The Elegant Universe.

My latest column at ESPN looks at five potential callups for contenders.

Brian Greene’s 1999 bestseller and Pulitzer Prize finalist The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory is more like two books in one. The first half to two-thirds is a highly accessible history of the two main branches of physics, the macro world perspective that culminated in Einstein’s discovery of general relativity, and the micro (I mean, really micro) perspective covered by quantum mechanics. The two theories could not be unified until the advent of string theory, which Greene lays out in still somewhat easy to follow language. The last third of the book, however, delves into deeper topics like the nature of spacetime or the hypothesis of the multiverse, and I found it increasingly hard to follow and, unfortunately, less compelling at the same time.

String theory – more properly called superstring theory, but like the old basketball team in Seattle, the theory has lost its “super” somewhere along the way – is the prevailing theoretical framework in modern physics about the true nature of matter and the four fundamental forces. Rather than particles comprising ever-smaller subparticles that function as zero-dimensional points, string theory holds that what we perceive as particles are differing vibrations and frequencies of one-dimensional “strings.” String theory allows physicists to reconcile Einstein’s theories of general and special relativity with the explanations of three of those four forces (strong, weak, and electromagnetic) provided by quantum mechanics, resulting in a theory of quantum gravity that posits that that fourth force is the result of a massless quantum particle called the ‘graviton.’ Gravitons have not been observed or experimentally confirmed, but other similar particles have been, and all would be the result of those vibrating strings, open or closed loops in one dimension that, under the framework, are the most basic, indivisible unit of all matter and energy (which are the same thing) in the universe.

Strings are far too small to be observed, or to ever even be observed – you can’t observe a string with a particle, like a photon, larger than the string itself – but physicists believe string theory is accurate because math. And that’s one of the biggest challenges for Greene or anyone else writing about the topic: the proof isn’t in experimental results or great discoveries, but in equations that are too complicated to present in any text aimed at the mass audience.

In fact, the equations underlying string theory require a universe of not four dimensions – the ones we see, three of space and one of time, which Einstein treated simply as four dimensions of one thing called spacetime – but ten or eleven. These “missing” dimensions are here, at every point in the universe, but are tightly curled up in six-dimensional forms called Calabi-Yau manifolds, as if they exist but the universe simply chose not to deploy them. They must be there, however, if string theory is true, because the calculations require them. This is near the part where I started to fall off the train, and it only became worse with Greene’s discussions of further alterations to string theory – such as higher-dimensional analogues to strings called 2-branes and 3-branes – or his descriptions of what rips or tears in spacetime might look like and how they might fix themselves so that we never notice such things. (Although I prefer to think that that’s where some of my lost items ended up.)

The great success of this book, however, is in getting the reader from high school physics up to the basics of string theory. If you’re not that familiar with relativity – itself a pretty confusing concept – this is the best concise explanation of the theories I’ve come across, as Greene uses simple phrasing and diagrams to explain general and special relativity in a single chapter. He follows that up with a chapter on quantum mechanics, hitting all the key names and points, and beginning to explain why general relativity, which explains gravity in a classical framework, cannot be directly coupled with quantum mechanics, which explains the other three forces in an entirely different framework. Building on those two chapters, Greene gives the most cogent explanation of superstrings, string theory, and even the idea of these six or seven unseen spatial dimensions that I’ve come across. We’re talking about objects smaller than particles that we’ve never seen, and the incredible idea that everything, matter, energy, light, whatever, is just open and closed one-dimensional entities the size of the Planck length, 1.6 * 10-35 meters long. To explain that in even moderately comprehensible terms is a small miracle, and Greene is up to the task.

This was a better read, for me at least, than George Musser’s book on quantum entanglement, Spooky Action at a Distance, which covers a different topic but ends up treading similar ground with its descriptions of spacetime and the new, awkwardly-named hypothesis “quantum graphity.” Quantum entanglement is the inexplicable but true phenomenon where two particles created together maintain some sort of connection or relationship where if the charge or spin on on of the particles is flipped, the charge or spin on the other will flip as well, even if the two particles are separated in distance. This appears to violate the law of physics that nothing, including information, can be transmitted faster than the speed of light. How do these particles “know” to flip? Musser’s description of the history of entanglement, including Einstein’s objection that provided the title for this book, is fine, but when he delves into new hypotheses of the fabric of spacetime, he just completely lost me. Quantum graphity reimagines spacetime as a random graph, rather than the smooth four-dimensional fabric of previous theories, where points (or “nodes”) in space are connected to each other in ways that defy traditional notions of distance. This would provide a mechanism for entanglement and also solve a question Greene addresses too, the horizon problem, where disparate areas of the universe that have not been in direct physical contact (under the standard model) since a tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang currently have the same temperature. I didn’t think Musser explained quantum graphity well enough for the lay reader (me!), or gave enough of an understanding that this is all highly speculative, as opposed to the broader acceptance of something like string theory or absolute acceptance of quantum theory.

Next up: Back to fiction with Eowyn Ivey’s Pulitzer Prize finalist The Snow Child.

Stick to baseball, 6/18/16.

No new Insider content this week, although if you missed them you should check out my
American League draft recaps and National League draft recaps. No Federal League draft recaps, though, as the league folded in 1915. I held my weekly Klawchat on Thursday.

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And now, the links:

Klawchat, 6/16/16.

Questions go in the frame below, NOT in the comments. My draft recaps for all 30 teams are up for Insiders, one file for AL teams’ drafts and another for NL teams’ drafts.

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Klaw: In this journey, you’re the journal, I’m the journalist. Klawchat.

Joel: Re Nimmo: Is it that you’ve heard that nothing much has changed or that simply put, it’s basically impossible to tell if prospects doing well in Vegas and the PCL are for real (sorta a reverse Savannah problem)? Either way, Nimmo had struggled for a while so it’s certainly nice to talk about him tearing the absolute cover off the ball, regardless of where it is happening…..
Klaw: I’m hearing nothing’s really changed, but the latter point is probably the more important one here. Vegas, Albuquerque, Colorado Springs, Reno are all such severe hitter’s parks – mostly due to altitude – that it skews the stat lines of lots of players and makes it hard to separate the wheat from the chaff by eyeballing the numbers.

Cedric: I know you’ve always been high on Dom Smith and have said we should just wait till he gets to the normal ballparks in AA…….only he’s been awful this year (at least just by “scouting the statline” standards). have you heard anything regarding him and his struggles?
Klaw: He’s been very disappointing, but he also just turned 21 yesterday and is in AA. And he’s still making lots of contact and is even drawing a few more walks. But yes, to your point, this is below what I expected from him, and no, I haven’t heard of anything like an injury that might explain what’s happened the last few weeks.

John: You mention that moniak will probably never have an average power tool. One of the reasons that’s you say is because of his narrow stance and line drive swing. How often do teams tinker with this? Is it a common thing for teams to change a stance or a swing path?
Klaw: Stance isn’t hard to change, swing path can be very hard to change. Some guys can do it – Ben Zobrist and Jose Bautista are the two best examples I can think of – but far more struggle. Better to take the player based on what he is and will be with his current swing, at least when you’re drafting 1-1.

EC: I haven’t heard much talk about the “inverted W” recently. Was it disproved? Just a silly way to talk about mechanics?
Klaw: A silly way to talk about mechanics. I never liked or used the term and have said that I can make a lot of pitchers appear to do it simply by changing how high I’m standing while I shoot the picture or video. However, the “high elbow” in that position often means the pitcher is pronating pretty late relative to his front foot landing, and that’s generally a bad thing for arm health.

Michael: I love your work and generally agree with your positions, but I am pretty disappointed you have pushed for the judge in the Stanford case to be recalled. While you or I may disagree with the sentence, it is at least defensible given the probation officer’s recommendation and the severity of filing as a sex offender for life. Judicial independence is an important part of the American legal system and for you (or anyone) to advocate the removal of a judge for one decision is unprecedented and dangerous. (Attorneys who have worked with that judge have repeatedly called him impartial) You may have read extensively on the case (actual court documents), but most have not, and to call on the mob is somewhat irresponsible. Judges are independent for a reason: so they purposely do not give in to the whims of public opinion. You have a voice many of us would love to have. Criticize the judge and his decision all you want. But do it through speech, not a recall.
Klaw: He sentenced a man convicted of felony sexual battery to a jail term commensurate with a misdemeanor. The sex offender registration issue is a red herring: California law does not say jail OR registration, it says jail AND registration. If you read the probation officer’s report, it’s a pro-defendant disaster, and the victim has said it misrepresents her wishes for the defendant’s sentence. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to say a judge who treats sexual battery in such a cavalier manner, even in one case, does not belong on the bench.

Eric H.: Realistic ceilings for Christin Stewart and JaCoby Jones, in your opinion?
Klaw: Stewart above average regular, Jones up-and-down guy or AAA player.

Michael: Why did the Rockies wait so long to DFA Reyes? Clearly, that was a PR decision, but they kept him on the club through the winter and let him play in the PCL.
Klaw: I don’t think they would have been allowed to cut him sooner, at least not before MLB or authorities had weighed in on the charges. Also, I’m good with the outcome. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Bruce: I know it’s SSS but do you think Chris Paddack has top of the rotation potential? Did you foresee this when he was drafted in the 8th round?
Klaw: You’re definitely scouting the stat line if you’re taking 18 innings and talking TOR potential. For that to be true, I’d want to see at least two plus or future-plus pitches, a solid third and maybe fourth, a great delivery, size, history of health … a lot that Paddack doesn’t have. He’s 89-94 with an above-average split-change, no real breaking ball, and just missed almost two months with some kind of arm soreness. Good body and delivery. Great pick in the 8th round, but I could not possibly hang an ace ceiling tag on him just yet.

Owen (London): It’s only June and already Dusty is talking about consistency &the importance of being consistent, not to mention clutch hitters hitting clutchly in clutch situations. I live in London and I’m schvitzing.
Klaw: But they’re in first place ergo he must be a good manager!

Fred: How would you rank Thor, Matz, deGrom, Harvey, Wheeler in order must re-sign/not trade?
Klaw: Thor and deGrom at top. Wheeler is an unknown till he’s back. I’m least sanguine about the long-term health and durability of Harvey and Matz.

NickTheStick: If you had an AAA affiliate with an extreme hitters environment, would that change how you move a hitting prospect through the system? Hold him a little longer at AA? Maybe even call him straight up from there?
Klaw: Skip AAA entirely.

TedT: Assuming Jason Groome signs, about where on your list of top Red Sox prospects will he start out?
Klaw: No more than fourth or fifth I’d say. Pretty good system already.

Rick: You had Dylan Cozens as your sleeper for Philly pre-season. He’s roared out to a 19 HR, 13 SB, .967 OPS start with higher walk and strikeout rates than last season. Product of Reading or is this the breakout you imagined?
Klaw: I think it’s a lot of Reading, but also some maturation at the plate. I’ll buy into it more fully when he does it AAA. Hoskins too, whom I like even though he’s not my ‘type’ of player. I think some of it’s legit, but you can’t believe HR totals in Reading.

Adam: You referred to the Padres draft as confusing. Do you generally like the talent they were able to acquire by essentially buyin low or would you have preferred to see them go top heavy like what the Braves did?
Klaw: I would have gone for it at 8, 24, and 25, while the best players were still on the board, and then gone a little cheaper later to overpay those guys if needed.

Nelson: Klaw, do you consider osteopathy a real science or more pseudo? And if so, when would it be better to go to an Osteopath over a MD?
Klaw: There is a lot of pseudoscience within osteopathy. This essay does the best job I’ve seen of breaking it down.

Michael: Jenkins called up by the Braves……in the bullpen now but you still buying him as a starter long term??
Klaw: Yes, but he needs to miss more bats to be a starter, and I’m wondering if he’ll move to the pen and miss more bats straight off so that that becomes his long-term role.

Francis R.: Have you read Sam Harris’ essay “The Riddle of the Gun” His arguments are so reasoned, this should be required reading for all lawmakers and pundits before they start discussing gun control.
Klaw: Yep, it’s outstanding. Highly recommended.

Al: How can the Orioles stay in the race? Is it impossible? Is strong hitting, defense and bullpen work enough? Because they arent going to get quality starting all year….does that hurt the bullpen then?
Klaw: They haven’t been getting quality starting so far, other than Tillman, and are still basically a .500 team since the 7-0 start. If that means they’re heading for 86-76, are they still fringe contenders?

DPF: Could Cutch get 2 top 100 prospects and a MLB regular if traded this offseason?
Klaw: Depends on whether he gets healthy and performs in the second half. I’m sure he’d still fetch something of value even if not, maybe two top-end prospects and that’s it, but teams will be wary of paying up for him if they’re afraid he’s not 100%.

Gary: Do you think Keuchel turns it around? His peripherals seem to suggest he will.
Klaw: Yes. Seems to be way off mechanically. Stuff is fine.

Pete: Hi Keith. Will the Pirates promote Meadows and Keller soon? Would you?
Klaw: No. No rush on either guy. Both young for their levels with minimal experience below.

Joe: Jake Lamb’s power outburst legitimate? Already up to 12 so far this season.
Klaw: Yep. I’m on it.

Pineapple: Are you a Psych fan, Klaw?
Klaw: You know that’s right.

Nate: Does Josh Hader move into your top 50 for the next prospect rankings?
Klaw: No. Delivery issues remain.

Brad Z: Does Beau Burrow’s low K rate concern you?
Klaw: No. He’s 19 with a handful of innings of pro experience.

Brad Z: Matt Hall has pretty good numbers at West Michigan. How do you project him going forward?
Klaw: Non-prospect.

Nelson: How many older guys like Duvall are there in the Minors that can come up and hit 25+Hrs with a .300 OBP immediately. Are there a bunch, or is he really unique?
Klaw: I don’t think he’s that unique. Most teams wouldn’t play a guy with his lack of OBP skills, so we don’t see it happening very often.

Mulechop: Merrifield has looked pretty good so far. Can he be a league average 2B?
Klaw: No. Like, not even sure I’d give him a 1% chance.

I reordered the following two questions for clarity. I have not changed any of the text.

Anonymous: We talked briefly on twitter yesterday about Syndergaard and you said a complete game has no intrinsic value. Taken to the extreme, if pitcher A has 30 starts of 8 IP and player B had 30 complete games and all other stats are equal, nothing differentiates these two guys in your eyes?
Klaw: Well, player B has nine more innings. Whoop de do.

Ben: Keith, Player B would have 30 more innings in that scenario. One more inning for each start X 30 starts=30 innings. That’s a pretty big difference, is it not?
Klaw: Sorry, I totally misread the question and you’re right. Still, the difference is the thirty innings, not the complete games. I guess the better analogy would be Player A makes 20 starts and completes them all, while Player B makes 30 starts and averages six innings in each, so 180 innings each. Is Player A somehow more valuable because he’s completing all of those games? I don’t buy it. How?

Nathan: Logan Shore at #47. Was that a good, safe pick or should the A’s have aimed for a higher ceiling talent?
Klaw: Little safe, but appropriate for the round.

Ray: You believe in science. Are there studies that show one week of pitching too much causes major injuries? I’m against overuse too, but it seems that throwing 250 pitches in 72 hours one time isn’t as big of a risk as pitching itself.
Klaw: ASMI research has consistently shown that pitching while fatigued increases the risk of injury. If you think anyone can throw that much and not end up fatigued, well, we just disagree.

006: Don’t understand why they would activate Willson Contreras at this point….they are 24 games over .500, no? Unless something is wrong with Montero/Ross?
Klaw: I believe Ross got dinged up last night – Ron Coomer apparently floated this on Chicago radio today.

Ben: Is Kendall the best college hitter in the draft next year as of now? What about best overall college prospect?
Klaw: Right now, he’s the best college position player in the class. I don’t know who’s clearly 1-1 if anyone, but I am hopeful this is a 2011 situation where 4-5 players are good enough to go 1-1 and you can’t really go wrong with any of them.

Tom: Josh Bell already has more homers this year than last year, although his K% is up to 17. Is he turning into a power hitter or just a hot streak?
Klaw: Not sure what the “although” is … that’s a comically low K rate for a hitter like Bell. I think he’s pulling the ball more this year, unlocking power he’s always had.

Vin: Why do you think Bryan Reynolds fell so far in the draft? With so much ability, it seems foolish that teams were so scared of his strikeouts, especially considering his awareness of the strike zone.
Klaw: Yeah, the strikeouts, concerns he’ll struggle vs good lefties, better pitching … where the Giants took him, I’d take that toolset eight days a week. I would have taken it 30 picks higher. He’s not hopeless at the plate, but he’ll need to tighten his approach.

Ben: At what point do we become concerned with Judge’s AAA stats, particularly his propensity to strikeout at a high rate?
Klaw: I believe I raised this concern last summer when he was in AA. That said, he’s been cutting the K rate this season – started June 0-8 with 3 Ks, and since then has 9 K in 56 PA, hitting .409/.536/.636 in that 12-game span. Small sample, hardly definitive, but at least pointing in the right direction.

Doug: Are you surprised Cal Quantrill received an above slot deal? Especially considering Pint went well below.
Klaw: Yes. I can’t imagine returning to stanford next year for Marquess to run him into the ground was an appealing alternative to signing.

Ben: Do you think Severino figures out his command issues on his offspeed pitches?
Klaw: I have no way to tell. I think the delivery makes it hard for him to repeat his arm stroke, but that was true last year and his command was better than it was this year.

Andrew: David Paulino has posted impressive numbers in AA, but I don’t know too much about him…is he a potential rotation guy?
Klaw: Bullpen guy. Power arm with delivery/command questions.

BW: You said you were surprised Alex Kirilloff went to the Twins. How good do you think he can be?
Klaw: Only in that I just didn’t have good intel on the Twins this year. That’s my mistake, not theirs. Above-average everyday right fielder with power.

Jack: Why did Groome back out of his Vandy commitment?
Klaw: He was never going to Vandy. I think the ploy was for him to threaten to go back into next year’s draft, but that class is so loaded with college arms that it’s not a credible alternative to signing.

Nate: What do you expect from Tim Anderson this season? 275/300/400?
Klaw: I’d take the under, slightly.

Brett: Keith, are you concerned at all about Rafael Devers season so far in high A? You had him ranked I think #9 in your pre season prospect list. Any concerns long term?
Klaw: None. Again, he’s been much better lately, and he’s only 19 years old.

Scherzer’s Blue Eye: So Bob Davidson tosses Rendon because “he thought he was going to throw the bat at me.” Is there a more ridiculous statement, especially given the player involved. And, why aren’t Umpires held to more public accountability?
Klaw: No idea. That was clear provocation by Davidson, who was confrontational with Rendon immediately after tossing him. MLB should be much more open about umpires who pull this crap.

Rudy: The AZ baseball coach said he’d rather not breathe than lose a game which tells you why he doesn’t give a shit about his players.
Klaw: And adds to the impression that he flunked Anatomy 101.

Tuesday: I’ve got a weakness for mysteries set in another time, if not involving actual people (see Name of the Rose by Eco, Instance of the Fingerpost by Pears, Monaldi & Sorti). Any good ones you can recommend?
Klaw: The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (and his other great novel, The Moonstone) are set in the 1850s because that’s when they were written. TWIW is considered the first major suspense novel.

Michael: Why do the PCL and California League exist then? Is it too expensive to start leagues in better environments?
Klaw: Where would you put them? Especially the PCL, which has teams in good-sized metro areas in the west that can by and large support these clubs. There are a handful of A-ball type markets unserved on the east coast, but not enough to add a half-dozen or so AAA teams.

James: Still think Archie Bradley is a starter?
Klaw: Long term, yes.

Donny Baseball: Is it realistic to ask for Schwarber for Miller?
Klaw: You can ask. The worst that happens is they say no. It’s not insulting to ask for that.

Scherzer’s Blue Eye: Scouting the Stat line: Drew Ward is breaking out. True or False?
Klaw: False. Repeating the level.

Jeremy: Zagunis just moved up to AAA. Can he be a major league contributor? He has a .400 OBP at every level in the minors.
Klaw: And has no position. He’ll play in the majors but I don’t see where he’d be a regular.

Matt: Some see AJ Puk as a bargain at No. 6, but with his recent struggles, was he actually a big risk at 6? Or do you think he will get things sorted out being with professional coaches?
Klaw: Not a bargain. About right. Has work to do on the delivery – lower half in particular is not well synced with upper half.

Santos: Serious question – why can’t you trust HR totals in Reading? You generally don’t hear that in the East.
Klaw: Small park that favors HR dramatically relative to other Eastern League parks.

Ignatius O’Reilly: The Rangers have a comfortable lead in the A.L. West, despite getting very little from Yu Darvish and nothing from Prince Fielder. They have a strong farm system they can use to make deadline deals, but other than bullpen help, is there anything (or anyone) out there they should really be giving up a big package for come July?
Klaw: Nope. And really, they could continue to improve by benching Moreland for Gallo.

Kevin: In what round, or specific player, was the first guy taken that you had no notes on or had not heard of?
Klaw: Travis MacGregor was the only day one guy on whom I had nothing. Not coincidentally, everyone I asked called that the ‘worst’ pick of the day – the subset of teams I asked had him either as a fifth rounder or as someone who should go to college.

Jason: Tyler O’Neill is putting up even better numbers as a 20 year old in the Southern League… is he on the rise?
Klaw: Yes – I’m most impressed that he’s not striking out, actually, as that was a real concern I had about him. Power was absolutely there, Cal League or not, but I didn’t know if he’d hit enough to get to it. He’s doing that and more and is still just 21 in AA.

Colin: I know Grichuk can’t tell a strike from his head, but do you like what the Cardinals are doing with Wong and CF. Do you think he can handle it adequately?
Klaw: I haven’t liked their handling of Wong for a while now, going back to the weird (punitive?) demotion … last April? or was that 2014? Either way, moving him off 2b seemed awfully reactive. He was never great there, never bad.

Kyle: Keith – do you think Mengden and Overton can become #4/5 starters in a solid rotation?
Klaw: Yes. Mengden might be a 4. Odds are both are 5s. Above replacement level, below average. Overton I’d like more if the velocity ever gets all the way back to pre-TJ levels.

NEP: Starting tomorrow how would you split up the playing time between the 3 Cubs catchers with Contreras coming up?
Klaw: Start Contreras 4 days out of 5, let Ross catch the other day, give Montero a fruit basket.

Jimmy: I know Adam Duvall is a first half outlier but can’t there be a ‘well that came out of nowhere’ spot on the All Star team or because home field is wrongly linked we can’t have fun like that?
Klaw: It really goes against the original purpose and main current value of the game: Get the best players all on one field at one time for the mass audience to watch. No one but Mrs. Duvall is turning on the game to watch Adam Duvall play. People will tune in to watch a genuine star having an off half-season, like Giancarlo Stanton. If you want to slip in a few guys who’ve come from nowhere, then make them young players, especially rookies, who will form the next generation of stars.

Justin: What is a realistic line going forward for Aledmys Diaz? .260/.330/.400 with average D at SS?
Klaw: I think he’s a below-average defender at short but the triple-slash line is probably right, maybe a little too low in the batting average.

Tom: I recently blew through a bunch of your restaurant recs found here on this very site. I’ve probably gone to about 15 places you’ve recommended and have always like them. No question – this is just a PSA for everyone chatting.
Klaw: Thanks! Glad they’ve worked out. One of the consolations of heavy travel is that I find some pretty fun places to eat.

Paul: Klaw – I know you’ve been buried in amateur prospect coverage the last month or so, but have you happened to catch any recent reports on Touki? I see that he’s still walking a ton of batter, but his last start was streamed on MILB, and good grief he looked filthy. Guess that’s pretty much the MO, though.
Klaw: Yep, stuff is great, still the same great athlete, just raw. Going to take him a while. I think everyone knew that when the Dbacks drafted him and when they gave him away.

FS: if Dunning is ML ready reliever, should Nationals consider promoting him this season? Their bullpen can use the help.
Klaw: No. He’s a starter long-term and I would transition him into that role.

Bret: I know you weren’t a fan of the Blue Jays draft, though in the past few years they have typically had a lot of success (when signing their picks). Do you attribute it to a change on leadership/philosophy, or just a case of not happening to be on the same page with particular player choices?
Klaw: This looks like a new philosophy in the draft and it certainly doesn’t match mine.

Ian: What have you heard on Brandon Marsh?
Klaw: Nothing really, other than that we’re a month from the signing deadline and anything players say at this point is probably codswallop. Perhaps it’s a ploy on his part or his agent’s – I don’t know that, but it’s possible.

Pete: Does Derek Hill’s defense make him at least a 4th OFer, even if he never figures it out at the plate?
Klaw: Yes, assuming he at least can put the ball in play 75% of the time.

Anonymous: I just read that Harris piece. Measured, but flawed. 100,000 people don’t die every year because doctors fail to wash their hands. 100,000 die every year from infections which live in hospitals and when you are cut open, you are susceptible to them. And protocols are in place to reduce that. In the same vein, we should protocols in place to reduce gun deaths whether mass shootings or singular incidents.
Klaw: I agree and favor much stricter laws on who can buy guns and what guns they can purchase. (I do not own a gun and hope I never have cause to change that.)

Busty Taker: Did Dusty Baker kick your dog?
Klaw: No, but he said my cat wasn’t clutch and needed more AAA seasoning. (Grow up already.)

Aaron: How many guys from next years draft class are you familiar with at this point?
Klaw: Twenty guys, maybe? Not enough to really talk in more than general terms. I try not to use any bandwidth on the year ahead until the draft has passed.

Anonymous: Hi Keith, any scouting report on Gourriel? Does he have a much higher floor than so many of the other Cuban players that have defected, given his age and track record?
Klaw: I saw him very bad last summer, but apparently he played much better over the winter. I highly doubt he can come right to the majors and contribute, given his age and time off, but he could be an everyday player next year for someone. I’d be really concerned about investing too much given how slow and old he looked last July, though.

Dan: What is going on with Ronald Acuna? Reports this season have been great but he hasn’t played in over a month and is on the DL but I haven’t seen any details on his injury. Is it serious?
Klaw: Broke his hand, I think. I know some Atlanta blogger(s) tweeted a picture of him wearing a cast.

Dan: What Toni Morrison work would you recommend someone starting with?
Klaw: Beloved, then Song of Solomon, then stop. It’s all downhill from there.

Dan: Brent Honeywell has been out over a month with an arm issue. I’ve heard it’s not overly serious but there has to be some level of concern with a young guy an elbow issues. Have you heard anything about his status and do you think he’s a big injury risk going forward?
Klaw: I think anyone who misses that much time with an arm injury is a risk going forward.

Ed: What does Tom Hatch project as in the bigs? a 4 or 5? Or bullpen? He seems like a solid pick for a college player in the 3rd round.
Klaw: Could be a 3 if healthy but he’s had some real health issues.

Brewersfan: Brett Phillips is striking out a lot… (32%) Should we worry about that? Maybe lost his status as top100?
Klaw: Completely serious question: Why do so many fans assume players jump in or out of the top 100 after 60 games? Is the skill set the same? The swing, the body, the delivery? Is there an underlying explanation, like an injury (remember when Hosmer played half a year in low-A with a broken metacarpal in his hand), that might explain a poor performance? Phillips is still the same guy he was last year. He might just take a little longer than we’d like.

Nationals Review: A few weeks ago when Espinosa was pretty awful at the plate you and I discussed replacing him with Turner (thanks again!). Now that Espi is hitting, at a clearly unsustainable but incredibly awesome 8 HRs in last 70 PAs… Seems silly to replace him with Turnet today, but How much rope should he get?
Klaw: None. I think that’s pure recency bias – he’s the same guy he was in May and April and 2015. What would you project him to be the rest of this year – the player he’s been the last 70 PA, or the guy you and I discussed him being when we talked a few weeks back?

Tom: O’Hearn, Mancini, Healy – are any of them legitimate breakouts? Which one profiles the best?
Klaw: Most hope for O’Hearn. Not much of a believer in the other two. Mancini’s 24 and hasn’t been anything special in AAA.

RP: Jim Salisbury, a well connected Philly writer, says Moniak is getting $6.5-7M and Gowdy is getting $4.5M. The Gowdy number can’t be true, can it?
Klaw: I doubt those numbers are true, sorry.

Rick: How frustrating it must be to offer an honest opinion on a player (McCullers) only to have him totally miss the point and blast you on Twitter as some “crappy” blogger. It’s not even like you said he’ll never be a starter.
Klaw: Also, I said he’d be a closer, potentially, which is like an $8-12 million a year job. It was a childish comment and I did not respond for that reason.

Bill: How does Moniak’s offensive skillset compare to J.P. Crawford’s when he was drafted?
Klaw: Liked Crawford’s swing more. Better runner underway. Didn’t know Crawford was this disciplined a hitter at the time.

Biff: Keith, newly working in the Wilmington metro area, what are your go-to can’t miss local spots?
Klaw: Cocina Lolo, La Fia, Two Stones are our favorites in the area. The best food is in Philly though.

Clem: Do you have a report on Josh Okimey? Tearing up the lower minors with lots of walks…is he a prospect?
Klaw: Yes, he is. Think I mentioned him last week in chat. Got MUCH stronger this winter, body totally changed.

Rob: Rowdy Tellez and JD Davis were once hS teammates. Is there a better chance they play against each other in the big leagues or that they are once again teammates….on the USA Men’s National Slo Pitch Softball Team.
Klaw: The latter.

Marshall: Name the 3 first rounders from last week that you think have the best chance to become multi-time all stars.
Klaw: Not sure I’d put that on anyone in this draft. It was really weak at the top. My top 3 guys were Ray, Groome, and Garrett, so that would be my answer, but even so I’m not sure they have that kind of potential … Ray because he doesn’t have quite that upside as a probable LF, the other two because they’re high school pitchers.

Adam: I am here every week and a big supporter of you and havent had a question answered in months………have I been black balled or just asking bad questions?
Klaw: I get hundreds of questions every week. The software says I have over 400 this week. Can’t get them all.

Chris: Luis Ortiz is holding his own in AA it looks like, but I’m only looking at stats so it could be way off. Is he a Guy?
Klaw: He’s a GUY, but probably not really ready for AA, more there because the Rangers didn’t want to leave him in the Cal League. Kate Morrison (@unlikelyfanatic) saw his last outing. She’d have more for you.

Brian: Do you agree w/the idea that the Phillies system is very deep but has few really elite talents?
Klaw: That’s fair, other than Crawford.

Anthony: Tyler Austin was a guy you liked awhile ago. Then injuries and lack of production struck. He is playing pretty well this year though. Has he made it back on to your radar yet?
Klaw: Really believed in his swing. Was not the same for two-plus years after the wrist injury … and maybe he was never that good before? Long way to go to reestablish himself, since it’s only 11 games in AAA and he’s played at that level before.

James: Would the Padres really trade Wil Myers? How can that be a good move?
Klaw: What if they get back multiple pieces who can help them?

Ben: Six years later I would like to ask it: what the hell were the Yankees thinking with Cito Culver
Klaw: I did not like the pick – he wasn’t on my top 100 for the draft that year – but I believe a lot of it was that they loved the kid, knew him really well because he’d played on their scout team that summer at East Coast Pro and Area Codes, and perhaps overrated him as a player because of his makeup.

jim: Who is the better pitcher out of allard wentz and Anderson
Klaw: Allard, Anderson, Wentz, in that order.

Jeffrey: I think one could make the argument that in some cases, the best players aren’t really “stars” as far as being widely known off the field throughout the country. I’m as big a Reds fan as their is, and I’m not sure anyone outside of Cincinnati cares a lick about seeing Joey Votto take 2 walks. He’s a wizard, but he has the personality of a loaf of bread. So sure, give the Reds token slot to Duvall. Or Bruce. I doubt anyone will care.
Klaw: Actually I’d advocate Finnegan over those others. Always need more pitching in those games and in one inning he’ll hit 97 a few times with a wipeout slider. And he’s been their best starter.

Pat: The closeness of those PCL cities to the MLB team also adds value when adding AAA guys to the MLB team due to injuries. LAD can call up a guy from Albuquerque & he’s in LA in 3-4 hours. Can’t do that with a guy playing on the East Coast.
Klaw: Very good point. Even helps for the Cal League – you can send Puig to rehab in Rancho Cucamonga and, uh, keep tabs on him while he’s there.

Dan: I just finished The Sympathizer and man, was it good. (pun not intended) I was surprised at how easy it was to read given the structure. I read your review before the chat and saw you enjoyed it as well.
Klaw: Yep, totally see why it won the Pulitzer. Oddly gripping given the subject matter and lack of any traditional narrative element like a mystery or concern over a sympathetic main character.

Mike: I’m a physician (MD). I work with DOs (Doctors of Osteopathy). They’re medical training is largely the same as MDs, and they are held to the same standards for board certifications and medical licensure. While some aspects of their training are questionable, a DO physician should not be considered “inferior” to an allopathic physician. I thought it was worth pointing this out to your readers as there is a lot of unfair bias in the medical community against them.
Klaw: Thank you for that. I think it’s doctor to doctor. That raging crackpot pediatrician in Tennessee who came out as a vaccine-denying quack is an MD, so there are idiots on both sides.

Mike: has your perception on aaron blair changed any from his mlb starts? do you think Flowers would help frame more for him than AJ? Thanks KlAw
Klaw: No change. Isn’t AJP the worst framer or one of the worst in baseball? So an elastic net would be better behind the plate.

Karl: Are Mitch Keller and Kuhl org type guys or do they have potential to be #2 or #3 rotation guys?
Klaw: Big gap between those outcomes. I think Kuhl’s a two-pitch reliever. Keller might be a 2. Good athlete, fresh arm, chance for three pitches.

Ridley Kemp: I have a meta-question: Approximately how many Donald Trump-related questions have been asked of you so far?
Klaw: Almost none. Definitely some selection bias here.

Dan: Hi Keith-saw Tim Anderson in his second game. Not knowing his milb stats, I focused on his plate presence–he seemed like a guy ready to swing, very animated. I cd be totally wrong, of course. But do you eval plate presence like you do mound presence?
Klaw: Not really, unless the body language is terrible, like Donavan Tate’s was in HS – totally disinterested.

Jeff: Tyler Mahler was your Reds sleeper this year, threw a no-no this week. So uh, please pick a bunch more Reds sleepers. Thank you.
Klaw: Um …. Jackson Stephens! Aristides Aquino! Nick Senzel! Wait, that might be cheating.

Mike: The Rockies took mostly arms (probably right due to strength of draft and BPA)….will they ruin a few deliveries by tinkering like Matzek and Gray?
Klaw: I get the sense that’s over with now. I hope so at least.

James: Does Kevin Newman have the best hit tool you’ve ever scouted?
Klaw: No, but I think it’s plus. I got some grief over ranking him as high as I did – not just from readers but from friends within the game. Granted, it’s only high-A, but at least he’s played well out of the chute.

Klaw: That’s all for this week; sorry there were some little software glitches and a brain cramp or two on my end. I’ll be back at some point next week, but with travel to Omaha for BBTN it might not be on Thursday. Thank you as always for reading.

Stick to baseball, 6/12/16.

It’s been quite a week, but the draft is over, finally, so I have some thoughts and analysis on what happened:

• My round one notes
• My round two notes
• My NL team-by-team recaps

I’m still writing the AL recaps and will have those up by tomorrow.

I chatted before the draft and after the first five rounds.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter.

And now, the links…

Klawchat, 6/10/16.

Insiders can see my my first-round recap now, and I’ll continue writing throughout the day.

Klaw: One good day of the week and I’ll be up again. Klawchat.

Andrew: What is Thaiss’ position? Seems like the Angels reached (surprise surprise) but is the hope that he can get to the majors quickly in hopes of contributing in that 2018-2020 timeframe before the Trout window slams shut?
Klaw: Catcher who won’t stay there, so I think first base. Fast mover with the bat. Need to see the power going forward. I liked him, mostly because so many people praised the hit tool (I saw him just OK). Feel like he’s high-floor but perhaps more average regular than star?

Kyle: Dylan Carson a reach at 33?
Klaw: I thought so.

Banksy_: Whats the new story on Groome, what got him to 12? Is there a good chance he balks at their offer and he goes to Chippola?
Klaw: I’m sure he’ll say that and will ultimately sign. Slot there is $3.2 million. He’d be an all-time idiot to turn that down – the left-handed Matt Harrington, if you will. (Was Matt Harrington right-handed? I don’t even know. Not like I ever saw him pitch.)

N: Which Kieboom has a better long term outlook and by how much
Klaw: Carter is a regular, above-average most likely. Spencer is probably a good backup catcher with a chance to start occasionally.

Greg: You don’t draft for need and I understand that. But when there is a system like Atlanta with only Swanson and Albies projecting to be above average hitters, don’t you have to start taking hitters at some point? I’m not mad as a Braves fan, I’m just trying to figure out how this team is going to score any runs when they’re trying to compete a few years from now.
Klaw: If the draft is loaded with high school pitchers, don’t force it to give you a college hitter. They loaded up on the draft’s strength.

N: If Dunning were kept a reliever, which I know he’s not, how close would he be to MLB-ready at signing?
Klaw: This year. But I agree, it’s a waste of his talent.

Jamie S.: How did the Mets do in your mind? Seems like BPA all the way through (and that’s perfectly fine to me).
Klaw: Loved the first three picks – mentioned them in my round two recap (which posted after you wrote this question).

Sean: Will the Giants drafting of Reynolds affect their ability to draft more expensive players?
Klaw: If it does, so what? They got a first-round talent in the second round. I’d be ecstatic.

Nick: Can Zack Burdi be transitioned into a starter, or does remain in the bullpen fulltime?
Klaw: I know some scouts thought he could start but I believe the White Sox want to use him in relief.

Nick: Appears Tim Anderson will be called up, does he make an immediate offensive impact and can he keep up defensively at ss?
Klaw: Very skeptical of his ability to make an offensive impact given his plate discipline. Great prospect, most likely not ready today.

Jeff: Hi Keith. What are the makeup concerns about Groome? Is it serious stuff or 17-yr. old immaturity stuff?
Klaw: To me it’s immaturity and idiocy. No violence, no felonies, not a sociopath. I am more concerned about Delvin Perez’s makeup than Groome’s.

Chris: Were teams that concerned about Perez, who you had as high as three at one point, by the PED test? At 17, I guess I think it’d be hard to imagine that PEDs were the main driving force behind his production. What do you think his ceiling is as a player?
Klaw: He showed up this year with more power (oops) and running faster (who knows?). Still a potential ++ defender with bat speed. But I think the PED results confirm earlier concerns about makeup and work ethic.

Nick: Does Nolan Jones sign at 55?
Klaw: I assume anyone taken in the top three rounds will sign if he passes a physical. Most of these picks involve deals or conversations around money before the selection. (Not all, but most.)

Sam: Did Jose Miranda drop out of the top 100 for an interesting reason?
Klaw: No, he was literally #101, took him off when I added Will Smith to the middle of the list when I suddenly got a slew of positive reports on Smith. I like Miranda a lot as a hitter, think he has to move to 3b.

Anonymous: What round do you think Lasky (Haddon Heights, NJ) will end up being drafted? What about Tyler Mondile? Excited to see several south jersey guys in your top 100.
Klaw: I believe Laskey ends up at Duke. He’s not getting $2-3 million after his velocity tailed off at the end. He’ll be a guy to watch for 2019. It’s the fourth round right now which I believe is Mondile territory.

sean: I believe you had Justin Dunn ranked 15, do you feel he’s someone who can get to the Mets bullpen in late 2017 and be a starter in 2018? He’s young, 21 in September, but he seems like a player who is rapidly rising and making the proper adjustments, at least at the college level. Thanks
Klaw: He’s a starter, now and in the future.

Nick: Does Rutherford sign or go to UCLA for two years and re-enter the Draft in 2018?
Klaw: Again, I assume they all sign. Slot at 18 is $2.5 million. Maybe they go over. He does have big leverage due to his age but that’s a lot of coin to turn down.

Nick: Who are some guys that will be taken today or tomorrow because of signability issues that could be 1st rounders in 2019?
Klaw: Hunter Bishop, Jeff Belge, maybe Drew Mendoza (I see a lot of swing and miss, I know scouts who love the power and body), Ryan Rolison, Tyler Baum (totally unsignable, I’m told). Might have said Mason Thompson but the Padres took him.

Banksy_: What level does Quantrll start at? Have to think theres an innings limit with him for a while too, right?
Klaw: I assume he comes back this summer and pitches in short-season in brief outings as if he’s continuing his rehab. Wouldn’t be wrong to hold him out till instructs.

Jimincanow: Do you think the Phillies have picked right in the first 2 rounds?
Klaw: I think they picked well. It’s not exactly who I would have taken, but that doesn’t make it wrong.

Drew: People’s reaction to MLB draft picks is insane, right? There were Twins fans upset that they took Kirilloff at 14, pretty much right where he was ranked in most rankings I saw. So they add their own “scouting” and say it was a terrible pick when there is next to zero chance any of them saw him take one swing. It’s like saying you hate Indian food if you’ve never tried, only ever heard of Indian food.
Klaw: So you’re saying it’s like a 7-year-old kid’s reaction? “I hate squid.” “You’ve never tried squid.” “Yeah but I know I’ll hate it.”

Jim: Hi Keith- How often are the major league coaches consulted when considering picks? Specifically, do you think the White Sox showed Cooper some video of Alec Hansen and asked if he could iron out his control issues?
Klaw: If there’s a coach who’s exceptional like Cooper is, yes, that’s common, and makes sense because ultimately it’ll be that coach’s project – maybe not a major league coach but a minor league coordinator. I know there are also some folks like Scioscia and Showalter who more or less insist on being involved in the process. I’m not a big fan of that myself.

David: Hi Keith, I love your work. I would love to see teams trade draft picks. My question: As a Pirates man, how much should I worry about Will Craig’s struggles in the Cape Cod league?
Klaw: A lot. I think it made him a reach at 22. Same reason I don’t think JB Woodman was worth a top three rounds pick, and the Jays took him in the second.

John: How far does Funkhouser fall? 104 possible?
Klaw: Well he went 115 to Detroit (shocker, they took a Boras guy), so there you go. Bad situation for him – he should have signed last year.

Andrew: Is it possible Dane Dunning’s stock was artificially lowered just by the depth of the Florida rotation. IOW, could u have seen a world where Dunning was on a different college team, flourished, and would have been a top 5 pick? A gem hidden in Florida’s pen? Or do you think he ends up a reliever anyway?
Klaw: He’s a starter and yes, he might have gone higher had he been a starter all year. But he was never overused (thank you, Sully) and did get scouted a ton because people were always there to see the umpteen other Gators worth drafting, so net/net I don’t think he fared badly.

Chris: Not impressed with the Puk at #6. Too many red flags there…lumbering, unathletic, inconsistent this spring, walks too many guys. Yes he throws hard, yes he has a good slider, but I’m seeing Drew Pomeranz 2.0. What say you?
Klaw: You mentioned all the negatives and I think they’re generally true. I also think his lower half and upper half aren’t well synced up in the delivery. He’s also 6’6″, 93-97, with a good changeup, average breaking ball, and good extension out front. Those dudes don’t grow on trees and if you don’t take that at pick 6 you might never get one another way.

Chris: Which of these do you think needs to happen first: international draft, tradeable draft picks, or eliminating the tie between the draft and free agency?
Klaw: The last one is the most important, the first one is the most likely.

Sean A: Brewers have already said they plan to develop Ray as a CF. Chances of him sticking their and will that increase his duration in the minors?
Klaw: I think that’s the smart move. Maybe 30-40% chance he sticks there. Average defense in center makes him a frequent all-star.

Jackson: I understand that I know nothing about this. I do, really. But I watch college ball….and why did some of these late first roundteams take some of these pitchers before Dakota Hudson (e.g. Nats taking Dane Dunning). Hard to wrap mind around.
Klaw: Lot of folks think Hudson’s delivery makes him a reliever in time. Also think his fastball can get very straight. If you believe in the cutter, he’s a first-rounder.

Pioneer: Keith, thanks as always for the chat. Do you feel that AJ Puk’s workload was more a function of his command issues, or O’Sullivan just having such a deep staff that he could spread the innings around? I was surprised that he fell to my A’s, but he definitely doesn’t seem to be a fast-tracker.
Klaw: He had the back spasms, and a couple of times didn’t pitch well enough to go deep into games. He did hold his velocity into the 7th when I saw him last.

Josh: Liked the Sedlock pick but didn’t realize the manner in which Illinois used him this year. Still a future starter/how risky is he?
Klaw: Future starter, but the O’s have to back off him this year. Also, Illinois misused Jay last year and misused Sedlock. When schools do this, recruits need to pay attention.

Scott: I didn’t see Chatham in your top 100. Does he have the potential to be a prospect or was that more an overdraft so they can save some money to sign Groome?
Klaw: I thought he was a 4th-5th rounder. Can’t stay at short, questionable hit tool. Utility infielder in long run.

Zach: So it seems as if Austin Meadows took his removal from your top 25 very personally. His line since then? .429/.456/.889. Safe to say he’s snapped out of his post injury rusty phase? Also, please remove Tyler Glasnow from your ranking so he can start to really kick ass. You clearly have that kind of power, Keith.
Klaw: He wasn’t “removed” so much as passed by guys who were healthy and off to better starts.

Jeff (CT): Thoughts on Yankees second round pick, Nick Solak? I’m surprised they didn’t take a pitcher in this round.
Klaw: Sort of a scouts’ favorite, good ballplayer without big tools, but I thought more 3rd-4th round.

Bret: It seems like most online consensus is that the Jays could have done better than Zeuch, but they obviously don’t see it that way, of course. What do they see in him that justifies the #21 pick?
Klaw: Big size, fastball comes right down at you, flashes an above average breaking ball. I wasn’t on it up there – would have taken Kay before him, for example.

Wally: You nailed the Nats two picks at the end of the 1st round, which is like a 90′ putt. Is that one of the porganizations that you feel like you have good contacts/relationship, or was it a SWAG? What did you think of their Day 1 picks?
Klaw: I seldom get info like that direct from an organization about its own picks, and did not here. Really, really liked their day one. Hell, I like their day two so far too.

Banksy_: Is AJ Preller just taking kids that already have 1 TJ out of the way already, or is there actually a rhyme to his reason…yo?
Klaw: Both guys were, in theory, talented enough to go higher if healthy.

JeffT: How much should a team take into account “make-up” when dealing with a 17 yo? I mean who is the person (for better or worse) at 23 than 17?
Klaw: It matters more than you think. You’re handing the kid six or seven figures, then asking him to go be a professional, with all the responsibilities of conditioning, work ethic, discipline, and behavior that many people don’t encounter until they’re 19 or 21 or 23.

Ben: Hello from Taiwan, Keith! Love your work. Why did Rutherford fall so much? Is there any red flags or concerns other than signability? In terms of signability of Rutherford, how much is too much?
Klaw: I think signability and the fact that he turned 19 a month ago, making him an older high school player (and in a demographic that hasn’t fared well historically).

James: What do you think of the Rangers’ first two picks? I’m surprised Speas was still there in the second
Klaw: I’m not. Great arm and body, with 20 command.

Peter: I know from yesterday’s chat you weren’t expecting any of the college bats to be available for the Mariners, but how surprised are you that Lewis slipped to 11? And does Lewis become the M’s top prospect in the system once he signs?
Klaw: I had him ranked 10th, so I think it’s the right spot, but I thought others liked him more. He does swing and miss too much and I do not agree that he’s a lock to stay in center.

Nick: What’s Cole Stobbe’s ceiling?
Klaw: Ceiling probably above average regular at third. I thought he was somewhere in the 101-120 ranking area, but really at that point in the draft anything plus or minus a round is within range.

Brian: Do you think Anderson was the BPA on the Braves board at 3? Or was he simply the best combo of talent & cost? If it’s the latter, do you feel like the Braves got enough talent with their subsequent picks to justify not taking BPA at 3?
Klaw: I thought he was really good, moved him up to 7th on my final board after hearing his velocity was all the way back on Saturday. I think they probably felt they were getting BPA anyway but at a discount relative to slot at 3. I had a couple of guys above him, but again, my word is not definitive, and in this draft in particular a couple of spots in the rankings is essentially nothing.

John: If you’re the Rockies, the best case scenario is grab all the power arm prospects you can, hope you hit on a few and if they do succeed deal them at their peak for more prospects. You’ll never have a long term successful pitcher here. correct?
Klaw: I’m not that pessimistic. I think you draft power arms because that’s the only way you’re ever going to have enough pitching to compete. But if the draft gives you Brendan Rodgers or David Dahl (to say nothing of second-rounder Nolan Arenado … my God that was a good pick), take him. Don’t force the arm.

mike: can you explain the reason what the catch-all term “character concerns” is so often used (e.g. Groome) and what those concerns are are not actually reported by anyone? Is it respect for kid’s privacy or something else
Klaw: Because lawyers. I know what’s up with Groome – I did some background work of my own to check on some of the rumors (nearly all of which turned out to be false … for example, he was not kicked out of IMG). But I can’t say exactly what I know because ESPN has editorial standards for reporting and I abide by those.

Justin: For a guy like Connor Jones, is it worth the Cardinals trying to fix his delivery but risking making him a less effective pitcher?
Klaw: He’s not very effective right now. Fix the delivery and see if he starts throwing harder and/or with more sink.

Will: About how many prospects from this draft do you think go into the top 100?
Klaw: Maybe a dozen? Depends on promotions but we seem to be losing a lot of kids to the majors already.

Tom: Seems like the pirates are having a pretty crappy draft. Thoughts on what they’ve done so far?
Klaw: well I would never use that word, but I’m not a fan of the first few picks. Lodolo is interesting but he’s a very long-term development project – I thought he might be a top guy for 2019 instead.

Brian: Keith, the Red Sox selected Florida’s closer, Shaun Anderson, in round 3, suggests he could be made a starter. But for this year, is he someone that the Sox could put in the big league pen this year and then try him as a starter in the minors next? Is that bad for his development? Is he even good enough to consider that? Thanks a lot.
Klaw: I don’t think he can be a starter. It’s not outrageous, but I think he’s a pen guy, and I’d do what you suggest – move him quick to AA or AAA and see what happens.

Kyle: Keith, if Dalton Jeffries can recover his health, do you think he was a steal?
Klaw: Maybe. He has a real shoulder issue, so he has to pass the physical first, and then see if the injury recurs or affects his velocity. This isn’t minor. Before that he might have been a top 10 pick, although I think that was a little rich for a smallish RHP without huge stuff.

Matt: Almarez for the Phillies said that Moniak can be a 70 defense 70 hit and hit between 15-22 home runs when he hits the big leagues. What do you think?
Klaw: Apparently I went to see the wrong kid.

Alex in Austin: With Wentz and Jones going in the 2nd, any chance they go to Cville or will they sign overslot?
Klaw: Signing. I’d bet anything those kids both had deals in place.

RollWave: Tulane alum here. Saw both Alemais (Pirates) and Rogers (Astros) were both recently taken within a few picks of each other. Any thoughts on these guys? Seems like Rogers as a defense-first catcher should at least have a chance of panning out.
Klaw: Extra guys – good shot at big leagues, doubt either becomes a regular.

John: Who the heck is Alex Call?
Klaw: He should have been the first pick so Call could have let the day begin.

Joe: Was Benson a huge reach for you?
Klaw: Sort of … for tools, body, intelligence, he’s a top 10 guy. The swing is a zero right now. They’ll have to rebuild it. They have the technology, though.

Brad: Hey Keith, long time reader and supporter of yours. I wanted to ask for advice for breaking into the baseball business. Occupying my free time researching/learning/studying baseball has made up most of my life and I think I’d be great in the biz. About a year ago, I passed on an internship with the Yankees after blindly reaching out and talking some with David Grabiner who was impressed with some of my thoughts. As baseball requires more and more of an analytics driven decision making process, would an MBA in data analytics help propel me into a good full time type of position? How would you best suggest breaking in as a mid-20 currently working in mechanical engineering?
Klaw: My understanding is that the big hiring now is people with extensive work and/or education in data mining fields – machine learning, signal processing, etc.

Justin: Where did you have Zac Gallen?
Klaw: Fourth-fifth rounds.

Josh: Any info on Mason Thompson (drafted in the 3rd by the Padres)?
Klaw: I’d been told he was a likely top ten pick for 2019 and was a difficult sign this year as a kid out with TJ who had seven-figure expectations.

Hinkie: Can Kevin Gowdy eventually be a top of the rotation pitcher, or his ceiling more of a 2 or 3.
Klaw: More like a 2/3, but still a good pick.

JG: In most of the prospect descriptions for catchers, many do not expect the actual player to stay at catcher. Is Ben Rortvedt the guy that can?
Klaw: I have been told no shot. He’s a hitter. I saw Lux this spring but not Rortvedt (I guess that was the right call since Lux went in the first).

Jacob: Scouting reports suggest Kirilloff may be a solid player but nothing spectacular. Anything in his game that suggests he could be something more?
Klaw: Power is much more. That’s your upside there.

Theo: Could Riley Pint pitch in the majors in a bullpen right now if needed? I know the Rockies don’t need him now, but if they were in a playoff hunt would that change? 102 is 102
Klaw: No. He’d walk too many guys.

addoeh: Are you just working on adrenaline at this point? When do you open a good bottle of rum and just relax?
Klaw: Adrenaline and some caffeine. Probably won’t really relax till the recaps are done this weekend.

Mike M: Luhnow takes a tall RHP with so-so velo and little projection (Whitley), a fringe prospect corner bat (Dawson), and a college catcher who can’t hit a lick (Rogers). Fair to say the Astros have underwhelmed so far?
Klaw: Whitley does not have “so-so velo.” He’s got a plus FB and flashes a plus CB. He has little projection because he’s already built like a big leaguer. I think you’re really unfair on that pick. The other two I’m with you.

Matt: I know you’re not a huge fan of player comparisons, but is Moniak’s upside something along the lines of Christian Yelich with better defense? He’s maybe the only guy I can think of in MLB with a 70 hit and 40 power.
Klaw: I think Yelich had a had a better pure hit tool at that age.

Mike: How far will Matt Krook fall ?
Klaw: Gone in the 4th. Another guy who has to pass his physical first – Miami flunked him in high school, then he had TJ.

Stephen: At what round in the draft do teams’ draft boards start to greatly diverge? That is, at what point do guys get taken that other teams aren’t in on at all? Or to put it another way, at what point does a team not get concerned at all that their next selection will be taken in the pick or two before they draft?
Klaw: I think we’re already at that point now. Probably somewhere in the third round boards really start to part where you get other teams taking guys you had in the 6-10 round range.

CJ: As a Cards fan (and a Puerto Rican) I’m ecstatic that the Cards nabbed Perez. Are you in the “he shouldn’t be rewarded with a first round pick because he cheated” camp, or the “He’s not a rich prep player like a lot of these other high schoolers and should be given the benefit of the doubt.” Thanks Keith!
Klaw: I’m in the “take the player you think is the best as long as he’s not violent or a felon” camp.

Robert: Regarding the Tigers selection of Manning. you mentioned Detroit has a history of developing players like him, tall athletic power arms. Outside of Verlander who have they developed in the minors? Thanks.
Klaw: Might have been Eric who said that. I love the pick, though. Big, athletic, up to 98, needs to switch to a traditional curveball grip from a spike. They haven’t taken anyone like him since Jacob Turner.

Aaron C.: Thanks for your “anti-lazy comp” policy, man. While I appreciate the work that MLB Network does in bringing the draft to the fans, they do quite a disservice when folks like Harold Reynolds are throwing out uninformed comps left n’ right.
Klaw: The same-race (or even guy who looks like this other guy) comps are insulting. The hell does that matter? Ray Lankford peaked as a guy with 20+ HR, 20+ SB, reaching 30 in each category at least once, with good OBPs and somewhat high K rates. I think that’s Corey Ray’s ceiling. I wouldn’t care if one of them was from Kyrgyzstan and the other from Darkest Peru.

Jay: Bo Bichette seems like a great pick at 66. Does he have highest upside of Blue Jays draft picks so far?
Klaw: Yes, that’s my favorite relative to draft position of theirs. I wonder if people worried because the brother has been so bad, and Bo used to have a terrible setup/load for his swing. He’s cleaned it up, and he’s a better athlete than Dante Jr.

James: My favorite part of the draft was when Tommy Lasorda comes out to announce the Dodgers pick, looks lost, then goes – “I’m Tommy Lasorda”. Think MLB could announce the person who was announcing the pick for the team.
Klaw: I thought he looked awful as he was helped up to the podium and started to speak so slowly, but then he cracked the “stay awake, fellas!” line like it was still 1980. I’m not even a fan of Lasorda’s, but that was a great moment.

Chris: Kevin Maitan would’ve been selected at what pick last night?
Klaw: Not very high. 16 years old, never faced any real competition. How do you compare that to Moniak or Rutherford?

FG: From what you hear, is there any concern that the Yankees won’t sign Rutherford? Or will they need to manage pool money properly . Thanks for your work Klaw.
Klaw: My guess is they’ll go under slot a few times and work it out.

James: Whenever a tall pitcher was picked in the first round the analysts kept saying that tall pitchers take more time in the minors because their deliveries are harder to repeat/control. Is this true?
Klaw: I think that’s true for VERY tall pitchers – 6’6″ and up, say. And the pool of those guys isn’t that big to begin with.

Amy: Wait, why does Rutherford’s age give him leverage?
Klaw: Because he’ll be eligible for the draft again in 2018 if he goes to college, rather than 2019 for most HS kids.

Troubled (Cincinnati): I see why you don’t like doing comps. Ctrent had a great tweet last night about MLB’s coverage, to hear the non-scouts (Mayo, Callis, Manual) talk, every player drafted last night was either an All-Star or a Hall of Famer. The coverage was hard to stomach because of it.
Klaw: That’s an inherent problem with any league broadcasting its own draft, unfortunately. For example, Sanchez and Carlson were both reaches in the first round. Would MLB be OK with Mayo saying, “that’s a huge reach,” or, worse, “I think that’s a terrible pick?” Probably not, and it’s their right to say, hey, this is a big marketing event for us too, let’s not bash the product. So I hear you, and to some extent I agree with you (this ain’t Lake Wobegon and these kids aren’t all above average), but there’s a COI here that’s not going away.

Adam: Would you say that two-sport guys, such as Matt Manning, have higher untapped potential as they’ve not solely focussed on baseball year round? As I Tigs fan I was expecting a hard throwing pitcher, I’m not sure if I should be excited about Manning or not.
Klaw: I think the new thinking is that their arms will be in better shape due to the long layoff from pitching. For position players i’m not as sold on the idea.

Jerry: Do you think Jared Horn priced himself out of the first couple of rounds, or were there some performance issues that have led to him slipping closer and closer to being in Berkeley for school later this summer?
Klaw: I think the money was one thing and the delivery (max effort, reliever all the way) may have been another. Some teams were just out on him for the second reason.

Josh: Who is Joseph Lucchesi? Preller seems to be making a lot of under-slot picks. Where is all of that money going?
Klaw: That’s Joey Lucchesi, who was worn out like a damn dishrag at their conference tournament after leading D1 in strikeouts during the season. Quality senior sign. I hope we’re not lamenting an injury to him a year from now. Probably helps go to pay Lawson and Thompson. I wonder if Lake Bachar is a deal too – junior but D3 kid without projection.

Nathan: I enjoy reading your work Keith. Are Robert Tyler and Ben Bowden starters at the major league level or better suited for bullpen roles?
Klaw: I think you send both out as starters, but if you asked me to bet $100 on each I’d say relief for both.

Joe: Not sure if you saw but Dylan Bundy hit 97 on his fastball and was sitting at 95. Reason to be optimistic or is there still too many unknowns at this point?
Klaw: He has calcification in his shoulder. We’re a long way from being optimistic on that disaster.

BK: Bichette stated in an intvw last night that he turned down 4 offers prior to the Jays because he didn’t like the fit. Have you heard similar? That seems quite odd to me.
Klaw: I had heard interest in him starting in the 30s, but don’t know of any specific deals. It’s not like he grew up poor so he had that luxury.

Joe: Hey Keith, How much longer until Ray Montgomery is a GM? His past 2 drafts in Milwaukee have been excellent and he seems to be well regarded in MLB circles. Thanks
Klaw: I thought he’d get more of a shot at the job in Milwaukee, but that process appeared to be over before it started. He should be on a lot of teams’ short lists for the next opening.

Joe: Knowing what you know would you have taken Groome with a top 3 pick?
Klaw: Yes, I would have. I might have handled him differently post-draft than other prospects, but so what? If you find a talented kid with a drinking problem, but no history of violence, abuse, destructive behavior, etc., you might still draft and sign him, but have EA people in place with him, avoid certain environments, etc. That’s the cost of developing players to me.

Harvey: Do you think that 40 rounds every year is too many? Must be like throwing darts after 10 rounds, right?
Klaw: I stop paying attention after round 11. Really after the top 5 rounds the significant prospects are mostly gone – players who emerge after that, like Goldschmidt, were known but just underrated by the entire industry – and round 11 matters because it’s the first round after the bonus pool rounds.

Tom: What’s wrong with the word “crappy”?
Klaw: If I say a draft is “crappy,” imagine the reaction from that scouting director or GM (I know most of them well) when he sees that? Hi, yeah, I did call your draft crappy, but I meant it in the nicest possible way…

Brian: Keith, back to the character question. This is not a criticism, I do understand your answer; but how is it better to say a kid has character issues and then just leave it there? It’s not your responsibility but people’s minds’ due tend to run to worst case and they could be thinking the kid is a Johnny Maziel level type alcoholic/woman abuser when it could be he shows up late a lot and may be a little lazy. I guess the question is, why say anything at all?
Klaw: How do I explain why a Jason Groome goes 12th when he came into the spring at 1 on most lists (mine included)?

Steve: Thoughts on Jordan Sheffield? No 2/3 starter ceiling or more of a power reliever?
Klaw: Power reliever for me. Short RHP with lightning arm but lacks command or plane for starting.

KoolMoeRip: Thoughts on O’s draft. Liking Hays in the 3rd a lot-looks like good value
Klaw: 3rd/4th rounder there. Appropriate spot for him.

Alex: A friend who is a novice baseball fan asked me about Perez. Without giving him details on scouting grades, etc.. Is Lindor a decent comp?
Klaw: No, Lindor was a WAY more advanced hitter at the same age. Plus Lindor had 80 makeup and Delvin has not 80 makeup.

Brian: is Bobby Dalbec going to be able hit professional pitching? seems like a bad pick for Boston.
Klaw: Where they took him (4th) was fair. Huge power, maybe 80 power, too much swing and miss. Fourth round expected value is near zero, so rolling the dice on a kid who might only have a 5% chance of clicking but is a solid #6 hitter if he does work out is reasonable. Also, while I like some players more than others, it’s a little hard to make a “bad” pick by this point in the draft.

Kyle: Odd question but a 40 round draft would by definition at add at least 40 new players to an org. Does this mean +/-40 other players are usually out of a job every year around this time?
Klaw: Not an odd question but bear in mind lots of those picks don’t sign. I think usually 800-900 guys sign a year? Mayo or Callis would actually be better people to ask on that. But those signees fill out the GCL/AZL rosters and some of the short-season rosters.

Bob: Then I assume you would have been more vague about referencing Perez’s PED use if it had not already leaked all over place.
Klaw: I was still vague even when I knew for a fact that he’d tested positive. I still know more about it than I’ve said (as does everyone else, I’m not that special). But I spoke to our news desk about how to couch it and that’s what you’re getting from me.

Harrisburg Hal: Good rums…I’ve had a couple of the Appleton Estate varieties…what is your favorite (not more than $50/bottle)?
Klaw: I have Brugal Viejo in the house right now and it’s a damn fine rum. It will be used this weekend.

Klaw: That’s all for this week as I have a lot of writing to do, but thank you all for the questions today and yesterday, for reading all of my content and Eric’s too, and for your support and readership throughout the year. Look for those team by team draft recaps over the weekend.

Klawchat, 6/9/16.

Happy Draft Day! I have an updated first-round mock and an updated Big Board for Insiders.

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Klaw: On this battlefield, no one wins. Klawchat.

Ted: I know you’ve been concerned with Lewis’ swing and miss. Do you see a mechanical fix for it? I read that he never played baseball exclusively until Mercer. Is there a thought that he’s raw and could improve contact?
Klaw: Some is mechanical – you have to get rid of that high leg kick – and some is approach/pitch recognition. And he hasn’t faced good competition this spring, only last summer, so that’s an added concern.

Ryan: Victor Roache comp for Kyle Lewis. Legitimate comparison or a racially charged comp?
Klaw: Poor comparison but based on more than race – both Georgia kids at non-major D1 programs facing lower-caliber competition, both power over hit. Lewis is a better athlete and Roache’s swing was a disaster, full backside collapse with uphill path, no shot to hit a breaking ball. Ranked him as a third rounder on draft day, called it a huge overdraft when the Brewers took him. Lewis is a lot better than that.

Dave from Port Hope: Could injury concerns let Quantrill fall to Blue Jays at 21?
Klaw: Not about injury concerns but cost. He was 1-1 good before he had TJ.

Nick: Man, if Moniak had power and/or a projectable frame, he’d be an easy 1-1. How likely is it that he’ll hit more than 10 home runs a year in the bigs?
Klaw: Right now, current swing and body, below 50% chance of 10+ homers. No stride, narrow stance, short swing.

Banksy_: Is there any feasible way Groome gets to #8, and with the large bonus pool could the Padres be the floor for the HS lefty?
Klaw: Feasible way, yes. Padres would strongly consider at 8.

Nick: If Drew Mendoza doesn’t sign, could he potentially be in the mix for 1-1 in 2019?
Klaw: Not for me.

Jonathan: Assuming the Phillies go below slot at 1.1, who do you expect they will target at 2.1?
Klaw: It’s about who falls – for example, the Braves supposedly wanted Groome to fall to 40, but that’s not going to happen. So maneuvering doesn’t necessarily get you what you want. I think Kevin Gowdy gets down that far, and Joey Wentz likely gets down that far, but I wouldn’t want to stake my career on a specific guy being there at 42.

Dale: it seems that Jason Groome is falling out of favor? What do you think the reason is? I’m hoping he falls to A’s and they pick him over Nick Senzel. I’m thinking it’s not time for A’s to play it safe.
Klaw: Don’t think that’s quite true, but ongoing makeup questions and high bonus expectations have caused some teams up top to turn away from him. A’s could still take him but I think they take Senzel if there.

JQ in the hospital: If the Phillies pass on moniak with the first pick, what are the chances he falls to the Sox at 12?
Klaw: Based on what I’ve heard in the last few days, zero chance. Rutherford more likely to get there.

Nick: I’ve seen several sources say Seth Beer would have gone top 15 had he not graduated early. But other places didn’t rank him as highly as other prep bats. Where would he have gone if he stayed in HS?
Klaw: Absolutely not top 15. That’s nonsense. He would have mashed as a HS senior and been discounted heavily for being nearly 20.

John: Since you have Corey Ray and Jason Groome one two on your board does that mean regardless of who is drafting you would recommend Ray over Groome?
Klaw: Yes, that’s correct.

Andrew: Over/under: Angels are drafting their top 2 prospects today.
Klaw: There’s almost no doubt about it.

Kerry: Thoughts on Tyler Jay’s season so far? Is he the most promising arm in the Twins’ system?
Klaw: Been outstanding. Still amazes me that Illinois thought they were better off using him 1-2 innings a week than 6.

Banksy_: Who’s falling harder today, Delvin Perez or the creationist on your twitter page?
Klaw: The creationist. He devolved into fallacies and circular reasoning.

Keith: Your big board always seems to weight HS players with potential (and presumably a higher failure rate) more heavily than college (high floor) guys. Do most star players generally get drafted out of high school? I imagine professional training from the age of 18 has to be a big boost in development – but obviously, less of a “sure thing” than taking a 21 year old.
Klaw: That’s not true – it’s only true when that’s the draft class. My 2011 board was more college heavy and right now I think my 2017 board will be too.

Troubled (Cincinnati): No prospect is perfect, how much of Puk’s relative lack of athleticism and health issues a concern? Enough to push him out of the Top 4?
Klaw: Health issues? I know about delivery questions and lack of athleticism, but I think 4 is his floor.

scottie: Wil Myers as you predicted, is having a pretty good year so far. Do you think he might make the All Star Game/ Home Run Derby?
Klaw: Probably because San Diego is hosting the game.

Mark: Heard some at the “World Leader” suggesting that Puig could be on the way out of LA due to his unwillingness to be a grownup, opinion?
Klaw: His trade value is at an all-time low. They could have had the sun and moon for him 18 months ago, but now that everyone has seen he can’t turn on good fastballs any more, what’s his worth?

Mike: Non-draft question. Any reason to move Machado back to third? My untrained eye thinks he has played pretty well defensively at shortstop. I guess the only reason would be the Orioles don’t have another third baseman?
Klaw: No, especially since that bat at shortstop makes him a potential MVP.

Jon: Other than Rutherford, do you know of anyone else the Phillies may be trying to float down to 42?
Klaw: Rutherford is not getting to 42 either, according to #Sources.

Philip: Have you heard Padres connected to Nolan Jones at 24-25?
Klaw: Not especially but I know they like him and saw him particularly good the day I was there.

Zorak: What’s your take on Matt Thaiss and his ability to stay at Catcher? Is he an overdraft for the Mets in the first round if he’s destined to be a corner guy long term?
Klaw: Not a catcher. May not even get to their pick at 19. He can hit, one of the better hit tools in the college crop.

billjames: I see draft COVERAGE begins a 6et., But what time is the actual first pick happening? Trying to decide if I need to take off early. Thank KlAw
Klaw: 7 pm start, 7:05 first pick is in.

JG: Not that they should attempt this, but would there be a benefit to the Twins drafting Manning at #15, not being able to sign him, and then having a potentially similar draft pick next year in a “better” draft?
Klaw: This comes up every year and every year my answer is the same: No, it’s a bad idea. A player today is worth more than a player tomorrow, and that draft pick next year might be the next scouting director’s or the next GM’s. Don’t get cute – take the best player and sign him.

JDB: Where do you think Brandon Mcillwain would have ended up in this draft? How about Chad Holbrook throwing a FR 123 pitches up 20 runs.
Klaw: Top 25 pick. Don’t think I saw that but not surprised.

JR: What happened to Ronald Washington? His reclassification to 2016 was fairly major news, but I haven’t seen him mentioned in any draft previews or rankings.
Klaw: Just not that good. You could still hear him taken late tonight I guess but I don’t expect it.

Jon Weisman: Keith, I was at Stanford for the 1987 and 1988 College World Series and covered the 1988 title (with freshman Mike Mussina) in Omaha for the school paper. It was a thrilling time, and my respect for Mark Marquess then was unlimited. To be fair, I’m not tuned into the program nearly as well now, but without discounting what he accomplished, my reaction to his retirement news was relief. They’ve have very limited postseason success and questionable use of pitching arms for a long time now, it seems. Do you agree, and do you have a view of what can/should happen with the program going forward?
Klaw: I agree wholeheartedly. He has been a serial abuser of arms for about 20 years now, absolutely wearing out John Hudgins in Omaha around 2003, and his hitting ‘philosophy’ has ruined a lot of good hitting prospects by wrecking their swings. We’re talking about one of the best academic schools in the country, one of a very short list of great academic schools with major D1 baseball programs, and they’re the absolute last place I’d send a good high school prospect. They should look outside and consider guys from pro ball who understand the duality of college baseball – win and develop. I thought Ryan Garko was the perfect heir apparent but I guess he and Marquess didn’t work out.

Hey Mickey you’re so…: I know your mock draft is based upon what you hear from scouts, front offices, etc. and you’ve had Puk as the #1 pick for a few weeks now up until today. Can you give us any specific insight as to what you’ve learned that caused you to change this to Moniak?
Klaw: As you said, it’s what I heard last night. But I heard again this morning it might still be Lewis. The Phillies maintain that they have not come to a final decision yet. I believe them.

Kevin: You said on Twitter that you think the Padres’ return for Shields was good enough. Was that before or after you knew the exact $$ going back? It seems to me that for chipping in $31M they should’ve received a better prospect package back.
Klaw: Money was sunk anyway and he has not performed well at all even prior to last night.

EC: Any additional thoughts on Jordan McFarland, who you said could go to Nats at some point during the draft? Overslot deal?
Klaw: Not even a consideration for my top 100.

Jose G.: Wouldn’t the Braves be better off taking their top player on the board at 3 and trying to get Ian Anderson to slide to pick 40?
Klaw: He’s not sliding to pick 40. Zero shot. It’s perverse but actually more reasonable to take the lesser guy first (Dozier) and sign him under slot to pay the better guy later (Manaea).

EC: Remember last time a NJ HSer fell?
Klaw: Yes, but that was rather different. Trout was 17, never had a single makeup concern, and was signable everywhere.

Seattle: CJ Chatham a first rounder tonight?
Klaw: No, I don’t see that. I think he’s a third/fourth round talent. Not a true shortstop, not enough bat for second.

BD: How much of Funkhouser’s links to the Nats are the natural Boras/Nats link, and how much is it that he deserves to go around 28/29 or early 2nd?
Klaw: Doesn’t deserve to go tonight, but everyone’s assuming he’ll go to a team that likes Boras clients, such as the Nats. The running gag is that they’ll announce his signing the day they announce a Bryce Harper extension.

Nick: Have you heard the Mets in on any prep bats? Any chance Rutherford gets to them at 19?
Klaw: They’d consider him for sure but it’s very unlikely he gets there. Haven’t heard them on Jones. Don’t see another worthy prep bat there. Too high for Lowe.

Ryan Green: Thoughts on Gabby Guerrero, Jamie Westbrook and Mitch Haniger in AA Southern League?
Klaw: Fringe guys at best.

Alex: I think it would be an outstanding first round if the cardinals got Thaiss, Quantrill, and Craig. Is it possible? Please say yes
Klaw: No shot Thaiss gets to them.

Harrisburg Hal: Will you be chatting again tomorrow? It’s sort of become a draft tradition for me to look for your Friday chat where you “mention every team” that had a pick.
Klaw: Yes, that’s the plan at least.

James: Do you think putting cream in coffee are as egregious as putting ketchup on a good steak?
Klaw: I drink good coffee black without sweetener. If it’s bad coffee, I’ll doctor it to cover up the off taste.

Brett: What do you think of Anfernee Grier? Can he stick in center, and is he a .260 hitter with 20 homers?
Klaw: Sticks in center but his bat was exposed this spring once SEC play started. You can’t be that lost against breaking stuff and project as a big leaguer regular; picking him is a bet you can develop his pitch recognition, especially since he’s young for a college junior.

Rutherford, NJ: Hi Keith. I live five minutes from Secaucus. Is there any way I can attend the draft?
Klaw: I asked about this but it is closed to the public.

Drew: Errol Robinson is drafted in the ___ round. JB Woodman is drafted in the ___ round?
Klaw: 5th, 2nd. I’m not on either guy. Woodman has about a 3 hit tool. Robinson didn’t hit at all this spring and his fielding got worse.

Tim: Hey Keith, thanks for all your hard work the last couple months. You said earlier today Puk isn’t particularly polished and thus he’ll need a few years to hone his delivery – any insight to why the Reds would take the risk of an unpolished pitcher over a quality bat with a higher floor (like Ray or Senzel)? Is it simply just: Puk could be a dominant lefty starter – and those guys don’t grow on trees?
Klaw: Yes, that’s it, and who’s going to argue with taking a 6’6″ college lefty who’s 93-97? It’s as defensible a pick as there is.

addoeh: Why did Constantinople get the works?
Klaw: That’s nobody’s business but Andy Dirks’.

Dan: Is Almora behind the likes of Pillar and Kiermaier in any athletic/speed sense that could cap his defensive ceiling? I know he’s not especially fast, but I’m not sure how elite their speed is.
Klaw: He’s a below-average runner but has outstanding reads and instincts in center. He’s at least a 6 defender, probably a 7.

Banksy_: Give me a guy you really like outside the top 100 that has a chance to be picked higher than his ranking. I really like Jimmy Lambert, P Fresno State
Klaw: If I liked a guy that much he’d be on the 100. There were not 100 guys I felt good about this year.

Zika Control: I have a drainage ditch behind my house that’s full of water and has been for the 7 months we lived there. What should I do, contact the county for skeeters or take it upon myself to treat in. my wifes prego and I have a young girl.
Klaw: My faith in local government is low enough that I’d probably tackle it myself.

Matt: if you had to put a probability of Corey Ray going 1-1,
Klaw: I think it’s 5%.

addoeh: Cooper Johnson more likely to be drafted tomorrow instead of tonight?
Klaw: seems about right.

Corey: Possibility that Swihart’s ankle injury could keep him out the rest of the season. The Sox have messed this up pretty badly right ? Lost a trade chip, stunted his catcher development, lessened his value and lost his bat for some considerable time either way.
Klaw: Didn’t like the position juggling but can’t really blame him for the injury, can we?

Gary: Which Norcal prep comes off the board first: Jared Horn or Dylan Carlson?
Klaw: Horn unless he’s just priced himself out. I could see Atlanta popping him at 40.

Nick: Any reason you have the Mets passing on Will Craig twice after it seeming like they were all over him the last few weeks?
Klaw: Because they like other players more.

Sean: I noticed you’ve been reading short stories lately. Have you delved into any of the older masters of the class like Cheever? What about George Saunders?
Klaw: Cheever’s collection is on my to-be-read shelf. Read Tenth of December by Saunders last year; it was solid, not sure I’d rush for another collection of his.

Sean: There’s a lot of hand-wringing going on about use of lasers to position outfielders. What exactly is the problem, are people concerned with accidental retinal damage or just scared off by the futuristic sound of the word laser?
Klaw: I don’t see the problem. I guess it’s the debate between “if it’s not explicitly prohibited, it’s allowed” and “if it’s not explicitly allowed, it’s cheating.”

Corey: If not 100, how many guys in this draft do you see as being solid picks for where they will be taken?
Klaw: Based on the history of the draft, it’s probably 20-25, not considering guys who get a cup of coffee out of a late round (which would be a solid pick for the spot but only of academic interest to most of you).

Nick: Just looking at what Will Craig did to the ACC, I’m surprised he is only 45th on your big board. Is it just because is is 1B only?
Klaw: Plays 3b now, likely moves to 1b, didn’t face much good pitching at all this year, was awful on the Cape.

Vander: What are the chances the Reds pick either Rutherford or Moniak?
Klaw: Haven’t heard them with Rutherford once all spring.

Caleb: Best board game to introduce to a wife who doesn’t care for board games?
Klaw: Lost Cities and Jaipur are two good, light, two-player games.

Brian: At one point should someone seek help for anxiety? If you know you have strong anxiety but can manage it to the point of having a happy/successful life should you just keep living with it?
Klaw: If it’s hurting your quality of life in some way, get help. Therapy alone could make a real difference, and unlike medication it has no side effects (aside from cost, I suppose).

John (MN): Non draft question. Did the Twins really make a bad decision on Ortiz over a decade ago based on available data? Or are all the local columnists harping on it this week (Boston in town) exhibiting hindsight bias?
Klaw: I was with Toronto at the time and we thought it was a pennywise pound-foolish decision: they saw him as slightly overpriced, but maybe didn’t consider that he might have untapped value.

Banksy_: Whats Brandon Marsh’s range? top of round 2 reasonable?
Klaw: Yes, somewhere in the second is about right.

Phil: Hi Keith, long-time fan — you and Buster make paying for Insider a necessity. I’m a management consultant at a Big 4 looking to transition into working in baseball (I used to work for an agent in school, but he’s out of the game). Is networking the best way to get my foot in the door? Seems like a pretty tough nut to crack. Thanks and enjoy the draft!
Klaw: Networking is probably the only way. If you don’t know someone or have a connection, or didn’t play, it’s awfully hard to get started.

Jason Reynolds: I’m about 65% of the way through the opposite of a short story, Gravity’s Rainbow. I know you’ve commented on it in the past but I’m wondering have you read it and how long did it take you?
Klaw: I read it, took about three weeks, did not enjoy any aspect of it.

David: Not a draft question, but a scouting/mechanics one. Is it just me, or does Wil Myers barely use his lower half of his body at the plate? Is it just all upper body strength? That can’t be a great approach, right?
Klaw: Doesn’t use his legs enough at all, but he’s very strong, and there have been successful power hitters who’ve done that, like Frank Thomas.

Steve: I get that the Braves, Reds, and Phillies don’t know who exactly will fall to them. But it has to be terrifying to take a guy who isn’t your BPA at 1-3 in order to save cash for whatever happens to be there in the 40s. Seems like an extreme risk, and makes me suspicious that they have deals worked out with some of the guys they want in the 40s.
Klaw: I’m sure they have discussed the parameters of deals, but the problem is no one can guarantee that Joey Bagodonuts will last till pick 40 – for the Phillies, they have to get any such player past three Padres picks, three Dodgers picks, two Reds picks, and two Atlanta picks.

Marcus A.: Mariners have been tied to pretty much only college players. % chance that one of the top college bats (Ray, Senzel, Lewis) falls to them?
Klaw: As of right now I think zero percent chance.

Vinny: In response to your answer that only 20-25 guys end up truly being great picks….in other words, about 96% of all players drafted are essentially roster fillers.
Klaw: That’s how it ends up in time, but that’s certainly not the idea on draft day.

Carlos: I’ve seen you mention that Senzel has some pretty serious raw power that doesn’t show in games because of his approach. If that power were unlocked, what kind of player would we be looking at?
Klaw: A borderline MVP candidate. Average fielder at 3b with avg and power? Maybe an actual MVP candidate.

AN: Non-draft question about two Mets prospects if you don’t mind. Vinny Siena and David Thompson seem to be doing pretty well in A ball. Case of them being a little older for the league or are either worth getting a little excited about?
Klaw: Yes, 22 in low-A is ridiculous, no reason for them to be there. The Mets are weird about holding players back.

addoeh: Belated birthday greetings. You’re 21 in base 21. What was the filling in your birthday pie?
Klaw: Actually we went out to Cocina Lolo in Wilmington. I had ceviche, a pork carnitas taco (my daughter loves them but never finishes the plate of three), some elote, and a churro with caramel, ice cream, and hazelnuts.

Eric: Is Gavin Lux in the mix for the White Sox at 10?
Klaw: I have not heard this at all.

Chris: I know he is a ways off, but have you had a chance to see Dylan Cease pitch? Sounding like he has the potential to be a top of the rotation arm.
Klaw: He was on my top 100 this winter for this precise reason.

J: I’m getting alerts on my mlb at bat app that Joe DiMaggio has a hit streak going. How many games do you think he can keep it going?
Klaw: I doubt he can get past about 56 games.

Sean: Just saw on the twitter that Taillon has been optioned back to AAA. What could possibly be the reason for this?
Klaw: Off day Monday, won’t need a fifth starter again till the 18th, more time to decide whether to bump Nicasio to the pen.

Greyson: Has Derek Hill shown anything since being drafted to suggest they he will hit in the majors? His stat line suggests no, but that’s obviously not the whole story.
Klaw: Swing is still good, but he’s just not getting stronger like he should. He’s also 20 years old with only 600 pro PA, so I’m not giving up on him.

Ken: Probability of the A’s taking Groome?
Klaw: If Senzel is gone, high. If Senzel is there, zero.

Ebeneezer: What do you find more exciting: the buildup to the draft, or that the draft will eventually be over and life will return to normal?
Klaw: The latter. This draft has been particularly tiring because of the lack of a clear 1-1 or even top 2-3 guys.

James: Why is Trea Turner still in Triple A, keith
Klaw: Because Danny Espinosa’s .276 OBP (without IBB) is too valuable to bench.

Doug: Time to pay attention to Michael Gettys? Or just the result of repeating low A Fort Wayne?
Klaw: Repeating the level and still striking out a quarter of the time.

Ryan: Delvin Perez – How does the PED test result affect the scouting reports?
Klaw: The biggest concern is the newfound power he showed this spring. I don’t see how that would affect our valuation of his defense. I could see an argument that he might not be a 7 runner when clean, but I think that’s less compelling. The hit tool is what it is – I have never seen any real argument that steroids changed that.

Ty: From time to time I see you make somewhat obscure hair metal refrences. Did you really like that shit?
Klaw: As a teenager? Of course. Everyone around me did. Hair metal and strong island hip hop.

Ben: I know you’ve been high Austin Meadows, is this torrid streak in AA mark his ascendency to the top of prospect lists?
Klaw: Seems like he’s finally healthy after the eye injury, so yes, I’m buying.

Marcus A.: So no Senzel, Lewis or Ray for the Mariners, any chance they would take Blake Rutherford if he lasts until 11? I know that Justin Dunn is exciting in his own way, I just balk at his limited track record as a starter.
Klaw: That doesn’t bother me. He developed pretty late. I guess you could argue he’s more enticing for having been lightly used.

Nick, Boston: If Perez haddnt failed his test and didnt start to drop, where would he rank on your big board? Just on pure talent/potential alone
Klaw: He was third on my previous board.

Quentin: At which pick do you predict that you will hear the first name that you don’t recognize at all? On a similar note, has there ever been a big leaguer that you were completely unaware of until you heard his name on draft day?
Klaw: Big leaguer? I don’t think so. Today, probably somewhere in the middle of the second round. Maybe sandwich, if someone cuts a deal.

Tim: Know you mentioned Tyler Mahle (not close to your top 100) as a potential dark horse – that looks like a smart choice, no? How many 21 yr olds from the 7th round get to AA this fast?
Klaw: I thought he was still in high-A, but yeah, he’s progressed extremely well, great pick by the Reds there.

Karl: Do you see David Dahl being an All-Star level player or will he be a “nice” player with decent numbers mostly inflated by the home ballpark?
Klaw: Closer to the former. All-Star ability, not an All-Star approach at the plate, and of course he’s had a lot of unfortunate injury troubles.

BD in ATL: Over/under on # of picks you get right? 5? Seems like it is almost an impossible task.
Klaw: My daughter asked me this last night. I told her even 1/4 right (so about 8) would be a huge win. I am not expecting to get to that this year.

Banksy_: How many overslot deals can the Padres afford given their budget. I know it depends on how far over they go, but could you see them going with overslot guys at 8, 24, 25 then taking under- and senior signs?
Klaw: They could, although I think they may mix in one slot guy in those top three.

Nick: Any reports on how Nimmo has looked this season? Stat line looks better, but hard to assess playing in LV.
Klaw: No reports, as I’m still in draft mode, but he’s basically the same guy hitting away from Vegas – no power, and can’t play CF, so extra OF.

Tim: Good chance that 1-1 will get leaked before 7pm tonight? Gotta assume the Phillies get a deal done before then (and probably the Reds too).
Klaw: Yes, although it might be at 6:55. We’ll all find out – stuff like that tends not to stay secret.

JP: How does Colby Bortles project as a draft prospect?
Klaw: Not well. I saw Ole Miss two games in Hoover but there’s not much there for pro ball. Good college team, but those two don’t always mean the same thing.

Geno: If the Pirates do draft Burdi, would you expect to see him in the bullpen by the end of the year?
Klaw: Yes, but I think they pass and he goes to the White Sox.

Sean: Do you have any thoughts on Y Ventura? Should the Royals try to ship him out or try to fix him?
Klaw: I think his act is tired. Cut the crap and pitch better. If he doesn’t show results, the Royals need to shop him or try him in the bullpen.

Sean: I’ve been following baseball for a decade and have no idea what slot/underslot/overslot means at all. Is there a website with a simple primer on how it all works?
Klaw: Each pick in the draft now has an assigned slot value in dollars. MLB’s draft order page shows them. Each team then has a total bonus pool amount for all of its picks in the top ten rounds combined. If you go over slot in one pick, you’ll have to go under slot somewhere else to avoid going over your total pool amount and incurring penalties. Up to 5% over is just a tax. More than that and you lose your first pick next year, which no one has done to date. (It would make sense to do so when you planned to surrender one or two high picks to sign free agents the subsequent offseason.) A player may take an under slot deal when he’s drafted higher than expected, or is a college senior, or lacks a serious college commitment. A player may demand an over slot deal when he’s got strong leverage, like a commitment to a great baseball or academic school, or when he’ll be eligible in two years rather than three, like Blake Rutherford will be.

Chris: You talk about music quite a bit and profess to be a fan of heavy metal, but I rarely if ever see you mention bands such as Avenged Sevenfold, Sevendust, Trivium, Five Finger Death Punch and the like. Curious if you have any thoughts on the current state of the hard rock genre.
Klaw: Not a fan of any A7F, Sevendust, or my God that is such a stupid name. Trivium’s not bad, just a little clinical for my tastes.

Geno: You were understandably reluctant to put Taillon on your 100 at the start of the year. Would he be there now? Would he be ahead of Glasnow?
Klaw: Yes, Taillon was on my top 25 update two weeks ago, still behind Glasnow due to ceiling but more major-league ready.

Jason Reynolds: He’s not a clear 1-1 guy but Puk sure looks the part. Dang he’s big
Klaw: Yes, which I think is part of the appeal, but also could be part of the risk – those are some long levers to coordinate and his lower and upper halves are not always in sync, which is why his fastball lacks good plane despite his height and extension.

Larry: Please clarify your concern about overuse of amateur pitchers–do you contend that the pitcher’s prospects for a college/professional career are irrelevant to whether the use is abuse? I suggest that an amateur with no prospect of pitching at the next level should be treated differently–i.e., chance to win high school state title or advance in college playoffs is worth the marginal additional risk of injury. FYI: I’m 41 and my arm hurts sometimes, but the pain is worth what caused it.
Klaw: A non-prospect’s ligaments are unaware of his non-prospect status. He can still suffer serious injury, require surgery, need expensive and time-consuming rehab, and encounter complications. (We shouldn’t treat surgery so cavalierly; you can go in for a routine operation and walk out with a MRSA infection.) These are very real consequences that are independent of whether the kid intends to pitch again after the current game or season.

nfh: Avery Tuck – star potential if everything goes right?
Klaw: Hard to see that. He’s just a good athlete, very little present feel for the game. Let him go to college and see if he develops as a player.

Joey Bagodonuts: Every year in these chats you mention me getting drafted, and every year my phone remains silent for 3 straight days. Maybe this will be the year!!!
Klaw: We’ll all be pulling for you, Joey.

Klaw: That’s all for today’s chat, but I will try to chat tomorrow around the same time. Look for me in the background on MLB Network’s draft coverage tonight – I’m going to try to make Jim Callis crack a smile – and of course on Twitter and on with reactions over the course of the evening. Thanks again for all of your questions!


I was totally unfamiliar with the American short story writer Edith Pearlman until earlier this year, when I saw her name and her latest collection, Honeydew, on a list of likely candidates for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (eventually won by Thanh Viet Nguyen’s novel The Sympathizer). Honeydew didn’t end up on the short list, but I’d already bought it and I’m stubborn like that. Most of the stories in the book run around 10-12 pages yet manage to create totally believable, well-rounded little worlds, usually with at least one three-dimensional character, yet with a very light touch that keeps the prose moving.

Pearlman’s stories focus on some little detail of ordinary life and exploring its effects on one or more of the characters, but all seem to tie around the idea of finding enough happiness to get by. Several stories are set in or around an antique shop in the fictional Massachusetts town of Godolphin, owned by the slightly eccentric Rennie, who lives by a very specific code in dealing with her clients, but seems less able to apply similar rules and limits on her own life. We experience her shock, when, for example, the wife half of a couple who frequently shop with her falls ill and requires hospice care, and the husband refers to Rennie as one of her closest friends. But is this the sadness of a woman who was simply without friends, or is the problem Rennie’s for failing to recognize the meaning she held in someone else’s life?

In “Hat Trick,” four teenage girls are mooning over boys when one girl’s mother, a bit drunk and bitter, concocts a game where the girls put the names of various boys on slips of paper and place them in a hat, to be drawn at random but never revealed; each girl then must pursue the boy whose name she drew. It is a realistically-drawn fable; the girls take the pledges seriously, or at least three of them do, and the results, while hardly what the reader might expect, feel real. Each girl pursues happiness and finds some – the “happy enough” bit I mentioned above comes directly from the mother in this story – even though her fate was determined by a sort of rigged random draw.

“Castle 4,” one of the longest stories in the book, has a bit of a Hollywood ending, but the core character, the introverted anesthesiologist who rejects copious advances from women (dude, what are you doing), is so alienated from other people that you can feel cold just reading about him. He drifts through the job and social functions like a shade, making only the barest minimum of contact with others, yet his story resolves when he falls for a patient whose back pain turns out to be terminal, stage 4 cancer. The conclusion is forced, but his attraction to a woman who has been forced into an isolated state by circumstance fits with the way Pearlman has defined his impalpable character.

The title story ends the collection but was one of my least favorites in the book, as it’s less realistic and uncharacteristically overwrought. The headmistress at a girls’ prep school in New England is concerned about an anorexic student, yet is having an affair with the girl’s father, and is six weeks’ pregnant with his child. None of the characters gets the full development of those in other stories, although Pearlman does write brilliantly about the eating disorder itself, and there’s the whiff of the hackneyed in the setting itself.

There’s a bit of dry wit in many of her stories as well, which helps keep the stories moving even when the themes could be depressing, none more so than in “Blessed Harry,” in which a Latin teacher at that same prep school gets an out-of-the-blue invitation to speak at a conference in England on “the meaning of life and death.” The teacher’s kids, sporting varying degrees of cynicism, all immediately suspect it’s a hoax, while he at first allows himself to soak in the feeling that he’s wanted, that he’s been more of a success in his working life than he actually has. It’s a bit more respectable than a 419 scam, but Pearlman milks it for humor before the teacher begins to realize where the success and meaning in his own life lie. These little moments of grace or insight in an existentialist context, coupled with her ability to quickly define and fill out her characters, carried me through Honeydew as if I were reading a single, gripping narrative.

Next up: Connie Willis’ Bellwether.

Stick to baseball, 6/4/16.

My third mock draft went up Friday morning, without a ton of big changes from the last one. Feedback from club sources so far is that it’s reasonable other than the fact that I don’t have Mickey Moniak going in the top ten; I agree with them, and was very uncomfortable with where I had him, but as I said in yesterday’s Klawchat I didn’t have a clear indication of any teams on him other than Philly and Colorado. I can add a bonus tidbit here: Boston, at 12, is on Virginia catcher Matt Thaiss as well as the other names I’ve mentioned.

I also tweaked my my rankings of the top 100 prospects for the draft, again with the help of Eric Longenhagen.

My latest monthly new music playlist went up Thursday morning.

Thanks to all of you who’ve signed up for my newsletter – I’m well over a thousand subscribers already.

And now, the links:

Klawchat, 6/3/16.

Starting at 1 pm today. Questions go in the frame below, NOT in the comments.

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Klaw: You’d better learn your lesson well. Klawchat.

TJ: Im new to this, so I do not know if you have answered this before; but with John Coppolella and his endless pursuit of pitching, in your opinion what is the chance the braves end up going Groome or Pint?
Klaw: I have a mock up today that has them taking Groome, but I know they are also seriously considering several college bats. I don’t think they have decided, as you might be implying, that they’re taking an arm no matter what.

Chris: Hi Keith, thanks for the chats. Does Harrison Bader’s performance in Double A, coupled with last year’s performance in A ball, earn him a spot in top 100 lists if they were rewritten today?
Klaw: Not on mine. Can’t speak to anyone else’s.

Nick: Seth Beer slashed .372/.532/.686 with 16 bombs. More importantly, he struck out 24 times compared to 57 walks. Is he a (very) early 1-1 candidate for 2018?
Klaw: I’d call him a high first-round candidate. Don’t see a lot of bat-only corner guys going 1-1. The last college outfielder to go 1-1 was Darin Erstad, a centerfielder (Beer is not), in 1995. Pat Burrell was 1-1 in 1998 but was drafted as a 3b, or at least had been one. I don’t know about Rick Monday in 1965 but since then there hasn’t been a college LF or RF going 1st overall.

Justin: I know you have mocked a HS for the Jays in some of your mocks but there seems to be a sense that Shapiro wants to go the “safe” college route? Have you heard the Jays prefer college guys over HS guys and does this follow a typical Shapiro draft strategy?
Klaw: No I have not heard that. If I had, I would have had them taking a college player.

Anonymous: Haven’t heard much about Anfernee Grier but he’s been projected to be at least a sandwich round pick for months. Seems toolsy & hit well at Auburn. What do you have on him?
Klaw: Stopped hitting so well once SEC conference play began. Can’t recognize breaking stuff at all. Good athlete, only 20, still a lot of upside there, but he’s not a very advanced hitter.

Cape Cod: Beede a 1-hitter yesterday. Any change in your evaluation or does he still have FB command issues
Klaw: The 1-hitter doesn’t change anything (one game couldn’t do that). He still has command issues, and while the velocity’s back because he’s not throwing sinkers any more, he’s also a bit of a flyball guy now.

Dan: Hey Keith – is this what you thought Brandon Belt would eventually become? He seems to have really changed his approach this year. Strikeouts are way down, walks are way up. Maybe he’s not eating at Olive Garden as much…
Klaw: Whatever he’s eating I wouldn’t change it. This is the player I always thought he’d be. I had him as a top 20 prospect at one point because I thought he’d have patience and power and play at least average defense at first.

Dan: I seem to recall you had good things to say about Austin Slater at the time of the draft. He’s splitting time at LF and CF. What’s his MLB outlook? The stats look good, but he also wasn’t young for AA.
Klaw: I thought he could hit, then he didn’t hit that well last year and didn’t look good in Fall League. If this little power spike continues, I’ll buy into him as a regular.

Anonymous: Keith, What are your thoughts on taking TJ patients in early rounds (1-3)? Someone like Kyle Serrano could be an upside play for a team with multiple picks searching for a slight injury discount
Klaw: I have no issue with taking TJ guys that early, but Serrano is a 6′ RHP who doesn’t throw strikes. That’s not the guy I’d take. Quantrill, sure. Luzardo, perhaps. Those guys might be impact starters.

Joseph: If vaccines don’t cause injuries, why is there a vaccine court?
Klaw: Because lawyers. Vaccines are not very profitable for pharmaceutical companies, and the threat of lawsuits – which are seldom decided on the basis of science – in the 1980s meant we might not have any companies willing to manufacture vaccines. Congress set up what is essentially a no-fault vaccine ‘court’ to compensate people who claimed they were injured by vaccines (with a non-scientific standard of evidence) and then granted manufacturers immunity from lawsuits. The move has likely saved millions of lives, because otherwise vaccines would either have become scarce or become much more expensive.

Brian: In regards to Jeff Bannister’s refusal to play Joey Gallo over Prince Fielder last week and his apparent determination to ride his best 4 bullpen arms into the ground before the All-Star break, are we watching Ron Washington 2.0 (i.e. I don’t care what the stats say, those are my guys).
Klaw: I doubt he does that without some kind of consent from the front office. As a group, the Rangers don’t appear ready to give up on Fielder, even though he appears to be done.

Chip: For lunch today I’m having grilled cheese (American cheese on white bread) and Oreos all in your honor. #culinartist
Klaw: God I hope the Oreos are not actually in the grilled cheese.

Steve: Should I have any confidence that the Phillies will get an overslot-ish type of guy at #42? I wasn’t convinced the last regime really understood the system.
Klaw: That’s their plan. Whether it works depends a bit on who falls to that spot, which I’m finding very hard to predict (and so are the Phillies).

Don: More difficult read: Gravity’s Rainbow or Infinite Jest?
Klaw: Gravity’s Rainbow. Infinite Jest is long and tortuous. Gravity’s Rainbow is long and torturous.

Pat: With the seeming ability of certain pitching coaches to consistently restore pitcher value, why wouldn’t a big market team just steal a Ray Searage or Don Cooper away with a big $$ contract? With even mediocre starters requiring $10 million+ a year, it seems the value of a top pitching coach could be $5-10 million a year or more. Add in that the pitching coach salary doesn’t count against the luxury tax& it seems like a team like Detroit that is constantly looking/signing big $$ pitchers (& failing) would use a different approach.
Klaw: I think these guys are quietly getting more and more money, as are top GMs. They’re all still underpaid relative to the value they (the good ones) deliver, though.

ExposForever: Can Jorge Mateo hit 20 HRs in New York?
Klaw: I don’t think he can hit 20 HRs anywhere.

CJ: Which player would you be least surprised falls more than expected due to bonus demands and eventually doesn’t sign? Appel and Bickford come to mind as two past examples.
Klaw: Matt Manning, Braxton Garrett, Kevin Gowdy, in that order.

Bill: What are the odds Rutherford is available at 42? Saw this mentioned as a possibility in your mock.
Klaw: Maybe 20%? I suppose that, since he’s 19 and thus would be draft-eligible as a college sophomore, he could just decline to sign if offered less than he wants and say he’ll go back in the draft in 2018.

Andy: Hey, I know you’ve been paying more attention to the draft, but since last Tuesday, Prince Fielder is 4 for 32 with 2 walks and 1 XBH, while starting every game at DH. Meanwhile, Joey Gallo has equaled those numbers in the last 3 days in Round Rock. Oh, and Profar will likely go back to the minors when Odor’s suspension is done. If they end up losing the division by a couple games, I’m sure no one will correlate any of these things.
Klaw: I talked about this on ESPN radio in Dallas yesterday. It’s absolutely hurting the major-league team right now.

Steven: What happened to Nolan Jones? From 12 to out of the first round? If it’s not an oversight, would the Rangers be interested in him at 30? They love HS guys with a bunch of potential.
Klaw: I don’t do “oversights.” It’s because he is expected to command a large signing bonus. He could still end up going in the top 15, or get paid well over slot in the sandwich round, or end up in school and vie for 1-1 in three years.

Kelly: Have you seen or heard many reports about Matt Cleveland from Windsor, CT? I coach in the same high school conference. I know he’s highly regarded by some, but it sounded like his performance was very up and down this year. Thanks!
Klaw: I heard it was down all year and that he wasn’t someone to consider for my rankings.

Patrick: I’ve heard people throw around Kyle Schwarber comps for Zack Collins. Lazy comparison since they are both high quality college hitters with little to chance to stick behind the plate, or is there something to it?
Klaw: Lazy comparison for me.

Paul: KLaw – as always, thanks for all the great draft coverage and chats. I have a feeling you’ll get this question from more than just me, since we Braves fans have really shifted our focus from the big league club to prospects and the draft. Have you heard specific names the Braves are linked to at 40 and 44? My personal dream scenario is Corey Ray, Joey Wentz, and Will Benson.
Klaw: I don’t think that happens. I’ve heard a bunch of names – mentioned Matt Dietz in a previous mock – but I think you’re aiming too high.

Eric: What are your thoughts on Alex Speas? His potential seems super intriguing – think there’s any shot the Mets pop him at 31?
Klaw: He’s not their kind of guy at all. Great arm and body. Zero command. Like, couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn at times.

Aaron Cameron: Is “league-average starter” a realistic upside for A’s AAA farmhand Daniel Mengden?
Klaw: Fair. Maybe a tick optimistic.

Sean S: Keith, With the Tigers just having the one pick in the first 3 rounds are you sensing that they’re being conservative with that pick? Picking Hudson there seems to point that way. I am interested in seeing the new regime in action
Klaw: Don’t think they’re being conservative since I’ve said they’ll take Pint if he gets there.

Jordan: I know Devers is young compared to his competition, but at what point do his struggles concern you?
Klaw: Probably never, since he’s making plenty of contact.

Jay: Is Soroka on a top 100 list right now?
Klaw: No. Remember how many people thought I should have had Austin Riley on my top 100 last winter because of his good stats in August?

JJ: How many acts of God really need to happen for Moniak to really slide to #12?
Klaw: Maybe three. I doubt it happens. But what’s weird is that I hear Moniak a lot at 1 and 4, and then very little at 6 onward. Maybe some teams just assume he’s gone and haven’t bothered, but when I saw Moniak live two weeks ago there were all of maybe eight scouts there.

Santos: My biggest pet peeve is when a broadcaster says Guy with highest batting average is leading the league in HITTING. No question, just wanted to tell someone.
Klaw: The guy didn’t win the “batting title,” he won the “batting average title.”

Mike: What’s your feeling on over working a high school or college pitcher who is a non-prospect? If a pitcher has no professional future and wants to “gut it out” do you give him (and his coach) a pass?
Klaw: No, because he can still get hurt, lose range of motion or flexibility, require expensive surgery, face complications, and so on. Your tendons don’t know you’re a non-prospect.

Michael: Why doesn’t the NCAA institute mandatory pitch count restrictions?
Klaw: They’re too busy making sure some reserve linebacker at South Carolina State actually paid for his Big Mac.

T Hagz: Have you heard anything about Allard with the braves? Is he still in extended spring? I thought he was going to be called up to A ball in May
Klaw: Still in extended, which ends this upcoming week I believe.

Marcos: How strongly can recency bias impact where someone gets drafted? Do the last few looks a scout gets at someone carry a lot of weight?
Klaw: Yes but I wouldn’t call it recency bias – for a pitcher, especially, you want to be sure he’s fully healthy and also not wearing down.

Fitzy: Any thoughts on Ron Fowler’s tirade? Seems rather silly to blame the players and not the suits.
Klaw: Totally inappropriate. Keep that stuff internal.

Billy Pilgrim: Would you rather go Groome @ 3 and hope a prep bat like Rutherford or Benson falls to 40, or go Ray/Lewis @ 3 and get prep arm at 40?
Klaw: I would take Ray or Groome. Then just take the best players who fall to 40/44, without regard to who I took at 3. Just grab all the talent you can.

Hinkie: Hi Keith … Phillies fan here. Have you any knowledge of the difference in signing demands between Puk at 1.1 and Moniak at 1.1 ?
Klaw: No and I don’t expect to. Also, I really do not believe they’re taking Moniak at 1.

Jon: You mentioned Wentz and Nolan Jones as dropping due to asking price. Do you have a ballpark as to what they may be asking?
Klaw: I don’t think either has put out a dollar figure yet.

Jay: Thought on Max Povse? Doing really well in A+, is this a case of an older guy carving up hitters or does he have MOR upside?
Klaw: Yeah, don’t think he’s a future starter.

Adam: Would you go over slot for Matt Manning?
Klaw: Yes, but I’d go over slot for a lot of guys. The draft is still a screaming bargain for impact talent.

jon: if Groome and lewis are available do the braves go bat? I don’t see how the could pass on groome, and find they value pint more seems off
Klaw: They don’t value Pint over Groome, if that’s what you’re saying. I think they’d take Groome, obviously, but I don’t think that’s decided yet.

MAddon: Is DJ Lemahieu now a legit MLB player or a product of the thin air in CO? The Cubs gave him away for nothing.
Klaw: Colorado. I mean, home/road splits don’t tell the whole story, but he’s hit .254/.295/.327 in his career on the road. That gets you released.

Joe: In general, how much do teams put stock in Cape league? I’m sure it differs from team but I’m curious with someone like Lewis who performs well but faces less competition in his division.
Klaw: For Lewis it essentially made him a top 20 pick, maybe even made him a top 10 pick. It’s a wood bat league and for Lewis better competition than what he faces in the SoCon.

Paul: The local sport radio blog suggested the Red Sox taking Burdi at #12 with the hope he could help out the struggling bullpen this year instead of going the trade route. Do you think this is a realistic option?
Klaw: I think it’s ridiculous.

Chip: What are the chances UVA’s top pitching commits will ever get to learn “the squat”? They usually get their guys on campus
Klaw: I think they force all their guys to learn it. And so far it seems to have failed to produce a single big-league starter – but it might have ruined a few arms.

Nick: Do you think Will Craig stick at 3B for 3-5 years?
Klaw: No. Arm is there, but that’s it.

Jake: Eloy Jimenez or Victor Robles ?
Klaw: Robles right now – more polished, more dynamic, stays in the middle of the field. Eloy’s pretty damn good, though. I liked his swing when I saw him a year ago.

Hinkie: Is it more realistic to think Rutherford (as you mentioned today) slides to the Phillies at #42 or one of the HS arms? If it’s an arm, could Ian Anderson or even Riley Pint be the guy ?
Klaw: Arms. There are more of them in this draft, and they are seen as riskier to begin with. Pint ain’t getting past 9, though. And I hear Anderson won’t get past the Yanks, but there are other scenarios where they end up with someone better than Anderson anyway.

Dave: It has always been Ray Montgomery’s MO to draft the best available player. So if they were to pick Lowe with that pick wouldn’t that be somewhat odd for him?
Klaw: It would be the first time since he became a scouting director that I strongly disagreed with his team’s first pick. It happens.

Chris: Two A’s prospects lighting it up this year are Daniel Gossett and Ryon Healy. Either one of them project as anything special at the MLB level?
Klaw: Gossett’s legit. Saw him in spring training and wrote about him.

David: Your mock notes that Puk has a great shot at going #2 if Philly passes – does that mean they could more easily convince Kyle Lewis to take a below slot deal (6M) and have 4.5M to give someone like Rutherford at pick 42?
Klaw: Probably, but again, I don’t know this for sure and don’t want to give you the wrong impression. It’s logical.

N: Who was the first team who actually made a bad decision at the time by not drafting Trout?
Klaw: The only team ahead of the Angels who I know for sure had Trout in their decision set was Oakland. I think I wrote it at the time, too. They chose to take Grant Green, figuring he was more major-league ready.

Dave: Thoughts on how the Brewers are handling Josh Hader, he hasn’t thrown more than 90 pitches in a start and now they plan to limit his innings. Seems like a strange way to develop a starting pitcher who is 22 years old.
Klaw: Well his delivery is not a great one for a starter and I wonder if they consider the arm action a potentially risky one, so they’re trying to avoid having him pitch while fatigued at all.

Jon: Remember Stetson Allie and his heater? How much different is Riley Pint to the now converted to first baseman Allie?
Klaw: Allie has more in common with Speas than Pint. Pint doesn’t have command. Allie didn’t have control.

Tim: You seem lower on Logan Shore than others, with him at 69 (nice) on the Big Board. Is that a profile preference (ranking high floor guys lower than high ceiling) or are you not buying his floor as a back-end Major Leaguer who could be in the bigs 12 months from now?
Klaw: His floor is that he gets smoked in AA and never gets any further. It’s not a major-league average fastball and he doesn’t have an average breaking ball. Marco Gonzales came out of Gonzaga with better stuff and he didn’t do what you described.

Eric: You mentioned in your mock that the White Sox are recently on Collins. Would that be with the idea of going under-slot and using that money on high school talent that falls?
Klaw: Doubt it. Collins isn’t getting past 12, so why would he take well under slot at 10?

David: Alec Hansen has performed better of late – does the stuff match the improving box scores?
Klaw: No. I heard he was mostly 90-92 at the big 12.

Michael: My friend’s son didn’t start pitching until his Freshman year. He’s now a Junior and is 6’6″, 240 pounds, fairly fit and throws around 88. He has offers from three SEC schools right now. Is he a dime a dozen or someone that would be expected to go in the first 10 rounds?
Klaw: 240 pounds and sitting 88 is not a great pro profile. You couldn’t call him projectable, given his size/weight. I think he’d have to throw harder as a senior to be in line for, say, a couple hundred grand.

Greg: Wait, so a guy like Dietz is what we should be expecting Atlanta to go overslot with at 40? Woof. That’s pretty disappointing for having such a huge draft pool.
Klaw: No, I mentioned that as one name I know they particularly like. The truth is I don’t know who gets to 40/44 and neither does Atlanta right now.

Jeff: Espinosa still cannot hit but has been good on D at SS. Would you bring up Turner now, or at this point does his good offense and mediocre defense cancel out?
Klaw: Isn’t Turner up today? He’s clearly better than Espinoza. Holding him down for service-time reasons was foolhardy.

Kevin: Keith, Oregon pitcher questions. Matt Krook still a top-five round pick? Could Cole Irvin and Stephen Nogosek go that high too.
Klaw: Krook maybe fourth/fifth, but given healthy history I think he could get past that. Neither of the others seems like a great bet to go that high either.

Jon: When do you see Kyle Funkhouser getting drafted this year?
Klaw: Third round. He’ll never see the $2 million-plus he turned down last year.

Chris: Keith, thanks for the chats and the variety of topics. As someone that struggles with anxiety, your transparency with your own struggles has been very helpful and an inspiration. Living in the Seattle area, Christian Jones (Federal Way) is the player that gets the most attention. Do you see him in the round 3-5 range? Are there any other players in the state of Washington that intrigue you or you are hearing buzz on?
Klaw: I didn’t have anyone from the northwest in my top 100 at all. Worst year I can remember up there.

fats: Aaron Sanchez changing your mind yet? Looking like a starter all the way
Klaw: Remember I had Sanchez as a top 20 prospect once, as a future #1 or #2 starter, before someone changed his delivery. So your question is really inaccurate.

Joe: Do you actually believe that nobody compensated by the vaccine court was actually injured by a vaccine? You’re as bad as anti-vaxers if that is true. It is rare, but it happens.
Klaw: Straw man. There are things like Guillain-Barre Syndrome that are extremely rare side effects of certain flu vaccines (and also of the flu). GBS is also a side effect of Zika, if that disease weren’t already scary enough.

Zach: You won’t say but I will. This is the player you said Mookie would be from day 1. Although you didn’t have him pegged as an all world right fielder, so I guess you’re not that good
Klaw: I don’t think I had Mookie as a 30 HR bat either. I can’t take much credit there.

Jason in Detroit: Hi Keith. Thanks for the chat. Fulmer has looked like he’s taken a step forward in his last couple starts. Too soon to say, or is he progressing?
Klaw: The last few starts he’s looked more like the guy I saw in Lakeland in March. Maybe he just needed a little confidence and a routine.

Santos: What does MOR stand for?
Klaw: Middle Of Rotation. Or model order reduction but I don’t think the question was about applied math.

Mark: The Mets best option right now is prob calling up Dilson to play 2b and move Walker to 3b, no? I dont get this insistence on playing Flores and keeping these atrocious backups like Reynolds and Kelly around.
Klaw: Yes but doesn’t it seem like they’ve lost faith in Herrera?

Lute: This time last year some people were talking 1-1 for Dalbec and then he shit the bed. Does he go back to school or take whatever he’s offered in round 20?
Klaw: OK, anyone who was talking 1-1 on him last spring or summer was out of his or her mind. He was NEVER that kind of prospect. If he’d hit some, he could have been a first-rounder, but his hit tool has always been a question mark. I think he’d be better off going back to school if someone doesn’t offer him, say, top 3 rounds money.

Alex: Delvin Perez is working out for the White Sox today. Have you heard them on him at 10 at all?
Klaw: I’ve heard him sliding and now teams after the Padres are revisiting him when earlier it seemed like he wouldn’t get that far.

Bob: Was that poor guy, Donnie Everett, going to be a significant prospect? Man, things can happen so fast.
Klaw: I had him as a first-round talent in last year’s draft, but I feel like that’s irrelevant right now. I feel for his family and for the teammates he was with who must be dealing with enormous guilt on top of their grief right now.

Elton: I was surprised to see Kinsler is almost at 50 career WAR with his strong start this year. If he ages gracefully and reaches 60-65 WAR is he a HOFer for you?
Klaw: No, because he really never had a HoF peak. I don’t think a straight WAR total tells the whole story, unless it’s someone with, say, 28 WAR, which shouldn’t even get you a free ticket into the museum.

Randy: Is Hendricks smoke and mirrors or could you see him now as a #3 or #4?
Klaw: Not smoke and mirrors, better than I thought, also benefiting a lot from the Cubs’ defensive work and some tweaks from the coaching staff. He’s matured into a very different pitcher than he was at the time of the trade.

Jay: Klaw. I’m going to cape cod in a week and want to catch a cape cod league game… Off the top of your head who are some potential high picks there this year to watch?
Klaw: No idea – I haven’t even looked. Just pick a game and go enjoy it. The atmosphere is wonderful.

Bob: Casey Gillaspie a future all star 1b?
Klaw: I’d take the under on that, but he has reestablished himself as a legitimate prospect, at least a near-term everyday player.

Nick: Very small sample size for Hyun-Soo Kim I know (70 abs) but it’s looking pretty bad that Buck buried him based on a bad spring training for a rule 5 guy who is negative WAR while Kim is sporting a .450 OBP
Klaw: Not just buried him, humiliated him in the press. I don’t understand why Buck gets a free pass on stuff like that or messing up Gausman’s delivery or all the stuff that went down with his handpicked pitching coach Rick Adair and Jake Arrieta. Buck does some things very, very well. He also has made some significant mistakes that deserve greater scrutiny.

Caleb: Are the Cards mostly in on college players?
Klaw: I have not heard that.

Xander Boegarts: Is it still to early to be thinking about my HOF speech?
Klaw: With your accent I would gladly drive umpteen hours to go hear this.

Adam: How much of a lock do you think Manning to the Padres at 8 is?
Klaw: I don’t think anything in my mock draft this morning was a lock. They could take Perez or Garrett or surprise me entirely.

Nick: Are there many high round high schoolers that completely avoid there showcases and all star clubs and just play the high school season? I’m thinking potential 2 sport guys maybe.
Klaw: Football guys nearly always skip the summers – I think Taylor Trammell was one. Also Riley Pint’s dad had him pitch just twice last summer after he did too much stuff the prior summer.

Kyle: This is the third year I’ve asked this? Who is your next breakout prospect who will fly up the rankings. A couple years ago you mentioned Gregory Polanco, and several years back Oscar Taveras.
Klaw: Ke’Bryan Hayes, Eloy Jimenez, Junior Fernandez.

Joey: Who makes a bigger impact this season: Glasnow or Taillon?
Klaw: I think Taillon because I believe he comes up first.

Tom: Quick verdict on Quadropolis? Play Karuba yet? If not, highly recommended.
Klaw: Only played Quadropolis once so far. We liked it. Not familiar with Karuba.

James: Good afternoon, Keith! With concern over pitcher arms growing every year, is it conceivable that we might enter a “golden age of knuckleballs” within the next decade? Between the deception and ease of stress on the arm, it seems like a not-so-terrible idea to have more stalled prospects and/or struggling pros at least try to develop a knuckler.
Klaw: It’s not that easy to develop a knuckler.

Jesse: I know Bo Bichette Performed well at the Citi field expedition. Is he on the mets radar at all?
Klaw: I haven’t heard that, at least not at 19, but 31 is about the high end of where I think he’ll go. I like him a bit more than the industry; he’s calmed down his swing since his junior year, and he’s really not like his brother at all, better athlete, better defender, less uphill swing.

Ron: The Sano experiment in RF has to end like very soon in Minnesota right? Move him to 3B and get rid of Plouffe for whatever.
Klaw: Not sure Sano at 3b is going to be any prettier.

Elton: Just out of curiosity: Utley has had a superficially similar but somewhat better career than Kinsler and with a higher peak. HOFer?
Klaw: I would vote for Utley well before considering voting for Kinsler.

Tim: I see Cody Reed made a jump from 54 to 24. His showing in AAA thus far improve his ceiling or his floor in your mind?
Klaw: He’s maintained his performance and his control even against much better competition – this time last year he had just been promoted out of high-A – and I’ve heard his fastball command has improved as well.

Jesse: When you say a team is mostly in on college players. Is it because that’s where they see the best players where they pick. Want lower floor? or something different?
Klaw: I’m literally just giving you what I’ve heard. It means I’ve heard they specifically want a college player, or that the only players I’ve heard connected to them are college players (N > 1, of course).

Karl: What does Gallo need to do to get called up and stay up? Also what do the Rangers do with Profar once Odor returns? Thanks for the work you do.
Klaw: At some point they’re going to have to turn the page on Fielder and play one of those two guys. I’d have Profar DH and sit Fielder, rotating Profar into the field from time to time to spell Andrus and/or Odor.

Taylor: Who is the genuinely nicest person you work with on Baseball tonight? Tim Kurkjen seems like he’d be a really decent person. Just wondering.
Klaw: Yeah, Tim has 80 nice.

Jeff: How do you scout a knuckleballer?
Klaw: You put the radar gun and the notebook down and you enjoy the game.

Doug: Renfroe’s start garnering him any consideration to re-enter the top 100 prospects list?
Klaw: No, he’s the same player he was, now in a great hitting environment, walking once every never. Good tools. Might just be a 45 bat, which makes him a big leaguer but not a star. Hoping he’s not just a 40 bat.

Matt: Do you have a prediction on who you think will win the SEC/ACC Challenge….I mean, the CWS?
Klaw: I’m pulling for Florida a bit just because that team is so good, O’Sullivan handles his players well (he understands the goal is pro ball for a lot of those kids), and they are the best program I can think of that has never won the College World Series. That’s not so much a prediction, but with a staff like theirs maybe it is.

Klaw: That’s all for this week. Thank you for all of your questions and for reading. Next week’s chat schedule might be a little wonky because I’m going to attend the draft in person in Secaucus, but I will keep everyone posted. Have a good weekend.

Music update, May 2016.

Twenty-four songs this month because I couldn’t bear to cut any of these – some are just that good, others are important because of who recorded them, all are worth your time.

Radiohead – Burn the Witch. Yep, the boys are back, looking more like the killers in a Rob Zombie splatter film than like a post-rock band, but the lead track from A Moon-Shaped Pool is one of their best songs in years, maybe my favorite since Amnesiac. I didn’t find much of interest on the rest of the album, though, as Radiohead seems to favor atmospheric sounds that I find a bit soporific.

Wire – Numbered. It was a big month for new tunes from the old guard, with post-rock icons Wire releasing their fifteenth album, Nocturnal Koreans just as April ended. I found several tracks here worth including, but chose “Numbered” for its lyrical and stylistic callbacks to the band’s best-known song, “3 Girl Rhumba.”

CHVRCHES – Warning Call. Not necessarily their best work, but this song, from the soundtrack to a video game called Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, is a new CHVRCHES song and it would take a lot for me to exclude a new CHVRCHES song from a new music playlist.

Local Natives – Past Lives. To borrow a favorite malaprop of my daughter’s, I was “so-and-so” on Local Natives even through Hummingbird, although “Heavy Feet” did make my year-end list in 2014. “Past Lives” is just so much bigger and more ambitious than what I’ve heard from them before, and the music actually accentuates Kelcey Ayer’s vocals, as opposed to their sparser previous work that placed too much weight on his vocals and left them sounding whiny. I heard this song at least a half-dozen times before I realized it was under four minutes; it has the feel of a long, broad epic six-minute track.

The Stone Roses – All for One. The music is there, with a strong riff from John Squire, but Ian Brown’s lyrics are awfully tame for someone who never held his tongue before.

Glass Animals – Life Itself. Glass Animals do some seriously weird stuff with their percussion lines, often in a very good way (like “Pools”), but their songwriting takes a big step forward with this lead single from their upcoming second album, How to Be a Human Being.

Lucius – Almost Makes Me Wish for Rain. Another pop gem from the quintet’s second full-length album, this song has a summery, anthemic feel, and lyrics that seem like a rebuttal to a certain Garbage song.

Wolf Parade – Automatic. Never a big Wolf Parade fan but I’m including this song from their comeback EP because Nick Piecoro will cut me if I don’t.

The Faint – Young & Realistic. The Faint have always had some new-wave stylings, but this song could have opened for Blondie and Duran Duran in 1982.

The Big Pink – Hightimes. I doubt they’ll ever recapture the peak of “Dominos,” their first hit and a key sample in a Nicki Minaj song (the first time her name has ever appeared on this blog and I hope the last as well), but this has a similar feel and tempo, just without some of the bombast that made “Dominos” a sort of guilty fun.

Speedy Ortiz – Death Note. This track didn’t make SO’s 2015 album Foil Deer – it’ll appear instead on an upcoming EP called Foiled Again – but I think it’s my favorite song by the Massachusetts band yet. Those riffs are seriously heavy.

Leagues – Dance With Me. Leagues had a minor hit a couple of years ago, around when I started writing up music posts more regularly, with “Spotlight,” a very bright indie-pop that featured a solid contrast between the tension in the music behind the verses and the big peaks in the chorus. This is a little more straightforward, slower tempo but more in line with the rest of Leagues’ first album.

The Aces – Stuck. This is so much poppier than stuff I usually include on the list, but my daughter, who told me this morning that she liked the song on the radio (it was Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”), absoutely loves it, and it’s very catchy. But I don’t understand how this all-girl quartet can keep the name when it already belongs to a popular blues band that existed for about two decades last century.

The Pass – Silent Treatment. This Louisville quartet is about to release its first album, Canyons, next Friday on indie label SonaBlast Records. This lead single is another straight-up synthpop song, perhaps a bit poppier than what I usually include here, but, hey, it’s finally summer, so forgive me for throwing some more sunshine on this month’s playlist.

Monica Heldal – Coulda Been Sound. This Norwegian singer-songwriter sounds sort of like an elf, or perhaps Kat Edmonson, over a track here that would have fit in perfectly on Ben Howard’s Every Kingdom album.

Drowners – Pick Up The Pace. Drowners had a couple of minor hits in 2013-14 with “Long Hair” and “Luv, hold me down,” and this song is in just the same vein, a bit of jangly indie-pop from a band named for a Suede song but clearly inspired by ’80s alternative sounds.

Wild Beasts – Get My Bang. Wild Beasts earned huge critical acclaim for their Mercury-Prize nominated 2014 album Present Tense, featuring the memorable line “Don’t confuse me with someone who gives a fuck.” This song, from their upcoming album Boy King, has a much stronger funk influence than anything on that last album, which I thought was a better academic record than a listening one.

Leapling – Alabaster Snow. If Death Cab for Cutie adopted some noise-rock effects on their guitars, you might get this song.

Elwell – Let the Rain Come In. Just hang with the dirge-like opening here – the song’s centerpiece is the part-folk, part-electronic chorus, a change of direction for Minneapolis guitarist Andy Elwell on his upcoming seventh album.

Everything Everything – To The Blade. This song isn’t new – the album, Get to Heaven, actually came out in 2015 in the UK, and was finally released in the US this February, but because of the gap in release dates and its unavailability last year on Spotify I never included anything after the lead single “Regret” on my playlists. The sprawling 18-song record doesn’t have the highs of the previous disc, Arc, and certainly could have used a little editing, but has several strong singles, including this one, which has this utterly frenetic chorus that recalls their most original work from their last two albums.

Thrice – Death From Above. Featuring friend of the dish Riley Breckenridge, Thrice just released their ninth full-length album, To Be Everywhere is to Be Nowhere, last week, and this is the third track from the record I’ve included on a playlist here because it’s all pretty fucking great. The vibe is remniscent of classic hardcore, but dialed down to a stoner tempo that gives the heavy riffs on the chorus more time to fill your ears.

Gone Is Gone – Violescent. This supergroup features members of Mastodon, Queens of the Stone Age, and At the Drive-In, with a sound that you might get if you threw all those groups in a blender. It’s more accessible and less heavy than Mastodon’s progressive metal sounds, a little quicker and richer than the stoner vibe of QotSA. The chorus is a hell of an earworm, too.

Death Angel – The Moth. I’ve got two tracks this month from 1980s thrash icons who’ve put out new records, the first from Death Angel, whose first album, The Ultra-Violence, was recorded while the band members were still teenagers. Their eighth album, The Evil Divide, came out last week, and the band’s core sound remains very true to their original Bay Area thrash roots.

Destruction – Under Attack. One of the pioneers of European thrash in the 1980s, Destruction has been recording pretty frequently (if without much notice) since 1998, and like Death Angel haven’t varied their sound much either: If you like classic thrash sounds, you’ll like most of their latest album, Under Attack, although I found it a mixed bag. The first half of the album is stronger than the back half, sticking to the formula that made Destruction one of the most important thrash acts of the 1980s, while the second half has some changes in direction that just don’t work (“Stand Up for What You Deliver” is cringeworthy) before they return to the formula in the closer “Thrash Attack.”