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July 21, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Keith Law

Klaw
  (2:03 PM)

Just flew back from Austin - should be a piece up shortly focusing on Leonys Martin, with or without his apostrophes.

Eric (Houston, TX)

How about Teheran, Delgado and Salcedo for Hunter Pence?

Klaw
  (2:04 PM)

I think Houston would take that. Well, I would take that if I were their GM; the actual GM would probably insist they take out Teheran and Salcedo and add two relievers instead.

Mark (Philadelphia, PA)

Not saying they wouldn't do it, but the Phillies would be stupid to include Domonic Brown in any deal for Pence or Beltran, right? Amaro can't be THAT dense, right?

Klaw
  (2:04 PM)

No way I'd include him for a rental like Beltran. At least with Pence you're getting future control, but I still wouldn't do it.

Pierce (Tulsa, OK)

Apparently, the Mets asked for both Randall Delgado and Vizcaino for Beltran. Delusional much?

Klaw
  (2:06 PM)

I'd say so.

Jason (St Louis)

Do you think anyone will pick up Inge since he got dfa?

Klaw
  (2:06 PM)

Only once he clears waivers - he's owed too much money for someone to claim him.

Kevin (San Diego)

If you were Jed Hoyer would you deal both Adams and Bell, or hold onto Adams?

Klaw
  (2:06 PM)

Both. Never hold on to relievers when you're GM of a bad team. They are way too volatile, so sell them while their value is high. Plus Petco helps you make more relievers.

Phil (Memphis)

You got your MBA in Pittsburgh, yes? How was it as a baseball town?

Klaw
  (2:08 PM)

At the time, really poor - but the Pirates were awful and didn't have an apparent plan. Plus I was there in the final years of 3RS. There wasn't much to draw fans in.

Jon (NYC)

Pierce is wrong.Adam Rubin is reporting the Mets are asking for either/or. Still delusional tho, right?

Klaw
  (2:10 PM)

Asking for Vizcaino would be delusional.

Justin (Redlands, CA)

Have you ever seen a club with as thin of a farm system in the upper levels as the Angels? Their AAA club is pathetic.

Klaw
  (2:12 PM)

Richards is still in AA, and Trout was there ten days ago. Most AAA clubs are pathetic - there were maybe two serious prospects on the field last night in Round Rock.

Brian (Milwaukee)

Thoughts on Vance Worley? Does "Great results so far, but actually a 4/5" sound about right?

Klaw
  (2:12 PM)

Sounds exactly right. Good time to trade him.

Andrew (San Diego, CA)

What kind of haul do you think the padres can get for Bell and Adams? Someone like Grandal or Profar?

Klaw
  (2:13 PM)

I can't imagine the Rangers would give up Profar for any reliever. Grandal might be in play because he hasn't received that well this year and they have a surplus at catcher, but even so for a reliever that's steep.

Ken (Palo Alto)

Why are most AAA clubs pathetic? Is that the place where AAAA guys and hangers-oners, hoping to make a comeback, go to finish out their careers? Or what?

Klaw
  (2:18 PM)

That's mostly it. Teams use it as a sort of taxi squad and skip most prospects from AA to the majors.

Tim (Burlington, VT)

Seems to me this is THE time to trade Reyes, isn't it? A player whose game is based on speed who has battled leg problems. Also feels like a seller's market with so many teams close to a playoff spot.

Klaw
  (2:19 PM)

I agree. Plus the Orioles just did you the Mets a favor by pulling the other tradeable shortstop off the market. You think Arizona wouldn't offer something pretty good for Reyes this morning? Don't you have to at least explore the market? You're willing to ask Atlanta for Vizcaino, so clearly you don't mind looking into moves you know will probably never happen.

Jim (Rochester)

Is there much difference between Lavarnway and Montero besides age?

Klaw
  (2:20 PM)

Yes. Biggest difference is that I'm hearing a lot more whining about Lavarnway's ranking than Montero's.

Brian (Philly)

do you have a scouting report on tyler greene who the phils have apparently signed?

Klaw
  (2:21 PM)

Yes: http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/draft/player/_/id/19106/tyler-greene

matt (detroit)

Do you know anything about the prospects KC got from Detroit?

Klaw
  (2:26 PM)

If you squint real hard, maybe you could say the Royals got a backup catcher and a middle reliever with stuff but not control. But most likely they just got two org guys.

Tim (Chicago)

Whatever happened to Michael Inoa?

Klaw
  (2:27 PM)

Blew his elbow out last year.

Mark (Lyme, CT)

I don't hear much about the Sea Dogs Chiang (.330/.387/.642). Under the radar, or some flaw I'm not aware of?

Klaw
  (2:28 PM)

Got healthy this year by taking care of his diabetes, but it's not a quick bat, he's not a runner, and I don't buy that power.

Nick (Michigan)

What did you think of Duane Below's debut last night for the Tigers?

Klaw
  (2:29 PM)

I think if you believe yourself to be a playoff team, you can't start Duane Below in the second half of the season.

Steve (Tucson)

Ever been on Long Island KLAW?? If so, any establishments you can tell me about??

Klaw
  (2:29 PM)

No, never.

juliewongferra (NYC)

Matt Latos--what happened? Was he overworked last year? Or is there an underlying injury?

Klaw
  (2:33 PM)

I assume there's an underlying injury.

Steve (NYC)

Thoughts on Middlebrooks? His breakout for real? Can he be an above average everyday third baseman?

Klaw
  (2:33 PM)

Very real. Projects as an above-avg third baseman.

Joshua (Annapolis, MD)

Jon Schoop's been struggling since his promotion, you're the one guy out there I see hyping him. What are you seeing that others must be missing?

Klaw
  (2:34 PM)

He's 19 in high-A - and the approach is fine. I'm talking about him because the tools point to potential stardom, not because of performance.

Jamie (Canada)

You mentioned N. Castellanos didn't get any glowing reports from scouts. What is wrong with him, his bat or fielding, or both?

Klaw
  (2:35 PM)

It was mostly about fielding.

Steve (Livermore, CA)

Heard a tweet from a Mets beat writer that there is no chance Braves give up anyone in their Top 10 for Beltran. Is it just me, or is that the other side of ridiculous?

Klaw
  (2:35 PM)

I'm guessing the Mets can do better elsewhere, then. But the lack of draft picks for Beltran this winter does hurt his value.

Bill (Toronto)

Sanchez, Nicolino, Syndergaard. How do you rank them? Do all have top of the rotation ceiling?

Klaw
  (2:37 PM)

Like Sanchez the best overall, but he is struggling with control in the Appy League. Nicolino can really pitch but doesn't have the huge upside. Syndergaard is mostly arm strength - top-of-rotation arm strength and size but you're projecting on a lot of other stuff.

jason (CT)

vandy student here...what are the odds we can keep Beede, Comer or both out of Canada? Also chances Swihart gets done 50/50 or better?

Klaw
  (2:37 PM)

At first I thought that said "vanity student" and couldn't figure out what that was. I think all three of those guys sign.

Mike (Reno)

What do you think about the Keppinger deal? What about the guys going the other way?

Klaw
  (2:38 PM)

I'm not a big Keppinger guy, but FO guys I talked to with other clubs think the Astros got fleeced anyway. I seem to like Stoffel more than those sources do.

ish (gonz)

you've never been to long island? i don't buy that. brooklyn and queens are on long island.

Klaw
  (2:39 PM)

First of all, it was a joke. Second of all, Brooklyn and Queens are ON Long Island, but they are not "Long Island."

brian (de)

Haven't heard much about this, but wouldn't it make sense for the Giants to go after Michael Bourne if he is available? While Sherholtz and Ross may not be great, I think they need an improvement in center and at the top of the lineup. It is hard to score when your 1 and 2 hitter hit like .240.

Klaw
  (2:41 PM)

Would help their defense, certainly, but I'd like to see them add more offense than that if they're going to deal any serious prospects. Of course, they could probably get Bourn (no -e unless we're talking Jason) for Guillermo Mota or something.

BK L (LA)

Cowart seems to be moving up prospect lists fast. What does he project as? (Cowart, Kaleb).

Klaw
  (2:42 PM)

Athletic kid with plus arm and great LH swing. Orem's a good place to hit, so I don't want to get too excited, but it's obviously a great debut for him.

Nick (Seattle)

Taijuan Walker made a huge jump up your list and he is the youngest pitcher in his league. If he keeps improving his secondary pitches, where could we see him on your list next year at this time?

Klaw
  (2:44 PM)

He could easily be top 25 this winter and top 10 in a year. Every single scout I've talked to who's seen him this year has said, one way or another, "Wow."

Chris B. (Delta, BC)

If the Blue Jays get all those high draft picks signed, are they the #1 farm system in baseball?

Klaw
  (2:44 PM)

Hard to see them leapfrogging Tampa, but that's 1 and 2 for me.

Craig (St. Paul, MN)

If Husker Du, Sugar, and Bob Mould's solo work were prospects, how would they grade out?

Klaw
  (2:45 PM)

Loved Sugar. Never really got into Husker Du - and I've tried, but it's more a song here or there for me. ("Makes No Sense At All" is probably my favorite.)

Joe (DC)

Having just seen Harper for the first time on Sunday, my biggest takeaway was that pitchers stayed away from him. Mostly fastballs and a few breaking balls aimed at the outside corner of the plate. Is that a weakness that most young hitters have or is it more that the pitchers can't pitch inside/had teh fear?

Klaw
  (2:48 PM)

If you go inside, there's a good chance he'll hit it out. It's a solid approach against him.

Jeff (NY)

Question going around among friends today: "best album from front to end over the past 10 years in terms or relistenability?" Yankee Hotel Foxtrot may be the favorite so far, but we have a bunch of other suggestions...

Klaw
  (2:49 PM)

Good question. I'll nominate Doves' "The Last Broadcast."

Tim (STL)

It seems like the Cardinals minor league system has enjoyed a very nice year, with Adams, Taveras, Rosenthal (in addtion to the big 3 rhp) enjoying nice years. Do you see them making a jump up the minor league rankings, at least into the middle teens or so? Thanks.

Klaw
  (2:49 PM)

They could land 6-7 guys on the top 100. Swagerty has shown himself to be more than expected too.

Dan (Chicago)

Jim Callis at Baseball America said he compares Matt Szczur to a "right handed Jacoby Ellsbury".....What is it about Szczur that you're so down on and why do you see him as just a 4th/5th outfielder?

Klaw
  (2:52 PM)

Mostly it's his swing. Szczur has a very short, slappy, linear swing that should produce contact but no power. Ellsbury can drop the bat head and get some more leverage in his swing - you saw it yesterday on the two he hit out. And Ellsbury was a better CF at the same age.

Nate (Columbus)

If Pomeranz continues to dominate for the rest of the year in AA will that convince you that he's a legit top of the rotation guy?

Klaw
  (2:53 PM)

This seems to be a chronic misunderstanding (not a universal one) of how my rankings work. I'm not just rating performance. I'm rating potential, and performance is an indicator but by no means a definitive one. (Oh, and Pomeranz has made two nice starts in AA. Settle down, Sparky.)

Nate (Columbus)

That wasn't meant as calling you out haha

Klaw
  (2:54 PM)

Understood - I usually don't take those "so-and-so said X! Why did you say not-X!" questions, but I've gotten so many performance/rankings questions that I wanted to address it.

andy (kansas city)

how come dayan viciedo and tim wheeler didnt make your top 50 list? Did either come close?

Klaw
  (2:55 PM)

Viciedo wasn't eligible. Wheeler would be in the next 10-20 names or so.

Gibbs Pond Park (Nesconset)

I could have sworn I remembered you.

Klaw
  (2:55 PM)

That's creepy.

Jason (St Louis)

So how did the family barnstorming tour go?

Klaw
  (2:55 PM)

Let's just say I was glad when the plane touched down in Phoenix at the end of that trip.

Mark (Philadelphia, PA)

What's your opinion of Jarred Cosart? Future 1-2?

Klaw
  (2:56 PM)

Future 1 on stuff. Big question on delivery & health.

Tim (STL)

Quick follow-up on Swagerty: He's pitched well, but can you see him sticking in a rotation? I love his athleticism and curve, but kept hearing reliever on him. I'm assuming the reason he has recently moved to the bullpen is to limit innings.

Klaw
  (2:56 PM)

Main reason I projected him in relief was that he was a two-pitch guy who was all-out on every pitch. He's now a four-pitch guy and paces himself better.

Jason (Atlanta)

KLAW, Fredi Gonzales admitted the other day that he had no idea of the OBA of Schafer, Mclouth and Heyward and that he "thought" Schafer's was highest. How can a GM let something like this pass in a day and age when EVERY team employs people to apply advanced statistical analysis?

Klaw
  (2:57 PM)

Well, the GM is obviously fine with this. I wouldn't be if I were an Atlanta fan, but the way that lineup is set and the way the roster is used implies that Wren is completely OK with Fredi's (mis)management.

Nick (Seattle)

Follow up on Walker, could you see him being better than Pineda? And what have these scouts said about his breaking ball?

Klaw
  (2:58 PM)

"Comes and goes." Mid-70s it's fringy. Low 80s it's a hammer.

John (Lakewood, CO)

Tyler Matzek, decent return last night, is there still hope and might the Rox have learned not to "fix" his motion so much?

Klaw
  (2:58 PM)

He walked five in four innings.

Chuck (Philly)

Why would Boras include the no draft pick language in Beltran's contract? Doesn't seem to help anyone involved.

Klaw
  (2:59 PM)

Helps Beltran - the only party Boras is/was responsible for helping, actually.

Joe (Green Bay)

In your opinion, do the Brewers move players along too slowly? Seems like they have a lot of guys who are too old for the level they're playing at.

Klaw
  (2:59 PM)

They send a lot of college guys to low A, which is a waste of time. If Thornburg had started in high-A, he might be in AA by now.

Chris (DC)

Have you been to Joe's Farm Grill yet? Thoughts?

Klaw
  (3:02 PM)

Solid. Although I'm not a fan of their Q.

Trey (Boston)

What do you see Daniel Corcino and Chad Bettis as?

Klaw
  (3:02 PM)

Got a nice Cueto comp on Corcino. Bettis is a solid reliever, maybe closer potential but more likely a tick below that.

Patrick (AR)

What are your thoughts on Cameron Maybin? Is Florida regretting trading him? Potential?

Klaw
  (3:04 PM)

Probably worth pointing out that he's hitting .295/.351/.474 away from Petco. Above-average regular with star potential.

Kwame (Queens,NY)

Think the new CBA will uniform the DH?

Klaw
  (3:05 PM)

Wait, are DHs naked now?

Brandon (Walnut Creek, CA)

Whats your take on Jedd Gyorko? Guy seems to be smashing the ball wherever he goes? Is he legitimate or not?

Klaw
  (3:05 PM)

Needs a position. Can hit.

Jose (Miami,Florida)

Can Matt Dominguez finally become a above avg 3b

Klaw
  (3:05 PM)

No.

Wes (Midland)

Hey Keith, if Choice gets promoted, and his well at Midland, does he become a top 25 prospect?

Klaw
  (3:05 PM)

Kind of goes to the answer above - it's not about performance, but about tools and skills.

Klaw
  (3:06 PM)

That said, bad performance definitely matters, especially when the player is at a level appropriate for his age/experience.

Dennis (LA)

Hi Keith, thanks for the chat. Just wanted to get your thoughts on Chris Withrow of the Dodgers, who was on your Top 100 list as recently as 2010. Overall numbers this year in AA look pretty good (81.2 IP, 68 hits, 49 bb, 82 k, 4.30 ERA). He was rolling along until his last two starts (total 6 IP, 2 hits, 5 ER, 14 bbs, 9 Ks). Do you ever see him getting his control/command together and what do you see as his upside?

Klaw
  (3:07 PM)

Might be a pen guy just because he can't keep it together start to start. It's an electric arm, though, #1-2 type of stuff if he can ever find even grade-45 command.

Ian (Boston)

What do you think is the most likely cause (realizing it most likely is a combination of factors) for the Orioles problems getting productivity from their prospects? Al East, Org issues, bad luck?

Klaw
  (3:08 PM)

Put it this way: If I took over as GM tomorrow, the first order of business would be to assume this was the organization's fault and to identify the cause(s). You can't move forward until that happens.

Pierce (Tulsa, OK)

Is Zack Cox a Top 75 guy?

Klaw
  (3:08 PM)

Yes.

BK (LA)

Tyler Chatwood has been pretty good for a very young kid. He looks like he can be a #2. Agree or Disagree? (Please show your work)

Klaw
  (3:10 PM)

Disagree. Can I just point to the 56 BB and 53 K and rest my case?w

Mike (Belmont, NC)

Just saw Pastornicky promoted to AAA, A) when do you project him as our starting SS and B) what impact-type player will he be? I know not a superstar but at least average production with defense and speed?

Klaw
  (3:11 PM)

Could see a solid-average regular. (BTW, you don't need to submit the question that many times.)

Michael (Iowa)

We all know your dislike for Clint Hurdle's managerial abilities. But for anyone who has subjected themselves to more than a ffew Cubs games this year can tell you, Mike Quade is making a good effort to take over that mantle. Who besides Hurdle would you lump in the Managers hurting their teams category?

Klaw
  (3:11 PM)

Tracy. Fredi. Baker.

Bill (Boston)

How good a prospect is Brandon Jacobs for the Red Sox? Seems like he's made as a big a jump as any of their prospects this season.

Klaw
  (3:13 PM)

Really strong kid, good swing, a little concerned about the strikeout rate. But he's moved up the board substantially.

Jason (Bmore)

It seems like everytime you critique a team that not in contention your immediate reaction is to blow everything up and start all over again. Trade your best players and basically take on prospects. Isn't that a bit unrealistic considering the external pressures to compete?

Klaw
  (3:14 PM)

That's a bit hyperbolic, but I don't see any real value to building an 80-win team. You go for 90, and if you're not going for 90 this year, then you build for 90 in future years.

Phil (Memphis)

Why did you like Willie Randolph so much? Wasn't he past his prime when you were growing up?

Klaw
  (3:15 PM)

I am going to guess that you are underestimating my age by a decade or so.

Tim (BTV)

Player Development question: do you believe in letting young players play key defensive positions until they prove they can't (like a Tim Beckham/BJ Upton), or move them right away to their likely spot (Harper, Justin Upton). Might be too complicated for a chat question.

Klaw
  (3:15 PM)

The former, unless it's retarding their offensive development or there's an injury question. And that's even where the chances of the player staying at the position in question are really low.

Sean (Lexington)

Keith, Long time commenter, first time reader. At what point does Ellsbury enter the MVP talk if ever? If he finishes with 23-25 HR (15 now), a 300 BA ( I think he is .316 or so now), a 360 or better OBP, and steals 50 bases while also playing a pretty good CF..isn't that an MVP type player?

Klaw
  (3:17 PM)

He'll end up on ballots, yes. It is hard to see him surpassing Bautista unless the latter gets hurt or flops.

D (Dallas)

Based on what you saw from Martin, do you see the rangers calling him up for the postseason?

Klaw
  (3:17 PM)

Could see him helping right now as a defensive replacement/pinch runner who might help as a platoon bat.

Jeff Baker (Wrigley)

Why did Jim Hendry say I was "untouchable"? I want to get out of here.

Klaw
  (3:18 PM)

I mean, if the Ricketts were paying any attention, they would have fired Hendry on the spot, right? Making a fringy bench player "untouchable" seems like an attempt to be funny.

Erich (CT)

John Farrell not on your list of managers killing teams?

Klaw
  (3:18 PM)

It wasn't meant to be a complete list. But yes, he's struggling.

Randy (Texas)

Ronald Torreyes. Altuve 2.0? 6 k's in only 112 AB seems like a nice rate. Think his hit tool can hold him up to a major league position one day?

Klaw
  (3:19 PM)

He's not as strong or physical as Altuve. It's easier to buy into Altuve because he has strength that Torreyes doesn't (yet).

Brad (Toronto)

When you say you build for 90 wins in future years, you would essentially be saying build to 90 wins as soon as plausible given current situation. For example, some teams on pace to win 80 this year could conceivably be buyers to aid in winning 90 next year. I'm thinking the difference in a TB/Tor vs. Hou/Sea type situation.

Klaw
  (3:20 PM)

And I'm fine with that. If Toronto can be opportunistic in the next ten days and get parts to help next year, they should do so (and I bet they will). They're not contenders right now, but don't need to rebuild either.

Erich (CT)

Do people realize that Ryan Howard has an OPS under .800?

Klaw
  (3:21 PM)

Can't wait till that contract extension kicks in!

Ken (Salisbury, MD)

Hey Klaw, love your work. What shows does your daughter enjoy watching? Thanks to you my 2 and 1/2 yo loves World World.

Klaw
  (3:22 PM)

She's less into TV than she was a year or so ago. Loves "Chloe's Closet," which is kind of silly but does work in some educational content. Since we've come to Arizona she's outside more often.

Chris B. (Delta, BC)

in reference to Brad's question, if you were Toronto, wouldn't you trade off those bullpen guys? Seems like you could always pick guys like that up off the FA market.

Klaw
  (3:23 PM)

Yep.

Trey (Boston)

Is Oscar Taveras a legit prospect or just seeing the ball well this year? Does he have any good tools?

Klaw
  (3:24 PM)

He's a prospect, but that's a max effort swing. Had a scout tell me he's seen Taveras lose his helmet because he swings so hard.

Joshua (Annapolis, MD)

What's your take on Cheslor Cuthbert?

Klaw
  (3:25 PM)

Potential above-average regular to star.

Jack (Chicago)

Can you believe they don't make a single Chica stuffed animal? My daughter loves Sprout.

Klaw
  (3:25 PM)

Richard Blais appearing on the Sunnyside Up Show was the ultimate worlds-colliding moment for me.

Brian D. (Atlanta)

Keith, thanks for answering my question about Middlemarch on Twitter a few weeks ago (I thoroughly enjoyed it, BTW). What else have you not read, but intend to read, that's high on the Novel 100 list? Any particular reason you've skipped them? Also, are there any clunkers besides the usual suspects (Ulysses, Moby-Dick, etc) I should def. avoid?

Klaw
  (3:28 PM)

I need to read Bros Karamazov (#5), and I have Good Soldier Sveyk (

Joe (Atlanta)

Why are you hating on Fredi Gonzalez?

Klaw
  (3:29 PM)

I'm not "hating on" him. I'm offering an objective opinion of his in-game managing, and that opinion is that he's not good at it.

Klaw
  (3:29 PM)

OK, I'm out. I'm not sure when the next chat will be but follow me on Twitter (@keithlaw) for updates. Thanks.