Klawchat, where the great fast-food burger debate continues.
Great comments on In N Out vs Five Guys. I agree 100%.
Best chat comment ever!
How is Bryce Harper looking in the AFL?
Like he's pressing a little, trying to make something happen on every pitch because he only plays twice a week. I noticed a couple of pitchers dialed it up yesterday when he was hitting, which is funny since they're all about six or seven years his senior.
Can you think of a more bone-headed contract extension in recent memory than Amaro's decision to extend Howard 2 years before he had to at a ridiculously overvalued price? Howards walk % is even declining already....this is going to look even more awful in 3 years and hell still have three years left on the deal.
If only someone had said that at the time...
You often hear how organizations "block" front office execs from interviewing for a job with another organization. What's the protocol on this? When you join a front office, do most contracts state clubs have the right to do this? It just seems odd that many organizations are able to block one from a potential upgrade in position.
In most cases the "block" is explicit in the contract - that is, the employee agreed to waive the right to leave during the deal. Personally, I'd never agree to that. Front office jobs are too scarce and teams have too much leverage as it is.
Sports radio in Philly now wants me traded! What would the Klaw fine be for saying such comments?
The fine is for listening to sports radio if that's what they're discussing.
I've heard that Chris Carpenter has looked great out of the bullpen in the AFL. Is this true? And if so, has he been showing legitimate closer stuff or not quite that good?
Yes, up to at least 98 - touched 100 on one gun yesterday - probably needs to simplify the four-pitch repertoire if he's going to the pen, and of course shore up the fastball command.
Last chat you mentioned that you would rather have Cain over Gallardo. Could you expand on your rational? Cain always seems to be outperforming his peripherals and Gallardo seems to have better "stuff", but needs to harness his walk rates imho.
This issue about Cain's peripherals has come up a few times in the last week, but I think it's based on a misunderstanding of those numbers, especially the ones used to calculate xFIP. xFIP is based on the theory that a pitcher does not control home run rates, but controls fly ball rates, and that over time his home run per fly ball rate (HR/FB) will regress to the league average. It is not clear, however, that that theory is true, and Cain has a pretty substantial sample so far that says that he, at least, is an exception.
How much can AFL performance change your opinion on a guy? Are you like Callis where you put little stock into it or can it do a lot in your mind?
AFL is not about performance for me, but is a chance to see the players myself and often in some pretty good matchups. When you see hitters facing Banuelos or Kelly or Carpenter, you're getting one of the best at bats for evaluation purposes that the hitters will have all year. Plus living here gets me multiple looks on lots of players.
Keith,Can you please share your thoughts on the Mets' hiring of Sandy Alderson? Do we have to start worrying over in Philly Country?
Excellent hire, and the obvious one among that set of candidates. I can't imagine ownership meddling with him, either, and what that franchise needs more than anything is a GM with the autonomy to put his plan into place.
Where did you talk In n Out vs Five Guys? I have a lot of thoughts on the topic so would love to hear your take.
It started on Twitter yesterday, then wrote about it more on the dish: http://klaw.me/adFvzA
Did Jason Smith from All Night ever send you $5 for the blatant Klawbaiting he engaged in last week? The Klawbaiting could not have been more blatant.
Oh, no. He really believes what he said about clutch hitters, and what he says about RBIs. We have that argument at least twice a year.
Thoughts of Ron Washington's performance in these past two rounds. Last night added to the "legend". Vladdie in RF? Really? Let's hear them?
What I wonder is where Jon Daniels is in this. There's no way Washington played Vlad without telling his boss. Did JD figure it wasn't worth the battle with his manager? Did he sign off on the idea? I find the latter hard to believe, since everyone knew it would be a train wreck. Either way, it has to stop after last night. It didn't actually cost Texas the game, but it will likely do so if they push their luck again.
What do you think about that reporter saying Sandy Alderson should apologize to fans for letting all that A's PED stuff happen when he was the GM? Bunch of garbage, no?
Who said that? What exactly should Alderson apologize for? Is he responsible for everything that happened in the industry after that? Was he the only GM who had players using steroids (which, by the way, had existed for about 30 years by that point)? Should he apologize for all the positive publicity baseball got in the '90s from the home run record chases? Should he apologize for baseball's soaring revenues over the last 15 years? Because if he's being urged to apologize for the harm done to baseball, I'd like to see some evidence of actual harm first.
What's your take on the reports that Jon Daniels had wished the Mets waited until after the World Series before picking their GM?
Denied by Evan Grant, who is pretty plugged in down there.
Have you seen anything in the AFL that's swayed your prior thinking about a player, for better or worse?
Yep, Charlie Culberson - much better hitter than I previously thought.
Is there ever a point at which a particular batter's stats vs. a particular pitcher have much meaning?
I don't think so, because by the time the sample size becomes significant, the hitter and/or the pitcher will likely have changed in some tangible way that alters the equation.
Can you further explain your Lambo tweet? No one else has made any comment about this behavior and his performance on the field has been very promising so far.
I described the specifics of his on-field behavioral problems here in the AFL in one of my recent blog posts. And since then I've heard more stories from scouts who saw him this year and last. Hey, Andrew, if you're reading: Grow up before you flush all that talent down a great big toilet.
Is Jason Kipnis going to be in your preseason top 100? Top 50?
Top 100 questions are a little pointless now because I haven't even begun to map that out. Top 50 at least is clearer, and Kipnis wouldn't be in that list.
Keith, Chris Archer of the Cubs' system has been getting a lot of attention since the end of the season. Is he a legitimate prospect? What's your take?
Haven't seen him - he was scheduled to come here but they scratched him after he pitched in the Pan Am trials - but reports I've heard have him as a legitimate SP prospect, chance to be a solid 3, with command the major variable.
What do you think of Derek Norris? The plate discipline is always really impressive and now that he's healthy, he's hitting again. Will he have to change positions, and if so can his bat carry him?
I don't see him needing to change position. That's their catcher of the future right now.
Keith, I saw your ESPN.com clip on Brandon Belt and wanted to say thanks for including a Giants prospect! Just wanted to get your opinion on Giants prospect Charlie Culberson? He is tearing up the Arizona Fall League Right now!
Love the bat, as I just said. Not sure where he's going to end up playing, as he's struggled overall at 2b and I think his hands are part of the problem.
What is the best way to determine the best team in baseball? Eliminate the World Series and have a balanced, inter-league schedule?
Is that a reasonable goal? The World Series, tradition aside, is a huge revenue producer for the sport. I don't think there's any clamoring for a new system to determine the "best team" after each season; it's an academic question, fun to argue, but not something that needs a structural overhaul.
Brett Jackson going to break camp for the north siders?
I don't know their plans but he hasn't looked good here and struggled down the stretch in AA too.
What happened to Tim Alderson? He went from top 100 prospect to a fringe prospect in a matter of a year.
Lost his velocity. Don't see him ever getting back.
Hope your daughter is feeling better. What can you recommend for dinning in the Phoenix area?
Thanks. Now I get what you were saying - I didn't make the connection to last week's chat. My comment about Hooton was about not remembering his repertoire - I do remember him as a pitcher but couldn't tell you what he threw. That link above with the burger debate has some food recs for the East Valley.
Do you think Brandon Belt can be at least average in the outfield? Or is he a long term first baseman?
I love him at first base; I think he's athletic enough to handle LF, but he might be plus at first to the point where despite the position adjustment they're better off with him at 1b.
It's definitely not realistic to eliminate the playoffs and I am approaching the question from the "fun to argue" perspective. If the goal was to determine the best team over the course of the season, you would eliminate the playoffs, right?
If money was not part of the equation? I still don't think I'd eliminate the playoffs. They're fun, even if they don't answer the question you're asking. But yes, a long, balanced schedule is more likely to give us the answer to "best team" than the playoffs are.
Does the signing of Alderson signify another few years of the Mets not going over slot in the draft?
I don't see why. The Pirates hired Coonelly, who was MLB's chief bully on slot recommendations, and they have spent like drunken sailors (to good effect, mind you) in the draft since then.
you're making it sound like the Giants have some promising pieces to put around Posey and that Pitching staff. Nice to hear that.
I've said it in a few forums but John Barr and his amateur staff have done a great job over the last four years.
I hope you're having fun shoveling the sunshine of AZ. Who might be more ready if Cubs need starter at beginning of next year...Jay Jackson, Chris Carpenter, or Chris Archer?
Archer or Jackson.
Any Angels impress you at the AFL?
Andrew Romine can really play shortstop. Jeremy Moore looks like a nice fourth outfielder. They didn't send a strong crop, though.
KLaw, thanks as always for your insights and snarkiness. After watching Ranaudo's resurrection in the CCL, where'd you expect him to go if there was a 2010 redraft? Also, can you rank these pitchers on who you feel has the best chance of becoming at least a #2: Gibson, Drabek, Pineda, Britton?
Probably third, no worse than fourth. I think Taillon impressed enough scouts that he'd have gone over Ranaudo, leaving it to Ranaudo and Machado for the third spot. You might argue that Baltimore would have gone bat over arm at that point, if you want to stick to the actual draft order.
Freeman's injury a concern?
Yes. Hand injuries of any sort are a concern for hitters.
Have you seen seen Vitters play 1B in the AFL? Does this improve his odds of playing in the Friendly Confines?
One game, and he struggled. But he's been much better at 3b.
Are you able to sit back an enjoy the WS without worrying about whether or not the two best teams in MLB are playing for the crown?
Doesn't bother me. I think it bothers some fans to think that the WS winner isn't automatically the "best team," but I don't really see why. One's an academic question. The other is a flag that flies forever.
Klaw, how does Devon Mescorco look in the AFL so far? Any chance he helps the reds next year?
Struggling badly behind the plate.
KLawman, what are your thoughts on the Farrell hiring in Toronto? Are he and Walton going to cross each other up on handling the young pitching staff? Or because he's keeping Walton it's a sign they pretty much agree on their methods?
I don't know Farrell, and much of what I know about him is from people in Toronto. He's very highly regarded around the game, and I like the fact that they hired someone with player development experience, which is key for a team with a young roster and a plan to build through the farm system.
If a team is 'really' better, wouldn't they be in the World Series?
Billy Hamilton - a future Reds everyday SS?
Maybe. Would like to see this performance come against full-season pitching.
What is your opinion of Derrik Gibson?
Love the potential but I'm still waiting for him to start filling out physically.
Outside of Vlad, who is the worst fielder in the World Series? Young 3b, Pat the Bat LF, Renteria or Uribe SS, or someone else
Young's a Leader. And he said That Thing. That means we can't point out that he's a freaking pillar of salt at third base.
My fault in asking a yes or no questions, but can you elaborate on why the better team would not make the World Series?
Because in a seven-game series, the better team might win 55% of the time (if you played the series repeatedly, that is). There's too much randomness in a sample of games that small. That's not taking anything away from the "inferior" team - just a statement of fact.
Was Buster in the AFL last year and if so could you tell that he was the real deal then?
Yes. He looked exhausted, but I had seen him plenty in the past dating back to FSU and the Cape and I rated him highly based on that.
The Cardinals have no interest in trading Rasmus right? Most of the rumors are media creations I think. Why trade a player that good that you have under control for quite a while? Whats he gonna do, quit?
That's what I hear, but the issue is that they need to play him every day, and TLR has to be on board with that.
Klaw, did you notice any difference in the overall approach against Lee by teh Giants vs Yankees. Was last night a result of Giants figuring out something or Lee not having it
I thought Lee wasn't himself from pitch one last night. The Giants really capitalized on his mistakes in/near the zone.
Any thoughts on another Giants prospect, Thomas Neal? Seems to me if they can get Belt, Neal, Culberson and Kieschnick (sp?) up together that would be a major boost to the long term future of the Giants.
Belt is a potential star. Culberson is a solid prospect who needs defensive help. Neal is a solid fourth outfielder. Kieschnick is an enigma.
What's the story with Scott Elbert? I assume he quit the game, but I hear he's in the AFL.
Saw him twice - he wasn't sharp.
I heard that MLB is thinking about adding more wild card teams. Are we going to have year round baseball or what? Seems that they would have to shorten the season to 154 games or something. Thoughts?
Ben Revere or Joe Benson? Will either one have a real career in Target Field?
Benson has more upside, especially in power, but Revere's speed and defense are sure things, while I'm not sure yet if Benson will have the plate discipline to get to that power against big league pitching.
Does Zach Lee make your top 100 prospects list? Top 50?
Not top 50. I do like him, though. Athletic, clean delivery, lot of upside there.
Can my bat play at 3B?
I'm leaning "no."
Do you see Rizzo as an above average 1B in the future? You mentioned last chat that you would rank him in front of Freeman. Rizzo is young, but he doesnt have great pitch recognition and doesnt have great walk rates. I guess my real question is do you see him as a Red Sox 1B of the future given how high of a standard Sox 1B should have?
He was 20 in AA and missed an entire year of development due to cancer, but drew 42 unintentional walks in 464 PA at that level. I just don't see the complaint there. And yes, I think he's their 1b of the future.
And I believe the Red Sox do as well.
Do you think Adrian Beltre re-signs with the Sox? Was this year another contract push for him, or a product of playing in Fenway?
I'm calling contract push. Good player, but not likely to be a 7-WAR player again next year (I'd still take the under if you set the line at 6).
I assume the Brewers aren't going to be offered near what their perceived value of Prince is, so does that mean they keep him all year and take the draft picks or go for the best offer?
Planning on taking draft picks is a bad idea. Shop him now, with July as the fallback option, but don't enter the year thinking you'll get two picks for him in June of 2012.
Is Eduardo Nunez a realistic replacement at SS for Jeter in say 2012?
KLaw, do you believe GMDM has any intentions of moving Zack this offseason, or would he have to be blown away by any offer to even consider it?
I think he'd have to be blown away - but I wouldn't be surprised if someone did. Pretty special talent there.
Do you think the Rangers should keep Feliz as a closer? or try him out as a starter this spring?
I think he could start, but the better he does in relief the further from shore that ship sails.
With that kind of stick, are the attitude issues why the Dodgers let Lambo go so cheap?
That and the suspension for pot usage. I'm actually more concerned about the on-field stuff than the reefer madness.
Jared Cosart... a potential ace or mid-rotation guy?
Ace if healthy.
KLaw, the Angels took Trout with their 2nd first round pick last year. How does top dog Randal Ghirchuk look to you? Projection?
I'm not on Grichuk. Big pull power potential with awful pitch recognition. Still very young, though.
The Brewers say they are going to try to rework Alcides Escobar's swing. Do you see any hope there, or is he doomed to be mediocre at best at the plate for most of his career?
Reworking a swing is not impossible, but it rarely produces substantial improvements. We hear about the times it works (e.g., Belt) but not so much about all the times it does nothing. And in Escobar we're not talking about some hard-working plus-makeup kid.
We're past the one-hour mark so I'll work in more food and books questions now...
Is Edward Salcedo a legitimate prospect?
Is top chef desserts trying to please a target demo that's interested in bravo programming rather than delivering on a food show? We'd be better off with food network or cooking channel taking these shows.
I think the problem with TC:JD is in the candidate selection. I don't feel like we got 12 blow-you-away pastry chefs. We got maybe 3, plus a really skilled baker who is doing better lately but struggled early, and a bunch of crazy people.
Have you seen Justin DeFratus pitch yet? Can he contribute in the Phils' bullpen in 2011?
Yes, good arm, should help in the next 18 months.
I don't read very much and I want to start doing so. Which works of fiction are generally enjoyable starting points that may inspire me?
I was thinking about a question along these lines last night while reading Richard Russo's "Bridge of Sighs" - I think his "Straight Man" is a great starter novel because it's so funny but has great characters and some serious themes underneath the humor. (I think that's his funniest book.) "Empire Falls" is his best, and won the Pulitzer, but I think "Straight Man" is more accessible.
I have a long flight coming this afternoon, what would the one book I could find in an airport be to pick up?
Ann Patchett's "Bel Canto." Unless you're flying to Asia - then maybe S. Clarke's "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell" just so you don't finish before you land.
A "who is hotter" question. Kaley Cuoco on "The Big Bang Theory" or Bianca Kajlich on "Rules of Engagement?" In the middle of a very important debate here, and need your analysis.
Sorry, had to, um, research that ... I'm taking Cuoco.
Thoughts on "Bridge of Sighs" so far? I loved it but I know most think it's too long/slow.
Fantastic. Should finish tomorrow at this rate, post over the weekend.
Would it be smart for the Red Sox to let Beltre walk and sign a stop gap 1st/3rd on a 1 year (moving Youkilis to the open position) and then go all out for Adrian Gonzalez when he's a free agent? Or should the Sox not count on Gonzalez ever making it to the open market for whatever reason?
I think Gonzalez gets traded between now and free agency, so waiting on him to reach the market is risky. Unless, say, someone called his agent and said "don't sign an extension because we'll top any offer." But that would be tampering, and tampering is bad, people.
I loved "empire falls." Any other Russo books I should check out?
I've liked every book I've read. Omitting Bridge of Sighs because I'm not finished and That Old Cape Magic because it's about #30 in my queue right now, I'd go Empire Falls, The Risk Pool, Straight Man, Nobody's Fool, Mohawk.
How has Austin Romine looked in the AFL?
Above-average power and arm. Below-average hit and receiving.
Hi Keith. Thanks, as always for the chat. Apologies if you've discussed this recently, but why is it often viewed as a negative if a pitcher who figures to pitch out of the pen has several pitches? Does the same apply of they are all "+" pitches (realizing that if you have 4 plus pitches, you probably wont be in the pen)
That may mis-state the objection a bit. Simplifying the repertoire means choosing, say, the best offspeed pitch and using that exclusively to improve it. If a guy has four pitches and they're all good, but can't start for health reasons, let him use all four. The implication of the "too many pitches" objection is that the extra pitches aren't good.
From what I understand, you don't watch Mad Men. Any reason?
Not really. Just don't watch that much TV.
Catch-22 is the book that made me love reading.
Good call, definitely an early favorite of mine (I was 16 when I read it, 35 when I re-read it). In a similar vein, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is great.
If you were going to attack the classics of literature where would you start?
"Moby Dick is the most overrated novel in American literature." Or is that not what you meant?
Hey Keith, have you ever watched the game of cricket. I donno how the pitchers in cricket can over a span of 3 hours (they rotate) throw 90 pitches and come back and do the same the next day for 5 consecutive days.
I watched it on TV for a half-hour when we were in Bermuda in 1995. We turned it off having learned absolutely nothing in those 30 minutes.
Almost finished reading Nabokov's "Lolita". Not sure if I should be ashamed to read it, or amazed at the incredible prose.
Incredible book, continued to grow on me long after I read it.
Can we pass a law where fans of underdog teams (like the Giants) stop crying about how no one believes/believed in them and should get more press? It's annoying. Just enjoy your teams success while you can.
Co-sign. And, seriously, the Giants got plenty of press when Bonds and Kent were there.
Klaw, I can't recall (and work blocks my access) if you had any Cormac McCarthy on the Klaw 100. Have you read many of his works? If so, thoughts? I found The Road to be tremendous as my first introduction to him, and Blood Meridian is on deck.
Have you seen Jerry Sands in AZ and if so, what are your thoughts?
There's some offensive potential there but he's either a bad LF or headed for 1b.
Wait, so the Cardinals are moving Chris Carpenter out of the rotation to the bullpen? Isn't he more valuable as a starter?
Wrong guy. The Cubs have a RH prospect of the same name.
As of right now is that fact that Purke is left handed enough to put him at the top of the college arms?
No, not for me. I'd rather have Cole, Gray, or Barnes right now.
Todd, you're an idiot.
You've been filling my queue with complaints that ESPN chatters don't answer enough Giants questions. No mirrors in Casper?
Brad Holt. Closer, middle reliever or minor league flameout?
Middle reliever. What's the second pitch?
Hi KLAW by attack I meant start reading
Looking at the Novel 100 list, classics I'd consider fairly accessible: Emma (#11), Huck Finn (
We know you didn't like the watchman Graphic novel, but were you a big comic book fan as a kid?
Has your opinion Banuelos changed at all? Still the best prospect of him, Brackman, and Betances?
I'm not sure what would change it in the last two weeks, but yes, he's still the best of the three.
How close is Alex Liddi to being a major-league 3B? A quick glance suggests he may have actually regressed with the glove in 2010.
Shaky. Would love to see him make it but I don't think he'll hit enough to play every day at 1b and may never be even average at third.
So in answering the Gonzoles questions are you suggesting that tampering of that nature is fairly common?
I know tampering happens. I don't know how widespread it is, and just to be clear, I do not haev any knowledge at all of Boston engaging in it. But I know of specific incidents.
How do you determine what you're going to read next? For example, let's say you have a book that's next in the queue, but something new comes out that interests you. Do you bump the new one up or put it at the back of the line?
I'm mostly a slave to the queue. I might shift books around to read something specific on a flight that will make the time pass more quickly, but otherwise, what's next is next. Otherwise I'd push more difficult books back repeatedly and would never get to them.
Should Sabean get credit that he drafted Lincecum 10th or should the other 9 GMs take some blame?
How about both? You can't dismiss them taking Lincecum or Posey (at 5, when at worst he was the 2nd best prospect in the draft and in hindsight was the best) just because some other teams screwed up.
For the record we don't want Manny being Manny here
I don't see where TBJ want Manny. I see Manny trying to boost his market.
Lavarnway projects to a slightly below average defensive MLB catcher, above average hitter (for a catcher), or does he still have development room to become average defensively?
He projects worse than "slightly below average" right now, and I'm not that optimistic about his future.
Klaw, if a GM is fired, what does that do to his staff? Are most of the higher ups loyal to the GM who would resign if the GM is fired. I'm worried about losing quality scouts in the Cubs organization when Hendry finally gets the boot after 2011.
No, that's very rare. Jobs like those are scarce enough that execs and scouts tend to stick around until they have something else lined up, or until the new GM comes in and the situation improves.
Do you think a package built around Rasmus would be a good starting point for STL to get Greinke from KC?
That would be pretty epic, actually. Have to think the Royals would think hard about that one.
Wil Myers taking some balls in the outfield in Instructional League. Do you think this is good news, or should the Royals wait an extra year or two and try to develop him as a catcher? Or is Salvador Perez the catcher of the future in KC?
I don't know many scouts who thought Myers would stay behind the plate, just because of his body type. And the bat has a chance to be special at any position. Why not 3b? I'm not sold on Moustakas' glove there anyway.
Regarding the 9 GMs who passed Lincecum going 10th, do you blame the Indians for not signing him the year before (without the benefit of hindsight, of course)?
He wanted over $2 million and at the time throwing strikes was not in his skill set. I can understand that one.
What's your opinion on "luck"? Analysts keep referring to it and I have no idea what it's supposed to mean at any given time, so it sounds like a cop-out. Is it a useful concept or does it just mean "I don't know"?
I think "luck" is often used as a synonym for "randomness." The latter is the better word to describe what's going on.
Die hard STL Cards and ND fan, so sports pretty much suck for me right now..looking at going to a AFL game friday of suprise v. peoria...anyway to tell if i can get the sports pick me up i need and actually see zach cox and other cards prospects play?
I don't think you can guarantee that on any given night - I usually don't see lineups until I get to the park.
please more info on whats up with duffy?
Jason Grey saw him on Tuesday and said his velocity was a little better. He was very fringy overall when we saw him on Saturday, though.
OK, that's it for this week. Thanks for all the questions.