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July 1, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Keith Law

Klaw
  (1:03 PM)

Let's go.

Kalbar (NYC)

Are you really here today or is this another tease? How good is Ike Davis going to be, power seems legit to me?

Klaw
  (1:05 PM)

Probably a good time to clear this up: The chat room shows up every Thursday automatically, and someone has to remove it when I'm not available. I always post on Twitter (@keithlaw) and my Facebook fan page (/KeithLawWriter) when I'm chatting. As for Davis, I could see a solid-average regular at first but I think he's shown that big start he had was flukish. His limitations against LHP and RHP with good secondary stuff will likely prevent him from being a star.

Eric (San Diego, CA)

I noticed that Simon Castro wasn't in your Top 25 or in the list of players who just missed. How close is he to being on this list? How good can the 1/2 combo with him and Latos be in a year or two?

Klaw
  (1:06 PM)

Seems like there's some question over whether he projects as a starter long-term; one guy I really respect had him pegged as a reliever, for example. I'm not that pessimistic but hearing those views made me keep him off the top 25.

Ray A. (San Francisco, CA)

The Giants traded Benjie Molina to the Rangers for Chris Ray and a PTBNL....is there still some hope for the Giants yet?

Klaw
  (1:07 PM)

It's addition by subtraction ... probably easiest expressed in scientific notation.

Ray A. (San Francisco, CA)

Any new notes on Dylan Covey? I have a feeling he will be using that USD Scholarship, especially after what Purke and Cole have done...

Klaw
  (1:08 PM)

He'll sign.

Jason (Michigan)

How fast could Swaggerty move for StL? Closer stuff???

Klaw
  (1:09 PM)

Could move very fast. Setup stuff, closer mentality.

Ben (NJ)

Is Mike Trout the number one prospect at the end of the year?

Klaw
  (1:10 PM)

If Brown graduates off the list, perhaps. I can't see putting Trout over a big-tools, high-performance guy who's three levels up. Brown's game isn't lacking in some respect that would drop him down.

Randy (Toronto )

How does Tim Collins not get more hype as a prospect? he has done nothing but dominate through his minor league career, and as a 20 year old in AA he is posting a 1.000 whip and a ridiculous 15.0 k/9 does his size really make that much of a difference?

Klaw
  (1:10 PM)

Yes, it does. He's a middle reliever.

Mark (nyc)

With the draft now 3 weeks in the rear view, how do you now view the Yankees draft and does it surprise you how cost sensitive and conservative they are??

Klaw
  (1:12 PM)

I haven't changed my views on any team's 2010 draft. I was surprised how conservative they were early, but they did back it up with some late gambles who seem likely to sign, like Morton (not going to qualify for school) or Burawa, who I wrote about the other day. I don't see a lot of high-impact guys, though - everyday stars or potential 1-3 starters.

harrison (VA)

Does Julio Teheran have a realistic shot at becoming the top pitching prospect in the minors by the end of the year?

Klaw
  (1:12 PM)

Yes.

Rob (LA)

Now that Jerry Sands is in AA and continuing to rake, can we call him legit?

Klaw
  (1:12 PM)

No.

KC (ATL)

How good is the Braves minor league pitching prospects with, Minor, Randall Delgado, Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino, and Robinson Lopez?

Klaw
  (1:13 PM)

Vizcaino's hurt, although I'm guessing most of you have seen that already. Sounds like it's not serious, and it's not the worst thing for him to miss a few weeks and keep his innings count down, but you never, ever want to hear about a young pitcher coming down with a sore (insert body part between clavicle and wrist).

Jeff (Detroit)

I've read the Braves are dangling Mike Minor as a potential trade chip in a deadline deal. What is his ceiling? Thanks.

Klaw
  (1:14 PM)

I certainly would - he's outperforming expectations and showing unusually high velocity. Even if you liked Minor coming into the year, in the back of your mind there must be a small "sell high" sentiment. He's not as good as their top 3 guys (including Vizcaino, if healthy) anyway, so it wouldn't make a terrible dent in their pitching inventory.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

What MLB Team Are You A Big Fan Of?

Klaw
  (1:15 PM)

I Am Not A Fan Of Any Team Nor Am I A Fan Of Unnecessary Capitalization.

Yankee fan (NY)

Do you like the Yankees? You rarely answer Yankees questions? What do you think of Laird - legit?

Klaw
  (1:15 PM)

Waaaaaaaaaaaaah .... no.

Bob (Tinley Park, IL)

What happened to Josh Vitters...I'm guessing that he dropped off your list due to his lack of plate discipline?

Klaw
  (1:16 PM)

Yes, in a nutshell. His whole approach isn't improving - if anything it's gone backwards. Great swing, potential power, but how's he going to get to it if he shows virtually no discrimination at the plate?

Ben (NJ)

Bauer or Gerritt Cole?

Klaw
  (1:17 PM)

Cole. How could you pass on that kind of raw stuff?

Ben (Leland Grove)

Any insight on whether or not the Dodgers will be able to ink Zach Lee?

Klaw
  (1:17 PM)

I'd bet not. I have asked at least a dozen execs, directors, and cross-checkers from other clubs whether they thought that pick was a punt, and not one said "no." For whatever that's worth.

Doug (NYC)

Saw that Austin Romine's made your just missed list. How big a move up was that for him as he wasn't in your preseason top 100?

Klaw
  (1:19 PM)

It's a big move, but he was a relatively late cut from the 100 because he just wasn't advanced in the hit or catch departments - it was power and arm when I saw him. And he was helped by a lot of graduations ahead of him. My top 50 or so from January has been decimated by call-ups. It'll make next winter's list fun, though, since I'll have a lot of new names to cover.

Jeff (East Bay, CA)

KLAW - how upset should Giants fans be regarding the news that Brian Sabean doesn't return the phone calls of other GMs. This is as ridiculous as I think it is, right?

Klaw
  (1:20 PM)

It's not new. It's been that way at least since I was with Toronto.

Dan (Philadelphia)

If Ibanez continues to struggle could we see Brown some time this June or July?

Klaw
  (1:21 PM)

You definitely won't see him this June, what with it already being in the past and such. I would say August is most realistic, to give him more time in AAA, see what the July trade market offers, etc.

Bret (Toronto)

JP Arencibia has been doing scary things to baseballs for most of the last couple of months. How serious should we take his numbers considering that he plays in Las Vegas? Is he starting to look like a serious prospect?

Klaw
  (1:23 PM)

He's also repeating the level. I don't see him any differently than I did, say, 18 months ago: Most likely a fringe starter, could just hold the spot warm for d'Arnaud.

matt (cleveland)

Choo for Trout and Skaggs?

Klaw
  (1:23 PM)

I do not remember asking for lopsided trade ideas.

Tim (STL)

Klaw,What are the odds the Cards can sign Austin Wilson? How about Cox, Blair, and Jenkins?

Klaw
  (1:25 PM)

All I heard on Wilson leading up to the draft was that he was pretty much unsignable because of the commitment to Stanford, including his parents' strong desire that he go to college. I expect the other three to sign. Cox really has no leverage - he shouldn't want any part of the 2011 draft.

MW (GB, WI)

Isn't now the right time to trade Corey Hart? His trade value isn't realistically going to get much higher than it is at present, right? What could the Brewers expect to get for him?

Klaw
  (1:25 PM)

Absolutely - but I don't think they'll get more than a single mid-level prospect. Hart's a bad defensive outfielder and most teams will see the hot start for what it is.

Jeff (Detroit)

How long can Brennan Boesch keep this up? I don't remember hearing much about him prior to his call-up. Is he for real?

Klaw
  (1:26 PM)

No, that's another fluke. Nice surprise for the Tigers, but they can't count on him hitting close to this level for the rest of the year.

Paul (San Francisco)

Can Justin Masterson become an effective #3 starter? A 2?1 SO:BB ratio and .6 HR/9 seems to back his stuff, right?

Klaw
  (1:27 PM)

Reliever. Lefties continue to pound him. If he's pitching against you, start the damn batboy if he hits left-handed.

Raymond (Baltimore)

Klaw, I'm never a fan of tanking, per se. And with a young team, I think there is a value in winning, and learning to do such. But I was actually getting excited about Rendon, and I think Josh Bell moves of of 3B in the future anyway. But with the way the O's (and Pirates) have been playing, they might even screw up the number 1 pick now. If you were a betting man, who ends up with the worse record, and is Rendon on a level of his own right now for 2011?

Klaw
  (1:29 PM)

The second pick in next year's draft will mean a choice of, say, Cole, Gray, Hultzen, the outfielders I wrote up today, Bradley ... and that's just the college class, not counting HS guys like Delmonico, Owens, Starling, Norris. Really, if the O's finish second and miss Rendon, the consolation prize will be a good one.

Ian (OK)

You have Hicks pretty high for a guy who isn't hitting all that impressively (not terribly but not all that great for repeating a level). What am I missing?

Klaw
  (1:30 PM)

Big time tools. I bet he'd have more trade value today than Revere.

Ben (NJ)

Any chance Cole goes number one over Rendon?

Klaw
  (1:30 PM)

Sure, a nonzero chance. I don't think Rendon is a lock for one-one, but that's not a knock on him. More of a statement on the quality of the class as a whole.

Bob (Tinley Park, IL)

Please tell O's fans not to worry about Matt Wieters.

Klaw
  (1:31 PM)

O's fans: Don't worry about Matt Wieters. If he was the only Oriole struggling, I'd be more concerned, but there seems to be an org-wide issue with young players scuffling the minute they hit the big leagues. That's part of why I was fine with them canning Trembley: Player development is a major part of the job of a manager and his coaching staff for a sub-500 team.

Josh (Lincoln, NE)

Ouch...you really think Starling could go as high as second?

Klaw
  (1:33 PM)

If he said tomorrow he was going to play pro baseball, I think he'd be a top 10 pick. He reminded me of Domonic Brown: An unbelievable athlete who isn't all that polished a player but still does incredible things on the field because of that athleticism. If someone cleans up Starling's delivery, teaching him to pitch instead of throw ... watch out. Second overall is a reach in next year's draft, but I wanted to demonstrate how deep the class is by listing all the names who wouldn't be insane picks at two.

Matt (SF)

Whenever I read about Cliff Lee, I see a reference to the value of draft picks if he leaves this off-season. Isn't it being taken for granted that you'd get a first round and sandwich pick? If they yankees sign him and crawford, for instance, then there's a chance you'd only get a sandwich and the yankees 2nd round pick...that's a lot different than getting a top 20 pick.

Klaw
  (1:33 PM)

The Jays tried this with Burnett and got a third-rounder. So yeah, don't take that first-rounder for granted.

Chris (St. Louis)

On Rendon, the line on Rice pitchers used to be that they got overworked and were surgeries waiting to happen. Is that true anymore, and is it a legitimate concern with Rendon?

Klaw
  (1:34 PM)

Rice pitchers continue to get hurt, like St. Clair and Berry. However, it's not a legitimate concern with Rendon, since he's a third baseman.

PJ (Phoenix)

Any idea why Pirates called up Alvarez, only to have him immediately face two tough lefties (Danks/Buerhle)?

Klaw
  (1:35 PM)

That felt like a PR promotion rather than a baseball one - as if, say, ownership saw Strasburg and Heyward and Leake and told the GM to call up their best prospect. None of what happened, starting with the callup, made much sense to me.

Jack (CA)

What advice would you give a high school freshman pitcher who throws in the high 70's, touching 80?

Klaw
  (1:36 PM)

Long toss. Do your cuff-strengthening exercises. And no breaking balls - fastballs and changeups only.

Phil (NJ)

Local NY area sports radio mouth-breathers are telling listeners that the Mets could acquire Cliff Lee without giving up Mejia, Davis, Flores, Niese, Thole or Havens. Exactly how ridiculous is this, and what would the Mets actually have to offer Jack Z to land a 3 month Cliff Lee rental?

Klaw
  (1:36 PM)

Sure they can. Pelfrey and Wright would probably do it.

JAYPERS (IL)

Which July 2nd signee do you feel has the highest ceiling, and which team will likely be the one to sign him?

Klaw
  (1:37 PM)

I'll have a post up on those guys in the next 24 hours.

John (Arlington)

Is there any news on the Nationals contract negotiations with Bryce Harper?

Klaw
  (1:37 PM)

He'll sign, but expect a "Harper Not Likely to Sign with Nationals" article in the next few weeks. It's de rigueur.

Ben (NJ)

Could you do an article on college coaches abusing their pitchers? I mean UCLA's coach threw Cole and Bauer for over 120 pitches like every time they threw?

Klaw
  (1:39 PM)

I rant about it all the time - Texas' Garrido is also a notorious arm-grinder - but the NCAA isn't going to do anything, and the coaches' incentive is to work their best guys right into the ground.

E (DC)

What prospect has improved his stock the most this season? Devin Mesoraco has to at least be in the discussion or am I buying into a fluke year?

Klaw
  (1:41 PM)

He might be the top guy in that category. He was a zero in January - absolutely no value, looked like he was two years from getting released, and now he's a potential top 100 guy. Funny, last time I saw him he was busy getting completely owned by Wily Peralta.

Paul (San Francisco)

Have you already posted an assessment of each team's draft or will that not happen until after the signing deadline?

Klaw
  (1:42 PM)

I did, the morning of day 3, and I'll revisit it after the deadline.

Jeff (NY, NY)

Back to the question from E, I would think that Brackman would be in the discussion as well?

Klaw
  (1:42 PM)

Yep. Betances too, if you want to consider a guy out with an injury as someone who's close to zero value.

Joe (Seattle)

Is MN prospects Ramos/Revere/Morales enough for Lee or should Seattle hold out for Hicks and/or Gibson?

Klaw
  (1:43 PM)

Realistically, six years of Ramos is going to be worth more than 2.5 months of Lee to Seattle, but I think the market may offer something better than that package. Revere's value to Seattle can't be that high - he's a decent defensive CF who can't throw, they have a great defender in CF locked up for a few years, and Revere's bat won't play every day in a corner.

Nick (Utah)

Hey Keith we have seen flashes of stardom from Jay Bruce in the last couple years. What do you see as his offensive ceiling? Do you see .280/.380 with 40hrs?

Klaw
  (1:44 PM)

That seems a little high, but I think .360+ OBP with 30 HR is reasonable.

Marques (Utica, NY)

Should a Yankee fan like me lose the zeal you made me have for Montero's bat?

Klaw
  (1:46 PM)

No. He'll be fine.

Clint (Haleiwa, HI)

What is your take on the Indians Joe Gardner? He seems to be doing well in the low minors, is it his age?

Klaw
  (1:46 PM)

Solid back-end starter. Stuff/sink is legit, but he's not an ace.

Chris ((hartford, ct))

Toward the mid-later rounds, you hear about teams drafting for "organizational depth". What is the point of this? Is there a concern regarding making minor league teams competitive for attendance revenue? Giving players experience of winning in lower levels? Why not just swing for the fences w/ toolsy, low probability guys in the late rounds?

Klaw
  (1:47 PM)

You have to fill out your rosters with reasonably capable minor league players, and occasionally one of those guys turns into, say, Ian Kinsler.

Derrick (Tulsa, OK)

The Padres success has mainly been due to great pitching (their offense hasn't provided any real surprises) and I think a pretty mediocre NL has alot to do with it as well (I just don't see many deep and scary lineups out there). Do you think they can pitch this well through the whole season?

Klaw
  (1:49 PM)

No. They're fascinating because they're in a good yet bad spot: Hoyer needed to come in and turn the big league team over, and I think he planned to do it over the course of 2010, but now, how could he shop veterans at this deadline when they're not likely to be more than 2-3 games out of a playoff spot even if they have a bad July? The worst thing that could happen to them would be to hang in the race into mid-September, miss the playoffs, and miss any opportunities to flip veterans to desperate contenders.

gary (cincinnati)

Some said Chapman hit 103 the other day..believe it?

Klaw
  (1:49 PM)

No.

Dave (Michigan)

Why are you so certain Boesch is a fluke?

Klaw
  (1:51 PM)

Because I've seen him play and don't see the tools to support the average or power output. Because he's got a .372 BABIP that's going to be extremely difficult to maintain. Because it's wildly out of line with what he did in the minors, even his improved .318/.510 line in AA.

Jamie (Canada)

If you're Jay's management do you sell guys like Bautista, Buck, and Gonzalez now to try and get something half decent back?

Klaw
  (1:52 PM)

Yes.

J.J. (CT)

Thoughts on 'Top Chef' so far? Is it too obvious that Kenny and Angelo will end up being in the finals?

Klaw
  (1:54 PM)

I've only seen episode one, but yes, they stood out. I'm also pleased that I successfully tabbed the first chef sent home by playing "spot the loony," based on my theory that the producers of these competition shows always pick one wacko for comedy value in the first episode. It works on all of these shows, like Project Runway or Design Star (worked this season with the one who threw goose feathers on the floor as a rug alternative).

Meekus (Cincinnati)

Would you rather see Radiohead live and meet the band or go to the All-Star game?

Klaw
  (1:54 PM)

I hate the All-Star Game.

Jonathan (CT)

Ranaudo has had two good appearances on the Cape (sample size, I know). If he continues to pitch well, will this become a trend in the future for kids with question marks? Also, is there concern from anyone that the Sox won't be able to lock him up, even if they go over slot?

Klaw
  (1:55 PM)

"Summer follows" have existed for a long time, but we haven't seen it so much with top picks. It makes sense for a guy who missed a chunk of the spring, but less so for a guy who already has 100 innings under his belt.

David Price (AL Cy Young)

You buying my breakout to last all season? If so, think I can edge out Lester for the Cy?

Klaw
  (1:56 PM)

Yes. Too many CY contenders to narrow it down like that now.

Alex (Austin)

Can you help clarify the Molina deal from the Giants side? It seems like rather than telling him he's going to be a backup, they traded him to the Rangers for nothing. Feels like a breakup over text to me.

Klaw
  (1:56 PM)

They traded him for what he was worth in trade. Maybe more.

Brady (Columbia, SC)

Keith, the rumbling about the Braves listening to offers on Yunel Escobar are back. Without an in-house replacement, would they have to get a young SS back? If so, who could they potentially trade with? Would an Escobar-Andrus swap work?

Klaw
  (1:56 PM)

It would certainly work for Atlanta. I'm guessing Texas might have something to say about it.

Josh (San Diego)

A lot of people thought that Clayton Richard was nothing more than a bullpen arm, yet he's put together quite an impressive season thus far. Do you think he's better than people expected, or is there a big regression coming soon?

Klaw
  (1:57 PM)

He and Leblanc are both big regression candidates.

Allyson (Dallas)

AL MVP? Vlad or Hamilton?

Klaw
  (1:58 PM)

Cano.

Klaw
  (1:58 PM)

But again, way too early to say.

Dan (WDC)

Is there anything that you like about the Pirates front office? You always seem down on their evaluations and decision-making.

Klaw
  (1:58 PM)

Yeah, I really trashed their draft a few weeks ago ... oh, no, wait, I raved about it. Quit whining.

Ted (Akron, OH)

Does Matt Purke go in the top 5, in next years draft?

Klaw
  (1:59 PM)

Possible but not likely at the moment. Too many other top college arms at the moment.

Jon (DC)

If you're Mike Rizzo are you unloading Dunn and Willingham or trying to re-sign/stick it out with them?

Klaw
  (2:00 PM)

Unloading.

greg (st. louis)

pedroia practicing on his knees. how can you not love the guy, right?

Klaw
  (2:00 PM)

Practicing what, exactly? Wait - don't answer that. I don't want to know.

CD (Cleveland)

Is there reason for a die hard Tribe fan to have some hope now that LaPorta appears to have figured it out? With him, Santana, Choo, Masterson, etc., could this team actually contend in 2011 or 2012?

Klaw
  (2:01 PM)

It's been a nice week for LaPorta, but I wouldn't use that to say he's "figured it out." I think by 2012 they'll have a strong lineup but to have the pitching to contend, it'll have to come from outside or from some luck on someone internal.

Alastair (San Francisco)

Wait, Andrew Brackman having a good half year in the FSL at 25 represents a comeback?

Klaw
  (2:02 PM)

His stuff has been excellent from what I've heard.

Lloyd (Bend, OR)

Do the Red Sox sign Cecchini, Coyle, Renado and Workman?

Klaw
  (2:02 PM)

Yes, probably, probably, maybe. Although Workman really has zero leverage. In next year's draft he won't sniff the first round.

Dan (Stockton, CA)

Have you seen Brandon Belt play at all this year? Having a great year...granted, it's in the CAL league. Does he project to be at least a solid regular?

Klaw
  (2:03 PM)

Haven't seen him, and since I've read he really altered his swing I'm not offering an opinion yet.

Dave (NJ)

Do pitchers actually come back stronger from Tommy John surgey? Are we going to start seeing pre-emptive ligament replacements?

Klaw
  (2:04 PM)

No - urban legend. A pitcher can regain what he had before the initial injury, but not gain something that was never there.

Kevin (Bellevue, NE)

I was wondering if you had any thoughts on UCLA leaving Dan Klein out there for 3.1 inning and letting him throw 75 pitches. It seemed UCLA was more concerned about winning then protecting a guy with a history of shoulder problems who is about to turn pro

Klaw
  (2:05 PM)

Exactly. Those are the incentives I was talking about. The coach knows he's losing Klein, so why not squeeze every last drop out of his arm?

Chris (Canada)

Thoughts on Strasburg making the All-Star team? Some panels say that it's outragrous he should even be considered. But isn't winning the game important? I would want him out there if it were me.

Klaw
  (2:06 PM)

I don't really like the idea, but especially don't like that justification. If the idea is to win the game, wouldn't you stack the benches with good tactical players? Put some specialists in the bullpens?

Billy (Champaign)

Hey Keith, I was wondering what your thoughts are on Brett Jackson. You sounded disappointed that he was on the futures game roster, and then didn't have him in your top 25, or even an honorable mention yesterday. Are you down on him, or just not nearly as high on him as a lot of others?

Klaw
  (2:07 PM)

Never been very high on him. Don't see a plus tool, and I believe he's going to strike out too often to be an impact hitter through batting average.

Richard G (Las Vegas, NV)

Gio-- Still 5th starter ceiling?

Klaw
  (2:09 PM)

Yep. He's leading the league in walks and taking advantage of a great home park.

Anthony (Sutton, MA)

Keith, why condemn the UCLA for trying to win? His goal IS to win, and he isn't paid to manage by putting the physical well-being of his players about to leave his program above the overall success of his team.

Klaw
  (2:11 PM)

Is that his goal? The goal of college is preparatory, right? If I'm a big league scouting director trying to sign a HS arm, I'd show him all those high pitch counts and ask him (and his parents), "Do you really want to trust your arm to this irresponsible coach who's going to run you into the ground and leave you unable to comb your own hair by the time you're 22? You can sign with us, get a big fat check, and let us work to protect your arm and keep you healthy so you can get to the big leagues and to arbitration."

Seth (Cincy)

Keith......what books do you have on your summer reading list? Also how do you project Juan Duran and Yorman Rodriguez right now playing in Rookie ball?

Klaw
  (2:14 PM)

Next book for me is Midnight's Children. Yorman's got tools but is still very crude, especially at the plate. I'm not on Duran at all.

Klaw
  (2:14 PM)

Latest draft blog entry is up, talking about those three great outfield prospects for the 2011 draft: http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/blog?name=mlb_draft&id=5345201Thanks for all the questions. I'll be back next week.