Point of fact: I have never actually denied doing these chats while hepped up on goofballs.
Lets get this out of the way early. What are your thoughts on the Pineda injury?
I'm going to take Jack Z and Cashman at their word and assume that Pineda was healthy, or checked out as healthy, at the time of the trade. Maybe he tried to do too much this spring after coming in out of shape?
KLaw, what do you think about Evan Gattis? Playing for Lynchburg and is absolutely raking. I know he is a little old for that league, but he was out of baseball for four years. Great story.
A little old? I hear teammates call him "Methuselah." He's not a prospect. He's beating up on much younger, less physically developed competition, and offers no defensive value at a corner position.
When does your first Mock come out?
Around May 11th, I think. I am starting to hear teams linked to certain players, not enough to do a credible first round projection, but enough to feel like we'll be ready by mid-May.
How far has D.J. Davis moved up the draft boards? Is he a mid-first roun talent?
Plus runner. Serious skepticism on the bat - not universal, but widespread. If you think he'll hit, he's a sandwich-round guy (ranked 30-60 range). If you don't think he'll hit, he's a 5th-rounder. I don't see him as a first-round talent either way.
Do you value batting average with RISP at all?
As a predictive stat? No.
Is there a position in the 2012 that you would not want to be in? For example, is there a clear top 5 and then a big drop off to where you wouldn't want to be picking 6.
8. Top 7 of Buxton, Zunino, Appel, Gausman, Zimmer, Correa, Fried, in some order. Eight is where it drops off.
Klaw - love your stuff. The reason I am an Insider.Henry Rodriguez (Nats reliever) - do you think he is another 'Reliever who can start' candidate? Looks like three quality pitches to me (FB, SL, CH), but command has been poor, although better this year and end of last.
No. He's in the right role. Don't see him every having the command to start.
I was surprised you took granderson first overall. There's no way I'd take him over a legit, number one, lefty starter like Hammels, and I'm a Yankee fan.
Granderson has outproduced Coal (sic) by about 8 wins already over their careers to date. If you want to argue that Hamels will close that gap and then some over the remainder of their careers, I'll listen, but I think you have an uphill climb.
What is your opinion of Justin Smoak?
USSMariner had a great piece on why he's so terrible - and why he'll likely continue to be so unless he makes a major adjustment.
Why is everyone in such a hurry to bring 19-21 year olds who are fresh out of the draft to the Majors? Don't they realise what that can do to a player?
What can it do? Make him a lot of money and maybe help the team win? No one is pushing for Bubba Starling to do it. I hear it on advanced guys like Bundy, Bauer, and Hultzen, guys who've shown at least some indication that they're ready.
Quick question: What hand does Phil Humber throw with?
I believe he throws humberhanded.
Didn't you just write that Almora would top Buxton on your pref list? What keeps him out of that top tier?
Kiley wrote that. I don't agree, although he makes good points. Almora would be the very next guy on my list, and I could argue for him over Zimmer. The presence of a gap isn't the same as saying the rest of the draft sucks.
What did you think of me as a prospect? Can I stay at SS or am I a 2B? Ceiling?
Alen. Wrote you up in a blog post on Saturday, but I see a SS and above-average regular ceiling.
Admit it...I have, TEH FEAR!!!
More like TEH FYURY!
I watched Moneyball last night. It was a bit slow, but I thought it was good. Why didn't you like it?
Pacing was probably the biggest reason I didn't like it. I can deal with unconventional narrative structures (Memento comes to mind), but Moneyball had long stretches where I wanted to check my phone for messages.
Which draft eligible (if any) has turned you around this spring? Not a "pop up", but someone who you felt you had a solid feel for and surprised you (for good or for bad)?
Richie Shaffer. Way better than I thought on defense and at the plate.
Teheran's line was horrid again last night. Supposedly he'd been showing a plus breaking ball in previous two starts. Any update on his stuff?
Guys with below-average breaking balls don't suddenly throw a plus one in two starts and then stop again.
What do you think of J.R. Graham? If he ever makes the Majors, as a starter or reliever?
Reliever. Good one though.
Any reason Lance Lynn can't remain a solid 3 going forward?
No reason. Seems realistic.
Why does Devin Mesoraco play so little?
Not old and crappy enough?
I'm an ESPN Insider now since spring training and I really enjoy it. Thanks for your work. My question: How do you decide what to write about? And what kind of article tends to get the most clicks? My guess is that the top 100 prospect list does pretty well.
The top 100 is the biggest seller for me each year. Tuesday column topics are a discussion with my editors, two of whom you probably know (Meyers and Sprow). Blog posts are more about who I can go see when I'm not doing phone work.
Two things- 1. Thoughts on Yu Darvish?2. Next time you are in Nashville, you have to try the Cat Bird Seat. The food is fantastic and it has been getting a ton of press and recognition from the James Beard House etc.
I'll be in Nashville in December for the winter meetings, assuming I don't fake a serious injury to get out of it. The Darvish you saw in his last outing is the guy I expected to see all along.
Will Marrero slide out of the top 10?
There's a good chance of that, although I keep hearing Pittsburgh connected to him at 8.
...which could turn out to be a great buy-low opportunity for them, getting a guy who was a clear top 5 pick before the year.
in your Yankees prospect recap you didn't mention Gumbs at all. There seems to be a divide on whether he is a sleeper pick in the system, nothing, or just average. what's your opinion? can he stay at 2B? potential everyday regular? star? replacement?
Just another guy. Wouldn't project him or Culver as major league regulars.
Come on, our capital is a great city. Don't take it out on us just because major league baseball makes you stay in the crapiest hotel in the state.
Actually, it's Minor League Baseball that makes us stay there, because God forbid we split the major and minor league folks into two hotels like we did in Vegas (which was the most enjoyable winter meetings of the 11 I've attended).
Why is it harder project high average guys as opposed to high power guys?
You can see raw power in BP. The hit tool is by far the hardest to evaluate in amateurs, given the variable competition and how rarely they need to really show good plate discipline.
Do you choose which questions to answer, or do you have a moderator who selects questions for you?
Do you expect McCullers to be a 1st rounder?
Yes. But I doubt I'd take him there. Too much skepticism over whether he can start in pro ball.
Is Russell Wilson better off giving it a go in the NFL or would he have a future in baseball?
Had no future in baseball.
How is there no backlash on the Culver draft pick when talking about Cashman? To say that he missed on that pick is a huge understatement
Because they're the first team to ever miss on a late first-round pick, right?
Hi,Given this year's performance, do you still rank aaron sanchez above nicolino and syndergaard? What's sanchez's ceiling?
I wouldn't change their rankings based on two weeks of performance.
If Liddi plays at this level all year will you eat crow.
He won't. And guess what? I'm wrong a lot. It comes with offering predictions and opinions on scores of players every year.
At what point in the season, do you feel that stats can seriously be considered?
Depends on the stat, but I don't really look much at stats or standings until Memorial Day.
Is it too early to start panicking on Pineda?
I know this was submitted before the news on his injury ... but yes, you can panic now.
Did you ever see Brandon weeden? Would he have made it to the big leagues?
I didn't, but I've been told he wouldn't have. Certainly didn't show it in his performance.
OK great, so Granderson's WAR has been 8 more than Hamels. I get confused/frustrated by this at times. WAR is literally a made-up stat, right? I mean, I understand that it is widely accepted by people much smarter than me as a means of measurement..but it is not anything close to an exact science, right?
A made-up stat would be something like "Curtis Granderson has been worth 13.4 Argle-bargles in his career than Coal Hammels." WAR is a calculation, an attempt to attach a value to events for which a player was partly or wholly responsible, and then add them together to allow us to compare players across positions and environments. Even if you argue that WAR isn't exact - which I would not dispute - you are arguing that its error is so large that WARs 31 and 23 are effectively equal. To argue that, you must supply evidence, not just call it "made-up."
Who has the higher ceiling between Dwight Smith Jr. and Jacob Anderson?
Anderson. Not even close.
Given his age and height... how likely is it that Altuve is for real?
He can really hit.
what are the orioles doing with Bundy? Crazy right?
Suboptimal. He should be at least in high-A, more likely AA.
Is it the right move to put Alex Wilson in the bullpen?
Yes. He'll be good there.
What do you think of JD Martinez? Just a guy?
Just a guy.
What is up with Betances and Banuelos? Is Ca$hman braindead or just unlucky?
Banuelos is hurt. Betances should probably go to the pen at some point this year, since that's his likely destination anyway.
Why is the hype for Dylan Bundy so out of control when Taijuan Walker is dominating at a higher level and is only 3 months older?
Because Bundy's a lot more advanced with better secondary stuff?
Why are the Web designers at ESPN making it so hard to find your chats?
Just follow me on Twitter (@keithlaw) and you'll get the links every Thursday. I also post them to my Facebook fan page (http://facebook.com/KeithLawWriter).
Do you think the Nats target closer to majors guy or just best available in the draft?
I think they'll take the best college guy on the board. Brian Johnson, Wacha, Heaney type.
Alot of fans are begging for Brett Jackson in Chicago. Do you think they will be disappointed with all of the hype they're creating? He doesn't seem overly special
Given what he's replacing, he could be not-special and still feel like a star to Cubs fans.
Why do you think Betances will likely end up in the pen when he has demonstrated absolutely no command -- or event control -- of his pitches? It's not like a relief pitcher can absorb poor command any better than a starter.
I believe they can, because they don't have to face hitters twice and can often pitch with more velocity. If Betances is sitting 98 in the pen, he can miss his spot and still get outs.
Really enjoyed the 2002 redraft article. Hope it becomes an annual feature for you to look back 10 years.
I believe it will. I appreciate all the great feedback from everyone. The comment section was particularly fun.
thoughts on Alex Meyer so far?
Heard he was 95+ the other day with plus slider and changeup. Getting consistent enough with the delivery to throw strikes is the concern.
Congrats Uncle KLaw, I know you are generally a supporter of technology, what are your thoughts on expanding replay or incorporating Pitch FX into managing the strike zone? Too many delays in the game or just something that's inevitable?
I'd support it. Can't be worse than the current situation.
Much scorn has been heaped on Baltimore for Bundy's three inning limits. But Jays are doing the same thing with Sanchez, et al, and they're a year older. What's going on there? Isn't that even crazier than Balt holding Bundy back?
Don't love what the Jays are doing either, but none of those three kids is remotely as advanced as Bundy. Sanchez is only about four months older than Bundy, BTW.
Thoughts on Lewis Brinson or Jesse Winker showing up at UF for college?
Brinson no, Winker yes. Brinson could go late first, likely sandwich.
Gausman or Zimmer?
For me, Gausman. Better third pitch, more velocity start to start, far better track record.
Mason William and Tyler Austin are playing really well (and both from the same draft as Cito Culver!) in the early going. How soon should the Yankees consider moving them up to A+? Or should they stay at Charleston all year?
I wouldn't rush either guy.
any update on the Jairo Beras situation? Is MLB held to any kind of deadline to conclude their investigation?
No, and no. Still think the deal was valid, based on everything I've heard. Player had no incentive to mislead other teams by claiming to be ineligible.
Xavier Avery is currently at .288/.405/.470, legitimate improvements from a 22 year old in AAA, or just a hot streak?
My workplaces blocks Twitter and Facebook. I can check those from my cell phone but it is pretty hard to find the chats on espn.com (if i want to view the chat form my work computer).
I also try to post the transcript link to the dish each week, and on Google+ (which is sort of like throwing it past the event horizon).
WAR is definitely made up. Not like ERA, RBI and Saves, which were put written on stone slabs by the gods so many years ago.
Exactly. Besides, after reading what a jerk Jerome Holtzman was in Jim Abbott's book, we should eliminate the save stat just to avoid honoring that guy's memory.
I caught Fried's last start (pretty crowded, ~20 scouts + Tim Wilken). Fried looked good, though he lost command of the fastball around the 3rd and had to pitch off the curve. Does projection of fastball command become tricky when they have as much movement as Fried's? Love the chats, thank you.
His command has been up and down this year - but that's common for most HS arms. And he's really athletic with good makeup, so there's reason to believe he can develop command in time. He could go 6 to the Cubs, tiny chance he goes above that, most likely goes in the 6-10 range.
I know this is anecdotal but given Granderson at the major league level and Bichette in the minors, are the Yankees one of the best organizations at identifing and correcting swing flaws (though major props to Granderson and Bichette for putting in the work).
Happened with Cano too, right? That's a pretty good troika of names.
Chances that Dahl and Russell make it to Auburn next fall?
Zero. Russell top 20, maybe 11 to Oakland. Dahl first round.
Is there something in particular that scouts don't like with David Dahl? The talent seems to be apparent.
There's an assumption behind the question I don't follow - are you saying he has top ten talent? I'd disagree with that on tools. He has first-round talent, and will go in the first round.
You were a lot higher on Drew Hutchison than the other publications this winter. After a first glimpse in the majors, can you share any thoughts? To me he looked like a kid with some command but not nearly enough secondary polish to be ready for the big leagues. Are the Jays rushing him?
Command wasn't there on Saturday, at least. Don't think he's ready yet, but will be soon enough.
Any chance Milone has enough control to be a solid 3 or 4 in Oakland long term or is that BP fastball too much for him to overcome?
Don't see it. Plus command, below-avg fastball. Flyball guys who don't miss bats rarely last long. He's in the right environment, at least.
Why did Luis Durango never really get a chance in the bigs? His minor league numbers are great for a guy with no power.
Because he has no power.
Hey, Keith. Any of these under-the-radar Phils minor leaguers - David Buchanan, Brian Pointer, Tyler Cloyd, Ethan Stewart - jump out at you as having the tools to significantly elevate their prospect status within the organization? Thanks for the chat.
Pointer. Good athlete - mom was apparently once an Olympic alternate in the 4x400.
I know a lot is based on whether or not he pitches before the end of the year but where do you think Giolito is drafted as of today?
Depends on his desire to sign vs going to UCLA, really. If he'd sign past pick ten, he'd get taken. Smoral's the same thing. Neither guy will pitch in HS games before the draft, though.
Where do you think my shortstop falls in the draft, and what can be done to rectify what I've done to his swing and approach?
Sandwich round. Needs a total swing rebuild. Athletic enough to do it, though.
Impressed with Tyler Austin and Mason Williams? Any takeaways from seeing them in person?
Check my blog post from Saturday. Lots of thoughts on them.
Medlen, Delgado, Teheran, Jurrjens. Who are you going with in the 5th spot of the rotation?
Right now? Medlen.
Bundy & Norris were both top prep arms in the last draft. One is apparently almost MLB ready while the other is still in extended spring. What are the primary differences between them?
They weren't the top two prep arms, though. Had them 20-30 spots apart on my list.
So how is the Jim Abbott autobiography?
Worth reading. Just had a weird structure that I didn't like, but the stories themselves were good.
What kind of contract will Brandon McCarthy command this offseason? Around 3/18?
I think you're massively light on the annual salary there.
I know gerrit cole has the best stuff and highest ceiling but what are he chances he actually reaches it and doesn't become edwin jackson.
Better than even chance. But Edwin Jackson hasn't exactly been Bill Bene.
When you say total swing rebuild, what do you mean? Clearly he's not swinging like my T-ballers. How bad can a swing really be for someone who is successful?
Watch it. You will repent.
On the heels of the Aubrey Huff news, how often does mental illness de-rail a prospect's career? Given the fact that the age of onset for many disorders is late teens/early twenties, I'd have to believe it's happened. Do teams screen for mental illness in their amateur scouting?
Don't know of any teams that screen for it specifically, although it might appear on medical reports if the player had ever sought treatment for a serious disorder. I think prospects would want to hide it because scouts would likely look at them as riskier.
Truly enjoy your work - the rec for Ruhlman's Twenty really helped my cooking philosophy made me really think about the way I cook - speaking of thinking what should the Cubs philosophy be moving forward - I know that with the new international rules signing those type of players will be more difficult - how many years do they need to be patient in FA? Or do you immediately target a Hammels or BJ Upton this year?
Going for a young free agent who still has some peak years remaining would make sense. Signing a free agent who's already in his 30s wouldn't.
Does Raph Rhymes, who is hitting .500 in the SEC this year, project as an everyday Major Leaguer?
Delete "everyday" and the answer is still "no."
Is this Devin Marrero you're talking about rebuilding the swing?
Draft Question - With the new signing bonus pool, do you think some teams will still avoid drafting Scott Boras clients? Specifically I'm thinking about the Twins at #2. I can only recall them ever signing one Boras client (Joe Crede), and never drafting one. Thanks!
If they do, it's more about not wanting to negotiate with him (which is silly) because it can't really be about cost.
are you surprised by jayce peterson's performance thus far? any chance he's on your next top 100?
I really like him - saw him great in instructs - but he is a bit old for the level. I'll cut him a little slack as a two-sport guy who didn't have many reps with wood as an amateur.
Any JuCo guys that you think could really make a run for the first couple of rounds in the June draft? Adrian Sampson was a name that popped up in mid-March; how about Fernando Perez (Central AZ)? Much thanks.
Cory Jones and Dylan Baker. Perez too, all three are top 100 guys.
What's the difference in stuff between Bundy and Cole?
Bundy has the better cutter and breaking ball. Cole has the better changeup. Bundy actually commands the fastball better.
How much longer do you think it will be before we learn that Pujols is closer to 40 years old than 30 years old?
I do not look forward to the fiasco that would follow if he were revealed to be even one year older than he says.
It'll be soon right?
I assume so.
Does the NFL draft interest you at all? Would the MLB draft be better if teams could trade their picks?
It does not. Yes, I've argued for trading picks for years.
Thanks for the chat, Keith. I was wondering if you could elaborate on your twitter comment about Middlebrooks being this years Rizzo. He's obviously not going to keep up the home run rate all year, but his start to the year (especially the K and BB-rates) have been very encouraging, right?
Small sample size. I also wonder if the walks are more pitchers just pitching around him - he didn't walk early when he wasn't hitting so many homers, then the homers started and the walks followed. Either way, though, fans arguing for Middlebrooks to come up now and replace Youkilis are overreacting to his hot start just as Padres fans overreacted last year to Rizzo's.
The main problem with small samples is that it is too easy to see just what you want to see.
Victor Roache is Michael Choice part II, isn't he? Or is Choice a superior talent? Roache's swing isn't as bad as Choice's was two years ago, is it?
Roache's swing is worse, as is his pitch recognition. Offspeed destroyed Roache on the Cape last year.
Where did you eat besides Husk when you were in Charleston? Are you going to do a blog post?
Blog post coming. Only other meal was the duck and alligator sausages at Charleston's ballpark.
What is Brandon Beachy's ceiling? He looks incredibly at ease out there for somebody who was playing town ball three years ago.
Probably a solid 3. Better than I'd expected, but he's pitching way above his stuff right now. Command/deception are great, but it's an average fastball without much movement.
better chance to stick at short: Carlos Correa or Javier Baez? better bat?
Correa has the better bat. Both guys most likely play third in the majors.
Keith, what is your go to restaurant in PHX / Scottsdale area? Any sort of restaurant is fine. Heading there with my wife and don't want to mess with the concierge or Yelp.
Pizzeria Bianco, but the waits for dinner can run 2-4 hours. Currently enamored with Citizen Public House in Scottsdale. Hillside Spot in the Ahwatukee area of Phoenix is our favorite for a casual dinner out.
That's all for this week. I'll be on our pregame show on ESPNU tonight at 7 pm EDT - no postgame show due to the NFL draft. Thanks for all the questions.