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March 28, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Keith Law

Klaw
  (12:05 PM)

Sorry I'm late, Snarkhaus blacklisted me and we're now in a war of mutual Derogatory Denial of Snark attacks.

Thomas (Oceanside)

Addison Russell is starting out at high-A in the Cal League. Ok by you? And is he gonna make it to AA by season's end?

Klaw
  (12:06 PM)

Yes, and yes. I'm all in on that one.

Sky (Rochester, NY)

Did you vote in the BBTN500 project? Where did you put Kimbrel -- probably higher than 14th, right? ;)

Klaw
  (12:06 PM)

I did not. Not enough time.

Dan (NYC)

Keith - I think your analysis is great, and I appreciate the objective nature with which you approach the game - especially prospects. I was curious what your biggest 'miss' was in regards to a prospect, either way (you panned but turned into a stud, or you raved on but couldn't crack the Mendoza)?

Klaw
  (12:08 PM)

I was a big Brett Wallace guy in college, even in the minors his first year, but didn't realize his success against LHP masked his great flaw - that he couldn't turn on stuff in on his hands. Lefties threw stuff that moved away from him, so he could rotate his hips enough to go the other way. I knew the body was, um, less than ideal, but couldn't connect the dots to see the fatal flaw. That one still bothers me.

Dave (Reston, Va)

Are the Nationals going to be able to get past the Game 5 loss of last year?

Klaw
  (12:09 PM)

That was half a year ago. They're not six years old.

Steve (Brew City)

M's made a good call taking Maurer north, right? What kinda year do you see in store for him, future ceiling?

Klaw
  (12:09 PM)

Yes, because his injury history makes me fear he has limited bullets in the arm - might as well use them in the majors.

Steve (California)

Have heard some talk about Jonathan Grey being in contention for #1-1, and Manea falling out of the Top 10. Too rash, or trending that way?

Klaw
  (12:10 PM)

I mentioned those points in a recent draft blog post - I think that's the realistic-pessimistic view on Manaea, and I think Gray is the alternative to Appel at 1-1 right now. Cubs fans should be most excited about Gray, because his emergence would mean, today, that they are guaranteed to get a top-tier college starter who projects as at least a good #2.

Heath (Redlands, Ca)

Future ceiling of Corey Seager? Chance to be better than his brother Kyle?

Klaw
  (12:11 PM)

More than a "chance."

Steve (California)

Did you ever see Brian Cole play? I don't remember him being that hyped when he was in the minors - is this upcoming article a bit of "eulogoizing"?

Klaw
  (12:12 PM)

Died before I got into the game, I believe. Was not a significant prospects - undersized guy who would have struggled to profile in a corner.

Kyle (Toronto)

Your take on the JA Happ extension?

Klaw
  (12:13 PM)

Overpriced and unnecessary. A week ago, he wasn't good enough for their rotation; now he's worth guaranteeing 2014 at over $5 million (when he's likely to produce between 0 and 1 WAR per year) today? What if he gets hurt? Or if the transition to the AL brings his value down to replacement level? Can't non-tender him now.

Josh (STL)

Your take on Wainwright Extension?

Klaw
  (12:14 PM)

If he's healthy, it's a great deal for the Cards. Given his history, though, the over/under on starts during that extension has to be around 100.

Bob (Springfield, MO)

Well Kyle Lohse signed after all. The compensation rule didn't change, but the number of years he was willing to accept did. Perhaps this was the issue all long?

Klaw
  (12:14 PM)

This was my argument all along.

Dave (Burlington, MA)

What do you think of the Reds moving Chapman to the bullpen? Is this a case of the front office giving into the outspoken manager?

Klaw
  (12:18 PM)

If the player isn't willing to start, to put in all the work required for that, you can't really force him. This isn't like telling Ian Kinsler to man up and move to first base. (Which the Rangers should do. If a minor leaguer did this, he'd go on the restricted list until he grew up.)

Jonathan (Pittsburgh, PA)

Does an over .500 season save Neal Huntington's job?

Klaw
  (12:19 PM)

I don't know anything about his job security or ownership's perspective. I can tell you that in my predictions (coming out tomorrow), I won't have them over .500.

Scott (SF)

When was the last time that you simply watched a baseball game for the fun of it? Or, with your career being baseball, has that pretty well gone out the window and it's all "work" now?

Klaw
  (12:19 PM)

Baseball is work - great work, but work. When I want to do something fun, it doesn't involve baseball. I just think that's common sense for my mental health.

Ray (TX)

Brad Peacock won a rotation spot in Houston. Is he gonna cut it?

Klaw
  (12:20 PM)

Compared to the alternatives, sure. Long-term, is he even a 1-WAR major league starter? I'll bet no. Flat fastball, going t be very flyball-prone, doesn't have the knockout offspeed stuff.

Jason (Dallas)

The folks that are still predicting 90+ wins for the Yankees are delusional, right?

Klaw
  (12:21 PM)

How about excessively optimistic? They'd need a lot of breaks, especially with health, to make that a likely outcome.

Hek (Wilmignton, DE)

What kind of Ceiling does Lewis Brinson Have? Pretty impressed with his bat.

Klaw
  (12:22 PM)

Impact guy, middle of the order, 30 HR type, with above-average or better defense in center. He's a better overall prospect than Gallo now that the rangers have tightened up his (Brinson's) swing.

Scott (SD)

Can a pitcher have too much muscle in his arm? I'm asking because I see the 49ers want their QB to tone down his workouts so he's not too "jacked up." This got me thinking about pitchers. Can having too much bulk hinder them?

Klaw
  (12:23 PM)

I believe so. I don't think it's cut and dried, but I prefer pitchers to build lower-body strength and maintain flexibility up top.

David (MN)

What is the ceiling for Alex Meyer?

Klaw
  (12:24 PM)

#2 starter. Maybe better. But a lot of scouts are consigning him to relief duty down the road, which would make him a closer (which I've decided just means "the best class of reliever").

John (Austin)

How long do Bud Norris and Brett Wallace last in Houston? Can either of them be moved?

Klaw
  (12:25 PM)

What's Wallace's value? Norris is gone by August 1st, but I don't think Wallace has trade value.

Mitch (New Mexico)

If D.J. Peterson hits enough, can you live with his defense at 3B?

Klaw
  (12:25 PM)

No. He's a first baseman.

Justin (Texas)

You think Appel is close to Major League ready, but if the Astros take him does it make sense to keep him in the minors for a while and wait for the other prospects to catch up and save his service time, or should they bring him up when he is ready?

Klaw
  (12:27 PM)

I'd bring him up as soon as he's ready, which might be this September. If he has to make adjustments in the majors, might as well start them now.

Jackie Bradley (Fla)

What do you think of me now? Still # 40 prospect?

Klaw
  (12:27 PM)

Yes.

scott (wixom)

I read your write up on Zimmer. Was his stuff what you expected or is his "flat" fastball a concern for future projection?

Klaw
  (12:28 PM)

I think guys with flat fastballs but plus secondary offerings can work out fine as starters with improved command and better feel for changing speeds. I'm not that concerned about Zimmer, and even so I think it may be more about lack of deception than lack of plane.

Brian (California)

Which high profile draft candidates have Scott Boras as their adviser?

Klaw
  (12:29 PM)

You must be confused. The NCAA strictly forbids players from having advisers. They can't even whisper Scott's name three times and hope he appears.

Tyler (Lexington, KY)

I wouldn't characterize closers as "The best class of reliever." More like "Best class of the set of relievers on a given team."

Klaw
  (12:29 PM)

I meant when a scouting report calls a guy a future closer. That means the scout thinks he's going to be a top-shelf reliever, but it's not specifically tied to the ninth inning.

Steve (Brew City)

Is Wacha essentially the #6 in STL? With Rosenthal and Kelly in the pen he's gotta be the first guy up in case of injury or poor performance, right?

Klaw
  (12:30 PM)

I don't think that's the case. I'd be far more comfortable stretching one of the two big-league guys out than putting a guy who's never gone 5 innings in a pro start in the rotation.

Eddie (Fresno)

Which of these two Elk Grove High School seniors should get drafted first: Rowdy Tellez or Dom Nunez? Is either a first day guy?

Klaw
  (12:30 PM)

Neither is a first day guy for me. I'm not a Tellez fan at all.

Jason (Seattle, WA)

SpringStatsSpringStatsSpringStatsSpringStats!Is Ryan Raburn crushing it again this spring? Can't believe you doubted that translating to the regular season last year.

Klaw
  (12:31 PM)

It's the neverending story.

Nate (Chicago)

Hicks starting in CF for the Twins is too quick, no?

Klaw
  (12:31 PM)

It's not ideal. Glove is ready, bat probably isn't, and it costs them a year of control if he sticks in the majors all season.

Yasiel Puig (Double AA)

How much longer until I get called up? Would you have me platooning with Crawford & Ethier?

Klaw
  (12:32 PM)

I wouldn't platoon you, and I'd give you at least 250 AB in the minors first.

Tim (Baltimore)

It seems that all of a sudden local press is favoring Gausman over Bundy...your thoughts on who profiles better this year?

Klaw
  (12:32 PM)

Bundy. Little too quick to change allegiances there.

Muzzy (Leicester)

What do you make of Fernando Martinez these days? I know he's been around forever, but he's younger than Domonic Brown and his minor league record is impressive. Can he stay healthy, and can he be an above-average corner guy?

Klaw
  (12:32 PM)

Degenerative leg/hip issue. Never going to be a regular.

James (Los Angeles)

What is Zach Bird's ceiling?

Klaw
  (12:33 PM)

Mid-rotation starter.

Ethan (Belfast)

Is there a good source for college pitch counts? The stuff on Appel is anecdotal, but I did find PC's for about half his games (105/110/107) in the Stanford box scores (not sure why not listed in all of them). This is a long way of asking are pitch counts still a concern with Appel?

Klaw
  (12:34 PM)

Stanford's coaching staff doesn't want the pitch counts made public, yet another reason I think Marquess needs to step aside in favor of some new blood - someone who won't overuse his pitchers or force all his hitters to forgo their strides and hit the other way.

Klaw
  (12:34 PM)

Oh, and no, I don't think Appel will see 120 pitches this spring.

Steve (California)

Love the new podcast! Thought it was interesting when you said that current roster management has eliminated long relievers and platoon bats, and is stopping some "AAAA" players from getting utilized. Think that changes in the near future?

Klaw
  (12:35 PM)

If you'd asked me that five years ago, I would have predicted some forward-thinking org would have at least tried it - Tampa, Oakland, etc. Hasn't happened. We're pretty locked in, as an industry, into this suboptimal 25-man roster structure.

Willigan (Montana)

Assuming Carlos Rondon was draft eligible this year would he be the clear favorite to go 1-1?

Klaw
  (12:35 PM)

Rodon. Clear favorite, no. Favorite, probably.

Steve (California)

Are Bryant and Wilson the only two Top 10 college bats?

Klaw
  (12:35 PM)

Yes. And I'm not even sure Wilson goes in the top 15 - I just think he belongs there.

Tyler (Chicago)

Do you think Kris Bryant can stick at 3B long-term?

Klaw
  (12:36 PM)

25% chance.

AJ (Youngstown, OH)

Behind the Dish is great--I'm glad you got back in the podcast world quickly. Now, on Julio Teheran... you said his approach has evolved a lot. If he's throwing 4 pitches effectively, does he have #2-type stuff NOW? Or still a work in progress?

Klaw
  (12:37 PM)

If he's throwing four pitches with command, then he's at least a 2 - but appearing to do that in March is very different from doing it in April.

John (Denver)

Why no love for Kyle Parker?

Klaw
  (12:38 PM)

This question means nothing to me. You've set an arbitrary baseline for Parker that you're not sharing with me (or us), and are asking me why I haven't agreed with it.

Richard (Los Angeles)

Loving the new podcast. On the last one you derided 13 man pitching staffs, especially because they result in a thin bench. So what's the ideal bench? Extra catcher, infielder, outfielder, good pinch hitter?

Klaw
  (12:39 PM)

I think teams can work with 11 pitchers, as long as there's a true long man on the roster. That would allow for four non-C bench spots - two IF, one of whom can play short; two OF, preferably one LH and one RH.

Rob (Dallas)

Originally thought to be shelved temporarily, Dan Duquette has now said he isn't a fan of the cutter and doesn't want Dylan Bundy throwing it. For a pitch Bundy received such high praise for, is this questionable thinking by the Os front office?

Klaw
  (12:39 PM)

I strongly disagree with that sentiment, as it is not based on hard evidence. And it makes Bundy worse in the process.

Steve (Brew City)

Can Jacob Turner figure the bigs out this year at some point? Still just 21, what has 'held' him back?

Klaw
  (12:40 PM)

Fastball hasn't been there for a year-plus.

Alex (T.O.)

I'm curious about what you thought of Bautista and Encarnacion coming up, if anything at all? Both seemed to have benefited from mechanical changes, but both implemented them relatively late in their careers.

Klaw
  (12:41 PM)

Was never a big Bautista guy, as he didn't show this kind of power or patience until he got a full-time gig in Toronto. Wrote a lot of good things about Encarnacion's bat when he was coming up, but obviously he took a very long time to get there. I thought he'd hit and hit for power even if he didn't walk enough to be a star.

Sharon (Arizona)

Konner Wade or Trevor Williams?

Klaw
  (12:41 PM)

Williams, not close.

Ryan (Oakland)

the A's seem like they are gonna give a bench spot to Nate Freiman, at least temporarily. Can you tell me a little bit about him, since I'd never heard of him before last week?

Klaw
  (12:41 PM)

Platoon bat vs LHB. That's all.

Jeremiah (Champaign)

Allen Craig for $6M over the next 5 years and a team option for a 6th. Worth it for the Cardinals?

Klaw
  (12:42 PM)

I don't like locking up non-core players like that. He was due to make $500K this year, and less than the $6MM average next year as a first-time eligible guy, so this was really more like $8MM/year for the three years after that.

Sharon (Arizona)

Have you seen Stephen Tarpley from Scottsdale JC? Any chance he goes in the first round?

Klaw
  (12:42 PM)

I haven't seen him yet this spring, although I will in April. No chance of the first round due to makeup concerns, which were behind his departure from USC.

Ben (UK)

What are you watching this week?

Klaw
  (12:42 PM)

I'm going to Reno tonight to see Braden Shipley vs Aaron Judge.

Mike (San Diego)

When do you think people will realize that Kinsler is just being super classy by refusing to move off of his current position? That's what classy players do, right?

Klaw
  (12:43 PM)

He learned from the best!

Paul (Seattle, WA)

Why is Casper Wells so horrible that he can't beat out Jason Bay on a team that already has Raul Ibanez?

Klaw
  (12:43 PM)

I don't get that at all. Bay has looked horrible this spring, which comes on the heels of looking horrible last year.

Kati (South Bend, IN)

Is Eric Jagielo from our Notre Dame Irish as good as the other three third baseman Peterson, Moran, and Bryant?

Klaw
  (12:45 PM)

Bryant is way above those other guys. Jagielo's in the mix with the other two, probably the best chance to stay at third of the three.

Charles (San Jose)

Will you mourn the retirement of Tim McCarver?

Klaw
  (12:46 PM)

I listened to him a lot in NY when I was growing up and he was still doing Met games, and I was never a fan of his approach to color commentary. It's a matter of personal taste.

Meredith (LA)

Do you like Puig?

Klaw
  (12:47 PM)

Like him, yes. Impressed that he's worked hard on improving his conditioning - he was "fat" at the workout in Mexico, had just a little (maybe 10 pounds) of extra weight when he was here last July and I first saw him, and has no extra weight on him now.

Greg (Atlanta)

Thoughts on the Baseball Reference and Fangraphs unification announcement on replacement level?

Klaw
  (12:48 PM)

An important step to shutting up the ignorati who would prefer to rate players by 4x4 or 5x5 roto stats, and were just looking for ways to criticize a stat they didn't understand.

Garrett (Salt Lake City)

As of today what is your guess at the top 5 picks of the draft

Klaw
  (12:51 PM)

I think Appel and Gray are the first two picks in some order, assuming the draft were held today. After that, it's going to come down more to team preferences and bonus demands - Kohl Stewart would be a viable pick anywhere up that high, but some teams don't like taking HS RHP in the top ten, or might balk if he wants a higher bonus to buy him away from Texas A&M. If I were picking fifth, I'd have those three guys, Meadows, Frazier, Shipley, and Bryant in the decision set, at least.

Chris (Chicago)

The Tigers optioned Rondon this morning and announced that they'll go with a closer by committee. Are writers making too much of this, or is truly a concern for the team?

Klaw
  (12:51 PM)

This is better than just running Rondon out there and pretending he's something he isn't.

Ryan (Ottawa)

for us regular folk, can you explain why an international draft would be bad?

Klaw
  (12:53 PM)

The main reason is it would hurt baseball in international markets, as it has hurt baseball in Puerto Rico, by (further) artificially restricting bonuses. It would remove players' ability to negotiate openly with suitors, which they can still do even in the current, capped system of free agency. And combining 16-year-old DR kids with 21-year-old college kids in one worldwide draft makes little logical sense, especially since teams all operate separate amateur and international scouting staffs, and cross-checkers would have the same amount of time to see maybe 30-40% more players.

Josh (Lansing)

Shouldn't the Frangraphs/B-R look for changes which make WAR more accurate rather than changes which shut up critics?

Klaw
  (12:54 PM)

Begs the question, unless you can demonstrate that WAR's accuracy is a serious issue.

Steve (Brew City)

Does Neftali Feliz come back in a RP or SP role (2014)? Have the Rangers stated any direction publicly?

Klaw
  (12:54 PM)

I think he ends up a reliever.

Neil (San Francisco)

Have you seen or heard of Matt Krook, a prep lefty out of St. Ignatius of San Francisco? Is he a first rounder?

Klaw
  (12:55 PM)

He was on my last ranking of the top prospects for this year's draft: http://klaw.me/15OGFUo

Kevin (MN)

I can't remember if you liked the Hultzen pick at the time, but it looks pretty rough now doesn't it?

Klaw
  (12:55 PM)

I didn't like it, but it's also a little soon to write him off.

Paul (Richmond)

Thoughts on Colin Moran's future? Does he stay at 3B?

Klaw
  (12:56 PM)

Doesn't stay at third. You need a lot of confidence in his hit tool to love him at first.

Koz (Gilbert, AZ)

Luhnow just announced Astros will use "tandem" SP rotations at all 4 levels of MiLB. What does that mean?

Klaw
  (12:57 PM)

Pairs of starters - one guy goes 3-4 innings, another backs him up. Lot of merit to it in terms of developing more guys who have to turn a lineup over and are forced to work on their offspeed. Also allows teams to employ four-day rotations instead of five-man ones. Flip side is you may not stretch your starters out enough over a full season, at least at AAA.

Corey (Stamford, ct) [via mobile]

Klaw, I had a meeting for breakfast at City limits, I remember you saying a relative works there. Pretty good, I was impressed. Please, can you swing ANY positive light on this disaster offseason for the yanks?

Klaw
  (12:58 PM)

Glad you liked it. My cousin is the pastry chef, and her husband is the executive chef. I don't get the financial strategy here - the money they're giving to Wells wasn't available in November?

Chris (Chicago)

Klaw, ever hear/listen to the Icelandic band Sigur Ros? If so, thoughts (they're in Phoenix April 12th at Comerica Theatre)? I haven't heard you mention any new music/bands to which you've been listening lately. Anything new?

Klaw
  (1:01 PM)

I've heard Sigur Ros, but they're a little too out there for me. Some songs I've liked so far this year - Foals' "Inhaler," Suede's "Barriers," Fitz and the Tantrums' "Out of My League," Royal Teeth's "Wild" (actually released last summer). I'm forgetting one more...

oira (san francisco)

Would you consider the fact that adding up a team's WAR doesn't add up to a team's wins a serious issue? San Francisco, Baltimore off by about 10 wins each last year.

Klaw
  (1:02 PM)

No, I prefer it that way. Forcing player win values to add up to the team's value assumes that randomness, timing/sequencing, and managers have no impact at all.

Joe (Kc)

HiI saw John lamb has increased his velocity. As a kc fan is he back as a decent prospect Thanks

Klaw
  (1:02 PM)

I wrote yesterday that his velocity hasn't come back to its pre-surgery levels.

Sky (Rochester, NY)

Is there a reason the Rays have succeeded with so many reliever reclamation projects? Do you think their magic can hold with Roberto Hernandez?

Klaw
  (1:03 PM)

I think they utilize guys differently and often work with them on simplifying their approaches. But I'm not sure.

Ernie (Chicago)

What do you see at the max potential of Snodgress, E. Johnson and Rienzo? Do any of those three have # 2 starter potential? Thank you!!

Klaw
  (1:03 PM)

No but any of the three could end up a #3, a slightly above-average starter.

John (Sterling)

Special assistant to the general manager of the General Manager, nice credentials. Your word means nothing

Klaw
  (1:04 PM)

If I was still relying on a job title I held seven years ago to establish my credibility, after all the rankings and reports and columns I've posted since then, I'd be in serious trouble. Good thing I don't do that.

Jack (Orlando)

Gun to your head: Meadows or Frazier?

Klaw
  (1:04 PM)

Meadows.

@klawthoughts (Arizona)

Is this the healthiest the league has been in your lifetime? Surging revenues. Owners making money. Players making money. PEDs relatively reduced. Solid parity. Diverse superstars. Rising attendance. Good national media rights deal, great local deals. The best digital offerings. Follow up: What would you change?

Klaw
  (1:06 PM)

I'd add two teams to even out the leagues and make interleague play less of a factor in the schedule. I'd make some on-field rules changes, like outlawing HP collisions. I'd end free-agent compensation rules and rework the draft to meet its stated purpose - funneling top young talent to the worst teams - without screwing the kids out of their negotiating rights. I could go on...

Klaw
  (1:06 PM)

But yes, MLB is in great shape right now.

Klaw
  (1:07 PM)

OK, gotta pack and head to the airport. Thanks as always for all of the questions. If you live in Reno, head over to the Wolfpack's game tonight against Fresno State - I'll be there.