Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

July 7, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Keith Law

Klaw
  (1:03 PM)

Just wrapping up the podcast recording - I'll be along inside of five minutes.

Klaw
  (1:11 PM)

OK, podcast is done, and the new dish post - top 100 old-school hip-hop songs - is up. Time to chat.

Tom (Boston)

I understand Cosart has good stuff, but his peripherals are unimpressive this year. What's happening with him? Fatigue? When will his stuff turn into results?

Klaw
  (1:12 PM)

He's 21 with under 200 innings of pro experience under his belt. Give him a chance.

Andrew (Philly)

I know you don't care about the HR Derby, but do you agree that Upton should be participating in it?

Klaw
  (1:12 PM)

I do. Agree, that is. I still don't care about it.

Pierce (Tulsa, OK)

Does Paul Goldschmidt's power project to be plus in the majors?

Klaw
  (1:15 PM)

Raw power definitely plus. Going to swing and miss a lot, so the question is the hit tool. Getting a lot of comps to Balboni (or Balboni with a better work ethic), but Balboni was up much younger and his development may have been stunted as a result.

Josh (Los Angeles)

Can Brandon Crawford hit .250 with some power and some walks? If so, with his defense, sign me up.

Klaw
  (1:15 PM)

I'll take the under.

@Jaypers413 (IL)

Is it a reach to project Teheran, Miller and Moore as future #1 SPs?

Klaw
  (1:15 PM)

No. Miller/Moore more likely than Teheran at this point.

The Pittsburgh Kid (Pittsburgh...obviously)

Starling Marte never walks, like virtually ever...will this hinder his ability to be a mlb player?

Klaw
  (1:16 PM)

It has sunk Josh Vitters to date.

Mike (Boston)

Is Ellsbury being made available at the deadline for possible pitching help? Some radio guy suggested it this morning.

Klaw
  (1:16 PM)

Well, radio guys are never wrong, you know.

Chris (Chicago)

Why not Teheran a #1?

Klaw
  (1:17 PM)

I didn't say that.

JR (Vegas)

Can you say a prayer to the baseball gods to let Jeter get 3 singles tonight so we can stop hearing about his "quest for 3,000 hits" and focus on more important things?

Klaw
  (1:17 PM)

Seriously.

Nick (Seattle)

Ackley, Seager, Nick Franklin. Pretty good job of drafting infielders by Jack Z in 2009. He drafted well in Milwaukee too. What took so long for him to become a GM?

Klaw
  (1:18 PM)

Drafted hitters well - pitchers less so. But I think what held Jack back is some very mixed opinions on what it's like to work for him. It's love him or hate him, virtually no in between.

dnice (new york)

Jordan zimmermann, future ace or more like 2/3?

Klaw
  (1:19 PM)

I'd call him a solid 2. But picking Clippard over him for the ASG was an absolute joke. Not the biggest snub (that's McCutchen), but the worst player-A-over-player-B pick since they're on the same team at the same roster spot.

Brandon (CA)

Short, white 30-something male publishes a top-100 old-school hip-hip song list... Man, I love the internet!

Klaw
  (1:20 PM)

Yes, the Internet, where anonymous cowards can offer casual racism without fear of retribution!

Jon (NYC)

I can't help but look askance at a top 100 old school hip hop list that doesn't include anything from Mobb Deep or Gang Starr :-/

Klaw
  (1:21 PM)

Mobb Deep is on there. I could never stand Guru's delivery.

Jake (Chicago, IL)

Taylor Guerrieri going to be worth the money that the Rays will likely dish out on August 15th to sign him?? Also, what are your thoughts on Ryan Brett of the Rays' Pac-NW Draftee Contingent of last year? Of Vettleson, Sale and Brett, seems the undersized SS with "pop" is seeing the ball better and actually hitting it while Sale looks vastly overmatched.

Klaw
  (1:22 PM)

Guerrieri yes, if the makeup question goes away in time. I don't think Sale's struggles (and I had a scout crush him the other day) make Brett a better prospect, though.

Chris (work)

How much does having Tommy John surgery influence and change your ranking of a pitcher? Do you give a lower ranking, remove him entirely, or leave him alone and wait and see how he comes back?

Klaw
  (1:22 PM)

I generally leave those guys roughly where they were, since the success rate is somewhere north of 80%. But the key variable is whether the velocity comes back, which often isn't clear until 9-10 months out.

Jayson Werth (DC)

I can't really be this bad right?

Klaw
  (1:23 PM)

No. But you're a nice cautionary tale anyway.

John (TO)

What do you see happening with Yu Darvish? I don't know much about him. Can he be a legit top of the rotation pitcher in MLB?

Klaw
  (1:24 PM)

Sounds like he's likely to be posted - or at least to ask to be posted - this winter. That would be three major arms coming over from Japan in one offseason.

DD (SF)

Thoughts on Michael Choice's performance so far in HiA? He's lowered his K% each month and maintained his power. Granted it's the Cal League, but have you heard from scouts that he's improved his approach at the plate & swing mechanics?

Klaw
  (1:24 PM)

No, I've heard he's the same guy, but it's the Cal League, and as a minor league season goes on players are promoted up so the competition a player faces in April isn't the same that he faces in August. He needs to move up to AA, but the swing/approach issues are still there.

AO (Seattle)

Keith - Seager call-up. Thoughts? Understand it's short-term but does this indicate that the Ms might be leaving Ackley at 2nd, long term?

Klaw
  (1:27 PM)

I'd heard earlier in the year from a source with inside knowledge that they viewed Seager as a 2b long-term. He'd be more valuable there, but I can't see them making that switch midyear even if that's still their plan.

Neal (Baltimore)

How concerned are you about the Matusz meltdown. Towards the tail end of last year he looked like a future All-star. I know he got hurt, but allegedly he has also been reluctant to take advice from his coaches. What's going on?

Klaw
  (1:27 PM)

Velocity is still off. Ain't no coaching advice going to give him back his fastball if he's still hurt.

Matt (LA)

Better projection: Garrett Gould or Allen Webster

Klaw
  (1:27 PM)

Webster.

Kirk (Modesto, CA)

One of your ESPN colleagues who shall remain nameless (but rhymes with Bip Skayless) just tweeted that Biggio is not a HOFer. I remember Bill James ranking him #35 on an all-time list. Where do you fall in that spectrum?

Klaw
  (1:28 PM)

Hall of Famer. Or Fall of Hamer. Something like that.

Bobby (Fremont)

Keith, whats your take on AJ Griffin? thanks for the chat.

Klaw
  (1:28 PM)

Solid relief prospect. Not big stuff but guys don't see the fastball.

@bluejaysbatboy (Toronto)

Why do we see teams running over themselves to sign 16 year old latin players with big dollars, while the same teams are happy to play chicken with more established players during the draft signing period?

Klaw
  (1:29 PM)

In part it's fear of MLB, which doesn't do anything to try to regulate international signings. It's also bad decision-making. The fail rate on Latin American bonus babies is really high, and the time to a return on investment is generally pretty long too.

Jim (Anchorage, AK)

Does Carlos Martinez belong in the conversation with Moore, Teheran, and Miller?

Klaw
  (1:29 PM)

He's getting there. Not quite as physical as Moore/Miller, though.

Jesse (MD)

Do you think Matt Purke can stay healthy enough to reach his potential long-term?

Klaw
  (1:31 PM)

I guess that depends on what you think his potential is, but if that's the hype on him from last year as a potential #1, then I'd say no.

Terence (NY)

Keith, is Ronald Torreyes a top 100 type prospect to you if he continues to hit this well or will his size limit him in your rankings.

Klaw
  (1:32 PM)

He's really small. Not just short like Altuve, but slight. I buy the bat for now, but the history of little guys like them is not positive.

Scott (Cambridge, MA)

Where do you stand on Casey Kelly these days? Is the raw stuff still projectable enough to ignore the underwhelming #'s?

Klaw
  (1:33 PM)

Talked to a scout who saw him recently and said the main problem is command. Stuff is there, and he'll cruise through several innings, then just hit a point where he stops locating - even finding it again later, but after some damage has been done.

Chris (work)

Wait...you followed up a statement calling big dollars to Latin players "bad decision-making" with high praise for Carlos Martinez? Isn't there a bit of a disconnect there?

Klaw
  (1:33 PM)

No. You're interpreting a general observation as an absolute one.

Questions (NYC)

Approximately how many questions are submitted per minute to you? I never have my questions answered. I'm a paying customer here.

Klaw
  (1:34 PM)

We're up to 763 now in 34 minutes.

Adam (Ft Wayne)

Given Brandon from CA comments, I take it that the big dish post you teased on Twitter is a ranking of hip-hop songs? I am a detective in my down time and can piece these things together.

Klaw
  (1:34 PM)

You're a regular Continental Freaking Op.

louie (cincy)

Can you explain what "secondary skills" are and how a scout would evaluate a projection of them?

Klaw
  (1:35 PM)

For a hitter, that's approach and power, primarily, although you might bundle instincts/feel in there (I prefer to think of those separately). For pitchers, "secondary stuff" refers to everything but the fastball.

Marc (Baltimore)

Whats your opinion on Valdespin? Anything to get excited about?

Klaw
  (1:36 PM)

Saw him in AFL, had a major, major leak that limits any upside he might have. Fix that, which is unlikely but possible (Ryan Zimmerman used to have a terrible one), and we can talk.

John (Ontario)

can we please go a month without an article about the braves called "brave new world"?

Klaw
  (1:38 PM)

We could even stop calling them by that offensive nickname entirely. Cleveland too.

Matt (New York)

Do any of the following end up as good starting pitchers in the majors: Peacock, Paxton, Thornburg?

Klaw
  (1:38 PM)

I'll say Paxton most likely of the three.

Brad (Denver)

Were you in Phoenix for the Haboob on Tuesday? Do you think that Hayden Simpson can turn it around with his demotion...was he truly that outmatched in A? Thanks for the chat!

Klaw
  (1:39 PM)

My wife took this picture of the storm from our backyard: http://twitpic.com/5luyum ... Simpson lost a lot of strength last year when he got mono. Until that comes back, he's kind of on the prospect shelf - not an NP, but in a holding pattern, if that makes sense.

Brandon (RI)

Klaw, I'm studying for my GMAT test.... any advice? (I received my BS 7 years ago)

Klaw
  (1:40 PM)

Practice tests. You get better the more you take it.

Doug (Chicago)

Thoughts on Taijuan Walker??

Klaw
  (1:40 PM)

Lot of buzz on him as a potential #1 starter.

Lando (LV, NV)

Miles Head - real prospect or won't know til he gets to AA?

Klaw
  (1:40 PM)

Real prospect. But he HAS to hit. All his value will be in the bat/power.

Tyler (Park City)

Keith, how would you rate the ROY in the NL at this point in time? I think right now it would be Kimbrel, Freeman, then Espinosa (too low an average).

Klaw
  (1:41 PM)

That's probably about right. Is it just me or is this a terrible year so far for ROY candidates? Feels like we've had better crops in recent years.

Sensitive Sally (Atlanta)

I suppose the "Fighting Irish" are on your list too. Political correctness is nauseating.

Klaw
  (1:42 PM)

I think political correctness is nauseating. But ignorance is even more so.

Jake (Chicago, IL)

So, pending the Guerrieri and Mahtook signings, have the Rays surpassed the KC Royals as the best minor lg system and baseball or have they done that already and those 2 signings are just icing on the cake?

Klaw
  (1:43 PM)

Right now, Tampa's the top system, with KC promoting Hosmer, Moustakas, and Duffy, losing Lamb, and seeing Montgomery (better his last two starts, maybe because he's long-tossing again?) and Dwyer scuffle.

Jason (St Louis)

That fire pic on twitter is pretty frightening. What's the air like inside your house? Does everyone have on those white masks like MJ?

Klaw
  (1:43 PM)

It's not fire - it's dust kicked up by a major storm system that was south and west of us. Moved really fast, too.

AJV (Scranton, PA)

What did you think about Hughes last night?

Klaw
  (1:44 PM)

Didn't locate the fastball, didn't have any life on it, and that cutter still isn't a great weapon for him. It was like a rehab start in the majors.

Horton (whoville)

Really? The Braves nickname is offensive to you? Really? You just lost a lot of credibility.

Klaw
  (1:46 PM)

That's not the kind of "credibility" I want then. I think Redskins is offensive too. They should all be changed, since it's the 21st century and all.

Grant (Winnipeg)

Alvarez and Hutchinson have had pretty good years, which one would be the top pitching prospect in the Jays system? Or would it be someone else (McGuire, Stewart)?

Klaw
  (1:47 PM)

Alvarez would be tops. I'm not sold on McGuire as more than a back-end guy unless he's added something since college - and it's not a great delivery.

Lando (LV, NV)

PJ O'Rourke once wrote a piece on team names, deciding Washington Redskins was the worst, and then had his own sarcastic suggestions, of which "The Dallas Drunk White Trash" was probably the only one printable ("pixelable"?) for a family blog such as this one.

Klaw
  (1:48 PM)

I remember the old ads in Baseball Digest that had fake banners for teams like the "San Diego Jews" to ask why these comparable names about Native Americans are acceptable when we know that the ones in the fake ad were wrong.

Steve (Livermore, CA)

Any recent scouting reports on Darin Gorski? Heard he's cleaned up his mechanics and upped his fastball a notch or two, and his numbers are outstanding this year.

Klaw
  (1:48 PM)

Scout called him a solid 5, or a 4 on a bad team. Average fastball now, moved to the other side of the rubber, throwing more strikes.

Mark (NJ)

Higher ceiling.. Mason Williams or Slade Heathcott?

Klaw
  (1:51 PM)

Heathcott.

Jerry (NYC)

Stroman a legit prospect? I remember he didn't get much love after HS but he's still dominant

Klaw
  (1:52 PM)

Yes. Probably just as a reliever, given his size and two-pitch arsenal (and inevitable comps to Tom Gordon), but as a one-inning guy he'd be ridiculous.

Mark (NJ)

JR Murphy has been getting praise for his improvements at catcher, I know you always liked the bat. Can you see him as a major league regular?

Klaw
  (1:52 PM)

Yep.

Bill (CA)

Not a fan of Nice n Smooth? Hip Hop Junkies should be on the list IMO.

Klaw
  (1:53 PM)

Not a fan of Nice and Smooth at all.

Gene Mullett (Columbus, OH)

Any word on Dillon Howard signing?

Klaw
  (1:53 PM)

August 15th, my man. Just remember that date.

Mac (Philly)

Kimbrel, Freeman, Espinosa? I thought Espinosa has been quite a bit better than those two.

Klaw
  (1:54 PM)

Actually it should be Kimbrel, Espinosa, Freeman. I read the first post too quickly.

Frank (Va)

How many Ja Happs out of 10 do you give Vance Worley?

Klaw
  (1:54 PM)

Worley's better. Not a ton better, but better.

Kris (Philly)

Carols Triunfel...future MLB regular?

Klaw
  (1:55 PM)

It's been a nice comeback year for him, but i think he has a ways to go still to reestablish himself.

Jason (St Louis)

What do you think, can Masterson keep this up the rest of this year and beyond?

Klaw
  (1:57 PM)

I don't think he's this good long-term, but he's been better vs LHB than I expected. Could be a solid mid-rotation guy who dominates RHB and just limits the damage vs LHB.

Steve (Livermore, CA)

I don't get the (relative) love for the Mets draft this year. Like Nimmo but he was an overdraft, Fullmer is nothing special and Mazzoni was an UNDERslot signing. And no one likes their 3rd, 4th, and 5th round picks. Other than that, Ms. Lincoln, how did you like the play?

Klaw
  (1:57 PM)

Mazzoni was 94-97 his last few times out for NC State. Just didn't get seen very much late because he wasn't throwing that well earlier in the season.

Eric (Middltown, NY)

Keith - judging by your Twitter comments the last few days - I take it you believe that the Pirates' starters are overachieving? Thanks!

Klaw
  (1:58 PM)

Particularly Karstens, and to a lesser degree Correia (I can't believe, in 2011, we're still overrating a guy because of wins).

Jason (St Louis)

If the signing deadline is moved up in the next CBA, will that change things all that much in any way?

Klaw
  (1:58 PM)

Not much. But if they move the draft back to post-CWS, that might hurt summer leagues like the Cape.

Rich (Toronto)

Are you still thinking the Jose Bautista contract is a bad one? It's looking like a steal so far

Klaw
  (2:01 PM)

Absolutely has been for this year. Still not sold on this remaining a good contract throughout. You don't get to bank the excess value (producer surplus) generated in year one and cash it in in year five, so to speak. Interesting to me that the explanations for his sudden improvement are so different within the game - some credit regular playing time, others credit the tightened plate discipline, a few speak to mechanical changes (although one scout I spoke to said the raw power was always there, at least in BP), and so on. He's fascinating, although I wonder if there are lessons to be learned from being wrong on him, or if he's just a one-in-a-thousand kind of event.

Phil (Memphis)

Did you watch Treme? There's a cooking angle in the show that I thought might interest you.

Klaw
  (2:02 PM)

No, I'll probably gradually get through the Wire first. Only three episodes into it so far.

Tom (NY)

Klaw - what is your take on Zach Cozart? Word is Reds may be calling him up soon. Thanks

Klaw
  (2:02 PM)

Paul Janish with some more bat. Doubt he's a star but he might be a fringy regular.

Kevin (NY)

Why are some of the pitcher WAR numbers so different between BBR and Fangraphs? I understand the computation is a little different, but some are pretty pronounced.

Klaw
  (2:03 PM)

Different treatment of BABIP. I believe Fangraphs normalizes for BABIP and B-R doesn't.

Stephen (Twin Cities)

I'm a bit surprised by your stance on Braves, Indians, etc. In all honesty, are you bothered by Fighting Irish?

Klaw
  (2:04 PM)

No - and I am part Irish.

MJ (Edmonton)

Wait, you're watching the Wire? Awesome! I know you were asked in the past and said you had no interest, may I ask what has changed, and what do you think of the first 3 eps?

Klaw
  (2:04 PM)

I never said no interest - I said no time. The iPad and some short flights gave me time to watch a few episodes. I loved "Homicide," so I'm not surprised I like "The Wire."

Steve (Livermore, CA)

I think part of the reason that "Fighting Irish" isn't offensive is because the school was, you know, founded by the Irish. If a Native American man owned the Redskins, I think we'd all be less offended.

Klaw
  (2:06 PM)

Or if these "Indians" were actually from India.

Ernest (Richmond)

Homicide was criminally underrated.

Klaw
  (2:07 PM)

Pun intended? But yeah, buried on Friday nights. Most intense network TV show I've ever seen.

c-craw (idk)

Jorge Alfaro's ceiling?

Klaw
  (2:08 PM)

Pure ceiling, All-Star catching. Just a long way off.

Jonathan (New Orleans)

Do you eventually see Profar as a projectable 2B? Or will the Rangers stick with him at SS and let Andrus go once he demands more $

Klaw
  (2:08 PM)

Shortstop. Leave him there until you're forced to decide.

Klaw
  (2:15 PM)

One sec - quick phone call

Klaw
  (2:25 PM)

Sorry, had a radio hit scheduled but I want to get through a few final questions here.

jason (muskegon, mi)

I know Tampa typically has their starters go one level per year...but what does Moore have left to prove at AA? Should he make the jump to AAA?

Klaw
  (2:26 PM)

AAA isn't really a prospect level any more - it's more like a glorified taxi squad.

Jason (St Louis)

Why are so many people trying to figure out 'what happened' with Joey Bats? These things happen (Ryan Vogelsong) so let's just enjoy the ride. Also, is that a great nickname or what?

Klaw
  (2:26 PM)

For the exact reason I mentioned: To avoid missing on the next one. For a major league team, that's a pretty significant question.

daphne (boston)

hey keith, saw on twitter (i think) you saying that K:BB is not a compelling stat re: pitchers. can you elaborate, because i thought this would be something you would appreciate. scouting aside, i'd been under the impression that the most important statistics for assessing pitching were Ks, BBs, and HRs; am i wrong?

Klaw
  (2:28 PM)

I think K/BB can tell a very incomplete story. I'd prefer to look at the two separately as ratios to total batters faced - K/TBF and UIBB/(TBF-IBB), where TBF should exclude SH too. A high K/BB in the minors isn't a great indicator of stuff; it can just indicate great command.

Greg (LA)

One of the best business lessons is not to assume that everything is extractable. That is, just because Bautista seems to have found it doesn't necessarily mean that you can "learn" something and apply it the next time. People are funny that way.

Klaw
  (2:29 PM)

I agree. But the key is to learn whether there's something to learn. "There's nothing to learn here" is still a conclusion.

Daniel (Anaheim)

In an ideal world (i.e. one without millions of dollars of dead weight blocking him), when should the Angels bring up Trout? Cup of coffee in September? Or wait until next season and try to avoid Super 2?

Klaw
  (2:29 PM)

I think he could help them this year, actually.

Matt (Binghamton, NY)

Is Harvey the next Pelfrey...who is the next Heilman..who was the next Wilson...who was the next Swan...who was the next Leary...who was the next Seaver... You get the picture - big righty with 1 or 2 pitches who can't evolve into a legit starter.

Klaw
  (2:30 PM)

Have heard Harvey's CB and SL both improved this year. So there's a good chance he ends up with three.

Andy (Indianapolis)

What is the scouting report on Zach McAllister? He has great numbers at AAA. Someone needs to step up for Carmona/Talbot.

Klaw
  (2:30 PM)

Finesse guy.

steve (pa)

Is Middlebrooks a legitimate prospect for the Sox? Or is he simply dominating weak competition?

Klaw
  (2:30 PM)

Legit prospect.

Evan (Philly)

I love that someone tried to make fun of you for writing your top 100 hip hop songs saying "short, white 30-something man...". Short? You must be this tall to like hip hop?

Klaw
  (2:31 PM)

I'm sure Too $hort would have something to say about that.

Fr. Sorin (South Bend)

NOTRE DAME WAS FOUNDED BY THE FRENCH. But even back then we had a feeling the "Fighting French" would just be asking for trouble.

Klaw
  (2:31 PM)

Well "Surrendering French" would be offensive, wouldn't it?

Cowboy (Chicago)

Excited to (hopefully) see Matt Szczur in the Future Game. I've heard a range of projections for him from an Ellsbury type to the next Corey Patterson. Where do you see him?

Klaw
  (2:32 PM)

Juan Pierre type. Very flat slashing stroke should produce contact without power. Runs very well. Limited feel for the zone right now.

Lector (TX)

Will you be at the futures game?

Klaw
  (2:32 PM)

Yes.

Klaw
  (2:33 PM)

OK, thanks for all the questions, sorry the chat was a little short this week. I'll be back next week and will be writing on Sunday after the Futures Game.