If you haven't seen it yet, my ranking of the top 50 MLB players aged 25 and under (but no longer ROY-eligible) went up about an hour ago: http://klaw.me/uQ1XhR So I'll be taking a lot of questions on that one.
Jesus Montero just barely miss out on your rankings?
Hello there Mr. Snark, after seeing Ike Davis for the past two seasons in New York, what do you think his ceiling is now?
You recently mentioned Stanford's record for developing hitters is very poor. At the same time, I've seen early 2012 draft projections showing Kenny Diekroeger, Jake Stewart, and Stephen Piscotty as high picks. Which of these guys have a major league future, in your opinion?
Piscotty is the safest bet. Diekroger needs to move off SS, probably to 3B, has more ceiling. Stewart is all tools, long-term project for whoever drafts him.
Do you have any insight as to what the Rockies were thinking trading for Chatwood? Fastball was worst pitch last season + the move to Coors...
I don't get it. I understand they got many years of control, but some of those are going to be zero-value or near-zero-value years because he's still developing.
Gio for McCutchen?
Why would the Pirates do that?
Really, really enjoyed your Top 50 Under 25 piece, and was happy to see Travis Snider get an honorable mention. Would it be a no-brainer to you to give Snider the full-time LF job over Eric Thames in Toronto?
He's just too young to give up on, but not only has the major league performance been bad, he's looked bad doing it. Given how elite he was as a prospect, I wanted to put him on the list, even at the bottom, just to say "there's still a chance" ... but rationally I couldn't do it. Yes, I'd play him over Thames. Thames has a part-timer ceiling.
Do you believe in this whole fresh start playing for a different team idea?
I think it exists, yes. It's player to player, and I would like to at least be able to identify the reason an environment didn't work for a player before touting the "hey, change of scenery!" argument in favor of a trade. We know why Rasmus was no longer a fit in St. Louis, for example.
I'm just gonna say it so we can get it over with. 2011 Andrew McCutcheon = 2010 Justin Upton. Make your fake trade, double the value and THEN maybe we can talk. He's just not being moved.
Huntington made it very clear internally that they will consider moving him, because he wants big money on an extension and they're not going to pay it. I think the Upton extension is a good comp, and if that's what McCutchen wants, I'd give it to him.
How is Matt Wieters not top 40 or honorable mention?
Maybe you should read it again.
Zips projections had Gary Brown with a 99 OPS+ in 2012! Crazy?
I'd bet the under, hard.
Hey Keith, one reason I've seen that the amateur restrictions were needed was that eventually the large markets would throw large amounts of their resources into amateur markets. First of all, I say let teams use their resources how they want. But wouldn't they also have some opportunity costs of using their resources like that; they might not have the resources needed to sign a fa they want. If a bunch of large markets did that, wouldn't it increase the chances a mid to upper level fa might go to a smaller market?
And how many years have the large markets chosen NOT to do that? Large market teams in the race will always choose to put the marginal dollar into the big league team. I agree with you - anything that limits GMs' options for allocating resources is a bad thing for low-revenue GMs relying on innovation to succeed.
Hey Klaw, how much of a rebound do you expect Jason Heyward to have in 2012?
That all depends on the swing issue I talked about in today's rankings. If that's resolved, I think he will exceed his 2010 production. I'm still high on him.
Can Brandon Beachy enter the elite tier of SPs?
How would he? I guess if he added a completely new pitch. Other than that, I don't see it.
Brett Lawrie at #10. How much of an impact did this high ranking have with his play when he got called up to the majors?
If you're asking whether he's at 10 because he hit so well in the big leagues, the answer is largely no. It's based on tools and potential, and the very real improvement in his defense between March and October.
Draft will now be 40 rounds instead of 50. Thoughts?
Good. No real impact on the game. Any player not taken in the top 40 rounds can sign as a FA.
do you believe the amount of money players are making these days is starting to get a little silly?
No, because I've taken an economics class in my life.
Where do you see Mike Trout starting this year (majors or minors)? Would/should the Angels move Bourjos to open up a spot for him?
I think he's MLB-ready, but wherever they put him he needs to play every day. Calling him up for half the season and not playing him was criminal.
Can we please require chat participants in here to have some knowledge of how a free market works plus the dynamics of supply and demand?
If by "chat participants" you mean "American voters," then yes, absolutely.
What is the story with 2-sport deals. Do they still exist? What is there effect on the cap? I know no one gets ML deals anymore but were 2-sport deals major league deals?
Two-sport deals are not major-league deals - the two-sport exception allows teams to spread bonus payments out over several years (for budgeting reasons) without placing the player on the 40-man roster. I have not heard anything about those going away.
Think Friedman will take the Astro job?
I don't think so - but I don't pretend to know exactly what he's thinking. I wonder what their plan B is if he turns them down; the other names to which they've been linked are cut from a different cloth than Friedman, who is both sabermetrically-inclined and also takes a business-like approach to running baseball ops.
Jordan Zimmermann is still 25 - I'm surprised you like Nova, Minor and others better. Oversight or don't think of him as even a #3/4?
Does. Not. Qualify.
At first glance, putting Kershaw at #5 seems low. Is he that "low" because position players are generally more valuable and/or pitchers are generally more volatile in their performance?
That was about 90% because of the risk inherent with pitchers.
Why would a team give a major league deal to an amateur who almost certainly won't make the majors for a few years (a la Harper)? I've never understood how that worked. Thanks!
Neither have I - I think in most cases, it was a bad move for the team, and not always ideal for the player because it would force promotions that actually hindered the player's development. For an advanced college guy, it wasn't a huge deal (although it still burned a 40-man spot before it was necessary), but for a HS guy it was nuts.
I was surprised to see no Lonnie Chisenhall on the top players under 25 list. Do you see the platoon splits becoming too much of an issue for him? And about where would Carlos Santana be if he was eligible?
Santana would have been top 10-15. Chisenhall's platoon split and defense kept him off - same reasons for Moustakas.
I could be crazy, but given that he's coming off a down-year after two very good ones and the perception of Petco, is there a chance that Heath Bell ends up getting undervalued and signing a pretty reasonable deal?
Not just a down year in stats, but down year in velocity too. That's a real concern.
Jesus Montero qualifies, where's he at? Is it DH-related?
He doesn't qualify.
The third sentence of today's rankings reads: "This ranking only includes players who have lost their Rookie of the Year eligibility, but were born on or after July 1, 1986."
Quick fix to BBWAA voting: don't let writers vote for players on the teams they cover. Good idea, or the best idea?
Doesn't work because of all of the national writers who vote. Would I be excluded from voting for D-backs because I'm in the Arizona chapter? Better to address obvious cases of homerism on an individual basis, perhaps by asking said voter to abstain from voting in the future.
Really no Jason Kipnis? Kid will be a star.
Kid will be a good player. Not a star.
Hey for those of us who actually read the qualifying criteria ahead of time, where would Weiters have ranked if he was 6 weeks younger?
What is this "economics" you're talking about?
Don't you start.
Hi Keith. Are you going to the winter meetings next week? This may seem like an odd question, but what will you do? Hang out and try to get stories?
Yes, I'll be there. Talking to sources, mostly - lot of pro scouts go, as well as execs. There might be an adult beverage consumed along the way.
If you were forced to give an honest answer would you take the over or the under on Pujols age if the line was set at 35?
Hello KLaw. I recently bought (and love) my 14" Lodge cast iron pan. Any tips for keeping the smoke down though? I have a condo and can;t set the smoke detector off everytime I use it...
Put a shower cap over the smoke detector. And make sure you clean it well - no soap, but a stiff brush or a Dobie pad - after you use it.
Did the Phillies idiotic handling of Domonic Brown deter you from putting him on the list?
Hey Keith - Do people who extoll the virtues of Lee Smith as a HOFer but then ding Edgar Martinez for being a part-time player deserve even a sensible rebuttal?
No, just a curt dismissal.
Iannetta is obviously an upgrade over Mathis - but is he worth blocking Conger's progression?
I wonder if Dipoto thinks Conger's defense isn't there yet, or has a job share in mind. I like both players, but think Iannetta produces more in 2012, so I understand the acquisition for the short-term but not what the underlying long-term vision is.
Do you think we'll see any lawsuits from amateurs as a result of the new CBA and would they have any chance of winning?
That's a question for a labor lawyer. Or an antitrust one.
Would you vote for Ron Santo if you were able to for the Hall of Fame?
Yes. I bet he gets in now that he's dead and can't enjoy it.
Even with Edgar Martinez playing some 1B and 3B, does the fact that he played mostly DH really hurt him that much in terms of HOF?
It is hurting him with voters, yes.
Can Mat Gamel hit 20 HRs and bat .280 in the Bigs?
I don't see him hitting .280, and I don't know where you play him. Not third, certainly.
I thought Trout had just few enough PA's to sneak under the rookie threshold and make him eligible this year; what did I miss?
Too many days on the 25-man roster.
Is Tyler Beede kicking himself at this moment?
No. He and the Jays disagreed on the health of his shoulder. It wasn't strictly about money.
Do you think roy cutoff is unfair? As in you could lose eligibility but have no chance to win.
You would have the same problem anywhere you put it.
Was pleased to see LoMo's solid ranking on this list, I assume this means you believe the bat is plenty strong to carry the weak OF D, or in some way are you factoring in a position switch back to 1B? Would a slash line projection of .280/.370/.520 for this year be reasonable or high end?
I think he's a 1b, period. I don't think that line is out of reach, although it does depend on how Boondoggle Stadium plays.
Suprised to see Ben Revere as an honorable mention. What excites you about his game?
Do you like Chris Sale's move to the rotation and where do you see him as a future starter?
No, I don't.
Feliz, Sale and Crow all three headed to the rotation.. !! Your thoughts on their success for 2012 and beyond...
Most optimistic on Feliz, least on Sale.
You mentioned on Twitter you thought the Phillies might regret giving up Mathieson --could you give us your present day scouting report on him?
You might have misinterpreted that tweet. Or you're too young to remember Asia's first album.
Some comps on Cameron Maybin ranged from Mike Cameron to Eric Davis. What are the odds he winds up more like Davis than Cameron in terms of production?
Didn't Davis have a better overall approach? Cameron would still be a pretty good outcome.
Have their ever been any players of Vietnamese descent that have played the game?
What about Matusz? Just last year he was considered a future top of the rotation starter. One year bring him down that much?
You say one year like he didn't spend it throwing 88 mph meatballs and getting hit like the pinata at our Halloween party.
Alright - I know I asked earlier, but we're at the 36 minute mark now, Top Chef: Bad chefs, bad competitions, both or just no chance of it living up to the bar set last year?
Mediocre crop, odd challenges, more focus on losing dishes than winning dishes. I did get a recap/reaction post up on the dish right before we started here.
Do you think the Blue Jays should move Brett Lawrie back to second base?
No, given the progress he's made at third, I wouldn't mess with it.
Is the portion of the new CBA dealing with draft bonuses/international signings the very definition of "penny-wise and pound foolish"? Why would any of the small market owners strip themselves of a major weapon they had to try and battle the big boys? Why would ANY owner vote for something that almost explicitly tells young people not to play professional baseball if they have another option? I have no idea how everybody thought this was remotely close to a good idea.
Selig has been obsessed for years with clamping down on amateur signing bonuses. Perhaps his successor will ease up on the brakes after we lose a few good athletes to other sports.
Ian Kennedy had over 200 IP last year and over 190 IP in '10 after less than 25 IP in 2009. Are there any concerns over his workload/potential for injury going forward?
No more than any other starting pitcher.
What does the ROX signing Ramon Hernandez do to Willin Rosiaro?
I would like to assume the Rockies are concerned about Rosario playing a full season. I believe 2011 was the first time he played 100 games in a calendar year.
Just put me at 3B already?
Nah, no rush.
Hey Keith-- You coming to many U of Florida baseball games this year? Figured you will be with such a talented group and would love to come meet you.
Probably a midweek game to check out Zunino and get a fresh look at Fontana.
Did Tabata get any consideration for the top 50 or were injuries too much of a problem
He's not good enough anyway, but he's also several years older than his listed age, according to a source who has seen his Venezuelan passport.
Aren't players that pass on signing after the MLB draft just going to come back through the draft in a few years after realizing they aren't getting the same guaranteed money from whatever other sport they're playing either because they aren't a legit top-5 pick or because the sport doesn't have the same bonus money?
They're going to go to college and give up baseball, or have some irresponsible college coach blow out their arms or screw up their swings.
I don't have insider, can I assume Castro was on your list. If so, where?
Get Insider. It's half off right now at $19.95 for a year: http://klaw.me/vUniWh
Tough Dynasty Keeper question for two starters: Mike Minor or Chris Sale?
I don't play fantasy baseball of any sort, but I'd rather have Minor than Sale.
So Sabean signs two LOOGYs for over $5m last month and now he wants to trade out of his pen. Does this mean he's clueless or he sees an overvaluation in recent deals (Papelbon, Broxton, Nathan) and thinks he can get value?
That kind of poor planning got him an extension!
What happens when the NCAA inevitably starts paying players. THAT is gonna drive kids to football.
That's true, although I think the NCAA will fight any attempt to force them to fairly compensate football and basketball players to the death.
Saw a report about the Indians swapping Chris Perez and Jeanmar Gomez for Alonso....Reds can't be that desperate for a closer can they? Thanks Keith
I don't know about that report, but I'd love that deal for Cleveland.
Is there an Insider option that allows us to auto-donate the accompanying ESPN the magazine to a landfill?
I believe you can ask to have the magazine sent to a serviceman/woman serving overseas, so everybody wins.
per @MLBFakeRumors - "Albert Pujols tops Insider Keith Law's top 50 under 25 list." Those guys are geat.
They really are, one of my favorite parody accounts.
How'd the duck go? Done with Turkey?
Would probably do turkey for a crowd. The duck was great, thanks. Still have about a half a cup of rendered fat left over too.
best way to do a bourbon marinade for steak?
You'll need some kind of acid in there. Think of a bourbon vinaigrette.
I stopped asking you questions cause I would never get an answer to any of them but its a basic draft question with the new CBA. In your opinion does it help or hurt the smaller market teams? Also, Strasburg, Harper, etc those guys were clear cut num 1 picks. who is this year's consensus best player available or is there none?
I think it hurts innovative teams, and low-revenue teams have much greater incentives to innovate. There is no clear consensus best player available this year. My current top guy is Stanford RHP Mark Appel, but I don't think he has any kind of lock on that top spot.
You believe that Justin Smoak has more upside and is a better player than Jesus Montero?
Frank Thomas HOFer despite most of his career at DH?
Your new Dish redesign is so good that my computer freezes every time I try to go to it. High five!
It's actually not the redesign, but an amazon script - and the issue is only in some versions of IE. So, you know, get a better, safer browser and we're all good.
Is the super-2 change to the CBA *that* big of a win for the union? Won't it just delay players being called up to non-contending teams by a couple of extra weeks?
It's tiny - a handful of players each year.
Am I wrong or was the under the radar Broxton signing a great move by the royals. A near guarantee that a contender overpays for him at the deadline.
Meh, not exactly where they needed to commit that money, and do relievers typically get big returns in July trades? Especially since now he can't carry draft pick compensation if traded.
Who is making decisions for Houston right now? Are they just going to sit out the Winter Meetings?
Interim GM is Dave Gottfried, longtime AGM there. I assume they won't do anything major until they hire someone, perhaps at the meetings or perhaps just after.
Klaw, tentatively planning to go watch Barry Larkin's induction this summer. Advice on where to stay? Cooperstown looks like such a small, boring spot. I was thinking of staying in Syracuse for the majority of the vacation.
Only been once in my life, over 20 years ago. It was fun but I've never felt the need to get back there.
Am I wrong or should everything Dan Duquette has said and done since getting hired absolutely terrify O's fans? Not that it can get much worse... I guess.
I think the fact that his first moves included putting Matt Antonelli on the 40-man roster and trying to sign a Korean sidearmer with a bad knee throwing 78-82 should probably concern you.
If you're a Matt Kemp type don't you still take the 2mil over the risks associated with CFB?
They're not ALL going to quit baseball - but out of, say, 20-30 such guys each year, we'll lose a few. And we shouldn't want to lose any of them.
Allowing HGH testing is all about PR for both sides, right? I mean, players and owners all know no one will ever be caught. They just prefer to do the quick PR move rather than making an actual difference by educating fans on the effects (or lack thereof).
Yes. Especially since it sounds like this testing will be even more ineffective than frequent testing would be.
matt capps got the nationals ramos....just one example (even though capps did have 1 more year of team control at a silly price for the production)
OK, good example. Capps was healthy, though, and was a closer at the time, so he probably had a better market.
Following up on a comment a few chats ago about limiting mediocre pitchers to 2 passes through the lineup, TLR actually tried to have pitchers throw 50 pitches in 1993 on a rotating basis. (Also, if they walked 2 guys in a row, they were pulled.) Eckersley was exempt, of course. See: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2245&dat=19930721
Link isn't working for me, but I do remember the experiment - there was major backlash from multiple sides. This industry fears change. Houston should be hiring someone who embraces change, someone who wants to brings some creative destruction to the business, because right now, they are in horrible shape.
I give up (I'd never get it but for your output) -- I'm signing up for Insider. Do you get a commission?
We had a lot of signups through that link I posted earlier in the chat, and my bosses did notice.
Anyone of interest left available in the Rule 5 draft?
It is, as usual, a weak crop. I could see Philippe Valiquette going (LHP up to 99, rarely healthy). Ryan Flaherty might be a nice bench guy for someone. But it's largely inconsequential.
Saw you gave Cashner an honorable mention. Can you provide a run down on him. Thanks
On the right day he will show you three plus pitches, but I don't see how he's going to hold up as a starter. Might just be an elite - I mean top-of-the-line - reliever. If I'm the Cubs, I'm using him in relief this year but for 6-8 batters per outing, trying to get him up to 70-80 innings, so that if he gets the all clear they can think about starting him in 2013.
Keith- when does MLB begin to live in our economy? Even players with bad seasons get raises- while median American income drops. At some point, they come to us with price increases and I expect there will be a point when fans just stay home. Why does baseball and sports stay invulnerable to economic realities?
This has to be parody, right? As long as MLB teams see increasing revenue, player salaries will increase along with it.
Do you drink to get drunk? ever?
Last time was 2005, at a wedding in Boston, where I could no longer read the word PRUDENTIAL on a certain building downtown.
At the time of a Rule 5, by definition shouldn't no one of real significance be drafted? Or else you'd put them on the 40man. Aren't most successful Rule 5 guys late bloomers that no one thought much of- see Soria and Santana.
Before the last CBA, you had one fewer year to decide whether to protect a player, so there was a lot more talent available in the rule 5. The last set of rule changes gutted it. I didn't even go in the draft room last year.
Hi Keith. I don't have an iPad. Are there any board game apps you have reviewed that will play well on the smaller iPod touch?
Carcassonne, Samurai, and Battle Line all play great on the smaller screen.
Why can't Beachy sustain last year's level of performance? Gets a ton of swinging strikes (elite level % there,) has great control/command. What about his performance isn't repeatable?
Read what I wrote about him today.
Hey Keith, I wanted to give you props for making a call 4 years ago that came true in early November. Back when Billy Smith made his first trade as GM of the Twins you predicted that his tenure would be short. I was mad at you at the time, probably because I was wishing for the best, but I realize it was not your fault: you were just the messenger.
Sorry about that.
Best, most recent rule 5 draft pick? My pick is Uggla, but I admit I haven't paid much attention in recent years
Soria and Hamilton, but they were before the rule change.
What do you use the fat for?
Duck fat is great with potatoes, for frying/oil-poaching eggs, or for making warm vinaigrettes.
i also signed up. (Or rather, you persuaded me to renew after I had lapsed for a few months). Have you heard the same amazing stuff about Lindor everyone else supposedly has?
Seen him. Like him, true shortstop, good feel for the game, swing certainly works, not sure there's the projection you'd typically hang on a 17-year-old. This isn't Trout, where you see a frame and imagine him growing into power.
Can we really send our mag overseas? I have ipad and read it online, don't read the hard cover anymore. a link possible, would love to do even a little bit for them?
I believe you have to call the customer service number in the magazine.
Can Vance Worley replicate last year's production and do you seem him developing into a top of the rotation guy? Because honestly I never really saw it but I can't argue results.
No, I think he's a back-end starter or more likely a reliever.
Actually, Soria and Hamilton were after the rule change...but just barely.
OK, thanks, my error.
Will the phillies get J-Roll back
No, but Wilson Valdez will walk up to Blue Murder's "Jelly Roll" instead.
I was telling my buddy (big Braves fan) which Braves were on your top 50 and where, and he responds "Kimbrel at 49?! He was rookie of the year!" Any rebuttal to that?
You need smarter buddies.
Bobby Flay feels that putting your stuffing in the turkey is a mistake becuase you lose some control. Do you stuff or not stuff the bird with stuffing....?
I don't - it's not safe.
Orioles just traded for Tayler Teagarden. Good fit for them?
Backup catcher. Can't hold up catching everyday. But they have a decent everyday catcher so ... really, it's a backup catcher, I can't get excited.
IPad or Kindle Fire?
I own an iPad. Love it.
Gaga wants a Harvard man. You interested?
I'm holding out for Melanie Laurent...
Klaw, when the Hamilton-Volquez trade went down, you liked the Rangers side. Now that you've had some time to think it over....which side do you like?
The Rangers side. Is there really a counterargument?
How much do you enjoy doing the baseball podcast? How do you miss the kitten?
It was a blast. Love working with Eric on it, and the solo podcast was fun. If there's interest I'll push for another solo podcast after the meetings.
I'm coming to the Phoenix area in a couple of weeks. What's the one restaurant I shouldn't miss?
Profar or Machado?
You'll have to wait for the top 100 on that one.
Bigger Upside? Minor, Teheran, Delgado, Vizcaino?.
Vizcaino and Teheran are the upside guys. Minor is the probability guy. Delgado is more back-end, but with higher risk than Minor.
Any thoughts on the DeJesus signing for CHI?
Like it. Not sure he was undervalued, but he's with another club that will value what he's good at.
Is it true that Chris Bianco retired? Still the best pizza(s) of my life
Still very involved, but can't make the pizzas himself any more as inhaling the flour dust was slowly killing him. He just opened or is about to open a new pasta restaurant at the Town and Country center in Phoenix, using locally-grown wheat.
Does anyone get elected to the HOF this time around?
I think Santo gets in next week, and Larkin in January.
Locally-grown wheat in Phoenix?
Yep. Who knew?
Re: DeJesus...8 year olds Keith.
On the DeJesus note - do you also like that it'll give BJax some more time to season in AAA and put less pressure on him?
Pressure is not the issue with Jackson. The approach and swing leading to piles of strikeouts are the issue.
Do you see Ryan Kalish as a future major league regular?
Andrew McCutchen's AVG and SLG both regressed last year. Any concerns going forward?
Not at all, as shown by his placement on my ranking today.
You know what was more appalling than Baseball Wives? That somebody actually married these girls!
I would love to pitch a show starring five baseball wives who are intelligent, not materialistic, and not trashy ... but I can't see VH1 having much interest in that.
Wasn't Johan Santana a Rule 5 guy?
A decade ago. Different rules.
I've heard mixed things about Nick Delmonico. What are your thoughts on him?
Love the bat and the feel for the game. Needs a set position, probably 3b, and needs to stay healthy.
Ned Colletti has signed Matt Treanor, Mark Ellis and Adam Kennedy thus far this offseason, all to major league deals. Other than filling the "scrappy white dudes who will probably be minor league managers" quota, can you please explain what they bring to the table that AJ Ellis, Justin Sellers and Ivan DeJesus, respectively (plus $5.75mm in savings), don't? (Hint: no, you can't).
You're right, I can't, so I won't.
hey Keith just want to say thanks for all the chats btw really enjoy them and your interaction on twitter
And thank you all for the questions. I'll be back later this month - not sure about next week because of travel around the meetings, but I'll tweet something when we set up a time for another chat.