I apologize for any typos, but Macklemore gave this keyboard and I think it's broken.
Going back to your article regarding the #2 hitter, if your the Braves when Heyward comes back from the DL would you have him in the 2 and JUp in the 3 hole or vice versa?? Or does it really matter with those 2??
I'd be inclined to put Heyward 2 and Upton 4, but that assumes we're going to see the 2012 version of Heyward, not the 2011 version we saw the first week of this season.
Is the future for Oscar Tavares in one of the corner OF spots or CF? STL needs a CF but he seems to be spending his time in the corners in AAA.
I do not think he's a CF long-term. He'd be below-average there, but maybe plus in right.
hi keith - huge giants fan here. do you think noonan, crawford, and belt can end up being above average players and be a nice core part of our franchise over the next couple of seasons around panda/posey? what do you think their upsides are?
Belt yes, of course. Crawford is a glove-only guy for me. Noonan's probably a utility infielder.
You excited to see Archie Bradley in AA? Think he can keep up his impressive run or do you expect struggles?
I'm very glad they got him out of the Cal League. I don't expect significant struggles.
Chase Headley really going to be the highest paid Padre ever? Good for him if he gets the money, but something about him seems underwhleming. Just doesn't seem like he's produced at a high level.
He certainly produced at that level last year, but I don't think they're better off extending him than they would be if they dealt him.
What do you think the pirates do at pick 9? I know you said in the podcast (love it by the way) that most teams go best available regardless of position, but I feel the pirates have good depth at pitcher, so would they be more inclined to go with a bat regardless of position in this respect?
If you're picking for the Red Sox and either of the top HS bats (Frazier/Meadows) are there along with Kohl Stewart at pick #7 which do you select? I realize the "bat" is generally considered the safer pick, but also wonder if Stewart's upside is so high that you take him anyway..
Pirates - I don't think they have enough pitching depth that they should ignore the BPA if he's a pitcher (which he might very well be, given this draft class).
Red Sox - Having talked to more scouts this week, I think I'll have Stewart a little lower on the next top 100 because of concerns about his durability. It's top-of-the-rotation stuff, but there are real concerns about whether he'll ever be a 200-inning guy.
What this this coming draft deepest in?
College starters, mostly RHP, and prep catchers. Weakest in the middle infield.
Ok, its May now. When do you expect your first mock draft to be published?
Week after next. Right now, I'd project the top five to go Gray, Appel, Bryant, Manaea, Moran. Most people I talk to expect the Astros to try to cut a deal with Gray to use the extra money on someone who falls at 40, like Stewart.
How much does Ryan Boldt losing more playing time this time due to injury and not poor weather in MN hurt him?
I talked to him on Monday and he should be cleared to play at full strength again next week. Weather is the bigger problem for him.
Regarding your next top 100. When will that be?
Draft top 100 will come out next Thursday. I'll also do an updated top 25 pro prospects list at the end of May.
Your job has the obvious beenfits of being able to make a good living watching baseball and spending time with your daughter but do you ever miss the joys of just being able to watch a ball game for fun?
I can't imagine watching baseball for fun any more. It's a great job, but it is now work.
Weren't bullpens what Kevin Towers was supposed to best at? Are Hernandez and Putz grit-challenged?
KT's bullpen mojo may have had a lot to do with getting flyball pitchers to pitch at Petco.
Have you seen my stats? I have to be near the top of that top 25 pro prospects list right?
I'm not jumping any prospect up based on a few weeks of stats. It's not as if the skill set here has changed.
Odds that either Frazier or Meadows falls to the Red Sox at #7 in the draft are?
Given the top 5 I projected above, I think at least one gets there, very good chance both do.
Klaw - I always look forward to the inane comments underneath your Insider articles. I know you don't participate in that discussion anymore, but it's basically a bunch of people calling you stupid and providing no counterpoint whatsoever to your thesis. That being said, have you heard any decent rebuttals to the "bat your best hitter second" statement? It seems to me that the most polite rebuttal anyone has made is, "we agree to disagree" - which basically means that they believe in doing things the way they've always been done.
I don't read those comments any more now that I don't respond. I haven't heard a good rebuttal to that, because the underlying arguments, from The Book, are so sound.
Can you expand a little on why Stewart may not be durable? Are there mechanical issues?
He's had a lot of minor injuries or other issues (not makeup stuff, all physical) that have kept him from making starts on time. It's a minor red flag, but something to consider if you're looking at him with a top 10 pick. I still think he's the best prep arm in the draft.
While I agree with the batting second argument, the best I saw was in Dave Cameron's FG chat yesterday: the gains are likely marginal (around a win a year), and there are some players or clubhouses where that could cause some personality issues that might not be worth it. With that said, Joey Votto IS the sort of guy who would be willing to accept the move, but his manager is not the sort of guy who would even consider it.
It'd be better to stop treating players like little children who'll have a tantrum if we change their routines. Change the batting order if you believe it'll help your club. The players will live.
Steven Sousa a prospect for you again ro two old for the level?
Never was a prospect for me.
Keith can you please give your opinion on Maikel Franco? I think you picked him as a possible sleeper for the Phillies this year.
Yep, so far so good, but it's just a month.
How long before Gausman is the O's 5th starter? Also, thoughts on "forearm tightness" for Bundy?
Forearm is connected to the elbow, last I checked. I wouldn't rush Gausman, though - as good as he is, this is a guy who two years ago was still in search of a breaking ball.
Batting the best hitter/good hitter second.....Would you then possibly bat a pitcher 8th in place of a higher OBP in the 9th spot for the circular line up the rest of the game
The Book makes this argument as well.
Does John Gast have a future as a starter in the bigs? He has a beautiful pick off move to first.
Is Buchholz just a "guy" or a "GUY"?
He's a GUY.
Of Mitchell, Thompson, and Hawkins which has the best shot to be a ML regular for the Whitesox?
Hawkins, although I don't understand pushing him to high-A to start the season.
Question about two Sox prospects: Is Ranaudo's stuff actually better, or are we just looking at a SSS? Also - what are your thoughts on Garin Cecchini?
Stuff is way better. Back in the 92-95 range, hammer CB, sounds like he's fully healthy for the first time in a while.
Cecchini - great start, obviously not sustainable but might be a 60 or better hitter. I wonder if this is another healthy issue, that it took this long to finally get all his strength back. Could be a red herring, though.
What do you expect from Jesse Biddle? Are his recent minor league starts legit?
I don't think he's a future ace, which is what those minor league numbers would suggest. He might be a solid 3.
After a rough first start, Pierce Johnson has been dominating the Midwest League. Considering he was a college player who we probably really can't judge at the Low A level, how quickly should he be bumped to Daytona? Or should the Cubs be a bit more cautious with him due to the forearm issues?
He should have started in high-A - I don't see why putting him at the lower level is more likely to keep him healthy.
Carlos Gomez. Breakout?
Yeah, I'm buying that one. Surprised, though - went a long time without developing, then everything came together in a fairly short period of time, starting last year.
Have you had a chance to see Adalberto Mejia in the Giants system?
Yes, wrote him up in late March. Back-end starter, maybe reliever. Didn't have enough fastball to be more than that.
Any chance Frazier or Meadows falls out of the top 10?
Very unlikely. Meadows more likely to slide than Frazier, but neither would get very far anyway. I think both guys and Reese McGuire go in teh 6-10 range.
Thoughts on Trevor Bauer after last night? Breaking stuff looks great. He seems to be overthrowing the fastball.
That's a pretty good summary. I also think he tries to get hitters to chase the fastball too often - or perhaps is concerned that it'll be squared up.
Bobby Wahl - dominant at Ole Miss this year. 1st round pick this year? Can he continue as a starter going forward?
Reliever. I don't think he's a day one draft, although it only takes one team that thinks he's a starter to do so.
Have changes to Trumbo's approach caused you to change your outlook on him? Seems to be improving both in stats (SSS) and approach.
Did this in April last year and it didn't last then.
Jay Bruce got into some sort of Twitter skirmish with people blasting his play. On one hand, Twitter tough guys are very lame. On another, Bruce has been terrible. I am in the shut up and play better camp, where do you fall?
It's hard for a player to 'win' in that situation. He's better off saying nothing. And I agree, Twitter tough guys are a joke. If attacking players on Twitter gives you pleasure, you have emotional problems.
Who do you like better as the SS of the future for the Mariners, Nick Franklin or Brad Miller? Theoretically, would it be more valuable to have Franklin as a slightly below average defender at short where the value of his bat plays up more, or as an average defensive 2nd baseman where the offensive baseline is higher?
Well, you could put Miller at short and Franklin at second, no? Miller looks so much better at the plate now that I think that's their future middle infield.
Probably a dumb question, but would it be significantly easier to scout college players if there was a shift to only wood bats?
Yes, and it would help the game of college baseball too.
What should the Braves do with Evan Gattis next week when Brian McCan comes back?
Probably send him to AAA to play every day.
Is Chris Owings bat good enough to be a regular at 2B in the MLB?
No. Just doesn't walk enough.
Do you have any opinions on how strikeouts are at "ridiculously high levels" and "bad for the game"? Quotes are from media commentary.
Using "ridiculously" there is kind of begging the question, no? Why is it ridiculous? And don't fans like strikeouts? I seem to recall hearing some fans cheering for the occasional swing and miss.
Is there any reason Houston wouldn't take Appel with the number 1 over all pick?
To take a player who'd accept less money and spend it later in the draft. Last year it made sense to me. This year it makes less sense - I would take Appel.
Are certain players just prone to massive slumps and hot streaks? How do you scout someone that can look so lost one week, and go on a tear the next?
When you scout a hitter, you're looking at physical tools more than performance - swing mechanics, body, running speed, throwing arm, hands - and some mental stuff that should persist even through down periods - two-strike approach, plate discipline. If you scout performance, you're going to be wrong way too often.
Do you see Vogelbach or Alcantara breaking the top 100 this year?
Vogelbach no. Alcantara has a good shot.
Is Joe Ross ready to be moved up to High A or should they leave him in Ft. Wayne all year and then bump him to AA next year to avoid the Cal League?
I won't argue with any team that wants to keep pitchers away from the Cal League, especially the southern half of the division.
Is Stetson Allie's power outbreak for real?
The power is real. The hit tool probably isn't, at least not yet.
Jordany Valdespin, whats his floor and ceiling? Any general thoughts on him?
Maybe a bench guy. Never been a fan at all, don't understand why some Met fans are so obsessed with him.
Is Nick Castellanos still in the minors for service reasons or to work on his OF defense? Seems like the Tigers could use the bat in LF nowish.
The guy with the .311 OBP? Who struggled to get on base in AA last year? He's got a lot of ability, but he needs to perform before we demand his recall.
Kevin Plawecki, while obviously old for the Sally, is tearing it up right now. Have you heard or seen anything about him this year that suggests he is improving as a hitter/catcher?
Good reports, sounds like an everyday guy, but as you said, he belongs in high-A.
I know he's not ready to stick in the majors, but what's you take on Marcell Ozuna? I'm still kind of in awe of a guy who can hit 20 bombs in short season.
Big raw, but a real hacker. I think he'll be a low-OBP guy, maybe very low, if they keep him in the majors.
Stephen Piscotty is hitting with surprising power. Fluke, getting away from the "Standford Swing", something else?
Getting away from Stanford. He has power, always did.
At what point is Nick Tropeano considered a GUY?
He's a future reliever.
Klaw, my man! How'd you enjoy the box this past weekend? Pro chances aside for a second: did you see an LSU team good enough to make it to Omaha?
Love it. Great stadium and atmosphere. I'd say yes, although they were good enough last year and were knocked out one win short in one of the bigger upsets I can remember.
You've commented recently that shorter pitchers are at a disadvantage because it is harder to get "good plane" on their fastball. What does Yordano Ventura, who BP ranked as having the best fastball in the minors, do to compensate? In addition to velocity, is he getting horizontal movement? Also, would "good plane" matter just as much, if not more, for a 12-6 / 11-6 type curveball?
With apologies to BP, Ventura doesn't have the best fastball in the minors. He throws hard, and it's easy, but it doesn't have a ton of life and (as you implied) lacks plane. When speaking of a curveball, we don't refer to plane but to depth on the pitch, the apparent drop from its peak to where the catcher grabs it. A shorter pitcher can throw a CB with good depth if he gets on top of the pitch.
Keith - was hoping you could give some insight into some prospects I have in a AL fantasy keeper league. Which of these players do you see becoming average to above average MLB players: Offense: Schoop, Swihart, Cowart, Mondesi. Pitchers: Gausman, Webster, Ventura, Gray. Thanks a lot!
All of them, actually. Cowart, Gausman, and Mondesi are the potential stars, with varying degrees of risk.
Re: Fonz If you want to see an example of a guy who throws hard but doesn't get "good plane" on his fastball, I highly recommend watching Brad Peacock.
Which is why I've always projected him as a reliever.
will you watch any of the NBA or NHL playoffs? or just no interest?
Josh Donaldson is doing a pretty good Evan Longoria impression this year, after finishing on a tear last year. You had him on a top-100 way back when, is he for real?
I really thought he'd hit - I liked his swing, I liked his approach, figured he might just be a doubles guy, but it seemed likely he'd hit for more than enough average to be an everyday guy. And he never did - he's had just two stretches in his minor-league career, both largely BABIP-driven, where he did that. So I just don't know on this one. I'd like to tell you yes, but he has a lot of track record that says no.
I know you aren't high on Rice's coaching staff, but they have to get some credit for what they've done with Cingrani, right?
They barely used him. He's the rare Rice guy who didn't blow out because they could never figure out how to blow him out in the first place. Look at what they've done with Kubitza this year - guy went from a potential top 10 pick two years ago to throwing 84-88 now.
Klaw, I saw you say (I think on Twitter?) that you had lunch with Brandon Belt. I know several players follow you on Twitter. Any of them ever ask your advice on how they might improve?
A few. My rules are simple: I don't offer if I'm not asked, and I always mention the caveat that I'm not a hitting coach and can do no more than say what I see. I'm wary of interfering with the relationship between a player and his coaching staff at any level.
At what point does SSS come to an end & you start believing in the numbers?
We ain't even close yet.
People are so hyped about The Great Gatsby film, yet history shows that it's incredibly difficult to make a movie as strong as its print version. Plus we're talking about one of the finest novels in American literature. PLUS Jay-Z, whose music has little connection to the Roaring Twenties, is playing in the trailer. What's your expectation for the film?
The movie looks like it draws the basic story from the book and adds all kinds of irrelevant details. I'll see it, but I'm expecting camp.
KLaw what's the first thing you'd do to start fixing the phillies......btw love your work.....if only you worked in the phillies front office....
I think they're stuck in neutral right now - trying to contend with a roster that won't permit it. The only option in that scenario is to sell. They can't turn this team into one that will pass Atlanta and Washington.
It was refreshing and not unexpected to see the media largely applaud and embrace Jason Collins. Why hasn't the media created a storm over the names and logos of racist teams?
Because the names are entrenched, and, for some reason, racism against Native Americans is far more acceptable than racism against other groups. Imagine if the Washington NFL team had a nickname that was similarly offensive but targeted African-Americans? The analogous terms are so bad I don't even want to write them here. Or take that recent NHL tweet, praising Blackhawks fans who showed up in full heap-big-wampum costumes? Is that not every bit as offensive as wearing blackface?
What is your take on Female reporters in the locker room?
They should be treated exactly as male reporters are.
Laughing at the Jay-Z comment about the GG...I mean the idea is to make it marketable right? Would you have preferred some Roaring '20's vaudeville music?
Yes, I would have, actually.
Do you ever advocate an IBB? Terry Collins called for one the other day with an 0-2 count and 2 outs in the bottom of the 12th after a stolen base. After which Pierre hilariously stole third and player x went to second on indifference, and Collins didn't call for another IBB.
Sure, if the pitcher is on deck, or a comparable weak hitter, or a substantial platoon advantage. I do hate walking the bases loaded (it makes the hitter far stronger), and I hate walking a hitter to set up a double play while bringing a better hitter to the plate.
Give me a break on the offensive team names. People take themselves too seriously. It is a sport. Liberals always need something to complain about. If the names get changed they'll just move on to something else.
Yes, this is all about "liberals," and has nothing to do with just treating people with respect.
Keith, 'd like a good strategy game to share with my wife -- any suggestions?Thanks
Depends on how much strategy you want, but you could start with Jaipur and work up from there. I have a whole ranking and discussion here: http://klaw.me/SxJBfR
LOL where are all the Native Americans complaining about the teams names?
We killed with with smallpox-infected blankets.
Segura looks pretty smooth at SS. Why do some "experts" think he has to move to 2nd?
You should ask them. I had him in my top 50 heading into 2012 and said he had a good chance, but was not a lock, to stay at short.
Hey Media! I'm better than Strasburg, look at me!!!
You need a better publicist.
Why does David Price get fined for getting oppressed by another "Ump Show" episode. Does MLB ever have it's priorities straight?
I do not understand why MLB protects the umps. They are far easier to replace than the players.
KLaw, Yanks are now saying Campos had a fractured elbow last year and he is just working his way back. 7 K's in 3 IP last night with a bit more velocity.
My concern was the delivery. Hard to see that holding up in a rotation. Could be pretty special out of the pen though.
What's your latest thought on James Jones? He's pretty old for his level, but you were high on him as a sleeper a couple years back, so do you think his success this year is a sign he's for real?
He is old for the level, and the sample size is tiny, so I'll say it's nice to see the hot start and leave it at that.
Romero is starting for the Jays on Friday. Could they have rebuilt him that quickly?
I hope so, but I can't say I have any idea what's going to happen. I didn't see him, and I don't think we could use his stats to tell us anything.
Re your podcast, is there ANY time to draft based on need. I always think about the Cubs taking Ty Griffin with Sandberg entrenched at 2B and passing on Ventura when they'd had a black hole at 3B for over a decade... Both were college players...
Griffin was supposed to be a can't-miss guy though. I wouldn't draft based on need in the first round, or second.
Still think the Rockies are bad?
I do, actually. But thanks for checking.
Re: lunching/socializing with players, any concern about this affecting your journalistic creds?
Do I strike you as the type to worry about this? If you don't think I have credibility, door's on your left.
Can you recommend something for giving grilled chicken more flavor? I marinade for at least a half hour, sometimes up to two hours, poke holes in the chicken, but always end up with sub-par flavor...
Use more acid.
Oh, and leave the skin on.
Sad to hear about Eliopoulos...what happened to him as a prospect?
He never signed and everything fell apart that first year after Toronto drafted him. Just awful. It seems like a stalemate over $150,000 led to this.
I hear a fair amount about the tough life of scouts (low pay, mcdonalds bathrooms, time away from family) and how important they are to getting talent, so why arent they paid more? I assume there arent armies of freely available scouts to replace the current ones so couldnt the current guys theoretically unionize/strike?
I think some front offices view scouts as more replaceable than they really are. So much of scouting is about building up a mental database of players and their skills and then allowing the brain to apply learned patterns to players it sees in the future. Constantly replacing scouts with younger guys throws that institutional memory away. If you think you're not getting enough value from your existing scouts, you are either hiring the wrong ones, or developing them poorly.
Why is the theoretical door always on my left? A little presumptive, isn't it?
It's from Acts of Gord, which has to be over a decade old now. That was his stock line to customers who complained.
SSS but Trevor Story is striking-out at a 41% rate....have you heard any reason why?
No. Asheville (last year's park) is a great place to hit, and may have inflated expectations, but this is nuts.
Did any word come out on what happened, re: Eliopoulos? Really sad.
I have not heard anything more specific.
What have you heard/seen on Depaula so far?
Talked to a few scouts who said premium stuff, probably a reliever, but if so a very good one. I have yet to see him myself.
If you had to predict one franchise re-locating in the next ten years. Which franchise would it be and where to? (Oakland to San Jose included if you feel that has best likelihood)
That would be it - or Oakland to anywhere. Tampa Bay would be the other one, once they can escape their lease somehow (e.g., with a buyout).
You have been dismissive of Carl Crawford's start. Is it not possible (if the anecdotal evidence is to be believed) that he changed his successful approach to become a power hitter in Boston and after that failed, he has decided to go back to what made him good in TB?
I have not been dismissive of it at all.
Buying the Kyle Kendrick breakout? Are marginal pitchers like him always fooling around with new pitches, and he was just one of the few actually able to find one (his change up) that would turn around his performance?
Yes, different guy now than he was 2-3 years ago.
Thanks for all the questions this week. Keep an eye on my Twitter feed (@keithlaw) later today for a small Klaw-related announcement. I'll be back next week to do this again and talk about my top 100 draft prospects ranking.