Advise and Consent.

“If you do that you won’t be liked,” a fatherly fellow Senator had advised him on some controversial matter soon after he arrived. “I don’t give a damn about being liked,” he had retorted impatiently, “but I sure as hell intend to be respected.”

Allen Drury’s dry political thriller Advise and Consent, winner of the 1960 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, is set in an alternate universe where the Senate gives careful and thorough consideration to a candidate for a Cabinet post who is nominated by a bullying coward of a President. It’s a quaint novel, built on the extraordinary idea of a Senator standing on principle, even when opposing his own party, for the good of the country. It’s also too long by half and might be the most blatantly white male-centric Pulitzer winner I’ve read, without a single female character of any merit whatsoever in its 600-plus pages.

Drury never mentions political parties in the novel, instead simply casting them as the Majority and the Minority, with the President, also never named, in the Majority party. The novel revolves around the President’s nomination of Bob Leffingwell, a dove on relations with Russia, to be his new Secretary of State, casting aside the current occupant of the position as too hawkish. The book’s four main sections each focus on one participant in the deliberations over Leffingwell – the Majority Leader, Bob Munson; a longstanding Minority Senator, Seab Cooley; a young Majority Senator from Utah with a secret in his past, Brigham Anderson; and Orrin Knox of Illinois, the idealized Senator who is faced with a choice between the Right Thing and his own Presidential aspirations. Each character is richly drawn in two dimensions – we get a tremendous amount of detail, including biographies of each from childhood, so much of it unnecessary – but lacks the real complexity of actual people.

Over the course of the first half of the book, the accusation that Leffingwell was once a member of a communist discussion group comes to light, is disproven, then resurfaces, and the second time the news gets to Sen. Anderson, who had a brief affair with another man while serving in the Navy in World War II in Honolulu. Now married with a young daughter, from the conservative state of Utah, Anderson is an easy mark for blackmail, and when information on his dalliance comes to the hands of the President, he has no compunction about using it. (The entire episode is modeled after the true story of Sen. Lester Hunt, who killed himself in his Senate office after colleagues tried to blackmail him over the arrest of his son for soliciting sex with an undercover officer.) The consequences of this extortion attempt put Leffingwell’s merits on the back burner and put his opponents, including Sen. Knox, in direct conflict with the President, who refuses to withdraw his candidate even with the evidence of his previous flirtations with communism known to him.

The book is as slow as it sounds; Drury’s pace is leisurely and his sentences tediously long. It’s not a book of action, but it’s also not a book of much dialogue, either, which slows its pace further and left me wondering how Drury intended to push the plot forward. There are maybe a half-dozen memorable scenes in the book – the first hearing where Leffingwell confronts his accuser and the resolution of Brigham Anderson’s section come to mind – and far too much time showing the Senators spending time with their generic wives or chatting with the stereotyped ambassadors from India, Russia, France, and England. The backroom dealing that determines the fate of the candidate should be front and center, but Drury distracts the reader from the good stuff too often.

Anderson’s story could have been the center of a better, if less ambitious, novel, but would never have seen the light of day in 1960. As it is, Drury evinces some empathy for his character, but every discussion of his past transgression is in the light of what a terrible sin it was, even beyond what it might have meant for the character’s political career. It doesn’t make the book flawed – every work of art should be evaluated at least in part based on the time in which it was created – but it does make it seem very dated.

There’s also a lot of setup here for future books, ones Drury did eventually write, that brings nothing to the table in this one – notably the marriage between the children of two of the Senators in the story and the decision by that son to begin his own political career. It’s all prologue but for a book I have no interest in reading, and only served to make this book longer. And if you strip out all this extraneous content I’ve identified here, what are you left with? The story itself is quite thing beyond the Anderson scandal, and that’s the one area where Drury gave us too little verbiage. Add to that the fairy-tale idea of Senators who take their job to evaluate nominees seriously beyond mere partisan rubber-stamping and you get a book that seems to talk about an America that never existed in the first place.

I’m down to eight unread Pulitzer winners, the most recent of which is Mackinlay Kantor’s mammoth 1955 novel Andersonville.

Next up: I’ve got about 100 pages left in Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Wind-Up Girl.

Everybody’s Fool.

I loved Richard Russo’s peak novels, including Empire Falls, Straight Man, and Nobody’s Fool, all of which combined great characterization (of men, at least), well-developed settings, and a mix of humor both lowbrow and high to present slices of life in declining Northeastern mill towns. The last one I mentioned followed the exploits of Donald “Sully” Sullivan, a charming ne’er-do-well who twists the folk hero archetype around and makes us cheer for him as he puts one over on his various nemeses in their small community. Sully returns in a sequel, Everybody’s Fool, set ten years after the original story, and while it’s a pleasant read on its own, it can’t stand up to the shadow of its predecessor.

This time around, Russo gives us two protagonists, Sully and the cop he was jailed for punching in the first book, Doug Raymer, who is now the chief of police, and is Sully’s antiparticle. Where Sully is confident to the point of rashness, Raymer is constantly worried that he’s doing the wrong thing, whether in his job or in his now ended marriage to a woman who died by falling down the steps as she was preparing to leave him for an unknown lover. Raymer and his assistant, Charice, are clearly going to end up an item by the end of the book, although he’s hesitating both because of their work relationship and because they’re different races. Meanwhile, Sully has ended his affair with his paramour Ruth, but her daughter Janie is now a mother herself, and Janie’s ex-boyfriend is an abusive asshole who keeps showing up despite an order of protection. Carl and Rub are still around from the first book, Wirf and Miss Beryl aren’t. Peter, Sully’s son, just shows up in passing; the missing cobra at the heart of the funniest subplot gets more page time.

Everybody’s Fool is similar to the first book, but it’s not the same because it can’t be, even though Russo seems deadset on recreating the past. By setting this book ten years in the future and continuing the stroke of good luck that hit Sully at the end of the first book, Russo has flipped his world upside down and has to give Sully a new stroke of bad luck – a bad diagnosis on his heart from a VA doctor – to try to rebalance the scales, but it doesn’t work. Sully was charming in the first book because he used his charisma and wiles to get by; now that he’s living on Easy Street, he comes off as more of a jerk. His best friend, Rub, is a pathetic character, and Sully’s good natured ribbing now appears mean. Carl probably deserves what Sully gives him, but there are moments where Carl is at least trying to reach across the divide for a moment of shared humanity, and Sully can’t be bothered. I loved Sully in the first book, but here, I found him exasperating.

Raymer, meanwhile, ends up with more time at center stage, and the results are mixed, as he’s certainly not as compelling a lead as Sully was. Russo tries to infuse some depth to him by giving Raymer a sort of devil on his shoulder (after he’s hit by a lightning strike) who pushes him to be bold and decisive where Raymer would ordinarily be reticent. In some scenes, such as the resolution to the cobra story, it works beautifully, the sort of serendipitous denouement at which Russo excels; in others, it comes across like Russo is trying to make Raymer sound like a crazy person, and it instead feels like a bad comic device.

I can understand an author wanting to revisit some of his favorite creations, both characters and places, but for a second novel in the same setting to work, it has to tell us something new, and I don’t think Everybody’s Fool accomplishes that in the least. Russo creates new problems for old friends and solves them in mostly expected ways. The one surprise of the book is a new character, Jerome, Charice’s brother, a side character whose depth is slowly revealed over the course of the book, and who probably should have been its main character after all – although if Russo were anxious about writing a book with an African-American protagonist, I could certainly understand that. Jerome and Charice were just what this fictional town needed: a dose of something completely different, an injection of otherness into a sea of white blue-collar folks that could have made Everybody’s Fool feel like a fresh look at an old milieu. Instead, we get a pleasant read that breaks no new ground. It’s like a Pixar sequel, where we’re glad to see the characters we loved, but realize at the end that we didn’t learn anything new about them.

Next up: I mentioned yesterday that I’m reading Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl, and the next review will cover Allen Drury’s Pulitzer winner Advise and Consent.

Blackout and All Clear.

Connie Willis’ time-travel novels are a marvel; she’s created an alternate universe where time travel isn’t just possible, but plausible, because it’s intrinsic to her plots but not to the characters or the setting. The first full-length novel, The Doomsday Book, sent a character back to the period of the Black Death at the same time that a pandemic hit Oxford in 2060, where the time-traveling historians reside. The second, To Say Nothing of the Dog, was a comedy of manners that parodied a Brit Lit classic. Her 2010 diptych Blackout/All Clear is a magnum opus in scope and length, a single novel published in two parts because the combination runs over 1100 pages, sending three historians back into World War II only to have everything go awry for them. The duo swept the major sci-fi novel awards (Hugo, Nebula, and Locus) despite some reviews that criticized the books’ length. I adore Willis’ writing and character development, so while the books are long – it took me just over two weeks to finish the pair – my only regret at their length was that I was dying to get to the resolution.

Willis’ time-travel universe keeps that physical impossibility to something of a minimum. Historians travel backwards in time for research purposes, and of course are charged with staying out of the way of history lest they find they alter it. Spacetime itself has a defense mechanism, however; it won’t allow time travelers to land at a point in history where their mere presence may change its course – so, no, you can’t go back and kill baby Hitler, even in fiction. Those who try end up displaced in time or location from their target, and the gap is called “slippage.” Meanwhile, returning through a portal, called a drop, to 2060 is also complicated – the drops must not be seen by “contemps” from that time period, and if the location isn’t secure, the drop won’t open and the historian can’t return home until the next rendezvous. It’s an elegant, concise way to introduce time travel and all of its attendant problems into serious literature that would otherwise collapse under the weight of the details.

Unlike Willis’ previous two novels in this setting, nearly all of Blackout/All Clear takes place in the past. Once the historians start to step through the portal into World War II at the start of the first book, we don’t get back to Oxford until well into All Clear; this is a novel of three historians stuck in World War II, simultaneously trying to find a way back to their present and to avoid doing anything that might alter history … which could in turn mean that time travel is never invented, creating a paradox with unforeseeable consequences (none of them good, though). Michael Davies wants to research heroes, but ends up in the evacuation at Dunkirk. Polly Churchill wants to research the conditions and behavior of people who sheltered in Tube (subway) stations during the Blitz, but ends up in a shelter below a church and falls into an amateur theatrical troupe. Merope Ward wants to research the lives of evacuated children in the English countryside, only to find herself saving one of her ward’s lives and bringing some of the children back to London to an uncertain fate during the bombings. The three all realize soon enough that something’s amiss, between the slippage and the failure of their drops to reopen, and start to look for each other in London to seek a way out before the paradoxes of time travel overtake them.

Willis’ prose captures the cadence and flow of great British authors of the 19th and early 20th centuries, even though she’s an American author writing today, with the clarity and wit of a Wodehouse and a bit of the descriptiveness of Dickens (but not too much). She also creates wonderful characters, a few of whom, like department head Mr. Dunworthy or young Colin Templer, we’ve seen before. Merope, who goes by Eileen in the past, and Polly are a little bit too similar to each other, although some slight personality distinctions emerge in the second book, but the characters around the core trio are wonderfully diverse and well filled-out, from the actor Sir Godfrey to the aging fisherman Commander Harold to the imps Alf and Binnie who plague Merope’s existence. Willis has given her world depth and texture by populating it with believable, three-dimensional characters, even unlikable ones, so that reading her novels, especially this two-part tome, becomes an immersive experience. I was very much reminded of watching the Foyle’s War TV series, which is set almost entirely in World War II and even has one episode that occurs in part in a bomb shelter; Willis recreated that setting in words to the point where I could lose myself in the story.

Blackout itself isn’t much of a standalone novel because it ends mid-story; there is absolutely zero resolution at its end, not even so much as an answer to the question of why these historians have gotten stuck when their colleagues had gone to other points in history and returned without major incident. If you’re going to read one, you’re committing to read both, and that does mean that you’ll be in the past with the trio of trapped heroes for a long time. I’m completely comfortable with that – I will happily spend all day in Connie Willis’ words if my schedule permits.

Next up: I’ve read a few books since this pairing, but just started another Hugo winner, Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl, which definitely sounds like something other than a critically acclaimed sci-fi novel.

Stick to baseball, 6/17/17.

I recapped the drafts for all 15 NL teams and all 15 AL teams on Friday and Thursday, respectively, and previously had reactions to day one and day two of the draft, as well as a Klawchat during day two.

I did manage to squeeze in a boardgame review for Paste, breaking down the family-level tile-laying game Bärenpark, which has a Tetris/Patchwork-like mechanic and plays well with four but needs a few rules tweaks to keep it fair.

Smart Baseball continues to sell well, according to my editors, so thank you all for buying, reading, and talking it up. I have signings coming up in Toronto (6/26), Miami (7/8), Harrisburg (7/15), Berkeley (7/19), Chicago (7/28, details to come), and at GenCon 50 in Indianapolis (August 17-20).

Sign up for my free email newsletter! You’ll get even more of my words. I have the best words.

I was a bit busy this week, and was offline most of the day Thursday as we went strawberry picking, which means we now have jam and strawberry-rhubarb pie, so the list of links is pretty short. I should be back to normal next week.

Klawchat, 6/13/17.

My recap of the draft’s first day is up for Insiders. I’ll do team-by-team recaps, as always, later in the week, probably starting tomorrow with the AL.

Keith Law: You can’t have the fire without the flame. It’s Klawchat.

Jason: Hi Keith, what are your thoughts on the Brewers’ first rounder, Hiura? Would you be seriously concerned about his elow?
Keith Law: He may need TJ. I ranked him lower because he’s going to miss 200 or so PA of development. But folks say he can really rake.

Moltar: Today I learned that David Peterson’s father was a legendary horse trainer who trained Seattle Slew. Over/under number of times he’s referred to as a Thoroughbred? And am I right to think of him as a Dallas Keuchel type?
Keith Law: Keuchel’s command has become exceptional; he wasn’t like this in college at all. But Peterson is a similar guy in that he throws strikes and gets a ton of groundballs.

Moltar: Will the Mets have any issue signing Vientos? I really liked their day 1 haul.
Keith Law: You should assume any player taken in the top ten rounds is going to sign. I think last year two didn’t sign. Teams check prices before drafting because it screws up your bonus pool if you fail to sign a high pick.

Adam D.: The Giants did what the Giants always seem to do and went way off-board. Am I wrong to criticize the picks, even understanding the both Ramos and Gonzalez could pan out?

It just seems to me that they really pain themselves into a corner picking guys that the industry is not nearly as high on. If they work out, great, but if they find themselves in a spot where trading a prospect for a ML player is something they want to do, they are stuck with guys that other teams don’t value similarly.
Keith Law: They do have a good track record with bats they liked a lot more than the industry did, though, so I don’t like to just assume they’re doing something wrong. They’ve found nice value that way in the past. The problem I see in their system is they don’t have up the middle guys with trade value.

Todd Boss: Nats Day 1 thoughts: do the picks of Romero (who has no school to go back to) and Crowe (4th yr, 3rd time drafted) indicate perhaps their attempt to save some slot dollars for a run at a prep kid today? Both players they picked have leverage issues.
Keith Law: I assume you sent this before the third round, when they took another college player, but I would have said then that Romero wasn’t going to be an under slot guy. His advisor is Boras and I’m pretty sure he’s getting slot or above.

Ryan: Re Astros’ drafting of Joe Perez: What kind of bat does he profile to have? Is his selection to move money around to grab other talent?
Keith Law: I’ll do recaps for every team in the next 48 hours, so I’ll have more detail on lots of second to fifth round picks especially. Perez is having TJ surgery this week, though, and I assume there’s a deal in place for him – he was hitting 97 and was probably going in this range of the draft anyway.

Bobby: Keith! Thanks, as always, for the chats and your great content. As a Yanks fan it is hard to be excited about their pick. I assume, as you wrote, they are not concerned w violent deliveries, as most others are. That said, can you see any logic here given who else was available? Could Schmidt at least be a cheaper sign leaving them able to go overslot later?
Keith Law: Clearly they see a starter there. Not every bad delivery guy ends up in the pen and not every good delivery guy stays healthy. What gets me on Schmidt is that he blew out and had a bad delivery and wasn’t throwing 97 until this year, so if he comes back and is at his 2016 velocity again, then do you have a mid-first-round result? I don’t think so.

Rick C: What happened to the Braves taking Vientos or Beck at #41?
Keith Law: They took someone else?
Keith Law: Serious answer – teams have LOTS of players on their boards for picks after the first one. We would rank ~50 on our main board in Toronto and then have categories for beyond that so that by the end of the meetings we had something like 400-500 magnets up. The board falls a certain way, a player’s demands change, you just make sure you’re prepared for any contingency.

John T: Looks like the Twins saved their cash for Enlow. Fair to assume that he’ll sign, seeing as how they had a day to work it out with him? If so, that’s a pretty nice move, methinks.
Keith Law: Yes, no way the first pick on day two doesn’t sign – or doesn’t already have a deal in place.

Nate: You said you thought Baz had a predraft deal with a team. Chances pretty high it was the pirates?
Keith Law: No, I don’t think so, nor do I know if he had any deal. That was the rumor in the industry, but no one knows for sure except the kid.

James: Why did Bukauskus fall to the Astros at 15? Teams worried about his size?
Keith Law: Size, delivery, little bit of fatigue at the finish. He went right around where Sonny Gray went and ahead of Marcus Stroman, two even shorter RHP from good colleges.

addoeh: Are there teams that have a history of drafting guys with certain flaws specifically because they have had a good history of correcting them?
Keith Law: I think of the White Sox with unusual delivery guys – they’re at least unconcerned with taking them. Maybe the Yankees have decided to adopt that philosophy.

Tim: How do you think the Reds have made out thus far w/ Greene, Downs, Fairchild & Heatherly?
Keith Law: And Cash Case too. Pretty strong for the first four rounds.

Alex: I think you could fit at least 10 more of your book on the shelf behind you. Go for broke!
Keith Law: That guy is still going and actually complained to the ESPN “Public Editor” (note: i have no idea who that person even is) on twitter.

Nick: Think the Cubs and A’s could partner up on something involving Gray and Candelario+? Am I overvaluing Candy?
Keith Law: I don’t see Candelario as the centerpiece of a deal like that, and the A’s have lots of players in that same bucket anyway.

Marshall MN: Can Royce Lewis develop the footwork necessary to play IF? You seem doubtful of that possibility, is there any track record of players developing that skill?
Keith Law: I’m very skeptical. At least he has to move off short. Then you end up questioning whether you are better off with the player at 2b, where he might be an average or 55 defender, or in CF, where he might develop into a 70.

ReleasetheMckraken: Regarding Brent Rooker’s position, is he truly limited to 1B? I read he can handle the OF but was playing 1st because MSU had a need.
Keith Law: Every scout I asked, even guys who liked him, told me he’s a 1b in pro ball. I haven’t seen him this year.

Nick: Not sure if you follow the NBA, but do you have any issue with Durant’s move to the Warriors? I don’t mind the transfer of talent, but players taking discounts seems to be bad for any league.
Keith Law: I know enough to know what you’re talking about and see no problem with it. Free agency means free agency. A player should be able to go where he wants for whatever reasons he wants.

Cooper: Hey Kieth, thanks for all the work you do. Daulton Varsho fascinates me. Do you think he can stick at catcher, or will he move somewhere else? And, after reading the chapter about stolen bases, how important is it to have a catcher with a good arm? It’s a nice luxury, but is it a necessity?
Keith Law: Much more important to get a good receiver/framer than thrower. Varsho was WAY off my radar – I know who he is, of course, but didn’t think he was a top 5 rounds guy.

Greg P: Keith – how do you characterize the Royals’ selection of Pratto in the 1st round? You’ve stated he’s limited to first and doesn’t have much physical projection. Was there a better selection available to them at 14?
Keith Law: I think they took him in the right range, but there were better players available, and their system is so thin right now that I would have preferred the greater asset value of either some up the middle guys or one of the top HS arms still on the board. That said, if Pratto really rakes, it’s going to be fine. He does have a great swing.

Marshall MN: Are there are any players from the first couple rounds that you would predict right now as not signing with team that drafted them? Sam Carlson seems to be a popular pick, anyone else?
Keith Law: Carlson’s going to sign. They’re all going to sign.

Aaron: In your chat yesterday you said Warmoth might be fastest to the majors. Are you higher on him than industry or is his ceiling not that high? Wondering why he was chosen somewhat lower than Haseley.
Keith Law: I didn’t say that about Warmoth. I said I liked him as someone who could move fast, but would not call him fastest to the majors.

J: Yes, they’re in a relatively unique position to take the chance, but does Kendall to the Dodgers have a chance to be the best value as pick number relative to player in the draft?
Keith Law: Yes, and yes, they’re in a good position to roll the dice on that. Lot of work to do with his swing, though.

Bill: Jim Callis threw around a rumor of the Rays letting Mckay try to pitch and hit. Lets say the experiment works and he does play both relatively well. What would that most likely look like? DH/RP, 1b/RP, or some combo of DH/1b/SP with more days off than a typical position player?
Keith Law: I tweeted yesterday that the Rays WILL let him do both. It’s not a rumor; he’ll be developed both ways, probably starting next year. My guess is that he plays 1b 3x a week and gets some rest by DHing the day before he pitches.

Steve: Brandon Little’s chance to be a starting pitcher and whats his ceiling if everything clicks?
Keith Law: I think he’s got a good chance – 40-50% – delivery isn’t ideal but has the fastball and out pitch in the CB. I saw a decent CH too.

Rick: Hey Keith. You have stated you think Royce Lewis probably ends up an outfielder by the time he reaches the majors. I’m wondering who you prefer as a prospect, Lewis or last years #1 overall, Moniak? Thanks.
Keith Law: Moniak has a higher probability of being a big leaguer but I think Lewis has more ceiling and would take him.

Joe-Nathan: Which guys drafted who immediately becoming the top prospect on their team?
Keith Law: McKay for sure. Wright maybe; depends on where Acuna ends up on my midseason list. Beck. Greene of course, although Senzel’s pretty damn good. DL Hall. I think Pratto would be too. Rogers, by default, since Garrett is hurt.

EricVA: Non-draft question: What do you think would happen (congressional reaction, DOJ reaction, public reaction) if Trump got Mueller fired?
Keith Law: Congressional Republicans will be quick to issue stern comments expressing their Grave Concern.

EricVA: Does the Yankees’ 2nd pick of Sauer make the Schmidt pick any better for you?
Keith Law: No, because I didn’t have Sauer as a top 50 guy either.

Juan: What’s the furthest you’ve ever had to drive from your hotel or an airport to scout a prospect?
Keith Law: Byron Buxton. Flew to Atlanta from Phoenix, drove to Macon, stayed the night, drove about three hours the next day to Baxley (his town), drove back to Macon, stayed the night, drove back to ATL, swapped rental cars, kept on driving to Greenville SC.

mike: There seem to be a lot of two position guys drafted at the top this year. Can you address how teams evaluate which way to go? How about the Jays saying Danner is a C to them?
Keith Law: If the two sides are close, teams nearly always choose bat first, figuring the player could always pitch later.

Marshall MN: Have you talked to people around the league to get their reaction to the Twins taking Lewis 1-1? It seemed to be an ongoing rumor for a while that it was a possibility, but from what you know did any other team have Lewis at the top of their board?
Keith Law: I can think of two teams that I believe had Lewis at 1, but it wasn’t a majority view, and the reactions I got from other teams last night and this morning weren’t favorable.

Arnold: What can you tell us about Giants 1st round pick Heliot Ramos? Is he really a 5-tool player like the Giants are claiming?
Keith Law: He is not a five-tool player.

Ryan: Do you have any information on Matt Tabor? You don’t see a lot of pitchers throwing in the high 90s in Massachusetts.
Keith Law: I do; he wasn’t a top 100 guy, and he doesn’t throw in the high 90s. Up to 95 with really bad delivery and below average breaking ball.

John: Twins fan here. With the Blayne pick should I get off the ledge that the new management team blew their first draft?
Keith Law: That’s way over the top. It’s still mid-draft. No one really has any idea how this will look in five to ten years. We just have opinions.

Dave: Keith, thanks for all your draft coverage. How excited should A’s fans be about Nick Allen? And do you like the A’s draft with up-the-middle talent?
Keith Law: Love this pick. First round talent. But the A’s didn’t go up the middle all the way – Deichmann certainly isn’t, and Merrell’s best chance to stay in the middle is in CF, not SS.

John: Why wouldn’t McKay take an underslot deal at #1 rather than falling to #4?
Keith Law: Because he could get over slot at 4.

Bret: I’m really excited about the Blue Jays selecting Logan Warmoth. If you could take a guess, where will he fit in amongst their top prospects?
Keith Law: Certainly behind Vlad and Bichette.

Dave: Are you exclusively answering draft questions today?
Keith Law: The draft is ongoing right now, so that’s going to be my focus.

Jesse: With Kyle Wright being a more advanced college arm than the Braves have been taking, where do you think he ends up pitching the remainder of this season? Starting next season?
Keith Law: Probably won’t pitch much this year period since he’s already over 100 innings, but I bet he spends the bulk of next year in AA.

Jeries: Should the White Sox move Burger to 1B immediately?
Keith Law: No reason to do that.

Tim: What kind of prospect is Heimlich? Where would he have gone if he hadn’t molested that girl?
Keith Law: I think second round. I don’t think he’ll be drafted today, if at all.

Jeries: Is Carson Fulmer a fair comp for Bukauskus? Who do you like more?
Keith Law: Bukauskas throws better strikes and his delivery isn’t violent like Fulmer’s.

CWS: What is your outlook on Spencer Adams? I remember you had him as a top 100 at one point. He doesn’t appear to be striking out many batters, but isn’t walking anyone either and his ERA and peripherals looks good.
Keith Law: I don’t think his fastball has ever gotten back to where it was in year one.

Mark: If Cincy had not taken Greene, do you think Preller would have or did he likely still favor Gore?
Keith Law: I think the Padres had them ranked Greene, Gore, McKay.

Linda: Does Peterson possibly have more in his arm? I ask mainly bc it seems all Mets pitchers somehow end up throwing a good bit harder once they hit the big leagues…..
Keith Law: Don’t think so, but given his groundball rates, I wouldn’t change anything.

Mike: What’s the knock on Burger besides defense? The stat line looks great (sorry) power, average, obp, low strikeouts
Keith Law: Defense, hasn’t faced great competition in that conference.

Guest: Thoughts on Luis Gonzalez out of New Mexico?
Keith Law: Would have gone higher but there were some late makeup concerns. Thought it was a solid value there.

Mike J: Pirates taking 4 HS players on Day 1 and now two college position players. Your thoughts so far on their draft? Thanks for your time.
Keith Law: I think they’re doing money-savers now to pay Baz, Jennings, etc.

Tom: Is Pavin Smith 1b only, or does he have a chance to move to a corner outfield spot?
Keith Law: I can’t fathom him in an outfield corner. He doesn’t move like an outfielder would.

Tyler: Hey Keith, loving Smart Baseball! Why does it matter what position a draftee is announced at? Does it impact bonus $?
Keith Law: The team asks for him to be announced at a certain position, which can tell us if they intend to move him to another position or, in the case of a two-way guy, which way they intend to start him. Perez, Danner, Greene were all two-way guys announced one way. McKay was supposed to be announced as both but MLB made a mistake.

Tim: How long until players drafted this wee can be traded? Is this another rule (like pre-draft tradeable picks) you might like to see changed in the next CBA?
Keith Law: After the World Series. I wanted this changed like ten years ago.

Tim: Who had the best breaking ball in this draft? Bukauskus slider? Hall’s curve?
Keith Law: Little’s curve.

Archie: If your son had a strong college commitment and was going to get drafted, assuming he would be offered slot money, at what point would you deem the college experience more valuable than what he would get to sign?
Keith Law: The college experience will be there after pro ball if he wants it. If he’s good enough to be drafted in the first few rounds and he wants to go play pro ball, I’d encourage him to sign.

Rob: Are you going to be on Buster’s podcast on Tuesdays from here on out, or is it a temporary thing because of draft/scouting conflicts?
Keith Law: He wanted me to come on yesterday and today to talk about the draft.

Johnny O: Grade instant draft grades on the scouting scale. I believe 20 is lowest but I think we can make an exception and go down to 0 for these useless articles (even if your editor makes you do one).
Keith Law: I have steadfastly refused to do draft grades for eleven years now.

Jeries: Why don’t minor league teams use 6 or 7 man rotations to keep IP down? Is it simply because there isn’t enough SP talent?
Keith Law: A lot of minor league teams use six-man rotations.

Aaron C.: What’s your personal policy on writing about/discussing “makeup” issues? Do you prefer to independently confirm them or do you only address them if they’ve already been publicly reported elsewhere? Thanks!
Keith Law: I rarely discuss them, because it’s dangerous. If there’s an arrest or a suspension, that’s easy. A failed drug test is pretty concrete too. But on a guy like DL Hall, where I think some scouts just didn’t like the kid very much, is that something you need to know about as readers? What if it’s bogus, but still affected where he was picked? That’s where I struggle. I’m supposed to explain to you what’s going on, but if a stupid rumor is the cause, but is just a stupid rumor, how do I present that to you all?

Brett: Kyle Hurt is still on the board. Have you heard anything on him, or is he likely heading to school at this point?
Keith Law: He missed a chunk of the spring after an ACL injury and didn’t come back at 100%, so he may just be a school guy.
Keith Law: Also, keep this in mind. If a player I ranked high doesn’t get drafted till way later, there are three likely explanations – the three M’s: Money, Medicals, or Me. He wanted too much money; there’s a bad medical report that steered teams away; or I screwed up the evaluation.

Jeries: If Hunter Greene insisted on playing the field full time and never pitching, where would he be drafted?
Keith Law: Late first round. Or maybe still top ten because some team would believe they could convince him to pitch eventually.

Joe-Nathan: Gigliotti just went to KC in the 4th, why so late? Rough start to the season but finished very well, solid obp and should be a CF.
Keith Law: Really never played that well and a slew of his hits this year were bunt singles, which doesn’t give you a ton of confidence in the stat line.

Marshall MN: In regard to Lewis’ skill set, how do they compare to Buxton’s coming out of HS? If Buxton had 80 speed and defensive potential, how would Lewis rate?
Keith Law: Buxton was way more tooled up, but Lewis probably has a better hit tool today than Buxton did at 19.

Kretin: Any insight into what is going on with Griffin Canning? Good pick by the Angels?
Keith Law: MLB reported the other day and I mentioned in my writeup this morning that teams didn’t like something on his MRI.

Alex: Do you think McKay will pitch at all this year, or exclusively hit?
Keith Law: No chance he pitches. He’s at 104 innings and Louisville is going to Omaha.

Paul: Is Drew Waters an over-slot guy? Seems like he was picked about where he was ranked, and I assume Wright will get full slot. Braves’ 3rd and 4th rounders both seemed somewhat off the board (not to say they aren’t good, just that I haven’t heard of them), so wondering if there is any room down the board to go over-slot. Thinking it would come down to what Waters gets.
Keith Law: I bet he’s an over slot guy.

Leo: Giants just selected Garret Cave. Do you think he can remain a starter or is he destined for the bullpen?
Keith Law: I would start him. He seemed totally undeveloped – not bad, not violent, just like someone who’d never been taught a proper delivery.

Jeries: What successful big leaguer were you most skeptical about turning raw power into actual game power as a prospect?
Keith Law: AJ Pollock had very little power as an amateur and ended up with quite a bit in the majors.

Robert: What percentage of time do teams not select the BPA from their draft board due to signability or bonus pool considerations?
Keith Law: I don’t know what percentage of the time that would be. Teams sometimes do that because they took BPA with an earlier pick – we went over at pick one, so we have to shave money at picks four and five. The Pirates seem to be doing that today.

Guest: Injuries occuring after the draft aside, which Mets pick do you like better as a college prospect – Peterson or Kay last yr? Are they roughly the same sort of prospect (safe, mid-rotation lefty) or is one significantly ahead of the other?
Keith Law: Peterson more than Kay. Kay was stronger but Peterson has better results and better sink.

Tallulah: Saw the Dodgers just nabbed Marinan in the 4th (your #56). Are you just higher on him or did he slip due to bonus demands?
Keith Law: He came on kind of late this spring and I think some teams had ‘finished’ with him early. He also wasn’t very consistent.

Liam: Non-draft question: I can’t access your Top 100 prospects list from ’09, ’10, ’11. Were they taken down or is there still a way to access them?
Keith Law: The site redesign swallowed a bunch of old content,

Ryan: At what point do you stop researching potential picks? Do you stop at around the top 200, or are you able to give at least a quick nugget of information on most power conference players?
Keith Law: I’ll stop after the fifth round – if a kid drafted after that wasn’t already on my radar, he might still be a prospect, but the odds of him becoming a big leaguer are pretty low.

banksy_: Would you draft a kid from Alaska?
Keith Law: Yes. Talent comes from everywhere. There’s an Alaskan kid in this class who should be drafted today.

Greg: Hi Keith! Thoughts on Kevin Smith (the baseball player)? Did decently well on the Cape last year, but overall college numbers are rather underwhelming.
Keith Law: Thought he was a 4th/5th round guy, probably utility player, just did not perform this spring in a bad conference.

Jeb: Is Garrett Mitchell also going to school?
Keith Law: I think so. He’s also a type 1 diabetic and I believe some teams were worried about that. There are very few everyday players today or in the past who were type 1 diabetics.

Drew: What do you think was the cause of Sam Carlson dropping? It seemed likely to me that he was a Twins target since they may have gone underslot and he was thought of pretty highly by a lot of evaluators. Was he overhyped or is this just a “diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks” thing?
Keith Law: People assumed he was a Twins target because he’s local. That’s almost never true in practice. We saw a bunch of good HS arms drafted later than folks like me or Mayo had them ranked because that’s how the bonus pools work.

Rod: Any issues with Kyle Wright’s mechanics? Some Braves fans are hating the pick because of the Inverted W
Keith Law: The Inverted W is Utter Nonsense.

Charlie: Has anyone been drafted yet where your reaction was “who?”. No shame in it just curious, as someone who hasn’t know a pick since the 2nd round or so
Keith Law: Yes, the JC kid the Astros took in the 4th, Tyler Ivey. Had nothing on him. (I do now, of course.)

Dave: My brother is anti-vaccination. What can I tell him to get him on the correct side of the issue?
Keith Law: Answer every stupid falsehood with facts. And don’t stop. If he has kids, their health is at risk, perhaps even their lives.

Jace: Best player going to college so they haven’t been drafted yet?
Keith Law: Garrett Mitchell, Kyle Hurt, Adam Oviedo.

Matt: You remain a Kendall believer but if Toffey had better offensive #s across the board is past history and defensive ability the main reason he’s a 4th rd pick? Harder to fall than it is easier to rise?
Keith Law: Toffey’s just not a very good hitter. There’s no upside there.

banksy_: What other arm actions/delivery flaws (i.e. Inverted W) are also nonsense? Any come to mind that are pushed hard throughout the public or industry?
Keith Law: The idea that short pitchers were more likely to get hurt is still around. I have never bought that. My issue with short P is that they need to be able to get the ball down. But I know of no evidence that they get hurt any more often than medium to tall pitchers do.

CVD: You a Will Crowe guy?
Keith Law: I like him. I don’t have to sift through his medicals, though.

Dave: I’m an adult stutterer. I can control it most of the time but I do a lot of delay tactics and things to avoid speaking. Anxiety goes hand in hand with it. Do you have any tips to share? Whether it be something to read, breathing exercises to do etc.
Keith Law: I’ve recommended the book Fully Present to a lot of people – you may find the breathing and mindfulness tips in there useful too.

Jeries: What innings limit should the Sox look at for Kopech? 65 IP in 2015, 56 IP in 2016, and 62 IP already this year.
Keith Law: I don’t really know the science behind this – whether there’s any at all, to be honest. This idea of N+30 or N+50 or whatever, some fixed number above the previous year … if there’s real research demonstarting its value, I haven’t seen it. The claim by one writer that increasing year over year by 30+ innings has been debunked. So with Kopech – I wouldn’t push him excessively, not 150 or something, but I wouldn’t panic if he gets to 100 or 120. And remember he probably pitched more than just those 56 last year if you consider sim games or extended spring.

Benny: Are the Reds the big winners of the draft so far? What do you think about Stuart Fairchild- especially with Waters still on the board?
Keith Law: I don’t like to name winners or losers on draft day. It’s hot-take-ish. I liked Fairchild and Waters would have required a bigger bonus.

MRA: Is there anything to like in the Cardinals picks in rounds 3 (Hurst), 4 (Robertson) or 5 (Kirtley)? Thank you.
Keith Law: They had no money to spend so I’m loath to be too critical. I didn’t rank any of those guys or have them close to the top 100.

Jeff Sessions: And I perjure myself in 3….2….
Keith Law: I’m glad I have the draft to distract me from our crumbling republic.

Ed: Do the Cubs draft a player like Lange with the expectation that they can clean up his delivery? If so, does that often work?
Keith Law: I hope not. That’s faulty logic – and I would be shocked if the Cubs thought that. I bet they saw Lange as a fast to the majors reliever – i heard that from a bunch of scouts this spring.

Charlie: Lucas Giolito thoughts? Seems to be really making some strides as of late, but obviously could just be some SSS
Keith Law: I have heard the delivery is much closer to where it was in 2015.

Drew: How quick could Rooker move? He’s old but I don’t know how that translates to a minor league assignment. Do they move him to AA?
Keith Law: Doesn’t he have to? He’s older than five current big league hitters (I think). Sending him to low-A seems futile.

Kevin: Thoughts on the Tigers 2nd rd pick Reynaldo Rivera. Gigantic dude, but didn’t see him on any of your list.
Keith Law: For good reason. Gigantic, strong, but substantial questions about his hit tool.

Matt: I think a good argument to make for MLB being the hardest sport to play is the fact that the players getting drafted often don’t appear in the majors for 3-5 years. Imagine the Patriots drafting Tom Brady and he doesn’t get to be QB until 2007?
Keith Law: But then we wouldn’t have had deflate-a-lago and all the bloviating that generated … and I think to myself … what a wonderful world.
Keith Law: OK, I have some draft recaps to write. Thank you all for your questions today and yesterday and for reading all my draft content. I will not chat again this week but should be back to my regular slot next Thursday. Look for my team-by-team draft recaps (focusing on the top five rounds) starting tomorrow!

Klawchat, 6/12/17.

Happy Draft Day! My latest mock draft (posted Sunday morning) is up for Insiders.

Keith Law: Why do I find it hard to write the next line? It’s Klawchat.

Alan: Still confident in Wright to Atlanta? Any rumors about them going underslot to save money?
Keith Law: As far as I know, that’s still the most likely scenario (the 1-6 I had in my mock yesterday). Yes, there are those rumors, but I don’t think it comes to pass.

Alan: Kyle wright was 1-1 a few days ago, now most people have him falling to at least 5. Have any concerns popped up with him, or is it just that teams at 2, 3 and 4 don’t like him as much?
Keith Law: No concerns and not falling – just that teams 2-4 were focused on other players beforehand.

Alan: Keaton Hieura getting top 10 talk now. Is that a reach to you? Is it because he’ll sign for cheap?
Keith Law: Hiura is a reach to me because he can’t play the field and has some kind of arm injury that will have to be addressed postdraft. It’s possible he won’t play till next year as a result. But scouts tell me he’s the best pure bat in the class (I didn’t see, went to SoCal twice, Irvine was on the road both times) and if he’d been healthy all spring he might have legitimately gone top 10. I think he goes 8 or 10 although he’s worked out at 5 and 6.

addoeh: Where does today rank in baseball related holidays for you? Start of free agency, Opening Day, start of spring training?
Keith Law: It’s like Thanksgiving for me: I enjoy it, but by the time it actually arrives, I’m so exhausted by the preparation that I’m just relieved that it’s happening.

Clubber Lang: Do Cubs finally go with some pitching with 2 1st round picks? Seems any bat they draft is a waste? Any dark horse SP there for them in round 1?
Keith Law: They can always trade bats they draft and can’t use, so “waste” is not an appropriate description. I do think one of those two picks (27 and 30) will be a pitcher, maybe a prep or JC arm at 30 after a bat at 27 because the good college starters should all be gone by that point.

Jim – Chicago: Hi Keith- Bukauskas seems to give you less reservations than other similar “short” RHP draft prospects in recent years. Am I interpreting that correctly and, if so, is their something in his delivery that might eventually get him some plane on his fastball?
Keith Law: No, I have the same reservations – lack of FB plane, doesn’t use lower half in his delivery – but this class is weaker than most.

Pete: If the Mets go pitching over hitting tonight, is that a reaction to their top arms having graduated the system?
Keith Law: Don’t think so. I think it would just mean they liked the arm at 20 over available bats.

Rob: IYO, would Warmoth to the ChiSox at 11 (underslot deal) make sense? Or, is there nothing connecting them to Warmoth? Thanks Keith!
Keith Law: Don’t think they’re on Warmoth at all.

Zach: Could you please contrast Hunter Greene vs. Robert Stephenson at the time they were drafted? As a Reds fan, I’m hesitant to go down the “unpolished flamethrowing HS RHP” track again.
Keith Law: Stephenson had a better breaking ball but a more violent delivery. Greene is younger and more athletic and the delivery is very easy.

Steve: Shouldn’t Rays take the best player at 4 instead of cutting a deal with Bubba Thompson?
Keith Law: I think they will and projected them to do so (BPA, not a deal).

Sean: Are the under-slot deals really a “good idea” for teams like the Rays, Braves, etc? Is the possible drafting of an over-slot 2nd rounder worth it?
Or do they only do it because they don’t see anyone with enough high-level talent in the 1st round?
Keith Law: I don’t think this draft has enough guys to guarantee you get who you want at pick 40 or 41 or whatever. Just take BPA in the top 5.

Brian: Thanks for the chat today. Are the Philllies still focused on the 2 UVA bats? Who would your pick be knowing their system.? thanks!
Keith Law: Also heard Hiura with them, some prep arms, but most likely a college bat.

Michael: Tangently related to the draft, I finished school a month ago and am in the middle of a business internship (paid). My friend is a mid-tier player on one of the teams still in the College WS chase and probably won’t be done until almost July. School starts again late August. He can’t get a real summer job that will help him and isn’t going to play pro ball. How are these guys “student” athletes again?
Keith Law: Because apparently a “scholarship” worth 1/4 of your tuition is sufficient compensation even though the CWS chase brings in a lot of revenue to the school and the NCAA as a whole.

PhillyJake: Can one draw the conclusion that Pavin Smith and Nick Pratto are both destined to be future DHs?
Keith Law: Absolutely not.

S.S. Size: Last year we saw a few South Jersey kids get drafted (Groom, Mondial, that kid from Haddon Heights). Any SJ prospects of note this year?
Keith Law: Don’t have any on my top 100, and don’t think we’ll see any till day 3, maybe Ergatuk there.

Paulie: How did Franklin Perez look yesterday?
Keith Law: Good, not outstanding, but the makings of a good mid-rotation starter. Chance for three pitches, 92-96, secondary wasn’t plus, threw a lot of strikes.

Ryan: When reading about Jaren Kendall, based on the toolshe kind of reminds me of George Springer. Besides Springer being a bit more polished at the same age, is there really much that separates the two? Thanks Keith!
Keith Law: Springer was stronger & more physical, and his swing worked better mechanically, while he lacked a two-strike approach.

Balor: What odds would you give to Nate Pearson ending up a starter vs. a reliever?
Keith Law: 50/50? Huge FB, but no one thinks he has a consistently above average second pitch yet.

Squire: Any non-first round names associated with the Phillies?
Keith Law: Nope. No one knows who’s going in the top 30. Projecting the second round is like rolling dice.

Phil: Hi Keith. What’s one player who you think will be picked later in the draft (so not first round) who you think could end up a star?
Keith Law: I don’t know the third tier of prospects as well this year as I have in past years so I don’t have any great answers on that – but I do like Stephen Jennings, Kyle Hurt, and Blaine Enlow, all pretty high on my Big Board but not likely to to go first round.

Paul: Hey Keith. Thanks for the chat. I keep reading that the Dbacks are interested in Pavan Smith, and reading about him really does not excite me. Is there any chance he can play a position other than first base? And how much power do you think he’ll end up having? Thanks!
Keith Law: First base only. I think average power. Some people think more. I’ve never seen him really hit anything hard, and to me that’s a swing for contact rather than power.

Trixie: Who’s your favorite mystery writer? Have you ever read anything by Sue Grafton?
Keith Law: Still Agatha Christie. Never read anything by Grafton or other mass-market authors like her.

Dave: Keith, thanks for all your draft coverage. Do you think the A’s will take a HS OF (Beck, maybe Lewis) or college bat (Smith, Hiura) at 6?
Keith Law: I think Beck is their guy, unless Gore gets there. Not on Lewis or Smith.

Nate: Thanks for the chat Keith! What are your thoughts on the recent rumors that the Twins might be trying to cut a deal with Royce Lewis at 1-1 and, if they do, who might they be considering at 35?
Keith Law: That’s been rumored for a few weeks, but I don’t see why Lewis would take an underslot deal at 1. He’s going 4 or 5 at worst, so why would he sign for less than McKay, who’s also going 4 or 5 if he doesn’t go 1, and has less leverage than Lewis does? I could be way off but I wonder if there’s some posturing here to negotiate McKay (or someone else) down.

Will: Michael Chavis is showing some power at High A this season. How much, if at all, does this change Chavis’s prospect stock?
Keith Law: He was hurt last year but didn’t disclose it or miss any time. So I’d rather say that my rankings of him off last year were the error, and he’ll resume his correct place now that he’s health and performing again.

Kevin: Why do you think Minnesota is passing on Greene for a college arm?
Keith Law: For increased certainty.

Moltar: Am I wrong to be kind of underwhelmed with the mock selection of Lange to the Mets? His scouting reports don’t get me as excited as Pearson or Peterson if they’re set on an arm (I’d rather they catch my fave pokemon Warmoth).
Keith Law: I would take Warmoth there in a heartbeat. Lange for me is almost certainly a reliever.

Craig: Every draft preview I have seen has the Brewers taking a HS outfielder with a comment about how MIL keeps collecting outfielders with a certain profile (speedy, plus defense, good bat with potential for developing power). To what extent is that an organizational plan vs. collecting guys that happen to be available at that time/spot?
Keith Law: I haven’t made that comment – I don’t think that’s their profile or type, just that they take BPA. They could take Kendall too, college guy who can run and has power but needs a lot of swing help, along the lines of Montgomery taking other top talents who got farther down the draft than they should have.

Joe-Nathan: I remember Nathan Kirby opting out of the draft by refusing to subject himself to drug testing a few years ago, so my question is there anything onerous about being draft eligible? If not why would anyone, like Joe Boyle, declare themselves ineligible for the draft????
Keith Law: It’s possible the player didn’t think he could pass the drug test. It’s also possible the player is just taking bad advice from the college coach, too. I would never send any young pitcher to Notre Dame; Mik Aoki has a long history of overusing pitchers and no history of developing them.

Andy: Hi, Keith! Hope all is well with you and your family. Not sure if this chat is solely about tonight’s mock, but I had a non-draft question for you. Have you had a chance to see Lucas Giolito over the past month or so? I’ve been lucky enough to catch most of his starts this year and he’s never looked better than he has of late. He’s confident in the curve and has this really neat changeup, too. Wanted to see if you’ve heard anything about him lately as the Sox unravel and piece back together his motion and mechanics.
Keith Law: Haven’t seen him but have talked to folks who have and am hearing just that – he’s getting close to where he was before Mike Maddux etc. changed his delivery.

Kevin: How much projection is left for Gore? Seems like a safe choice (for a HS pick), but am I wrong thinking that he’ll be nothing more that a #3/4 in time?
Keith Law: Totally disagree. Much more upside than that.

Casey (Saint Paul, MN): Hello Keith, Are teams likely to overlook Kyle Wright’s most recent game or is that something that could actually impact his draft position?
Keith Law: You consider everything. It’s a factor, but shouldn’t be weighted more heavily than other starts (hello, recency bias).

Adam: Has the lack of over-the-fence power shown by Jorge Ona been concerning for some scouts?
Keith Law: That’s an ambiguously-worded question. Am I concerned? Not really. It’s two months.

Adam: Tommy Mace is an interesting prospect. Heard anything on him?
Keith Law: He’s #99 on my Big Board.

Adam: Any teams tied to Mark Vientos?
Keith Law: Could sneak into the teens, likely in the 20-35 range, doesn’t get past 41 Atlanta.

Adam: Does Mackenzie Gore’s mechanics give evaluators some pause? His hip swing/ leg kick motion seems like it would be an injury concern as he ages.
Keith Law: On the contrary, I’ve had scouts praise him for it, saying it demonstrates how athletic he is.

Joe-Nathan: I get that Seth Romero is talented but how can a staff full of educated adults justify giving this kid who clearly has issues over a million dollars by drafting him? The odds of him imploding are so high that
Keith Law: Your question cut off, but I think what you think. This is a bad idea.

banksy_: No question today, just want to say thank you for all that you do for your readers. I wouldn’t follow the draft as closely if it weren’t for you and many other writers that do a fantastic job of educating readers on the nuances of scouting and projecting amateur talent. But especially you, since I’ve really enjoyed your book so far! Looking forward to passing it on/recommending it to friends and family when I do finish it!
Keith Law: Thanks. Big fan of your street art, too.

Randy: In years past, you did a great job picking out Conforto and Benintendi as picks that had a good chance to move through the minors quickly. Whom would be your best players for similar advancement in today’s draft?
Keith Law: Warmoth is my guy this year. Haseley too, but Warmoth is the one whose swing I like, and I think he stays at short.

Justin: To a draft newbie, if the consensus top talent by all accounts is Greene, why would the Twins not take him first? Higher probability of flameout as a high schooler than a college player?
Keith Law: He’s not the consensus by all accounts. He’s #1 on some boards, not all, maybe not even a majority.

Andrew: Have you heard the Nats connected to anyone besides the usual 4 of Romero, Lange, Schmidt, and Houck?
Keith Law: I think they’re taking Romero, haven’t heard them on Houck.

Intramural Legend: Is McKay being underrated at this point? Statistically (pitching specific), he was much better than Wright
Keith Law: Wright was better in the second half; he improved while McKay seemed to tire (unsurprisingly). And durability is a factor teams will consider.

Bob: Hey, Keith. Are you in Bristol to do TV today for the draft? Is there a special show?
Keith Law: I’m home. No TV, no more BBTN, so I’ll sleep in my own bed tonight.

Mike Trout: Thinking about a new boardgame and leaning towards 7 wonders, any advice? Have enjoyed Catan, Carcassone, & Ticket to Ride
Keith Law: 7 Wonders is fantastic. Probably a step up in strategy and complexity from what you’ve played.

AJ: Hey Keith– loved your appearance on OTL today. You have the White Sox taking JB Bukauskas over bats you’ve stated they’re linked to like Jeren Kendall. Do they have a specific interest in Bukauskas from what you know? Do you think they’d take an under-slot HS OF like Adell or Beck over a college pitcher if available?
Keith Law: If you look at my mock, those 27 pairings of team and player are all based on industry rumors. Someone told me the White Sox like Bukauskas. I can’t say who, but I can tell you everything in there is based on what I considered solid intel.

Jack: What are your thoughts on Luke Heimlich’s future? Will he get drafted? Has he paid enough for his mistake?
Keith Law: I don’t think he’ll be drafted inside of the top ten rounds. After that, there’s little to no opportunity cost if you take him and fail to sign him, so then it becomes possible.

Ian: Is McKay at #1 a mistake?
Keith Law: No. I think taking Lewis over him, Wright, or Greene might be a mistake … but I can’t even say “would be” because who the heck knows? I can’t even get consensus on what kind of hitting prospect Lewis is from scouts and execs I’ve asked.

Bret: As a general rule, how much of the info that you get (or that other analysts are getting) today is just smoke being put out by team’s to lower the price on a player they’re targeting or impact other team’s decisions? (Not suggesting you always come forward with this info, I’m sure you have a process to determine what’s real and what’s not, too)
Keith Law: Don’t think I’ve heard much of that today.

Tim (KC): Keith, disregarding your mocks, how would you draft if you were the GM of each of the teams with top 5 picks?
Keith Law: That’s what my Big Board represents – ignoring signability too, plus stuff I don’t get, like medicals or drug test results.

MetsFan: Can the Mets get Warmoth or Huira? Would love both
Keith Law: No shot on Hiura. Warmoth maybe.

Patrick: When do you think Canning goes?
Keith Law: I think someone’s second pick. Kid was overused by UCLA for three years, and now there’s something on his MRI teams don’t like. I wonder if those two are connected in any way.

Pramit: Have you heard if the Jays are interested in Nick Allen? If so, could you see them taking him at 22 if they believe he’ll be unavailable at 28?
Keith Law: Haven’t heard them with him.

Ken: If Burger gets to the Mets do you think they take him over aforementioned pitching options?
Keith Law: I think so. He’s got a bunch of teams in the 20-27 range that would take him.

Ike: Do you wish that teams could trade their picks like the NBA and NFL?
Keith Law: Yes, it’d make today much more fun/interesting.

Ryan: Do you think there is any chance Kyle Wright falls to the phillies with some people reporting under slot deals?
Keith Law: Zero.

DA: Any chance Minnesota goes Lewis #1 and uses extra money on Shane Baz at #35?
Keith Law: I don’t think so.

Tim: Any chance on Kendall going in the 6-10 range?
Keith Law: Brewers would be the only team in there who might take him, from what I know.

Chris: I’m moving to the Cape. Who should I try to see in a game this summer?
Keith Law: Just go to whatever games are nearby and enjoy them.

Drew: If Otani were in this draft class where would he go?
Keith Law: 1-1, pitcher only.
Keith Law: Bear in mind he’s also a professional, and older & more experienced than everyone else in the class, so it’s a flawed comparison.

JR: Is info come fast and furious all day today, or at some point do you hit “calm before the storm” point where nothing much happens until the draft starts.
Keith Law: It’s been fairly quiet today. Around 5 pm or so the fit will hit the shan, so to speak.

Dan P: How many guys in this draft would plug right into your top 100 prospects? Who would they be? Thanks for all your hard draft work!
Keith Law: In a typical year, I get 12-16 guys from a June draft in the next January’s top 100. I don’t do midseason 100s, however.

Jim: Any pitchers that could come up and help in the bullpen later this season, like Sale did in his draft year?
Keith Law: Lange.

Dan P: Sad to not see you live with Longenhagen tonight. Will you be blogging live or anything?
Keith Law: I’ll tweet (via the ESPN Shortstop app, so you’ll see a tweet and then a link if I wrote more than 140 chars) about each of the first round picks, and then I’ll write up a recap with thoughts on day one.

Jared S: Kind of funny Twins rumors went from Greene early, to McKaey, then to Wright, then to maybe McKay and now Lewis. Wild.
Keith Law: Eh, I don’t think there were rumors of the Twins with Greene. It’s been mostly McKay/Wright for the last month.

Nick: Thanks, as always, for the chats klaw. About to be first time father here (baby boy was due yesterday). Any advice for making the first few months here as happy and comfortable as possible for my wife?
Keith Law: It worked much better for us when we decided to alternate nights for feeding our daughter (we bottle-fed) – I’d take both feedings one night, my wife would take both the next night. We got somewhat more quality sleep out of that.

Devon: The rumors of Kyle Wright falling to the Braves have me excited because he didn’t seem attainable recently, but would you have any concern about over-crowding of SP prospects? Obviously the bust rate for pitching prospects is extremely high, but if the Braves drafted a polished college arm like Wright there would potentially be a major crunch for innings in Mississippi or Gwinnett in a year or two
Keith Law: Can’t have too many starters. They’ll figure it out somehow.

Patrick: While I fully recognize MLB is a completely different animal than say NFL or NBA where you can say team X needs a linebacker or a point guard, I still think it interesting how a team is linked to say a college starting pitcher and a high school third baseman. Is that solely because they grade out equal to each other on a team’s big board, or is that more a function of different voices within the organization fighting for they guys they are really high on?
Keith Law: Because they grade out similarly on the main board. You have to rank them all, regardless of how different they are. Imagine how much worse it’ll be if MLB ever forces a worldwide draft on us.

Dallas: Lewis takes an underslot deal at #1 ($7.0) because he won’t get $7.0 anywhere else.
Keith Law: I don’t think that’s true at all. Couple of teams below that would give him $7MM if they could.

ck: Who cares what is on your bookshelf when you are on TV? Stupid trolls need to get a life….
Keith Law: It never ceases to amaze me how mad some people will get over the most trivial things.

Mike J: Hi Keith. Hearing any new news regarding the Pirates’ thinking? Thanks for your time. Folks appreciate all of your hard work on this draft and being accessible to answer our questions.
Keith Law: Nothing new since the mock yesterday. The one pick I would change from that is the Yanks – think they’d take Pratto if there rather than Peterson, so Peterson then drops a few spots, maybe to the Giants, Mets, Orioles range, no worse than Toronto 22.

justin: Any players have a chance at cracking your top 20 baseball prospects upon being drafted?
Keith Law: I don’t think so.

Manny: Other than normal reliever attrition, am I crazy in thinking that Bukauskas is likely to be a RP?
Keith Law: I think there’s a very good chance of it, yes.

Adam D.: Please make me feel better about the Giants inevitably taking Evan White. Please?
Keith Law: Some folks think he runs well enough to play the outfield, maybe center. That would make him much more interesting.

Joe (Green Bay, WI): Comments like “…Nothing more than a #3/4,” are bothersome. It’s as if guys that profile as mid-rotation starters are found on trees.
Keith Law: Look at what they get in free agency! There have long been fans getting mad at me for saying someone “only” projects as a fourth starter. Those guys earn eight figures now.

John: Could taking Romero be a desperation move to try and help an awful Nats bullpen? Also, when you say you do not like his delivery, do you mean it could cause injury? Thanks as always.
Keith Law: He’s already had injury issues, so yes, and also I don’t think that’s a delivery that he’s going to repeat enough for average command.

Tim: Any feeling that someone other than McKay, Wright, Greene, Gore go in the top 3? Surprise pick like Moniack last year?
Keith Law: Moniak we knew as a 1-1 possibility about three weeks out. That hasn’t happened this year.

Daniel: Any thoughts on Drew Ellis? Would he be better served coming back to Louisville, or is he thought of highly enough to be a top 2-3 round pick?
Keith Law: He’s going to be drafted tonight, I think, but his swing-at-everything style scares me.

Frank: Which of the top names are being advised by Boras?
Keith Law: I do not print this information until players have signed, because the NCAA is the worst.

Ridley Kemp: Howdy Keith, I have a non-baseball Arizona question for you: My wife and I want to move to a smaller town in the desert. We love but can’t afford Marfa, so we’re looking at Bisbee. Have you ever been there, and do you have any impressions to share? I want the truth to be said.
Keith Law: Never been. Sedona was lovely, though.

Matt: Do any colleges have set-ups that allow them to track some of the new statistical measures we’re seeing a lot of in the majors right now (e.g., exit velocity, spin rate, etc.)? If so, are those stats shared with MLB teams?
Keith Law: I believe a few have set up some of the equipment for this.

James: how good is hiura’s bat? Good enough to stick him in left field and let him get to the majors asap?
Keith Law: Can’t play left if you can’t throw at all.

Garrett: What are the ceiling for Chris Seise and Ryan Vilade?
Keith Law: Both are on my Big Board … everyday regulars, but both with some bat risks. Seise seems like he needs to get a lot stronger.

Andy: Not a draft question, but….what should Tigers fans take of Manning still being in extended spring? Are they holding him back to hold down his workload, or is he not ready for full season ball yet?
Keith Law: Had trouble throwing strikes in March. I think they couldn’t send him out.

Joe-Nathan: I’m planning to get you to sign my book in Toronto. Any specific restaurants/coffee shops from your blue jay days you are excited about for your visit?
Keith Law: I haven’t been there since 2005, so I’m treating this like a first visit. I’ll only be on the ground about 24 hours.

Jay: Not a draft question, but how much research or questions are raised internally about players eye sight as they age? We know bat speed declines with age, but eye sight in general does as well for most people. Obviously it’s really hard to combat this but how much is this talked about with clubs when signing guys or doing medical research on them and do you think this is something that eventually become a bigger deal as teams try to discover the next market inefficiency in the health/biometrics area?
Keith Law: Most teams want vision test results for potential draftees, and some teams will crush a guy with poor results. So it’s definitely a factor tonight, but I don’t hear it much for veteran players.

Wally: hey Keith – love the book. Was curious about your comment in the mock draft about Romero (‘at a certain point it becomes indistinguishable from parody ‘). Is that a shot at the Nats or the industry generally for considering a screwup because he has talent?
Keith Law: Want to make an educated guess who the Nats are taking? Find the most famous player still on the board.

Jim: Where would Luis Robert go in this draft class?
Keith Law: Probably middle of the first round.

Dave: Keith, non-draft question, how many MLB stadiums have you been to?
Keith Law: I think 27. I’ll add one in July at the Futures Game. I’d still need Seattle and Texas.

Quinn: Likelihood of Kyle Wright falling out of the top 5?
Keith Law: Under 5%.

addoeh: So no trip to Omaha then?
Keith Law: For me? No, we’re not doing BBTN any more, so no BBTNs from Omaha either.

Wade: When is Rooker taken?
Keith Law: Tonight, somewhere between 30-50 is my guess.

Danny: Sorry if you’ve answered his before, but who are the players in mind that teams cutting a deal want to fall in the supplemental 1st or 2nd round?
Keith Law: Prep arms, largely. Carlson, Enlow, Jennings, Baz (in theory, doubt it happens), Crouse, Heatherly, etc.

Noah: Who has the final say for a draft pick, is it the GM, Farm Director, or President of Baseball Ops?
Keith Law: First round it’s usually the GM, although he may simply choose to take who the scouting director wants. After that it’s typically the scouting director, unless there’s a deal already in place.

Steve: FYI, if you think having Sandy Hook Truthers on TV isn’t a thing NBC should do, you can tell them about it here:
Keith Law: It’s definitely not something any tv station should do, but let’s face it, the networks will do anything for eyeballs at this point.

Scott C: This isn’t a draft question, but did you get to see any of Newcomb’s debut over the weekend?
Keith Law: Nope. Didn’t watch any MLB games this weekend – I was either doing draft prep or at the Blue Rocks’ games Saturday and Sunday.

Kyle: About where does JJ Schwarz go at this point?
Keith Law: Fourth or fifth round? Would he even sign there, or go back to UF to try to come out after a better senior year?

addoeh: Unless you have been there already this year, new Atlanta ballpark as well.
Keith Law: oh that’s right. Boondoogle Park is on the list.

Andy: What are the chances the a player not in your top 100 is taken tonight? I guess the question is, have you heard other guys getting mentioned towards the end, that you have outside 100.
Keith Law: 100% chance of that. Last year there were a couple – JB Woodman, the guy Ole Miss fans kept claiming was a 5-tool player, was the first, I think. (He has a 39% K rate as a 22-year-old in low-A this year.) The Pirates also skunked everyone with their last pick of day one, Travis “Monarch of the Glen” Macgregor.

Jerry: To combat the way some college coaches abuse their best arms, what is keeping the NCAA from instituting pitch limits and mandatory rest periods, the same way every amateur level in America is currently doing?
Keith Law: This would assume the NCAA cares one iota about keeping pitchers healthy.

Steve: When you say Hiura can’t throw “at all,” how bad are you talking? Ben Revere bad? Or an actual bottom-of-the-scale 20 arm?
Keith Law: He didn’t play the field all spring because of whatever’s going on with his arm. That’s why I listed him as a DH/2B.

Mo: Not a question, but as an African-American and lifelong baseball fan, Hunter Greene might already be my new favorite player
Keith Law: I was extremely impressed when I sat down with him. His answers weren’t canned or hackneyed; he’s intelligent and his answers were really thoughtful.

Dalton: Any thoughts on Chase Vallot this weekend? 129 wRC+ in A+ from a 20yo is nice with all the walks and power, even if he’s striking out more than me when I try to ask girls out on a date.
Keith Law: He’s terrible. It’s a negative approach at the plate. FWIW, I don’t think wRC+ is a useful stat for discussing prospects.

Joey Bag-O-Donuts: I appreciate you not mentioning me and my draft prospects this year, Keith. You have brought up my name every year for what seems like a decade. Maybe this year, without all of the hype, will be the year my dream finally comes true.
Keith Law: I gave you enough love in Smart Baseball, Joey.

Andy: The ESPN comments were annoyed with the fact that you “made it a black thing” about Greene.
Keith Law: As if I had made him black.

Brett: Hi Keith. Thank you for all your draft coverage. I have a question about KJ Harrison. It seems not many, if anyone, sees him as a C anymore. Do you just think the bat isn’t good enough to make
Keith Law: I don’t think the bat is good enough for him to be worth a top 3 rounds pick at another position.

Dalton: Care to clarify on wRC+ for prospects? Do you think linear weights are different in the minors? The only complaint I think could be that wRC+ adjusts for league but the not park (in the minors that is).
Keith Law: Why are linear weights the goal, though? Woodman has a 108 wRC+, so above average, but he just pulled his strikeout rate down under 40% in the last few days. So he does good things on contact (perhaps a function of being old for the league), but makes such infrequent contact that it won’t matter. We’re not looking for the most valuable players in the Midwest League, but the most projectable ones.

Brad: What is the boardgame you play most these days?
Keith Law: Usually new stuff – Santorini, Barenpark, and Unlock! the last three – with the family, older stuff more online.

Jeb: When is the actual first pick tonight (as opposed to the beginning of the broadcast)?
Keith Law: 7:05 pm, I think.

Dan: I know it may not be realistic, but do you think there’s a chance McKay ends up as a reliever/1B/DH? If he were to be an above-average reliever for 50 innings and say, Brandon Belt at the dish, he’s a 5-win player. He is after all, the best two way player, maybe ever in college.
Keith Law: I don’t. I think he’s too good at both to end up in that role. You’re talking brooks kieschnick.

Ed: Did you see Wonder Woman? We don’t go to the movies that often anymore with the time to in-home availability shrinking, but we had a great time watching this one on the big screen. My 11-year-old daughter had been looking forward to it since she was about 9, and she thoroughly enjoyed it.
Keith Law: No, but we plan to see it somewhere. I haven’t seen a movie in a few weeks now because of this draft nonsense.

Tallulah: Duke Uselton? As a huge Zootopia fan, I can only shake my head. Re Burger and scouts agreeing he won’t stay at 3rd – is he 1B/DH only, or could profile at a corner OF spot?
Keith Law: First base only, I think. And that was my favorite line in Zootopia.
Keith Law: OK, the phone is starting to buzz again so I’m going to wrap this up. I’ll be on Twitter tonight and there will be a live file running on ESPN that gathers my quick notes on each of the first round picks, and I’ll shoot for a chat tomorrow afternoon once we are through round five. Thank you as always for reading and for all of your questions!

Stick to baseball, 6/10/17.

I’ve been busy this week, with a top 100 draft prospects “Big Board” up for Insiders, and a free article profiling top draft prospect Hunter Greene, who gave me some really thoughtful answers on the topics of preparation, being a two-way player, and baseball’s declining African-American audience. I also held a Klawchat on Friday afternoon.

I’ll have a new mock draft up tomorrow (Sunday) and my editors and I will update that file until the draft begins Monday evening. I’m also planning to do a chat Monday afternoon as the draft gets closer.

In non-baseball content, BBC America asked me to to rank the main clones on the show Orphan Black, which returns for its fifth and final season tonight on the cable channel. The first four seasons are all available on Amazon Prime, and I highly recommend it.

Over at Paste, I reviewed the cooperative puzzle game Unlock!, which is actually a series of modules that mimic the escape-room experience by asking players to solve riddles on cards and enter codes into a free app on their phones. The publisher sent me four of the modules; I played three before the review, and they’re all difficult but worth playing. The fourth, The Island of Dr. Goorse, was too abstruse, and that’s not just my opinion but the opinion of all five of us who played, including my father, the (retired) electrical engineer and one of the smartest people I’ve ever met.

And now, the links…

Klawchat 6/9/17.

I ranked all the main Leda clones on Orphan Black for BBC America ahead of the season premiere tomorrow night. Last call for Clone Club!

Keith Law: I’m not expecting to grow flowers in the desert. It’s Klawchat.

Ken: Please explain why Austin Beck is seen as the superior prospect to Jaren Kendall? They appear to have similar general strengths and weaknesses, but Kendall has 3 years in the SEC and Beck has missed a summer and reportedly has minimal experience of competing against elite competition in his age group. Is it simply because Beck’s ceiling is considerably higher?
Keith Law: There’s a lot to unpack here, but I’ll give it a shot. One, they don’t have similar strengths and weaknesses to begin with, but let’s assume they did. Two, Kendall has 3 years in the SEC … of huge strikeout rates and lack of adjustments. It’s often easier to dream on the kid who hasn’t been challenged than the one who has and has struggled. Three, scouts have major concerns about the mechanics of Kendall’s swing, but not Beck’s. I do have questions about Beck – you named some; I think there’s effort to his game, even the ++ bat speed – but how can we overlook how often Kendall strikes out, and specifically swings and misses, against decent competition?

cj: if the braves draft McKay, they wouldn’t put him in RF, and Acuna in LF would they? Shouldn’t that be flipped the other way?
Keith Law: McKay is a first baseman, and I think there’s maybe a 2% chance he gets to Atlanta (pick 5) anyway. BTW, I should have said this up front, but I’m going to focus on draft questions today.

Erix: Hey Keith!

Everyone preaches taking best player available, but one often hears that a team is focused on college bats, or prep righties, or some other subset. Does this fly in the face of BPA or does it just suggest that’s where they think the best players are?
Keith Law: The latter. Hey, we’d like to get a college bat, but if the best player available isn’t one, then we won’t force it.

Sean: Grabs popcorn, waits for the deluge of questions about Jordan Adell. Should be fun.
Keith Law: I see one. I don’t really understand this comment.

Kyle: Is your ranking of Adell based more heavily on your own scouting? Just trying to reconcile seeing him at 50 while showing up at 9 on the mock. Are the Brewers outliers in their evaluation of him? Thanks!
Keith Law: Based more than anything on comments from scouts and crosscheckers who were off him early this spring – and who say his big HR total is a reflection of a tiny home park. But bear in mind my rankings and my mocks are not connected in any way.

Jim: What’s your take on the Oregon State – Heimlich situation? How will MLB offices deal with it?
Keith Law: A few teams have already told me they took his magnet off their draft boards. My guess is someone takes him on day three, then decides whether to sign him after seeing what PR backlash there is and what the kid says to them in person afterwards. He hasn’t commented publicly; I don’t know if he’s spoken to any scouts or teams since the news broke. And I’m loath to say too much because of how sensitive the subject is, but I wouldn’t draft him, period.

Mike: This might sound like a dumb question but humor me. Can you explain to me why left on left/right on right is a good pitching matchup?
Keith Law: Hitters fare better against pitchers from the other side because they can see the ball earlier out of the pitcher’s hand.

Jake: Odds that Estevan Florial is a top 100 prospect next March?
Keith Law: Low.

Lilith: Do you have any idea who the Reds might have interest in at 32 or 38?
Keith Law: Not really. It’s like every year – they want some HS overslot candidate to fall.

Mac: Do you think players should have to declare for the draft? That would seem to clear up all the signability issues that makes a complicate decision even more complicated.
Keith Law: No, because the NCAA would find a way to use that to fuck players over.

David: I know it varies from team to team. So on average how many amateur scouts, crosscheckers, and the like do teams generally employ?
Keith Law: 12-14 area guys, 3-6 crosscheckers (can include regional or just national), a director, maybe a few others like an assistant director or a special assignment scout who reports to the GM but sees amateurs in the spring.

Andy: Did McIlwain cost the SC coach his job? He was fired for not making the NCAA tourney. Scouting the stat line only, it looks like the weakest position was CF. The coach probably would have spent more time recruiting or stabilizing that position if he didn’t have a QB penciled in there.
Keith Law: That was one of many problems with Holbrook – working Clarke Schmidt as hard as he did, followed by a Schmidt TJ, couldn’t have helped matters on or off the field.

Andy: Would you prefer that we take finished copies of your book to a local library for donation, or to an independent bookseller to resell?
Keith Law: The library. I don’t like the idea that there’s a financial threshold for readers – not everyone can spend liberally on books. Thank you for asking, BTW.

ILLINIcheid: What do you think is causing the increase in home runs? It can’t possibly be primarily due to launch angle.

If the ball has been juiced, how is that possible? Isn’t there a specific compression the balls have to adhere to? I’m sure pitchers who have been hit in the head by line drives would be unhappy to learn about a juiced ball.
Keith Law: Why can’t it be due primarily to launch angle, or just generally to attempts to swing for the fences more?

Mike: Does Andruw Jones ever get elected to the HoF? Baseball-Reference has a top 4 similarity score to Dale Murphy, Jose Canseco, Joe Carter and Jim Edmonds.
Keith Law: Don’t think so but he will get some support, more than Edmonds (one and done) did.

Michael: Can the Twins really pass on Hunter Greene? As a fan, I’m not as excited about the other options.
Keith Law: Can and I think will.

Corbett: How do negotiations happen after a player is picked? Do agents let teams know if they’re seeking an over slot deal before the draft?
Keith Law: Yeah, there’s a lot of discussion before the draft, and a lot of players have already agreed to terms when they’re picked. It’s not permitted, but everyone does it, so MLB can’t enforce the rules. It’s why I advocate allowing teams to negotiate with players or agents beforehand – they’re doing it anyway, you’ll never stop it, so force it out from the shadows.

Dave: Have you heard about the Kooks Burrito uproar in Portland? Is cultural appropriation of food a real thing? I had never heard of this before.
Keith Law: Talk about political correctness run amok. It’s about as stupid a food non-troversy as I can remember seeing. Unless those two women were doing something really insensitive in their marketing or branding, I don’t understand this at all. Rick Bayliss is one of the most important chefs of Mexican cuisine in the world, and he’s not Mexican. (He’s Skip’s brother.) He’s done as much to popularize regional Mexican cooking and educate American palates on it as anybody. The idea that this would somehow be ‘appropriation’ is absurd. It’s like saying American authors can’t write fiction because Japanese and British authors did it first.

Tom L: Also, any chance you’ll be making a visit to Powell’s here in Portland?
Keith Law: Nope. Wonderful store, but they never asked.

Michael: This may be a question with an obvious answer, but what do teams do with the 40+ new players they acquire every year (40 round draft and intn’l signings)? If they stick them on a rookie league team (how many of those does each team have anyway) – then the guys from the prior year have to move up to A, AA, etc. right? Do they release 40-ish players each year who are not even org guys?
Keith Law: They release a bunch of guys when extended spring ends, on top of releases at the end of March.

Ray Grace: I know it’s a small sample size but where in the hell did Chris Taylor come from? Did his scouting report when drafted give any hit that he could turn into this type of hitter?
Keith Law: Small sample size. I don’t think he’s turned into anything.

PhillyJake: In your last mock you had the Pirates taking J.B. Bukauskas. I don’t see it. They usually go for the six and a half foot (give or take an inch) pitchers, Bukauskas is only 6’0″. What’s different about this guy?
Keith Law: “I don’t see it” doesn’t work as an argument unless you’ve been talking to sources about the draft.

Mike M: Did you think Devers would be this good in AA right away?
Keith Law: I’ve ranked him very highly for two-plus years, putting him over Moncada both years they’ve been on the the top 100.
Keith Law: So, yes, I would say I expected him to be good fast. (Sorry for the lag there – my PC blue-screened.)

Jim: Do you think the Mets would take Jake Burger at 20? And do you think he’s too fat for third?
Keith Law: I think he’d be on their list, but not necessarily their first choice, and he’s not fat, but he’s going to end up at 1b.

Sterling Mallory Chris Archer: Is there any way to see past newsletters? I wanted to read the anxiety one you wrote three weeks ago but for some reason I wasn’t getting the emails.
Keith Law: yes, on the signup page you can see some past newsletter, including the one you want.

JP: Based solely on climate, culture, and politics, where would you choose to live (domestically and internationally)?
Keith Law: Italy. Good weather. Great people. Amazing food. Government too unstable and incompetent to do much harm.

Len: So let’s assume the top 4 is Wright, Greene, Gore, McKay like most expect. Atlanta would take Lewis, right? I hope they don’t get cute again and try to float someone when it would be really tough to do for them this year.
Keith Law: That is my current top 5. Beck 6, then I think Haseley or Smith 7.

Matt : From what you’ve heard, are Seth Romero’s issues related more to immaturity or is he, for lack of a better phrase, a bad guy.
Keith Law: More than immaturity. Also, that’s not a great delivery.

Brett: If someone asked you to do a commencement speech, would you? Are you afraid of public speaking, or has your time on TV mitigated that?
Keith Law: Done plenty of public speaking – including another one at Pitch Talks in Toronto on 6/26, tix still available! – and have never been “afraid” of it. I’ll be more anxious right before I start, and then once it begins, I get extremely focused and will always lose track of time. I did this once in Boston to a CMU alumni group, thought I had talked for about 20 minutes, and was told over an hour had gone by.

Brad: Any chance of you coming to the Tattered Cover out here in Denver for a book signing? It was a great read, by the way – I gave it to my dad when he was recuperating from back surgery.
Keith Law: Glad you enjoyed it. All scheduled book signings have come from stores or venues contacting HarperCollins to invite me. If that happens, I can try to work it into my schedule (usually tied into a trip I’m taking for another reason). I’ll be at Books & Books in Miami the day before the Futures Game, for example.

Marshall MN: Despite wanting Greene to the Twins, I have come to accept taking Wright #1 overall. What level do you seem him starting out at after signing, High-A ball?
Keith Law: I would expect him to start 2018 in high-A. He probably won’t pitch much this summer.

Macabe : Where do you think Stanford SS Nico Hoerner gets drafted next year? Looks like he has had success but I don’t really know what evaluators think of him at the next level
Keith Law: I can’t think about next year’s draft until I’ve survived this one.

Hey J.P.: Lamonte Wade, Brandon Lowe, or Mike Shawryn on your next top 100 list?
Keith Law: No.

Bret: How much does Nick Allen’s height concern you? It may be recency bias, but my instinct is that worrying about a player’s height tends to be a bit overblown?
Keith Law: It doesn’t. Dude can hit and can play short. He’s fine.

j : Thoughts on Jordan Montgomery? He’s looked pretty solid here early on
Keith Law: It’s extremely average stuff. I expect the K rate to decline with more looks. He’ll have to cut the walk rate to compensate.

Phils Guy: When my twin sons were in middle school, I had to verbally twist my pediatrician’s to get the Gardasil regimen started. Parents of boys, please insist that your pre-teen sons get vaccinated for HSV, It may not happen if you don’t force the issue.
Keith Law: Our daughter’s doctors – PCP and metabolic specialist – both encouraged us to get her the HPV vaccine when she turned 11 (which she *just* did so we haven’t gone yet). It’s really weird that they do so for girls but not boys.

Andy: It seems like Kendall has a really high ceiling, and a seemingly more possible floor of never making the majors. Does he have like a Cameron Maybin middle, ending up as a good fielder with huge Ks, but still a serviceable player?
Keith Law: That’s a reasonable point of view.

cj: Can you tell me about Bubba Thomson? Is he a potential top 10 so a team can go overslot later?
Keith Law: Not a potential top 10. I have him ranked right around where I think he’ll go (coincidence), in the 20s.

FG: how many of the top 50 draft prospects do you get to scout in person?
Keith Law: In a typical year, maybe 30-35. This year, half that, because my book came out during draft season.

PhillyJake: I realize I don’t see it doesn’t work as an argument. Which is why I asked what different about this guy? Or, what is it they like about him to break their pattern in terms of pitchers they draft?
Keith Law: I don’t know their specific thinking, but he’s a three-year performer who will show three above average pitches.

Len: Can you give us an update on your mock schedule between now and the draft?
Keith Law: Next one posts Sunday morning and we will keep that file ‘live’ till the draft, editing that rather than rewriting the whole thing.

Sam: Still thinking Nick Allen for the Cubs? Would they save any money for high-ceiling options at #30?
Keith Law: I didn’t have them with Allen in my last mock. I have heard they would like to pair up those picks (27 and 29), go over slot with one and under with the other, to try to nab a top 15 talent who fell due to bonus demands/college commitment.

Chris: Why is a quiche not a pie?
Keith Law: It’s a pie. A custard pie.

Ed: Non Draft Question – Eddie Butler has looked decent with the Cubs, albeit a SSS and not pitching a mile above sea level. Have you seen anything different in his delivery that might help him have more success going forward?
Keith Law: I think it’s more that his shoulder is finally healthy again and he’s not pitching in Denver.

Marshall MN: At what spot in this draft does a team stop scouting Wright/Greene/McKay? It seems like by pick 6 or 7 that there isn
Keith Law: Yes, teams in that 6-10 range have told me they expect those three guys to be gone.

Mike: Jack Flaherty, who you call a possible #2 starter, has opened his time in AAA with two solid starts. How far is he from being ready for a ML rotation?
Keith Law: He could get a cup of coffee in September but it’s more realistic to think he’ll be up nextx spring.

Hey J.P.: Otani a two way player in the majors? And either way, how would he fare if he was draft eligible?
Keith Law: No, pitcher only.

Ed: Are the Cubs still on Luis Gonzalez? Seems like a lot of risk – HS guy playing in altitude with limited upside. Any chance they look at pitching or do they continue to do what they’ve been good at – picking bats? Thanks!
Keith Law: Luis Gonzalez is at UNM. You’re (possibly) confusing him with Jacob Gonzalez, whose father Luis played for the Dbacks, who is an Arizona HS kid.

Mike: Is it possible the Addison Russell accusations are completely false?
Keith Law: Possible, sure. Likely, no. False accusation rates for domestic and sexual assault are in the single digits.

Dan: Like many others, you had Smoak as a top prospect. Then he spent the next seven years looking like a bust. Now he’s suddenly become one of the top 1B in the AL. What’s happened?
Keith Law: I told him he was making me look bad, and he apologized and said he’d take care of it.

preston: non draft question. Newcomb starts tomorrow. if you are Atl, do you release Bartolo and go with Newcomb the remainder of the year?
Keith Law: I don’t see why we should expect Newcomb to succeed given his chronically high walk rates throughout the minors, including AAA.

Andy: Honestly, the second worst part of the OSU pitcher’s story (behind the actions) is that most of the family took his side. How does someone do that? It isn’t like it’s a he said-she said, like sexual assault. He pleaded guilty. Grade 20 family he’s from.
Keith Law: You mean like the Duggar family. And Mike Huckabee, the soi-disant “christian” who defended the molester.

Josh: You had positive things to say about Yordan Alvarez before the season. Have you gotten any scouting reports since he started tearing up Low A?
Keith Law: Just that he’s overmatching the league. I wish he were in high-A because Buies Creek is in town this weekend. (Also, I’m calling them “Boo-Ya’s Creek” until someone corrects me.)

Brian: What do you think about Louisville taking the result of the play ( ground ball out to ss) and the run instead of the catcher’s interference vs UK today? If they took the interference it would’ve been bases loaded, 1 out (U of L up 1-0) instead it was runner on 3rd, 2 outs (2-0). Good Strategy or No?
Keith Law: Would depend on who was up next. You pretty much always trade an out for a run on offense unless you’re trailing by a lot, right?

Ethan: Any idea what time the signing in Harrisburg next week is?
Keith Law: It’s next month, not next week.

Nick: This may be a dumb question, but do you find joy/happiness from your job? I know many people feel they would, but I’m curious if it plays out that way. While scouting and writing about baseball seems to be many peoples’ dream, I am wondering if you still view it in such a positive light. Thanks for all the work you do.
Keith Law: I do, definitely, but it is also very much a job. And there are times when I am doing something (sitting or standing at a HS game, watching a kid who’s not as good as advertised, in cold or wet weather) that I wouldn’t be doing if it weren’t an obligation.

Brett: Have you ever scouted internationally? If so, what countries have you been to?
Keith Law: I’ve been to the DR and Taiwan, once each, and would barely call it scouting. I’ve got no interest in that lifestyle – your trips are long and grueling.

Drew Dog: With the “Trea Turner rule” now changed, what is stopping a team from asking a top 3 picking team to draft a guy, then trading them minor or MLB talent immediately after?
Keith Law: It’s not immediate – it’s five months – and a lot can happen in the interim.

Drew Dog: Why do so many UVA pitchers appear to bust? Tyler Wilson, D Hultzen, Nick Howard, Branden Kline…
Keith Law: Because they push everyone to have the same delivery, and that doesn’t work. I believe Javier Lopez is still their all-time leader in pitching WAR.

Dustin: Keith, who are you hearing connected to Houston at #15? So far I’ve seen Hiura, Baz, and Peterson
Keith Law: I believe I’ve mentioned all three of them with Houston in past mocks.

Fonz: What are your thoughts on Tarik Skubal? And will he be offered enough to forgo another year in school to rebuild his stock?
Keith Law: He’s throwing bullpens for teams now, but no one ever scouted him in a game (he had TJ on 4/20/16) so unless he’s willing to take a deep discount he may be better off either 1) heading to school or 2) trying to pitch somewhere like the Cape this summer to see if a team drafts him late and will go over slot for him.

Oren: Revisiting last year’s draft, what have you heard about Cal Quantrill? His numbers look okay, but I know he’s in a bit of a hitter’s league. What are the scouting reports saying? Does he look anything close to the guy he was when he was seen as a 1-1 candidate?
Keith Law: I’ve heard yes, he has, but he’s also barely two years off TJ and has outings where he doesn’t have his command.

Matt: I don’t think it applies here to the Addison Russell case because they are married, but it appears the rates of false accusations amongst professional athletes in SA/DV cases is higher than the general population given their income levels (and therefore monetary value to gain). Isnt it best to wait for the facts (when possible) before permanently changing opinions on players?
Keith Law: I’d like to see proof of that claim about such false accusations. You mention the monetary gain to claimants, but ignore the vitriol they face from mouthbreathing fans who will call them sluts or golddiggers, who’ll dox them, who’ll go after their jobs, and so on. Just look at what Patrick Kane’s victim went through.

Brett: Kind of piggy backing off of Nick’s question, do you ever sit back at night and watch a baseball game for pure enjoyment?
Keith Law: Never. Baseball is work. If I do something that isn’t work, it won’t be baseball.

Wrong Verb: Speaking of trading newly drafted players, what is the reason why MLB won’t allow draft picks to be traded?
Keith Law: The fear that small market teams would choose to trade picks rather than pay high bonuses – and that agents would use that as leverage. I think those are overblown; small market teams have the most to gain from gathering picks and paying to add amateur talent at the draft’s discounted prices.

Ed: Is Pearson’s stock getting too high for him to fall to the Cubs?
Keith Law: I have heard Nate Pearson has a deal in the 21-26 range.

Greg: Keith, how much did injuries impact your Tristian Beck ranking? I’ve read others say he’s a first-round talent, do you agree?
Keith Law: He was on my list as a potential first-round talent coming into the spring, but never pitched. I don’t see how you can handwave away a back injury for a pitcher.

Matt: You don’t watch the World Series unless you get paid?
Keith Law: You think I’m paid by the game?

Greg: Signability issues with Brady McConnell?
Keith Law: He won’t come cheap. Kind of kid who could end up a first rounder in 3 years if he goes to school and performs at the plate, but hasn’t performed enough this year and of course there’s the risk he goes to school and flops.

Hank: Hey Keith, can you clarify this for me — Your Shane Baz write up mentions three plus pitches but not much deception. Does the lack of deception not have an impact on the grade of the pitches?
Keith Law: Not to be flippant, but if it impacted the pitch grades, I would have said so. You can throw 98, and that’s a plus fastball, but if hitters square it up (Mark Appel comes to mind), then there’s a reason – lack of movement, lack of deception, lack of command – and that’s a separate line item.

Rick C: So I take it Tristan Beck is a lesser pitcher than Kolby Allard? And/or is his back injury more serious?
Keith Law: Allard pitched that spring; I saw him.

Brett: I’m assuming, assuming, that you have your work emails on your phone. Assuming you do, how do you balance that with your home life. Do you find it hard, when spending time with your wife and daughter, to not peak at your emails? I struggle with that as a professional and as a Father.
Keith Law: Absolutely. Especially this time of year. There’s always another person looking for me. I get so many inbound messages through various platforms that I have stopped responding to most of them because I just don’t have the time.

Hank: Geez man, just asking a question. Not really sure why you need the tough guy mantra when people are asking questions.
Keith Law: Yes, that’s how people describe me, a real “tough guy.”

Jason: Had he been stateside and eligible, where would Vlad Jr. fall?
Keith Law: Top ten guy, don’t think he would have been 1-1 (as some others have asked in the queue) because of body type and positional question. Very, very hard to compare Latin American kids to US kids because of different ages (sign at 16 internationally, usually 18 here) and levels of competition.

Nick: Keith, halfway through your book and enjoying it thoroughly. The amount of historical baseball queries is pretty impressive; do you pull each of those points as you write, or can you outsource that part to someone else?
Keith Law: I did most of them myself, while writing, but Meredith Wills helped quite a bit too.

satya: who are some of the high school kids who teams could try to push down?
Keith Law: Carlson, Enlow, Baz, Jennings (heard maybe 30 to Texas), Hurt, Heatherly, Corry.

Kevin: Loved your Orphan Black list. I would probably argue that Allison is underrated because she’s a great character. Her storylines over the last year hurt her, though. She’s every bit the survivor that Sarah is.
Keith Law: They all are, I think, but her storylines have always been the worst IMO. It’s a great performance by Maslany – Alison is like this strange mix of Leah Remini and young Valerie Bertinelli – but the writers too often put her into ridiculous situations.

Brad: It would seem to me Gore has just as much upside as Lewis and possibly even Green. Is he under serious consideration at 1-1?
Keith Law: He doesn’t have as much upside as Greene, at all, and I have heard he’s on the Twins’ longlist at 1 but not short list.

Michael: Why did you decide to inject race into that Hunter Greene article?
Keith Law: If you know Greene at all, you know this is an issue that’s extremely important to him. You don’t know Greene, obviously, but you just wanted to say something really stupid.

Randy: With the two extra picks (and therefore more money) from the Cardinals, if Baz is available at 15 do you see the Astros drafting him, giving him over slot money, and then drafting easy to sign college seniors with the Cardinals picks?
Keith Law: There’s a rumor that Baz has a big deal in place somewhere, and what you described was my guess. It’s just speculation, though.

Joe: Have you had many women scoping you out on the book tour?
Keith Law: Depends on whether you’re telling my wife.

Bob: Vin Scully never watched a game he wasn’t broadcasting, in person or on TV. No one ever accused him of not liking baseball. You’re in good company.
Keith Law: I’ll take that, even if I can’t hold a candle to Vin.
Keith Law: That’s all for this week. I plan to chat on Monday afternoon predraft and then some time on Tuesday once we’re through round 5 or so to recap. I’m home Monday night, so I’ll react to each pick via ESPN’s Shortstop app (which kicks to Twitter too) and may do a Google Hangout with Eric Longenhagen if we can make the tech work and I don’t bluescreen again. Thank you as always for all of your questions.

Music update, May 2017.

My ranking of the top 100 prospects for Monday’s MLB Rule 4 draft is now up for Insiders.

If I don’t hurry up and post this, it’ll be a two-month update that has about 50 songs on it, so rather than wait for the time I’d need to do a full writeup, here’s my latest playlist of new music.


  1. alt-J – Adeline.
  2. Arcade Fire – Everything Now.
  3. The Afghan Whigs – Toy Automatic.
  4. Royal Blood – Hook, Line & Sinker.
  5. Portugal. The Man – So Young.
  6. Wavves – No Shade.
  7. The New Pornographers – Darling Shade.
  8. Japanese Breakfast – Machinist.
  9. machineheart – Shelter.
  10. Hoops – On Letting Go.
  11. Sløtface – Magazine.
  12. Sheer Mag – Just Can’t Get Enough.
  13. Fictionist – Lazarus.
  14. MisterWives – Coloring Outside The Lines.
  15. Are We Static – Heartbreaker.
  16. The Chain Gang Of 1974 – Looking For Love.
  17. WATERS – Something More.
  18. Cloves – California Numb.
  19. Courtney Barnett – How to Boil an Egg.
  20. Sundara Karma – Explore.
  21. Swet Shop Boys – Zombie.
  22. Danger Mouse, Run The Jewels, Big Boi – Chase Me.

Some quick thoughts: I didn’t love alt-J’s new album, Relaxer, as they’ve continued to move away from the minimalist approach of their debut album, but thought the new WAVVES record was strong, and liked the new records from Afghan Whigs (more than their comeback LP) and WATERS. I’ve listed to the New Pornographers’ Whiteout Conditions, released in April a few times; I think it’s solid but not as good throughout as Brill Bruisers. I’m looking forward to the upcoming releases from Royal Blood, Arcade Fire, and Cloves. The Courtney Barnett song is a one-off single, a song she said she wrote when she was much younger but had never recorded. I’ve ended with two hip-hop songs – the Swet Shop Boys (Riz Ahmed & Heems) returned with a six-track EP, while the last song is from the 30-song soundtrack to the upcoming film Baby Driver.

Louisville eats.

I spent three nights in Louisville late last month for the ACC tournament, which was (mostly) held at the Bats’ AAA stadium right downtown, and I ate like a king for nearly the entire trip – to say nothing of the coffee.

Garage Bar had been on my to-do list for years, since Food and Wine posted a list of the best 48 pizzerias in the United States. (I’ve now been to 29, and one of the others closed shortly after the list was posted.) Garage Bar is, indeed, in a converted garage, and the space is very Brooklyn-hipster, but damn, that’s good pizza. The style is Neapolitan-ish, with a spongy, soft dough, but not the wet centers of true Neapolitan pizzas, although they use the classic ingredients (type 00 flour, San Marzano tomatoes) of that style and cook in a brick, wood-fired oven that hits 850 degrees. I tried the Local Mushroom pizza, a tomato-less pie that delivered just what I’d want in a mushroom pizza – big mushroom flavors complemented but not overwhelmed by the flavor of the cheese, here fromage blanc, a soft, fresh cow’s milk cheese where the fermentation is stopped fairly early in the process. I also recommend the Caesar salad, which is lightly dressed, not overly garlicky, topped with fried kale strips and two stripes of white anchovy (the good stuff).

After the last game ended on Friday, I walked over to Milkwood in downtown Louisville, mostly because I just wanted to try one of Edward Lee’s restaurants even though I wasn’t that hungry. The menu is a sort of Korean-southern fusion, but I went traditional with the vegetarian bibimbap, a Korean rice dish served in a smokin’ hot bowl that continues to cook the food at the table. Granted, I could eat plain white rice till the cows come home (and it’s a good thing I don’t because white rice is nutritionally worthless), but I killed this dish despite, as I said, not being very hungry. I even got dessert because the bartender told me the peanut butter ice cream that comes with the chess pie can’t be missed, and he was right – you can keep the pie, just give me the ice cream. (Chess pie is an acquired taste; it’s a southern custard pie that typically contains cornmeal and vinegar in the filling.)

Royals Hot Chicken has only been open for about a year and a half, offering what they call Nashville hot chicken, although their version is a little different – it’s all white meat “jumbo tenders” (each of which is a half breast halved again the long way), available at any spice level you like. I’m generally not a fan of chicken breast meat because it’s so lean and, in most cases, flavorless, but the crust at Royals’ has plenty of flavor, even on the mild setting (I like capsaicin more than it likes me). They have a long list of southern comfort-food sides, but I went with the roasted sweet potato with sorghum butter (the cashier’s rec) and the cucumber salad, both of which were excellent and didn’t make the entire meal into a heavy soporific. Speaking of which, I was surprised how little oil I had on my hands after eating the chicken, which is how it should be but rarely is.

Also in New Lou is Mayan Cafe, and I’m going to tell you up front, get the lima beans. It’s a signature item for them, and they’re damn good, and so popular that the restaurant posted the recipe. I ordered the salbutes, a regional Mexican preparation of a fried (flour) tortilla that puffs up and is topped like a cracker, with toppings that change daily; the chilaquiles; and the “chocolate on chocolate” dessert, which I was told was vegan and still can’t believe given how rich the cake was. I’d probably do something different for an entree, as the chilaquiles, while vegetarian (my goal), weren’t remarkable, but everything else I ate was.

Gralehaus was a recommendation from Stella Parks, aka BraveTart, whose first cookbook, BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts, comes out on August 15th; she lives in Lexington but gave me a short to-do food and coffee list for my trip that also included Quills (see below). Gralehaus is a bed & breakfast with a restaurant and bar that’s open to the public for all three meals, and the menu is influenced by southern comfort food but hardly limited to it (there’s a tofu banh mi on the lunch menu, for crying out loud). I couldn’t pass on the black pepper biscuit with duck sausage gravy, served with a sunny egg and and some duck cracklins; it was … decadent isn’t quite the word, but certainly rich and hearty, although the biscuit itself was on the dry side. They have an excellent coffee program, with beans from several artisanal roasters including Intelligentsia and one from right near me, La Maquina, of West Chester, PA.

Against the Grain is a brewpub attached to the Bats’ stadium, with the brewery on-site, but since it was midday I didn’t drink anything, I just ate, and the food was fine – better than ballpark food, certainly, but not on par with the other meals I ate around Louisville. I had the BBQ pork belly, which was served just as a giant slab of what was essentially bacon, and it was fine, nothing special, probably in need of a first step to tenderize the meat a little more before hitting the smoke. Get the Brussels sprouts side if you do go.

The one bad meal I had was at a place called Toast, which is just a mediocre diner that doesn’t execute particularly well and doesn’t list major ingredients in some dishes on its menu. If there’s cheese on a dish, that has to be listed, as you’d list something like nuts or shellfish. That aside, the food just wasn’t good and the service was indifferent.

Louisville has quite a thriving coffee scene, including Sunergos, a local roaster whose blend won a “best espresso in America” competition in 2014 – and it’s damn good, top five for me easily (Blue Bottle, Intelligentsia, Cartel, Four Barrel), so good I went back and bought a half-pound before leaving for the airport. Their blend is mostly Central and South American beans along with some Indonesian beans as well, and the result is noticeably sweet on its own, and there’s a cocoa undertone that I adore in coffee.

Quills was Stella Parks’ suggestion and they also do a solid espresso, not as bold or sweet as Sunergos’ but creditable, and I loved their space over in the Highlands, within walking distance of Gralehaus and Carmichael’s Bookstore; it was big, bright, and full of people working, chatting, just hanging out, the way a neighborhood coffee house should be. I also tried Press on Market, where I had a light-roast Sumatran bean as a pour-over – notable in and of itself because Indonesian beans are typically roasted until dark – and was surprised to find that the beans had some character beyond the roast. It’s a stone’s throw from the Bats’ stadium if you’re downtown.