I am now full of fried chicken, cornbread, and collard greens. I couldn't be more ready.
There was a small allude in a Neyer piece to getting rid of the 5 man rotation which he seemed to dismiss off hand, but wouldn't it make sense to get rid of the notion of starter when it's been proven so many guys, in 2 or 3 inning bursts, can pitch as if their the second coming of Mariano Rivera. ( The funny thing is that mediocre starters who could be excellent relievers switch teams all the time.) Wouldn't it make more sense if you had 3 traditional starters who pitched between 600-700 innings collectively and then the rest of your pitchers were former starters who could go 3 innings at a time? You would only need between 90-105 innings from each of them. Why the foolish insistence on throwing out 2 below average, often well below average, players as your 4th and 5th starter?
I know at least one team that considered this. At the time, I thought it was interesting, but unlikely to work. Now, I'm warming up to it. The biggest obstacle, then and now, would be the lack of trade value for these players, at least until more teams adopted such a strategy. (That and the screaming from agents, watching their future arbitration earnings slipping away.)
Is it me or did Rizzo fleece the Dodgers in the Belliard trade?
I'm pretty sure acquiring a shoebox full of dead rodents for Belliard would qualify as winning the deal. But that's OK, I'm just a Nats hater for criticizing the Belliard and Meat Hook extensions. Those worked out fabulously!
Klaw - Penny has one good outing and it is proof positive of the league disparity? No doubt one exists, but don't you owe someone $5 for misunderestimating the power of small sample sizes?
Or you owe my charity of choice $5 for taking the sarcasm too seriously.
Avila or Teagarden? Cecil or Mills? Can you elaborate a lil on your picks? Thanks Keith!
Avila. Cecil. No.
Preferred pitching prospect: Taillon (2010) or Meyer (2011)?
Taillon by a mile.
Can you evaluate the Kazmir trade again now knowing who the PTBNL is?
I liked it for the Rays when he had no name. Needless to say I like it even more now. The Angels can still make out very well if Kazmir returns to his pre-2008 form, though. It seems unlikely to me that in 2012 we'll look back and say the Angels really won the deal - with three quality prospects going to Tampa, odds are they'll get sufficient return for at least a push.
How can anyone even argue against Mauer for MVP? If he finishes .360/.440/.600 with 30 HR and 30 2B...as a catcher, do you think the voters would still shaft him?
Of course they will, if they miss the playoffs. You should sit in the press box some time. It's delightening. Or disenlightening.
What is your highest total playing Ticket to Ride. My wife hung 203 on me the other week. I'm still recovering.
Same happened to me - wife has broken 200, I have not. Her strategy is so simple, too - she just keeps taking more routes. Somehow, when I do that, it doesn't work out as well - I get Calgary to Phoenix when I have six routes east of the Mississippi.
Do you see Hardy getting traded this offseason? If so, where? Boston?
If I was Hardy's agent, I'd file a grievance over his demotion. That was service-time related, no doubt in my mind. And if I'm another GM, I'm not trading for him until I'm satisfied that there's no grievance coming or that it's settled.
KLAW- Any interest in a senate run?
I'm legally changing my name to Keith Kennedy Law so I can appear on the ballot.
Please tell me you're not in the camp that thinks Neftali Feliz should be a full-time closer and never get a chance at being a major league starter.
Come on, you know me better than that.
Keith, so happy that Posey got a call up, please tell me that the Giants are actually going use him and pen him in as the starter in April? Subsequently they can then use the 6-mill they save on the OBP nightmare that is Molina and the 9-mill for Randy Can't Swing from the Right-side Winn to go after, oh I don't know, an impact bat like Holliday?
That is exactly the plan for which I argued in my post last night. Granted, they could whiff on Holliday or Bay, but it's a better plan than having Posey as a backup or in AAA and spending $15MM or so on a bunch of mediocre fill-in veterans.
Keith- what is up with Westmorland? He didnt play this past week
Broke his collarbone. He might be the Rhode Island version of Chris Snelling if this keeps up.
Cubs fan mildly optimistic about the new Ricketts ownership, which roughly means I expect a WS appearance by no later than 2085. As a former front-office peon, would you rather work for the faceless conglomerate or the filthy rich mogul?
Whichever one will give me a budget and a general mandate and then leave me alone to execute it.
Why do you make silly arguments about Penny succeeding b/c he switched to the NL when aside from playing the best lineup it's also a "small sample size"?
Because it drives people like you crazy.
Looking at the bat only, is Michael Brantley that far away from being an Ellsbury type contributor? Neither have corner outfield power, but both have strong contact rates.
Michael Brantley East Coast Bias = Jacoby Ellsbury.
What are the chances Elvis Andrus wins the AL Gold Glove at SS? What about ROY? His hitting numbers are average, but his defense has to be considered into his candidacy.
RoY would be a huge stretch - voters are not exactly known for looking at defense (HR/RBI still matter a ton in RoY voting), and I can only think of Walt Weiss as a winner who was primarily a glove guy. The Gold Glove will probably go to some name guy like Jeter. I'm not criticizing Andrus, just the stupid voting history of the respective electorates.
Me Keith Law. Can't use logic to back up my statements. So I talk tough and use sarcasm.
Guess you missed the part where I pointed out that the AL playing .575 ball in interleague play over the last four years. Read better and spell your name right.
Who would you rather have off the bench, Thome or Hinske?
What do you think of Mariano Rivera winning the Cy Young this year? He's been pretty lights out and no starter is really blowing away the competition. Thanks
Um ... "no starter is really blowing away the competition" ... there's this guy ... in Kansas City ... maybe you should take a look ... he's pretty good ...
If the season ended today who would get your vote for the NL Cy Young?
I have an NL Cy vote this year, so I'm not addressing this topic, sorry.
How much value is there to defense? I ask because stupid Rob Neyer is in LOVE with Dustin Pedroia. Ok, fine, he's a good player, but does his solid defense at 2B make him that much more valuable than guys that are bombing 40 HRs from the corners? Is he really more valuable to a team, than someone like Ryan Howard?
A good defender who can hit and who plays in the middle of the diamond is going to be worth more than a bad-defense 1b/lf/rf who's all bat. But mostly, I think Rob should start impersonating himself on Twitter as @stupidrobneyer.
Greinke's ERA is phenomenal, but he only has 13 W's. Mo hasn't given up a run since April in many more pressure situations.
You have officially failed this chat. Report to Remedial Baseball immediately. First lesson: Why Wins are the worst measure of a starter's performance.
Neyer also called Sandoval his favorite player in his last chat. There goes the he loves defense theory.
He is pretty fun to watch. He's actually not a terrible athlete, just a bad 3b (and on the portly side). I think he could be passable at first for five years or so.
Hi Klaw,Reese Havens, eventually: starting MLB second baseman, utility guy, organizational guy or pizza delivery guy? Thanks.
Depends on how fast he drives.
Is Feldman's year a complete fluke? Has there been an improvement in stuff?
Not a fluke. Talked to a scout who saw his start against Tampa two weeks ago or so who said he had three above-average pitches and the cutter (which I believe is new - he didn't have it when I saw him in early '08) was filthy.
During a 7 hour nightmare in JFK airport, I finished up the final volume in the "A Dance to the Music of Time" series. Great, great series of books, but I must say, I found Widmerpool's decline and fall to be a bit... odd.
Glad you enjoyed it - it's more than just a set of books, it's an experience. And yes, it was odd, almost like Powell wasn't sure what to do with him, but too funny for me to criticize.
Hey Keith, how are the Beckham brothers doing in the minors? What is the timeline for Tim getting his name called
Got a very negative report on Tim from a scout who saw him in early August and who had seen him pre-2008 draft. Said he'd probably be no better than the 20th pick if he'd played and looked like this in May of 2008. I haven't seen him since the draft, and even with the mediocre performance he is young for his league.
Do you still prefer Logan Forsythe to James Darnell? If so why?
Prefer the bat and the glove. Forsythe might be able to catch, too - not sure if they've abandoned that plan.
Pirate third baseman on opening day 2011: a) Pedro Alvarez b)Andy LaRoche c) Neil Walker d) someone else.
Which trio do you prefer and why? Brett Anderson, Cahill and Mazzaro in Oakland or Matusz, Tillman and Arrieta in Baltimore?Also, ever eat at Slanted Door in SF? Just one of many incredible Vietnamese restaurants.
Baltimore's, by a shade. I'm not a huge Mazzaro fan - it's velocity and control, but not enough else. If you were asking me which of pair of Anderson/Cahill or Matusz/Tillman ... I'm leaning Oakland, but that is damn close to a push.
Any reason to think Heyward will get a Spetember call up?
No, I don't expect him to come up. Cooled off dramatically his second time around the SL.
Those same people who want the Cy to go to the leader in wins probably feel the same way on MVP going to someone with a ton of rbi's.
Correct. And some of them even have votes.
I love G. Beckham. Think he's done an admirable job learning 3rd on the fly. But he absolutely has to have more positional value at SS or 2nd, doesn't he?
Yes. And he was shaky at third when I saw him. At short, he made all the plays because he has great instincts. At third, the ball seems to get to him a fraction of a second too fast.
Keith, I read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle recently on your recommendation and absolutely loved it. Are there any other Murakami novels that you'd also recommend?
Kafka on the Shore.
With almost a year in the majors to evaluate, how good is Colby Rasmus going to be? Is he an everyday CF for the forseeable future?
Yes. He's going to be a star, offensively and defensively.
any idea what happened to Jon Meloan? He was LA's Minor League Pitcher of the year 2 short years ago and was a key piece of the Blake trade. I just saw he has bounced around 3 AAA teams this year.
Hasn't been the same since the Dodgers tried to make him a starter.
CC last year. Cliff Lee this year. Now Smoltz and Penny. These guys go over to the NL and DOMINATE. Is the NL that much weaker than the AL? If they had sent Penny to AA for a start, I wouldn't have expected 8 shutout innings.
It's more of a trend than just Penny's one good start. Duncan deserves a ton of credit for Pineiro and Lohse, but the league change had to help them too.
Which prospect has been jerked around more by his parent club... brandon wood or scott elbert?
Wood. Elbert's had injuries.
Lately, I've really been enjoying the GMs who seem to value "value" and opportunity over all else even if it does seem at least superficially strange to the rest of the world to, say, load up with Rios and Peavy but trade off Thome and Contreras shortly after (not that the team's position hadn't changed in that time span). It seems like Williams and Beane trust their instincts and take their chances to move. Is this fair, or am I giving the "directionless" entirely too much credit?
I'm with you. I like GMs who try something different. Well, except when that something is "acquire veteran hitters with terrible OBPs."
Given the play of many Mets prospects this year, do you think their farm system is much deeper than given credit for. For example Ike Davis, Holt, Mejia, Nieuwenhuis, Tejeda, Thole, Familia, etc. have had very solid years.
It is better than the local and national media would have you believe. However, Holt has been lit up like a California forest in AA. I'm not that excited by him.
Keith, since the White Sox acquired Tyler Floweres in the off season, all I've heard from you and various baseball people is that his defense is sub par. My understanding is that he improved a lot behind the plate this year, in fact the Chicago Tribune reported that Baseball America conducted a survey of Southern League managers and he was voted best defensive catcher. While I understand this survey means about as much as the gold glove award voting, but do you think he can be decent enough back there to be the catcher for the next 5-7 years? Is he better than Victor Martinez?
If I was KW2, I'd leave Flowers there until absolutely forced to move him. I think he can handle the position - he'll just never be more than average, if that. But he's not Ryan Garko-bad back there, and he's not like Jesus Montero, who's going to outgrow the position (if he hasn't already).
Let me see if I can redeem myself. What do you think about the report that the Mets are not going to run their Instructional program this fall. Shouldn't a franchise that is having development problems do all they can to help the players they have get more instruction?
I asked some baby chickens what they thought of the Mets' ownership, and all they said was, "Cheap! Cheap!"
What did you think of Gravity's Rainbow? My thoughts after 100 pages are that it's practically unreadable and completely boring. No wonder Pynchon is a recluse.
Haven't read it. I picked it up in a bookstore, read two pages, and got a headache. I suppose I'll eventually give it a shot, but 800 pages of that ... not so excited.
Don't mean to go off on a rant (or maybe I do), but when will people stop saying the Rangers just don't have the pitching to make a run at the playoffs? Honestly, seems like everyone is saying that, even though their offense has been their biggest problem. Has their pitching/defense really been that unbelievable, or are people just lazy and prefer to spout out random crap than do, you know, actual research?
I guess they'll stop saying it when they get to the playoffs. It seems pretty clear that their run prevention is fine.
"veteran hitters with terrible OBPs" - Keith, what did I ever do to you? Ooo... a slider in the dirt... I should chase that...
What I love is that I made that comment and you're all coming up with different GMs who fit the profile.
That's illegal procedure against Keith Law for throwing that turribull joke about the Mets ownership at us. 5 yards and repeat 2nd down.
OK, the truth is, I think it is irresponsible and foolhardy, and the whole "we're holding it in the Dominican Republic instead" argument is just a cover. Either they're broke, or they've lost their minds.
After a slightly larger sample size has your opinion of Will Venable changed at all? Is it possible that he was just a late bloomer due to the fact that he was mostly a basketball player in HS/College?
.356 BABIP. Nope, still not a fan.
From what I have heard the White Sox got very minimal return for Thome from the Dodgers. Why wouldn't Kenny just wait until the end of the season where he could have gotten at least one draft choice for him when he signs with a new team?
Because he wasn't going to get a draft choice. If the White Sox had kept Thome and offered arbitration, he would have accepted.
Manny Banuelos or Casey Kelly?
Trying this again - apparently the question didn't appear the first time. The answer was, and still is, Kelly.
I normally think people who complain about East Coast bias are wasting their breathe, but before the trade Torres and Sweeney had nary a mention as solid prospects or players to watch, but after they became "Rays Property" people were actually using words like "elite" and high impact" prospects. My question is, without naming names specifcally are their scouts out there that really only stick following prospects in their immediate area?
Sweeney was definitely mentioned as a solid prospect and a player to watch ... on my blog ... on this very site ... that you here are on right now. I even had video.
Keith, saw that you ate at DiNic's at Reading Terminal for lunch, thoughts? It is very good, I would say it is even with Tony Luke's Roast Pork. However, John's, which is a stone's throw from Tony Luke's is the best in the business.
It was very good, as was Delilah's, where I ate today.
Is Zach Stewart the top prospect in Toronto's system? Who would be the other top notables?
I think he is, unless I'm forgetting someone obvious.
Todd Frazier is now playing 2b for AAA Louisville. Rumors of moving Brandon Phillips gold glove to SS next year, and Votto to LF to make room for Alonzo at 1B. Any truth to these, and do how much of a hit defensively would Cincy take with this defensive lineup? Thanks
That sounds like about as bad a defensive alignment as I can imagine.
Garrett Jones hit his 18th home run in 55 games yesterday. Is he going to be the next Ryan ludwick, a flash in the pan or somewhere in the middle.
Jones has always had raw power, but when I saw him in AA he was one of the worst hackers I have ever seen. We are talking about a guy who drew 163 unintentional walks in over 2400 PA in AAA. I'm still a skeptic.
For next season: Yovani or Ubaldo?
Ubaldo has better stuff but I'd take Yovani's command and feel for pitching.
Who are your AL/NL Rookie of the Year Award winners entering the final month? any early favorites for 2010 award?
McCutchen in the NL. Probably Romero in the AL over Beckham and Reimold.
Keith, what are the advantages of a draftee signing a major league contract vs a minor league contract? Correct me if I am wrong, but believe a major league contract doeas not affect service time, it juts means the player has to be placed on the 40 man roster. So is the advantage that the player will be promoted to the big leagues sooner and thus free agency sooner? Is this really even an advantage? I rememeber the Red Sox having some issues with Craig Hansen signing a major league contract and then sucking in the major leagues after running out of options.
I see no advantage to 99% of players, and disadvantages to the player and the team. It guarantees the player will be in major league spring training, and it does mean he'll run out of options and force the team to keep him in the majors or waive him after about four seasons, but that's not always a good thing for the player.
How badly do you think losing Street for any extended time will hurt the Rockies?
Even if he misses the month, what is that, 10 innings? It's not a crisis - their pen is good. Of course, if Betancourt (or whoever) blows two saves, Street will get MVP votes.
Can you refresh my memory on the name of that internet book swapping program you use? Meant to sign up at the time, then completely forgot. Now I can't find it.
Swaptree. Although the more you use it, the more likely you are to run into a deadbeat.
Dan from Milton GA has posted that exact same question to multiple chatters on ESPN.
Well, I don't feel special any more.
I see you mention high babip for hitters all the time as evidence that they are playing over their head and will cool off. What does that mean for someone like Matt Kemp who has last I looked one of the top 5 babips for a hitter in the history of baseball? Has he been really lucky or is there something about him and his swing that makes those babips possible?
A hitter can maintain a BABIP that's well away from the league average (while it seems like a pitcher probably can't). Kemp now has nearly 1700 major league PA and a .370 BABIP. He may just be a freak - and it wouldn't surprise me, as he is ridiculously talented.
Sorry not to state this before, but at last I was able to make it to a chat!
ˇBienvenidos! Alas, we're almost done.
KLAW. Clay Buchholz has had some rough outings and some gems. Do you find that some 'analysts' seem to write off young pitchers when they don't immediately dominate? It seems like Buchholz just needs to have more confidence in his defense and occasionally pitch to contact rather than trying to blow away hitters. Do you see this as a really common problem for young SP's? Last but not least, do you still see Buchholz as a top of the rotation starter? Thank you!
Yes - young hitters too. Yes, in the sense that many young pitchers change their approaches too quickly and/or too drastically when they first encounter failure in the majors. Yes, I still think Buchholz is going to end up a 1 or a 2 (I guess that's down from saying he'd be a 1 two years ago).
I have a hard time getting anyone to answer questions about Zachary Britton. Is he just not a very interesting prospect? He seems to be improving at every level and has good peripherals.
I answered one about him a week or two ago.
KLAW, I tihnk the trend away from valuing Wins and RBI has gone too far. Take RBI, when runners are on base, pitchers get a little tougher (or they should) and those who can handle good pitching end up knocking in more runs. A definite skill and not just luck of averages.
If your argument was true, then the league as a whole would hit worse with men in scoring position, since a pitcher would be at his toughest, right? MLB hitters, all situations, 2009: .262/.333/.420. MLB hitters, RISP, 2009: .263/.353/.415. Pretty much identical when you factor out the IBB (back of the envelope calc has the OBPs at .328 and .337 respectively when you take out IBB). So I'm not buying it.
Yeah Klaw, Jack Morris had a higher ERA because he knew he could give up more runs and still get the win because of the team he had behind him! Sportswriters know what they're talking about!
When do you have to submit your vote for award winners?
After the final regular season game.
I know you might have been one of the last people on the Felix Pie bandwagon (bandwagon may be too robust, how bout the Felix Pie Radio Flyer) but it now appears that he is finally starting to put it together. The Orioles now appear to have their only "nice" problem in that they have 4 young outfielders who can play. Would you look at moving Reimold to 1st base?
Or trading one of Reimold/Pie for something else they need - a shortstop, pitching, a catcher. Wait, scratch that last one.
Let me try that again... Romero as the better rookie SP over Anderson? Clearly that is both east coast and ex-Blue Jays bias.
Or it's about Romero having the better season in a tougher park against much better competition. Maybe.
If Brad Penny has a few more awesome outings, will he get your Cy Young vote?
My NL Cy ballot right now is Lee, Penny, Smoltz.
KLAW, can you please direct me to a chat run by ESPN where the writer isn't a biased Red Sox fan? Thanks.
You're in one.
The Marlins called up Maybin to pinch-hit? What gives?
They're on the "Cleveland-LaPorta Plan."
You mentioned last week that your cousin (?) is a baker down here and makes a tremendous banana cream pie. Any other baked goods make the depth chart? I have to make a visit there.
The Valhrona Chocolate "Pudding" (really a custard called a pot de creme) is plus-plus. Great tiramisu. Everything is good. (The place is City Limits Diner in Yonkers and Stamford, BTW.)
Do the O's really need pitching? Obviously this seems like an odd question considering their pitching is awful, but isn't this mostly because everyone is 22 not because of a lack of talent?
Nice name. Is there such a thing as too much pitching? They have a ton of pitching potential, but how much is rock-solid.
If Alvarez starts at 3rd for Pitt next year where will Andy LaRoche be? If memory serves you were pretty high on him and low on LA for not playing him more before Blake trade.
I was, but really, he hasn't played well enough to be in Alvarez' way when Pedro is ready.
So Keith, you're allowed to say who your voting for ROY but not CY? Sounds kinda silly
I'm not voting for RoY.
Say something about Kendry Morales future.
In the future - the near future - he'll be playing in Fenway and I'll get my first look at him since March.
Gordon Beckham or Danny Valencia?
Beckham. This isn't even remotely close.
How did you quit caring about the team you rooted for growing up? I'd really like to break up with the Reds but I don't know how.
Go work for a divisional rival. Worked for me and the Yankees.
Keith, where will Kershaw be in the Dodgers rotation in the playoffs, 2nd or 3rd starter behind Bills and Wolf?
Torre would never do it, but shouldn't he be first? He's their best starter right now, handily.
What's your outlook on Adam Lind going forward? Can he be a .900OPS hitter going forward?
KLAW - how many awards do you get to vote for each year? Does it rotate?
I only have one this year. It's assigned by the BBWAA. It will differ each year - next year I might be AL MVP, for example. And it's possible I'd get no votes next year.
How do you have Penny over Smoltz when Smoltz has two wins to Penny's one?
Rob Neyer often complaints since he isnt associated with a paper he cant vote... were you a journalist ... how do you get to vote and not Rob.
I don't know if he has a vote this year, but he, like me, is eligible for the first time.
John Danks or Jered Weaver?
Are you not allowed to talk about the NL CY by the BBRAA, or are you just building the suspense? Is Zach McAllister a real prospect?
They ask us not to reveal our ballots before the results are announced. Given how few votes go into each award, that seems completely fair to me, so I'm abiding by it. Yes, he is.
Klaw, can the Giants win the WS with Juan Urbie as their 2nd best hitter!
Their second best hitter is Buster Posey.
Obv you think Strasburg will be a stud....so if he was drafted by say the O's, would you be not as high on him because of the league and division? I know his skills won't change, but the talent will.
It would change my forecast of his performance, but not my evaluation of his ability or potential. He'd project as a #1 in the AL too, but his ERA etc would be higher.
OK, got a few things to work on this afternoon and a gelateria down the street (Capogiro) I need to hit. Thanks for all the questions!