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May 17, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with David Schoenfield

David Schoenfield
  (1:10 PM)

Good afternoon ... sorry about the delay. Technical difficulties!

Jeremy (Tennessee)

How do you leave Adrian Gonzalez off the MVP listing? He is absolutely raking, and he is insanely clutch. I know you don't like RBI, but look at these stats:Hitting with RISP:Gonzalez: .385/.441/.538Zobrist: .226/.316/.581Kendrick: .244/.358/.333Hitting with 2 out and RISP:Gonzo: .526/.571/.684Zobrist: .063/.118/.125Kendrick: .182/.280/.182Can we just admit that you made a mistake by omitting Gonzo? Come on. Zobrist hitting .063 with 2 out and RISP compared to Gonzo's .526?

David Schoenfield
  (1:12 PM)

He was my sixth choice ... you're nitpicking a stat with very few opportunities. Gonzo was my preseason choice and I still think he'll be 1, 2 or 3 by the end of the season. (Hard to catch Bautista unless he slows down.) Here's the link to my AL top 5: http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/11002/the-one-fourth-of-the-season-al-mvp-ballot

John (Virginia)

Boy, you know you've got injury and performance issues when you're hitting Wilson Valdez 2nd, Ibanez (at .230) 3rd and John Mayberry Jr. is Ryan Howard's protection. This Phillies lineup is getting ugly and the degree of difficulty just increased. Are we looking at a losing streak coming up for the Phils?

David Schoenfield
  (1:14 PM)

Yep, a terrible lineup right now, right when the Phillies are in the middle of a tough stretch of opponents. Howard's walk rate has declined dramatically in recent years, but he walked three times last night. Their pitching is too good to send them into a prolonged tailspin but they may only play .500 for the next few weeks.

Allan (Atlanta)

Hello David, I'm concerned with Chipper possibly being out 3 weeks. Thats gonna be a huge blow, shouldnt they go look for a solid bench bat to balance out the team with Hinske getting starts in LF?

David Schoenfield
  (1:16 PM)

Chipper is playing today (game just started against Houston) so looks like he's going to try and play through it.

Jonny (DC)

I asked about Hanson and Jurrjens be CY contenders last week. You said Jurrjens doesnt fit the bill. After watching him so far he's back to his 2009 form but even better. He's 5 and 0 with 1.66 ERA with 1 homer allowed in over 40 innings pitched while only walking 7. He keeps this up he'll get some consideration.

David Schoenfield
  (1:18 PM)

But that's my argument: I don't think he's going to keep up the HR rate and with his K rate (5.4 per 9), he's going to start giving up more hits. He's been great, no doubt, and he's a good pitcher, but I would actually Tommy Hanson is the better Cy Young candidate.

Bill (Seattle)

That Pineda kids pretty good huh.

David Schoenfield
  (1:18 PM)

Love me some Pineda.

mark (iowa)

o/u Dunn 100 40 100 .250 100 walks

David Schoenfield
  (1:20 PM)

I'll say under on everything except the walks. I know he had the appendectomy so you have to give him a little leeway, but Mr. Dunn appears to be discovering that AL pitching is a tad bit tougher than NL pitching.

Doug (Cleveland)

How many wins will be enough to be the AL wild card?

David Schoenfield
  (1:21 PM)

Good question. There is so much parity across baseball that I'm tempted to say high 80s may be enough, but I still think the AL East will get two or three teams into the lows 90s. I'll say 94 wins the division and 92 takes the wild card.

James (North Carolina)

Looks like Julio Teheran is getting another spot start on Wednesday. Why do you think Minor who is older and more ready for the bigs wasnt called on during the last spot start and this one? Are the Braves gauging Teheran to see if they can afford to deal a veteran Starter?

David Schoenfield
  (1:23 PM)

Good question. I saw his first start and he didn't look ready for the majors to me. Diamondbacks do hit lefties a little better than righties, so maybe its just a lefty/right thing. But I think you may be right: they want to see what they have as they look for ways to maybe improve the offense.

Ryan (Va)

Criag Kimbrel has to be the best stikeout reliever in baseball! 34 k's in 20 innings. Throwing 97 mph fastball consistantly and a nasty slider. He's been called the Right handed Billy Wagner. But do you think this guy is on his way to being one of the best closers in the game?

David Schoenfield
  (1:25 PM)

I think he's already there, no? Who would you rather have? Mariano and ... there's no obvious No. 2, is there? Papelbon looks good so far, but I think Kimbrel is already in the top 3.

Nate (Omaha)

So you really think STL/Cin is the best rivalry ?

David Schoenfield
  (1:25 PM)

That's what I wrote. More bad blood right now between those two teams than any other rivalry it seems to me.

Patrick (Pittsburgh)

What will giving up 14 runs in 2.1 innings do to Mazzaro's confidence? The Royals sent him down after the game and brough up Teaford. Do you think he'll be back? He was a key in the trade that sent DeJesus to Oakland.

David Schoenfield
  (1:28 PM)

He really wasn't hit that hard, believe it not. A couple of bloopers and bleeders, a couple other plays that could have been made. That said, I don't see all the hoopla over Mazzaro. He's not any good. He has no strikeout pitch, can't throw his offspeed stuff for strikes. His fastball is decent enough (92-94). His minor league numbers haven't been that great. Look, I hope he makes it and he's still young, but he looks more like Triple-A/bullpen fodder to me.

John (MI)

Thoughts on Adam Jones so far? .280 average, 20HR/20SB this season?

David Schoenfield
  (1:31 PM)

Seems like I get an Adam Jones question every week. He's been hitting lately and he's up to .283 with a .777 OPS, which is actually above league average these days. He's drawn a walk in three straight games, which is probably a career high. Unless he can lay off the offspeed stuff away, this is the best I think we'll see from him ... which isn't terrible, just not what everybody projected a few years ago.

Kyle (GA)

I've always heard that Uggla was a terrible defensive 2B...but after watching him this year in Atlanta, I don't think he's nearly as bad as his rep says he is. What are your thoughts?

David Schoenfield
  (1:33 PM)

I think he's below-average and he always looks a little stiff out there. His defensive metrics do look better this year, but maybe he's getting help there from the Atlanta staff? He has cut his errors down -- 18 last year, 3 so far this year.

Shane (Knoxville)

lets say Posada keeps hitting .130, which happens first: he is released by the Yankees, or he retires?

David Schoenfield
  (1:35 PM)

A few Posada questions out there ... tough dilemma for the Yankees. He's meant so much to the franchise and you'd like to see him go out on his own terms. The Yankees could always call up Montero and force Posada to the bench, kind of imposing retirement on him. But how much longer can you wait? The AL East is tough and every game matters. I wonder if we'll end up seeing a Griffey situation where Posada just decides one day to quietly walk away.

Kevin (Cleveland)

Josh Tomlin for Cy Young? He's only given up 1 more ER this season than Vin Mazzaro did yesterday.

David Schoenfield
  (1:35 PM)

He won't keep it up. He's not THIS good. Low K rate means he's still giving up more hits at some point.

Tarek (NYC)

Kimbel is 4, I think Soria would still be 3. Does D Jennings come up in June? And does he play every day?

David Schoenfield
  (1:36 PM)

Do all of you agree? Who are the top three closers right now?

Neil (NYC)

Jose Bautista? Seriously? Unprecedented "transformation" from utility player bouncing around the league to Babe Ruth. It's at least suspicious enough that you have to wonder.

David Schoenfield
  (1:37 PM)

Here's my argument against that premise: If PEDs REALLY made you that much better, everybody would still be using them. Give the credit: He changed his swing (well-documented) and approach, started hitting flyballs and is now a great hitter. That's the great thing about baseball: Stuff like this CAN happen.

Mike K. (Queens, NY)

The reason for Nolan Ryan's overratedness: the 24-hour news cycle. Ryan was still pitching (and throwing no-hitters) when cable news and sports saturated the marketplace in the late 80s and early 90s. Many baseball fans got to see Ryan's highlights on Baseball Tonight and other national sports programs. Superior pitchers like Seaver and Carlton retired right before this era began, and did not receive this kind of exposure. Your thoughts?

David Schoenfield
  (1:39 PM)

No doubt. Plus, it's easy to misinterpret Ryan's uniqueness (strikeouts, pitching forever) into greatness. But unique does not equal great. (Not saying Ryan wasn't great, but he was nowhere near guys like Seaver in value, but most casual fans think Ryan was better.)

Ryan (Indy)

Hosmer or Heyward?

David Schoenfield
  (1:40 PM)

Good question ... I guess I'd give a slight edge to Heyward due to position value. Agree?

Zack (PA)

Hey David, do you think the Braves miserable stolen base numbers are something to really worry about? If they look to improve the offense do you think it would be a leadoff type with speed so Prado can bat 2nd?

David Schoenfield
  (1:42 PM)

Certainly, with declining offense, manufacturing runs is more important these days, but overall I wouldn't be too concerned. Stolen bases don't really affect run scoring all that much, unless you steal a lot at a very high percentage. Of course, in a perfect world the Braves would have an ideal leadoff hitter with speed ... but how many of those exist right now? The state of leadoff hitters is pretty bad.

mark (iowa)

is Michael "the second coming" Pineda on a innings limit this year?

David Schoenfield
  (1:42 PM)

He is ... although I don't have the number handy. I believe I read 150-160 or so ... so he may be shut down at the end of August.

rbt (Windy City)

Soria is definitely still a top 3 closer, despite his rough start to the year.

John (Virginia)

Top 3 closers... Mariano, Kimbrel, Brian Wilson... Honorable mention Heath Bell and Ryan Madson

David Schoenfield
  (1:43 PM)

Madson -- yet another example that any good reliever can become a good closer if given the opportunity.

Matt (NY)

Rajai Davis to the Braves? He brings what they need, AA loves trading with the Braves...

David Schoenfield
  (1:44 PM)

He also brings a .284 OBP. Had a nice year in 2009 but seems more like fourth outfielder material to me.

seamsplitter (sf)

How soon before Brandon Belt gets called up? Then do you put Huff in left?

David Schoenfield
  (1:46 PM)

Belt is tearing it up in Triple-A (.384, .525 OBP, although only 2 HRs in 73 ABs). Huff was so bad in RF, I don't think the Giants will move him back to the OF. Belt has played mostly LF down there, so it looks like they're grooming him to play there when he gets the recall.

D. Delaney (work)

Now that the Yankees have lost 6 straight games and are 3-10 in their last 13 games, can we run the same meaningless stats used to show that the Red Sox were in trouble when they lost their first 6 games and started the season 2-10?

David Schoenfield
  (1:48 PM)

I think I heard the Yankees haven't lost six straight since 2000 ... when they won the World Series.

Robert Cherry (Cambridge, MA)

What's the biggest trade you see this year? Do you think King Felix should be packing his bags or is it more likely to see Reyes out the door in the upcoming weeks?

David Schoenfield
  (1:49 PM)

King Felix isn't going anywhere. Reyes still seems like the best bet for a big named to get traded (San Francisco?). Again, with so much parity, seems fewer teams will be selling this year. I just don't see a pitcher near the quality of Lee or Oswalt moving this year.

tj (ohio)

I notice you didnt have Brandon Phillips as a potential 1/4 of the way MVP. If you look at his numbers and and defense i think he has to be in the top 5 right now with Votto. Although Votto is just a stud

David Schoenfield
  (1:51 PM)

Phillips didn't quite rate near the top in either of the WAR lists. Votto has a 100-point advantage in OBP, which is a huge difference in value. But Phillips will be right up there if he continues to play like this -- not many infielders in 2011 who will hit 20 homers and score/drive in around 100.

John (Cincinnati, Oh)

Concern about Chapman or just blip on the radar?

David Schoenfield
  (1:52 PM)

Very concerned. He should be improving, not regressing.

Joseph (Sacramento, CA)

Harper or Trout?

David Schoenfield
  (1:53 PM)

I'll still take Trout ... proven it at higher levels and more defensive value. But can I change my mind in a month? Harper's minor league numbers are just off the charts.

Bryan (Portland, ME)

Top 3 closers are Soria, Rivera, and Kimbrel. I'm a Pap fan, but he struggled with command last year and gives up too many homers.

Al (Miami,Fla)

I told some baseball fans that the Marlins (WC) will be playing the Rockies in October in the first rounnd of the playoffs. What chance do I have of being right?

David Schoenfield
  (1:55 PM)

Very good chance. Marlins are very good. Right up there despite a slow start from Hanley. Morrison is a stud, Gaby Sanchez is very underrated. I think they need to cut the chord on Javy Vazquez and find a better fifth starter.

D (UK)

On the subject of Josh Tomlin.... yeah, he's not this good. But the kid has 20 MLB starts under his belt now and isn't there something to be said for "knowing how to pitch".... yep, let's start the "intangibles" Vs "numbers" debate!

David Schoenfield
  (1:58 PM)

Of course there is. But let's be realistic here: He's allowed .188 average so far, which is fourth-best in AL among starters. But his strikeout rate is 50th-best among AL starters. Those numbers are very difficult to coexist over a full season.

Phil (Portland)

Innoncent until proven guilty on Bautista. Unlike guys like Ortiz who had chances and were waived, then came up with excuses for positive tests, Bautista is right in the sweet spot (hey, you're blog!) for age and never really had the opportunity before.

Joey (Brooklyn)

Alex Rios is terrible. That is all.

Chris (Sarasota)

Rajai Davis "seems more like fourth outfielder material to me."In fairness the Braves are pretty desperate for a fourth outfielder also. They demoted Matt Young who didn't hit and brought up Joe Mather who has no business in CF.

Joseph (Sacramento, CA)

Where is Drew Storen in this mix? He is lights out right now!

Ryan (Va)

@Matt if Chipper stays healthy the Braves dont have a spot in the OF. McLouth is actually playing pretty ok. Just waiting on Uggla to turn it on.

D (UK)

At what point in the year do the Indians have to have the best record in MLB before people stop expecting them to come crashing down?

David Schoenfield
  (2:00 PM)

Late September? :-)

Flemming (Copenhagen, Denmark)

Closers are way, way, WAY overrated........

Dan Quisenberry (KC)

Top 3 closers are Rivera, Kimbrel, Feliz, followed by Bell, Marmol and Wilson. Soria has been shaky this year, ask any Royals fan how they're feeling about him this season, he doesn't look like the lights out guy we are used to seeing

Rob (Houston)

Any reason for the shortage of classic leadoff hitters these days? Or were they never all that common to begin with?

David Schoenfield
  (2:01 PM)

You may be right. I want to look into this on the blog, but I have sneaking suspicion we've always lacked more than few classic leadoff hitters at any given time.

rob (SC)

Heyward too injury prone?

David Schoenfield
  (2:02 PM)

Right, that's the risk with him, I suppose. Hopefully this shoulder issue is just a blip, but he had a couple blips last year as well.

Bobby Thigpen (Chicago)

@DanQuisenberry...You say something about shaky relief pitching?

David Schoenfield
  (2:02 PM)

Just so I don't see Bobby Ayala sending in a question ...

David Schoenfield
  (2:03 PM)

Hey, Chicago .. Sergio Santos hasn't allowed a run yet in 19 innings!

Francisco (Chula Vista)

5 years from now, who would you rther have: adrian Gonzalez or Anthony Rizzo?

David Schoenfield
  (2:03 PM)

Gonzalez

Frank (Dallas)

Eric Hinske is one of the best role players in baseball, and can be counted on in the corners for Atlanta in short stints. Really do need a extra CF tho.

Derr (Mental Ward)

Do you think if Adam Jones got moved up in the lineup he could potentially be a highly productive player. Problem is he has Reynolds hitting behind him so he never sees any good pitches

David Schoenfield
  (2:04 PM)

Lineup protection is generally overrated. Jones doesn't see any "good" pitches because pitchers know he'll swing at the bad ones.

Bobby Thigpen (Chicago)

David, unfortunately, we have 5 or so other relievers!

David Schoenfield
  (2:05 PM)

What the heck is wrong with Thornton?

Nate (uneducated baseball fan) (Fayetteville)

wouldnt baseball be so much more competitive and just be better with a hard cap. why dont they do that?

David Schoenfield
  (2:07 PM)

OK ... we don't have time to get into this today! That's going to be it today. Check the blog today: Working on a post on the Astros and maybe another one on where Posada ranks all time among catchers. Thanks for all the great questions. You can follow me on Twitter: @dschoenfield