Klawchat 1/5/17.

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Klaw: Hanging on to hope when there is no hope to speak of. Klawchat.

Ron: Use of second half stats such as your piece on Desmond’s second half slump as a representation of what to expect going forward. This is not true and any study of projections will demonstrate that this is a false picture. Data for players is so limited anyway and full season data is the much stronger option to use. When you use second half stats to misrepresent a player’s value it produces a false narrative just like you always warn against. Of course that doesn’t detract too much from your overall point in Desmond’s case. Anyway not a jab. I follow your work extensively for a reason. Just a heads up
Klaw: Except that I didn’t do that. I pointed out that Desmond’s second half looked a lot like his performance from 2014-15. That’s a much larger sample to work with. Second half stats alone are subject to small sample size issues and caliber of competition problems with September callups.

Niles standish: Does Christian Arroyo have a chance to crack the top 50 on your next list? Do you think moving him to 3B will be a struggle for him due to his limited range? Thank you.
Klaw: I don’t think he’s a top 50 prospect.

ILLINIcheid: With all the talk about the obscure California labor law that could affect player free agency (Trout, Bumgarner, Posey…not Pujols), if a lesser player used this clause would they be blackballed by MLB teams? Would the directive be from MLB brass, owners, or would General Managers take it upon themselves?
Klaw: Fangraphs ran a piece yesterday claiming a California labor law could grant free agency to players with seven years of employment for any California-based team. The article is almost certainly wrong – the CBA would supersede that law – and doesn’t seem to have any opinions of anyone but the author. I didn’t see anyone from MLB or the union mentioned in there. To your question, blackballing such a player would result in a lawsuit and probably wouldn’t stand, even if such a thing happened (all 30 teams ignoring a player of value).

Dave: As someone who obviously values paying for creative services (and rightfully so), what are your thoughts on Spotify and how it pays artists? From what I’ve read, seems that artists (the smaller ones mainly) get underpaid, potentially even enormously. It’s led to my hesitancy to make the switch to Spotify.
Klaw: I’ve asked some professional musicians I know, and they favor it – they do make money from it, hardly enough but some, and it gives them wider exposure. I actually signed up for the paid service after one of the members of Superhumanoids (Cameron Parkins) told me he thought it benefited small artists.

Jamie: Gavin Cecchini made the back end of your Top 100 last year and you still seemed optimistic that he could stay at SS. From all I’ve read it seems his defense got even worse, but he still looks to be a solid hitter. Will he be anywhere near your Top 100 this year? Do you see him ending up an everyday player?
Klaw: No, he got much worse, and I think he’s a 2b only.

Zach: In theory, do you think teams that ask for taxpayer money to build stadiums should have their full finances open to the public?
Klaw: Yes. Or I’d favor a federal law banning this. If no cities can offer it, then the practice goes away. (And yes, this sort of corporate welfare happens in other industries too, probably to states’ or cities’ detriment, but at least those factories or offices create better jobs.)

Trumbo: Why do you think there’s been such a lull in the FA market?
Klaw: Market is weak and most of the top guys on my rankings have already signed.

Jarrod: Recently heard Sam Miller voice his distaste for ROY award, citing it favors older players and is biased against players who enter midseason for fiscal reasons (e.g., Gary Sanchez). As an alternative, he suggests best player awards by age groups (e.g., best under 25). As part of his case, Miller stated that Felix Hernandez was younger than at least one top 3 finisher for ROY for 7 straight years(!). Thoughts on Miller’s idea?
Klaw: My solution to this problem has been to consider players’ ages, look at performance relative to playing time, and perhaps consider their prospect status as well. I don’t think the award should be just “rookie who had the best year.” We’re trying to point to stars here and tell fans, “hey, watch these two guys, they might be stars.”

Sam: I’m struggling with the whole RP shouldn’t be in the HOF argument. I get that many, if not all, relief pitchers are guys who weren’t good enough to be starters, and I get the argument that they don’t throw as many innings as starters so it’s difficult to impact a game as much. However, relief pitching is still certainly a very important part of baseball, and wields itself in virtually every game one-way or another. As so, can’t we just appreciate relievers for what they are and what their role is? And put the guys that were the very best in this role in the HOF? I know you don’t like Hoffman as a HOF’er, but he’s a guy that had a lot of success for a long time, and as we know, that kind of sustained success is rare for relievers.
Klaw: If you put most average, not HoF-caliber starters in relief roles, they’d be as good as or better than nearly all closers (Mo Rivera excepted). Relievers are guys who couldn’t start, like utility infielders are guys who couldn’t play every day.

Nick: Could either of the big name PR players (Ricardo De La Torre & Wilberto Rivera) sneak into the first round of the draft?
Klaw: I think that’s a low probability, maybe 20% chance we see a Puerto Rican player go in the true first round this year. There are a lot of probable top 100 guys in PR this year, but nobody who’s clearly first-round worthy.

JD, Arlington: Does Tyson Ross have anything left? SD ditching him is damning. I’ll hang up and listen.
Klaw: I’m out. Bad delivery, hurt often, never throws strikes.

Mike: Seems like the holdup on the Twins trading Dozier to the Dodgers is the isistance on getting 2 MLB-ready prospects from the Dodgers. Are the Dodgers being unreasonable by trying to hold on to both DeLeon and Stewart?
Klaw: I don’t think that’s an unfair ask for the Twins, but that would severely cut into the Dodgers’ starting pitching depth, and I think the result would reduce the Dodgers’ potential gains from adding Dozier.

Adam: Why don’t people make a bigger deal of Faedo’s knee issues when discussing his draft stock?
Klaw: Because we don’t know anything about them yet. Teams haven’t seen medicals. He hasn’t come back to the mound and had any trouble, or shown no ill effects.

Chris: In some parallel universe where the Wilpons didn’t own the Mets, what kind of return would you expect for Bruce if mets ate his entire salary?
Klaw: Very little. If you get someone’s 8th best prospect you’re probably happy.

Jay: When do you expect to have your top 100 up?
Klaw: The team rankings will appear starting on January 18th, and the top 100 will start rolling out on January 23rd, appearing in blocks of 20 each day.

JR: Surprised at all the bats still available this late in the offseason?
Klaw: I’m not because they’re all pretty flawed. Few guys who can play a position. Lot of platoon DH types. Why pay more for that when you probably have someone who’s 85% of that in your system?

Josh: People have frequently talking about Wieters’ lack of pitch-framing skill this offseason. Do you believe that’s something a catcher can “learn” at some point in their career or is it an innate skill that can’t necessarily be taught?
Klaw: We have tangible evidence it can be taught. Jason Castro is one good example.

Scott: I’ve seen some talk lately of Robert ‘The Lighthouse’ Stephenson being destined for the bullpen this year due to his command issues, but wouldn’t it make more sense to keep trying him as a starter and using those three option years he has remaining to be sure he can’t maximize that potential?
Klaw: I would, because he has three pitches that grade out as above-average to plus, and I think in his case it’s not just the catch-all command issue but the overuse of the changeup.

Jeff: I’ve heard you say repeatedly that the Angels will not trade Mike Trout. But, it just doesn’t make sense to me. If you can trade one 9-win player for three 4-win players, don’t you do that?
Klaw: This isn’t the issue. The issue is the owner won’t trade him.

Rob: Dave Cameron mentioned shortly after the Eaton trade that sources he spoke to said Giolito’s stock is down and those sources have doubts about Giolito reaching the #1 starter type, more of a 3 or 4 now. Do you agree with that assessment?
Klaw: I do not, nor do the folks I’ve talked to; the common refrain has been that the Nats shouldn’t have altered his delivery or brought him to the majors while he was still readjusting, and that the 2015 version is likely still there.

Matt: So…Curt Schilling. He seems like he’s become a bitter angry man that blames others for his own shortcomings. If there is ever an example of money doesn’t make you happy, it’s him. I’m glad I don’t go through life with so much anger and hate.
Klaw: It’s been sad to see; I’ve said before I never had any issues working with Curt, and I think he’s got a lot of stuff to contribute when talking pitching. His commentary of late has moved even further away from anything I can comprehend.

Mike: Has the outlook on Berrios dimmed at all? Any clue on what we can attribute the control issues to?
Klaw: His fastball is flat and straight, and I think in the majors he tried to pitch away from contact more. I have to take a break for that phone call – it moved 1 to 2 to 1:30 – but I will return in maybe 45 minutes to finish the chat.

David: Can you imagine Dusty working with Dave Stewart? That would be a historic train wreck, wouldn’t it?
Klaw: I think that’s too many old ideas and not enough new thinking.

Dustin: I have vowed to listen to (even) more music this year. I am quite open-minded and enjoy many genres. Please recommend as many non-mainstream albums/artists as you feel compelled to name.
Klaw: If you have Spotify, check out my top 100 songs of last year.

Jason: Why has Tyrell Jenkins been picked up and released four times in the last month? Is there a particular reason (contract, options, or otherwise) why teams can’t just keep him stashed in the minors?
Klaw: Talked to a few scouts about him this winter. Consensus is that for a great athlete he’s got a less-athletic delivery, something that either was taught to him or that came about after the shoulder surgery, but that either way the stuff wasn’t as crisp and of course he couldn’t miss bats. I think he’s a perfect project for the Padres – try to restore the delivery, get some length back, take advantage of his size and looseness, see if you can find the missing stuff.

Bob: Here’s an answer to the closers-in-the-HOF argument. Would you have traded prime Trevor Hoffman for prime Curt Schilling straight up? Yeah, I thought not.
Klaw: That’s another way to look at it. So is just the sheer total innings comparison; Hoffman’s career IP is about six innings of a starter, which wouldn’t even qualify you for the Hall.

Bucky: How soon do you think Bellinger can be ML ready? Can you forsee another Belt/Huff situation with he and Gonzalez?
Klaw: Some time this year, and I think the Dodgers will make room when he’s ready.

Gene Mullett: Heard the Goblin Cock LP on JoyfulNoise? Certainly not trying to be facetious, I didn’t pick the name. It’s Rob from Pinback & it’s been a very pleasant surprise.
Klaw: Yeah, it’s actually pretty good, like they started out as a parody band and suddenly made some decent music.

John Liotta: Hope you had a great holiday! I finished the year having read 128 books- my goal was 100. I knocked out a lot of the books I wanted to read. Of course there are still more; there are always more. What were some of your favorites this year? What’s on your list to read this year? And, is there anything you have been continually pushing aside?
Klaw: Nice job! I’ve never gotten to 120 or even 110 in a year. Some of my favorites that I read in 2016: In the Light of What We Know, The Executioner’s Song, the Caine Mutiny, The Vorrh, Station Eleven, The Most Dangerous Book, The Sellout, The Doomsday Book, Predictably Irrational, The Alchemy of Air. The to-do list is already about 20 deep, and the book I’ve pushed aside is Brin’s The Uplift War, which I started reading last January, and gave up when I found it slow and, as it turned out, was about to get horribly sick.

Ryan S: What level of baseball understanding is your target audience for your book? I love your baseball input but don’t want to spend the money if it’s way over my head or meant for a complete novice.
Klaw: It’s not over anyone’s head. A complete novice? Well, I’m not explaining what a ball and a bat are, so you might be OK.

Paul: Hi Keith, what are your thoughts on Louis Gohara? Can he be a number 2 in a few years? I know he had some make up issues but he seems to have found his focus last season
Klaw: I think the upside is at least a two, but there’s huge risk, not least because he’s huge.

JB: Thoughts on what Wikileaks and Snowden have provided? Traitors or heroes?
Klaw: Snowden’s a hero to me. Wikileaks as a conduit is what it is – an outlet for leaked documents. Assange is a sleaze, and I have no idea why the Ecuadorian embassy (or anyone) would protect an accused rapist.

Anonymous: The Yankees appear to be at a critical point in the win curve, have spaces in their rotation that could use an upgrade, have one of the deepest farms in the game, and just gave nearly 18 mil a year for a closer. Specific package aside, are there any reasons why the Yankees shouldn’t press hard for Quintana?
Klaw: No; I think any holdup is over the price in prospects. When you have a deep, strong system, people will ask for a lot.

Bryan: Based on your recommendation, I bought Pandemic from Amazon 2 months ago, and my wife and I love it. However, we seem to be able to win relatively easy. This might seem like an odd question, but how much do you collaborate with other players when you play? We keep our cards face up during the entire game.
Klaw: We collaborate too. You can tweak the difficulty level by increasing the threat level and using more Epidemic cards.

Votto: Klaw, every now and then, usually around HOF time, you insist that “there is no evidence” that PED’s have any effect on baseball performance. So what are you saying, exactly – that you have doubts that HGH or steroids have even an indirect effect on one’s playing performance because a peer-reviewed study in a medical journal doesn’t say so? That until this happens, players may as well be popping Smarties?
Klaw: I thought that was clear. There is no evidence that they help. That’s not saying they DON’T help; it’s saying that the absence of evidence has allowed the tight-underpants crowd to treat all PEDs as superpills and to act like they’re all equal in power. For the record, I believe that amphetamines, which are classified as PEDs, truly do help – but I can’t tell you how much, or even necessarily prove that belief.

J: Smart Baseball book tour means Portland which means Powells which means Apizza Scholls & Le Pigeon. Good reason to write the book
Klaw: Book tour is still TBD but, as Doug Judy would say, that’s still very much on the table.

Albert: As arguably the best defensive CF ever, with almost 450 home runs, Andruw Jones belongs in the Hall of Fame, right?
Klaw: He’s going to be very tough. My gut says yes, the best CF ever belongs in the Hall, and it’s not like he was Bill Mazeroski with the stick, either. But he was effectively done at 30, and I think his career totals across the board are a little light for the Hall. One of my favorites to watch, though. I believe I get a vote in his first or second year on the ballot, so at some point I’ll have to commit.

Shaughn: Keith, with all of the activity around A’s ownership/loss of revenue sharing this offseason, I expected some bigger moves (moving Sonny, exploring more trades), but the lack of activity this offseason (Rajai Davis?) has me scratching my head… is there any hope on the horizon?
Klaw: I didn’t get the Davis move – he’s likely a 1 WAR guy this year, and $6 million for one win in Oakland probably is a net loss (a win isn’t worth much to a below-average team in with a low revenue base). Would playing Eibner for nothing really be that much worse?

G: Word around the time of the Adam Eaton trade was that Giolito’s value amongst teams around the league isn’t as high as recent prospect lists would lead one to believe–and now similar things are being said about Glasnow amidst the Quintana talk. When making your yearly list, do you consult team executives, or do you rely on your own scouting and reports?
Klaw: My list is more reliant on my scouting, notes from all the scouts I talk to, and some analytics work. I do discuss my list with execs, and their input matters, but it can’t be wishy-washy kind of feedback like what you’re describing. Also, bear in mind sometimes you may get folks trying to run certain prospects’ value down.

Orbit: How good can Astros Martes be? Would you have traded martes , tucker for Sale?
Klaw: I wouldn’t have traded Sale for Tucker & Martes.

Anonymous: Am I just being particular and pedantic when I get annoyed by people who talk about an “aging player” or an “aging roster”? I mean we’re all aging. E just aged reading this question.
Klaw: It’s the polite way of saying, fuck, you’re old.

Zach: How high do you think walker buehler’s ceiling is?
Klaw: If he can really hold this stuff over a full season, I don’t see why he’s not a number one starter. But we have no evidence he can do that yet.

Ray Grace: It sounds like Willie Calhoun doesn’t have the defensive chops to be the Dodger’s long term 2nd baseman but I saw someone write that he’s most likely a Zobrist-like super utility type player. Do you agree and does the bat ultimately play in the majors?
Klaw: He’s not a second baseman, and won’t be good enough on the dirt to be Zobrist. That little SOB can hit, though. I think he finds a way to be an everyday player somewhere, maybe LF.

HugoZ: Given that Oakland’s payroll projects to be around 72 million at the moment, is there any real reason to get as concerned about Davis’ salary as one twitter pundit appears to be? They can play him, trade him, bench him, what difference will it make?
Klaw: Their resources are finite, so that $6 million doesn’t go to a player with a real chance to return something in trade. Daniel Hudson got $11 million over two years, and that’s a deal with much more potential upside for the club, either in trade or returned value, than a 36-year-old whose bat is pretty clearly in decline.

ILLINIcheid: RE: blackballing in MLB. You mention that a blackball situation would result in a lawsuit. I would agree except that it can be very difficult to provide evidence of blackballing unless you have a smoking gun that would likely come in the form of an email that would likely require a whistle-blower. That being said, Barry Bonds was a 3+ WAR player coming off a 28 HR season in 2007, and didn’t get a sniff from any team during Free Agency of 2008. Were Bond’s contract demands simply too high or did baseball decide he was not worth the headache?
Klaw: I think Selig – excuse me, Hall of Famer Bud Selig – made it clear to teams he didn’t want bonds to sign. Remember, Bonds offered to play for the minimum. That said, Selig’s gone and I don’t think Manfred would do such a thing.

Aaron C.: As a longtime A’s fan, I wonder if yesterday’s ridiculously passionate defense of the Rajai Davis signing & rumored interest in Mark Trumbo is evidence that the “cult of Beane” is a little *too* in the tank for a front office that is deservingly lauded, but also…guilty of more than a few missteps in recent seasons?
Klaw: This is my interpretation as well.

David Coonce: I read the Master and Margarita on your suggestion. Complex read but I loved it. I’ve read there is a film adaptation in the works but can’t fathom how that would work. Can you?
Klaw: Nope. Unfilmable, and I’m OK with that. I saw The Handmaid’s Tale is coming as a movie or TV project and I’m not sure I could stomach that. It’s bad enough Texans have to live it.

Matthias: I think my biggest problem with top chef this year is that all returning contestants did very well on they’re years. Idea would have worked better if just chefs returning were eliminated in their first or second episode. This is like if you took the all stars season and added eight rookies to the cast.
Klaw: Yes. It’s Top Chef Some-Stars.

Pete the Cat: Cruising to St Maarten, St Kitt, Grand Turk and Puerto Rico next week. Only on land for 8ish hours at each island. Any food or tourist recommendations for those spots? Thanks!!
Klaw: Only been to two. St. Kitts, if you can seek out the Spice Mill, food was good and view was spectacular. Puerto Rico, if you have a car, find Gustos Coffee a little out of San Juan, in an industrial area, maybe the only Puerto Rico-grown coffee you’ll ever have. I wanted to try La Princesa in San Juan but they were closed for a festival the last time I was there.

Gene Mullett: Do you do vinyl/physical copies of music or are you all digital? Are you the same way with books?
Klaw: Mostly digital music other than occasional vinyl I get from friends in the industry. Books I’m split. I prefer paper but if I see something I want for sale on Kindle I buy it.

Paul: Keith – did you happen to read the Thrillist series on the impending burst of the restaurant bubble? (Part 3 is here, with links to parts 1 and 2 inside.). I thought it was really good and, sadly, made all too much sense. I know you have gotten to know some restaurant owners and wonder if you have an opinion besides “this sucks”.
Klaw: I haven’t, but I’ll check it out. I have wondered sometimes how we can possibly support all these new restaurants I see opening – not just famous ones, but even all the chain places i see. There can’t be enough disposable income and people with time to keep them all in business.

Dave: So you do think that Tyson Ross will soon be out of baseball altogether?
Klaw: No. I wouldn’t sign him, though.

John T: My 5-year-old son got Ticket To Ride: First Journey (ages 6+) for Christmas and loves playing it. I’ve been trying to think of some other games to get that don’t involve reading or more than simple addition. Any suggestions?
Klaw: There’s also a My First Stone Age game I haven’t tried but that might work.

Ted Timmerman: Favorite Prankster: Francine Carruthers, Danny Rebus or Manny Spamboni?
Klaw: Annie Scramble was kind of cute.

Ethan: So, the Org rankings are out the 18th. When do the Team Top 10’s come out?
Klaw: The final week. My editors chose to change the schedule and roll all the content out slowly.

Larry: Any early reports on Maitan out of instructs?
Klaw: He looked great, because no player has ever looked bad in instructional league.

Dave: What are your thoughts on Dylan Cease? He throws hard, but barely throws any innings. Is he a bullpen guy?
Klaw: He barely throws any innings because he had Tommy John surgery in 2014.

Larry: Dustin Peterson a regular?
Klaw: I think so – a 40-50% chance to be a regular, maybe.

Aaron (Astrobeerman): No question. Thanks for the turkey spatchcock turkey advice. I don’t see making turkey any other way. Skin was fantastic.
Klaw: It’s unbeatable and so much faster.

MJ: Did you see Nathaniel Grow’s article on Fangraphs regarding Trout (or other CA based players) possibly being able to exploit a law to grant them free agency after 7 years? Thoughts on whether or not Trout is the one (possibly only?) player for which it’d be worth the risk to try to exploit the law?
Klaw: Answered above. I don’t think it’s accurate.

Bob: Should college students have the right to due process when expelled for allegations of sexual misconduct?
Klaw: That’s a complicated question. I will answer an easy question instead: Colleges should turn questions of sexual misconduct over to the police if they appear to break any laws.

Donald J: Mazara, Conforto, & Dahl… 1) How would you rank them this year? 2) How would you rank them going forward? Do any of them have a bigly future?
Klaw: Love them all, they are tremendous players, they get the best hits. This year, Dahl, Conforto, Mazara. Long-term, flip it.

Barry: Speaking of your book tour I’m guessing you’re going to be signing books at independent book stores and B&N? Any chance of linking them too for preorders instead of just Amazon? I’ve checked and indiebound.org and bn.com have your book available to order. FWIW, I don’t mean to sound rude. I work in publishing and authors just linking Amazon is a pet peeve of mine. I’m looking forward to buying and reading your book.
Klaw: Harper Collins’ official page links to all of those. I use the amazon link because then I can see how often people are clicking and/or ordering. I can’t do that through the other sites.

Darryl: Which Stanford hurler has the most future stardom potential…Quantrill, Hock or Beck?
Klaw: Quantrill. Might have been 1-1 if he’d been healthy all spring.

Anonymous: Did you see anything in Patrick Corbin’s delivery last year that explains his fall from his pre-TJ days? Overcompensating to be protective of the elbow?
Klaw: Nope, I have no good explanation for what happened. Although to be fair to Pat, he was far from the only AZ pitcher to struggle in the majors last year.

Marshall MN: The Andruw Jones question is interesting – he is part of a group of CF’s (Edmonds, Lofton, to a much lesser extent Torii Hunter, who I don’t think deserves to get in) that I think will all get overlooked when it comes to HOF voting. And in regards to Edmonds and Lofton in particular, they already have gotten the boot.
Klaw: Andruw was much more famous, he had an all-time elite skill, and had some postseason glory as a kid. I think he’ll stick around on the ballot but not get in.

Dave: Theo/Jed are among the best in the business, but they have drafted over 100 pitchers since 2012, and not one of them is a reliable starter….is it that much more difficult to evaluate pitching? Do you just have to get lucky?
Klaw: I don’t think that’s quite fair. Did they even sign all those guys? And are you counting 2015 and 2016 draftees? Trevor Clifton was a 2013 draft pick and looks like he’s on track to be a big league starter at age 22 or 23. That’s not a failed pick.

Brian: Settlers of Catan – rhymes with “Satan” or “rattan”? It’s really been bugging me. Thanks
Klaw: Rhymes with “rattan.”

Justin: Can WAR be simply extrapolated when talking about a shortened season ala Jose Reyes. He had a 1.3 WAR for 60 games, if he stayed consistent can we assume 3.5 WAR for a season? And if so, at 500K wouldnt that make him pretty valuable?
Klaw: I don’t think that’s a good way to make a projection. You should ask Szymborski et al, but I’m guessing that you’d want to project based on the components that are most predictive. For example, Reyes, who choke-slammed his wife into a door last offseason, posted his highest ISO in ten years. You can’t expect that to continue in his age-34 season.

el fuego 25: If you were granted an expansion team, where would you concentrate your draft resources? It feels much more difficult to predict pitching, but sadly someone has to put the ball in play.
Klaw: In an expansion draft? I’d focus on guys who seemed to have untapped upside – players who might benefit from new coaches, from getting healthy, just from more playing time – and thus who might return more in trade than, say, the generic 5th starter types you might otherwise get.

Mike: Have you had a chance to see Sixto Sanchez ? If not, have you heard from others who have ? Is there serious reason for optimism if you’re a Phillies fan ?
Klaw: He’ll be in the Phillies org writeup. I have not seen him – I don’t see any games in the GCL or DSL.

Telly: Why would an organization draft a player, like Giolito, watch him perform well with elite tools, then decide he needs to change things? If my memory serves right, the Giants tried the same thing with Bumgarner, saw him stink for awhile, then let him go back to his natural way of doing things. At least they realized the stupidity of their ways.
Klaw: I don’t have an answer to that, although I ask the same question. And it’s not like the Nats are dumb. They’ve got good people there, including in player development. Someone made a mistake.

Ed: I think we all know what Reyes did. And no one approves, but what is the point of answering the question like that? Is “chokeslammed his wife” part of his name now for you?
Klaw: It’s part of his identity. That is who he is, and all the fake-apologies and references to “the incident” won’t change that.

John from Cincinnati: You mentioned earlier in the chat about not thinking Manfred would blackball players… am I wrong in thinking that he’s going to be a very good commissioner? I don’t distrust him the same way I did Selig.
Klaw: I’m a fan. I think he’s going to be great for the sport.

Matt: Do you have any recommendations for books/shows on what I’ll call Cooking Theory 101? I’m hoping to get a better, broader understanding of spices, flavors, etc. and how they all go together. Feels like a good way to be able to cook well without recipes.
Klaw: The Flavor Bible. Lists of ingredients that play well with others, based on wide surveys of chefs.

Tom: How would you say the D-Backs FO is doing so far this offseason? Or is there too little to comment on?
Klaw: Small moves so far but I’ve liked them all. The one big move, trading Segura for Walker and Marte, was just the kind of move they need to make – trading a guy coming off a career year with two years of control left for two former top prospects with upside and risk and more years left.

Jessica: Trea Turner’s power and hit tools seemed higher than expected last year. Has his ceiling changed for you? Are we talking about a top 10 player in MLB?
Klaw: Yeah, I was light on his strength overall, so he’s going to hit and have more power than I thought. I changed my personal forecast for him early last season, which is why I kept banging the drum for the Nats to bring him up and bench Espinosa.

John: Two other factors for Theo/Jed drafting pitchers: they haven’t used any first round pick on pitching. That means (1) they haven’t drafted elite pitching prospects, and (2) they haven’t drafted many pitchers who are expected to move especially quickly through the minors. (As an aside, even though they didn’t draft him, they should probably get some credit for some of Hendricks’ development)
Klaw: I believe their draft philosophy specifically excludes taking pitchers up top unless a no-doubt college arm is there, which hasn’t happened. (I think they would have taken Appel in 2013, but he went 1.)

Rob: What are some of the causes of Tyler Glasnow’s control issues and are they fixable to the point where he reaches his potential?
Klaw: He’s 6’8″ and his control has already gotten way better since he first signed and had his velocity jump. Those super-tall guys often need more time and physical maturity to get enough coordination to repeat their deliveries. I’m not terribly concerned.

Pat: Keith – have you spoken with some attorneys on the Trout/CA labor law thing? Just wondering why you think the CBA would supersede. I’m a lawyer — albeit not one in CA and not a labor lawyer — but generally speaking I think a CBA would only preempt a state labor law if it’s made pursuant to a federal statute, like the Railway Labor Act.
Klaw: Yes, I have spoken to attorneys about it, because I am not one and don’t know jack about it.

Sean: Do you care to provide a current or former MLB comp for Amed Rosario?
Klaw: I really dislike doing comps unless something strikes me as very apt.

Bob: Have you ever seen anyone throw as many career innings as J Arrieta before having such a massive breakthrough? What did the Orioles do to him??
Klaw: That’s a long story, but I think it’s fair to say that Buck and Rick Adair did a lot of things wrong with him, with his mechanics and with how they handled him. It’s a mistake they should be very wary of repeating with any of the other very talented arms they’ve brought in recently, like Gausman and now Sedlock or Akin and I hope eventually Harvey.

Klaw: That’s all for this week – thanks so much for bearing with me on the time, but it’s top 100 research time which means a lot of phone calls. I will try to chat every week this month as long as the workload allows me to do so.


  1. People have frequently talking about Wieters’ lack of pitch-framing skill this offseason. Do you believe that’s something a catcher can “learn” at some point in their career or is it an innate skill that can’t necessarily be taught?

  2. Curious how you are thinking about the Red Sox farm system after all the moves. They still have a top5 prospect (on a technicality really) in Benintendi, two more high ceiling guys, and then a lot of nothing it would appear. Does Benintendi keep them in the top half of systems?

  3. Where do players get seen more? High School games or Travel Ball Showcases?


  4. Application error @ ~ 1510?

  5. John from Cincinnati

    ^^^ Seriously kids… ***read Keith’s first line***

    Fucking lazy ass Americans never read the directions…

  6. Following up on Jeff’s question re: trading Trout, and while conceding that 12 is greater than 9, isn’t the (very rare) 9-win player more valuable than three (relatively common) 4-win players?

    • Yes definitely. That 9-win player takes up only 1 position out of 9. Conceivable, you could surround Trout with two more 4-win players instead of having three 4-win players. That’s 17 wins and you still have the best player in baseball.

  7. Who do you think will be forced to move from SS sooner between Correa & Seager?

  8. Rajai Davis, aka the guy always available to pick up in your fantasy league when you need some cheap steals. If fantasy owners don’t even draft this guy, why is Beane paying him 6 mil?

  9. Nice lead-in quote. I still listen to that album quite a bit, and we’ve been playing it nonstop the last couple of weeks.

  10. That fangraphs article is interesting although I highly doubt Trout ends up using it. However the author did mention that Koufax and Drysdale were threatening to file a test case under that law when holding out against the Dodgers, and that got the Dodgers to negotiate. Whether that’s because the Dodgers were actually scared or just didn’t want to go through that legal process is another issue.

    Also Grow mentions that the Supreme Court has ruled that CBA’s don’t trump basic state law protections, but I think even the author admits that it’s not guaranteed that Trout would win that case if that got too far.

    Still, interesting stuff to think about.

  11. FYI a movie version of The Handmaid’s Tale already exists, starring Natascha Richardson and Robert Duvall.

  12. Keith, I am the author of the first chat contribution, and I’m writing this to apologize for coming off as condescending and arrogant. When I wrote that paragraph, I honestly believed I was contributing to your work by pointing out (what I still believe to be) an obvious flaw in your reasoning. But after I wrote that blurb, I realized that I might have come off as pedantic, so I hastily wrote that note at the end (and this was all on my phone and I was in a bit of a rush so I didn’t bother to proofread at all). When you responded somewhat tersely, I realized that I hadn’t explained my point clearly, and since your answer did not directly address argument I was trying to make, I wrote up a follow up post that, in my mind, earnestly expressed what I had actually meant. But clearly it did not come off that way, which became readily apparent to me after I saw the relevant twitter exchange you had with one of your readers.

    I was just going to let this go, but it bothered me because I have read your work extensively for many years now and I’ve benefited tremendously from it, and I felt bad that I had insulted someone who has helped me so much. As for the argument, I’ll definitely let that go, but if you find the time, I would implore you to reconsider any usage of second half stats.

    • Ron: I appreciate the apology, but it wasn’t necessary. I was less bothered by your tone than the claim, which I maintain is false, that I drew any conclusions from second-half stats. I explained in my chat response why I don’t do that. But thank you for returning and offering the contrite response. We’re good.

  13. Hey Keith, I read two of those books (both because of your reviews actually)- In the Light of What We Know and Station Eleven, both were very good. I did not read The Sellout. It’s on my short list for this year. I was a little surprised about the crazy hype it got so I decided to read White Boy Shuffle first. I liked it fine but felt it lost its way a little at the end. Thus, I was a little less enthusiastic about Beatty’s writing. This year I also read Bellwether and absolutely adored it, so I was already ready to search something else from Willis.

    If you are interested, some of my favorites from this year include:
    Alan Hollinghurst- The Line of Beauty
    Marlon James- A Brief History of Seven Killings
    Sarah Waters- Fingersmith
    Taiye Selasi- Ghana Must Go
    Rick Moody- The Ice Storm

    Perhaps the most disappointing (though not the worst) was Murakami’s 1Q84.

    • Brief History is on my wishlist, although I’ve got 20+ books on the to-read shelf or on my Kindle so it’ll be a while. I also want to get to The Underground Railroad this spring, before the Pulitzers are announced, because it seems like a potential nominee.

    • John Liotta

      I liked The Underground Railroad. I thought it was an important book, but I wasn’t enamored with it like I was with The Intuitionist.

  14. On the Master and Margarita there is a several hour Russian miniseries that’s available on youtube with English subtitles. It’s not perfect but it’s pretty good in my opinion.

  15. I keep missing the actual chats, darnit. But, catching up: if you do make it to Portland for a book tour (or any other reason) I humbly suggest trying to add Roe to your restaurant list if you have not already been there. I had the best scallop dish of my life there, which I have been trying to replicate at home ever since with limited success.

  16. Hi Keith- I really enjoy your work. Do you get a bigger cut off a hardcover or kindle edition?


    • I appreciate you asking. I get a higher royalty on digital versions, but I think that merely offsets the price difference, and so the amount i receive per book will be similar either way. If hardcover sales pass certain thresholds, the royalty bumps up slightly, so I think in a best case scenario I’ll hit both marks and get more per book on hardcover … but it’s close enough that I would simply say buy whatever version makes you happier. But thanks for thinking of me like that!