Until I saw the preview for "Luther" last night, I had no idea Stringer Bell was British.
Which state produces better baseball talent, New York or Florida?
Florida. By a lot. California is tops, then Florida or Texas.
Brett Lawrie's ceiling?
I'm not sure, but I bet he's about to punch a hole in it.
For 2.75 million would you rather have Joe Ross or Robert Stephenson, Sal Romano & Ty Washington?
Hi Keith--love that you cover baseball, literature, games and food with aplomb. I'm a Royals fan (egad). How worried should I be aboout Mike Montgomery?
Worried, because of the bouts of arm soreness last year.
If you knew Josh Bell would sign where should he have gone in the draft
In the teens. Possible someone would have popped him in the top ten, but I bet 11-20 range.
Tyler Beede: wise move or foolish move to not sign?
"Foolish" is too strong of a word here. I would advise any HS pitcher offered seven figures to sign, because even in a responsible program like Vanderbilt's, pitchers just get hurt. You can reduce the odds, but you can't prevent it. And I doubt Beede gets more than $2.4 million (plus interest) in three years.
Do you think Bell's letter was just a leverage ploy or did he have a change of heart between the draft and August 15th?
I know he and his parents had a change of heart in the final days before the deadline. I think the letter was largely sincere, but like all letters of that sort, not worth the paper it was printed on. Unless the player removes himself from the draft (which neither Bell nor Beede did when asked), those letters are meaningless.
Do the Cubs have a top 10 farm system now?
So I'm not picking on you for this because lots of questions like that have come in, but I've been asked in the last 48 hours if roughly 15 different teams have top 10 farm systems after the signing deadline. Every team signed the bulk of its top picks this week, and the two teams that didn't sign a day one pick (Toronto & San Diego) signed a bunch of other high ceiling guys. I'm sure when I sit down to rerank the orgs, I'll move a lot of teams around, but 1) almost every team got better this week and 2) I can't put more than 10 teams in the top 10.
I know he has been in the Majors all year but do you think the Royals should consider sending Aaron Crow to the AZ Fall League to help convert him back to a starter and build up his innings.
I like him in the pen, but if they want him to start, yes, that's a great way to get it rolling.
I've always wondered this: How come whenever someone describes the "prettiest swings" it's almost always a lefthanded batter. I can't think of one righty with that tag attached to them. I doubt this is the case, but is there some physical reason lefties would have a prettier, or more ideal, swing than a righty? Or is it just coincidence? Thanks.
Josh Vitters is right-handed, and his swing would qualify.
Given Jonathan Sanchez's injury on Tues night, the Giants might bring up Eric Surkamp to take his spot. What do you think of him and what does he project as?
Would be a good move - it's not like he's a projection guy or we're waiting on improved command. Fringe velocity with good secondary, could probably miss a fair number of bats right away with offspeed, wouldn't shock me if it took him a little time to adjust to big league hitters laying off those pitches out of the zone though.
KLaw, have you read "The Last Good Kiss" by James Crumley? Excellent crime novel, with substantial noir elements - sort of a rough and ready 60s/70s version of a Continental Op tale.
It's on the to-be-read shelf now.
Migual Sano has been tearing up the Appy league at 18. Time to move him up? Any idea on a ETA to the bigs for such a young player?
Also striking out a fair bit and showing he's not going to stay in the infield. You don't move a guy with a .335 OBP up without a good reason.
A Vizcaino in ATL. Future #2 SP or reliever?
What's your reaction to the Francoeur contract extension?
Trumbo for rookie of the year?
Klaw, Any clue what Shelby Miller did to get suspended? How does this effect his value?
News reports said he was involved in a fight after drinking (he's 20), and it might not have been the first incident. So, the moral of the story: If you work for St. Louis and drink too much, it's OK to drive - just don't get in a fight.
Other than the obvious (low or no first round picks), why is it that the Phillies are always among the lowest in draft spening?
What the heck happened to Justin Smoak this year? Looked so good through the end of April, then he pretty much fell off of a cliff. 800 MLB plate appearances in with an OPS <.700, are you still a believer?
Hurt his hand (thumb, if I remember correctly). Probably can write him off till next year.
Mike Jacobs just became the first player suspended for HGH. Reaction?
I don't know about you, but I feel safer now.
Thoughts on Kevin Comer? Whats his upside?
I wrote reports for over 100 players prior to the draft, including Comer; there's a ranking of the top 100 here: http://klaw.me/lUxHrL and you can click through for reports.
Klaw, what is the purpose of combining OBP & Slugging? aren't they of more value if you look at each instead of combining the two stats?
And combining them produces all kinds of issues, from basic math errors (two fractions with differing denominators) to related issues of scale (a point of OBP is worth more than a point of SLG).
Thoughts on Logan Morrison's demotion?
I understand he hadn't played well this summer, but he was outstanding last year and earlier this year, and I'm having a hard time believing this wasn't merely punitive for Morrison being outspoken and using social media. Don't ever change, Logan.
Which drafted and signed prospects have a shot to make your Top 100 this offseason?
My guess is I'll have more than 15, probably close to 20 on the list. I don't think I've ever had 20 from the most recent draft on an offseason top 100, but the minors are a little thin right now and the draft was really strong.
Klaw - One or two spaces after a period when typing a cover letter?
With a $175M player payroll, I think it's unfair to blame the Phillies' ownership for low draft spending. I'd consider it to be more of an organizational decision that they can get the same talent without spending on big "names". They do, after all, have a good system even after trading the farm in recent seasons!
No, it's ownership choosing to follow the Commissioner's Office on "slot" silliness.
If the Bell pick wouldn't have working out, would that have cost Huntington his job? Add that to the miscalculation on, and loss of Sano, the Tony Sanchez reach, and the Alvarez over Posey decision, and Huntington has to be on a short leash.
I don't think that alone would have cost him his job, although I have heard pretty much all season that he was on the hot seat.
Love the Klaw, but your analysis is off. Phillies bust slot all the time in the late rounds Colvin, Cosart, Singleton, annd most of their big signings this year were significant slot busters. They just don't tend to spend big on 1st rounders when they have them.
Don't think any of those three guys got seven figures. They haven't hewed to slot like the White Sox typically do, but when the Phils break slot, it's usually not by much. I think Singleton was about $40K over slot, for example.
Keith, you excluded Mike Trout from your Top 50 Prospects update because he was in the majors at the time, but he obviously can't be considered a graduated prospect (and I would not have described him as such when that Top 50 came out). Have you considered more stringent, Major League-service time-based criteria to determine who graduates off your prospect lists instead of just "he's in the majors now?" It seems silly that Trout, for example, is in AA but not in your latest ranking.
As I state at the top of every offseason top 100, I use ROY criteria: Still ROY eligible = still rankings eligible. But in-season that's not that useful a criterion, so I stick with in the majors vs not. Trout will be back on the list this winter, almost certainly on top of it.
If Anthony Gose can't hit in the bigs could he be converted to a reliever? (97 mph in HS, with terrible arm action.)
Yes, saw him do exactly that in HS, arm action won't work as a starter, but if he goes a couple of years without developing with the stick he'd be a candidate for conversion.
Does your Top 100 for the draft completely ignore signability, or do you put high-ceiling, tough-sign guys lower?
I ignore signability. Used to try to factor that in by downgrading or omitting the toughest signs, but then those guys ended up signing, so it proved a futile effort.
In his mailbag today, Calcaterra said nobody has been accused of hating more teams than yourself. Thoughts?
Probably true. I also like to highlight those accusations because it's really fun to mock that sort of stupidity.
Do you think pedro alvarez will break out next year, I went to vandy and watched him Mash there.... he can't take a walk but he should hot for more power righth?
Also has never hit LHP, and I had concerns about his stance and how early he seemed to have to commit to swinging. Haven't given up on him, but I thought he was brought up too soon.
Best guess as to where you think Dillon Maples may have been drafted if his signability wasn't an issue?
Second round? Crazy arm strength but reliever's delivery and command.
I know you hate slotting, but even though it's not mandatory doesn't it hold signing $'s down. A team might pay over slot, but doesn't the fact that there is a slot figure tend to hold the amount paid to players down?
Sort of. I think Jim Callis wrote that teams went over slot by about 50% in the aggregate for the top few rounds, so that system is pretty much dead, and suddenly "going over slot" isn't all that special any more.
Do you like Amir Garrett more as a pitcher or small forward?
Guy never pitched in games. How do you give him $1 million off a couple of workouts?
Does Gilmartin have about the same ceiling as Minor?
Frenchy got 2/13.5. Can I get some of what the Royals are drinking?
Yes, but MLB will suspend you.
As an Angels fan it near herecy to criticize Scioscia, but his blind devotion to Mathis--worse than many NL pitchers in the box--rather than playing Conger five or six days a week is just crazy. Does anyone in that organization have a say other than him? It's costing the team a chance at the post-season. Well, that and trading Napoli for Wells.
No, no, Mathis creates 27 outs a game on defense. That's worth 9 times as much as the 3 outs he makes with his bat! Also, math is hard.
Are you concerned about Purke's throwing motion?
I have been since he was in HS. That said, there are zero guarantees - guys do stay healthy with bad arm actions, even if they've been hurt before. Look at Jeff Niemann - when I was in Toronto we took him off our draft board because of his medicals, he wasn't durable in the minors, changed his arm action for the worse, and has started 75 games in the last two-plus years in the majors.
Do you think the Brewers will come down to earth before the playoffs?
I think they win that division, but would likely be the 3rd or 4th best team in the NL playoffs.
Keith: I order you to provide me your thoughts on David Foster Wallace. Ever read Consider the Lobster?
Never read any DFW.
Keith,What are your thoughts on the O's draft? The team signed all of its top picks and went a long way to rebuilding a barren farm system. How would you rank the team's final collection of talent against the league overall?
Solid up top. Farm system needed it, but that's not going to push them above the midpoint.
Hey Keith,I admittedly really only follow the Jays low minors system, but it seems pretty good based upon the numbers. Off the top of your head, what other organizations stack up with the Jays in terms of A ball young arms?
They are loaded, perhaps the best in that department. Can't tell you how many good reports I've gotten on Nicolino this summer.
What changes will the new CBA bring to the draft? How will the compensation picks work? Only sandwich picks now?
Betting within the industry is that there won't be hard slotting, free agent comp system will be overhauled (no one likes how it treats relievers or how TB/Toronto managed to pile up picks ... except TB/Toronto), probably another raise to the major league minimum.
Would you please explain your comparison of Matt Szczur to Juan Pierre a little more? Obviously they both make easy contact and have great speed, but Szczur's upside seems considerably different than what Pierre has done. Szczur is bigger and stronger now as a very young man than Pierre was/is as a fully developed man. Szczur is hitting for more power in the minors at the same stage than Pierre did. Szczur also shows big power in BP, which I don't remember ever hearing about Pierre. Despite Pierre's speed he didn't provide the defensive value that Szczur projects. Why wouldn't Jacoby Ellsbury be a more appropriate comp? Do you honestly think that Szczur's power will be as limited as Pierre's?
Let's ignore for the moment that Szczur has been terrible in high-A. He has one of the shortest, slappiest swings I've seen on a "prospect" - no leverage, no rotation, just flicks the bat at the ball and meets it out front. Until that changes, I don't see him hitting for any meaningful power in pro ball, and it's not like he's got great plate discipline. He'll be lucky to have Pierre's career.
Thoughts on Domingo Santana and his inclusion in the Pence trade?
Doesn't really change the evaluation of the deal. High-risk, moderate reward guy - really crude at the plate, poor pitch recognition, repeating low-A.
None were 7 figure guys. About that, you are right. The Phillies though seem to have a quantity over perceived quality (hype?) philosophy. Instead of spending $3-4m on one guy they'll go after 3 or 4 guys in the $250k-$700k range. It can be frustrating to watch in the 1st round, but it's working for them in the later rounds.
I haven't criticized their drafts, though. I think their scouts have done a very good job of finding value in later rounds, and within the budget they do really well. They did spend some more this year, but the industry did as a whole so the effect was kind of a wash.
What is your take on Rymer Liriano, his stat line is impressive, but that does not always give the full perspective?
It's legit - might have the best overall tools of any position player in that system. BTW, heard something very interesting from a scout who saw their Eugene club this summer: Donavan Tate wasn't just playing better, but was showing more effort, taking extra BP, playing with more energy. That's not the entire solution to his lack of development, but it helps a lot.
I was wondering what you think of Freeman's rookie season and if your opinion on his future potential has changed at all. I'm not implying that simply posting good stats should render any scouting worries moot, but more wondering if the worries are still there or been alleviated to some degree.
This is what I expected from him - I thought he'd win ROY if Belt didn't get the playing time, and that's where we're headed at the moment.
Are more scouts changing their comps on Goldschmidt to Bagwell instead of Balboni. Because frankly, the bye bye comps were a joke.
The Bagwell comp is the funniest joke of all.
Should the Brewers leave Jungmann's mechanics alone and just see what happens? Are their slight tweaks that could be made or does he maybe require a complete overhaul?
After the Rockies' follies with Matzek, I think they should let Jungmann go as is for the time being.
What is the most you would you have given Matt Purke?
Less than he got. I thought he might be a $1 million guy. But I don't worry too much about the money because a successful draft pick is always a bargain in retrospect.
You really think Freeman over Kimbrel? Is that because Kimbrel is a reliever or Freeman essentially plays everyday?
Yes. It would take an incredibly barren field for me to ever vote for a reliever for ROY.
Who would you rather have for $5 mil: Nomar Mazara or Josh Bell? Why?
I hate that Verlander is ineligible for the MVP b/c of the position he plays. Yes I understand he doesn't play everyday but he is the most influential player in the league in lesser games, I think that makes him even more valuable. What would it take for you to vote for a pitcher for MVP?
He's not ineligible. He's eligible and the voters simply undervalue pitchers.
Agree with Wilken's high-ceiling, diamond in the rough draft strategy?
Yes even if I don't agree with all of the specific picks.
What does it mean to say that a pitcher is "pitching across his body"? Why does this make them injury prone?
I'm not sure how to describe that in words. A pitcher's front leg should land on a line towards the plate, meaning he's rotating about 180 degrees; if he cuts that off and lands at, say, 160 degrees, then his arm has to come back across his body to throw the ball near the plate. For a right-handed pitcher, that means landing somewhere between the line to home plate and a line from the rubber to the third-base dugout. I don't know if that made any sense.
I need a recommendation for a book that's approximately Freshman 100-level Literature appropriate. Figured you were the guy to ask. Also, some middlebrow steak house recommendations in Tulsa would be great.
The Master & Margarita. Can't help you on Tulsa, though.
I know if you were voting, Freeman gets it over Kimbrel, but you realize Kimbrel is going to win because voters won't be able to say no to 45 saves, right?
If so, I'll mock the voters, which is always good for business anyway.
Have you had a chance to go to Cyclo in Chandler yet?
No, but we did try Pho Chandler, which was solid-average, maybe a tick above. The pork short ribs appetizer (excuse me, "app," per T. Haverford) was plus.
This is great - check out the photo the KC Star chose for the Francoeur story. Kind of says it all: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/08/18/3083959/royals-francoeur-gets-two-year.html
I heard somone make the argument that Verlander shouldn't be considered for MVP because they already have the Cy Young to determine the most valuable pitcher. That's a complete misunderstanding of the awards right? Pitchers are considered players, no?
Yes, complete misunderstanding. That person should stop talking.
Can we maybe chalk up Matt Szczur's dip in batting average at high-A to fatigue considering he's playing his first full season of pro ball ON TOP of a full football season.....also, he's 6 for 6 in stolen bases and was voted the best defensive outfielder by midwest league managers, so assuming he's carried that defense over and is playing plus defense at a premium position while stealing bases is it still fair to say he's been "terrible" at high-A?
He has a .289 OBP, too. Maybe while you're chalking it up to fatigue, we can talk about your massive need to rationalize bad performance by a prospect in your favorite team's farm system, coupled with your need to get me to say something positive when the stats are so negative.
Miguel Sano's ceiling?
There's 40 HR power potential, but he has to play an outfield corner, could end up at DH, and needs to improve his contact rates. So if I say the ceiling is "all-star," understand it comes with plenty of risk.
Keith, am I crazy for thinking the Padres signed the wrong Austin? (Hedges over Brett)
Yes. Nothing against Brett but it's not clear he'll stay behind the plate.
Whatever happened to Drew Cumberland? He was a Prospect Of Some Note last year, but he hasn't played a game so far this term. Any clue what the story is and what the REAL story is?
He was forced to retire by vertigo, the result of concussions suffered in high school that resulted in neurological damage.
I read on your blog that a lot of San Diego natives told you to check out Neighborhood as an eating spot the next time you were in town (great suggestion BTW). Have you made it over there yet?
Went there on Sunday after the All-American Game. Good, not outstanding.
Ever thought about being a guest judge on Top Chef? Maybe you could contrast these up-and-coming chefs to up-and-coming baseball players, using baseball anecdotes as part of your feedback. Jimmy Fallon judged at one point so it's not like they haven't had worse judges of culinary talent.
I think it'd be a blast, but Fallon's a lot more famous than I am, and typically their guest judges are really high-end chefs.
Who impressed you most in the all american game?
Walker Weickel, RHP, Olympia HS outside of Orlando. Projectable, athletic RHP with some present velocity, great extension out front, good downhill plane, feel for offspeed. It's him vs Giolito for top HS arm in 2012.
Are you on the Baseball Today Podcast today? Trying to decide if I should listen to it or not.
Yes, I am.
Didn't know you attended Harvard + Mellon until 2 minutes ago. I respect you even more now. Willing to watch next season of TCD? It seems they toned down the flambuoyance/drama of their new cast.
The first season was so bad ... I may get sucked into it anyway but my inclination is no.
Klaw...have you picked up Magician King? Just started it and already loving it. It might just live up to its predecessor, which would be pretty great.
Not yet, but I intend to.
Based on your blog, just got Carcassonne for the iPad. Loving it. What's your suggestion on the next purchase in a similiar vein?
Do you stay away from the Wednesday podcasts on purpose? It seems like you may have some differing opinions from ESPN's resident GM.
I had a doctor's appointment.
Your honest opinion of the White Sox's draft, since they gave up their first rounder for the Great Adam Dunn...
Once again, ownership's refusal to go over slot just kills them. They didn't go much for upside (because they can't) and didn't sign one of their better picks (Ian Gardeck, now headed to Alabama) presumably because of money. Jim Callis wrote or tweeted that the White Sox have spent the least on the draft from 2007 to 2011 of any team in MLB. That's why they're always near or at the bottom of my org rankings.
Will Hudson Boyd end up in the pen?
Let's see if he can keep his weight down first.
Karsten Whitson elgible for draft next year?
2013. Kevin Gausman of LSU will be sophomore-eligible in 2012.
OK, that's all for this week. I'm taking next week off, so the next chat will be September 1st. Thanks for all the questions!