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March 17, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Keith Law

Klaw
  (1:05 PM)

The ESPN Baseball Today podcast (with me on Tuesdays through Thursdays) is now going five days a week. You can subscribe via iTunes here http://itun.es/i6H3T3 or browse the show on ESPN's Podcenter site here http://klaw.me/eEo9Xj .

Jeremy (Asheville, NC)

Do you think the Red Sox will trade some of their outfield depth, and what do you think of the 26yo Cuban Juan Carlos Linares ?

Klaw
  (1:08 PM)

I'm asked about Linares quite a bit, and I'm not sure why - he's old, too old to really be a prospect, and it's not like he's got some plus tool to make you say "wow." (And he's *listed* at 26. How much money are you putting on that Cuban birth certificate's validity?) Saw him in Fall League, nice swing, corner glove, average power. Didn't have him top 10 in their system because of lack of ceiling.

Dante (Chicago)

How much concern is Sano's size given his age?

Klaw
  (1:10 PM)

It's a concern for his position - lot of sentiment he ends up in RF. But he's not fat, just large. Fat would be a concern. If your body tends toward fat it's a lot of work to keep it trim.

Chris (Falmouth)

Hey Klaw! What Have you heard about Grayson Garvin so far? Where does he project to go this June?

Klaw
  (1:11 PM)

Stuff has been fringier than expected - 86-89, good command, no plus pitch. Maybe 2nd round just because he's polished and high probability, but with that stuff I'd rank him more in the 3rd-4th round range.

Dante (Chicago)

Why does Jaff Decker get top 50 consideration, but not Nick Weglarz? The bats appear very similar, there doesn't look to be much difference defensively, and Weglarz is further along the the minors.

Klaw
  (1:12 PM)

Don't see the bats as similar, but more importantly, Weglarz has yet to play a full season - last three years he's played 87, 105, and 106 games.

Matt (Seattle)

Keith, am I silly for being happy that the Mariners sit in the two-hole? Its seems that almost anyone is a quasi-reach at #1, but the chances of ending up with Cole/Starling (my choice) or Rendon at #2 are great. I would like to see us load up in the later rounds too...Also, have you read any of the Stieg Larsson books? I am digging into The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as I write this. Yeah, yeah, I know its not The Ilyiad (read in 8th grade) or The Oedipus Trilogy (read in 7th grade) but can't a single Dad just read for fun? I bet my 9 year old daughter I could finish this before she can finish Diary of a Whimpy Kid. I think she is cheating.........

Klaw
  (1:13 PM)

Two is a great place to pick this year. Four might be the inflection point, or three if you don't have Starling where I have him. Read Dragon Tattoo, was not really a fan, haven't felt compelled to read book two even though it's in the house.

Marcus (VA)

Any scuttlebutt on Lohse & McClellan of STL holding up the back end of thier rotation? Could be key for them contending.

Klaw
  (1:15 PM)

I don't really get why they wouldn't give a spot to Lance Lynn. I can't see McClellan succeeding AND holding up in that role - plus he'll boost his arbitration value so much as a starter that he'll be a potential non-tender after the season.

Dan (Ithaca, NY)

Keith, thanks for the chat and your great work.What do you think of Gary Sanchez? Is he a "level-a-year" kind of guy? Does he stick behind the plate?Thanks

Klaw
  (1:16 PM)

Like him quite a bit, far, far better chance to catch than Montero ever had. Wouldn't be shocked to see him move quickly through the low minors.

Tom (San Francisco, CA)

Keith, do you think Josh Bell goes in the first round?

Klaw
  (1:16 PM)

Yes.

Blake (Tucson, AZ)

The Diamondbacks have two of the top seven picks in this years draft, what are the chances they take the two best players available?

Klaw
  (1:17 PM)

One of those picks is unprotected, meaning if they don't sign the player they don't get a compensatory pick for it in 2012. Look for them to take a signable player there (not necessary cheap, but probably at or just under slot) and to take the BPA with the other pick.

JPF (brooklyn)

who you got in the final 4?

Klaw
  (1:17 PM)

Cole, Rendon, Starling ... not sure on the fourth one, maybe Lindor or Gray. Or is that not what you meant?

Stevo (NYC)

Everyone is talking about Padma in a bikini but Gail was the one who caught me eye. Does that make me weird?

Klaw
  (1:18 PM)

Not at all. Plenty to look at besides the food on that episode. (No spoilers till the end of the chat, BTW.)

Cuban Pete (Vegas)

Who is worse defensively - Lavarnway or Montero? And can either really be that much worse than Posada was during his tenure for the Yankees?

Klaw
  (1:20 PM)

Neither is playable behind the plate.

Norman (San Jose)

what keeps Kolten Wong out of your top 50?

Klaw
  (1:21 PM)

Better question: Why would he be there? 5'8", can't run, lacks power, not a good defender at 2b. Doesn't make sense to rate a guy without upside there.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

Should the Rockies be giving Chris Nelson a shot at 2B? Or does EY Jr. or Herrera win out?

Klaw
  (1:22 PM)

I'd play Nelson. EY Jr. should be on the bench or in AAA, period. Tracy's infatuation with him was one of the many ways in which he (Tracy) hurt the team last year.

Greg (Baltimore)

Any real hope for Springer reviving his high position in the draft?

Klaw
  (1:22 PM)

Yes, but he has to perform, and do something to lessen the mechanical issues that have everyone running for the exits.

Charles (San Jose)

Can you comment on the Diamondbacks seemingly refusing to ever give Brandon Allen a shot?

Klaw
  (1:23 PM)

Well, I'd play him over Branyan, but I don't think Brandon Allen is a player to lose too much sleep over either.

Rob (Mt. Vernon)

Klaw, thoughts on the odd the owners will implement hard slotting and a worldwide draft? Isn't it likely? Who's going to say no?

Klaw
  (1:24 PM)

They can't implement either of those things without the union's signoff, and I get the sense the price (in concessions) for hard slotting will be very high. I'm hopeful that we'll get more of a midway draft reform rather than a full overhaul that includes hard slotting. Other sports are busy shooting themselves in the face right now - this is not the time to play monkey-see, monkey-do by discouraging young athletes from choosing baseball.

Eli (Toronto)

Hey Klaw,Do you have any idea if many front office guys or scouts follow your chats and/or blog?

Klaw
  (1:25 PM)

Yes, just like they read Buster and Jayson and Jerry.

Ryan (Philly)

What is the ETA of Gerrit Cole if he is selected by the Pirates? Mariners?

Klaw
  (1:25 PM)

What I saw from him last Friday would play in the big leagues right now. I think he'd be up inside of a year barring injury.

Andrew Brotherton (Atlanta, GA)

Montero front runner for AL ROY if he plays all year?

Klaw
  (1:27 PM)

Good question. I'd like his chances - position players have an edge over pitchers and he'll put up the power numbers that tend to win awards.

Pat D (Belfast, PA)

KLaw, I take it then from your answer to Rob that you feel the current debacle in the NFL and possible debacle in the NBA will make both sides in MLB very eager to have as little problems as possible in the next CBA, right?

Klaw
  (1:28 PM)

I hope so. But that's not a prediction.

brian (brooklyn)

Should NFL draftees boycott the draft? The NFLPA is making a big deal about rookie contracts since the rookies are not yet part of the union and yet they are asking the rookies to stand by their side. Seems weird

Klaw
  (1:28 PM)

All I'm saying is hey Jake Locker Tempe is lovely this time of year.

chris (nevada)

So then if Gerrit Cole were drafted by the giants, it would be 2 years? 2 and a half maybe?

Klaw
  (1:29 PM)

You know, as much as I have killed the Giants over the Posey thing, Brandon Belt is still in big league camp and playing. They're at least entertaining the idea of putting him on the roster. And that's good.

Joe (Sea)

Hi KLaw.With the issues with the Sea Pen - what happened to Josh Fields? He was touted as closer of the futureThanks

Klaw
  (1:31 PM)

Came back from the long layoff and didn't have the same velocity or the same sharpness on the breaking ball.

Nathan (Los Angeles)

Does Dee gordon have a ligitimate shot at making the Dodgers roster at some point this year?

Klaw
  (1:31 PM)

I'd say no.

Sam (New Orleans)

Who would you rather have right now: Strasburg or Cole?

Klaw
  (1:31 PM)

Um ... the guy who's not hurt?

Jason (Minneapolis)

KLAW . . .Speaking of Belt, what is his ceiling? His stats last year (short track record) were similar to Votto's minor league stats at roughly the same age.

Klaw
  (1:33 PM)

I hate to comp a kid to the reigning MVP. I think Belt will hit for average, get on base, and have at least 20-25 homer power. If anything, I may have underranked him in January.

Jason (St Louis)

What good does it do Belt if he stays with the club but doesn't get at bats?

Klaw
  (1:34 PM)

Sabean said the other day that if Belt makes the club, he'll play. (I saw that in a Tim Kawakami article.)

Rob (Mt. Vernon)

My guess is you're probably boycotting Banuelos questions since there's nothing new on what you've already said, but let me give it a shot. Wouldn't it be foolish for the Yankees to put him in the rotation knowing they'd have to shut him down just when they needed him the most, the pennant race? NY media is absurd. Reference, Chamberlain, Joba.

Klaw
  (1:34 PM)

Why would they have to shut him down?

ron (salisbury, md.)

What would you think of the O's trading Tillman to Texas for M.Young with Texas picking up a significant amount of his contract--in light of Brian Roberts injury problem. Without him they will suffer.

Klaw
  (1:35 PM)

That would be a terrible idea for Baltimore.

Drake (Tampa)

If given the choice, a 2-sport prospect should always choose NFL over MLB because you're "in the show" right away in that league and making real money. The exception (Samardizja, sic) being when you get a big-league deal. I'm very critical of Scuzur (Villanova) and now, potentially, Russell Wilson (NC State) sticking with baseball over the NFL. Scuzur is an NFL star waiting to happen and Wilson, though atypical at QB, will top out in high A when the pitching gets a little better. Your thoughts?

Klaw
  (1:36 PM)

Baseball is safer, and it's easier to go back to football after a few years playing baseball than to go the other way.

Tim (NYC)

I've seen Springer some on video and it just looks like he's a bit late getting into position. Isn't that somewhat predictable 50 abs in given that, as a cold weather player, he was indoors until game 1?

Klaw
  (1:36 PM)

That's really not the issue. The back side collapse and predetermined uphill path are much bigger concerns.

Zack (CT)

Re: Banuelos - Innings limit? Max for his career is ~110

Klaw
  (1:37 PM)

OK, and if you can show me some evidence that having him throw 150 innings this year would cause undue harm or risk of harm, we can talk. But I believe the 30-inning increase limit has been debunked.

Jay (KC)

What can we expect from Hosmer in the big leagues this year? I've heard reports of June, August, and September time frames (if at all this year).

Klaw
  (1:37 PM)

I'm thinking September. No real reason to rush him.

Chris (Alabama)

Is Rendon's shoulder injury the type that would typically require post-season surgery? If so, will the medicals scare off teams at the top of the draft with so much other elite talent available?

Klaw
  (1:39 PM)

If it's just a muscle strain, then it's not a big deal and wouldn't require surgery, just a little rest. I'm not sure why he wouldn't take two weeks off to get healthy now, though.

Ian (OK)

Re: Banuelos again. It doesn't really matter if you believe in the 30 inning thing if the Yankees do. And how they treated Joba (and to a lesser extent Hughes) seems to indicate they do.

Klaw
  (1:39 PM)

Yeah, that Joba thing is working out splendidly for them.

Jason (St Louis)

So you're saying you don't believe in the Verducci effect? It's pretty convincing. Maybe you should read up on that before making an opinion.

Klaw
  (1:40 PM)

Maybe I did read up on that, and formed an opinion based on studies that found no evidence of such an effect. Sounds like you're the one who needs to read up on it. Do you have Google?

Klaw
  (1:42 PM)

One such study: http://baseballanalysts.com/archives/2010/02/verducci_effect.php ... interesting that the author notes that the 30-inning increase rule flagged Felix Hernandez as a regression candidate before 2010.

Stewie Griffin (Quahog)

Could Jackie Bradley JR be the first college bat taken? Whats a decent comp for him?

Klaw
  (1:44 PM)

First college bat taken will be Rendon, unless there's some unexpected catastrophe. If the draft was today, I wouldn't be shocked to see Mahtook taken before Bradley.

Rob (Mt. Vernon)

Hmmm, I seem to remember in the past you saying that MLB teams treat young arms better today. 64 innings to 180+. If he pitches well, then he's going at least that high.

Klaw
  (1:45 PM)

64 innings plus 25 in the AFL plus whatever he threw in extended spring training while getting healthy. Just because some of those innings aren't on Baseball-Reference doesn't mean they didn't happen.

Scrouge McDuck (Duckberg)

Cool Cool Keith, what do you think of Trumbo? Seems like a handful of scouts are impressed with his bat speed. How the heck do the Angels fit him in?

Klaw
  (1:46 PM)

Has plus power. Big swing, going to miss a lot. See him like Ka'aihue - worth playing if he's already in your system, but keep expectations realistic.

Jim (Rockville MD)

Is it correct to assume you see the 30-inning rule = 100-pitch rule; i.e., nothing is an absolute, you need to assess everything within context (effort)?

Klaw
  (1:47 PM)

That's a good analogy, thanks. Both numbers are highly arbitrary.

Ted (The Cubicle)

Is wanting to make sure Belt is getting full time at bats in April while the Giants sort out which veterans are worth playing in 2011 a justifiable reason to have Belt start the season in AAA?

Klaw
  (1:48 PM)

Sure, although I'm not sure that they have enough veterans worth sorting out to make that a reality.

Nathan (Kentucky)

I have read recenly that many scouts believe Aroldys Vizcaino will end up in the bullpen. Do you agree? and Why? What do you think is Delgado's ceiling?

Klaw
  (1:49 PM)

I haven't read that, and I heard it from just one scout last year. His stuff played up in one-inning stints this month, but his stuff is also above-average when he starts. Heck of a trade by Atlanta.

ethan (denver)

Thanks for the chat. What does Texas do with Chris Davis? Sell "high" thanks to 30 good ST ab's? Also, I'm 50 pages in to Cold Comfort Farm but not feelin' it. Dump it, or power through?

Klaw
  (1:53 PM)

Explore the trade market, sure. CCF will only make sense if you've read some of what Gibbons was parodying, so that could be the issue.

Paul (Pullman, WA)

Have you seen Christian Colon this spring, and if so what did you think?

Klaw
  (1:54 PM)

A few innings - looked better, fresher, not so slow and fatigued as he was in instructs. I assume he goes to second base now that they have Escobar but I still think he could play short if that was the long-term plan.

dave (erie, pa)

Klaw, on the subject of overusing a pitcher what do you think of Nolan Ryans philosophy in texas of pushing the pitchers to go past 100 pitches and 200 innings? It does seem like he is also pushing the conditioning it takes to go above those numbers...

Klaw
  (1:56 PM)

From the outside, it sounds like he at least has the right idea that increasing pitcher workloads begins with conditioning, not just with having them pitch more. But I can't say I know enough about their program to give a strong opinion either way.

Greg (Baltimore)

Hi, Keith,When you scout an amateur pitcher with great velocity but iffy control, how do you project future control? What do you look for?Thanks.

Klaw
  (1:57 PM)

Control/command often come from the delivery - if a pitcher can't repeat his delivery, he'll have a hard time with command or control. Repeating is a function of athleticism, body control, and the complexity of the delivery itself.

Mick (Chicago)

Have you developed an opinion on freshman at LSU JaCoby Jones? He's been impressive so far.

Klaw
  (1:58 PM)

Very intrigued by him last year, thought he could go to school and be a first rounder in 2013, but I haven't seen him at all since he went to Baton Rouge.

Brendan (MD)

Can you reccomend agood cast iron pan for cooking steaks or chops? How do I season it also. Slainte' .

Klaw
  (1:59 PM)

I think you just reposted this under another name/city. (Hint: You're trying too hard. I just try to backload non-baseball questions.) I only know of one brand, Lodge, and they come sort-of preseasoned with instructions on how to season it further. I've read that flaxseed oil is actually the ideal oil for seasoning a cast-iron pan.

nick (sf)

please settle a quick debate: is carlos santana still a rookie since he has exactly 150 ABs? I assume not or he would be on the prospect ranking list right?

Klaw
  (1:59 PM)

No longer a rookie.

Klaw
  (2:00 PM)

INSERT TOP CHEF SPOILER WARNING HERE

Jumpin (Atlanta)

Blais looks like he is generating a lot of flop sweat. Is he analagous to a good hitter who thinks too much in late game situations to be completely effective?

Klaw
  (2:01 PM)

I'm starting to wonder if he's struggling with the pressure ... or if they're messing with him. Based on what we saw and heard last night, he really should have won the elimination challenge (and I'd argue the quickfire too - they did something more ambitious and earned equivalent praise).

Silv (NY, NY)

Has Blais become Top Chef's version of the 95-2000 Barry Bonds? Clearly the MVP of the show, but the judges are voting for someone else because of the monotony?

Klaw
  (2:01 PM)

Yes - exactly.

james (NYC)

Although he's perpetually sour at the moment, I think Richard is in the perfect position going into the finale. Two straight second-place finishes...there's no way Mikey can run the table, and Antonia is too shaky and conservative.

Klaw
  (2:02 PM)

The question is whether the second-place finishes cause him to second-guess his plan. If he keeps making "his" food, he'll be fine. FWIW, I'm good with the final three - given the final five this was the ideal finale.

Vinny (NYC)

Mike Isabella's run more improbable than the Giants in 2010?

Klaw
  (2:03 PM)

Excellent comp.

Mike (San Diego)

How are you enjoying the podcast so far? Sounds like you and EK had a blast recording the show yesterday.

Klaw
  (2:04 PM)

It's been fun - we were a little slap-happy this morning, I think. But we want it to be fun as well as informative.

Christian (Richmond, VA)

Like you, I am in the Blais camp. However I think it will make for great tv if he finishes second again. Read: epic breakdown. Thoughts?

Klaw
  (2:04 PM)

I'm too sympathetic to ever root for that.

Jay (Tacoma, WA)

Mikey is getting the wins in order to make him look credible. Not to say he's not a good chef, but they need to bump him so people aren't saying "how the hell did Isabella make the final 3"?

Klaw
  (2:05 PM)

That's a parchment-paper hat theory ... I like it. But I bet Colicchio would go on a Twitter-rant if you asked him.

Mike (Evanston)

Vitters hit .316 in high school. Did that present any red flag that even with a great swing he might run in to trouble against better pitching? I'd think a top prospect should crush high school guys.

Klaw
  (2:06 PM)

Unless I'm remembering wrong, he had mono that spring.

Ben (Philly)

When you have a bad meal (either because of flavors not working or poor cooking technique) do you tend to be brutally honest or just avoid "ruffling feathers" when asked about the meal? Have you ever walked out on a meal?

Klaw
  (2:08 PM)

At a restaurant? If something's seriously wrong, like undercooked or mishandled meat, I'll say something. If it just doesn't taste good, I won't say anything because most restaurants will take the dish off the bill, and "bad flavor" isn't a good reason to not pay for what you chose to order. But if the order is wrong, inedible, or unsafe, yeah, say something - you have a responsibility to do so.

Jalen Rose (Detroit)

Grant Hill is being absolutely ridiculous, right?

Klaw
  (2:09 PM)

Last question. I thought Hill's essay was superb, and the only defense I've read of Rose's comments was that he was 18, and apparently it's OK to promulgate racial and socioeconomic stereotypes when you're 18. Or something. I'm open-minded but I haven't read a better counterargument than that one, which didn't work for me.

Klaw
  (2:10 PM)

OK, thanks for stopping by - please check out the Baseball Today podcasts as you exit through the gift shop.