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October 25, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Keith Law

Klaw
  (1:06 PM)

Sorry, it's been two weeks since my last chat so I have to shake off the rust. Or maybe I'm just well-rested. I can't decide.

Fritz (Atlantic City)

How would you handle the odd player development news in Pittsburgh if you just now named the GM because we know if you were the GM this wouldn't have occured?

Klaw
  (1:07 PM)

It wouldn't have occurred if anyone else were the GM, as far as I can tell. I've spoken to senior execs from multiple other clubs, and not only did they all say they've never even considered this kind of 'training' exercise, they all offered derisive comments about what the Pirates are doing. Assuming the Pirates do make a GM change as a result of this, I would expect player development to be cleaned out. You need a fresh start to reestablish credibility within the industry and with your own players, that we're not going to put you at risk or treat you in such a demeaning fashion any more.

Klaw
  (1:08 PM)

That might be the part that bothers me the most. These players are adults. Stop treating them like freaking boarding school students.

Steve (Seattle)

You're not in favor or removing victories from the record, but what if a person was caught cheating on exams in college. Should the diploma of the person be revoked? Or what about a politician who was elected due to the voting machines changing every other vote? They're similar situations where someone was declared the victor despite doing things against the rules.

Klaw
  (1:09 PM)

The consequences in those two situations are substantially different. The student's diploma is a proxy for his academic ability and for knowledge he should have acquired. If the diploma is fraudulent, it becomes a false signal to future employers.

Jason (St Louis)

I heard Wong is hitting .385 in the AFL. Would he be an upgrade over Descalso or Schumaker in 2013, even though he's so young?

Klaw
  (1:10 PM)

Offense is crazy out here, due to the altitude and lack of pitching. Wong's a fringy prospect for me - average runner, fringy defender, no power, only tool is the bat.

Mitch (NJ)

Can Pat Kivlehan make it to the bigs and is his ceiling similar to another Rutgers grad, Todd Frazier? .280, 15HR 75RBI?

Klaw
  (1:11 PM)

No, I don't think he's a big leaguer.

Ethan (Berkshire County)

Please rank the following based on educational value: Word World, Word Girl, and Sid the Science Kid.

Klaw
  (1:11 PM)

Word World, Sid, Word Girl.

BD (DC)

How does Brian Goodwin look in the AFL? The numbers look decent to me, but obviously I don;t have the benefit of actually seeing him play. Thanks.

Klaw
  (1:11 PM)

Mildly disappointing. Not moving as well as he did in the past or showing the great bat speed.

Greg (Indy)

Heard Pederson for the Dodgers is having a terrible AFL. Were you high on him before the AFL started and has his struggles changed your opinion?

Klaw
  (1:12 PM)

Had him as the 9th best prospect in their system coming into the year. He is very young, but I don't love his swing (minimal load, more throwing his hands at the ball than using his lower half) and he's a below-average runner.

Jason (St Louis)

When do the NL RoY results get released? I'm dying to know if Frazier even made your ballot.

Klaw
  (1:13 PM)

Awards are announced in November after the WS ends. I'll do my usual blog post explaining my ballot.

Bryant (Springfield, IL)

I know you had mentioned on Twitter that Kyle Gibson looked good when you saw him out there, what kind of ceiling does he have? Is it 2 or 3, or lower?

Klaw
  (1:15 PM)

Based strictly on that one look, he's no worse than a three. I'd like to see him maintain it, but damn, that was an impressive outing.

Brendan (DC)

Starting to come around on Mat Skole? Has been raking in the AFL...

Klaw
  (1:18 PM)

Nope. Probably an org player. Poor defender, slow bat.

Jeff (Tampa)

Are you finally willing to admit you were wrong about Brandon Crawford? He looks like every bit of a major league SS right now and has only gotten better at the plate as the season as gone on. Showing amazing poise and composure during the playoffs.

Klaw
  (1:19 PM)

I think I was exactly right on him: Great defender who can't hit a lick.

Dan (VA)

Does a manager winning two World Series in 3 years (like Bochy could do) make him a great manager OR do you contend that it's about the hand you are dealt more than how you play it?

Klaw
  (1:20 PM)

What he does really well - manage the bullpen - plays up in the postseason. What he does poorly - developing young hitters - isn't that relevant in October.

John (Cincinnati, Oh)

According to Donald Trump steroids are just like your previous mention to a false diploma. Would a team ever try to get out of a contract for "misrepresentation"?

Klaw
  (1:21 PM)

Sorry, I stopped reading after "According to Donald Trump."

gsix (earth)

Why is ESPN so biased for the Tigers to win when they had a worse regular season record, worse bullpen, worse defence, worse catcher, worse closer etc..?

Klaw
  (1:21 PM)

You're right. The team with the worse record never wins the World Series.

Orioles fan (Baltimore)

Everything coming out of Baltimore says that they can go into next year with a similiar roster and do well. Do you agree? How can a MLB team think they can get that lucky again?

Klaw
  (1:22 PM)

I do not. If they stand pat - and this was a problem for Duquette in Boston, falling in love with cheap finds who overachieved like Troy O'Leary - they will disappoint.

Mike (New Jersey)

Thoughts on Otani being drafted in NPL? Think this was the Ham Fighters trading their 1st round pick for cash (i.e. posting him immediately), or do you think an MLB team is going to go against MLB/NPL agreement?

Klaw
  (1:24 PM)

I thought this was inevitable - why wouldn't an NPB team try to secure his rights and then post him for the money? It would be insane not to do so. And the Commissioner's Office would be furious if a team violated the tacit agreement between the leagues that they wouldn't poach each other's amateurs.

Jerry (Texas)

Are you going to admit your metrics are flawd after the Giants win the World Series?

Klaw
  (1:27 PM)

My metrics? I don't know what's funnier - that you just refer to these "metrics" generically, or that you think any metrics can really tell you with any certainty who'll win a seven-game series.

Gary (Chicago)

Thoughts on Rienzo in the AFL and going forward with the White Sox? Do they have something with him?

Klaw
  (1:29 PM)

He was in my last blog post - I like him quite a bit, three pitches, up to 94, good cutter, slight build, at worst a really good bullpen guy.

Yoder (KC)

Is Brandon Belt capable of hitting 20-30 home runs playing half of his home games in SF?

Klaw
  (1:29 PM)

If they restore his old swing, yes. Closer to 20 than 30.

Jason (Birmingham)

Keith, you mentioned on the podcast that the Marlins front office people have non-compete terms in their contracts that bind them for what sounded like a long time. Is that common in MLB front office deals? It seems that GMs, scouting directors, and others bounce around quite a bit.

Klaw
  (1:31 PM)

It is very unusual, and I would never sign one myself.

Bryant (Springfield, IL)

Am I wrong in thinking that the only thing certain after last night is that the Tigers won't win in 4? I'm a neutral fan but I would still rather be the Tigers with Fister, Sanchez, Scherzer, Verlander in my next 4 games.

Klaw
  (1:32 PM)

I agree with your first statement. I said the Tigers were maybe 55% to win the series before last night. Now I'd push that down to 51-52%.

Rob (Wilkes-Barre, PA)

Are you going to see Cloud Atlas? Did you read the book?

Klaw
  (1:33 PM)

No, and no. Still need to see Argo.

Jason (Seattle, WA)

A decent 3B charges the ball and makes the play before it hits the bag on that fluke "double" last night, right?

Klaw
  (1:33 PM)

A decent 3b charges the ball and fields it. He might not get Pagan, but at least Pagan stops at 1b.

Sean (Los Angeles)

I haven't seen any opposite field power from Belt.

Klaw
  (1:34 PM)

The way he throws his leap hip forward it would be impossible for him to drive the ball the other way.

Dave (Erie, PA)

How has Billy Hamilton looked so far in the AFL? Do you think the Reds should go ahead and pencil him in as their starting CF for Opening Day 2014?

Klaw
  (1:34 PM)

I could see 2014. Next year is too soon. He needs more reps.

Art (Sacramento)

How the Tigers still the favorite after last night? Not only did they lose a game, they didn't win a Verlander start. That's like a 2 game swing. And you said 55% before the series? Your prediction says Tigers in 5. What gives?

Klaw
  (1:35 PM)

I'm pretty sure losing one game is a one-game swing. I'll have to check my metrics, though.

Rob (NYC)

Seeing that the Yankees are in MAJOR decline, how good would you rate these "prospects", Gary Sanchez, Tyler Austin, Mason Williams, Manny Banuelos, Slade Heathcott, David Adams? Are all of them just well overhyped like usual or are some of them legit? Thanks!

Klaw
  (1:36 PM)

Banuelos is in purgatory with the arm trouble and I don't think Adams is more than a fringy bench guy. The other four are all legit prospects with the upside of above-average or better regulars.

Rob (Wilkes-Barre, PA)

Do you think that Ruben Amaro is on the spot in Philadelphia? They seem to be at a crossroads. Does he dump salaries, try and get younger or compete with what they have?

Klaw
  (1:36 PM)

I think he's coasted so far on the work done by Pat Gillick and by his scouting staff. At some point, probably now, he's going to have to make some positive moves of his own.

Charles (San Jose)

From what you see in the AFL is there any chance Matt Davidson can grab the Snakes 3B job sometime next summer? I'm hoping this is the case because Kevin Towers seems more concerned with piling up closers than filling that role.

Klaw
  (1:37 PM)

Maybe next summer but not in April. I would let Chris Johnson fill the spot for a few months and flip him as soon as Davidson seems ready.

Dale (KY)

Given Matt Szczur's athletic ability, could the Cubs change his swing enough for you to see him as a solid prospect? Seems like the other parts of his game are pretty good.

Klaw
  (1:38 PM)

It would be a swing overhaul, and he's not a good defensive centerfielder - his reads aren't very good and he's a 60 runner, so not fast enough just to run down his mistakes. I'm really not optimistic.

Alan (St. Louis)

What does the future look like for Rosenthal? I'd love to see him in the rotation, but with all of StL's pitcher commitments and high upside prospects, I worry that he'll be relegated to the bullpen, a la Chapman.

Klaw
  (1:39 PM)

I think he'll get an opportunity in the rotation - there will be injuries that open up rotation spots, and their bullpen isn't a weakness they'll try to patch with starter prospects.

tim (Cal.)

HI Klaw,,,what do your metrics tell you about what you have seen out of Almora? did you see him at all this year in Ariz.? what kind of upside stat lines do you see from him on the high end? what kind of floor?

Klaw
  (1:39 PM)

Saw him this summer, and I think he's an All-Star, a plus defender who'll hit for high averages with average or better power.

zack (stl)

Trevor Rosenthal and Matt Adams for Andrus? Adams would certainly be better than Michael Young.

Klaw
  (1:40 PM)

That isn't even half what the Rangers should want for Andrus.

Ted (Milwaukee)

The Giants won one game. Or to put that in perspective for everyone, the Reds won the first two games. And the Cardinals were up 3 to 1. Apparently come back metrics only work for the Giants, as there is no way the Tigers can win now. Oh wait, Giants fans say the metrics are against them. I'm so confused.

Klaw
  (1:40 PM)

Nicely put.

Dale (KY)

Re: swing overhaul....sounds like the Cubs are going to try this with Brett Jackson as well? Optimistic about that, or desperation?

Klaw
  (1:40 PM)

Better player overall - and also necessary for him to ever reach his athletic potential. I don't think he can make enough quality contact with his current swing.

dc (dc)

Think Schoop has a chance at the bigs next year? Where would he play, 2b?

Klaw
  (1:41 PM)

No. Moving him to AA this year was a big mistake. And I say that as a huge fan of him as a prospect. I also prefer him at 3b.

Tarek (NYC)

I think most people don't understand that Sabermetrics helps with season and career long understanding of players. It doesn't help with a guy going on a sick hitting streak over 7-15 games.

Klaw
  (1:41 PM)

Exactly. Jeff Suppan and Jeff Weaver in 2006. You can't explain that.

Andy (Madison (WI))

Are you going to be able to find 50 FA to put on your list? Seems like just an awful year.

Klaw
  (1:41 PM)

Back end of the list actually looks fine. It's the first ten that make me want to bang my head against my desk.

Chris (KC)

How did Trevor Rosenthal last until the 21st round of the draft? Did he just progress a lot after signing? Or was there skepticism because of being from a cold weather state?

Klaw
  (1:43 PM)

He was at a tiny junior college in Kansas, not a school that's always on the radar. Don't ever be surprised when a hard-throwing pitcher emerges from a tiny school. When a hitter does, that's a much bigger surprise, but pitchers can and do pick up velocity after signing, and it's often a matter of a team liking a body or a delivery rather than a radar gun reading.

Matt (SF)

Last night Heyman tweeted "the Giants should let the A's have San Jose"... what do you think about the situation? I think the territory is ours, and the A's should quit whining.

Klaw
  (1:44 PM)

I'm with Jon. MLB's territorial rights rules are an anachronism, completely out of sync with our antitrust laws, and they only exist due to a regrettable Supreme Court ruling from nearly a century ago. Plus MLB is better off without financially weak franchises like Oakland and Tampa Bay.

Jose Valverde (SF fancy hotel)

Should I start brushing up on my Japanese for next season?

Klaw
  (1:44 PM)

Or your Czech.

Brent (St. Paul)

You excited for TC Seattle? My friend is a producer for the show and I was a guest diner this year. Food was great.

Klaw
  (1:45 PM)

Very excited. I'll resume the weekly recaps once the show starts.

MeisterNJ (Mendham)

Are Bichette and Montgomery legit prospects? Seen Montgomery in the AFL?

Klaw
  (1:45 PM)

I was never a huge Bichette fan and it sounds like his swing really went backwards over the summer. Montgomery disappointed out here - 90-92 with maybe a 55 slider. Betances did have one very good outing (after a terrible one) for me that gave me some hope he can still have value in the pen.

Dale (KY)

Any Cubs prospects not named Soler, Almora, Baez you are particularly interested in or intrigued by?

Klaw
  (1:46 PM)

Paniagua comes to mind. Electric arm.

Dale (KY)

Can we read into your comments that you would be in favor of contraction of Oakland and Tampa, or do you prefer relocation? Why not a 3rd NYC team like the good old days?

Klaw
  (1:46 PM)

Relocation. I fully oppose contraction. There's no reason for it.

Ryan (Radnor, PA)

Your buddy Missanelli here in Philly has been discussing the possibility of trading Howard to the Rays. Apparently he and the rest of the listeners don't think Hellickson is enough of a return. Thoughts?

Klaw
  (1:47 PM)

That's hilariously delusional. Besides, why would he want to trade the preeminent power hitter in the game?

Mike (San Diego)

Do you think the Cardinals are regretting the Westbrook extension now that they are apparently so rich with starting pitching?

Klaw
  (1:48 PM)

I thought at the time that that deal was a reflection of their uncertainty around Carpenter's health going forward.

Zach (CT)

Chances that Paxton actually makes it to Seattle before Hultzen?

Klaw
  (1:48 PM)

Slim. Paxton's command remains a real concern for me.

Kevin (SF)

I love how the A's owner voluntarily signed away the territory rights to San Jose to help the Giants with their stadium situation in the early 90's and now the refuse to even negotiate a deal. Class acts we got here.

Klaw
  (1:48 PM)

Go to an arbitrator, fix a price, and just get it done already. That's an easier fix than Tampa, where the Rays could be better off on the other side of the Bay, but it's less of a guarantee.

Orioles fan (Baltimore)

Does Machado start the year in Baltimore? as a 3B or SS?

Klaw
  (1:49 PM)

Sounds like yes as a 3b. I think that wastes some of his upside because I believe he can play short.

Jim (Chicago)

Will Trayce Thompson make enough contact to become an everyday player? Is his defense/power enough to overlook his K rate?

Klaw
  (1:51 PM)

It's a long swing and his bat speed is just average for me. I think you can pound him inside and he'll have trouble covering, plus he has the usual difficulty chasing stuff down and away. I wanted to like him but right now his deficiencies outweigh the two positives you mentioned.

Brian (NJ)

Mike Wilbon, in a recent chat, wrote the following about AL MVP voting, "The logic of anybody who selects Trout over Cabrera is inadequate and agenda-driven as far as I'm concerned." Is there really an agenda for those who think Trout should be the MVP? What is this agenda exactly?

Klaw
  (1:51 PM)

If that ain't a pot/kettle moment, I've never seen one. The logic of Trout over Cabrera is logic itself.

Jeff (Bloomington, IN)

Thanks for the great chats. How difficult is it to adjust swing mechanics? On a scale of 1 to 10...1 being easy, 10 extremely difficult.

Klaw
  (1:51 PM)

8 or more.

Mike (San Diego)

Any thoughts on the Padres and Mariners moving the fences in?

Klaw
  (1:52 PM)

I think that's a paper fix. It may even hurt San Diego, where they've had some added success by acquiring flyball pitchers who couldn't pitch in most other environments.

person (dc)

Wilbon then continued by saying he was "totally dismissive" of the argument. So I am now totally dismissive of his arguments.

Klaw
  (1:53 PM)

Well there you go. I'd love to debate that with him at some point. I feel confident that I've got the logic on my side.

Mike (Boston)

I do realize the Yanks have some age on their roster but the talk that they are ?finished? comes up every season. Looking at the sum of their roster I believe it is greatly exaggerated. Do you have any doubts that the 2013 Yanks will at least be in the mix for a post season spot?

Klaw
  (1:53 PM)

I agree but it's trending downward.

Alex (San Jose)

Isnt the Trout v Cabrera debate really about two different ways to measure performance? Each side has their opinion on which one is better, yet it doesnt really make one right or wrong.

Klaw
  (1:54 PM)

That's a false compromise (aka argument from moderation). The Cabrera side is choosing to ignore parts of his and Trout's performances that do not support Cabrera's case. That's not true with Trout's side.

Benny (Chicago)

Trevor Bauer recently tweeted he's ashamed to have Obama as our president. Do you believe athletes need to be less concerned about such things?

Klaw
  (1:55 PM)

He's entitled to his views. I don't share that view, and I don't think it's in an athlete's best interests to share such a view in incendiary language, but he has every right to do so. He's also going to have to get used to some even more shameful government officials if he's going to spend much of his time in Arizona.

Brian (Vegas)

Was Pennington and a low prospect anywhere near the value of Chris Young? How much better do you think that return could have been for AZ?

Klaw
  (1:57 PM)

I think they sold very low on Young, who may have been held back by that shoulder injury all year.

Jeff (Chicago)

The part that the Cabrera side is ignoring is defense, correct? But doesnt that go to the point that MVP has generally been looked at as the best offensive player and not the best all around player as it defined?

Klaw
  (1:57 PM)

Argument from tradition. The MVP award's history is embarrassing, really. But that just makes it more important that we get it right going forward.

Mike (San Diego)

How frequently to you get told to "stick to sports"? Seems like since you share your view on an umber of different things, some people would say that.

Klaw
  (1:58 PM)

Daily. I either ignore it or tell them to go pound sand. If you don't like what I saw, door's on your left.

Drew (Bloomsburg)

What is your preferred way of preparing salmon?

Klaw
  (1:59 PM)

Either grilled, or seared and roasted, so there's plenty of browning on the outside but the center is just cooked to medium.

Jason (St Louis)

How can Bochy justify not putting Melky on the WS roster but run Guillermo Mota out there in the late innings?

Klaw
  (2:00 PM)

This is entirely PR-focused, I think. It may not matter, but it's still worth pointing out the illogical thinking. Even a rusty Melky is more valuable than Huff.

Jake (Reno, NV. )

is Buster still a fav to will the NL MVP even after hes cooled off?

Klaw
  (2:00 PM)

Voting closed the day after the regular season.

brian (nyc)

is cabrera's defense as bad as he showed on that zito single last night? i mean, his range looked about 3 feet in either direction. so those people saying what a good teammate he is switching to 3B should really wonder if he should've just switched to DH.

Klaw
  (2:00 PM)

His range is really poor. He wasn't a good defender at first.

Klaw
  (2:01 PM)

OK I apologize for the shorter-than-normal chat, but I'm meeting a visiting sportswriter for lunch in Mesa today. I'll be back again next week. Thanks for all the questions!