Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

April 23, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with David Schoenfield

David Schoenfield
  (12:58 PM)

Happy Fernando Tatis Day, everyone! Let's talk some baseball.

CJ (Charlotte)

Prepare to be berated by hostile Reds fans who think Brandon Phillips is full of awesomeness!!

David Schoenfield
  (12:59 PM)

No doubt, although in my defense suggesting a guy is overrated doesn't mean he's not a good player.

Derek (work) [via mobile]

How pathetic is is that Google Maps still shows Marlins Ballpark as The Orange Bowl? I tried to get directions a few weeks ago and it couldn't find Marlins Park...

CC (Atlanta)

Are you at all concerned with Strasburg's diminished velocity and Gio getting hammered?

David Schoenfield
  (1:00 PM)

Small red flags. Buster Olney was on Baseball Tonight last night saying a scout (scouts?) said Strasburg's stuff looked "flat" for the first time. Something to watch. But going back to July 1, left-handers are hitting .347 off his fastball.

David Serbin (Claremont, CA)

Boston and Kansas City played a doubleheader on Sunday. After the DH, each team optioned a pitcher back to the minors. In the transaction, it said,"Return of 26th player". Could you please tell me what the 26th player rule is?

David Schoenfield
  (1:01 PM)

For doubleheaders you can call up a 26th man. I think that rule was instituted last year. Actually ... I'd like to see rosters permanently expanded to 26 guys.

Matt (Cincinnati)

I want to challenge a Sabr nerd in who knows more about baseball and showing off to America the fraud that Sabr nerds are in a debate, The Debate would be between the person who thinks that a baseball game is played on a computer with 10,000 computer simulations showing how good a team is or the doofus who is less evolved than the sabr nerd because he believes that "real life" wins show your relevancy.

David Schoenfield
  (1:03 PM)

I'm pretty sure that 100 percent of Sabr nerds will tell you that "real life" wins are, indeed, the most relevant.

Will (livingston)

David,I have always like Jon Jay, but he has been awful this year, offensively and defensively. That catch last night looked like a ball he got a bad break on, and a ball that most CF's catch. How long before we see Oscar Taveras up patrolling CF everyday for STL? My guess would be mid June, but I wish it was sooner

David Schoenfield
  (1:05 PM)

I've always liked Jay as well, but if he's struggling defensively (obviously, we can't judge on one play) he's going to lose job, with Taveras and now Matt Adams angling for playing time. Not sure the Cards want to run out a Holliday-Beltran-Craig outfield too often (with Adams at first), but you know Mike Matheny has been thinking of it.

Mike (Colorado)

Instead of over/under, let's play sooner/later. Date on which Adam Dunn gets DFA'd: I say July 1 (an off day for the White Sox). Further prediction: As no team would trade even a can of soup for Dunn, he gets released ten days later, and, because Travis Hafner stopped being productive at least a month earlier, the Yankees sign Dunn, and he ends up hitting 25 homers the second half of the season, most of them with the help of the Yankee Stadium right field jet stream (and the Yankees ended up replacing a partial donkey with a big donkey). What say you?

David Schoenfield
  (1:05 PM)

I've always liked Jay as well, but if he's struggling defensively (obviously, we can't judge on one play) he's going to lose job, with Taveras and now Matt Adams angling for playing time. Not sure the Cards want to run out a Holliday-Beltran-Craig outfield too often (with Adams at first), but you know Mike Matheny has been thinking of it.

David Schoenfield
  (1:07 PM)

And then hits eight more homers in the postseason to lead the Yankees to the title. I do wonder how long Ventura sticks with Dunn. Ozzie stuck with him two years and it basically cost him his job. (Well, among other issues.)

Les (East Windsor)

David, what if anything are you hearing from MLB about the current one game wild card playoff? While I get that they want to A. Make it more meaningful to be crowned a div champ and B. Want to add another team to the post-season mix, I feel it's ludicrous and unfair to play 162 games for one. 2 out of 3 would seem the more equitable way to handle it. Your thoughts?

David Schoenfield
  (1:09 PM)

MLB officials love it. I don't think players and managers are big fans for the reasons you cite. Personally, I don't like it. Joe Sheehan calls it the Coin Flip Game, which is apropos. What happens this year if, say, the Braves win 99 games and finish second and then lose to an 86-win wild card team?

Megan M (Dodgers Stadium)

How will the Dodgers finish off the year, based on what you have seen so far?

David Schoenfield
  (1:10 PM)

I'm a little worried. The left side of the infield is beyond horrible, Kemp is struggling and the rotation depth was supposedly a strength but they had to start Stephen Fife the other day. I don't see them as a playoff team.

Ben (Coors Field)

Are the Rockies for real?

David Schoenfield
  (1:10 PM)

Not buying yet. Tough 19-game stretch coming up. Let's see where they are in three weeks.

Brady (MN)

162 games my eye. We'll be lucky to have 120 games in by September.

David Schoenfield
  (1:11 PM)

Tripleheader, anyone?

Jason (St Louis)

Les must be a Braves fan.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

Which of these three do you see having the best year: Hosmer, Ike Davis, and Laroche?

David Schoenfield
  (1:12 PM)

I'll go with LaRoche. Just saw something that his line drive rate is very high. A lot of hard-hit outs this year. Davis may end up with the most home runs but that will come with a .240-ish average. Not buying Hosmer at all.

domes (PA)

What is the worst case scenario for Pujols this year? Some DL time and then DH only?

David Schoenfield
  (1:14 PM)

I guess that would be it. Not sure if resting -- how much rest -- will fix the problem? Good question for Stephania Bell. But it makes sense that he'll be playing a lot of DH. Trumbo is a pretty good defensive first baseman, so you're not losing much there, and probably gaining something the way Pujols is moving.

Jason (St Louis)

Beltran will not be in CF. They gave up that dream last spring.

David Schoenfield
  (1:16 PM)

Probably the right move. So the question: Can Taveras play center? Of course, if Jay comes around -- which he probably will -- that solves the problem. But if he doesn't hit, then St. Louis is punting two positions offensively (SS and CF).

Sean (Phoenix)

Is Wade Miley turning into the next Matt Cain?

David Schoenfield
  (1:18 PM)

Good comparison. It took Cain a lot of years to finally earn "respect" and I suspect the same thing could happen to Miley. He's good and I think he'll prove last year wasn't a fluke.

Nerns (Bmore)

how mcuh longer doe sWedge ride the Smoak Wagon? Any changes when Saunders comes back?

David Schoenfield
  (1:20 PM)

I think it hedges around Mike Zunino. When he's ready, he catches and the M's could move Morales to first and Montero to DH. Or, consider Montero can't hit either, just ship Montero back to Triple-A. I think Bay or Chavez gets released when Saunders comes back. Considering Franklin Gutierrez can only play about two games a week, Bay may be gone since Chavez can play center.

Wes (Memphis)

It's quite obvious that Albert Pujols is hurting (foot) but the Angels insist on playing him every, single day. Don't they understand the diminishing returns concept and how a little rest might actually be a good thing for him? What gives?

David Schoenfield
  (1:21 PM)

I may be wrong here, but I'm not sure a *little* rest will work. It may be a play through the pain situation, or sit for a long time.

Andrew (Toronto)

Anyone who thinks that defense is overrated hasn't been watching the Blue Jays this year. The pitching on the whole has been as advertised, but when the fielders aren't fielding...

David Schoenfield
  (1:22 PM)

Good point. Is it just errors or bad range, miscues, etc.?

Dan (Kansas City)

The Royals have the toughest early schedule in the AL. Should they make it through May above .500, can we start discussing them as serious contenders?

David Schoenfield
  (1:22 PM)

I think so. Pitching looks good so far. The fact that they're up there early even though Hosmer, Moustakas and Perez haven't hit yet is a good sign.

Alex (Toronto)

Nice try with the Matt (Cincinnati) alias, Dusty, but we know it's really you.

Jason (St Louis)

If rosters are expanded to 26 we might get to see the first ever 14 man pitching staff. Pass.

David Schoenfield
  (1:23 PM)

Yep, that would be the concern. I would hope teams would use it to carry another position player, so we could see more platoons, pinch-hitters, etc., and see more moves to counteract the incessant relief maneuvers.

oira79 (San Francisco)

David, I realize you have a certain number of posts you have to write, but do you really believe that one you wrote today about the Angels disrespecting Hamilton by dropping him to 5th? 1) Batting order doesn't matter that much. 2) Respect? It's not like they batted him 9th. 3) Perhaps dropping out of the 4th spot lowered the pressure enough for him to get a couple of hits, a possibility you didn't even address 4) So Trumbo struck out to end the game. Hamilton hasn't homered yet, and while he will homer, which was more likely to hit a home run right then?

David Schoenfield
  (1:28 PM)

Well, the headline is written to get the readers' attention, but what was the point of the move? Do you REALLY think Hamilton suddenly got four hits because there was less pressure? (And I think one was an infield single and another a seeing-eye single.) Which was sort of my point: There's been some bad luck in results. The approach has been bad, but the approach was the same last year when he hit 43 home runs. It just reeks of a manager looking to put the blame on a player and I think that's the wrong move to make. And Hamilton has two home runs, not zero.

David Schoenfield
  (1:29 PM)

And, yes, batting order doesn't really matter, so from an analytical standpoint it doesn't change the Angels' run expectancy, but that wasn't the point of the article.

Tarek (NYC)

Hey Saber nerd, get off my lawn. Have to love grumpy old farts.

CC (Atlanta)

You seen Luis Avilan pitch for Atlanta? He's a setup guy so not a game changer, but where in the world did he come from? Lefty that throws 93+ and gets righties out? Guy is terrific.

David Schoenfield
  (1:30 PM)

Yeah, I remember seeing him last year when he got called up and hadn't even heard of him. You know what the Braves do a good job: They don't overhype their prospects, it seems. Or they hype up the guys they want to trade (Randall Delgado). Meanwhile, they keep coming up with guys like Avilan and Beachy and Medlen, good pitchers with little prospect pedigree. Great organization.

Drew (Chicago)

What happens this year if, say, the Braves win 99 games and finish second and then lose to an 86-win wild card team? Uh, I guess they go home. What difference if they lose one game or two games? Win your division if you want to avoid the one game playoff.

David Schoenfield
  (1:32 PM)

But divisions are mere geographical alignments of teams that have nothing to do with a team's record. The Rays and Angels had a better record last year than the Tigers. Where did that get them? You're basically saying, "Sure, give a break to a team because they happen to have other crappy teams in cities located nearby." That seems kind of like a dumb system to me.

Zach (Lexington, KY)

Who do you believe will have a more productive career in the majors? Ben Revere or Billy Hamilton?

David Schoenfield
  (1:34 PM)

Hmm .. I think Hamilton has a little more upside with the bat as he's drawn a lot of walks in the minors.

John (Cincinnati, OH)

I get that Phillips is a bit over rated. Top 5 2b, not top 2. But if Phillips is over rated, what exactly are the Dodgers? Talked about like the late 90's Yankees, produce like late 80's Yankees.

David Schoenfield
  (1:34 PM)

Great comparison. Although those Yankees didn't have a Clayton Kershaw.

Scott (Iowa)

Milwaukee has, no IS, a really under-rated team this year. They have a lot of good players that just don't get noticed. What do you think will happen this year? 2nd place and maybe a wild card birth?

David Schoenfield
  (1:37 PM)

I picked them to make the playoffs before the season, so I guess have to stick with them now. That was admittedly my long shot pick (you gotta make at least one or two of those), but they're hanging in without Ramirez and Hart and their rotation is a little underrated. Bullpen remains the big concern and there isn't depth when one of the starters goes down, but I think they'll hang close in the wild-card race.

Flemming (Copenhagen, Denmark)

?On-base percentage is good. But RBIs are better.? Now I'll admit I don't have confirmation that Dusty Baker actually said this, but IF he did, Reds-fans need to worry. A LOT.

David Schoenfield
  (1:37 PM)

Wait ... did Dusty say this? Anybody have confirmation?

mk (albuquerque)

I'd like to see rosters permanently expanded to 26 guys.yes. or even 27. if you think about it, the other american pro team sports have expanded rosters over last 20 yrs to accommodate increased specialization. baseball sticks w/ 25 roster even though pitching specialization has led to teams carrying 12 and even 13 pitchers instead of 10. with 12 or 13 position players it is tough to platoon or even pinch hit.

David Schoenfield
  (1:40 PM)

Exactly. And you don't have to increase payroll to do it. Instead of paying your big star $21.5 million, pay him $21 million. There's so little actual managing done today because you have so few guys on the bench, few platoons to play with, a backup catcher who can't hit anyway, and in the NL you have to save your bench guys to hit for the pitchers. The only reason LOOGYs (or even ROOGYs) have any value is because teams have allowed them to have value by not having enough bench players to use against them.

Quack (Your moms howse)

I just ate a hot dog, yumm

Aaron (Northern Ky)

Choo is the best CF in the division. Agree?

David Schoenfield
  (1:41 PM)

In the NL Central ... umm, no. Nice try though.

Mitch (NC)

Playing the what if game, what if Teheran doesn't get his act together before Beachy comes back? If he gets bumped out of the rotation for any reason, do the Braves give him more time/use him for injured starters? Retrain him for the bullpen? Send him packing for whatever they can get for him?

David Schoenfield
  (1:41 PM)

He's still young, so you don't want to give up on him as a starter. I think he goes back to Triple-A when Beachy returns.

Phil (Detroit)

If we're really going to be concerned about fairness, do away with this BS unbalanced schedule that lets teams in weak divisions play a much weaker schdule than those in strong divisions.

David Schoenfield
  (1:43 PM)

I'm in favor of that. Now, the argument AGAINST that is that it helps the small-market teams in the Central divisions have a better shot at making the playoffs. Fine. Then put the Tigers in the AL East and the Rays in the AL Central if you want to help the small-market teams.

John (Cincinnati, OH)

Arrieta to AAA. Think he returns as a reliever? Gausman or Britton take his spot in rotation?

David Schoenfield
  (1:47 PM)

Seems like he's been given plenty of opportunities to start, but the local Baltimore papers say there are no plans to make him a reliever. He'll continue to start at Norfolk. Buck Showalter apparently said he still think Arrieta can help the club. As for his replacement, could be Britton, Freddy Garcia or Josh Stinson. Doesn't sound like Gausman in the discussion.

concerned fan (citizen of the world)

If you were a professional ballplayer - let's say your name was Adam - and you were paid $14 million dollars a year, yet, despite your best efforts, you were historically, unfathomably abysmal in your first year with your new team, not even average (in terms of your total value to your team - offense, defense, baserunning) in your second year, and again worse than terrible so far in your third year, would your conscience allow you to accept that salary? Wouldn't you go to your team's owner and say, "You know, I've been an awful player during my time here, and I don't deserve $14 million dollars a year. Based on my performance, I should only get, at most, 10% of that amount." WHICH IS STILL ABOUT 30 TIMES THE AVERAGE ANNUAL SALARY IN THE U.S. (AND ABOUT 60 TIMES THAT OF, SAY, POLAND, AND OVER 200 TIMES THAT OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC).Why do fans support this kind of nonsense with their spending on apparel, tickets, and television? Baseball is truly a great sport, but not when it's conducted as MLB is with its current economic system. Rant over. What say you?

David Schoenfield
  (1:48 PM)

So the players should give up their salaries so rich owners can make even MORE money?

Mike (San Diego)

I'm glad you aren't commissioner. Teams would be moving divisions every few years to make things fair. Yes, the AL Central stinks now, but as recently as 2007, every team except for Kansas City has made the playoffs from that division. Quality of teams is way too cyclical to be so reactive.

David Schoenfield
  (1:50 PM)

Mike -- but how many of those AL Central teams would have made the playoffs if they had been in the AL East or West? I guess what I'm saying is if you want the best 10 teams to make the playoffs, the current system doesn't necessarily guarantee the best 10 teams make it. Which maybe most people are OK with. A

F. Costanza (Queens)

The late 80s Yankees may not have had a pitcher like Kershaw, but they had the guts to trade a solid young prospect for a hitter like Ken Phelps...then saved some money to sign Hideki Irabu a few years later.

Jon (DC)

30% line drive rate for Laroche and a .212 BABIP. Where can I find xBABIP? Is that stat defunct now?

David Schoenfield
  (1:52 PM)

You Sabr nerds and your funny stats! (Not sure where to find it.)

Fred (Austin, TX)

Who talks about the Dodgers like they are the 90's Yankees? I haven't heard any of that talk. I will concede they may not even be as good as the 80's Yanks.

Aaron Hicks (MN)

I'm still with the big club David. Keith Law thinks I should be sent down. But we both know it ain't gonna happen is it?

David Schoenfield
  (1:52 PM)

It should happen. You look overmatched.

John (Cincinnati, OH)

Would divisions that changed every year, determined by Payroll level be more interesting?

David Schoenfield
  (1:54 PM)

How about drawing them out of a hat? Who wouldn't watch the big Division Alignment Schedule show each November? It would be like the World Cup draw. You could have former legends like Reggie Jackson and Mike Schmidt drawing the balls out of the cylinders and then go show Ron Gardenhire's face when he gets in the same division with the Yankees, Rangers, Angels and Tigers.

Tarek (NYC)

Was at the Harvey vs Strasburg game Friday night. Harvey does have some electric stuff. Mets look to be in good shape pitching wise with Harvey, Wheeler and Niese the next 7+ years.

David Schoenfield
  (1:55 PM)

So who do you take for the next five years: Harvey or Strasburg?

Flemming (Copenhagen, Denmark)

I tweeted the link to you. It's there. I can no longer talk about Baker without my head exploding. It's quite messy.....

Tim (San Diego)

We are 1/8th of the way through the schedule so I realize its early but considering how bad the Dodgers look and the likelihood is the Rockies cannot keep this up for another 5 months, are the Giants the clear favorite to win the NL West? They sure look strong and are dominating within the division so far.

David Schoenfield
  (1:56 PM)

I still think Arizona will hang with them, but I think you're right in saying that most people would make the Giants the clear favorite right now.

David Schoenfield
  (1:57 PM)

Although -- they're 13-7 even though their pitching hasn't been great. Which is either a good sign or a bad sign, not sure which.

Astros divisional opponents (TX, CA, WA)

Nothing wrong with the schedule. Move along.

Neil (DC )

So when does Ryan Zimmerman start getting thrown onto the Worst Contracts List? Is his extension that much worse than Ryan Howard's if he has to be moved from 3B due to his throwing issues?

Derek (work) [via mobile]

Question on Orgs "Hyping" up their prospects. How do teams control the hype? Aren't there independent scouts like Baseball America there to cover everyone's farms?

David Schoenfield
  (2:00 PM)

But some of those valuations come from talking to people within the organizations. So teams can have some influence on the popular perceptions of their players. Not that other teams are going to necessarily think Jesus Montero is great simply because Baseball America says he's the No. 6 prospect in baseball. (Just an example! This would never happen in real life!)

Ted (Wilmington)

To comment on managers who manage like a computer program is making their decisions, I almost fell out of my chair when Bochy brought Romo into a tie game with a runner on 2nd in the top of the 9th. Then I realized that he actually has a clue about how to use his pitchers that isn't on a chart in the clubhouse like it is in places like Cincinnati, Chicago, St. Louis and dozens of other places.

David Schoenfield
  (2:03 PM)

Here's the most obvious example: Before Chapman became the closer last year, Dusty would use him for more than three outs. Now that he's a closer, Dusty refuses to use him for more than three outs. Ridiculous. And good point about Bochy/Romo. Wish more managers would realize a tie game is a higher-leverage situation than a lead.

Michael (Tallahassee)

Could we see the ever evasive Juan Pierre DFAed within the next month if Yelich gets off to a hot start (after the brief injury stint)? He looks just awful, not that I was expecting much more.

Jim C (Houston)

Ted - You really think Dusty Baker uses a computer?

Jim C (Houston)

I thought the reason the wild card series was a single game last year instead of two-of-three was because it wasn't announced until after the rest of the schedule had already been agreed to. What's the excuse this year?

Phil (Detroit)

After Austin Jackson got traded to Detroit and struggled the first season, I saw a couple of articles talking about Jackson being another over rated prospect that the Yankees hyped so they could get better trade value.

David (Illinois)

For everyone who wants Taveras called up immediately to replace Jay, please keep in mind that it is very early still, and Taveras is not exactly lighting the Pacific Coast League on fire right now (currently hitting .260/.288/.360).

JM (Dayton, OH)

Dusty said that OBP is nice but he doesn't like guys clogging up the bases or something like that.

David Schoenfield
  (2:04 PM)

I remember the clogging the bases comment from several years. Man, what will we talk about when Dusty retires?

The Astros (Houston, Texas)

Personally, we like our chances better against the Mariners and Angels than the Cubs and Pirates.

Cory (Boston)

Do you expect Will Middlebrooks to bat an average over .250 this season?

David Schoenfield
  (2:05 PM)

Yes.

Byron Buxton (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)

Seen my numbers yet? Too soon to move me up?

David Schoenfield
  (2:08 PM)

Well, let's look them up ... wow, .404, two homers, 12 walks, 12 K's. Nice. Let's give it another few weeks. But remember: Twins are notoriously conservative in bumping guys up. (Which is why it was odd for them in moving Hicks straight from Double-A to the majors.)

Dave (Glen Ridge, NJ)

Marcum's coming back, and OF help is en route for the minors. Am I nuts to think that anchored by Niese & Harvey, the Mets can make some noise this season in the East?

David Schoenfield
  (2:08 PM)

Who is the outfield help? Am I missing something?

James (Atlanta)

Strasburg. He and Harvey are the same age, and hitters will adjust to Harvey

f [via mobile]

If the al central is so weak and the tigers so good - then why was their win total so low when they play many gms in their div last year?

David Schoenfield
  (2:09 PM)

The Tigers weren't so good. Check out their record last year against non-AL Central teams.

Drew (Bloomsburg)

If you could have any SP/Batter combo from any team in the Majors, who are you taking? Miggy/Verlander? Harper/Strasburg? Cowgill/Harvey?

David Schoenfield
  (2:10 PM)

You left off Harang/Smoak.

Sam (CO)

As a high school physics project, I'm going to test the physics of a curveball. Should I see how different grips affect muzzle velocity, or how different grips affect the movement of the ball using the Magnus Effect?

David Schoenfield
  (2:13 PM)

Doesn't the Magnus Effect suggest fluid flow around an object that does not have a streamlined shape is an accidental phenomenon? So I would suggest studying that, to see that different flow patterns around the baseball based on the grips.

Brian (CA)

What if the Braves win 99 games and lose to an 86 win team? The same thing that happened before when an 99 win division winner lost in the divisional series to an 86 win wild card team. You're gonna have the issue regardless unless you unify the league and remove divisions.

David Schoenfield
  (2:14 PM)

I see your point, but I don't think it's the same thing: A one-game playoff is not the same as a five-game series.

John (Cincinnati, OH)

Give me Harvey. TJ already on Strasburg

Kirk (The TC)

If you are moving teams around divisions, why not just go the way of UK football/soccer and have the top 20 teams in the Premier League and in the hunt for the title and have the bottom 10 be relegated to a secondary league, adding another 6 to 10 teams to that, then the worst 5 teams from the Premier League each year gets demoted to the secondary league and the top 5 teams in the secondary league promoted to the Premier League, no divisions...

Jay (Kalamazoo)

Drew Smyly has earned the chance to start for the Tigs. Do you keep Porcello as the long-man, or send him down for a couple starts to work on his game?

David Schoenfield
  (2:15 PM)

Porcello has been working on his game for 4-5 years. Why are there still expectations that he's suddenly supposed to be better? Put Smyly in the rotation because he's the better pitcher.

Rob (Lime Rock, CT)

I'm really fascinated with Jackie Robinson. Any books on him you would recommend? I'm currently reading Opening Day by Jonathan Eig. Any others?

David Schoenfield
  (2:16 PM)

Baseball's Great Experiment by Jules Tygiel.

Matt (Boise)

Before we complain about balancing the schedule to allow for a more competative field for small market teams maybe they should be forced to spend thier revenue sharing money on players.

Rob (DC)

In regards to using closers in tie games, Buck used Johnson in 9th last night but I don't think I have ever seen a manager as masterful at using a bullpen as Buck.

Tarek (NYC)

So has Ackely looked as bad as his numbers? If so, yikes. I read your column but haven't really pay attention to him.

David Schoenfield
  (2:18 PM)

Unfortunately, yes. Although I haven't watched the Mariners in several days. Maybe he's had a few hard outs over the past few games.

Ernie (Ypisilanti, MI)

Most underrated lead-off hitter?

David Schoenfield
  (2:21 PM)

Good question. Eric Karabell and I did a little post today on the best leadoff hitter. A lot of good ones right now, or least guys off to good starts. As for underrated, maybe Aoki? He was on my all-underrated team.

Mike (San Diego)

For the hitter/pitcher combo, I think Harper/Stras go first if you're talking dynasty format. I'd probably go JV/Cabrera for this year. Although Kemp/Kershaw would need to be in that discussion as well.

Charlie (Falls Village, CT (Steve Blass hometown))

Your favorite team to watch these days? Maybe one that no one would expect?

David Schoenfield
  (2:24 PM)

You now, the Orioles are starting to grow a little bit on me. Chris Davis is fun, Manny Machado is unbelievable at third base, Adam Jones, Matt Wieters. Not a lot of flash there, but fundamentally sound and Showalter seems to get the most out of them.

David Schoenfield
  (2:24 PM)

And the Reds -- Joey Votto, Choo, Bruce, Chapman ... Latos/Bailey are fun pitchers and Arroyo in his unique way. Plus ... Dusty!

Rob (Lime Rock, CT)

If you were starting a team and could pick two guys (any position) and two starting pitchers, who would you pick?

David Schoenfield
  (2:26 PM)

Harper and Trout (easy). Kershaw and ... man, I may go ahead and buy the Matt Harvey stock over Strasburg.

Chris Davis (Orioles) (Baltimore)

What are your end-of-the-year stat projections for me? Do I bat over .280? 40+ HR's?

David Schoenfield
  (2:27 PM)

Hmm, 40 is still a big number ... I'll say .275, 35 HRs.

Tarek (NYC)

CC And Wells.

David Schoenfield
  (2:27 PM)

Nice try, Tarek.

Ben (UK)

Which player have you been most (pleasantly) surprised by so far this season? And vice versa...

David Schoenfield
  (2:30 PM)

Hmm ... well, as a Mariners fan, the Ackley/Montero/Smoak trio has been a disaster, but I have to go with Moustakas/Hosmer on the disappointment scale. As far as pleasantly surprised, a lot of choices: Didn't realize Harvey was THIS good, we've been talking about Chris Davis and I thought last year may have been somewhat of a fluke, Paul Maholm looks really good for the Braves with his new curveball helping out, Bryce Harper ... I mean, I'm NOT surprised, but I am surprised how dominant he may be this year.

Jack (White Plains)

To his credit, and there is little to his credit, but Baker did put Chapman into two tied games this week alone, other managers won't even do that with their closers.

David Schoenfield
  (2:30 PM)

I'm guessing both were at home. Most managers will do that these days.

Dave (Glen Ridge, NJ)

Yes, you're missing something.http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/mets/post/_/id/65126/juan-lagares-promotion-appears-looming

David Schoenfield
  (2:32 PM)

Hmm, don't know anything about him, but a lot of guys hit .346 in Las Vegas. I wouldn't read too much into that.

Phil (SF, Ca)

Bumgarner and Posey?

David Schoenfield
  (2:33 PM)

Not bad, although I don't think Bumgarner is in the same class as Harvey/Strasburg. Would like to see his numbers if he didn't get to pitch half his games at AT&T Park.

Marty (DC)

Regarding the O's - Markakis just keep on hitting/playing solid defense in RF and nobody notices. He seems to like it that way but, just add him to the list of "no flash" Orioles who produce.

Orenthal James Simpson (Honduras)

Between young players like Harper, Strasburg, Harvey, Trout, Hultzen, Walker, Franklin, and Paxton, do see any of them becoming busts?

David Schoenfield
  (2:34 PM)

Probably all the ones who will play for the Mariners. Not that us Mariners are bitter or anything.

Kevin Towers (Phoenix)

What's your grittiest pitcher/hitter combo?

David Schoenfield
  (2:34 PM)

Kevin Correia and Jamey Carroll.

Tarek (NYC)

Outside of Harvey, any rookies jumping out at you to start this season?

David Schoenfield
  (2:35 PM)

Harvey isn't a rookie. I'd go with Shelby Miller. Looks awesome.

Kyle (Lock Haven, PA)

Vernon Wells has really turned it around since coming to the Yankees. What do you think has been the number one factor/reason to his strong play?

David Schoenfield
  (2:36 PM)

Good question. Could be small sample size. Could be a wake-up call after getting traded. Maybe he's in better shape. Not exactly sure.

Ron (North Dakota)

David-Sano has been pretty good in high A at Fort Meyers. last week he hit a long grand slam to win a game. Sunday he faced the same pitcher and the pitcher threw behind his head. he wasn't even warned. Sano homers and says something to the opposing dugout and gets ejected on his way around the bases! Can you believe not being tossed for head-hunting? I think Sano will be the real deal.

David Schoenfield
  (2:38 PM)

Missed that story. Interesting. But, yes, by all accounts he's the real deal, but as I always like to say: Beware of prospect hype. Let's let this kids become stars before we anoint them. Good lesson with the NFL draft this week where every first-round pick will have huge upside.

Mark (Memphis)

Posey, Trout, Kershaw, and Harvey.

Eric (Milwaukee)

Braun/YO?

David Schoenfield
  (2:38 PM)

Gallardo? Not on that elite level.

Ben (UK)

Over/under on Joey Votto walks if he plays 160 games? Got to think 150?

David Schoenfield
  (2:39 PM)

Could be, although the walk rate may start dropping a little if he doesn't start hitting a few more homers (like he did this weekend). I wonder who the last non-Bonds player to draw 150 was?

Tarek (NYC)

I still love watch the Rays, Maddon is my 2nd favorite manger behind Buck and Moore looks like he will one of the best #2 pitchers in the playoffs.

David Schoenfield
  (2:40 PM)

He looked very good last night, although that Yankees lineup was awful. Yankees can't hit lefties at all -- 28th in OPS (compared to first against righties).

Gary (Sacramento)

To Ron in North Dakota: Props for having some of the greatest news anchors on TV. I hope that guy who drops f-bombs on camera and knows about being from the east coast because he's from West Virginia gets to read your news for the next 30 years.

David Schoenfield
  (2:41 PM)

I'm confused. Somebody from West Virginia is doing local news in North Dakota? Is this a great country or what?

Mike (San Diego)

Wells could be this year's version of Andrew Jones. If you look at the numbers from last year, the Jones/Chavez platoon at DH actually wound up being a pretty solid hitter. No reason that Wells/Hafner couldn't provide the same as long as both are healthy.

Tony J (Decatur, Il)

David: Trade coming up in the future--Michael Young and Cliff Lee for Mark Trumbo and Garrett Richards. July 2013--coming soon.

David Schoenfield
  (2:42 PM)

That actually sounds ... plausible.

David Schoenfield
  (2:42 PM)

Although the Phillies would have to play Trumbo in the outfield.

Sam (Boulder, CO)

Some great books with a LOT of math and numbers and math are "Proofiness" by Charles S. Seife, "Zero" by Charles S. Seife, and "The Physics of Baseball" by Robert K. Adair, Ph.D.

Vernon W. (The Bronx)

It's the pinstripes. Put them on and magical things happen.

Jack (NJ)

Which player(s) is/are your prime target for the annual Giant's mid-season trade-a-thon?

David Schoenfield
  (2:43 PM)

Probably a left fielder ... how about Mike Morse?

Mike (Oakland)

How long after Zach Wheeler comes up for good will Giants fans call for Sabean to be fired because he traded a stud like that for an indifferent 9 weeks from Beltran?

David Schoenfield
  (2:45 PM)

Beltran played very good with the Giants. .920 OPS. And Wheeler hasn't been good in Triple-A. He won't be anytime soon.

Kevin Correia (Target Field)

Hey, I've pitched 2 scoreless innings already today!

David Schoenfield
  (2:45 PM)

Just taking the mound on a day like this shows a lot of grit!

David Schoenfield
  (2:45 PM)

OK, send in your final thoughts for the day!

Sean (Phoenix)

Despite being "gritty" and stupidly hated on by fans around the country, KT has built a team that is top 10 in runs, ERA, and third in fielding percentage. Not a perfect measurement, but the Dbacks are still very talented.

Caleb (Seattle)

When will Brendan Ryan win his gold glove?

Ben (UK)

Jeff Bagwell drew 149 in 1999. Otherwise it was McGuire in '98 with 162 walks. Bonds really did break baseball...

Brian (CA)

@Mike (Oakland) Because 2 World Series championships in 3 years really gives reason for a GM to be fired.

Charles (San Jose)

Would Giants fans really call for the head of a GM who delivered 2 rings in 3 years? That sounds like an East Coast attitude.

Mike (San Diego)

"Although the Phillies would have to play Trumbo in the outfield". Two words for you Dave: Delmon Young. Amaro doesn't give a rip about defense.

Brint (Wichita)

Trumbo could play 3rd which would be vacated by Michael Young in that scenario. Don't know how bad is is there but I'm sure Ruben and Charlie would have no qualms sticking him there.

David Schoenfield
  (2:47 PM)

Trumbo can't play third. Angels tried that for about eight games last year and it was a disaster.

Alex (OH)

Why do left handed players never play the infield (besides first base)?

David Schoenfield
  (2:48 PM)

Try turning a double play at second or short throwing left-handed.

Sean (Phoenix)

Also: Diamondbacks have had the hardest strength of schedule in baseball so far this season (.566). SSS applies, but they're going to hang around.

Brian (CA)

I really want a pizza.

Mike (San Diego)

Rockies April snowouts>Marlins April wins. Book it.

Jack Pfiester (The Grave)

What is the game coming to these days? Pitchers commenting during internet chats while they are involved in a game? Back in my day, John McGraw would have busted Christy Mathewson in the mouth for so much as talking to a pretty lady in the stands.

David Schoenfield
  (2:50 PM)

Jack Pfiester. Awesome reference. The most underrated member of those 1906-1908 Cubs teams! OK, everyone, thanks for your time, questions and comments. Let's go watch some baseball.