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May 28, 12:40 PM ET
Chat with Keith Law

Buzzmaster
  (1:04 PM)

Keith will be here following his ESPN Radio hit at 1:10 p.m. ET!

Buzzmaster
  (1:41 PM)

I'm on, preference given to draft-related questions...

Mike (SF)

Is next year's crop of draft talent expected to be better or deeper? If so, could a team draft a player, intentionally fail to sign him (w/o looking like it), and pick up a more valuable pick in next years draft?

Buzzmaster
  (1:42 PM)

This is asked every year, and while some team might try it, it would be phenomenally stupid. One, you don't know for sure how the talent will be next year - the talent pool changes dramatically in the 12-13 months leading up to it. Two, the value of a player now is much higher than the value of an equivalent player a year from now. So don't get cute.

Chris (Newport Beach)

Keith, thanks for the great chat. What strategy do you think the Angels will take in the upcoming draft. They have more early pick this year then they have had in the last five years combined.

Buzzmaster
  (1:43 PM)

Wow, one question in and it's already a great chat. You're an easy mark. They're going for a lot of upside player s - Fuentes, Trout, Williams, Matz are all guys I've heard them on hard. I think they'll also nab one college reliever who can move fast, like a Bullock or a Storen.

Sean(Los Angeles)

You have the Yankees taking Purke at 29, what other guys might fall that far for them?

Buzzmaster
  (1:45 PM)

Tate, Green, and Paxton are all possibilities to fall. If the Padres don't take Tate, I'm not sure where he lands. That said, just because a guy falls to them doesn't mean they'll take him - they may not rate him highly enough to pay his price, or may prefer another player on the board (like Purke).

Keith Law
  (1:45 PM)

OK, those "Buzzmaster" questions were me. I think that's fixed now.

James (Boston)

You seem lower on Andy Oliver than a few other places. Are your concerns based on his stuff, makeup, anything specific?

Keith Law
  (1:48 PM)

Lack of a decent breaking ball. I don't know how you can put him in the first round just on his arm strength. His performance hasn't been great either.

Matt (DC)

If both are available at #5, make the case for the O's taking Scheppers over Crow?

Keith Law
  (1:50 PM)

Better now stuff, better delivery. But he did have the shoulder issue, so as bad as Crow's delivery can look, Crow hasn't been hurt and that's a big point in his favor.

Daniel (St. Louis)

Any insite on what the cardinals are looking to do in the draft. Is there a possition or group of players you know they like. thanks

Keith Law
  (1:53 PM)

Left-handed pitchers, mostly college but I've heard them on Oklahoma prep LHP Chad James.

BK (mpls)

Klaw, what can you tell me about Eric Arnett? How early do you see him going in the draft?

Keith Law
  (1:54 PM)

First round, possibly top 20. I've got him way underranked on the lats 100, but he's #32 on my current board after he blew up (in a good way) at the Big 10. Can sit 95, improved slider, great athlete, no track record, kind of a heavy workload.

Andy (Chicago)

Do most teams go for need or just best available talent?

Keith Law
  (1:55 PM)

I think most teams take the best player available but may skew pitcher over position player or the reverse. You will see some teams just take a college reliever because they have a need, but that's also usually a reflection of their distaste for the other players available.

Kevin (San Diego)

Can you explain what it means when a player gets a major league contract when they're drafted, like Matusz did last year? Does their clock start when they sign?

Keith Law
  (1:56 PM)

It means the player is placed on the 40-man roster, and if he then plays in the minors in that same season for at least 20 days, it means his first option is used. No player can accumulate service time unless he is on the active roster or disabled list of a major league club.

Mark (Phx, AZ)

Where do you see Jason Kipnis going? I've seen him projected from mid-first to late second.

Keith Law
  (1:56 PM)

Mid-first? That's a raging overdraft. I think he's a 2nd/3rd rounder.

Dan (Des Moines)

Klaw, you've said Strasburg is better than AJ Burnett right now, if you were starting a team and every player was on the board how many pitchers would go before Strasburg? 10? which ones?

Keith Law
  (1:57 PM)

I don't believe I ever said he was better than Burnett right now.

Derrick (Tulsa, OK)

First it was Strasburg and everyone else. Now it's Stasburg, then Ackley, then everyone else. How unlucky is it for the padres to be picking #3 this year? Can you compare the type of talent they'll likely end up with to past top 5 guys?

Keith Law
  (1:59 PM)

Depends on which they go. If they go Tate, that's an overdraft for me, a toolsy athlete with some swing issues and some questions about his effort level. He's not as good for me as, say, Josh Vitters, who went third in 2007. If they go Crow, they're at least getting some immediate value from a guy who can pitch in the majors this year. I'd like to see them take Tyler Matzek, who hit 98 on at least one gun the other night - lefty, four pitches, good delivery, good command, and by the way he's kind of local.

Zack (Maryland)

Wouldnt the Orioles picking Scheppers be a bit of a reach at #5?

Keith Law
  (1:59 PM)

No.

Brandon (B-more)

Whats crackin K-law! I see u have the O's drafting Scheppers w/ the #5 pick. I think this would be a great pick. If he or crow get drafted before the O's pick do u think they would go w/ one of the HS arms or draft Alex White? Plz tell me one of the HS arms.

Keith Law
  (2:00 PM)

I've heard them on White and Crow.

Mike (WV)

With the seemingly probable firing of O'Dowd and Hurdle, can the Rockies actually pick an impact player this year?

Keith Law
  (2:01 PM)

I'm not sure how the two are connected. They pick 11th - there's some chance they get an impact guy, but it's not a lock that an affordable (for them) one will be available at 11.

Cody (San Gabriel, CA)

Crow at #3? Number 2 starter, not a horribly difficult sign and moves pretty quickly, agree?

Keith Law
  (2:01 PM)

Agree. Everyone knows roughly what he's going to cost, and he can go into your rotation this summer. In fact, I'd probably be inclined to push him up the system, just because I don't love the delivery and worry about him eventually breaking down.

Kevin (Boston, MA) [via mobile]

Why do teams continue to take college relievers who will "move fast?" I feel like teams move them too aggressively and the never seem to work out.

Keith Law
  (2:03 PM)

I agree - the failure rate on those guys is pretty high. Ryan Wagner just retired. David Aardsma is just a middle guy and took forever to be a major leaguer. Of all the relievers taken last year, there's one in the majors right now, 12 months out. IMO if you take a reliever in the first round it's because you think he can help you this year. Storen is definitely that type of guy. Bullock might not be.

Dan (DC)

Isn't it a little unfair to label something an "overdraft" in the MLB draft? I would agree in a situation where you could trade picks (your valuation is different than the market's, so you attempt to move down to get more assets), but in this draft you don't have that luxury. Why should you take a player that your scouts don't like as much just because the other teams' scouts do?

Keith Law
  (2:04 PM)

If a team drafts 6th and takes the #8 guy on my board, I'm not going to call that an overdraft. If they take the #40 guy on the board, that's an overdraft, simply because they have passed on so many players whom I think are superior.

Keith Law
  (2:04 PM)

I don't know if that really answers the question but I'm trying to move fast here.

Gavin (San Diego)

Any idea as to how Bill Gayton, Padres SD still has a job considering his terrible draft record?

Keith Law
  (2:05 PM)

That's not fair given the constraints under which he's had to work. There are more cooks in that kitchen than there are in the Bellaggio.

Josh (Columbia, MD)

If your worried about Crow breaking down, wouldn't it be smarter to take Gibson who seems like much less of an injury risk?

Keith Law
  (2:05 PM)

If they had equal upsides, sure. But they don't. It's a risk/reward question.

Joel (Washington, DC)

Keith, on the Pirates at #4, do you have independent confirmation that this is how they are leaning (going cheap to save money to sign Sano) or is this still an educated guess, as you indicated last week?

Keith Law
  (2:07 PM)

They are actively talking about the HS players I said they're considering at #4 - Borchering, Myers, Hobgood, etc. Of that I am certain. Whether this is really about saving money for Sano or just because they don't like the expensive choices at #4 that much isn't a big concern to me, as long as the names are right.

Eric (Atlanta)

Any chance Matzek gets to #7 for the Braves? Is it between him, Wheeler and Miller?

Keith Law
  (2:07 PM)

I don't think he gets there, and I don't think they'll take him - they pay slot and he'll require more than that. Wheeler, Miller, and Alex White are the names I hear with them.

Kevin (San Diego)

When can we expect the rest of the scouting reports for your draft board top 100 to come up?

Keith Law
  (2:08 PM)

Should be up to 85 reports by tomorrow and 100 by Sunday, depending on when stuff is posted. I've got a bunch that are written but not filed.

Logan (CA)

Which three players have the largest "upside" in this years draft, regardless if you believe they can reach that ceiling?

Keith Law
  (2:09 PM)

Tate, Kyrell Hudson, Slade Heathcott, Brian Goodwin - those are the high-upside bats that come to mind. For pitchers, it's the usual suspects, the Matzek, Miller, Purke class.

Tim (Chicago)

Who have you heard the White Sox in on? They seem to like college starting pitchers quite a bit in the 1st round.

Keith Law
  (2:09 PM)

I've heard them on the HS centerfielders, Williams, Fuentes, Trout, and of course on some tall college starters like Arnett.

Pete, nyc

Thanks for taking my question Klaw. Any idea who the Mets are considering in the 2nd round?

Keith Law
  (2:10 PM)

They're just hoping someone good falls to them, and I think they'll go over slot for such a player. It's just impossible to tell given how low they draft.

Jeff (SF)

What are some players that the Giants will potentially be drafting at #6? And do you think they will draft a position player even though the draft is pitching heavy?

Keith Law
  (2:10 PM)

I've heard them on the HS arms, and a little on some college arms.

Sean(Los Angeles)

Davidson will have to move off third base right? Does that make him less valuable then a guy like Poythress who might be a little better of a hitter right now? Or is Poythress such a DH in the making that it doesn't matter?

Keith Law
  (2:12 PM)

No, I don't see it as definite that he'll have to move off third - he has good hands and plenty of arm but isn't agile and kind of has heavy feet. Poythress ... well, one scout at the SEC tourney held up his thumb and forefinger about 3 inches apart, and said, "What's this?" Answer: "The first baseman's range."

Avocado (Grand Rapids)

SMITTEN KITCHEN is great, any other food blogs you can recommend? Also, Detroit's minor league system is pretty barren, who might they target in the first round?

Keith Law
  (2:12 PM)

101 cookbooks is pretty good, as is Chocolate & Zucchini. Everyone seems to think they're taking Jacob Turner, but I know they're interested in Myers, Fuentes, and Trout, at the least.

Andrew (Toronto)

Will the Jays go for a high school pitcher this year?

Keith Law
  (2:13 PM)

They will consider them, but I would still bet on a college player. The prep arms that will be there for them aren't great fits other than James, who may not even be there. (They drafted his brother Justin when I was still there.)

Daniel (Stockton, CA)

In your opinion, who is the best prep pitcher in this draft? And how does this group of prep pitchers match up against the 2007 crop?

Keith Law
  (2:14 PM)

It's a toss-up between Miller and Matzek. The 2007 crop had a higher top but this crop is just as deep, maybe deeper.

Mark (Phoenix)

Any chance the Padres would pay more than slot for Matzek (or Tate for that matter) at number 3?

Keith Law
  (2:14 PM)

Yes.

SK (South Dakota)

I understand you're leaning draft today, but I'm wondering where you stand on IBBs?

Keith Law
  (2:14 PM)

Hate 'em. Bad strategy most of the time, and kind of an affront to the game. They should be banned at the HS level.

Christian (San Diego, CA)

What coverage are you going to be doing during the draft?

Keith Law
  (2:15 PM)

Thanks for asking. I'll be on ESPNEWS from 6-8, and on the Sportscenter draft special at 9 with Steve Phillips, Peter Gammons, Karl Ravech, and I think some others as well. I'll chat before the draft and the next day during the draft, plus scattered TV/radio hits around it.

Chris (Scotland)

hey keith, where do you have madison younginer and keyvius sampson going in the draft? Neither was in your 1st round but would either be worth a first round pick?

Keith Law
  (2:16 PM)

I think they're both ultimately relievers, and I personally would not take a HS reliever in the first round. Doesn't mean I don't like them, just not with a first-round pick given the opportunity cost.

Henry(NY)

How did it work out that Boston picks before the Yankees? Boston finished ahead of them in the standings.

Keith Law
  (2:17 PM)

The Yankees' pick is compensation for failing to sign their first-rounder last year.

Logan (CA)

Tell me how a Left Handed HS arm who touched 98 and is "polished" is not the 2nd best prospect in this draft? I find him to be incredibly underrated at #6 on your list. Incredible.

Keith Law
  (2:17 PM)

Because he sat 90-94 all spring. Unless you have some psychic power that tells you that he's going to sit at 98 on a regular basis, I think you're off base.

James (LA)

You're leaning draft, but you are always down to take a shot at the horrible right fielder in Atlanta. When are they going to get rid of him?!?!?!

Keith Law
  (2:18 PM)

They tried to get him to leave, but they told him to "take a walk," and he was just hopelessly confused.

Josh (Providence, RI)

I know it's just a mock draft, but I'm curious as to why you had the Red Sox pass on both Tate and Purke. I like Stassi, but both of those players seem like the highly rated talents that fall that the Sox love.

Keith Law
  (2:19 PM)

Not sure they'll take a HS pitcher in the first round this year, especially not at Purke's rumored price. I also don't get the feeling that they're all that warm on Tate. I know they like Everett Williams and really like Reymond Fuentes.

Collins (Houston)

What leads you to believe the Astros will go over slot and draft James?

Keith Law
  (2:20 PM)

They went over for Seaton last year. And I know they're on James.

Jeff (NY, NY)

How much of an effect do you think that slot going down by 10% will have on the draft?

Keith Law
  (2:21 PM)

None. Slot is dead. From the slot perspective, there are burglars in the bedroom while Selig is fiddlin' on the porch.

Luke(NY)

Any chance Storen falls to the Yanks? they could plug him in the pen in the second half, no?

Keith Law
  (2:21 PM)

Yes, yes, and I think they're hoping for an impact guy rather than a short-term fix at 29.

Sal (Connecticut)

How far does Luke Bailey fall? I saw a mock draft a couple of weeks ago that had him going to the Yankees in the first round. Can he fall to the 2nd-3rd round or further? Also, any word on Bittle?

Keith Law
  (2:22 PM)

I think he goes no later than the third, probably in the second. He'd rather sign if the money is good, even though it won't be what it was pre-surgery. No word on Bittle - as far as I'm concerned, he's off the radar.

Michael (Chelmsford, MA)

KLaw, very cool item in the WGBH auction! I did have one question, though: Is it strictly for one person, or could multiple people (within reason... 2 or 3 maybe) partake? On a semi-related note, can you recommend any good instructional books on scouting?

Keith Law
  (2:23 PM)

Thanks for mentioning that - there is an auction right now on WGBH's web site to attend a game and "scout" alongside me, somewhere in New England. The issue with multiple people is getting seats, although if you want to meet up at a Cape game, that's not a problem. The auction ends 5/30 and proceeds benefit WGBH (the public television station in Boston which torments me daily with Caillou reruns).

John (Iowa)

I see you have Tim Wheeler going to the Rockies at #32. What is the point in drafting a CF when we have Dexter Fowler for at least the next 5 years.

Keith Law
  (2:24 PM)

You can't draft that way, in my opinion. Take the best player available. If Fowler is an established star and Wheeler is major-league ready in 2011, you figure it out then - move Wheeler to RF or trade him for something else you need. A surplus of bats up the middle is not a problem.

Bill(Ft. Worth)

You had Miller falling to the Rangers at 14. Is this realistic? I've heard nothing but good things about him, and you seem to like him as much as some of the projected higher picks.

Keith Law
  (2:26 PM)

Yes, I would say there are several picks that people in the industry are expecting - Turner at 9 to Detroit, Miller at 14 to Texas, Wheeler at 7 to Atlanta. Of course, it only takes one team to screw that up, but that's the consensus now.

Mike(San Diego)

Love baseball, but have never followed the draft. When is it this year?

Keith Law
  (2:26 PM)

June 9th-11th, although 90% of what matters will happen on the 9th.

Josh (Oakland, CA)

Yo KLaw. How does Grant Green's junior season compare to Brandon Crawford's? Is Green clearly better, or is Crawford's performance this year just proof that he caught draftitis? Who would you take? Which has a better shot of staying at SS? Thanks!

Keith Law
  (2:27 PM)

Green's a much better hitter - Crawford hasn't been anything special at AA. Crawford is by far the better SS, though, even if you think Green stays at SS long term.

Ray (Boston)

How do you see the major league prospects for Tony Sanchez? With the exception of power and feel for the game, his grades in the scouting report are average to below average, yet he's still #30 on your board.

Keith Law
  (2:28 PM)

He's #30 because he's a catcher - an average bat and an average or fringe-average defensive catcher is still a pretty good prospect, at least in terms of asset value. And that's what I think he is - he's an everyday catcher who hits for power but not a great average.

Ryan (STL)

KLaw, what are your thoughts on Phegley from Indiana? He seemed to hit the ball very well this season and managed Indiana's pitching staff very well also.

Keith Law
  (2:29 PM)

Can hit some, not good behind the plate. The more I've seen the less I've liked of him on defense. But he can hit, at least for a catcher, and I can't imagine he doesn't go in the second round - if he's on the board in the 3rd it's a good value pick for someone.

Jon (Dallas)

Saving Eddie Bane some work for the Angels. Can it happen? 24 - Bobby Borchering -3B 25 - Chad James - LHP 40 - Matt Davidson - 3B 42 - Jiovanni Mier - SS 48 - Madison Younginer - RHP 80 - Austin Maddox - C 111 - Trayce Thompson - OF

Keith Law
  (2:30 PM)

Those first two picks look delusionally optimistic to me. Not sure Davidson and Mier both get to 40, either. Would be an unbelievable draft if it happened, but it won't.

Mark (NYC)

True or false: MLB teams should be allowed to trade draft picks.

Keith Law
  (2:30 PM)

True.

Steve (Fremont, CA)

I heard somewhere that Scheppers is getting legit offers from Japanese leagues, and he will use that as leverage in negotations. Is this true? If so, how do you think it affects his draft status / end contract?

Keith Law
  (2:31 PM)

You read it from me - four NPB scouting directors saw one of his recent starts. If he gets offers from Japan, it's freaking brilliant, and I hope it happens. I'm all for players maximizing their bonuses.

Johnny (St Paul)

Just wanted to say nice spot on the Herd

Keith Law
  (2:32 PM)

Thanks, always better when I can be in studio. Colin gets a bad rap online, for some reason, but he's very smart and very funny.

Ray (D.C)

Given the lack of quality pitching in the Pirates organization top to bottom, with the exception of Brad Lincoln, why wouldn't the Pirates draft heavily on pitching and should they??

Keith Law
  (2:32 PM)

It's a good pitching draft, so I'm sure they'll end up drafting a good amount of pitching in the first few rounds even if they go bat at 4.

Keith Law
  (2:33 PM)

OK, sorry for the short chat. I'll be back next Thursday, and will chat on draft day and the day after. Also look for a new first-round projection on Tuesday and regular updates to the top 100 (like getting Arnett where he belongs). Thanks.