Word came out yesterday that Billy Wagner and Fred Wilpon had a mutual understanding in place that the Mets would not pick up Wagner's option because Wagner wanted to go to a team that would let him be a Closer. If Wagner's number 1 concern was recording saves why didn't the Mets hang on to him and offer him arbitration knowing that he would decline so that he could sign elsewhere and save games? Basically trading 2 high draft picks (first and sandwich round) for Chris Carter (the not good one) has to be one of the worst decisions of 2009, right?
Let's just get right into it. Yes, it's one of the worst decisions of 2009 and one of the worst related to the draft since the Giants signed Michael Tucker.
How would you compare Ranaudo to Matusz?
Matusz has more weapons while Ranaudo relies on deception and has the better build. Ranaudo's hurt, however, so I'm not exactly sure where he fits in this year's draft.
As a Pirates(that's right the Pirates!)fan I know this will be the 18th straight season of below .500 so do you think they will lose 100 this season and any idea whom the Bucs may take with the 2nd pick in the draft?
I would have said Ranaudo a week or so ago, but with him out, it could be Deck McGuire, and I've heard them as one of a few teams in love with Chris Sale (who doesn't belong anywhere that high). Maybe I should say "in like" since it's still 3 months from the draft.
Ops is a wonderful stat but isn't it flawed based on giving equal value to obp and slugging? Wouldn't a 60-40 towards obp be more accurate?
I think there's enough wrong with OPS that just reweighting the components isn't going to solve the problem. You're adding two fractions with differing denominators and thus scales.
Do you think Trevor Cahill can take a big step forward this year? I know there is a TON of injury risk at the top, but I'm excited about a rotation featuring Sheets/Duchscherer/Anderson/Cahill.
I'll do a top 10 breakout candidates list later in the month and he's on the short list for that piece. I think Duchscherer, even if healthy, is no better than 3rd or 4th in that rotation.
What do you think of Austin Wilson? Will he go in the first round of the Draft?
I think he's got a chance to go in the top 10. Does he know you're asking this question?
Whats up Keith! Do you like Felipe Lopez signing for the Cardinals? I noticed you had him as your 9th best free agent this winter... Thanks and keep up the great work!
Love it - one of the best moves of the winter. Solid player at a bargain price. I'd rather give him the bulk of the PT at third than Freese or Craig.
Some analysts seem to be high on the DBacks this year. Why? Don't you think the Dodgers, Rockies and Giants are all better?
Rockies and Dodgers yes. Giants, maybe. The Giants' lineup is not so much.
Hey Keith, I'm wondering if you can give me a little prospect info. Here in Minnesota we are used to being over-sold position talent in our minor league system. Danny Valencia is he a real legit prospect that could be a starter for 6-8 years (He doesn't have to be a super star, I'd settle for fringe all star and stability at third), or just another Michael Restovich/Terry Tiffee/Alexi Casilla/Matt Moses/Luis Rivas/et al. Thanks
Not an above-average big leaguer.
Do you think the Nats would be best served getting Strasburg's feet wet in the majors right away or giving him a year in the minors first?
I could live with 6-10 tuneup starts in the minors, but if he's healthy after that I can't imagine he won't be ready for the big leagues.
Just to be clear - I'm saying that I think to continue his development as a pitcher he'll need to be in the big leagues. Look at Matusz: He ripped through the minors because hitters there couldn't touch his stuff, so to work on things like command or setting up hitters or turning a quality lineup over three times he had to be in the big leagues. And Strasburg has two pitches better than any of Matusz'.
Trust me, I am no fan of the Mets' incompetence, but aren't you ignoring the $2-3M the Mets saved by passing Wagner to the Sox? The 2 draft picks are probably still worth the money, but it does make it a little more understandable.
A team in New York playing in a brand new taxpayer-funded-boondoggle stadium should not be economizing by taking $2 million instead of two picks. They should be using the picks to sign top prospects who fell because of signability.
Gordon Beckham is the next Gregg Jefferies (i.e. an ultimate disappointment). Tell me why I'm wrong.
I think the onus is on you here to explain why you think you're right so I know what I'm arguing against.
Will Jose Iglesias (sp?) end the revolving door at SS for the Red Sox and realistically, will his bat be a liability in the lineup?
I think he can be their long term solution. I don't project his bat as a liability - I think he'll hit for enough average to avoid that - but I don't project power or big walk totals.
The Segway was the next Gregg Jeffries.
But they redesigned cities around it? Oh, no, wait, that never happened.
Piggybacking on Breigga's question about Strasburg, do the Braves send Heyward down for financial reasons? He's got to be the best RF available in ATL right now.
That would be a mistake. Different situations - Washington is developing for the future, Atlanta is trying to win right now.
Looking at the Upton deal 6/51, don't you just have to sit back and marvel at the Longoria deal? It has to be the steal of the century. If he (Longo) gets hurt, the Rays are out relatively little and there i just no way a healthy Longoria is not a tremendous value at the price they are paying him. If the Rays are not in contention towards the end of the Longoria deal, how many years of top prospect control to they get in return for his last 1.5 seasons? 15? 20?
It's not quite apples to apples - Upton has 2+ years of big league time, whereas Longoria had 20 minutes. But yes,, it's a crazy deal for the Rays.
I know you think RBIs are an overrated stat. Could that stat be tweaked--runs batted in/opportunities to drive in runs? Or are there too many variables involved?
No matter what you do to it, it's still clouded by context. Don't evaluate a player by stats that are significantly determined by his teammates' performances.
Does Wallace have any chance of being the Jays opening day 3rd baseman? What is his long term outlook?
They've said they're moving him to 1b long term.
I heard today that jose reyes is scratched, how big a concern is this for the mets?
Does he need a band-aid?
Is too much attention given to who gets the Opening Day start? Aaron Harang has been given the nod, and people are actually wasting their time discussing whether or not it was the "right" move.
Way too much.
Fair enough on the Beckham/Jefferies comparison. I don't think Beckham does much great, but does a lot good, much like Jefferies did. In time, though, pitchers will catch up (like they did with Jefferies), and while he might have a solidly unspectacular career, he won't be the stud many predict. Did I meet the onus?
I'm not sure why pitchers would catch up to Beckham. He's got plenty of bat speed and a good eye. He's also a really instinctive player, one of the best I've ever seen as an amateur - just gets himself into the right place, anticipates the pitch, etc. At the aggregate level, I'd bet on guys with that feel for the game to overachieve, not under.
Klaw - If Bumgarner is the 5th starter all year for SF, how reasonable of an expectation is this?: 9-7 3.76 era 165 ip 142 K 57 BB
I'll call that the over.
Hi Keith -- I've read some analysts picking the Reds to be a "sleeper" contender and others picking the Reds to be sub-.500. Which is more likely? I want to believe that they'll be good, but it seems a lot has to fall right with the starters and that they'll have trouble scoring runs. Thanks!
I think they're a 2011 sleeper. You'll see progress this year but there's not quite enough of anything there for them to be a 90-win club. I like the direction, but let's get Volquez back, Chapman more experienced, Bailey through the league 2-3 times (that hot run at the end of last year came against weak September lineups), and so on.
Reiss, Hollinger and Law going at it simultaneously ....and the winner, of the Best Noon Time Thursday chat ....goes to ........Keith Law ...So keith, what crappy tune do we hear when you are walking up to accept your award.
Handsome Boy Modeling School's "Rock and Roll (Could Never Ever Hip Hop Like This)."
Love your chats. Does any organization have a better 5-prospect group than Heyward, Teheran, Vizcaino, Freeman and Delgado? Thanks
Any word on the top 100 songs of the 90's blog? I really enjoyed the 2000 one.
Still working on it. Although it's going to be more like 150 songs.
Klaw do you feel that defense is undervalued at 1B?
I think it's very difficult to quantify, and if I was a GM I'd probably err on the side of a little more defense (meaning I'd take the guy with the good defensive rep over one with a weaker rep, even if the metrics don't reflect it), whereas at other positions I wouldn't be so cavalier about it.
Just curious why you ended up in Houston last weekend for Taillon + Rice/Elon when you could have gone this weekend for Taillon Rice/Texas (Rendon & Hague vs. Jungmann), plus a ton of other great matchups at Minute Maid?
Because I'm in Arizona for the Surprise tournament, Fullerton at U of A, and spring training. Jungmann's an '11 guy anyway so I don't need to see him now.
Keith, your insight would be appreciated although there is nothing I can give besides more hits on your Dish site. What stats should I be point to for hitters to show which are better (this is for my pointless bar arguments). The disparaging remarks about OPS above have me worried I can't use that as much anymore.
I've become partial to wOBA, and of course I look at WAR for overall values on position players or pitchers.
Why is James Paxton being harassed by NCAA officials, while all the other draft picks that came back are not? Is the NCAA trying to set an example with him?
That's exactly what they're trying to do. I said this in my draft blog post last week - if I was the father of a top HS senior prospect, there's no way I'd send him to a D1 school. Negotiate like mad and take the best offer from the team that drafts him. The NCAA doesn't respect players' rights.
Can Latos make the Padre's rotation this year? What is his long term upside? Where would he rank on your top prospects list if he qualified?
Potential number one starter. Top 10-15 guy.
It seems like the statistical projections have the Indians doing a lot better (CHONE has them at 81 wins) than the scouts and local media think. Pitching is obviously tough to project, but can this team be that good?
Keith, another question about a player in the Braves system - Freddie Freeman. You have him in your top 100, as does Kevin Goldstein, BA, and several others. However, when I see projections I kind of go "meh". I mean, those offensive numbers for an up the middle player? Fantastic! First base? Meh. Am I missing something? Thanks.
No, I've kind of been meh on him since he was in school too. He's been better than I expected, but I do not see him as an impact guy - as opposed to Stanton, who was in the same draft, and who didn't blow me away as an amateur, but who I now recognize as a potential impact guy.
Did you ever get a chance to see Pujols before he made it to the bigs? I just looked it up and the highest Baseball America ever ranked him was 42nd in 2001 and I recall it being a surprise when he broke camp with the Cards that year. Did he really come out of nowhere to become what he is today, or did people see anything like this coming?
I did not.
To shoot the dead, beaten, bloodied proverbial horse, do you not like OBP and SLG, or just combining the two into OPS?
OBP's denominator is (roughly) PA, whereas SLG's is AB. Combining them creates multiple problems.
Bryce Harper is raking with wood bats in JC ball. Do you think a team moves him off catcher to a corner spot to quickly get his bat to the bigs?
No, he's improving behind the plate already and I think he stays there long term.
Sorry, had to put Dinosaur Train on for my daughter.
Would the Orioles be better served by moving Tejada to SS to get Izturis' bat out of the line-up? Atkins could go to 3rd, Scott at DH, Reimold at 1B, and Pie in LF. Is the take on offense enough to justify the give on D?
That would be a horror show on defense.
Do you believe in lineup protection, as in player X should have a big year in 2010 because player Y is batting behind him?
No. Not in the majors. I do think this becomes an issue at the amateur level, where you have a future big leaguer hitting ahead of the coach's overweight son who just polished off a box of donuts in the on-deck circle.
Here's my problem with OBP. You lose points for a sacrifice (because you didn't get on base), and get credit for a walk (because you reached base), so shouldn't you lose double credit for hitting into a double play? Something like including +GIDP in the denominator, to account for erasing ANOTHER runner?
Contextual. I disapprove.
Klaw,With all this talk of WAR, wOBA, VORP...do you think anytime soon we'll see these stats incorporated with televised games?
No. They're not simple, and we're kind of a math-phobic society.
Definitely agree NCAA doesn't respect players' rights, they really make a point of undermining them which puts players at a huge disadvantage when negotiating with sophisticated billion dollar businesses. But, if you're the father of a HS prospect isn't there a certain benefit to getting some education in the event that your son becomes one of the many prospects who doesn't pan out?
Education will always be there after the torn labrum, and most drafted HS players get the MLB college scholarship plan to help pay for school after baseball.
Kieth thanks for the chat. What do you think Jaff Decker's Offensive potential can be? I was pleased to see that you feel he is more athletic than most think. without considering his body, who would you compare him to in the bigs?(so please no cruky or matt stairs comps)
So I got some heat from front-office friends about my high ranking of Decker. My feeling is that a .400+ OBP plays at any position, and I don't see Decker as a guy who has to DH. I also think he has above-average power. How is that not an above-average player? And when you consider what he's done given his ages, isn't that pretty much what we're looking for in an offensive prospect? I love tools players as much as anyone but that is some seriously high-probability performance.
Me again, as my new GM, what are you going to do with Mejia this year?
Minors as a starter. No objection to breaking him in as a reliever, but not right now.
How big of a sample size do you need to accurately use defensive statistics? UZR suggests Span is a below average centerfielder, but my eyes tell me that can't be right...and I really hope it isn't with Young in left and Cuddy in right. Any chance Young's problems can be solved by getting him out of the Dome?
I think MGL has said UZR really requires a two-year sample.
Can I get more than one word on the Indians?
They're not very good. That's four!
Good day to you Keith. Now that the Angels got that whole supersub thing out of their system, please tell me the rational move here is to give Wood 130 games and let Izturis resume the utility role he was meant to play. And just finished All the Pretty Horses...great book, have you read it?
I think their plan is to let Wood play every day until he either seizes the job or has to be replaced. Read it, not as good as Blood Meridian or the Road for me.
The Dodgers rotation looks really weak. I think the DBacks and Rockies will be battling for that division. Billingsley needs to bounce back and Kershaw needs to go more than 6, beyond that they have nothing.
I agree that their rotation is weak but their offense and bullpen are strong. I would pick Colorado to win that division right now.
It's a given you have a vendetta against the Phillies but could it be possible that J.A Happ just knows how to pitch? Numbers don't tell everything. If numbers did the Dodgers would have beat the Phillies in the NLCS last year....like you predicted.
Actually, I picked the Phillies to win that series. And Tom Tango just wrote a piece the other day on Fangraphs further debunking the myth of Happ just having some sort of magic or mojo or The Force that makes him better than your typical no-stuff-can't-miss-a-bat fifth starter. So, in conclusion, you fail the chat.
Have you been to Surprise yet to see any of the Royals young pitcher's or is it too early? Any word on Hosmer and his recovery?
I've only been here for about 36 hours and I'm doing college stuff the next three days. I will spend a lot of time in Surprise for both the Royals' and Rangers' young guys, though. Dying to see Arguelles and Profar, among others.
You mentioned Allen Craig earlier... is there a big-league future there, as an average regular?
I don't see it. At what position?
Keith-thanks for the chat. What is a realistic comparison for Dee Gordon in the majors? You mentioned a few scouts used the Jimmy Rollins comparison in your Top 100 writeup.
How about Rollins Lite? I'd be surprised if he showed the power Rollins developed.
Following the "shoulda taken Heyward instead of Moskos" plan, shouldn't the Pirates take the HS SS from Florida at #2? Thanks
Machado? I don't think that's a fair analogy.
What are your thoughts on Freiedrich? Can he skip to the bigs this year and is he a potential 2-3 guy?
Potential 2. They were pretty cautious with him last year - I wouldn't expect him to see the majors before midyear.
What were you doing in Houston recently?
Seeing Jameson Taillon. Check the MLB Draft blog for my report on him and another piece on Rendon and Hague at Rice.
He might be the guy I'd take over Harper this year. Certainly no worse than second.
Andrew Cashner, Frontline starter or Future closer?
I still say reliever. But a good one.
Any hope that Escobar can raise his walk rate enough to be a legit leadoff hitter?
That would require a significant change in his approach. His best chance to be an impact leadoff guy is to hit .300+.
Keith,What is the best authentic Mexican restaurant in Scottsdale that I should visit during a spring training trip?
I'd say Los Sombreros. Not cheap, but excellent food.
Why do the "Martha Speaks" commercials use Cake's "Let Me Go" as background music?
isn't that the "shoulda taken Wieters over Moskos"...wait wait. the "shoulda taken ANYONE over Moskos"....
Pretty much. They had Matt Dominguez in Pittsburgh for a workout a few days before the draft. He put on a show by all accounts. And they still didn't take him.
Really enjoyed your whole wheat pancakes recipe this past weekend. What surface do you use as a griddle for cooking up those cakes?
I have a twelve-year-old Black and Decker waffle/pancake iron with reversible grids. It's pretty well seasoned by now.
Do you think Tyson Gillies has a chance to be an above average major leaguer?
His best chance to do so would be if he develops into a plus defender in center and takes a few more pitches. He's an 80 runner and I hear good things on his makeup, but right now he's mostly a runner for me.
Bumgarner was clocked at 87-88 yesterday. Time to worry with the continued drop in velocity, or are the Giants making him take the Porcello approach?
It's something to monitor. Most guys don't show max velocity in their first spring training games, but that was lower than I expected to see from Bumgarner yesterday.
Twins or White Sox?
Twins for this year.
If I've already answered your question, please stop submitting it. Especially if you're submitting it 50 times in a row.
Dinousaur Train - Best kids show theme song? Cooking question. Do you have Larouse Gastronomique? Just got it and I am a bit overwhelmed.
Word World is still tops for theme song. Don't own it.
What should the Reds do with Votto and Alonso? Would a mid season trade of Votto be out of the question. And if it is how would it effective Gonzales and Fielder trade value?
I don't think Alonso's arrival is that imminent - and I'd hesitate to trade someone as good as Votto is (or as it appears he's going to be) when he's still inexpensive to make room for a guy with a similar skill set but probably no higher a ceiling.
What kind of secret stats does Boston use for defensive metrics? Theo said they use their own system.
I hear they use fielding percentage.
What makes Profar a must see in Suprise?
Probably heard more good things on him this offseason than any other player from last year's instructional leagues.
Speaking of Taillon and Rice, any hope for us Rice fans that he takes the Purke/Cole approach to 1st round picks?
I can't imagine he doesn't go top five picks and sign.
What's a reasonable projection for Heyward if he plays the whole season? I was thinking 23 HRs, 10 SBs with a 280/350/450 slash line.
I was just asked this by a friend this morning; I guessed .260/.350/.420, so more walks than you're projecting with similar power but less average. Interesting thing I pulled up on Baseball-Reference's play index: In the last 50 years, there have only been 22 seasons by players 21 years old or younger who posted ISOs of .200 or better, by 18 different guys. Conigliaro did it three times. Ruben Sierra did it twice. So has The Justin Upton. A-Rod missed doing it a second time by .004.
Oh how I have missed your chats KLaw, glad to see you back. Was wondering if you're gonna be at any Cactus League games next week, I have some college buddies coming into town and we would love to say hi to our favorite ESPN Insider columnist.
I'll be around but generally don't know my destinations till the day before. Feel free to come say hi if you spot me.
Word World - best kids show out there, by far. Educational, yet entertaining, and doesn't make me want to bang my head against the nearest wall.
You mean like Barney? Or Imagination Movers?
HS SS in FL: Yordy Cabrera. Ever read the X-Man (Frederick Exley)? Thanks
Yordy is a 20-year-old high school senior and not a top 5 guy in this draft for me. Haven't read it.
Steve in Cleveland: Ask a specific question and you'll get a specific answer.
We've started a game night with another couple and so far have the most fun playing Thurn & Taxis. Can you give any suggestions for other games of similar difficulty that are also more fun and nuanced with >2 players?
Stone Age is a little more difficult but probably our favorite game now for 3+ players. We still haven't tried Zooloretto with more than two players but I think it is probably comparable to T&T.
Klaw, did you have Zooloretto on your Bberry Curve? I don't see it on App World.
No, but it's out for iPhone. I don't regret not having an iPhone - and I would light myself on fire before doing business with AT&T - but that's one App I miss.
@ John in Eugene. Get Cranium
I hate Cranium. One of the worst games I have ever played.
Hey Keith: If you were Jim Hendry and kept your job for five more seasons, would Hak-Ju Lee (SS) and Starlin Castro (2B) be your middle infield, or would you have already used Lee for tradebait?
Too soon for him to be useful trade bait. And I'd be pretty hesitant to trade high-upside middle-of-the-diamond guys unless I was already set there. If you've got Utley/Rollins, you can talk about trading a Lee, but the Cubs aren't exactly there.
Hi Keith - Just curious, do you see a lot of prospects that you say to yourself (or scouts have said to you) "It's damn shame", because he has above average major league talent, but he doesn't have the mental makeup to take the next step? Or does the talent carry that player through the minors and makeup doesn't really come into play until the bigs?
All the time.
Do you see Medlin working his way up to the rotation in the next couple years? The guy was our 2nd best pitching prospect behind the savior (hanson).
Reliever for me - not their second best pitching prospect even before Vizcaino came along.
Worst MLB stadium you've ever been in?
Metrodome. Good riddance. Seats behind the plate didn't even face the pitcher.
Any HS pos player look like a top 5 to you? Even top 10? Doesn't look like a great year on that front.
Agreed, it's not a great year for bats period. Could see Wilson or Josh Sale jump up that high, or maybe Manny Machado.
What are your thoughts on Trevor May? Is he a guy you can see jumping into the Top 100 next year?
Yes, definitely a breakout guy.
How close was Profar to making your top 100? I know he's yet to take a minor league AB, but neither has Miguel Sano. Can you compare the two? Thanks!
He'd have been in the next 50, maybe the next 30.
You haven't given out a $5 fine in some time. May I have one please??
I thought that joke kind of played itself out.
Should the Reds grab former LLWS superstar Zack Cox in the first round? Is that too high? Would love to see him return to his roots in Louisville next summer
He's a first rounder for me. Just want to see him improve his contact/walk rates in his second year in school. One scout raised a concern about his lower half - if he gets much bigger he may not be able to stay at third - but he has played the position well for me in multiple looks.
Hi Keith. Better to cook chicken in the over on wax paper or aluminum foil?
Can't put waxed (bait?) paper in the oven unless you want your food to taste like it came out of the Crayola box of 64.
The Boston uses fielding percentage was sarcasm, right? please...
Yes. I used sarcasm. I know all the tricks.
Would you consider the Eastern League to favor the hitters or the pitchers? I actually do have a reason for asking.
I haven't looked at last year's stats but that's been a pitchers' league for a long time.
OK time to pack up and head over to Surprise. I'll be on KNBR in San Francisco today at 12:20 pm local time. Thanks for all the questions - I'll try to do another chat later this month.