This reminds me of the time I was playing short behind Koufax for his sixth no-hitter. He was all nervous, what with Ty Cobb coming up to the plate, but I ran over to the mound and taught him a new Zen mantra to repeat to himself. Our manager, John McGraw, didn't buy into all that New-Age nonsense, but I knew it would work.
Quick, name one thing Yuniesky Betancourt does well.
Keith I plan on making it up to the Cape one weekend in July what teams should I try to see
Just about any game would be worthwhile, although I think Hyannis is particularly weak in terms of top prospects for '10.
The talking heads in NY are advocating trading FMart for Holiday. This is a big overreaction, trading a 20 yr old for a 29 yr old free agent to be, with so many injuries for the Mets and being only 3 games back, am I right?
You are right. Why are you listening to talking heads?
Hey Keith, good afternoon. Someone asked Rob a great question the other day. Since a drafted player is not part of the union yet and has signed no agreements or contract with the union or team, shouldnt they be able to challange legally in court their right to negotiate and sign with any team. Legally without a contract or union membership they are free like any American to apply for any job they want. Rob's answer was that may be a legally sound argument but it may take years to win in court and a draftee would rather play and be paid then fight in court. So... couldnt a later round HS drafted player be convinced by an agent (i.e. Boras) to fight it out in court while going to college (which may have been the indiviual players intention anyway). Its a pretty sound argument that without any union membership or contract with baseball, how can they prevent a US citizen from seeking employment where he chooses or more importantly, how can they say, you can ONLY work for this employer in THIS STATE. A player can say, I live in Texas I want to work in Texas (with no state income tax), I don't want to move to Canada, I'm 18.
Yes, this is what is going to happen if MLB and the MLBPA agree to hard slotting. And the knowledge that it's going to happen is part of why MLB has always been half-hearted about pushing for hard slotting. It only takes one player willing to be the plaintiff in what is essentially an agent's lawsuit for the entire system to come crashing down, and I, for one, will be glad to make the popcorn.
Do the Tigers stand to lose a grievance if they release Ordonez before his options vest?
They stand to face one, but I think they have a pretty good counterargument based on loss of skills.
Who is this kid the Phillies drafted that's going to Oregon St. to play football? Does he have a football future?
Kyrell Hudson. He's a good enough college football prospect that the football guys at Scouts, Inc. ranked him and put in a pretty positive report. He's a great athlete who's very raw as a baseball player, but this is the same team that took Anthony Hewitt in the first round last year, so I can't see that bothering them.
Hey Keith how good is Alex White and what do you think of the Indians decision to put him in the bullpen
I spoke to Brad Grant last week, and he said that his words were taken a little out of context - it's not a permanent decision to move him to the pen, although they think that's most likely where he'll end up. He'll work in relief if he signs in time to pitch in 2009, and they'll reevaluate the plan after instructional league. I think there's a small chance he ends up a #2 starter, but he didn't show that stuff consistently this year after showing it last year.
My arm still hurts.
That's okay, as long as Texas wins, it doesn't matter whose arms Augie ben Doggie blows out or what he does behind the wheel.
Keith, will Yaz's grandson sign, and is he a legit prospect?
I am pretty confident he'll end up at school (Vanderbilt). Seemed like a courtesy draft to me - he's not a great pro prospect right now.
Do you think the Pirates fan's miss Mclouth! Why would anyone Listen to anything Andy LaRoche has to say!
Why do writers ask players about this stuff at all? I'm not saying you can't question the higher-ups' decisions, but maybe ask someone likely to have some perspective.
KLAW -Mauer would look great in Boston and everyone knows the Twins won't resign him so they'll have to trade him, either this year or in the offseason. Why don't the Sox offer Bard for him straight up now, b/c that's the best talent the Twins are going to get from anyone that can afford him?
Because the people who run the Twins are not Red Sox fans.
Keith: Whats your opinion of Ben Zobrist? Is this guy legit or not?
I know he revamped his swing completely. It's not out of the question that he could become a completely different player; I know with his old swing he was lucky to hit anything further than about 200 feet.
As an ESPN employee, I believe you are contractually obligated to answer this: How good a baseball player would LeBron James be?
There is nothing in my contract that states that I have to answer ridiculous questions.
Klaw, what are you thougts about the Mets draft? If the Mets sign Matz and then Juan Uribe on the international front, I think that's two quality lefties - which is more than they have now.
Disappointing - very little upside there. It looks like another slot draft after Matz. I just think that a large-market team that expects to compete every year has to aim high in the draft. Average prospects are not likely to find everyday roles with the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Dodgers, etc.
The NBA has a collectively bargained, hard rookie pay scale. How come no one has gone the litigation route there?
Maybe it's because there are foreign leagues where player can earn comparable salaries? Higher up-front salaries? Shorter time to the "majors" in the NBA?
Do you expect the Rangers to sign both Purke and Scheppers? And how worried should Rangers fans be over the Mayo story about Scheppers possibly having a torn labrum?
They should ignore that story. The damage in Scheppers' shoulder is no worse than what you'd find in the shoulder of a typical major-league starter, and it does not seem to be impacting his stuff or command right now. If they sign both guys, they'd probably end up setting the all-time record for most money spent in a single draft. I'm not sure whether that is likely or not.
Renfroe said he wanted 3 mil before the draft, but immediately after being drafted by the Sox said he was seeking 1 mil... Was the 3 mil just to scare off other teams and make sure he went to the Sox or Yanks?
I don't know if that's true in Renfroe's case, but it happens all the time.
What position other than pitchers is the hardest to project?
Catchers, between the wear and tear of the position and the difficulty in evaluating the myriad defensive skills required (hands, arm strength, throwing motion, game-calling, plate blocking).
Keith, how much would YOU offer Sano if you were a GM?
I've never seen him.
Who are the front runners for AL Rookie of the Year? Brad Bergensen and Nolan Reimold have to be in the op 3 right?
Bergesen would definitely be in my top 3 of players to sell now, fast, before they implode.
You say that Texas would set the all time record for most money spent in a draft by signing Purke and Scheppers. Won't Washington set the record by just signing Strasburg?
Good point. I should have said they'll surpass the old record.
Draft question - what did you think of the Twins taking Gibson? I know he had a hurt forearm but I was really surprised 14 pitchers went before him. He pitched pretty well with a hurt arm.
He had good results, but he was 83-87. I think it would be fair to say that's a red flag. I thought the Twins showed some stones with their draft - they're not usually a risk-loving team, but they took a number of good risks, including Gibson and Tootle.
Is your "pair from Modesto still impressing?" Jesus, post something new.....
This week's reader who couldn't find the MLB Draft blog and thinks it's my fault is ... Rich from Sun Valley. Rich, don't be afraid to look a little harder. You might find about 20-30 thousand words of content from me, plus stuff from Jason Churchill.
You seem to be a fan of James Paxton. How does he project with the Jays?
The good Paxton has #1-2 starter potential. To be fair, he wasn't that good on a week-in week-out basis, including a bad outing in his final start of the spring. The arm works well, he's worked at/near 94-95, and he has an out pitch breaking ball. I'm not sure why he wasn't the good version more consistently, but I'd certainly roll the dice where the Jays did on the chance to get a starter with that kind of upside.
Will the Yankees have any trouble signing Slade Heathcott, should fans worry about him being another Gerrit Cole? And how does he project as a player?
He'll sign. Five-tool guy, chance to be the player that Austin Jackson ... well, that Jackson probably isn't going to be now.
Keith. I have an odd question for you. Do you feel like fantasy sports makes the average fan somewhat ignorant as to what makes a good/great player? I try having discussions about taking pitches and how being a defensive liability is the reason why some players aren't playing more. But, fans seem to think if you hit HR's and get RBI's you're automatically a great player. I'm just curious on your thoughts on what fantasy baseball has done to skew the opinions of the sport by someone casual fans.
Ignorant is the wrong word. It skews fans' perceptions of value, but it doesn't make them ignorant.
If you were advising Bryce Harper, would you recommend he go the route he's going (CC, then draft eligible presumably in 2010)? Nobody is going crazy when Britney Spears or Dakota Fanning give up their high school lives to be pop "stars" or movie stars, but this kid catches crap for seeking and accepting a challenge and wanting to make some money while doing so?
This is absolutely the right move for Harper's career. He's ready now in terms of skill set and physical tools, and the '10 draft class is weaker than the '11 class, so he has a chance to stand out in the way that Strasburg did this year.
KLaw, I just got laid off but if you answer my question, I'll feel a little better about myself. Will Chris Nelson be able to re-establish himself in 2010, post wrist surgery? Or should he be taken off the prospect radar screen?
Yes, and he was on his way toward doing that but is on the DL with another wrist injury (a sprain).
I am sure you heard of Jose Canseco's class action lawsuit by now; but my question is shouldn't Sosa, A Rod and any one else whose name has been released illegally by anonymous sources file a class action lawsuit against the federal government?
This is probably a question for an attorney - calling Shysterball - but I think their suit would be against MLB, not the government.
Read Catch-22 in a sitting because I couldn't put it down. Ruined my sleep cycle. Did Heller write anything nearly as engrossing?
Nope. I'm told the "sequel" to C-22, "Closing Time," was awful.
Is Brett Jackson a potential impact player for the Cubs? Does he stay in Center Field? 20 HR potential? Can he have a high OBP with his propensity to strikeout?
He can stay in centerfield, but I question his ability to hit enough to be an everyday player in the majors. The only reason I liked him at all was because he's such a good athlete.
What's the latest on Steve Baron drafted by the Mariners? Last I heard Duke and Seattle were in somewhat of a bidding war!!!
Yes, apparently there was a predraft agreement in place, and Baron backed out of it. Those agreements aren't enforceable, so there's not much Seattle can do.
KLaw - I think your answer to the Chris Nelson question was lost in cyberspace.
Weird, I can see it here in the moderation panel: "Yes, and he was on his way toward doing that but is on the DL with another wrist injury (a sprain)."
Why did you make that negative comment about Austin Jackson? You don't think he'll be a good major leaguer?
I think his ceiling has dropped every year. I don't see much chance remaining of him becoming a star.
I've noticed that sometimes the answers don't show and you have to refresh the page to make it appear
Thanks - let me know if answers keep disappearing.
Challenging the draft is a complex labor law question and not a slam dunk win for the player challenging it, as you and Neyer made it seem. You should ask Shysterball about that too. See: Maurice Clarett. He was not a union member and he challenged the collectively bargained rules fo the NFL and lost.
I never said it was a slam dunk, but if you're asking me to lay odds, well - MLB's lawyers don't have a great track record; the anecdotal evidence indicates that the draft suppresses bonuses substantially (Lee, White, Patterson, Seay); and the way the draft discriminates against US-born players can't work in MLB's favor.
FWIW, I don't think the MLBPA will agree to hard slotting. There's no reason for them to do so, and agents have a lot of influence on the union's actions. Since I hate hard slotting - and don't really like the draft as a way of allocating amateur players - this is all fine with me.
Ajax is hitting over 330 this year in AAA. He's fast, athletic, will hopefully develop more power. His only problem is too many strikeouts.
He's hitting .330, but has too many strikeouts. That usually works out well.
Remind me again...what was the reasoning behind declaring those four guys free agency, and were they universally recognized as four of the top prospects that year?
One of my all-time favorite botch jobs - Lords of the Realm should have a whole chapter on it. The four teams that drafted those players forgot to send the cursory minimum-value contract offer to those players within X days of the draft. The failure to offer them any contracts meant that the picks were voided and they became free agents.
Tell Joe in DC that Clarett was challenging an age ruling and not ability to play anywhere or for one team. Totally different case. Even with the age limit- players aren't told what schools they can attend by the NCAA.
No, but you know the NCAA would love to do so. In fact, they're still sending threatening letters to high school prospects in several sports telling them that the no-agent rule, which has already been struck down in a court of law, is still valid. Oh, and they're harassing college players whom they suspect of using agents when they were in high school.
Stop it, man. You're making me depressed by saying that the yank's best prospect sucks.
By the end of this year, Montero will probably be their best prospect, and Heathcott may insert himself above Jackson too.
Have you checked out Academic Earth?
I couldn't stand school when I was in it, especially not lectures. Why would I want to relive that nightmare?
Keith, It's pretty ridiculous to be angry with the readers for ESPN setting up a confusing system to find your stuff. They put a picture of you up, presumably your content is next to it. Is it our fault that they installed this inane buggy new chat as well?
Search for my name. Use an RSS reader. Read the dish or follow me on Twitter. There are a lot of ways to find my content. But don't act like I don't work or I will beat you to death with my stopwatch.
Tell Craig the age limit issue is arguably an easier case to win on the basis of discrimination against an identifiable class of people (see: Spencer Haywood). Suing based on the allocation of the draft is a much more difficult case. The bottom line is with most unions they can argue if you don't like the rules, go find another job.
Would you and Craig like to be alone? I'd hate to get in the middle of your tete-a-tete.
Keith, I can't find any info on the injury to Jason Heyward. What have you heard? What does it do to his progress? I figured he would have made the move to AA by the end of the year.
He played last night. 0/3 with a walk.
Scouts are starting to say that Lars Anderson might be the most overrated prospect in baseball. Do you agree? I know he's been struggling this year but he's still only 21 years old in Double A.
Which scouts? Oh, ones who won't put their names on their opinions? Or ones who don't exist? By the way, that's a ridiculous statement by the anonymous scouts who never really existed anyway.
Think Mauer has a chance for .400? It's still early but he makes it seem so effortless
If any AL player could do it, it would be him. But I pointed out on ESPNEWS the other day that his hot streak isn't that unusual - since 2004, in the AL only, I found comparable streaks (170 PA, .400 BA) by Ichiro, Magglio, and ... Joe Mauer. Ichiro's SLG wasn't as strong, but Magglio's was.
re: Lars...that a shot at Goldstein?
It wasn't a shot at anyone. I had never heard this opinion before, and I question whether anyone would actually make such an absurd statement about a 21-year-old in AA with a great track record coming into this season.
Tell the ESPN programmers to learn how to escape ASCII characters, and half the problems with the Chat System will go away.
I did figure out that the number-sign breaks the software and told them when I was in Bristol last week.
Are you as sure as everyone else that Jesus Montero will have to move off of catcher? I'm holding out every last bit of hope he won't have to.
Yes. That's not a catcher's body and he doesn't have the quickness for the position. (Not foot speed, mind you, or the Molinas would be bagging groceries somewhere.)
Seriously, 3 questions no Ajax and none on an actual signed Mets prospect? Love to hear your opinion on Ike Davis and Brad Holt
I still think Davis is a fringe-average regular at best. Holt projects as a reliever; if he can show he can miss bats with the offspeed stuff in AA, I'll revise that opinion.
How concerned, on a scale from 1 to 10, should I be that the O's may have blown their #5 pick by taking Hobgood instead of a more highly regarded pitcher?
Branden Kline overrated or underrated?
I don't know how he's rated. I didn't see him, only video, and probably would have had him in the bottom 20-25 of my top 100, but Branden told me directly that he intended to go to college.
Keith, what are your thoughts on Randal Grichuk, first round pick of the Angels?
Plus pull power. Don't like the hitting approach beyond that. Good arm, could play right, can definitely handle left, but nowhere more difficult. Didn't have him on my top 100.
So you're a fan of Hobgood?
Yes. Would he have been my pick at 5? No, definitely not over Zack Wheeler, but I do like Hobgood. Chance for a plus FB/plus CB combo with some feel, and he really competes.
Plenty of people seem to hate this chat format, so why did they switch? Is it better on your end than the old system was?
It's actually better this week than it was last week, so something changed. Last week all the questions were at the bottom, so I had to scroll down, pick one, scroll up, answer, rinse, repeat. Now the questions are on the right, like they were in the old format.
Keith, its not that we can't find you on the homepage.. its that now that the draft is over, do we get blogs again from you about, you know, the major leagues? Your insight is missed.
Weather permitting I'll be in Lowell tomorrow night with one of the WGBH auction winners, so I'll be back to writing some pro stuff after that. I do think I'll do more amateur stuff this summer than I did last year - I missed guys on the Cape whom I should have seen.
You are on Twitter? I looked for Keith Law, but you didnt show up. Help your loyal Klawites follow you!
http://twitter.com/keithlaw - with bonus snark! And announcements of upcoming TV/radio hits.
So you don't rate players, that you feel sure will choose college?
No, I usually don't unless I run into them while seeing other players. I have limited bandwidth and resources, so I'm not going to burn them on kids who are 90% that they're going to school.
Why are people making a big deal that Clay Buchholz said he wants to pitch in the major leagues? What minor leaguer wouldn't say that? Also when is he going to get his shot to show everyone he's a future ace?
Agreed. Tempest in a teapot. He'll pitch in the big leagues this year - the Sox would be insanely lucky if they never needed him.
Can Kentrail Davis stay in center? How good of a hitter is he?
Left field. Strong for his size, liked the swing some last summer, but he wasn't good this spring at all.
Would you rather have Jason Donald or Eric Young Jr.?
Donald. Not even close for me.
If the Mets fire their entire front office, and you were offered the job, would you take it?
I don't know if I could be the entire front office. I'd at least want a secretary.
on Bryce Harper, i keep hearing let the kid be a kid reasoning as to why he should finish high school. he probably hasn't been a "kid" since he was 12 years old. not a valid argument in my book.
Part of me worries about him not quite understanding what he's giving up and what he's getting into. I turned 17 three weeks before I graduated HS and was still 20 when I took my last exam in college. I ran into practical problems, like being underage all through college or being unable to drive in HS, and the fact that your typical 17-year-old boy is pretty immature, which I definitely was. He's going to be 17 next year in the GCL playing next to and against 21- and 22-year-olds. That's not going to be easy emotionally. I'm not saying he shouldn't do this, just that it would be hard to make him understand what the next 36 months are going to be like.
Strasburg aside, was Zack Wheeler the best pitching prospect in the draft? Why did Matzek slip to 11...money or performance? His velo was down late in the season, no?
His velo was UP late in the season, touching 98 in two late starts. Matzek was the second-best pitching prospect in the draft to me.
With the dust settling, what's your take on the Pirates' draft philosophy of using cash resources to go after later-round, over-slot picks? And of those picks, which guys do you feel are worth watching, if the Pirates sign them? Thanks a lot.
I like that they were willing to try something different to extract more value from the draft. I don't like that they took the 29th-best player on my board at number 4 to do it.
Can I get your thoughts on Brandon Snyder? His star has certainly faded a bit, but he's having a very strong season. Thanks.
Liked his swing a lot in AFL but had two concerns - I don't see him getting to the ball down without trouble, and I don't see where he plays other than 1b.
Keith, what grade did you skip? Would you allow your child to skip a grade?
First. My wife and I have talked about this and we just don't know what we would do (she went to Montessori school and was placed directly into a second grade when she switched to a regular school at first-grade age). There are cons, which I listed, and pros, primarily that I would have been beyond bored if they hadn't moved me up. There is no right answer.
Will Jarrod Parker be ready to pitch in the bigs by Opening Day 2010? Seems to be progressing well while they limit his innings.
Middle of next year.
Can Jaff Decker stay in CF or is a move to RF in his future?
Right field. That body doesn't play in center.
Who's the best prospect still in the minors, Heyward? Do you think he is a June 1st call-up next year?
Just going off my offseason top 100, he is. I'd guess April/May 2011, though. Maybe they've learned something from rushing Francoeur?
Would you play G beckham at ss or 2b?
I'd try him at short to see if he can handle it - can his instincts and actions make up for range that is probably a little fringy for the spot?
Are the producers of Sesame St. sending the wrong message by having Elmo speak in the third person? Seems like we will someday have a world full of illiests.
Me never saw anything wrong with Cookie Monster speaking in third person and chewing indefinite articles. Make dat eschewing.
Will Harper be available in next years draft? Would MLB block it? I'd love to get both Strasburg AND Harper...
Yes, right now he is on track to be available. He's following MLB's rules, so they can't block him.
A year out from the 2008 draft, do you have any big risers or fallers?
Skipworth is the big faller. Hewitt too - 20 years old this year and couldn't make a full-season club after a horrendous pro debut. Smoak rising, Chisenhall, Kelly. Gutierrez is interesting, great groundball rate but doesn't miss bats. Decker rising too. Too early to say Alvarez is falling, but he hasn't played up to expectations.
Just curious, is your wife a big baseball fan?
Some answers seem to be skipping again
What's your ceiling for the thus far surprising Tony Gwynn Jr? Can he be a legit lead-off CF .275/.360/.400 type hitter?
Producers of Sesame Street are sending the wrong message by giving Elmo more than about 30 seconds of airtime. We need more Cookie Monster (and to actually eat cookies), Count and Grover. And enough of Zoes and Abby Cadabby.
Agreed on just about all of it. Can't stand Elmo. I miss the classic Bert
Aaron Crow falling as well? Or was he never high to begin with?
I don't think his stock has fallen or risen - hard to say anything until he gets out and pitches, which I hope he does soon. Holding out again is only going to get him less money.
The Houston Chronicle reporters would like me to believe that Bud Norris has a pretty high ceiling, and he's been pitching well of late. What kind of ceiling does he have?
Plus reliever - closer potential.
Why does seemingly everyone at ESPN think Joba Chamberlain should be a reliever?
Any tips on cooking a turkey burger?
Cook it just to 160, tops, or it will dry out.
Is Halladay a Jay in 2011? Do you think he ends up in the HOF?
Probably not, and I will gladly admit that I hope the answer to the second question is yes.
When the Bucs traded McLouth, I didn't realize Cutch was already a better player than Nate. That first round class looks more and more impressive every time you look at it.
He's got the ability, at least. The Clement and Townsend picks look that much more egregious in hindsight, don't they?
What's your opinion on Thomas Neal? He has been tearing up the CAL League lately, and is only 21. Is he legit?
Saw him a few times in spring and once in May - fourth outfielder type.
Where would you recommend eating in Las Vegas? I'm looking for anything pricey, just a pure bang for your buck restaurant.
Firefly. Check the dish, I did a whole post on Vegas eats in December.
Your streak is 139 chats in which you have not broken your arm patting yourself on the back for how smart you claim you are.
I'm even smarter than I claim I am, but I don't want to brag. Besides, you must think I'm smart, since you keep coming back.
Thanks for the questions, gotta jet. There's a strawberry/rhubarb pie on the counter that has been saying unprintable things to me for the last hour. I'll be back next week.