Looking forward to seeing who the Marlins intend to exploit before game two? You're in the right spot. It's Klawchat.
Did Cubs play it too conservative with Baez, Maples, Vogelbach, Concepcion all not being sent to even a Low A ball club? Or is this proper treatment given their age?
Baez surprised me. Maples isn't 100% physically. Vogelbach was way behind velocity when I saw him. Concepcion got to Mesa late and I assume he'll be sent out by early May. Baez was the one guy there with the talent to go to a full-season club, though.
Patrick Corbin pitched a full year in AA, impressed the team enough in Spring Training to get consideration of making the club, yet finds himself back in AA. Do teams just not want prospects to play in AAA?
I believe that's about keeping a pitching prospect out of a crazy hitter's park in Reno.
Buxton, Zunino, Appel, Zimmer, Gausman. O's should take best available. I believe they'll get one of those college arms.
Klaw, I caught an article the other day with a guy saying Marisnick reminded him an awful lot of Braun -- snarkiness kept to a minimum, please -- any chance that happens? Seriously, if everything goes right for Marisnick, what kind of ceiling does he have?
Marisnick's a better athlete, better runner, should stay in CF.
Why do you work for ESPN and not for a big league club? Having an impact on a franchise sounds like a more rewarding task than to answer angry mails on a podcast.
You're assuming my utility curve matches yours. It clearly doesn't.
Klaw, Oneri Fleta of the cubs said that recentley signed cuban pitcher Gerardo Concepcion would have been a top 15 pick in last years draft, you buying it? and your impressions of the young lefty
Haven't seen him yet - will see him later this month after some draft travel. But he would not have been a top 15 pick in any draft, especially not last year's loaded crop.
Zach Eflin a first rounder?
No doubt. I think he goes top 20. He's ahead of Weickel now.
Really, the Ali thing was terrifying last night. Totally awkward and sad that the PA announcer tried an Ali chant because nobody knew what to do after seeing The Champ in that state.
I could have lived with it if the Marlins had also announced they were donating $1 million to Parkinson's research. Without that, it was a craven publicity stunt.
With the Pirates dearth of impact position players in the minors (aside from Bell and maybe Marte), no middle infield prospects and the repeated letdowns from Alvarez, should the Pirates target that with their first pick or continue to draft arms or whomever they rate highest? Is there anyone that slots to their pick at No. 8? Like that SS Correa? Thanks, Keith.
They should go best player available. I think they're the floor for Marrero, who has slid out of the top 5 with a very slow start this year.
Sad story about the HS Pitcher Gant, who apparently was a first round talent. Any thoughts?
Terrible story - I can't stop thinking about his parents. But it's also infuriating to see coverage that just lies about his baseball ability. When someone dies and the coverage inflates his legacy (or, in this case, his potential), the message is that the deceased's life wasn't interesting or important enough to be celebrated or commemorated as it was, so we need to fabricate a better backstory. It's insulting to the person's memory, to his family, and to his friends. Stephen Gant wasn't a first-round talent. He wasn't a second-round talent. He wouldn't have appeared on any of my top 100 rankings. NONE of that makes his suicide any less tragic.
Hey Keith! When's your next ranking of the upcoming draft coming out?
Revised top 50 next Tuesday.
The Cain extension. Go.
Thanks for your contributions to ESPN, Keith, your stuff is most of the reason I'm a subscriber. I looked for a piece from you on Cain's recent extension and was unable to find one. Might you offer an analysis? Not too worried about it being the next Zito sized albatross for my favorite team, but curious about your take nonetheless. Thanks.
Got a bunch of these in the queue - I generally don't write full blog posts on contract extensions, since there's very little to analyze if you don't know the team's actual revenue function (and we don't as outsiders), but the Votto deal was so extreme it seemed worthy of comment. Anyway, as for Cain, I don't hate it as much as many Giants fans seem to hate it - it's more per year than I'd want to pay any starter, but he's also durable and a decent bet to hold his current value for most of the deal, which, at five years, was almost reasonable in length. With Tim Lincecum talking about protecting his elbow, I'd rather commit to Cain than Timmeh at this point.
Bill Shaikin mused today that the draft may have killed baseball in Puerto Rican. There are as many Cubans on opening day rosters as Puerto Ricans (11). Your thoughts?
He's not alone in thinking that. But I will say we have a bumper crop of draft prospects in PR this year, so perhaps we'll see a revival over the next few years.
Klaw, Reds fans are clamoring for a B. Phillips extension despite all reports indicating he wants Uggla money. It may not make me any friends in RedsLand, but would I be out of line in pointing out to them that Phillips is a league-average player?
And an extension would start with his age-32 season. I wouldn't give him four or five years, certainly.
Re: Chisenhall, I remember last year you opined that the only way he can cure his splits is to see major league pitching regularly. That said, do you agree with the decision to send him down? Can he develop at AAA, or is this a neutral move?
I don't have a real issue with this - but he must play every day against LHP there, even pinch-hitting with a LHR in the game if necessary. It's the biggest problem in his game right now.
Draft Joey Gallo as a pitcher or hitter?
I'd still take him as a hitter and figure I could convert him in 2-3 years if he doesn't hit. That's 70-80 power.
What's the highest you can see Piscotty getting drafted? 11 to Oakland?
I could see that. Doubt he gets out of the top 20.
What's your take on Erik Komatsu? Just a guy, fringe player, what?
Up-and-down guy ceiling.
Thoughts on Bundy starting in low-A? Seems unnecessary, given that he is going to dominate that level...
And his age - he was relatively old for a HS senior. Should have started at least in high-A, if not AA. It's like they put him in low-A because that's what you do with a typical high school guy ... but he's not a typical high school guy.
Does Courtney Hawkins have 70 power?
Klaw, thoughts on the Belt/Pill platoon? How would you reconcile Posey having to play 1B once or twice per week?
Platooning Belt just hinders his development. More mismanagement of one of their most valuable young assets.
All of a sudden the baseball Wildcats are at the top of the heap? Are there any impact players there worth a trip to Lexington?
Nice college team devoid of real pro prospects. I wouldn't go see them if you're looking for future big league regulars.
Do you agree with the Astros move to send down Wallace? Since they will be terrible regardless, seems a better idea to allow him to work his troubles at the big league level.
Can't be fixed. They need to move on.
Looking at offensive potential only, does Profar offer something that Machado doesn't or vice versa? Or do they have similar offensive potential?
Profar's a no-doubt SS; some scouts think Machado will outgrow it, but I'm not in that camp at the moment. Machado has much more power potential than Profar.
What is your prediction on what will happen with the Beras signing? If he goes back in for next year what bonus do you think he will get?
He was eligible to sign. If the process was fair and open, the signing would be upheld, but we know MLB adjudications often reflect the political situation in the league offices. If he's ruled ineligible to sign until July 2nd, he should sue - that's an enormous paper loss for him.
Can any case be made for continuing to bat Willie Bloomquist leadoff?
I don't see any case for employing him.
You referenced a question earlier about Pat Corbin. What is his potential?
Back-end starter. Curious to see what he'd do in the pen - fastball might play up in short stints. Could be a Tyler Clippard type there.
All kinds of buzz over Chris Bostick. How did he fall to the 44th round, and could he explode in 2012?
He was my A's sleeper prospect for 2012, so I'd say yes to the second half. He asked for more money than teams were willing to pay, and playing in upstate NY his spring schedule was short and didn't afford teams a ton of chances to see him either.
Back in the day, did Pittsburgh blow it with John Van Benschoten by switching him to a pitcher from a first baseman or was he never going to pan out, anyway?
I never saw him as an amateur, but I know the general sentiment in the industry in the ensuing years was that they made a mistake taking the bat out of his hands.
Does Gronzaga recruit Andrew Sopko of Missoula, Mont., is ranked 64th on the ESPN top 100 recruiting list. Does he have a shot at going in the first three rounds of the June draft?
I don't think so.
You've said before you had Austin Hedges underrated on your rankings - what do you see now that didnt previously? Thanks!
Better present hit and power tools - and better future ones as well.
Vinnie Catricala: can you verify if his defense has improved this spring?
Are there any situations in the MLB like there are with the bounty system in the NFL?
Why is it so rare to see prospects traded for prospects? It seems like a guy like Rendon would be very helpful in bringing in prospects to the Nats in a position of need?
Because every team overrates its own prospects. You drafted them, you signed them, you developed them, you develop an irrational attachment to them.
We know you're in Arizona, Klaw, and we will find you sometime around Hall of Fame debate time. Oh, and what's the ceiling for Drew Smyly?
If you continue to harass me online you'll get a visit from Joe Arpaio. Back-end starter.
Albert Almora and Gavin Cecchini deserve more love.
Almora's going in the top 10. Is that not enough?
In light of Samardzija's recent progression, what does his new ceiling look like? I respect greatly that he's working hard to master control and that his team is giving him a shot, but I want to be realistic about him: 3rd starter at most, and even that's unlikely?
I think 3rd starter is a reasonable ceiling, but the probability of this is still not that high. It's just higher than it was at this time last year, when it was zero.
margarine or butter for chocolatechip cookies?
You should never have margarine in the house. Never. It's vile.
Smyly or Oliver? Who's better?
Smyly. I don't trust Oliver.
Keith,Are you concerned with Bundy's development in the Orioles organization, considering their recent track record with starters? Is the hiring of Rick Peterson the answer or just a step in the right direction?
Yes, I'm concerned, and I don't think Peterson's hiring is the panacea.
Billy Hamilton=Dee Gordon True or False
I think that's a legitimate concern - that Hamilton won't have the power to profile as more than a slap-and-run guy.
Can Tom Milone ever be anything at the MLB level, or is he just a case of minor league stats not predicting MLB performance? (he had the best K/BB ratio in pro baseball over the past 5 years in 2011)
He's a 5th/6th starter. No stuff there.
You are very smug and an elitest.
Is this supposed to offend me?
No write-up on Asdrubal's extension. Seems like a reasonable place-holder deal until Lindor is ready, no?
Sure. Just don't expect the first half of 2011 to happen again.
Thrilled Belt made the team but we saw this last year too (awesome spring but bad start.) You think he can stick this time around or does he need more seasoning?
I think he's back in Fresno by May 1st. It looks like they're setting him up to fail.
Highest WAR TV show of the last 25 years: has to be Twin Peaks, right? Whether you like it or not, nothing remotely at that quality at the time.
You've got a good argument for the first season. After that it went off the rails pretty quickly.
If you ran the Astros who would you take #1 if the draft were tomorrow?
I think it's an understatement to Angel fans that Kole Calhoun opened up some eyes this spring. He moved from High A to Triple A. Is this guy a real prospect or is he a backup type player?
Real prospect. Chance for an average regular there. Should have been promoted to AA last year.
Klaw, I know you have a theory re a big/rapid spike in velo leading to elbow injuries. Would you keep this in mind when considering Zimmer with a high pick. He's reported as gaining ~10 mph over last 2 years.
Converted position player, though, so that might explain the velo spike. Of course, a lot of converted position players blow out (too much, too soon?), so one risk factor replaces the other.
I should point out I never downgraded Strasburg as an amateur for the sudden velocity spike issue, because it's just a personal theory, nothing tested (how would you test it?).
Can pitchers control their BABIP through better pitch selection? Or is it something only elite pitchers can do because of a lack of command/control?
Pitchers seem to have very little control over their BABIP, at least that we can measure.
Do you think Strasburg's mechanics suggest future injury problems more so than what we would normally expect from pitchers?
Is a .260/.360/.460 with good D and 20SBs out of line for a Brett Jackson ceiling?
Average D in CF? I could see that.
are the Braves being too conservative with their pitching prospects? Teheran had an awful spring, but does he really have anything left to prove at Gwinnett?
He has to prove he can keep his fastball down, and he has to find an average breaking ball somewhere. So, yeah, sending him down (at age 21) makes perfect sense to me.
Have you ever dabbled in homemade hot sauce?
No, but I did make a homemade chipotle mayo last week (mayo recipe from Ruhlman's "Ratio") that was so good I made French fries the next night just to go with the mayo.
Not to pry (well a little), but have you ever had a player or player's family member/representative contact you directly regarding your analysis of that player?
Yep. Some ask real questions and I'm always happy to answer them (with the caveat that I'm not a coach). Family members who are just looking to argue, or to defend their relative, aren't worth engaging. I won't convince them of anything.
Instead of making french fries, I went out and bought them down the street and saved a ton of time and money.
Doubt you saved time (burner on to fries done was about 20 minutes), and you definitely didn't save money. And I know I started with high-quality potatoes. So maybe you should stop being lazy and learn to cook.
Who has the highest WAR on Archer? I'd go Sterling then Pam.
Yes, Pam had a breakout season this year. Season 3 was their best by far.
do you have a table top deep fryer? they're amazing.
I don't - they don't get hot enough and aren't wide enough. ATK, Ruhlman, and Alton Brown all recommend against them.
Good year to be the #2 pick because of the dropoff or bad because top end talent isn't like recent years?
Better to be #2 in a better year, obviously. The real dropoff this year is somewhere around 5-8, but that doesn't mean that 1-4 are as good as they are in a typical year. Seems like only Buxton is separating himself as an elite guy who'd be in
This Joey Votto deal keeps getting worse its heavily backloaded with the Reds paying him $25mil/year from 2018-2023, which will probably be the 5 worst years of his career and he got a full no trade protection for all 12 years. Worst of all 90% of Reds love this deal, but I am not worried because they'll be on my side 4 or 5 years from now.
I haven't gotten any counterargument other than an emotional one from Reds fans. The best they can come up with is that the team would have been less competitive in 2014 without Votto - which is true, assuming they didn't spend that money on anything else.
Does Joe Ross have #1 starter upside?
Mr. Klaw I respectfully dissent. I do understand the significant risk the Reds are taking in the Votto deal, but I look at it as the Reds choosing between remaining competitive for the next 2 years and remaining competitive for the next 6-plus years. The market price for that is not ideal, but it?s arguable that the effects of letting Votto walk would be much less ideal. Any argument that portrays Votto?s contract as something that will prevent the Reds from competing 8 years from now includes a multitude of speculative assumptions unrelated to Joey Votto.
That's pie-eyed optimism on Votto holding that much of his value in the first six years of the extension. The probability of that is nowhere near high enough (it's close to zero) to justify the cost of this deal.
Did your thoughts on Panik change after his decent spring?
No, because spring training stats are completely meaningless. (I don't even know what kind of stats he had - I don't look at spring stats because they're so useless.)
What is it about time value of money that people don't understand? Reds fans should want $225 all paid out in the last year of the deal (theoretically).
That depends on how much of a premium they're paying for the right to backload it, right? (And their cost of capital, which we don't know.) Besides, paying it all in the last year or last two years would preclude fielding a complete team, so that's a bit of an absurd example.
Isn't the biggest issue with the Votto deal actually that he's still 2 years from free agency? Why did the Reds feel compelled to lock him up now? He wasn't going to get MORE expensive.
He could have gotten more expensive. So what? That probably means he had an MVP-caliber season for you and you won the division once or twice.
I know you say spring stats are meaningless but it spring stats or spring performance that help teams make decisions on which players to keep or send down? They must have some relevance.
People use tarot cards to make decisions too. Doesn't give them meaning.
Trevor Bauer had a convo via Twitter last week with his followers regarding why the industry views throwing high fastballs negatively. FG did some analysis and it seems like high fb lead to more outs, but higher probability of extra base hits, while low fb led to less outs due to more ground balls, but less likelihood of extra base hits. Thoughts?
That's true. I don't think that's a new revelation.
If I remember correctly you weren't so high on Gary Brown when the Giants drafted him. Has your opinion of him changed since then and what is his ETA?
I don't think you have that correct, but my opinion hasn't change. Solid player, not a star.
As a Reds fan, I love Votto, but I would have traded him this off-season. No player is worth that kind of commitment. No one.
A-Rod in his mid-20s was worth it - up the middle player who contributes both ways and is athletic enough to hold his value. There's no first baseman on earth to whom I'd give the Votto contract.
Didn't people justify the Vernon Wells deal in Toronto by saying that salaries were escalating with new TV deals across MLB (which is essentially the only defense of the Votto deal)?
And they used the "Rogers is showing fans they're committed to winning!" argument too. How's that working out?
So why have spring training if spring performance means nothing? I realize that spring stats mean nothing as far as whether someone is or is not a prospect but it has to have meaning as to which player is going to help a team win now.
Why have spring training? I don't know. Maybe to train for the season?
It's been a very long time since you've award $5 in one of your chats. Are you mellowing out? Are you now or have you ever been wearing a Dude sweater?
The joke played itself out. Game gone changed.
Don't most teams turn a nice profit off of spring training as well?
Yes. Roughly 3/4 do. And the teams that don't are always thinking about moving to somewhere profitable.
The length of contracts has gotten way out of hand. Contract length seems to trend up and down over history. How long until it starts to go back the other way and teams realize that giving that 10 years is insane no matter who the player is?
When a few of these go bad - and some will go very, very bad - there will be a backlash. And a few years after that owners will forget about that and do it all over again.
Even though it may be foolish, do most teams take spring stats into consideration anyway?
I wouldn't say "most." Some do.
Have you ever tried Arrogant Butcher in downtown Phx? Thoughts?
Yes, would like to try again as there was a problem with one of the items I ordered. Cool place though, really liked the concept.
Game didn't change, just got mo' fierce. Saw your tweet regarding the Kontos/Stewart swap - did Kontos really have much of a chance to make the NY bullpen anyway?
I don't think he did - but that doesn't affect his asset value. You don't give the guy away just because you can't use him, assuming he has value to someone else.
There are plenty of contract we can all point to of that length that have gone bad. Can anyone point to one that was good?
A-Rod's first deal. Jeter's ten-year deal (a reader pointed that out). Winfield's ten-year deal in the 1980s worked out pretty well. It even got Steinbrenner suspended.
You said you wouldnt mind D'backs promoting Bauer quickly. Any other 2011 draft picks almost ready to skyrocket through systems and make 2012 impact?
Hultzen. And Bundy isn't that far behind.
Why do some batters hold the knob of the bat? More leverage? Can't be for comfort, can it?
Where does Sonny Gray end the season?
In the big leagues.
Do you prefer mlb.tv or extra innings? Why?
Ditched Extra Innings this year for MLB.tv. I have AppleTV and an iPad, so I can watch the games anywhere in the house now.
Are you concered about Tommy Hanson? Altered delivery and is now using more two-seam fastballs. His breaking stuff still looks good, imo.
Yes, I'd be concerned, given the shoulder injury.
Does ST help even to confirm something like your concern about Bauer's reliance on getting swings and misses on breaking balls in the dirt? I could see that as a logical thing to check on in the spring, but even there, if he's facing minor leaguers......
You can scout spring training, and teams do, quite heavily. Just don't get caught up in the stats.
Heading out to Asheville to see Dylan Bundy pitch. Any other prospects worth seeing in this game?
This may shock you, but I don't have Asheville's roster or schedule memorized.
KG suggested in his recent chat that Archie Bradley was an underdraft last year based on what he showed in Spring training. Acknowledging his huge potential, I find it difficult to see an obvious choice in the top 6 who was an overdraft. Do you think he should have gone higher?
I ranked him fifth. So I suppose that makes the answer yes.
What happens with Skaggs this year?
Skaggs and Bauer take over when Collmenter and Saunders flop.
What is your drink of choice? Do you like scotch/whiskey?
Rum. Whiskey tastes too much like smoke to me.
Halladay has given up 2 hits and has no strikeouts for through 2 innings, cause for concer?
Is that you @FanSince09?
What 'Wire' scene has stayed with you most since you finished the series?
Prop Joe's chat with "Boris" ("I got cousins and nephews...") is still my favorite scene.
What is Cozart's ceiling?
Does the new CBA help/hurt/neither college seniors such as Pete O'Brien or Jake Ramsey?
Might help push them up a round or so. They are what they are, though - doesn't make them better prospects, just more financially attractive.
Keith, wondering if "The Art of Fielding" is in your queue or already read? Not a bad novel, but didn't think it was as great as its made out to be.
No, not interested.
Interesting that all the super long term deal that worked out were Yankee deals or in A-Rod's case were picked up by the Yankees. For a small revenue team like the Reds to put all their chips on one player for 12 years is simply madness.
Agreed. Not a coincidence.
Keith - Please tell me about Justin Garza. HS senior was 95-96 in 1st inning of Arcadia tourney final and 94 all game. Scouts seemed impresses
I like him, but he's probably a reliever in pro ball. Short RHP with smaller frame. Great arm and can really pitch though.
Really, Klaw? The Wire scene that stayed with me is Cutty's speech to Avon about "the game ain't in me no more."
Oh, gettin' all serious-like? Fine. Bubbles' last speech to his support group.
You mentioned that Syndergaard was getting good reviews in spring training. Could you expand on that? Was his command better or had he found a good breaking ball?
Still no breaking ball. Just throwing well.
Why dont relievers seem last as long as starters tend to over the years when they pitch far fewer innings?
Two theories, both may apply. One, many pitchers are moved to the pen because they developed arm trouble as starters, or didn't have the stamina to hold their stuff for 100 pitches. Two, the modern reliever usage pattern - 70+ games a year, plus getting dry- ... um, warmed up a bunch of other times - is probably not conducive to long careers.
Will you see Taylor Cherry in Ohio when you see Matt Smoral?
Smoral's hurt, stress fracture in his foot, probably won't throw again until the last week of May if at all. Won't see Cherry, not a strong enough prospect. BTW, brutal couple of weeks for draft prospect health: Smoral, Giolito, Ruiz, Luke Bard, Pierce Johnson, Roache, Hinojosa.
I agree that hommade fries are far superior to restaurant versions, but question on time, do you pre-soak yours?
No. Start in pot of cold oil. Turn heat to high. When the oil hits 350 (use a frying thermometer), they're done. Remove, salt, eat. Preferably with homemade chipotle mayo (seriously).
Rum? Thought you'd be a gin guy.
Second choice. Ruhlman's rant on martinis made with vodka was classic - and I'm not even a martini guy, I just don't see the point of vodka, a liquor that BY DEFINITION has no taste.
Sweet potato fries are the best. Tough to get them just right and not too mushy.
I prefer to make chips from sweet potatoes, then dust with salt and smoked Spanish paprika.
Who in your mind was the most underrated character on the Wire? My vote is Bodie, with Slim Charles a close second.
Was Bubbles underrated? I'm not sure what the standard is. Prop Joe? Lester?
You a fan of Craftsteak? Las vegas weekly posted their recipe for braised short ribs if you are interested.
You tweeted that at me, right? Saved it for the Saturday five. Thanks.
Carcetti is really underrated. made me believe in American politics for a minute or two ...
OK, need to do some prep work for tonight's College Baseball Live (ESPNU, 7 pm EDT, then again after the LSU-Florida game). Thanks for all the questions. I'll be back next week, and I'll be at the Clemson-Duke game in Durham tomorrow night, weather permitting.