Originally, this chat was going to be with a man with nine legs ... but he ran away. So, instead, it's Klawchat.
Draft Question: Hey Keith, are you hearing any names associated with the A's at pick #10?
Two I've heard so far are Dylan Covey and Michael Choice, but I can also say that I'm not sure any team after Arizona (6) has a great handle on what's getting to them. As of right now, I'd guess we go Harper 1, Machado 2, Taillon 3, Grandal or Chris Sale 4 (but that's the most doubtful prediction of these), Pomeranz 5. That leaves Arizona looking at Choice, Brentz, and Cox, at least. Best player left on my board at that point would be Whitson.
After the 2008 season, it seemed like expectations on Phil Hughes were being tempered -- maybe he wasn't as good as the Yankees had predicted. This season (and last) he's been the real deal. What's his ceiling at this point? Thank you.
Number 1 or 2 starter ceiling. He's a different guy now - the addition of the cutter not only gives him another weapon but offsets the straight four-seamer; he seems to have benefited from the apprenticeship in the bullpen, which may be tied to his increased confidence and aggressiveness. I saw him several times prior to 2009 and he was primarily a two-pitch guy whose fastball didn't move and who didn't handle adversity well; now he's a 3-4 pitch guy with the cutter to keep hitters from sitting on the four-seamer and who doesn't seem so easily fazed. I'm not sure that the starter->reliever->starter thing was ever the Yanks' plan, but it's working out and I hope it encourages more teams to break in young starters as relievers.
Keith, the National Post in Toronto had a story that the Jays were violating rules by "negotiating" with Adonis Cardona before July 2nd, and that MLB had received complaints from five other teams. Did the Jays break rules? Does every team do this type of thing? Would there be any consequence?
Yes, they broke a rule (assuming my report that they have a deal with him is accurate, which I believe it is). Yes, every team operating in Latin America does this sort of thing. I don't want a worldwide draft but putting some structure on international free agency would be a very good thing. In the meantime, I don't blame Toronto for acting in their own self-interest and giving the player a dollar figure he wasn't likely to get from other clubs. They're happy. He's happy. Who exactly has been wronged here?
Did you see Neyer last week trying to match your snarkiness in his chat? It was good, but not KLaw good. Just thought you should know. Do you think we could start a new phrase of KLaw good? Like Simmons has hot vs press box hot?
I don't care how Neyer performed in his chat. I've seen Neyer chats, and the questions in Neyer chats just aren't very good. Anyone who knows how to ask a question is in Klawchats. So guys like Rob are facing four-A questions.
Bob Brenly brought this up last year as something he wanted to do while managing: Have all his fielders stand behind the pitcher to block out the batters eye. If the fielders are wearing white, wouldn't that work? Is that legal?
I can see why he's not managing any more. Well, that and bunting his 2-hole hitter in front of Luis "57 home runs" Gonzalez.
Lars Andersen is currently hitting .409 on balls in play this year. Do the rules of BABIP hold for minor league stats as well?
Excellent question to which I do not know the answer - but I would not be surprised if we saw hitters' BABIPs at extreme levels in the minors. A hitter who can maintain a .350 BABIP in the majors might easily post a .400 one in the minors, no?
Keith, which prospect do you as having a better career ( with the bat)? Castro or Jesus Montero? Thanks.
Bat only? Montero.
Did Kyle Blair's almost no-hitter this past weekend turn any heads in the scouting world? Any chance he slips into the 1st round still?
A single performance isn't going to materially affect a draft prospect's status. I doubt he ends up in the first round; he's not in my top 100, not even in the updated one going up tomorrow.
KLAW,I'm looking into a sports MBA program at San Diego St...I figure, worst case scenario, it's an MBA from a good school, and it might be a foot in the door into professional sports. Any advice on whether this would be a good idea or not? I know you're an MBA and former baseball exec, so I felt like your advice would be helpful. Thanks in advance!
I don't believe any graduate degree is necessary or even particularly helpful for breaking into baseball. I had a good time at Tepper and learned a lot, but its relevance to baseball was slim at best.
What do you make of Gary Brown's numbers this year(449/495/719)? Could he go mid first round?
Mid first round seems rich. Back of the first, maybe. 80 runner, plus glove in center, has bat speed, not likely to hit for power with wood, doesn't walk (or strike out). Very high-probability big leaguer but unless he learns to walk or shows his swing will translate to wood I don't see the star potential I would demand of a mid-first-round pick.
How far in the First Round of the Draft do you think Austin Wilson falls to Due to his commitment to Stanford?
Highest I've heard him is 11 with Toronto, but their mix is pretty broad. Latest rumor is that he's showing more interest in signing.
I notice Jacob Turner is no longer listed as one of your top 20 prospects. Is this solely because of the arm injury he experienced, or have you seen something else that has caused his star to dim in your eyes?
I'm not sure what list you're talking about, as Turner wasn't in my top 20 this winter.
Some sort of rift between Klaw and Neyer???
You may have missed the joke.
Hey Keith, did you watch Dale Scott make a mockery of the strike zone yesterday at Fenway Park? It was a joke -- i don't understand how MLB can let umps get away with being that bad.
There's no accountability for umps. What is MLB going to do? Have they ever disciplined an ump for, say, raging incompetence? It's not a priority for them and they have no process in place to handle bad umps.
Information on Cardona seems scarce, can you give a brief scouting report?
Can't find anyone who likes him as much as Toronto does - not that this should surprise us, since they apparently are outbidding everyone by a lot of coin. One scout I talked to had him as a good two-pitch reliever, chance for a plus curveball, some physical projection, arm action didn't thrill him.
I'm seeing a lot of talk about a slotting system in the draft. That would obviously help the smaller-market teams be able to afford Rule 4 picks, but what about in foreign scouting? Will there be a slotting system for that as well? Would more restrictions in foreign development help boost smaller-market teams?
Smaller-market teams (really, we're talking lower-revenue teams) haven't been hurt by the absence of slotting or the absence of a worldwide draft, now that several of them have wised up and started spending more in those two areas. There's a reason Kansas City's farm system is as strong as it's been in a decade - they're identifying and paying premium talents.
How would I find out the context of a player's minor league stats? For example, the Astros skipped Lyles to Corpus Christi because the level below that is a hitter's haven. However, if it wasn't for your analysis, I might look at the Astros' hitters in that league and not know that their stats are inflated by the league.
You can find minor league park factors through a Google search. I also find it useful, especially for college players, to see how well the team has hit as a whole. For example, if Michael Choice was only, say, third on his team in SLG, I'd be a little concerned that his raw power wasn't as good as reported. (Completely hypothetical example.)
I am bored down here. These players stink.
I hope you're still working on your delivery from the stretch, even though you never have anyone on base.
Will the Phills getting 3 extra home games show the Mets front office that toeing the line with the draft has resuled in nothing from Bud and Co?
I never made that connection ... but I like it.
Sign stealing controversy: please say that you agree with me that it shouldn't be an issue at all.
Yes. Pretty sure Old Hoss used field glasses back in the day to identify the best place in which to hit an opposing batter.
Rob Rasmussen is not a flame thrower by any means, but he controls his pitches well. Do you see him being a quick mover through the minors?
The issue with Rasmussen has been control - he's got four pitches and I think you have to let him start despite his diminutive stature. Probably quick to AA, but has to make some adjustments at that level.
Since you're dealing with so many anonymous sources (that obviously require to remain as such), is it ever tempting to embellish a little bit or distort the information a little bit to lean in the direction of your own opinion? Or on the other hand, cite several anonymous sources who fervently disagree with you, just to make your own argument that much more compelling?
Probably a better question for someone who quotes sources more often than I do. I'd never alter a quote, or even paraphrase it in a slanted way. At that point, I have to present it as my own opinion.
When does Domonic Brown get the call? He's tearing the cover off the ball...
Where are you going to put him? I can't see them benching Ibanez. And I doubt you want to mess with the guy in right ... or his beard.
What have you heard about Brett Eibner's draft status? He is having a huge year at the plate, and it seems like he could be drafted as a hitter more than a pitcher...Also, what have you heard about Drew Smyly's draft status?
Consensus is still that he's on the mound in pro ball, not in center. Smyly's 4th-5th round for me. I'll see both guys at the SEC tourney.
Keith, Matt Szczur, Villanova's two sport star, has been getting a fair amount of local press lately and some national coverage for his off the field deeds. My question is have you heard of him and is he a legit big league prospect?
Heard of him. Not a legit big league prospect. Very impressive human being, though.
Thanks for sticking with me KLaw! You were one of the handful still in my corner this spring.
I just don't believe in walking away from a prospect I've seen and liked after one bad year that doesn't match previous performance. There will be times that I'm wrong with that approach but I prefer to trust my gut.
Is Mike Trout's early start in the Midwest League historic and is he already a top 20 prospect in baseball?
"Historic?" Are you his publicist? And yes, he is.
In the April 29th chat you were asked about the decrease of African Americans in baseball. In your answer you mentioned, "I have noted that they're evaluated differently, but I don't see a systemic disadvantage." Can you please elaborate on how they are evaluated differently?
African-American players are often presumed to be athletic, and by extension, not as smart or heady. You're more often to hear a minority player criticized for laziness or lack of effort/desire than a white player. White players are scrappy, they play hard, they play "the right way" (rhymes with "the white way!"). And so on. These stereotypes are unfair to ALL players, since the smart black player who's a below-average runner will be overlooked just as easily as the fast, athletic white kid who's really raw at the plate.
Signs of life from Devin Mesoraco this year. Is he finally maybe starting to come around?
It's amazing, but so far, so good. I don't give up on guys after one bad year ... after two, though, I'm out the door.
Where's Wallace? Overbay is not good.
We need a term for where these guys are - Super Two purgatory. Supergatwory?
Trout is not the only teenager impressing in the MWL. Look at Matt Davidson. He's not the athlete Trout is, but he's raking.
He is, and he's another favorite of mine from the draft (loved his swing), but if you see him ask him to take a walk every now and then.
Any prospects on Florida State and is this the year Mike Martin finally wins it all?
Some guys whom I'd rank between 101 and 200 - Holt, McGee, Gast. Could see Holt go 2nd/3rd round, I just wouldn't take him there.
How many different scouts does a team typically use in evaluating a single prospect?
Draft? Depends on how high, but most teams would want five to seven different people to see a potential first-rounder.
Kyle Gibson promoted to AA. Replaces Pavano next year?
Yes. I wouldn't be surprised to see him up for the stretch run. Maybe a bullpen apprenticeship?
Hey KLAW, how about having another auction to sit and scout with you at a 2011 Spring Training game here in AZ?
I'd be game. Fall League might work even better. If I can use my time to raise that kind of money for a good cause, I'm all for it. By the way, the current auction to come scout a game with me in New England is still open until May 22nd: http://klaw.me/9mInO4 Bidding is currently at $525.
Keith, have you ever scouted Jon Ely? Very small sample size but he seems to have good control (no walks the last two outings) and sits around 88-89. Can he be anything more than a back end of the rotation guy?
That's all he is, if that.
It seems like the White Sox got a lot of criticism last year for absorbing the contract of Alex Rios. He's been pretty exciting to watch so far this year -- his bat has been red hot and he looks like he will steal 40+ bases and give above average defense in center. Do you think he will prove to be a good value at what the Sox are paying him?
I don't know if he'll ever be "a good value," but I never thought 2009 was an accurate reflection of his abilities.
Can/will anything be done about the SuperTwo category in the next CBA?
Everyone I talk to in the industry assumes it's going to be eliminated somehow. They disagree on how, of course.
Klaw, which pitcher in the Brewers system has the highest ceiling? Eric Arnett, Jake Odorizzi or Willy Peralta?
Who has impressed you more: Austin Jackson or Jason Heyward?
Heyward. A .495 BABIP (for AJax) isn't impressive; it's flukish.
Just curious, what is the charity the proceeds are going for?
WGBH, our local PBS station here in Boston, and a major producer of children's programming.
It looks like Cashner will hit Chicago sometime soon. Would you break him in as a starter or reliever? How about Jay Jackson?
I'd break both guys in as a reliever - but in my corner of reality, breaking a guy in as a reliever does not permanently consign him to the bullpen.
I've long felt that Derek Holland would be the Rangers best starter by the end of this season. Are you with me, or am I way out on a limb?
I could see it. I'm definitely a believer.
Have you ever used an e-Reader? Any recommendations?
Maybe I'm showing my age, but I like books. The actual feel of a book, of flipping pages, of seeing how far to the end of the chapter, the end of the book. Of the satisfaction of putting one back on the shelf, or of selling or trading one that I hated. And even once throwing a book against the wall because I thought the ending was so utterly, predictably miserable. Try THAT with your Kindle.
Hey Keith, if you were a big-time high school baseball player, how would you decide where you went to college? I know academics will play a role, but if you're a pitcher, don't you see track records of guys from Rice, Texas, or BC and how the coaches abuse them and stay away? If you're a hitter, don't you avoid Stanford since you claim they help you forget how to hit? Just wondering how you would decide where you'd go if you were a hitter or pitcher, and what schools would be on your list.
I tell nearly all big-time HS players to go play pro ball. The guys who should go to college are the ones who still have so much physical or emotional development ahead of them that they need the three years of school or that teams simply aren't willing to pay them significant bonuses out of high school.
When you break a young pitcher in as a reliever how do you transition him into a starter? Using him in long relief would make sense. But the Rangers have brought Feliz along as a 9th inning guy so how would they transition him into a starting role?
The classic, Earl Weaver method had the kid in long relief, so he'd be stretched out to, say, 3 innings already before the transition.
Any chance Whitson falls to the Padres at 9?
Yes, a good chance.
Scott Mathieson has been hitting 96-98 consistently all year here in Lehigh Valley and has given up 1 run in 16 IP - is he the answer to Madson and (inevitably) Lidge hitting the DL?
I'm shocked they haven't recalled him yet.
I think Dennis in LA was referring to the iPad.
I finally saw an iPad in action on a flight last week. I'm not really sure what I need that for - and it costs more than my netbook.
OK random question: do you know who the real-life genius is behind Old Hoss's Twitter account?
More annoying? Mock drafts in April or "You heard it hear first" writing in April about draft prospects prominently displayed for almost a year (sometimes longer)?
Mock drafts in April give "mock drafts" a bad ... well, a worse name. No team except maybe the one picking first has any idea who they're taking in mid-April.
Can we stop all this talk about how great Austin Jackson looks? Don't people realize that BRETT GARDNER is 4th in the league in hitting?
Oh, no, Brett Gardner is for real. Just ask the Yankeeverse.
Zach Braddock of the AAA Brewers taking over the setup-role for the Brewers? Thoughts? This guy is the Daniel Bard (2K/inn) of the NL.
Yes. He might be their long-term closer answer. By the way, any time you can pay a closer $8 million to post a 12 ERA, you have to do it, right?
KLaw, have you heard any names with who the Red Sox are interested in drafting? Any bonus babies, like Westermoreland, who they love and are willing to go over slot to sign?
Very few players have put out dollar figures yet. That'll come about two weeks before the draft. Red Sox will take the best player available, preferably a high-ceiling guy, likely not a high school RHP ... which is true of them just about every year, right?
Yea, but you can play Monopoly on the iPad. I know because I just wasted half my weekend doing exactly that. Do that with your so called "book."
I can do that on my computer. By the way, I did learn that a Catan port is coming for iPad. That was tempting for about five seconds.
Consider this my letter of protest to your continually bashing Rice's treatment of pitchers. That practice stopped after Joe Savery's freshman year and Coach Graham has changed with the times. Feel free to bash his past treatment, but he should at least get some kudos for eventually changing (unlike a certain Coach at Texas, who incidentally just had to temporarily suspend a player who tried to buy alcohol underage).
Right. Because Cole St. Clair hurt himself "weightlifting."
If the draft were held tomorrow, how far do you think Ranaudo would fall?
How could you take him in the first round unless you know he's healthy? And what are the odds teams get to examine his elbow or at least his medical records before the draft? Answer: Not good. If he's not lights-out at the SEC tournament, I'd probably pass on him in the first round because of the opportunity cost. (I suppose if you wanted to punt the pick, you could take him, then back out when your doctors flunk him. Shady, though.)
Still think Tim Beckham can turn it around?
If Mesoraco can turn it around, any 20/21-year-old player who isn't dead still has time turn it around.
How about reports that the Cubs may be about to promote Jay Jackson from AAA to their pen? Cashner was great again last night in his AAA debut, and again, the Cubs seem ready to promote him soon as well to fix their bullpen. So I guess this is a 2-part question- a.) what are you're thoughts on those players in the M.L. this year, and b.) what do you think of the Cubs aggressive promotion of prospects to try and "save" this season? Always appreciate your insight. Thanks.
A) No issue with either guy debuting in the pen this year. They're ready or close enough to it. B) Hate it. It's usually not just "save the season" but "save my job" for the GM. And it typically fails.
Percent chance the Pirates pass on Taillon? 95% since he's a high school pitcher?
I don't see them taking him, for that reason. They'll take lots of high school arms later on. I'd take Machado over Taillon myself.
You wouldn't sit Ibanez for Dom Brown...ok, but I think you are forgetting one thing, Ibanez sucks.
I would sit Ibanez, but I don't think the Phillies would. Brown may have to wait for an injury. Or they could promote him to Triple-A, where he can put up stats that don't mean anything because the pitching there isn't very good.
If you were the Giants GM, when would you bring Posey up? Also, how do you server your quinoa if you eat it for breakfast? I tend to add a bit more olive oil and some brown sugar, but was looking for other ideas.
I would have had Posey up on Opening Day. Molina's out-of-character hot start notwithstanding, Posey makes them a better team. (While we're at it, hey Brian, running down your top prospect to the media and by extension the fans isn't such a hot idea, you know? Maybe you should just stop talking.) Cook it in milk (or coconut milk) and add maple syrup and brown sugar. Which puts it somewhere between breakfast and dessert.
Is your email address listed somewhere? You have commented in past chats for people to email you and I don't see an address anywhere.
I have a mailbag, but I get more emails than I can answer, so I can't promise everyone a response. If you want to give me a try, it's here: http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/mailbag/_/id/15332
Keith, any names that are starting to get attached to the Reds in the first round?
Nothing yet. I hate to keep repeating myself, but outside of the top 11 and the very scattered rumor (like the Astros loving DeShields, possibly at 19), there's too much uncertainty to attach players to teams right now.
What's your take on Ken Griffey's nap? Who's at fault here? I think the Mariner's treatment of the guy who wrote the story is immature and nothing more than misdirected anger.
Just release him already. Signing him before '09 was a mistake. Signing him this winter compounded it. Turn the page.
KLaw, you were so off with your assessment of Alexi Ramirez and David Murphy...I was supposed to work today, but I'm just going to spending the afternoon punches All Star ballots for those two. Why do you hate the Cardinals?
Finally a Reds question.........I know by doing this I will only receive a whitty response!!! Reds draft plans?
If you want a whitty response, go ask Ernie. I think he'll know.
Keith, It's well documented when you prospect experts and scouts are right about a player (Longoria, Mauer) or wrong about a player (Delmon Young, Alex Gordon). Can you name for us some of the biggest stars in the majors that weren't on anyone's prospect lists?
I don't think anyone really bought Ian Kinsler's rise until he got to the big leagues. Most guys who fit your question will be lower-round picks - it's confirmation bias (I think), where the fact that the industry didn't really like a guy in the draft carries over to how well they (we) like him in pro ball.
Hey Keith, looks like all the Steel City has left to cheer for is the Buccos...yikes!. My question is regarding Pedro Alvarez...is he more likely to be a Ryan Howard type (MVP's and HR titles) or Adam Dunn (feast or famine) in the big leagues?
You act like those two guys are substantially different.
Drew Cumberland is putting up some impressive stats in "A" ball so far. I guess the question on him is if he can stay healthy and if he has the arm to play SS. Might you have a projection for this 21 year old Padre?
Probably ends up at 2B. Solid-average regular or a little better. Looked slower when I saw him this spring.
I know the album came out a few months ago, but have you checked out Broken Bells? If so, comments?
Just "The High Road," which I heard the other day for the first time (and liked).
Have you heard of any teams trying to lose late in the season to try and get a #1 draft pick? For instance the nationals are getting some huge benefits in Strasburg and potentially Harper.
Terrible strategy. Too hard to predict the next season's draft in most cases. Strasburg was an unusual case. And what if someone else tanks better than you? Pittsburgh picks second this year in a draft with one clear top guy. Last year they picked fourth in a two-superstar draft. It's not that easy to game this system.
KLaw, ever read any Murakami? Just wrapped up Sputnik Sweetheart and really enjoyed it.
Just finished Norwegian Wood, will write it up on the dish this weekend. Not as good as Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.
KLAW you appear much kinder on television than you do in your chats. Which do I believe??????
I hope that by now most of you realize I am trying to entertain you in these chats.
Of course they should release him. That's obvious. I'm more interested in your views on how the situation around the nap has been handled. Who's in the wrong; the sources, the writer, the players who are freezing out the writer, the manager for backing Griffey (but lying in the process)?
OK, I misunderstood. I don't blame the sources - they're frustrated players who want to win and realize Griffey's not only hurting them on the field but not even putting in the effort. The writer was doing his job. The team isn't handling it that well, and Mike Sweeney should shut up and worry about his own offensive ineptitude.
Thanks for all the questions - back to draft writing. Next week's chat won't be on Thursday, since I'll be at a game that afternoon, but I will chat at some point before the week is out.