Music update, April 2016.

Good month for new tracks, with a slew of big alternative album releases coming up this month and next. I was disappointed by the new Last Shadow Puppets record, though, so I have nothing new from them here.

DMA’S – Too Soon. Apparently the British press has compared these guys to Oasis – although I suspect their goal was just to get Liam and/or Noel to say “piss shit bollocks” or something – but while I agree the DMA’s harken back to Britpop, I’m hearing far more Cast or Blur than Oasis. The song is too sunny and melodic for Oasis to be more than a lazy comp, even with the little nod to Nirvana’s “Come As You Are” coming right out of the chorus.

Hundred Waters – Forgive Me For Giving Up. Hundred Waters had my favorite album of 2014, The Moon Rang Like a Bell, for their strange mixture of ethereal vocals and sparse electronic backdrops. This one-off single would be somewhere in the middle of the pack compared to tracks from that album, although it’s far better than the atrocious remix of “Show Me Love” that appeared in March.

The Hearts – Lovers Drug. Not to be confused with HAERTS, this Welsh act has a heavy Stone Roses vibe to the vocals and the guitar sound, although the riffs aren’t quite so big and the song is ultimately more Britpop than Madchester – although that works just fine for me.

The Kills – Heart Of A Dog. I thought “Doing It to Death” was better but hold out hope that their next album, due out June 3rd, will be more like that track or even their seminal “Sour Cherry.”

The Coral – Fear Machine. The longrunning British alt-rock act celebrate their 20th anniversary this year with the album Distance Inbetween, a very solid record that brings in a lot of the vaguely eastern percussion patterns of a Band of Skulls, but with less of the latter group’s bombast and powerful riffs.

A. Sinclair – Let It Go. Aaron Sinclair’s group is back with a new record, Get Out of the City, another hookfest full of their uptempo roots-rock sound, due out next Friday.

KONGOS – Take It From Me. The South African group’s hit “Come With Me Now” shouldn’t make them a one-hit wonder given the strength of this lead single from their second album, Egomaniac, due out on June 10th. The Brothers K still incorporate the South African musical style called kwaito into their sound, giving them a distinctive edge in a sea of sameness on alternative radio.

The Temper Trap – Fall Together. More great pop music from Australia, which has been a fountain of great indie-pop for several years now. This is their best song since their first big hit, “Sweet Disposition,” maybe better since I always found the earlier song a little cloying, whereas this track’s soaring chorus hits just the right note of sweetness.

Frightened Rabbit – Get Out. The Scottish group’s debut album is too quietcore for me, lacking strong hooks or any sort of urgency, but this song’s drum fill and amped-up chorus provides some much-needed contrast to the yearning, tame verses, something lacking from the rest of the record.

Lust For Youth – Better Looking Brother. Lust for Youth can’t seem to decide which classic New Wave band they wish to imitate; their new album’s first track, “Stardom,” is a dead-on Smiths impersonation, but I prefer this seven-minute track, which sounds like a deep cut from a New Order’s Brotherhood.

Fort Frances – Days Get Heavy. The vocals are a little precious, but the big chorus is the song’ salvation. This Chicago indie act is giving away a free mp3 if you sign up for their mailing list.

ELEL – Animal. ELEL’s “40 Watt” made one of my playlists last winter and was a late cut from my top 100 for the year, but I like this new single from Nashville octet, plus is that Tim Lincecum in the back row of this band picture?

Cellars – I’m Feeling. Allene Norton records as Cellars and if you’re of a certain age, you’ll flash back to a lot of ’80s synthpop, some good (Men Without Hats, early Tears for Fears) and some not so good (Suzie Q’s “Two of Hearts”).

Black Honey – On Your Time. The British group’s debut EP, Headspin, came out last week, with this and “All My Pride” (on my last playlist) my two favorite tracks, driven by lead singer Izzy B. Phillips’ charismatic delivery.

White Lung – Below. The Canadian punk-pop act’s highly anticipated (by me, at least) album Paradise drops this Friday. The singles released in advance of the album have all been tighter and more melodic than their previous work, which was already solid.

Stone Cold Fox – Firing Squad. These Brooklyn indie-rockers take their name from the famous line in Footloose: “If you ask me, Ren is a stone cold fox.” Anyway, “Firing Squad” combines a rich, crunchy guitar line with a meandering, aimless vocal line gives the overall song a psychedelic quality not immediately apparent from either element.

Car Seat Headrest – Fill in the Blank. I love the opening gimmick, where a young woman announces the group but stumbles as if she’s just reading the name of an unfamiliar group off an index card. TO be fair, it’s a terrible name, and the group – originally a solo project by Leesburg, Virginia native Will Toledo (shout-out to King Street Coffee!) but now a four-piece – will release its first formal, studio-recorded album on May 20th. Also I like this song.

Porches – Braid. Porches are creepy, but the good kind of creepy, not like Gary Glitter creepy. The electronic drumbeat is hypnotic, and the bass line swirls even when it’s rudely shoved to the background by the vocals (who asked you to sing anyway? I was zoning out).

Band of Horses – Casual Party. BOH’s first album since 2012 is scheduled to drop next month; “Is There a Ghost?” ranks among my favorite songs of the decade so far, so I’m rather looking forward to this record.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Shakedown Street. Another track from the forthcoming Grateful Dead tribute album.

Thrice – Black Honey. Hi, Riley!

Gojira – Stranded. Gojira cross a lot of metal subgenres, occasionally veering into death metal territory, sometimes descending into groove metal, but here they go very old-school, with a song that derives just as much from classic Testament or Megadeth as it does from Pantera. The vocals are shouted, but not growled or screamed, making it a bit more accessible than, say, Amon Amarth’s melodic death metal, but it’s still an aggressive sound that at least brought me back to the golden age of thrash.

Native Daughters – Two Princes. This Denver technical-metal outfit does instrumental stuff that draws on about four decades of metal sounds, with a heavy doom influence to the big drum line here, symphonic inspirations for the keyboard and lead guitar, and thrash riffs to the rhythm guitar.

Stick to baseball, 4/30/16.

No new Insider content this week, although I had a draft blog post last Saturday on Riley Pint, Joey Wentz, Braxton Garrett, and more players I saw. I held my usual Klawchat on Thursday.

And now, the links…

The Most Dangerous Book.

James Joyce’s Ulysses stands today as one of the most critically lauded novels ever written – despite the fact that it’s difficult to read and more difficult to understand – which has, to some extent, papered over its tortuous path to the marketplace. When Joyce was first writing the novel, it was serialized in parts in a literary periodical called The Little Review, which then ran afoul of U.S. obscenity laws, leading eventually to the book’s banning before it had even been published. In 1933, Random House, at the time a relatively new publisher founded by the owners of the Modern Library imprint, decided to publish Ulysses and force a judicial hearing on the book’s legality. In the resulting case, United States v. One Book Called Ulysses, Judge John Woolsey ruled that Ulysses was not obscene, marking one of the first big victories against U.S. obscenity laws, including the Comstock Act, which made sending materials deemed obscene through the mails a federal crime.

Kevin Birmingham recounts the legal battles over Ulysses in The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce’s Ulysses, weaving that story into one about the book’s original authorship, including Joyce’s health problems and eccentricities. The book may have gone a bit overboard in detailing Joyce’s personal life – I really didn’t need to hear excerpts of the dirty letters he and his partner Nora sent to each other – but the details around the book’s history and the Puritanical extremes of American laws at the time are indispensable to anyone who’s ever read a banned book.

Joyce is a giant among authors today for all four of his major works, but had difficulty finding a publisher for his first novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, or his collection of short stories, Dubliners, each of which also ran afoul of authorities but also lacked any obvious commercial appeal. Even when published, the works languished on the market for several years, leaving Joyce, obsessed with his novel and spending what money he had on drink, financially dependent on various patrons who wished to see Ulysses completed. He began writing the book in 1914, published the first episode in The Little Review in 1918, and saw the novel published as a whole in 1922 by Sylvia Beach, the owner of Paris bookshop Shakespeare & Co. (The Paris bookshop by that name today is named for Beach’s shop, which closed in 1941 after Beach was sent to an internment camp.) Copies of the banned book circulated for nearly a decade, with multiple seizures and burnings by overzealous authorities, until the 1933 ruling that cleared the way for its publication and unlikely status as a bestseller.

Joyce received some money from the serialization but wasn’t always aware of the self-censorship of his sort-of friend and advocate Ezra Pound, who looms large in the book for his role in spreading the gospel of Joyce while appearing to hold a sort of professional jealousy of the Irishman. Even the first full edition of Ulysses was rife with mistakes – Wikipedia cites Joyce scholar Jack Dalton as saying it contained “over two thousand errors” – and its publication history has always been complicated by Joyce’s deliberately obscure prose and the messy handwritten manuscript he handed over to a series of typists as he was writing. The attempts of Pound and others to soften the parts of Joyce’s work deemed “offensive” were futile, as Joyce wanted the book to offend, both because he wrote much of this novel (the first major work of modernism) to resemble thought in the mind before it became formal speech, and because he had a puerile obsession with bodily functions.

Yet the Nausicaa episode, the one at the heart of the eventual trial, is also one of the book’s most literary and most abstruse to readers. Leopold Bloom masturbates as he watches a young woman sitting on the beach, exposing her legs and bloomers to him deliberately when she realizes he’s looking at her, but Joyce couches it in obscure language and makes it unclear how much of the episode is real and how much is happening in Bloom’s mind. Similarly, the final episode, Penelope, is a fifty-page internal monologue from Molly Bloom, Leopold’s wife, broken into just eight sentences (and with only two periods at that), where, among other things, she admits she was “fucked yes and damn well fucked” by another man, yet the “obscenity” is so thoroughly buried within the long, hard-to-follow text, that arguments around its offensiveness had to isolate the “dirty” parts rather than considering them as a whole – because, in reality, if you read the work straight through to try to get to anything salacious you’d be too exhausted to be titillated by the handful of descriptions of sex. Those arguments eventually carried the day in Woolsley’s oft-reprinted opinion on the matter.

Birmingham gives great detail on the business end of Ulysses, from its publication history to smuggling efforts to get it around censorship in the U.S. and eventually Great Britain, as well as much information on the fundamentalists in various anti-vice societies who helped write and enforce the draconian laws that could ban a book on the basis of a single complaint. The founder of the New York Society of the Suppression of Vice, Anthony Comstock (later U.S. Postal Inspector), and his successor, John Sumner, abused powers they should never have been granted, trampling on the First Amendment to censor and destroy any materials they found objectionable, including early works on contraception and abortion. While Comstock died before the first episode of Ulysses appeared in print, he set up the regime that allowed Sumner and others to suppress the book in part or whole for fifteen years, even though by 1923 it had been widely praised (and panned) by well-known authors, poets, and literary critics. These passages end up some of the strongest in Birmingham’s book, better than the details of Joyce’s life with Nora, as is the brief section on the beginnings of Finnegans Wake, Joyce’s last novel and one of the most difficult reads in English literature (or so I’m told, since I never got past page one).

Around the same time I listened to Birmingham’s book on audio, I read Eimear McBride’s A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing, winner of the 2014 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, and a book so heavily inspired by Joyce’s Ulysses it felt highly derivative to me. McBride writes in a style that mimics Joyce’s pre-speech efforts – McBride herself has said she wanted to voice thought before it became thought – to tell the story of a girl whose brother undergoes a drastic surgery to remove a brain tumor when he’s still a toddler (before she’s born), an event that shapes her entire life as well. The narrator’s destructive relationship with her born-again mother (the book has a strongly anti-religious bent) leads to her having sex with her uncle at 13, going to college, becoming a promiscuous alcoholic, being raped twice, and pulling an Edna Pontellier. Beyond the aggravating prose, the book is one-note, dismal and hopeless, the story of a path determined before birth, a girl who can only gain agency by destroying herself. It may be realistic, but that doesn’t make it something I’d want to read.

Klawchat 4/28/16.

Klaw: How can I put this in a way so as not to offend or unnerve? Klawchat.

TNizzle: Seems like it could be a big year for northeast HS baseball. Groome, Anderson, Jones, Kiriloff, Bakst…I know here in NJ there are more potential top ten round guys that I can ever remember. Outlier or trend?
Klaw: Outlier. I’d add Kranick, Laskey, and Mondile to the watch list, at least. Bakst is a Stanford commit and probably unsignable because he’d rather go get his swing ruined.

Bobby: How good can Mitch Keller become? Does he have Glasnow type breakout potential? He’s off to a great start.
Klaw: Totally different pitcher. I wouldn’t comp them just because they’re in the same org. But I liked Keller a ton as an amateur and now that he’s healthy I think we’re seeing his potential again.

Nick: Have you heard anything on Lazarito since the last workout? Only a little over 2 months to July 2nd and it seems like we’re in a lull.
Klaw: I’m assuming he has a deal in place to sign on July 2nd so the news and workouts have stopped.

Nick: Based on what we know now (a lot can change) but it seems like Corey Ray will be the Phillies top pick, no? I can’t imagine they’d want to take a risk on Groome or Perez. After Ray, the college talent drops a little. I can’t see them making Lewis or Senzel 1-1. Maybe Puk but Ray seems the safer bet at this point. I guess we’ll have to see how the college season plays out.
Klaw: I think it would be Puk if it were today, but they’re still undecided. I agree that Ray would be a better call than Lewis, but if you want certainty, you take Senzel, who has less ceiling but is probably the most likely big league regular in the draft.

Kevin: The Phillies are over .500. Wtf?
Klaw: It’s April 28th.

Owen (London): Hi Keith- Is it just me or is there some connection in the way that former catchers tend to make the most obdurate managers ? Girardi’s comments on the shift were just so peculiar. Any idea why this might be ?
Klaw: Not just peculiar, but petulant. If you don’t like the shift, overcome it.

scottdsimon: How, if at all, is the (fluid, retroactively determined) Super 2 “deadline” affected by teams promoting pitchers for one start (e.g., Blair, Snell) and then sending them back to the minors?
Klaw: It’s not. It’s all around service time within that class. Those guys get a day of service, and that day will just count like any other days of service when their class comes up for super 2 eligibility. It does mean they’re on the 40-man, however, which I don’t think was the case for Blair.

Luis: Reading about Pint touching 100, I couldn’t help but think of Tyler Kolek. How do those two compare at the time Kolek was drafted?
Klaw: Pint’s a better athlete and flashes better offspeed stuff. Neither throws enough strikes.

Julian: Okay, so this whole Jean Segura thing is a weird lightning rod. He’s had a terrific start. And getting away from Milwaukee for emotional reasons may have helped. Except that four things are pretty obvious if you take five seconds. 1) It’s 16 games. 2) He’s done this before – the start of 2013. And then he hit a wall after May and plateaued for several years. 3) His underlying numbers are complete outliers. His BABIP is .363, and 15% of his flyballs are homers – his previous bests are .326 and 7%. In other words – either unsustainable, a fluke, or completely different player. 4) He’s still basically the same player – he has 2 walks so far this year, which is fine when you hit .347, but stops being fine the second you drop below, say .320. Which is a long-winded way of asking: Why do you think people take valid, supported criticism and make it purely personal? Yes, anonymity helps. But what benefit do they gain from turning a hot streak of 95 good at-bats into proof of wrongness?
Klaw: I truly have no idea why people act so stupid over, in particular, a tiny little sample, or, in general, a scouting report or prediction that turns out to be wrong. It’s why I block and mute so many people on Twitter and Facebook, though. If you don’t really understand how small sample sizes work, or when a player’s performance is likely to regress, that’s fine. When that drives uncivil (or worse) behavior, that’s not fine.

Mac: The Arrieta/PED discussion is pretty ridiculous right considering 1. He always had great stuff with Baltimore and 2. Baltimore has a history of being terrible at developing pitching
Klaw: The “discussion” is ridiculous because it’s absolutely, totally baseless. I thought First Take’s segment was irresponsible – you cannot speculate about players being on PEDs when there is zero evidence to support the claim. Arrieta has never failed a test, and never been linked in any way to PED usage. Also, if someone knows about a magic pill that cleans up your mechanics and improves your command, I’d love to talk about a distribution agreement.

Magdee: Why is aledmys Diaz doing this? Fluke? Small sample size?
Klaw: It’s April 28th.

Nic, AZ: Domingo Acevedo has had a nice start to the season as an SP, do you think he has a chance to start long term or is he destined for relief?
Klaw: With that delivery I don’t see any way he can start.

Ben: Chances of Manaea, Berrios and Fulmer sticking in the bigs?
Klaw: All about team plans, because I think all three are ready to contribute in a major-league rotation.

David: Seems not that long ago we thought of Orlando Arcia as a slick fielding SS with a modest hit tool. Was his offensive progression aniticipated and is it sustainable in the major leagues?
Klaw: Anticipated, no, sustainable, yes.

Something: Can I start to question how conforto made it to 10? I know he can’t maintain what he’s doing now, but he looks like a perennial all-star.
Klaw: Teams killed him for being LF only and/or for having too little power. He was 8th on my board, and really should have been higher.

John Liotta: Over the last twenty years which of the the following three awards would you say better represents the kind of books you like to read most- National Book Award, Pulitzer Prize or Man/Booker?
Klaw: Probably Man Booker, but I haven’t read many NBA winners. The Hugo has a few books I’ve absolutely adored, and then a bunch that I thought were awful.

At least we have Mateo: I saw Dante Bichette Jr. last week. Has he ever been able to tell what pitch is coming? Or is it just always a wild hack and pray?
Klaw: Always been like that. Huge backside collapse and uphill path. No shot at a breaking ball away. I think his lack of success is hurting Bo’s draft stock, but Bo is a better player – he doesn’t collapse like that and he’s a better athlete who might be okay at 2b.

David: Klaw: The Braves are very likely to have the first draft pick in 2017. Is there a consensus No. 1 pick in that class? Please give a lifelong Braves fan a little hope. This is as painful as the 1970s when the team was consistently awful.
Klaw: Klaw about 2 hours ago

Ryan (Carnegie, PA): Is this the year Gregory Polanco breaks out? His approach has been great, and his swing seems more compact. He just seems so much more comfortable at the plate.
Klaw: This year or next. It’s primarily about waiting for his power, and I don’t know when that’s going to come. But I have thought for a while that he had superstar upside and that has not changed.

Ed: Lucas Sims has been really effective since being moved to Double A last year. I know you were high on him early in his career before things fell apart, but is he back to being a guy that can really make an impact as a starter?
Klaw: Every scout I talked to about him over the winter said future reliever, based on the stuff, especially the flat fastball. It’s also not ideal that he’s walked 14 in 19 innings this year.

Sean: Scouting the stat line, but Ahmed Rosario is hitting the cover off the ball. Isn’t it best to bring him up to Double A, while he’s seeing the ball well? I would think it makes for a little bit of a smoother transition to a higher level.
Klaw: He needs to go to AA, not because of his performance, but because he spent all of last year in high-A, and I don’t see what he’s learning by repeating the level.

Rob K: Can you expand on your twitter comment RE: Plawecki > d’Arnaud?
Klaw: Plawecki’s a better receiver and d’Arnaud has shown no ability to stay healthy as a regular catcher. I was surprised that there was any question about this. d’Arnaud was drafted in 2007 and has reached 500 PA in exactly one season, 450 in only two.

JG: Thoughts on the Berrios outing?
Klaw: Seemed like he tired quickly, and his command wasn’t sharp. Not really worried – it’s one start.

Christopher: Hey Keith, I really appreciated all your insight on Twitter the other day regarding pitch counts. You also mentioned that catchers can have arm trouble as well. I caught exclusively between ages 8-16 before persistent elbow problems derailed my career. Do you think that parents and/or leagues should monitor how many innings catchers catch? Perhaps relatedly, it seems that a large percentage of American High School catchers drafted in the first round don’t end up as successful big league catchers. Is there a systemic problem with how we treat/develop/abuse youth catchers in this country?
Klaw: Yes, they should monitor that. Teams could just have two catchers and alternate them, too. I think the problem with US catchers is that we draft them primarily on what they can do now (usually because they can really throw or they have power), when catchers take a long time to develop at the position, and we also have no way to evaluate stuff like receiving or game-calling because amateur coaches won’t give up an ounce of control.

Ty: Mickey Moniak is breaking out the power now. How high can he go?
Klaw: Not a power guy, but I think he goes top 5. If Philly takes a HS player at 1, he’d be my guess.

John: It looks like Manaea and Fulmer are coming up this week. Which one are you more optimistic about?
Klaw: Fulmer. Better stuff, more durable, although both have had injuries.

Jacques Strappe: Can you give any info on Travis Lakins? Didn’t hear much about him before this year but now I see a lot of people talking about him
Klaw: Oh, you mean my sleeper prospect for the Red Sox coming into this season?

JD: Remember how the preseason talk was all “the Orioles could set the MLB record for strikeouts”? Right now, they have the ninth best strikeout rate in the majors. Hell, they’re striking out less than the AL average. What gives?
Klaw: It’s April 28th.

James: Ready for the NFL draft? I am assuming your interest level is somewhere between scouting a little league game and watching grass grow. Thanks for all the work you do on prospects.
Klaw: Pretty much. I forgot it was tonight until I saw it on Twitter this morning.

Mike: High Desert has a + 53 run dif. and is allowing 3.6 runs per game through 20 games. After this, mostly, same pitching core allowed 3.7 runs per in the SAL last year. Do you like the Rangers strategy of not avoiding that environment with guys like Ortiz, Mendez, and Jurado?
Klaw: The alternatives suck. Repeating low-A won’t help most of them (Ortiz perhaps because he pitched so little last year). Jumping them to AA could be a disaster. So you roll them out to High Desert and hope they give you two good months that justify a quick promotion.

Julian: Non-Segura question: Manuel Margot and Nick Williams up in June? After “Super Dos” “deadline” “passes”.
Klaw: Probably right.

Ryan: Are Jefferies and Quantrill the two college arms that the make sense for Boston at #12?
Klaw: Jefferies has a strain in his shoulder of unknown severity and Quantrill has not pitched yet this year coming off TJ, so I’m going with no on this one.

Andy: You’ve stated that you don’t re-read books a lot. Yet from BBTN yesterday, you seem to have a decent sized library. Why buy books you likely won’t ever read again?
Klaw: I’ve kept fewer than 10% of the books I’ve read. I buy a lot of books used, and I get a lot of new books as gifts. And I can always donate or re-sell books in good condition. I bought James Alan McPherson’s Elbow Room new with the express intent of donating it to my local library, as the Delaware library system only has one or two copies. (It’s a Pulitzer winner, a wonderful collection of short stories by an African-American author, definitely something that should be read more in schools.)

James: School out early or daughter sick?
Klaw: Daughter didn’t feel good. Just got over strep last week so I wasn’t going to question it. We’ve never been keen on just telling her to tough it out – if she’s uncomfortable enough to call us, we go get her.

Josh: Talk to us about Cody Bellinger and Mark Chapman. Are they eventual top 100 MLB players?
Klaw: Bellinger yes. Chapman no as he’s still in jail for killing John Lennon.

mike: keith – your thoughts on josh ockimey and kyri washington, two guys off to good starts with low a greenville?
Klaw: Hoping to see them this weekend. Saw Ockimey once in Ft. Myers, body looked a lot better. Washington is too old for the level but the bat probably wasn’t ready for high-A.

Andres A.: Hey Mr. Liberal Firebrand, I was wondering, on a scale of 20-80, what grade would you give “Art Angles” by Grimes? Also, any thoughts on The Struts? Not sure if you’ve heard of the. Thank you for your time, sir.
Klaw: I need to get “liberal firebrand” as my next tattoo. I thought Art Angels was a 70, and the Struts are a bit of a guilty pleasure even though they’re not doing anything novel.

Mike: How far could Alec Hansen fall in the draft ?
Klaw: He’s either a second pick for someone, the way Sean Manaea was for KC a few years ago, or he goes back to school next year and tries to get healthy. Something isn’t right.

Jon: Do you think B.Garrett and I. Anderson will fall to late first/sandwich round due to demands?
Klaw: No. That rarely happens in the new system. Daz was the one major exception last year, but he was not seen by anyone else as a $4 million guy.

Josh: What is the upside to Erick Fedde?
Klaw: Upside would be third starter. But without a decent third pitch he’ll be a reliever.

Brian: Keith, if I recall correctly you did not think Travis Shaw could stick at 3B. But he seems to be handling it quite well. Have you changed your opinion and what has he approved in? Thanks
Klaw: I still don’t think he can play it. I see UZR doesn’t look favorably on his defense so far either, although this sample is tiny.

Alan: I’ve been following Michael Wacha over the years and noticed that his K-rate has steadily declined. Last start he struck out…nobody! What is this due to? Seemed like he had potential to post better K-rates.
Klaw: Feels like he hasn’t had quite the same stuff since the shoulder injury, no?

sam: How do you have time to do all you do & also pitch for the Giants? I see you in the boxscores every few days.
Klaw: That’s my son, all 6’4″ of his conceived-when-I-was-16-years-old self.

Sam: How has Nolan Jones fared so far this season? Is he more solid than spectacular and what position should he play as a pro?
Klaw: More than solid. I was going to see him this afternoon but the game has already been cancelled due to rain.

Bob: Any surprised, positive or negative, for either players or teams that look sustainable? Or is everything still SSS?
Klaw: I just don’t. It’s too early to try to guess what’s real and what’s not unless we have some sound underlying logic, like a mechanical change or a new pitch. The one I might have suggested was Charlie Morton, who really did look different, stats aside, but that’s over.

Mike: Keith with Delino struggling at the plate do the Rangers just shift Desmond to center and keep Mazara up at left when Choo comes back?
Klaw: I would do that and send DeShields to AAA, where he never played anyway due to his rule 5 status (outside of a rehab stint). That would be based more on his limited skill set than just the slow start, though.

Mike: Earlier this month your “stick to baseball” links included a link to a compelling article about how nutrition researchers overplayed the anti-fat case and ignored the role of sugar for decades…while a second link highlighted the ignorance of the anti-vaccine crowd. Both interesting articles, but together they raise an issue: sometimes questioning the scientific mainstream leads to dangerous fringe stances like anti-vaccination…but there are times when mainstream science gets it wrong. How can those of us without science backgrounds find the line between productive skepticism and counter-productive anti-science stances?
Klaw: I’d point to the overwhelming consensus and huge number of studies and meta-studies on topics like vaccine safety, and the total lack of any published, peer-reviewed research anywhere that says otherwise.

BD: Drew Ward is crushing the ball, and it is easy to forget he is still just 21. Prospect now?
Klaw: No. He’s repeating high-A, remains awful at 3b, and also it’s April 28th.

Andrew: Do you think twitter has become more toxic of late? Or are we just more aware of it?
Klaw: Both. Recently I reported a user for saying that a female writer and I who were tweeting at each other deserved to be raped and killed. Twitter’s response was to make the user delete the post. Not to delete his fucking account and IP block him. Just to suspend him till he took the post down. Hey, Twitter, it’s not going to hurt your stock price to kick the shitheads off.

Jordan: Is Lucas Sims a legitimate top of the rotation pitching prospect?
Klaw: No, see above. Also it’s April 28th.

addoeh: Why do people get defensive about their team? Tribalism. They feel they have to defend their team no matter the circumstance. They have their shield and sword and are just waiting to attack all who speak ill of their team. With this thinking, else is wrong.
Klaw: This has become very evidence with Arizona fans this year, which I guess explains why Jan Brewer got two terms out there.

MIke: Have you been able to watch Wil Myers play this season? I know you predicted him as one of your breakout candidates, so how do you think he has faired thus far at a new position and at the plate?
Klaw: It’d be nice if he’d walk once in a while but this is kind of what I thought he’d be if he got healthy and was left alone to just go hit. It’s not picture-perfect but he has great hand-eye coordination and the strength for some power.

Nick: What happened near the end of The Magicians that you felt was a gut punch? Just finished reading (due to your positive review). Thanks.
Klaw: Alice’s last scene in that book.

Nelson: Perhaps I missed your explanation, but I just dont see how you can continue to say that Schilling is a fine human being, despite the bigotted views he consistantly posts?
Klaw: I never said Schilling was “a fine human being.” Rather than getting snotty with me, go read what I actually said.

Logan: Long term, would you bet on Michael Fulmer as a starter or as a reliever?
Klaw: Starter. No question here.

Greg: Hey, Keith. Maikel Franco just signed a $4.35 mil deal with Fantex in exchange for 10% of his total earnings, off and on the field. What’s your opinion of these deals, and do you see more young players signing them? On one hand, it’s a good way for young players to cash in before free agency. On the other, it seems like a large-scale payday loan. And how much does the fact that the public will be able to buy shares in players complicate matters? Could this lead to a lot of shady dealings? All that said, personally, I’m all for it.
Klaw: I believe players should have the right to do this if they believe it’s in their financial best interests. MLB and the union should probably come up with a cap on how much of a player’s earnings he can sell in this fashion, though.

Anonymous: Any 80 tools in this year’s draft?
Klaw: Riley Pint hit 100 mph, as has Zack Burdi. That’s an 80 fastball by definition.

Ryan Thompson: Who will be the Red Sox LF on August 1? Benintendi, Holt or someone else?
Klaw: I’ll take the bet on Benintendi.

J: Serious question: How can you suffer from anxiety and be such a confident person. Totally acceptable if you don’t want to answer and I mean no offense
Klaw: That’s just not what anxiety is. Anxiety is biological and irrational. It is pervasive and insidious, but it is manageable. I don’t feel extraordinary anxiety when writing or watching players. I feel anxiety at times that make no sense.

Dave: Is Josh Hader a starter or reliever? It seems like he only can go 4 innings in every start he makes.
Klaw: Don’t know an MLB starter who has that arm action. Chris Sale is the closest delivery comp, but even that is kind of a default.

Michael: Just wondering – do you know why teams have their pitchers in the minor leagues sit in the stands and chart pitches? When I sit in that section, they always seem very uninterested and I wonder what skill they are gaining knowing how fast their teammate throws.
Klaw: If they’re diligent, they’re watching the hitters too, and looking at how their teammates are adjusting.

Trey: Nick Senzel a reach for the Brewers at 5? 3B is one of the two weakest spots in the Org (1B). Quick mover to the big leagues?
Klaw: Not a big reach, but organizational need is not a good reason to draft a player. I’d go for more upside there, since they’re in rebuilding mode.

Chris: How soon do you see the Yankees calling up Judge with their outfielders struggling so much?
Klaw: He’s still struck out in 1/3 of his at bats – and he’s not walking – which is not a good argument for bringing him up. He has to show he can control both sides of the plate before you recall him because MLB pitchers will exploit that endlessly.

Chris: Any news on Luis Ortiz’s weight issues so far in 2016? His stats look good, but they also don’t show his size
Klaw: He was heavy in March too. He’s just going to be big forever – it’s about not getting TOO big.

Ed: Have you learned anything about Eddie Julio Martinez now that he’s got a couple of at-bats under his belt, or still too early to tell?
Klaw: Too early to tell. He hadn’t played in a real game in two years and it has showed in the early results.

Steve: Have you finished Passan’s The Arm? Thoughts?
Klaw: I finished it the day I saw Pint. I’ve mentioned that I have several conflicts of interest around that book, so bear that in mind, but I enjoyed the book tremendously and thought parents of young pitchers especially should read it. Buy it here from amazon.

Michael: Do you still think Obama should simply appoint Garland to SCOTUS if the Senate ignores its job? You’ve said that Republicans will call Obama a dictator in that case, but that would, in fact, be very undemocratic of him to do. I think the Senate should confirm him–he’s incredibly qualified–but a majority of constitutional lawyers do not think Obama has the power to do it alone.
Klaw: I never said I thought he should do so, but that I thought he could as a recess appointment. Doing so would indeed feed right into the GOP’s narrative. And I agree, the Senate should just do its job.

Ridley Kemp: So….the Hugo Awards finalists were announced yesterday. It reminds me a lot of the 1957 All Star voting mess, a bad nomination process abused by trolls. Any thoughts on the nominees? (P.S. Anyone who gets a membership to Worldcon can vote)
Klaw: Never read any of them. I thought Ancillary Justice (which won in 2014) was a bit sterile, and I’m not wild about Stephenson’s work (overlong, plots don’t resolve well).

Tom: Are periscope chats dead? Really enjoyed that forum. Hopefully you will do them more in the future.
Klaw: Very difficult to do them with travel and with contractors tearing up my bathroom (it’s loud in here).

Every idiot fan: Hey, have you seen ? What’s up with that? And admit that you were wrong! and that you actually hate my team!
Klaw: This is basically every day on twitter even if I don’t tweet for 24 hours.

JG: Are we starting to see the real Kohl Stewart emerge?
Klaw: I’d like to see him do this at the next level since he was in the FSL all of last year too – but missing any bats is nice progress, as it was the one aspect of his game that was lacking (surprisingly so, since he has the stuff to strike guys out).

Kyle: How high are you on Connor Jones? His K/BB is only 2 to 1 and he only strikes out batters just under 20% of the time but I see him really high on mock draft boards
Klaw: I haven’t done a mock draft yet. I don’t think he’s really first-round worthy but may go there due to the paucity of college arms. Virginia has taken him backwards, altering his delivery in a way that has cut his velocity. He can sink it but has no out pitch.

Michael: With all the high fives given out after a sacrifice fly, you would think it’s a better result than it is. Do you think players actually try to just hit a lazy fly ball rather than get a hit? The way they talk on TV, it seems like that may actually be the mentality of a hitter.
Klaw: The worst is in college/high school where a sac fly or a bunt brings every slapdick out of the dugout to high-five. He made an out. Sit your asses down.

Jeff: Have you heard about why R.Lawson’s stopped pitching? Is it an injury or a self preservation?
Klaw: Story was an oblique injury but he’s still been playing the field the last three weeks, so that doesn’t seem to check out. He also changed his delivery somewhere in the offseason, seriously shortening his stride and raising his release point, which is correlated with reduced velocity and greater risk of injury (especially to the shoulder), per ASMI.

Mc: You have tattoos already?
Klaw: I have “OBP IS LIFE” across my shoulder blades.

Mc: Errol Robinson is a ___ round pick? His ceiling is ___ ?
Klaw: Third. Maybe less. He’s been terrible this year. Ceiling of everyday player, low probability of getting there.

Andy: I love how a belief in science and human decency means you’re a liberal firebrand.
Klaw: Because that’s really it, isn’t it? I think everyone is equal. And I think the environment is important because damaging it will kill us. Never mind my views on free trade or taxation or whatnot.

Elton: I liked Forever War more than you did but definitely agree that the characterization was weak. That’s my beef with an awful lot of sci-fi; compelling ideas and plot dragged down by cardboard characters. Is there a book or series you’d consider to have the whole package?
Klaw: Hyperion. Jonathan Strange. Foundation had its moments of characterization. LotR.

Anonymous: What do you see as the ceiling to Matt Chapman?
Klaw: Above-average regular at third. Plus defense, power, low avg/OBP.

Sarah: Are you a Downton Abbey fan?
Klaw: Yes, watched (and wrote up) all six seasons.

Shelby: Zack Collins in any way comparable to college-age Schwarber at this point?
Klaw: Not the same caliber of hitter, but a good hitter, a top 3 pure college bat. Chance to go as high as 6. Definitely goes top 20.

Rob: Keith–surprised to see McCutcheon hitting second for the Pirates? Clint “Bowl of Jell-O” Hurdle has obviously been listening to the Bucs’ analytics department.
Klaw: He’s shown a real willingness to listen to new ideas, as opposed to, say, Dusty Baker. And then he bats Polanco sixth.

Steve: What’s should the Rangers do with Profar at this point?
Klaw: I don’t have a good answer. He should be in the majors, but where? Odor has not played well, but demoting him would be overreacting, and Profar hasn’t played 2b anyway. Andrus is hitting for the moment. Mazara isn’t going anywhere. So I guess just wait and let Profar keep doing his thing.

Travis: Wait, Moniak is a top-5 guy now? You said that’d be a stretch a few weeks ago. Has something changed with him, or have other top picks fallen?
Klaw: Didn’t I just rank him 6th in the draft class? I don’t think that’s a stretch.

JR: Speaking of your “stick to baseball” posts, the BYU story you linked too earlier this month keeps getting worse as more victims are coming forward. In some instances, preadators knew they could use threats of the “honor code” to coerce their victims into more actions or buy their silence. Horrible.
Klaw: I have very little respect or use for that school. Colleges ignoring rape or sexual assault allegations are nothing new (Tennessee, Baylor). But BYU has taken it to an entirely new level of victim-blaming. The feds should cut off all funding to the school as a result of these revelations.

Bob: Back to Aledmys Diaz. If I remember right, you weren’t high on him when he was being showcased a couple of years ago. But I think you hedged a bit because it’s hard to project Cuban players. He had decent minor league stats. Obviously he’s not going to keep up this streak but is there anything in his development that should give Cardinal fans hope that he could be a regular?
Klaw: He had decent minor league stats, but not great ones. He hit .278/.339/.445 last year in AAA at age 24, so what are the odds that he’ll hit substantially better than that this year without some substantial mechanical or physical change? I don’t know of such a change, so I’m skeptical that he’ll be much better than that – but that line and average defense at short is an everyday player.

Eric Johnson: Do Colabello’s innocent pleas fall on more sympathetic ears because he can better articulate his arguments as opposed to Latin guys with English as a second language? This bugs me.
Klaw: Well I think we’re all ignoring his comments and assuming he’s guilty because, you know, he failed the test.

Michael: Re: Brewer, you’ll never vote for a Republican if you favor science and equal rights over the economy. But you generally must hate economic policies put forward by Democrats if you prefer laissez-faire economics and a flatter tax.
Klaw: At an extremely general level, yes, this is true. And it makes me nuts when Democrats talk about “tax cuts for the wealthy” (we tax income, not wealth) or claim the gender pay gap is 25-30% (it’s probably around 5%).

Don: Not really a question, but wow, does Francisco Lindor hit the ball hard for a little guy. And consistently too. Any other young players that look like they’re having as much fun on the field as he does?
Klaw: You can make hard contact if you have strong hands and/or wrists. Andrew McCutchen is not huge, but he has huge power for that reason. That Harper kid seems to have fun out there.

Tmelts: Seth Beer a future 1st round pick?
Klaw: Probably. Might be better off for his decision because he’ll be a true 21-year-old junior rather than a nearly 20-year-old HS senior.

Chuck: How shocked would yoou be if the Phillies draft Jason Groome … extremely or mildly ?
Klaw: Only mildly because the class is so unsettled, but all indications I’ve heard so far have them disinclined to take a prep arm at 1.

Ryan, PA: Foody question. Do you have a favorite way to cook or eat lamb? I took some notes from Alton Brown and started using it in burgers and now I’m never going back to straight beef burgers if I can help it.
Klaw: It’s the one animal protein I just don’t care for. I never cook it at home.

Greg: When you say first round pick, does that = top 30, or top 23?
Klaw: Top 23 this year.

Mike: Hey science guy, how do you rationalize the transgender people? Last time, I checked you’re either born with a Y chromosome or you’re not and they’re no scientific argument against that
Klaw: Hey ignorance guy, it’s called gender dysphoria and is found in the DSM-5.

Sarah: Trevor Story: what are your quick thoughts- obviously not sustainable but will he stick as Colorado’s long-term SS and be an above average bat at that position or will the league figure out the holes in his swing?
Klaw: Eventually I think he’s their everyday SS, but selling out for power isn’t the long-term formula here.

Ryan: Not trying to fire anyone up but I have a question about the transgender bathroom situation. Most stuff I read says that people aren’t concerned with sharing a bathroom with transgender people as much as they are concerned with some straight guy using this as an excuse to creep in a woman’s rest room. Do you see this as a possible issue or just fear mongering?
Klaw: I’d be more concerned about “some straight guy” who’s actually a pedophile going after my (hypothetical) son in the men’s room, since the situation you described above has never actually happened.

Micha: Can you give me a quick scouting report on AJ Puk’s last two outings?
Klaw: No since I wasn’t there.

Ed: Lamb ragout with polenta is delicious
Klaw: That’s because polenta is delicious.

MikeD: What percentage of time do you spend on the road away from home? Have you ever brought your daughter with you during the summer, or would she find it all dreadfully boring?
Klaw: She came on both trips to spring training this year, and sometimes she’ll tag along on a summer trip, but she’s completely uninterested in baseball so bringing her to games is not quite ideal. I usually bribe her with pizza.

Fonz: Re level of competition in evaluating players, how much weight is placed on something like JJ Schwarz not being able to hit SEC pitching this year and last? Similarly, do teams break out stats vs. Friday starters compared to mid-week starters, etc.?
Klaw: A lot because SEC pitching is the best competition these kids are going to face before the draft. And yes on Friday starters vs midweek, and LHP for left-handed hitters. Those last two variables were big negatives on Pedro Alvarez in his draft year and why I ranked him below Posey, Smoak, and Hosmer in that class.

David-ji: Robert Stephenson has looked solid in his first two MLB starts…did that upgrade his future in your eyes?
Klaw: No, I think I had him ranked about right given what he’s shown so far.

CJ: Amir Garrett Upside?
Klaw: True upside, #2 starter. Long way to go to get there because he has so little pitching experience. Lot of scouts tell me they think he’s a reliever, and I can see why, but I wouldn’t give up on him starting yet.

Joe: Do any of the players you’re scouting moms get frisky with you?
Klaw: I ain’t going that good. They’d probably think I was closer to their sons’ ages anyway.

Tim: A quick comment and defense of Cards fans – there were no racial or obscene yells against Heyward when visiting Busch. It was an allegation with no basis.
Klaw: I can’t believe something that was spread quickly on social media turned out to be wrong. How will I ever believe something I read on my Internet again.

James: What is your projection on Aaron Blair? Is he a safe mid rotation starter or maybe something more
Klaw: Bit better than that.

John: If the Phillies are staying away from a high school arm at 1.1, does that mean they want a faster rebuild and prefer a college player or are they just avoiding the risk?
Klaw: I think it’s about the risk of HS arms in the first round. Their track record as a whole is not that good – you have to believe you’ve identified one of the kids who’s an exception.

MyName: Very early, but you’re thoughts on J.J. Schwarz? Seems like a guy Braves should be keeping their eye on for 2017?
Klaw: If they’re going to draft top 3 again, then no, I don’t think so. First-rounder, but behind a bunch of other kids right now. Granted, a ton can change in the next 13 months.

Ryan: Who is the most MLB ready in this year’s draft class?
Klaw: Sounds like Senzel.

Henry: For teams with a long time star at a certain position, how soon is too soon to start planning for backups/succession? I’m thinking specifically of the Cardinals, who have a ham sandwich backing up Yadier Molina.
Klaw: I think teams should always plan for that because you never know when a player will be done. Dale Murphy was a superstar at 31, a below-average regular at 32, and basically done after that. The worst thing that happens is that you’ve planned for a replacement and don’t need him, so you have a tradeable asset or a player you can move to another spot.

Cubs Fans 3 years ago: Hey, you remember a couple years ago when Junior Lake had a hot couple of weeks, yet you kept insisting he wasn’t a good player? When are we going to get a retraction article on that? Also on a related note, Dan Vogelbach is hitting well in AAA.
Klaw: Indeed he is – I think Vogey gets a callup at some point this year. He’d be an interesting option off the bench if they can carry him.

Mike: Are people just willfully ignorant with the “man will put on a dress” comments? Transgender does not equal cross dresser.
Klaw: It’s also a relatively small part of these laws in NC, MS, and KS, which generally allow private businesses to discriminate against gay people. That’s the real problem.

Buckner: Hypothetical question. If Seager stays @ SS for the next ten years, would you take him or Bogerts?
Klaw: Probably Seager. Don’t think he will though.

Jeff: From a rebuilding standpoint, do teams tend to prefer a low risk/high floor player or a high risk high ceiling player?
Klaw: Usually the latter because you have to try to find stars wherever you can. The Paul Goldschmidts of the world – low draft picks without exceptional tools – are so rare that you can’t say you’re going to find and build around them.

Klaw: Anyway, that’s all for this week – thanks for hanging with me around my schedule. I’ll be back next week on Thursday or Friday for another chat.

Stick to baseball, 4/23/16.

My latest draft blog post covers six top prospects I saw in the last week and a half, including Riley Pint, who hit 100 mph on my gun. ESPN also posted a free lookback at my old reports on Aaron Hicks. I held my regular Klawchat on Thursday, going about a half hour longer than usual.

And now, the links…

  • I’ve always thought the UN was worse than useless, but boy, does this take the cake: Their own Nepalese peacekeepers caused the ongoing Haitian cholera epidemic that has killed upwards of 10,000 people. And they’re covering it up, with help from our own federal government.
  • Thieves are stealing nuts from California farmers and it’s actually a serious problem.
  • The NY Times weighs in on transgender bathroom hysteria with an op ed that emphasizes two aspects of these hateful laws: They don’t make anyone safer, and they carry real economic consequences for states that pass them. Not mentioned is how such laws blatantly pander to the evangelical base of the right wing, and how such voters seem to fall for it.
  • Charles Pierce’s column on the two names we’ll be saying till the election was spot on and very entertaining to read.
  • This Slate piece on the fake Craigslist ad asking for a “feminism tutor” is super weird and creepy. The piece identifies the serial harasser as a Penn State student, but the school’s directory shows zero results in a search of his name.
  • Sarah Palin claimed that she’s as much a “scientist” as Bill Nye is, which is a bizarre sort of ad hominem attack.
  • The University of Georgia paid Ludacris $65K to perform before a spring football game but remember there’s no money to pay the players because amateurism.
  • I found this 2010 Science post called Things I Won’t Work With: Dioxygen Difluoride highly amusing.
  • The Onion reports what other news outlets won’t: Pharmaceutical Industry Reeling As More Moms Making Vaccines At Home.
  • The 1970 Miami High School baseball team was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame this past week. “If it happened today — 24 innings thrown in one 346-pitch game by a high school junior — the coach likely would be fired or maybe even worse.” I don’t know if that pitcher, Alberto Zamora, was a major prospect before that outing, but he never made it to full-season ball.
  • Don’t believe positive reviews you see online, even if they seem well-written and specific. A Fusion write created a fake business and bought likes and reviews for $5 a pop.
  • The sister of the late Harris Wittels, Parks & Recreation writer and actor as well as creator of the Humblebrag, wrote a searing piece on the end of empathy and the awful shit people say online. Within her piece is a subpoint to which I can certainly relate: People will say awful things to total strangers when behind the comfort of a keyboard and a pseudonym. Someone came here the other day to say he disagreed with my comments on C.J. Nitkowski’s post and that he wouldn’t be a reader any more, and ended with “Fuck you.” He might have said the other stuff to my face. The last bit? I doubt it.
  • Millenials prefer straight cash to stupid office perks, and Bloomberg is on it.
  • Vox has a thoughtful piece on smugness in American liberalism; everything in there is at least somewhat accurate, but couldn’t you make the same points about any such community, especially online? Vaccine deniers, conspiracy theorists, evangelicals, atheists, vegetarians, Trump supporters – they all thrive in environments where they can limit their exposure to people with differing views, creating a feedback loop that further convinces them that they are right and everyone else is wrong. It’s human nature, and I don’t think it’s limited to any part of the political spectrum.
  • Finally, did you know I’m a “liberal firebrand?” I didn’t realize believing in flatter taxation, a balanced budget, and free markets made me a left-wing nut job. Or that believing in equal rights for everyone put me anywhere but with the majority.

Klawchat 4/21/16.

Klaw: Klawchat. Making no compromise with the public taste.

Jim J: Were you able to see Will Benson last week? Thoughts on him and/or teammate Rankin Woley?
Klaw: Yes, I am going to write up the six HS kids I saw in the last week at some point today or tomorrow. Benson is very physically gifted, but the swing needs work and I think both he and Lowe were too high on my last top 50.

Hank: What is your opinion on Vincent velasquez? Future number 2?
Klaw: I’d probably say less than that, given the inconsistency of the breaking ball for his entire career and the lack of any track record of durability. A number 3, an above-average starter who maybe gives you fewer innings than you want, that’s probably more like it.

Ed: If Rio Ruiz continues his strong year at AAA, can he be a starting 3B on a quality team?
Klaw: Sure, but the question is whether his strong two-weeks-does-not-a-year-make is real or SSS.

Todd: After seeing Pint do you think he will be available to the Padres at 8? Or is he for sure a top 5 pick?
Klaw: I think better than 50/50 he gets to 8. People who assume his velocity makes him a top 5 pick are a bit out of date – velocity alone doesn’t lock you into the top 5.

Jeff: Rakim at Union Transfer in Philly, July 14th. Performing the entire Paid in Full album. That is all.
Klaw: Oh I’ve had my ticket since the presale. You can’t get stuck with the steps.

Shawn: Saw that Yusniel Diaz has three straight games with homers and has a trio of triples on the young season. Is this type of power unexpected from him? Reports I’ve read had him as more of a speed/ contact guy. Obviously small sample is in play but just wanted your thoughts.
Klaw: Electric wrists. I had heard high-average medium-power over the winter, but I could see him ending up with surprising power in the McCutchen mold because his wrists are so quick.

Ivan: Thank you for doing the chats here. I missed them for a while after they stopped on ESPN. Speaking of ESPN, and I understand if you don’t feel comfortable speaking about this, but what is your take on the recent firing of Curt Shilling? I BTW agree with their decision. Free speech doesn’t mean that you are free from the consequences of what you say.
Klaw: I support the company’s decision completely, and that’s really all I can or should say about it.

Maribel: Is your take on Schilling hypocritical? You seem to cut him a little slack since you know he’s a good guy, but vilify someone like Andrew Shaw who said something totally wrong, but you come across as if he shouldn’t be forgiven.
Klaw: A number of people said this yesterday. It is inaccurate, and it is not very smart.

Eric: Have you heard a reason for why the Jays seem to have started a lot of their guys a level lower that expected (Harris, SRF in LowA, Greene in high-A, etc).
Klaw: Yes, but nothing that satisfied me. I think it sends a brutal message to players. The weather up here is fine, if that was an excuse for leaving Greene in Florida. Harris might be less advanced than expected on draft day, but the FSL is fairly pitcher-friendly, and if he’s not ready to pitch there as a sandwich pick out of college, then you probably picked the wrong guy.

Brian: Early season thoughts on Aaron Sanchez? Toronto announcers highlight “improved delivery”. This has long been one of your stated concerns for Aaron. Have you seen a change (i.e. lengthened stride)? Thanks.
Klaw: Can’t tell off TV angles. I’ve looked, but the CF camera angle is brutal for this.

Jameson Taillon: Do I still have a future in MLB?
Klaw: Yes, absolutely.

Josh: Keith, I know that it is early in the season and he is old for his level, but when you consider the final half of last season and his start to this season, has Andrew Knapp answered any of the questions you have about his ability to consistently hit major league pitching?
Klaw: Not really. It’s not like he’s faced major-league pitching.

Cooker: Have you ever been to Mario Batalys eataly stores? Chicago one is yyyyyuuuuugggggeeeee!
Klaw: The NYC one is amazing. I could easily have gotten lost in there fora few hours.

Francisco: Better hitter Zach Collins or Senzel ?
Klaw: Senzel. Does it easier, better approach. Collins has some swing issues, not huge ones, but Senzel doesn’t really have any.

Craig: Just wanted to say thank you for demonstrating a basic principle of civility: you can disagree with a co-worker’s actions/beliefs, agree with your employer’s decision to terminate the co-worker’s contract and still value the friendship that you had with the co-worker. This used to be the norm. Reading your Twitter replies yesterday was pretty depressing.
Klaw: Thank you for saying so and understanding fully what I said.

James: Coming into today, Max Kepler has three ABs in his last seven games. He’s even fallen behind Oswaldo Arcia (ugh) for fourth outfielder duties. Wouldn’t it have made more sense for the Twins to let Kepler get his PAs in Rochester and bring up someone like Mastroianni as the OF5 instead?
Klaw: Yes, it would have. I don’t really know what’s going on.

Christopher: When watching a pitching prospect face a hitting prospect, how do you handle trying to scout both of them during the same at bat?
Klaw: Focus more on the hitter. I can watch the pitcher face the other eight guys in the lineup, and for a hitter it’s more important to focus on what might be the only good pitching he faces all spring.

Jed: Why does Terry Collins only pinch hit for Conforto against lefties? Curtis Granderson has a career OBP south of .300 against lefties, plus he does developing. Why not sit him occasionally instead of Conforto?
Klaw: Because Terry Collins seems to hate relying on young players. It’s stupid. His antics this year make me wonder if we all overrated him last year because the team played so well down the stretch.

Bill: Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe you’ve stated that you do not think draft picks should be connected to free agent signings. Do you think teams losing free agents should be compensated in another way?
Klaw: You could simply award such teams draft picks without penalizing the signing clubs.

Keith: Do you know what other international players the Braves are targeting for this July besides Maitan, Yunior Severino and Abrahan Gutierrez? Thanks
Klaw: No idea, and other than Cuban players who might have quicker impact in the minors I don’t follow the July 2nd market. If you ever took an econ course and learned how imperfect information can screw up a marketplace, well, Exhibit A.

Kevin: Certainly there are some serious questions about what “correct” or even “good” mechanics are for pitchers but is there any flaw you see in amateur guys that cause you to completely lose interest or doubt their ability to develop or stay healthy?
Klaw: Not a big fan of players with head violence in their deliveries, or deliveries that are very arm-heavy (using too little of their legs for power). I try not to flat-out kill guys like that – for example, I had Carson Fulmer and Chris Sale ranked in the top ~50 in their draft years, too low for Sale of course but not a “no interest” ranking at all – just to rank them lower.

LarryA: You’ve posted a few very convincing anti-anti-fat articles recently, but Ive also read some just as convincing articles from the other side. How are we non-scientists supposed to know what to eat anymore?
Klaw: Eat lots of plants. And then eat whatever else makes you happy.

Al: Would a team have to intentionally (before the season even) design the roster to have a bullpen throw ~650 innings? I ask because I dont think any Orioles starter should appear in the 6th inning…but couldnt figure a way to get 650 IPs out of their RPs. TY! (you’re the best)
Klaw: Yes, I think that’s about right – and I think the Cubs did so without actually planning to get 600+ innings from their pen. Two long men would do it.

Bruce: What caused you to rank Archie Bradley so highly a few years ago, and do you think he ever reaches those projected levels?
Klaw: Used to have a plus fastball and 70 breaking ball with size and a good delivery. Stuff has backed up a little post-shoulder issues, changeup never really developed, command hasn’t been even average. I would put him in the bullpen now, and revisit starting later after he’s had success in the shorter role.

Andres A.: Klaw. Be a GUY and rank these 3 albums: “AM” by Arctic Monkeys, “An Awesome Wave” by Alt-J and “The Bones of What You Believe” by Chvrches.
Klaw: Klaw about an hour ago

Fonz: Have you heard any reports on RHP from Pitt TJ Zeuch?
Klaw: Yes, sounds like third round likely, good chance for second. Bad year for college pitching so some guys will go a round higher than their stuff and/or results merit. Missing four starts early this season hasn’t helped.

Sam: I see you were out to see Riley Pint this week. Did you notice anyone representing the Phillies there ?
Klaw: I think every team was there. It was a chance to get Pint and Joey Wentz in one day, so of course just about every team was present. The Phillies had at least three guys there, but all left Pint’s start after an inning to go to Wentz. I have said before I don’t believe they’re taking a HS arm at 1 and I absolutely don’t believe it would be Pint if they did.

John: Kyle Hendricks – I can’t get a grip on what he is – AAAA type guy or useful part of MLB rotation. Your thoughts….
Klaw: Useful part of MLB rotation.

Fonz: HI Keith, have you read anything recently that will make the next version of your top 100/101, etc.?
Klaw: Infinite Jest and All the Light We Cannot See.

A: Hey klaw, can you clear up draft-eligible sophomores? I see MLB’s official rules say “or are at least 21 years old”, but when do they have to be 21 by? I thought draft day but then I noticed drafted sophomore Benintendi turned 21 a month afterwards.
Klaw: 45 days after the end of the draft. Stupid rule – just make them eligible every year.

Tyler: Is there any historical precedent of a pitcher being able to sustain long-term success/health throwing a slider at the velocity and rate (around 25%) that Syndergaard is? Maybe he’s a freak and he will keep this up but do you see him being able to sustain that pitch at that velocity that long?
Klaw: No, but there isn’t much historical precedent for the velocity around the game in general, is there?

Satya: Blake Rutherford’s old for a HS senior, but where would he rank in this draft based on his tools a year ago?
Klaw: Still think he’d be top 10. The issue with the age of a HS position player is that he’s older than his competition, which I think makes gauging the hit tool in particular difficult – can he really hit, or is he just beating up younger kids? In Rutherford’s case, the hit tool is definitely there. You’d just have to believe he’ll have enough pitch recognition to start 2017 in low-A.

Anthony: So Prince is dead. Thoughts? I think Prince is one hell of a musician, very interesting for his stance on technology, and all around a cool dude.
Klaw: I don’t know if there’s been a more talented musician in pop music in my lifetime – musicianship, versatility, lyrical cleverness, sense of melody. I don’t think much of his work after the first name change (post-Diamonds and Pearls), but his 14-15 year peak is the GOAT for me.

JD: If you worked for Colorado, what skill set would you look for or develop in pitchers? How do you like Hoffman’s chances of success at Coors?
Klaw: The one thing I wouldn’t do is what they seem to be doing now – collecting a lot of guys who throw hard but straight without deception. Gray wasn’t like that in college but he is now. Hoffman is like that. I don’t think it works there, not that there’s an easy formula. Perhaps it’ll turn out that guys with especially high spin rates fare better in Denver, to throw one thing out there.

Lucas Magalhaes: I know you are not surprised at all, but what you call us about Kevin Newman start?
Klaw: Doing what I thought he’d do – making a ton of good contact. Surprised he hasn’t tried to steal more bases, although it’s just 13 games.

Jack: Is Jake Bauers someone whose swing or approach is going to keep him from getting the power needed to be an above average corner player on a good team?
Klaw: Yes. Don’t foresee power, defense probably only works at first base.

Jack: Can Buxton work out his K issues in the majors or will he need to head back down?
Klaw: I’d rather see him play every day in the majors and work his way through it. Would also like to see them leave him alone at the plate – let him work this out, don’t start trying to change anything about his swing or approach, which I’ve heard secondhand has been going on in the clubhouse.

Rahim: In a recent chat, you mentioned that the A’s were interested in Senzel? Is this more of a true reflection of his standing in this class or more indicative of Oakland’s preference for “safer” high ceiling players?
Klaw: I’ve heard they are very much on him and to some extent on Zach Collins.

Dan: The insane 2018 FA class will (as of now) include Harper, Machado, Donaldson, McCutchen, Fernandez, Harvey and potentially Price and Heyward, among many others. With a couple dozen high-end free agents available and a finite amount of cash that teams will spend, would it make sense for some of those players so sign extensions in the next year to avoid sitting in a buyer’s market? Or should they take their chances on a big payday in the 2018 winter?
Klaw: Someone in that group will sign an extension, perhaps after a trade. I believe Harper, Fernandez, and Harvey are all Boras clients, who typically don’t sign extensions. Certainly Fernandez and Harvey should consider it as pitchers who’ve already had one TJ apiece. (Not one together, that would be weird.)

Chaz: What’s your favorite Prince song? He was the G.O.A.T. as far as mainstream music superstars as far as I’m concerned.
Klaw: I actually ranked my favorite Prince songs in a 2009 dish post.

Nick: What are your thoughts on Kaprielian’s velocity spike. Seems like he is holding it deeper into games. *If* it holds, what is his ceiling?
Klaw: Good number two starter. I already was a big believer in the feel for pitching and command.

Ty: Did Pint or Wentz do anything to cause you to consider moving them up/down in your rankings?
Klaw: I’ll slide Pint down a few notches next time around, nothing huge, but 96-100 is not sufficient by itself to put him over guys with more developed repertoires like Wentz or Garrett.

Lorne: What are your thoughts on who the Braves grab at #3 this year in the draft?
Klaw: I’d still bet on Corey Ray or Senzel if one is there.

Jeff Mac: What’s this early season success for Tyler White mean?
Klaw: It means he can hit, just as we thought he could this offseason.

Matt: After reading today of a DE HS student being assaulted and killed, it goes to show how horrible the violence in Wilmington has become (inside and outside of schools). Would you ever send your child to public school in the area or opt for private education?
Klaw: My daughter’s in a charter school. I would prefer not to go the private education route. That murder was in a downtown HS, by the way, not our district. Downtown Wilmington has some very rough areas. The economic gap between city residents and suburban residents a few miles away is enormous.

Aaron: Any idea why the Brewers recalled Alex Presley and not Michael Reed?
Klaw: Probably to give Reed more reps in CF before he comes up.

Jack: Is Harper approaching the Bonds territory of “Just walk the damn guy in every high leverage situation?”
Klaw: It was a bad strategy against Bonds and I think it’s a bad one now too.

Sam: Who was the better prospect: Orlando Arcia or Alcides Escobar? And why? Seem to be pretty similar players.
Klaw: Not remotely similar. Arcia can hit, has plate discipline, has a little power, and is a great makeup guy with leadership. Escobar is none of that.

Scott: Is Jason Groome your leading candidate to go #1 to the Phillies? What do you see as his upside if so?
Klaw: No, I think the Phillies want a college player – Ray, Senzel, Puk now that he’s healthy, Lewis as a longshot. If they go HS bat, Moniak would be the most likely pick.

Marty in Seneca: What was your evaluation of Seth Beer coming out of high school last year?
Klaw: He didn’t come out of high school last year. He left in December to matriculate early so that as a college junior he’ll be the same age as his classmates. Smart move.

Michael: Looks like Blair could be starting Sunday for the Braves……he was ready to start the year in this rotation. You see him being a peak Brandon Webb type??
Klaw: I think he has some Brandon Webb to him. Groundballs and strikeouts without a lot of walks. We like that.

JR: Have you seen Chvrches live? If so, how was it? I’m seeing them tonight for first time and super excited.
Klaw: Yes, in 2013, outstanding live show. They didn’t play “I Would Die 4 U” that night, but I sincerely hope they do so for you tonight.

Dave: How was Kenosha yesterday? I can wait for the write up on Lux but how were the food choices?
Klaw: I ate in Chicago, drove to Kenosha, drove back to Chicago, ate again, flew home.

Dave: How impressed are you with Groome? Do you see the Kershaw comparisons ?
Klaw: “How impressed are you…” Well, Dave, I’m totally unimpressed! I never know what to do with those questions, even when I’m asked live on air. I can tell you what I think, but how do I tell you how impressed I was? Also, I like Groome, best player in the draft when it comes to what’s on the field, but he is not Kershaw.

Brad: Chances Anderson or Garrett move into the top 5 for the draft?
Klaw: My bet is that I’ll have 6-7 prep arms in my top 15, but only 3 will be drafted in the top 10 because teams will back off and choose the perceived safety of other players.

Andrew: Lunhow, in a quest to squander the future in order to bolster a just-OK team in 2015, got rid of Santana and (worse) Brett Phillips (and just gave Deshields away). Who plays in the OF in Houston other than Springer after this year, which is on its way to being disappointing? I don’t see any solutions in the minors…
Klaw: OK, that’s a bit rough. Phillips was in the Gomez/Fiers deal. DeShields had stopped playing hard for Houston, so while they should have protected him, I can understand why they gave up. Santana is probably just an extra outfielder in the long run despite the hot start.

Lucky Chang: Your take on the Adrian Beltre extension and where Texas goes from here? 2/36 seems very reasonable, but they pretty much have to move Prince or Choo this offseason (while eating some of the money), right?
Klaw: I think they have to move or bench one or both of those guys to make room for better players. Nomar has already shown a good enough approach that they should consider letting him play the rest of the year in the majors even with the likely ups and downs.

Michael: Obviously what Andrew Shaw said is wrong, but isn’t it possible that some people who use those types of words are simply uneducated, ignorant, or misinformed? That doesn’t necessarily make them bigoted.
Klaw: I find it very, very hard to believe that any adult in 2016 could use that word without being aware of its nature. Analogies of slurs are imperfect, but it’s like saying someone could use the n-word like that without being bigoted.

Joel: Have you met Amanda Hopkins, the first female scout? I think she’s with the Mariners.
Klaw: Not yet, because she’s covering the four corners area which happens to be awful this year for the draft.

Lee: How quickly do Moncada and Benintendi move through the Boston system? They are both dominating in Salem and probably need a bigger challenge.
Klaw: Again, it’s two weeks. Both are great prospects but there’s no reason to rush them up rather than letting them see some teams and pitchers twice to see if they struggle the second time around or continue raking. Mid- to late May would be fine.

Mike: Any sense as to whether Tyler White can handle 3B in MLB if Reed hits his way into a promotion?
Klaw: I think no chance.

forever it: Anderson Espinoza was quoted as saying he hopes to be in the big leagues by next year. Realistic?
Klaw: Love the ambition but that would shock me. I also can picture Dombrowski trading him at the break because he’s only 18 and figuring he’s a few years away.

Anonymous: What’s going on with Brady Aiken? Is he back to playing? Seems like been more than enough time for TJ surgery
Klaw: Throwing bullpens. Only been 13 months since TJ. That’s on the quick side for a return to pitching in games.

Tim: What would you project as Brendan Rodgers MLB debut year?
Klaw: September 2018.

Michael: You mention getting better angles when watching prospects. Just curious. I almost never see pro scouts moving around or sitting down the first base or third base side. They stick behind home plate.
Klaw: This is true. I tend to move around more. It helps that I’ve never liked sitting still anyway.

Joe: What did you think of Spacca? I live a few blocks over and it’s one of my favorites.
Klaw: Very good. Got the bufalina pizza and the insalata mista. All very simple and very well done. Crust was maybe a little doughier than I’m used to, but not in a bad way.

Steve. Texas: 2 Economics questions. What are your feelings on protectionism and the female/male wage gap?
Klaw: Hate protectionism. Free trade does create some “losers” but the net benefit to trading partners is positive. The gender pay gap is much smaller than people claim it is – more on the order of 5% – but does seem to be real.

Kevin: Is Austin Allen a legitimate prospect or is he just old for the level? I know it’s a small sample but he’s been tearing it up.
Klaw: Way old for the level. Fringe prospect for me.

Andy: I live in Ben Rortvedt’s home town. 10-15 scouts a game are there. Is that normal? That seems an awful lot of people traveling to an area where there are not many other prospects around.
Klaw: It’s because he’s good. That’s about normal. Lux and Johnson are in the same general area anyway.

smdc: Always enjoy your work, and appreciate the blend of baseball talk and literary crit. We hear a lot about ‘tools’ in baseball, and I’m curious if you’ve ever thought about authors in the same way? If yes what would be the 5 tools of writing, and who might be a true 5 tool author?
Klaw: I judge books on three main criteria – plot, prose, and personas (characters, but I wanted the alliteration). Fitzgerald is three 8s for me.

Adam: Other than Hansen and Funkhouser, who else has damaged their draft stock horribly?
Klaw: Buddy Reed. Avery Tuck. Austin Bergner.

Edwin: Do you enjoy utilizing your platform as a public persona to make yourself sound superior to others? Seems like it.
Klaw: I don’t think I’m superior to anyone. I use my platform to express opinions and, I hope, draw some attention to causes that matter to me. That’s hardly making myself “superior” to anybody; my fundamental belief is that we are all equal.

Matt: If the phillies decided to go below-slot in order to go overslot in the 2nd round, any idea who they might be able to get in the 2nd a la daz cameron last year?
Klaw: Not yet but we should know some names in a couple of weeks. Daz was a perfect storm – famous, well-off, good but not great, Boras client.

Rian: has rio ruiz done anything in the early going to make you optimistic? or even improve your outlook on him
Klaw: I’m hopeful, but I can’t bank on any player’s hot or cold start after just 14 games.

Randy: Think Mark Appel still has the potential to crack the phils rotation?
Klaw: I’ve never really doubted him as a starter.

Brad: What’s the hardest position to scout?
Klaw: Catcher. Hard to get a good read on his defensive abilities while watching the game.

Jim: Why is it worse to say a bad word about a person than it is to kill an animal and eat it for your enjoyment?
Klaw: Because bad words taste like shit.

Anonymous: Vaccines are good. But why should we eliminate a person’s right to choose to be injected with a substance? And the “good for the population argument” can be taken to other extremes I know you would not be in favor of.
Klaw: It’s actually not that person’s right, but the child’s right. You can do really stupid stuff to yourself, but not to your kid.

Jon: Keith – You’ve spoken openly about your anxiety here, and in other forums before so I had a question to you about that. Did you find out you suffered from anxiety before your daughter was born, and if so, how did/do you cope with thought that she may too one day? My wife is expecting our first baby this summer, and although I don’t suffer from depression and anxiety, I have a family history of it. One of the many thoughts i’ve had since we found out she was pregnant was what if our daughter is afflicted with it too? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
Klaw: I’ve always had it but was diagnosed with it when my daughter was six and began treatment then. I wouldn’t worry about your daughter now – if she’s going to get it, it will be several years down the road, and for now you should focus on loving her and caring for her and helping her grow up emotionally healthy.

Rob: My daughter just turned 11 and loves to read. I enjoy reading to her at night before bed. Could you recommend a book or two? Thanks Keith!
Klaw: Try Jasper Fforde’s Last Dragonslayer series, although he ended book 3 with a cliffhanger and keeps delaying book 4, the slacker.

Danny: Aaron Sanchez, still no?
Klaw: It’s not “no,” it’s “we don’t know.”

Joe: Does Groome being suspended hurt his stock ?
Klaw: No, not at all. It’s just stupid. Parochial people are parochial, film at 11.

Ryan: Why does MLB require a four year college player to stay in school three years? What would MLB lose by allowing players to be drafted whenever they’re ready?
Klaw: My understanding is that the rule was enacted to help college baseball. I say screw college baseball. It’s not like they’ve stopped overusing pitchers to help MLB, so why should MLB go out of its way to help them?

Aubrey: Do you still believe CJ Nitkowski was shaming based on gender? If you’re less convinced, do you still believe calling him out publicly was fair? I interacted with you on twitter yesterday, and I disagree that it was gender based, and was intended as an age joke. But I did appreciate the opportunity to re-think my potential biases there (Which forced you to “block me” for being civil on twitter, haha)
Klaw: I will unblock anyone who asks. I blocked and muted a lot of people yesterday because of the volume of invective I was getting. It was particularly nasty after my tweet about ESPN’s decision, which was somewhat shocking to me, but then again Twitter is a cesspool so I shouldn’t be shocked. So, if I did block you just put your username in the comments below.

Doug: Do you still think Swihart is Boston’s catcher of the future?
Klaw: I do, or at least I think he’s someone’s catcher of the future. Probably 20 teams just praying Dombo calls them for a trade.

Dan: Hey Keith, I’m not far from you, in the Philadelphia suburbs. Have you found a trusted local place to buy legit San Marzano tomatoes? The online sources I’ve found don’t seem very reputable and I’m hesitant to buy from places I can’t verify given the high rate of counterfeiting.
Klaw: Whole Foods carries them.

Marshall: Alex Meyer is back to working as SP the Twins AAA affiliate (the way way way too early returns are good) is this the type of move you would have made or would you have advised to move him to RP to try to work on is c/c issues?
Klaw: The advantage of having him start is that he will have to face more LHB and face them more times, so he will have to work on the third pitch that has long eluded him. When I checked last night I think LHB are 2/18 with 8 K so far, which is at least the right direction.

Alex: In the name of irony and riffery, can you please share your preferred 4/20 stoner rock playlist. Let’s assume Sweat Leaf is a given.
Klaw: Just play Sleep’s Dopesmoker.

Kenny: Have you seen in person or heard from others about Jared Horn, a RHP from Napa? Seems to have a solid build, a low 90s FB, and some polish.
Klaw: Yes, not polished, better FB than that, very good athlete, football guy, should go in the 30-50 range, still trending upwards.

Toney: Thoughts on Cardinals “fans” yelling the N word at Heyward? Should MLB teams ban fans like Euro soccer clubs do?
Klaw: You’re in that stadium under certain terms and conditions; you have no right to be there. The stadium authority can ban anyone at any time for basically any reason. Yelling horrendous slurs at players – and in the hearing of fans who may also be similarly targeted by those slurs – is a good reason.

Sameer A.: This may be a silly question, but what is the discernible difference (if any) when scouts/analysts refer to a pitcher’s command versus his control. Are those two terms generally synonymous or are they describing different things?
Klaw: They are different things. Control is throwing strikes. Command is the more nebulous term covering throwing pitches where and how you want them. You throw that slider, but do you command it?

Hank: Do you think Newman gets promoted to AA when Cole Tucker returns? Newman is hitting and Tucker is working out in Extended Spring Training, way ahead of schedule.
Klaw: Not a bad idea, depends on when Tucker returns, no?

Michael: I work with a lot of kids who use bad words like what Shaw used. They don’t know what it means–they just say it to be mean. I think that applies to some adults too. They hear it and use it. But that doesn’t necessarily make them bigots.
Klaw: Shaw is not a child. You’re incredibly naive if you think an adult doesn’t know exactly what that word means and that it is not a word to use lightly or in public (or, in my opinion, ever).

Corbett: I went through a number of years dealing with severe anxiety. I’m mostly over it but found that many people around me didn’t understand or even care. Part of my recovery involved changing some of the people around me. Did you go through this also?
Klaw: No, but I was fortunate to have several people close to me, including my wife and Molly Knight, who had dealt with anxiety themselves.

Cccccccccchris: You think the phillies do not want to wait for a HS pitcher to develop or is it something else?
Klaw: I think the relative risk of a HS arm is steering them toward something else.

JR: Right now, who would you say is the 3rd best player in MLB behind Trout and Harper?
Klaw: Manny Machado.

Brian: Senzel to Atlanta at 3? I would lose my mind. A bad athlete who hits for average?
Klaw: Is he a bad athlete? Or just not a great athlete? Granted, I wouldn’t take him at 3 either.

Bishop: Saw a mock today where Brax Garrett was #1. Feasible?
Klaw: No, I don’t believe so. Again, I don’t think they want a prep arm at 1. He’s really good. He’s not 1-1 good, and he’s not “we’ll make an exception” good. But he’s really good, in case that wasn’t clear.

Chris (Chicago): 2 years ago I asked you about Brad Ausmus and his too conventional, conservative, and misguided decisions. After all, he’s a very smart guy. You said to give him time, because he was new to managing. Is it time?
Klaw: OH IT IS TIME.

Alex: I know you aren’t his biggest fan, but any connection with Atlanta and Kyle Lewis? He seems to fit their profile as a good athlete, Georgia kid, and he’s got something basically no one in the organization does — power.
Klaw: I know they’d love a college bat. He swings and misses a lot. Don’t see any benefit to him being a local kid.

Rob: Getting back to drafting the best player available. Damon Oppenheimer leans towards SoCal players. Does that mean he’s not drafting the best player available, or does that he believes playing in SoCal trumps other aspects?
Klaw: SoCal produces some of the best HS talent year-in and year-out. It is not the most productive area if you look at percentage of players drafted, but it is very productive at the bulk level.

Marco: Our presidential candidates all preach on how they will close the income gap. Is there even a logical way to do that?
Klaw: No, but it’s a great talking point, especially if you’re a Democrat and/or a populist.

Corbett: You seem to scout a lot on the east coast which makes sense due to the proximity of your home. Do you think that would bias your opinion towards those you’ve seen?
Klaw: No, I scout all over the country.

Andrew: I read somewhere that Brendan Rodgers may have a poor work ethic. Any truth to this?
Klaw: No. That seems like some bad rumormongering.

Devin Marconi: Your comment about the incomes of urban and suburban families of Wilmington being so different intrigued me. With all of the talk of income equality nationally, can we safely say that those who are at the bottom end are simply people who are too slow to adjust to economic opportunities? The biases that once permeated our society are largely perceived now and used as excuses for those who simply would rather not devote the time or effort to being a positive participant in our economy. Devising more subsidies for them completely flies in the face of tactics that would possibly narrow the income gap in a more permanent way.
Klaw: I think the education gap is the real cause. Our worst schools are in our poorest areas. Also in Mississippi.

Sam: How far along is Cal Quantrill in his recovery from TJ ?
Klaw: Sounds like he’ll appear in games within the next two weeks, after which Marquess will probably send him out there for a full nine innings and 149 pitches.

John: I have trouble wrapping my arms around the male/female wage gap issue. If a significant portion of the female population voluntarily leaves the work force for a number of years, how do you control for that? I’m not arguing “it’s their fault,” just trying to understand the statistical approach.
Klaw: The 5% number is after that adjustment. The numbers you hear Hillary and Bernie quote don’t reflect that fact.

Ready Gronzalez: Reasonable expectation for John Gant? Trade worth it for the Mets?
Klaw: Reliever, not a guy to lose a ton of sleep over for the Mets but a big leaguer.

John: I have a friend who was allergic to the MMR vaccine, causing her to lose her hearing. People need to get vaccinated to protect folks like my friend who are the rare exception that can’t be vaccinated.
Klaw: Yes, or to protect the five-year-old who lives near us and has an extremely rare, incurable autoimmune disorder that has prevented her from getting vaccinated for now because doctors don’t want to risk anything, even something as safe as a vaccine, triggering an immune response that could have serious consequences for her. You owe it to your children to get them vaccinated and you owe it to everyone else’s children too.

Hank: Why should ballparks be able to ban chewing tobacco while they sell people lite beer?
Klaw: I don’t know, it’s nanny-state nonsense.

Cruz Tomas: Let me add an addendum to your comment of us all being equal….we are all created equal, however, some are able to use their natural gifts more efficiently than others. Otherwise, we would have a society with equal outcomes, which is a liberal goal that can never be attained.
Klaw: I’d call that a socialist goal. It’s not a classical liberal goal at all. Liberalism means giving all of us the freedom and opportunities to use those gifts, not to predetermine outcomes or choose winners and losers.

Eddy Gongalblels: Do you think the Braves have any interest in Toronto’s Max Pentecost as a C prospect? What would they need to give up for him?
Klaw: He hasn’t played in nearly two years and there’s no reason to think he can catch right now.

John: So you don’t have a right to do stupid things to your kid… like abort it?
Klaw: You cannot abort your kid. You can abort a fetus, per a certain Supreme Court ruling from 1973.

James: Could a high school prospect give up his US citizenship, become a citizen of a central american country and be eligible to sign a contract without going through the draft? Just wondering.
Klaw: Sort of. It’s a little bit more complicated than you say to just give up citizenship, and if he’s not elite the current bonus caps might make it a negative ROI proposition anyway.

Jake: With anxiety, what helps you stay above the haters and trolls? Twitter has caused anxiety stacks in me multiple times.
Klaw: Blocking and muting. Every once in a while someone accuses me of being “thin-skinned” for the way I use those features. Go spend a few days having strangers swear at and insult you on Twitter and see how it goes.

Tom: Just to clarify an earlier question – the Jason Heyward story was never substantiated. The story was based on reported audio and then ESPN asked for it and they stated there was no audio. The story has never been taken down but the basis of the story does not exist. Heyward and other players for the Cubs said they never heard that horrendous word.
Klaw: Thanks. For the answer above, though, I believe a stadium can ban a fan for saying that word or the word Shaw used, or pretty much any reason they’d like.

Alex: I’m not saying there’s a benefit to Lewis being local to Atlanta. My point is that has meant something to the franchise in the past, whether it’s smart or not. And I agree that it’s not.
Klaw: OK, I understand. They do scout Georgia heavily, and the state is ridiculously loaded this year.

Charles: Don’t forget us in California. We spend more per student than any state in the national and consistently rank at or near the bottom in accomplishment.
Klaw: What if you adjust that for the portion of your state’s population that was born abroad or speaks something other than English at home? It’s much easier when your student base is all American-born and English-speaking.

Brett: When does the vaccine chat end and the baseball chat begin?
Klaw: When did anyone promise you a baseball chat?

Dave: Re: Machado as 3rd best player … Would you listen to an argument (untapped remaining upside, positionality, projected longevity) for him as #2 or even #1 for his entire career? And is Correa #4?
Klaw: Arenado would probably slip in over Correa. Machado’s argument over Trout/Harper is probably based on defense, and I don’t have quite that level of confidence in defensive metrics.

Pat: Best option for getting to the draft early is the Harper route, right? GED early, then a year at a JUCO.
Klaw: Yes. I have zero issues with this, but they are taking some risk.

Charles: Your twitter feed yesterday was depressing and shows a shocking lack of public knowledge about what free speech protections the First Amendment actually provides. Could you do a public service and explain it here?
Klaw: Why would I, when xkcd did it so well.

Cccccccccchris: Can someone tell Franco he doesn’t have to hit home runs every at bat?
Klaw: He’ll get there eventually. I think.

Klaw: And that’s all for this week’s overlong chat as I have to pick up my daughter at the bus stop. Thank you all, as always, for reading and for all of your questions. We’ll do this again next week.

Lingo.

I saw a woman reading Gaston Dorren’s Lingo: Around Europe in Sixty Languages at the Philly airport in early March and, since she said it was worth reading, grabbed the audio version for my spring training drives around Florida (which has some seriously boring highways). I haven’t had time to devote to language-learning in years – something to do with having a kid – but my lifelong obsession with foreign languages hasn’t abated; I find everything about them fascinating, even the ‘boring’ stuff like grammar and syntax. Lingo could have been written just for me, as it skips a lot of the linguistics stuff and instead flits around sixty of Europe’s languages, with goofy anecdotes and brief histories on each to keep the book moving.

There is no central narrative at work in Lingo; this is a dilettante’s work and a book for the peripatetic mind. You don’t have to speak any of the languages Dorren covers to appreciate some of the stories of how languages morphed, or hidden similarities between languages, or the ways languages have defined peoples and borders in Europe. Dorren starts off with Lithuanian, a language that bears many clues to what the forerunner of most European languages, clumsily called Proto-Indo-European, may have looked like, before an immediate tangent on the main oddballs of Europe, the Finno-Ugric languages (Magyar/Hungarian, Finnish, and Estonian), which bear no resemblance at all to their geographic neighbors. Portuguese owes much of its existence to Galician. Dorren describes the “linguistic orphanage” of the Balkans, where Serbian and Croatian are kind of the same language written in different alphabets while the people who speak Macedonian and live in Macedonia have to call their country something else because the Greeks might get mad. (Speaking of which, shouldn’t one of the conditions of the bailout of Greece been that they leave the Macedonians the hell alone?)

Tiny languages like Luxembourgish, Sorbian (from the NBC Saturday morning cartoon show The Sorbs), Sami, and Gagauz get their own chapters, illuminating the battles languages with small populations fight to survive. Some don’t make it; Dalmatian’s brief life and quick death gets a chapter, but the rebirths of Cornish and Manx, two Celtic languages that are two of the only success stories in that department. (The fact that both are spoken in the United Kingdom, a highly developed country, is probably not a coincidence.) Basque, the language isolate spoken in Spain, gets its own chapter, although I think Dorren gave it short shrift; its linguistic origins are unknown despite lengthy efforts to try to connect it to various language families, and its survival despite the lack of a state and its enclave status within Spain’s panoply of dialects make it one of the language world’s most fascinating stories.

Dorren had to face a huge challenge finding something interesting to say on all of these languages, but succeeds more than he fails by finding surprising angles. Turkish, the primary member of the Turkic language family, gets a chapter devoted to its alphabet; the official shift to the Roman alphabet in the 1920s carried enormous political and religious significance. He accurately dubs Esperanto “the no-hoper,” and the chapter on Albanian becomes a story of a few lonesome Albanologists. Hungarian’s chapter is presented as a conversation between the language and its therapist, shortly after the chapter on the variety of European sign languages; I profess my ignorance at just how many sign languages there are worldwide. And he ends with English, which he calls “the global headache,” the universal language that Esperanto (and Volapük and other pretenders) will never unseat, a language with maddening internal inconsistencies in grammar, spelling, and pronunciation that make our complaints about conjugating irregular Spanish verbs seem trivial in comparison.

The lack of any common thread through all the chapters makes Lingo a bit choppy to read, with no story beyond any one language, almost like reading a sort of half-serious reference work rather than the kind of narrative non-fiction I tend to favor. But Lingo also made me nostalgic for when I did have the time to learn bits of other languages, whether in school or on my own, and wonder when I might get another chance to do something like that – maybe spending a few weeks abroad at some point in my life so I can learn via immersion. The sheer diversity of languages in Europe and the aesthetic and literary beauty of many of those tongues comes through in Dorren’s book, even with all of his flitting from one to the next.

Next up: Angela Carter’s highly acclaimed novel Nights at the Circus, which won the Best of the James Tait Black honor in 2012 as the best of the 93 previous winners of the annual award, and was also on David Bowie’s personal top 100 books list.

The Forever War.

Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War, winner of the Nebula Award for best novel in 1975 and Hugo and Locus Awards in 1976, has the biggest disconnect between its value as a metaphorical take on a real-world event and its value as a straight work of fiction. While Haldeman manages to create a unique way of looking at the then-ongoing conflict in Vietnam, a war without apparent end, the story itself is dull and rote, enamored of its own technological descriptions of battles to the detriment of plot of character development.

The war in the book comes about because humanity has discovered “collapsars,” relativistic oddities in space (not that dissimilar to black holes) that allow for travel at speeds approaching that of light, leading to a brief period of exploration that hits a wall when one ship is attacked by an unknown alien species called the Taurans. The protagonist and narrator William Mandella is a physics student and conscript for one of the first strike forces asked to go out first to the fictional planet of Charon beyond Pluto (the book was written before the moon of Pluto given that name was discovered) and then to attack the Taurans in a suspected base on a hostile planet beyond one of the collapsars. Due to time dilation, Mandella and the other surviving soldiers have aged just two years but return to an earth vastly changed by several decades, a bombastic, unintentionally comic vision of an overpopulated planet under a one-world dictatorship that seized power in response to the Tauran threat. The novel then deals with Mandella’s difficulties handling the gaps in time between his returns to civilian life and the harsh reality of fighting an enemy for unknown reasons with no apparent goal or exit strategy.

Haldeman had served in Vietnam, and it’s only possible to read this book as a thinly-veiled autobiographical novel that serves to lampoon the military structure that sent American boys to die in a war without purpose while also displaying the effects the war had on the soldiers who survived. The war against the Taurans is a dull one, and Haldeman is not, here, much of a storyteller: the prose is dry and the descriptions technical, with lengthy explanations of futuristic weaponry and tactics that suck energy even out of the battle scenes, let alone the lengthy description of the soldiers’ training on the impossible world of Charon.

The sequence back on earth several decades after the soldiers have left reads like a short story inserted into a novel, bearing little resemblance to the story before or after, and on its own is just bad dystopian fiction by someone who read The Population Bomb. Haldeman drops in the usual food-shortage stuff along with the fear of authoritarian governments, but where he gets really bizarre is when he has “homosex” rising first as a natural consequence of the overpopulation and eventually something encouraged by government, becoming the new normal for humanity further into the future, with heterosexual urges treated as a mental illness. It seems to treat homosexuality as deviant and repulsive, using it as a tool to show the awful future of the human race.

Viewed as allegory, however, The Forever War seems to hit its mark. The war itself is as pointless as it gets: Humanity’s immediate response to the possible attack on one of our ships – which was somewhere else in the galaxy than our solar system – is all-out war, along with building up terrestrial defenses against an attack that isn’t threatened or even particularly likely. There is no attempt to communicate with the Taurans, or even any idea what they look like; soldiers are sent out to kill and destroy. The subsequent war becomes one of attrition, with battles waged over lifeless rocks that have no meaning to either side, and with neither side ever gaining anything like an advantage in the overall battle – with gauging advantage made especially difficult by the time dilation, so ships are sent off in one stage of the war and return in another entirely. (Haldeman obeys the laws of physics to the point of omitting faster-than-light communications.) Soldiers are given posthypnotic suggestions to make them want to kill the Taurans on sight, treating the aliens as enemies regardless of what actually happens on the field of battle.

One could make the historical argument that the Vietnam War was justified because the United States was trying to prevent a hostile dictatorship from taking over an entire country, subjecting millions of people to what turned out to be twenty-plus years of poverty and suppression. The U.S. justified it at the time by invoking the domino theory that each country that fell to communism further enabled the next revolution; perhaps showing the Soviet Union that funding additional insurgencies would cost them more because we were willing to spend to fight them. The war against the Taurans in The Forever War can’t even rise to those levels of reasoning, because the Taurans aren’t clearly threatening anyone; the metaphor works in the sense that neither the Taurans nor the Viet Cong were threatening “us,” so why were we trying so hard to kill them, putting our own men at risk by doing so? At best, the logic extended to protecting our ships if another should encounter the Taurans randomly beyond another collapsar, but without understanding what caused the first incident, even this – given the enormous expense involved – seems specious.

Books that seem to work strictly on that metaphorical or allegorical level generally leave me cold because of how much they miss, and The Forever War did just that, more than anything else because the characters are so one-dimensional. Mandella is intelligent but hardly wise or smart, and his return home after his first tour of duty – into the dystopian section of the book – is surprisingly emotionless. The closest thing the book has to another core character is his girlfriend Marygay, who has no personality to speak of, and of necessity disappears for a few chapters at a time. Without a compelling individual character at the heart of the book, the read becomes stolid and dull, even when we should be feeling the intensity of a battle scene. So for all its accolades – and the book’s cover has some very impressive quotes from other authors – The Forever War fell very short for me.

Next up: I’m currently reading Jeff Passan’s The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports.

Stick to baseball, 4/16/16.

I had a few Insiders posts this week, starting with the top 50 draft prospects, along with the list of the most prospect-laden minor league rosters, and a scouting blog from games earlier this week on Erick Fedde, Josh Staumont, Dansby Swanson, and Braxton Davidson. I also held a Klawchat on Wednesday to tie it into the draft rankings.

And now, the links…

  • Fusion looks into the shadowy world of “IP mapping,”, and God help you if the companies that do this use your house as a default address for thousands or millions of IP addresses.
  • This incredible four-year-old New Yorker profile of a Michigan dentist who cheated at marathons resurfaced this week as a link in a NY Times story about a triathlon competitor who also stands accused of fraud.
  • How can NPR survive in a world shifting towards podcasting? NPR’s core audience is aging, and they’re slow to adapt … but I’d still take their newscasts over any other single source in the United States for balance, thoroughness, and acknowledgement that there are more than five countries in the world.
  • On the heels of last week’s longread about sugar vs fat in our diets, the director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine describes his conversion from a low-fat diet to a “paleo-vegan” diet, built primarily around plants but without skimping on fats, even some saturated ones.
  • Yes, of course President Obama can just appoint Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. I think that’s what the GOP is hoping he’ll do, so they can call him an autocrat and drum up support from their base.
  • The BBC’s Trending column examines the right-wing troll who encourages followers to dox her critics. She’s married to an Illinois police officer, and claims she’s been harassed offline as well. The author describes this as one example of the “culture wars” online, and sure enough, a troll followed the publication of this article by creating a fake account designed to look like the author’s.
  • A man who claims to be on the U.S.’s “kill list” for drone attacks describes what it’s like to be hunted, and how many innocent people have died in four failed attempts to kill him. Drone attacks are too palatable – as long as none of “our” people die, it’s all good, right?
  • Brigham Young University treats sexual assault victims as criminals themselves, subjecting them to “honor code” investigations, with expulsion – yes, expulsion for being raped – among the possible outcomes. “Honor code” is just another way of victim-blaming, of course, and here it comes at a university founded by and named after a racist, abusive polygamist (he had 55 wives). The school’s actions violate Title IX rules and are now endangering a rape prosecution, but administrators don’t seem to see this as a problem.
  • The Republican majority in Congress is trying to undo Net Neutrality by stripping the FCC of some of its regulatory powers and President Obama is having none of it. This puts the Republicans, historically the party of business and of capitalist policies, on the wrong side, favoring a few very large companies over an open-market solution that should encourage more innovation and more small business growth.
  • People with anxiety disorder appear to have fundamental brain differences from those without.
  • Rappers discuss their histories with depression in a surprisingly candid piece at VICE.
  • Good stuff from FiveThirtyEight’s sports department: They examined a Joe Sheehan hypothesis about older hitters struggling with the game’s increased velocity and found no evidence to support it, even looking at it from a few different angles. Joe floated the hypothesis in his email newsletter, to which I have subscribed since day one, and recommend highly.
  • The Tampa Bay Times reveals how many Bay-area “farm to table” restaurants lie about the provenance of their ingredients. This is horrifying on many levels, not the least of which is that these restaurants are outright lying to customers.
  • Vacciner deniers aren’t stupid, says this Atlantic piece, arguing instead that it comes from parents feeling “powerless” in the face of mandates. I think that’s stupid. Vaccine-denialists are overwhelmingly practicing extreme selection bias in what they read or believe, and if that ain’t the definition of stupidity, well, maybe I ain’t that smart.

Klawchat 4/13/16.

Klaw: How strange it is to be anything at all. Klawchat.

Ryan: You talked about swing and miss with Kyle Lewis. I know he has more BBs than Ks this year. Are you saying that’s because of competition?
Klaw: You’re scouting the stat line there. You can swing and miss quite a bit and still walk a lot. And when scouts go see these players, they’re also looking at what the hitter does against better quality pitching. Lewis does play in a bad conference and hasn’t faced anything close to what the hitters in the SEC are facing.

Alex in Austin: In the past you seemed to be a proponent of Brian O’Connor and his program, yet after your most recent visit to Charlottesville it seems the sentiment has changed and you’re lower on Jones and Thaiss than others. What would you suggest the coaching staff do differently?
Klaw: I think he’s run a great college program, recruiting well, obviously winning games, and in general never overworked his arms. But over the last 4-5 years it seems like they’ve tried to imprint the same delivery on every pitcher, which 1) i don’t like because every player’s body is different and 2) the delivery they push appears to be less than mechanically sound.

John: Where would Groome be ranked in an average draft class?
Klaw: Top 5. Wouldn’t have been 1-1 in the peak years of 2009-12 (Strasburg, Harper, Cole, then Buxton/Correa).

Pat: Usual caveats aside, but Kaprielian touching 97 and absolutely dominating in High A is a great sign. Temper my unparalleled excitement a bit please.
Klaw: If I temper your excitement, who’s going to temper mine?

Bill: With Rutherford being 19, do you think he might be able to move faster than the 18 year-old HS prospects?
Klaw: I do. This is the hope if you draft him. I understand the history of 19-year-old HS bats is poor, but in this class I don’t see any better HS hit tools.

Patrick: What to make of Dylan Bundy’s two appearances for the Orioles? He was a hot prospect a few years back, but injury had sapped a lot of the excitement around him.
Klaw: Stuff looks fine but it’s a durability question. He’s got calcification in his shoulder, and I have zero idea how well he can hold up or how much he can pitch. (Which isn’t to say he can’t; I’m saying I have absolutely no clue, because we lack precedents.)

Joe: You have mentioned immaturity issues with Delvin Perez, are those issues enough to significantly effect his draft position?
Klaw: Yes, for now. Groome has some similar question marks. It speaks to their talent levels that I still have them 1-2 over Corey Ray, who has outstanding makeup.

Paul: Klaw – saw your tweet about reading ‘Danny, The Champion of the World” to your daughter. I was a huge Dahl fan as a kid. Saw ‘The BFG’ is coming to the big screen and hoping it’s good; would like to get my niece into his books.
Klaw: Klaw about an hour ago

David: I’m a Mets fan struggling to keep myself all calm and rational despite this early start…..oh, you mean I’m discussing Noah Syndergaard and his death slider??? Keith, i know it’s SSS but Syndergaard has 18 swings and misses on 45 sliders – how can one stay calm in the face of this? 🙂
Klaw: See my Kaprelian answer. Someone – Kurkjian maybe? – I work with picked Thor to win the CYA and that’s looking rather smart right now.

Uncle Ruckus: My Brew Crew have the 5th overall pick. What are the odds either SP Pint or Hansen are still available? I’m assuming Puk & Groome would already be taken. Or is a SS like Delvin Perez or any of the top shelf OFs so good that a team as loaded with young SS/OF talent as the Crew would pick one of them over a potential ace of the future? Thanks!
Klaw: Read my top 50 from the other day – Hansen is out of the rotation, Puk hasn’t really pitched in two weeks.

Tad Billows: I follow you pretty regularly and I am wondering what your thoughts are on the pitcher out of Pitt, named TJ Zeuch. The kid is 6’7″ tall, 225 lbs, sits 92-95 (topping out at 98), with a plus curve, avg to plus slider and a serviceable change up but I don’t recall you ever talking about him. I read from others that he is projected first or sandwich round. Sounds REALLY projectable. Thoughts?
Klaw: I’ve talked to scouts who’ve seen him and what you offered is not an accurate scouring report. What you described would probably be the odds-on 1-1 favorite.

Todd: Who are you most excited about in the A’s system and why?
Klaw: Barreto, because he’s the best prospect (duh?).

Matthew: Is Trace Thompson just a 4OF or can he see regular playing time here on out. Kendrick is apparently a possibility to see OF work too now so wondering how you think that plays out.
Klaw: I think he has a chance to be a regular. Not a lock, but enough defense + power to get there even if he strikes out too much.

Joey (Oakland): i had no idea how bad Khris Davis’ plate discipline is. He looks awful right now. Please tell me this is just early season bias and he’ll get better?
Klaw: He’s produced more than I expected the last two years but you identified the reason I thought he’d peak as a fourth OF. He has power, but as a hitter … I wouldn’t say he ‘can’t hit’ but his approach ranges from not good to lousy.

Craig: Do you see the Brewers taking a high-ceiling, low-floor player (college or HS) with the #5 pick?
Klaw: No. I see them taking best player available because that’s what Ray Montgomery has done in every draft he’s ever overseen as a scouting director. And if you look at his track record you should be very very fine with this.

Maddon: Contreras is continuing to rake at AAA. I know he has more to learn about catching, but isn’t 2-3 days of him better than having Ross and Montero take all seven games in a week?
Klaw: No, not if you agree that he has work to do behind the plate. It’s not like the big league team is hurting now either.

ECinDC: How did Erick Fedde look? Is he back to pre-draft form? Based on your tweets, seemed ok! Also, do Nats do anything particularly well dealing with young injured pitchers?
Klaw: Two pitch guy, nothing to get LHB out. Hard to see him as a starter with that arsenal.

Sean in Tallahassee: Saw your brief write up on D. Mendoza (Lake Minneola); any extended thoughts/how far is he from top 50 ranking?
Klaw: Has to be somewhere in the next 50 but the swing and miss plus the mechanics – the guy’s ass is in the dugout – give him huge bust potential.

Nate: You mentioned on twitter yesterday that the Reds weren’t in on Delvin Perez? Is there a particular reason they aren’t interested?
Klaw: I said I don’t think he’s in their mix. That could be wrong – it’s still plenty early for teams to change their minds.

Nils: You’ve mentioned many times to not read into small sample size. I understand that completely with regards to stats, but does that also go for tools? If a guy who usually throws 90-94 is suddenly hitting 95-98 in one game, do you wait to see it again before taking it seriously?
Klaw: Yes, that’s absolutely true. A dose of skepticism can come in handy in this job. I’d rather be a little late on the bandwagon than be the guy waving the flag for every kid who had a great outing.

Brian: Keith, you have seen a few games at Wilmington commenting on prospects from other orgs. Is there any prospect on the Wilmington roster worth keeping an eye on for a Royals fan? Thanks.
Klaw: Staumont, whom I tweeted about this morning. O’Hearn is the only bat of note and I see more strength than hit tool. He does put the ball in play a lot, which has gotten him some extra hits thanks to A-ball fielding. Usually a guy like him would swing and miss more.

David: Regarding HS pitchers – do teams prefer guys pitch 4 or 5 innings per week to “save” their arms? It amazes me that MLB teams will hand out 5 or 6M to a kid who pitches maybe 40-50 innings. I guess the real question is do you think being a work-horse pitcher is something you are born with or is it an attribute that can be molded?
Klaw: We don’t want to see anyone pitching while fatigued. There isn’t a magic number, but we all know what it looks like when a kid is tired – his velo drops, his command wavers, his arm slot drifts down, etc. If you’re a HS coach reading this, please, don’t do that. Take him out five pitches too soon if you have to.

Sven: Are teams generally being more aggressive in pushing their prospects? Alex Verdugo to AA at 19yo and Corny Randolph to full-A at 18yo?
Klaw: No, I thought Randolph had to go to Lakewood – most advanced HS bat in the class last year, what the hell is he going to learn in extended spring training? – and sending Verdugo to the Cal League might not help him much either.

Danny: Could a team win if they fielded a lineup that averaged an OBP of .375 but hit no home runs?
Klaw: Yes, but who the hell would watch?

Don: Hello Keith, love the chats and insider stuff should a team with small money allocations for the draft (like the cubs this year) be wise to spend big on one guy and draft seniors and other low dollar players to pay for it or try and draft evenly through the draft even though they likely wont get a known stud?
Klaw: I think they have to be prepared for the overslot kid who slides to them, so they can call the quick audible, take him, and know what their plan is through the rest of the top ten. If the right player doesn’t fall, then just take BPA as usual.

Don: When it comes to draft you say, and I believe also, you draft BPA but how big is each teams scouting board? when does the dart throwing start for teams? seems with 40 rounds teams would be taking shots in the dark in last 5-10 rounds
Klaw: The boards are usually structured in several segments; in Toronto we had the top board of anywhere from 50-100 guys, then started breaking down by position, with separate areas for medicals, unsignables, and so on.

Nelson: To what do you attribute the explosion of popularity of food tourism?
Klaw: Television. And I guess social media too. Eating is now an activity we share and discuss with people who aren’t at the table. I often eat alone on the road, which is fine with me because it’s quick and I always have a book, but a big dinner at a great restaurant with a bunch of friends is an experience to hold on to.

GN: My nephew is deciding right now between the University of Wisconsin on a full scholarship versus Harvard on no scholarship, which would incur him about $5k of debt per year. We’re getting all sorts of varying opinions on the matter, which would you choose? He’s interested in medicine btw, but he’s also 18 so who knows if that’s what he will pursue in the end.
Klaw: If it’s only $5k/year, go to Harvard. The value of that name on the resume will more than cover the added expense. If you were comparing full cost at Harvard to no cost at another school, I’d answer differently.

Alpha610: Only reason for Michael Reed not yet being up is because of the service time bs, right? Brewers are trotting out absolute scrubs in CF right now.
Klaw: I assume so but haven’t asked. He didn’t play AAA last year so perhaps they wanted him to get 100+ AB there.

Adam S: Why do major news outlets give a forum to so much anti-science, anti-fact? Today (pun intended) De Niro, but more broadly “analysis” lacking any factual basis on ESPN or MLB Network?
Klaw: Because they want eyeballs and give no fucks about fact, science, or responsibility. TODAY’s producers should be ashamed. I doubt they are though.

Tim: Hey Keith, enjoyed the top 50 – thanks for all of your and Eric’s hard work. If you’re the Reds, with the largest pool in the draft and the #2 and #35 picks in the 1st round, and the #42 pick (#2 in 2nd round), what would be your strategy with those three picks? (Assume Groome gets snatched up by the McPhillies). Seems like they can go underslot with their first pick and really go after guys they want with their 2nd two picks.
Klaw: I don’t think the Phillies want a HS arm at 1. If the Reds want Groome, great – probably demands full slot there, but you should get any player you take for the amount of the slot at #3, which would save you a million or so. I’d say then go hard after the guys you like at the next two slots – and while it’s illegal, yes, call some kids and say “hey, we’ll give you $3MM at pick 35, if you want that, tell other teams you’re not signing” because EVERYBODY does this – and then go cheaper in rounds 4-10 if necessary. A draft where you land three impact or elite upside talents is probably going to be a great one even if you have to take a few extra seniors to pay for it.

Mike: Please don’t consider this an angry “you hate my team” rant. I really want to ask if it is possible if PECOTA and other prediction methods don’t properly rate some types of teams? For example, both the Royals and Orioles seem to be consistently underrated in the preseason despite success in winning games the past few seasons (so we are past SSS). Does PECOTA maybe undervalue defense? Bullpens? Or God forbid, managers? With all the advances in statistical analysis, I just think there may be a small blind spot for some type of teams. Thanks!
Klaw: Better question for the folks who do those projections. My guess is that you’re focusing too much on small blips that over long periods would even out more. A projection system coming in short on one team three years in a row probably isn’t that unusual if we had the ability to look at 50 years of projections and results.

Lopez 2.0: It looks like Eovaldi has added a sick 89-91 mph slider to his arsenal. Got a lot of whiffs on it against Houston. However, in that outing the Astros consistently made contact with his 96-99 mph heater, and it looked like it had pretty good movement on it as well. Is the reason Eovaldi gets hit so often because guys see the ball so well out of his hands? I can’t think of anything else.
Klaw: That and the fastball is straight enough to hang laundry on.

David (ATL): When you start putting together mock drafts, what percentage of that is based on specific intel you are getting from clubs/scouts vs. your guesses based on prior drafts or organizational philosophy?
Klaw: As close to 100% as I can possibly get it. This is why I don’t do mocks early – teams haven’t narrowed their decision sets yet. And I hate saying “they’re on player X” and finding out later that they were not on player X.

JD: You seem unenthusiastic about this year’s crop. Does 2017 look more exciting?
Klaw: It does, and I’m not just saying that because that’s what we say every year. I like the college pitching crop already, and a couple of SoCal scouts have told me it’s a huge HS crop out there next year too.

Michael: I saw Lowe and Kieboom last Friday……Lowe showed his power first AB with a bomb to straighaway center. Question is how does he project defensively?? He did boot a ball that seemed like a fairly routine play at 3rd
Klaw: Nice, I’m planning to see Lowe vs Benson this Friday (and maybe stop by Spiller Park Coffee that morning). I’ve heard the arm plays anywhere but he’d need a lot of work at third. Would like to see myself, of course.

Dan: Odds right now on the #1 pick in June – are you taking Groome or the field?
Klaw: The field. I got a question from someone named Dan on Facebook that assumed that the no-hitter Groome threw the other day improved his standing and made him the favorite to go 1 now. My response was a bit short, but I’ll offer more depth here: No, it doesn’t, because results aren’t as important at that level as stuff, body, and mechanics (remember Patrick Schuster?); because Groome faces some awful competition and is going to put up some ungodly numbers down there; and because it happened before I posted my list so I would have made any adjustments if I thought one was required. I hope that answers other-Dan’s question more fully.

JD: Lets assume Olivera gets more severely punished — either legally or by the league — than Chapman and Reyes. Will you have any concern that stars are getting treated differently from lesser players — and particularly, foreign players without as solid a footing in the US?
Klaw: No because in this case i think MLB will have better info. If the police report is accurate, he may face jail time. The other two guys skated on legal repercussions.

G: Have you read “Possession” by A.S. Byatt? I find myself completely entranced by it–reminds me of Nabokov’s “Pale Fire” in deconstructing the novel.
Klaw: Yes. Didn’t love either of those books for the reason you liked them. I like novels. Stop deconstructing them in front of me.

addoeh: Any scouting trips planned to permafrost land to see Cooper Johnson, Lux, and Rortvedt? Plenty of Culver’s around, plus a trip to Kopp’s.
Klaw: Johnson perhaps, the others are probably going to be too tough with my schedule. Johnson at least is easy because he’s near Chicago and I can do other stuff while there.

Amru: At the end of the day, do Braves draft according to need (college bat), or do they take best player available (Pint, Perez, Rutherford, etc)?
Klaw: I don’t agree that those two will be different.

Mike: Does rhe 7-0 start change your opinion on the Orioles at all?
Klaw: No, because a major league season has 162 games.

Jake: Could Orlando Arcia be the #1 prospect next year if he doesn’t graduate?
Klaw: Sure, that’s possible.

Nelson: Do you see Inciarte and Mallex Smith in the same outfield on a championship caliber team?
Klaw: I do not.

Harrisburg Hal: Do you listen to music in front of your daughter? If so, how do you handle bad language? avoid it? talk over it? talk about it?
Klaw: Yes. We talk about it. She knows those words. I don’t really see a reason to censor bands she likes (e.g., CHVRCHES) because of an occasional profanity. If the song’s entire content were objectionable, that would be a different story. She’s still only 9 so topics like sex are still off limits.

Lucien: Thoughts on the Giants locking up Belt until 2021?
Klaw: Those deals are nearly always good for the clubs. This one was also good for the player given his injuries and inconsistency earlier in his career.

Joe: Where does Bo Bichette end up on the field? Any chance to stay at short?
Klaw: No chance at short. I think second or third. I like him more than the industry, I think; he’s calmed down his swing a lot, so early impressions may still be hurting him, plus his brother struggling could have people wary of Bo. I see an athletic kid with bat speed, strong hands, and a manic style of play.

Michael: It seems like a lot of teams purposely keep their better prospects in Florida or warmer areas to start the minor league season. Is that something you would do as an executive of a cold weather team? Should players learn to play in the cold, or does it not really matter?
Klaw: If a player were ready developmentally for low-A, I’d send him to low-A and buy him a winter coat.

Ryan: What college program comes to mind first when you think of a staff that manages arms well?
Klaw: Vanderbilt. They produce big leaguers and they’ve had fewer guys get hurt (compared to the total volume of arms) than any other major program.

UGW: Taylor Hearn has unreal stuff, but iffy command. Future reliever?
Klaw: No question.

Mumford’s son: How do MLB teams deal with that one prospect whose father seems like a nut job? Are there teams that won’t consider him at all?
Klaw: Yes, and some teams will just hope the father will be isolated once the player signs and moves away from home.

Kay: Mets fan here. Would this be a good year to have a pair of later first rounders? No clear huge talents at the top of the draft, bit more depth?
Klaw: It’s a good year to have what they have, money and an extra pick or two. You can get creative.

Andy: To the person who was amazed by teams giving 5-6million for kids who have pitched 50-60 innings but maybe could do more, Darren O’Day will be paid $6m this season with a career high in IP at 69.
Klaw: Nice.

Niel: Do you think Mazara could be up in the big leagues for good? When Choo gets back, maybe Desmond slides to CF and Mazara moves to left?
Klaw: And bench DeShields? I think it makes the lineup better, but I don’t think the Rangers view DD as that dispensable.

Martin: Keith, I hear Greg Maddux is getting his pitching staff to chart previous game pitches? Surely with modern day scouting it’s a token gesture or do you see any value in it?
Klaw: It forces the pitchers to focus attention on the games. If I tell you to watch a game, you’re not bearing down as you would if you had to chart the game.

Rich: Does kaprielian have top 2 starter potential with added velocity?
Klaw: Yes, in theory, although I think it’s a little early to start revising anyone’s ceiling. It’s all hypothetical now anyway – it’s not like players are changing teams in April.

Andy: The issue with the Michael Reed in AAA thing, they aren’t even playing him in CF. Instead, they’re playing Eric Young.
Klaw: I did not notice that, but that’s awful. The biggest surprise I have had out of David Stearns’ tenure there is that he did not turn over the player development staff after he got the job.

Lindsay: I really like when you call people out on black-and-white issues, such as climate change and vaccines. But it bothers me–and you can correct me if I’m wrong–when you do this on non-black-and-white issues. On Twitter, you seemed to imply that being pro-life is anti-woman and that the abortion debate is easy. I have thought long and hard about abortion and still don’t truly know which side to fall on. It is a hard issue. I am a woman too and I don’t think being pro-life is anti-woman at all.
Klaw: Twitter is lousy for anything that isn’t black and white. Any time I’ve thought about scaling back my Twitter use, that’s been the main reason. (I dreamed last night I’d been off Twitter for several months. It seemed rather unreal.) In that discussion with a reader who rather openly advocated for Kasich, I pointed out that his policies as a whole and his anti-abortion stance in particular were not pro-woman. However, I do think that giving a woman the right to an abortion, which includes the right to choose never to have an abortion, is a woman’s rights issue. Attempts by largely male government bodies to deny them this right, then craft convoluted exceptions – as I pointed out to that user, if a woman says she was raped and wants an abortion, does she need paperwork? Does she have to wait for a conviction? – strike me, at least, as contrary to a basic sense of human rights for women.

Brook: Do you think the NCCA rule change enabling agents to officially negotiate on behalf of HS kids will have any material impact on the draft? I would like to think better representation will lead to increased bonuses for prospects, but with the allotment caps, I’m not sure where that money would come from.
Klaw: I think it’ll allow teams to better understand what players want financially and make predraft conversations more productive. I’m hoping we’ll also get fewer postdraft misunderstandings that scotch deals. Karsten Whitson was one, where, as far as I could reconstruct the matter, his father was telling the Padres one thing and the advisor another.

Kay: When drafting/ranking prospects, how much value is there in a high floor? There’s such a high failure rate for developing players, I imagine there’s value in having a “sure” bet for an average-above average player. How do you factor in high ceiling vs. low floor in your ranking?
Klaw: Good question that is impossible to answer in a clear, logical fashion, because the rankings themselves are subjective. I do a lot of pairwise comparisons, and think about whether i’d rather have what this player is likely to be, times some mental estimate of his probability, versus what this player is likely to be (or could be, if it’s a high-ceiling guy), times some mental estimate of that probability.

Eric: Hey Keith, great chat. Not going to hold you to it, but do you have a general idea in your head where Brandon McIllwain would’ve ranked in your draft top 50 if he stayed in H.S. for his senior baseball season?
Klaw: Thought he was a late first-rounder.

Amru: What’s the ceiling on Braxton Davidson? A Mitch Moreland-type player, or is that perhaps too optimistic? I know he’s consistently been younger than his competition, but have to worry some about the strikeouts.
Klaw: Needs to be more aggressive when he gets ahead in the count. Saw two hits today, then two strikeouts vs Swanson on bigger velocity. Think he has more upside than Moreland, but a long way to go to get there.

Tyler: True or False: Fredi Gonzalez is the Braves manager at the All Star break.
Klaw: True.

Casey: How likely do you think it is Alec Hansen drops to the 30’s? Might a team do something similar with him that the Royals did with Manaea?
Klaw: Yes, but I don’t know to what extent his issues are physical, and if teams will know ahead of time the way they knew Manaea needed hip surgery.

Martin: Have you managed to catch The Night Manager (Hugh Laurie) yet? If so, thoughts?
Klaw: Hasn’t aired here yet. First episode is Tuesday, I think.

Amru: Given your hectic schedule, how do you manage to find time to satisfy your voracious reading appetite? I swear it never seems like there’s enough time in the day to fit more than a couple chapters in.
Klaw: I bring a book with me wherever I go.

Corey: Benintendi has picked up where he left off, raking in Salem. How soon would you consider moving him to AA and at his current trajectory possible he’s in MLB by next season a la Conforto ? Speaking of Salem, best team in the minors ? crazy how much talent is there
Klaw: Conforto made the majors 12 months after he signed, so for Benintendi that would be this June. If they want that to happen, they have to have a quick trigger on a promotion to AA. I think he’ll be ready for that soon if not already.

Ridley Kemp: Aren’t you concerned about being labelled a “Social Justice Warrior” and getting on someone’s list?
Klaw: I’ve been labelled lots of things. Doesn’t bother me.

Ben: Quantrill to the A’s at 6, is that a probable outcome?
Klaw: He hasn’t pitched this year, so I’d say no. I’ve heard they’d love Senzel if he’s there.

Corey: Except that pro-life usually means pro-birth since that crowd doesn’t seem to care much about “life” after delivery.
Klaw: And the responsibility for that life falls disproportionately on the mother. I have thought about this, and read about it, for probably 20 years, trying to even craft a rational policy that restricts abortion (just as a thought exercise) without being internally illogical or structurally discriminatory. I haven’t found one.

ECinDC: Related to football players getting paid, which I think you support, what you you think should be done for baseball players? Seems to make sense that they should be able to go pro at any point if NCAA wants to continue to not pay.
Klaw: I agree. I think the “stay for three years” rule is stupid. Why is MLB helping college baseball? Does college baseball help MLB? In general, college coaches don’t develop players, and we have the constant conflict over pitcher use.

Fred Wilpon’s accountant: I went through your profile of the top 50 draft prospects and, admittedly I didn’t count them, but it seemed like there were quite a few names from colder weather states. This is not something I have paid attention to in the past so it may not be unusual but I expected fewer names from the north. Is it unusual or am I seeing something that is not there?
Klaw: It’s a weak year in SoCal and Texas.

Kay: For the record, I feel like you sometimes rub people the wrong way because you are very sure of your beliefs and don’t really budge to dissenting opinions. I’m cool with you have different feelings on subjects than I do – that’s kind of how discourse and debate work. I appreciate that you have very strongly held morals and beliefs.
Klaw: Thank you. I think this is also a function of Twitter, or just writing in general, because it often comes off as toneless (or readers infer the tone they want – if you like what I say, I’m being funny, if you dislike it, I’m being an asshole). In person, even when arguing Big Serious Topics, I don’t think I come off so harshly, although I guess I’ll leave that to the readers I’ve met over the years to verify or debunk.

Sean: Orphan Black. 4.14.2013. See you then.
Klaw: I assume you mean this week’s premiere … we’ll binge it this summer, since we whacked most of our cable subscriptions.

Michael: Like you, I wish college players in revenue sports would get paid. But I struggle to think of a method to actually do this. Should the best players receive signing bonuses out of high school? Surely, the field goal kicker shouldn’t make the same as the quarterback. How would you actually go about paying them?
Klaw: Market value with a preset minimum tied to revenue. QBs will get big money, Kickers would likely get the minimum.

Ryan: Still think Senzel in the top 5 is a bad move? Where do you stand on his future power?
Klaw: I’ve heard it’s more like 55 raw, but plays down in game. If I told you you could have an average defender at third with average power and an above-average hit tool, where would you take that? Is that peak Bill Mueller?

Adam: Will Bobby Dalbec have to pitch at the next level to be successful?
Klaw: He isn’t getting anywhere at the plate right now.

BD: At even the best NCAA baseball programs, most players are not on full scholarship correct? Or has that changed?
Klaw: I believe that’s correct.

Andy: While I realize that players determine somewhat, do laws like North Carolina’s HB2 mean that you may choose to not see someone live to avoid traveling to the state?
Klaw: If I have such discretion, yes, I would try to see those players elsewhere.

Drew: It strikes me as odd to bring up Kepler strictly as a 4th outfielder (injury replacement). I would rather he get regular AB’s with the hope that he hits his way to the everyday big league lineup by summer. Thoughts?
Klaw: I would too, but I’ll also wait and see how this plays out a bit. Perhaps they’re planning to send Buxton out sooner rather than later if the strikeouts continue.

Ridley Kemp: It boggles my mind that the very concept of probability was developed so late in the game. What’s the next science or math book on your radar?
Klaw: Brian Greene’s Elegant Universe.

Michael: As a pro-science person though, how do you reconcile the overwhelming scientific evidence that a zygote, for instance, is human and an entirely separate being from the mother? If you ignore the social aspects and just focus on the biological ones, it’s somewhat difficult to be pro-choice.
Klaw: Because this “overwhelming scientific evidence” does not exist.

Jeff: I know the team just made the World Series, but isn’t Terry Collins one of the worst possible managers to have on a team built on pitching? Maybe it’s just personal bias, but it seems like the man destroys arms, no? He has Henderson pitching today, his 5th appearance in 8 games, after he threw 35 pitches last night!
Klaw: Lot I don’t like about Collins, but I have never thought of him as a destroyer of arms.

Amru: So does this mean we can’t expect you to visit Asheville again anytime soon? A large majority of us Ashevillains hate and revile HB2.
Klaw: Actually never been there.

Jose G: Hey Keith, I know how much you hate comps but reading your acouting report on Kyle Lewis, I couldn’t help but think George Springer. What’s the likelihood that Lewis goes to the Braves at 3 for a discount?
Klaw: He’s not like Springer. Springer was way more physical at that age. Maybe the toolsiest college position player I’ve ever seen.

Pat: Like others, I don’t always agree with everything you say (talking SERIOUS issues, not baseball), but, appreciate your candor & firm beliefs. With that in mind, what is a “serious issue”, you don’t have a firm belief or something you go back & forth on? I’ll admit mine has always been abortion.
Klaw: I find drug legalization a complex one, although if asked to stake one position, I’m in favor of decriminalizing use. A lot of economics questions fall in the gray area for me, often because any new policy will create or change who wins and who loses. The minimum wage discussion we had here under Saturday’s stick to baseball post is a good example: I support higher minimum wages, but recognize they won’t benefit everyone, and feel like they’re being treated as a panacea when they’re really just shifting around some surpluses.

Scherzer’s Blue Eye: Baker > Collins.
Klaw: Can’t do that. Baker’s got a long history of mistakes.

Jake: Let’s just end all of the questions about who the Braves could take at #3 by asking this; who do you think the Braves take at #3?
Klaw: It depends on who goes 1 and 2!

Tim: Do you think Polanco will ever hit enough fly balls to homer 30 times a year? I’m just imagining some of those laser beams he hits off the PNC Park Wall turning into 450 foot bombs into the river……
Klaw: Yes. Certainly 25.

Jeb: Do you think that any new, effective pitches have yet to be discovered? I’d like to believe that someone could come up with a new way to spin and move a ball given all the possible permutations, but I’m guessing that given the limitations of the human arm/hand/wrist, we may have already tested everything.
Klaw: Inclined to think the latter. Just a guess.

Jeb: Have you tried any ramen places in NY?
Klaw: Only one, in Chelsea Market. I need to try more everything in NY. It’s a goal for 2016.

John: In the Cubs’ only loss so far, Maddon decided to let Strop pitch to Goldschmidt in the bottom of the 8th with 2 outs and the tying run on third (Peralta on deck). Goldschmidt ended up knocking in the run, then Peralta got out. Maddon got some mild criticism for not calling for the IBB, but didn’t he make the right call? Over the long haul, isn’t it better to avoid the IBB (even with someone as good as Goldschmidt up) when the on deck hitter is also pretty good?
Klaw: Yes, and you usually want to avoid putting on another runner (and potential run), and to avoid reducing your pitcher’s margin for error if the IBB were to load the bases.

Ryan: Regarding the Kyle Lewis question earlier, would you have a problem with Atlanta taking him at 3 if they get him at less than the 4th pick’s slot?
Klaw: If Ray’s on the board I would not be a fan of this.

Martin: Austerity or debt fuelled stimulus?
Klaw: My problem – and I’m not that great on econ stuff – is that when we rack up debt during a recession to stimulate the economy, we kind of forget to pay it off when the economy is growing again.

JD: Mallex Smith didn’t make your Braves top-20+, so I don’t think I’ve seen you write about him. Thought?
Klaw: Can run, high contact guy, no power. Tough profile in this environment where similar low-power guys like Hamilton and Burns have had trouble making enough quality contact to be good hitters. Those two have contributed as defenders; I don’t have a good enough feel for Smith’s defense to say he might be that good. Also, Atlanta’s system is loaded.

Ryan: What kind of stat line do you project Corey Ray to put up in the big leagues? .280/.340 with 20 homers/20 steals?
Klaw: Yep, I could see that. I mentioned that he’s had issues with lefties this year, but I should have qualified that that’s from scouts saying he doesn’t see them well; he actually has no real platoon split on the season as a whole.

His dopey manager: Does Syndergaard have the best stuff in the big leagues?
Klaw: Kershaw’s still got that title for me.

Jeb: Totto’s Hell’s Kitchen location is awesome. Terrible lines, but the ramen is excellent.
Klaw: I’ve waited in line at Franklin BBQ with @lana so I’m not afraid of a little wait.

JD: Played Patchwork yet? Delightful two-player game, seems like something your daughter might enjoy based on how you’ve described her gaming tastes.
Klaw: Yep, reviewed it about this time last year. App is good too if you can get past the cutesy graphics.

mets: Collins just put in Henderson after he threw a career high last night and predictably he loads the bases with no outs. wtf!
Klaw: Isn’t he just back from shoulder surgery too? I hope I’m thinking of the wrong guy.

Joe: Not a draft question – how often, if at all, is the baseline of “replacement player” adjusted? Who makes that decision? Is there consensus on what constitutes replacement level or do different organizations/publications use their own standards?
Klaw: When asked to open that particular box, Pandora said, “Fuck it.”

Klaw: That’s all for this week – thank you for jumping up a day with me. I think I’ll be back to Thursday next week. I’ll also have a short column on the minors’ best Opening Day rosters for prospects out on Friday, plus other blog posts coming in the next couple of days.