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July 12, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Keith Law

Klaw
  (1:05 PM)

Top 50 prospects update has been posted: http://klaw.me/Nk87iz

Joe (Dallas)

One thing that's great about new draft rules is new the new deadline. Do you think after a couple of years, even if bonus' are slightly depressed, the opportunity for players to get their pro career moving forward quicker will incentivise HS players to turn pro? Gallo will now most likely start at Hickory next year, in stead of the AZL in his first full season. That's a big deal right?

Klaw
  (1:07 PM)

Huge deal. But it existed last year too - teams were afraid to cross the Commissioner's Office, which would try to delay approving over-slot deals, and agents held players out often for modest gains in bonuses but at the cost of a summer of reps. Everyone acted according to their short-term incentives, but no one acted according to their long-term interests. Moving the deadline up mitigates that.

Brett (Chicago)

The Chicago White Sox get knocked on year after year for having a very poor farm system. However, this year they have had any where from 6-10 Rookies on the Major League roster including about 8 rookies on the pitching staff all while they are in first place. How do you explain all this with a so called poor farm system?

Klaw
  (1:09 PM)

Nearly all of their rookies this year are relievers, who are not particularly valuable long-term assets relative to starters or everyday position players. Fangraphs only shows two CWS rookies worth more than 0.5 WAR this year - Addison Reed at 1.0, whom I ranked as their top prospect and put in my top 100; and Jose Quintana, a minor league free agent who had not appeared in their organization prior to 2012. They're in first place because they're a good team, but not because of the contributions from rookies this year.

Sam (Minnesota)

How close was Oswaldo Arcia to cracking your top 50

Klaw
  (1:10 PM)

He's in the next 25 or so.

Manifest (Pittsburgh)

Starling Marte's K/BB issues worry me regarding his transition. Would you make him available in a deal for Willingham, Headley, or another player under team control for 2013?

Klaw
  (1:10 PM)

I'd aim a little higher than that, as I think the industry in general is higher on Marte than I am (I worry about the lack of plate discipline as well).

Chris (Alabama)

What are the chances Giolito signs and where would you put him on your Top 50 IF he were 100% healthy?

Klaw
  (1:11 PM)

I think he's about 90% to sign. He'd be somewhere toward the back of the top 50 - but that's discounting him for the injury. If he were fully healthy, he'd be in the top 20, but he'd also be negotiating with someone other than Washington, too.

Dave (Connecticut)

Just curious as to where Tony Cingrani would fall if you were to rank another 50 prospects? Thanks.

Klaw
  (1:12 PM)

Probably in the last 25. Scouts like him but he's doing this more or less with one pitch.

Joe (Nashville)

What do you make of Kenny Diekroeger's hot start? He's shown power he didn't have at Stanford (5 HR in 15 games) and is hitting .288 (but .364 in his last 10). If he can permanently get back to his pre-Stanford swing, how good can he be?

Klaw
  (1:15 PM)

He's quite old/experienced for that level, so I wouldn't read anything into the stats. I do like him, enough to rank him in my top ~60 or so predraft, and I think if he gets back to where he was prior to going to Opposite Field Groundball University, he could be an above-average everyday player, more offense than defense.

Jason (St Louis)

Who has a better chance to stay in CF, Taveras or Myers?

Klaw
  (1:15 PM)

Myers.

Steve (Toronto)

Do you see Alex Anthopoulos trading away prospects for 2012 rental players? Which prospects do you think are most likely to be moved?

Klaw
  (1:15 PM)

No. I could see them trading a prospect or two for a longer-term asset, though.

Fred (NY)

If Matt Den Dekker can cut down on the strikeouts, do you see him as a starting center fielder?

Klaw
  (1:15 PM)

Kind of begging the question there.

Trey (Boston)

Would Clayton Blackburn be ranked in the next 50? He was one of your sleeper prospects coming into the year. He's having a nice season.

Klaw
  (1:15 PM)

Yes.

Chris (Alabama)

Does the presence of Middlebrooks mean the Red Sox will give Bogaerts more of a chance to stick at SS than if Middlebrooks were in another organization?

Klaw
  (1:16 PM)

No, I don't think Bogaerts has any realistic shot to stay at short - and I say that as someone who really likes him as a prospect.

Snakes (Philly)

Thoughts on the Encarnacion extension? I like it for Toronto.

Klaw
  (1:16 PM)

I do too. Modest enough that it's not a disaster if he regresses, but offers substantial upside for the club.

BD (DC)

Time to move up Brian Goodwin and Mat Skole right?

Klaw
  (1:17 PM)

Goodwin probably should have started in high-A as a 21-year-old with a year of major college experience.

Mike (TX)

If Bundy was a few inches taller, would he be your #1?

Klaw
  (1:17 PM)

No. I'm really not concerned with his height.

Jimbob (waiting patiently)

Where was Ben Gibbard yesterday? Will he be on BT in the future?

Klaw
  (1:18 PM)

He was on today's show. Great interview, wish we'd had more time.

Sebastian (Germany)

What do you think of Anthony Gose? Is he coming up this year?Thanks

Klaw
  (1:19 PM)

I don't believe his approach has improved as much as the raw Las Vegas/PCL stat line says it has. I think he's a plus defender in center who can run, throw, and has a little more pop than you'd expect, but he might be a low OBP guy with a lower ceiling as a result. Very good player, definitely a top 75 prospect.

@Jaypers413 (IL)

Thoughts on Andrew Heaney not coming to terms with Miami over $200K?

Klaw
  (1:21 PM)

We'll see if this holds through the deadline, but if Jim Callis' report that the Marlins are refusing to even offer their recommended slot bonus is true, then I would think Heaney should have some recourse, whether it's a grievance or a lawsuit.

Klaw
  (1:21 PM)

(And I am not doubting Jim at all - just making it clear this is his reporting, not mine.)

JW (Washington)

What is Tyler Thornburg's ceiling? I hear that a lot of scouts think that he's destined for the bullpen. What's your take?

Klaw
  (1:22 PM)

I believe he's a future reliever.

Andrew (Pittsburgh)

What is your final thought on Appel signing?

Klaw
  (1:22 PM)

I would rate the unsigned first rounders in this order of likelihood to sign, most likely to least: Shaffer, Gausman, Heaney, Giolito, Appel.

Erich (CT)

Whats your future projecteed of Aaron Sanchez, a number 1? More of a Ricky Romero like pitcher? I'm just curious because Toronto doesnt seem to have many future aces in the minors.

Klaw
  (1:24 PM)

Maybe more of a very good #2, a top 30 starter in the majors but not a top 15 guy. More likely than Syndergaard (still lacks an avg breaking ball) or Nicolino (command guy, very good but no out pitch).

Joe (NY)

Do you think Hensley signs?

Klaw
  (1:24 PM)

Sorry, I knew I forgot someone - yes, I think he signs.

Brian (Fremont, CA)

If Appel doesn't sign, when do you think he'd be drafted next year?

Klaw
  (1:25 PM)

From what I have seen and know of next year's class, he's no worse off than he was relative to this year's crop, and could be much better off.

Stewart (Krispy, NC)

Choose one: Mason Williams or Tyler Austin -- explain your choice

Klaw
  (1:25 PM)

I posted a top 50 ranking with both guys on it today. It's all there.

Wes (Washington)

Do you ever see Gary Brown being on the level of Harper and Trout?

Klaw
  (1:25 PM)

No, not similar at all.

Nick (CT)

Are you still of the position that Mesoraco will be a star? It's just a matter of PT right?

Klaw
  (1:26 PM)

I'll maintain that position until he gets regular PT and fails. That said, he looks pretty horrible right now.

TJ (Detroit)

I love going to minor league games- less hassle, less cost, and it's still good baseball. Any minor league parks that you would recommend?

Klaw
  (1:27 PM)

I agree with you - I love minor league games. I went to Greenville and Charleston this spring and loved both parks. Portland, Maine, was always a favorite of mine when I lived up there. Lakewood is solid too. But there are quite a few I've never hit.

Nate (KC)

Is there a difference in the Heaney/MIA and Appel/HOU situations that I'm missing? The narratives seem to say that Heaney is getting hosed by the Marlins, but Appel is greedy for refusing to take Houston's offer. My understanding is they were both offered under-slot money that the team refused to budge on.

Klaw
  (1:27 PM)

Houston never offered Appel anything, so that's one big difference.

Ron (Indiana)

Would the Rangers trade Profar for Hamels if they can be assured of an extension? Who says no?

Klaw
  (1:28 PM)

The extension is immaterial. You are trading for 2.5 months of Hamels, period. You will pay full value for the extension.

Rob (Wilkes-Barre, PA)

Higher ceiling: Billy Hamilton or Juan Pierre?

Klaw
  (1:28 PM)

Hamilton's better than Pierre ever was.

Steve (IL)

Any thoughts on Urrutia, the Cuban OF the Orioles signed? For me, it's an encouraging sign that the front office is at least thinking things like, "I wonder if there are any good ballplayers in Cuba." Anything else is gravy at this point.

Klaw
  (1:28 PM)

The soft bigotry of low expectations strikes again. Maybe an extra outfielder.

Dave C (Albany, NY)

Is Matt Harvey's upside more of a #3? Could he be an effective number 4 or 5 if he were called up immediately?

Klaw
  (1:29 PM)

More upside than that, but I agree that he could be a solid 4 or 5 right now. Even a performance just below league-average would help.

Wil Myers (Omaha)

When will i be arriving to KC?

Klaw
  (1:32 PM)

They said September. I don't know what more he has to learn in AAA.

(a D u B) (Newport Beach)

Let's set the record straight - Coors Field is not friendly to pitchers, but the Rockies have to be the worst team at developing pitchers - Friedrich, Reynolds, ______ (insert any number of previous high draft picks here) Is there any hope for Tyler Matzek?

Klaw
  (1:32 PM)

I have heard the velocity is back. The rest of the package isn't, but that's something, at least.

Ryno (WA)

Why didn't we hear anything from the M's with all the international signings that happened last week?

Klaw
  (1:33 PM)

Because they're going to sign Gohara, the Brazilian pitcher I mentioned in my brief July 2nd post.

FC (NJ)

With Gee out for the year, should the Mets call up Harvey?

Klaw
  (1:34 PM)

I would, yes.

Mike (Boston)

Would Barnes be a "next 25" guy?

Klaw
  (1:34 PM)

Yes.

Klaw
  (1:43 PM)

sorry, phone call, I will be right back

Studebaker (NJ)

What do you think of Ben Gamel? AAAA player like his older brother?

Klaw
  (1:43 PM)

I like the bat more.

ryan (ns)

Klaw, Tim Brown is reporting that mlb will approve the Beras' contract and suspend him for 1 year for lying about his age. Hmmm... any initial thoughts?

Klaw
  (1:44 PM)

Everything I've heard indicates the the contract was legitimate and should be approved. I have not seen the evidence required to tell you if I think the suspension is warranted.

Brady (MN)

Is it in Pittsburgh's best interest to go over slot to sign Appel and lose next year's pick, or take the 2nd pick next year?

Klaw
  (1:45 PM)

I wouldn't give up a pick for any player in this year's draft - but they wouldn't get the 2nd pick next year, they'd get pick 8A, which could be 9th or 10th depending on whether Gausman signs, and the 9th pick next year won't be better than Appel.

Mitch (Denver)

Would you be in favor of allowing Miami to trade the rights to sign Heaney?

Klaw
  (1:45 PM)

Yes, of course.

Adam Manaa (California)

Once Gausman signs, (I'm assuming his claim he may go back to LSU is just a ploy for more money), where would he rank on your top 50?

Klaw
  (1:46 PM)

Towards the back. I agree that it's just posturing.

Greg (Toronto)

Marcus Stroman is alleged to be the closer to MLB than any other draftee this yr. Given the nightmares the Jays have had in the 'pen the past 2 years, would you try and move him through the system rather quickly as a reliver? Or, would a sounder strategy allow for his development as a starter?

Klaw
  (1:46 PM)

I'd be fine using him as a reliever this year and revisiting the decision in the offseason. There's no reason to start him now after a full spring of starting at Duke.

Trey (Boston)

Usually you stick in an "honorable mentions" at the end of these lists. Could you give us a few names that would be considered that?

Klaw
  (1:47 PM)

I didn't realize they weren't posted - I did file some and I'll make sure they're added.

Chris (Long Island)

Do you think that the Cards will attempt to tweak the swing of Oscar Tavares at some point, or do you think he will be able to square up on tougher pitchers in the majors? His swing is unique and as violent as I can remember. Is there another player that his plate approach reminds you of?

Klaw
  (1:48 PM)

No way I'd change that swing until he fails at some point, if he ever does. The comp is Vlad Guerrero, over and over again.

Brady (MN)

Sorry, I meant "additional" pick next year.

Klaw
  (1:49 PM)

Well, I'd rather have two picks in next year's first round and no Appel than have Appel and no picks in next year's first round. That's not a knock on Appel, just on the system.

Chris (San Jose)

Keith -What, if anything, can we take away from AZ Rookie league stats? I see lots of big numbers from hitters but I assume its just because of the hitting environment. Are the stats mostly meaningless?

Klaw
  (1:49 PM)

Correct. I was at an AZL game where one starter was 86-87. The caliber of play varies too wildly from game to game.

Dave (Orange County)

Rio Ruiz; Astros sign a 4th round pick for $1.85 million.Is this kid for real?

Klaw
  (1:51 PM)

Outstanding swing. Good hands and arm at third. Not a runner and probably not a power hitter. He's good, got more $ than I expected.

Studebaker (NJ)

If Bryce Harper was in this draft (or a similar level elite talent - Strasburg, etc.), and his hypothetical bonus demand was a non-negotiable $18MM, how would you approach the signing from a front office perspective? The talent outweighs the forfeited picks?

Klaw
  (1:51 PM)

Yes. I'm looking forward to the next player of that level, because I want the insanity of this system to be exposed.

Muzzy (Leicester)

How far behind Hamilton is DeShields? Delino Jr. is having a better year in A ball than Hamilton did last year, and he's a year younger.

Klaw
  (1:55 PM)

I'm glad to see DeShields having a better year, but he is repeating the level, and he isn't quite as fast as Hamilton. I liked DeShields' swing a lot in HS, though - I guess I'm not totally surprised he's starting to hit a little.

Rob (CT)

in the intro you mentioned injured pitchers... could you please name who you were referring to... I am guessing Banuelos and Kelly must be 2

Klaw
  (1:56 PM)

Those two, Adorys, and Joe Ross, in particular. Arodys is out for the year. The others should be back, but because we're midyear I'm deferring offering an opinion until we see if they come back or if any of them ends up requiring surgery.

Jim (LA)

I know you're a big Zach Lee fan, so any particular reason for him getting knocked back a few slots from the pre-season?

Klaw
  (1:57 PM)

Nothing has specifically improved about him this year. The stuff is still where it was, and even projection guys need to show some progress, or else they'll be passed by other players.

Brian (Dallas)

How does T. Guerrieri compare to your top 50 given the small sample size? Does he have a shot to crack the top 50 at the end of the year?

Klaw
  (1:57 PM)

He was on the original list of about 60-65 names, so he's reasonably close. Stats aren't really a consideration for him because of level and sample - more about scouting report.

Sebastian (KC)

Do you think Eric Hosmer is a mvp type player the next few years or will he be above average? thanks

Klaw
  (1:58 PM)

I still think he ends up an MVP type player.

Greg S. (Louisville, KY)

Does the Royals' Elier Hernandez peek your interest any? We KC fans are hoping he does a Carlos Beltran impersonation. Any chance of that happening?

Klaw
  (1:58 PM)

That's a bit strong, but I do like Hernandez and Bonifacio quite a bit.

Dude (Silver Spring)

KLAW - can Austin Jackson keep up his hitting barrage in the second half? personally, I think the higher slg indicates he's leveled-up

Klaw
  (1:59 PM)

I didn't know he had enough experience points for that.

Doug (MT)

Was disappointed that Wheeler was only able to face 2 batters in the futures game. What do you think of his chances to become a #1. Seems like he's been able to come to grips with some of the command issues this year.

Klaw
  (2:00 PM)

Nonzero chance, but not that likely. I know it seems like an odd suggestion, but in the future, if one team looks like it's going to run out of pitchers in the Futures Game, why not grab a guy from the other side just to avoid an ugly result like we had? It's only an exhibition game.

David (Denver)

Headed to KC later this summer. Saw your dish post about BBQ recommendations - did you just run out of time to get to Arthur Bryant's, or did you purposely skip it? I'm trying to put together my list of places to go and noticed you hadn't reviewed it. Oklahoma Joe's is clearly on the must-visit list for me from what you and many others have said. Thanks!

Klaw
  (2:00 PM)

Skipped it on the suggestions of many readers. LC's would have been the next spot to try if I'd had more meals.

Joe (Chicago)

Jon Schoop is finally starting to hit. Was he given any consideration for the list?

Klaw
  (2:01 PM)

Another very late cut. Hated to bump him, because it's not his fault he was promoted so aggressively.

Brandon (California)

so... the A's own a patch of land in San Jose for a ballpark, and have a plan to privately finance it, and are currently dead last in revenues and desperately need to move, and San Jose wants the A's and is the 9th largest city in America, and the Giants aren't using San Jose for anything. Why can't the A's play in San Jose? What am I missing?

Klaw
  (2:01 PM)

I think this is entirely about money. Selig should just fix a dollar amount for the A's to pay the Giants and get on with it already.

Nick (Pittsburgh)

Why didnt starling marte make your top 50 list?

Klaw
  (2:03 PM)

Because I still have serious questions about his ability to get on base, or even to recognize big league offspeed stuff enough to hit for a high enough average.

Aron (STL)

Klaw, in regards to Shelby Miller's velo being down I heard a rumor that he lost too much weight trying to lean up in the offseason. Is that a common problem or a PR spin?

Klaw
  (2:03 PM)

Not a rumor in this case - quite true. Velocity has been higher of late.

Andrew (Pittsburgh)

Thank God for the new CBA which is helping teams like the Pirates sign their picks.

Klaw
  (2:04 PM)

Or forcing teams to pass on players who won't agree to predraft deals ... oh wait, those are illegal under rule 3, so I'm sure nobody would ever do such a thing.

Chris (Alabama)

You don't seem to be too down on Teheran after his troubling 2012 stats. If you were the Braves' GM, would you look to move him in a deadline deal to acquire a top-flight SP?

Klaw
  (2:04 PM)

I'd be open to trading him for something more than a two-month rental.

Tony (Chicago)

So you had 3 cubs in your top 50. It seems to me though that all 3 of those guys can very well drop out quickly depending on how their second half performances go. Also, have you watched Soler yet?

Klaw
  (2:04 PM)

Soler is supposed to debut next week, and I'll go see him.

Matt (DC)

How much is Alex Meyer's prospect stock up after seeing him the future's game (albeit for 2 batters)

Klaw
  (2:05 PM)

Two batters doesn't tell us much. Liked him before, like him now.

Josh (Chicago)

What are your thoughts on the future of Jared Mitchell? I know he was playing better after that horrible injury he suffered, but do you see him making an impact on a major league roster in the next couple of years? Is he a valuable trade piece?

Klaw
  (2:07 PM)

He's reestablished some value for himself, but he may still be more of a below-average regular than an everyday guy or better. There is some value there, but not enough to build a package around him for an impact player.

Dave C (Albany, NY)

Is Jeurys Familia falling apart because of his lack of overall pitching experience or should the Mets bite the bullet and move him to the pen now?

Klaw
  (2:07 PM)

He's a reliever. Doesn't have the command or the secondary to start.

Greg (LA)

Since May 1, Grant Green is hitting .332/.381/.495 and has upped the walks and cut the strikeouts. Could he be blossoming into the pure, ~.300 hitter in the big leagues we thought he would be 3 years ago?

Klaw
  (2:09 PM)

Might be a bit of a stretch, and the lack of a clear position is still an issue.

Tom (SF)

Anyone of interest at that AZL game last night?

Klaw
  (2:10 PM)

Isaiah Yates is pretty interesting - smaller guy, only 17, good swing, showed a good approach. Joe DeCarlo had a really slow bat. Tim Lopez has a decent swing but he's six inches in the bucket when he makes contact. Richard White warmed up at 94, threw one pitch, a 92 mph cutter, got an out and was replaced next inning ... I'd like to see him again. Those are all Seattle prospects.

zuke354 (Missouri)

Did Kolten Wong get any consideration?

Klaw
  (2:10 PM)

No.

Tupac (Cant Say)

Segura dropped out. How come? Any other Angel prospects poised to make a jump?

Klaw
  (2:12 PM)

I'm glad he's healthy, but I'm not sure what the ceiling is here. Average defender at short who makes a lot of contact but doesn't post high OBPs or hit for power. That's an everyday player, certainly, but could he be a star? A top 10 SS in the majors?

Jake (Austin)

Even with the horrible start, Robbie Grossman's getting on base more than Starling Marte. Do you see Grossman as a regular corner OF?

Klaw
  (2:13 PM)

I do.

zuke354 (Missouri)

Follow up on Wong...Is it because you don't see him being all that special, or you don't give much thought to non-power second baseman.Also, how many words do you type a minute?

Klaw
  (2:14 PM)

I don't see him as all that special - it's all batting average/contact. Adequate second baseman, not plus. Not going to hit for power. Doesn't walk a ton. What's the upside?

Mr. Milone (Oaktown 357)

Are you a little surprised by my success, or at least, survival at the big league level?

Klaw
  (2:15 PM)

You're a creation of the ballpark. On the road you're giving up a .307/.354/.535 line, including 14 of your 15 home runs allowed. Fringy stuff guys get murdered in neutral or hitters' parks because they can't stop the home runs.

AndyMo (Chicago)

How close was Cody Buckell to making your list? He has picked it up at AA after dominating at High A.

Klaw
  (2:16 PM)

Love the kid, but I don't see a huge upside - not a top 30ish pitcher in the big leagues. Can really pitch, athletic, good delivery, no knockout pitch.

Fred (NY)

What do you think of Michael Fulmer?

Klaw
  (2:17 PM)

Scouts I've talked to who've seen him this year have him as a future reliever.

Rob (North Dakota)

Aaron Hicks on the Next 25?

Klaw
  (2:18 PM)

Probably not, or at least not yet. Still just 22 and playing better the last month or so, but he's had stretches like this before, and I hate to buy into it too soon just because I liked the guy in the past.

Luke (Tampa)

Was Rougned Odor left on the cutting room floor, or did he not make it into the conversation for top 50?

Klaw
  (2:19 PM)

Not considered.

David (Yucaipa, CA)

Within the past 10 years, who is the player that you absolutely knew was a can't miss guy the first time you saw him?

Klaw
  (2:19 PM)

Tulowitzki.

Dave (Wayne, NJ)

Do you travel to Cape Cod anymore? If not, are there any players your scouting friends are seeing who are particularly impressive there? Thanks so much!

Klaw
  (2:19 PM)

Not this year - doing more minor league stuff instead, especially since talent on the Cape appears to be down again this year. When that league ticks up again, I'll resume scouting it.

Seth (Toronto)

you don't think Grant Green's ultimate position is as a super sub, 2001 Mark McLemore sort of guy? If he can hit, that's a pretty valuable player, no?

Klaw
  (2:20 PM)

Sure, I'd love to see that. How many managers know how to use a guy like that? Maddon?

Joe (Denver, CO)

Can you give an update on Arenado? I think was in your players considered section. How do you feel about him at the break?

Klaw
  (2:20 PM)

Everyone who's seen him this year has been down on him. Not playing well, and not playing hard.

Klaw
  (2:21 PM)

OK, time to wrap this up. Thanks for all the questions - I'll be back next week.