Klawchat 3/9/17.

Starting at 2 pm ET. Questions go in the frame below, not the comments!

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Klaw: You’re telling me it’s in disguise, just use your eyes. It’s Klawchat.

Darren: Have you seen Billy Hamilton. Any thoughts on the progress of his swing and the ceiling of how well he can hit and get on base?
Klaw: It’s probably a good idea for me to start out by saying I haven’t been out to spring training yet. Also, Billy Hamilton’s swing has never been the problem. He has so little hand and wrist strength that I don’t think he can ever hit enough to be even a moderate OBP threat.

Brian: I’d like to let you know that I appreciate the cold water you (aka reality) you throw on prospects. Blue Jays touting Tellez big time…but he is having significant issues this spring catching up to the fastball. I appreciate your takes as a fan, because it helps my untrained eye focus on things I’d miss.
Klaw: You’re welcome. I know the Jays value Tellez more highly than I do. The required offensive threshold for a DH is just so high, however, and Tellez can’t hit good velocity, so I don’t see much probability for him to be more than an up and down guy.

Don: It’s only been three starts, but Tanner Houck hasn’t gotten the results I would have expected out of a potential first round pick. Do you think he has first round talent and at what point do the lack of results start to eat away at his draft prospects?
Klaw: Three starts at the beginning of the year mean very little, especially for a pitcher. It’s much more about how you finish. I think he’s going in the first round barring injury, but I have real concerns about the delivery and lack of a third pitch.

Mark: Why are people so adamant about others speaking their second language when they never attempted to learn a second one? The “Sammy Sosa forgot how to speak English” narrative, brought up by Howard Bryant in his Selig column, is lazy, racist and ignorant. Why wouldn’t he testify under oath in Spanish? Calcaterra made a good point about it 6 years ago, but it’s still used as a default narrative. Just because people claim to have “a friend who spent a semester in Spain and came back fluent” (note: the only people who spend 6 months abroad and return fluent are people who were already fluent to begin with), doesn’t mean someone should testify in their second language. People confuse being able to converse with the media with mastering a language. I’ve spent a decade in Chile working for a bilingual news service and as a translator for an engineering company. If I had to testify in front of Congress – with my freedom at stake – I sure as shit wouldn’t do it in Spanish if I could avoid it.
Klaw: I agree that the comment about Sosa is all of those things, and that “you’re in America, speak English” people should go jump off a tall building. You speak your native language. I’ll do what I need to do to make myself able to understand you.

Francisco: Is Pavin Smith a first rounder ?
Klaw: I don’t think so. Second rounder for me.

J: I know it’s early, but…. any sense of Giolito in spring? Steps forward, steps back, treading water?
Klaw: Building on my earlier answer, I can only offer that his comments about discarding everything the Nats did with his delivery last year are the most positive thing he could have said.

JB: I do not understand all of the fury over a gay character in Beauty and the Beast…anyone who has watched the original animated version should be able to tell that LeFou is in love with Gaston. Last week you mentioned that orientation should not matter in these instances if it is not an established part of canon. On that note, I did not understand why the Broadway version of Harry Potter decided to make Hermione an African American woman for that very reason… I am all for diversity in every aspect of life, but this did seem a little too forced. Thoughts?
Klaw: On the first point, the Australian site the Chaser summed it up best with their post titled “Outrage at inclusion of gay character in film about woman-buffalo romance.” On the second, did they choose to make the character a woman of color, or did they simply cast the best actress regardless of skin color? All we ever learned about Hermione’s appearance from the books was that she had brown, bushy hair (which went out the window once they decided to play up Emma Watson’s looks).

Ned: Keith I’m not able to handle anyone’s differing opinion of things, could you please pull yourself up by your bootstraps and only give me answers that I like?
Klaw: Maybe on april 1st?

Ryan: Are you going to come back to your hometown (or LI in general) when your book is released?
Klaw: I haven’t been back to Long Island in three years, and am not sure when I’ll ever be back there. My family all moved away in 2012 or before.

guren: I recall that you put together a list of your top pizza restaurants back in 2015. Have you ever made pizza at home that compares to some of the better ones on the list, or is it impossible due to the lack of a proper oven?
Klaw: I’d need an oven that could at least get to 800 degrees, so unless I hack the self-cleaning cycle – note well: i’m not going to do that – I won’t be able to do a real Neapolitan-style pizza at home. My daughter and I do make pizza often, but it’s our own style, somewhere between that and NY slice style. Mostly it’s great because it’s from scratch and it’s ours.

addoeh: Let’s talk about a former NFL quarterback that is in his late 20’s. How much interest would teams have in Jake Locker if he announced a comeback today? IIRC, he was considered a good baseball prospect.
Klaw: He was a legit prospect both ways, and in an alternate universe where he’s not good enough to be an NFL prospect – like Kyler Murray – Locker chooses to specialize as a hitter or as a pitcher and comes out of UW as a top ten pick.

Bo: I am probably your biggest fan in the Netherlands. Could you please tell me if you think Profar is going to be a star after all?
Klaw: Still a believer. This is a big year, though. He needs to play every day, and any rationalizing his performance from last year as rust or fatigue from the two-year layoff is over.

Ben: Any chance you have read Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall?
Klaw: I read Fludd and didn’t like it, so, no, I haven’t read anything else she’s written. I just started Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad last night; it seems like it’s the favorite to win this year’s Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, to the extent that such odds exist.

Jon/Tampa: Keith, curious on your take on a couple of NYY minor leaguers and if you feel they are over hyped. Frecier Perez and Estevan Florial. Thank you in advance. Actually, more of your thoughts on them rather than if they are over hyped. I trust your judgement more.
Klaw: Florial was 18 and Perez 20 on my Yankees org ranking. They’re both intruiging, but incomplete as prospects, and a long way off. If they’re getting hyped now, it’s premature. I am kind of rooting for Florial because he was born in Haiti, and, I mean, when am I ever going to get back to Haiti?

Jon: More likely to make it as a starter Justin Dunn or Fernando Romero?
Klaw: Both are starters for me long term. Probably Dunn has higher probability because he’s never had an arm injury.

Casey: Does Paul DeJong have a chance to be an average regular or will his most likely outcome be as utility infielder?
Klaw: Has a chance, most likely a good UT who could end up with 500 AB some years playing 3-4 positions.

WarEagle: Hi Keith, I’m trying to watch some SEC baseball games at Auburn, the college I attend. Is there any guy in South Carolina or Auburn I should keep an eye on?
Klaw: Keegan Thompson at Auburn is something, back from TJ, stuff hasn’t been great yet. SC has Schmidt, probably a reliever for me, and Crowe, first-round stuff but bad medicals.

Glen L: If Gleybar Torres moves off SS – does he have the arm for 3B? footwork for 2B? which position would you want him at if not SS?
Klaw: He’s not moving off shortstop.

Herman Melville: I’m sure Harper-Collins knows how to market books better than I do, but it really seems like a missed opportunity to not have it released closer to Opening Day.
Klaw: Not my decision, of course, but I will say it’ll be easier for me to do stuff around the book with it coming out April 25th and not April 4th.

Marc: Seeing several writers tab Taylor Trammell as a breakout candidate this year, what is your take on him? Potential 5-tool?
Klaw: Oh, you mean several writers like me?

Chris Burns: What’s the word on the health of Mike Matuella? Is he someone Rangers fans can hope on getting healthy and having SP potential?
Klaw: I have zero faith in him staying healthy enough to be a starter. He’s thrown about 150 innings total over the last four calendar years.

Dan: Does Madrigal hit for enough power to be a top 50 draft prospect? He seems to have star qualities but wondering if he isn’t closer to Tony Kemp than Dustin Pedroia
Klaw: I don’t think he’s a top 50 guy, but he’s a lot better than Kemp.

College fan: Nick Quintana has made some impressive contact for a freshman. What was the knock on him as a HSer that depressed his draft stock? Is he doing better than expected?
Klaw: Little guy, not expected to have any power, can hit though.

Tim B.: I know you ranked him in your top 100, but what more can you share about the kind of player you expect Jahmai Jones to develop into? Can he be a 20/20 guy or even more?
Klaw: The SB last year surprised me a little, but I imagine you’re asking more about the power, so, yes, I think he’s a 20 HR guy. Just think he has to fill out physically. He was a young draftee.

EC: I wanted to thank you for doing the lords work – especially on twitter – dealing with the crazies who always seem to be sniffing around. It is funny, because they seem to think that you wouldn’t change your mind on anything, when the truth is that if there was a change in scientific evidence and understanding (on vaccines or climate change or whatever) you probably would have an open mind and if it proved to be correct, change your world view. Not really a question I guess, just an observation.
Klaw: You’re welcome, and you’re correct. I tell these wackadoodles that I just follow the science, at which point I’m usually called a pharma shill, or that I’m gullible and believe what the media tells me, and that I should line my hats with tin foil.

TC: What is the ceiling on Bobby Dalbec? What is the chance of him reaching that ceiling?
Klaw: There’s 30 HR power in there, but the kid had a different swing and stance seemingly every game last year, and I didn’t have him on my predraft top 100 for that reason. The Red Sox did calm him down and get him to stick with one set of mechanics all summer, and now there’s real reason for optimism. He doesn’t have to hit a ton to be a big leaguer, just maybe a K rate under 30% so that he’s hitting enough to get to some of that power.

Hinkie: Anything new on “The Adventures of Shohei Otani Coming To America” ? Will there be a CBA exemption allowing him to be a true FA or will he be limited to a J2 signing bonus ? And … If teams believe he is destined for J2, are there numerous clubs holding back on early deals with LA teens in the hopes of a shot at Otani ?
Klaw: I have heard nothing new and expect to hear nothing new until at least the fall. I’ve been told there will be no exemption, but I said in a recent chat I can come up with several loopholes to get him paid.

Michael: Does anyone do more with less than Tebow? Five outs in only three at bats! And he found the right place to stand on deck.
Klaw: The attention we and MLBN gave that game is completely unwarranted. I hope he’s long gone by the time I get to St. Lucie.

Gordon (PA): Hi Keith. Have you ever considered doing a top 100 non-fiction list to supplement your top 100 novel list? I’ve shared your enthusiasm for modern classics like the Omnivore’s Dilemna, The Third Plate, The Sixth Extinction, etc. and would love to see what all would fill your list and use it to fill up my wish list. Care to drop a top ten?
Klaw: With the novels list, I’ve read enough of the accepted classics, including others’ top 100s, Pulitzer winners, etc., that I felt like I had the base that allowed me to do a reasonable list. I couldn’t do that with nonfiction books or with movies. I will mention some other favorite nonfiction books: Barbarians at the Gate, Liar’s Poker, The Ballad of the Whiskey Robber, Thinking Fast & Slow, The Invisible Gorilla, Manhunt, Charlie Wilson’s War, Undeniable, Charlatan, Einstein’s Cosmos.

Tracy: Keith, there is a terrific blog piece in Scientific American this week that you may find interesting, written by Peter Dykstra. It’s a slap-down on climate change deniers and their reasoning for rejecting science and sound judgment. Dykstra basically links their flawed mentality to Sigmund and Anna Freud’s theory on simple denial. It’s definitely worth a read for anybody who has trouble tolerating this kind of thinking.
Klaw: I’ll check it out. Maybe we can get together and mail copies to every EPA employee we can identify?

Mike: Any concern over Greinke topping out at 89 yesterday when he was topping out at 93 at this time last year? AZ newspaper quoted a rival scout who thought Greinke’s stuff had dipped.
Klaw: Not really; I’d be concerned if Greinke, who knows how to manipulate his velocity like few others, said afterwards he was throwing at 100%.

ck: Keith, thanks for all of your work. Are the Cubs better off trying to trade Candelario, or keep him as Rizzo/Bryant insurance (aware of his defensive limits at 3B)?
Klaw: I think he’s good trade bait. He’d play in the majors for someone right now.

Gentry: Who’s better, Luis Castillo or Gohara?
Klaw: I could go either way. I rated Gohara higher, so that’s my answer, but I don’t feel strongly about it. Might be 55/45 in Gohara’s favor.

Brad: Keith, I know you were high on Aaron Blair at this time a year ago. Have you heard any specifics about what has happened to him? I can’t figure out why he hasn’t become at least a backend rotation guy.
Klaw: Velocity fell last year. So did Archie Bradley’s and Braden Shipley’s. I feel like those guys all had something in common in 2015.

A Submitter Has No Name: Hard question but I figured you’d be the best to answer: Which arm in the minors has the ceiling of a #1 and is the most likely to reach that ceiling? You do a good job of assessing risk and probability when determining ceilings (as see with the Moncada ranking). Love your work!
Klaw: That’s Kopech. You gave the reason why I ranked him highest of all pitching prospects: ceiling of a 1, best chance of such players to get to that ceiling.

Donald: Aren’t you glad that President Trumps secret plan to get rid of ISIS in 30 days was such a bigly success?
Klaw: I also enjoyed the Last Week Tonight episode from two Sundays ago, where they included Trump’s campaign promise to ensure every American has health insurance. I assume that means he’s going to veto the Trumpcare bill if it reaches his desk?

TEM: So Jason Heyward has spent the offseason developing a new swing. Based upon what I’ve read from you and elsewhere, the results to date aren’t particularly encouraging. For a guy like Heyward who has shown success with the bat in the past, why would he try to build a new swing from scratch? Why not go with what has previously worked?
Klaw: I think the idea was to restore what worked for him several years ago, as opposed to last year, when nothing worked.

Sandy Cheeks: I believe you said Sandy Alcantara has a really good chance of rising into the top 50 by the end of this season. Which outside the top 100 prospects besides Sandy could have the most movement by the end of the year?
Klaw: If you look at my sleeper for every team, those are 30+ such players. That’s the purpose of the sleepers – guys who aren’t top 100, but who could make a significant leap into the 100 next year.

Scott: Thoughts on Michael Gettys progress and development within the Padres organization and how do you see him moving forward?
Klaw: Borderline non-prospect for me. Can’t hit.

Scott: Is Quantrill going to start in the year in Lake Elsinore this year? Who else of the Padres top prospects are going to be at LE in your estimation? I am looking forward to attending some games next season.
Klaw: I assume so, but i haven’t asked any team about assignments yet, and Q may be on some sort of innings limit.

Anonymous: Hello, I’m going to be in San Francisco next month for a couple days. Could you offer your top recs for 1. coffee 2. pizza 3. one other exceptional dining experience? Thanks!
Klaw: Four Barrel for coffee, Del Popolo for pizza (tell Jon D, the owner, I sent you), and Cotogna for an exceptional dining experience. Also, bring a jacket. And a sweater.

Craig: Klaw, for pete’s sake, give The Godfather a try! It is a freaking masterpiece.
Klaw: I understand that it’s great, or widely considered to be so. The subject matter itself repels me.

JD: Have you seen/heard much of Seth Beer? Is his bat a guy, a Guy, or a G!U!Y?
Klaw: Saw him a few times in HS. Could always hit, but was older than his competition (he was on track to be a 20-yo senior). He’ll be 21.5 next spring as a college junior, and while he’s a corner OF without much defensive value, I can’t really argue against a guy who hits for power and doesn’t strike out much. I will throw this question out there – yes, the walk rate is bonkers, but is he actually that patient, or are teams just pitching around him?

Mike, (Toronto, ON): I’m filming a few days on the final episode of Orphan Black here in Toronto. Any messages from KLaw to the cast/crew? Also, I feel like the Jays are going to be alright this year, despite the fact that everyone in the US media seems to feel they’ll slip. Morales/Pearce replace EE and Smoak, Liriano replaces Dickey, no innings limits for Sanchez, healthier Bautista + JD (maybe Travis, too). Other four starters remain from best starting staff in AL last year. What am I missing?
Klaw: Well, there are few things you could say that would make me more jealous. I had given up hope that Maslany would win the Emmy, only to have her get it last year. I’m a little more bearish than you on the Jays – Morales/Pearce aren’t replacing EE, and while Bautista should be healthier he’s also nearer 40 than 30. There’s also little to no depth – if they need help during the season, it’s not coming from within. I haven’t done any of my standings predictions yet, but I think I’ll probably have them treading water or a touch below last year.

RBI, WIns, and Saves: We would like to announce we are writing a book, too! it’s called “Why We Matter and How Newfangled Stats are Ruining Baseball!” (Subtitle iw “Why Keith Law is Such a Big Poopyhead.) We think we can get Murray Chass to write the forward for us. By the way, what chance does Christin Stewart have to become a GUY?
Klaw: I thought I banned you three from the chat. I think Stewart’s going to be a 50 (average) or a 55 (above average) big leaguer, with little variance around that. His defensive limitations mean he lacks ceiling beyond that, but I feel good enough in the hit/power tools to say he’s going to be an average everyday guy.

JD: I know you generally don’t compare your reports to other writers’, but the difference on David Paulino is unusually large. Any sense what accounts for that? Seeing him at different points in the season?
Klaw: Can’t answer that, nor do I ever answer that kind of question. Paulino throws super hard with a bad delivery, below-average command, and below-average secondary stuff. I said in my Astros writeup, where he wasn’t in the top 10, that I think he’s 90% likely to end up in relief.

Gary: It looks like Derek Hill’s ceiling may be 4th or 5th OFer, due to his issues swinging the bat. Are there any adjustments you would recommend he make, or is he simply not gifted as a hitter?
Klaw: His issue has been injuries. He has to get stronger, but mostly he’s just never had the reps he needed to get any better at the plate. His swing is fine. He has to stay on the field for more than half a season.

JJ: John Farrell said this morning that he’s toying with the idea of batting Benintendi third in the order. Is that too much, too soon, for a rookie, even one with Benintendi’s upside?
Klaw: I don’t believe a hitter’s place in the batting order is going to affect his performance negatively. If anything, he may have more at bats with men on base, meaning he’ll see more pitchers working from the stretch.

Tom: Planning on attending a Wilmington Blue Rocks game this summer. Any good dining options nearby?
Klaw: Cocina Lolo in downtown Wilmington is 5 minutes away, and I think it’s the best overall restaurant in the area.

Bill: Keith – did the Yankees end up better off getting Torres rather than Schwarber (whether or not that was actually on the table is another story).
Klaw: I think so. I’d take the risk of the prospect to get the shortstop rather than the huge bat without a clear position.

Rick: “Do you believe that sick people that cannot afford medical treatment deserve medical treatment”? I feel like if we simply asked people this question before arguing the freaking minutia of all this health care debate for weeks on end, we could save ourselves a lot of time. Because I think that’s a simplified version of what this all comes down to. I give credit to the conservatives who come out and say, “No – health care is not a fundamental right”. At least I know where they stand.
Klaw: I agree, and I want more politicians to have to go on the record like that. Do you think someone should die due to lack of funds for health care that exists, but is expensive? Would you give up some of your own income to ensure that poor people you don’t know get to live longer, or be less sick? (I would.) If not, well, it’s not good, but it’s a reason.

ForteKay: Saw a couple writers mention an increased risk for Thor this season due to added muscle and not throwing in the off season – I’m a bit concerned by his desire to throw HARDER but he also has tremendous size and an easy motion. Should I be any more worried than I would be for a pitcher in general?
Klaw: That was based on comments from a former coach who’s never seen Thor and knows no specifics about him. I thought the media running with that was irresponsible.

Alex: Any recommendations on things to see in Europe?
Klaw: You may have to narrow that one down a bit.

Karl: I know you are not a fantasy sports guy, but perhaps you can help me out…in a long term dynasty league I can keep two of the following: Aaron Judge, Bradley Zimmer, or Alex Verdugo. I know you rank Verdugo the highest on your rankings but on a purely offensive stats output would that still be the case? Thanks for taking my question and I won’t ask another fantasy question ever again.
Klaw: Verdugo. Also Verdugo. In case that wasn’t clear, take Verdugo.

Mike (DC): Joe Martarano to give up football to play baseball full time. At 22 y/o, is there any shot he can develop quickly enough to make the majors some day?
Klaw: Problem was he sucked in HS. Long way to go at the plate.

dave: If the panda loses his footing will Devers have a chance for a midseason call up
Klaw: I think they’d prefer not to do that. Devers hasn’t even played a game in AA yet.

ForteKay: Re: Godfather – Is it the semi-racist connotations of Italian-Americans and crime? Or just violence in general? As a fellow Italian-American that association definitely bugs me – but hard to deny it makes for really entertaining fiction.
Klaw: It’s the former. I do not like ultraviolent films, but I avoid gore (I said on twitter I’ve never seen a slasher film, let alone this disgusting trend of ‘torture porn’ films) and accept that much great fiction includes violence. Blood Meridian is a great novel, but if someone films that it’s going to get an NC-17 for all the killings.

Steve: Thanks for spreading the word about Ten Fe. Killer album.
Klaw: Still among my favorites this year. Temples’ new record was good too. I got an early stream of the Afghan Whigs’ album, due out in May, and liked it a lot – more than I did their last record.

HugoZ: Do you find the subject matter of Richard III repellant as well? Isn’t there value to examining the nature of evil?
Klaw: Richard III is certainly a repellent character. He’s not an Italian-American, for one thing. For another, that’s Shakespeare. He had the best words. Mario Puzo is not Shakespeare.

JR: Not sure if you can say anything on this, but there have been reports in recent days that ESPN is going to be making another round of cuts. Is there anyone we can email/tweet at/send snail mail too to encourage the decision makers to keep you? You are the only reason I buy insider, so they would lose my annual sub fee if you end up elsewhere.
Klaw: Several of you have reached out on the topic, so thank you all for the concern. I just signed a new contract a few weeks ago. I’m more worried about friends of mine who work behind the scenes at ESPN, although I know nothing more than you saw in reports like Richard Deitsch’s.

Jeff: No question, just a comment. Saw Hunter Greene in person last Saturday against the local HS team. I came to the conclusion (in my amateur opinion) that he is really $#@#% good. Any chance a team drafts as a SS instead of a pitcher?
Klaw: There’s enough real doubt about the hit tool that I think he’s 80/20 or better to go as a pitcher. Up to 101, athletic as hell, now has a real slider too.

JD: re pitching around Seth Beer: the Gamecocks coach said he’d walk him 4 or 5 times if he had to, throw it to the backstop if he had to… and then the winning run scored on a passed ball during an intentional walk to Beer. So maybe people are pitching him a little too carefully?
Klaw: Is that the incident someone tweeted at me about? By the way, remember when the Gamecocks coach talked some smack about me when I said Brandon McIlwain was foolish to enroll early at SC and skip the MLB draft? How’s that working out?

Dan: I have read all of Gladwell, any other books like his you would recommend?
Klaw: I think there’s much better stuff out there in the same vein that leans more on the research and less on anecdote. Thinking Fast & Slow, Invisible Gorilla, Predictably Irrational, Superforecasting, even Freakonomics all mine that territory more effectively.

Tim (KC): Keith, now that the Diamondbacks have made changes, which teams are most behind the times analytically speaking? Which are better than the rest?
Klaw: As far as I know, all 30 teams have or are building dedicated analytics departments. Arizona, Minnesota, Philadelphia are all behind on the timeline, but it’s not due to lack of effort, budget, or willpower. They just got late starts.

Dan: Where will Lazaro Armenteros start the year? How long before he will sniff a top 100 list?
Klaw: Probably extended spring, and I’d bet on never.

Jerry: What I don’t get is how “pro-life” goes along with poor people don’t deserve shit. Also I don’t get how we haven’t overhauled medical and pharmacy billing.
Klaw: “Pro-life” people are generally “pro-birth.” You have to have that baby, and now you’re entirely responsible for it, even though kids who are malnourished, maltreated, or often sick are more likely to end up costing society as a whole when they get older. (Also, you know, compassion for those less fortunate is a good thing.)

Jerry: Bochy said he really doesn’t want to platoon LF, so does Parker hit lefties well enough to win the everyday job (because there are a ton of LH SPs in the NL West)?
Klaw: Such a long swing. I can’t see it.

Bruce: Jameson Taillon and Tyler Glasnow – what is the ceiling for both and what do you expect from them this year?
Klaw: Maybe both #2s? Taillon is much further ahead. During his long layoff he became more of a complete pitcher, not just a thrower. Glasnow’s new delivery perplexes me and I wrote about it this week.

Harold: Every economic problem in our country boils down to the fact that pols in both parties craft legislation to benefit the ultra rich and the ultra poor. They love the rich because they all fall into that category, along with those who fund their campaigns. They love the poor, because it is a large voting bloc that is easy to influence with promises of subsidies and other benefits. The problem, obviously, is that the segment in the middle is burdened with financing everything and eventually will be too small to handle it.
Klaw: Is that really true? I thought the “ultra poor,” however you define them, don’t vote at the same rates as higher socioeconomic strata. The rich do tend to get what they want, though. Everything counts in large amounts.

Bobbo: Just letting you know that someone got the “Bad Idea Jeans” joke.
Klaw: That commercial will never, ever, ever get old.

Jeff: Bomani Jones said on Twitter (paraphrasing) that Thomas Sowell is a brilliant man who lost his damn mind…was wondering how you feel about Sowell, since you are both econ buffs.
Klaw: This seems like a really interesting topic that I totally missed.

Lee: Why the heck would any somewhat intelligent human choose a football career over baseball? Football gives you lifelong debilitating diseases on a non-guaranteed salary structure. How is this even a choice for people?
Klaw: No idea. If any of our friends with kids let their sons play football – they’re all reaching the ages where that’s an option – I will try to convince them otherwise the way I would convince a vaccine resister.

Dan: This the year Daniel Norris puts it all together? What are you expecting from him this year
Klaw: I’m a believer.

Jerry: I know “best shape of life” means nothing, but was it true for Panda and does it mean anything?
Klaw: Sounds like he’s in great shape but I have no idea what if anything it means.

Stewart: As with any society, ours is in the stage where those who are the least productive are the ones reproducing the most. Studies consistently show that people are much more likely to maintain the economic status of their parents, rather than taking a huge leap forward. If politicians want to lessen the impact entitlement programs on the economy, they need to provide real incentives to middle and upper class people to have more children.
Klaw: Or to provide incentives and methods for the lowest stratum to have fewer children. You know, like easy access to affordable birth control.

Anonymous: Great news! EPA chief Scott Pruitt says CO2 is not a primary contributor to global warming. I was really starting to worry that global warming was a real long term threat to life and property. Apparently I can relax now.
Klaw: It would be great if the media would simply call him out on that bullshit every. single. day.

Nathan: Assuming both reach their potential, who ends up with more value, Meadows or Dahl?
Klaw: Meadows. My worry with Dahl is that I don’t think he has a great plan at the plate. I think he’s blessed with tremendous ability, but Meadows has a much better idea when he gets in the box.

Valdez: Did you have the same attitude toward MJordan’s foray into baseball, or did he get a pass?
Klaw: I was 20 when he did that. I had no standing to even have an opinion, and if I did have one, I have no idea what it was. I know that several years later I found out that Jordan’s little sojourn wrecked the career of a prospect behind him – I think that was Charlie Poe – so I would say now, with that knowledge and the benefit of my age and experience, that it was just as ridiculous, maybe even more so because they shoved him right to AA. (He also showed that he was way more skilled than the washed-up QB, though.)

Nick: Ever made beef jerky at home? If so, which cut of beef do you prefer (I don’t think flank is ideal).
Klaw: I haven’t, partly because I can’t get over my fear that I’d do it wrong, mostly because we eat very little beef at home.

Ethan: Is there a difference between a sinker and a two-seam fastball, as far as grip and movement? I feel like I hear the two interchanged sometimes. I could be wrong.
Klaw: Yes, two different pitches, typically different movements, but a two-seamer can sink – it usually will at least have some sink, although that type of movement, where it moves both down and to the pitcher’s arm side, is usually called ‘tail.’

Paul: Isn’t the issue with healthcare how to reduce costs? Haven’t heard any goods ideas from either party.
Klaw: Yes. That’s a bigger issue than mere price elasticity, which is what the GOP keeps pointing to with HSAs – saying that if you’re not spending your own money, you stop caring whether you’re overpaying. That is true for most goods, but doesn’t appear to be true for health care, at least not in any way that can inform policy. If you or a loved one needs lifesaving care, you will pay everything you have. That is an open invitation for providers to charge as much as possible.

TJ: Klaw, do you have any “guilty pleasure” players? Guys you know aren’t great but just enjoy watching them play? Mine would be Rajah Davis- gotta love a short, pudgy dude who looks like he’s having great fun playing and wears a giant oven mitt when on base, even if he takes the craziest routes imaginable to chase fly balls…
Klaw: I love watching athletes do athletic things. Billy Hamilton is not very good at all at the plate, but I could watch him run all day. I don’t care if he goes full Piersall and runs the bases backwards. I’d watch him run from the dugout to his position. I am just floored to see a human being move that fast.

J: Watched Lobster last night. I feel like I need to watch it again and pay more attention to all the animals who have walk on parts
Klaw: The dog should have gotten a best supporting actor nomination.

ForteKay: Any book signings planned in the New York/Westchester area? Would love to get a signed copy and talk a bit of baseball
Klaw: Nothing yet, but I think we’ll do something in NYC around the launch date. As it gets closer, more requests are coming into Harper Collins and we’re trying to work those into my scouting schedule, because I think I’m doing all my draft travel after April 1st this year (it just worked out that way).

Klaw: That’s all for this week – thank you as always for all of your questions. With travel coming up, I may move chat days/times or skip a week, so please watch here, Facebook, and Twitter for announcements on that front. Hup hup!


  1. If ACA was know by any other name than Obamacare, would it endure the vitriol from the opposing party? Seemed to pull from both parties ideals with neither loving the outcome, aka compromise

    • Study after study has shown this–they ask people if they support “Obamacare” and get about a 60% positive response. Then they ask people if they support the Affordable Care Act, and the positives go up to 75%.

      Also, the basic idea of Obamacare actually came from a conservative think tank, namely the Heritage Foundation.

  2. Keith,
    In your response to Stewart’s question where he advocates for providing “real incentives to middle and upper class people to have more children” as a way to reduce the impact of entitlement programs, you suggested providing “incentives and methods for the lowest stratum to have fewer children … like easy access to affordable birth control.”

    I’m not clear whether you are agreeing with Stewart that the government should encourage poorer families to have fewer children and richer families to have more children. I don’t want my government to decide who is more worthy to be a parent. Those types of programs didn’t work out very well before.

    • I almost deleted this comment because it is so incredibly ridiculous. I’m truly insulted you think I would say something so offensive and stupid, and I’m still questioning whether you’re just trolling.

  3. My apologies, Keith. I took offense at the premise of Stewart’s question and expected that you would too in your original response. Sorry that I offended you in the wording of my comment. That was not my intent. Clearly my anger was misdirected to you.

    • Thanks for clearing that up. I felt like you were accusing me of promoting eugenics. I’m not – I was trying to say that I think current policies (like limiting access to birth control, discouraging women from working or working more) tend to produce the demographic results the question mentioned. Women who work have fewer kids, as do women who control their own reproduction. It’s good economic policy, but it’s also really good social policy.

    • It’s not about the gov’t deciding; it’s about the gov’t giving people (but really, women) the ability to decide. Some large families are conscious choices, as long as those parents can feed/shelter their kids, great.

      Condoms and the pill should be free. What costs society more–free birth control, or unwanted, unable to be cared for, babies?

  4. Not watching the Godfather for that reason makes no sense to me, but to each their own.

  5. Ned’s Atomic Dustbin!!…it’s not! It’s inside me…

  6. When Sosa played for the Cubs he spoke English quite well. Was on Chicago radio several times. It’s obvious that English wasn’t his first language, but he lied to Congress about not being able to.

    • I don’t know about the first part, but the issue at hand is whether anyone should expect him or any other player born in a non-Anglophone country to speak English in a situation like that farcical hearing. I don’t think that is a reasonable expectation, even if he had once shown some facility with the language.

    • It’s why Ichiro would always give press conferences in Japanese with a translator, even though he could communicate in the clubhouse just fine. When you know every word you say will be scrutinized, you take extra precautions. In Ichiro’s case it was because he knew his home countrymen hung on his words, not because of a hearing under oath, but for him it was still a situation with elevated stakes.

    • If I ever moved to a country where English wasn’t the primary language, I would make it a priority to learn that language. I think the burden of being able to communicate day to day is on the person entering the country, not the people already there. That said, if I ever needed to speak under oath or in a similarly important situation I would want to do it with whatever language I was most comfortable with.

    • Thanks guys, you’re right about that. It’s kind of a running joke in Chicago about Sammy suddenly not being able to speak English… but you’re right, if I had to go in front of any foreign government, I’d be uncomfortable. Just wanted to say guys are right.

  7. Keith, you answered a question of mine about 2 NYY prospects in your 3/9/17 Klawchat. You mentioned Florial and Haiti and never getting to get back. I run a 501c3 Foundation that helps children/schools in Haiti. I do at least one mission trip a year to Haiti and when I can I go twice. Open door policy if you ever want to go.
    http://www.benniegaskinsfoundation.org Please delete if it’s not ok for me to post this. Thank you.

  8. Regarding DeJong, Derrick Goold posted a podcast interview with him last night. Solid listen. DeJong sounds like the kind of player a BFIB like myself can really root for.


    • Couldn’t agree more. I am a Cards fan and work at Illinois State University. I was so impressed by DeJong in the podcast, I contacted the athletic department to promote.

  9. Reading Walter Murch’s In the Blink of an Eye would be of greater benefit to your life in general and your appreciation of film in particular than watching any or all Godfather movies.

  10. ForteKay: Saw a couple writers mention an increased risk for Thor this season due to added muscle and not throwing in the off season – I’m a bit concerned by his desire to throw HARDER but he also has tremendous size and an easy motion. Should I be any more worried than I would be for a pitcher in general?
    Klaw: That was based on comments from a former coach who’s never seen Thor and knows no specifics about him. I thought the media running with that was irresponsible.

    Huh…kinda like the Mainstream media that takes stuff off the net without verifying it?

  11. “Undeniable” should be required reading for every high school freshman. Partly for the slam-dunk case for evolution. But much more for the explanations of how science works and exposing the contortions deniers must go through such as pretending that in science “theory” and “guess” are synonymous (see Pruitt, Scott, and carbon dioxide isn’t proved to cause global warming, etc.). November 2016 showed what happens when enough people have no critical-thinking ability.

  12. Nick: Ever made beef jerky at home? If so, which cut of beef do you prefer (I don’t think flank is ideal).
    Klaw: I haven’t, partly because I can’t get over my fear that I’d do it wrong, mostly because we eat very little beef at home.

    If interested get a dehydrator. The recipes are easy to find marinate the meat and use the dehydrator. Its amazing.

  13. Amit Sainani

    Some other San Francisco recs:

    Coffee – Blue Bottle and Buena Vista (the best Irish coffee you will ever have)
    Pizza – Pizzeria Delfina in Pac Heights (Fillmore Bakeshop is right across the street and they make amazing pies), Beretta
    Dining experience – House of Prime Rib (but only if you enjoy prime rib)