VORP, WAR, UZR, DER/Freaking statistics/How do they work?
Your take on the Hanley situation?
Talked about this with Mike & Mike today - I'm about 100% behind Fredi on this one. GM/ownership has to back up the manager all the way here.
At what point does Brian Sabean get fired? He gave the crazy contracts to Zito and Rowand, traded FOR Sidney Ponson, traded Liriano, Nathan, and Bonser for a year's worth of AJ Pierzynski, and publicly bashes his organization's best prospect for no reason.
You know what he should do? Trade Posey. They obviously don't want him, and they don't think they need him. Imagine the prospect bidding war that Boston and Tampa Bay would get into right now if Posey was available.
I believe the members of the baseball writers association that do not vote for first time hall of fame ballot members because they dont believe anybody should get in at 100% vote need to be outed and challenged for that insane point of view
While I agree that the POV is flawed, and it reeks of showboating on the voters' part, there's no actual distinction between Hall of Famers based on their vote totals or years on the ballot. It's controversial, but the real-world impact is nil.
How does your time breakdown nowadays between College/HS/Majors/Minors/Time off, with the draft rapidly approaching?
For the next three weeks I'll be almost 100% draft focused. Not sure what "Time off" is.
Are we allowed to ask draft questions? If so, what are your thoughts on Arkansas' Zack Cox? Offensive upside? Does he move to 2B at the big league level?
By all means. Don't see 2b with that lower half. Advanced hitter who has shown power in the past, needs to prove he can make adjustments within the at bat to switch between contact and power depending on the pitch and situation. I think it's an All-Star bat at third. Goes somewhere between the 7th and 15th picks.
How close was Chris Carter to making the top 25?
Considered him, but he's struggled so far in AAA, particularly with contact, which was my main objection with him heading into 2009.
Speaking of the draft... what are your thoughts on Chris Sale's mechanics? I recently saw a scouting video and, well, ow. It looked like an injury waiting to happen.
I don't love the arm action, but this idea that arm action guarantees injury has to die. It's all probability, and there have been pitchers with subpar mechanics who've pitched in the majors for several years before getting hurt, as well as plenty of pitchers with "clean" arm actions who got hurt anyway. Back to Sale, I'm more concerned that he's a sidearming lefty without much of a breaking ball. If you knew nothing about him but that one sentence, what would you say he was in the big leagues?
KLAW - what are the chances of Werth re-upping with Philly, trading Ibanez, & replacing him with Domonic Brown? Pipedream?
Ibanez has been below-average for about 3/4 of a season now, since the hot start ended last year ... hard to see much of a market for him unless they eat all the coin.
Mike Minor is striking guys out like crazy, at 13.1 per 9 innings. Is he doing anything differently, or is it more a function of being more polished than the guys he's facing? Was he ever supposed to be a big K guy?
Throwing harder - a good 2-3 mph harder - with the accompanying drop in command. The questions are: Can he improve his command without giving up the newfound velo? And can he maintain the velo for a full season? If the answers to both are "yes," his ceiling would jump to that of a #2 starter.
Tyler Colvin looks like a completely different player from last year. Early season luck or possibly the norm?
He has 60 AB. The sample is useless.
I was surprised Flores didn't make your top 25.I know he can't stay at SS but could he not be ok at a corner in the infield or outfield. His bat seems really special.
Has to prove he can play 3b, and while he's mashing he's also repeating the level. He was the last cut from the list, though.
Have you heard anything regarding who the Mets may be targeting at #7? Grandal and Pomeranz are the guys I'm hoping will be available to them.
Grandal's not in their mix - Jason wrote that last week. Pom Pom doesn't get there - Cleveland won't pass on him at five. That leaves largely prep arms and a few college bats, especially if Arizona ends up taking McGuire at 6.
So, exactly how many guys were "the last cut from the list"?
Uh ... one. Flores.
What are you hearing about the Astros draft plans at 8, 19, and 33? They desperately need impact prospects! Are Cox, Colon, and Bedrosian reasonable projections?
The only name I've heard strongly attached to them is DeShields, could be at 8 or 19. I do know they like Deglan, but there's a slight chance he's gone at 19 and they're not taking him at 8. Colon same thing, probably gone by 19, not going higher than 10 or 11.
Any idea who profiles as a late first round pick in the 28-30 range, or is it too early/dependent on team philosophy to project?
I think the picks from 21-32 (the back of the round) are going to be all over the board. Wouldn't be shocked to see multiple players outside my top 100 chosen there. There's so little consensus beyond the first 10-15 players. I've heard Ryan Lamarre is getting strong interest from the Yanks at 32 on down ... I saw him quite a bit last summer and I'm not sure he's a top 150 guy for me.
"Not sure what 'time off' is? That better not be a complaint. If it is, I am sure it is awful to watch baseball all day. My heart goes out to you.
Watching baseball is just part of the job.
Brennan Boesch -- obviously his numbers will fall in the weeks ahead, but what can we expect long-term from this guy? Everday LF or is he Marcus Thames?
Below-average as an everyday guy. I'm not calling him a fluke but I do smell fish...
The whole Brian Cushing vote in the NFL is pretty much the nail in the coffin regarding the media's hypocrisy on PEDs in baseball and football, right?
Yes. Double standard, defined.
have you seen jesse biddle the lhp from philadelphia pitch? what are your thoughts on him and do you think he would be best served going to college?
Big kid with some present velo (up to 93) and well below average command. College might be the path to get him more money in a signing bonus, but I think any kid with now size & velocity is better off in pro ball, where the development eye is on the long term, not the next 30 months.
Does Tony Wolters have a shot a being a major league regular at 2B, or is more likely to become a bench player?
A shot, yes, but I'd bet on a bench role. Very overrated for me.
Ricketts has been talking a lot about math and statistical analysis. Do you expect him to clean house after this year and bring someone like you in?
He hasn't called, if that's what you're asking. Seriously, new owner firing a GM after a year is a pretty common occurrence in the sport. If they don't perform on the field, Hendry's probably in trouble.
Despite LaMarre not being in your top 150, would you sign off on the Yanks picking him at 32 and giving him Randy Winn's spot? I assume LaMarre can hit a 93 mph fastball when he knows its coming, right?
Can't the same be said for Hosmer...He is repeating a level after a disapointing year and is mashing this year as well. Or does it balance out since Hosmer had 3 excuses last year (park/eyes/injury). Flores only really had one age.
The hand & vision issues were pretty significant for me.
Can Colon stay st SS?
Clutch Hitting - research proves it doesn't exist at the pro level, but does it exist a lower levels (HS, college, minors)? I'm thinking back to small samples here obviously, but my memories tell me certain guys I played HS baseball and rec league softball either can or can't handle clutch moments. Testament to the mental approach big leaguers have?
The issue with clutch hitting isn't about players who might produce worse in clutch situations - it's about the post hoc imputing of clutch ability to players who happen to have a few big hits in "clutch" situations when, given enough reps, few if any players have this ability to elevate their game when it "counts." I would argue that most players who play worse under pressure just won't pan out anyway, since there's so much pressure in a typical MLB at bat, and that's probably why we don't see much downside variation.
Time to give up on Cale Iorg?
I was never on him in the first place, sorry.
How close was Tanner Scheppers to making the top 25?
I wouldn't put a reliever in the top 25. I'm not sure if I've ever had a pure reliever in the top 50 in an offseason list. (Feliz is still there because I believe he has the tools and ability to start, and at least as recently as March the Rangers were still talking about him as a starter long-term.)
Klaw, what is it about Mike Montgomery that keeps him out of your top 25, from a scouting perspective? It seems like he has performed well enough.
There have to be at least a half-dozen guys like him who were in the mix for the last few spots. Simon Castro is another. It's not that I dislike any of them; I like the upsides of the guys I listed more.
Storen or Scheppers?
Depends on your timeframe. The next six years? Storen. To get the guy at the plate right now? Probably Scheppers.
Who, if anyone, is likely to drop siginifcantly in the draft because of signability concerns?
We're just starting to get that info from players. Austin Wilson & AJ Vanegas have strong Stanford commitments. Zach Lee is telling scouts he wants to go to school to play football and baseball - that it's not money, it's about school
Kyle Gibson would go where if the first round were redrafted today? What is his upside?
He was probably a top 10 pick if he'd been healthy on draft day.
Supposedly the Royals are seriously considering calling up Moustakas as early as this weekend, what part of the process does this fall under? Do you think he stays at 3rd?
I think you asked this on Twitter - I can't find anything about this, and it seems ... well, particularly nuts. They didn't like Gordon's defense at third, so they're replacing him with a pillar of salt? (OK, the pillar has a 7 arm, but still...)
Do the concerns about Pomeranz's velocity drop increase the chances that the Pirates take Machado?
He's got a strained pec. There's no evidence anything's wrong with his arm. He should just skip his next start, come back strong in Hoover next week, and end this nonsense.
Do you see some solid talent still being available in the sandwich round? Churchill wrote he is hearing that a lot of teams are thinking the players available there could be as good as guys taken in the teens.
I'm with Church. I think it's a great year to have extra picks in the sandwich/early second. Not a great year to have a single pick in the 15-60 range.
The Hoffmann situation has gone from infuriating to just plain sad. Although it's looking like it is time for him to retire, isn't the real issue that Ken Macha just blindly keeps throwing him out there when we know he's a liability? Blame Hoffmann all you want, but Macha is the one who keeps giving him the nod.
Agreed. If they buried Hoffman in the pen for a week because they couldn't trust him, he might reconsider that whole pitching thing.
If your kid had the choice between a free ride at Stanford or getting drafted in the first round, what would you advise him to do?
Sign for first-round money. Stanford doesn't develop prospects well anyway, but even if we were talking Vanderbilt or UNC, the money and opportunities that come with a first-round pick are enormous, and college will always be there. Might even get into a better school if you play a few years in the minors and retire, since it's "life experience."
Klaw, could Michael Choice be a league average RFer defensively?
Aren't Mike Stanton's stats a little inflated due to AA pitching as opposed to AAA pitching where players are a little more refined?
If those pitchers were any good, they'd be in the majors. #sabeaned
Good morning Keith. What do you think of the talk of the Padres going Castellanos at #9? How far behind Machado is he and wouldnt you go Whitson, Covey or Cole instead given the possible #1 upside?
He's in the mix, and a reasonable pick. I'd take him over Cole - I think Castellanos is going to hit and hit for power while playing a solid third base. Pretty good package. They may also have a chance for Cox, and I think Whitson and Covey are both there unless Houston pops one.
Where would Rendon go if he were eligible this year? Over Harper?
It would be an epic debate. I think I'd take Rendon's probability and speed to the majors over Harper's unbelievable ceiling.
Who's got 2 thumbs and has gotten 5 of the last 12 batters out? *This guy*
Fastball go boom!
Keith,Help me understand the transition from metal to wood bats. What characteristics help a player make the transition? What characteristics might prevent a smooth transition? My assumption is that a guy with quick bat speed but slight build will have trouble with the transition. What other factors come into play? Thanks.
Depends on the swing, hand strength, upper-body strength, etc.
Ha... You do have an East Coast bias. Get into a better school... Good one... I assume you're talking about Yale or Princeton.
Settle down. Not every first-round prospect gets into Vandy or Stanford.
Klaw I am currently potty training 2 year old twin boys and it is not going well. Any tips for me? Both are potential 5 toolers I might add.
Isn't that on the young side? And I thought boys were supposed to do that later than girls.
You seem like you're in a good mood today... less snarky than usual. Can we be friends?
Door's on your left.
KLaw, My son is a freshman in high school. I have had coaches and baseball people say that he is probably not going to a high draft pick, but very likely can get a D1 scholarship. What are the best schools out to get and edcuation first and play ball second?
The ones I just mentioned - Vandy & UNC are top of my list right now, in large part because players who go there seem to get better. Miami too. Stanford's a fantastic academic school, but players there seem to get worse (and their pitchers get hurt a lot in pro ball). Latter applies to Texas too. But for your son's sake, send him to some nice big southern school with lots of great-looking girls.
Any chance Harper doesn't sign?
Minimal. He wants to play pro ball. And he was so good this spring that it's hard to see him going back to CSN and raising his stock.
If you had to do the top prospect debate over with what you know now, would you still pick Heyward over Strasburg? What about the Price/Weiters debate?
Yes. And yes. Wieters will be fine.
Can you compare Manny Machado and Castellanos? Thanks
Machado's riskier but has a much higher ceiling, chance to stay at short, better arm, more athletic body. Heard his grades aren't so hot and he may not qualify for FIU. Castellanos is a little more polished, more of a sure thing to me, but no shot to stay at SS, not quite the same explosiveness as Machado.
how is pedro alvarez not in your latest top prospect list i understand his unabilty to hit lefties but last i checked only mabe mike stanton has more power in the minors, explain...
I think you just did. His unabilty to hit lefties is reconcerning.
There have been several "mocks" that have listed Taillon as being selected by the Pirates. Is there anything you have heard to suggest this or is it just a bunch of noise from people throwing out mocks without any contacts?
All info I've had so far has them leaning away from prep arms with the first pick, as they did last year. A mock draft should reflect info from industry sources, right? It's not a mockery draft.
The Rangers have 4 picks in the 1st 2 rounds. Obviously, it looks like they will be a bit handicapped money wise with the ownership situation in shambles, but who do you see them going after with their first 2 picks?
If money's not an object, they'll go for ceiling like they usually do.
Where's that first mock draft at?
Scheduled for Monday.
if you're a scouting director, who do you recommend to draft - J. Sale or Grandal?
They're pretty close on my board, close enough that considering organizational need is worthwhile - if you need a catcher in the upper levels of your system, take Grandal. He's advanced enough as a LH hitter and more than good enough on D that it makes sense to take him even if you like a couple of prep players slightly better.
The optimal way to fix the draft would be to have no draft at all and to let the free market work (h/t Ayn Rand)...but if there must be a 1st year player draft, what's the best way to "fix" it? Hard slotting? Ability to trade picks? I know the MLBPA would have serious beef with any changes, but lots of people are tired of seeing the words "signability concerns" next to their team's name. Thanks for the sane (if snarky) chats, KLaw.
One thing I've wondered about was a right-of-first-refusal draft - the owners would NEVER go for this - where you draft a player, securing his rights, but the bonus is determined more or less by the market, so you only get the player if you match the highest (binding) bid. My issue with the draft isn't so much the inability of players to select their employers, but the way it clearly robs them of money.
What are the chances Kyle Parker gets drafted high enough, and paid a large enough bonus, to leave Clemson and put football behind him?
Nonzero. Under 50%. Have heard some interest in sandwich area. Would not take him there myself.
No offense, but why do team sources talk to you? Isn't it in their employer's best interest not to leak draft plans?
What are they going to do - "oh my God, Colorado likes Joey Bagodonuts, throw out ALL our reports, we're taking that guy in the first round!" It doesn't work that way.
How do you think the Pirates' strategy of avoiding spending big money on a prep arm at the top of the draft but instead trying to get several overslot guys later is working? How is their pitching talent in the lower levels?
I think the jury will be out on that for at least another full year. I credit them for trying something different. I just couldn't have passed on Tyler Matzek myself.
You can add John Cohen of Mississippi State to your list of college coaches that don't care about the long-term health of their players. Freshman Chris Stratton threw 142 pitches in a meaningless game (for MSU) against Vandy last weekend. That was his second 140+ outing of the year.
BC too - Pat Dean was out with a sore arm, came back, threw so much in that one outing that he went back on the shelf. He had a chance to be a second-rounder, but now I think it's 3rd-5th depending on whether his stuff bounces back this week and next.
Apparently it's a dumb question as every scout chat I've ever asked it on, hasn't answered it. but if there is no such thing as catcher ERA, why does a catchers defensive skill set get talked about so much by scouts? How can a good defensive catcher not have his skills reflect in a pitchers ERA more than a poor defensive catcher?
It's a question of whether a guy can stay behind the plate at all. Not to mention throwing ability.
I know you are against the salary cap, but the NHL with similar size rosters to MLB is about to have it's 7th champ in seven years. Is that a good comp for doing it in MLB?
More a function of the public-school-system playoffs where everyone gets in.
Saw Churchill compare Michael Choice's power to Ryan Howard's.....that cannot be accurate, right? I mean, isn't Choice like 6-0 / 200?
It's 70 or 80 raw power. If you live in Arlington and can go watch his BP, do so. It's fun.
Mike Trout or Austin Wilson? Grazie mille.
Klaw, if a teams owner called and asked you to be a GM for a team would you do it? Or a GM called and asked you to be Ass. GM?
That depends on the owner (or GM) or the team. Every situation is different. And I'm not really expecting such a call - I just joke about it with you guys.
KLAW - you mention in your updated Top 25 that Matzek is throwing well with the extended spring training club - can you give any more info and explain what extended spring traing really is? Thanks.
EST is for players who didn't make a full-season club for age/experience/skill reasons or who are coming back from injury. They do play games, but it's loose, like minor league spring training games, where a player might lead off every inning or something. Think of it as a developmental league, like instructs, rather than as an actual minor league.
what would you say is Lars Anderson's major league comp? and what's is ETA in Boston?
Could see him in the second half if they don't make a move - they seem like the most plausible landing spot for a Fielder or Adrian Gonzalez.
Promise that if you do become a GM you will still do weekly chats?
Um ... sure.
Keith, tell the NHL fan the MLB has had 6 champs in the last 7 years and Baseball is not on VERSUS.
Hey Keith--what do you think about Kansas' Tony Thompson? Prospect? Or just another guy?
Just a guy - well outside my top 100.
Since June 1, 2009, Adam Jones has been a big barrel of awful at the plate. He did miss some time late last year with injuries (and I suppose he should be given some slack for probably playing hurt some of that time), but that timeframe covers 457 ABs: .239/.287/.361 (27/90 BB/K). He is just 24, but should there be cause for concern? From what I?ve seen of him this year, he has Alfonso Disease ? can?t lay off the low and away breaking ball.
Had about three months where he looked like he'd made some big adjustments ... and then reverted and hasn't made any progress in a solid year. I don't know what to tell you, but I'm definitely noticing that the O's hitters aren't advancing like they should be.
Hicks 15-20 HR type guy, correct assessment?
Aaron? Ceiling is higher.
Catan question: We gave "Cities and Knights" a couple tries a while back and came away not too impressed. We just really prefer the standard version or the six-player expansion. Is there any other expansion that you would recommend we try?
We like Seafarers. That's the only one we've tried.
How's Pomeranz forearm? Believe that is to be blamed for his struggles lately?
Not true - read up.
(Read up in the chat, that is.)
I would have to think that a player would have to be very concerned with which team drafts him... it seems to be such a huge part of his development.. and they get really such little choice about that. That's a problem too, if you are a player, no?
If they're compensated fairly, I could live with that sacrifice. As it is, players are denied that choice AND underpaid.
Hi Keith. This isn't a very sexy question, but it's haunted me just about me whole life: When a pitcher lets a man on base, and then is removed from the game, if that runner scores the run is still attributed to that starting pitcher. Yet if I hit my way on base, and am replaced by a pinch runner, if that baserunner scores, I am not given the run. Shouldn't the same principle apply?
Thank you for highlighting more reasons why stats like RS and RA are flawed or incomplete for individual players.
So in your opinion will Jarrod Saltalamacchia recover from the "yips", and has Max Ramirez finally broke through the barrier that has held him back?
Someone tell me the last catcher to get the yips and recover.
Can you give a scouting report on Cosart?
Very athletic kid with plus-plus fastball and chance for plus or better breaking ball, some feel for a changeup too. Wouldn't shock me if by year-end we were debating him as a top-ten guy.
What's up with Logan Morrison, Klaw? And why is minor league injury info so dang hard to come by???
Played today in Jupiter.
With his hot start this year in AA do you think Romine is the Yankees catcher of the future?
I think the chances have improved. He had a couple of major questions to answer, and the hit tool was one - in a limited sample he's shown a lot of improvement. Good sign.
Where did you rank Cano as a prospect. Where do you rank him now. Is he 'out of left field' player.
I remember our scouts in Toronto were concerned about his on-field makeup - what you saw from Hanley the other night was very much part of Cano's game in the minors. He grew up. Young players do that sometimes.
KLaw, do you answer your mailbag?
As much as I can.
FYI - Logan Morrison - 4 for 5 2 triples a double and a single today.
There you go. Maybe the shoulder's fine now.
OK, I'm out - thanks for the questions. Next week's chat may be bumped back to Friday ... if any of you are at the SEC tournament in Hoover, please stop by and say hi, or send along your Q suggestions for the area.