Brief delay, got a quick phone call here - won't be more than 2-3 minutes.
Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope - or saying "small sample size." Time for Klawchat.
Do you feel the scouts were wrong about Didi Gregorius? Too small a sample size to judge at this point?
Truly too small. Unless you really think he's a .400+ hitter. Here's my wager: He hits under .300 from today through the end of the year. Still a plus defender, though.
Thoughts on Anthony Rizzo after previously supporting a demotion based on a small sample size to start the year? Thanks for your honesty!
I didn't support a demotion - I thought I mocked the suggestion. Nice to see his performance back to where it was last year, but I haven't seen him to say if the swing concerns I raised are gone or merely irrelevant.
How excited are you for flamethrower Burch Smith's debut tomorrow with the Padres? you said 4th starter- I say he's a homless man's Mark Appel. Right?
Throwing harder this year with better sink on the fastball (groundball rate, in a small sample, was much higher this year). Average CB and CH. Could project him up to a #2, more likely a solid mid-rotation guy in a park-neutral context (league-average or slightly above).
Do you think Dellin Betances could be anything as a reliever? Yanks just pulled the plug on him as a starter.
Even in the one year I put him in my top 100 I think I pegged him as a likely reliever. Never had the command to start, and doesn't have the athleticism to repeat his delivery and improve that.
Hey Keith, thanks for the chat. Wanted to ask you about the merit of teaching marginal prospects risky pitches (screwball, forkball etc) in the wake of Hector Santiago's few good innings this year. Do you think its an acceptable strategy to teach these pitches to Quad-A types to maximize their value? Is the risk of injury so high as to outweigh the value gained by an unusual pitch? Is the answer different if you're adding it to the rotation of a role 5 or 6 type?
I fully support the idea of teaching marginal prospects - I mean guys who might otherwise be NPs or release candidates - pitches that might extract a few years of value before the seemingly inevitable injury. As long as the player agrees, and most would, it's fine.
Pete Kozma looks like he is holding his own in the majors. Not good but not bad. You still think he doesn't last the year?
He's terrible. In what universe is .262/.319/.327, with the OBP artificially inflated by hitting 8th, "holding his own?"
Are the concerns with Clint Frazier's size just that he doesn't have anything left in the physical maturity department? At 6'1 190, it's not like he'd show up for his first day of pro ball and it would be like Stonehenge descending in This is Spinal Tap.
He's 6'1" on the same yardstick that measures me at 5'10".
I'm a bit confused by Porter's assertion that the rule that a pitcher must face one batter is waived if the batter he comes in to face is replaced by a pinch-hitter. Obviously, the umpires were, as well. This always seemed a rather clear rule to me ...
Yes. Not exactly a Mensa meeting on the field last night. If I were Luhnow, I'd be fuming at Porter for being so completely clueless. The front office looks bad for hiring him in this context.
ryan vogelsong: were the last two seasons a mirage?
I kind of thought so as they were happening. I don't know why it's collapsing so quickly though. I guess sometimes even a 'large' sample is small.
Was Hosmer's HR a glimmer of hope or Gage l false hope
Well, he hit it off Freddy Garcia. When he does it off a major leaguer, we can get excited.
Please tell me you don't have DJ Peterson going to the Mets at #11 in your mock draft! If I see that one more time, I think I might puke...
I would not have him there. I think he goes in the teens but the highest I've heard is Seattle at 12. I personally would not take him in the first round, but that is a minority view.
The recent history of college 1b isn't great, and there is nothing exceptional about him that makes me confident he'll break that trend.
You often say you care not for batting average, yet you often cite it (along with obp/slug). Why is that?
The triple-slash line imparts a fair amount of info and is an easily recognized format. If I omit AVG, it may not be clear to most readers what the two stats I'm using represent.
More on Seattle having people high on their draft board that no-one else would. What is a good ceiling pick for 12? Why not Austin Wilson?
Wilson's injury has hurt his draft stock in fairly specific ways - teams got fewer looks at him, and he's playing at about 80% right now. I think he's a value selection later in the round, once bats like Moran, Bryant, and Renfroe are off the board.
What are your plans for draft day? Will you be having a live chat as it goes or be on air somewhere?
I'll be back in Bristol, on BBTN that night, probably chatting or tweeting as the first round happens. Chris Crawford and Jason Churchill should be liveblogging as well. We'll get you covered and I promise we won't tell you every kid has plus-plus makeup.
Tom Windle in the first round? Possible?
Possible, unlikely. Better college arms available.
I never saw what your Twitter announcement was. Can you share?
It was about joining Baseball Tonight as an analyst this season. I'll be on again a number of times this season, probably next during draft week.
Matt Krook, go...
Scouting report is already up: http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/draft/player/_/id/19346/matt-krook? ... 40 guys posted, more to come each day.
You endorsed the Angels hiring Jerry Dipoto, and a this point they're terrible. Before I get all chat indignant here, I'm wondering how much blame Dipoto gets and how much Arte Moreno gets. Because I sort of think the $375m for the Pujols/Hamilton disaster is more Moreno.
I agree, and if Moreno fires DiPoto for a mess he himself helped create, that would be even worse for the franchise. And for the record, firing Scioscia probably isn't the answer either.
Will updated prospect ratings come after the draft?
I'll do one later this month, around Memorial Day, and then again in July around the Futures Game.
Draft Question: Last year the Astro's saved money on Correa and were able to splurge on McCullers. Are there players like McCullers this year who could be targets for that strategy?
Funny you mention that, as there's one near you (assuming you're actually in Minneapolis) in Red Wing, Ryan Boldt, a first-rounder until a knee injury ended his season. He should play this summer in the Northwoods League and he's an ideal guy to take with a later pick and try to pay overslot on July 15th if he looks healthy and passes a physical. Connor Jones in Virginia, who gave the usual "I'm not signing" bafflegab yesterday, would be another one. Unless he chooses not to take the MLB-ordered drug test, he's in the draft, and is hoping someone ponies up for him.
Your sleeper Pirates pick, Nick Kingham, is off to a great start for Bradenton. What do you think of the peripherals? K/BB ratio looks fantastic. Do you think he has 1 or 2 starter upside? It would be nice to see one of the "projectible prep righties" succeed for once. What about Glasnow? He has been really good too, albeit with a walk rate that is too high.
He's a 2. Glasnow has a huge arm, another sleeper in that system who's probably not a sleeper anymore, doesn't have as complete an arsenal.
The Rockies like quarterbacks - does that make Kohl Stewart a connection at #3?
I have not heard them linked to him, although you are correct that he fits their profile. Hearing them more on Bryant/Moran. Could also see Meadows fitting there as Bill Schmidt loves big, athletic position players.
Jim Callis said there are rumors the Twins might pop Reese McGuire at #4 and save money for later picks. Have you heard that? As a Twins fan I'm less than excited about that idea.
I have heard that, but I do not believe they would actually do it. I've heard them heavily on Stewart and think they'd be on Manaea if he were to finish strongly (and healthy). Highest I'm legitimately hearing McGuire is 6 or 9.
Keith--The idea of batting order being "irrelevant" has been popping up a lot lately. Just to be clear, is this based around the idea that a high proportion of players could amass RBIs given the chance? I generally buy into this idea but not to the extent that I think it would be logical to bat, say, a nine-hitter as clean-up. Would it be more appropriate to simply say that batting order is less important that people think?
It's less important than people think, but as I pointed out in that column last week, the benefit is marginal but discrete - getting a better hitter to the plate in the 9th inning can flip a loss to a win, which would show up as a fraction of a run in a sabermetric context.
Curious: Do you mostly work from home, like in a home office?
Right now I'm in the kitchen. I know you're shocked.
Keith, can you explain what you mean by Kozma batting 8th boosting his OBP?
Eighth place hitters in the NL are often pitched around to get to the pitcher.
Gregory Polanco on his way to top 10 prospect status? Are you surprised with his K/BB ratio? How advanced is he for his age? You just dont see guys like him at that age very often, in regards to his plate discipline and low K rate, do you?
Top 10 prospect status is pretty rare. If you look at my preseason top 10, the only guy who would clearly be out of it now is Bundy, because he's hurt (not because he's any worse as a prospect).
Be honest, at what round in the draft do you begin to have no info on the guys being drafted?
No one has any real clue what's going to happen in the second round. There's too much variability by that point - you don't really know who'll be available.
Which do you find more egregious: Angel Hernandez and the blown HR or the umpires not knowing the rules in the Astros/Halos game?
Umps not knowing the rules. That's a fireable offense.
Why do you live in arizona?
My pool is at 78 degrees already.
I know you have a mock coming out next week but any chance for thoughts on who the Sox like? Frazier, Stewart, Shipley (assuming Appel, Gray and Bryant are gone)? In that order? Would Moran fit in there somewhere? Thanks!
Doubt they do Stewart - they don't take prep arms with their first pick typically. Moran would be the pick but is probably off the board.
I know Stanford and Rice have a reputation among scouts for ruining hitters and pitchers respectively. What schools have a good reputation for developing players?
Vanderbilt, UNC, LSU, Arizona State.
Parks & Rec renewed for season 6. That is all.
Plus Schur's other show, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, was picked up by Fox this week. And it has Andre Braugher. All good.
You've never been a big Marte fan, but are you warming to him?
He's not going to maintain a .400 BABIP, and his plate discipline remains poor.
You say Appell is definitely the top talent in the draft. If you were the Astros, does that mean you would definitely draft him #1?
Alex Bregman is having a pretty fantastic freshman year for LSU. Does he have the tools to be a GUY to keep an eye on, or a guy who's just a really good college player?
Has the bat, lacks a position. Probably still a GUY in the end.
Did the Cardinals drafting of Ramsey backfire last year because he didn't really sign for under slot value and do you envision them taking the same approach again this year?
They panicked when the player they wanted, Stroman, went a pick ahead of them. I doubt they'd do the same thing again.
Baseball will never be the same.https://twitter.com/Nick_Offerman/status/332913491788824576/photo/1
That look on his face is just disturbing.
Tell me why Clint Frazier deserves to go in the top 10 and why he could fall out of the top 10?
Best bat speed in the draft. Probably a left fielder without physical projection remaining.
I believe he goes in the top 10, FWIW.
I actually DVRd baseball tonight this week. Is this the surest sign that I might have a priorities issue? I guess what I mean to say is... Good work, as always.
Thanks, it was a lot of fun to do. That last show on Wednesday was great - we were cracking up at every commercial break.
Will you be attending the College World Series? And is that something that you would like to do?
I've never been because it conflicts with other requirements of the job. It's not a scouting event.
How badly would the umps have to botch a call for Selig to do something about it? Is the bar lower if it screws over the Brewers?
It won't happen. I don't think we'll see meaningful change on that front until Selig is no longer the commissioner.
I apologize for some of the slow responses but a few readers are flooding the queue with dumb questions and I'm trying to clear them out of the way.
By flooding I mean hitting "submit" repeatedly. I wish doing that caused computers to spontaneously combust.
Keith, do you think Vogelbach's bat will continue to develop, or will his body type hold him back?
Body type absolutely limits his ceiling. DH only.
I think you continue to make comments about robot-umps....Are you really advocating such a system, if it were to exist or be feasible?
For balls/strikes, yes. For plays in the field, I don't think that's feasible.
Are 'That's what she said' jokes amusing to you, or stupid? What's your favorite way to prepare swordfish?
Stupid, except when I tell them. Grilled and finished with lime juice and a little EVOO.
It popped up in your Twitter feed last night that Welke told a batter "you're hitting a buck-77, shut your mouth and swing the bat" on a pitch he missed terribly. Was it ever confirmed that he said it? And would that be better or worse than the blown calls?
I do not believe he said that. I think a fan did.
Carlos Gomez....you being his season so far or is he due for a slump where his numbers will comeback down to his career avg's?
Buying. Kind of nice to see a guy who always had the tools manage to develop at a point when I think most of us had given up on that.
Thoughts on the Orioles? Ready to buy into them finally?
Well, their performance so far this year looks a lot more sustainable. I worry about McLouth/Davis regressing, but I could see Markakis and Wieters picking up some of that slack. Don't think they win the division, but more likely to finish over .500 than I thought back in March.
Ever heard of/been to Rusconi's American kitchen in Scottsdale (Tatum and Shea)? In-laws live right in the area but never knew about it until yesterday - reviews on Yelp were universally fantastic and it seems like high quality fare at a decent price.
Have not. Try it and report back to me.
Puello is Floresing in Binghamton. Does he have a chance to help in 2014? I just want a real outfielder!
How's Flores doing this year? I think Puello's an extra guy, not the answer you seek.
When you say you're "buying" Gomez, you don't mean he's going to keep hitting over .380 this year, right? Just that he's a substantially improved player, correct?
Nothing to do with "mental" stuff here. And FWIW, I picked the Rays.
Is Tim Anderson a first round talent in your view?
Sandwich round for me. Could go late first.
White Sox: Time to blow up the roster and start over?
I think so.
New Orleans, Canal Street. Restaurants nearby I need to try?
KLaw..you know Vogelbach has lost 40-50 lbs? Won't that potentially help his play at 1B? He won't have to be Keith Hernandez out there....just better than Dave Kingman to be a 1B.
I just saw him in March. I do love when people throw stuff like this at me, like I don't actually follow the sport I cover.
How long would you keep Buxton in low A? Let the league get a second shot at him (Twins plan apparently).
Yes, make him go around the league twice.
As much as I hate to admit it, your skepticism about the fast starts of the 2011 and 2012 Tribe was each right. But you gotta believe that this year's team is closer to being for real than either of the other two. Right? C'mon throw us Tribe fans a bone.
Better team, yes. Contender, no.
Is Gabe Encinas an org. arm or could there be something more?
Definitely more. Big fastball.
I love how you hate on Zach Cozart. He went 2 for 4 recently with a home run. Since he batting in front of Votto, he will get pitches to hit and eventually improve even more. Plus the Red are a winning team, so he isnt doing anything bad.
Yes, he went 2 for 4, which means everything is fine and we can ignore the fact that he's 26 for 125 the rest of the season.
In terms of talent only, is Connor Jones a 1st rounder?
Borderline for me - I ranked him right around 30.
Stephen Piscotty is tearing it up in the minors.. what's his ceiling at the big league level?
He's played well, I wouldn't say tearing it up. In LF he's a solid-average regular or a little more. Looks like they've given up on third base.
Clint Hurdle said after Saturdays game against the Nats (where he decided to bring Tony Watson out for a 2nd inning in a tie game in the 9th) that he would not be using Melancon or Grilli unless the Pirates have the lead. If so, how many wins does that cost them? Is that as dumb and short-sighted a statement as a manager can make?
Thoughts on Robert Stephenson? ERA hasn't been great, but K/BB is impressive. Is he improving his prospect status?
It was already pretty good, no?
The NL West seems up for grabs. Think the Padres have a good shot at winning the West if they trade for another starting pitcher or two?
No. I'm sticking with the Giants there, Dbacks second, Dodgers third.
Do you agree that Strasburg's mechanics are a concern?
No. Or at least no more than it is for any starting pitcher who throws that hard.
Yes...you'd be the first online sports guy to ever make assumptions.Thanks ******. You just lost a reader.
Since you missed the part where I wrote about Vogelbach in March - and have probably mentioned him in every other chat since then - it's pretty clear that you weren't a reader in the first place.
thanks for introducing me to Awkward by San Cisco. It is now forever etched into my brain. But my oh my is it catchy.
I think her accent seals it for me.
Why are you so arrogant? What do you hope to gain from it? Why do you hate yourself so much that you pretend to be above everyone else?
Arrogance is hating myself? Or is it loving myself? I'm so confused, mostly about why you're even here if you don't like my chatting style.
Nope, I read it Keith. You have said the same thing repeatedly about him, even though his fielding seems to be no worse than the other first basemen in the Midwest League. At age 20, it's awfully early to assume that he will never be able to become a passable first baseman.
His footwork is a disaster. He's a step-and-a-dive, and not athletic in the least. He can really hit, though. I'm glad to see you've at least graduated beyond lobbing insults I have to censor from the chat.
Whatever happened to Bob Borchering? Not a prospect?
A little overdrafted, not a great athlete so when he didn't hit the value just kind of disappeared.
If you were in the room for a team that drafted Ball, would you press for him as a hitter or pitcher? Would the answer depend on organizational strengths at all? Is there any merit to letting a guy do both in the minors for a while, a la Casey Kelly?
My report on him isn't posted yet but I'd send him out as a pitcher.
Why ask Keith's opinion on something if you're only going to dismiss it as wrong if he disagrees?
Because that's how the Internet works.
Footwork seems like something that could improve. Would be alot easier than trying to develop a hit tool right?
Depends on how agile a player is. You can't give a guy better feet.
Thoughts on a few of the Braves players (most recently McCann) saying they don't care about the strikeouts? Seemed kind of refreshing to hear as they've been bashed so much about it so far this season.
That is great to hear. They can be a symptom of a problem but you know I don't think they're a problem in and of themselves.
What factors would you take into consideration when deciding to promote a prospect from one minor league level to another mid-season? How soon is too soon?
Age, experience at the level, any preseason developmental goals, quality of approach, any significant weaknesses. It's not easy, even though I concede I often make the decision sound easier than it is.
So in your professional opinion, what exactly is going on with Tulowitzki? Is he only good for 120 games at SS moving forward? And if so, would you move him to 1st to save some wear and tear on his legs/surgically repaired groin?
Part of why I had such a pessimistic outlook for Colorado this year was the feeling that Tulo wouldn't play more than ~100 games. I'd absolutely consider spelling him more often to try to keep his bat in the lineup.
I know you've never been a big fan, but is there any chance Cory Vaughn becomes a serviceable starting OF? He's already 24 in AA, but he also keeps putting up 10+% BB rates with .500 SLGing while playing passable defense.
I've read that Taijuan Walker is not allowed to throw a slider to protect his arm. Is this normal? Is there an assumption that he will throw a slider at some point?
He has a pretty good CB. You don't need both.
I know you say take best player available in the rule 4 draft, but with the Mets having a lot of arms in the system & very few bats, especially in the OF, would you recommend they take a college bat in the draft?
No. I recommend they take the best player available.
Thoughts on Iron Man 3?
I haven't seen 1 or 2.
Thoughts on the collection of bats the Rangers have at low-A Hickory?
Really raw. Not hugely concerned with the K or BB issues, because they could have started most of those kids in extended and we wouldn't have batted an eye. That said, I'd like to see improvement in that department over the course of the season.
Do you consider Colby Rasmus a bust and why hasnt he lived up to his top prospect status?
If he could hit anything but a fastball, that would be a start.
paul goldschmidt has better (albeit small-sampled) numbers against RHP so far this year. anything different in his approach or set-up driving improvement?
I think it's SSS. If we're still seeing this in August or so, then clearly I was wrong on him. But even that HR off Jansen the other night - that was 91 sitting right over the inner half, a pitch that he absolutely should have murdered.
Cubs fans often make the Prince Fielder or Pablo Sandoval comparison when talking about Vogelbach...but what I'm hearing you say is that the size comparison doesn't really matter, right? Vogelbach's athleticism is just not even close to on par with those two.
Right. Pablo's actually a damn good athlete. Gets no credit for it because you can measure his volume as 4/3&#960;r^3.
Shouldn't there be a law banning places like The Olive Garden?
Of course not, but I do think we should be more stringent about sourcing and food waste. Reducing pesticide and antibiotic use and increasing composting of food waste are valid goals for local governments to pursue, not just because they'd make the food better, but because they'd address legitimate concerns like antibiotic resistance, groundwater contamination, and declining soil quality (and quantity).
Graduating Law School and want to purchase some kitchen utensils. Any recommendations on knives, iron skillets, etc?
I did some long dish posts that might help - http://klaw.me/bqC02z and http://klaw.me/tHFJMh.
I know you're not a fan of the bunt -- what's your view of the hit-and-run?
I always preferred the straight steal.
Ready to declare the Pirates the winners of the Hanrahan trade? Even if he didnt go down for the season, Melancon is obviously the better reliever now and going forward. Also, do you believe Stolmy Pimentel has figured something out or is his performance in AA so far smoke and mirrors?
If you're willing to consider injuries, then sure. But I don't think that's fair, nor do I think we should judge any reliever based on one month of performance.
Since we're on to food now.. do you eat exclusively organic? Feel healthier and better peace of mind.
Not exclusively. It's an increasing portion of our intake, though. And our little gardens in back are organic.
I also compost. I understand the science but there's still part of me that thinks it's absolutely incredible how well that works.
Am I crazy to want Bryant over Gray at #2?
IMO, yes. I prefer Gray.
I'm starting to think it's time to demote Will Middlebrooks to Triple-A. How much longer of a leash would you give him? Can he possibly sustain any type of career without a significant step forward in plate discipline?
I don't love the idea of demoting guys off a bad month. But we're getting close to that point - and I agree on the plate discipline, it's why I left him off my top 100 heading into 2012 (and I took a lot of abuse for that).
OK, that's all for this week, thanks for all the questions. I'll have my first mock draft (an actual first-round projection, not just a guess) up later next week and will be back to chat about it on Thursday.