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May 5, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Keith Law

Klaw
  (1:01 PM)

I'm just gonna say this to the people - not so much the people in the chatroom as the people sitting in my mind...

Marc (Canada)

Keith, would Leonys Martin crack your top 25 prospects?

Klaw
  (1:02 PM)

No. Nor would he make my top 50, and given what I've heard about his bat, probably not my top 100.

Gil (Boston)

Klaw, what's Hank Conger's upside? Solid Starter? All-star?

Klaw
  (1:02 PM)

Above-average starter. But hey, he's no Jeffy Mathis.

Nick (Seattle)

Are there any high schoolers in the state of Washington that I should try to see play before the draft?

Klaw
  (1:04 PM)

Blake Snell and Kevin Moriarty are the top two on my board. Both arms.

Air Marshal (30,000 feet)

I'm going to have to confiscate that laptop, sir.

Klaw
  (1:04 PM)

Either you're a podcast listener ... or you're spying on me.

Matty (KC)

What is your favorite typo? Mine is questinos.

Klaw
  (1:05 PM)

I love questinos, especially "Christmas style" with green and red sauces.

ray (burlington, nj)

Where does Anthony Rizzo's power rank on the 20-80 scale?

Klaw
  (1:05 PM)

55. Love him as a prospect, but six of the 9 HR so far have come in Tucson, Colorado Springs, and Salt Lake, all great hitters' parks.

Mike (Minnesota)

Keith- Your comments on DUIs in baseball on yesterday's podcast were interesting. Do you think all companies have a moral obligation to educate their employees about this issue, or is it something unique to industries where the employees are celebrities?

Klaw
  (1:07 PM)

I don't know too many industries where alcohol is made available to employees at no direct cost. Also, if there's a culture within the company or industry where driving drunk is seen as acceptable, that creates an obligation to act. And I did mention that MLB has a selfish reason to do something - there's a potential PR risk for the inevitable accident where a drunk ballplayer hits and kills someone.

Jeff Sullivan (Belchertown MA)

No Dylan Davis in WA? They both moved ahead of him?

Klaw
  (1:08 PM)

Yes, by all accounts Davis has not been good.

Jeff Sullivan (Belchertown MA)

What's the draft stock of Josh Tobias, Chris McFarland, and Christian Montgomery?

Klaw
  (1:10 PM)

Tobias and Montgomery are not in the picture (Montgomery was hurt). McFarland rising, could see him in the second round.

Klaw
  (1:10 PM)

Tobias and Montgomery are not in the picture (Montgomery was hurt). McFarland rising, could see him in the second round.

Brandon (RI)

Keith, just wanted to say I signed up for ESPN Insider strictly to read your work.... tell your bosses.

Klaw
  (1:11 PM)

Thank you - I've gotten a few of these notes today and I appreciate them all.

Casey (KC)

Has Hosmer risen even higher in your mind with his hot start? Or just confirmed what you already knew. Get this kid up already!

Klaw
  (1:11 PM)

I don't think I could rate him any higher than I did. He's going to be a star.

Greg (Baltimore)

Chisenhall or Moustakas, long haul?

Klaw
  (1:13 PM)

Moustakas will have more power. Chisenhall's the better pure hitter. Both have issues with LHP and neither is winning a Gold Glove any time soon, although I'd take Chisenhall's glove. Both very good prospects with unusually clear strengths and weaknesses.

John (NY)

Teheran or Minor - who's more ready for MLB right now?

Klaw
  (1:13 PM)

Minor.

Grant (Wpg)

Jays at #21. Any of Meyer, Bell or Swihart seem likely?

Klaw
  (1:14 PM)

I'd say two of the three are there, Swihart most likely, Meyer least likely (he could go top 15, could even go as high as 6 to Washington if the top 5 really goes the wrong way for them).

Jeremy (Las Vegas)

Is 290/380/500 too high for Rasmus this season?

Klaw
  (1:15 PM)

Not at all.

Idito (chatland)

I would have bet anything that I was your favorite typo.

Klaw
  (1:15 PM)

That's obsurd.

zuke354 (Missouri)

What are your thoughts on Eduardo Sanchez?Also, Bowden mentioned a possible matchup witht he mets and cards with Miller, Sanchez and Jenkins for Reyes. Sure SS is a premium position and the cards are short on positional prospects, but it seems too much pitching for a rental player. Thoughts?

Klaw
  (1:17 PM)

I like Sanchez quite a bit, two plus pitches, should dominate RHB. Not convinced he's got a weapon for LHB yet. That trade proposal is not a "possible matchup." It's tantamount to the Mets conning the Cardinals into investing in a Ponzi scheme. What, too soon?

DD (SF)

Of course BPA over need, but Oakland has to be looking to draft arms to impact their system this yr right?

Klaw
  (1:18 PM)

The first round might be 75% arms, so that's what will be available for them anyway.

Gene Mullett (Columbus, OH)

Any opinion of Tony Wolters? I didn't think much of it when the Tribe drafted him, but he seems pretty high on a lot of prospect lists. Just wondered if you had an opinion/synopsis.

Klaw
  (1:19 PM)

Felt like he was overrated at the time of the draft due to makeup and lots of exposure - not a runner, probably not a shortstop, can hit some but didn't project as a .300+ guy. He's a prospect, just not a high one in my eyes.

Craig (NJ)

Jeter: wheels have fallen off, the plane has crashed into the mountain, or "relax, small sample size pal".Thanks.

Klaw
  (1:20 PM)

Kind of a continuation of last year, no? The odds of him being good this year are pretty small. He may not be done, but there's a lot between "done" and "valuable."

Mike (Minnesota)

Also -- I'll echo Brandon in RI on why I subscribe to Insider. I'm also really enjoying listening to you on the podcast. To the extent that you can do that more regularly as the year goes on, I hope you will.

Klaw
  (1:21 PM)

After the draft it'll be at least 3 times a week, but it's going to be irregular between now and the draft mostly due to TV commitments. Speaking of which, I'll be on College Baseball Live tonight at 7 pm EDT on ESPNU, and on the postgame show as well.

Miguel (Hull, Ont)

How hard to fix Springer's swing mechanics? It looks like he just needs to lock out that back leg a bit more.

Klaw
  (1:23 PM)

I have asked a lot of scouts and coaches about that, and the consensus is that it's a hard thing to fix. Not impossible (although some people said it was), but a big risk. That said, he has top-5 tools - after Starling there may not be a better tools package in a position player in this draft - and I don't think he goes outside the top 15-20 at this point.

Sonny Gray (Vanderbilt)

Any chance I am still available when Cleveland picks @ #8 in this year's draft?

Klaw
  (1:24 PM)

Yes, but if Trevor Bauer's there, that's who Cleveland takes.

BD (DC)

Bradley Meyers posted 38k and 0 bb in 36 AA innings his year. He just got the bump to AAA. Too old to be a prospect?

Klaw
  (1:25 PM)

Not enough stuff to be a prospect.

bebopdeluxe (philly)

What is the ceiling on JC Ramirez - top of a rotation or 4/5?

Klaw
  (1:27 PM)

You're asking me if the guy with 6 strikeouts in 26 innings in AA is a major league starter?

Drew (Midtown)

I read a lot about the new college bats making it tougher to evaluate players. Is it possible it will make the transition to pro ball easier?

Klaw
  (1:27 PM)

I don't know who would say that - it's made evaluating them easier, and that's not just my opinion.

Jeff (San Diego)

I've read that Blake Tekotte's upside is a good 4th outfielder. What is he lacking in terms of being an everyday CF? His defense is supposedly strong and he's put up pretty decent OBP in the past (and is raking this year). Thanks

Klaw
  (1:29 PM)

I think his upside is an average regular in CF, actually. Not a star, and probably just a fourth guy, but could be more than that.

Matt (NJ)

The way Harper is hitting right now do you see him being promoted in the next week or two?

Klaw
  (1:30 PM)

No. I'm not sure why, this year, I'm getting so many questions about players getting fast promotions - 20 games at a minor league level is nothing at all, not a sample, not even enough for player development people to really evaluate where a player is and whether their preseason plan for him might need an adjustment.

BassmanUW (Chicago)

Are guys like Josh Vitters, who looks like he should have the ability to lay off pitches out of the zone but just keeps putting pitchers' pitches in play, among the most frustrating for scouts and couches? He just seems like a guy who could be an eventual perennial All Star if he just did one thing that it really seems like he should have the physical capability of doing.

Klaw
  (1:32 PM)

Yes, because the single hardest thing about evaluating a high school bat is figuring out his pitch recognition and, off of that, his plate discipline.

Nick ((Florida))

I already tweeted you this, but who do you think is the Braves' future at shortstop: Pastornicky, Salcedo, Simmons?

Klaw
  (1:33 PM)

Of those three, it's most likely to be Pastornicky. Simmons may end up on the mound.

Mike (San Diego)

My favorite typo is 2.43 ERA for Josh Tomlin. It's even on his player profile on ESPN.

Klaw
  (1:33 PM)

It'll be fixed in a few weeks.

Adam Jones (Baltimore)

Cant... Stop... .Swinging... At... Sliders... IN.... the... DIRT!!!!

Klaw
  (1:34 PM)

They're just so pretty!

Shoshana (Boston)

It's a really small sample size but I've been impressed so far with Machado's walk and K rates. Think he cracks your mid-season top 10?

Klaw
  (1:34 PM)

Mid-season? Maybe, assuming by then we've graduated a few guys (Ackley, Hosmer, maybe Teheran). Have to make some room, with 8 of the current top 10 off to good starts.

Nate (KC)

I'm pretty sure Calcaterra is Old Hoss Radbourn. If you don't post this and deny it, then I'll know I'm right.

Klaw
  (1:35 PM)

Wrong.

Steve (NYC)

The worst typo, by far, is rediculous. Drives me crazy when I see grown people spell the word that way. Anyway, what's the upside for Matt Harvey and Familia? Do you have any current comps for either?

Klaw
  (1:37 PM)

Like "seperate." I'd go #2 starter on Harvey, reliever on Familia. But Harvey could force me to raise that by year-end (and no, not after a good month).

Ryan (OH)

Klaw, do you want to see a picture of Bin Laden's corpse?

Klaw
  (1:37 PM)

I do not. I'll take the President's word for it.

Steve (San Jose)

Klaw -- Is Erik Goeddel is legit prospect?

Klaw
  (1:38 PM)

Yes, in the pen.

Ryan (Saskatoon)

You tweeted during the week that you thought the Royals would pass on Starling if he is available. Any reason for that?

Klaw
  (1:40 PM)

More that that's what I've heard, not that it's definite. The story was that they believe they're going to be very good in two years and thus need to take someone who'll help them in two years, which would mean a college starter. Of course, another source pointed out yesterday that the Royals were all over him during football season, so maybe they're just playing possum to try to avoid having Starling hold them to the fire on signing bonus.

Joe (College Park, MD)

Chad Jones of the New York Giants, was he ever a legit MLB prospect when he was at LSU?

Klaw
  (1:40 PM)

Yes, more as a LHP although he had light-tower power as well.

Greg (Boston)

Keith, in the draft room, how long do teams typically stick to their draft board? I mean, they can't rank all eligible draftees can they? At Round X, does the scouting director simply go with whatever player his scout is selling the most? Thanks.

Klaw
  (1:42 PM)

We typically had 600-700 guys turned in for a draft. That gets you through all 50 rounds. I do think you're underselling the process a little - it's more sophisticated than that.

Joe Mauer (MN)

Am I done? Ok, that's not a serious question. Would you make me change positions if you were my manager/GM?

Klaw
  (1:43 PM)

Yes, just to get your bat in the lineup as much as possible.

Jack (Chicago)

If I filled out the proper paperwork, can I be draft eligible this season?

Klaw
  (1:44 PM)

A team would have to actually request a Commissioner Number for you to be drafted. Sorry.

E (San Francisco)

Will you be paying any attention to the Attorney General's looking into the BCS and no college football playoff? Will the NCAA actually have to change?

Klaw
  (1:45 PM)

I will, because I think the NCAA needs a lot of investigatin'. They're making billions off unpaid labor, and clearly believe they're accountable to no one.

E (San Francisco)

What is baseball meant to do with the Dodgers?

Klaw
  (1:45 PM)

Pay their bills? It'd be a nice start.

alex (philly)

do not all teams get picks in the out-rounds (say, 30-50)? Bc, 30x50 is 1500...

Klaw
  (1:46 PM)

Yes, there are 1500+ picks, but in the out rounds teams are often taking players that other teams didn't turn in - org players/college seniors, longshot HS or JC kids, etc.

Erin (Nv)

Thoughts on Trevor Cahill? He's not this good, right?

Klaw
  (1:47 PM)

I think he is this good.

Ron (Pittsburgh)

Any scouting report on Pitt C Kevan Smith? Is he a top 10 rounder?

Klaw
  (1:47 PM)

He's not a top 5 rounder. Beyond that, I'm less interested.

Muzzy (Leicester)

Not to derail this into an NCAA discussion, but what would you think of a system where the school pay the players AND provide them with a scholarship, but the player can use the scholarship after their playing career is over? The idea here is to make the student-athlete thing into a little less of a joke.

Klaw
  (1:48 PM)

If the sport generates revenue, the players should be treated as employees, with salaries and basic workers' rights.

J.O. (Chicago)

I definately mispell seperate alot. Anywho, is wOBA the best snapshot for offensive value? Can't they squeeze all the other stuff in there so I can be lazy?

Klaw
  (1:49 PM)

There's a rat in separate. Stupid mnemonic, but I learned it about 25 years ago and never forgot it.

Jack (Chicago)

Don't college kids essentially waive their workers rights when they accept a scholarship?

Klaw
  (1:51 PM)

What's their alternative? The NCAA is a virtual monopoly. I'd love to see the NAIA try to go after that niche - if you want to use an agent, go right ahead, you can still play for us.

Brandt (Lakeland, Fla)

I went to journalism school and didn't get paid for stories in the daily paper that the school produced. I got class credit instead. Do you think we should have been paid, too, or could football explore giving credit somehow?

Klaw
  (1:51 PM)

How much revenue did your school paper pull in? I will guess that it's nowhere near what a typical football team produces.

Adam (Ft Wayne)

I was reading a chat transcript earlier this week, but I can't remember whose it was. Anyway, he said that in the next CBA there could be a change in the way teams are compensated for losing free agents. What are your thoughts? Do you like the compensation rule as it is right now?

Klaw
  (1:54 PM)

Both sides favor a change. The union hates how it has crushed relievers in particular, but overall it produces a drag on certain free agents. Scouts hate the imbalance in the draft - nothing personal against Tampa Bay but there's some grumbling about them picking ten times before most teams pick twice. Just wipe out FA compensation entirely, since it's not serving any identifiable purpose.

BassmanUW (Chicago)

I think what people like Brandt are missing is that many of these guys would be making six figures at least if the NCAA player pool was opened up to the market. It wouldn't be a surprise to have seen a guy like Terrelle Pryor get seven figures. Instead they are getting a $100,000 education many of them will never use, along with intense restrictions on their ability to obtain money from other areas. A college newspaper doesn't prevent you from hiring a literary agent if you write a novel.

Klaw
  (1:56 PM)

All good points. Plus the NFL and the NCAA have effectively conspired to limit the professional market for players by preventing them from turning pro until they are three years out of high school.

Frank (Denver)

Any takeaways from the Stanford - ASU game you saw last weekend?

Klaw
  (1:57 PM)

Nothing for this year's draft - wanted to see Reed, saw Snodgress, he's not a guy. Unrelated to this year's draft is that Marquess couldn't have managed his pitching staff any worse in that game. Not having a reliever up when Appel was clearly gassed to start the 8th was totally irresponsible - and then the stalling tactics he used to cover up for his error were embarrassing.

JS (Blaine, MN)

You've mentioned before that OPS undervalues OBP. Would it make sense to multiply the OBP by a factor (1.5*OBP+SLG) to get a better picture for comparison, or is it just too simplistic?

Klaw
  (1:58 PM)

Try wOBA instead.

Jason (St Louis)

Hey Klaw, could I get a couple restaurant suggestions for Denver?

Klaw
  (1:59 PM)

Check the dish - posted something there in August '09.

Jason (St Louis)

How is wOBA calculated? Is it something like WACC?

Klaw
  (2:00 PM)

Yes, you use the Black-Schofield model.

Mike (San Diego)

Big Puma. Back or small sample size?

Klaw
  (2:01 PM)

If you think Berkman's .400 BABIP to date is real, then you must also think that Pujols' ~.200 BABIP to date is real. You can't pick and choose which small samples to believe.

Drew (Midtown)

Do you use MLB.com's game cast thingy? They have a "nasty factor" for each pitch, but I have no idea what it means. Any idea? Rick Porcello just had a 99 "nasty factor" on a 76 MPH curve to the inside lower corner. For whatever that's worth.

Klaw
  (2:02 PM)

I do use GameDay because it runs really well and is pretty easy to navigate ... but yeah "nasty factor" is kind of insulting. More (real) advanced stats, please.

Mike (San Diego)

Maybe I phrased that wrong. Obviously Berkman isn't a .400 hitter, but what I meant by "back" was can he put up a .280/.390/.500 ish slash line.

Klaw
  (2:03 PM)

I'll take the under.

Paul (Albany, OR)

Keith, your thoughts on the no hitter thrown by Josh Osich of Oregon State against UCLA this last weekend? Going head up against Bauer in a great pitcher's matchup, only one walk handed out by Osich. Is he picked in the top 5 rounds come June? Thanks.

Klaw
  (2:04 PM)

Osich goes in the sandwich round most likely, 2nd round at worst. Heard Texas & Angels on him. Can't believe how hard he's been used given that he's just 14 months off Tommy John.

@Jaypers413 (IL)

If you're AZ, do you pop Bundy @ # 3?

Klaw
  (2:05 PM)

Depends on 1-2, but Bundy at 3 would get my approval. He's really good, as advanced as many college arms.

Jeff (Boston)

Two words for Top Chef Masters, Jeffrey Steingarten. It has become unwatchable now that they have added the whiny, humorless former intern of the whiny and humorless critic.

Klaw
  (2:06 PM)

Saw it on the DVR last night and didn't feel the usual "OMG I have to watch this NOW" compulsion. Not a good sign. The judges aren't informative and they sure as hell aren't funny.

JK (Chicago)

Can the players union/agent do anything when a team is obviously abusing the service time system? If we are sitting here in two weeks and Hosmer is hitting 480/600/600 and not being called up, doesn't somebody have to answer?

Klaw
  (2:07 PM)

At which point he'll have, what, six weeks in AAA? There's no contractual right to a callup, and he's still very young. I think he's legit, but a flash mob in downtown KC would be unwarranted.

Dude (Dudeville)

N00b question. What is a sandwich round?

Klaw
  (2:07 PM)

A supplemental round between the first and second rounds that includes picks received for lost free agents.

Mike (Oakland, CA)

Brandon Belt is hitting .471 with an OPS of 1.342 in his 11 games since being sent down. Why exactly don't the Giants put Huff in left, sit Burrell, and give Belt a full chance to adapt to major league pitching?

Ed (Miami)

Nate McLouth - 280/380/415 compared to Heyward's 340 OBP. Looks like Freddo knows a little more than you SABR people.

Klaw
  (2:12 PM)

I'm sure McLouth hitting in front of the pitcher has nothing to do with that inflated OBP - especially since his walk rate is about FOUR times higher in the 8th spot than it was in the 2nd. You should probably learn to use the Internet before you insult "SABR people."

Jeff Sullivan (Belchertown MA)

Any news on Matt Purke?

Klaw
  (2:13 PM)

Reportedly just "bursitis," and he should pitch again this month. But color me skeptical until I see/hear about some better velo.

Susan (Albuquerque)

Does the loss of ddraft picks for signing Type A and B free agents push teams into two groups -- those that primarily grow through the draft and those that sign compensation free agents? It's ahrd to pick up top players in the draft when you've lost your top draft picks

Klaw
  (2:14 PM)

It's hard to do both, absolutely. That's another problem - a developing team has a strong disincentive to sign a top-line FA if it'll cost them a first-round pick.

Shoshana (Boston)

Who are the Orioles on in the draft? Safe to say they take 1/3 between Hultzen/Stallings/Bundy? Or are they on someone else?

Klaw
  (2:15 PM)

Have heard them on Jed Bradley but I think that's cooled. Could see Bauer. Keep hearing college arm, but Bundy is kind of like a college arm and I know they really like him. Don't think they're on Gray. Pretty sure every team in 1-8 except maybe Seattle is at least thinking about Bauer.

Chris (Dallas, TX)

I'm going to need to see a copy of your W-4 form to prove you work for ESPN and are authorized to chat.

Klaw
  (2:15 PM)

Um ... yes ... I'll, uh, let me go get that ...

Klaw
  (2:15 PM)

(runs out of chat room)