A little slow today as this series of tubes is buried under a foot of snow ... it's Klawchat.
Could Schwarber be a GUY?
I don't think so (that's Kyle, catcher at U Indiana). Probably not a catcher in pro ball. Day one draft, not elite for me. Will see him this spring for sure as he comes east a few times.
I seem to recall you not being a fan of the O's moving Machado from short to third. Now it seems like consensus from ESPN talking heads is that he's "too good" at 3rd to move back to SS. Where do you fall on it?
The reductio ad absurdum response would be that you should move every CF to LF because he'll be "too good" at the latter position. Makes no sense at all to me.
What's the scouting definition of a five tool player? Five 50 or better tools, or is it five 55-60+'s? I've seen it suggested that you need 5 80s to be a five tool player on a site I frequent, which seems completely and utterly ridiculous to me. Such a player has and never will exist.
Yeah, that's someone who doesn't understand the 20-80 system - which is in and of itself overused on the media side of things anyway. I reserve the term for players who are above-average in all five tools, which would probably be 55 or better. "Five-tool player" or "five-tool talent" is one of the most overused terms out there.
Your thoughts on AJ Burnett to the Pirates?
Did you submit that question two years ago?
Who's the better bet to stick at 3B between Bryant and Sano?
What kind of pitcher is Yoon? Is he like a Feldman, Shields, Hughes or Nova? Purposefully stayed away from Asian pitchers since you hate comparing like culture pitchers to each other.
Nicely done. Mixed feelings from scouts I asked about him in November, consensus more like back-end starter/good reliever. I haven't seen him myself.
Beede, Hoffman, or Kolek as the second best pitcher in the draft?
Hoffman, with Newcomb a wild card who could sneak in there. I also have Kolek behind a couple of other prep starters right now.
Do you like the Lobaton deal for the Nationals at all?
I don't dislike it for them, but with what we know now I'd prefer the Rays' side (Karns).
Does Karns have a chance to contribute to Rays this year?
Might as well stick with that ... yes, he does, as a starter.
Now that the White Sox have a GM who appears to be more committed to stocking the farm system, is there a chance they could escape the bottom 10 of the org rankings within the next 2-3 years?
Yes. This year's draft will do a lot for them. They haven't picked this high since - I had to look this up - 1977, when they took Harold Baines first overall, and they've only had one top-ten selection since 1990 (Gordon Beckham, 8th overall, 2008).
Do you see a run of pitchers getting taken atop this year's draft despite the fact that TINSTAAPP, where Turner might be the best hitting talent?
This year's draft is very pitching-heavy and hitter-light, and Turner isn't the best hitting talent for me, just the most famous.
It's a fairly new year, people are attempting to eat healthier. How would you spruce up skinless boneless chicken breast so it's not so boring?
If you want to eat healthier, skip the boneless skinless flavorless chicken breast and eat more plants.
Given that MLB revenues are exploding at such incredible rate, isn't it likely that the percentage of revenues that trickle down to player salaries is lagging? If it's lagging, then aren't there bargains to be had, namely teams flush with revenue signing players to long-term extension before the labor cost % starts to catch up to the revenue explosion? Wouldn't it be wise to lock up talent before the market starts to reflect the new revenue reality?
Yes, and I think some teams are figuring that out with contract extensions like Freeman's. I would also anticipate a few agents, like Boras or CAA, with a few elite players to try to push them to free agency to take advantage of the weaker FA crops and industry revenue surge.
Saw that you listed Kevin Pillar as a prospect to watch. I love the effort I see from him, but figured him to be a fourth outfielder. What's his upside? Do you think he might supplant Cabrera as an everyday player?
He's a prospect to watch for potential 2014 performance, but yes, he's a fourth outfielder.
Arruebarruena: Great glove, horrid bat, long name. Anything else to add?
That's about right. I haven't talked to anyone who feels like he'll hit.
If you want to eat more protein, how would you spruce up skinless boneless chicken breast so it's not so boring?
I know we're not getting any mocks from you until April/May at the earliest, but what about an updated ranking of the 2014 draft crop? Early-mid March after some games are in the books?
I'll have a draft-related piece up next week, then I think mid-March is the first ranking (the Future Fifty thing).
BTW, current plans have me in Charlottesville next weekend, then at Vandy the final weekend (vs Stanford), if any of you folks will be heading to those games.
where do you rank Jeter in all-time SS? Wagner > Ripken > Ozzie > ARod > Jeter?
Hard to put him behind A-Rod when the latter was a third baseman for so much of his career. Jeter's in the top echelon of all-time SS, and I don't worry too much beyond that.
Cecchini's downside is Bill Mueller seems a little high for me. Am I overrating the career of Mueller or is Cecchini really that good?
I think you're overrating Mueller.
Doesn't it make sense for the Astros to keep Springer in AAA until after the Super 2 threshold, even if he's ready for the majors out of spring training? Even if that means he spends half the year in AAA.
No. I've mentioned this in other places, but 1) you're too clever by half if you think you're going to nail that date two years out and are assuming that the player in question will never return to the minors and 2) it places a small financial savings over the question of what will most benefit the player's development. Springer's lack of a two-strike approach has yet to hold him back in AA or AAA; perhaps he needs the challenge of major-league pitching to be forced to make that adjustment.
The signing won't be official until July, but what do you think about the Brewers going after a guy like Gilbert Lara. I haven't heard much, but apparently some think he's one of the top guys available. Is that your impression, if you have one?
I don't cover July 2nd guys at all, sorry. The idea that he can be locked up now, five months before the deadline, shows how far MLB still has to go in cleaning up that market. (Nothing against Milwaukee here - they're operating within the same system as everyone else.)
Optimistic MLB ETA for Henry Owens?
Optimistic would be August of this year - although that would imply a pessimistic forecast for Boston's rotation, wouldn't it?
Why do you think Long Islands a dump? Its actually one of the nicest places on the East Coast to live. Just ask Jose Reyes he still lives here even after leaving the Mets.
This might clear it up for you: http://bit.ly/1gzPGW3
Hey Keith, when will the podcast be going regularly, and how often will you go? Really enjoy it (except the intro music, which gives me a headache).
Weekly, starting maybe in mid-March - but it depends a little on my spring training travel. And I wanted Judas Priest's "Breaking the Law" for the intro.
Thoughts on MLB eliminating non-player pensions?
Given the enormous profits in the industry, it seems like a vulgar display of power. It's yet one more reason Congress should revoke MLB's antitrust exemption.
If you were the Giants GM, would you keep Susac in the bigs this year, or is his bat too far behind Hector Sanchez?
I'd give him most of the year in AAA to continue developing as a hitter - he has power, but the hit tool needs time. If Posey isn't moving off C, Susac could be a highly coveted trade piece in July.
I have a hard time believing that Jeter has been as good as the media portray him to be and really benefited from an all-star lineup around him for the majority of his career. If he had been drafted by and played his entire career in (enter any consistently bad team), would he have had as much success? What says you Klaw?
Yes. Seems like we're getting a backlash of underrating him in response to many media outlets (this one included) saying the only reason he didn't walk on water was because he didn't want to show off.
What levels do u think Correa, Appel and Springer will begin the season at?
High-A, AA, AAA respectively. All three move up at least one more level this year.
Do you expect Hosmer to maintain his 2nd half run last year throughout this year into a monster season?
Would the Cubs consider trading minor league assets now to try and get near MLB ready pitching?
That would almost certainly leave them worse off in the end. A year from now that might make more sense, but today it doesn't.
Who has a bigger impact in 2014, Yordano or Zimmer?
I think Yordano gets the opportunity, but in a fair playing time fight I'd take Zimmer.
Don't use math symbols if you don't know what they mean.
How far away do you think Giolito is? I see September call-up and contributing next year, am I way off?
Yeah, you're way off, like someone told you to go to Georgia and you flew to Tbilisi.
Saw you listed Max Stassi as a prospect to watch. I like him, but not sure the PT is available. You list him in case of a Castro injury or do you expect Castro to get a fair amount of ABs at DH?
Listed him in case of Castro injury (he's a catcher, and has had some injuries), trade (it is Houston, after all), or just a decision to try to mix Stassi in a little more this year and give Castro those AB at DH.
Do you think Syndergaard could pass Wheeler this year as far as the race to be the #2 behind Harvey in 2015?
The Mets' rotation right now doesn't leave a lot of room for him or Montero to break in, until there's an injury. I still prefer Zack over Noah long-term.
Knowing what we now know, did Arizona do well by dealing Bauer for Gregorious? I still think they'll wind up losing the deal (and not just because they have Owings), but I'm eager to hear your take.
I don't think so, but I was never wild about Gregorius' hit tool because of his swing. Could they have gotten more for Bauer if they hadn't so publicly soured on the guy?
You mentioned Posey possibly moving away from catching. Do you see him as a 3B, or is he going to move Belt to the outfield?
I think he's a catcher, period, but the Giants may not view that as the best way to protect their asset.
Is Whitaker the second best second basement in the DH era (after Morgan)?
I might go Morgan, Alomar, Whitaker, but it's close enough that it's more apt to say that Whitaker belongs in the Hall of Fame and I'm still appalled that the almost entirely white electorate couldn't even figure out how to keep him on the ballot for a second year.
based of what you know of each right now: better prospect Alex Jackson or Daz Cameron?
Cameron ... but that's a bit of a copout because he's a year younger and a ridiculous athlete. You can project almost anything for him right now.
Do you know in advance what ST games you'll attend? We'll be in Scottsdale March 21-23 and would love to buy you a beer.
I make my decisions each morning, mostly.
do you view Arenado as a top flight defender at 3rd? will his offense catch up to his defense?
He's become a good defender - he wasn't in 2012 or before - but I don't think he's as elite as the numbers indicate. If I understand them correctly, he gets a boost because a play made in Coors Field is worth more (in terms of run-saving) than the same play made elsewhere.
Keith.. if healthy( big ?), could you see the Phillies surprising everyone as a wild card team?
No. That's the big gap between my view of this team and what appears to be ownership's view.
Re: the five tool term being overused, what are some others?
"Athletic" gets used the wrong way a lot.
Ha, well how about any tips for preparing lean meats in a creative way?
The only ways I eat plain chicken breast (cooked off the bone) are fried, which makes just about everything better, or heavily marinated and grilled.
Derek Jeter is a top 5 guy to ever play the game. I don't care what you and your sabermetric friends think. If you don't agree then you have no business being a baseball writer because you have no clue
What's a "sabermetric friend?" Like, am I supposed to be judging people by their Friendship Above Replacement?
So Jesus Montero showed up to camp FAT. A year after losing his job, getting sent down, getting suspended, he shows up for camp Fat. His actual quote was "After winter ball I didn't do much. Just a lot of eating." WTF happened here, KLAW??
Well, I did a lot of eating this winter too, so who am I to judge?
What are the best and worst ST facilities in Arizona in your opinion?
Best is Salt River, although the Cubs' place might match that. Worst was probably Peoria or HoHoKam. I hate Maryvale, but that's about its location in a favela and not the facility itself.
Do you expect Dylan Bundy to ultimately become an ace?
What type of ceiling do you see Vic Black having in the bullpen? Set-up guy?
Vic Black - probably less than that. Hard to see him throwing enough strikes.
Expecting a new daughter in about a month, and tremendously excited about it. What are some great ways to bond in those first couple "eating-pooping-sleeping" months?
Just being around. She'll get used to your voice and your face. I still remember when my daughter was about 10 weeks old and smiled at me for the first time.
You're not in the best shape of your life this spring training?
No, I am definitely not.
I know it wasn't a big enough deal to get a Klaw write-up, but I'm curious to hear what you have to say about the Brantley deal?
Solid for Cleveland. Good player, not a star. Doubt they end up picking up that last option.
What do you think of Tyler Thornburg as a reliever?
Might be a good one - I'd expect better velocity to help cut his home run rate, and only giving hitters one look per game could help as well.
Keith, any idea what the White Sox plan to do with Hawkins with this year. Don't want to see his development hindered again
Probably starts at Winston-Salem again. Would be the right move.
Keith, if you are a player that does not have legacy concerns and has had trouble staying health (like Sizemore), what would be the downside to rolling the dice on getting caught using HGH in an attempt to have a healthy, full season?
None, if you think HGH has that clear of a benefit (I don't know the answer).
I have my son's first belly laugh on video from when he was about 3 months old - i was just making stupid faces at him, and he seemed to find it hilarious. I still watch it, even though he's turning three soon. Makes me well up every time. Cherish the moments, Tim in Scottsdale - time flies.
We have a similar video, an unexpected smile when I was just filming a few seconds to send to my parents. Can't beat those moments.
Are you of the opinion that the baseball season is too long?
No. The offseason is too long.
will you be coming to Frederick to catch any keys games this year?
Possible but more likely I'll see them here in Wilmington.
Will Oscar Taveras need more time? Obviously tough to say coming off a mostly lost season, but when you consider the roster and the financials, where would you put him to start the season?
AAA. Needs the at bats there, and needs to show the ankle is completely healthy again.
I understand you don't think the Phillies can contend but considering the payroll ownership is comfortable with the clearly don't need to go full tear down like the Cubs to contend again and don't have a barren farm system. So, why not try to win this year?
Hurts your draft pick number, draft budget, and international scouting budget for 2015.
Heard the new Broken Bells yet? Thoughts?
Half of it. So far, so good.
Does Stephen Drew get a contract by this weekend?
Ideal fit for the Yanks, no? Play him at third this year, then he's the SS for the next three years. And they'd only have to give up their second-round pick, 56th overall.
It looks like the Nats got two good prospects to go along with Lobaton. Thoughts?
If Vettleson is indeed included, I like it much more for them. Converted a good starter prospect they didn't need into a useful catcher and two decent lower-level prospects.
How many of the top 5 picks this year should be pitchers?
I'd put the over/under at 3.5.
Thanks for the chats, klaw. If Mookie Betts continues to impress and Pedroia stays steady and healthy; would Betts need to be traded? Are there any other position options for him? Pedroia will be like Jeter, he's not moving off of second until he says he's moving. (Though he doesn't really have another position option anyway).
Betts could also play short, although that should be Bogaerts' spot for the next six years. Probably makes Betts future trade bait, but sometimes those situations work themselves out if the parent team is patient enough.
Are you watching the Olympics?
Very little. Some snowboarding, some figure skating, that's about it. My wife's far more interested and if she wasn't here I wouldn't watch any of it at all.
If Cole, Taillon and eventually Glasnow are all up in two years and pitching like top of the rotation starters, would you consider dealing McCutchen to fill in the rest of the lineup and beef up the farm? He would still be young and under a reasonable contract.
I'm not sure they could ever get full value for him. They might be forced to trade him when he approaches free agency, but I wouldn't do it sooner than that.
ESPN poll (admittedly non scientific) has 58% of respondents opposing paying college players. My guess is most of that 58% think pro athletes are overpaid as well. I suspect a lot of this is a bitter-man mentality that someone better than them is getting paid for "playing a game" rather than seeing it in the context of paying the product that is part of the entertainment industry.
I think the main reason is general economic ignorance. We don't teach basic economics well in this country, which is why so many fans think player salaries drive ticket prices, or fail to understand the distorting effects of taxes and subsidies. You'd think something like a simple flat-tax with a high individual exemption would experience broad populist support, but it's dismissed unfairly as some kind of crazy right-wing nonsense.
And that same ignorance is why people claim "those players get a free education!" without recognizing the gap between the value of that partial education and the marginal revenue product of the players' on-field performances.
True Detective, Klaw. Thoughts?
I don't have HBO.
Keith, assuming Yoon passes the dreaded Orioles physical, how much do you see him contributing this season?
Could be a better SP option than Norris. Should help, assuming the Orioles don't void the deal when he fails their phrenology exam.
You often bemoan/belittle the "greedy" owners/MLB power structure while siding with/defending the "greedy" players, but I see both sides as equally greedy/cunning and think most of us on the outside should view their respective positions mostly with ambivalence. While I think a player has every right to maximize his value - i.e. get the biggest contract he can - doesn't an owner also have the right to try and maximize the value out of each player - i.e. get the most production for the least amount of money? I don't think there as many fans out here as you seem to think there are that are against the "greedy player" and give the "greedy owner" a pass; we just tire of hearing some mediocre/below average player finally having a half-decent season and coming into free agency demanding a 5+ year, $100 million contract, and then whining about getting no respect and how much he's being hated on when the best offer he gets is 3 years, $40 million.
I don't think we need to call either side greedy or cunning - I think, as you say, it's best to look at both sides as acting in their own economic interests, much as we'd do if we were in either situation. Rational economic behavior shouldn't come with moral opprobrium - if that's my kid getting drafted in the top ten, damn straight I want every last dime from the team that took him.
In your view, what is the best way to help a friend who is dealing with severe anxiety and/or depression, without giving a condescending "I understand"? Because how could I understand?
Be around. Just being there, checking in, trying to get that person to take care of him/herself - people with severe depression often stop eating right, stop exercising, self-medicate with drugs or alcohol - is a great way to help.
I am not bitter about what the athletes make at the professional level. I love to pay attention to the various sports. And if college athletes get paid, would it not be better to scrap the concept of a scholarship - pay the athlete to play sport A, but then the athlete has to pay for tuition and room and board like all the other students. That would put them on the same plane as the other students who work their way through school - getting paid for a job outside the classroom. Can it work?
I don't object to this. Greater transparency in economic transactions is better. It's much easier to value a lump-sum payment than it is to value a quarter-scholarship with questionable educational value.
Curious on what your compensation outline would look like... Do only the athletes in revenue creating sports get paid? Does the star athlete get paid more than a backup?
Yes. And yes. You know, like the real world.
How about Felipe Rivera, the other piece in the Karns/Loboton deal? Loogy? Maybe a little more?
Probably a good LH reliever. Vettleson is the better prospect in my view (and on my rankings, coincidentally).
Hey there Klaw. Listen to the new Broken Bells. Its Awesome! Anyway what do you think of Joc Pederson's potential. Jim Edmonds? Can he handle CF once Kemp realizes he isn't a CF
Edmonds is a borderline HoFer for me, so I won't go that far. Power/speed guy who would be plus in RF - might be their best internal CF option anyway - and will be an above-average regular for somebody.
Not your sport, but what are your thoughts on the Marcus Smart incident?
Regrettable all around. The fan deserves far more scorn and punishment than he received, but we can't have players physically confronting fans. Texas Tech should probably have more security in the stands to eject fans who behave like this. It's even worse for me when we're talking about amateur sports. You're hurling insults at a 19-year-old unpaid college student? Really? What the bleep is wrong with you?
Why is it that the MLBPA is allowed to negotiate what MLB can pay to amateurs when those amateurs aren't actually represented by the MLBPA?
I'm not a labor lawyer, but isn't that what all unions do - negotiate rights and compensation for current AND future members?
I know it's early in the game but can Buxton be as good as Trout and McCutchen?
That's the ceiling - top 5 player in all of MLB type.
Thought Michael Young was both thoughtful and well-spoken in his comments regarding Michael Sam. Do you agree?
Yes. And this is where Young's class (without scare quotes) and high regard within the game makes his comments so much more valuable. He did a great service to the sport by speaking out like that.
Keith, would mind breaking down Kerns' and Vittleson's floor and ceiling? Do you consider it a good trade for both teams?
Karns could be a mid-rotation starter or better, but has had trouble staying healthy. Ridiculous repertoire, needs work on command. Vettleson = potential everyday corner OF, plus arm, above avg hit, power may have been masked by home park/league in 2013.
Are you one of those guys that cries during movies?
That analytics scene in Moneyball gets me every time.
Think Gausman should start the year as a starter, or is there some value in letting him hone his craft in relief for awhile?
I wouldn't put him in relief because it won't force him to work on the things he needs to work on - consistency with the slider and fastball command.
That's all for this week - my daughter is home from school today and I promised her we'd play together. I believe a little Takenoko is in the plans. Thank you as always for all of the questions.