Sorry, was busy making my voice heard via #VoteTheriLOL tweets.
Hey Keith, always love the chats.What do you think of AJ Griffin? He kind of came out of nowhere but he seems solid unless there's something I don't know.
Wouldn't say he's out of nowhere - I ranked him in the top 100 out of the draft in his year - good deception guy, nothing plus, very aggressive approach. Probably not a starter for every club/every park but can be a solid back-end guy for Oakland.
At what point are unsuspecting teams like the Pirates considered legitimate contenders? They showed last July how quickly a team can collapse. Have they made enough improvements to stick around this year?
Better team this year, not a contender. Schedule's helped them the last few weeks. I went into this on the podcast today, but I would hate to see them deal any of their prospect depth for an abortive run at a playoff spot this year.
Re Appel - do you think the deal is "sign the rest of your top 10, add the under-amount spent to our slot and we're done"?
I don't think there's any deal in place, and as of right now I don't think that would get him signed. Given what I know of next year's draft class, it would be easy for him to say he'd be the top guy next year, so why should he sign for half that dollar figure (or less) now?
What do you make of Dan O'Dowd's comments that "Nolan Arenado's maturity level has not yet reached his talent level?" Do you think he really meant that the way it sounds?
Lines up with what I've heard from scouts who've seen him this year.
What's the scouting report on Sam Dyson?
Throws hard (when not hurt), no out pitch, horrible track record of health, but suddenly an extreme groundballer. There's a role for a guy like that, but not many managers who can find a way to use a player like that who doesn't fit the standard reliever molds.
So the NFL announces that fans in stadium will get to see the replays as the referee watches them, where as MLB continues to insist its fans dont want it. How much more Selig do I have to take??
The problem that will eventually force MLB's hand is that fans in stadiums will increasingly be able to watch replays immediately on their mobile devices anyway. You can't fight technology forever.
Who do you see as Boston's Shortstop of the future, Marrero, Iglesias, or Tzu-Wei Lin? Thanks
Hamels for Olt and other prospects. Good trade?
For the Phillies, sure. Insane for the Rangers.
Allen Craig can just flat out rake, no question.
Should be on the NL's bench over LaHair.
Hi Keith, have you seen Alex Meyer this year or heard any recent scouting reports? What kind of ceiling does he have?
As much as I like Meyer, and have heard that the stuff is right where it was last spring, he's an SEC product in low-A. Nothing he does down there really tells us anything about him as a prospect (unless he stunk, that would have told us something).
Is this just a really hot streak for Rasmus or is he going to reach his ceiling?
I am optimistic.
Keith, what info can you give us on the two prospects the Astros got for Carlos Lee? Given his lack of power I'm surprised they got anything.
They didn't really. Dominguez is a 70 or 80 defender who can't recognize an offspeed pitch. Rasmussen has average stuff with below-average command; I think he could be a good reliever with a plus slider in that spot, but as a starter he might not even be a 5. It's a good return for three months of a corpse, but that's about it.
When you hear rumblings about maturity issues with Nolan Arenado or Shelby Miller, how do you decide what facts are appropriate to share with the fans?
Depends on what I hear and, more importantly, from whom I hear it.
Read an article saying Lee didn't have to approve the trade to the Marlins since they weren't on a no trade list. Isn't he a 10-5 guy making him eligible to veto every trade? Or can I player sign away his 10-5 rights somehow? Thanks.
Lee did sign those away in his deal with Houston in exchange for modified no-trade rights.
re Appel - because it costs him a year of his career - time value of life.
Begging the question.
Are you going to the Futures Game, and if so, who are you intrigued about seeing?
I am, and I wrote about that question when they announced the rosters, with another preview piece coming tomorrow.
When's the deadline to sign Rule 4 draft picks?
Brandon Crawford is hitting .240 through half the season. Surprised?
Yes. I thought he'd be worse.
Cubs are sending Jorge Soler out here for his "spring training" basically - are those games watchable anywhere out here in AZ? Would love to go see what Soler really has after all this chatter about him.
Yes, they're usually on minor league fields (not always) and I believe are open to the public. I don't think he's playing in a game until at least the end of next week, though.
Would Marte be a good idea right now for the Pirates, or do you prefer going with Hernandez while Tabata figures some things out at AAA.
The overrating of Marte based on a few good weeks mystifies me. His plate discipline has always been a weakness and that hasn't changed. Do you want him to come up and post a .280 OBP? What reason would we have to think the pitch recognition issues will improve when he's facing better pitchers? I'd rather give him more time in AAA to work on that hole in his game.
You talked about Hultzen on the Fantasy podcast and his "new" fastball. If his fastball does sit 92-95, where does that put his ceiling? Future ace?
I mentioned one report that he had touched 96 - not that he has a new fastball. Churchill was at his last start in Tacoma and had him mostly 91-93. I still see a #3 ceiling.
Will James Ramsey be able to stick in center field?
I don't think so.
Can David Phelps be a regular 4/5 starter?
Not in the AL East, certainly.
Hey Keith is there anything you see in Trevor Plouff to make you think he can keep this up or is he probably Mark Trumbo light?
Power is real. He's not the next Jose Bautista.
Who is the impact Pirate prospect who splashes first?
hultzen at 91-93 is comparable to hamels when he was a prospect in my mind. what makes him a lesser prospect?
Hamels had a way better changeup. Not comparable.
Your take on those who want the fences moved in at Safeco Field?
I generally hate those "we can't put together a good enough team, so let's change the stadium" arguments ... but what if that is legitimately why so many good position player prospects (Ackley, Smoak, Montero) are failing to develop in Seattle?
should the cubs be worried about the lack of diolague re: alberto almorra?
No. Nothing matters until the 13th. If he's not signed on the 14th, then they should worry.
Chances we see Stroman in Toronto's bullpen this September?
At least 50/50.
Adam Warren, non-prospect?
I'd put him in the pen.
What is the ceiling and floor for Detroit prospect Nick Castellanos? Better to hold him, or trade for a power hitting outfielder?
Keep him. Potential middle of the order bat.
O's reportedly considering promoting Machado to AAA. Too soon?
Too soon. No rush.
Why isn't Addison Reed dominating?
He's been pretty good, no? Expecting too much?
Ryan Wheeler have a chance to succeed in the MLB? Would he at least be better than Ryan Roberts?
Not a third baseman for me.
SSS still with the O's? Toughest schedule in baseball so far and a plethora of injuries and still holding strong. Hard to see them holding on for another half season though.
They've been fading for 6-7 weeks now.
Will you be putting out an updated prospect list around the All-Star Break?
Better future: Olt or Castellanos?
So I don't understand, The White Sox have the worst farm system in baseball but yet are a 1st place team with 10 rookies and several in-house developed vets like Sale and Beckham, how do you defend yourself?
I actually thought this was a serious question until I saw "and Beckham." Well done.
Tillman was outstanding yesterday. Is it time to let him sink or swim?
I'm not saying he hasn't figured it out, but maybe we can wait till he faces a big league lineup first.
In your opinion, which website better calculates WAR? There are some big differences on certain players between FanGraphs and Baseball Reference, especially on defense.
I prefer Fangraphs because I think their defensive metric of choice is better, and because they base pitcher WAR on peripherals.
"Player A is a 5 time all star pitcher who throws 95 and is left handed. Player B is a minor league pitcher who throws 95 and is left handed, they obviously are a perfect comparison, right?" Is that the most annoying type of question you get a lot?
It's not annoying, just unrealistic. If I say so-and-so is a #4 starter, be happy. Those guys are hard to find.
With the new CBA, doesn't it seem almost silly to be worried that Almora might not sign? There's very little chance he's going to move up in the draft significantly in 3 years with only 5 spots ahead of him. And the most appealing part of his game (unusual polish for a high schooler) isn't as likely to be unique when compared to college players the next time he's draft eligible. Boras knows all this, so it's probably doubtful he's going to do anything but recommend strongly that he sign.
Three years? Go to junior college for a year and come out as the potential top overall pick in 2013.
There's actually a huge incentive to be the last unsigned elite guy in the draft this year. Any one of Appel, Almora, or Gausman would be the best guy in next year's draft for me, at least right now. If one doesn't sign, or is the last unsigned guy, his leverage is significant. But if all three should fail to sign, the strategy is a flop.
Thoughts on ChiSox "Kiddie" pen? I know Crain's on the DL for the time being, but when was the last time a contender had a bullpen of all rookies but one?
I love that they're open to using rookies in relief roles rather than continuing to overpay the Linebrinks of the world. Very few teams have the courage to do that.
Can the Nats keep this up or is it 2005 redux?
Much better team this time around.
Pitcher's peaks typically come a little earlier, no? So wouldn't it behoove guys like Gausman and Appel to sign, more so than Almora? They'd arguably be losing a year of their MLB careers. Or am I analyzing this all wrong?
Pitchers' peaks don't follow any pattern I know of. But there is a higher risk of a career-ending or -altering injury, so I think maximizing the immediate payout for a pitcher is more important ... as is ensuring that there's any payout at all.
Hey Keith. Do you know anything about the 17 year-old Dominican kid that the Braves have in the GCL, LHP Luis Merejo? Looks advanced for his age.
"Looks advanced," meaning you've seen him, or are scouting a stat line? He's actually a guy, up to 93 with an above average change and some feel for a breaking ball.
To follow up on the White Sox bullpen question, doesn't that show how much of a crapshoot bullpens can be? Fernando Rodney has accumulated roughly 2/3 of his career WAR this season. When will teams stop paying top dollar for bullpen pieces?
Does the track record of success for pitchers once they leave Colorado (Hammel, Morales for example) demonstrate the lack of development skills in the Rockies coaches, or that ptichers simply cannot fare well in CO?
Who is closer to the majors: Matt Davidson, Mike Olt or Nick Castellenos?
Olt and Davidson are much closer than Castellanos.
Talk of the Sox trading Lavarnway. How much do you think they can get in return? What is Lavarnway's ceiling?
I think he's probably a DH/1b/emergency C.
Pedro Alvarez...Another hot month or actually developing?
He's done this before.
You discussed A.J. Griffin earlier - how about Dan Straily? How does he project as a major league pitcher? Thanks.
Maybe a mid-rotation guy.
T.Moore get more action in Washington as season goes along?
The more he plays, the more his weaknesses will be exposed.
A. Hanson is having a strong year with the bat but I've heard multiple times that he may have to move of SS. Is this due to his body type, poor defense or a combination of both? If you agree, where do you think he'll end up on the field?
He's a shortstop.
Meaning, he stays at shortstop.
Harvey, Familia, Wheeler: Who steps out of the bullpen 1st in Queens in a few months, you think? Moreover, is it the right move?
Eric and I discussed this at length on today's podcast - check it out.
Speaking of Castellanos, he is not walking (at all) since moving to AA. Product of adjusting to the new level of competition or is it just common for plate discipline not to translate levels?
He's really young, and it's 100 PA.
What are your thoughts on Tyler Austin as a prospect? I know he made your "ones to watch" list earlier this year. Can he be a legit middle of the order bat?
I'm all in. He's good.
Soler vs Puig, who has the biggest upside and when will they make it to "The show"
Soler. Both years away. Really did not hear a positive thing on Puig. Hoping to see both this summer when they start playing.
Your take on the A's minor league coach who was banned for a year for telling position players to intentionally balk in the 17th and 18th innings of a game out of fear of injury?
The Cal League Commissioner clearly was desperate for attention. What a comical overreaction to a coach acting in the parent club's best interests.
I understand that minor league teams want to win because it's good for the bottom line, but the major league team is paying your biggest expense. Their needs come first.
Vitters apparently has shown a little life lately. Is there any hope left for him or should I close the book on him?
His main flaw as a pro has always been the complete lack of patience/plate discipline. That's really not any better this year. And I say that as someone who raved about him out of the draft and would still call it one of the best-looking RH swings I have ever seen.
So you're saying Tyler Moore won't be a good Major Leaguer? Yeah he strikes out, but he also hits a lot of dingers. You hate the Nats, we get it.
And down goes another kitten...
I am pretty sure i know the answer. Should the Rockies just blow things up from the front office down?
This club as currently constructed is not winning anything. I think it's a rebuild situation.
Regarding a guy like Alvarez (who has been reasonably productive if you look at his season numbers) who is really streaky: would you rather have someone who was steady all season long or a guy who's boom or bust like Alvarez if their numbers at season's end turned out the same?
Value is value whether it's uniformly distributed or not. But I'd also want to see if the streakiness was caused by something else - say, a player's inability to hit certain kinds of pitching. Maybe you can deploy him differently to extract more value overall from the lineup spot.
Have you heard any reports that say Adam Conley can start
Yes, up to 96 again with much better offspeed.
It's a small sample size, but Wilmer Flores has hit well at AA since being promoted. Do you see him as just a solid starting position player in the major's or could he be a possible all-star?
Positive sign, but yes, very small sample. If he can stay at third, he's got a 55 ceiling; in an outfield corner he might be more solid-average.
Just admit it and save us all some time - you hate everyone.
No, just you.
Wil Myers... I don't have insider so can you summarize why he is so special. Thanks
Just slide a quarter in one of those slots on the side of your computer and I'd be happy to answer.
Is Oscar Tavares the best hitter in the minors right now?
Is Billy Hamilton's future in LF? Does he have arm enough to play CF? It is hard to ignore those errors when projecting him -- I am assuming he can't stick in the IF at the show.
Centerfield for me. Arm will never be great, but he's got everything else. I wouldn't rule out 2b, though.
Jeimer Candelario for the Cubs. Is he just a guy? Some upside? He's become the hot sleeper prospect for a lot of Cub fans, it seems.
Not 'just a guy' for me - legit.
When people speak of a split/change, they really mean forkball, right? Do you consider it a viable change?
Different grips. Split-changes are great if you can throw it for a strike. A lot of guys can't keep the splitter or split-change in the zone. Not as bad as the spike curveball (a.k.a., knuckle-curve), but still an issue.
Any thoughts on Joey Gallo so far with the Rookie Rangers? Got him signed and seems to be a steal now
I liked him a lot, but major SSS issues here.
When do you expect Kolten Wong to make his MLB debut?
Second half of next year.
Taylor Lindsay or Alex Yarborough?
Lindsay for me.
Keith, what are your houghts on Nick Tropeano so far
Velocity way up vs college. Granted, Lancaster is hell on pitchers, but I can't take his Sally League stats too seriously and want to see if the fastball/change combo (both flashing plus) works at a level appropriate for his age/experience.
Regarding Vitters lack of patience, it obviously impacts his ceiling, but wouldn't a line of 280/320/460 in the majors still be possible? Decent numbers for a 3B.
For a bad defensive 3b? You're probably looking for an upgrade then. You'd have to hope for more like .300/.335/.500, which isn't a real common offensive profile.
Isn't Bauer a good candidate to learn a cutter?
Yes, because what that guy needs is another pitch.
Lindor moved to the 17th slot on your May prospect list, and you said he may be a top 10 soon. Is this based mostly on his glove or do you see him as having a very good bat relative to other shortstops? How does his offense project relative to Elvis Andrus?
I like his bat more than I liked Andrus' at the same stage of development.
what are your thoughts on Desmond's "All Star" season -- one season fluke?
The power is fluky. Much better defender than he was in the past, though. You're also not going to hear me rave much about a guy with a .309 OBP.
One comment - I'm an Insider subscriber and have been for many years (in large part for your work in recent years), but I just don't enjoy or have time for Podcasts. Is answering a question here that's similar to one on the Podcast really going to negatively impact the Podcast 'ratings?' Thanks
It's managing my own time - trying to cover as much as possible. Repeating myself in multiple places, or across media, doesn't help me get to more questions.
Is Michael Fiers a flash in the pan, or is he a pretty decent 4/5 starter going forward?
Four is probably a best case scenario.
A Cub fan friend of mine was lamenting how his team had lost the Ian Stewart/Tyler Colvin trade. I responded that first of all, there are no winners in an Ian Stewart/Tyler Colvin trade. But second of all, Colvin only faces righties, so of course his stats are going to be inflated because every situation he's put in is one where he has the platoon advantage. How'd I do?
Add Coors Field and we're good.
Do you think Oscar Taveras is a midseason call up in 2013, or does the crowded OF in STL make 2014 more likely?
Very surprised if he's not up next year.
Knowing what you know right now about their respective makeups and health concerns, who would you rather have, Taylor Guerrieri or Lucas Giolito, and why?
Giolito. Makeup and commmand for me.
What do you think of Henry Owens and what is his ceiling
Results are better than the reports. Stuff has been very average, playing up due to deception. Have to hope he picks up velocity as he fills out.
All that said about Desmond, is he really much worse than the current crop of starting SSs in MLB right now?
You could substitute almost any position in that sentence, at least for the NL. Paul Goldschmidt is essentially a platoon guy and he's 2nd or 3rd among NL 1b in WAR. It's crazy.
Klaw, what did you think about the ESPN MLB park poll? What are your favorite parks.
I don't even know what that poll is. PNC Park is my favorite of the 24 current parks I've been to. I'll add Kauffman on Sunday.
Whats the ceiling for Zach Lee, number 1 starter or solid 2/3?
I think he could turn into a 1.
While this trade obviously wouldn't happen this season, do you think an offseason deal that sends built around Andrus and Cruz to Atlanta for Heyward and Simmons would make sense for both teams? Thanks
That's a horrible deal for Atlanta.
How would you handle the Strasburg/Sale inning limit issues, considering both teams are in contention? Pitch them as you would any other starter until a certain point and then shut them down? Skip starts? Put them in the bullpen?
Is Sale on a cap? I just hadn't heard that. I'd be more inclined to skip starts than shut them down entirely.
Is there a significant difference between the Pioneer/Appalachain Rookie Leagues and the "complex" leagues in Arizona and Florida, and what factors do you think go into assigning new signees and/or pro-debut players?
Big gap in caliber of play. The complex leagues are the lowest caliber.
Can Taveras stick in center field?
I think he's a RF in the majors.
Klaw, shouldn't the Marlins have just moved Morrison to 1B instead of trading for Lee? Besides Morrison not belonging in the outfield, anyway, wouldn't that help with his knee injury?
In the abstract, yes, but Morrison's knee is an issue wherever he plays.
Do you think Nick Offerman will finally get an Emmy nomination this year?
I sincerely hope so. What more does that show have to do to earn some recognition there?
What's a good two person board game for my wife and I? Sick of sitting and watching TV, want to engage more. Thanks!
Favorite pure two-player game is Jaipur. Reviewed here: http://klaw.me/erT8n2
Breaking Bad fan? If not, you should get into it.
Watched season one. Was not enamored. The Wire may have ruined TV for me forever.
What are your thoughts on Tommy Joseph? SF really needs to develop a power hitter. Is joseph or even Ricky Oropesa the answer?
Still rough behind the plate, but power is legit. I'm not an Oropesa guy.
Thoughts on Yordano Ventura? He durable enough to start? Ceiling?
Wrote about him last week (Tuesday?). Great arm, no above average second pitch yet.
What's your take on Xavier Avery? Anything more than a 4th outfielder?
No, that's what he is for me.
Obviously SSS aside, Starling looks good through first six games with 5 BBs. You see a patient hitter here with long-term high OBP?
I wouldn't infer that from the tiny sample. A good sign, yes, but not a long-term indicator. Just good that he's not hacking up a storm, especially given his age.
Is Lincecum DONE? All downhill from here for the 2-time Cy Young Winner?
Too pessimistic. And (now I'm repeating myself) I wonder if there's a second act for him in relief if he's really done as a starter.
Is Miley from Ariz legit, or is it a case of SSS?
I don't think he's an ace, but he could be an above-average starter, or at least solid average, for several years.
With the White Sox having so many rookies on their pitching staff now (7), should I be expecting many of them to fall on their face? or was the reason their farm ranking so poor due to their only decent prospects being bullpen arms?
Correct on the farm system ranking.
ok im feeling a lil slow refresh me on SSS if you would please?
Small Sample Size.
Does Trevor Bauer shut down the Dodgers this weekend, you think? Their lineup is very weak.
Well, it's like demoting him to the minors for a day for an outing to work on some things. If he still won't attack hitters in 3-ball counts, then we may have a real problem.
That Tabata contract is looking pretty bad now, eh?
Klaw, I can't help but think you'd make a great political analyst. Do you get involved in politics at all? I'd love to see you in a debate on cable news!
I never discuss politics or religion in any forum, not on ESPN, on Twitter, on the dish, anywhere. (Except the politics of food, which is more about the food than the politics anyway.)
Who are your top 5 pitching prospects in the minors? Do you see Cole and/or Taillon with the big team at some point next season? Thanks!
Top 50 prospects update coming next Thursday.
What's your favorite "non-traditional" food to grill?
Corn on the cob, husked, grilled over direct heat to brown the kernels. Top with a little homemade mayo, some crumbled cotija cheese, and a sprinkle of smoked Spanish paprika.
Thoughts on Brennan Boesch?
.262/.317/.418 career hitter now in the majors. I could see that as his true talent level.
Thoughts on Jon Jay?
If he's really a .350 BABIP guy, then solid everyday player. I'll admit I never saw that coming, but he's at .347 through almost 1000 major league PA. He just doesn't do anything else well - isn't patient, doesn't have power, not a good defender in CF - but consistently high batting averages cover a lot of sins.
Is Kirk Neiuwenhuis still a 4th OF or is he a average regular? Does he have a ceiling above that?
Still a 4th OF for me. Just don't see enough contact for him to be an everyday guy.
What is the strangest food you have eaten? Maybe alligator, squirrel, something like that?
I've had gator, ostrich, rabbit, wild boar. I've eaten head cheese (testina) and marrow. Still never had venison, which isn't even a strange food.
Thoughts on Ike Davis? Think there's more power after the Valley Fever?
I think he's going to have a big second half.
OK, thanks for all the questions. I will be chatting next week after the top 50 update is posted. I'll also be at the Futures Game and will be part of our broadcast on Sunday.