Hey everyone. Keith ran into some travel issues today, so we've moved his chat to Friday at 3 p.m. ET.
Hola. I am really not clear why I agreed to get on that plane home from Arizona.
Has your assessment of Colvin changed, based on his ephemeral ST performance? I'm guessing you still view him as , at best, a 4th OF with poor plate discipline.
I don't change any views based on spring performances - spring looks, perhaps, but not such a tiny sample against inconsistent competition - and no, Colvin's still a 4th outfielder to me. Can't really play CF, won't get on base enough to play a corner.
Keith, I don't think you're that high on Chris Davis, but with a "decent" second half last year and a decent ST (taken with a grain of salt), does he deliver on some promise or is he the 2010 version of Rob Deer?
I think Smoak is better long-term, but Davis isn't bad, just not likely to repeat what he did in 2008. Texas is in a good spot if Davis starts out the way he finished 2009, as he'll have some trade value.
Klaw, how relevant is the Big 10 to college baseball scouts these days? Went to Norhwestern 1985-1989 and while NU & the Big 10 was not a power conference back then, did turn out plenty of quality major leaguers. Seems as if today the conference has completely dropped off of the map.
It's not very good, but there are usually 2-4 quality prospects in the conference each year. Scouts just try to line them up against each other, as opposed to the SEC where you could drop in on almost any conference game and see several top-10-rounds guys.
Keith, I know that none of the Red Sox minor league catchers are 'prospects' but do you see any of them to be above average regulars? I know guys like Exposito and Federowicz can hit but are they good either to say behind the plate?
A minor league catcher who projects as an above-average regular in the majors is a prospect. So the answer is no, not unless they convert someone to the position or someone else takes an unexpected step forward.
T/F - Jason Frasor is an effective stopper.
Depends on what you're trying to stop.
Keith, does Neil Huntington's apparent infatuation with former prospects make sense (the latest being Hayden Penn)? Is he smart of trying to buy low on these guys or is he relying on the name factor/metrics that fail to properly weight more recent performance?
Most former prospects are guys who have or had ability but didn't perform in the majors, often in limited samples. If the ability is more or less intact, they're worth the fliers - especially Penn who had an absurd track record before his wildly premature promotion to the bigs.
I know you are very high on Matusz. In your opinion are the projections a little conservative? I see him having fantastic advanced metric stats but a real low win total due to playing in the AL East. Are 185 strikeouts and 1.20 whip out of the question?
If he's healthy and not under a tight innings cap, I wouldn't be shocked to see 200 strikeouts.
Would the Pirates pass on both Harper and Taillon if they're available at #2?
Harper, we don't really know - they did take Alvarez two years ago despite the projected cost. I am leaning towards "no" with them on Taillon, based solely on their reluctance to take the (likely) cheaper, better Tyler Matzek at four last year. But both answers depend on who Option C is.
I just read the ESPN staff predictions for the coming season and I don't see yours. What's up with that? Care to post them here?
They're going up on my blog, probably during this chat. I'll post the link here when they're live.
Was it challenging to hold back the snark when Simmons was debating about wins with you, or do you view it as a positive step that he's considering the other (more logical) argument?
That's not really the place for snark - it was a legitimate question from a guy who wanted to understand the criticisms. That deserves a serious answer.
If you were the GM of the Twins would you trade Revere as part of a deal for Heath Bell (assuming Revere is the "best"prospect the twins would be dealing)? The word around here is that the Twins are reluctant to include Revere.
I wouldn't treat Revere as "untouchable," if that's what you're asking. Might be a nice fit for Petco if the Padres believe he can throw enough to play CF there.
Keith, thanks for the chat. You have said previously that you are in the Earl Weaver camp that says that breaking a starter into the big leagues in the bullpen is a perfectly acceptable situation. Does that opinion hold true in every case? Specifically, what are your thoughts on the Mets breaking camp with Mejia in the pen? Thanks, Keith.
The Earl Weaver strategy applied to starting pitching prospects who were actually ready for the majors. Mejia is not, was not, and this move reeks of desperation. It's the wrong thing for him long-term. He can recover, but his chances to reach his ceiling just went way down.
What is Option C in this year's draft?
That's the $4-5 million question. Anthony Ranaudo and his trick elbow? Deck McGuire and his solid-not-outstanding stuff? (Had one guy hang a Bryan Bullington tag on him ... ouch.) Austin Wilson? Josh Sale? Many of the Option C candidates are also prep arms, whom the Pirates indicated last year they'd prefer to take in later rounds, going a safer route with the higher dollar figure in round one.
Does anyone actually purchase ESPN Insider?
Uh, yeah. People much smarter and cooler than you.
I know that you aren't a fantasy guy, but a lot of us are and I'm guessing a lot of people use your answers in chats for that purpose. With that being said, would you agree that FIP may be a stat that is overrated for a pitcher's fantasy numbers? I mean, a guy may have a 4.00 FIP, but his ERA could sway 0.50 in either direction based on the defense behind him.
If you're trying to guess at a pitcher's ERA for the upcoming season, you'll probably have better luck using last year's FIP than last year's ERA.
If you dont answer our question, should we assume you didnt see it, or that our question sucks? .....I know spring training wins dont mean anything, however the Padres seem to be playing well. You were in AZ for a while, did you see anything there that can cause Padre fans to be at least a little optimistic?
I have over 600 questions already. I can't answer them all. I didn't see the Padres' major-league club - too few prospects there and I was focusing on prospects or other interesting young guys. I'll pass on Wade Leblanc and Jon Garland, thanks.
Do you think you could keep the snark in check if debating Joba and being told he was born to close? Seriously, every time I hear that, I wanna throw myself off a cliff. BTW, liked the top 200 rock songs, though I wouldn't have guessed Wonderwall would be that high up the list.........
I've only heard that "born to close" argument from one person actually in the industry, a high-ranking exec I respect. Otherwise it's media members who still don't understand the value of a 200-inning starter over a 60-inning reliever.
With the 3rd pick in the 2010 MLB Draft, the Baltimore Orioles select...
Right now I'd guess Taillon, backup choice Manny Machado.
How long will Brantley stay up? Which current major leaguer would you compare him to?
I think he hits enough to stay up. High average, great defense, modest power, good SB totals. And the Cleveland brass really like his makeup, which will help his cause.
Keith, What do you think of the argument made by one or your ESPN collegues who stated that Joba Chamberlain does not possess the intelligence and focus to be an effective starting pitcher having to get through a lineup 3-4 times? Sounds ridiculous to me.
Ridiculous and insulting. Would take a lot for me to question a player's intelligence - unless you work in that organization it's almost impossible to know.
I purchase ESPN Insider
Excellent. Make sure to mention it in your next acceptance speech.
If Baltimore didn't pop Matzek, Miller, or Turner last season due to signability, don't you think they may do the same with Tailon?
It wasn't signability. They absolutely loved Hobgood.
Keith, do you play fantasy baseball? If so how many championships have you won?
I do not, sorry.
What are your thoughts on Baumgartner? The giants dont seem worried about the velocity loss saying it will come back when his mechanics are right. The spring numbers certainly didnt impress anyone yet at the same time he is only 20. Should Giant fans be concerned?
Yes. The "he is only 20" line works for bad command, or a below-average changeup, not for sudden velocity loss.
Since you were out here for the past few weeks, I'm sure you read about the Cubs/Mesa/Tax stuff. I want to hear your thoughts on it. Seems absolutely ridiculous for the Cubs to think they are important enough to make every other team pay a surcharge on their tickets.
Yes, it's ridiculous, and the other 14 teams should fight it. And, by the way, it's a great incentive for teams to stay in Florida.
Klaw-Now that he's got a chance to start the season in LF, could you envision Michael Brantley having a .375 OBP, scoring 80 runs, stealing 30 bases, and winning ROY?
He'd have to hit .320 or so to win ROY in LF, probably with a slew of steals. But I wouldn't call that impossible.
Who is the RZO taking in June?
I'm sticking with Harper, who is the best player in the pool and fits Rizzo's draft history, until someone tells me a realistic alternative.
So to hopefully clear this up for my fellow phillies fans (alliteration), you are not saying Mr Happ will be terrible (by that I mean serviceable as a 4-5), but he will not be 2.90 ERA good, right?
Right. I do not believe Happ will be terrible. He's not Kyle Kendrick redux.
Have you seen Sergio Santos throw? Any thoughts on his move to the mound?
Yes, one inning last month. Only threw fastballs. Good velocity, but man cannot live on fastballs alone.
Jaff Decker, if he repeats at A+/AA this year what he did at the plate in 2009. Where do you see him finishing the 2011 season.
If he does that, he'll finish 2011 in the majors.
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, or Thyme?
Make me a seamless cambric shirt and we can talk.
Have you seen Tony Wolters play this spring? If so, what's the quick report on him? Is he a likely to go in the late-first?
Yes, saw him in February. Scouts love his makeup, but he's not a plus defender at SS, he's a below-average runner, and he's not going to hit for big power. That shouldn't go in the late first.
Keith, I know you're a big fan of Sonny Gray, but I've read some recent scouting reports indicating that he might be better suited as a reliever instead of a starter. Have you seen anything with him indicating that he can't be a starter long-term?
What reports would those be - and how much did they mention his height? Unless you believe that you can't be a big-league starter under 6 feet, there's no argument on Gray as a starter for me.
I know you've long been a proponent of moving Logan Forsythe to Catcher. While it doesn't seem like the Padres will do it, they did try him at 2B this spring. Did you seem him play there? What are your thoughts on the move?
Didn't see him, but I know the Padres' people were floored by how easily he took to it. I can believe that based on what I saw of him at third in the past.
I read your top 200 songs of the 90s. Let me just say that i was happy to see that i'm not the only person to actually like those 2 Squirrel Nut Zipper songs, let alone actually know who that band is.
They gave a great live show in their heyday too.
Best college program for producing pro talent?
Right now? If I was the father of a top prep baseball player, I'd probably shoot for Vanderbilt. Not only do they produce good players, kids go there and get better (and seldom get worse).
How high are you on Kyle Blanks?
A fan, but I left him off the breakout list because I couldn't forecast a big increase in his rate stats for 2010.
You like Ian Desmond getting the starting nod? Whats your guess for the Nats middle infield the next couple of years? I know you havent always been a big fan of Espinoza...
Good move - great move, really, since it left $8 million on the bench, so it shows that the Nats didn't let money make the decision for them. Espinosa can field but I don't see him producing enough to be more than a fringe-average regular.
Law, seriously there have been 6 Angel questions answered since Jan 1 by all ESPN chatters combined. Do you think Ervin Santana steps up this year? Can Kendry Morales compete for an MVP?
I just posted a blog entry on Fabio Martinez, Tyler Skaggs, and Jean Segura, actually. Santana stepped up in '08, no? I think Morales is a down-ballot MVP guy.
Keith, favorite band from the 90's? Radiohead right? Is it even close?
Probably. I'd take them over Oasis.
Are you a (even small) believer in J.R. Towles this year, or is he just keeping the seat warm for Castro? I know he was well thought of at one point.
I think they should give Towles an entire season to see once and for all if he has any value to them long term. Never loved his swing, though - huge hitch - but he produced through AAA and I would always give a guy like that a shot even if I saw a mechanical flaw.
Do you think the Bills would be making a mistake drafting Tebow on day 1? Are you worried about his arm strength and long delivery? Thanks.
I think he should be the first overall pick, because I read about him more than any other guy, and because of that picture of him with the girl with the huge ... eyes.
What are your thoughts on the Mariners moving Ackley to 2nd?
High-risk, moderate-to-high-reward. 2b is a dangerous position, lot of good prospects there haven't panned out due to injuries.
AL/NL ROY -- pick 'em.
I went with Matusz and Heyward - but that upcoming blog post lists 3 in each league plus some guys who could make late runs if they're called up before JUne.
Pearl Jam was a much better band than Nirvana. Sorry you missed the boat Keith.
I'm not sure what "much better band" means, but the average song on Nevermind was better than the best song on any PJ album.
Arguing about music is great - it's even more pointless than arguing about predictions for a seven-game playoff series that's seven months away!
The Braves starting Heyward in Atlanta instead of AAA, which would give ATL an extra year before FA. Mistake or HUGE mistake?
Not a mistake when you're playing for something this year, and 2-3 weeks of Heyward's replacement could cost you a win.
Do you think the girl with the big eyes is the reason Tebow got invited to the draft?
"Hey, Tim - we were wondering if you could come to the draft this year ... feel free to bring a date ... actually, that's mandatory ... just give us your date's name ... and phone number ..."
How long do you project it will take for Harper to reach the show? 2-3 years to develop his receiving skills? If he does go to the Natinals, will it take that long for him to be able to catch Strasburg?
Receiving skills have improved a lot - main issue for him will be contact against better-quality pitching. I'd say 3 years.
Now that spring training is almost over if you could redo your top 100 prospects who would move up your list?
I wouldn't make any susbtantive changes based on a brief spring look or on ST stats alone.
Which teams (if any) have a shot at winning 100 games?
Yanks and Cardinals have the best shots. Phils and Rockies beyond that.
If you would of saw D'Vontrey Richardson before you made your Brewers top ten list would he have been on it?
Not to be insensitive but how does Westmorelands malformation in his brain affect his prospect status? Is he out for the year?
I don't think anyone knows how long he's out, and I'll do the same with him as I did with Lester - no change to his prospect status until he's healthy again.
You forgot to mention that kids playing at Vandy are getting an Ivy League level education for free.
Law, I read the Angels blog post. Thanks! What do you see Fabio Martinez projecting to? a non-ace 1? Also has there been a good baseball player ever named Fabio?
If you really dream on him, you could see an ace there. He absolutely must take the mound in a flowing blond wig at some point, though.
Who are your picks for the bottom three teams in Major League Baseball? We all get caught up with who is gonna be the best.
My blog post has W-L predictions, and I had the Pirates with the most losses, then Toronto, then Washington. Not a bad year to pick number three, though.
Hey Keith, just out of curiosity why did you stop playing fantasy bball? Too easy? Or did it stop being fun?
I'd never call it "easy" - this game humbles anyone, and no matter how good you are you'll get stuff wrong all the time. I was working for TBJ at the time and found that once baseball was my job, I didn't want it to be my main hobby, either. And the disconnect between real value and fantasy value turned me off to the latter as well. Your mileage may vary, of course.
Thanks for your endorsement of "Sid the Science Kid". My 4 year old is enjoying it, although my wife is having a hard time getting past the 4 to 1 student-to-teacher ratio depicted
The NEA and AFT heartily approve, however.
Keith, thanks for chatting. Enjoyed the BS Report earlier this week as well. You've mentioned a couple of times that you feel the Dodgers are in a worse position as compared to last year. However, given that we can reasonably expect another year of development for Kemp, Loney, and Kershaw, if not Ethier and Billingsley, as well, that Padilla should give at least 85% of Wolf's value from last year, and that Manny won't miss a third of the season, I'm not sure what they've 'lost' from last year's model. Frankly, I'd think they stand a better chance of improving.
I don't see Padilla as 85% - you said 85%, right, not .08? - of Wolf. I'm not banking on improvement from Kemp or Kershaw, who took steps forward last year, or Loney, who seems to be stuck in neutral, and I wish I could tell you where Billingsley's career is headed. Manny's bat speed was missing when I saw him last year after his suspension. And who's in the back of that rotation? I'd like to see Haeger succeed - we kneed more knuckleballers in the majors - but I wouldn't bet on it.
How does Nick Castellanos compare with Bobby Borchering? Are you going to get a chance to see Castellanos this spring?
Yes, I think I have a Cole-Machado-Castellanos-Grandal run scheduled in two weeks.
i understand the real world value of FIP, but is FIP the best predictor for fantasy purposes? It seems that if a guy's team doesnt get better around him, his FIP shouldnt change too much.
FIP factors out defense and luck. It's hard to say where one ends and the other starts in a pitcher's unadjusted/context-dependent stats.
What do you see the Twins doing with Wilson Ramos? Any chance we'll see a Mauer/Ramos platoon with Joe at DH when Ramos catches in 2011?
Trade him. And I don't mean for Heath Bell.
Any chance Papelbon throws anything besides a fastball this season?
He'll throw a slider sometime in June.
Be honest, did George Plimpton fool you 25 years ago today?
I was 11. I thought he was just some pompous aristocrat trying to convince my dad to subscribe to Architectural Digest.
A lot of good stuff on Dietrich on the blog lately, can he stick at SS?
We can't make the Bottom 3 starting Betancourt, Guillen, Kendall & Podsednik? Are Greinke
The division stinks. The bar isn't that high for KC to win 70 games.
on a scale of 1-10, how concerned should i be about chris tillman's second half of 2009 and current demotion?
If I loved "Right Ho, Jeeves," which Wodehouse should I read next?
Any. I don't think there's a bad Wodehouse novel or collection.
Worst division in baseball?
NL Central after St. Louis is potentially horrific. Like, The Man and the Boy might walk from Milwaukee to Houston by way of Chicago, Cincy, and Pittsburgh.
Rendon or Harper if both were available in this years draft?
Rendon. Take the surer thing when it's also a potential all-star.
KLAW! Went to Los Sombreros, had the seafood enchiladas and they were great! What did you have?
Carnitas was excellent. Pollo en mole poblano was fair.
Klaw,Last year's breakout call of Lind worked out rather well ... do you see 2009 Lind = 2010 Snider?
That might be a little optimistic but I think Snider takes the big step forward this year.
What's wrong with Milwaukee, jerk?
For one thing, apparently, your reading comprehension.
Favorite children's book? My wife and I are pregnant with our first and are stocking up on reading material
Always partial to The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Or anything by Carle, really.
Howie (ahem, HOWARD) Kendrick... what's the deal with this guy? One walk this spring in 60 PA's. Is he enough of a hitting savant to bat .320 even with an eye that bad? Anything less than that and he's a drain on an offense, right?
If he hits .300/.340/.480, that's a pretty useful player at 2b.
Keith, have you heard anything on the draft prospects of Mike Foltynewicz who is signed with UT? Saw him throw yesterday in front of about 10 ML scouts who all had him 92-94 consistantly and as high as 96 on their guns.
Rising. Really wasn't on the radar at all a month ago, but chance to be at least a top 100 guy already.
klaw 4 life!!!Corey Hart= new begining? or the end?
I would have non-tendered him this winter.
Hi Keith, glad you're back this week. Knowing you're into cooking, I was wondering if you're into gardening also (more the "grow your own food" kind rather than the "ooh pretty flowers" kind)? If so, any luck?
Don't have a ton of room, but we do grow lots of herbs, especially basil, parsley (such a waste to buy it - grows so easily it's practically a weed), and thyme.
Agree with this order for 2011 college pitchers? Cole, Purke, Jungmann, Gray, Meyer, Armstrong. Also, do you think TJ surgery has come far enough that you would expect a guy like Jordan Zimmermann to come back to his pre-injury form at least 75% of the time?
Gray first for me right now. I believe the success rate for TJ is considered (within front offices) to be above 80%.
Yo Keith I'm getting married and registering for for kitchen stuff. What kind of pots and pans should I get? Any suggestions on a good Chefs Knife? Im getting into cooking so i want to have the right kind of stuff.
Chef's knife suggestion is Victorinox (link is in here: http://meadowparty.com/blog/?p=254), recommended by ATK; I have a more expensive one but it's largely pricier for the name and the handle. Pots and pans depend on how much you like to cook and how much you hate to clean. Anodized aluminum is expensive but cleans very easily. I have a mix - a 12" cast iron skillet for most purposes, two non-stick Wearever (cheap!) skillets, a stainless steel 12" saute pan and saucier, and a cheap aluminum stockpot for boiling pasta and making stock.
Do you think Brandon Crawford will be MLB ready for 2011? (Assuming Sabean doesn't give Renteria a 5yr $50M extension)
Ready for what? Nice fielder, I don't buy the bat.
Apparently the Twins have named Rauch as their closer. Right call?
I preferred the non-committal approach they had earlier in the week. Let the relievers sort it out themselves. I find it hard to believe Rauch is really going to be the answer, though.
The Pirates have agreed to let Alderson go back to his old arm slot, from before he lost his velocity, but also before he had that pinpoint accuracy. Good move?
He had good command in high school too, so I wouldn't lose hope - but I'd like to see him recover that lost velo before believing it was just a function of arm slot.
Keith, what makes you think the Rockies will be so good this year? Do you see a huge step forward for players like Fowler, Stewart and Carlos Gonzalez? I'm curious how a team that pretty much no one picked to win the division last year is now picked by many to win the NL West. Is it due to the other teams in the division getting worse, or the Rockies getting better? Thanks.
Most of their core players are young and in the age range where they're likely to improve. I could see Stewart, Iannetta, and Fowler all taking steps forward this year.
In the middle of The Master and Margarita right now and loving it. Written somewhat like a play. Suggestions for my next book? Looking for a page turning Harry Potter esq book for fun.
Lev Grossman's "The Magicians."
Any chance MLB powers that be force McCourt to sell the Dodgers? The divorce is very public and appears to be getting very messy.
I don't think MLB will force it - I think the divorce process will necessitate it.
Avila or Laird?
Avila wins that job by year-end, or at least the bulk of the PT.
Are you high on Phil Hughes' chance as a starter? Doesn't he have to have the change up working to turnover a lineup 2-3 times?
I didn't see him this spring, so I could easily be out of date on where his changeup is, but what I saw in the past did not look to me like it was going to turn over a good AL East lineup 3x, as you asked.
That's all for this week. My predictions post should go up on my blog within an hour or so - I'm told one of my editors is working on it right now. Thanks for all the questions!