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September 22, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Keith Law

Klaw
  (1:07 PM)

Sorry, just finished recording the podcast - special guest appearance by Mike Schur (aka @KenTremendous) of Parks & Recreation.

Kevin (San Diego)

Does all this NCAA conference realignment change anything for you/college baseball?

Klaw
  (1:08 PM)

If the Pac 10 ... 12 ... whatever adds a few teams, that would probably help me personally, as I'd get more clubs coming through ASU/U of A. I'm not sure how much impact it will have on college baseball overall, since it won't stop them from suffering from most of the best players signing out of HS.

Kevin (San Diego)

Did Joe Ross throw yet in instructs? If yes, any thoughts?

Klaw
  (1:09 PM)

Today. Ending the chat early so I can go. I'll see him and Michael Kelly; Jason Grey is going to see Archie Bradley.

Jason (CA)

KLaw, if you were the decision maker in SF, how would you solve the CF/SS/ leadoff issues before next season? Thanks!

Klaw
  (1:10 PM)

No acceptable internal option at SS, so you have to look outside. Gary Brown is the future in CF, so I'd just try to fake it out there for a half year to a year.

KEvin (St. Louis)

Adron Chambers project as a speedy 4th outfielder or potential starter?

Klaw
  (1:11 PM)

I think he's probably a good 4th.

Shoshana (Boston)

Are you surprised that the Orioles didn't send Machado or Schoop to Arizona?

Klaw
  (1:12 PM)

No - while there's no strict age limit, there are limits on how many A-ballers teams can send, and those two guys would be exceptionally young for the league. I don't think any player benefits from being overmatched out here.

Billy (Chicago)

From a scouting perspective, and all else being equal, how much would your rather have a pitcher who has got a prototypical height as opposed to one who's short? Do you consider it to be that big of a deal?

Klaw
  (1:13 PM)

I don't care about height per se, but about ability to work down in the zone and avoid fly balls. A short guy might not get plane on his fastball, but if he throws a sinker or two-seamer or even offsets the fastball with a cutter or splitter, he can do just fine.

Mitch (NC)

Does the Braves collapse say anything about Fredi Gonzalez as a manger? I've never liked him, but people (including ESPN Analysts) tell me I don't know what I'm talking about.

Klaw
  (1:14 PM)

I don't think the collapse is on the manager so much as the season as a whole is, and I think Fredi has hurt this team more than he's helped. At the same time, even a manager who set the perfect lineup every day wouldn't get many more runs from that offense. Fredi's biggest negative impact might be overworking those key bullpen guys.

BD (DC)

Wilson Ramos is putting up a .777 OPS, 112 OPS+. Is he an above average regular? Is he or Norris the Nats' catcher in a year?

Klaw
  (1:17 PM)

Above-average regular, yes. I like what I've seen of Norris and love the secondary skills, but that's now two straight years where he hasn't hit for average, and he's past the point where we can ascribe some of the struggles to the hamate injury from 2009.

Tom (Boston)

Are people seriously considering Ian Kennedy for the Cy Young?

Klaw
  (1:17 PM)

I'm sure some are because of his win total. That's not really how I roll, though.

Jason (St Louis)

Fredi's infatuation with Costanza sure didn't help things.

Klaw
  (1:18 PM)

Very true. But I think the net loss there was probably pretty small.

David (Bethlehem, PA)

Any thoughts on how Joe Savery was throwing 84mph at Lehigh Valley last year and now he's 89-93 in the pen?

Klaw
  (1:19 PM)

Most guys tick up a little when they move to relief because they can just air it out on every pitch instead of pacing themselves for 100 pitches in an outing. I do wonder if Savery's time off the mound helped his shoulder recover - he was never really the same guy after Rice overworked him his freshman year.

Chris (DC)

You've mentioned on the podcast that the Rays may have held Desmond Jennings in AAA in order to prove he was healthy. In fairness, couldn't they have found that out with him on the Major League team?

Klaw
  (1:20 PM)

The risk there is you bring him up, he gets hurt, then he's on your 15-day DL earning a big league salary and big league service time.

Jon (San Diego )

Are there other skills, in addition to framing pitches, that may be undervalued currently? First thought is holding runners on.

Klaw
  (1:20 PM)

I think first base defense isn't well measured by any existing stat.

Rob (LA)

For the record, Klaw, if your Cy Young vote derails my favorite candidate I won't hold it against you. You're probably right about it anyway.

Klaw
  (1:22 PM)

Hey, I'm just trying to get it right. Doesn't mean I will, but I can promise you I won't consider pitcher won/lost records at all.

Jason (St Louis)

Mike Quade is a dead man walking right now. I feel bad for the guy. I can't see how that rag tag collection of players the Cubs had could have possible produced regardless of who is managing.

Klaw
  (1:23 PM)

While I agree, I don't think he's a good manager - the new GM should be able to do better.

Clint (PA)

You are a first year GM and have the first pick in the 2012 Major League Draft but you must decide today. Who ya taking?

Klaw
  (1:25 PM)

I'd be looking at Appel vs Marrero. Appel offers more upside and more risk. Marrero is safer but you have to really buy that he's going to be a 6 glove or better at short even though he is no better than a 4 runner. I don't think we've seen enough of Byron Buxton yet to put him first if the draft were held today.

Nathan (Macomb, Il)

Klaw, are you doing the Baseball Today podcast over the off-season?

Klaw
  (1:25 PM)

I believe we go weekly in November, and I'm assuming we're off in January/February. Not sure about December but I'm hoping we at least do one during or after the winter meetings.

Tim (Haverford)

Has Mike Fast introduced us to a new statistic in "Catcher Runs Above Replacement" or cRAR? Will this become a useful tool in years to come in evaluating catchers defensively? The more the merrier, right?

Klaw
  (1:26 PM)

That has to be the goal - you can't value what you can't measure, but if you can measure something with a reasonable degree of confidence, you can and should value it. And Fast's research says that we might be able to measure this well enough to think about it in terms of wins added or subtracted.

Jack (Toronto)

The announcers here in Toronto keep trying to build a JPA for AL ROY case by claiming you don't look for average or obp out of your catcher. You look for power and defense. Soooo...yeah.

Klaw
  (1:27 PM)

Well, I guess that's what they look for. I bet Anthopoulos isn't so willing to overlook an OBP located in the crawlspace under the basement.

Jeff Sullivan (Belchertown, MA)

No love for Giolito at 1-1?

Klaw
  (1:27 PM)

Here's the complete list of high school right-handers taken first overall:

Jeff (Fresno)

You say no viable options for the Giants at SS but if Crawford could hit even 230 why would he not be a viable option? If you look at the Giants wins with him and without him in the lineup this year they are much better with him even. Considering the team is built on pitching and the ballpark they play in, shouldnt defense be a top priority for SS.

Klaw
  (1:29 PM)

Could he hit .230? Even if he does, I don't see him walking or hitting for any kind of power, even doubles power.

Alex Anthopolous (Mount Olympus)

Who should my next target be?

Klaw
  (1:29 PM)

Logan Morrison, clearly.

Shawn McDonald (Dallas)

ETAs on Leonys Martin and Anthony Rendon? Does Martin have star upside? A high-ranking scout I spoke to put his basement at D.Span and his ceiling at J.Reyes. Nuts? Rendon in the bigs at Super 2?

Klaw
  (1:31 PM)

Are you sure that guy was a scout and not just someone who escaped from the local asylum?

Justin (San Diego)

Anything surprise you about any of the Padres prospects that you saw in Arizona the other day?

Klaw
  (1:32 PM)

No, but Milwaukee's Alan Williams, a LHP signed out of indy ball earlier this year, was 90-92 and punched out all six guys he faced.

Boa (Anaheim)

How quickly can we expect Austin Hedges to be in the Padres lineup?

Klaw
  (1:33 PM)

I'd give that at least three years, more likely four. Looked a little rusty behind the plate but the swing was better than when I saw him last summer and I don't think he'll have trouble with pro fastballs.

Scott (Irvine)

Was that Jim Bowden segment on the podcast taped early? I was surprised you didn't verbally skewer him when he started talking about 'closer mentality.'

Klaw
  (1:34 PM)

That was taped before mine. "Closer mentality" is mostly nonsense.

Mike S (CT)

Keith, I'm sure that you're wont to avoid commenting on spoilers, but I just have to know - at the end of Moneyball, do the A's and their band of scrappy misfits win the division and keep the franchise from being moved to Miami?

Klaw
  (1:34 PM)

The movie ends as the spreadsheet becomes self-aware.

steve (LA)

have you seen the top padres outfield prospect in the Arizona complex league? Yoan Alcantara? if so what did you think of his tools and chance to reach his ceiling?

Klaw
  (1:35 PM)

One game look, but strong kid, total hacker, really struggled in RF.

Jordan (Columbus)

Obviously Rasmus is young enough to figure it out, but do you think he will still be the star many people projected him to be?

Klaw
  (1:35 PM)

Yes.

Bryan (Brooklyn)

Is there anything preventing teams from doing NBA-style sign-and-trades to get around Type A/Type B draft pick compensation?

Klaw
  (1:36 PM)

Yes, although there are workarounds.

AA (Atown)

Are you going to commit to 928 pages of Murakami (1Q84)?

Klaw
  (1:36 PM)

Eventually. Trying to get going in "The Good Soldier Svejk" right now and it's been tough sledding.

Michael (Boston)

How did you and your wife meet?

Klaw
  (1:37 PM)

We went to high school together. We are still arguing about books we read in AP Lit twenty years ago.

Andrew Carrier (Atlanta GA)

Is it possible to depend too much on sabermetrics?

Klaw
  (1:37 PM)

I can quit any time I want to.

Tim (Arizona)

What are your thoughts for Brandon Belt's future? Is the lack of production an indicator of his future or was he just terribly handled by the Giants with all the call ups and send downs?

Klaw
  (1:38 PM)

I think he was terribly mishandled - still is - but also think his two-strike approach needs work.

Tim (Haverford)

Catch the finale of "The Hour" last night? thoughts if you did?

Klaw
  (1:39 PM)

Yes. Will blog about it tonight or tomorrow. Great series.

Oreos (Nabisco)

What up Klaw!!!!!

Klaw
  (1:39 PM)

You were meant for me.

Nora (St. Louis)

Will the Cardinals win the wild card?

Klaw
  (1:40 PM)

Right now, I'd still bet on Atlanta over St. Louis (or San Fran).

Mike (Boston)

Who takes the AL Wild Card?

Klaw
  (1:41 PM)

Same answer - I'd still bet on Boston. A one or two game lead with six to play is more significant than "one game lead" sounds. It's surmountable, but it does put them in the driver's seat.

David (Arlington, VA)

You have to pick one of Matusz, Burnett or Lackey to start a game that your life depended on. Who do you pick?

Klaw
  (1:41 PM)

Burnett. Not a tough call, either.

Rich (Idaho)

Like the Berkman deal? Nice time to hit .476 with three doubles, one triple, one homer and six RBI in his last 12 games.

Klaw
  (1:43 PM)

One-year deal is great. Price seems pretty rich. Started hot, power dropped off dramatically in the second half, and I wouldn't bet that much on his late-season BABIP spike holding.

Klaw
  (1:43 PM)

That said, I'd rather overpay a guy for one year than give him an Aubrey Huff deal.

jim (california)

On the podcast the other day you and Karabell discussed the attrition rate for relievers. Isn't this due, in part, to the fact that guys with violent deliveries (and thus a higher risk of injury) end up in bullpens?

Klaw
  (1:44 PM)

It stands to reason. I'd also include guys who weren't healthy enough to stick as starters, then relieve for a few years and get hurt again.

Mike (Chicago)

Klaw, thoughts on Chris Parmalee? He seemed a bust until his small sample size breakout in MN this year. Can he be a MLB regular or is he AAAA?

Klaw
  (1:44 PM)

More 4A than big league regular.

Nate (Minneapolis)

Is Wieter's height a risk? How's that working for Joe Mauer.

Klaw
  (1:45 PM)

Mauer's built very differently, though. And I believe his knee/leg problems had already begun by the time he was Wieters' current age.

Brett (Casper, WY)

SS Trevor Story will eventually have to move, thanks to Tulo's deal. What position would he be best suited for?

Klaw
  (1:46 PM)

His best attribute as a position player was his defense. I'm not sure what that makes him if he has to move to 3b. Utility IF?

Mike (San Diego)

So when the Cardinals lose, it's LaRussa overmanaging. When they win, he plays the right cards (no pun intended). Doesn't this show that the manager's "success" is a lot about luck?

Klaw
  (1:46 PM)

And that the real impact of a manager is probably not that large.

Ubaldo (Cleveland)

Remeber when people got mad at you for saying I wasn't good enough to put the Tribe into the playoffs?

Klaw
  (1:47 PM)

Oh, no, I'm sure that never happened...

Tyler (Rolling Meadows, IL)

Do you know if Andrew Cashner will be pitching in the AFL and if he is is he going to start?

Klaw
  (1:48 PM)

He's on a roster. No clue on the plan for him. I don't believe his future is in the rotation.

joe (whittier)

Hosmer, Hellickson, or Trumbo for ROY?it can't be nova, can it?

Klaw
  (1:48 PM)

Pineda and Ackley should be on that list, and Trumbo shouldn't. Also not buying Nova - sentiment behind him seems to largely emanate from the greater NYC area.

Charles (San Jose)

If the Giants had been completely healthy all season, would that have been a 5.5+ game difference? Getting tired of all the whining I hear around here, especially since the loss of Posey isn't much more than the D'back loss of Drew.

Klaw
  (1:49 PM)

Injuries did not sink the Giants this year. The lineup did.

Greg (Knoxville TN)

I might be early, but who do you want for the next four years and seven years respectively: Prince or Pujols?

Klaw
  (1:50 PM)

I'm not quite sure I get the question, but if all things are equal (dollars, years, health), I'm taking Fielder because of age.

David (Bethlehem, PA)

Why does rWAR give Verlander a huge lead over Sabathia (8.4 - 6.8), but fWAR they are tied at 7.0?

Klaw
  (1:51 PM)

rWAR doesn't normalize BABIP. fWAR does. That is, if Sabathia has been hurt by a bad defense behind him (or just rotten luck on balls in play), rWAR doesn't attempt to credit any of that back to him, while fWAR does.

ASN (NY)

Nova shouldn't win ALROY, but he should finish near the top

Klaw
  (1:52 PM)

I can't really argue that. But no one ever remembers who finished second.

JB (Seattle)

What have you seen or heard about HS propects Nick and Trey Williams? Are anything to excited about near the top of the 2012 draft (this coming from an M's fan)?

Klaw
  (1:52 PM)

Seen both. Neither is a top 2-3 pick yet based on what I saw.

Tony (Albuquerque)

It's hard to dispute that voters give more value to late-season performance than early-season performance in voting on awards. Do you agree with this? If so, don't you have to move past the full-season numbers in voting on awards (and give Nova credit for a great second half)?

Klaw
  (1:53 PM)

If voters are doing that - and I agree they probably are - then your complaint is with them for questionable logic.

Matt (LGM)

i know they would never go for it, but what do you think about the MLB going to an NHL style for rights to drafted players? Where the players are allowed to go to college while their rights are held by the team that drafted them, and they can sign after any school year, or within 6 months of leaving school. That would help both the college game and the pro gram if you ask me.

Klaw
  (1:53 PM)

And would hurt the players. Pass.

Brandon (CA)

Is Oscar Taveras ready for the AFL? He spent this season in A-ball, so it's possible he could be overmatched this fall, right? Did the Cards overplay their hand?

Klaw
  (1:54 PM)

It is possible, yes. He did perform at such a high level that I wouldn't question the decision, especially since I haven't seen him yet.

Stephen (Louisville)

Will Bryan LaHair's 28-31 years be everyday-player quality? Should the Cubs go with him instead of committing to Pujols or Fielder?

Klaw
  (1:54 PM)

No.

Mike (San Diego)

I know you've mentioned there isn't as large a gap as people are saying between Verlander and Sabathia this year and the talk of how the AL Cy Young should be unanimous is ridiculous (sorry if I'm misquoting you). Howver, if you think Verlander should win, even by a small margin, and everyone else thinks that, wouldn't you have a unanimous vote?

Klaw
  (1:55 PM)

Yes, I really didn't express that sentiment well last week. My point was that the idea that the AL Cy race is Verlander, 50 feet of crap (thanks, Brad!), and then Sabathia and everyone else is wrong.

Travis (North Carolina)

If you were the Astros' new owner, would you keep the current GM and Scouting Director, or go in a new direction?

Klaw
  (1:56 PM)

I would hire a new GM and let him decide on the scouting director.

Eric (Catasauqua, PA)

Matt Moore's start or new Parks & Rec.....pick one.

Klaw
  (1:58 PM)

I live in Arizona. I don't have to pick one.

Brian (NYC)

Isn't it amazing that WAR is trying to tell us that a pitcher who has the pitching triple crown should not win the CY?

Klaw
  (1:58 PM)

What on earth is the "pitching triple crown" and why are you pretending it holds some special significance?

Jason (St Louis)

Think we could get a brief scounting report on Taveras after you've had a look?

Klaw
  (1:59 PM)

No, I keep all that stuff to myself. Come on.

mike (detroit)

I've never been a fan of normalizing BABIP. it seems to imply Detroit is a good defensive team for Verlander which when you look at the players individually doesnt hold.

Klaw
  (2:01 PM)

OK, so think about it this way. We know pitchers don't have a lot of control over BABIP. They may have some, but outside a certain range it's probably not sustainable. Verlander's career BABIP coming into this year was around .290-.300 and his single-season low was .279. This year he's at .235, and it's not like his stuff is magically better. What's your bet - that he's suddenly defying everything we think we know about pitchers and balls in play, or that, say, more than half of that 60-point drop in BABIP is due to factors beyond his control?

Pat D (Belfast, PA)

Does it, I don't know if this is the right word, "Flatter" you that so many people had a reaction to your Moneyball review? Is it nice to know that people care that much or was it another example of over-fanatacism?

Klaw
  (2:03 PM)

I was thrilled that so many people chose to read it. And I enjoyed about 90% of the discussion that followed.

Frank (Philly)

I get that these advanced stats are useful tools. But is it necessary to take ALL the fun out of the game by dismissing things like the triple crown or pitching triple crown simply because you don't hold much value in pitcher wins or RBIs? Remember, it's sports and even more so entertainment. So relax and try and enjoy.

Klaw
  (2:04 PM)

My job is to analyze and write. So for me, it's not just entertainment. It's a livelihood. I'll consume baseball the way I want to; you can consume it the way you want to.

Bill (Somewhere, I'm sure)

The pitchers triple crown is supposedly the lead in wins, ERA, and strikeout. I don't get what Brian means though, since Verlander and Kershaw both have that and the WAR lead in their league.

Klaw
  (2:05 PM)

More to the point, if pitcher wins are in the "pitching triple crown" then that crown is made of pyrite.

Mike (San Diego)

I don't see you as a sefl promotion type of guy, so I wouldn't accuse you of throwing things out there to get attention, but do you ever throw things out there to play devil's advocate and spark discussion?

Klaw
  (2:06 PM)

I am accused of that all the time, but you have my word that I would NEVER do that. One, it's unethical. Two, it's actually not fun to be under a torrent of criticism even if you know most of it is absurd (not speaking about Moneyball there, BTW).

Mike (Tampa)

I disagree. If you had actually watched him pitched, his stuff as you put it is "magically better." His fastball command has been first rate and his use of his secondary pitches are near 50%. In the past his fastball usage far exceeded the aforementioned.

Klaw
  (2:07 PM)

I'm looking at the pitch type chart on Fangraphs and the percentage by pitch is pretty much indistinguishable from last year.

Cale (Michigan)

Would I enjoy Parks and Rec tonight even if I've never watched it before?

Klaw
  (2:07 PM)

Each episode is pretty much self-contained, so yes.

Kirk (The TC)

Going out for tapas for my anniversary tomorrow night- have any favorite tapas you'd recommend?

Klaw
  (2:08 PM)

Boquerones. Real white anchovies, typically just marinated in olive oil, garlic, maybe a little acid. Nothing like anchovies from a can.

Reggie (Maryland)

Best place to eat in Dunedin, FL?

Klaw
  (2:09 PM)

Casa Tina or Eli's BBQ.

Rob (Philly)

You pretty much blasted every movie you've watched lately. Any movies you have liked?

Klaw
  (2:09 PM)

Really? I think I've liked almost every movie I've watched this summer - Inception, Winter's Bone, King's Speech, Brick, True Grit, etc. I just didn't like one.

Hannah (Bay Area CA)

Would you ever consider taking another job in a baseball org? What would your preferred jobs be? Would you like to be head of scouting or something like that? What plusses does working as an outside analyst have over being in a baseball org? Minuses?

Klaw
  (2:10 PM)

I would never say never, but I have no particular intention of going back.

Shoshana (Boston)

Weiters late season surge just a small sample size, or talent figuring it out?

Klaw
  (2:11 PM)

September hot streaks are often illusory, since the level of competition drops with roster expansion. But I remain a believer in Wieters long-term.

Chip (Richmond)

Did you read any of the interview with minor league player/major league moron Billy Rowell where he basically said the O's haven't given him a fair shot? It's one of the greatest pieces of Grand Delusion I've ever read.

Klaw
  (2:12 PM)

It was pretty special. I want to cut him some slack - his dream is dying before his eyes - but, um, discretion is cool too.

Klaw
  (2:12 PM)

OK, gotta roll to another game. Thanks for all the questions. I'll be back next week.