Otys is a new-ish midweight strategy board game from Asmodee’s Libellud imprint, released here right around the holidays, and the first title from designer Claude Lucchini. It’s a sort of futuristic deep sea-diving themed game, where players try to gather resources to complete contracts, and must manipulate two sets of tiles to be able to make moves. There might be a better game in here somewhere, but I found it rather overdesigned, and the mechanics aren’t well-connected to the theme.

In Otys, two to four players each work with a player board that has six tokens, numbered one through five plus a neutral “X” token, and eight diver tiles, each of which has a different ability. The board has slots for the numbered tokens, and then a column where you randomly stack the diver tiles in a way that has five of them adjacent to the five numbered slots. On a turn, you will pick one of the numbered tiles, slide it to the right, use one of the five “sponsor” tiles from the central board to get something (a credit, a battery, the right to use your diver’s skill twice, etc.), and then use the ability of the adjacent diver. Four of the divers get you specific resources. The others let you add abilities like gaining a new contract card only you can complete or trading credits for resources.

The contracts come in two forms. The game has four resources – white, green, blue, and black, which I think mean actual things like plants and water, but it really doesn’t matter to the mechanics – and some contracts simply require you gather two to four specific resources to fulfill them, gaining points and sometimes a credit or battery token. The other contracts tell you to acquire specific combinations of any resources – so, two of one type, two of another, and one of a third – where you get to pick the colors, and then have similar rewards.

The Otys board; diver tiles are in the center column.

The big catch in Otys, and the only mechanic here that I thought was novel, is that each token/diver row on your player board has a storage space for resources, and to fill a contract, you must have all the right resources in one specific storage space. The spaces can hold three to six resources, but in practical terms, you’re going to use maybe two of them heavily, because gaining resources in all of your storage areas will leave you unable to ever fill contracts. You can also add tokens via one diver (the ‘explorer’) that let you pay two credits, take one resource or victory point or battery now, and then place that token on its other face next to a storage area, providing you with a permanent bonus whenever you fill a contract from that area. The divers are also double-sided, with each bringing an ‘upgraded’ side that lets you invoke its power for one fewer credit or that gives you something else in addition to the single resource.

The numbered ‘key’ tokens must be placed in the ‘hacker’ track below your board after they’re used; you can only bring them back up when the track is filled, which at the start of the game would mean using all of your tokens at least once before using them again. You get one X token to place in any row where you’ve already used the key, and there’s a way – very poorly described in the English rules – to acquire more X tokens from the central supply. This mechanic felt trite, reminiscent of games from Puerto Rico and San Juan to last year’s Entropy, where you have to use all or most of your roles and then ‘reset’ your hand, and the combination of this mechanic and the diver one – when you use a diver, s/he has to ‘resurface’ by going to the top of the queue, with everyone above him/her moving down a spot – just made the game overly complex.

The game ends when anyone gets to 18 points, after which you finish the round so everyone can try to complete one more contract. In practice, that means 3-4 contracts plus the random point or two you’ll add along the way, and it does play in about an hour. The theme has almost nothing to do with the game, and there are way too many restrictions and twists here for me to enjoy the experience. I wish more effort had gone into streamlining the rules, even if it came at the cost of some of the artwork or component design.

Startide Rising.

My reaction to the Padres’ absurd deal with Eric Hosmer is up for Insiders.

David Brin’s Startide Rising is the second book in his Uplift universe, where sentient species across the galaxy (and beyond, I think) have used genetic engineering to bring “client” species to sentience themselves, in exchange for a period of indentured servitude to the patron class lasting something on the order of 100,000 years. Humans in this universe have themselves uplifted chimpanzees and dolphins but done so outside of the established order, granting their clients equal status in a shorter period of time, which has upset some of the most powerful patron races who prefer the status quo. It won Brin the first of his two Hugo Awards for Best Novel, along with The Uplift War (which I read in October), the third book in the series; this book also won the Locus and Nebula awards. It’s just not as good as the latter novel, by which point Brin seems to have improved his storycraft and his character development. And it’s really held back by the whole thing with dolphins flying spaceships.

The action of Startide Rising all takes place on one planet, Kithrup, that has no native sentient species, and is mostly covered by water. (We learn later in the book that an earlier sentient species was granted residency here to live out its senescent years, but is presumed extinct.) A dolphin-piloted vessel, the Streaker, has landed here, with a crew of all three Earth species, to hide out from galactic forces chasing it in the wake of its discovery of an enormous ghost fleet of spaceships that herald the discovery of a previously unknown, long-extinct race that may have been the fabled Progenitors of many or all current sentient species, including humans. While a fierce battle is waged overhead, the Streaker‘s crew must repair their damaged ship and await rescue or plot a dangerous escape, while some members fight internally over the best route and others explore the relatively unscathed planet.

Whereas the multi-threaded plot of the longer Uplift War involved multiple, three-dimensional characters, and created some believable tension in both action sequences and in the slower-burning intrigues, Startide Rising employs a too-large cast of disposable heroes, none of whom is interesting and some of whom verge on the ridiculous. (Among them: Charles Dart, the neo-chimp scientist whose ruthless commitment to research makes him a Spock-like caricature; and the dolphin whose name I forget who spends most of the novel sexually harassing a human crew member, which I think Brin intended to be humorous.) The novel’s very short chapters and constant shifts in perspective don’t help the narrative build any momentum, and the discovery in Kithrup’s oceans that eventually becomes a key part of the resolution is just not well written or explained.

But the bigger problem I had is the dolphins … which are still sea creatures, last time I checked. Brin jumps through all kinds of hoops to explain their presence, and I can at least suspend my disbelief in their evolution to intelligent, self-aware creatures. But they’re dolphins flying spaceships. I can accept a lot of things in science fiction, but I read this book with Tommy Shaw’s line from the Styx episode of Behind the Music stuck in my head. Shaw said he “just couldn’t write songs about robots.” Yeah, well, I just can’t get on board with dolphins – 12-13 feet long, 350 or so pounds, and, you know, without arms or legs – flying spaceships. Normally I’d say reading any series in order is an asset, but if you’re interesting in Brin at all, just skip to The Uplift War, which is better in every way and doesn’t include any dolphin characters at all.

Next up: Joe Haldeman’s Forever Peace.

Stick to baseball, 2/17/18.

My one new piece for Insiders this week covered the top 30 prospects for this year’s MLB Draft, in advance of yesterday’s opening night in Division 1. And I held a Klawchat on Thursday. Unfortunately I did not recover enough from whatever ailment I had this week to make the trip to Myrtle Beach, but hope to be on the road next weekend.

I reviewed the board game Seikatsu, one of my daughter’s new favorites, here this week, with another review hitting Paste‘s site next week. Also, I never tweeted this link at all, but reviewed the Romanian-language film Graduation, from Oscar-nominated director Cristian Mungiu, on Wednesday.

Smart Baseball comes out in paperback on March 13th! Some readers have reported difficulty finding the hardcover version in stores, but it is still available on amazon at the moment.

And now, the links…


Seikatsu was one of my honorable mentions on my list of the top ten games of 2017, maybe the best-looking game I played last year with gorgeous artwork and solid, heavy tokens. It’s listed as a game for 1 to 4 players, but really works best with 3 and fairly well with 2, not with the other counts.

Seikatsu calls itself “a game of perspective,” which is true for the final scoring, which accounts for the bulk of the points in the game. You score two ways in Seikatsu: once when you place a token on each turn, and then once for each row on the hexagonal board at the end of the game – but the rows you score depend on where you sit, so each player scores those rows (or columns, if you want to get all pedantic about it) differently. The result is a fast-moving game that asks you to balance two different scoring methods with every turn, but that keeps those turns short because your options are finite and it’s not that hard to figure out an optimal move.

The tokens in Seikatsu each show a bird and a ring of flowers, which correspond to the two scoring methods. You can place a token anywhere adjacent to another token or the neutral center space, and you score 1 point for that token plus another point for each adjacent token with the same bird image on it. In theory, you could score a maximum of 7 points, but in practice you’ll get 1 to 3 each turn and maybe luck into a 4 once every other game or so. There are four koi pond tokens that function as wild cards; you can place one and name any bird type to score it, after which the tile no longer scores as any bird type for tokens placed adjacent to it.

The flowers come into play at the end of the game. There are pagodas on three vertices of the board, each of which corresponds to one player’s perspective for scoring, splitting the board into seven columns unique to that player. In each column (or row … I’ll stop that now), the player identifies the flower type that appears on the most tokens, and scores points based on that number – 1 point for a single token, then 3, 6, 10, 15, and 21 points for the maximum possible number of six tokens with the same flower type. Koi pond tiles are wild again in this stage, and each player can assign whatever flower type s/he wants to those tiles.

Seikatsu is ideal with three players; with two, it’s a little easier to work the board independently until the last few moves, whereas with three you can’t plan ahead as easily. You only get two tokens in your hand each turn, so long-range planning is just not part of the game, but with two players you can set up your rows of flowers with less interference from other players. We’ve found that with two players, the scores are extremely close – we’ve tied once and never had a margin of victory over 5 points. That makes it a great game for a parent to play with a child, because it’s hard for the parent to run away with the game and thus doesn’t require playing ‘down’ to the younger player’s level. With four players, it’s “team” play, which I don’t think works very well; there’s a solitaire mode I haven’t tried. Seikatsu lists for $40, which I think reflects the high quality of the components but is a bit dear for this type of game; now that it’s been on the market for six months, though, I’m seeing it for under $30 (e.g., $28 on amazon) which is just right.

Klawchat 2/15/18.

My preseason ranking of the top 30 prospects for this year’s draft is now up for Insiders.

Keith Law: Klawchat. You can forget all future plans.

addoeh: “Thoughts & Prayers” isn’t working. Maybe we should try something else.
Keith Law: They’re a renewable resource, though.

Dr. Bob: As Spring Training opens, I expect you to be in the best shape of your life.
Keith Law: I have a cold and I’ve been to the gym twice since New Year’s. So I might be in the worst shape of my life.

Matt: You noted in the draft prospects article its a deep draft, but not top heavy. In your opinion, did the Phillies make a mistake in signing Carlos Santana which caused them to lose their high 2nd rd pick?
Keith Law: I don’t think it was a mistake, but I think it was a cost to consider in the signing.

Davey Boy: Is this a do or die season for Blake Swihart? Can he be a utility type guy at the major league level?
Keith Law: I don’t generally care for the idea of a do-or-die or make-or-break season, and I don’t think it applies to Swihart. If he’s healthy, he will have value. He was a decent infielder in HS – I saw him play third – and I think he’d be able to handle second or third in the majors. Maybe he’s Austin Barnes.

Dan: If you could make a player have one 80 and the rest of his tools 40-50. Which one would you make 80?
Keith Law: If you’re an 80 hitter, nothing else really matters.

Jon: Thoughts on Mike Ford? Does he have a chance to stick with the Mariners all year?
Keith Law: Non prospect. Maybe the final guy on a bench.

Joe: Keith, I feel like Tyler Wade is getting completly overlooked with the Yankees. Would you be confident having him start the season as the starter at second?
Keith Law: He’s getting overlooked? I feel like I’m asked about him constantly – and yes, I think he’s someone’s regular, if perhaps not the Yankees’ because of Andujar and Gleyber.

Doddy King: Texas and Anaheim are both indicating that they are looking at going with six man rotations, with Texas apparently also considering two reliever-to-starter candidates (Bush and Minor) as part of their move. Do you think this is a one- (or two-) off thing, or will more teams explore a six man rotation going forward?
Keith Law: I’m not sure that we know at all if that’ll help reduce pitching injuries, although I’m open to any kind of experiments like this. I do think both of those guys are enormous injury risks as starters, though, and would have kept them in the bullpen.

Dana: Goose Gossage is a jerk, but he seems to have a good point that he was more valuable than most of today’s relievers b/c he pitched multiple innings, right?
Keith Law: Yeah, but he’s right for the wrong reasons. He was more valuable because he threw more innings. He thinks he was more valuable because he did it.

Andy: Why does the government never get anywhere on gun control? If the democrats win Presidency and take control of Congress will something get done?
Keith Law: Money. Why can’t Flint, Michigan get clean drinking water? Money. Why are we still using so much coal despite the pollution it causes? Money. Why doesn’t any government agency do anything to crack down on overprescriptions of opioids? Money. Something like 2/3 of Americans support an assault weapons ban, but the power of money in our system trumps that of the popular vote.

Carlos: Julio Pablo Martinez seems likely to sign with a team at some point. I’ve read he has a good blend of power and speed. Is he a guy to watch? Would he have ranked on your top 100 list if eligible? What are your overall thoughts on him?
Keith Law: Not a top 100 guy. Maxed out, smaller & less athletic than Robert (they played together).

Patrick: My only quibble about these chats, Keith…not knowing the lyric that will lead them off when the queue is posted!
My question–what’s the furthest/most remote you have traveled to see a prospect (HS, Minors, not counting Sidd Finch?)
Keith Law: Jarrod Parker: flew to Chicago, drove 3 hours to Kendallville IN. Braxton Garrett was close: flew to Nashville, drove 2+ to Auburn, AL, then drove 3+ to Atlanta that night (very bad idea).

Tom Hendry: Why do you think so much negative coverage is directed at the free agent player’s camp?
Keith Law: Fans bizarrely support billionaire owners over players, arguing that the latter are “greedy.” (Not too dissimilar from people outside the top tax bracket who argue that the top 1% of income earners should get to keep more of their income, even though it doesn’t help them and may be worse for long-term economic growth.) And the media don’t help by carrying more water for front offices (where they have more sources) than for players/agents.

AJ: Hi Keith. On the whole, I was pretty happy with what Hahn did as far as rebuilding the farm system. The one knock that I did see was that he almost completely gambled on upside and didn’t hedge his bet with any “higher floor” guys. What is your opinion? Also, how soon can you see the ChiSox being a playoff contender? Is 2019 too soon? Thanks.
Keith Law: I think 2020 is more realistic, but if a few of the pitchers come on this year, that would accelerate it. We’ll get a full season of Giolito in the rotation, probably full seasons of Lopez and Fulmer somewhere on the roster (I still think both are more likely relievers), the debut of Kopech, maybe a late late callup for Hansen … that will all go a long way to telling us how far away they are.

Tom Hendry: The Orioles are piling up high with fringe MLB ready catchers. Do they have a growing concern that Chance Sisco cannot catch?
Keith Law: Or maybe Buck has decided he doesn’t like Sisco for some unknown reason? I can think of 20 other teams that would love to take him off Baltimore’s hands.

Dan. : Caden Lemons and Blayne Enlow both look like high upside projection arms from the recent draft. Are they similarly projectable or different in a significant way? If so, how?
Keith Law: Not similar at all; Enlow’s more athletic, better put together, more likely to stay healthy. Lemons had some medical questions post-draft and has more present velocity with less of a breaking ball.

Bored Lawyer, Esq. : Any college series you have your eye on this weekend? Vandy-Duke should be a fun one
Keith Law: Vandy doesn’t have anyone major for this year’s draft, so not that one; I’m hoping to go to the Coastal Carolina tournament but I’ve been sick all week.

DR: As a guy who does a lot to raise the public consciousness on data driven baseball analysis, are there any traits among the recently “woken” smart fans that grate you a bit? For me, rote invocation of WAR as the be all/end all stat gets immediately annoying. Such trait is rather prevalent, I feel.
Keith Law: I think that’s a weak generalization … I see more people complaining that others use WAR as a be-all and end-all than I see actual people using it as such. I’m more bothered by new-stat cherrypicking – hey, we have a new toy, let’s use it to the exclusion of other things we’ve learned or ignore the lack of data telling us how meaningful such a stat is. My favorite was the Mets fan arguing with me that Michael Cuddyer was a good signing because of his exit velocity. That didn’t work out so well.

Rob: It seems obvious to me that public opinion is with ownership over the players on issues of baseball economics. Do you think this is true? How important is it? What kind of PR campaign would it take to equalize matters? I’m not just talking about the slow offseason but about how fans in a number of markets seemed condition to accept what seem to me to be artificial limits on payroll. Sorry for the long question; thanks for the chat.
Keith Law: I’d talk up how rich owners are.

A dude: Can Trammell eventually be a 20 HR guy at the big league level? His ceiling seems a bit unknown, was wondering if that’s because it’s actually that high or due to him having less exposure to the sport than others.
Keith Law: 20 HR seems fair. 30 might be stretching it, ignoring the Reds’ home park and the juiced ball.

Parent trying to learn: Ok keith i need help with this hypothetical. MN arm played at small school. 5’11 215. As a rhp 94-97 fb, 60 curve, 60 slider, 60 change, 30 control, 20 command. Really violent delivery. As a CF 60 hit 70 Power 55/60 run 50 defense in CF 80 arm. Is he a rhp or cf? Where in the draft?
Keith Law: Dude with 20 command is never going to be a major-league pitcher.

Adam: What are your thoughts on Luis Campusano and Blake Hunt, the two Catchers taken by the Padres in the early part of last year’s draft? Neither seem to be appearing on ANY list of Catcher rankings.
Keith Law: Campusano was #17 on my Padres org ranking in a very deep system, so I don’t understand the question. Hunt is much further behind.

Jim876jj: How much has the shine worn off on Meadows? Is it due to the lack of power or frustration with durability/worries he’ll struggle with durability throughout his career?
Keith Law: Doesn’t stay healthy and doesn’t put the ball in the air enough. That’s been a problem for a number of Pirates prospects – he, Hayes, and Newman all show you more power in BP than any have ever shown in games.

James: Hey Keith, any hope that Odor returns to at least being an average player again?
Keith Law: Slim but nonzero.

Andrew: Why is it that in basketball, it’s either you have it or you don’t in terms of work ethic while in baseball, you can learn it overtime (Trevor Rosenthal) for example?
Keith Law: Hm. I feel like there might be some substantial difference between the pools of players under discussion here.

Shonna: My husband and I picked up 7 Ronin after your recommendation. It’s been a staple of our gaming rotation since then, but I was wondering if you and your wife have the same problem we have. Namely that the ninjas win a huge percentage of the time, I get that it’s an assymetric game but any ways to make it a little bit more fair?
Keith Law: We haven’t run into that problem; I think we were close to 50/50 (although we haven’t played it in a while, just because I get so many new games). The ninjas have to win early; it’s a war of attrition for the samurai player.

WarBiscuit: Thoughts on the new minor league team that will be in Madison Alabama? The government is pending approval on the 46 million dollar new stadium. Although I live in Mobile where the Baybears live, the management is very terrible, the stadium is outdated and there is a bunch of infrastructure problems like leaking pipes under the field, which causes rain delays when it rains in the morning, yet sunny in the evening when they have the game, and leaking AC’s, and other stuff that’s too long to mention, so I don’t blame the team for moving out of Mobile where there is little attendance.
Keith Law: It is incredibly stupid to spend public money on sports stadiums for privately-owned teams. But this is Alabama, a state where 1 in 4 residents is functionally illiterate, and that nearly put a pedophile who has openly flouted the Constitution on several occasions into the Senate.

YanksFan: Why do you think Chance Adams ends up as a reliever? He’s succeeded at every level. And keep in mind, you said the same about Severino. Also, have you watched The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel yet???
Keith Law: Keep in mind, I said the same about Dellin Betances. And Adam Warren. And Tyler Thornburg. And by the way Severino was awful in 2016 before he had his one good year as a starter to date. Adams is nothing like Severino beyond their employer; he’s short, doesn’t have a plus pitch, and doesn’t have the command to get away with the stuff he does have turning a lineup over 3x.

Cal: Keith, what would you tell a 22 year old college kid that has no clue what he wants to do career wise? I have interests and while my major interests me, none of the careers within that major peak my interest. When you were in college, did you pick a major because it interested you, or did you pick it because a certain job interested you and to get said job, you needed this major? Parents seem to think money is way more important than doing something I like, which doesn’t help. I’d love to get your take on this, Keith. I’m honestly at a loss here and don’t know what to do/where to go.
Keith Law: I picked a job because everyone else around me was going for the same kind of job and it was very good money for a 21-year-old. I didn’t like the job and floated through a few careers before falling ass-backwards into this one. So my advice probably isn’t going to be very good.

Byron: Have you heard anything from international scouts about Alexander Canario? A lot of stats-only projection systems rate his potential as very high but I don’t think I’ve seen one actual scouting report on him
Keith Law: I would not consider anything a “stats-only projection system” said about a player who has only played in the DSL.

TP: When should we expect an announcement that you have joined the Athletic? In all seriousness, your work is the only reason I still subscribe to insider.
Keith Law: I appreciate that.

Chris: when you evaluate a prospect how much weight is given to his ability to tolerate dry humping?
Keith Law: That Callaway quote was great – especially because he was right, and that alone made him an enormous improvement over Collins.

tyler: You have said that you would vote for Mo for the HOF. Is he really going to be one of the ten best on the ballot?
Keith Law: Yes. Or I wouldn’t vote for him.

Hank: What % chance do you think Derek Hill has to hit well enough to be a big league regular?
Keith Law: 40% chance or more. Doesn’t have to hit that much to be one given his defense.

Grant: Great draft list. Are you attending either the Perfect Game or Under Armour events this year?
Keith Law: I have no idea – those are in July and August and I don’t even have spring training trips booked yet.

Larry: I get you’re not a fan of Singers arm action but doesn’t the upside justify the risk? There are a lot of very successful leaders w slot guys in MLB.
Keith Law: What upside? I saw him 90-91 last April vs Kyle Wright with a flat slider. How many MLB starters have a slot or arm action like his? Sale and … um … let me know.

Noah: What do you think Gleyber Torres’ full time position will be, long term?
Keith Law: In a vacuum, shortstop.
Keith Law: Of course, in a vacuum, he’d be dead.

Patrick: Keith, did you have a favorite baseball player growing up?
Keith Law: Willie Randolph.

Learner: Have you heard of benjamin reinhard class of 2021?
Keith Law: If such a player even exists, I don’t want to hear about him until June of 2020.

Rod: Keith – I know the constant whining on Twitter can get irritating, but what’s with yoir disingenuous “I prefer to get paid for my labor” retort? Tons of writers get paid and their work isn’t behind a paywall. Just be honest, if that’s how you prefer to operate.
Keith Law: Nothing disingenuous about it. What I earn has always been a function of the revenue I generate for my employer. That’s how the world works.

Todd: If healthy, Clarke Schmidt Yankees a legit top of the rotation starter one day?
Keith Law: No.

David : Hi Keith – Theo said after the Cubs signed Morrow they’d treat him like wade Davis (1 inning; come in if warmed up) treatment to keep him healthy. If this contributes to staying healthy (vs a lot of up and downs) why not make this the rule instead of the exception. Perhaps any loss in situational value could be made up in increased effectiveness and health over the course of the season.
Keith Law: I have a hypothesis that it’s less the up-and-downs and more the back-to-back-to-back days that lead to reliever breakdowns. Better to throw 2 innings today and not throw again for 3 days than to throw one inning three days in a row?

Joe: Why does JD Martinez believe he is worth over $20m per season and Hosmer think he deserves 8 years?
Keith Law: Deserves? Or just wants? There’s a difference; the first is a moral question, the latter a negotiating stance.

Jonathan: What would Shane McClanahan have to do this spring to be in the mix for top-5 pick?
Keith Law: He’s in my top 15; that would certainly mean he’s a possibility for the top 5, given how much baseball is left before the draft.

Santos: Fangraphs has Aaron Judge listed as 70 game power and 70 raw power. If he’s not 80, what’s the point?
Keith Law: I would rate his power at 80.

Jeff: The trait among the newly “woke” that bothers me the most is their tendency to act as if they weren’t late to the party when in fact, they arrived after the keg was already dry.
Keith Law: I like that analogy. Better than Prager’s claim on gravity, certainly.

Jonathan: Orioles send Hunter Harvey and 33rd pick in the draft to the Rays in exchange for Jake Odorizzi. Who says “no?”
Keith Law: Doubt the Orioles would do that.

Phil: Which gaming conventions are you planning to attend this year? I was bummed to miss you at PAX Unplugged.
Keith Law: That and Gen Con. Origins never works bc of the draft. Always possible I’ll do something semi-local if my schedule permits but nothing planned yet.

Beau: Read your top 30 this morning: how close is Cadyn Grenier to a 1st rd talent? Does he have any untapped upside?
Keith Law: I think if he hits – if he performs and answers questions about his hit tool – he’ll be a first rounder.

Todd: Did Luis Severino hurt you in some way? You seemingly have hate for the guy, and back in the day, even the 90s, top flight starters used to struggle early, guys like Smoltz were terrible early in their careers. Its ok to admit your wrong Keith
Keith Law: Grow up, Todd. #your

Dr. Bob: The Cardinals signed Mike Maddux to be their pitching coach to go a new direction and away from the Dave Duncan/Derek Liliquist approach. I think it’s a gutsy move, considering their success with pitchers. Do you have an opinion on Maddux?
Keith Law: He hasn’t had a great track record with young pitchers so far, which would concern me given how guys like Flaherty, Weaver, maybe Hudson will all be expected to contribute in St. Louis this year.

AJ: Speaking of Sale, I know when he first came up you weren’t sure of him sticking as a starter because of his arm slot (or maybe I am mis-remembering). What has allowed him (and other lower arm slot starters) to stick? Development of a change up?
Keith Law: Also had a grade 35 slider in college. The White Sox shifted his hand position without truly altering his slot – although it was his delivery with its high elbow in back that bothered me more than just the slot – to allow him to get on top of the ball. Within about 18 months it went from a below-average pitch to a grade 70.

Scott Boras: Can Beer be more than a DH for an American League team?
Keith Law: Probably 1b. Would help his cause if he showed he could play average defense in LF.

Nick: Surprised to see Swaggerty ranked so high. Does he have a high enough upside to be a top 5 pick? Do you see him as a Jacoby Ellsbury type (the good version)?
Keith Law: I wouldn’t have ranked him there if I didn’t think he had that upside. One of the best pure hit tools in the draft with speed and a chance to profile as a good CF.

Jay: Did you play baseball video games growing up? If so, what was your favorite?
Keith Law: Lots of them. MicroLeague, Earl Weaver, Hardball…

Kwame : Is there anything the average fan can take away from spring training or is it all propaganda?
Keith Law: It’s just health. I ignore everything else. Remember the year Andy Oliver set Florida on fire? Gabe Gross hitting 8 HR in Dunedin one spring? Taijuan Walker’s almost-perfect spring training for Seattle? They’re facing inconsistent, uneven competition in scrimmage conditions. It’s not meaningful.

Chris: Why do people get so personally offended by your views on a player like Sevy. Why not just enjoy what he has become if you’re a fan of his? Life’s too short.
Keith Law: I have no idea. This is the one thing that perplexes my wife about my job above all else – why people get so mad (and, often, act so childishly) about baseball opinions.

John: Pretty random request, but is there a book/article you can recommend for me to share with friends/family who don’t see the link between hundreds of years of explicitly racist policy (primarily toward African-Americans) and the gargantuan gap that exists in general/overall equality today?
Keith Law: I didn’t love the documentary The 13th (on Netflix), because I thought it preached to the choir too much and was heavy-handed in a lot of places … but maybe that’s right for your audience.

Joe: Keith, do you have a general stance on manipulating service time for prospects? Is it only worth it for the tippy top guys (Bryant, Gleyber, etc.)? Should it vary by organization?
Keith Law: It is good business and bad for the industry. I would manipulate free agency in most cases, but wouldn’t waste time playing with the super-two date.

Andrew: Seems to me the changes to the draft and ifa’s created this tanking, I’d like to see it go back to being spend what you want. Thoughts?
Keith Law: I would too, but God forbid players get whatever the market will pay them. Especially those pesky non-American players, who earn less than their US/Canadian-born counterparts in the draft.

Chris: I had no idea Lazarito’s natural position was SS. I always assumed he was an OF. Other than the arm, which you mentioned doesn’t play, how does he look there? Does he have the footwork and actions to play there if the arm was stronger?
Keith Law: Played SS before signing, now in LF. Was never going to stay at short.

Brent: Sale was really an odd exception, similar to trying to scout a knuckleballer. His left elbow could contain alien dna, and I wouldn’t be terribly shocked.
Keith Law: I agree, but I’m happy to wear that one as a position I staked out strongly that was 100% wrong. It’ll happen again before I’m done.

Jonathan: Odds that Jorge Soler ever lives up to his potential?
Keith Law: If you tell me he’ll be healthy for a full season, I think he’ll produce like a regular.

JR : Have you played any/all of the Ticket to Ride spinoffs? Do they provide something that different from the original game that justifies the cost?
Keith Law: Europe for sure. They get a bit more involved from there. I have tried England, Nordics, Switzerland, and have the app expansion for Pennsylvania but haven’t tried it yet. I played France at PAX Unplugged with my daughter, and we liked it, but it does make the game longer.

Chris: Man, if people got as heated and passionate about gun reform and control as they did about 16-24 y/o baseball prospects, maybe we could like, I don’t know, do something important and beneficial for our society.
Keith Law: Indeed. Hang on, I’m just going to go play a board game.

Chris J: FYI, there’s a smallish gaming con in Aberdeen the first weekend in March, if you won’t be on the road. (GAD-CON).
Keith Law: (cancels all travel plans for that weekend)

Marshall MN: Is your game closet overflowing at this point? Do you keep all the ones you have played, or if they aren’t any good just give them to someone else?
Keith Law: I have sold a number of the review copies I’ve gotten and donated all of the proceeds to charity – I think I’m over $500 donated now, all to the Food Bank of Delaware or to hurricane relief for Puerto Rico and the USVI. I only have five games on the list for right now, but update it often: https://boardgamegeek.com/geekmarket/user/keithlaw (User pays the sale price + shipping, and then I donate all of that, including the shipping, to charity. So I make no money off this.) I have swapped some other games, donated some to a local school, given some to friends. I clearly have over 100 and I just don’t need that many.

Nordberg: If you could negotiate for the player’s union for the next CBA, what 2 things would you push for the most?
Keith Law: Raise the minimum salary to $1 million. Free agency after four years.

Chas: Have you checked out the Athletic? I like the names they’re bringing in, am fine paying for quality, but worry it’s a front-loaded thing that will get spun off and crack up in a year.
Keith Law: I subscribed the other day. The first piece I read was kind of lousy but I won’t judge them on just one look.

Nick: What type of upside do you project Andres Gimenez to have? Do you think he can be a starting SS and lead off hitter on a first division club?
Keith Law: That’s the hope. Would like to see a full year of progress & performance from him.

Chuck: What the heck are the Orioles doing?
Keith Law: A good question. I wonder if ownership has tied Duquette’s hands. Britton’s injury killed them too.

Patrick: Keith, I look at the improvements someone like Corbin Burnes made in the Brewers minor league system.
Would you avoid having him pitch in Colorado/AAA? Does he have anything left to prove in AA?
Keith Law: I would avoid that. Put him in the major league bullpen as a long reliever to start the year. Their rotation is really weak for a would-be contender anyway, and there will be an opening at some point. I’d rather see him pitch in the majors and struggle while making adjustments than pitching in Colorado Springs and struggle while losing his sanity.

Mr. Athletic: Thanks for the subscription. What other sites have you subscribed to?
Keith Law: I subscribe to the Washington Post & Baseball America. I cancelled my NY Times subscription on Monday after the Bret Stephens “stop smearing Woody Allen” piece. Certainly open to suggestions on worthwhile outlets – I believe in paying for content, obviously.

Andres : Thoughts on the new MGMT or Franz Ferdinand albums?
Keith Law: Never been an MGMT fan. The new FF album is shockingly bad. Thought the latest Wombats album was solid, not as good as Glitterbug. A little disappointed in Dream Wife’s LP. Next album to give some time to is Django Django’s latest.

Bill: Yankees fan here, but to be fair to you I think your concerns about Severino were about the ability for him to make it through multiple seasons given his windup. It’s only been one (very very) good year. I assume at this point, tho, obviously he should be left in rotation
Keith Law: I agree that he should be left there. It was that plus the lack of an average breaking pitch when he was in low-A and AA. He did improve his slider dramatically – I think he’s just throwing everything harder – between 2016 and 2017.

Rick C: Should the Braves just wait a couple weeks to call up Acuna, or wait until they can be sure they’ve passed the point where he’d become a super 2 player?
Keith Law: I think he’s ready, but there isn’t a great argument for bringing him north on Opening Day. So start him in triple-A with the idea – and him aware of this – that he’ll come up by May 1st if he rakes in AAA again. I hate super two manipulation because it assumes that 1) you know where the date will be 2) the process will not change in the interim and 3) the player will never be sent down again.

Harold: I work at an elementary school in a very low income, mostly minority area. We have dozens of strategies that strive to close the achievement gap while helping these kids understand what opportunities are out there for them. No matter what we do or how many grueling hours we spend with these kids, nothing seems to change. For every kid who we can reach and push toward higher achievement, there are dozens who never buy in or who get lost in the morass of their communities. What in the world can we do to get kids out of this cycle of despair?
Keith Law: Efforts to help a smaller number of people tend to be much more successful than similar sized/cost efforts to help a larger number of people in a less significant way. “End world hunger!” makes for good marketing for your charity, but it’s an impossible goal that reduces accountability too. “End hunger in this one village in Niger” is a lot less sexy when soliciting funds, but you have a chance to achieve that goal. It’s feasible. You can come up with plans and timelines that will allow for accountability back to donors and that can be altered on the fly if something isn’t working. And then, if it works, you move on to the next village. You will never, ever fix the problem at your entire school. But if you can take ten of those kids and get them on a path out of the cycle of poverty, then that’s a success, in spite of the kids you weren’t able to help … because you were never going to be able to help all of them anyway. Ten successes is better than none.
Keith Law: That’s all for this week’s chat. If I get to Myrtle Beach, I’ll say something on social media so folks can find me there. Thank you all for all of your questions and for reading!


As a kid, I was always fascinated by maps, and especially by certain countries or parts of the world. Eastern Europe was one of those areas; the countries there all seemed more “foreign” because they were still behind the Iron Curtain (I’m old). Most of the people there speak Slavic languages that just sounded more different to my young ears, often written in different alphabets. Then you have Hungary, a country of non-Slavic people with a history and language unrelated to anyone else in Europe outside of Finland and Estonia (the latter of which wasn’t independent until I was in college), and its own complicated history of independence and subjugation. You had Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, two made-up countries resulting from international meddling and post-war treaties; neither exists any more, with Yugoslavia, at the time appearing to be the most moderate of Communist countries because its dictator, Tito, led the “non-aligned movement” of countries that declined to take sides in the Cold War. Yugoslavia comprised at least a dozen different ethnolinguistic groups, now split into seven independent countries, two of which have majority Muslim populations, two others of which speak the same language but use different alphabets for it and thus both claim they’re speaking something different. Czechoslovakia has been split into two countries, although there’s a historical third (Moravia) that appears to be gone for good. The Soviet Union itself subsumed at least nine independent countries in eastern Europe and the Caucasus, plus some short-lived entities like the Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus.

And then there was Romania, another oddball in the region, the only language east of Italy where the primary language is from the Romance branch of the Indo-European language family; Romanian has evolved a more complex, Slavic-influenced grammar due to its geographic and political isolation from other Romance languages, but if you’re fluent in any of the latter you can probably gather the gist of written Romanian. Moldova, an independent country on Romania’s border, also has Romanian as its primary language, but they call it Moldovan and insist that it’s a distinct tongue. (To say nothing of the Gagauz.) Transylvania, which is totally a real place, is now part of Romania. They were briefly one of the Axis-allied nations in World War II, along with Hungary and Bulgaria, the latter of which had a real knack for picking the wrong side in world wars. The country featured the most dramatic and violent shift to democracy, executing its dictator and his equally corrupt wife on live television, and at one point appeared to have a nascent software industry that might lead to rapid economic development.

That didn’t happen, and if you wanted to know just how Romanians view their country right now, Christian Mungiu’s latest film, Graduation, paints a grim portrait where corruption is so woven into the societal fabric that nothing would function without it. Mungiu won the Palme d’Or and earned an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language film for 2007’s 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, and was named co-winner of the Best Director Prize at Cannes in 2016 for this movie, which Romania did not choose for its annual submission to AMPAS. (His 2012 film, Beyond the Hills, was Romania’s submission that year and made the shortlist but not the final five.)

Graduation, which is streaming on Netflix, tells a small story to explain the big theme of the rot that institutionalized corruption has caused in Romanian society. Romeo Aldea is a successful doctor in a modest city in western Romania who returned from somewhere abroad with his wife in the hopes that Romania was developing into a modern society. Their daughter, Maria, is about to take a critical test to secure her scholarship to Cambridge University in England, but the morning before the exam, she’s attacked by a would-be rapist, injuring her arm (so she can’t write easily) and traumatizing her. Romeo, who was busy with his mistress when he received the call that Maria had been hurt, decides to play the system, moving a patient up the list for a liver transplant in exchange for having his daughter’s exam graded favorably enough to retain the scholarship.

Romeo is an unpleasant fellow who would probably bristle at such criticisms; he’s even praised at one point in the film for his spotless reputation and refusal to take bribes from patients in the past. He clearly thinks he’s doing what must be done for Maria, given that this is how Romania works and that other parents wouldn’t hesitate to call in favors or pay bribes to help their kids – especially to get their kids out of the dead-end cycle the film tells us is trapping everyday Romanians in a lower-class, hopeless life. A western education at a premium university is a ticket out, and even though Maria seems to be waffling in the wake of the attack and her commitment to her shiftless boyfriend Marius, Romeo commits himself to this path, convinced he’s doing the right thing even as the situation starts to worsen around him.

The entire movie seems to take place on cloudy days in a city where every color is some shade of gray and the dominant architectural aesthetic might charitably be described as communist chic. There’s construction, but to no apparent end, and the chaos of it creates the opportunity for Maria’s attacker. A minor subplot involves Romeo’s mistress’s young son, who has a disability and may do better in a specialized public school that has no openings because they’re all reserved for siblings of current students – or for those who have paid their way in. Another thread revolves around Romeo’s affair and how his wife reacts not to the infidelity itself, which she already knew about, but to Maria’s discovery of it. Romeo still seems unfazed by the changing attitudes of everyone around him, including his daughter’s own disdain for his attempts to use the system to benefit her, because he’s so thoroughly convinced of his own correctness. And while it’s easy to condemn him from the other side of the screen, what parent among us wouldn’t bend or break a rule to help our children?

The Snow Queen.

Joan Vinge’s The Snow Queen won the Hugo and Locus Awards for best novel in 1981, a book that is now the first in a series of four novels set on the world of Tiamat, where people are split into two races (“clans”), Summers and Winters, and travel to and from this planet from elsewhere in the universe is interrupted for long periods by the path of Tiamat’s sun around a nearby black hole. This self-contained novel focuses less on the Queen herself than on the two cousins, Moon and Sparks, whose destinies are intertwined with that of the Queen and the impending change in power from Winter to Summer.

Arienhrod is the reigning Snow Queen, but her reign will end with the coming shift to Summers and the close of the portal to the rest of colonized space provided by the black hole (which Vinge treats as a sort of wormhole). To try to preserve her power, she implants various women in the kingdom with embryonic clones, one of which will survive to become Moon. Moon and Sparks are cousins and lovers from childhood, both of whom strive to become “sibyls,” mystics who can tap into an unknown source of universal knowledge by entering a trance state when asked, but only Moon is able to do so, creating the first crack in the relationship between the two. Their paths eventually diverge, where Moon ends up off-world and appears to be permanently separated from Sparks and the rest of Tiamat, while Sparks rises quickly to a position as Arienhrod’s lover and consigliere, known as “Starbuck,” putting him on a collision course with Moon when the latter returns to Tiamat (itself named for the Babylonian sea goddess) and discovers the truth behind the planet’s source of immortality serum.

Based both on the folktale later made into a fable by Hans Christian Anderson fable and on Robert Graves’ book-length essay The White Goddess, The Snow Queen works better on a metaphorical-fabulist level than as a work of straight narrative, as neither Moon nor Sparks feels like a fully realized character, and Arienhrod, whatever she may have been prior to the events of this book, is just a narcissistic villain. The immortality serum is harvested from a sort of sea creature called a mer, and there are obvious parallels there to man’s quest for petroleum, for animal rights, and even for the way in which we dehumanize other races or religions to suit our own purposes. Moon herself is a clear nature versus nurture metaphor, one that I think is more relevant today as we learn more about how our genes determine our personalities as well as our appearances; she’s constantly confused for Arienhrod, but frequently must choose between using the power that confers and doing the ‘right’ thing for the people of Tiamat, even those who would otherwise do her harm.

The other strength of The Snow Queen is the fact that it has female characters at its center, even if they’re not all fully fleshed out; Moon is the real protagonist, a complex character fighting her own nature and ultimately handed the responsibility for the fate of an entire planet. Sparks is less three-dimensional, and unquestionably the weaker of the two cousins, pursuing power for its own sake and surrendering to an easier life that only requires that he ignore the moral questions around his choices. The society Vinge has created isn’t strictly matriarchal, but is egalitarian enough that she can populate it with strong women without lengthy explanation … which, for a sci-fi novel written in the late 1970s, was remarkable in and of itself. (She was the fourth woman to win the Hugo for Best Novel, and hers was just the fifth win for a woman author in the 28 awards to that date.)

Where The Snow Queen lacks something is in the story itself, which felt disconnected in several ways, and never really left me in any doubt about what would happen to Arienhrod at the end of the book. The event that puts Moon on a spacecraft heading off Tiamat and through the portal is a bit of a ridiculous coincidence, given how important that event and her newfound colleagues become in the later stages of the book. There’s a subplot around a female police officer who becomes commander on Tiamat for dubious reasons, creating a professional and personal journey that would have benefited from some expansion but that felt a little under-told because it was inherently secondary to the Moon-Sparks-Arienhrod plot thread. It moves, as Vinge’s writing is crisp enough to keep the story flowing, but I was never gripped or wrapped up in what might happen to the cousins.

Next up: I’ve just begin Lois McMaster Bujold’s Barrayar, the second book in the Vorkogisan Saga and the first of her four Hugo-winning novels.

Stick to baseball, 2/10/18.

My one new piece for Insiders this week covers the Cubs signing Yu Darvish to a six-year deal. I also held a Klawchat on Thursday.

I reviewed the new, light strategy board game Majesty: For the Realm for Paste this week.

I’ve been sending out my free email newsletter a bit more regularly now that the prospect work is over. Also, Smart Baseball will be out in paperback on March 13th; you can pre-order it on amazon or elsewhere, although at the moment the hardcover version is about $1 cheaper.

And now, the links…

On Body and Soul.

On Body and Soul (Testről és lélekről) is one of the five nominees for this year’s Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, the tenth time a Hungarian submission has made the final cut since they began submitting films in 1965. A film that alternates shockingly brutal imagery with a lyrical, otherworldly story about two of the shyest people you could imagine, the movie is a starmaking performance for actress Alexandra Borbély, who won the Best European Actress award in 2017 for her work here. It’s exclusively available on Netflix.

Borbély plays Maria, the new health inspector at a Hungarian cattle slaughterhouse, replacing the unseen Bori, who left early for maternity leave and appears by implication to have been a fairly lenient inspector. Maria is shy, lacks the ability to read social cues, and often seems emotionless to the workers at the facility, who make halfhearted attempts to connect with her. The factory’s CFO, Endre (Géza Morcsányi, a playwright in his first film role), is also shy and awkward, a well-meaning man who has lost the use of his left arm and keeps most of his colleagues at arm’s length. We realize before they do that the two of them are sharing the same dreams night after night, where each is a deer in a snowy forest, a fact that only becomes apparent to them when a theft at the factory leads to psychiatric interviews with all of the possible culprits. The discovery changes both of them, driving Maria to try to figure out how to relate to another person, while Endre rediscovers the sense of empathy he seems to have lost through years of disappointment.

Director/writer Ildikó Enyedi is unafraid to jar the audience with images of cattle being chained, killed, and bled, although many of these images have parallels to the strange journey of Maria and Endre, especially Maria. She has many aspects of a person with Asperger’s Syndrome or who is somewhere on the autism spectrum, although her condition is never named; these facets of her personality include extreme organization and cleanliness, which makes her perfect for her job … as long as she doesn’t have to interact with other people. Borbély, who had some TV experience and just three or four previous film roles, is marvelous in every way in this role, giving Maria both the affect-less expressions and intonations of a person who can’t read social cues or sense emotions in others, as well as the innocence, trepidation, and wonder of a child seeing or experiencing things for the first time. The role requires her to walk a tight rope to avoid Rain Man-like caricature without giving Maria too much emotion or sensibility, as if a relationship could ‘cure’ her. Even when the story hits its dramatic climax near the end, Borbély does not veer outside the character’s boundaries, reacting at one point in a matter-of-fact way to something awful that it became a darkly humorous moment instead.

Enyedi’s script offers a meditation on loneliness, especially for people who were, perhaps, not made for this world, like Maria, or who have grown tired of its letdowns, like Endre. Even with this utterly improbable link between them, the two find it difficult to communicate with or understand each other, and that disconnect threatens to leave them lonelier than they were before they discovered their shared experience. The script does lose steam a little in the final quarter of the film, because the setup is so strong – two people with no apparent connection are simultaneously dreaming the same dream, in an otherwise rational world where such a thing should be impossible. Resolving that story in an interesting way, other than simply having Maria fall into Endre’s arms, is difficult, and Enyedi gets it about halfway right. The big twist is also a bit predictable, and yet honest at the same time, because one character’s reaction to pull away from the other is understandable in the context of the film. I thought this would end up happening, but I also couldn’t tell you a more realistic resolution, either.

On Body and Soul won the Golden Bear award at the Berlin International Film Festival, as did Spirited Away, A Separation, and the 2016 documentary Fire at Sea; like A Separation, it also took the Grand prize at the Sydney Film Festival, so in theory it should have a reasonable chance at the Oscar. Instead, the betting site GoldDerby gives it the worst odds of the five nominees, with A Fantastic Woman considered the favorite – although neither that nor Loveless has played anywhere but New York or Los Angeles so far. Having seen four of the five Best Actress nominees, however, I will say Borbély more than deserved a nomination – it’s not unheard of, with Isabelle Huppert getting a nod for the French-language film Elle just last year – and I’d vote for her over both Meryl Streep and Saoirse Ronan.

Klawchat 2/8/18.

My latest game review for Paste covers Majesty: For the Realm, the newest board game from the designer of Splendor.

Keith Law: I’ve lived a thousand years and it never bothered me. Klawchat.

Bob W.: Curious: for your analyses, do you keep it simple with basic spreadsheet functionality only, or do you also use specialized analytical and statistical packages, as in B-school stats courses?
Keith Law: I don’t use any specialized software; if I had access to Statcast or Trackman data, then I would need to because of the sheer quantity of data involved.

Bill G: Thanks as always for your excellent work on the prospects. I am interested in your take on Jorge Lopez, who made your top 100 2 years ago and now has fallen completely off your lists. Do you believe he has a future in MLB, in what role? Thanks again!
Keith Law: Still think he’s a big league starter, maybe more of a back-end guy than I once believed. He had family issues that probably contributed to his 2016 season – a sick kid, I think? – but also I hope the Brewers learned not to send pitching prospects to Colorado Springs. No good comes of pitching there.

Rob: A couple months back in a chat you said ” I like music that’s interesting, that boasts something like strong melodies, intelligent lyrics, technical proficiency, new sounds or textures.” Have you ever done a deep dive on Regina Spektor? She’s got it all. Her middle albums are especially spectacular.
Keith Law: Deep, no, mostly because I haven’t loved enough of her singles for that. She does write great lyrics, though.

BE: Do you find the “you hate my team” comments more amusing or irritating? As a Tigers fan, its amazing how much negativity I read about you, even though you spent 5 pages of Smart Baseball supporting Tram and Lou.
Keith Law: Any fan, reader, or Twitter follower who accuses me of hating his favorite team is telling me one thing: He’s dumb. (It’s always men, BTW.) It’s truly a lack of intelligence – there’s no way I could do this job effectively if I carried actual biases against any organizations. And now, with nearly 12 years on the job, I have a sufficient body of work to point to positive and negative things I’ve said about every team. A bunch of Padre man-babies got all mad online because I said, repeatedly, that Trevor 28 WAR Hoffman was not worthy of being a Hall of Famer, and many accused me of anti-Padre bias, which 1) is silly as I’ve praised their farm system incessantly for two-plus years and 2) who the fuck would even bother to hate the Padres?
Keith Law: Ah, that felt good.

Thomas: Assuming he’s their starting third baseman, what should Tigers fans realistically expect from Jeimer Candelario this season?
Keith Law: High average, mediocre OBP, more doubles than homers, below average defense. Dude can put the bat on the ball, though.

Greg: Hi Keith,
Would be interested what players you would have on top of a list of hitters with the highest ceiling at least 2 plus years away from the majors. Yasel Antuna? R Rojas? Gabriel Arias?
Thanks for your work, only reason I just renewed insider.
Keith Law: That list would be dominated by guys on my top 100, though. You’re looking for deeper names than that, for which I’d suggest looking at the Sleeper I listed for each org. Those are usually players 2+ years away with big upsides; if I list someone closer, or with a more modest ceiling, it’s because the org is devoid of the type of player I’d prefer.

Greg: Which player would you Wander to if you had a choice?
Keith Law: Greg, even if I Wander, I’m keeping you in sight.

Rocky Mountain High: Whom do you expect to give more of a push to Arrenaudo in the future, Welker or Vilade? Not saying they take the job from him, but the guy that gives management thought about the next Rockies 3B.
Keith Law: Vilade. He might be a stud. Team USA staff loved him as a player and a person. I have generally gotten negative enough reports on Welker’s defense to think he at least has a chance to move off that position.

Scott : With the Mets making every possible roster move to banish the newly sculpted Dominic Smith to Vegas where he has already proven he can rake (and get himself out of shape), if you were running a rebuilding team would you be aggressive and make them an offer they can’t refuse?
Keith Law: Yes. I think he’s an obvious guy to target.

Dana: Would you hit Judge/Stanton/Sanchez 2-3-4 or break them up somehow with a lefty?
Keith Law: I think inserting a LHB for its own sake just ends up costing a better hitter at bats. If they were L-L-L, that would be a different story.

Kyle Tucker: Am I on the opening roster or do I come up in June? What should Astro fans expect of me ?
Keith Law: I would be surprised if you were up before September.

Philadelphia resident : Can you explain why people ruin their cities when they win a championship ?
Keith Law: Or when they lose. That’s the part I don’t get – they were going to riot and burn the city down either way. Oh, excuse me, they were going to overzealously celebrate the city down. We only call it a “riot” when it’s people of color.

Ben: Headed to Chicago in a couple weeks to see NGHFB. Any must-hit spots for food that one person can get into on short notice? Or any Chicago pizza recommendations?
Keith Law: New Girls Hit the Fuckin’ Block? Monteverde is my favorite restaurant in Chicago. Publican & their lunch offshoot are great. Any Rick Bayless place (Frontera is the flagship) will be excellent. They don’t serve pizza in Chicago – they serve bread with stuff on it.

Archie: I get the frustration of agents, however, how many of them would buy a Camry today because that is all they could afford without going into debt, instead of waiting until next year when they can buy a Ferrari with cash?
Keith Law: You have kind of hinted at the principal-agent problem, though.

Chris: Can the Mets get anything for Nimmo or Cecchini? I don’t see how their values improve with glut of players in majors at their positions for Mets.
Keith Law: Maybe a comparable fringe big leaguer – trade one of them for a useful bullpen piece or fifth starter?

Logic: I think the sports media is missing the actual dynamics of this years free agent market. If there is collusion, it’s with the agents not the owners. Agents, primarily Scott Boras have decided to let their players sit if they don’t get their customary irrational owner driven contracts. In addition, by doing this they can suggest collusion by owners due to the inactivity the agents are creating. Quite smart. Your thoughts
Keith Law: Disagree. Agents do talk – they’re allowed to – but I don’t think there’s this grand conspiracy either.

Evan: What do you think of the Todd Frazier deal?
Keith Law: Yawn. Really didn’t make much sense for the Mets, unless they just wanted to find another way to limit Dom’s playing time. And I don’t think Frazier’s one-year walk-rate spike is sustainable.

Amy: If the redsox sign JDM, when Pedroia is out, would it make sense to play JDM is LF, Benintendi in right (or center), and Mookie at 2nd? Hanley DH.
Keith Law: I legit thought you were going to suggest playing JDM at second. I may need some caffeine. (Also, Brock Holt probably ends up on the field somewhere there.)

Aaron C.: With the release of PECOTA projections this week, I have a *general* question: How should fans view projections? “For entertainment purposes only” or is there some underlying value for fans and/or analysts such as yourself?
Keith Law: Projections come with error bars, and PECOTA has long been explicit about things like best- or worst-case scenarios – here’s a stat line for this player that would be in the top 10% of outcomes for him, so it’s not likely, but an analysis of his past performance, physical details, and whatever other inputs they use says this is possible.

Gregory: Any suggestions on what to look for in a pressure cooker and in a kitchen scale (for cooking, coffee)?
Keith Law: My pressure cooker is nothing fancy – stovetop model, old-fashioned. I own two kitchen scales – one for larger measurements, and this smaller one for more precise measurements where a gram either way might matter (coffee grounds, yeast for baking): http://amzn.to/2siE8Ya

Aaron C.: With the Padres’ prospects pail overflowing, are there decent odds that you’ll be making a trip to Lake Elsinore this year (where I can get my copies of “Smart Baseball” and Warren G’s debut album signed?
Keith Law: Probably not. That’s a cross-country trip now and I don’t generally do those for pro prospects. I’ll see some of their top guys in Peoria next month.

JJ: Keith, you seem bullish on the Red Sox’ Jason Groom, ranking him as your #30 prospect. However, the Red Sox have done a pretty lousy job in recent years when it comes to developing starting pitchers (where have you gone, Trey Ball?) — does that organizational weakness affect your view/ranking of Groome at all?
Keith Law: I say at the top of the rankings every year that they are team-agnostic. Any player can be traded at any time, and his ranking would not change. BTW, Ball’s issue wasn’t really on player development; he was projectable at 18 and just never got any extra velocity.

JJ: Like you, I’m not thrilled with the idea of Trevor Hoffman in the HOF, but that’s a moot point now. Mariano will undoubtedly coast in on his first ballot next year, but after that, who’s the next reliever to get in? Lee Smith, via Veterans’ Committee? Craig Kimbrel?
Keith Law: I am not supporting this in any way, shape, or form, but K-Rod has a pretty good case with Hoffman in, and so will Joe Nathan. Even if K-Rod doesn’t pitch again this year, he’ll still be 4th all time in saves, and we heard ad nauseum how impressive it was that Hoffman was 2nd. There’s a difference of about 100 IP and 4 WAR between Hoffman and K-Rod right now. I would never, ever vote for Rodriguez, but his argument became plausible with Hoffman in.

Dan: Pirates made some retooling type trades instead of reloads, but there doesn’t seem to be enough talent in place to compete in the short or medium term. What do you think? I feel like they’re counting on more guys stepping up than is reasonable to assume.
Keith Law: I felt like they went more towards rebuild, but the two guys they traded were seen as flawed assets in the market.

Ben: When you’re on the road and eating on your own do you make a reservation or just try to walk-in places? I always wonder how you get into all the best spots!
Keith Law: I walk in and tell the maitre d’, “Do you know who I am?” Then s/he usually says, “Do you know who *I* am?” and I ask meekly if there’s a seat at the bar.

Rex: Hey Keith, thanks for doing this chat. To what degree do you consider the federal deficit to be a problem? If you could decide how to address, what are some measures you’d take?
Keith Law: The growth of the deficit is a major problem, but a truly balanced budget is both unrealistic and perhaps a poor policy decision anyway. Eventually, however, we will lose some of our seemingly infinite borrowing power.
Keith Law: And that could have all sorts of nasty consequences, including stagflation or economic contraction.

Tony: Do you think Andujar will be good enough to prevent the Yanks from going after Machado next year?
Keith Law: I love Andujar, but he’s not Machado good.

Adam: If you did a Top 150, which team do you think would have the most prospects on the list?
Keith Law: Atlanta had the most on my top 100; I would not give a different answer here without doing the entire exercise.

David: Does any data exist indicating the value of splitting up handedness of a starting rotation or is any perceived benefit strictly anecdotal?
Keith Law: Anecdotal. And likely bunk.

Noah: Will there be a strike? Feels like there is so much momentum towards one
Keith Law: They just signed a new CBA a year ago. There isn’t going to be a strike until that’s over.

DealsDealsDeals: What are Blue Jays fans to make of Danny Jansen? Being anointed the Jay’s Catcher of the Future is a lot like being Spinal Tap’s drummer.
Keith Law: Good chance he really is their catcher of the future, everyday guy with more bat than defensive skills, biggest flaw has been trouble staying healthy (at a position not conducive to keeping oneself off the DL).

Andy: Say you’re given the power to fix baseball. You can’t abolish the draft, get rid of commercials, or fire any owners into the sun. What actual changes can be made to even out the power dynamic between players and owners or improve the game? Is it as simple as just calling a better strike zone, granting free agency earlier, and getting rid of spending caps?
Keith Law: Still think you can reduce the time required for pitching changes, perhaps running ads on the screen without breaking completely for commercials. Players used to fight for earlier arbitration and/or free agency, but seem to have dropped or deprioritized that in this last round. Perhaps that was their big mistake.

John: I recently finished your book, and enjoyed it very much. Question – if statcast allows us to measure how far a player travels from crack of the bat until the out, wouldn’t that fail to capture a Ripken-style skill?
Keith Law: I’m not sure what the skill here is.

Nick: Hey Keith, I really enjoyed the new prospect coverage. I’m curios about a guy I did not see on there…what are your thoughts on Rays catcher Ronaldo Hernandez? What’s the upside? Is there breakout potential?
Keith Law: He’s outside of their top 20. One of many interesting, check-back-in-a-year types, but not someone I would tab as a breakout candidate or that the org themselves pushed as a top 15-20 guy. (I talk to people from every club to get their own thoughts and sometimes internal rankings of players.)

john w: i know you don’t compare your lists to that of competitors (and that is totally fine and understandable!). but i was wondering what your thoughts on the value of computer-driven prospect lists, like dan’s at espn. not asking you to attack him or anything, just wondering how you see a list like that and what you take from it. thanks for all the great stuff.
Keith Law: I think they’re useful because they’re different.

Jay: based on what you saw last year is Miguel Cabrera done or was he injured?
Keith Law: Probably hurt.

Jimmy: Cubs win Central fairly easily this year?
Keith Law: No, Jimmy from Chicago

Erich: I am curious as to your position on meat consumption and big business agriculture in the world. We could make as big of an impact regarding climate change and emissions by changing the way we eat compared to changing our energy and transportation, yet we only ever hear about the energy/transportation. This isn’t even considering the rain forest destruction. Why do you think this is? Would it be viewed as an attack on farmers if someone said “we need to eat less meat and dairy to help sustainability feed a planet that will soon have 10 billion people?”
Keith Law: That might be the most unrealistic proposal of all. If we solve our climate change problems, and there’s a damn good chance we don’t, it’s not going to come from convincing 2-3 billion people who are accustomed to eating meat once or twice a day to give it up while also convincing another 2-3 billion people who rarely eat meat but view it as a symbol of wealth or prosperity that they didn’t really want it after all.

Tyler: What would you say is the breakdown of how you get evalutations players? e.g. 50% in person, 30% talking with other evaluators, 20% stats/metrics? Apologies if you’ve given this breakdown before.
Keith Law: There is no answer to that. It differs for each player.

Jaipur rules: Rather than a six year $150 million offer to Darvish/Arrieta do you think someone like the Cubs should look into trading a decent prospect to the Dbacks and take on Greinke and say 75% of his remaining contract? Arizona could potentially resign JD then. Not sure how much Greinke has left in the tank.
Keith Law: If the Dbacks want to contend again this year, they have to keep Greinke. I don’t see them being competitive without him, because any trade would likely be one to shed his salary rather than bringing back talent.

Jesse: Your thoughts on the game Broom Service? I love the cowardly/brave mechanic but it has never gone over well when I bring it out on a games night.
Keith Law: I think it’s fun and very clever, but we find its length is a little tough for weeknight play.

Sparhawk: What does Joey Wentz need to do in order to establish himself as one of the best LHP prospects?
Keith Law: He made my top 100. He’s already one of the best LHP prospects.

mike sixel: I understand that long term deals stink at the end, generally, but they are often good for the team at the beginning…..from a $/WAR stance. If teams are really going to balk at long term deals, which we’ll see probably isn’t true still this spring and next year, won’t they almost “have” to pay more on an AAV basis? If I was an agent, that would be my argument.
Keith Law: The $/WAR stuff is so overblown – getting a ‘good deal’ is nice, but if your team isn’t in a position to capitalize on those marginal wins, then … you got a nice deal, congrats? If I were running a team within range of a wild-card spot or division title, I’d be less concerned about getting the most efficient deal specifically and more about getting the marginal wins I need to get into the playoffs. So I’d be fine overpaying on an AAV basis – and if anything I’d overpay in the short-term to try to get one or two fewer years at the end of the contract, when, as you said, most of them have long gone bad.

Andrew: Can you explain what is meant when a pitcher is described as athletic?
Keith Law: It means he’s a good athlete. I am a bit befuddled by your question. There’s no secondary connotation here – some pitchers are good athletes, some are not. I like good athletes in general because I think they can repeat their mechanics and have more physical potential to make adjustments.

JJ: You’re understandably down on Ray and Rutherford”s prospectness. What do you think they need to do to get back on course/do you think they can make those corrections?
Keith Law: Ray needs a stance/setup overhaul. Rutherford just didn’t impact the ball at all last year. Not sure how to fix that one.

Kay: Frazier at $8.5 million is a steal right? The average has to come up some and he seems to have no other obvious flaws as a player.
Keith Law: Why does the average “have to come up some?” He didn’t hit for average at all in 2016 and was only a little better in 2014. I think there’s a good chance he’s just a sub-.240 hitter now.

Tyler: I’ve been wanting to get into board games for quite awhile and finally convinced my friend group to try Catan. We all loved it! I know you put out your list of top board games, but what are 2-3 other “beginner” games like Catan?
Keith Law: Carcassonne, Splendor, Ticket to Ride are all good ‘gateway’ games that still hold up even though I’ve probably played 200+ other games since I got into the hobby.

Eric: Keith, loyal insider subscriber here. I know the draft is far off and nobody knows this but do you think Nolan Gorman makes it to the Padres pick at 7? I would love to see them add another impact bat to go with all of the developing arms. Thanks for all your work.
Keith Law: He’s a great prospect but nobody has any idea where players are going.

Tom: Assuming Moniak returns to Lakewood, would you advance Haseley to keep him in CF?
Keith Law: I would, but I don’t know if Moniak is returning to Lakewood. I think it would help him, and keep Haseley on track, and if Haseley rakes in Clearwater you just move them both up.

Tom: Have you used Chris Bianco’s cookbook? Do you have any thoughts on it?
Keith Law: I own it – I received an advance copy from the publisher – and it’s beautiful with some very fun writing (if you’ve ever heard Chris talk, you can ‘hear’ him while you read it), but the non-pizza recipes have not worked out well for me at all. I don’t think they were sufficiently tested.

Chris: Vimael Machin, SS in the Cubs’ system, is he anything more than just an org guy?
Keith Law: He’s not a shortstop – only played 6 games at short last year – and was 23 in low-A. Just an org guy.

Darren: Hello Keith,
Sorry to hear you and your daughter had to quit red meat, but hopefully you will be better for it. My wife and I stopped eating meat months ago and now we are both off medications, lost weight without trying, have less pain and just feel better in every way. I found quitting meat was much easier than I expected. For people that have time to cook and prepare good healthy food it is well worth it. As for money, you may spend more on healthy food but we save money and time on medication and doctor visits. Best decision I ever made, even better than getting Acuna for a buck last year in my roto league.
Keith Law: We couldn’t trace eating beef (which is what we gave up, not all red meat) to any specific medical issues, but given our metabolic disorder, it seemed worth trying to see if our shared sense that we felt lousy after eating it was real and not just psychosomatic (or guilt-induced). I miss it sometimes, but less than I expected. Mostly when I go to Shake Shack.

Drew: If the Twins were to opt for a trade as a way to get SP help would a Kepler/Gordon package for Archer be enough and/or a good use of their resources?
Keith Law: My guess is the Rays would insist on more, probably Romero too. Although Gordon fits the Rays’ m.o. of acquiring shortstops who don’t project to stay at shortstop.

Eric: Tirson Ornelas turns 18 in March and he would likely be a high school senior if he had grown up in America. If he was in this year’s draft class, how would he stack up against this year’s class and what round do you think he would go in?
Keith Law: First rounder. Billy McKinney was a first-rounder even though he was a fringy runner limited to LF, because everyone loved his swing. Ornelas can play RF and has more pop, plus one of my favorite swings in the minors.

Darren: How would you rank?
Brent Rooker Peter Alonso Lewin Diaz
Keith Law: Just like that.

Benjy: For someone who says they weren’t going to watch the Super Bowl, you sure had a bunch of tweets about it.
Keith Law: Virtually none of which were about the game, Lassie. And my wife wanted the game on; I don’t dictate what other family members get to watch just because I might prefer something else.

Justin R: Is it fair to say regardless of how free agency shakes out that the Yankees, Red Sox, Indians, Astros, Nationals, Cubs, and Dodgers are playoff locks for 2018?
Keith Law: Anyone discussing “playoff locks” right now is probably asking for fate to prove them very, very wrong. If you give me that prop bet on those seven teams making the playoffs I will gladly take the other side of it.

Moltar: I know you’re “out” on the show but I miss your top chef recaps.
Keith Law: Thank you – I appreciate the kind words from folks who say they miss them, but I do not miss losing the 2-3 hours a week those posts required.

Darren: Hey Keith,
Thoughts on Richard Urena? Even if Tulo wasn’t signed into the next millennium do you see him being a starting SS? Thanks.
Keith Law: He’s in my Blue Jays org report. Plenty of detail there.

Karolyn: If you were Theo, what would you offer Darvish or Jake? At some point they are going to have to accept a 3-4 year deal, right?
Keith Law: I would take either guy on a 4-year deal; I wonder if GMs are holding especially firm on pitcher contracts because there’s been such a bad history of longer deals, and everyone has known this for a while now, but there would always be one or two GMs (or owners) who would come and Leeroy Jenkins the whole market by saying “SEVEN YEEEEEEEEEARS!”

JD: A number of evaluators, including yourself, have tagged Forrest Whitley’s weight at 240. About a month ago he tweeted that he hadn’t been 240 in years and was 195. Because his size and conditioning has been part of the discussion of him as a prospect, does it make a difference? If he’s 195 does that mean he’s taking conditioning seriously? Or does it just take forever to recalibrate when a player loses weight. Joe Musgrove is still listed at the 265 he was when i saw him in short season A but clearly changed his body which made a big difference when he started rising up the Astros system.
Keith Law: I go with official heights and weights from the teams themselves. As long as Whitley is in good shape, I don’t really care if he’s 195 or 235. He’s 6’7″; “fat” for him is going to be a bigger number.

Jeff: Agents never dump clients. What did Puig do?
Keith Law: Nothing would surprise me with that guy. The rumors have been … hard to believe over the years.

Azam Farooqui: Have you read Nicholas Taleb’s tweet’s about skin in the game? He seems to be very critical of academics, do you have any thoughts?
Keith Law: Taleb the Assad-supporting, pseudoscience-touting racist? Yeah, hard pass on that one. I don’t follow him. It’s a shame, as The Black Swan was an entertaining read.

TJ: How was no one able to beat 2 for 17 for the Toddfather? Do you think the Yankees will seriously roll the dice with Andujar?
Keith Law: No one wanted to beat 2 for 17, understandably so given his low batting averages and age.

Eric: So the Braves didn’t trade their upper level SP depth again this offseason. At what point have they missed the opportunity and some of these arms will blow out or lose value?
Keith Law: I think some of them would gain value if they got closer to the majors/pitched better in the majors.

Justin: Klaw,

Non-spoiler Top Chef note. On an episode last week they highlighted a chef that kept “charged” crystals in his pockets as an energy source. It’s not bad enough that people actually believe this crap but they have to include it in an episode so some people can just accept this as fact?
Keith Law: I have heard – but not seen – that this season also featured that Youtube clown Logan Paul as a guest judge, and that one episode featured nachos as a winning dish. I feel like I might have picked a good season to skip.

John Liotta: What are the most well-known books/authors that you have yet to read? I would guess, based on comments over the years, one would be Ayn Rand (good choice). Beyond a reading challenge, what will eventually compel you to finally breakdown and read any of these?
Keith Law: Never read Rand, never will. Never read any Stephen King, either. Some famous novels I haven’t read: David Copperfield, Daniel Deronda, Clarissa, Pilgrim’s Progress, The Plague, Finnegan’s Wake. Probably more non-fiction classics I haven’t read, especially those that tend toward academic/reference work rather than narrative style.

TJ: You have been very open on your support for board games – are you a chess player at all?
Keith Law: I know how to play, but I play it very poorly.

Jay: Enjoyed your book! I’ve always been a stats person but was able to see things in a different perspective. Do you see Michael A. Taylor as a legit RF option for 2-3 years if Bryce leaves and they keep Soto? The defense could be incredible with Robles in CF and Eaton in LF.
Keith Law: Don’t think MAT has the OBP skills for RF. Agreed on defense, though.

John: In years past, I would try to measure who was the best defensive CF in the game, and it would vary from stat to stat. This past year, it kinda looks like Buxton stands out above all of them. Is that your assessment?
Keith Law: Yes, I think he’s the best. An 80 defender, 80 runner, huge arm strength, and not bad at the plate.

John S: it seems that if Franchy Cordero resolves his contact/pitch recognition skills he should be an above-average regular. not that the development is likely, but where do you think the experiment should take place SD or El Paso? it’s not as if the Padres are harming their chances of winning by playing him every day in LF.
Keith Law: I agree it’s unlikely, but I’m hoping he becomes part of that outfield rotation this year. El Paso probably won’t do much to advance his approach.

Yinka Double Dare: You must hate my team, I didn’t see a top 10 prospects for Mystery Team.
Keith Law: They wouldn’t take my calls.

TomahawkCruiseMissile: Does Rhys Hoskins have a chance to be as good of a LF as Kyle Schwarber?
Keith Law: I would say yes. Low bar, though.

Rick C: There’s some video on Twitter of Kyle Muller hitting 95mph off the mound, working with Driveline Baseball. Do you have any concerns with pitchers putting in the type of offseason work they might be doing?
Keith Law: I don’t have enough information or knowledge to be concerned. I know Driveline has posted videos of guys throwing very hard but in non-baseball conditions (different ball, for example).

sage: Most racist city you’ve personally visited?
Keith Law: Tough to say with visits, but I spent two academic years in Pittsburgh in the late 1990s and was floored by how segregated the city is and by the casual if subtle racism of the residents I encountered. There was no chance I was staying there after graduating – too grey, really – but that did not help.

Dr. Bob: Don’t know if you saw this, but I loved Derrick Goold’s simple answer to the question as to why the FA market is so slow: “Math.”
Keith Law: He’s not wrong.

Jshep12: Do you watch any college baseball? If so what are your thoughts on their continued use of metal bats? Is it just to expensive for them to use wooden bats or is the skill level there just not high enough?
Keith Law: That’s part of my job, yes. The bat manufacturers make sure the colleges use metal bats, even though wood bats would improve the product and help players get ready for pro ball.

Danny: Do you expect the Yankees to move Loasigia somewhat aggressively through the system (AA ball by season’s end?) because he’s already on the 40 man and does that necesitate a move to the bullpen?
Keith Law: Yes to the former, no to the latter. Starter potential there. You have three years before he has to be on the 25-man, and that should be plenty of time.

John S: any interest in going to Monterrey to see the Dodgers – Padres series? I feel like I’m the only one going which makes me wonder about the site selection.
Keith Law: In theory, sure, although it’s probably outside the scope of my job. If they play overseas again, I’d be more interested because I think there are non-baseball angles to cover.

Kay: Is is odd that I’m kind of encouraged by the raw talent in the Mets minors still? Desmond Lindsay and Justin Dunn are still young, raw, talented prospects who had rough years. Szapucki coming back from TJ, three legit LHP starter prospects…and a high pick this year. Not so bad
Keith Law: It’s just not that bad a system if they get everyone healthy. Lindsay had a vision issue, and then got hurt about six weeks after he got new goggles and started hitting. Considering how little they’ve gotten back in trades, I think the system is fine. They could just use some better luck this year – them and Colorado, who also had a ridiculous year of dudes getting hurt.

SJ: Do you see Zach Granite ever hitting enough to be a starter? If so, is his ceiling Kevin Pillar or more Kiermaier/someone else?
Keith Law: I don’t.

Joey Bagodonuts: Will you be doing a writeup of the Lincecum showcase? Seriously, though, if his velocity is back in the low 90s, he can be a decent pen option, can’t he? As long as he doesn’t face anyone more than once?
Keith Law: Sure, but I’d be shocked if he were throwing that hard.

SJ: Seems like Amir Garrett’s rough 2017 is attributed to pitching through a hip injury. If he’s healthy, how do you see him performing going forward?
Keith Law: Very good reliever potential, fourth starter-ish if he stays in the rotation.

John: Suppose Edgar and Trammell get into the Hall. Who do you suppose is the next cause celebre for the analytically minded?
Keith Law: Trammell’s in. Whitaker for the Vets committee clownshow, Mussina for the BBWAA.

SJ: Do you think Teoscar Hernandez ends up outplaying Grichuk/Granderson/etc to take a starting job at some point this year?
Keith Law: I think he has the best chance to become a full-time OF of that group.

Germolene: Following up on the Bayless eateries, were you able to try Frontera Cocina at Disney? We went last year, and it was amazing.
Keith Law: Yes, limited menu compared to Chicago but everything was excellent. Went twice. Even the margaritas were excellent and that’s not usually my drink of choice.

Jebby: As a vet, the worst thing about dog-and-ponies like parades is the opportunity cost. Even ignoring the explicit $ cost, all of the time sucked away from training and put toward rehearsals, inspections, and meetings…great way to convince airmen/marines/soldiers/sailors that the mission is secondary.
Keith Law: I would have given the same answer six months ago, but after reading The Body Keeps the Score, I’m even more incensed at how poorly we treat veterans who come home with PTSD. Trauma physically alters the brain. We asked these kids to go overseas and we owe them every possible medical resource to help them recover from the trauma to which they were exposed. You can keep your jingoistic, Leni Riefenstahl-inspired pomp and circumstance. I say put the same funds into training and deploying mental health specialists here for the veterans and around the world for soldiers on assignment.
Keith Law: That’s all for this week – thank you all as always for all of your questions. Sorry I didn’t get to more of them. I’m starting some early draft work, including a top 30 ranking for some time in the next two weeks, and of course will be busy cranking through Oscar nominated films before the awards next month. I should be back for another chat next Thursday as well. Enjoy your weekends!