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March 25, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Keith Law

Klaw
  (3:02 PM)

I haven't seen any wavin' wheat since I got to Oklahoma. Just a couple of wildfires and a high school kid throwing 96 mph.

Travis (Boston)

Great article by Cameron about how stupid it would be have Brandon Belt on the opening day roster. The guy would clearly be a Super 2, right?

Klaw
  (3:04 PM)

Super 2 may go away in the next CBA; if nothing else, both sides want it altered, so that's a bad reason to dislike the Belt promotion. If a team's goal is to win this year, the potential to save $2 million or so three years down the line (and a little more in the following three years) under a system that may soon cease to exist isn't much of a counterargument.

J. (Milwaukee)

Hey Keith. Good work on the podcast. I was skeptical when I first heard you would join the Baseball Today podcast, but you were better than advertised!

Klaw
  (3:04 PM)

I guess you're a bad scout, then.

Jason (St Louis)

I don't know if I can wait until the end of the chat to discuss Top Chef. I'm up in arms about this final two.

Klaw
  (3:05 PM)

You'll have to. It's only another 45 minutes.

Cheesehead Sports Nut (Chicago, IL)

The Barry Bonds trial seems like a sham to me, what are your thoughts on the trial?

Klaw
  (3:05 PM)

A waste of time and money.

Haas (Louisville)

Thoughts on Dave Sappelt? I know about the Arizona Effect but 21 for 34 with 3 HRs is pretty impressive for a kid who hasn't seen all but three weeks above AA. Lead off hitter for years to come or more a solid bench type? Would you start him in left on opening day?

Klaw
  (3:06 PM)

Extra guy. If they're truly starting him in left it's one of the biggest overreactions to a "hot" spring training I can remember.

Grant (Wpg)

Suprised to see Hultzen at No. 4 for you. You're typically high upside, and Hultzen seems more safe and solid than blow your hair back high ceiling. Crazy?

Klaw
  (3:06 PM)

I explained that I don't think he'll be #4 when it's all said and done, but in the meantime, he's performing and doing it with improved stuff while others with better upside have failed to seize the day.

Andrew (Chicago)

I know you've said in the past that you like Cashner better as a reliever than a starter. That said, is giving him a shot at the 5th spot in the rotation the right decision given his competition (Silva, Looper, Coleman, Russell)?

Klaw
  (3:07 PM)

Yes, clearly the best option. Ran into a scout at Cubs' camp last week who said Cashner's changeup is much improved this spring.

Jason (St Louis)

Why the curveball Friday chat?

Klaw
  (3:08 PM)

I was on a plane yesterday. And this is more of a hard slider.

Jeff (Ann Arbor)

Obviously, 96 mph is exceptional for any level but do you know what the average velocity is for a high school pitcher?

Klaw
  (3:08 PM)

A national average for HS pitchers? Um ... 62.3 mph.

Matt (DC)

Based on what you saw last night, how much higher will Bundy jump in your next rankings? There's already not a lot of room between him and the top.

Klaw
  (3:08 PM)

Not much higher. Hard to ever see him higher than 4 this year.

Patrick (Washington DC)

The Giants as a team have looked like hot garbage for a week now. Cause for concern or are they just bored with spring training?

Klaw
  (3:09 PM)

A week ago I had people insisting that their strong record in spring training indicated that they were the best team in the NL or something. So, in conclusion, ignore spring training stats and standings, and listen to your cable man.

Paul (Moscow, ID)

What do you think about Beachy?

Klaw
  (3:10 PM)

Not keen on him as the 5th starter.

Mike (Chicago)

How do you scout a HS pitcher that plays against terrible competition, especially if they are more in the command mode than power?

Klaw
  (3:10 PM)

Grade out the stuff, delivery, location. Competition should never affect your evaluations of raw tools.

Mike (Boston)

What do you think about Swihart to Boston

Klaw
  (3:11 PM)

I'd be surprised if he went that late in the round.

Alex (KC)

What do the Cubs do with Silva now since Cashner is believed to won the 5th spot? It seams that numerous clubs already have the position of overweight pitchers filled.

Klaw
  (3:11 PM)

Call 1-800-GOT-JUNK

David ((Thornton, CO))

I saw that one of your ESPN colleagues predicted Colvin would hit 40 HR this year "if he got the ABs". In your opinion, even with 525 ABs, is this close to the realm of possibility?

Klaw
  (3:12 PM)

No, not least because of those 525 ABs about 150 would come against LHP, to which Colvin is rather allergic.

Michael (Kalamazoo)

I just got back from 2 months in South America and have 2 conclusions. 1) Colombian women are way hotter than Brazilian women, and 2) Plantains are wildly underrated. I guess there is no question in there, just sayin.

Klaw
  (3:12 PM)

^plans scouting trip

Chris (NYC)

Was the Norris mentioned on your Twitter feed Daniel?

Klaw
  (3:13 PM)

Correct. He was good last week, less so this week. That's HS pitching.

Mike (Chicago)

In the same vein, do you often travel to see a HS hitter that the other side walks all game or throws lolly-pops to?

Klaw
  (3:14 PM)

Happened in 2007 when I saw Mesoraco. Not easy to evaluate a guy off BP and infield practice.

Jeff Sullivan (Belchertown MA)

How unsignable is Austin Hedges? Any numbers thrown out yet?

Klaw
  (3:15 PM)

Tough sign. Not unsignable.

GREGORY P BEARRINGER (Knoxville, TN)

Do you know if Ric Wilson will have a similar draft pattern as the departed Eddie Bane? WIll the Angels be more likely too look at college position players?

Klaw
  (3:16 PM)

I'd be surprised if there was a huge philosophical shift. Wilson was going to get a scouting director job somewhere, so in that one sense the Angels were lucky that when Reagins decided to run Bane out of town on a rail, they had an outstanding replacement sitting right there in-house.

Mike (San Diego)

Rebecca Black wanted me to tell you that it's Friday.

Klaw
  (3:17 PM)

Yeah, I was late to that meme, but I made it to the first chorus before I had to stop listening before my ear drums popped out of my head and ran for the door in protest.

Kev (NYC)

Can I get your breakdown on Banuelos? Is he a top prospect?

Klaw
  (3:17 PM)

Lefty specialist, tops.

Klaw
  (3:17 PM)

(wait for it)

Stephen (Palo Alto)

I get the Super Two argument on Belt, but what about holding him back to keep him under contract in 2017 when he's in his prime?

Klaw
  (3:18 PM)

It's a tradeoff, not a slam-dunk. The value of that extra year of control vs the value of a few extra wins this year, when a playoff berth is clearly there for the taking (I think they're the best team in the division, probably true without Belt), plus the developmental value of having Belt get an additional 50 AB or so in the majors.

Jason (St Louis)

Is anyone this year truly unsignable considering the cba coming our way?

Klaw
  (3:19 PM)

Probably not. I think a lot of "tough signs" will ultimately sign. They'll just act all tough about it.

Steve (Illinois)

Could you clarify whether "Beachy keen" was just a clever pun or whether you really don't like him? Would you have chosen Minor instead?

Klaw
  (3:20 PM)

I would have chosen Minor for 2011 and for the next six years.

Tim (STL)

Murray Chass going after Musial, and TJ Simers going after Thames. Which is worse?

Klaw
  (3:22 PM)

So I may have missed something on Chass' piece (which I did read), but in theory, if a HoFer was, in fact, a closet racist, that's a legitimate story, right? I'm not talking about Musial specifically, or Chass' reportage, but on whether or not that's a valid topic. I think it is. As for his specific article, or Simers', I'm not really able to comment on those.

Andy (Cambridge)

Granted, the DOJ lawyers aren't going to come out of it looking very good, but there's something to be said for the Bonds trial. It's high profile, and sends a good signal: don't lie to federal investigators, kids.

Klaw
  (3:24 PM)

I thought that's what the Martha Stewart prosecution was supposed to do. Both feel similar: We couldn't convict anyone of a more serious underlying crime, but we can't go home empty-handed, so let's go after a famous witness instead.

Jason (St Louis)

I'm having sushi for the first time tonight. Any recommendations on what I should order to ease my way in to the experience or are you not a fan?

Klaw
  (3:24 PM)

I hope you're going some place good and reputable. If they seem to be known for complicated rolls featuring cream cheese or fake crab meat, just turn around and leave.

Tim (Basking Ridge, NJ)

Keith,My roommate Mike from Cranford, NJ and myself have been having an argument lately and I need you to settle it. He for some reason thinks that gold gloves are a great indicator of defensive abilities while I disagreed. Could you give us a few quick reasons either way? And also, he is adamant that Jeter is a top defensive shortstop in the AL, which I tried to explain to him as much as I love Jeter that he's not, so if you could also weigh in on that, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for mediating.

Klaw
  (3:25 PM)

Just tell him to move out. You should have a smarter roommate than that.

Mike (Connecticut)

Hey Keith just wonderin if you could put up some non insider info and mocks for the mlb draft

Klaw
  (3:25 PM)

Sure. Also, your local Whole Foods has put together a couple of bags of groceries for you, free of charge.

Greg (LA)

Seems like everyone and their brother is coming down with oblique issues. Why? Is there a lack of understanding about proper stretching? Is it a problem of not exercising properly over the winter? Should they be doing more yoga?

Klaw
  (3:26 PM)

Maybe it's conditioning. Maybe "oblique strain" is the new "biceps tendinitis."

Pat (Mesa, Az)

I have read a couple of articles that quote unnamed talent evaluators/scouts who have said the D-backs have the worst talent in the cactus league. I wonder if that is major league ready players or the organization as a whole. Have you seen or heard this same thing?

Klaw
  (3:27 PM)

They're bad. It's just a bad club. Worst? I'm not sure; KC's actual major league roster will be pretty bad, but when you see them in spring training you're likely to get some Hosmer or some Montgomery in there too.

Mick (Colorado)

Hi KL,O's have targeted HS types in recent drafts, do you think they continue in that direction?

Klaw
  (3:29 PM)

I have heard they're more inclined to go college this year, although it's early and if the right college guy isn't there I'm sure they'll consider a HS guy. But at worst they'll have Jed Bradley, Hultzen, Gray, and Jungmann all staring them in the face.

Eric Hosmer's Agent (Kilal-land)

Spring training aside, what is a realistic season, given full AB for Kila Ka'aihue? Thanks....

Klaw
  (3:30 PM)

.240/.350/.450ish? I'm thinking a lot of the 3 true outcomes.

Taylor Jungmann (Austin)

You'll be at the Texas game tonight, right? When I come out for the bottom of the 9th after throwing 110+ pitches, would you mind making a snide comment loud enough for Augie to hear? Thanks.

Klaw
  (3:30 PM)

I'll do my best.

Ted (Canton)

Who's the better center fielder Mike Trout or Peter Bourjos?

Klaw
  (3:31 PM)

Defense? Bourjos today, but Trout could be his equal.

Dusty (Loyola (Chicago))

KLaw, love, love, love the chats...not an insider howevelr so excuse my ignorance. How reliable do you feel WAR is? Could the Cardinals (or any team) base a contract structure on it? What if you guarantee Pujols $180M for 6 years and then $25M each year after as long as he tops 5 WAR the previous year?

Klaw
  (3:31 PM)

That's not permitted under the CBA. You can't base salary or years on performance.

Eli (Toronto)

Hey Klaw,Wondering if you ever scouted Yunel Escobar when he was coming up, if so how did you project him then and how do you project his career going forward now?

Klaw
  (3:32 PM)

I did, in the AFL. Thought he'd be high-contact, high-average, line drives, not much power and few walks, average defense at short. Probably liked him more than what he's become.

Mike (Worcester, MA)

Did Jay Jackson turn it around in spring training this year, after being jerked around from Rotation to Pen to Rotation last year?

Klaw
  (3:33 PM)

He got turned around by hitters whacking 85-87 mph fastballs when I saw him.

Dan (Boston, MA)

Where would last year's top rated College SP (Drew Pomeranz) rank with this year's College SP crop?

Klaw
  (3:34 PM)

Last year's top SP was really Ranaudo, but he wasn't fully healthy. (I had him #2 overall in February, and I believe he was the top 2010 draftee on my top 100 this winter.) He'd be outside the top 5 among this year's college starters, though.

Steve (NYC)

You like Travis Snider to bust out this year? 275/350/500 with 30 bombs unreasonable?

Klaw
  (3:35 PM)

I had Snider, Justin Upton, Wieters, and Bruce all on my breakouts list last year. So, 1) the list sucked and 2) I still like all four guys. (Bruce did break out in the second half, a level I think he'll continue to achieve.)

Josh (Work)

Are the Astros just demoting Lyles to keep him off the MLB arbitration clock, or do they honestly think Figerroa is a better option for the fifth spot? And what do you expect from Norris this year (better location, i.e. less walks so he can go deeper)?

Klaw
  (3:36 PM)

Not ready. And they're not good enough to consider short-term value relative to Figueroa.

Steve (NYC)

You seen either Peavy or Bedard throw this spring? Can they regain their peak years' form?

Klaw
  (3:36 PM)

I generally don't bother seeing guys like that - they're just not that interesting to me. If I run into one, sure, but I pick my games based on which prospects/young players are playing.

Pat (DE)

When you are looking for restaurants in a new city what do use? City search, yelp, google???

Klaw
  (3:40 PM)

Urbanspoon, chow, yelp, professional reviews, and more than anything these days, reader recs. None of the user-generated content sites is wholly trustworthy - you get people associated with the restaurants, customers with axes to grind, and people who just don't know food.

ben (boston)

Regarding Bonds trial as a waste of time and money: He's accused of lying to a grand jury, right? Isn't it worth time and money to prosecute people who lie to a grand jury? If it isn't, I don't see much hope for our justice system.

Klaw
  (3:40 PM)

Do we prosecute everyone who (allegedly) lies to a grand jury to this extent? I don't think so.

Shawn (NYC)

If Rendon were healthy and on this year's top 100 MiLBers list (yours or BAs), where would he be? Top 10? Top 5?

Klaw
  (3:41 PM)

Healthy? Top 10 for sure. Probably top 5.

Chris (Boston)

Is Javier Baez upside really higher than Lindor?

Klaw
  (3:41 PM)

Seems to be a growing consensus. But Lindor's much, much more likely to pan out, and he can stay at SS where Baez will move to 3B.

Mike (San Diego)

I hate yelp. Half the people complain that their meal was too expensive because it was more than $15.

Klaw
  (3:42 PM)

You have to really read through everything on Yelp or Google or Urbanspoon. Chow.com is different, because you have to filter through all the people yelling at each other because each feels the other isn't enough of a food snob.

Rich (Denver)

Banuelos would only be a lefty specialist... WTF?

Klaw
  (3:42 PM)

It was a joke, in case anyone here didn't actually get that.

Rick (Oakland)

You've disparaged long board games in previous chats. If you'll invest 3 hours on a ball game or 8 hours on a novel, why not 4 hours on a game where you get to make decisions?

Klaw
  (3:43 PM)

In a boardgame of that length, you'll spend a pretty significant part of it waiting/doing nothing. If that happens when you're reading a novel I'd suggest you try another book.

Ben (SF)

Could Michael Young still play SS at a (remotely) competent level? Texas needs pitching, SF needs a SS. How about trading Zito and a prospect for Young?

Klaw
  (3:44 PM)

"Still?"

Sam (DC)

Danny Espinosa a worthy full-time 2B, long-term? I love the glove, not sure about the stick...you?

Klaw
  (3:45 PM)

Liked him as a ss with a questionable bat.

John (NJ)

Why is it considered an advantage if a starter is a lefty? Since more batters are righties than lefties, a righty starter would have the platoon advantage more often than a lefty.

Klaw
  (3:46 PM)

Because the L vs L platoon split is larger than the R vs R platoon split. That is, LHB take more of a hit to their performance when facing same-side pitchers than RHB do.

john (ma)

Ever had a real job????

Klaw
  (3:46 PM)

Several. Totally, utterly overrated.

Mike W (Chicago)

I got to see some Spring Training games this year and watch the Reds' AAA guys hit. Do they have the best team hitting in the minors with Mescaro, Alonso, Frazier, Francisco, Valakia, and Sappalt? Also to get my question up there i'll recommend Chompie's in Tempe for you. Amazing BBQ brisket burgers.

Klaw
  (3:46 PM)

Recommending Chompie's might get you thrown out of the chat.

BD (DC)

What do you mean when you say a batter "wraps his bat". I get thats its a negative, but why?

Klaw
  (3:47 PM)

Tends to lengthen the swing. Longer path to get the bat into the zone, and harder to get the bat started moving forward. Negative, but not fatal.

Jacob (NYC)

Did you see Marcel has a show on SyFy now called "Marcel's Quantum Kitchen"? Thought it was strange to have a cooking show on SyFy, but thought it was pretty decent, with the blurbs providing good info for the less cooking informed, and some interesting new techniques even if you are. Also, with the uptick in velocity by Lance Lynn from last year's mechanical adjustments that reportedly has him sitting 93-94,, and assuming he keeps it, what do you see as his ceiling? Thanks, and love the work.

Klaw
  (3:48 PM)

Haven't watched it yet, but intend to try it. Lynn: If that's true, he's got some 3/4 potential, otherwise he's more of a 4/5.

Peter (Norwell, MA)

I was reading the Rice media guide and came to the Wayne Graham bio. My arm started hurting; any connection?

Klaw
  (3:48 PM)

Pick the book up 128 more times and quit complaining.

Jason (St Louis)

I can't stand Marcel. I'd have rather seen Hung get a show. Anyway, if anyone deserves a show it's Blais, right?

Klaw
  (3:49 PM)

He has one, which I also haven't gotten around to watching. I'm still 2 eps behind on Archer and 3 on Parks & Rec.

Klaw
  (3:49 PM)

OK, Top Chef spoiler warning...

Ben (SF)

How could anyone complain about this top 2 for Top Chef? Blaise was the pre-season favorite, and Mikey was absolutely killing it for the last few weeks. I don't see the argument.

Klaw
  (3:50 PM)

Agree. Antonia was on a roll at one point, but I can't argue with Mike right now. It will make me root even harder for Blais, though.

Jeff (Boston)

Talk about a curveball on Top Chef...on the 20-80 scale that must have been an 80. Or at least a 70 with potential to be an 80.

Klaw
  (3:51 PM)

The final challenge? Had to figure something wacky like that was coming with the envelope. And it was only fair after Antonia drew by far the hardest task in the elimination challenge.

CK (Rochester)

How do teams like Rice continue to get good HS pitchers to come there, when they are know for overworking pitchers?

Klaw
  (3:51 PM)

I assume because it's a phenomenal academic school.

Justin (Durham, NC)

Firefly was the perfect recommendation for a Vegas bachelor party. I thought the shrimp ceviche with cilantro was delicious - what are your favorites there?

Klaw
  (3:54 PM)

The bacon-wrapped dates, the fresh anchovy toasts, the tuna tartare. BTW, sent a scout to Lotus of Siam (on Sahara) and I believe he put a 65 on the meal.

Ian (Pearl River, NY)

If you were a reliever, what would you entrance song be as you jog in from the BP?

Klaw
  (3:54 PM)

"Who Was in My Room Last Night?"

Norman (San Jose)

how would you rank Francisco Lindor, Levi Michael, and Javier Baez by bat? do you think Baez can stay at SS for at least a few years at the major league level?

Klaw
  (3:55 PM)

Bat alone? Long-term potential, since this is the draft: Baez, Lindor, Michael. Don't think Baez stays at short at all.

John (New Brunswick, NJ)

Is Jake Fox legit? Seems like he has the underlying skills, just needs the PT.

Klaw
  (3:56 PM)

No, PT will be held down by his limited bat.

Scott (Chicago)

Keith, GF and I will be looking at rings tomorrow. Any advice, or just write a check?

Klaw
  (3:56 PM)

Whatever she wants. That'll buy you at least two weeks of wedded bliss before she starts complaining about something else.

Mark (Nashua, NH)

Klaw,What are your thoughts on going the JUCO route for a player, especially a pitcher. Seem to see more of them getting drafted higher lately.

Klaw
  (3:57 PM)

I'd advise any HS pitcher with now stuff who doesn't sign when drafted to try JuCo and go back in the draft the following year instead of waiting 3 years.

Drake (Tampa)

Better be a long song, right Klaw? Lots of short strides for you from the bullpen to the mound. Course they could be short and quick like Alexi Casilla. Can you comp your speed/running style to a current Major Leaguer for us?

Klaw
  (3:57 PM)

Come on, you know I'd run everything out like David Eckstein. I'm short, ergo I'm scrappy.

Jeff (Boston, MA)

Modernist Cuisine thoughts?

Klaw
  (3:58 PM)

I haven't seen it, of course. Have followed some of the controversy (looks like Myrrhvold can't take a critical review, even if it's largely positive). Would absolutely shell out $50 for a trimmed down consumer version of the book.

Mike (NJ)

Any recommended HS/College prospects in NJ to check out this spring?

Klaw
  (3:59 PM)

Kevin Comer's the top guy right now. Vandy commit threw very well in his first start last week.

Todd (Pasadena)

Cole v Purke?

Klaw
  (4:00 PM)

I have Cole #1 overall for this year's draft. I was never on Purke as a contender for that spot.

J.O. (Chicago)

About when in a player's development does he cease being able to improve upon pitch recognition/plate discipline? Also, how many more weeks of TC are there?- I thought that was the finale - also weird - they managed to go at least a half an episode without Blais looking like he was going to have a breakdown.

Klaw
  (4:01 PM)

Next week is the finale, I think. By the time a player is 23 or 24 I start to give up hope.

Justin (St. Louis)

Who do you like better this year, Colby Rasmus or Drew Stubbs?

Klaw
  (4:02 PM)

Rasmus.

Josh (DC)

Do you have any basis for your belief that most people who lie under oath to a grand jury are not prosecuted? Any supporting evidence, or just your hunch?

Klaw
  (4:02 PM)

House says everybody lies. Therefore, everybody under oath lies. So we should have an unending stream of prosecutions.

Todd (Pasadena)

How does Starling grade out compared to guys like Harper or Trout?

Klaw
  (4:03 PM)

Different animal than Harper. More similar to Trout but taller and eventually bigger too.

Craig (NJ)

You are a yankee hater KLaw. Backhanded compliments on Montero, you think Romine is beer league catcher quality behind the plate, and you overstate Jeter's defensive decline. Thats all, still like your work.

Klaw
  (4:04 PM)

That's me, hating the team I grew up rooting for.

Manny (Queens)

You see Josh Thole as an eventual full-time C? Any upside there?

Klaw
  (4:05 PM)

Yeah, I could see that. He'll get on base enough to make his bat league-average.

Chris (DC)

You post the Top Chef spoiler alert, and then you give us three questions about Top Chef? You think I come here for the baseball conversation? Will you be upset if Mike beats Blais?

Klaw
  (4:06 PM)

Didn't get that many TC questions this week. Yeah, I'd be disappointed. Grading out skills there's no way you take Mike over Blais, right?

Steve (Illinois)

I have a theory that people's gut reaction that people who give them bad news are doing so based on their viewpoint is somehow related to the sudden rise of Fox News. Any thoughts?

Klaw
  (4:07 PM)

I'm an NPR listener. Shouldn't I be more mellow then?

Drake (Tampa)

Ahh...Great House reference... What he did with the stream of hookers and now the Green Card wife is inspiring on some level.

Klaw
  (4:08 PM)

Green Card wife was smoking, too. He choked at the end of that wedding episode like Blais did in his season's finale.

John (Austin, TX)

Klaw, I'm torn on Moustakas. He only went 5 for 22 this spring, which has me thinking he's probably a bust. But he also had 2 game winning rbis, so he's definitely a clutch hitter. What's your take?Thanks

Klaw
  (4:09 PM)

Well played.

Klaw
  (4:09 PM)

I'm out, have to file something quick and drive to Stillwater to see Jungmann. Thanks for all the questions.