Just finished recording the podcast - give me two minutes and we'll get started.
Yesterday on the Podcast you referred to the cliche "He just knows how to win." You also mentioned "He just knows how to pitch." I believe these are two completely different statements. There are pitchers, and there are throwers. A. Chapman is a thrower, if he ever learns how to pitch, he will be amazing. Some pitchers know how to pitch certain batters differently and set up a hitter, others just throw what the catcher calls. Can you clarify.
Good place to start. I was wrong to dismiss the second statement entirely like that - what I meant, and should have said, was that "he just knows how to pitch" is a nonsense statement when used to cover up for a guy who doesn't have the stuff or strikeout rates to succeed long-term. There is such a thing as feel for pitching, and such a thing as command (overall, or of individual pitches), and you might also call those "knowing how to pitch." But that's not what I was targeting with my comments.
Going to be in Phoenix next month. Wondering what AFL team/park.matchup you think would be the best to see if I make a day of it? Leaning towards Scottsdale to see Trout/Harper.
I am still skeptical that Trout will play in the AFL - he's had an extremely long season and might even lose his ROY eligibility for 2012 (which doesn't DQ him from the AFL but you don't see many non-ROY eligible guys here who aren't rehabbing). To answer your question, I think all six teams are worth seeing, but if you're staying in Phoenix you might want to avoid a trip to Surprise just because it's a hike.
Josh Vitters seems to have made some improvements over the last half of this season in AA. My general inclination is that we're in a wait and see mode with him, and that we really won't know if he's turned a corner until next season. Is that the case, or is he already a non-prospect until/unless he proves again that he is one?
His second half stats are actually worse than his first half stats; it's more about an outlier three-week stretch in August than a better second half. That's nitpicking, though - the real issue is that he's a mediocre defensive 3b who doesn't walk and has yet to show his raw power in games. Non-prospect is probably too strong, but I don't share your optimism over his stats.
Suprised by the amount of backlash over your Dish review of Moneyball?
Hey KLAW, are AFL rosters subject to change until the first game or is there a date by which teams make a firm commitment on who they're sending (barring last minute injuries, etc)?
Nope, I've had printed rosters handed to me on day one that listed players who never arrived. It's not that strict, and that's fine with me because I often get to see more prospects in the long run because of the way players cycle in and out.
I've seen you refer to Jesus Montero as a "front foot hitter". Can you explain what this means?
He gets his weight on his front foot - I actually haven't seen him live this year, so this is a scouting take based primarily on previous looks - as opposed to most hitters who stay back and transfer their weight later during their swing. Montero is just so damn strong that he can hit for power anyway.
Any thoughts on Milone and Peacock at MLB so far?
I don't know what Milone is - I don't see anything there to get big league hitters out consistently. Peacock at least throws hard, but the fastball is flat, and that spike curveball is very tough to throw for strikes - looked like it was finishing below the zone consistently last night. I feel like he ends up a good reliever, but Milone is more like an emergency starter/up-and-down guy.
Are the Tigers peaking too early?
No such thing.
John Stilson - a reliever or starter if he returns to full health?
Reliever all the way.
I know you are a hip-hop fan. Familiar with Das Racist?
Yes. That's not hip-hop.
Any thoughts on Prince saying he probably won't be back next year? Seemed like a question that couldn't be answered right but seems odd in a pennant race.
He could have said, "I'm focused on winning the World Series - after we do that I'll think about the future." But I'll cut him some slack because he might have been caught off guard.
Wait, I had something for this.
New episode tonight!
So now that the Tigers are 13.5 clear of the pack in the AL Central, that makes Verlander "less valuable" per the "where would they be without him" narrative, right? Think the JV supporters are leaning towards Ellsbury now?
Do narrative supporters ever change their narratives? I feel like they don't.
Jarrod Parker most likely to be called up, thoughts?
If so, I'd be thrilled for him. Would help them get set for the playoffs - could certainly handle a spot start or two in the final week.
The snakes said Bauer looked tired in his last start. I'm shocked. I didn't think averaging over 130 pitches a start in college was really all that much. #sarcasm
I think the #notshocked tag might apply, too. Been a long year for him - first start was six weeks before the minor league season began.
Since you watched Nats' game last night, did you notice the guy sitting next to Mike Rizzo wearing an "Archer" shirt? Awesome.
I missed that, but I hope he's a reader of mine.
I understand letting Prince's comments slide, but what about K-Rod's? Spouting off to the media like that with little to gain can't help the Brewers at all.
No, Eric and I lit into him on the podcast today.
Is there an art to getting a question read in these chats? Do you send it BEFORE the chat? During? Send a bunch?
There is not - I typically get over 1000 questions in a chat, so I can't get to the majority of them. I'm looking for questions where I can offer something I haven't said before, or where I can try to say something funny.
Klaw, can people stop talking about non tendering Pelfrey this off-season? I know hes not a great pitcher but since 2008 (his first full season) hes 25 TH in IP with a 4.12 FIP, that certainly seems to be worth the 5M in arb he ll get.
Yeah, I can't see that happening.
Fister and D Young have outperformed Jimenez and Thome. Did Cle trade for the wrong guys?
Thome was a sentimental journey, no? I wasn't crazy about the Jimenez deal.
I have asked this before but I guess it has some relevance again now - how do you go from "stats nerd" to a scout? It also seems to me like Paul Depo has made a similair transition. Is it simply 2 smart guys adapting to their industry or something else?
I talk about that at great length on today's podcast.
With few commitments to outfielders next season, do you see the Giants taking a close look at Gary Brown as their CF?
If they were serious about that they wouldn't have left him at a level for which he was overqualified all year.
KLaw, any thoughts on Matt Wieters' end of the season? Is there a chance he is proving that it takes switch-hitting catchers a while to figure it out. Thoughts on his career going forward?
I'd like to understand why he's showing such an enormous, persistent platoon split this year. I don't remember ever seeing a substantial difference between his two swings, or feeling like he didn't see the ball well when hitting LH.
Not really in your realm of expertise, but I'll ask anyway... with Neukom being forced out does that put Sabian/Bochy at risk this winter?
I really doubt it - firing Sabean a year after winning the WS? I'm not saying it's the right or wrong move, just that such a thing is almost never done.
Prince also deserves some slack for speaking the truth when lying would have gotten him applause. If you're going to do something other than give a non-answer at least he answered truthfully.
surkamp ready to take over for Sanchez or Zito next year?
Could be better than Zito. But not by a lot. He's going to have to pitch backwards to a fairly extreme level to succeed in the majors.
Reading the comments to your review of Moneyball, i'm most offended by the guy who didn't like Snatch.
Two of them! I bet they don't like degs either.
Any chance James Jones emerges as a Top 100 prospect in 2012-13?
I threw him at the end of my list this year based on the tools and some positive signs in his performance last year, then he started horribly, started to hit more in line with expectations in late June, and got hurt about four weeks later, so we can't say with any certainty whether he'd really turned it around or whether it was just a small sample size. I still like the athlete, but he needs to get healthy and perform in 2012.
LaHair will be on the opening day roster next year.. true or false?
I thought I saw something on MLBTR about Japanese teams being interested - he fits that mold pretty well. I don't see him having a regular role in the US.
Thoughts on D. Bichette Jr. tearing up the GCL??
I apologize - repeat question from a few weeks ago, but I'm getting a lot of them today (probably because he won the league's MVP). GCL/AZL level of competition is so low that the stats mean virtually nothing to me. Moving up the signing deadline would help that, since now most elite HS players never play in a complex league because they sign too late for it.
Offspeed-heavy. Opposite would be pitching off the fastball - getting ahead with the FB, putting away with offspeed.
After reading the article on European born and raised prospects yesterday are there any notable names to watch for? Always interested in players from non traditional baseball places.
Max Kepler (Twins) is the guy right now. Chance to be an above-average player or better.
Podcast is up: http://klaw.me/ngj04q
And the extension STILL hasn't started.
You really would have walked out of the theater? How bad does a movie have to be for that to happen?
It was really boring, especially the first 20-30 minutes. I hate movies where the pacing is that uneven - it's like being in a car with someone who stands on the gas pedal, then slams on the brakes.
Do playoff appearances/championships at the minor league levels mean anything significant? Do they speak to the strength of a given team's farm system?
I know you probably haven't given this much thought yet, but is there anyone you're expecting to appear somewhat high on your top-100 prospect list that will come seemingly out of nowhere to fans?
I haven't given it enough thought to answer that, sorry.
Had a chance to see Adams or Taveras, yet? If so, impressed or not impressed?
Fall league hasn't started yet.
The narrative says that the primary reason for reduced run scoring is that steroids are mostly out of baseball. Why do so few in the media challenge that? It was 3-4 years after testing began before there was any decline outside the normal range of year-to-year variation. We don't know anything for sure...but it IF the decline in offense is primarily due to less drug use, the timing fits with MLB getting serious about amphetamines, not steroids.
Because it's the narrative, and we've seen plenty of writers ignore the research that says, for example, that HGH provides little or no performance-enhancing benefit.
The NL MVP debate will likely come down to the term "Valuable", does it mean stats or team position. In terms of stats, Braun is the best (50 less late appearances than Kemp which coorelates to less RBI, HR's etc.) vs . "valuable" which is Upton. NO way the Dbacks are where they are without Uptons breakout season. Your thoughts?
Kemp is pretty clearly the MVP now.
Are there any movies you have actually walked out of? The only time I've seen that happen was during the first jackass movie.
Unforgiven - more or less right after the guy soils himself. Then again, I'm not a big westerns guy.
Crawford for Werth, who says no?
Out of all Michael Lewis's books, wouldn't you rather see a movie made out of Liar's Poker? Still relevant and some 1980s nostalgia.
Sure - could be some great scenes on that trading floor.
What is your take on Darwin Barney, can you straighten out Cub fans? Higher ceiling and 2B next season for Cubs, Barney, LeMahieu or Flaherty?
Not sure if Flaherty can play 2b well enough to be an everyday guy. Barney doesn't do anything well enough to play every day at any position. LeMahieu is the wild card - I'm not really on his bat, but he's a good athlete and relatively young so I'd at least give him a chance despite mediocre performances.
Thoughts on Carpenter's extension?
Great deal for STL.
With Moneyball, don't you think it's a matter of the book simply being a silly book to try to film? There is no obvious triumphant arc - there is no real action of consequence. Watching dudes on the phone is not riveting.
I said this elsewhere, but I was fully prepared to grant the writers license to deviate further from the truth to make a better story. But they didn't. I mean, they deviated from the truth some, but they didn't write a great story. The Social Network, it ain't.
Klaw, St. Louis media keeps jawing saying they want to see Tyler Greene get a "long look" at SS in the bigs this Sept. Do you see these so called tools they speak of? I see a Utility Guy at best!
Extra guy, tops.
Alright Keith, now that he's saved 43/43 games this year, isn't it about time to admit Valverde is the best closer in baseball? That guy really knows how to pitch in the clutch.
I know you're just baiting me, but I should point out that the best closer in baseball this year - best reliever, really - is in Atlanta.
When will you be posting your review of the Wire? You are such a tease Klaw...
I think it's 3rd in the queue. Need to write up another book and "Black Swan," which I watched last night but am still thinking about.
With respect, you have been reluctant to endores the Tigers very far into October. Any change of heart yet?
Any playoff series underdog is probably still 45% to win that series, so I don't want to overstate the case on the Tigers. I think they're the worst of the four current AL playoff teams, but that doesn't mean they're going to get swept out of the first round.
Is Ryan Lavarnway ready to take Variteks place with Salty in the near future? Will his bat translate to the majors and is his defense ready?
I don't believe he'll be able to catch well enough to do so in the big leagues.
What are your thoughts on a closer (60 innings) for Cy award?
Does Jameis Winston have a bright enough future in baseball to pass up football at FSU? What round prospect do you see him as?
I don't know his plans, but yes, if he's willing to play pro baseball, he's going to go pretty high, potentially in the first round. Very exciting athlete.
Looks like LoMo officially filed a grievance against the Marlins for demoting him, according to Amy Nelson. What can he gain? Lost wages?
How about a trade? That seems like the best outcome for him.
I know you aren't big on closers for the HOF, but given how big of a deal that relievers have become in general, doesn't it make sense that the cream of that crop deserves the HOF, e.g. Rivera, Hoffman, etc.
Rivera yes. Hoffman no. Hoffman's only legitimate argument is that he was better than Sutter, barely, and Sutter was a terrible selection.
Speaking of LoMo, do the Cubs have the pieces of trade from him without including Brett Jackson? You'd think his value would be down some, but LoMo is kind of my best case scenario for the Cubs at 1B. He's cheap and has a high ceiling.
I'd certainly trade Jackson for him.
Can you comment on Kenny Diekroeger? You list him as a high draft candidate next year. I'm trying to reconcile that with his having been dropped to eighth in Stanford's batting order and his not having played summer ball this year.
Stanford's coaching staff is among the worst among major D1 programs, so I wouldn't hold that against him. Lack of summer ball is a concern for me because we didn't get to scout him hitting with a wood bat. And I don't think he's a SS long-term.
Yay or nay on bagels for breakfast? If so- what kind and what kind of spread on them?
Love a good NY bagel, but I'm kind of going ... not gluten-free, but lower-gluten. And bagels are giant frisbees of gluten, sadly.
I *love* gluten, by the way.
Who is your MVP?
AL, you mean? Bautista or Ellsbury.
My girlfriend is gluten free. Sure does make eating dinner together difficult.
It makes eating solo difficult. I'm not doing this entirely by choice.
Sounds like the book "Moneyball" would have been better served if someone had made a documentary based on it. Of course, it wouldn't have produced any box office.
Wasn't that Soderbergh's idea? With the animated Bill James, of course.
Have you seen Rymer Liriano in person? Thoughts?
I think next week at instructs. Hearing really exciting things, but when I know I'm about to see a guy I try to hold off on giving a strong opinion until I do.
My anniversary today. Charcoal grilling ribeyes. Anything out of the ordinary to make them better?
Sauce. Try a bearnaise or, if you have brown stock in the house, a sauce aux champignons (mushroom sauce).
Do you think Moneyball has enough of a "feel good" story that it will appeal to mass audiences (i.e., Blind Side) and be a box office success, or do you expect it to tank at the box office after hordes of baseball fans see it opening weekend and realize your review was spot on?
I'm no box office prognosticator, but there's no feel-good angle to it.
Brett LAwrie do you buy the comp by scouts = Ryan Braun
Kind of fits - another strong, athletic guy, plays all out, looks like he should be able to handle 3b but it doesn't play out that way.
Hey Klaw, love your chats. Which of these pitchers would you consider to be a future 1-2 starter? Carlos Martinez, Jacob Turner, Tyler Skaggs, and Jarrod Parker. Thanks again
All are 2s or better. I might flip the last two but otherwise the order is right.
I fully understand that Mark Trumbo shouldn't be anywhere near the AL rookie of the year award due to his below average OBP. My question, however, is has he raised his stock as an MLB prospect? I really didn't expect him to make as much contact as he has, do you think he can develop a better eye for the plate, enough to become a Troy Glaus light?
I don't see that. I think this is more or less it.
With Hultzen, Walker and Pimentel...could Seatle be Tampa Bay in a few years? PS: What do you think of Pimentel?
Pimentel's pretty interesting, quick bat, legit power especially for his age, swings at everything. I think Seattle needs more bats in their system before I could call them the next TB.
Keith,What are your thoughts regarding the bats of 3B prospects Miguel Sano, Zack Cox and Taylor Green? How about the long term prospects of pitchers Jarred Cosart and Taijuan Walker?Thanks.
Sano has the best raw hit/power tools, strikes out too much, probably ends up in RF or 1B. Cox has the best present hit tool (as in, how he hits right now), still think there's power to come (he shows it in BP, and not just to pull), still needs a lot of work at 3b. Green's more of a potential average regular, doesn't have that same upside.
BTW, re the bearnaise earlier - Michael Ruhlman's blog has a "quick bearnaise" that is really easy to make.
I don't think I've ever seen anything about salaries for minor leaguers. Can you shed some light on the "typical" range from rookie ball to AAA?
Rookie ball kids get $800 a month or so. That can get to $1500 in the higher minors for kids who aren't on the 40-man yet. Minor league FAs get real money, $50K a year or more.
How do you explain the sudden rise of Jose Bautista?
Consistent playing time, and some tweaks to his swing. Apparently (according to some sources close to him), he changed his approach when the Jays told him he had the everyday job, didn't feel like he had to hit just to hold his job and thus was free to work the count more.
If you're GM, is Chris Sale staying in pen or moving to SP?
Re: minor league pay, how do the kids live? Do the teams provide housing and food?
Short-season players are typically housed with local families or in facilities on site. Minor league meal money is peanuts.
Speaking of Sano, does he project to be better than Machado? Can Machado stick at SS? Who do you want on your MLB team?
Machado's way better. Decent chance to stay at SS if he doesn't get too big.
In his short time, how did Nimmo look? All or nothing pick?
Way too small a sample - plus he'd been off for two months.
OPS+ or wRC ?
wOBA would be my choice.
Is Verlander really the run away AL Cy Young winner? Seems to me Sabathia has been just as good.
Close enough that the Verlander narrative is getting really annoying.
Been to Honey Bears yet?
Years ago. It's solid, not as good as Bryan's in Cave Creek.
Chris Heisey has one more home run than Drew Stubbs in about half the at-bats.
I like Heisey - surprised he walks so little though.
Why do you always worry about SS out-growing the position when guys like Cal Ripken and Tulo are at least 6-3 and 220 llbs?
Tulo was an exceptional defender even as an amateur.
I read Mr Lewis' response (cough ad hominem cough) to your review, and was wondering the following: He seems to insinuate that you at one point were anti-scout, and that scouting is "old school." However, wouldn't most sabermetricians (good ones at least) always balance statistical analysis with scouting information? It seems you have done this since I started reading your work. Do you hear this sentiment often, that pro-saber means anti-scout, when in fact they should support each other, or at least be used to check against each other? Thanks, as always.
I think, or hope, I've been consistent about incorporating both approaches since I first started writing here five-plus years ago. And the best front offices in the game, like Tampa's, integrate both types of analysis. You can't do it with stats alone. I learned that in Toronto.
Close enough? Really? Verlander leads Sabbathia in every major statistical category on top of the fact he has a no hitter and has taken two no hitters into the 8th. Boy, you really dont like the Tigers.
Actually, they are effectively tied in fWAR, and that doesn't adjust for caliber of competition. But thanks for killing that kitten.
Why do you seem to rate pitchers as being a 1 or 2 based on speed gun ratings, yet Greg Madduz barely broke 90 mph and was a good as they get?
Maddux had 80 command, sank the ball, had a good changeup, and was an exceptional fielder. Show me a pitcher with all of those things and an average fastball (Maddux actually had no problem reaching 90 when he was younger, BTW) and I will gladly call him a 1.
I realize David Cooper's ceiling is essentially Lyle Overbay, but if Lind's struggles continue into next year at what point do the Jays give him an everyday shot at 1b?
I don't think his ceiling is that high. I'd rather see them go outside than play Cooper.
What is your opinion of Eric Thames? Is he a legitimate Major Leaguer? What type of hitter do you see him transforming into?
Worst late night TV host?
I'm never up that late any more - not since my daughter started kindergarten.
You should do an entire chat where your answers are perfectly aligned to what the mainstream baseball media would say.
5 pitchers you wish you could have seen in their prime? (Based on what I assume is your age, I'd guess that's pre-1970)
Grove, Walter Johnson, Mathewson, Koufax, Gibson. Top of my head.
Who do you have as the top prep lefty in the 2012 draft? Fried, Virant, Fairchild, Crownover, or Smoral?
Of those five, Fried and Virant were the best for me this summer. Crownover had a lot of effort but some arm strength. Cole Irvin's a name to remember. Smoral's a lower slot guy, Fairchild has effort and some command questions. These are early impressions, though, not final evaluations.
You said you enjoyed "The Big Short". Have you read "The Greatest Trade Ever"? It is considered to be a more accurate representation of what happened while still having some of the character analysis that makes a Michael Lewis book such a nice, pleasant, easy read.
No but a few of you have recommended it. I'll check it out. I just started "The Good Soldier Svejk" so I might be tied up for a few weeks.
Who do you see sneaking into the Fielder sweepstakes? For some reason, I think Toronto is lurking.
I honestly don't have any insight on to that. I might guess the Cubs and Nats, but that's truly a guess.
So the fact that Verlander leads in the Triple Crown ie Wins, ERA and SO's is completely irrelevant?
Yes, pretty much. Pitcher wins are useless. Once you start adjusting ERA for ballparks, defense, reliever support, he and Sabathia get a lot closer. I'm not saying that Verlander is a bad choice, but that this idea that he's in La Paz and everyone else is at sea level is absurd.
I read the Lewis' response too. You have to admit you are a smarty pants. A clever and talented one, but a smarty pants nonetheless.
I think all my clothes are smart. Be the part, dress the part, mo.
Hey Keith-Two person Ticket To Ride, percentage that is strategy vs. luck? 80/20? 70/30? What say you?
70/30 or maybe a little less. The problem is that it ends up built around the route card draws near the end of the game. You can set yourself up better for those, but you still need a little luck.
Thoughts on rumors of Shapiro to the Cubs GM job? Do you know him?
I'm a big Mark Shapiro fan. Smart, funny, organized, self-deprecating (as in, if he makes a mistake, he'll own up to it, and use it to inform future processes). And I have to say the casting of Reed Diamond (Homicide!) of him as Moneyball was pretty good. Enough physical resemblance to make me laugh.
Why didn't Dominion make your top 15 iOS list?
Because the app doesn't exist?
Hi Klaw, do you know why people in the industry refer to Japanese players as 'imports'? We never hear that used to describe players from Latin America, Canada, etc. Just an observation that I had and I was interested to see if you've thought of this before.
Might have to do with the posting process. It's like having the player clear customs first.
You take sugar?
No thanks, I'm sweet enough.
Thanks for all the questions - I'll be back next week. Check out that podcast today. I talk quite a bit about how I've changed as a baseball guy, and as a person, from the 2002 to now.