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June 20, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Keith Law

Klaw
  (1:04 PM)

Better a chatty fool than a foolish chat. Or maybe not. Klawchat.

Jason (NJ)

Why do you suspect someone with Coles ability hasnt struck out as many guys as he should. Is it a Pirates thing with the coaching? or is it with Cole?

Klaw
  (1:05 PM)

Discussed this in my column on Tuesday - I think pitch selection is the main issue, followed by hitters' ability to see the four-seamer early out of his hand. I think he'll improve in the long run, although I'm concerned that two years in he still hasn't made that adjustment.

Ray Stinger Jr (Pittsburgh)

What trades could you see the Pirates getting before July 31st or do you think ownership(boo!)will think the team is good enough as is and not make a trade?

Klaw
  (1:06 PM)

They made an acquisition last summer, so I don't think the concern about ownership is fair or warranted.

Alec (Ohio)

What do you recommend for someone trying to work in baseball? MBA, law school, etc?

Klaw
  (1:07 PM)

I recommend playing baseball, and not wasting money on a graduate degree that won't help your chances of landing a baseball job.

Neufeldt (New Berlin, WI)

Is Kris Bryant looking for a deal that is disproportionate with the slot/other top picks that have already signed? Could he be playing in Chicago this year?

Klaw
  (1:08 PM)

I believe he'll end up with the highest bonus in the draft, that the Cubs knew going in roughly what it would cost, and that there is absolutely no chance he plays in Chicago this year.

Charles (San Jose)

With the Snakes' rotation faltering, any chance Archie Bradley is ready in August or September to help out?

Klaw
  (1:10 PM)

I don't think so. They have other options, and his command isn't as good as the numbers suggest right now.

Jon (Fairfax, VA)

Why doesn't baseball penalize any player/coach who leaves the dugout/bullpen during one of these brawls the same way all other major sports do?

Klaw
  (1:10 PM)

I think they should install one of those electronic force fields on the warning track and make all relievers and bullpen coaches wear those collars people put on dogs to keep them in the unfenced yard.

Ananth (Louisville)

True or False, the state of Pennsylvania's ridiculous liquor laws may have played a role in you living in Delaware now.

Klaw
  (1:11 PM)

True.

Steve (Chicago)

Puig's .537 BAbip is totally sustainable, right? 60 AB's good enough to make that call?

Klaw
  (1:11 PM)

Absolutely. He's Tris Speaker meets Ted Williams.

Daniel (San Diego)

You have admitted in the past to missing on Ian Kinsler, but I'm not sure you did. He has been terrible on the road his whole career. OPS 711 vs 915 at home. Maybe a slight advantage at home is to be expected, however. he is a completely different player on the road.

Klaw
  (1:11 PM)

It would be unfair for me to claim I even saw him doing that well in Texas.

Rich (Evanston)

Have you seen Julio Urias, the 16-year old pitching well in the Midwest league? Is he the real deal? That age in a full season league would normally scream STAR! What say you?

Klaw
  (1:13 PM)

Only video. That age in a full-season league would scream star - maybe - if we were discussing a hitter, but youth is less of a factor for pitchers. He's very interesting, back of a top 100 type prospect right now. At 16, he could still grow, but I'm not going to pretend I can predict a kid's height.

Greg (C-bus)

Why don't you fine people $5 anymore?

Klaw
  (1:13 PM)

It got old.

Danny (Philly)

Safe to say preseason breakout potential Maikel Franco is for real? Was promotion to AA too soon?

Klaw
  (1:14 PM)

Yes, I'm in. I was surprised at the promotion, though. I didn't view him as the type of advanced hitter (in terms of approach, pitch recognition, etc) who could move quickly like that. I hope to see him in July once I'm settled.

Dale (KY)

How advanced is Hannemann? And how long before we can realistically expect to see some combination of Baez, Soler, Arismendy, Rizzo, Almora, and Bryant together in the Cubs starting lineup?

Klaw
  (1:16 PM)

He's not advanced. You're probably looking at 2016 before you get all of those guys in the lineup, and that's assuming zero attrition.

Marc (Sacramento)

With Ryder Jones decommitting from Stanford and signing with the Giants, does that change your opinion a little on the draft pick or should he have not been drafted at that pick regardless of signability?

Klaw
  (1:17 PM)

That was not a factor in my opinion of the pick. I assume any player taken in the top 3 rounds will sign. I know of teams that didn't cross-check him and area scouts who didn't put him in for the top five rounds.

Dan (Miami)

Why did you move from AZ to DE?

Klaw
  (1:18 PM)

Moving, actually - I'm in a hotel in AZ, our stuff is on a van heading across the country. My wife wanted to be closer to family. I needed to be able to get to Bristol more easily. All in all, I'd prefer to stay in AZ, but it wasn't practical any more. I'll miss the area, and I'll miss our house, which had just about everything I wanted in it (except a double oven ... I do want a double oven).

Bornstein (OH)

Is Delaware as exciting as it seems?

Klaw
  (1:18 PM)

Wreckx-n-Effect made it sound all sexy-like so I figured why not?

Matt (Santa Clara)

San Jose vs. Bud Selig. Your thoughts.

Klaw
  (1:19 PM)

The antitrust issue is complicated and I'm not qualified to answer it, but I am hoping that San Jose gets the A's and the territorial rights provisions are struck down or eliminated.

Jean-Ralphio (Pawnee, IN)

What does one make of Puig at this point? I know everything about sample size - and Adam Warren isn't quite Warren Spahn - but he is showing all 5 tools at a ridiculous level (lucky for him, stretching routine hits up the middle isn't a tool). Also - you gotta kinda sorta smile at the fact that you didn't have him on your Top 100, right?

Klaw
  (1:22 PM)

He looks, physically, very different than he did last summer. He's lost weight, gained a grade of running speed (he was about a 55 out in AZ last summer ... he might be a 70 now, at least from timing him home to first), and his bat is quicker, probably from shaking off rust and shedding weight. I don't regret leaving him off the top 100. I saw him live, and the player he was, and the body he had, last summer didn't belong on the list. Including him would have meant imputing value to him based on the signing bonus. I won't do that.

John (San Diego)

Everyone seems to side with the A's. But one of the reasons the current A's owners got the team on the cheap was because of the limited territory. Also, the current ownership of the Giants paid more to by the team due to the same facts. Shouldn't the Giants be compensated?

Klaw
  (1:23 PM)

I have no problem with the Giants receiving some compensation for the territory. That said, the franchise's previous owners got the territory for nothing, and valuing an entity based on a legal protection (that isn't, strictly speaking, legal) that can be reduced or revoked at any time strikes me as a little foolish.

Mike (Detroit)

Has Castellanos' stock moved at all for you so far this season with his performance in AAA at 21? Or would you still have him outside of the top 25 or so because he's now in the OF?

Klaw
  (1:24 PM)

He's in an OF corner and isn't great out there. I'd feel better with him in the 26-50 range, which would still mean I think he'll be a very good player.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

If I were to meet you in person, could you sign it,"All I want to do is zooma-zoom-zoom in the boom-boom"?

Klaw
  (1:25 PM)

Just don't ask me to sign down by your Virginia.

James Jerkle (Bada Bing, NJ)

What was your favorite episode of 'The Sopranos?'

Klaw
  (1:26 PM)

The one where I never watched the show.

Charles (San Jose)

Why is Selig's cabal favoring one franchise (Giants) at the expense of another?

Klaw
  (1:28 PM)

Because MLB is defending the rights of other large-market teams to prevent, say, the Rays from moving to Brooklyn. They fear free franchise relocation.

Matt (DC)

My cousin is going to Carnegie Mellon in the Fall. She's a vegan. How miserable will her eating experience be in a place like Pittsburgh?

Klaw
  (1:28 PM)

She's a vegan. Her eating experience is miserable anyway.

JWP (Maryland)

Does Appel taking below slot money have to do with some lack of leverage (not having the soft landing spot of Stanford for one more year)?

Klaw
  (1:30 PM)

He's going to end up with the second-highest bonus in the draft. That doesn't sound like a lack of leverage to me - he got a reasonable dollar figure for a senior drafted first overall. I wish the Astros had stretched a little more to grab some better potential overslot guys - instead of taking guys like Kemp or Gregor in the middle rounds - although adding Nicely and German would be solid.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

From what I've read, it seems that Trey Ball is a little more advanced than a lot of HS pitchers. What is his ETA assuming things go smoothly for him in the minors?

Klaw
  (1:31 PM)

I think the opposite is true. He's very projectable and athletic, but NOT very advanced.

Klaw
  (1:31 PM)

Stuff is good, could get better, needs to smooth out the delivery, work on a third pitch, etc. I like him a ton, just saying I don't think he's a Clayton Kershaw who'll rip through the minors.

Jason (St Louis)

the new draft rules are for the most part a horrible offense on a free market. But you have to admit, it is nice seeing all these guys get signed right away.

Klaw
  (1:32 PM)

Agreed.

Jeff (NC)

Klaw, is it realistic to believe that Jesse Winker could take over in LF for the Reds in spring 2015 after Ludwick's deal is up?

Klaw
  (1:32 PM)

Optimistic. 2016, sure. I missed on Winker in that draft - saw a corner OF only who looked very bad against HS breaking stuff.

Jeff (NY, NY)

Having gone to CMU I believe that people have a misconception of the type of town Pittsburgh is and the type of area the university is located in. That being said, if you were the Yankees would you consider trading Cano at the deadline if it looked unlikely that you would make the playoffs?

Klaw
  (1:34 PM)

I actually like Pittsburgh a lot, when the sun's out. I would struggle to get through another winter there - it is clear, in hindsight, that I was depressed during both winters I spent there, due to the persistent gray. I think the Yanks should and will try to extend Cano. They have the money to retain him, even if it seems a little too expensive. They won't be able to trade him for another player, or a prospect who could become a player, of his caliber.

Matt (Boston)

Did you think Byron Buxton is overrated? He didin't hit for power, he hit a lot of infield hits.

Klaw
  (1:35 PM)

Little early for a backlash, no?

Mike (Brooklyn)

Do you think Ike Davis is still suffering from the effects of Valley Fever?

Klaw
  (1:37 PM)

I think he's suffering from the effects of Long Swing Syndrome.

TJ (Detroit)

Klaw, how do you feel when someone you miss on for a Top 100 list makes the breakthrough and exceeds your expectations? Confused? Angry? Happy? Apathetic? Hungry?

Klaw
  (1:38 PM)

Hungry is often the case. I don't understand when readers think I'd be upset about that. It's not personal. If I miss on an evaluation, I try to figure out why. It's not like I curl up in the fetal position every time I NP a guy who turns out to be a solid big leaguer.

Klaw
  (1:38 PM)

Speaking of NPs ... Ed Lucas is a big leaguer. I still can't believe that.

Ira (NY)

Keith: Better Pirates prospect, Glasnow or Perestroika?

Klaw
  (1:39 PM)

Perestroika has terrible makeup.

Michael (Philadelphia)

Finally starting to get into Alt-J based on your recommendation (Dissolve Me is what finally made it click it for me). Any new bands/albums catching your fancy lately?

Klaw
  (1:41 PM)

CHVRCHES, Rogue Wave, Smallpools' "Dreaming." Still can't figure out why Little Green Cars' "Harper Lee" has gotten virtually zero airplay here.

Matt (DC)

Rendon has held up well at 2B. Think he can stay there long term? Would the Nats do that?

Klaw
  (1:42 PM)

My concern with him at 2b has always been whether his ankles can hold up. He's had three major injuries there, and it only takes one awkward pivot to cause another one. He might be fine there for 400 games, and then one play ends it. With Zimmerman's throwing problems, third base is the obvious place to move him.

Ricky (OH)

Just how good can Clint Frazier end up being? I've heard the Trout comparisons, but definitely don't want to see the fans and media create unrealistic expectations for the kid. Still, very excited to have him in the Tribe's system.

Klaw
  (1:42 PM)

Bat speed is out of control, but he's nothing like Trout at all.

Klaw
  (1:44 PM)

This isn't Billboard. The rankings don't change based on a few weeks' walk rate or jersey sales. A player's outlook shouldn't change that dramatically unless he adds a few mph or drops enough weight to gain a grade of running speed.

Jon (Ottawa, ON)

Is the Agricola iPad version useable if you've never played the board game?

Klaw
  (1:46 PM)

Yes, just a steeper learning curve. My review of the app (which is awesome) is here: http://klaw.me/13ImirC

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

You're on your game today! Just need a single for the cycle..thoughts on the Rockies draft?

Klaw
  (1:48 PM)

Liked it a lot. Gray's a no-brainer. McMahon and McClure are slightly raw but high upside guys. Balog has the stuff to be a mid-rotation starter, needs to work on the finer points. Dom Nunez was good value in the 6th. Thought they did really well.

Joe (Chicago)

Is Justus Sheffield a better draft prospect than Jordan was?

Klaw
  (1:49 PM)

Yes, by a lot.

Grant (Wpg)

Is the Jays' draft somewhat salvaged if they use some of their savings to sign Brentz? He has made some statements to the effect that "I hope we make a deal", so it might be possible.

Klaw
  (1:50 PM)

Possibly - although it concerns me that their two best guys would be the two best HS arms who didn't have an avg breaking ball (in this year's class). Is that a new inefficiency I'm not aware of?

Klaw
  (1:51 PM)

Not really - we knew he was strong and had raw power. Atlanta has done a nice job of picking spots for him. Play him every day and he'll get exposed quickly. In this role, he has clear value.

Joe (NYC)

Really enjoyed the back and forth with McCarthy and follow up podcast. Any other players that you know of that have embraced the sabermetric movement like him that you could have on as well?

Klaw
  (1:52 PM)

He was an obvious candidate because of the debate we had on twitter, but I'm open to having any player on who wants to engage in that kind of discussion, even if the player opposes my philosophies.

Klaw
  (1:54 PM)

I've always believed MLB altered the ball around 1993, when offensive levels across the game jumped significantly in one year. Even if you believe PEDs are highly effective, the result wouldn't be that discrete - you'd see a continuous, perhaps accelerating, rise, but not that kind of one-year jump.

Klaw
  (1:56 PM)

I love the running joke that I fixed Brandon by taking him to lunch, but I hope everyone realizes it was he and Bruce Bochy, and I just happened to meet up with Brandon at the right time. Bochy deserves the credit here. It is great to see Belt back to his old mechanics. I'm hoping George Brett can do the same with Hosmer now.

Daniel (San Diego)

You mention you aren't a believe of a hitter being in the "zone". However, how bout a funk? You can tell when players aren't seeing the baseball, have zero confidence, guessing on pitches, ect. BTW- We are going to miss you on the west. Hopefully you still make it out to San Diego a lot.

Klaw
  (1:57 PM)

I do think a player can get out of his mechanics, whether due to injury or just a bad habit. A pitcher can feel less loose, or alter his arm stroke without even realizing it. I think that's much easier to believe and to verify.

Dale (NC)

Are you posting the answers without posting questions?

Klaw
  (1:58 PM)

"Dale (NC):Are you posting the answers without posting questions?"They're showing up here. The software has been horrible today, unfortunately.

Jay (Santa Barbara)

After years of Dodgers neglect on the international front. It seems their productivity is changing with Puig & Ryu. Is this Bob Engle (philosophical shift) or just deeper pockets?

Klaw
  (1:59 PM)

"Jay (Santa Barbara):After years of Dodgers neglect on the international front. It seems their productivity is changing with Puig & Ryu. Is this Bob Engle (philosophical shift) or just deeper pockets?"Both, I'm guessing. Puig was a bit of a fluky sign - they saw him once, in a workout, and outbid everyone by $30MM. Ryu was different, as he was an established pitcher in a major league whom they'd probably scouted several times.

Klaw
  (1:59 PM)

" Jon (DC):Joe Torre's daughter caught a baby that fell out of building and bounced off an awning.Just saying."I saw her on TV this morning. I love that she mentioned that she practices mindfulness and that it helped her stay calm and focused.

Charles (San Jose)

Doesn't offense usually go up across the board in an expansion year?

Klaw
  (2:00 PM)

"Charles (San Jose):Doesn't offense usually go up across the board in an expansion year?"-Yes, but then it stayed up from 1994-1997, which was unusual.

Corey (NYC)

Any fresh ideas about making center cut pork chops? what's the key to keep them from drying out?

Klaw
  (2:01 PM)

"Corey (NYC):Any fresh ideas about making center cut pork chops? what's the key to keep them from drying out?"-Brine them.

Mikey (Aurora, ON)

Do you see Stroman sticking as a starter?

Klaw
  (2:01 PM)

"(905) Mikey (Aurora, ON):Do you see Stroman sticking as a starter?"-I think it's 80/20 the Jays put him in the pen. Starter stuff, but lack of fastball plane might force him into relief.

Alex (Chicago)

So, did you answer my Baez question with the Billboard response?

Klaw
  (2:03 PM)

"Alex (Chicago):So, did you answer my Baez question with the Billboard response?"-Someone asked about Baez getting into the top 25 ... I'm sorry about the disappearing questions; I had no idea that was happening.

ryan (lancaster)

I'm guessing the Howard signing would be your answer, so besides that, what have the Phillies done wrong in the past 3 years?

Klaw
  (2:04 PM)

"ryan (lancaster):I'm guessing the Howard signing would be your answer, so besides that, what have the Phillies done wrong in the past 3 years?"-The bottom line is that Amaro chose to stay too long with an aging core that became non-competitive very quickly. He compounded that by making poor trades in both directions - giving up too much to acquire big leaguers, getting too little when dealing them. It's been a poor run for him for several years now, and the fact that the farm system is improving quite a bit might be too late to save him.

Jason (Cleveland)

Is Stetson Allie for real, or just a case of him picking on younger talent?

Klaw
  (2:05 PM)

Allie - 22 in Sally League, high K rate. Power is real, had it in HS, not shocking (well, not entirely shocking) to see it now. But I don't think we will know exactly what the Pirates have in him until he faces pitching appropriate for his age - like in AA, really.

Mike (Dallas)

I realize its a little early for 2014 draft discussions but I saw a report that said Nick Burdi is a top 5 candidate for next years draft. I realize he throws really hard but is a guy who has been a reliever in college really considered that high of a prospect? If he is that good, why is he not a starter in college?

Klaw
  (2:06 PM)

Nick Burdi is not a top 5 draft prospect unless, as you say, he becomes a starter. No team would risk the opprobrium of taking a closer with a top five pick.

Justin (San Francisco)

Is Addison Russell's .249/.332/.467 line through 55 games better or worse than you expected from him thus far?

Klaw
  (2:07 PM)

Russell has been on a tear since getting fully healthy. He's really, really good.

jeff (jax)

I know you werent a fan of the Mike Minor selection by the Braves. What has he done to become better than expected? just more velocity?

Klaw
  (2:08 PM)

Minor added some velocity right away, and the curveball got a little sharper. I don't think he's going to pitch like a 1 as he has for much of the past 12 months, but he could spend a decade as a solid 3, which is much more than I expected from him on draft day. I saw him four or five times as an amateur, and he only pitched like this once, pitching at 87-89 in other outings.

Mark (IL)

Any new thoughts on Kozma? Has he exceeded your expectations?

Klaw
  (2:11 PM)

Kozma is hitting .256/.303/.325, and that OBP includes 2 intentional walks and the regular walk boost 8th place hitters in the NL get from batting ahead of the pitcher. He's six kinds of terrible and I don't understand why the Cardinals won't demote him and give Ryan Jackson the job.

Jonathan (Los Angeles)

Word on the street is Buxton is getting bumped up from Class A. If you are MIN, where do you send him? How fast do you see him moving through the minors?

Klaw
  (2:12 PM)

Buxton: Should go to high-A. Zero reason to jump him over a level right now. If he rakes for two months there, you can give him a cup of coffee in AA in August, then start him there next year and see.

Johnny 5 (Brooklyn)

Isn't it easy for an "expert" to use a cop-out such as "the bat speed improved" or "he started to learn how to pitch" when talking about a prospect their scouting report dismissed?

Klaw
  (2:13 PM)

Sure. It would also be pretty easy for anyone to point out if I was lying. I'm not the only person who saw Puig last summer, or saw Minor in college. But you could argue that I should have foreseen Minor adding velocity, or should have assumed Puig would drop the weight, or should have given more weight to Puig's simple, quiet approach at the plate and been less concerned with his body.

Klaw
  (2:14 PM)

Readers have asked for years for me to explain more about why a player exceeded or failed to meet my expectations, so I've tried to do that more.

David (Bethlehem, PA)

How uncommon is is for amateurs, especially college guys like Mike Minor, to increase velocity when they get into pro ball and pitch every 5 days instead of every 7? Any other guys that has happened to? Thanks.

Klaw
  (2:15 PM)

Pretty uncommon for college guys, but not impossible. I'd usually bet on guys with more projectable bodies than Minor's, but that's why I didn't predict that he'd do this.

John (San Jose)

Very disappointed with the SF Giants draft, what were they thinking? Do you think they hit any gold there?

Klaw
  (2:16 PM)

It was among my least favorite draft classes. I'd like to see Arroyo again to reevaluate him, though. I never even considered seeing him this spring because no other team was ever linked to him in the first or sandwich round (that I heard, at least).

Devin Mesoraco (Cincinnati)

I'm screwed, aren't I?

Klaw
  (2:17 PM)

Pretty much. Still holding out hope you'll be traded and will find value somewhere else.

Dave (Burlington, MA)

If ( I realize its a big if) Phil Ervin ends up being at least an average CF does that change your take on his upside?

Klaw
  (2:18 PM)

Yes. But I doubt Ervin even gets to the majors in CF.

Corey (NYC)

Why is it difficult for people to understand that you're often talking about 17, 18, 19 year old kids. Bodies change, they get pro coaching, they mature, get experience. And all you can go on is what they look like when you see them.

Klaw
  (2:19 PM)

Yes - and, to defend myself just a little, that I put a ton of views and opinions out there for everyone to read. A lot of them will end up wrong, especially on prep kids. If it bothered me to be wrong that often, I'd need to find another line of work.

Mike (NY)

d'Arnaud will be 24 when he comes up in September, then 25 next year...getting old quick huh?

Klaw
  (2:20 PM)

Time's winged chariot is racing right by him.

Klaw
  (2:20 PM)

Then again, I just turned 40 and my packing/moving beard is flecked with grey, so who am I to call a prospect old?

Frank (Cambridge)

I work in the construction industry, and we are often told that we should have expected...... when making a quote for a project. It seems to me that there will be certain things that you need to allow are likely/unlikely to happen/change when evaluating a player. What to you are reasonable assumptions to make re: changes in a player versus changes that you simply can't expect or assume will happen?

Klaw
  (2:24 PM)

Part of the job is projecting bodies - how will a player fill out, and what will that do to his skill set. I don't like projecting significant changes in mechanics - if a guy has a bad delivery (Tyler Danish in this draft), or a major hitting flaw (Victor Roache, for example), I don't like projecting that they'll improve that. If it happens, great, but assuming that seems presumptuous. I missed on Chris Sale because I assumed the delivery would preclude him developing a plus breaking ball - the White Sox did a masterful job getting him on top of the slider just enough to give it that tilt - and that he'd have arm trouble - he hasn't had anything major yet, and the White Sox have handled him well. Those, to me, aren't process failures, although I still keep them in mind when seeing future players. A process failure was like Winker, seeing him take a small number of horrible at bats, overruling the fact that I liked his swing, and not giving him enough credit to believe he could improve his approach (or just had a good approach and I missed it).

Klaw
  (2:24 PM)

Sorry for all the software trouble this week. Thank you all for your patience, and for all the questions (over 1100 in the queue). I'll be back next week, from Delaware, and will try to get out to a Blue Rocks game once we're settled.