Full focus with no distraction. It's Klawchat.
Has anyone pointed out to Jeff Francouer how Mark Trumbo took the criticism of his free-swinging ways to heart and changed his approach at the plate? And the results he's been rewarded with?
Has Trumbo, though? He's still hitting, but he's stopped walking. Something has to give - either the approach improves, or pitchers will start working him outside the zone again.
Is any of the available pitching on the trade market worth me giving up any of my big 4 pitching prospects (Sanchez, Syndergard, Nicolino, Norris)?
Why would you do that?
Can you please try and explain to me why the Blue Jays do not trade for a starter that can get them through the season rather than filling from within with prospects going up and down their system? Or even sign a free agent, such as Livian Hernandez? This is driving all Jays fans nuts!!!
If you think that's a good idea, you were already nuts.
Keith ... Always appreciate the chats. How has Gyorko fared at 2B since the position switch? Where do you see him playing in San Diego?
Talked to a scout who saw him there and said he was surprisingly capable. I still think he's better off at third base given the injury risk at second and his lack of agility, but it sounds like he's at least a 45 defender there.
Do you think Darwin Barney should be a part of the Cubs future? He seems to be steadily improving.
No. And his OBP is actually 2 points below where it was last year.
How many guys taken in the first round will be their organization's top prospect?
I wrote a piece on that the Thursday right after the draft: http://klaw.me/KXstzQ
Would trading one of their prospects for a starter be worth it for the Braves? maybe Tehran and some parts for Garza?
Yes, I understand Theo sent a mass email to the other 29 GMs asking if they had "some parts" they could send him for Garza.
I know he's probably too old to be a top-flight prospect, but does Red Sox OF Juan Carlos Linares have a chance to be a solid big leaguer (maybe a 4th OF)?
Yes, solid 4th outfielder outcome is most likely.
Donn Roach just got promoted to AA. What is his ceiling?
Maybe 5th starter. Probably reliever.
What are you hearing on Puig? Is he better than Soler or likely to get more money (assuming he signs before July 2)? How can he possibly get signed before July 2 when it took Soler so long to be signable?
Nothing on Puig. No one's seen him play - he tried to defect before so Cuba held him out of international events for a while. I held off on offering an opinion on Soler until he signed because by that point plenty of evaluators had seen him (and one sent me some good video too). I'll do the same with Puig rather than offer something likely to be inaccurate.
The Rockies are really, really bad. That is all.
They're about 40 games under .500 since the 2010 All-Star Break. And yet the manager was promised employment until the heat death of the universe.
Do you still see Jason Heyward as a future All-Star? How impressed have you been with Simmons?
Yes, I do. Not at all.
I think Lincecum must be hurt, although everybody on the Giants says he isn't. What do you think?
Hurt, or just worn down. Might never be the same guy again, but plenty of pitchers develop second acts with reduced stuff by changing approach or changing roles.
Keith, what's going on w Shelby Miller? STL writers note a reluctance to commit to improving secondary pitches needed for success at ML level. Is that common among young pitchers or is this a real cause for concern?
Velocity down all year. Not sure what the explanation is, but I can't fault the Cards for not bringing him up.
Isn't it interesting how quickly the "steroids are ruining the game!" crowd has shut up now that Braun is having the best year of his career and Freddy Galvis has proven again that steroids don't give players superpowers?
If you're implying that those fanatics were relying on an intellectually vacuous argument ... you are correct.
When you evaluate pitching prospects, I notice that you talk about command, control, break, stuff, missing bats but you fail to mention the ability to just win games. For example, Ivan Nova just wins games, despite propensity to give up home runs and not miss that many bats. Just thought you might want to consider just winning games going forward.
It's been a long time since I assessed a $5 fine for Klawbaiting, but I might have to bust that out this one time.
What do you think of Wilmer Flores making the Futures game? I've never been sold on him as a top prospect
I would have preferred Marte.
Hi Klaw, so this is what Dodger fans were waiting for, years of not being spenders in Free Agency so we could give Ethier 15 mil per? I like Ethier, but not at that price tag. Give it to me straight, how bad is the deal?
Do you have any thoughts on Thornburg's first start against Toronto? Too many fastballs, not enough off-speed stuff? Ceiling? Thanks.
It's just one game, but he showed the flaws that have always led me to project him as a reliever. Flat fastball, high slot, going to be flyball- and thus homer-prone. Put him in the pen, let him blow at 95+, and he could have some real value.
The Nats can't possibly hold Strasburg to 160 innings this year, can they? Would it be prudent for them to skip a few starts, particularly around the all star game, so that he can be available to pitch bigger games at the end of the year and possibly in the postseason?
I think that's what will ultimately happen.
What's the scouting report on Omar Luis Rodriguez, the 19 year-old the Yankees just signed?
Not great. Bad body guy with mediocre arm speed who'll need some delivery help. Scouts I talked to were surprised he got as much as he did. You can improve the body (but not the lack of athleticism) and you can clean up the delivery, but it'll be hard to speed that arm up.
Who do you consider the best defensive SS in MLB today? And do you think Simmons has the potential to be the best?
On tools alone, it's Simmons.
Soooo, how bout that Jim Wolf? Do you think someone somewhere is programming robots? I hope so.
MLB should just set up a Twitter account where, each morning, they acknowledge all the egregiously blown calls from the night before.
hey Klaw, Four man rotations, good idea???
Yes, if implemented correctly - that is, by someone other than Dim Tracy.
Colby Rasmus: hot streak from a streaky player, or the emergence of the wonderful butterfly from the cocoon?
Well, his bat *was* hidden for more than two weeks...
When is an updated top 100 prospect list coming out?
January. I do shorter updates during the season, including a fresh top 50 during the All-Star Break.
I get the sense that you really don't like Stanford's approach to either hitters or pitchers Plus you seem to think that all college coaches abuse pitchers. If you had a son who had D-1 potential, where you have him set his sights?
Correct on stanford. I do not think "all" college coaches abuse pitchers, but you have to be delusional to ignore the clear incentives they have to push pitchers beyond what is reasonable for their long-term development. There are programs that do a good job of developing kids - Vanderbilt does, UVA usually does, even LSU outside of the Gausman thing has been very good with this - but if my hypothetical son was drafted high enough for a solid 6-figure bonus, I'd have him sign.
What is Valdespin's ceiling?
Unless he overhauls his swing and approach I see no role for him.
Was down in Charleston to see the Sally All-star game and was impressed by Bryan Mitchell. Had a 93-96 FB and a hard curve. Seems like he could be a solid back-end starter or a solid reliever. What are your thoughts on him ?
Yep, chance to be even more than that.
How does ASU rate as a baseball school? We seem to be good most years but I don't hear of many ASU players in the MLB (Obviously, Bonds was an alumni).
The local scouts call it MLB U, because it just produces big leaguers.
Matt Barnes is tearing up High A, how long before they should bump him up to Portland?
He hasn't been there very long; wouldn't hurt to have him face a few teams twice so he makes more adjustments.
Hultzen just got promoted to AAA - what kind of impact will he have in the majors this year? Long-term #1-2?
Long term #3, but gets to that point very quickly.
Hi Keith, What is different about RA Dickey's knuckler then others before him? Can he keep this pace up? I've never seen dominance like this from a knuckler.
It's harder, and he can throw it for strikes more than most knuckleballers can. It's pretty amazing to watch, but he is essentially unprojectable because he's so unusual and the pitch itself is so uncommon.
With the emergence of Robbie Ross in the Rangers bullpen, and more than likely becoming a starter next year. Do you see this as a viable option for teams with SP prospects moving into the future?
Astros did it with a bunch of guys in the '90s with success (Reynolds, Hampton; even Oswalt had 8 relief outings in 2001 before moving to the rotation). Earl Weaver always recommended it as a way to break young starters into the majors. I'm still astounded we see almost no teams using it as part of their normal developmental process.
Cards did the BP first route with Wainwright. It worked out ok.
This is a tough question to answer, but what projected starters started out in the pen and then suffered for it?
Derrick Norris got promoted to majors today and put into the starting lineup. What can we expect with him long term?
Patience, power, and a strong CS%.
Daniel Bard started out in the pen and look what happened to him
He wasn't a projected starter when he reached the majors, though.
Joba started in the pen and suffered for it. Or so Yankee fans like to think.
He started in the pen, then went back there again ... and again ... and again
Are the rookie leagues, like the Arizona League, a typical landing spot for high schoolers from the 2011 draft? Cub fans are disappointed that both Maples and Vogelbach are in AZ rather than Boise. My impression is that this is the norm for raw players.
Depends on the player. The earlier signing date should make that less common for guys the year after they're drafted. That said, neither Maples nor Vogelbach was or is that good of a prospect, so I'm not shocked.
I know this is a little old,but I saw that Stony Brook pitcher Tyler Johnson threw 356 pitches over a 9 day stretch. I am not necessarily a fan of Stony Brook,but it is still sad to see this nonsense happening,these college coaches with little or no regard for these pitchers futures.
Yep. It's a function of incentives. Coaches are paid to win, and if they win, they get more money and/or better jobs. Behavioral economics 101.
Any thoughts on Gary Brown and Joe Panik? Appears they've regressed a bit this year.
Panik hasn't regressed - he overachieved last summer against younger competition. Brown's faceplant is one of the more surprising down performances of the year, and I say that as someone who thought his ceiling wasn't that high.
Keith, I have wondered this about the sac-bunt: does the fact that the sac-bunt reduces the # of runs expected automatically mean that it reduces the probability of scoring one run? Or are those two separate questions? And if they're two separate questions, does sac-bunting reduce the probability of scoring one run?
Two separate questions. In general, bunting with 1st/2nd and 0 outs brings a small advantage, but in most other situations, a successful bunt hurts both your chances of scoring multiple runs and your chances of scoring at all.
In regards to Gausman relieving Game 1 of the super regional and then starting Game 2 30-40 minutes later, doesn't Gausman have some say in whether he's ok with that? Doesn't make the coach's decision correct or defensible, but if Gausman's arm was sore or he thought it wouldn't work or be a good idea, can't he put his foot down and say "no, I'm just going to pitch the 2nd game?"
Think of the consequences of that - and whether, at 21 years old, you were confident enough to stand up to a respected adult (or group of adults) in that way, while then facing the scorn of your teammates in a culture that rewards "toughness."
Pitch counts are a relatively new thing. Not all pitches are created equal. Is it too much to ask coaches to simply watch their pitchers and pull them when they start to labor versus when they reach some artificial barrier?
Every coach should be doing that, but many don't. And that's not just college coaches. Dusty Baker's got a long history of running arms into the ground.
Also re bunt: It is not automatic which escapes managers minds more often than not
The manager/coach needs to consider 1) the likelihood the player actually gets the bunt down successfully but also 2) the likelihood the defense makes the play successfully.
What will it take for Andy Pettitte to get in the HOF? If he can continue this pace for the next year and a half, is that enough?
With two perfect games on the books and 5 no hitters so far, will there be double digit no-hitters this year and how many more perfect games will be tossed?
No. Clustering is normal in random distributions. Like the recent run of big league pitchers having TJ surgery - it's not an epidemic, it's just that these events are not going to be uniformly distributed over time.
Archer was solid last night - if he holds his own, could he stay in the rotation when Hellickson returns from DL?
Potentially, but command has always been an issue for him. If he even develops average command you might have a #2 starter there. And I do think it's possible that he will develop that in time.
How many more wins does Pettitte need to get into the HOF?
THAT is Klawbaiting.
Re: TJ surgery non-epidemic. Using that logic, though, you could never locate an epidemic. So how do we know for sure there has been no significant rise in such injuries?
You'd need a larger sample of time. It's not like torn ligaments are contagious.
In a recent Olney column, a scout compared Mike Trout to Rickey Henderson? You're thoughts? Does Trout stay in the lead-off position throughout his career, or is he a better bet as a 3/4 hitter?
I'm sorry, cross-racial comparisons are simply not allowed.
(That was sarcasm, by the way. That would be a bad comment to have misinterpreted.)
7 no hitters were thrown in both 1990 and 1991. It just happens.
Yep. And then we had a stretch of several years without one, if I remember correctly.
Trout is a joy to watch though isn't he? Remind me again why he started the year in the minors.
Because Tony Reagins had the brain-cramp of a lifetime.
Honest question, but does it sometimes bother you that you are required for your job to point out failings of kids? You're studying players with more athletic talent than 99% of the general population, and some of them are probably great human beings, yet your job still necessitates your criticizing their weaknesses.
Yes. I find it much easier to analyze pro players for that very reason.
Tony Reagins was fired last year. Hard to believe he made the dcision to keep Trout down in the spring.
Keith,Any Appel update regarding the status of his signing? Assuming it will go down to the last few minutes of the deadline? Thanks for your time.
I wouldn't expect anything on him until the 13th.
Re: Frequency of no hitters and epidemics. Arguing that the amount of recent no hitters or TJ surgeries indicates that there is some sort of trend/epidemic or will necessarily be more is like arguing that a guy with three home runs through the first three games of the season is on pace for 162 home runs...how do people not see this?
Because people see meaning in randomness all the time. This is why there are still idiots out there who won't vaccinate their kids for fear of autism.
Why hasn't Gary Sanchez been promoted?
Charleston hosted the Sally League All-Star Game - I'm assuming the Yankees didn't promote Sanchez or Austin before that because they wanted their players from that roster to appear in that game.
Any tips for searing fish in a cast iron pan/skillet?
Very hot, with enough oil to prevent sticking. Pat the fish dry first, then season right before searing. Don't attempt to move it until the sear is done (usually two minutes or so if you've done it right).
If Appel DOES sign, starts in A+? 2014 a reasonable estimate? Thanks for the chat KLaw.
If I'm Appel (or his father), I push the Pirates for a side letter (which is illegal, but they happen all the time) that mandates a callup this year so he's on the 40-man. It's way around the bonus caps, and in Appel's case, justifiable because he's already showing big league stuff.
Do you think Jackie Bradley Jr. has a chance to crack your midseason top 50 (that is assuming you'll have a midseason top 50)?
I will have one, and he'll be a candidate.
Brandon Belt looks much more comfortable now that he did 6 weeks ago. Wouldn't you put him 2nd in the order, right in front of Melky, Buster and the Panda? Oh, wait, Theriot's scrappiness profiles perfectly for a "traditional" #2 hitter.
My concern there is that Bochy will put Belt second, Belt will go 0-for-5, and then Bochy will bench him for a month.
Any thoughts on all these "assembly line" restaurants (Chipotle, Shophouse, Chop't, Sweet Green, etc.) Any ranking?
I respect Chipotle for their commitment to sourcing sustainable and often local ingredients, but I'm not a huge fan of the food itself - I find it very salty and often too garlicky.
Harvey, Famiglia, Wheeler where do you see their ceilings?
2/3 starter, reliever (he's not Italian, though; if he was, I'd like him more), 1/2 starter.
What's up with Logan Morrison? He seems to have regressed.
I think the knee/leg issues have really sapped his power.
Did you see Yadi Molina become this kind of offensive player?
Keith, love your work and chats. There are three players you have, in the not too distant past, beem a bit down on, long term. Melky Cabrera, Gio Gonzalez, Mark Trumbo. All three are having great years. Do you think all/either of them has turned a corner on their careers? Or they just off too hot starts and soon will be back to earth? As for Melky, he's well into a second productive year. Thanks.
Gio does look like a different guy this year - I discussed why on today's podcast. Trumbo I touched on earlier. Melky's a BABIP fluke - not walking more, not hitting for more power, but picked up 70 points of BABIP. I do not believe he has evolved into the kind of hitter who can sustain that kind of batting average on contact.
Most dominant draft prospect you ever saw? Porcello?
Dominant at the time? Strasburg.
I don't mean to be facetious, but how could so many teams have passed on Mike Trout? (By the way, he was in AAA because he was sick before the season started)
Tough guy to scout. Played bad competition in southern Jersey, just a few years after Billy Rowell came out of there and completely flopped with the bat, which I think raised concerns about other position players from that area. It was also a very wet spring in the northeast and even though Trout's coach was extremely responsible, even aggressive, about keeping scouts apprised of their schedule, it was still hard to get in and see him. And finally, evaluating a prep position player's approach might be the hardest part of scouting those players, and Trout's best skill might be his unbelievable plate discipline.
Seems like you've slowed down on reviewing books on the dish. Are you reading less these days, burned out on reviewing books, or just too busy (or all of the above)?
Been very busy with travel, draft, etc. Still reading. Due for several posts on the dish, hoping to get something up tonight.
Looks like a decent start at AA for Cole. Do you think he starts 2013 in the big leagues? Seems like he's moved up slower than the other college arms in the 2011 draft.
I think the Pirates did the right thing with Cole, starting him at A+ with orders to work on his fastball command and on developing the slider.
OK, need to grab some lunch here. I'll be on ESPNU tonight after the third game (Arkansas vs South Carolina, most likely). Today's podcast is up at http://espn.go.com/espnradio/play?id=8081222. And if I have any other links before Twitter is resurrected, I'll post them on my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/KeithLawWriter. Thanks for all the questions.