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I hear plenty about Jose Abreu & the hype that goes with it, but I hear nothing of him coming to the states. Any possibility he's playing in the majors in a couple of years ala Cespedes?
He's already as old as Cespedes was when he debuted. I suppose he could walk out of the hotel this month and fly to Mexico, but he wouldn't be able to sign with anyone until OFAC cleared him anyway - and he's not the kind of athlete Cespedes is anyway.
Drew Ward is now eligible for the 2013 MLB Draft. Is he even remotely close to Wilson, Frazier etc. talent wise? Where will he likely be drafted? Thanks
Might go first round but I wouldn't take him near there. Overrated due to size and the fact that he was always older than his competition. BTW, Ward and Storm Rynard (another '14, from Missouri) aren't technically "eligible" until their schools submit affidavits to MLB saying the players are on target to graduate in June. I know that's a little bit of semantics, but there has to be some chance that the players don't complete all the required coursework.
True or False: The extent I focus on Spring Training should be crossing my fingers that nobody gets hurt.
I've heard how week this draft class is a few times - do any of the top 3 pitchers (Appel, Manaea, Stanek) project as true number 1's? Who has the most probability? Thanks.
Appel does. Manaea might. Stanek for me is just slightly below that line. Appel is the safest bet for me.
So while Duffy and Paulino are on the shelf for a year with TJS, are they getting MLB service time?
What are the odds Gausman turns into a better pitcher than Bundy?
Conversation on my Blog:"Would you trade Gerrit Cole to the Rangers for SS Jurickson Profar?"What say you?
Why would the Rangers do that?
Thoughts are that if the Cubs don't eventually trade Vogelbach, he would be moved to LF. He has lost weight, but is that really a feasible position for him in the majors?
He's a bad defensive first baseman. What on earth would make anyone think he could handle left?
How much leverage does Appel have this year? If he doesn't sign then he would have to do a year of independent ball and run the risk of becoming Matt Harrington 2.0.
The flip side is that he is the best player in the draft right now, and at 22 is fairly close to major league ready.
"your" senator John McCain is making a full of himself this morning in his attacks on Rand Paul. Just an FYI
I lost all respect for McCain when he decided to attack MLB in furtherance of his own political career. We are still paying the price for those steroid hearings.
In 2012, you rated Starling Marte fairly highly in terms of tools, but expressed concerns about his approach at the plate. Has anything changed in the last year? What do you think is a realistic projection for him for this year and going forward? Thanks.
I think what we saw last year from him in the majors is indicative of the problem. He's a low OBP guy, maybe too low to play every day in the majors right now.
I can't remember a potential top prosepct trade that works better than Profar for Taveras, but neither team would ever do that deal - would they?
I agree, I don't think either team does that deal, but it's fairly reasonable for both sides.
Sprinkles Cupcakes in Scottsdale- best there is?
There's a tiny place out in Gilbert called Designer Cakes by April that's better.
You made reference to the trite: "Who hangs up first..." question, but in the office of a real GM is there protocol for proposing actual trades? If you come out with lunacy once or twice, do your calls just go unanswered?
You always listen, really. Although I do know of one GM hanging up on another one for making an outrageous trade demand. The latter GM is no longer in a front office.
Do the ST offensive struggles of Billy Hamilton surprise you and what are your projections for him 3 to 5 years out?
Is he struggling in spring training? I would have noticed if I cared about spring training stats. Projection on him is unchanged from what I wrote in February.
Have you had a chance to scout Nick Franklin? Can he provide close to league average defense at SS? Or is he doomed to 2B/3B?
Seen a lot of him over the years. Has the instincts for short, tools are a touch short for it ... and if he's really putting on all this weight for the long term, he ain't anybody's shortstop.
I can't get your true read on Nolan Arenado; in a keeper league do you deal him straight up for Jarrod Parker?
I would not, in fantasy or in reality. Arenado has the hit tool, I don't like his makeup/effort level, and his defense at third base has gone backwards.
Any info on Chad Bettis? Missed all of last year, but now he's back in action. Does he have a shot at sticking in the rotation?
Saw him (and blogged about him) earlier this week. Don't think he's 100% back. Has to go to AA.
David Schoenfield had Andrelton Simmons ranked as the third best shortstop out of the Braves, Phillies, and Nationals shortstops. Shouldn't he at least be number 2.
I might put him first.
Speaking of "has to go to AA" why has there been almost no mention of the prospect caught drunk driving at 111 mph, but if someone gets a PED violation its a 50 game suspension and media outcry??
Not quite the AA I meant for Bettis, but, yeah, it's really absurd. Morality aside, there is a substantial liability problem for MLB with players driving drunk and recklessly that does not exist with PEDs.
Any reason for the Cubs to choose anyone OTHER than Appel with the #2 overall in June?
Well, if he goes #1, that would be one reason.
Is Jacob Gatewood the 2014 version of Carlos Correa?
A little early to say that, but Gatewood is exciting.
Does MLB ever allow draft pick trading?
The screw-Tampa-Bay ... I mean, competitive balance lottery picks can be traded. No others can. That needs to change in the next CBA.
So since nobody hangs up, do GMs end their calls with "You hang up first", "No, YOU hang up first"?
"OK we'll hang up at the same time ... 1, 2, 3, bye!"
As an outsider, I acknowledge that there is way more to most stories than meets the eye. That said, doesn't it seem completely ridiculous that the Tigers would spend all that money assembling this roster, but roll the dice into Spring with an unproven closer?
You could argue that they realize the relative unimportance of a closer.
Will Sanchez play for the Pirates this year? Could he at least become a solid backup catcher?
I don't think he's good enough defensively for that.
What have you heard about Vandy pitcher Kevin Ziomek so far this year (not too many Amherst High grads I get to ask questions about)? Does he have a chance to sneak into the top few rounds in the draft?
For me, second rounder, but I won't be shocked if he goes in the first. Command lefty with average stuff. Great pedigree.
I haven't seen any empirical studies done but it seems players overly reliant on their hit tool seen to flame out at a higher rate. Is it the least predicable tool?
I agree with this, actually.
Why do College Baseball teams like to bunt soooooo often?
Because American math education is terrible.
Keith, the CWS Marcus Semien had a productive year at Hi A Winston Salem last year. You did not have him on your White Sox Top 10 list. Do you think he can be a MLB regular or am I overvaluing his 2012 stat line?
Wasn't especially young for high-A. I think he's a backup unless he becomes a legitimate shortstop (which I don't believe he is).
Francona recently said that he wouldn't be surprised if Danny Salazar was called up at some point this year. Totally ridiculous or plausible?
Plausible. Huge arm.
I know that you don't believe in Spring Training "stats" per se. But that doesn't mean you believe Spring Training is useless, does it? Isn't it important for conditioning, getting situational looks at players, fine tuning form, etc?
Correct. The stats are mostly useless. The players still need it, and teams do too to see who's in shape, who's hurt, etc.
I know the Blackhawks are on some kind of streak or something (hockey, right?), but must every media outlet show that ridiculously racist logo at every opportunity?
What's worse, their logo or Chief Wahoo? I think it's a tie.
Wacha has looked impressive so far. #2 upside, or 3?
Again, don't evaluate spring performances. He's just what he was a month ago.
Which MLB team is going to turn heads this year? Surprise us all for not believing in them?
I actually think Kansas City will get over .500, especially if they start Wade Davis. I don't know if that's a surprise given the moves they've made, but I would guess readers who know I didn't like the Shields trade would be surprised that I think the team is that much better.
I know you attended a Seattle spring game recently. 1) what is with the awful trumpet all game? Terrible. 2) Is SS Carlos Triunfel still a prospect at all?
Is that trumpet a thing? I didn't know that. I'll try to avoid Peoria. Triunfel has major league value, just probably not as a regular.
Since spring stats are useless, then it shouldn't be possible for a player to be able to make a team just based on his performance in spring training, right? Under this logic, the team is basically set beforehand, maybe short the last bench and bullpen guy. Or am I missing something?
I wouldn't use spring performances to determine everyday jobs or top four rotation slots. Some teams do, but that is bad business.
OK, follow-up question: Since the Astros passed on Appel in 2012, what makes you think they'd be MORE likely to draft him this year? If not, any reason why the Cubs would also pass?
Isn't the decision to draft a player also largely a function of the other available options? Appel wasn't the top player on my board in 2012. He is the top player on my 2013 board right now.
Better prospect. Andy or Reese McGuire?
The industry would say Reese. For now, I say Andy.
I know you don't think I have the upside that my minor league stats would suggest (small sample, college pitcher, relief outings etc), but now I continue to impress in ST. At some point doesn't the fact that all I have done is dominate as a pro count for something?
Not really, no. If you can turn lineups over three times with this kind of success, and maintain an average or better breaking ball while doing so, that would change my opinion.
Since Cleveland's nickname is named after the first Native American ballplayer, would you be satisfied if they simply changed the logo but kept "Indians"?
Begging the question. The team wasn't named after Sockalexis - that's a post hoc rationalization for a racist nickname.
I was stung by a Scorpion Yesterday! Any run-ins with those evil creatures in your time living here?
Yes. I found one in my car in a reusable grocery bag last summer. Didn't get stung, but had a small coronary when I looked in the bag and realized what it was.
Does Tom Wilhelmsen & Casper Wells for Nick Castellanos
... make Dave Dombrowski howl with derisive laughter? Yes, yes it does.
Do you think Tyler Skaggs should be in the rotation for the DBacks to start the year? It looks like he still need to work on his fastball command, but wow, his breaking stuff is impressive.
I think developmentally, he's better off here than in Reno.
Any idea if Teheran's been showing a breaking ball this spring? If so, how has it looked?
Yes - he always throws one, and this spring, as usual, it comes and goes. He needs a consistent one to get righties out and just generally to change eye levels.
Are you going to see the new Studio Ghibli movie (From Up on Poppy Hill) coming out in the US next week?
please never stop being snarky. its wonderfully refreshing.
It's in my DNA. I couldn't stop if I wanted to. Plus I get these 9/11 Truthers in my Twitter feed and it's just so easy to snark them.
which game are you going to today?
Seattle at Oakland. Maurer starting, Paxton in second.
Did you see Wreck It Ralph? I have a 5 year old daughter and I'm just wondering what your opinion is?
We didn't. My wife and I thought the trailer made it look too mean-spirited for our daughter.
When do you plan to do your first Mock Draft? Any buzz going around certain teams and certain players?
Not until May. Team preferences don't start to narrow until late April, sometimes even later than that, and anything I put out there now would be a fabrication. I'll do an updated ranking next Tuesday, and will continue to update that as the spring goes on. I indicated this above but Appel is still the top guy, with Manaea probably #2.
The White Sox and Chris Sale apparently are negotiating an extension to buy out his arbitration years -- given the injury potential, is this a bad gamble for the White Sox?
In my opinion, yes, especially since his elbow barked a few times last year.
I think this whole debate about racist names and logos is a little ridiculous. Can't we just get past this thinking that a race is being singled out? When people see these things, they associate them with the team, not a race. The fact that people make a big deal about it is just singling out the race even more than the original issue itself.
Consider what you would think of a major league sports team called the Jews, or the Blacks, or even more offensive epithets. I think it's easier to convince yourself that team nicknames that denigrate Native Americans are acceptable because there are so few Native Americans around. That doesn't make it less offensive, though.
Seems like everything I read about Arodys Vizcaino says that he is destined for the bullpen. There are so many pitchers out there who have had TJ surgery that hold up as starters - any idea what it is about him that make people feel like he can't hold up as a starter?
I don't subscribe to that view myself, and I don't understand it.
Here's my favorite part of the 9-11 "Truther" argument. OUr government, which can't even agree to cancel sequestration - which both sides know will be horrible - agreed to arrange this massive ruse, kill thousands of Americans, and no one - NO ONE - has leaked anything? Really???
That's pretty good, actually.
As a lover of snark and satire, were you offended by the Onion's tweet about Quvenzhane Wallis?
Its greatest problem is that it was completely devoid of humor. The outcry would have been far less had the tweet been funny. Instead, it was inexcusably awful.
Hi Keith. Is there any amount of money that could be given to you by Olive Garden that would make you publicly support it despite your true feelings for the food?
Boxers, briefs or let the wind take them where it may?
My boys need a house!
Considering how much better he was after he got past the Valley Fever, would you be surprised if Ike Davis posted a 4-5 WAR season and got some down-ballot MVP votes?
That's too rich for me, but I think he's a nice bounceback guy. I don't love where he starts his hands, but the rest of the skill set is sound.
Agree fully with your points on racist team nicknames. It might sound weird, but I actually think the Notre Dame "Fighting Irish" is pretty bad in that it plays to some pretty negative stereotypes of Irish individuals.
It's not weird, although as someone with Irish blood, I've never found that offensive on a personal level. I also think the fact that there was no campaign here to wipe out the Irish population from their own lands is kind of a factor.
I think I probably know your answer but.... Is there the smallest morsal of anything meaningful that can be taken from the way the Royals are playing this spring? If I was a Yankee, Tiger or Cards fan I wouldn't give it a second thought but you know our story here.
From a strictly baseball standpoint, do you have any thoughts on the death of Chavez? Perhaps a new leader that improves security in the country could encourage more MLB teams to re-open academies in Venezuela.
I think it's a complete net positive for baseball. The security situation down there has deteriorated over the last decade to the point where teams have shifted resources to other countries, most shockingly Colombia. I know the interim period in Venezuela might get worse, but in the long run, baseball is better off if the country has a functioning democracy again.
Are you gonna do a chat in Spanish again?
If there's an audience for it, I would love to do one.
Ever try reading "Possession" by AS Byatt? My brother, a professor of English Lit with a specialty in the medieval period, couldn't get through it.
Yes, but I didn't care for it: http://meadowparty.com/blog/2007/08/23/possession/
Have you begun Infinite Jest yet? Have you read any other DFW beforehand?
I haven't - might save that for April, when I'm not spending so much time in the car and am spending more time on airplanes.
Keith -- do you envision a scenario with Furcal going down, where the Cards move Jon Jay to open up a spot for Taveras? Or can Kozma handle the load?
I don't see Kozma as an everyday player at any spot. He's not a shortstop, and I don't think the bat plays elsewhere. Moving Jay for a shortstop, if they could do so, would make a ton of sense - but for whom?
There's interesting background on how Notre Dame took on the "Fighting Irish" nickname. Before ND was ever the Fighting Irish, the team's rivals gave them the labeled as a pejorative. ND started calling themselves the Fighting Irish out of pride and as a way to stick it to their rivals. It was their way of saying, that's right we're the fighting Irish and we're going to walk all over you. It's not the same situation as the Redskins or other offensive nicknames.
I hadn't heard that.
The Fighting Irish's mascot is also a leprechaun. Hard to offend fictitious races.
But they're magically fictitious.
Thoughts on Profar as a utility player?
If he gets 400+ PA, I'm fine with it. If he's getting 200, send him down so he can play.
actually "indians" is not a racist term, nor is "braves" - any more than say american or african or warriors is racist.however, chief wahoo certainly is racist, as is "redskins."
"Indians" is not a racist term if we're referring to people from Mumbai.
Is there a reason why there are so many Indian team names? You don't see teams named after the Germans or English for example.
Hey, I'm a big fan of die Rotesocken.
Wouldn't Cards be smart to see if Kozma can hold the spot and see who is willing to deal? Can Cards lineup support a glove only guy like Ryan or Pennington?
Why not just play Ryan Jackson then? Great defender who probably won't hit.
Picked Wil Myers in the 24th round in my 1yr league fantasy draft. You think hes going to be worth that?
I don't know enough about your league to answer that, but if Myers playing 90 games in the majors makes him worthwhile, then yes.
recently purchased Master and Margarita based on the KLaw 102 - how did you hear of this book since it is originally in Russian?
Read it in a college class called "Comedy and the Novel." Other titles: Don Quixote, Joseph Andrews, Jacques the Fatalist, the Charterhouse of Parma, Dead Souls, Huck Finn, If on a winter's night a traveler. Pretty good class.
Is Mike McDade a non-prospect? Seems to have a decent bat
NP (non-prospect) for me.
What are the changes you'd most like to see in the next CBA? Universal DH? Dropping the compensation picks for FA signings? Removing international signing bonus limits?
All three of those things. Making draft picks tradeable. Removing testing and suspensions for marijuana. Adding penalties for DUIs. Adding one regular season series outside the US/Canada in every season (I believe that would have to be collectively bargained). Probably more but that's what comes to mind.
Klaw, you've been pretty open about your anxiety and depression and I was curious what you've found that helps you keep your "balance". Is it the medication route or something else? A combination of both? If that's too personal, I understand but I know that people who do suffer are almost willing to try anything that has worked for others.
Medication, therapy, and a little meditation when I can. It's all made an enormous difference.
Signing up for a wedding registry with my fiance. What is one thing you didn't get, that you wish you had?
We didn't get a food processor, got one later and use it all the time. Also get a 5 qt stand mixer.
Local writers (and apparently the Cards) don't think that Ryan Jackson is a good glove man. Have you scouted him? If so, how did you rate him? If not, what is the common opinion among other scouts?
I've scouted him as a pro and an amateur. I can't imagine why the Cards would think that.
Sent you this question earlier on twitter with an attached article from the Post:@keithlaw: Do you agree with this scouts evaluation of Rendon's swing? Surprised that someone can find a flaw in something that pretty.
Yes, glad you sent this - a scout told Adam Kilgore that Rendon has a hitch in his swing that pitchers would exploit. I saw Rendon again in the fall, and I just rewatched my video of him from that time. There is no hitch. Either he's added one, or the scout is somehow mistaken.
Do you see any emerging markets for baseball? Or is it such a skill-based sport (as opposed to athleticism for basketball or football) that the in-country resources need to be in place for years before seeing progress?
Colombia, although that may already be "emerged." Brazil and Germany would be the next two spots.
Time to head out to Phoenix Muni. Thanks for all the questions - I'll be back next Thursday, along with the first top 50 ranking for this year's draft. I'll be posting daily with observations from any Cactus League games I attend.