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May 8, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with David Schoenfield

David Schoenfield
  (1:07 PM)

Oops, sorry I'm late ... trapped in a line at the cafeteria!

Jason (St Louis)

Dave, let's get this thing rolling. How bout them Philly fans?

David Schoenfield
  (1:08 PM)

This is going to be a fun chat!

Jeremy (Fenway)

Obligatory Middlebrooks question - Is he the real deal? His minor league numbers in 2011 and 2012 suggest he may be. Your thoughts?

David Schoenfield
  (1:09 PM)

More home runs than Bryce Harper! We'll see ... his SO/BB ratio in the minors wasn't great, so I do think he'll have an adjustment period coming on. But I don't see him as a future All-Star due to likely OBP issues.

Tarek (NYC)

If Were old school, shouldn't this chat be conducted on the phone or in the stands at a game?

David Schoenfield
  (1:10 PM)

By telegraph

Adam B (Springfield, MO)

David,You have recently listed Lance Lynn as a rookie in a few articles. Did he not lose his rookie status by exceeding the 45 minimum games on the active roster in 2011?

David Schoenfield
  (1:11 PM)

Days on active roster. Yes, I think you may be right. MLB.com lists him as a rookie, which is why I'm confused. I need to verify unless somebody knows the answer.

Marty (Fairfield, CT)

Is there anything we should worry about in Bautista's swing, or is it just a slow start that will come around with time?

David Schoenfield
  (1:12 PM)

Research by our Stats & Info department says Bautista isn't hitting anything on the outside part of the plate, which he did last year. I'm not worried yet. Could be impatience, could be pulling off the ball a bit.

Rob (Philly)

Did the start yesterday tell you anything about the state of Halladay? Or would you need to see more starts? I wasn't sure what to make of it, but the first 5 innings looked good at least.

David Schoenfield
  (1:14 PM)

His velocity was up, so that was the key thing for me. Looked good as well, so I'd drop the alert level a couple notches.

Joey (D.C.)

With Zimmerman and LaRoche returning most likely, shouldn't Davey put Harper at the #2 spot? Harper gets doubles alot meaning a hit or 2 from Zimmerman and LaRoche scores him.

David Schoenfield
  (1:15 PM)

Makes sense to me. Harper-Zimmerman-LaRoche to break up the two lefties.

mk (albuquerque)

is harper rubbing people the wrong way at all? does that have anything to do with cole hamels throwing at him? i hear he has a big ego, but he seems to play the game the right way.

David Schoenfield
  (1:17 PM)

Since getting called up, he's done nothing but play hard and say all the right things. He does have a big ego by many accounts, but he's hardly the first big leaguer to think he's a pretty good ballplayer.

Tanner (D.C.)

Well even though the 5 game suspension for Hamels was nothing, the embarrassment for hitting Harper is sky high! Everyone is saying how stupid Hamels is and how he obviously isn't old school. Harper looked like the mature adult through the whole thing while Hamels seems like a kid that's jealous and wants attention.

David Schoenfield
  (1:18 PM)

Yes, Harper definitely wins on the PR front. I did a poll in the blog and it turned 50/50 as to those who were OK with what Hamels did and those who thought it was bush league. Harper did the right thing and didn't say anything after the game when he definitely could have.

Turner (Boise, ID )

Remember about a month ago, when the powers that be were questioning Felix Hernandez's drop in velocity and if we should be worried something is wrong? Well, his velo hasn't gone up but he is proving that he is one of the handful of best starters in MLB. He seems to be "pitching" more and more and at such a young age. He's good huh?

David Schoenfield
  (1:19 PM)

His changeup has been devastating this year, dropping off a table. One of the best pitches in the game.

Rickey Henderson (HoF)

Bryce Harper might have an ego, but Rickey had the biggest ego of all time.

David Schoenfield
  (1:20 PM)

That's why I laughed at Hamels mentioning the old-school baseball he grew up watching. Since when is late '90s baseball old school?

Vinnie (ATL)

Not a question, but a comment. Be careful what you wish for Braves' fans. Chipper has been criticized a lot in recent years by the fans for his fragility and contract. You will miss him when he is retired.

Stupid Fan (Anywhere)

Bautista must not be on PEDs anymore.

Jon (DC)

What about Lombardozzi #2 and then, Harper, Zimm, Laroche...

David Schoenfield
  (1:21 PM)

Or Lombardozzi leadoff. Desmond isn't really a leadoff hitter with his low OBP.

Marcos (Miami, fl)

Good afternoon David, what are you thoughts on the struggles of Josh Johnson so far? Is it Injury/Command/velocity? I believe its command, what say you?

David Schoenfield
  (1:24 PM)

Velocity is down, but only one mph or so. I haven't seen his last couple of starts, so I'll go with command. Really, a lot of bad luck so far: .439 BABIP. But he hasn't allowed a HR, so it's not like guys are tattooing him.

Jason (Nashville, TN)

Encarnacion has cooled a little and Freddie Freeman is heating up. Do you see much difference between the two by the end of the season? They seem to be similar players to me.

David Schoenfield
  (1:25 PM)

Similar. Encarnacion has more patience. I'd like to see Freeman start drawing some walks. It's hard to sustain a high level of production with a 31/6 SO/BB ratio.

Steve (TN)

Do you think that all "web gem" plays should have a stop watch on the baserunner. Then if they guy's time to 1st is worse than 40 on the 80 scale, it shouldn't be considered a "web gem" I am tired of defender's getting praise for throwing out slow catchers.

David Schoenfield
  (1:27 PM)

It's actually a fair point. Do the defensive metrics even factor that in -- if a good play is made against a Molina as opposed to a Michael Bourn? I never thought of that before. Hmm.

Hek (Wilmington (DE))

A couple of years ago the rage during Spring Training was Alcides Escobar & how he could be the Next Jose Reyes. Three years later - it looks like his offensive game is picking up. Can he be a Jose Reyes type of hitter?

David Schoenfield
  (1:28 PM)

No. Doesn't have the plate discipline or the raw speed of Reyes. And while Reyes isn't a big home run, he has a little more gap power than Escobar.

Clay (Charlotte)

Hugh Casey once threw at a guy in the on-deck circle. I'd say Harper got off light.

Marty (Fairfield)

Is it an exaggeration to say Bobby V looks lost managing in the 21st century...he's too quick to pull relievers, too long on the leash with young starters, doesnt know what hand a pitcher throws with....

David Schoenfield
  (1:29 PM)

Let me ask everyone: Does Bobby V last the season?

Jeff (ABQ)

Good Afternoon David! So I'm a Pirates fan, and we're hearing a lot of fuss about Bauer and Bundy, who were taken after Cole. In your professional opinion, do you think that Cole was still the right choice for the Buccos? Thanks and I wish your family a pleasant Mother's Day.

David Schoenfield
  (1:32 PM)

Probably a better question for Keith Law. I do find it interesting that Cole is in Class A while Bauer and Hultzen began in Double-A. Yes, Cole has the best fastball (including Bundy), but I'd like to him challenged at Double-A. I'm not sure pitching against Class A guys really helps him. Anyway, to answer your question, not copping out here, but it probably comes down to injuries, and that's what we don't know about any of those four guys.

David Schoenfield
  (1:33 PM)

But if you put me on the spot, I guess I'd take Bundy. He does seem to have better command right now than Cole or Bauer and better raw stuff than Hultzen. But I could just be caught up in the early hype.

Tom (Missouri)

Bobby V. canned around the All-Star break.

Bob (Lowell)

He lasts the season but not because he deserves to.

Jason (St Louis)

Considering it was Lucchino who wanted Valentine I say he lasts at least through the season.

Grumpy Old Guy (A Hundred Years Ago)

Telegraph? In my day, we were lucky to have two cans and a string!

Dale (KY)

Harper turned his back to that pitch, and I was afraid it was going to hit him directly on the spine. Never heard of it happening, but conceivable that someone could be disabled from something like that.

Neal (Bel Air, MD)

I think the Phillies should trade Hamels in July. NOT BECAUSE OF THE HARPER INCIDENT. They are not going to be able to afford to sign him when the Dodgers, Yankees, and/or Red Sox come after him this winter, thanks to the money they have tied up with the other vets. They have enough good pitching at the top of the rotation where if they were still in the race for a playoff spot they could compete, and they need more position player prospects. Domonick Brown is not coming through that door. Thoughts?

David Schoenfield
  (1:35 PM)

I think you have to remain all-in for 2012. Flags forever!

Tigers Paw (Detroit)

About a Tigers question. Should I be concerned about the lack of offense from SS and 2B?

David Schoenfield
  (1:36 PM)

Yes. Regression from Peralta should have been expected. Bad defense should have been protected. Mediocre pitching from Porcello should have been expected. There is nothing remotely surprising right now about the way the Tigers are playing.

Person (DC)

What does it mean for Albert Pujols and the Angels now that he finally hit his first HR of the season? - the chat home page tells us you will answer this question

David Schoenfield
  (1:39 PM)

It does? I guess I better answer. I wrote something last week where I dug up some extended slumps by other all-time great hitters. I think he'll adjust and be fine, but I also think the days of Pujols as MVP are gone. Angels have many issues right now, but the positive is that with the slow starts by the Red Sox, Tigers and Yankees (to a lesser extent), it could be mean that 87 or 88 wins will get you in the playoffs.

Clay (Charlotte)

When Moyer called out Chipper, he said that the only people he knew of on the team that stole signs were Lemke and Blauser. Is is common knowledge that they stole signs, I had never heard that before. Of course, Chipper wins the award for snarky comment of the year with his response about Moyer pitching 78.

David Schoenfield
  (1:40 PM)

I hadn't heard that about Lemke or Blauser. What I don't get: Why was Chipper so offended? Isn't stealing signs considered part of the game? What did he feel Moyer had attacked his manhood?

Jim Leyland (Detroit)

My relief crew is really letting me down. Should I be worried?

David Schoenfield
  (1:41 PM)

Yes. Forgot to mention that. Regression from Valverde and Benoit also not surprising. Dotel was awful last night, couldn't throw anything near the strike zone.

Jason (St Louis)

At least Hamels hit Harper in the proper spot, the small of his back.

Todd (Arlington)

Ref: Lombardozzi hitting 1st or 2nd: I don't think he'll get getting as much playing time with Zimmerman back. He will play a little LF but not much.

David Schoenfield
  (1:42 PM)

Be interesting to see if Johnson plays him over Nady/Bernadina, neither of whom has hit. Davey has a long history of playing the offensive player over a good glove guy (not that Lombardozzi is all that great of a hitter).

Andrew (SF)

More concerned about: Ike or Rasmus?

David Schoenfield
  (1:43 PM)

Ike Davis. Strikeout rate up, walk rate down, hitting a lot of groundballs. I wonder if he needs a couple weeks in Triple-A or even if the Valley Fever has sapped some of his bat speed.

Hugo, Australia [via mobile]

More cowardly - hitting a batter, barrelling over a catcher or going in at an infielders leg trying to turn a double play?

David Schoenfield
  (1:45 PM)

I say throwing at a hitter for no reason. On the DP, it depends HOW you're going in ... if you're just going in hard, that's fine. But if sliding six feet out of the baselines (Hal McRae vs. Willie Randolph, '78 playoffs), that's a bit extreme.

Tarek (NYC)

Mr Burns can show Hamels old School. 3 finger Brown, Cap Anson!

Jason (St Louis)

Marlins got away from home and started performing like we thought they would from the get go. Not good Dave, not good at all.

David Schoenfield
  (1:46 PM)

Not good for the Marlins? Because they can't win at home? Too early to make that call. I think they just happened to run into the Giants, Padres and Astros. That's a good way to turn things around.

Patrick (Chicago)

Is the AL Central the worst division in baseball?

David Schoenfield
  (1:47 PM)

With the way the Twins and Royals are playing, yes. Twins are absolutely brutal. Could be a historically bad club here ... 110 losses?

Nick (Dayton, OH)

What should the Reds do with Scott Rolen? Rolen is going at a .179/.247/.310 rate.

David Schoenfield
  (1:48 PM)

I think they need to make a decision soon. He looks done to me, at least as a hitter.

Dale (KY)

Hitting a batter is only cowardly in the AL. Hamels will have to come to the plate against the Nats ALOT!

Mike (San Diego)

Nobody is talking about it, but Wigginton should get some punishment for his slide last night. Pretty much threw an elbow to Thole's head and knocked him out. I thought it was a bit bush league.

David Schoenfield
  (1:50 PM)

The play at the plate ... fair point. And I think you're right. We can't outlaw collisions but I do think that there's a way to go in hard, fair and clean by leading with your shoulder. Something for the rules committee to look into.

David Schoenfield
  (1:50 PM)

Speaking of which, Buster Olney had an interesting point in his column today. Jim Leyland (a member of Selig's rules committee) said Hamels should have been suspended for more games, saying five isn't enough.

Mike (Mission Viejo, CA)

If you are hte Dodgers would you be overly concerned about giving Josh Hamilton a long term deal because of all of the potential for relapse in L.A.? I mean, there are clubs and bars, and liquor stores on every block in LA. Will this be a factor for a large market team like the Dodgers and Yankess more than it would be for a smaller market team?

David Schoenfield
  (1:52 PM)

There are no clubs, bars or liquor stores in Dallas? The city he plays in has no bearing on his potential for relapse.

Dale (KY)

Your thoughts on Jeff Samardzija? How good is he? How good can he be?

David Schoenfield
  (1:54 PM)

Very impressive again last night. I watched a few innings of that game. I think he got seven strikeouts on his split-fingered. He throws hard and that pitch serves as a great changeup of sorts. One of the biggest surprises of the season. I think he can keep doing what he's been doing (3.03 ERA), assuming he doesn't tire down the stretch, which is certainly possible.

Jim ((Madison))

Why is stealing signs while at second base taboo? Seems like simple, smart strategy if you aren't using technology. What makes it any worse than stealing a 3rd base coach sign or noticing that the pitcher is tipping pitches?

David Schoenfield
  (1:55 PM)

I don't think it's taboo; it's only frowned upon in the sense that if teams think you're doing it you're likely to get a fastball in your earhole. But it's certainly part of the game, so that's why I didn't understand Chipper getting so upset.

Clay (Charlotte)

Infielders leg, without question. More risk for a more serious injury. As long as the pitch isn't aimed at the guy's head, it's much easier for someone to get hurt by a barrel roll over the bag. Posey is an exception to the rule, not the rule.

David Schoenfield
  (1:56 PM)

Right. Second basemen probably get injured more frequently than catchers. An overzealous takeout slide is one of the most dangerous plays in baseball.

The man in white (Parts unknown)

Is it my fault Bautista isn't hitting this year?

David Schoenfield
  (1:56 PM)

I'm surprised it took so long for somebody to bring this up.

Robert (Vancouver)

Hugo: None are cowardly - all part of the game!

Real Deal? (Detroit)

Was watching the Tigers last night and the announcer said Austin Jackson has figured out this year and we should exect this in the future (300/400/500). I think he will never be that player over a season. Thoughts?

David Schoenfield
  (1:59 PM)

Hmm, I don't see it. But his rate stats (K rate, BB rate) ARE much improved. His BABIP so far is very high at .380. He's 25, so maybe the big step forward is for real.

Cal Ripken (Baltimore)

Not one Baltimore question? We have been playing great! Is it sustainable?

David Schoenfield
  (2:01 PM)

Check out the SweetSpot video that I'll post in a few minutes. There are a lot of positives, but the back of the rotation (Brian Matusz, Tommy Hunter) remains an issue. But there is a small chance they could be this year's Diamondbacks, a team that improved its bullpen dramatically a year ago. Question, I suppose, is whether Hammel and Arrieta can be Kennedy and Hudson.

Mike (San Diego)

I doubt any of us thought that Houston would have a positive run differential after ONE game let alone 25. Do you think they could win 75 games this year? I'm not being snarky either because the over/under at the beginning of the year was 62 so to outperform that by 13 games is impressive.

David Schoenfield
  (2:03 PM)

Offense has been impressive. Altuve is awesome. They have two decent starters in Wandy and Norris and a decent closer in Myers. But I think the offense has overachieved a bit. I'll say 71 wins. They're not as bad as everyone thought.

Jim (Athens)

But when Moyer came to the plate he told McCann "that's how guys get hurt", implying he (or another Rockies pitcher) would be throwing at Chipper/and or other Braves. I think standing up for your teammates is a valid reason to take offense.

David Schoenfield
  (2:05 PM)

OK, I missed that part. That makes more sense why Chipper got so upset.

Eric (PA)

I hope someone reminds Hamels that it's Old School to stay with your team forever and play for peanuts.

CC (Atlanta)

Chipper upset? He was responding to Moyer whining about the Braves doing it. Moyer is crybaby here.

Clay (Charlotte)

It's not cheating if you don't get caught. Stealing signs is fine, but if you get caught you stop. Throwing at batters happens, but you don't admit you did it. That's the "old school" rule.

Anthony (MD)

Speaking of Smardzija, would you drop either Erik Bedard, Henderson Alvarez, or Edison Volquez for him?

David Schoenfield
  (2:06 PM)

I'd take him over any of those three.

Andrew (SF)

Can Kipnis be the next Utley?

David Schoenfield
  (2:06 PM)

Not that good, but similar all-around offensive skills.

Chris (Boston)

Charlie Manuel is managing terribly so far this year. Was he always so bad? I wonder if I've never noticed (much) because of all the talent that's surrounded him the past few years. But the way he is using (or not using) his bullpen and frequently relying on the sac bunt ... Come on.

David Schoenfield
  (2:07 PM)

My pal Karabell says the Phillies have been so talented in recent years it just masked a lot of these issues. Phillies have lost six games in the ninth or later and last night was the first one of those that Papelbon pitched in.

Dale (KY)

Does Samardzija's physical maturity, football background and natural athleticism make it more likely for him to stay healthy?

David Schoenfield
  (2:08 PM)

Good question. Answers unknown. He doesn't have much wear on his arm since he didn't pitch much in college and has been used in relief, so that could be a good sign moving forward.

Brian (Seattle)

Bedard is pitching very well.

David Schoenfield
  (2:09 PM)

Yes, but always an injury risk of course.

Mike (San Diego)

I'm pretty sure there are worse fates in life than being plunked by Jamie Moyer.

Matthew (Buffalo,NY)

Do you think the Blue Jays made a mistake by choosing Thames over Snider ? equal defensively i think Snider gives you alot more "potential" with the bat....Never been big on Thames,always looked like a 4th outfielder to me...

David Schoenfield
  (2:11 PM)

Don't think it was mistake, although I'd still like to see them give Snider one more chance and hope he's matured. Maybe move EE to first base and let Snider DH? He's hitting .400 in Triple-A. (Granted, it's Vegas ...)

J-FER (NJ)

Is it realistic to expect 30 HRs from F. Freeman this year?

David Schoenfield
  (2:12 PM)

Yes, but the early strikeout problems are a red flag for me.

Carlos (CA)

The Angels have essentially 11 starting position players, where two guys get a day off every game. Do you think the frequent days off hurt the player's timing, or will the regular rest help keep players fresh and productive all season? So far it seems like the former...

David Schoenfield
  (2:13 PM)

Or maybe some of those guys just aren't very good. Angels are last in the AL in walks drawn. They just have too many free-swingers in the lineup so don't get base enough to score a lot of runs.

Miguel (T.O.)

When is baseball going to institute proper discplinary measures for pitchers..hamels should be gone for 5 starts NOT 5 team games...That was old school cowardism nothing more and he actually deserves a hefty fine for showing how dumb he is by admitting to it after the game with a mic in his face..old school stupid...

Dale (KY)

Moyer is just old and crochetty. But he can still pitch.

Tarek (NYC)

That David Price CY award guess is looking good so far David.

David Schoenfield
  (2:14 PM)

Balanced out by a few bad picks!

Fred (Austin, TX)

The comment regarding slow runners is no doubt valid regarding defensive metrics, but as a web gem it is still a WOW! One of my favorite plays I ever saw was the Wizard throwing out Scioscia on what looked like a sure single. I don't care that Mike would have finished third in a footrace with a pregnant woman. It was still fun to see.

Ryan (Philly)

Manuel has always been a terrible manager. He has been successful because of the quality of the players and that he gets along well with the clubhouse. He has zero strategic skill...

Brian (Seattle)

Somebody should tell Chipper there is no whinning in baseball!

David Schoenfield
  (2:15 PM)

Wait, I thought Moyer was whining!

matt b (chicago)

who do see having a better season LaHair or Freeman

David Schoenfield
  (2:15 PM)

Readers???

Doug (Los Angeles)

Is there a better AL 8th/9th inning combo than Pestano and Perez?

David Schoenfield
  (2:17 PM)

Hmm ... now that Rivera is hurt, maybe not, although I'm not sure Perez is a dominant closer. Adams/Nathan? Wilhelmsen/League? Bard/Papelbon? (Oops, wrong year.)

Future Hall of Famers (Cooperstown)

Although both longshots, does Jeter have a better chance at 4,000 hits or Albert hitting 700 dongs?

David Schoenfield
  (2:18 PM)

Pujols

Justin (Calimesa, CA)

Is it possible for the Cards to maintain a team .330 BABIP? The Cards have been pretty lucky offensively, right?

David Schoenfield
  (2:19 PM)

Probably not. Highest last year was Tigers at .318. In 2010, Reds at .314. In 2009, Angels at .322.

Mark W (Alexandria, VA)

Isn't Jamie Moyer old enough to know that if the guy on 2B can steal your signs, your sequence isn't complicated enough?

David (UCSB)

More trade value: Bourjos or Trumbo?

David Schoenfield
  (2:20 PM)

Bourjos

Dale (KY)

Cards OPS is .812 right now. Can't be sustained by those guys.

Tom (Isla Vista, CA)

Wouldn't an outfield of Trout, Bourjos, and Hunter would be the best baseball has seen in several years?

David Schoenfield
  (2:22 PM)

Best defensively? Hmm ... could be, although Hunter has lost a step or two from his CF days. Trying to think of a better one off the top of my head ... Mariners had Cameron and Ichiro, but no regular LF.

Jason (St Louis)

Freeman.

Tarek (NYC)

Lahir, give the cubs something!

Saul (Westwood)

LaHair

Shawn (CT)

To Doug in LA, there sure is, it's called Justin Verlander. Not only does he get stronger as the game goes on, but not running their lousy relief corps out there is a HUGE asset.

Mike (San Diego)

Ummm, does Doug in LA know that Venters and Kimbrel are both still pitching? Also, Axford and K-Rod are pretty good too. Marshall/Chapman. I could go on...Perez just isn't that great.

David Schoenfield
  (2:22 PM)

I assumed Doug meant AL only ...

Mike (San Diego)

Another team that will probably have 11 starters when healthy is the Cardinals...how do you think Matheny will divvy up playing time?

David Schoenfield
  (2:25 PM)

Nice luxury to have, isn't it? In the end, I see Craig is the odd man out, although in reality he'll get plenty of playing time subbing for Holliday, Beltran and Berkman (when he returns). And their best lineup probably has Craig at 1B against LHP. I'd also like to see Greene playing regularly at 2B.

David (UCSB)

Thoughts on the Frieri trade for the Angels?

David Schoenfield
  (2:26 PM)

Good pickup for Angels. Frieri can miss bats. Should be a solid middle guy for them.

Charles (San Jose)

Parra, Young, and Upton was a killer outfield defensively last season.

David Schoenfield
  (2:26 PM)

Right, how soon we forget!

Robert (Vancouver)

One thing I really want to say about Hamels. The guy is getting raked through the, ahem, "Coles", but how about a little love for his honesty. Sure, misplaced as it was, the past few years has seen more than its share of ballplayers lying about PEDs (I'm looking at you, Bonds/Clemens/Palmiero), about injuries (Kent) and on and on. And the press rips them for it. At least, or maybe most, Hamels was honest. Just sayin'.

Dave (NJ)

Is Kirk Nieunwenheis more Jim Edmonds or Eric Byrnes?

David Schoenfield
  (2:27 PM)

Come on, Edmonds had one of the best peak values of any center fielder ever.

Brian (SF)

Over a month in, I'm glad the AL East has shaped up exactly the way we expected.

Dale (KY)

No chance that Berkman, Furcal, Beltran, Craig, and Freese are healthy at the same time. No way.

Andrew (SF)

David, I don't care what Saul in Westwood thinks. What do you think about LaHair? Fluke or next Joey Bats?

David Schoenfield
  (2:28 PM)

His BABIP is .529. Great story, glad he's hitting well, but he's not the next Joey Bats.

Mike (San Diego)

Career OPS for middle of Cards lineup: Berkman-.955, Beltran-.858, Matt Holliday-.925. The Cards probably won't have a +.800 OPS as a team, but to say it won't be close isn't necessarily true either. They are a really good offensive team.

Clay (Charlotte)

Prado, Bourn, Heyward outfield is pretty good defensively.

Bob (Springfield, MO)

Regarding Miguel's comment. You can't suspend a starter for 5 starts because that would be 30 games and well beyond excessive, especially when you consider how much money he would lose. Is there some way, however, to guarantee a guy misses a start or two, but only misses a few game checks?

David Schoenfield
  (2:31 PM)

Leyland suggested 15 games, so the guys is missing two starts. I actually thought five games for Hamels seemed fair. He didn't throw at his head, didn't try to hurt him, although I guess he could have broken his wrist or something. As for the paycheck issue, I don't see a way around that problem. A team won't want to pay a guy when he's not eligible to play.

Sleepless in Seattle (Seattle)

Ichiro is very close to 4000 hits for MLB and Japan League combined. Assuming his total eventually surpasses Rose, will he ever be regarded as the "Hit King"? Will this feat be recognized on is HOF plaque?

David Schoenfield
  (2:33 PM)

It will be interesting how big of a story that becomes. Will people just dismiss the Japanese hits and not care? Will MLB make a big presentation? Will Pete Rose start following Ichiro around?

Drew (Mpls)

Pitcher suspensions should start at 1 week.

Dale (KY)

Why do some people consistently hit for a higher BABIP? Is it line drive percentage? Is it just how hard they hit the ball? Speed? Whats the biggest factor?

David Schoenfield
  (2:33 PM)

1. More line drives. 2. Speed.

Josh (St. Louis)

When people say there's no way "those guys" can sustain an 800 ops, they're saying it without any sort of baseline available. Most of the cardinals lineup has been injured, blocked, or too young. Now that those problems are being solved, how the cardinals do is anyone's guess.

Chris (KC)

For once and for all: While on suspension A PLAYER GETS PAID! They are not suspended without pay. That's why they get a fine too - although it's usually only like 10 grand or so.

Drew (Mpls)

Berkman - 36 years oldBeltran - 35 years oldHolliday - 32 years oldI weighed 185 pounds when I was 22. That does not mean I still weigh 185 pounds.

Jim (Madison)

Any ideas who the Brewers might get to handle shortstop to replace Gonzalez? In house options are uninspiring. ... and don't tell me YuniB from KC. We won 96 games last year in spite of him!

David Schoenfield
  (2:36 PM)

Enjoy Cesar Izturis! Good luck finding a replacement shortstop in May. Small chance Seattle could trade Brendan Ryan (who doesn't seem to be a favorite of Eric Wedge) since the Mariners have Seager (a stretch defensively at SS) and Kawasaki.

Brian (Seattle)

Will Ichiro resign or retire?

David Schoenfield
  (2:37 PM)

I think the Mariners sign him to a much lower salary. They'll want him to get his 3,000th hit in Seattle.

Dave (NJ)

OK, is Kirk Nieunwenheis more Willie Mays or Don Hahn?

David Schoenfield
  (2:37 PM)

Somewhere in-between? And bonus points for a Don Hahn reference!

Dale (KY)

Mike, the Cards have a higher OPS than the Rangers right now. Just not going to possibly stay there.

Dale (KY)

How high of a BABIP would you expect from a guy like Tony Campana? Wouldn't it be much higher because every ball in play is a potential hit?

David Schoenfield
  (2:41 PM)

Well, hitting skill does come in to play as well. Not all fast guys have a high BABIP. Campana had a .377 BABIP in Double-A in 2010, .433 in Triple-A in 2011 (limited ABs). But he also has to show that he won't strike out too much. He had a .321 BABIP with Cubs last but hit just .259 because of a high strikeout rate.

Tarek (NYC)

Abreu, Wells and Trumbo would be the Anti defensive outfield of the year. too bad Abreu left.

Ray (New Orleans)

What's wrong with Dustin Ackley at the plate? Looking like Kyle Seager was the best player off that UNC team.

David Schoenfield
  (2:45 PM)

Homered in the first game in Japan and hasn't homered since. To be honest, I fear he just isn't quite the pure hitter many believed him to be. Maybe just a slump/slow start. We'll see. Worth investigating after a few more weeks.

Andrew (SF)

Is there a streakier batting average guy than Jon Jay? He seemingly has .400 months all the time, followed by .200.

David Schoenfield
  (2:46 PM)

I swear, every time I watch him play, I love what I see. He seems to glide effortless after balls in CF, although nobody really seems to view him as a great CF. Has a nice stroke at the plate. I want to say he could be a star, but nobody seems to really believe that.

TJ (Detroit)

Ichiro as "The Hit King"? Sorry- two words: Kaz Matsui. Two more: Kosuke Fukudome. Japanese baseball is good, but it's not that good...

David Schoenfield
  (2:47 PM)

Yep, Ichiro hasn't done anything in the majors.

Dale (KY)

Berkman is old. Jon Jay is not a .381 hitter. Beltran is old. Holiday is old. Furcal hasn't played this good in years. Molina will likely wear down as summer goes on. Must I continue to the scrubs?

Dale (KY)

Is there a site that will tell you minor league players BaBIP?

David Schoenfield
  (2:49 PM)

FanGraphs includes for current major leaguers: http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=4964&position=OF. Not sure if there's a site that does current minor leaguers. Looks like minorleaguebaseball.com and Baseball-Reference do not.

Adam (Tallahassee)

Any comment on the recent ESPN article that had bloggers saying "The Orioles would crush the Indians" head-to-head? I seem to recall Baltimore giving up more runs Monday night than Cleveland did ALL SERIES over the weekend.

David Schoenfield
  (2:50 PM)

So you're making a judgment off one game?

BassmanUW (Chicago)

If Japanese League hits should be considered, then hits at the AAA level should as well. Ichiro has been an awesome hitter, but the Japanese League is just as comparable to AAA as it is to MLB, if not more so.

Dale (KY)

I don't care about the Japanese stats. It has been shown that inferior players can go over there and dominate. Its not the same, even if it is a "major" league.

Ray (New Orleans)

Is Justin Smoak going to make it or not? He looks terrible...

David Schoenfield
  (2:51 PM)

Can't hit offspeed stuff. Mariners will be searching for a new first baseman next year.

Andrew (SF)

Will the Twins be as bad as the '11 Astros?

David Schoenfield
  (2:51 PM)

56-106 ... should be a good "race."

Dave (NJ)

For this year only, Wright or ARod?

David Schoenfield
  (2:52 PM)

Overall value? I'll go Wright.

Adam (Tallahassee)

I'm just saying; having a really good series against TEX should be roughly equal to a good road trip vs. Yanks and listless Sox with the addition of a beatdown last night. Indians building on last year.

TJ (Detroit)

C'mon, Schoenfeld, you know better. Didn't say Ichiro didn't do anything in the majors. Ichiro is a Hall of Famer, and one of the greatest players ever. That wasn't the question- it was "Should he be considered the Hit King?", which is title for the player who gets the most career hits in the major leagues. Japanese baseball is not as good as MLB, and Matsui and Fukudome are just examples. (You can point out Hideki Matsui, and I can counter with a dozen more Japanese players who didn't perform at their previous levels). Josh Gibson is a deserving Hall of Famer- is he the Home Run Champ?

David Schoenfield
  (2:56 PM)

But Ichiro didn't begin his MLB career until he was 27. We KNOW he hit MLB pitching. What others players did or didn't do isn't really relevant. He had 1,278 hits in Japan. Sure, cut a couple hundred off that. But .. remember, they have shorter seasons in Japan. I have no doubt Ichiro would have had at least 1,000 hits (and probably more) had he begun his MLB career at 21 or 22.

Neal (Toronto)

Dale (KY) try firstinning.com

Rick (Tucson)

Justin Smoak = AAAA player? Except he never really hit AAA pitching, either.

Rick (Tucson)

Would you rather have Taijuan Walker, Dylan Bundy or Gerrit Cole?

David Schoenfield
  (2:58 PM)

This came up earlier ... I'll go with the hype and learn to Bundy. Walker pitching well in Double-A at 19 is impressive though.

Drew (Mpls)

Three words : apple, concrete, salmon. I LOVE THIS GAME!!

David Schoenfield
  (2:58 PM)

I have no idea what that means, other than it's time to end this chat. Thanks, everyone! Good stuff as always.