Klawchat. Excuse all the blood.
Isn't it a bit ridiculous that the media is fawning over Bryce Harper every chance they get, but completely ignoring Mike Trout? Trout has actually had a slightly better start, and looks to be less susceptible to a prolonged slump.
What's ridiculous about the Harper fawning is only that they couldn't seem to bury him fast or hard enough when he was in the minors. The wind changed direction, I guess. (And both he and Trout are outstanding players. No need to denigrate either guy.)
Any thoughts on MLB banning fake to third throw to first move? Seems inconsequential
It'll make games a little easier to watch. That move almost never works at the major league level, not enough to justify the time wasted every time it's used. (I see it work all the time in HS or college, though.)
Keith, please tell me this chat will be "old-school" chatting. I know you're a Rickie Weeks fan. His walk rate is up, but he's got the worst average in the bigs. What gives?
You know I'm just a fake-tough guy writing for a nerd blog. I wouldn't look at stats for at least another few weeks. We're still firmly in SSS territory.
I know that Arizona loves A.J. Pollock but it looks like Adam Eaton might be better at playing baseball. Do you see either of them as regulars any time in the near future?
Pollock can play center and Eaton can't. That's a pretty significant difference between the two.
You've said that T Thornberg profiles as a reliever. In cases like this, is it still best to have them start in the minors?
Often, yes, to get them to work on offspeed pitches or to have them gain experience from having to turn a lineup over. Thornburg's issues aren't going to go away just by having him start, though; when he gets close to a callup it'll be time to convert him.
Hi Keith, Have you heard much about Jackie Bradley Jr or Matt Barnes this year? What kind of career do you project for them? Being greedy, any other non-Bogaerts prospect that you really like?
Weather permitting I'll see Salem on Wednesday. Barnes did benefit from tearing up a level for which he was old/experienced.
OK, so what is going on with Chris Sale? Are these problems happening earlier than you expected?
I don't think I ever put a timeframe on it, because I couldn't do so with any hope of accuracy. I just hope the elbow injury isn't serious - bring him back slowly, put him in the pen, and hope to get several good (maybe great) years out of him before he has any more trouble.
Your take on NCAA athletes getting paid or signing on for endorsements
Yes, and yes.
Ceiling for Scott Van Slyke a decent RH guy off the bench?
That's about right.
Do you think LaHair can keep this up for an entire season? He had pretty amazing stats last year in the minors but I don't think anyone thought he'd be doing this well.
Of course he won't.
How close was James Ramsey to making the top 100? What round do you project him going in?
Not close. Could go as high as the sandwich round to a team looking to cut an underslot deal and funnel the savings to other players. Could see Pete O'Brien (Miami senior) in the same boat, or Dane Phillips (Oklahoma City U) too.
Excited for your Phoenix Coyotes?
Are they still playing?
You seem to be the only pundit out there who thinks Alen Hanson projects to a shortstop--What is your rationale behind that?
Saw him do it.
Can Myers play center field in KC later on this year?
I think that's a real stretch for him.
Is it possible that Henderson Alvarez's pitches have enough movement to sustain a low BABIP, yet not enough movement to increase his K/9 rate?
Oscar Taveras... future MLB perennial all star?
I doubt there are ten guys in the minors on whom I'd hang that tag. Let's go with potential All-Star for now.
Have you started warming up to Henderson Alvarez as a SP? I think I read previously you thought he was better suited for the bullpen, however IMO he's been great as a #3 starter
I don't believe I ever called him a pen guy - but he needs a better and more consistent breaking ball to be a starter. Again, check that K rate.
Who are the Orioles on with the 4th pick? I'm hoping it's either Buxton or Correa. Also, Delmonico seems to be doing well in Delmarva. Any chance he makes your updated top 100?
Best player available. Tough to say who that might be with the Astros still undecided at 1-1. I would expect Buxton to be gone by 4.
How do you see shortstop working out for Atlanta? Simmons could easily be one of the best defenders, can Pastor play any other positions or make a good utility guy?
If Pastornicky isn't a SS, he's a utility guy - the bat won't play everyday anywhere else. Scout told me recently that he put 80 grades on Simmons' glove and arm. Doesn't have to hit much to be an everyday SS like that.
Thoughts on Evan Gattis? Obviously he's old. But his time away from baseball should somewhat mitigate the age vs level, right?
Not really, no. He's already far more physically developed than the competition he's facing - and his body isn't going to play anywhere but 1B or DH.
If you were the astros who would you take at #1? Who do you think they will take at #1?
I would take Buxton, and the strong industry consensus is for Buxton as well. But I know they've reached out to a number of players for that pick, including some you wouldn't ordinarily expect to be in consideration up there.
Thoughts on Jonathan Singleton? He's hitting for average and walking a bit but the supposed power have never developed.
He's 20 in AA. The "supposed" power is in the future.
Any thoughts on the decline of Nick Markakis?
One of the most disappointing prospects/players of the last ten years. He has star ability, looked like he was just about to reach it, and then ... this. Maybe he just needs a fresh start somewhere else - but that's probably wishful thinking on my part.
Hey Klaw, are you coming back to Tucson for any games this year and if so, any chance for a reader meet up?
I'd like to get down there to see Casey Kelly once he's healthy. I'll tweet something about it before I head down.
Is Nieuwenheis the real deal over the long haul and who does he remind you of? Eric Byrnes?
Well, Eric Byrnes was a good fourth outfielder ... so,yes.
Nerd blog? Who you callin a nerd? I would plant a bug in your chat software if it wasn't already terrible. What would Posey's trade value be now that questions re his ankle seem to have quieted?
I actually prefer to read dumb-jock blogs, just to make sure I don't learn anything new about the game I love. I don't see the logic in exploring trade value for Posey; among other reasons, I think teams will still discount his value for fear that a second injury ends his catching days completely.
I saw you put an 80 for power on Joey Gallo's player card. Are we talking Harper, Stanton raw power here?
Harper's might be the best raw I've ever seen from a HS kid. Gallo's not that far behind though. It's obscene.
If you were in charge of the Cardinals war room, how would you attack these picks? 19, 23, 36, 53 and 59?
BPA, always. But if they end up with 2-3 high-ceiling HS kids, I can see going for safer college guys to at least balance out the portfolio a little.
Please rank by your preference: Appel, Zimmer, Gausman, Stroman
You might find this useful: http://klaw.me/Je2dxg
Why would a team take an underslot guy early under the new rules?
To take the savings and pay another player more than his slot recommendation. It's going to happen a lot.
How much of an advantage does Correa have in being a pure 17 year old as far as draft stock goes?
I think the age factor pushes him from a back of the top 10 pick to a top 5 pick.
Samardzija has surprised everyone with how well he has pitched in the early part of the season. Can he sustain this success and is he a legit top of the rotation pitcher?
I'd peg him as a likely #3 going forward. Easily the surprise story of the year for me.
Will Lance Lynn keep up his amazing year?
Again, more like a mid-rotation guy, but very promising. The mix of 2- and 4-seamers seems to be the key to his success - hitters can't sit on the flat four-seamer any more.
It hardly seems true, but Wilmer Flores is still just 20. He seems to be showing some actual improvements at the plate; his power is up and his strikeout rate is absurdly low. It also seems as if he's adapting well to 3B. There's still a lot of hope here, right?
He's almost certainly going to end up in LF or at 1B and he's repeating that league.
Should a players floor be looked at when scouting him? Obviously the ceiling is what you hope to see but if they have a high floor does that ever bump them up?
Yes. I usually refer to that as probability.
Read on Twitter earlier in the week that you said you don't believe hitter vs. pitcher stats are ever predicative. Is this just because of SSS problems?
Yes. If you ever got the sample size large enough, by that point, either the hitter or the pitcher would have changed to the point where early samples are useless.
How did Jesmuel Valentin look in PR? No one has said much about him one way or the other for a while.
Very nondescript. Needs to go to college. But I've heard he may go in the sandwich round.
What have you heard about Dan Vogelbach? I heard he's got a better approach than just light-tower power.
Saw him in March. He has light-tower power and not a ton else.
The St. Lucie Mets have the best winning percentage in professional baseball and Savannah is pretty good also. Do you forsee the Mets cracking the top 10 minor league systems by next season?
Minor league winning percentages have absolutely no bearing on farm system rankings.
Draft Question: You said Houston is looking at some guys we wouldn't expect at #1. Can you say who those players are?
On Tuesday, by which point I'll have more concrete info for my first projection of the first-round.
Why was Nathan Kirby removed from your top 100? What type of player is the Brett Phillips who was moved in?
Kirby declined to participate in MLB's mandatory process for their top 200 prospects, and therefore is ineligible for the draft. He will matriculate at UVA in September. Phillips is a pretty interesting athletic HS outfielder, full scouting report to come soon. Could go in the second round.
Thoughts on Domingo Tapia?
Big fastball, needs to refine secondary, but there's enough there now to see him as a starter.
Any chance the Astros trade back from #1 to save money?
I'll go out on a limb and say there's zero chance they do that.
how does Luke Bard compare to his brother? Destined for the bullpen?
Probably, but it wasn't a lock that he ended up in relief. The injury really hurt his stock - only Smoral was hurt more by an injury this spring.
Is Jace Peterson Legit?
Yes, but I'm not basing that on his stats - he turned 22 yesterday and shouldn't be in low-A. I understand starting him there as a football guy who had virtually no wood-bat experience, but an assignment like that has to come with a quick hook.
Will your mock draft be insiders only?
Everything I do is Insider only.
Any chance you'll do some live chatting during the draft?
There will be something. I may just live-tweet it, depending on what else I'm asked to do.
Are the Pirates the only top 15 team that would take Deven Marrero?
That I know of, yes. But I think the industry is overreacting to the bad spring. There are clear, fixable mechanical issues that probably explain it.
Noticed Carson Kelly is just outside your top 25. Do you see him as more of a 3B or pitcher?
He'll be drafted as a 3b.
Please stop ranking the UCLA commits so high please. Thanks
Miami has more of a complaint than UCLA. They're both going to get plundered.
Can Mark Appel be a dominant pitcher in the pros?
Define 'dominant.' Is a #2 starter, top 40-45 starter in the majors, dominant? That's what he probably is.
Belt plays, Belt hits. Are you surprised?
I'm concerned we're all overrating him because he doesn't play every day. That AB vs Belisario last night didn't look like the Brandon Belt I remember from the AFL in 2010 or spring training last year.
Any chance Luc Giolito falls to Pittsburgh at 8 or am I just a fool
Chance, yes. Don't see them taking him. Also a pretty good chance he goes earlier than that, as most teams seem pretty comfortable with his medicals.
If you are running the Mariners, are you more inclined to take a hitter at #3 with the pitching haven that is Safeco Field? Are Buxton/Correa/Zunino viewed as safer picks than Rendon was last year who they passed on for Danny Hultzen?
They have a much clearer need for a bat than than an arm, but that's not reason enough to pass up a premium arm if one should be there. That said, there's no Dylan Bundy in this draft, and most likely their BPA will be a hitter.
I'm watching Auburn @ Arkansas on ESPNU tonight. Any potential prospects to watch?
Watch me on the pregame show and I'll tell you.
Is Patrick Kivlehan getting any draft attention? The former football player is putting up some big numbers at Rutgers this season - .392 BA, 1.150 OPS, 10 HR, 39 RBI, 23/25 SB.
No. Not exactly facing SEC pitching up there.
Every player but Montero is hurt from the Montero/Pineda trade. Should he be walking around wrapped in bubblewrap?
He'll be fine. After all, Jesus is the chosen one.
Read your note on team's drafting underslot to save money for later signings, and wondered what you thought of it as a strategy. Obviously depends on the players we're talking about, but in general would you rather take BPA early and no overslot signgings late, or sacrifice a bit in the early rounds to go overslot late?
I only like that strategy if a team feels strongly that it can play the board and end up with two better players with that strategy than they might get just by going BPA. In other words, if you have a second pick half a round later, and know you can get the same player you want with the first pick at the second spot, then why not try to do that and get a better player in the end?
A writer for another baseball related publication said a Big League executive said "This draft is the worst crop of college position players I've seen in my 20+ years of doing this." Do you agree?
I've only got ten drafts, but yes.
How do you generally rank conference strength? SEC, PAC 12,....?
True of most years but especially this year: SEC/Big 12 on top, then Pac 12, then a big dropoff.
To be fair, belisario also made Posey look awful.
He did - but Belt was swinging like he was afraid of striking out.
Richie Shaffer's ceiling?
when will we see nimmo & Baez in game action ?
This time next month. starling too.
Regarding hitter vs pitcher splits, would it be more instructive to look at how a hitter does vs certain pitch types? Say for example they struggle vs two seamers and their facing a pitcher with a great two seamer. The samples would be large enough then, no?
Sure. And when I said I didn't buy hitter vs pitcher stats, I'm assuming we've already factored out platoon splits.
What happened to Nick Williams? I can't find him on any first round mock drafts.
He was terrible all spring, and even late last summer. He'll probably end up at UT.
If California is generally accepted as the best area for HS talent, why doesn't that translate into the Pac-10 being best conference?
Because so many of those HS players sign pro contracts instead of going to school.
Nick Castellanos is tearing it up, will he break your top 10 prospects this year?
Oddly enough, I can only put 10 prospects in my top 10. That makes it hard for all of these guys to crack the list.
With Kemp, Kershaw, a minor league with good young pitching, and unlimited money to spend, are we looking at a possible Dodgers dynasty run in the short future?
You really trust Ned Colletti to spend that money in a way that creates a dynasty?
What are your thoughts on Chase DeJong out of Long Beach? Can he go in the first two rounds?
Can and will.
Matt Szczur? 17 BBs/21 Ks, good speed? Could he possibly be a leadoff type player?
We'd gone too long without a Szczur question. Older player repeating high-A, with that slappy swing? No thanks.
When do you think we will get a grip on who the Astros will take 1.1? Next week? Draft day?
Sounds like not until the week before the draft.
GM decision..would you move Billy Hamilton to a different position now or wait
Wait. I've heard CF from a lot of scouts/execs this year.
Will the first pick determine how the rest of the top 10 plays out?
Except for a couple of picks (e.g., Pittsburgh/Marrero, maybe M's/Zunino or Royals/Gausman), yes, the Astros' choice will reverberate through top 10. By the time we get to the Rockies at 10, A's at 11, Mets at 12, it's less dependent. I've heard the Rockies on Courtney Hawkins at 10, but he's not likely to go much higher than that no matter what happens.
Is Pierce Johnson a Day One guy?
That's a medicals question. He's a day one guy on ability.
Who is the least risky top 10 pick in the draft? Who it the most risky?
Zunino or Gausman are probably the least risky. Most would be Buxton or Correa.
Do you see any teams ignoring the CBA's provision about penalties and sacrificing a future pick to sign one well above slot this year?
Any chance Almora falls to the Mets at #12? Think he is the type of guy who might tempt Sandy & Co.
That seems very unlikely. I've heard him in the top 6.
Rankings Question: You ranked Appel's fastball at 70, and Gausman at 65, despite similar velocity. What makes Appel's better?
Appel's peak velocity is higher.
Will Szczur be a rule 5 guy?
He's already on the 40-man.
I see you have Wacha at 16 in your top 100. Do you see him being there for the Nats?
No, I think he goes before 16 - that's just where I rank him. Tough to go higher on a guy without an average breaking ball.
Where do you see Mazzilli going in the draft?? 2nd/3rd round type??
Well below that.
Tom Milone's been a bit of a disaster lately. Can he last at all in a rotation? He looks like the fringy number 6 starter that scouts had told us he was.
I mean, you're asking someone who already thought he was a #6, so I'm not likely to tell you he's more than that when the performance doesn't give us any reason to doubt the scouting reports.
If the Astros don't take Buxton they will be punching themselves for the next 20 years.
This is my feeling.
RC Orlan (UNC LHP) a first day guy?
First day is only first and sandwich rounds, so no.
I can understand how it would help for baserunning and fielding, but other than that what are the biggest advantages in scouting players live? I may be a little naive, but it seems like it would be easier to scout a pitcher or hitter on video.
Easier, yes, but you often don't get the right angles to view players' mechanics, and you miss a lot of nuance like counts or game situations.
favorite place besides Toro to eat in Boston?
Coppa (also a Ken Orringer place). Mistral. Went to Strip-T's in Watertown last time we visited. I'm sure it's all changed a lot since we left.
What is your IQ?
Even assuming I know it, why would I ever tell you that?
I'm so glad MLB really hit Cole Hamels hard with a 5 game suspension. They just gave him an extra day off and had no negative impact on the Phillies rotation!
The suspension itself was fake-tough.
Do you view a live game from the same general angle every time?
I move around a lot. Depends on whether I'm there to see a hitter, a pitcher, or both.
ANY chance Fried falls down to No. 17 for the Dodgers? He just seems like the prototypical Logan White pick.
Zero chance. But I have heard them with Ty Hensley in Oklahoma, who is absolutely a prototypical Logan White pick.
What's wrong with AJ Cole?
Saw him late March, velo was a little light, arm slot was lower. Not sure if that's still the issue.
boardgame talk has slowed from you a bit - less time to play them?
Yes, with all this cross-country travel.
Is it a big deal that Josh Beckett golfed on an off day?
I'm getting a lot of questions I've already answered - please take a quick look at the transcript so far, as I may have gotten to that subject already. Thanks.
Any thoughts on the Astro's unpaid internship that's looking for skills that normally require a 50k+ salary?
I haven't seen this listing, but MLB's use of unpaid interns is going to come under some scrutiny sooner or later.
Thoughts on Anthony Bass?
Outside of Petco more of a back-end guy.
Is adam dunn back or are we just seeing a dead-cat bounce here?
I think last year was the fluke. He's got a couple of good years left in him.
When is MLB going to wake up and realize that a 5 game suspension for a starting pitcher is meaningless and will not change behavior?
Or maybe they know that and like the PR value of the 5-game suspension.
Would drafting Richie Schaffer at 8 be an overdraft? An occasional all-star with the ability to hit doesn't sound all bad.
Why am I taking up a rotation spot?
To give meaning to beat writers' otherwise empty lives.
Mychael Givens is really struggling down in A ball. What was your take on him out of the draft?
Preferred him as a pitcher.
Will Ike Davis have to shorten his swing to be successful? Can he? If I see one more off-balanced swing on a breaking ball...
I want to cut him some slack after he had Valley Fever this spring - can be a long time till he gets all his strength back.
Any chance a college bat other than Zunino goes ahead of Marrero?
What do you think about Jose Altuve?
I think he'll hit for average (.300+) with doubles power, wish he walked more. Wasn't going to hit .380 all year.
Keith - was glad to see Ruhlman's 20 get the appreciating it deserves, and thanks for being out in front of that - I picked it up on your recommendation. I love the vast majority of the recipes I've made so far, but I have one question - Have you actually tried the bacon in water prep method? Can't see how it makes bacon better after 2-3x trying it. Am I missing something?
I think it makes the bacon less tough, and reduces the chances of burning it.
Which prospects would you put the "future perennial all-star" tag on? Machado? Profar? Myers?
Bundy, Machado, Profar for sure. Probably Myers too.
Time to go from D. Espinosa to S Lombardozzi?
I'm hardly the world's biggest Espinosa fan, but that's an overreaction to a small sample.
Can you assess Matt Davidson today relative to Paul Goldschmidt a year ago?
Davidson's a better hitter with less raw power and a very good chance to stay at third base.
Have you ever eaten at Cibo pizza? I think it is near you.
Yes. Second-best pizza in the area, behind Bianco, comparable to 'Pomo.
Is D'arnaud THAT much better than JPA. Would he be better used as a trade chip instead of going through the pains of a rookie C all over again?
Yes, he is.
Yeah Klaw! I got the W! In general, what's your thought on position players pitching- entertaining, or should the Monday starters just have been brought in?
Baylor has had an impressive run over the last two months dominating the Big XII. Any intriguing prospects there?
No. Good college team.
Re: unpaid internships-Its not just MLB. Its the new indentured servitude
This is true. I have to think at some point there's a big lawsuit over this.
The Cubs don't seem to be getting their major league roster to take more pitches. How does an organization emphasize patience?
Get new players.
Miguel Sano has been hitting well so far. How concerned should we be about the strikeouts?
Ton of Sano questions today, but aside from SSS, you'll probably just have to accept the high K totals as part of who he is. He's talented enough to hit for an acceptable average (high BABIP) despite that, but it does limit his ceiling slightly.
Is there something mechanical that the Orioles are having Bundy work on at Delmarva? Just looking at the numbers (admittedly just 20IP) I cannot imagine what he is learning there.
They claim they have some plan to have him work on his changeup, which he could just as easily have done at high-A or AA. Kiley saw him last week and said he threw virtually no cutters (his best offspeed pitch) ... plus the criticism I've made before about Bundy not having to turn a lineup over three times = I don't get it either.
Do you get more asinine stuff thrown at you on here or on twitter?
There's far more whining about my supposed biases on Twitter. My only bias is against raging stupidity.
Will whomever the Astros pick automatically become the best prospect in their organization?
Most likely, yes.
do you see AA going with BPA with the Jay's picks in the top 60. Any other insight into what the Jays may do?
I can't imagine they veer away from that. They've built a great farm system by drafting high-upside guys. Why change now?
What are your thoughts on Nick Franklin? He's hitting well and Brenden Ryan isn't. Do you expect to see him up this year?
I am probably in the minority, but I think Franklin at least has a chance to stay at SS. I'd love to see him up in the second half if he keeps hitting, although his inability to hit LHP is becoming a real concern.
Obviously it depends on who the Pirates do select, but where would you estimate their first round pick this year to slot into their prospect rankings?
No higher than third.
can jedd gyorko stick at 2b? does that move say anything about headley and/or spangenberg's future?
I really doubt this. Wrong body type, feet don't work well enough laterally for it. Plus, why incur the added injury risk?
Speaking of raging stupidity. Miguel Tejada.
Great to see Matt Wieters is no longer one of the biggest draft busts of all time. Also nice to see he's magically changed from a "slow bat" to legit middle-of-the-order hitter. Baseball writers are so funny....
thoughts on Albert Almora? Projection?
Scouting report on him (and on 21 other draft prosepcts) already posted.
There are a number of lawsuits from unpaid interns now in the magazine biz (vs Harper's), tv (vs Charlie Rose) and movie (Fox Searchlight) and there's a big controversy in the visual effects biz with Digital Domain starting a college where students pay big $ and then work for free as unpaid labor at their facility. So inevitable that sports will follow suit and I think that eventually unpaid internships will go away.
Good. There's no reason a team with a $100 million player payroll paying $800K or more to its GM can't find $100K in the budget to pay 4-5 interns a living wage. They don't have to because of supply and demand, but that doesn't make it fair or legal.
Thanks for all the questions - I'll be back for another chat next week, will be on ESPNU on the pre- and post-game shows tonight (7 pm EDT pregame), and I'll have a projected first round up on Tuesday. Hoping to sleep somewhere in there too.