Klawchat, 5/11/17.

Chat starts at 1 pm ET; questions go in the frame below, not in the comments!

My first first-round projection for this year’s draft is now up for Insiders. And you can buy Smart Baseball, my first book, online or in any bookstore now.

Keith Law: Twisting like a cat on a hot tin shine. It’s Klawchat.

Greg: Hey Keith, is it bad that I’m disappointed in your projected Atlanta pick being a guy with an average fastball? Is that really the best pick at 5, or does he make up for it in other ways?
Keith Law: By all accounts Gore has great secondaries for a HS arm and an advanced feel to pitch. The ball also comes out of his hand really well – I wouldn’t be surprised if his release point was especially far towards the batter and if his fastball plays above its velo. I think it’s a strong consensus that he’s the second best prep arm in the class.

Frank: What was your reaction to Ronald Acuna being promoted to Double A so quickly?
Keith Law: I think it’s strange. I love the player, but he hadn’t dominated high-A – he had two great weeks and still struck out a lot.

kimchidad: Do you have any interest in doing live scouting in South Korea or Japan to get a better idea of the level of play in those leagues?
Keith Law: I mean, if you’re paying, sure.

Andrew: Thoughts on Tatis Jr so far this year?
Keith Law: None. He’s 18, in low-A, and it’s been a month. Unless he was totally overmatched (he’s not) or dominating (he’s not), there’s nothing here to change my preseason opinion of him.

Burns: Who has a better chance of becoming more than a backend starter, Beede or Honeywell?
Keith Law: Beede.

Wayne: In your top-five scenario, what other player(s) do you think Atlanta would be considering besides Gore?
Keith Law: I believe they’d kill for Greene or Lewis, but I don’t see either of those happening. Bear in mind that last year they weren’t really linked to Anderson by anyone until maybe two weeks before the draft.

Wayne: Through 126 PAs in Double A, Travis Demeritte is walking 11% and striking out 22%. When is it alright to put stock in the decreased K%?
Keith Law: I think it’s probably meaningful now. He had 150 AB after the trade last year, all in high-A, with a 33% K rate. So he moved up and is already making more contact. And bear in mind I think he might be a 7 defender at second.

Scott: American Gods – Impressed? Disappointed? I think they’ve been pretty true to the book so far. I’ve enjoyed the first 2 episodes.
Keith Law: I haven’t watched E2 yet. I thought E1 was compelling and McShane was great but the gore was stupid and undermined the episode.

Paco: Imagine prime Maddux was a prospect now. Would he be difficult to evaluate? Is it hard to project command/movement guys? I can’t imagine there’s too many rhp throwing high 80’s that are getting much hype.
Keith Law: Maddux could get into the low 90s, up to 94, in his peak, and he could really sink it with 80 command and a good changeup. He would probably be underrated, because everyone would question his ceiling, but he’d be considered a solid prospect for sure.

Danny: I’m a big fan of Chase Vallot. Think despite the strikeout issues, he pairs that with being able to walk (career 12% BB% in the minors – 16% this year in Wilmington). Of course the sticking point with him is if he can stay at catcher? Thoughts there? He also clearly has SOME idea of the strikezone given his walk rate, but why are the K’s so high?
Keith Law: Just saw him the other night; don’t think he’s a catcher, don’t agree that he’s got much plate discipline either.

Danny P: Evan White might fit in with the Cubs philosophy of the best college bat, though Rizzo would still be blocking him in a few years, can he be a decent Corner OFer. They also seem to love USA baseball guys. Is it a fit?
Keith Law: I’d be quite surprised if they took a 1b (who could definitely play the OF) with a career college walk rate of under 8%.

Eli: Where would Seth Romero rank on talent alone? How far do you see off-field concerns dropping him?
Keith Law: He would have gone in the first, I would have ranked him more towards the second (it’s not a good delivery), and I think he now goes second or third with a significant discount. Getting in a fight with a teammate on top of a mountain of previous incidents tells me either he’s got a real mental illness or he’s totally irresponsible.

GS (Minneapolis): My heart loves Miguel Sano while my head loved Max Kepler. Kepler seems so well-rounded to me and I think his net value is under appreciated by Twins fans. Well he develop 30 hr power?
Keith Law: Kepler? I’d say 20+, 30 is not impossible but not likely.

Greg: How much of the rumored desire of Hunter Greene to avoid Cincinnati, should Reds fans be concerned about?
Keith Law: I’d call that bullshit.

Ryan Philip: What’s your guess on how DD handles Devers down the stretch given their obvious need at 3b and the disaster Moncada was last year? At what point is it ok for them to throw Devers in the fire without sacrificing his development?
Keith Law: Buster said on the podcast this morning that he’s heard they might call Devers up; I said I thought that was aggressive, but that I also think Devers could handle the big jump without getting derailed. He’s a special talent at the plate.

David: Hi Keith,

When you see two-way players with the abilities of McKay and Greene would you push them, by default, to being either a hitter or a pitcher? I understand the need for pitchers, but with the injury risk there might be better value in being a hitter. I’m assuming it is all a case-by-case situation based on the player, but was just curious if you had any thoughts. As a Pirate fan I’m always reminded of John Van Benschoten when I hear about two-way players and wonder if there is an industry consensus on the way to go.
Keith Law: Case by case for me. I’d put Greene on the mound for sure. McKay I prefer on the mound but there’s a better case for him to hit than there is for Greene.

Chris: I always love your take on books, Keith, and was wondering if you’ve read The Sellout, by Paul Beatty, which won the Man Booker. I finished it a week or two ago and have never been more conflicted, in a good way, by a novel, especially a comic one. I left it having enjoyed it and its thematic point but feeling totally insecure and out of place, which might’ve been part of the point. Anyway I was wondering your thoughts. Thanks for all your great work.
Keith Law: Yep, I read it last July (my review). Very good, but also made me pretty uncomfortable. Only a black author with a confident voice could have written that book.

guren: A few weeks ago, SI ran an article where anonymous “scouts” provided comments for each team. A “scout” said that Eric Hosmer is “MVP caliber, a Triple Crown candidate.” On a scale of 1 to Tim Tebow playing baseball, how ridiculous is that scout’s statement? Also, what is it about Eric Hosmer that causes some scouts to over-rate him?
Keith Law: Although I occasionally quote scouts anonymously, I vet the quotes myself first. That writer did not. Or the scout isn’t real.

guren: Do you happen to know HarperCollins’ break-even point in terms of unit sales of your book? If so, is that something that you can share? I am just curious about the economics of the publishing industry.
Keith Law: I will only share this – the royalty structure in my contract is not linear. The rate for hardcover books is a step function, but it’s a straight line for ebooks.

Cedric: How many names are the Reds truly considering at #2? Anyone beyond Greene or McKay?
Keith Law: Maybe Wright. But I think he’s 3rd in a two-car race, so to speak.

Dana: Has Aaron Hicks finally figured it all out?
Keith Law: I want this to be true. It’s just too small a sample to say, but boy does it look like he’s rewarding my faith in him.

guren: Keith, I have noticed that you always use the phrase “begging the question” correctly (unfortunately you are in the minority), plus you rarely if ever have typos. I would surmise that proper grammar and spelling are important to you. Do you have any grammar or usage pet peeves?
Keith Law: Yeah, although I don’t trot them out in public because it’s mostly just pedantry (and can come off as classism). I’ll give you one, though: “is comprised of.” The word “comprise” means “contains,” in the sense that a group comprises its members (and the members constitute the group).

Andy: Knowing that you think he’s the #1 talent, would you pick Greene #1 if you were the Twins GM? While there’s risk no matter who you pick, a HS RHP with huge velocity has more red flags than other categories.
Keith Law: No, I think a college 1b without another position has more red flags. The history of that profile is god-awful. I’d take Greene.

Henry : Keith, sorry, accidentally posted this on comment box. Have any of your broadcast/journalist colleagues changed their view/reporting as a result of your book?
Keith Law: You’d have to ask them, sorry.

Kevin: Why did Gausman struggle in April? Do some pitchers not like pitching in cold weather or cold weather affects their pitches?
Keith Law: He’s from Colorado. I think he’s pitched in the cold before.

Mike: When do you think Leodys Taveras of Texas plays in the MLB? (Yes I know he is 18)
Keith Law: In 2019.

Nick: Buxton has been putting together some pretty solid ABs lately. It’s a low bar, but how long do you think it takes before he gets his AVG into the .220s and OBP in the .320s?
Keith Law: Aaron Gleeman’s been … um … gleefully tweeted about Buxton’s rise. After the first 50 or so AB, Buxton’s been on fire with more BB and fewer K. I would bet on him keeping it up.

msubin26: what is your take on the Matt Harvey situation now and historically?
Keith Law: No take. I don’t know the truth behind it all, and any take I offer would be like a cream puff right out of the oven: Hot on the outside, totally empty on the inside.

Kyle KS: How difficult was it to resist the urge of putting a picture of yourself holding a bat or leaning on a bat on the cover of your book? Seems like the go-to for baseball books.
Keith Law: HC never suggested that, but I would have gone to court to stop it if they had.

Rob: Do you foresee any of Senzatela, Freeland or Marquez becoming long-term rotation options for the Rockies? Freeland & Senzatela aren’t striking anybody out, so I’m planning on some major regression soon, but could one (or more!) of them stick around for the long haul?
Keith Law: Freeland is most likely for me. Marquez needs a third pitch. Senzatela does too, and lacks the velocity or any sort of swing and miss option to be a starter.

Erich: Showalter seems to be running starters out at pretty high pitch counts, including Bundy. Bundy has started the 7th/8th inning this year a couple of times over 100 pitches. Ubaldo was at 91 going out for the 8th and didn’t get pulled until 115 pitches and 3 runs given up. Gausman started the 6th or 7th last week at over 100 pitches. With the bullpen being their strength, this seems counter intuitive, especially with Bundy in his first healthy season and the data showing his velocity decreasing later in games.
Keith Law: I think his usage of Bundy has been criminal. I know the kid’s results have been good, but he’s showing clear signs of fatigue within starts and he’s compensating for the average (or worse) fastball by throwing a ton of sliders. I know the bullpen is nicked up with Britton out for a while and Brach returning to normal, but this isn’t the solution.

Rob: Other than a couple of gems (Kreator, Gone is Gone, Pallbearer), it’s been a pretty mediocre year for metal. Any records you can recommend that I might have missed?
Keith Law: The Mastodon album, for sure. I liked the new Sepultura album although I know some folks refuse to listen to anything post-Max from them. I need to listen to the whole Memoriam album too – I liked the first song I heard, “Memoriam.”

Dave: I know the long standing best practice is draft what you consider best player available regardless of team needs. However I can’t think of anything else I’d buy using that strict rule. I think stocks might be one but the conventional wisdom for investments is diversification. If marginal difference why not draft what you need?
Keith Law: Because you’re selecting players you won’t use for anywhere from one to five years. Are you that good at forecasting your needs five years out?

Fuzzy Dunlop: Next is a food/coffee question. Im going to be in Atlanta next month to watch my Braves play my best friend’s Mets in a contest of which team can be more dysfunctional. Im vaguely familiar with good places to eat, but what food and coffee places can you recommend?
Keith Law: Spiller Park for coffee (I’ll be there on Tuesday morning!). Food, man, it’s a great town. Empire State South, The Lawrence, Cakes & Ale, the Luminary, Gunshow (I didn’t love it, most people do), Staplehouse (haven’t been), The Optimist (haven’t been). Feels like I’m forgetting a couple of spots too.

Xolo: At what position do you see Royce Lewis ending up?
Keith Law: Centerfield.

Mike: The Mets are planning to continue to use Jose Reyes at third. At what point should they call up Rosario?
Keith Law: Yesterday.

Greg: I just finished reading your book (very enjoyable). I have a question about whether there has been any recent work done on pitch sequencing or the complementarity of certain pitches with one another (i.e. having two pitches with opposite breaks). I hear a fair bit about this during broadcasts, but haven’t ever read anything concrete to back up the intuition.
Keith Law: Thank you. I believe BP wrote something on the subject last year but don’t have the link handy.

Jack: If I recall you considered Brent Graves as good value for A’s 3rd pick in 2014. Up until this year he’s basically been a total bust. Certainly SSS his strikeout to walk ratio has improved drastically. Is it a case of 24 year old pitching in High A ball or have you heard anything to suggest he has a future as a decent major league starter.
Keith Law: I wouldn’t buy into 26 innings for a guy repeating the level; last time I saw him was March 2016.

Jeff: Andrew Toles is now out for the year, but what’s his ultimate ceiling going forward? I see a 4th OF, but many fans think he’s much more than that. Can you please provide a final verdict?
Keith Law: Never thought he was more than that.

Brian: Dave Cameron at Fangraphs had a chat yesterday and commented about Lucas Giolito, “the stuff is down, the results are bad, and he’s been overrated for a while now.” Everyone would agree the results are bad. Is the stuff really down, though? And if so, how down?
Keith Law: The stuff was down for maybe two starts. There’s a lot of 94-95, still, but the delivery isn’t back to where it was through the end of 2015.

Billy: Outside of Faedo, where do you project the rest of the Gators going in the draft?
Keith Law: Guthrie in the second or third, I would say third but college infielders tend to go high. Schwarz to me is undraftable – he has no position and doesn’t hit enough to take as a bad 1b/dh.

Stanyon Turtze: Congrats on the book sales. I’m sorry your joy has to be tempered by the fact that your son is playing for the worst team in baseball. At least he (barely) picked up a save yesterday. You must be so proud! BTW, I think you called him your 6’5 son in a chat last year. ESPN lists him as 6’2. BAD DAD! 🙂
Keith Law: Oh, like THEY would know.

Sam: If Sean Spicer had a sense of humor, he’d go on SNL and play Melissa McCarthy in a spoof of one of her movies or Mike & Molly.
Keith Law: Well, it sounds like he’ll have some free time on his hands soon.

Carlos: How does Gore compare to Allard coming out of high school? Both seems to have similar profiles based on your synopsis. Thanks!!!
Keith Law: Allard had a better CB (but a back injury). Gore I think has a bit more projection.

Rick: Despite no homers in AAA, Tapia is crushing to the tune of a 1.031 OPS. When does he get the call?
Keith Law: He’s in Albuquerque, perhaps the best hitting environment in any full-season league. No homers there is kind of … not good. (And I like Tapia a lot as a prospect. I’m just saying a 1.031 OPS there doesn’t tell us anything.)

mike sixel: No Sam Carlson in your mock, unless I missed it. You don’t think he’s one of the top players, or he’s not tied to any teams?
Keith Law: I ranked him in the top 20. I just don’t think he’s that likely to go in the first. He might be a sandwich/second-round overpay to buy him out of a good college (Florida) commitment, like Joey Wentz or Kevin Gowdy last year.

Gabriel: Hey Klaw! thanks for the mock draft, i read the other day that some scouts think gore is a better prospect than greene.. is this possible?
Keith Law: Is it possible that one scout said that? Sure. But I don’t agree.

JimLindeman15: The Cardinals have ten successful sacrifice bunts, and all ten have dropped their win expectancy.
Keith Law: Maybe they should cut that out. Also, Matheny IBB’d the tying run last night in the 9th inning.

Andrew: Any 70/75/80 tool guys in this year’s draft besides Hunter Greene’s infield arm and Kendall and Thompson probably being 80 runners? I remember you being spot on with AJ Reed having 70-80 raw power as an amateur when most people had him pegged at lower.
Keith Law: Greene’s fastball too. Baz has reached 98, so you might claim it’s a 70 fastball, although I don’t think he’ll pitch there.

Kevin: Who is the first big leaguer from the 2017 draft class? Thanks for your time. Enjoyed your book!
Keith Law: I think McKay could appear this year as a LHS if someone wanted to move him fast.

ritchie vanian: I am currently reading “The Master and Margarita” -thanks for the tip. My wife is waiting for me to finish so she can start it.
Keith Law: You’re welcome. Such a great, imaginative read.

Bryan: Thomas Pannone has a scoreless streak of 51 innings. Is he legit? A future ML starter? Career minor leaguer?
Keith Law: To be clear, he gave up a run, but it was unearned, which I mention because I talk about the worthlessness of the earned/unearned run distinction in Smart Baseball. Also, I don’t think he’s a prospect unless something changed in the last few weeks.

Vin: Looks like Collins can no longer hold Conforto back (hopefully)…what can we expect his end of season numbers to look like?
Keith Law: Don’t doubt Terry’s ability to screw with young players – and to do so with impunity, since it seems like nothing will get him fired. I think Conforto’s a 400 OBP guy with 20+ HR.

George: Is Pavin Smith too high for Oakland at #6?
Keith Law: Smith’s performance this year is unimpeachable. I even ranked him in my top 10. But gah, a college 1b with a single-digit pick?

Jim: I need to open a new bank account, and I wanted to get your advice. Do you have any thoughts on BofA?
Keith Law: Make sure you ask them for their Updog promotion.

Jon: I get San Diego what is trying to do with the Rule 5 picks. But aren’t they doing a disservice to a guy like Luis Torrens, who isn’t going to play the entire year, and then next year is going to get sent down to A ball again. This is a guy who didn’t play much the past few years because of injury. Does his career survive this?
Keith Law: He gets a year of service and major-league pay, which isn’t nothing. But I agree that it can screw up some guys’ careers and I don’t think it’s that likely to work out for the team either.

Mike: Have you heard anything about how Ryan McMahon has looked defensively at 2B at Hartford, and do you think playing 2B significantly affects his path to the majors and/or future value?
Keith Law: It sounds like he’s ultimately going to end up at first.

Bill: Anthony Banda has been pretty wild overall this year, but much better the last couple of starts. Do you think the Miller injury gives him a shot sometime this summer? Chance at a #3 or more back end for you?
Keith Law: Chance at a #3 is about right.

Ryan: Luiz Gohara appears to be a steal for the Braves. Are there any red flags that i’m not aware of that lead to Seattle giving him away for nothing?
Keith Law: Off-field stuff, including issues with drinking.

Adam: Not writing him off or anything, but has some of the sheen worn off of Fernando Tatis Jr as he strikes out at a high rate in Single A? Especially as the similarly aged Vlad Guerrero Jr dominates his level?
Keith Law: Answered above – he’s 18. He’s younger than Conner Uselton. It’s really ridiculous to think he’s lost any “sheen.”

Ken T: I just wanted to say Thank You for Smart Baseball. I’ve been waiting a long time for a book that wasn’t written for stat geeks to help me understand a lot of the sabermetric stats in use by MLB today. It’s also helped me articulate to my friends WHY the stats they still cling to are useless – although I’ve never had trouble arguing why the save should be sbot at sunrise. Any chance you might do a book signing in the Boston area?
Keith Law: If I end up there over the summer, I’ll try to set something up – or if a bookstore asks, I can try to work a trip around their schedule.

Buck: You were weirdly dismissive of Luis Urias last week (“Have you…even seen him walk around?”). He won Hi-A MVP at 18, and is now putting up a .944 OPS as the youngest player in the Texas League. He’s got more walks than strikeouts for his career, and is said to be a soid defensive 2b. What is it that keeps a guy like this off all the prospect lists?
Keith Law: I was dismissive of the question, which was merely scouting the stat line. As for Urias, he’s not an everyday SS and he’s quite small for a regular. And yet I still ranked him in the top 10 for the Padres, who have a top 3 system in all of baseball.

Hugh: Really enjoying the book. It was the first one I’d preordered since The Deathly Hallows. My only complaint was the lack of a strong female character. Please address in the sequel.
Keith Law: My book utterly failed the Bechdel test.

HT from Tokyo: Have you been to Japan to scout players or for vacation? I’m a huge fan of yours and would love to know your reactions and experience in my country!
Keith Law: Never been. My lone trip to Asia was to Taiwan in 2004.

Mattey: I’m sure I won’t be the only Phillies fan asking for your thoughts on Altherr today..
Keith Law: It’s 85 PA and he has a .413 BABIP with power like he’s never shown before at any level. I’m a bit skeptical that he’ll keep this up.

Josh: Outside of one bad start, Dinelson Lamet has been dominant in a hitter-friendly environment. Has the changeup improved enough for him to remain a starter, or is he just relying on the fastball/slider combo still and destined for the pen? Thanks
Keith Law: LHB still killing him.

JR: Do you think you will ever read all the books on you list to the point your only options are basically reading new books and/or re-reading favorites?
Keith Law: Nah, there are way more good books out there than I’ll ever get to.

Jean Lazure: Hi Keith – reading your book, really enjoying it. I just get sad when I go through my old baseball books and see a good many examples of players who didn’t cut it under yesterday’s stats – BA, RBI, etc. – yet mastered the then-unappreciated skill of getting on base through walks, and thus never got a proper and deserved shot at MLB. Any such favourites you can recall?
Keith Law: Roberto Petagine had a little fan club among us online statheads back in the 1990s.

Matt in the Bronx: Keith have you heard anything if the Mets like Brooklyn product Nick storz or Queens product Quentin Holmes? We are very excited around here see if we can get some more hometown guys on the team.
Keith Law: Neither has been very good this year.

Josh: So this Cody Bellinger kid is decent, huh?
Keith Law: I ranked him 6th on my top 100, and actually moved him down after sending my list around to a bunch of scouts/FO guys. He was originally 2nd. Maybe I should have stuck to my guns?

JR: In your opinion, would there be any downside to holding the MLB draft over All Star break? There is literally no other sporting events going on, so it would be a good way to get the draft more attention. Would pushing it back a month be detrimental in any way?
Keith Law: It would hurt short-season leagues, which isn’t nothing but shouldn’t be the primary consideration for MLB. It would mean every player is done playing, though, and could attend the draft.

Sage: Fav player growing up? I’m guessing you were a Don Mattingly guy
Keith Law: Willie Randolph.

Josh: Given the strong start to the season, how long would you wait to move Cal Quantrill up to AA?
Keith Law: Not long. If he’s on a low innings cap, might as well have him throw them somewhere where hitters will challenge him more.

Carl: IIRC Bubba Starling was considered a great pick for the Royals. What went wrong?
Keith Law: Never really hit in pro ball. He had lots of tools but the hit tool was questionable, and his competition in HS was atrocious. They wanted one of the four pitchers taken ahead of him and those guys went 1-2-3-4.

Alex : Who do you think Robert signs with? Think he will have an unofficial deal in place before 20th?
Keith Law: I’ve heard Cardinals, and I’ve heard Astros, but I really don’t have any inside info.

NYTT: Weigel moved up to AAA. What have you heard on him and is he a long-term starter?
Keith Law: Definitely a long-term starter for me.

Chris: Jay Bruce has been solid but when Cespedes returns would you consider trading him so Conforto can play full-time NOT in CF? I would.
Keith Law: I would too. Or benching him. Conforto is one of their top 2 outfield bats; therefore, he must play.

Jon: Keith, I’m thinking of taking a job with the DE Courts system. Having not eaten at Cocina Lolo, should it’s presence play a part in my decision making? Thanks.
Keith Law: Yes, it’s good enough to push you to “yes.”

Josh: Is Calvin Mitchell a possibility at the end of the 1st, or do you see him sliding into the 2nd/3rd because he’s 1B only?
Keith Law: 1B only and hasn’t hit very well this spring, so I think he slides to the second.

Matt: Maikel Franco’s advanced numbers look pretty different this year, especially in terms of patience. I think you’ve liked his hands but not his approach in the past, has that changed at all?
Keith Law: Way too small of a sample to draw any conclusions on his patience changing.

Matt: From what I understand, the Cape Cod league is the premier Summer league for collegiate players. I live near a field that hosts a team playing in the Northwoods League. Is there a steep drop in talent between the two leagues? Am I watching any future big leaguers when I attend these games?
Keith Law: Big drop, yes, but the NWL still produces lots of big leaguers.

NYTT: I’m surprised that the Braves would be in on Kyle Wright. He’s been that good the past couple of months? What is his outlook like if he can be consistent with what he’s shown lately?
Keith Law: He’s been so good he shouldn’t get to their pick. (BTW, I don’t think I said anywhere they’d be on him.)

Danny: Does Sixto Sanchez have more potential than anyone in the Phillies organization? What is that potential?
Keith Law: It’s a 70 fastball with control, but secondary stuff isn’t there now. I know some folks would say a guy with that kind of velocity and a good delivery has a #1 ceiling but I would take less velo and a better breaking ball or changeup.

Chris: Any comment on this Kapler/Francona/Dodgers drama? The fact Francona rejected a $150K settlement has to give one pause.
Keith Law: Again, I know nothing about it, and thus can’t offer an opinion.

MikeM: Can Greg Bird’s struggles at the plate be explained by his bone bruise on his front ankle? I am not an expert on hitting mechanics but that kind of injury would seem to disrupt mechanics and timing.
Keith Law: Or maybe his shoulder isn’t at 100% strength? Either would explain it. I’m fine with them taking it slow with him if they feel like sending him to AAA for a few weeks to rake would help.

Matt : Is there anything different in Serevino’s approach this year to make you think he says in the rotation? His walks are down significantly….just SSS?
Keith Law: Slider has gotten much better and he’s more physical up top than he was. I haven’t seen the delivery except the centerfield view which isn’t great for looking at a guy’s lower half.

JL: Just finished reading your book – very well done! Are you going to hate me since I borrowed a copy from a library instead of buying one?
Keith Law: Nope. I like libraries. I use the one down the street from us quite a bit.

Ridley Kemp: I just finished the book, and as someone who worked in the shallow end of the baseball analysis pool for a few years…man, I wish I had been able to explain what I was trying to do as well as you did. No question to ask, I just wanted to say that yours is the best baseball book I’ve read this century, and the most enjoyable to read.
Keith Law: Wow, thank you so much.

Evan: Do you think that the MLB should allow all draft picks to be traded? If so, how do you think it would change the trade market?
Keith Law: Yes, perhaps with the caveat that a team can only trade up to $X million, or up to Y% of its bonus pool total. It’ll help create more trades and make the draft more interesting too.

Matt : Thoughts on the Comey firing? Really trending to Watergate territory here….
Keith Law: I think you’d have to make a strong argument why this isn’t the same thing as Nixon firing the special prosecutor.

JJ: During the run-up to the Oscars, you were pretty vocal about your distaste for Mel Gibson, for his past anti-Semitic comments. Do you feel the same way about Roman Polanski over his past actions? How do you separate the art from the artist?
Keith Law: I do. I’ve seen the Pianist, before I really knew anything about RP, but that’s it. I won’t watch films by him, Gibson, or Woody Allen. I don’t really feel the loss. And I’m not a professional critic who has to watch any movies s/he doesn’t want to watch.

Andrew Stevenson…: 4th OF or MLB regular?
Keith Law: MLB regular.

JP: Michael Ruhlman speaking at Powells Books on Wednesday. Maybe he can have his store contact call your people to set up an event?
Keith Law: I think my publicist said they’re not big on baseball books. Could be wrong.

Jon: Were you/are you a fan of Faith No More?
Keith Law: Yes, those two big albums, then I thought they fell off fast after Angel Dust.

Sam: By the way, in additional to my needy NY/BOS themed questions I really appreciate how vocal you are about vaccinations as a dad to a 17 month old. You seem to not mind the trolls, I’m just sorry that it’s necessary.
Keith Law: But it is necessary, and I think I have some obligation to use my podium for good purposes.

Dave: Loved your appearance on MLB Now, hopefully there will be more in the future. Any chance that Jeren Kendell moves up into the top ten or has his season this spring been to damaging?
Keith Law: It was really fun to do – Brian & co were great, and the staff behind the scenes couldn’t have been friendlier. As for Kendall, it’s probably too late for that.

Jon: What’s Updog?
Keith Law: Not much, dog, but the chat’s over. Thank you all for all of your questions and your patience with me this week. I will be in Atlanta next Tuesday evening for a signing at the Georgia Center for the Book and Minneapolis on Thursday for a signing at Moon Palace Books. I’ll try to squeeze in a chat next week as well. And, finally, thank you again to everyone who’s bought and read Smart Baseball!


  1. Keith, have any of your broadcast/journalist colleagues changed their view/reporting of baseball as a result of your book?

  2. Fellow Delawarian

    I believe you saw Chris McMahon this spring, is there any chance he sneaks into the first round?

  3. Hi Keith,
    This is too long for java chat submittal so I posted it here hoping for a response fro you, but also others to discuss. I’d like to start by stating I grew up with the reporters and radio personalities as big a part of my love for baseball as the players. To me, Peter Gammons is the biggest baseball star I could ever meet, more than any player. I grew up reading the globe as soon as I got up, saving extra time for the Sunday edition. Gammons notes changed my world as a kid. I would be slightly nervous and more impressed meeting you than Bryce Harper. So for me, while I root for one team over all others, I really root for baseball and the stories I get to read. I value the quality of the media coverage, especially print or online articles versus visual formats.
    Having said that, I reacted different to the recent ESPN lay offs. ESPN is one of my teams, as I pay for insider and follow the work of their employees as I follow the employees of an MLB team. I root for my team to do well and compete with the best. However, when they are not measuring up, let the older players go and bring up new fresh young talent and give them a chance. I think ESPN did tha. The market shows many signs they are not the kings of the sports media mountain they used to be(Similar to old Yankee Dynasty) and like the Yankees they need to retool. They will not do as well as Cashman has recently done, but I see the layoffs as that, removing older highly paid employees that might not be as inspired or as good as they used to be, and replacing them with younger cheaper talent that has room to grow.
    Imagine the fan screaming at his TV, “Why is player X on this team, he’s old and has no talent left, get rid of him and bring up the rookies” That fan is not rooting for that player to go broke and not feed his family, he wants his team to do better. I see in a very similar light. While I do not wish for any of those reporters to have to beg for food or go bankrupt, I am happy that someone else might be getting the chance to write. I know most of my point relies on ESPN bringing in young talent with new hope, that might be a reach, I can’t know that. But I am hopeful someone else might capture my attention with better story telling and creative writing.
    This is in response to seeing comments in general that people cheering the lay offs are deplorable trolls. I think perspective is an important aspect people are forgetting. I would like to hear any thoughts on this. Thanks.

  4. Thanks for answering both of my questions Keith. Can’t believe I spaced on Mastodon as one of the better albums so far this year. Pretty unforgivable considering I’m going to see them play tonight. I’ll make sure to give Sepultura a listen, although like you said, I’ve never been a big “Post-Max” guy. Keep up the great work.

  5. Hey Keith, just an addendum to something you mentioned in your chat: The Luminary has closed. If you are planning to be at Spiller Park in the morning and you are looking for somewhere for lunch (or dinner later) I would recommend 8Arm. It’s right across the street and excellent. Hopefully I’ll bump into you somewhere, but I will definitely try and make it to your event.

    • Thanks for the update – shame about the Luminary. They had an amazing octopus dish. I’ll probably need lunch after Spiller Park and will head out from there so 8Arm sounds good.

  6. “Getting in a fight with a teammate on top of a mountain of previous incidents tells me either he’s got a real mental illness or he’s totally irresponsible. ”
    Man, for a hot second I thought the story was “Getting in a fight with a teammate on top of a mountain” period, and I thought I really needed to look up this Seth Romero…

  7. Cardinals comment and response lack context. I’ve never liked Matheny as a manager, but judging sac hunts by WPA is very lazy analysis, especially if it’s pitchers laying down those bunts.

    Also, while waking the tieing run may be a stupid idea 90% of the time, when the next hitter literally doesn’t have a hit in 3 years it may be more defensible. I’m not sure, but without running some sort of simulation it’s impossible to tell if it was a good move.

    • Four of the ten bunts were by Cardinal hitters. Two were by starters – one each by Molina and Wong.

    • Larry I in L.A.

      In the marathon Sunday night game, Girardi intentionally walked the potential WINNING run while simultaneously forcing the tying run into scoring position, but of course context is everything. The next “hitter” was Kyle Hendricks (.105 lifetime average), who probably had even less than a 1-in-10 chance to get a base hit since there was no way Chasen Shreve was going to mess around in that situation.

      In fact, I thought Maddon should have sent the runners (or at least Bryant, since Rizzo was nursing a sore forearm after his game-tying HBP). Despite the risk of being caught, it seemed to me more likely that Bryant could steal third and score on a throwing error/wild pitch, etc. than Hendricks could avoid making the final out. Or maybe Hendricks should have bunted, hoping for perfect placement and/or some sort of fielding miscue by the Yanks? Perhaps Hendricks was hoping to be possessed by the spirit of Rick Camp…

  8. Out of curiosity, why do you put Woody Allen (accused, ultimately cleared in both criminal and social services investigations) in the same category as Polanski (convicted) and Gibson (caught on tape)? Just wondering what the threshold is for you.

    • Allen wasn’t cleared. That’s a myth.

    • Kind of wondering this myself. To lump Woody’s case in with the other 2 seems like an overreach (not to minimize the accusations, but as its been pointed out many times, he was investigated and cleared by both the authorities and Social Services: At what point are we allowed to believe that maybe the accuser was coerced? Not unprecedented).

    • “Allen wasn’t cleared. That’s a myth.”

      That list basically has zero sources. I’d be more convinced if the author has made an effort to prove some of those statements.

    • That’s not true either, R. Mann. Read the judge’s statements for yourself, which are linked in that piece. Allen was never cleared of anything.

    • There’s a lot more to it than that, Keith. Here’s the primary response to the Maureen Orth piece, as you’re probably aware: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/01/27/the-woody-allen-allegations-not-so-fast

      Whichever side you come out on, it’s clear that the issue is much murkier than Polanski or Gibson or so many others.

    • There’s a lot more to it than that, Keith. Here’s the primary response to the Maureen Orth piece, as you’re probably aware: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/01/27/the-woody-allen-allegations-not-so-fast

      The fact that the judge in the custody battle didn’t determine the findings of the authorities who cleared Allen to be dispositive (or even credible) doesn’t mean that anyone (that judge included) found that he had done the things he was alleged to have done.

      Whichever side you come out on – and it’s not at all hard to conclude that Mia obviously should have won custody, as she did, or that Woody’s relationship with Soon-Yi was creepy – it’s clear that the issue is much murkier than Polanski or Gibson or so many others.

    • it’s clear that the issue is much murkier than Polanski or Gibson or so many others.

      I will take your “murkier” comment as an admission that your earlier statement that he was “ultimately cleared in both criminal and social services investigations” was false.

      Even if we assume that the Daily Beast article is somehow dispositive – with which I disagree, as I saw it when it first appeared and may have even linked to it here – on Allen and the judges’ comments, really, who gives a shit? There’s credible evidence, including the victim’s own statements, that he sexually abused a child. I’m not looking for a conviction here; I’m making a personal choice not to watch his films.