Join Keith Law as he chats about news from around the diamond.
Klawchat! The chat ... the klaw ... it works on so many levels!
Keith, what is your take on the Rangers moving Neftali Feliz to the bullpen, won't that take him away from his development? Or have they already deemed that he will probably be a six inning pitcher with a 3.75 ERA and they feel a lights-out closer is more valuable? Is it?
This seems to be the number-one topic in the chat today ... I don't know why everyone is so up in arms about it. (Look at the comments under Jeff Wilson's blog post on dallasnews.com. What a bunch of rocket scientists.) This isn't a permanent move - it's a way to ease Feliz into the big leagues and do so in a role where he could help the big club this year. Breaking in starters as relievers is a great developmental philosophy. If they leave Feliz in the pen forever because he throws well this year, that's worthy of criticism, but right now, there's no indication they're going to do that.
Keith, are you still down on Casey Blake as a fielder?
Do you have any compelling reason why I shouldn't be? Oh, you don't? I'm shocked.
Regarding breaking in starters as relievers, see Santana, Johan.
That seems to have worked out okay.
Keith, I saw you out at the TOS the past few days. Besdies Harper, who were some of the best prospects out there? His Legion team with Yordy Cabrera seemed pretty good.
I'll write it up today or tomorrow, but yes, that Legion team was stacked - Harper, Cabrera, Kris Bryant, Marcus Littlewood. Jameson Taillon threw great. Brian Ragira's pretty interesting. Reggie Golden disappointed. Nick Castellanos was solid, definitely like that bat. I'd like to see Mike Antonio, who goes to George Washington HS in NYC, some more - skinny kid but the ball came off his bat really well. Didn't see many of the top arms, though.
Keith, do you think a 50 game suspension means no baseball for 50 games or are you fine with Manny playing a few games in the minors before his suspension is up?
I'm fine with it. Otherwise, he rehabs after 50 games, and the suspension really becomes 55-60 games. If nothing else, it unfairly penalizes the team.
If you took over a team, what would be the biggest longstanding baseball philosophy you'd try to eliminate?
I still think the five-man rotation has done nothing to reduce pitcher injury rates or severity.
What's your take of Casey Kelly's performance so far at High A? He seems to be moving through the system pretty quickly. ETA 2011?
That might be aggressive, especially since he's working on strict inning limits. Excited to see him in the Futures Game.
Have you taken the advice of your blog commentators and listened to The National?
Not yet, but I will. I've been listening to Doves' Kingdom of Rust album repeatedly for the last week. Excellent stuff.
Klaw, love the chat. Who will have a better career: Harper or Weiters?
There is no way I could answer Harper at this point.
Blake's UZR/150 is up 8.5 runs over last year to 2.2 FWIW..
UZR is not reliable in samples this small, according to the guy who invented the metric.
Do teams have scouts give them scouting reports on their own players? It would seem to be a valuable tool. Thanks.
Keith, do you agree with bringing Posey up to AAA? I am sure he will be fine, but the reasoning, that the Giants don't want to disrupt a lesser prospect, seems wrong.
Doesn't bother me. I think Posey can handle it, and I don't see the difference (for a polished prospect) between going from A to AAA to the majors and from A to AA to the majors.
On Casey Blakes feilding, the stats you need. He's 7th in the MLB in fielding, in the last week he's made plays that could be said to have saved games.
Oh, so we're using garbage stats and anecdotal evidence now. Good luck with that.
Keith,hanks for the chats and the snarkiness that goes with it! I was wondering,watching the College World Series(Poor Augie ben Doggie) Are players allowed to use wooden bats if they choose seeing how much emphasis is put on how well a player hits with wood by the scouts and such ,or are they forced to use aluminum because if some exclusive deal that school has with an aluminum bat company?
My understanding is that players aren't allowed to use wood bats in metal-bat school conferences/leagues. I don't know why - maybe because of concerns about fielders unused to avoiding broken bats? Doesn't make much sense to me.
What do you make of the 1 ERA difference between when Posada catches to when Cervelli catches, and the nearly 2 run difference when Molina catches. Seems the Yankee pitchers don't really like pitching to Jorge
Catcher ERA is meaningless. Ignore it.
Keith, if there is a more deserving player to get in the All Star Game than Miguel Olivo, i dont know who. He has pretty much led the Royals offense with 11 homeruns. Why isn't he in discussion to play in the Mid-Summer Classic?
That has to be a $5 fine. Might be Rany posting under an assumed name.
Keith, do people forget that Arod is probably playing at less than 100% right now due to the hip injury. Why all the talk in the media about how he may be done? Seems kind of foolish to me, no?
Incredibly foolish. At the time of the injury the reports said this was a partial solution, and that he wouldn't be 100% until he had the more serious surgery.
KLAW, do you know whether the White Sox plan to keep Gordon Beckham at third base long term? Given that he can play either middle infield position, where a bat like his is a premium, wouldn't be be underutilized if he were turned into a full time third baseman?
I believe this is just about getting some production from that spot - I still think he should get a shot at shortstop, but at worst he should play second for them long term.
Keith, are you buying Ben Zobrist's start to the season. Top 3 in baseball in terms of WAR. He isn't this good, is he?
Top 3 in baseball good, no. But he did clean up his swing this winter, so I buy into a significant improvement.
Klaw, Have you seen SS Jedd Gyorko from West Virginia University play? Just curious to hear your take--he has put up some good numbers in his first two years in college, but not sure of the competition level. What are his chances?
Haven't seen him, but I've noticed some crazy hitting stats for non-prospects who played for WVU the last few years. I don't know if that's become a big hitter's park, but it looks that way.
How is LJ Hoes progressing and is his ceiling still a #4 outfielder in the bigs
Struggling at the plate and in the field this year - but he's very young for the level and still learning a new position (2b).
If you don't believe in a 5-man rotation, what would your solution be?
A four-man rotation with at least one swingman or long man on the staff to handle spot starts. What kills me is the five-man rotation, the seven-man bullpen, and no long guys. If you are going to carry seven (and sometimes EIGHT) relievers, you can't make one of them a long man? Why bother?
Have you seen Mike Stanton play in person? He looks like he is adjusting to AA after a slow start. How good to you project him to be? ETA?
Not since high school - had the raw power but a lot of swing and miss then too. I assumed with him that the latter would cancel out the former eventually. So far that's been wrong.
What are your thoughts on the Phillies prospect Michael Taylor? Seems to be an above average RH OF bat - something the phils will need to break up their lefties. Is he a better prospect than John Mayberry? Thanks
Impact potential, could be a middle of the order guy. Way better than Mayberry.
As a relative noob to the world of draft analysis, how do teams approach drafts on a year-by-year basis, as opposed to analyzing player-vs.-player in a given year? In other words, with how much detail do teams say something like, "This draft class is great/stinks, and we are/aren't paying over slot."? It seems to me that just becuase a player is the best in a given year doesn't mean he would necessarily make the top ten in another year.
I think every team uses some variation of this process: Line up all the eligible players you've scouted (sometimes one section for the top 50-100 guys, then broken down by position after that). Move guys off the main list if they're deemed too expensive relative to the team's valuation of them. Reconsider those guys in later rounds if they slip and there's budget available, based on who the team has already taken.
how in the world does martin perez not make the futures game?
It's likely that the Rangers said no. By the way, did I miss someone? I only see one Ranger on the two squads. Usually it's two per org, even for orgs that don't deserve the second spot.
Keith, to your knowledge is pay over slot an economical approach to stocking a farm system, or is it more or less a waste or resources? For all the above slot signings that break through, there are just as many that flop all together.
It's about taking the right guy, of course, but yes, I believe that taking the best players and paying them what they're worth is the right approach, slotting be damned.
Don't you think you at somepoint need to take into account the pitchers comfort level with one catcher though? Even if Catcher ERA is meaningless, it stands to reason that if a guy throws nearly 2 runs better to one guy vs the other, I think it'd be foolish not to look at it.
It's been studied endlessly and no one has found any significance to it.
Hey Keith, Heard you were going to Lowell, did you like what you saw in Westmoreland?
He didn't have a great game at the plate and didn't play the field. Gibson was the star - plus runner, showed good range at second, worked the count well, drove a fastball in to the left-center wall, has put on some (good) weight since last year. Would like to see him more aggressive at second base - he let some routine plays come to him instead of moving to cut them off.
So if you dislike the 5-man rotation, what do you think about Boston's 6-man rotation where they just stick someone on the DL every few weeks to keep them fresher for October?
That's actually a really funny way of putting it.
what do you have to say to all idiots that think a $20 million contract to strasburg will drive up their ticket prices?
Nothing. Those people aren't reading my stuff anyway.
Hang on, sounds like we're having a technical problem.
Can everyone see the Westmoreland answer? Some readers didn't, but I can see it here and in the HTML transcript.
Joba. Starter forever, right?
For this stage of his career, at least.
Westmoreland answer again, since several of you aren't seeing it: He didn't have a great game at the plate and didn't play the field. Gibson was the star - plus runner, showed good range at second, worked the count well, drove a fastball in to the left-center wall, has put on some (good) weight since last year. Would like to see him more aggressive at second base - he let some routine plays come to him instead of moving to cut them off.
Tyler Colvin, Josh Vitters, Brett Jackson...your impressions (so far) of Tim Wilken's first round draft performance?
I liked the Vitters pick and like him now, but Colvin was a fourth outfielder at the time, and Jackson has had way too much trouble making contact for me to take him in the first.
Isn't it silly that 90% of the fehr stuff is on steroids and none of it is on how if you were a professional athlete he'd be the guy you'd want running your union?
Beyond silly. It's stupid. I heard some talking head saying how steroids were a "stain" on his legacy. How? Because idiot sportswriters won't give up their futile quest to make people care about PED usage? The game's popularity grew tremendously during Fehr's tenure and the players shared in that growth. FTW.
The Giants have the second best record in the NL! And the stupid, east-coast-centric ESPN staff (incl. YOU) refuses to give them their due. This is intolerable I demand you rectify it AT ONCE!!
I'll talk about the Giants ... they're not that good.
Proud or embarrassed to be part of the media?
I don't think it reflects on me when someone who nominally works on this side of the fence says something dumb.
John Kruk said it best the other night on ESPN, " i guess the fans do not care as much as we do".
I believe he has it right.
Did you agree with the Pirates promoting Alvarez to AA?
No. I did enjoy the doublespeak from their front office about how his performance wasn't as bad as the statistics showed.
Keith Law is a cancer in the media clubhouse!
That is undeniably true. I'm already demanding my own leather chair and a second locker at the next BBRAA meeting.
Off topic, but do you ever read Wonkette? I know politics aren't your thing but they take the snark to a new level. By the way, I enjoy the work on ESPN.com and the dish.
I did once upon a time. Delightfully obnoxious, if that's your thing.
Is Jenrry Mujia another overhyped NY prospect? 19 years old, solid numbers in AA.
I haven't seen him, so I'm not saying he is or isn't as good as the hype, but I remember when they kept telling us Deolis Guerra was the next big thing.
What do you think of Ortiz's turnaround? Flash in the pan or are we looking at Papi getting his numbers back. Recently he's hit 1 HR every 7 at bats...that's obviously not going to continue but you think he gets to 25-30 with 100 RBI's?
A lot of that has come against NL pitching, no? I'll buy into it if he keeps it up when interleague play is over.
Do you normally go to Spinners games or was that a special occasion.
I try to go at least once a year. The roster was still pretty thin on Friday - Wilson wasn't there yet, and they still have a few guys unsigned who'll be there later this summer.
Are you angry that rotoworld used your "tweet" as a reference for Jiovanni Mier's signing only to throw you udner the bus (even though you ended up being correct) when the Asst GM for Houston denied the claim?
I saw that - nice little fail on their part. Even better to notice that the Chronicle named me when they ran their "not yet" piece, but didn't when they admitted that he had come to terms.
After tearing it up in Portland (.910 OPS), Aaron Bates has struggled (.135 BA in his last 10 games) since coming to Pawtucket. Has he hit his ceiling?
I could see him maybe being a pinch hitter off the bench, but he's not an everyday guy in the majors.
What do you see as Brad Lincoln potential?
Number two or three starter.
Just curious if you are just as furious with Pat Murphy for throwing Mike Leake on short rest with tendinitis as you were with Garrido for throwing Wood for so long? Thanks!
Garrido's crime was worse, since Wood was a reliever and was stretched out to an extent that would be excessive for a starter.
Is Ynoa pitching stateside yet?
Big day for Daniel in Louisville. Inoa/Ynoa is hurt, "strained elbow" or something similar.
Did you see the artcile the other day in the Pittsburgh paper going after LaRussa and Hancock and the culture of drinking in big league club houses and how this is less reviled than steroid use?
I did not, but amen.
Better bang for your farm-building buck: paying overslot/tough signs, or investing internationally?
Ideally you'd do both, but if it's a choice, I'd stay with the draft. I'd rather sign a player who's 18 or 21 than one who's 16 if the money is comparable, since there's less projection involved.
Daniel Hudson, RHP just called up to AA Birmingham by the White Sox.. Apparently a 5th rounder from ODU last year. Stats look great. Why?
Secondhand info, but I was told he's throwing much harder this year than he did in college. That's not typical, but it happens.
Will Boston fail to sign any of their top guys from the draft? Who is leaning against signing?
I mentioned Klein last week. Renfroe will sign. Fuentes certainly will. Younginer and Volz will be interesting - it wouldn't shock me if Younginer, who had first-round aspirations, ended up in school.
Matzek going to sign? Or will we have to wait until 8/17 to know that answer?
You might have to wait until 11:55 pm on 8/17. That's not going to happen quick.
But, just to follow up, it doesn't matter. Either he signs or he doesn't - there is no point in getting all worked up over a player who doesn't sign early. As long as he's in the system on August 18th, it's all good.
KLaw - since you didn't answer this questions in your response in the comments section will you now? Do you really thing Sosa would have hit over 400 HRs in a six-year span if he would not have used PEDs?
I think I really don't know how many homers he would have hit had he not used PEDs. 380? 350? 200? The guy had big raw power as a skinny kid. It's not like he was some non-prospect who turned into a superstar.
Hi Keith. I asked earlier, but to no avail. Any thoughts on Tim Federowicz? He was raking in Greenville (.955 OPS) before his promotion to Salem, and he is supposed to be a plus-defender behind the plate. Think he could be a solid major leaguer?
He was very old for that level, but he's no worse than a big league backup because of the glove.
Who's your pick for quickest to the major's in this year's draft class? If you say Strasburg, then who's #2?
Storen or Leake.
Klaw - It drives me crazy when you say "such and such is useless" but don't explain why. Can you please elaborate on the issue of "catcher ERA" and why it's useless?
If I say a stat is useless, either it doesn't measure what it purports to measure, or it has failed tests of its statistical significance.
Keith, what is the hold up with the signing of Strasburg? The Nats knew what he would cost 6 months ago! They have such a bad team, wouldn't this be their top priority?
This would be an excellent example of how not to react to a top draftee not signing yet.
how does Jason Heyward compare to Adam Jones in regards to skill set?
Both have power. That's about the end of the similarities. Jones can fly, covers a ton of ground in center, and has a 65-70 arm. Heyward's not that kind of runner and is already in right, but has more power and a better idea of the zone.
How does Donavan Tate compare to Heyward when he came out?
Tate is not close to Heyward (2007 version) for me in hitting ability.
Klaw, does all the movement in Bryce Harper's lower half and head during his swing worry you at all??
Brett Wallace is starting to hit triple A pitching, do you think he will be call-up this year?
I think he'll be up in September unless they have some sort of 40-man crunch.
Why didn't I get an invite to the Futures Game? Rangers decline the invite because I may be up before the game?
Or because of the oblique injury? I'm just guessing, but he certainly belongs there on talent. Or maybe the people who assembled the rosters just whiffed on him.
Keith, You seem pretty jaded about the whole steroid issue, do you have any comments about the example it sets for young people who are heavily involved in athletics?
Well, maybe if the media would stop harping on the subject and implying that steroids make you a superstar, kids wouldn't get the idea that they're worth using.
Favorite Sesame Street character of all time? Least favorite?
Cookie Monster is the clear favorite. Only Oscar comes close. Least favorite is Elmo. Fine in limited doses, I guess. His best role was as an extra in "Me Lost Me Cookie at the Disco." Of course, he didn't have any lines...
What is the eta for Matthew Sweeney to be with the Angels? I know he had a setback with the injury last year but he seems to be doing well this year in single A and he's still a decent young prospect.
Probably a level a year guy, so 2011-12.
any news/updates on Slade Heathcott?
He's going to sign. Don't worry about it. No way the Yankees take him if they didn't believe they had a rough agreement on terms, and I know his dollar figure was well within their means.
KLAW--Opinion on Valencia? The Twins just moved him to AAA. Do you think they are going to see what he can do there, and maybe debut him next year at 3B in the majors? What do you think he could be? Solid regular? Below-average?
I find it much more offensive that Carlos Delgado refused to stand for the national anthem than I find PED use. As far as I know, no one has died trying to prevent PED use.
More baseball deaths from DUI in the past two years than from PED usage in the past forever.
Keith, screen grabs showed a Joel Zumaya fastball clocked at 104. What is the highest true number you would believe?
Maybe 102. I've seen 100 myself.
Keith, could you recommend a good 300 pages and under book?
To Kill a Mockingbird.
Keith: Do you think Buchholz could have better numbers (be more productive) than either Matsuzaka, Penny or Smoltz? If the answer is "Yes", why isnt he with the Red Sox?
Matsuzaka is already out of the equation. Penny's been better lately. We'll see how much Smoltz can actually pitch and how effectively, and I'm assuming that if he can't go as a starter, then Buchholz comes up.
Keith, did you ever read Watership Down? I know it's generally given to a younger audience, but I've gotten a lot of literary mileage out of it over the years. Was just talking to a friend the other day and realized the plot structure mirrored the Aeneid.
Yes, it's outstanding.
Since Jared Mitchell is the CWS Most Outstanding player, do you think that he is on the fast track to the majors?
I don't think he's a fast-track guy. He's a 21-year-old who's more like a toolsy 18-year-old than a typical college product. That means he has more upside relative to what he is now, but it also means he's not likely to move fast.
How seriously is Brad Holt injured?
Ankle injury, supposed to be back soon.
Am I the only one who thinks that the coverage of Manny Ramirez is sickly distorted. Instead of talking about his use of performance enhancing drugs, the media is salivating at every single minor league at-bat, as if anyone cares...I feel that ESPN is partly at fault for initiating this biased coverage and ignoring the underlying issues. Your thoughts?
Zoe is MUCH more annoying than Elmo...and where's the love for Grover?
He's top 5, but not top 3.
Can we at least admit that Manny is a fascinating personality, and that regardless of how you feel about him as a player or a human being, you're drawn to figure out just how he manages to exist in a (mostly) rational world?
And he's ridiculously talented, with or without chemical enhancements. That swing didn't come out of a bottle.
Did you give Brooke $5 because you work for ESPN? If that's the case then you're ridiculous because he/she is right. ESPN runs everything into the ground.
Except that the moral-outrage part is ridiculous - and if you've read anything I've ever written, you know I think it's ridiculous.
What about when it comes to the Muppets side of Jim Henson? I say best are Statler and Waldorf, Rowlf, Fozzy. Worst by far is Beaker.
So the return of one of the top players in the game shouldn't be covered?
Nope, because the sports media has decided that he's a sinner.
Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think you were very high on Everth Cabrera when the Padres got him in the rule 5. I know he hasn't played a ton of games so far, but I have yet to see any real negatives from him. What are your projections on him now?
They haven't changed. Thirty at bats aren't exactly going to change my mind.
Keith thanks for answering my question. Given the economic conditions, what are the chances that Yu Darvish gets posted this offseason (for millions of dollars), even though he is not a free agent for a few more years?
Unless he indicates that he wants to come over - which would be a complete change from his stated position - I'd say 0%.
What's the deal with Fernando Nieve? Is he for real, or do Woland and Korovyev have something to do with his luck?
He's got a decent arm, could be a fifth starter for the Mets, but mostly he's been lucky.
would the MLB allow bryce harper to declare citizenship of another country, say the DR, then become an international FA?
He'd have to live in that country for a year, so it's no advantage versus what he's doing now.
Rubio with the second pick?
I'd have to take Stephen Curry, mostly because my NBA draft board would have about three names on it.
Thanks for all the questions. I know there were a lot of food/books questions I didn't get to today, but feel free to post them in comments over on the dish. I'll be back next week.