Sorry I'm late. Got tangled up with my pocket protector and slide rule.
Keith - I know you (like most reasonable people) think Trout should win the MVP. But, when it's all said and done, who do you think actually does win?
I think Cabrera wins if he takes the three Triple Crown categories. And he probably wins if Detroit makes the playoffs and the Angels don't, because that philosophy, which is as absurd as anything else in this debate, lives on quite strongly even with otherwise rational voters. If neither of those things happen, I think Trout wins.
The Orioles run differential is down to -1. Thoughts?
Which means they've played roughly like a .500 team. There's been a weird emphasis on the O's run differential potentially turning positive, as if that's a binary variable. It's not. The point is that a team that barely outscores its opponents on the season doesn't end up 20 games over .500 without a lot of good fortune.
If it's between Rosenthal, Miller and Lynn for two rotation slots next year which two would you roll with?
Miller and Lynn. That's no slight to Rosenthal though.
Pirates are bringing everyone back (including HURDLE!!!) after the biggest collapse for a team ever to be 16 games over .500 with 2/3 of the season already played. Why should I as a fan even have hope for the Pirates?
The return of Hurdle has to be the biggest blow to Pirates fans. I don't think he sees the All-Star Break next year.
I dont have any issues with trout being picked over cabrera, nor even with your dismissal of a triple crown as mostly irrelevant but I do wonder why you don't use trout's 1 less month against him like you did for carpenter's fewer IP in the CYA a few years ago.
That's a misstatement of the Carpenter argument. Had Carpenter been better in the innings he did pitch, he would have been higher in my rankings. Trout has been insanely great when he has played, so the total value he's delivered has been greater than that delivered by players who've played a full season.
Think of it this way: Would you rather be the guy who works 60 hours a week and earns $50 an hour, or the guy who works 40 hours a week and earns $100 an hour?
Do you like the hiring of Bo Porter for the Astros?
I like what I've heard so far, but Porter's never managed anywhere that I can find, so I'm basing that off his words but not his actions or history.
So if Detroit makes the playoffs as an 88 win team and the Angels miss the playoffs as a 90 win team, Cabrera gets an MVP boost even though his team lost more games?
I don't care about WAR. Jason Heyward has a .338 OBP this season and that's awful for a corner outfielder. He hasn't improved upon his rookie year and it's his 3rd year in the bigs. Next year is crucial - .300/.400/.500 or they need to trade him.
Is this a joke? He's 22. And very talented, with a history of greater patience than this.
What's the % chance that Addison Russell is a top 5 prospect one year from now?
10%? I think that's actually a high number.
No way the Giants should try to bring back Melky for the playoffs, right?
Should, yes. But it sounds like they won't.
Gose and Hechevarria seem to have similar profiles in that they are plus defenders at premium positions with questionable hit tools. However, Gose is frequently referred to as one of Toronto's top prospects with all-star potential, while Hechevarria seems to be known as John McDonald 2.0 unless he learns to hit. Not that either comps are necessarily wrong, but why is there such a disparity between their "prospect statuses"?
Gose has a better swing with a little more raw power. He's also 16 months younger.
How much has your opinion changed on Daniel Norris with his less-than-stellar pro debut?
I was a bit of a low man on him to begin with, so I wouldn't say it's changed.
If Dan Straily were prospect-eligible for your top 100 next year, would he make the list?
Not sure. Close to the majors but very low ceiling. In recent years I've tended to downgrade those players in favor of higher-risk players who are further away but have a chance to be stars.
If someone had decreed in 1910 that the "Triple Crown" was whoever led the league in hits, runs scored and home runs, would we be hearing even half as much about Miguel Cabrera's MVP candiacy?
I think the excuse the Giants were using is that with the minor league seasons over they wouldn't be able to ease him back into things. Or something like that. It didn't make much sense.
Instructs are going on right now. He'd be able to play today, tomorrow, Saturday, and six games next week to get reps. Come on.
Sure seems like the MVP award is going the way of the Best Picture Oscar wherein it has less to do with overall quality and more about the player that best "represents" the sport.
Sadly, I agree.
Keith, if Whitson gets healthy, do you see him challenging for overall top pick next year? Or do you think it was more than injuries that caused his season last year?
Very outside shot. Hard to see him passing Appel and Manaea. He might even go behind his own teammate in Crawford.
Re Cabrera v Trout: This offseason a bunch of people inside the game will compete to give Michael Bourn $75 million-plus, almost entirely for the value he contributes outside the batter's box. Given the similar outside-the-batter's-box value added from Trout, am I high on what Bourn will get or shouldn't the "people inside the game know how valuable he is" arguments side with Trout over Cabrera?
You notice those "people inside the game" are never named, right?
Is Darvish a top 5 AL pitcher next year? Or control issues not fully conquered yet.
According to fWAR, he is one already. Granted that's a stat that, by normalizing BABIP and removing sequencing issues, favors him, but I think it's fair to say he's had a very good year.
Can Dan Haren's back get healthy over the offseason, or is this going to get into chronic territory?
I'm not qualified to answer that question. If I were a GM I'd be doing a lot of homework on Haren, because he could be a relative bargain this offseasno.
Who do you have winning the NL Cy Young?
Can we also PLEASE point out that one player doesn't make an insurmountable difference in baseball? In basketball, one player can have immense value because you can get them involved in every play. To say that without Trout or Cabrera that their teams would be 60 win teams is another one of the stupidest arguments I've seen.
Yes, it betrays a pretty fundamental lack of understanding of the game. If it were true, you'd see massive swings in team records when star players had brief DL stints.
NL ROY is...?
I can't answer that one, as I have the ballot.
When is the deadlien for MVP votes to be cast? Personally I feel that the MVP- while they do not have to be on a playoff team, should at least get their team into the hunt. Since both the Angels and Tigers are still in the race, I would pick Trout over Cabrera as being more valuable as measured by WAR. The only argument I can see for Miggy is if the Angels miss out on the playoffs and Detroit makes it to the World Series, making his season more valuable than Trout's.
Deadline is the day after the end of the regular season. I dispute your statement about a player who should "get their team into the hunt." One player can't do that alone.
I know you are pretty high on Archie Bradley, and have him at#16 in your midseason top 50. Im concerned about the high walk rate.. Is this anything to be concerned about, or just a 19 year old working to improve his command?
The latter. Saw him on Monday, stuff is still there.
Oh. Well, I'll be interested to see how your ballot compares to the actual vote on that one.
Well, if history is any guide, it won't look like most of the other ballots, although I promise I'm not trying to make it happen that way.
A certain Detroit sportswriter just said on Twitter that since August 24 Miguel Cabrera has a 1.083 OPS with 24 runs scored; Mike Trout has a .714 OPS with 25 runs scored. So case closed then?
Argument from selective observation, also known as cherry-picking. Not to mention the old arbitrary endpoints problem.
What do you think is the ceiling for Tillman? Been looking pretty good this year.
He has looked good. Looking at him as a potential above-average starter again.
My response to anyone who says someone like Todd Frazier should be RoY is Chris Coughlan.
In Coghlan's year, I argued for Andrew McCutchen to be the NL ROY, as a rookie who had a great season at a young age and also had higher long-term potential. From today's vantage point, would it not make more sense had McCutchen won that year?
I don't understand the obsession with the awards from supposed serious baseball fans. If serious music fans or movie fans were always talking about the Grammy's or the Oscars, they would be laughed out of the conversation.
At least Grammys and Oscars have real financial impact. Get nominated and your sales increase; win and they increase more.
Do you think Showalter is a big reason for the O's success this year? Seems like he manages circles around people...
I think he's a reason, but no manager can entirely explain their success this year.
How do you see the Machado/Hardy situation playing out in BAL for 2013?
If I were the GM there I'd try to trade Hardy and get Machado back to shortstop, which I believe is his long-term position.
The MVP award has financial ramifications for the winner. Usually a nice bonus, and maybe some additional endorsement opportunities.
It's pretty limited though, and has no impact for fans. A fan of a band might want to see a Grammy win because it gets them more airplay, longer record deals, or just higher general awareness.
I know you aren't high on Ryan Lavarnway. Has his big leagues stint done anything to change your mind?
What is your/ESPN's stance on sharing insider material on a message board or blog? Obviously copy/pasting an entire article is off limits. But, what about just a couple sentances or small paragraph?
As little as possible. I'd always prefer to see a link back to the original article. It is copyrighted, and Insider sales are a huge driver of my own salary.
WERE YOU THE KEITH LAW THAT PLAYED MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL AND DIDNT MAKE IT??? IF SO IT WOULD EXPLAIN A LOT ABOUT YOUR ATTITUDE
NO THAT IS NOT ME ARE YOU THE GUY WHO CAN'T FIND THE CAPS LOCK BUTTON IT'S ON THE LEFT SIDE OF YOUR KEYBOARD EINSTEIN
Are you in the "nice story" or "special treatment" camp on Adam Greenberg and the Marlins? (Or can one think both?)
Both. I don't see any harm, really.
Think Jonathon Schoop could be the O's long term answer at 2B, or is he more likely to move to 3B and take over there when Machado goes to SS?
Third base. But I think he was rushed this year.
what do you make of justin smoak's turn around in the month of september? aberration or inception? does Seattle look for another 1b during the offseason or stand pat and hope for the best with smoak?
I'm inclined to think it's an aberration, especially since he's done this before. His swing is shorter, and he's definitely trying not to miss any fastballs, as opposed to earlier in the year or in the middle of the year when he was constantly caught between and ended up missing everything. Whether there's anything sustainable in that approach ... I just don't know any more.
Any word on what Appel's plan for baseball is next year? Is he going back to Stanford?
Worse MVP choice: Cabrera over Trout or Juan Gonzalez over A-Rod in 1996?
Both pretty awful. Gonzalez is worse.
I brined some pork chops over the weekend...tasted awesome...but had trouble getting them to brown....grey meat doesn't look good. What did I do wrong?
Heat wasn't high enough, most likely. Sear before roasting. Or use the grill.
Better from here on out, Hosmer, Belt or Smoak?
Are Todd Frazier and Zack Cozart longterm starters?
Cozart probably, albeit a below-average one. Still very skeptical of Frazier, primarily due to his swing and lack of a clear position.
Do you view Matt Harvey's success so far in the big leagues as SSS or good things to come?
I'm a believer.
Is your feeling that Braun will not win the MVP because some voters won't name him on the ballot coming from conversations you've had with actual ballot-holders, or just a gut feeling?
What can Epstein accomplish this offseason that could make the Cubs playoff contenders in 2013?
That's not a reasonable goal.
So another year for the Coonelly, Huntington, Smith and Stark clown car in Pittsburgh. Unreal. Your thoughts on the Pirates' quagmire, if you could share.
I'll admit I was surprised at Coonelly's statements - and am wondering if the Nuttings are on board with that. There had been a ton of chatter recently that there would be a big shakeup there.
Jayson Stark said on twitter that Chipper Jones is the best #1 overall pick ever. I am curious what your opinion is. My first thought was that title should go to A-Rod.
A-Rod, Griffey, Chipper.
Am I right in thinking that the NL MVP is wide open? Dave Cameron says Molina, but Posey, Braun, and McCutcheon would all be credible as well.
I'm with you. Headley has no shot, but he's a good candidate too.
Any interest in the movie Looper?
Has the proliferation of social media & direct access to players, agents, scouts, etc., made what you think twice about what you say or write about a player, organization or team?
It can't. I wouldn't be doing my job if it did.
Sure we haven't seen Taillon and what he'll become yet, but do you forsee your take that the Pirates should have selected Machado instead being proven true?
Hi Keith. When comparing NL MVP candidates, how much weight do you give to the fact that Yadier Molina has caught 131 games and Buster Posey has only caught 110 (27 games at first)? Also 85 stolen bases have happened against Posey vs 38 for Yadi. Just seems like Yadi is being dismissed too quickly because of Posey's offense and the time of year Posey has hit the best.
That should boost Molina's candidacy, absolutely. And measuring catcher defense is hard. I'd still lean Posey over him, if those were the only two candidates.
And again, I think Braun's a great candidate, but I'm convinced he's going to get the shaft.
Any significance in the Cubs falling to the 4th pick next year instead of the 2nd? If I recall, you said next year's class will be worse than this year's. Will there be somebody at 4 just as good as at 2?
I think the difference between picking 4 vs 6 is bigger than the difference between picking 2 vs 4.
Of the 4 teams in contention for the AL WC, are there any you'd like to see make it over others?
Not really. Maybe the Angels just to get Trout on the national stage, more because I think that's good for the industry than a personal preference.
To be fair to Jayson Stark, his statement was regarding draft pick from the team perspective. He admits that Griffey and ARod are probably better careers, but that the Braves got Chippers whole career it makes him the best 1st pick.
I wouldn't credit the drafting team with anything beyond the player's first six years of service when evaluating picks. Sounds like Jayson took a different approach.
I'm glad the O's called up Bundy to get his feet wet. What situations would be ideal for Bundy to pitch i.e. mop up duty or close contests?
I'd rather use him in longer outings than short ones. Not concerned about the score, just don't want to see him used like a short reliever, warmed up more than once in a game, asked to come in and air it out for a few pitches, etc.
If you were appointed to make the case for a Cabrera MVP candidacy, which supporting evidence would you use?
I couldn't do it. You'd have to pretend that defense and baserunning don't matter.
If we're talking about the most *valuable* player, shouldn't salary be a consideration?
Why are writers allowed to vote? What makes them credible? Don't you think a better system could be put in place?
Because these are the BBWAA's awards.
Favorite LCD Soundystem song?
"Daft Punk is Playing at My House."
Did ESPN ever post the video of your debate with Rob Parker yet, I missed it yesterday.
No. I have asked them for it.
How frustrating is it to listen to people make someone's MVP case, which is clearly wrong, and only other reasoning be "Watch the Games!"?
It's hilarious to see those tweets when I'm sweating my ... off at an instructional league game. Yeah, I watch a little baseball, pal.
I have seen a lot of Orioles fans says that the reason Bundy is able to pitch now is because the Orioles made him throw three inning starts earlier in the season. What is your response to this?
Any interest in the Ryder Cup?
Depends on what sort of drink is in it.
Do you see Bourjos starting somewhere next year? It's a complete waste of exceptional defense (to say nothing of decent offensive talent) to have a repeat of this year right?
Agreed. Untapped value for the Angels.
Ahh, I'm late! What do the Cardinals do in the off-season with their plethora of young pitching that all seem to be panning out (Miller, Rosenthal, Lynn, Kelly): trade one or sit tight?
I would hold on to most or all of it. Can't bank on everyone staying healthy, especially Carpenter.
Mr. Law, I have a three-part Davis question for you: Ike's overall numbers are not good, but is there anything in his swing that says he's not the player he was or is not healthy? Chris Davis is having a breakout year...that looks almost exactly like his career slash line. Is this the "real" Chris? Finally, can Khris hit enough to overcome his fielding limitations? Thanks!
Ike: will always swing and miss, but there's power there. This is probably the real Chris. Khris (Brewers prospect) probably gets there as an extra guy.
Im beginning to read some good stuff on J.O Berrios. From the Twins. Is he a top 100 candidate in the offseason. what can you tell us about him?
I'd send you back to my draft report on him, but the short answer is he's become very overrated based on short-season numbers.
Which would rank higher on the Klawpocalypse scale: bacon shortage or Oreo outage?
I watch well over 100 games a year and have never heard of Rob Parker before today... so... that kind of settles it.
Please, don't respond to Rob with more ad hominems of any sort. I see your point, but the answer is to stay on message about Trout, not to go after Rob personally.
Any chance Tevares or Myers start in the MLB next year?
Taveras? I think there's a better chance for Myers, but a nonzero chance for either guy.
Can we take DRS/UZR at face value? Last I saw, baseball-ref measured a 30 run advantage in Trout's favor from fielding alone. If someone wants to make a rational case for Cabrera, they should start there.
I prefer to use those numbers as directional, not precise. But the argument that DRS is useless broaches the response of how would you measure defense? Is DRS more accurate than a wild guess? Or better than ignoring defense entirely?
I know it is a small sample size but have you seen any changes in the mechanics or Gose or Hech to be optimistic about there recent offensive upticks?
It's September. Don't get caught up in any player's "hot" streaks now.
Mitch Williams said last night that one of the reasons Cabrera should win MVP is that he's a slow base-runner and doesn't get to benefit from infield hits, and that you would only understand this if you played the game. Worst pro-Cabrera argument ever?
Ask Mitch if he has Harrison Bergeron on his AL MVP ballot too.
Does Michael Wacha make your top 100 next season? Top 50?
Also getting overrated on the small sample, especially because he's a starter who was basically used as a reliever in pro ball, allowing his velocity to tick up.
Have you heard the new Mumford & Sons album?
No, I'm a little behind on music - need to check out their album, the new xx album, and the new Taylor Swift.
(That last one was a joke, people.)
No, the worst pro-Cabrera MVP argument is that it's not his fault the Tigers signed Fielder and had to move him to 3B.
The problem for Cabrera is that if he remained at first base, he wouldn't get the boost to his numbers (such as his WAR) that he's getting now from playing a harder position. It's not like he was a decent defender at first, either.
Beef heart tartar? On a 20 - 80 scale...
I've had beef heart once, cooked, at Coppa in Boston. I ... um ... I guess I'd need to try it again at some point.
If you don't mind fielding another Gose question, do you think he'd be best served by repeating AAA in a real minor league park, or should he be in Toronto for his defense and trying to work on the bat as he, um, "goes"? Also, I'd rather listen to Taylor Swift than Mumford & Sons. Cloyingly mannered and affected.
I think more time in AAA in a real ballpark next year would help Gose and Hechavarria.
I can give up on Gordon Beckham, right?
I'm still waiting for Don Cooper to teach him a cutter.
Defensive metrics are shady...and outfield defense is QUITE a bit easier than 3B. The MVP award isn't about who is better 5 years from now, it's who had the best current season. That is Cabrera. Especially considering the Angels have better pitching and a better 1-9 lineup than the Tigers. Trout is in a great position to succeed. The fact that Cabrera is doing what he's doing while playing a position that he has no business playing is remarkable. The advanced metrics are useful, but I hate people that look at those and nothing else. I also hate that people act like RBI's and Wins are useless stats. Yes, there are instances where those stats are flawed, but 99% of the time the leaders in RBIs and Wins are considered to be some of the top players playing the game.
This is full of flaws, but I'll point a few out. The Angels "have better pitching," but the Tigers' staff ERA is lower even though the Angels play in a better pitchers' park. Nobody is talking "about who is better 5 years from now" - that's a strawman. Trout has been better this year. Cabrera's position switch isn't and shouldn't impact his offensive performance, especially since he's played it before. If the RBI leaders "are considered to be some of the top players in a game," the correlation could be a coincidence, or it could be that being on the RBI leaderboard causes people to think you're better than you are.
True or false: Passing a "critical thinking" class should be a requirement in college, if not high school?
It should be a requirement for anyone who wants to register to vote.
That post from Seth was a plant right?
Probably, but it seemed like a good way to wrap up the chat. Thanks for all the questions. I'll be back next week.