Klawchat. Better than another round of watching PFPs.
What are your thoughts on the Perez extention for KC? Is the deal too team friently?
"Too" team friendly? It's team-friendly, yes, but the player just got a ton of security. If he blows his knee out tomorrow, he just banked life-changing money that he otherwise wouldn't have seen.
KLaw, how are you feeling dude??
Lot of these in the queue - I'm feeling pretty good, considering I'm a week off surgery. A little tired, but nothing to complain about. I was very fortunate in that I never needed any painkillers after leaving the hospital. (They gave me IV morphine while I was there, though. It's a hell of a drug.) I can move my neck pretty well. Hoping to get the surgical tape across the incision taken off next week. Otherwise I just need to cover the incision when I'm in the sun. Thanks to all of you who've been asking.
Hey Keith. Will you get a chance to see Buxton in person this year? was wondering how you think he'll compare to some of the more recent high profile 5-tool high school OF's such as starling, tate, etc. Thanks.
Yes, I'll go see anyone likely to go in the top 20 picks, plus some others as I can squeeze them in. Also waiting for the doctor to tell me when I can fly again, which is holding things up a little. But all I keep hearing on Buxton from guys who've seen him is that he's very similar to the Uptons in body, fast-twitch actions, and upside with the bat.
Any thoughts on last year's July 2 crop? Hernandez, Mazara, Guzman, Salcedo -- anybody you're particularly looking forward to laying eyes on?
Yep, I'll see as many of those guys as there are out here. Elier just got here yesterday, I believe, and those two Texas kids are already working out at the complex. When they're in games, I'll go see them.
how can you not be at the sloan sabremetric event?hope your recovery is going well, what food are you most anxious to put back in your diet?
Because what I'd really like to do is head back to the tundra on the first weekend of spring training? I can actually eat anything now. Took about 3-4 days, but I toughed it out by drinking a lot of milkshakes.
Do you see more of a premium being put on the value of prospects as compared to several years ago? If so, what do you attribute this to?
I do - it's the growing gap between the minimum salary and the typical free agent salary for an average player. Teams have finally (as a whole) figured out that it's better to try to get 80-90% of the production for 5% of the cost and spend your money on stars or players you can't replace with internal options.
What is the number one reason why prospects such as Robinson Cano and Hanley Ramirez out-perform their prospect rankings? For example, Cano was never a top 10 prospect, yet he is hands down the best 2B in baseball.
Both of those guys were really crushed for makeup questions in the minors - "dogging" it, not responding well to coaching, etc. Cano really clicked with the major league hitting coach a few years ago, for example.
Reports in the St Louis Post say Tyrell Jenkins has looked stellar in camp. He's only 19 so what is a conservative ETA? 2014-15?
I'd say 2015. They're taking it slow with him, as they should.
What is your take on the Molina deal? I know scouts and statheads alike love his glove, but as a Reds fan, I am quietly happy about this deal...
I don't get the ire over the deal. I worry that he won't catch in the last year or maybe two of the deal, but I think there's a better than even chance that he catches all the way through, and he adds a significant (and, increasingly, quantifiable) amount of value on defense at an extremely difficult position to fill. Plus St. Louis' MRP/win has to be at an all-time high right now.
The wife is dragging me along to Arkansas in the first week of April for her family stuff. I see the Hogs are playing Georgia that week and I'm going to go to some games. Don't know much about either team. Anybody in particular I should watch?
Sanburn and Baxendale for Arkansas, Wood for Georgia. It's worth going.
Is fastball velocity near the end of spring training the best indicator for optimism on Johan Santana's return?
As opposed to velocity right now? Yes. Velocity the first time or two out in spring training doesn't tell us much. Some guys are down because they didn't do enough conditioning in the offseason; some guys will seem to be up because the fatigue they had last year (or inflammation, or even injury) has faded with three or four months of rest.
Matt Purke threw 3 scoreless innings today, allowing 1 hit, with 3 Ks. He was 91-94 with the fastball, and supposedly had a sharp curve. Should we be excited, or is it meaningless this early?
Meaningless. Not to mention Kilgore tweeted that Purke averaged 91, still below what he used to be. I saw him average 90 for three innings last spring with a bum shoulder, after which he tailed off.
Any idea when you will be returning to the podcast?
I have been trying to figure out for weeks why Top Chef Texas had its finale in Canada. This makes less sense to me than the Blue Jays having their farm team in Vegas. Anyway, do you buy in to the Lucas Duda hype around here? People are saying he has the power/batting eye combo to be a middle of the order stud. Do you see differently?
I do see differently. He's not that good.
Think Manny does anything of substance this year in Oakland once the suspension is done?
I doubt it. Guy's bat speed was shot before the suspension/retirement/sabbatical.
Need to look for Stanek with Arkansas as well.
He's OK, tough arm slot for a starter.
Have you seen Noel Arguelles recently? word is good, yeah?
Again, no interest in anything that happened before the games actually started. These guys all look like Cy Young winners when there's no one in the box.
Maybe you've shared them, but what are your thoughts on Salvador Perez's long term defensive and batting skills? The pitchers old or young seem to glow when talking about throwing to him. Good contract for the Royals.
I don't think he's a star - the Royals have kind of made him out to be a future star, but I see more of a solid-average regular, the kind of hitter who'll be held down by poor walk rates/low OBPs and won't have the raw power to overcome it. Maybe he becomes patient in his peak years but I haven't seen signs of that in his future when I've seen him hit.
What fancy pants place are you going to eat at in KC when you come for the Futures game?
Been to Oklahoma Joes, so I need to hit Gates & Arthur Bryant's.
Do you agree with Jim Callis that Dylan Bundy's muscular upper half won't interfere with the fluidity of his delivery?
Yes. That seems like a silly thing to worry about.
As a miami hurricanes fan, I was wondering if baseball/football star David Thompson was a first round lock in this draft?
Lock? He wasn't even on my top 50 ranking last week.
Many Oriole pitching prospects seem to be getting hurt. Are you aware if the O's are going to change their training methods? Doesn't that organization see what everyone is seeing?
They're too busy ignoring widely-known MLB protocols to give six-figure bonuses to non-prospects, only to feign ignorance of the rules when the deal is voided. That stuff takes time, you know.
What is/was your take on Jon Niese? He seems to have come along quietly and developed into a solid, yet underrated, starter with potential to get a little bit better.
Sure. Could see him being a league-average starter for a while.
I don't think Ibanez or Chavez will be on the Yankees by July - those guys are toast. What say you?
They're not toast. Toast still has value.
(Confession: I like toast.)
Lorenzo Cain- Is he a plus CF in the majors?
No. Has the tools, not the instincts/reads.
What does Mike Olt need to work on before he is ready for the show?
Staying healthy. Just needs the reps. Well, and an opening, but he can't force that.
You mentioned the Orioles protocol violation re the Korean pitcher; please comment on the Rangers and Jairo Beras.
As far as I can tell, the kid is eligible to sign by age, and some teams took the roster from that DR-VZ all-star game as gospel when the dates weren't verified. I don't know what documents the kid gave MLB - if he gave them a fraudulent document, there's no saving him even if he was eligible by age.
Does ESPN give you a per diem to eat out all the time or do you pay out of pocket?
Per diem when I travel. Of course, I can (and often do) choose to spend more to eat someplace expensive.
Per your tweet, why are you down on Tyler Greene as a 2b for St Louis?
Won't hit enough for it.
Lot of folks in Cub-Nation think you're missing the boat on Matt Szczur. Why are you so low on him compared to other evaluators?
I think "Cub-Nation" is overrating one of their favorite team's minor leaguers. What "other evaluators?" Everyone I talk to says he might be a fourth OF. It's not a good swing, and his plate discipline is poor. He can run, but he's not a burner. You have so many better, more interesting players in that system. Why obsess over a guy who posted a .283 OBP in high-A?
Why wouldn't Beras' agent make sure all teams were aware of his age? More demand = higher bonus... Doesn't add up to me.
He got the second-highest bonus ever for a Dominican prospect. You're arguing it would have been higher? I would argue it's prima facie evidence that at least one other team knew about it.
I noticed you watch a lot of TV shows, ever consider watching Lost?
If Cashner can't start how was he enough for Rizzo? If Rizzo was on the block shouldn't he have been shopped around? Seems fishy.
Maybe the Padres believe that he can start eventually. I don't believe (with some backup here) that his shoulder can handle it.
Unlike a curvebal, is it possible for anyone to throw a good cutter? Seems that all it takes is an adjustment to a fastball grip.
I'm sure some guys have tried it and failed where we never heard about it, but the success rate with cutters is much higher than that with curveballs for the reason at which you hinted: The cutter is in the grip, but the curveball is in the wrist. You can learn a cutter, but you're born with the curve.
Can Josh Donaldson be better than a replacement level 3B for the A's?
If you wanted to argue he could be below-average but positive WAR, I'd give you that. I did like him out of college, too much in hindsight, but we have two AAA seasons from him that say there's not that much bat there.
Obviously a bit speculative here, but Jose Bautista gets moved to 1B within 2 years, right? He's already a bit of a statue and two of Colby/Gose/Marisnick take CF/RF, no?
I think that's a reasonable assumption. Talked to a pretty senior evaluator yesterday who'd seen Marisnick last year and said he'd be "shocked if that guy wasn't an impact player" in the majors.
If you were the GM of the Giants, how many ABs would Bochy have to give Huff before you fired him?
Over Belt? One.
Have you seen anything different about Peacock (Oak) that makes you want to change your eval of him? I noticed he didn't make your list of top 100 prospects, but he seems to have performed very well at the minor league level. Does his game not cross over well to Major League hitters? Thanks.
I'm assuming that means you want me to change my eval of him, right? He's a short guy without much plane on his fastball (so he'll be flyball- and probably homer-prone) and no plus second pitch. What is that? Maybe he can start in Oakland, or Petco, but in most environments, that's a reliever.
So, Woman in White or Moonstone. I go with the latter, but it may just be because I read it first.
Woman in White. Which I read first. But I didn't love the resolution of the crime in the Moonstone.
Studies show that players peak around age 27 or 28...given such a young age for peak value, do you think most teams are waiting to long to give younger players a chance to play?
Yes, I've always thought that. And they're often not ruthless enough in cutting the playing time of a player in his early 30s - I'm referring to someone still productive, but whose production is coming down to where my earlier point about 80% of the value for 5% of the cost applies.
Both have great potential and both seem injury prone. Who has a better year? Carlos Gonzalez or Justin Upton?
Upton. Still think he wins an MVP award in the next five years.
How much did Anthony Rendon's injury history play into his slot in your rankings? Would he have been significantly higher if you were confident he could stay healthy?
He was already in the teens, so he couldn't have been "significantly higher." But if you could promise me he'd play 150 games a year for the next ten years, and the injuries wouldn't hurt his third base defense, yes, he would have been several slots higher.
I guess this means you hate the Zimmerman deal, since we just paid him $100 million at the peak age of 27.
I wrote about it at length - I don't hate it at all. I just think it was premature, and probably too optimistic about his health. I pointed out that it's not the Ryan Howard deal - which, really, is the comedy gift that keeps on giving - in that column.
Pie > Cake. Just thought I'd get your attention.
You would need to actually offer me pie to get my attention. I see no pie here.
Thoughts on the new playoff format? Will we be able to see wild card teams play against a team from the same division in the divisional round?
Answer to the second question is yes. Answer to the first: I don't like it. It destroys the potential for a final-day-2011 scenario. It further devalues the regular season. It's a moneygrab, but at some point, MLB will grab and the money won't be there.
Do you envision Rendon moving to 2B or Zimmerman moving to 1B?
The latter. I can't see Rendon's ankles liking second base.
Keith - do you see any upside for the redsox to give Iglesias the starting job out of spring training? If he can hit say, .240/.250, isn't that enough with their offense and his defense to give him a shot at it?
How likely is it that Zack Cox is Freese 2.0? Line drive hitter, avg to below power & defense...
More power there than you think. Watch his BP sometime.
Start Wire S5 in your time on the couch? I know you've heard this from many already, but you just finished the show's peak (not to say that S5 isn't miles ahead of 95% of all shows out there).
Through two episodes. Good to see Meldrick Lewis in the house. Although he needs his hat back.
people say this season of Top Chef was weak (level of competition-wise), but watching Paul was worth it alone. Where does he rank all-time in TC cheftestant history?
I haven't seen every episode, so I hesitate to answer that. I think he's in a class with the Voltaggios and Blais, who are in that innermost circle.
I noticed you picked Trout over Harper, but did you give any consideration to the fact that Harper bats lefty? It's hard to find good power hitting lefty OFs.
Much harder to find RH power these days. Ask any GM or scouting director.
An update on Darvish's first inning in Texas: Throwing his four-seam at 92-96. Two-seam 88-90. Slider 85. Curve 66. Everything with tons of life. Impressive.
Facing ... his teammates. #yawn
Best version of The Wire theme? I say S1 & it's not close.
If we played this season 100000 times, would the astros make the playoffs in any of them?
Someone did that - Szymborski? And the answer, I think, was no.
The Wire is what Homicide would've been on a premium channel.... Homicide continues to be one of the most underrated shows of all time...
Agreed. It is a shame that that remains Andre Braugher's peak (although "Thief" was damn good).
You seem to have an appreciation for the 'finer' things in life. Ever get in to cigars or pipes? Snuff?
I can't stand tobacco, sorry.
Have you seen Joe Panik since the draft? Do you fell he will be an average regular?
No, utility infielder.
Hi Keith. For this year, bat-only: Lawrie>>Ackley>Kipnis?
Bat only, yes.
Thoughts on the Seafarers expansion for Catan? Played it last weekend, found it disappointing.
Makes the games take too long.
You think Bichette can stay at 3rd?
Did not in HS. Heard (did not see) he was better there once he got with the Yanks' minor league staff.
Long-term, bat & glove: Kipnis or Ackley?
How many times is the Tribe going to sign Grady thinking he will be healthy? Doesn't doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result the definition of insanity?
The funny part was the very small number of Cleveland fans telling me this offseason that he was their centerfielder. You should be excited on any day he can get off the team bus without blowing out an Achilles. Centerfield? Let Brantley play.
You said a couple of weeks ago, if you were commissioner that you would expand MLB by two teams to make it 16 in each league. Where would you put the teams?
If we're ignoring territorial rights, I'd put a third team in NY (so I'm also ignoring the fact that the Mets are owned by a nearly-bankrupt guy at the moment). I probably say this too often, but I think Austin-San Antonio is a future MLB market - 3+ million people not really served by any existing club.
Because MLB should have that secondary interest, right? Not just where a team will be successful, but where there's an underserved market for MLB's overall product as well.
What about the wacky tobaccy?
Brain damage in the chat can't manage.
I need to amend my question from last week about Braun (i.e. being Fatty Arbuckle 2.0 if he wins). It seems not only is Braun in a lose-lose, but everyone else involved is too. I can't remember the last baseball story with this many participants looking so bad. This story needs to go away.
Yes, it does. Who's perpetuating it? Oh, that's right, the moralizers in the media.
Is Montero going to catch at all for the Mariners?
I don't think he catches many games for them. If you're asking about fantasy eligibility, I would bet that he gets a few games back there, but not 20 or 25.
If your kid is a 15th round pick, e.g. non-prospect, but could get a really good job out of college, how long would you tell them to stick with their dream?
Go play pro ball. Live without regrets.
What about Portland, OR for a team if we commit to a stadium?
Sure. But you shouldn't, and you won't, and good for you.
Are you doing a breakout candidates column this year?
Sort of. It'll be broken up a little bit into some other pieces. First piece Tuesday.
If you are the Mike Rizzo, what would you do about the CF issue in DC? Upton/Bourn could be had this offseason, but more than likely at a premium and at the expense of Goodwin/Taylor/Perez. Should Rizzo wait it out, or start thinking about trades or a FA signing?
I'd rather get Upton than wait on those kids - unless Goodwin has a real breakout debut season. I was really high on him after his Cape season, but he had a rough spring and reports coming back on his glove and eye weren't that great, so I backed off a little. But the tools aren't any different.
"Where's Wallace at? Huh? String, where's the boy?" or "Oh, you gonna help me, officer Carver??"
The Wallace quote.
You don't think Braun's sanctimony is giving this thing legs? He'd be better to go the McGuire route and say nothing.
You know, that's a good point. He is prolonging it, and he should just call a moratorium on all questions about it and refuse any further comment. I should have spread some blame to him too.
TV question for you. I recently watched Season 1 of The Wire and thought it was ok, but nothing great. I'm halfway through Season 2 and my opinion hasn't changed. Everybody seems to adore this show though. What show has given you that type of reaction?
Arrested Development. I just don't find it THAT funny. People I know, people whose opinions on TV or films or books I respect, love this show. For whatever reason, it just doesn't hit me that way.
I keep reading about Zack Cozart but I have no clue why. His minor league numbers aren't very impressive. What am I missing here?
Legit shortstop who won't get the bat knocked out of his hands. I guess if Walt Weiss can be ROY, so could Cozart, but I don't see him as any kind of impact guy.
How come their has not been enough discussion about Braun's name being leaked to the public before the matter was solved in arbitration? Ins't the process supposed to be confidential?
Of course it is. So were the 104 names seized by the feds and leaked one by one. So was Bonds' grand jury testimony. Nobody cares about your so-called "legal rights."
We want him to live his dream, but he wants to go until he's got no chance. Is 28 while in AA or ind league = no chance?
At that point, it's probably time to move on to the next stage.
Will be in Arizona in a couple of weeks. I'll buy you a nice ice cold brew if I see you, even though you never answer my questions. Of course maybe my questions aren't that good.......Gose or Brown, either of them all star potential?
Ask better questions. Gose, yes, but high risk. Gary Brown? Not an All-Star. Solid player.
What do you think of the hiring of Tanous as Mets new scouting director? Heard he has history with Riccardi so if there was anyone to ask it would be you.
Worked with Tommy several years in Toronto - he was a big influence on me and taught me quite a bit about player evaluation. I think it's a great hire.
Is there any reason to think that Juan Nicasio isn't going to be a #3 starter at this point... assuming that was his ceiling before the injury?
Best Wire character? Omar?
Best main character: Stringer. Best secondary character: Prop Joe. Best po-lice: Carver. Best "bad guy:" Frank Sobotka, who's not really all bad. Best voice: Slim Charles (I wonder if he's actually below the bottom of the range of some humans' hearing).
Was Lawrie's half season an indication of pending stardom, or more of a fluke good half season for a guy thats going to be a solid regular?
Fluky half-season for a guy who will eventually be a star anyway, just maybe not right this very minute.
You ever read American Pastoral? The part of the book that sticks with me the most is when Zuckerman is talking to the Swede's little brother, and the little brother is talking about how the biggest mistake the Swede made was taking over the family textile business and not playing ball. The line was something along the lines of "he would have been better off being a bleeping Mud Hen." That's sort of how I'd feel about having a kid who was good enough to play pro ball, or at least to give it a legitimate shot.
I did, didn't love it - I don't like Zuckerman's voice, and there was a scene with Swede and his daughter that I, as a father of a daughter, found totally implausible. But yes, the conversation you mentioned stuck with me, and I remember nodding in agreement. You go play. If I'd been able to play, I would have played. Why grow up before you have to?
Snider or Thames in left?
They need to play Snider. He has a chance to be an impact guy, and sending him to Vegas accomplishes nothing. Thames is better suited to bench duty, and if he has to be the emergency regular because Snider still doesn't click, then that's fine.
Is it wrong for a man to like any books by Jane Austen?
The first known mention of baseball in print appears on page one of her "Northanger Abbey."
What's your daughter watching on TV now? Or rather, which I-Pad app's is she playing with?
She's gotten into some Nick Jr. shows that I can't stand (although I have forbidden the Fresh Beat Band and the Wonder Pets), but also the new and the old (on DVD) Electric Company. And she loves Ticket to Ride and Ingenious.
Since we're talking about guys that don't make it, what happens to the kid drafted out of HS that didn't make it and is now 24 with nothing but a HS education? Does MLB have a college fund or something for him?
Yes. Nearly every drafted non-college-senior player gets a college scholarship plan in his deal if he asks for it.
Kolbrin Vitek. Is there anything still there? What happened to his bat in the minors?
I talked to some guys who thought he'd take a big step forward this year. I'm not in that camp, though.
Best bad guy is Frank Sobatka? Really? Or do you have Polish bias?
Other than Stringer Bell? Yes.
The Backyardigans is the only show my kids watch that doesn't make me want to drive a screwdriver into my temple...Games at 3B for Cabrera: over/under 80?I go with the over, if only because JL is so stubborn.
Under. Under 50.
whats your take on the Mets 3 young studs harvey, wieler, and familia
High-end starter, high-end starter, reliever.
Who's gonna be the token Astro at the ASG this year?
Brett Myers, with 24 saves at the Break.
So tell me about Destin Hood? His name is starting to pop up around here as a future corner OF for my Nats.
I like him as a solid-regular, probably not much better than that, but as a high-OBP/high-doubles guy, not a 25-30 HR guy.
Do you bring arenado up as soon as his clock allows or wait and see. I can't see Blake gining us more than 70-80 games
Wait and see. No AB above A-ball yet.
What about a HS player who gets into a better school because of baseball? (eg a player turns down scholarship to Stanford), but at age 24 has to go to a regular college.
I think a former player has much better options with the playing career on his resume. It's not like he got dumber in the meantime.
You really think the Astros are going to have 24 save opportunities at the break? That's pretty generous.
Only requires 24 team victories.
When you say "best" bad guy do you mean "worst person" or "best character". Because if you're going for "worst person" Marlo Stanfield wins in a walk. No humanity at all.
Most interesting character. Agreed on Marlo.
Which prospect has the most (realistic) chance of moving up into the discussion for a top 5 pick that isn't there yet?
College: Kyle Zimmer. HS: Albert Almora.
Upside on Astros OF JD Martinez? Solid regular, above average or potential all-star team member? best lineup spot 3, 4, or 5
Best lineup spot = bench.
Any reports on Fernelys Sanchez?
I don't think he'll hit. Athletic, looked good in CF, but that bat is, at best, a long way off.
This is sewious.
And that right there is why it's banned in this house.
Will you be doing studio work for college baseball games again this season?
Yes. First show is 3/22.
Paul is a much better chef, but I think I would have rather had Sarah's meal. Also, Spiaggia is definitely worth a visit.
I would prefer Paul's, but I like experimental stuff like that. Fully intend to hit Spiaggia when I'm next in Chicago.
What can you tell me about Jack Leathersich? His minor league numbers are insignificant due to sample size, but they are pretty crazy...
Solid relief arm. Throws hard, probably a 7th-8th inning ceiling.
You haven't seen the worst "The Wire" character as of yet, Scott Templeton.
Yes I have. Pretty sure he just fabricated a baseball story.
Follow up to the Astros ASG representative. Does Myers give more value as an average starter giving you 200 innings, or could he be a top notch closer?
I'd rather start him. I don't understand the logic behind the move.
Skaggs and Bauer what upside do they have?
Assuming Skaggs' shoulder pain isn't serious, I could see him as an ace or a great 2, with Bauer roughly the same but with less confidence.
Bodie for the win. Best character arc over a series that I've ever seen.
It was him or Sobotka for best criminal/antagonist character.
Since you've surely already gotten 100 questions on the playoff expansion, what did you think of the Top Chef finale?
Did a full post about it on the dish: http://klaw.me/zsJ7Tg
Can Hosmer lead us to the playoffs this year in a weak division where the Tigers are overrated?
The Tigers are overrated? They're the best team in the division by a wide margin.
OK, time to go pick up my daughter from school. Thanks for all the questions - I'll be back at some point next week.