So in 2008, the Giants gave Buster Posey what was (temporarily, at least) the highest bonus figure any player received in that draft, slightly over $6 million. I think it's fair to say that they've already received twice that much value in return, and they still have six more years of control, three at the minimum salary. Just remember that the next time you hear some anonymous owner or GM or scouting director claim that what the draft really needs is hard slotting, because even with the current system of slot "recommendations," it's clear today that Posey got hosed.
Hi Kieth, I just read your article on the "Zach's" and as a Giant fan I was excited to see that you see Wheeler as a possible #1 SP. What I don't understand is that you seem to indicate he has 2 above average pitches to go with a fringy changeup. Isn't that normally more mid-rotattion quality? Please explain what qualifies as a #1 as opposed to a #2,3,4 guy. Thanks!
Because he's 19, without much pro experience (he had a finger injury that cost him some time this summer), and I see no physical reason why his changeup won't improve with time and repetitions. If he was 23 with the same profile, I'd feel differently.
Keith, your thought on hitting coaches? I ask this in regards to Atlanta replacing Terry Pendleton (who I and many other Braves fans felt wasn't getting the job done) after a season where Atlanta was 4th in the Majors in OBP.
Was that OBP spike a function of Pendleton or of the players? Inserting 90 walks from Heyward (and deleting Francoeur) didn't hurt, and that's not on Pendleton. I think replacing him is the right move.
Gene Woj put up an article today saying Sandberg got hosed by the Cubs after he put four whole years in the minors to get ready to be a major league manager. Mike Quade put in seventeen years. Now that is what I call putting your time in. Funny.
I don't know if Sandberg is a good option or not for a big league managing gig, but I feel pretty confident that the fan and media attention he's getting are a function of who he was as a player, not who he is as a manager, because odds are they haven't seen him manage much either. Evaluating managerial candidates is one of the hardest things to do even if you're inside the game. It's why I rarely comment on these various searches - I could tell you I've heard fantastic things about John Farrell (I have, and I know he has a strong advocate inside Toronto's FO), but I haven't seen him manage, and I don't know the other candidates well at all, so how can I offer a valid opinion?
What does the scouting term "spike" mean? As is "spike curveball?"
Also called a knuckle-curve. It's in the grip, pitch spikes downward very sharply but is almost impossible to control. Halladay threw one in the minors but said he couldn't throw the thing for strikes, so he junked it and went to a traditional CB. Spikes are really effective in college/low minors because hitters will chase. Big leaguers say "meh" and take the walk.
Keith, what were your thoughts when the Angels Let Eddie Bane go as their Scouting director?
Shocked and puzzled. Really doesn't make sense. I'd like to see them promote cross-checker Rick Wilson to that job.
Klaw, I saw the twit pic you posted of the shot Harper hit off that brick wall. Estimated distance?
At least 450. Probably more.
Best talent evaluator in the game? Besides yourself, of course.
Lot of candidates for that. Logan White. Tim Wilken - even when he makes a pick people don't get, scouts are extremely reluctant to doubt him. Ray Montgomery, just hired as Arizona's SD. Jason McLeod. John Coppolella. Damon Oppenheimer. Dave Findlay, a Boston cross-checker. I could probably give you one name per team, easily, but it might get a little boring to read. And, by the way, I've never pitched myself as a great talent evaluator. I'm a writer who can scout a little, not a scout who can write a little.
Your explanation makes it seem like the knuckle-curve is not effective in the majors, but if the pitcher can control it, it is nasty. Ask anyone who faced Mussina.
He is, to my knowledge, the only major league starter who's been able to command the pitch and use it effectively.
Can Nic Franklin from the M's System be an everyday player in the major's? Will he make the top 100?
Yes, and yes.
Rank 'em, in terms of power - Harper, Stanton, Montero.
Just like that. And since Montero's got some pretty good juice, that should tell you how much the other two guys have.
It seems that Brian Sabean is getting a ton of love for the "genius" Buster Posey call-up. Does it occur to anyone that he nearly cost the Giants a shot at the title by letting Posey rot in the minors for so long?
I've argued that, and I'm sure others have as well but with the Giants on the brink of the World Series it's getting ignored. Had they missed the playoffs - and they got in by a single game - it would have been a much bigger story.
Is managerial ineptitude as painful for you to watch in the playoffs as it is to me?
Excruciating, since the stakes are so high.
So am I going to turn this thing around and be a decent major leaguer? I mean I look around here and see Brandon Wood, I'm not going to be here when I'm his age, am I?
Love everything but the critical lack of patience. It's a small list of guys who've succeeded in the big leagues walking twice a month, but Vitters has the swing, plate coverage, and power, and he's become a solid defender at third. There are some similarities to Vlad Guerrero as a hitter, but if you check their minor league stats you'll see Vlad walked more than Vitters and struck out maybe 40% less.
You voted on NL MOY this year right? Can you tell us how you voted?
Not until the results come out. It's not a requirement but the BBWAA secretary asks that we keep our ballots confidential until then.
What were your thoughts on bringing in Oswalt last night?
Love it - using starters on their side days in the playoffs is an underutilized strategy. Might have brought him in sooner if he was available rather than trusting a pretty critical game to the likes of Chad Durbin.
Seems there's a fair amount on your chats - from you and from readers - about poor managing. If you can see all the mistakes a manager makes, do you think you could be a good manager? My hunch is that there's a lot more going on, and a lot of little things a manager does that aren't noticed, that make managing harder than it looks - but it is just a hunch. Could anybody who knows anything about baseball be a good/decent manager?
I couldn't be a big league manager - there's a behind-the-scenes aspect to the job that I think requires some sort of on-field experience, playing or coaching, and preferably a lot of it. And that ignores the adminstrative aspects of the job as well - you're not just managing from outs 1 through 27 each day, but running a coaching staff and a team, daily practice sessions, pitching routines, working with specific players on specific areas, etc.
Thought on Jose Iglesias' potential after having seen him in Arizona?
Plus-plus defender. Chance for an average bat, below-average to fringy power, not expecting him to be a great OBP guy. Very good prospect overall.
How has Ben Revere looked in the AFL (beyond the POTW honor) ? Is he ready to take over center in the majors and move Span (rightly) to a corner slot?
Plus defender in center with maybe a 45 arm, better than I'd seen from him before. Don't like the swing, but he can slap enough balls around to be a regular CF in the majors despite the lack of power. Would really help his cause if he'd work the count more and raise his OBP, because he can add a lot of value on the bases.
Point taken about slotting, but of course, Posey is far beyond what would be typical return on investment.
I think there are 2-3 guys in every draft like that, and they get screwed the most. But probably a dozen guys per year would get significantly more if they were free agents, and the draft hurts them the most. I'm not talking about second-round picks - I'm talking about premium guys. Harper gets double his bonus if he's a free agent this past June.
Would Texas vs. San Francisco be better for baseball than the other options?
New York and Philly are better for ratings, but I like having teams that have never won the whole thing reach the WS, and it would be great to have some young stars like Posey in Series to get them more national exposure. MLB doesn't market enough around its young stars, and if you get a guy like Posey in there, you have to play him up.
Obviously the ROY voting is already closed--but with Posey's post season performance, do you think those that voted for Heyward are second guessing themselves?
I doubt it. If they are, they shouldn't be voting.
The Cardinals are considering putting Pete Kozma on the 40 man. Mistake? You saw him at the AFL, right?
I'm not a Kozma believer - I saw him struggle at the plate and in the field - but adding him to the 40-man isn't a mistake.
If the Giants and the Rangers advance what's the over/under on number of east coast sports articles about how this is terrible for baseball because the ratings will go down?
I don't think the point about the ratings is wrong, but I think there's a positive to seeing two new teams in the Series with different players.
OK, Keith, you got to see Harper in an AFL game... thoughts? Nationals fans are dying to get your take.
Posted a blog entry on him this morning: http://bit.ly/atonoO
What were the odds of a Rangers-Giants series before the season started?
Rangers were the favorite to win the West, so I don't see that as surprising. The Giants started the season with Molina at catcher, then got uncharacteristic performances from Huff, Torres, and Burrell (also not in the org preseason), plus a nice boost from Bumgarner who was 86-88 in early March. You had to be a pretty strong Giants homer to put them in the playoffs before the season, since they had a lot of crazy things go right and still made the playoffs by one game.
KLAW,what's up with the 20-80 scale... Why not just 0-100?
Who knows. Who cares? It is what it is.
If you're Nats management, where do you start Harper next April - Hagerstown or Potomac?
Potomac, and I believe that's where he'll start.
Belt or Rizzo?
Leaning Belt. Pretty close, though. I'd go Hosmer, Belt, Rizzo, Freeman for the Big Four 1b prospects.
Hey Klaw,Does Wilmer Flores end up in your Top 10 this Spring?
Top 10 Mets prospects? Yes, he's #1 in the system.
This isn't directed otward you necessarily, but there has been an awful lot of emphasis on finding blame on the losing team instead of praising the winning team in this years postseason contests. Is that just an indication of where we are headed as a society or are some people at ESPN just grumpy?
I think it's a sign of where we are as a sports-media industry. And it's a way to justify predictions gone awry, too - most people (myself included) had the Yanks beating the Rangers handily, so it's easier to explain that in terms of the Yanks' mistakes rather than to point out that the Rangers outplayed the Yanks 8 ways to Sunday in games 1-4. I've seen postseason series that were lost by one team's mistakes, but this wasn't one of them, and I don't think the NLCS is shaping up that way either.
Resign Huff or hand Belt the starting gig. Slashy stats for next year and peak?
Of all the fluky Giant hitters from 2010, I'd be most willing to re-sign Torres. I'd let Huff go and give Belt the gig - I don't see much left for him to work on. A conservative peak estimate would be .300/.375/.525.
Why am I so underappreciated? I'm a Hall of Famer, right?
I don't know that you're underappreciated, and yes, you are a HoFer.
Could you define the scouting/FO term "cross-checker" that you used a couple times - not familiar with that one.
An amateur scouting staff comprises area scouts at the lowest rung - scouts who have a geographic area for which they are fully responsible, including all players worth drafting. Out here, for example, most area scouts have the "Four Corners" region - AZ, UT, CO, NM. Some also have Vegas; some don't have Colorado. But the idea is that these area scouts have to see and write up every draft-worthy player in their regions. Above them are cross-checkers; national cross-checkers see the top 200 or so guys in the country each spring, while regional guys might have 1/4 or 1/3 of the country. (I say "country" but in any given year that might include a kid or two in Canada and a couple of guys in Puerto Rico.) And at the top is the amateur scouting director.
KLaw...what have you thought of Zach Cox so far in AFL? Still think he could be called up mid-2011?
Yes. I understand they toyed with calling him up for the stretch run this year until they fell out of the race at the end of August. He's not that far off with the stick.
How does Donnie Joseph project in the Majors? Does he have the makeup of a late-inning lefty power reliever? Is his 14.3 k/9 last season a product of his raw stuff or pitching against weak competition?
Projects as a quality late-inning reliever, but yes, the stats were inflated by younger competition.
If you were running the Phillies, would Raul Ibanez be on the playoff roster?
I heard you on Jason Smith All Night or whatever after the game Monday. I loved your direct answers on Clutch Hitters. After you hung up he essentially ignored everything you said. I expect my local sports guys not to understand advanced analysis but not ESPN. Can you and Neyer spearhead some training sessions so we can get all the "analysts" into the 20th Century? The listeners and readers have a deeper understanding of the game than the guys whose job it is to understand it.
I have no problem with dissenting views on radio/TV - that is the nature of the medium. I just felt that Jason didn't have a tangible example to back up his point (or refute mine), and I believe the clutch hitter myth is largely about perception - we are trying to explain an unexpected, positive outcome rather than accepting that it is part of the randomness of baseball.
Any plans to go on with Damon Bruce of KNBR again?
Absolutely. One of the best in the business.
What's with these national writers being in awe of the atmosphere in SF? Is it just because they haven't been there in 7 years and forgot what it was like? Most Giant "fans" are probably attending their first game this year during the playoffs
Come on, it's one of the best ballparks in the game, and it's downtown (and walkable) in one of the best cities in the country.
Why don't enough "experts" just admit that the postseason is a crap shoot where anything can happen? They can't actually believe that one team will absolutely beat another in a 7 game series, can they?
I think every baseball writer or analyst is asked at some point by his editor or producer to make a firm prediction. It's just the nature of the business.
Jared Mitchell the ChiSox number prospect right now?
Yep. Looks good physically, at least.
Keith, didn't Burt Hooten throw the knuckle curve for years?
You're predating me.
"walkable" if you are one of these anti-suburb walkable communities fanatics why did you move to AZ?
You might want to switch to decaf, sparky.
Still a believer?
Yep. Doesn't always happen right away.
Cubs Brett Jackson's potential?
Average regular. Don't see a plus tool and I have questions about the approach.
Why don't you like Freeman? Is it the batting average dependant OBP? Is he going to be a James Loney-type?
I don't see much power - doubles more than HR - and he's kind of stiff and awkward, not the kind of body I'd typically bet on long term. He's still a top 100 prospect (and was last year), but there are other 1b prospects I prefer.
Do you know how strongly (or not) the Rays considered Posey? Taking a SS when C was, and remains, such an organizational hole seemed odd then. In hindsight it's a disaster.
Those were the two choices for that pick. By the way, the gap between the two isn't as large, but the Pirates also passed on Posey to take Pedro Alvarez (and, as it turns out, pay him more money). That's not looking so hot either.
Can Cord Phelps actually play 3B? I don't know if you've had a chance to see him yet (Peoria, IIRC). It would sure help.
Phelps just got here, so I haven't seen him yet. Same for Montgomery (should see him Saturday) and Duffy.
Can you help me out with a book recommendation? I've gotten through Fahrenheit 451 and Atlas Shrugged and loved them both. Brave New World is next on my list. Is there anything off of the Klaw 100 that I should be checking out?
1984, of course. Never Let Me Go, by Ishiguro. Man in the High Castle, by Philip Dick.
Am I still going to be an elite catcher?
Last Cub question, do you like the idea of Tyler Colvin being explored at 1B? I'd prefer they just sign Dunn.
Colvin will not hit enough to profile at 1b.
what are your thoughts on Robbie Erlin? I have read greg maddux comps, and RP...can he be a starter?
Reliever. How many pitchers are comped to Maddux, and how many turn into him? I think the ratio of A to B is undefined.
A bit early to do a postmortem but why did most analysts miss on the Giants? amazing pitching coupled with almost average. Hitting seems like a recipe for success. Especially for post season baseball.
In this series? They were playing a team with amazing pitching and above-average hitting.
What's your take on Josh Bell after so-so AAA numbers and hapless MLB debut in 2010? Still the future at 3B for the O's?
Didn't belong in the majors, so I'm inclined to toss that half-season out. Interesting rumor: If Butterfield doesn't get the Toronto gig, he goes to join Buck in Baltimore. Butterfield's a wizard with infielders and I'd make his first assignment fixing up Bell's defense.
Any chance the Giants keep Huff and play him in left?
I'm assuming Huff will want a deal more commensurate with how he hit in 2010 (or really how he hit for the first four months or so), over multiple years. If he's willing to sign for a year and $5 million, you take it, of course.
Keith, what would be realistic/creative to get for Greinke? Would either team do a Trout/Greinke trade?
I think Trout is completely untouchable.
Speaking of Danny Duffy, the Rafters used him in relief yesterday - any clue why?
He's out here in a relief role. Keeps his innings down and of course there are only so many starting spots to go around.
Why is it so important for people to know the outcome before the game is played? What's the point of watching the game?
I thought we just let the computers decide who should win each game. Oh, wait, that's college football.
Grandal or Mesoraco as the reds catcher of the future?
How would Philly making the World Series be better for rankings when it's a smaller market than the San Francisco Bay Area and California is the most populated state in the country?
Philly is a single-team market. Not sure how California's population matters here. And the Phillies do have more nationally-known names, perhaps a function of two straight WS appearances.
Never Let Me Go over Remains of the Day?
Given what else he said he liked, yes. Those are very different books in subject matter and themes.
Eric Niesen, solid lefty specialist?
Over/Under 25% chance that Harper gets a September call up next year?
That's about right.
Who would be favored in a SF vs Tex W.S. matchup?
Depends on how the series finish, right?
Machado or Colon?
Machado. Colon was a little disappointing when I saw him in instructs. His actions were all slower than they were this spring. Could have been tired but that's not something I love to see.
^&^(* the Giants. We got 4 rings to their none. 1989. That's how the Bay Area market works
Well, I'm reasonably certain you didn't post this from the A's stadium, unless you are actually an empty seat.
I think Texas vs San Fran would be great for baseball. Who gives a care about the ratings except tv execs. I dont know a single baseball fan that isn't from philly or ny, that is rooting for the yanks or the phils. Royals fans or Tigers fans or Astros fans watching the playoffs can't be rooting for two teams with bloated payrolls and smug fans.
Big ratings matter for two reasons. One, national TV dollars are good for the sport because they're spread out among all 30 teams. Two, you get more casual fans watching, giving MLB the chance to convert some percentage of them into more serious fans because they get hooked by good games or watching specific players. Yankees-Giants might still achieve that - you get casual fans watching for the Yanks but getting mesmerized by Lincecum or Posey.
I agree on your draft comment, but Posey is only one player. Sample size?
Strasburg. Harper. Heyward. Price. Several of those guys every year.
You call Tim Wilken one of the better talent evaluators in the game, but you don't seem to like his higher picks (Vitters, Jackson, last year's #1). Do you like the other prospects coming up in the Cubs' system?
Hold up. I loved the Vitters pick, and have consistently rated him highly even when the performance hasn't measured up. And I liked Cashner and Jay Jackson as well. Simpson (this year's #1) will be interesting - I get very different reports from scouts who saw him in March/April and scouts who saw him in February (weeks 1 and 2) or May (down the stretch, with the latter saying he was a top 50 guy and the former saying he wasn't a top 100 guy. Unfortunately, he got a wicked case of mono, lost 15 pounds, and had to miss instructs, so I'm just hoping he's healthy enough for spring training, at which point I'll run over and see him.
I'm the tarp
I see you rollin'.
Hey Keith, Going back several years, did you have Cano projected to be this good?
Not before the work he did with Kevin Long in (I think) June '08. Had the ability, but there were big makeup and approach questions.
Keith--time to put up...Halladay or Lincicum tonight...is the series coming back to Philly?...your thoughts and thanks.
I don't care who wins either series, but I want at least one game 7.
"Belt, Rizzo, Freeman for the Big Four 1b prospects." If still eligible, where would Logan Morrison slot in this group?
Behind Hosmer, ahead of Belt. I admit I might be the president of Morrison's fan club, though.
Can you rank these Phils prospects: Cosart, Biddle, Colvin, May?
Cosart, May, Colvin, Biddle.
You predict like an Economist!
My interests are driven by my incentives.
Keith, thanks for the Ortegas recommendation. The carnitas were the perfect combination of crispy exterior/juicy interior and perhaps the best tortilla I've ever had. On that note I'd like to second the "Tacos el Gordo" recommendation on your blog - as authentic as tacos come in the States. You'd be going purely for the food though, not the ambiance.
You're welcome. Definitely our best find in San Diego.
Comment on the ESPN poll that had 60% of people who responded saying Derek Jeter is a better defensive SS than Elvis Andrus. Is it fair for me to say that the populace, in general, is just uneducated and stupid? I am beginning to believe in this theory...
It's a popularity contest, roughly as scientific as the tooth fairy.
On Cano, there were whispers that Mekly Cabrera was a bad influence on him and they partied too much.
I've heard that too, but Cano got good before Melky was shipped out.
KLaw, how does an apartment liver cook a good ribeye? Outdoor grill not an option. Broiler? Indoor electric grill?
Broiler. Those indoor "grills" aren't grilling anything.
Have you seen any of the Mets prospects in AZ? Did they send any of their young Savannah pitchers (Moore, Cohoon, Rodriguez, etc.)?
Nope, they're not here. Holt was very mediocre. Nieuwenhuis looks like a very good 4th outfielder. Valdespin is interesting but young, looks like his body has a ways to go and he's kind of crude at the plate. Satin and Niesen are just filling rosters. I'm forgetting another name.
Dee Gordon - seems like he has a limited upside offensively, about 1 WAR a year, so his impact status depends on his defense, right? So, can he improve his consistency/fundamentals/ect. to become a 3-4 WAR defender at short?
That's a pretty pessimistic offensive projection, and I don't agree with it.
What are your thoughts on the Dodger blocking the Blue Jays from speaking with Wallach?
Not a fan of that move for any coach or executive in any organization. The Yankees did it to Oppenheimer, and I thought it was a bush league move for a franchise that tries to hold itself to a higher standard.
Keith, I just want to say I'm disappointed that Hicks isn't at the AFL this year. I think the Twins are moving too slowly with him. I'm also curious of your thoughts on Joe Benson and if you think he can stick in CF. If so, would Drew Stubbs/Mike Cameron be a good comp at the plate?
Not sure on Benson in CF, but he'll be plus in either corner. That's definitely the kind of hitter he is - doesn't have Cameron's patience but has that kind of power potential.
Hale, Farrell, Butterfield or Alomar Jr.?
I have no insight at all on Hale or Alomar as candidates, so I can't pick one for you. Sorry.
Why can't the Giants get any recognition for what they've accomplished? It seems like the experts are still expecting Philly dominate the next three games and can't explain how the Giants have managed to win.
I give up.
Thanks for the questions - I should be back next week.