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March 18, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Keith Law

Buzzmaster
  (2:13 PM)

Keith is running a little bit late today but will be here shortly to answer your spring training questions.

Klaw
  (2:16 PM)

I'm here, just got online, and I have an hour before I have to head to a high school workout.

Chris (Nashua)

How's the SD experiment with Logan Forsythe at 2b going? Is he more/less valuable there than at 3b? Is he an mlb starter at either position?

Klaw
  (2:17 PM)

I've heard he's looked extremely natural there - he even played a few innings at short - and he's more valuable at second base. He was a regular for me at 3b, but he's a tick above that at second.

Kim (Columbus, OH)

Hi Keith -- What do you think the Reds will / should do with Aroldis Chapman? For all of the pre Spring Training talk about how we shouldn't expect to see him in the majors this year, everyone now seems to be raving about how much further along he is than was expected. What do you think? Thanks!

Klaw
  (2:19 PM)

I have no problem with him going to the minors for a month to (keep him away from Dusty) help the affiliates and let him work in slightly warmer weather. I can't see him staying down more than six or seven weeks - if he's not ready now, he's close enough that minor league hitters won't pose much of a problem for him, like Matusz last year.

Paul (Marshall MN)

Keith- thanks for the chat today its good fun at the office. Are you a believer in the "New" Delmon Young playing well (ie 20hrs .275 ba with 75rbi ) for the twins this year?

Klaw
  (2:20 PM)

I could see Delmon doing that and posting a .296 OBP along the way, making him as bad as ever.

Kevin (SB.CA)

2012: Dan Hudson or Jordan Lyles, is it even close? Also, should I be concerned about Lyles 144 IP as an 18 year old or should I be excited about his durability and athleticism? Thx Keith, love your work!

Klaw
  (2:20 PM)

Lyles for me. 144 IP is not a high number for an 18-year-old when spread out over five months. They have to pitch some time, you know.

nick (sactown)

hey, buster posey is killing the ball this spring training. will he make the 25 man roster? and is first base a option for him? i would prefer they move pablo sandoval to first and buster to third for the time being

Klaw
  (2:21 PM)

I wouldn't play Posey anywhere but behind the plate. He needs the reps back there to improve his receiving, and putting him at an unfamiliar position risks injury. Just hire a forklift to remove Bengie Molina and get Posey in there every day already.

Steve (NJ)

Are you a fan of the NCAA tourney?

Klaw
  (2:22 PM)

No. It's right in the middle of a pretty busy stretch for me.

Jeff (Oakland)

With the defensive upgrades in Oakland can you see Brett Anderson making a Lincecum like rise? I realize that's asking a lot but to me his rookie year was better than Lincecum's since he was significantly younger and in the tougher league? Is the talent gap between the two that great?

Klaw
  (2:23 PM)

I was debating whether Anderson has done too well for him to be a breakout candidate for 2010 - I expect him to improve, but he's already on everyone's radar, so am I really saying much by saying I think he's going to "break out?" And yeah, it's the major league and the 4A league.

Bob (Seattle)

Zach Stewart - should he be a reliever or starter and how soon will he be ready?

Klaw
  (2:23 PM)

As a reliever, now, but I think he can start and Toronto does too, which means giving him probably a full year in the minors.

David (Texas)

Are the Astros ever going to make any moves to improve pitching or get some more bats in the line-up? It seems as if they are very content with finishing middle of the pack every year!

Klaw
  (2:24 PM)

I don't think they're going to finish in the middle of the pack this year, so don't you worry.

KlockMeister (NeverOnTime,Switzerland)

You're forgiven. Who do you see as the 5th starter in Texas Harrison or CJ Wilson? Also, any chance Francis wins 12-15 for the Rockies?

Klaw
  (2:25 PM)

Are you including Holland elsewhere in the rotation? No idea on win totals, sorry. It has little to do with how the guy pitches.

Boozer (Wrigleyville)

Did you see Tyler Colvin when you looked at the Cubs? Tearing it up (still 0 walks!). Can you deflate the excitement of Cubs fans that love ST stats?

Klaw
  (2:25 PM)

Yeah, he's a nice fourth outfielder. Spring training stats are like RBI and pitcher wins - useless. Just ask Gabe Gross.

Joe (Chico, CA)

When's your breakout candidates' list come out?

Klaw
  (2:26 PM)

Next week.

Dayne (seattle)

what are your thoughts of what the Yankees might do if Mauer hits FA, do they trade Montero for a pitcher, or go a completely different direction and focus on signing a FA pitcher like Lee

Klaw
  (2:26 PM)

I don't think Mauer is hitting free agency. Stop drooling, it's embarrassing.

Andre (GA)

If you were part of the Mets brass, wouldn't you just drop Gary Matthews Jr. and play Fernando Martinez/Angel Pagan for the regular season until Beltran is back?

Klaw
  (2:27 PM)

If I was part of the Mets' brass I wouldn't have traded for Matthews in the first place.

dave (erie, pa)

Klaw, do you think there is a human element in baseball that isnt being measured by stats. For instance the pitcher who in a big situation digs deep and throws the perfect pitch to get him out of a situation as opposed to the pitcher who gets flustered and gives up the hit. Does determination, composure, willpower play a part in stats or is the human element just a myth?

Klaw
  (2:27 PM)

So that first pitcher who "digs deep" and "throws the perfect pitch," is he just lazy the rest of the time, making all those imperfect pitches? I'm just checking.

Ben (SF)

So Buster Posey is getting more and more time at 1B? Any truth to the rumor that the Giants are now thinking of making Lincecum just a right handed specialist in the bullpen?

Klaw
  (2:28 PM)

Their plans to do that with Lincecum were foiled when they lost out in the Kris Benson sweepstakes.

Orin (Seattle)

I understand that OPS is bizarre for putting together two statistics of differing denominators. But why does that mean it is not helpful? It values SLG and OBP evenly, but why is that necessarily uninformative?

Klaw
  (2:30 PM)

Orin: It doesn't value them equally - because their scales are different, SLG gets more weight than OBP, even though OBP is the more valuable skill. OPS is not useless, but it's a rough cut, not an accurate measure of performance.

Klaw
  (2:30 PM)

You should read my blog every now and then, since I wrote about Rendon about two weeks ago.

Eric (SF)

How much stock do you put in Pitcher X has learned a new pitch stories?

Klaw
  (2:31 PM)

I believe that he may have learned a new pitch, but there's an implicit assumption that it will be effective right away, and that's the part that I think is bull...

Klockmeister (Switzerland)

Cmon Klaw, I'm with ya on the Wins thing....my question, I guess was do you think Colorado has improved enough to win alot of games this year. Thanks. 24 bites this year.

Klaw
  (2:32 PM)

I think I'm picking them to win the division, so then the answer to your question is probably yes. That's a sneaky-good team, maybe 3rd-best in the NL right now.

Eric (SF)

Lincecum and Kershaw for the Cy?

Klaw
  (2:33 PM)

Two pretty good guys to bet on, but if you're offering me the Field I'd probably take that. Even with the result being right last year, we still saw a number of ballots that weighed wins pretty heavily, making the winner even harder to predict than it would be if it was just based on performance.

Brad (Essexville)

Can Austin Jackson keep this up in the regualr season. Spring Training means nothing but it sure looks like Detroit got the better end of the Granderson deal

Klaw
  (2:33 PM)

What you're saying is that two weeks of spring data outweigh the last three years of regular-season and AFL performance data ... that sounds like solid logic.

deflating cub spring training fans (stat)

Milton Bradley hit .450+ in spring training last year. Discuss

Klaw
  (2:34 PM)

That's because spring training was in Mesa, not Chicago.

Jim (Boston)

Why do you think the conventional wisdom was so off on Delmon Young? I assume his lack of patience was known, was it thought that he would improve there or that his other tools were so good it didnt' matter?

Klaw
  (2:35 PM)

I don't think the lack of patience was known in high school, at least; had he gone to college it would have been obvious, since we have stats for college players and there seems to be at least a little meaning in their BB and K rates. He was very physically developed for an 18-year-old, and I think that was a major reason he went first overall.

Jack (Toronto)

Keith, in regards to Dave in Erie, I think he has somewhat of a point. Ie. Do you think hitters will approach an AB in the last inning when up or down by 4 runs the same as when the tying or winning run is on second? I've seen hitters who I would bet is thinking more about what he's doing after the game than concentrating on his AB.

Klaw
  (2:36 PM)

I'm not sure that that kind of hitter is common in the majors - you definitely see it at lower levels - but if so, he's a problem. You're accusing him of giving away at bats.

cosmo kramer (new york)

ive waited for an hour for your advice, could you not answer my question please

Klaw
  (2:36 PM)

OK, I won't.

Ryan (NYC)

Any sense of how pervasive recreational drugs are in the game in light of Washington's test?

Klaw
  (2:37 PM)

No sense. But I think it's pretty ridiculous to have a manager doing blow when you have the most famous drug addict in the majors on your roster right now. This isn't Michael Phelps smoking a little weed in his offseason.

Steve (CA)

Do you think ST is too long? It seems like there's a lot of injury risk, and if they shortened it up a bit, we could make the Divisional Series 7 games and not have to play baseball in November when the weather gets really bad.

Klaw
  (2:38 PM)

I think major league ST is too long and minor league is too short. But major league ST is a profit center for at least 2/3 of teams, so it's not getting any shorter.

Brad (Essexville)

Thanks, I was hoping my first question posted would get the Klaw smart *** reply. Love the chats and keep up the good work, always informative and entertaining at the same time.

Klaw
  (2:38 PM)

I gotta give the people what they want!

Bill (Cleveland)

Why sign Branyan (with a hurt back at that) and make on of Laporta or Brantley play another year of AAA. Why not let the two kids both play? I don't get that thinking.

Klaw
  (2:40 PM)

I don't either. It sounds like Brantley's the odd man out, but I would take him over a healthy Branyan in left right now. Brantley's a good player, and he doesn't have a 64-year-old's back.

Klaw
  (2:41 PM)

Well in that case, yes, I saw him play a game at third where he wasn't challenged but made every play and had a good infield. Above-average arm, good hands, good feet, moved around well. It wouldn't shock me if he could handle second, but I've never seen him play anywhere but third.

Nick (Chicago)

KLaw, are there any numbers that suggest a "sophomore slump'? Is it just something that people perceive or is there data that shows a solid rookie performance will be followed by a sub par second year?

Klaw
  (2:42 PM)

I think - and there may be a study on this I don't know - that the issue is that those solid rookie years are often driven by luck or randomness, like BABIP fluctuations, that give the appearance of a sophomore slump when they regress towards the mean in the following season.

John (Winnipeg)

I'm sure you're getting bombarded with this, but your take on the Jays & Hechevarria?

Klaw
  (2:44 PM)

I've never seen him live or on video, so I can only offer secondhand thoughts - consensus has him better than Iglesias, mostly because of the bat, with mixed opinions on his glove - for example, I talked to a guy who says he's an above-average shortstop with a plus arm, and another who thought he might outgrow short but whose bat would play at third. Sounds like a pretty nice talent addition. Oh, and once again, we see how badly the Rule 4 Draft screws American, Canadian, and Puerto Rican amateur players.

Matt (Chicago)

How much concern do you have about Anthony Ranaudo's injury? 1 being not much; 10 being a red flag.

Klaw
  (2:45 PM)

Four. Maybe three. Word is LSU was just being cautious because they know how much money the kid might have coming to him in August.

Greg (St. Charles )

What really happened with Elijah Dukes?

Klaw
  (2:46 PM)

He was released. I haven't heard any evidence to make me believe Rizzo isn't telling the whole story. The guy is a knucklehead who can't stay healthy and whose performance last year was well below average for an everyday outfielder.

Nick (Milwaukee)

Hi Keith - can you provide some thoughts on the cieling of Sonny Gray and the potential inury concerns given his small stature?

Klaw
  (2:47 PM)

Potential number one starter due to stuff and aggressiveness. Being short does not raise the risk of injury.

Tom (KC)

When can Royals fans expect to see Aaron Crow in the big leagues? Mid 2010 or 2011?

Klaw
  (2:47 PM)

I'll say mid-2010.

John (TB)

Hey Keith, who are some of the HS bonus babies, which have top 10 talents, but will fall to the bottom of the first round, due to bonus demands?

Klaw
  (2:49 PM)

I don't think we know enough about bonus demands yet to identify those kids, with the exception of Nick Castellanos, who (according to a very good source) is going to ask for $6-7 million. Whether that's really his number or just a bluff, I don't know, but speaking as someone who's been high on him for a while, I wouldn't give him that much.

Josh (Long Beach)

We hear a ton about Austin Wilson's athleticism and potential as a power/speed guy, but very little about his actual hitting skills. He's obviously not as advanced as Josh Sale, but how good is his hit tool right now in comparison to toolsy HS OF's of the last few years like Aaron Hicks and Heyward?

Klaw
  (2:50 PM)

There's no Heyward in this draft, and Wilson isn't as toolsy as Hicks but is more advanced right now as a hitter. You've named two of the top three HS bats in this draft right now, along with SS Manny Machado, who might be first off the board because of his position.

Reif (Denver)

Keith, do you believe hitters can "learn" patience at the plate? Or is it just an innate ability that some guys have and some don't?

Klaw
  (2:50 PM)

I think most hitters can make marginal improvements, but few can make significant improvements. A hacker isn't going to turn into Ed Yost.

Owen (Berkeley)

So, we get rid of the Rule 4 draft, would you advocate an open system where teams can sign anyone, whenever? Sounds pretty fun.

Klaw
  (2:51 PM)

I would greatly prefer some form of amateur free agency to a slotted draft, which is where we might be heading (and which should spur one mother of a lawsuit on behalf of the players).

dave (erie, pa)

Klaw, so basically your saying that the human element exists but not at the major league level. By that time most players are producing a the same consistent level no matter what circumstance they are in?

Klaw
  (2:52 PM)

I'm saying what you define as "the human element" is either reflected in the stats or doesn't exist. There are intangible elements that affect player performance, like intelligence or aggressiveness, but they show up in the statistics.

Jeff (Billy Beane's Basement)

Out of the three real 5th starter contenders Mazzaro, Cahill, and Gio in Oakland which do you see winning the job? Which do you like long term?

Klaw
  (2:53 PM)

Cahill almost by default.

Greg (LA)

Assuming that all teams have some limit on overall payroll, including Rule 4 draft, couldn't you make the case that the reason so much money is available for the top talent not subject to the Rule 4 draft is precisely because the Rule 4 draft exists? In other words, if Cubans were subject to Rule 4, their price would come down, and if no one was subject to Rule 4, then everyone's price would gravitate to the mean?

Klaw
  (2:54 PM)

Sounds logical to me. If everyone's a free agent, they'll all be valued more or less properly, and there won't be an anti-American bias built into the system.

Cory (Geneva, IL)

Per your chat last week, it is pretty clear that "Super Why" is the best kids show and has the best theme song.

Klaw
  (2:55 PM)

I'm not sure how we missed Sid the Science Kid. My 3-year-old daughter explained to me what a thermometer measures because of that show, and there's lots of good music in it.

Chad (Austin)

Keith - How often do your re-evaluate players after hearing they've made significant changes in stance, throwing motion etc? Do you find those changes are often significantly helpful or more just rumor? For example the Cards Craig supposedly revamped his swing last year. Do you then discount your analysis from before that? Thanks.

Klaw
  (2:56 PM)

If I've evaluated a player as, say, average, but his performance over the next year or so clearly exceeds that, I want to see him again to reevaluate. I'd rather let performance dictate it than rumor, so to speak.

Orin (Seattle)

Hi Keith. What do you expect for Kyle Blanks in 2010? In 2011? Thanks for your good work. You are why I joined Insider!

Klaw
  (2:56 PM)

Ultimately he has to go to first base, but I think he'll be above-average there, maybe All-Star caliber once or twice (adjusted for park, of course).

Greg (St. Charles )

Klaw, what's your take on radical realignment?

Klaw
  (2:57 PM)

The more I read about it last week the more I realized what a horrible idea it was.

Kevin (SB.CA)

"I would greatly prefer some form of amateur free agency to a slotted draft"Didn't know you were a Yankees fan

Klaw
  (2:58 PM)

Yeah, they've really cleaned up in international free agency, signing Chapman, Iglesias, Sano, Ynoa, and now Echevarria ... oh, wait, they didn't sign any of those guys. Please pick up the shattered remains of your point before you exit the chat.

James (Kenosha,Wi)

Better chance of finally leaving up to potential Rickie Weeks or Manny Parra?

Klaw
  (2:59 PM)

Weeks.

Ed (Tacoma)

Would a good comp for Josh Sale be Travis Snider with an actual chance of staying in the outfield?

Klaw
  (3:00 PM)

I don't see why everyone is consigning Snider to DH. He's not Adam Lind out there. Sale's a better athlete, though.

Klaw
  (3:01 PM)

Definitely not (b). Probably prefer (c), but having him down for two weeks would be worth less than a win, assuming they can scrape up a replacement-level RF.

Matt (NY)

Keith what's your take on david robertson, when i watch him it seems like his "stuff" is so bleh but his k/9 is ridiculous...what's he doing that's fooling all these hitters

Klaw
  (3:01 PM)

Curveball. It's pretty good.

brian (pasadena)

ok Keith, i'm asking this fully expecting a fat "NO." Any chance a guy like James Loney will be on your "breakout list?" Or is he basically going to be mediocre in his career?

Klaw
  (3:02 PM)

NO.

Chris (Atlanta)

Keith, am I a bad parent because I Tivo Dora the Explorer for her, but not Super Why or Sid the Science Kid?

Klaw
  (3:02 PM)

Yes.

Bear (PHX)

do you have a favorite authentic mexican restaurant in the PHX area?

Klaw
  (3:02 PM)

Los Sombreros, or the Ranch Market, but I'm open to suggestions.

Eric (Minneapolis)

Thanks for the chat Keith! Have you seen anything different with Dom Brown this spring compared to the AFL? Seems like he was really dragging just a few months ago, and now he's having pretty good success.

Klaw
  (3:03 PM)

I've been in Arizona all month.

Rick (Oakland)

Have you seen the Cubs' Esmailin Caridad? Do you think he'll be an effective reliever this year?

Klaw
  (3:04 PM)

Not this spring, but I've seen him in the past - and the answer is yes, more than just effective.

Bill (Seattle)

Have you ever read "The Liar's Club" by Mary Karr? Entertainment Weekly listed it as one of the top 5 books written in the last 25 years.

Klaw
  (3:05 PM)

That list was an atrocity.

Dave (santa rosa, ca)

If they send posey to the minors, does his clock still tick because of his call up last year?

Klaw
  (3:07 PM)

You only get a day of service when you spend a day on the major league active roster or the major league DL. Posey got 33 days last year, so to push off free agency by a year, he'd have to stay down for 34 or more days. However, one of the major things Posey has to work on is catching big velocity, which he isn't going to do by going to AAA to catch Bumgarner's 88 mph fastball every fifth day.

harry (aberdeen)

Do you realize how big a jerk you come off as in these chats? You make it seem like it's the last thing you want to be doing.There's a difference between being witty and downright rude.

Klaw
  (3:09 PM)

I realize that 1-2% of the people reading this chat won't be smart enough to realize how much of what I write is tongue in cheek. Wait, was that witty, or just downright rude? I won't tell you which one I was going for.

Taylor (NJ)

"Please pick up the shattered remains of your point before you exit the chat". Your snark is transcendent.

Klaw
  (3:09 PM)

Welcome to the 98% Nation of Klawtone.

Phil S. (NJ)

What aspect of Entertainment Weekly's critiques of the arts is *not* an atrocity?

Klaw
  (3:09 PM)

Wait - I had something for this...

Ben (DC)

Keith, do you actually watch baseball games? Or do you close your eyes, predict with certainty what will happen because of a player's stats, and give yourself a big pat on the back? I'm just asking.

Klaw
  (3:10 PM)

Ben, do you actually read anything that I write, like scouting reports of players that I see?

dave (erie pa)

Klaw, I believe you have picked the reds as a team ready to contend in 2011, what has to happen for them to contend in 2010?

Klaw
  (3:11 PM)

They have to get a much better performance than I'm expecting from their rotation, for one thing. But I'm anticipating maybe 3/4 of a season from Chapman, with some ups and downs, and of course Volquez will have to wait another year to mount his next Rookie of the Year campaign.

brad (NJ)

Keith, I HATE the word tools, that is all I hear this guy is toolsy, that guy has 5 tools. It doesnt matter what "tools" they have it is how they apply them to baseball that matters. Every time I hear the Yankees draft a tools guy, they never work out. See, Eric Duncan, CJ Henry, etc...

Klaw
  (3:12 PM)

Duncan wasn't a tools guy, not to me at least. Henry was a tools guy without baseball skills. You're right that tools alone are insufficient, but tools + some baseball polish is a potential star.

harry (aberdeen)

Thanks for proving my point.You don't get it.

Klaw
  (3:12 PM)

Door's on your left.

Dave (Schenectady)

Klaw- are you really saying that because the Yanks didn't sign Chapman, Iglesias et al that they, the Red Sox and other big market teams wouldn't have a huge advantage if there wasn't a Rule 4 draft?

Klaw
  (3:13 PM)

I'm saying that the advantage was overstated. They will have an advantage - but they have an advantage everywhere else too, by virtue of playing in large markets and having a history of success. If you want parity, forcibly relocate 5 million New Yorkers to smaller markets and brainwash them to root for other teams.

Owen (Berkeley)

Favorite country you've visited?

Klaw
  (3:14 PM)

Italy, but that's in part because I have family there. Excluding that, Portugal.

Klaw
  (3:15 PM)

Ethan in Berkshire County: Congratulations, you've identified two of my ten. Just keep it quiet for a few more days, ok?

Jada (CT)

Yo Klaw,Any chance you will ever compile a non-fiction list along the lines of your top 100 novels list? Maybe its harder to rank non-fiction on a single list, but I think a lot of your readers would be interested...

Klaw
  (3:16 PM)

There's a top 25 non-fiction list on the dish from early 2008 or so. I don't read enough non-fiction to do a credible job like the fiction list.

scott (balto)

Martin Perez or Jacob Turner?

Klaw
  (3:16 PM)

Perez. I'd like to see Turner this year - sounds like he has advanced beyond just arm strength/arm speed.

Scot (TX)

Why do you enjoy making babies cry?

Klaw
  (3:16 PM)

I use their tears in my sourdough bread starter.

Luke (Saint Paul)

Harry doesn't understand, you do get it. But you don't care. I think you have your percantages off though. You probably have 75% that get the tongue in cheek stuff, 23% that come to your chats just to watch you rip on people who ask dumb questions(I admit thats what got me hooked) and 2% that are oblivious and just think your mean. Sound about right?

Klaw
  (3:17 PM)

I could live with that.

Steve (Yonkers)

Ok, the guy made a poor atttempt at an attack, but do you think it was strictly coinicidence that the yankees struggled after the implementation of the rule 4 draft in the 1960s? I mean pre-draft they just signed everybody, and the yankee hater nation fears a similar result without the draft?

Klaw
  (3:17 PM)

That's probably a better question for a baseball history guy - paging Steven Goldman - but I think their use of the KC A's as a virtual farm team was a major factor too.

Phil S. (NJ)

Ryan Westmoreland - where does this poor kid's prospect status now stand? What's his projected recovery time?

Klaw
  (3:18 PM)

When Jon Lester was recovering from cancer, I just put him on the prospect shelf - didn't change my assessment, didn't put any kind of timetable on his return to the game or to any rankings. I think it's fair to do the same with Westmoreland, perhaps more so since his family is politely asking the media to leave them the heck alone.

mikey (philly)

when you say that the NL is the weaker league (which I dont dispute), do you say it because right now the best talent is in the AL but it's cyclical (like the NBA east and west), or is there something about the AL that makes it inherently more talented (DH, e.g.)?

Klaw
  (3:20 PM)

I don't see it as inherent to the leagues, but the competitive pressures in the AL East have forced the clubs in that division and to a lesser extent in the rest of the league to either spend more or get smarter, and that has happened faster in the AL than it has in the AL.

Josh (Chicago)

Looking to Entertainment Weekly for a books list = Looking to Time Magainze for a books list

Klaw
  (3:20 PM)

I thought that TIME list (of novels, at least) was great, actually.

Klaw
  (3:21 PM)

OK, I have to run to this workout. Sorry for the short chat - if I don't do one next week, then the next chat will be April 1st. Thanks!