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April 8, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Keith Law

Klaw
  (1:04 PM)

In case you weren't keeping score at home, today I'm biased against the Brewers. I know I have so many biases it's hard for you to keep track, so I provide this as a public service.

Abe (NY)

So in the past ten years EIGHT different teams have won the World Series. Over the same time eight different teams also won the Super Bowl and ONLY THREE DIFFERENT TEAMS won the NBA Championship...... Can everyone shutup about parity in baseball now?

Klaw
  (1:05 PM)

No, they can't, because they're obsessed with the Yankees.

Chris (Tempe AZ)

Keith where is Devils ace Seth blair gonna be drafted....poorman's version of leake? How bout Horizon High grad Kevin Rhoderick?

Klaw
  (1:06 PM)

Blair isn't Leake. More velocity, but less everything else. Third round on him - Rhoderick anywhere from second to fifth depending on how he finishes. Closers seem to be drafted in large part based on how hard they're throwing at the end of their seasons.

charlie (new york)

Keith, you seem to be really down on Billingsley this year, but are you really expecting him to pitch more like the second half of last season than he did throughout the minors and during his first few ML seasons? I trust your opinion, but it seems unlike you to be swayed by a small sample size when a much larger one exists and suggests that he is better than he was post-hamstring injury.

Klaw
  (1:08 PM)

I'm not down on Billingsley - I'm curious where you got that impression - but simply don't know what to expect from him. I saw him late last year and the stuff was plus but both the command and the pitch selection were not. He could go back to where he was in the first half of last year, but I can't predict when or whether that's going to happen when we don't have some tangible evidence of what went wrong (and I don't see why the hamstring would be the sole explanation).

Dave (Somerville, MA)

Levine simply emailing the press a photo of him yawning and covering his mouth with a wad of $100s would have been more effective.

Klaw
  (1:08 PM)

That's just what he does on Chatroulette.

Keith (New Lenox, Il)

First time chatter so be gentle.After seeing the Buerhle play on opening day I wondered if you add or subtract from a pitcher's value based on how well or poorly the pitcher fields his position?

Klaw
  (1:11 PM)

Yes, absolutely. A pitcher can help himself quite a bit by fielding his position well, something that's often a function of athleticism and how he finishes his delivery. I think most scouts usually use those as proxies for a pitcher's long-term fielding ability, given the lack of defensive instruction in amateur baseball.

Bob (Tinley Park, IL)

Thoughts on Cowboy Joe West's comments that Yanks-Sox slow play is a "disgrace"?

Klaw
  (1:11 PM)

I didn't see it. Those games can be excruciating. And it's ironic that one of the five worst umps in baseball said it. No mirrors in your house, Joe?

stephen (ny)

You've been beating the drum on Matusz for quite some time. Given his very impressive MiL pedigree, why is it that he's not getting the same kind of hype that other prospects have gotten? Is it the lack of power stuff?

Klaw
  (1:14 PM)

He's got an above-average fastball - I've seen 95 - but he does it mostly with secondary stuff. Young pitchers don't get hyped unless they have big fastballs or play for a large-market team. I'm trying to think of a counterexample but don't have one ... maybe David Price, after he dominated in relief late in '08? But you could pin that hype on actual performance.

Todd ((WI))

Brewers are expected to announce an extension for Gallardo today, good move?

Klaw
  (1:14 PM)

Great move - apparently they bought out at least one free agent year, which is key.

Wes (North CA)

With my Oakland bias I couldn't help to notice that not many experts are remotely excited about Gio Gonzalez. He needs to mature(still young) but he has good stuff. What is his outlook/ceiling?

Klaw
  (1:15 PM)

Fifth starter or worse.

Joe (LA)

Hi,Can you help explain something?Pitcher A has a 94 mph fast ball they say it explodes at the plate...94 is 94...is it they have more movement on the fast ball so it looks faster then a 98 mph flat fastball?

Klaw
  (1:16 PM)

A fastball with movement is harder to hit than a straight fastball, although I think the reason is obvious. But also, a fastball with any kind of sink should be harder to hit in the air (and thus out of the park) than a flat fastball. So there's value two ways.

Nick Rutherford (Clifton Park NY)

How quickly is Mike Jacobs moving up the list of worst players in the majors?

Klaw
  (1:17 PM)

Pretty sure you move down that list.

Noonan (Philly)

The difference between NBA parity issues and MLB parity issues is that NBA teams generally have the same amount of resources. So, when a team achieves sustained success, fans understand that it's based on merit. Last offseason, the Yanks signed Tex, CC, and Burnett...something no other team could think of doing. Can't blame the Yanks for having a lot of money and spending it, but tt's hard not to conclude that they don't have an unfair competitive advantage.

Klaw
  (1:18 PM)

They have a competitive advantage. I disagree that it is "unfair," which is just a matter of opinion. The fact that the Yankees play in a large market where the MRP of a win (or of merely playing a game) is higher is not unfair. It is life. If you think that's unfair, go ask Harrison Bergeron to be the next Commissioner.

Dale (Houston)

Who would you pick first: Gray or Jungmann?

Klaw
  (1:19 PM)

Gray. But Rendon first. I can't tell you how excited I am for the 2011 draft. The class is stacked.

Mitchell (Wisconsin)

Prince Fielder and Mat Gamel for Matt Cain and Buster Posey. Who hangs up first brewers or giants??

Klaw
  (1:22 PM)

Two years of Fielder for three of Cain and six of Posey? I wouldn't take that if I was the Giants, but I imagine if you throw in Suppan, Davis, and some old guy off the street in Milwaukee, Sabean would throw in Zack Wheeler too.

JP (Columbus, OH)

Klaw, great work on the BS Report. Can you just be his daily guest from now on?

Klaw
  (1:23 PM)

Glad you liked it - I thought it was much better than the first time I was on, when I really never had much rhythm. Bill asked great questions too.

Jason (New Bern, NC)

If Bryce Harper were in minor leagues now, would he be a top 20 prospect? Top 10? Also, is it reasonable to project him reaching majors by mid-2012? Thanks

Klaw
  (1:24 PM)

Top 20 for sure. Top 10 ... maybe. Hard to put a 17-year-old in the context of that list without being able to say "he was the youngest guy in full-season ball" or something. Mid-2012 is really aggressive.

Brian (Long Beach, CA)

Hey Keith, will Tyson Ross's mechanics need to be changed eventually? His delivery seems to rely on a lot of arm action without much follow-through.

Klaw
  (1:25 PM)

I hate his delivery. If delivery & arm action can cause injuries, his will. And I've never seen a premium second pitch.

Klaw
  (1:26 PM)

Bud in Manasquan: I'm not really sure what you're asking, but if you live near Lakewood, go see them when Jarred Cosart pitches. Apparently he's added a lot of velocity - I just heard he held 95-96 in a late-March start - and he might be the second-best prospect in that system all of a sudden.

Bobby (Worcester)

Klaw, will Papelbon continue to struggle without a second pitch? It seemed like he had a semi-effective splitter about 2 years ago that is gone and his slider is just bad.

Klaw
  (1:27 PM)

He won't throw the splitter - I don't know if it's gone, or if it bothers his hand to throw it, or if he just doesn't want to. But you can't get by on four-seamers alone.

St. Albans (DC)

Hultzen...what say you?

Klaw
  (1:27 PM)

First-rounder, at least, from what I'm told.

Chris (Chicago)

Keith, thoughts on Rasmus' plate discipline so far? Looks a bit more committed to taking a walk. If this keeps up, he could be a star this year!

Klaw
  (1:28 PM)

I saw good plate discipline from him last year - good at bats, good pitch recognition, but not necessarily the walk totals to prove it. But I believe(d) that would come in time. It's two games, though.

Steve (Boston, MA)

Too bad Mark Anastasio was forced to buy the Brewers at gunpoint, and then 10 million fans moved out of Milwaukee. Poor guy, I feel terrible for him. Next thing you know John Henry is going to complain about being a mid-market team.

Klaw
  (1:30 PM)

I feel worse for Attanasio that his evil twin sneaked into his office and approved the contracts for Suppan and Davis and Hoffman (10% of your payroll for a guy who'll throw 4% of your innings?) and Hart, but didn't try to extend Fielder before he became a top-10 bat. That must suck.

Howie (Golfsmith)

What are your thought on the Dodgers fastracking Dee Gordon to Double A?

Klaw
  (1:31 PM)

Mixed. I don't really think it's going to hurt him, but I see him as a one-level-at-a-time guy right now. He's still pretty slight physically and I didn't see an advanced approach that screamed out for a jump to the better pitching of AA.

Ryan (Milwaukee)

Isn't the Brewers inability to play Fielder at DH long term that makes it impossible for them to offer him fair market value as much as it is the overall money issue?

Klaw
  (1:31 PM)

I hadn't considered that, but it's a valid point.

Ray A. (San Francisco, CA)

How excited are you for the Lincecum-Heyward matchup on Sunday? I hope you will be watching!

Klaw
  (1:32 PM)

Weather permitting, I'll be in lovely Altoona watching some RH pitching prospect for the Nationals.

Rob (Toronto)

What were your impressions of Marcum's first outing? If he can regain his 2008 form could he be a legitimate #1 starter or is he more of a mid-rotation guy?

Klaw
  (1:33 PM)

I saw 2-3 innings - was his velocity off? That was a little worrisome. Great changeup, though.

Grant (Seattle)

Virginia Tech's Austin Wates gets selected in the ______ round of the draft?

Klaw
  (1:34 PM)

I wish I could say 1st, but they won't play him in center - apparently the coach claims Wates is their best defensive first baseman, so either Wates can't play center and the coach is falling on his sword for the kid, or the coach has no idea about how defense works.

Boomer (Chicago)

KLaw!! Is 'first week of November' a safe time to plan a trip to AZ for the Fall League? And what city is that in again?

Klaw
  (1:35 PM)

Starts second week in October, roughly, and runs into November. You won't see the best guys, some of whom will have left by then, but you'll see plenty of prospects. Teams are in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Peoria, and Surprise.

Eric (NJ)

Kyle Blanks - can he stay in the OF, and keep his avg at a respectable level...any current player you'd compare him to?

Klaw
  (1:35 PM)

No. Yes.

Rocco (Santa Barbara,CA)

With the Angels having 3 Quality Cathers. Which Cather has the most Trade Value?

Klaw
  (1:36 PM)

Tell me you're not calling Jeff Mathis a Quality Catcher.

Mike (San Diego)

Keith, on the heels of that Dee Gordon question, Jaff Decker seems like a guy whose approach would justify skipping a level to AA. Are the Pads just going to let him rake in the Cal League all season or is he a guy better served by facing more experienced pitching?

Klaw
  (1:36 PM)

If he rakes in the Cal League I bet he's in AA by June 1st.

DJ (Madison)

I know Attanasio has pushed for some salary controls in the past, but I *think* his recent statement was more of a matter of fact analysis that Yanks spend more in the IF than his team (its true). Respectfully, he nearly doubled payroll in just a few years, spent money on FA (albeit some not good ones), and hasnt just cashed the revenue sharing checks.

Klaw
  (1:37 PM)

But why bring up the Yankees at all in that context? He had to realize how it would be received by the media. There's an unspoken but, to me, obvious tone of complaint.

Scott (Wisconsin)

What is your prob. with the Brew Crew?

Klaw
  (1:38 PM)

None. I just think Attanasio was wrong to bring up the Yankees when complaining about his own team's situation. They've made too many financial mistakes to cry poverty in any context.

Mile (New York)

The Mets have chosen over the past few years to refuse to go over slot... one of the reasons I've heard is that they want to ingratiate themselves to the commisioner's office... what possible benefits can they get for doing this? and are there any penalties a team can receive for going over?

Klaw
  (1:39 PM)

No benefits to the team. The Mets have no nose, but their face is good and spited.

MJ (Toronto)

Lind's extension is an absolute steal, right? Second most team friendly deal in baseball (behind Longoria's)?

Klaw
  (1:39 PM)

Incredible deal for the team.

Dave (Portland, OR)

Are any of the Oregon State pitchers projected as early round picks?

Klaw
  (1:39 PM)

No.

julie wong ferra (ny)

Klaw...just trying to figure out why the Braves would trade Javy Vazquez, who was their best pitcher last year, and resign Tim Hudson, who came off major surgery last year. The money for 2010 was about the same, but Vazquez's contract expires at the end of 2010, and the Hudson has more years and dollars to go. Wouldn't it have been better to let Hudson go, or did they really need Melky Cabrera that much???

Klaw
  (1:41 PM)

I think they wanted to keep Hudson more or less at all costs, and then shopped Lowe and Vazquez, finding more takers for the latter because he had just one year left and is significantly better than the declining Lowe.

Todd (WI)

To be fair to Attanasio, he kinda got screwed on the Corey Hart contract

Klaw
  (1:41 PM)

Why? Because he forgot to non-tender him in December?

Rob (Bakersfield)

Have you read Murakami's Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World? Personally, I liked that one better than Kafka on the Shore (not as much as Wind-up Bird though). Any other Murakami suggestions?

Klaw
  (1:41 PM)

I preferred Kafka on the Shore to HBW. I've only read those three so far.

Nathan (Minnesota)

What is the Klaw Solution (tm) for shortening games? Do you think it's fair that umpires have singled out the Yanks and Sox for their slow play?

Klaw
  (1:43 PM)

My number one fix would be making hitters get back in the damn box. The PA guy could help enforce it. Hitter steps out, futzes with his gloves, PA guy says "get back in the damn box!" Stand in there until the at bat is over.

Kelsey (Groves, TX)

Klaw, what is your take on Jordan Lyles skipping Lancaster? Also did you happen to see his line against Round Rock? Round Rock isn't very good.

Klaw
  (1:44 PM)

That move made sense. The Cal League is a nightmare for pitchers and I wouldn't mess around with a talent like Lyles.

Jon (Cleveland)

Do you see Masterson as a starter long-term?

Klaw
  (1:44 PM)

No.

Mike (San Diego)

Keith, your thoughts on Logan Forsythe starting the season at 2B in AA? Maybe a big-league comp at that position and MLB ETA?

Klaw
  (1:45 PM)

Jon: No.

Klaw
  (1:45 PM)

Mike: Love it. Increases his value both to the team and if he should ever come up in trade talks. Chance to be an above-average player there, fringe All-Star upside.

Ben (Leland Grove)

How do you enforce the "get back in the damn box" rule? What's the penalty?

Klaw
  (1:45 PM)

Death.

Andrew (Rochester)

As a scout, what are your thoughts about pitchers like Nick Blackburn and Aaron Cook who have strong control but are high contact/high ground ball type pitchers? Is that kind of pitcher underrated or simply very rare/difficult to maintain? Why don't we see more of those kinds of guys?

Klaw
  (1:46 PM)

Most of those guys walk a real tightrope - they live by contact, and therefore by defense/luck on balls in play, and their margin for error if their stuff is off for a night or a month or a year is smaller.

Mitch (Chicago)

2010/2011 draft comparisons: Harper or Rendon? Taillon or Gray? How far are these guys apart?

Klaw
  (1:47 PM)

Rendon over Harper - the surer and closer thing, even though I am a big believer in Harper's long-term potential. Gray over Taillon.

Haris (Nashville, TN)

Not to keep harping on the Yankees payroll thing, but let's be honest, it's not like they've somehow worked hard and earned the biggest richest market in the country. MLB is a cartel that handed out 30 territorial monopolies, and the Yankees [and later Mets] were handed the best one. You can't seriously claim that most teams aren't at a serious competitive disadvantage.

Klaw
  (1:49 PM)

Teams are at a competitive disadvantage on the open market for free agents. There's a draft that controls costs and limits the number of premium players each team can acquire, and that's a pretty level playing field. If a team doesn't want to pony up to acquire young talent so that they don't have to flush money down the Suppan-Davis toilet, that's their own fault.

Matt (DC)

Keith quick Radiohead question. My friend and I were discussing greatest album of all time. He argued for OK Computer. I believe it is The Bends albeit I am biased towards early Radiohead. Bias aside, what's your scouts take?

Klaw
  (1:50 PM)

I'd take OK Computer.

Bryan (WI)

Mark A. could have easily inserted the Red Sox, Cubs, Mets, Angels or Cardinals in his comments. He just chose the team that, year in and out, has the highest payroll. The point I'm sure he was trying to make is that ANY large market team can drive up a players value so much, that it makes it virtually impossible (especially with Boras as an agent) for a small market team to sign that player and subsequently surround him with enough talent to compete at a playoff caliber level. I'm not saying that a high payroll buys you a world series (insert Cubs here), but it can surely increase the odds in your favor.

Klaw
  (1:53 PM)

There's so much wrong with that. Your team needs that one particular player to compete? It's impossible to sign a $20 million player on an $80-100 million payroll? How did the Rays and Rockies reach the World Series in recent years in this "virtually impossible" situation? Sure, the Yankees have better odds, but arguing that we should artificially reduce the Yankees' odds - which are largely structural - to make everything even strikes me as absurd. If you want more money to spend on players, field a better product. Even the Yankees didn't start ramping up payroll away from the pack until after they'd started winning in the late '90s.

Ed (San Diego)

Long Term in you opinion: Taillon, AJ Cole, Whitson, Covey? Thanks

Klaw
  (1:54 PM)

Taillon's the best now guy, but I'm a little partial to Whitson and wouldn't be shocked if he got there quickly and had the better career.

Ryan (Milwaukee)

Keith, they have been trying to lock up Fielder for years. Boras just doesn't sell off FA years easily, you know?

Klaw
  (1:54 PM)

Understood - so trade him for players you can lock up. You don't HAVE to have Fielder. And that's not exactly a skill set and body that's going to age well.

Nick (NYC)

Love the draft coverage, Keith. Thoughts on if any of the following can bump up to the 1st Round come June? Foltynewicz, Aviles, Ziomek?

Klaw
  (1:55 PM)

Folty could. Been a lot of buzz on him in the last week.

Mike T. (San Diego)

Did Eddie Vedder kick your dog or something? You seem to have a solid distaste for all things Pearl Jam.

Klaw
  (1:56 PM)

I don't like their music. Is that bias, or just good taste?

Barry (Chicago)

Keith, thanks for taking the question. I've been watching the 1st three Giants games and what gets me excited is that it looks like they are actually being more patient at the plate as compared to last year. Do you think a change in hitting coaches can make a big difference in their offense (within reason -- to at least approaching league average).

Klaw
  (1:56 PM)

They played the Astros for three games. That's not exactly the barometer you want to use.

John T (Eagan, Mn)

One thing I would say is somewhat "unfair" is territorial rights, in that there can't be a third team in NY, or the A's can't move to San Jose. Harrison would agree with me.

Klaw
  (1:59 PM)

I agree as well. But there's a flip side to that argument that no one wants to discuss - we have seen cities lose major sports franchises when their populations or demographics no longer supported them. Maybe Milwaukee and Cincinnati aren't, or won't be in the next 20-30 years, big enough to support an MLB team. If it wasn't for publicly-funded boondoggle stadiums and an antitrust exemption that allows MLB to prohibit franchise relocation, would the current alignment of teams and cities still be in place? I'm guessing at least one current small-market team would relocate if Selig went to the podium tomorrow and said, "Relocation. GO!"

Joe (Chico, CA)

Please help Keith! Sorry I've sent this a few times, but really wanted to get an answer from you. On your breakout players list you had three AL pitchers, but none from the NL. Were any under consideration or any you would add? Either starters or relievers? Thanks!

Klaw
  (2:01 PM)

Didn't have any worthy of the list. Esmailin Caridad would interest me if I was playing fantasy, since I could see him in a 9th inning role for someone, but he's a rookie and I excluded them from the list.

Misty (Atl)

If I have a ten year old son that is really good at baseball, when do you think is the right time to put him on travel teams, get private coaching, etc.

Klaw
  (2:03 PM)

I'd be very wary of anyone who asked me for money for coaching or to attend any showcase events. If your son is that good, he'll be seen by the right people, and I'm not sure how any parent can evaluate the quality of a private coach - there are just as many bad coaches (who can actually screw up a player, or even increase the chances of injury) as good ones.

Dave (Somerville, MA)

Wouldn't Mark Attanasio's comments carry a lot more weight if he opened his books to a legit audit? Tangibly prove how tough it is being a small city owner. Of course, we know that's not going to happen ...

Klaw
  (2:03 PM)

Love that idea.

Andres (GA)

Would it be smart for the Braves to lock up Heyward to 5-6 year contract right now kind of like the Rays did with Longoria?

Klaw
  (2:04 PM)

It would be brilliant to lock him up to a 7-year deal, thus removing the objection to having Heyward start the year in the majors as opposed to sending him down for two weeks to push off his free agency.

Sean (New Lenox, IL)

Keith, do you really believe Boras tells his clients what to do, not what they should do? Isn't it far more likely he takes the criticism instead of the players, who he, after all, works for?

Klaw
  (2:05 PM)

I do not believe that Scott tells his players what to do. He gives advice, and he has the track record to make players listen. But if a player says "I want to sign," he signs.

Scott (WI)

Milwaukee not big enough to support a MLB team? They just brought in 3 million fans during a season they didn't make the playoffs and were below .500. Give them even a .500 team and the city will support them, which is more than you can say about many teams.

Klaw
  (2:06 PM)

Year after a playoff appearance. There's a lag in attendance and revenues. And I just used Milwaukee as an example because it's one of the smallest MSAs in MLB.

Mark R (Moscow, ID)

Intentionally or not, Creed really showed me what was bad about Pearl Jam. Scott Stapp is like walking a parody of Eddie Vedder, who for some reason thinks singing only with your throat is the quickest route to emotional impact.

Klaw
  (2:07 PM)

Ouch. But I can't dispute it. Maybe Creed was actually meant as a parody to expose PJ?

Chris (Baltimore)

Just tell me your not siding with the Yankees because you work for ESPN and its only the 3rd day of baseball and ESPN has already forced the Sox/Yankees on us twice. You know it and I know it that ESPN loves the fact that the Yanks and Sox spend all that money.

Klaw
  (2:08 PM)

Yes, that's why ESPN forced me to go to Florida in March to cover the Yankees and Red So ... oh, wait, no. I went to Arizona just to avoid the circus.

Simon (Philadelphia)

Don't forget to keep commenting on your '90s list blog post. We love to read your answers! :)

Klaw
  (2:09 PM)

Will do.

Bob (Tinley Park, IL)

Your Songs of 2000s post was amazing...thoughts on The Godfathers?

Klaw
  (2:09 PM)

Couldn't name a song besides "Birth, School, Work, Death."

Mark (Madison, WI)

3 million Wisconsonians will go practically anywhere that sells beer and hot dogs.

Klaw
  (2:10 PM)

You say that like it's a bad thing.

Paul (Denver)

Not that I disagree that Attanasio shouldn't have brought up the Yankees but isn't the point that the Yankees can afford mistakes in who they pay and how much while other teams don't have that leeway with the system how it is?

Klaw
  (2:12 PM)

Draft and develop better and you don't have to make mistakes like Suppan. The Brewers have a pretty sad track record when it comes to developing their own pitching in recent years, between guys getting hurt (many of whom had awful mechanics) and guys who can't pitch (Frederickson and Lintz, the twin terrors of their '08 draft, both come to mind). I'm not counting '09, since they changed their approach and Arnett has a chance to defy those odds.

TJ (NYC)

I love the fact that you put up all of the negative things people have to say about you. Shows up mere Humans how great the Klaw really is.P.S. PJ rules and Oasis sucked!

Klaw
  (2:13 PM)

You had me until the P.S.

Nick (Milwaukee)

I'm treking to Boston in June. Got any cheap eat & drink recommendations? Can I buy you a brewski?

Klaw
  (2:14 PM)

Someone mentioned Parish Cafe on Twitter the other day - that's a great downtown spot, lets you sample dishes conceived by some of the city's best chefs at lower prices.

Adam (Ft Wayne)

Klaw, Can you post the link to your 90's song post? Thanks.

Klaw
  (2:16 PM)

http://meadowparty.com/blog/?p=1267. And while I'm posting links, we have a new Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/ESPN_MLBDraft) dedicated strictly to the draft, where we'll post links to all posts on the draft blog and information that's too short for a post or too important to hold till the next one.

Klaw
  (2:17 PM)

Thanks for all the questions. I should be back at the usual time next week, and I'll be on ESPN Radio's Baseball Tonight sometime in the 7:00 hour EDT tonight.