difference in my ability as more of those guys joined the league.
Abreu was hitting .300/.333/.621 on August 5th and slumped for three weeks to end the season. This might be the stupidest argument in the history of Klawchats.
Keith, the only players you ever seem to like are the really good ones.
If I start liking players who suck, I probably need to find a new line of work.
As a follower of your Twitter (I'm UncleWeez), is that pie in your picture? Also, people are saying Yonder Alonso will be MLB-ready by mid-2010. Do you see that happening?
It's a slice of an apple pie I made for Thanksgiving 2007. I thought about changing the pic, but really, who doesn't love pie? Cake-loving sociopaths, that's who.
Keith, when will we begin to see the ramifications of the Andy Oliver decision play out?
I think the main effect is to legitimize the status quo - players can (will be able to) use agents to advise them through the draft process without jeopardizing their NCAA eligibility. Of course, I'm hoping they're hit with an enormous penalty in the October damages hearing, but as long as the players' rights are protected, I'm happy.
In hindsight after watching Greg Smith pitch and having Gonzales demoted back to Triple A, wouldn't the Rockies have been better served just keeping Holliday and receiving draft pick compensation?
Or keeping him and trading him in the spring or summer.
Keith, the computer projections have you being fired from ESPN for being a crappy analyst this year. Are you going to disagree with the computers in this case??
We've instituted relegation. Worst baseball analyst of the year gets demoted to covering the new WNBA farm league.
I think I'm going to cite anxiety blood disorder next time I suck at my job.
I can't be the only person who saw that story and thought "insurance battle."
Better year at the plate this year: Cantu or K. Morales?
There's some scuttlebut that Porcello is up to save the GM's job. Wouldn't treating their most valuable prospect like this (potentially rushing him) be a move most team presidents and owners would recognize as flawed?
I don't know anything about that scuttlebutt, but your premise is sound. It doesn't work. Ryan Wagner didn't save Jimbo in Cincinnati. Rushing Morrow didn't save Bavasi. So *if* Porcello isn't actually ready but is up for other reasons, then yes, it's flawed, and history says it won't work in theend.
What are your thoughts on Homer Bailey after this Spring? He's finally starting to show SOME promise again, and he is only 22.
If you want to concoct a Reds-as-sleeper story, it hinges heavily on him stepping forward.
KLaw, throw rational thought out the window here and assume healthy arms for all - who makes the Jays starting 5 in 2010 (behind Halladay) between Marcum, McGowan, Litsch, Purcey, Cecil, Romero, and new organizational favorite Mills?
If healthy, Marcum, McGowan, Cecil, Romero. But someone won't be healthy and Mills will be next in line.
Just curious Keith, how much Pirate's baseball did you watch last season?
As much as I could stand.
Klaw, since not all of us are Insiders, give us your take on Strasburg.
Klaw, do you think there is a reason that Paplebon is the only one of the young Red Sox stars that has not been extended. I get the feeling that he will go via free agency based on the Sox philosophy to not over value that position and that it can be filled adequately from within? Thoughts?
Agreed, and I think Papelbon's shoulder issues from two years ago and dumping of his splitter also make them lean against long-terming him. Plus Bard may end up able to fill that role.
What's your thoughts on Carlos Triunfel? Does he stay at SS? How good can his bat be? 19 years of age, true?
I don't know about the age, and I believe he's moved to 2b, but I love the bat.
Strasburg > Prior?
By a healthy margin.
Klaw, is Hoffpauir going to be anything more then a backup 1 bagger?
Do you thnk halladay gets traded somtime this year?
Pie AND cake suck!
I'll laugh when you choke to death on your Quorn burger.
Keith, you are a cancer in the ESPN clubhouse!
I had better not lose my fastball, then.
Klaw, I am a big fan of yours. Any thoughts on me playing second and hitting in the two hole? Am I a sleeper for ROY?
More of a good utility player once G-Becks is ready.
Best pie: apple, cherry, blueberry, rhubarb, or felix?
You get a pass. I'm aiming at the food police.
Klaw, Schafer = major league ready or simply better than the weak Braves CF alternatives ?
Street was just named closer for the Rockies over corpas..your thoughts?
"Your 2009 Rockies: Our Ninth Innings are Now 40% More Exciting Than Ever!"
The snark tank is empty, folks. I'll be back next week.