OK, let's roll - probably not a long chat today.
Justin Upton two years ago or Jason Heyward today?
Upton. Even bigger upside. And Heyward's pretty special.
I like the name SIERA. It sounds like a good name for a stat for crusty old writers to complain about.
I'm still waiting for a Parks and Rec episode about a rabid ecoprotest group called the Vorpies.
No Hak Ju Lee in your top 100 prospects? Please explain...
I didn't think he was one of the 100 best prospects in the game. Does that clear it up?
Keith, wondering if you have any response to what Jeff Luhnow had to say about your Cardinals prospect rankings. He said "I'll put our analysis up against Keith Law?s all day long and after five minutes the debate will be over.? Rebuttal?
Yes. Now we know: Not only do the Cardinals need better prospects, they need better analysts too.
Can we start by laughing at people further south who are snowed in?
I'm still busy shoveling the 10 inches of invisible snow I got last night.
I've got a question. I know that wins are not a good way to gauge a pitcher's effectiveness. Quality starts give a good indication of how effective they are. Why doesn't someone track a stat called quality start wins. That would show when a pitcher not only won but pitched well in helping his team get there. That would eliminate misleading win totals when a pitcher gets shelled for 6 runs in 5 innings but his team's offense was better that day.
Why would you ever want to judge a pitcher by whether or not his team won? That has much more to do with how his 24 teammates performed than how he performed - offense, defense, bullpen - and to coaching decisions like when to pull him or whether to walk a guy in close situation. Judge each player's performance just by what he did, what he controlled. You'll get a better picture of how much he helped his team, and a better idea of how he'll do going forward.
Kemp or Rasmus? Seems like you always favored Rasmus, still the case?
I don't think I ever compared the two head to head. Very high on Rasmus, but Kemp is better now and I think retains the higher ceiling.
KLaw, what do you think about the suggestion that Colby Rasmus may have to be platooned? I know you love Rasmus, so I have to assume you don't share that outlook...
I hadn't heard that suggestion, but it's absurd. He'll play all of 2010 at age 23 and his approach versus left-handers in 2009 was better than his results. Talk to me in two or three years if his performance against LHP hasn't improved.
Keith, how do you not have any love for a guy like Bumgarner who has logged 273 IP in the minor with an ERA of 1.65? Velocity or not, there are not a lot of ML pitchers right now that could do that as a starter!
I ranked him among the top 30 prospects in baseball. I'm not sure how that translates to "not (having} any love" unless you're, you know, a raging homer.
Why to aging players threaten to retire if they don't get a contract to their liking? Who are they threatening? The people that don't want to hire them?
In the absence of leverage, some people try to create leverage. If I was negotiating with a player and he threatened to retired, I'd send him a brochure on retirement communities with a note that said "Best wishes."
Am I right in thinking that Grant Green's stock has really tanked since that lovely summer in the Cape (I'm humming Don Henley as I type)? Is this a product of new questions about his ability to stick at SS, or are people just sleeping on him? Thank you.
He didn't field well or show any pop last spring. Those are pretty serious questions, ones he can certainly answer this year from working with a new coaching staff, but there are good reasons he wasn't a top 10 pick beyond cost.
Just wondering how close, if at all, Esmil Rogers got to the top 100? Seems like him and Chacin get lumped together here alot.
Totally different guys, though. Chacin's got less stuff but more polish.
It's amazing Damon still hasn't signed. Do you think the Braves would be making a mistake if they signed him to a 9 mil pay cut when he told his previous employer not to make an offer for less that what he made last year? I can't see how he would be happy and productive in that situation.
If he wants to play in 2011, he'll be productive.
how are you like the brewers for this year? a decent starting 5 with some good hitters and plenty of speed. over or under .500?
Near .500, not contenders. The starting 5 is not decent, and that's the problem.
Which of Alex Anthopolous's moves do you hate most so far?
I'd love to know who said, "You know, we should sign Kevin Gregg to a major-league deal." And why he's still working there.
On the subject of Rasmus platooning: Do you believe that certain hitters have incurable platoon splits, or that teams tend to label players that way and don't give them a chance to "work out of it?"
Both. But my philosophy, even with player who look "incurable," would be to let them keep getting reps until they reached an age where it was clearly not happening. Especially LHB vs LHP - LHB just don't see many quality LHP as amateurs, and even in pro ball they might get only 100-150 PA per year vs lefties. It takes time.
Hey Klaw, which was closer to the real Tulowitzki: the 2008 or 2009 version?
2009. Give Ernie my regards. We don't see enough of the two of you on the show any more.
Which is your favorite Winter Olympic sport to ignore?
That thing they do outside in the cold. That one is terrible.
From a scout's point of view, would Green's tools make the old comparisons to Longoria and Tulo something less than the pipe dream they appear to be now? You seem unwilling to punt on this guy: still gets a top 100 slot, still gets some hope with new coaches.
Punting on him entirely would be an overreaction. There's a good enough chance that he plays short, hits for average, gets on base, and adds value with his speed that he becomes an above-average big leaguer that he was worthy of a low slot. And defense is the one thing that improves the fastest in pro ball - very few college or HS coaches spend time on defense because their hands are full with everything else. And Green's not a slug at short, or a Moustakas-body guy - he just has bad feet. So did Aaron Hill, and he became a plus-plus defender at second.
Why is Chacin ranked so highly in the KLAW 100? He got hammered in the majors and might be moved to the bullpen. Is he still a top-50ish guy if he's in the bullpen? Is his stuff just so good that you can look past some of the early results?
He had, what, 13 innings in the majors? And he didn't belong there - he was an emergency callup, and the Rockies would have preferred to leave him in the minors all year. I can't consider such a tiny sample in the majors, whether successful or unsuccessful, when ranking a guy.
Now that you've waded through a lot of feedback, which prospect did you get the most flack over in your top 100? Was it whom you would have expected?
Dan Hudson. Expected it. And of course I got the usual kvetching from Yankee fans.
Why do people care if analysts don't like their farm system? The point is to win games at the major league level. If you are doing that, don't get bent out of shape.
Couldn't agree more. What I say about a farm system or a prospect does ... not ... matter. All that matters is what happens between the lines.
Do you think latent racism ever crops up in scouting, in terms of players having certain qualities assumed or attributed to them at least partially due to race?
Of course it does. Black players are expected to be athletic, and they're downgraded if they're not. White players are more likely to be called "scrappy." Latino position players are a lot more likely to be left in the middle infield. And so on. It's ingrained in the industry - it's not a question of outright racism, or conscious racism, but stereotypes that have existed in the business (and the world) for fifty years and are still alive in the institutional memory that powers so much of the game.
Where does Dustin Ackley have the most value? 2B or CF? I'd argue CF just because he could be a better defender there. And do you ever read historical biographies? McCullough's "John Adams"?
If he becomes a plus defender at 2b, there's no question, but I think you're arguing that we're pretty sure he'll be plus in CF (agreed) and there's a lot of work ahead of him to be plus at 2b (agreed). I would also add that 2b is a tough position physically, with a pretty high injury rate, and a lot of risk to a guy who's not used to having, say, Prince Fielder barreling down on him while he's turning the pivot. I get it, but I don't; I'm not usually risk averse, but in this case I would be.
Should I be excited about Fernando Martinez's showing in the Caribbean Series? He showed easy power and played good defense but the level of competition seemed down this year.
I'd like to see him show up in spring training in good shape with a better work ethic. He has top 25 ability with the bat, but needs to stay healthy for a full year and lose some of the attitude we're seeing (like his complaints last week about the lack of opportunity in NY right now).
How high are you on Rex Brothers? Saw him pitch plenty since we faced him at least once a year, but it seemed like he was prone to getting slapped around by RH batters.
Reliever, closer potential. Seems like that slider should be a weapon against RHB too though.
Keith, what's your take on Anthony Renaudo? If guys like Gerritt Cole, Grey, Meyer and Armstrong were available in this year's draft would Renaudo still be considered a top 5 pick?
I like Ranaudo, and I think he's the best college SP in this year's draft right now (although I think there are a few guys who could pass him), but you are correct that in a normal college crop he wouldn't be the elite guy. He's a horse and gets a lot of deception, but I've seen him more than once and he's never shown me ace stuff.
Keith, your thoughts on 2011 prospects Rice's Anthony Rendon and UCLA's Gerrit Cole?
Both top 10 guys in that class right now, but we'll see how the HS crop shakes out between now and June '11. Both have a chance to be pretty special and even to go number one overall, although I think makeup and delivery questions on Cole probably make that unlikely.
KLaw-thanks for the chat. You mentioned Jimmy Rollins as a comp for Dee Gordon in your Top 100 writeup. What is the likelihood Gordon develops enough power to hit 15+ HRs in a season? We know he has the speed and glove.
I think he's more of a poor man's Rollins. I'm not sure if he'll have that kind of power - he's strong for his size, but he's not very big at all.
I keep hearing Jiwan James is a "freak." If so, why did he get drafted as a P then switched to OF? Is he legit?
I think his interest was in pitching, and then he got hurt. He's as legit as a guy with 134 PA of fair performance in short-season ball is going to be. Much more tools than performance.
When Brett Anderson was traded to the A's I read a couple of his bios that said low 90's fastball with good curve. I wasnt super excited, then I see a pitcher with good feel, mid 90's fastball and a damn good slider. Did you see this coming?
His velocity has been steadily increasing for a few years now. He always had feel, but in high school it wasn't near the stuff it is now.
How would you rank Max Kepler among the other international signees from this past summer? When ranking them, should I just assume that the higher signing bonus equals the better projection?
He's got plenty of upside but less quality baseball experience than the Latin American kids signed last summer.
Safe to assume that Jose Tabata is the first one off your 2010 Top 100?
I included an age disclaimer in his prospect capsule the last two years. Between the rumors and the body, he was definitely the Guy Most Likely to Actually be 26.
There has been some buzz this week that Bryce Harper may not go in the top 5, and not only because of his salary demands. Do you see him as the #1 draft prospect right now?
That's ridiculous. Yes, he's number one, and my understanding is that the Nats are proceeding like he's their guy and planning their strategy (like scouting backup plans) from there.
Does Garret Anderson need 3,000 hits to get into the Hall?
No, he needs TEH FEAR. Seriously, he'd be a worse selection than Rice or Dawson.
I'm a Yankee fan - just curious what the kvetching was about? It seems like we've got a pretty weak system. Beyond Montero and Romine, and a two arms (Banuelos/McAllister), what do we have? Real question: do the Yanks ever consider drafting for need and get a very young (HS level) SS to replace the Captain?
Romine came up a lot. I could certainly see Heathcott making a big jump next year, but injury and makeup questions and the lack of any pro data made putting him on the 100 too much of a stretch.
Are you headed to Arizona or Florida first for spring training? I'm assuming you'll be going to both.
I only do Arizona. It's better for scouting, since everything's close together and you don't get rainouts, and it's better for me as an east coast guy to see Central/West teams out there. And doing both isn't cost-effective.
Did you ever scout Corey Hart? What seems to be holding him back from being a good AVG hitter?
The slider away. And that facial hair.
Do people forget about Pete Hissey, because Ryan Westmoreland has so much hype? Or isn't he a future starter in the majors?
Hissey playing a level over his head this year didn't help. He's a deep sleeper in that system - I prefer Gibson, but I know people in Boston's FO are very high on Hissey.
What is your opinion on Karsten Whitson? How does he compare to Taillon and Cole and where do you see him going in the draft?
All first rounders - three of the top five or so prep arms in the country.
Give me the odds, realistically, that Bryce Harper becomes a better player than Joe Mauer.
I wouldn't hang that on any 17-year-old. If Mauer's not the best player in the game right now, he's close. As good as Harper is, it would be an unfair comparison. And, for what it's worth, Mauer does just about everything easily, whereas Harper is more about the power and fury.
2010 St. Louis Cardinals = 2009 Cubs....thoughts?
No, I think they're going to win the division again.
What are the pundits seeing in Chris Tillman that keeps him rated so high? I keep thinking he's not as good as fellow AL East wonderkinds Wade Davis, Mark Rzepczynski and Brad Bergeson.
Youth and stuff. I'd put him behind Davis but ahead of the other two by a lot.
PLease tell me that someone, ANYONE, will step in and stop the Giants from playing Posey somewhere on the infield this year "to get him at bats!" If they wanted to see him hit then why sign the sink hole of offensive production that is a Molina?! Not only do they not develop him as a catcher - which he needs to work on receiving according to them - but they increase his risk of injury playing him at SS for the first time since he was 20. Please tell me its not true...
I really hate that idea. You know what bothers me most? It reeks of a lack of a development plan. He's the best player in your system and you're just shooting from the hip on his development? And, as you said, how's he going to handle short when he hasn't played there in 3-4 years and has to do it at a level where the game is much faster. I can't fathom it.
I've been reading that Bryce Harper falls to the Mets at 7 in the draft. The writer has said there are some "flaws" in his swing and he's a bit slow with his throwing from a crouch. Ummm, when we're talking about a 17 year old with power to all fields and a rocket for an arm, aren't these very fixable things, and there's no chance he falls all the way down to the 7th pick in the draft?
It's absurd. He has unusually great tools for a guy his age, and we're going to get a full spring of at bats from him with a wood bat against decent competition. And he's young. You have to be looking for problems to say he's not the best kid in the pool this year. If he falls to seven, it's because of money, not ability or projection.
I agree with your take on the Yankees prospects, but I am a little disappointed with the "make up issues" you mentioned with Heathcott. Besides having an issue with one grade in high school, all other character issues go back to his parents. Seems like he gets a bad rap because of them.
I agree that he's not his parents, but I don't think it's black or white.
KLaw- Can you compare FMart to Kalish. They seem to have similar skill sets, and are closely ranked. Yet Fmart is deemed a much better prospect
Kalish had one serious injury and recovered, and he's got a plus work ethic.
Hello Keith,A big fan of your stuff. In the Marine Corps we have a GOAT (Glossary of Acronyms and Terms). Is there an equivalent with all of the new SABR acronyms and where can I find one? Thank you!
I think the major sabermetric-oriented sites all have glossaries for the acronyms they use - fangraphs, baseballprospectus, baseball-reference, etc.
How do you project the top 5 in the draft at this point?
I'll give you Harper 1 and that's it. Too soon to attach any players to teams other than that.
Are you scheudling time to see Martin Perez pitch while in Arizona for Spring Training. As a Ranger fan, and someone who lives 10 miles from the Frisco Roughriders park, I'm very excited about seeing him pitch.
Yep. Between Texas' system and the Royals' young pitching, I'll be in Surprise a lot.
Which step in the "process" is moving Farnsworth to the rotation?
It's the step back.
So much for that short chat, eh?
If I stop at 2, that's a short chat.
Seeing that Porcello isnt much of a K pitcher young in his career, how is it that everyone says "someday he will be a dominate K guy"? I dont get it.
Because his approach last year was to get groundballs with his two-seamer. Yet he has other pitches with which he can miss bats, so when projecting his future, I say he will rack up more strikeouts, because I think he'll mix in more mid-90s four-seamers and more breaking balls as he gets more comfortable in the big leagues.
KLaw, an opinion piece in the journal sentinel today said the Brewers HAVE to resign Price and roughly 5 years @ 20 per would get it done. As much as I would love to keep Prince, I can't help but think that as long as have 1 young pitcher we won't be anything more than 5 games out of contention. Wouldn't it make more sense to trade Prince for young pitching and put Gamel in at 1st?
I argued just that in September. And no way I'd go 5x20 on Fielder, between that body and the lack of defensive value.
If i bought you a beer in AZ during spring training would you drink it?
Depends. Are you a Cardinals fan?
How does Pinero Do in the AL?
Pitchers' park and good defensive infield should mitigate the effects of moving to the big-boys league somewhat.
You said, "too soon to attach any players to teams other than that." I take that to mean teams draft based on need in the first round, rather than just taking the best available player. Considering how long the development path usually is, and how quickly needs change, do teams really draft on need? Do you advocate that, or advocate taking the best player period?
No, they almost never draft based on need, but I don't like projecting teams to take players unless I know they have real interest. And this draft is jumbled enough behind Harper that I bet I could poll the other 29 scouting directors and get at least five names for the number-two slot. (Taillon, Ranaudo, McGuire, AJ Cole, Zack Cox would be my guesses.)
If both Hak Ju Lee and Starlin Castro reach their potential, which will be a better player, or is it too early to tell?
Castro's a lot closer to big-league ready than Lee - that's the primary difference, rather than a huge difference in ceiling. I also am a bit on the high side in projecting Castro's power - the way the ball comes off his bat points to future power to me, but I know there are some folks in the game who think he's more of an average-power guy.
Why am I so much nice to those idiots in UK Kitchen Nightmares than the idiots US Kitchen Nightmares?
Keith, Last year there was a charity auction in the Boston area where you put up an afternoon of your time at either a SeaDogs game or Cape League game. Will you be doing it again this year and where can I bid on it. Thanks.
I did it for WGBH, our local PBS station, and it's up to them if they want to do it again. I had a good time - ended up doing it twice, as one of the guys who lost out asked if he could match the winning bid.
What is the riskier gamble - extending the contract of Halladay, an older pitcher with a track record for gobbling up lots of innings, or Felix Hernandez, a much younger pitcher that has so far survived the "injury nexus" but racked up a ton of innings in these early years?
I guess Felix's, but I don't see either contract as risky for a long-term deal for a pitcher.
Keith, thanks for the chat. Cardinals problem generating prospects - poor drafting or poor development? Or it's generally bad due to trades to add vets to a team contending?
They graduated Rasmus, a guy I've rated very highly. They traded a number of prospects last year for Holliday and Derosa. Those hurt their ranking more than any poor drafting or development.
thanks Klaw. You think Jeff Clement sticks at 1B for the Pirates and if so what can we expect from him?
I don't see him being an above-average player as a first baseman. He had to stick at catcher to be more than a fringe everyday guy.
Where would James Paxton go in the draft if he doesn't throw a pitch all season for Kentucky? Any chance Beeston gave the newspaper quote intentionally to jab back at Boras?
He'll pitch in an independent league if they lose their next appeal, I assume. No reason for him to take the spring off. (And I hope they appeal this to the highest court they can.) I think he's a top-ten guy right now.
Follow up to the Hak-Ju Lee/Castro question...if they both reach their potential what do the Cubs do? Change one of their positions or trade? What position change for who, who do you trade, etc?
Not to skirt the question, but if you're Hendry, you don't make that decision until it's almost on you. And I wouldn't be shocked if Lee ended up trade bait for them this summer if they're in the race. Castro is untouchable, I think.
Hey Keith, love your chats! Can you tell us anything about Rylan Sandoval?
Mets fans are really desperate - second question today about Sandoval. Org player, non-prospect.
Hi Keith, I'm looking for some board/card games that work primarily for two people. From a quick search on your blog, it looks like Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne would work for that. What, if any, other games would you recommend for primarily two people?
Hi Klaw, thanks for the chat! I appreciate the fact that you consistently shoot down inflated fastball velocities. I was wondering if you could give me a realistic radar gun reading on these guys when they hump up and reach back for something extra: Zumaya, Strasburg, and Aroldis Chapman? (PS: do you have an opinion on Henrietta's Table in Harvard Square?) Thanks! --Roel
I've seen Zumaya hit 98, Strasburg hit 99 (but many scout friends have confirmed 100+), and haven't seen Aroldis (but two confirmed 101). Saw Lindstrom and Verlander hit 100, and once got Billy Wagner at 100 on a "fast" gun, which was probably 98 on a Stalker. Haven't been to HT in maybe four years.
By the way, Lee Hak-Ju is also on my to-see list for March.
KLAW-Any thoughts on the A's picking up Eric Sogard in the Kouzmanoff deal? Seems like when he came out of college a lot of people were comparing him favorably to Pedroia.....
He's not Pedroia in terms of hitting ability, but he's that kind of ballplayer - scrappy (uh-oh), plays hard, grinds out ABs, wants the ball when he's playing 2b, etc. I like him quite a bit for that type of player, but in terms of actual production I wouldn't project him as more than an average everyday 2b. I liked that trade a little for both sides - San Diego might be just the park for Gio to figure this whole major-league thing out.
KLaw - All Cardinals fans aren't bad. I think we all disagree with your Cy Young voting, but anyone that holds it against you for doing exactly what you said you would do the entire time... It shouldn't have surprised anyone.Keep up the good work Klaw - and I hope you'll drink beer from a Cardinals fan eventually.
Actually I probably correspond regularly with as many Cardinal-fan readers as fans of any other team. Every fan base has its bad seeds.
KLaw, I love your one-liners on twitter, but that can't help the Nationals this year. Would the Nationals be better off putting Strasburg in the bullpen for 2010, and then start him in 2011, a la 2006 Wainwright?
It's an interesting idea - I usually support the philosophy of breaking in young starters in the pen. But there are valid business reasons for letting him do a quick tour of the minors to start the year.
What's the prognosis for Jay Bruce this year? Think he can improve his splits and justify at least SOME of the hype surrounding his ascent to the bigs? Small sample size, but he looked great at the end of last year...
I'm cautiously optimistic.
Were you a reader as a youth, and did your parents read often? And how are you dealing with getting your daughter to read?
I read like crazy as a kid, then fell out of the habit in my early 20s, only to get back into it because of the Harry Potter series. It reminded me that I just loved getting lost in a great story.
Where do you see the Reds this season, will they break .500
I think 2011 is their year to surge forward.
Gio in Petco? What do you mean, he wasn't in the Kouz deal?
You're right - my error. Gio was in the original reports of the deal and I can't get that out of my head.
Does Bard ever realistically touch 100 mph?
I've never seen it. Gotten 98 a few times.
In five years from how these players rank. Heyward, Upton and Braun?
Upton first. I'd lean Heyward because I think he'll be a plus defender.
Any thoughts on Garrett Jones for this season?
If you were offered a similar job you had in Toronto by another team, would you accept the offer?
J.O. in Chicago - yes, that's me.
I like what the Brewers have done this off season. But the biggest question (literally) remains. Do you see them being able to outbid the Red Sox and Yanks to re-sign him?
I think Fielder ends up trade bait if my pessimism on them proves accurate this year.
2:19...you just can't quit us, can you?
No, but I should. Thanks for all the questions - sorry about the brain cramp. I may not chat next week, but if I do it will probably be on a different day.