Klawchat, 7/13/17.

Starting at 1 pm ET. Questions go in the frame below, not in the comments.

My updated ranking of the top 50 prospects in the minors is now up for Insiders, as is my analysis of the Cubs-White Sox trade.

Keith Law: Klawchat. A cry for help in a world gone mad.

Matt: I’m surprised Alex Reyes didn’t make the list at all. Tommy John is pretty common now a days. His arm that big of a concern going forward?
Keith Law: TJ surgery is common, but not routine or something to handwave away. The success rate is still only around 85%, maybe a tick lower, and that’s without considering whether pitchers who have one are at greater risk of having another. So, since he’s not even back throwing yet, I don’t think he’s a top 50 prospect right now.

Bryan Daniel Carter: Was Derek Fisher in consideration? What are your thoughts on his breakout this year?
Keith Law: In consideration, not top 50.

Pops: Sixto Sanchez deserves a place at the table. Have you seen his electric arm?
Keith Law: Saw him last night and tweeted about him several times. Not top 50, somewhere in the next tier.

Brendan: What separates Vladdy from Bo Bichette, considering performances so far? Is it age, mechanics, something else?
Keith Law: Yes, all of that, but especially age. Doing what Vlad and Tatis are doing at age 18 in full-season ball is ridiculous.

Andrew: Before the last two were promoted, Lakewood had an all time grade 80 pitching staff of names: Sixto Sanchez, Adonis Medina, Ranger Suarez, JoJo Romero
Keith Law: I hadn’t realized that but yes, that’s a murderer’s row of great names.

Bob: Within the Padres organization, Lauer and Lucchesi have been phenomenal, but are never cited as having the upside that Quantrill does. Granted that their time in the minors has been pretty short, but what is it that’s seen as the limiting factor that they have relative to Quantrill?
Keith Law: Nowhere close to the same stuff.

Ben: How far off your list was Maitan? About how many years away is he?
Keith Law: He’s 17 with a handful of GCL at bats, not really enough to justify running him up the list. He’d be in the next group as well.

Mike F: Just finished Smart Baseball and loved it! I was a little surprised to see Kingery on the list at 31 but Hoskins not make it. Is it mostly because of defense? Thanks for all the writing and the chats!
Keith Law: Hoskins is 1b only and there’s still a lot of doubt about whether it’s going to be more than just average power in the majors. I think he’s at least an everyday player, but I think Kingery is at least an above-average everyday player.

Jake: Thoughts on Acuna’s bump to Gwinnett? Do the Braves see Andruw 2.0 in him?
Keith Law: I think they’re rushing him. He’s a hell of a prospect, but I don’t get the urgency here, and I’d like to see him struggle at a level and then have to stay there long enough to make adjustments at the plate, since he’s not very patient or selective.

addoeh: No Luis Robert?! Don’t you know an anonymous, and perhaps non-existent, director of international scouting claimed he was the best player on the planet, without exaggeration?
Keith Law: I had heard about that, yes, and share your skepticism that the source even exists.

Randy Burgess: Do you think Flaherty (50), Tyler Mahle, and Chance Adams have similar ceilings?
Keith Law: I do not. Flaherty’s is higher. Adams is the most ready of those three. All are big-league starters.

Joel Embiid: What are your thoughts on J.P. Crawford since he’s fallen out of your top-50? Should Phillies fans be alarmed?
Keith Law: I got nothing but negative reports on him from scouts and execs this month. I heard unanimous downgrades on his defense at short, and multiple scouts say he’s swinging for the fences too much and becoming much less disciplined at the plate. I’m alarmed, and I’ve been a big fan of his since high school. I don’t know if he’s sulking, or if he thinks hitting bombs will get him promoted, or maybe I was just wrong about his ability, but this doesn’t sound like the guy I’ve seen every year for the past four or five years.

Dario Saric: Why didn’t Sixto Sanchez crack the top-50?
Keith Law: The simple answer is that I think there are fifty prospects who are currently more valuable (or valued, by the industry and me) than he is.

Ryan: Philly.com had a very impressive article about Sixto Sanchez’s start last night, quoting four scouts in attendance. I believe you were also in attendance from your Twitter account. Thoughts and would that have changed today list at all? Thanks!
Keith Law: I finished this list after I got home from Lakewood; if I thought I had to change the list based on one 62-pitch outing, I would have, but didn’t. It’s an 80 fastball and it’s very easy. The rest is a work in progress.

Chris: Keith, any real concerns with Delvin Perez yet? Only a couple weeks worth of games but he’s been demoted and there seem to be serious concerns with his work ethic? If his name was Chase Peters (wink, wink) would people still be as concerned?
Keith Law: He had off-field/behavior questions in HS, some tied to actual incidents, so I don’t think this is racial issue. He needs to grow the heck up. No one suggested him for my top 50 either.

@richfreed: Cleveland media says Mejia is vastly improved defensively. He has worked on his English and communicates better with pitchers. Truth or local media pumping a prospect?
Keith Law: I saw him once in AA plus the Futures Game, and he threw great but received just fine. Couple of scouts I asked who’ve seen that club more were more bearish on his glove. I think he’ll be fine in time, but isn’t major-league ready defensively.

Jake: Where would Luis Robert have ranked? I’m assuming he didn’t qualify.
Keith Law: He qualified. Not top 50.

Randy Burgess: Do you think Alderson is preventing Rosario from getting the Conforto-treatment by a lame duck Collins?
Keith Law: That’s possible. Until Collins is gone, I can’t be terribly optimistic about short-term development of prospects (Rosario, Smith, anyone else they call up).

Ethan: No Tigers arms in your top 50?! How would you rank Burrows-Manning-Faedo-Funkhouser?
Keith Law: Burrows, Funkhouser, Faedo, Manning. Manning was having trouble throwing strikes this spring, and his stuff has been down in the NYPL.

Nate: Two questions. Was Espinoza left off because of concerns he can stay healthy or diminished stuff? Raul Mondesi make the list if he were prospect eligible?
Keith Law: He’s been hurt all year and might not pitch in games at all until instructs. That’s kind of a problem. Mondesi was not eligible.

Kevin: Michel Baez has been dominant but it sounds like it’s been primarily his fastball. How’s his secondary stuff?
Keith Law: Saw him in March, it was mostly FB and sheer size. Big dude, gets on top of the ball well.

Kevin S.: Hey Keith. Any idea what happened to Blake Rutherford? A quick look at his stat line is showing a power drop-off. Do you think that’s something structural there, or is it just adjustment to a more challenging level?
Keith Law: Hoping to see him in Lakewood this weekend. Two scouts I asked said he’s just not making hard contact at all. That’s shocking given what I saw from him in HS (and what I think everyone else saw too).

kur: Seems like with all the mediocre-to-bad reports on Yadi Alvarez (flat FB, zero command of anything) other publications have zero problem moving him down, but he actually jumped almost 20 spots for you. Any particular reason?
Keith Law: We had a lot of graduations and guys dropping due to injury; inertia moved a lot of guys up. I could not care less about other publications’ rankings.

John: What does Martes, Perez, and Alvarez get the Astros in trade? Cole? Quintana? Gray?
Keith Law: I can tell you this: It won’t get them Quintana!

boston: any particular reason you do a top 50 and not a top 100?
Keith Law: The amount of work required and the desire not to give anyone a false sense of precision.

Raylan: Can Ian Happ play CF on an everyday basis?
Keith Law: No.

Robbie: If you were GM of the Orioles, what would be your plan for Machado?
Keith Law: Have to trade him. Now or winter, but there’s really no other option.

Jesse: Austin Meadows has dropped from #9 in your preseason ranks to outside the top 50. Is the upside still there if he ever manages to stay healthy? Or have the skills eroded as well?
Keith Law: Trouble staying healthy and hasn’t performed at all in AAA.

Erik: Taking T.J. into consideration, what range did Braxton Garrett fall into?
Keith Law: Like Reyes, somewhere in the top 100, Garrett lower since he never even got to pitch.

Jason: What is Kingery’s ceiling?
Keith Law: All-Star ceiling. 70 glove, 70 run, at least 55 power now. Wish he’d show more patience – he is up there to hit, and if he gets a pitch, especially a fastball in the zone, he thinks he can drive, he’s after it, which is fine until he faces pitchers who can avoid those areas in the strike zone. But I’m buying.

Dusty: Do you agree with the aggressive promotion of Acuna to AAA? Think he sees the majors in 2017?
Keith Law: I assume this is the plan for them – probably was all along. It’s not like he dominated high-A to justify the first promotion, so this must be a “get him to the majors” agenda.

Gene Mullett: Thanks for the chat. Multiple, but quick ones…

1)Is Mejia’s bat ready for the show? Is he mostly in the minors to work on receiving skills? I love Gomes, but I am not sure I can stand to watch another AB.

2)Is a signed copy of the book available or should I suck it up, buy one, & then just hope to run into you at a Carolina League park?
Keith Law: Some bookstores I visit will have me sign extra copies for them to sell. Books and Books in Coral Gables, Florida, has (had) at least ten when I left on Saturday.

jay_B: Cubs (and former Cubs) have a couple of high spots on the updated list, but after that, not much. Any Cubs prospects that are close to the list, or who have the potential to make the list next year?
Keith Law: And they lost one since you submitted this. Alzolay would be their next guy outside the 50. De la Cruz might be next, if he comes back and can stay healthy the rest of the year.

Nate: Keith, were there any considerations for Dunning or Hansen of the White Sox?
Keith Law: No – good prospects, not top 50.

JK: If you were ranking those same 50 prospects for fantasy players, who would rise and drop the most? Many of us reference your list but it’s somewhat difficult without knowing how much of their talent is glove vs bat. Thanks for any insight.
Keith Law: Hard to say. I haven’t played fantasy baseball in any form in 15 years, and I don’t really keep track of the counting stats that matter in fantasy.

The Bilmo: Why does everyone have to get in the game? Isn’t the important thing being named to the team?
Keith Law: I don’t know when this became a Thing, but it is definitely one now, and I agree that it makes the game worse to watch.

NYTT: How difficult is it to avoid prospect fatigue in evaluations/rankings? Do you try and be cognizant of prospect fatigue and minimize it or not worry about it because you know it will be there regardless?
Keith Law: I am not sure what you mean.

Matt: Hi Keith, love your work. Has the opinion on Tyler O’neil shifted some given his recent hot streak? Seems to have adjusted after a pretty crummy start.
Keith Law: He wasn’t on my top 100 before the season and he wouldn’t be on it now.

Josh C: What are your thoughts on Francis Martes? Would he have made the top 50 if he wasn’t in the majors right now? How do you compare him to Whitley, Perez, etc?
Keith Law: I think he was in my preseason top 50. Beyond that, it’s hard to say – he’s now pitched against major-league hitters for several weeks, and I can’t pretend that didn’t happen. Whitley is the one who seems to be emerging as the best of the group, although that’s no slight on the other two.

Matt: Are your rankings based on your own scouting or are they based on your impressions of industry consensus?
Keith Law: I see as many players as I can, but I can’t see everyone, and I don’t get long looks at guys, so I talk to lots of scouts and execs. I circulated several versions of the top 50 starting about a week ago and asked folks (all with teams) for feedback. The final list reflects much of what they gave back to me.

NYTT: How did Cristian Pache look last night?
Keith Law: Great in center, overwhelmed at the plate by the dude throwing 100.

Marc : Any consideration for Woodruff in top 50?
Keith Law: Players in the majors right now are not eligible for my midyear lists. He’s actually on the major-league DL, so he’s out.

NYTT: I know Joey Wentz didn’t make the top 50, but everything I’ve read about him has been very positive. What does he need to show next year to be put on that level with the elite left handed starters in the minors, aside from durability?
Keith Law: Would like to see better pure stuff. I think he has modest projection, not huge but enough that another half-grade of everything ought to be in there.

Jason: Any chance Alex Jackson can play himself back into being considered a legitimate prospect?
Keith Law: He’s a prospect, just no longer an elite one. I think he’ll get to the majors.

Marc : What’s your take on Hoskins? Some Phillies fans think Tommy Joseph is “too good” to trade away…
Keith Law: I would have Hoskins up in the majors already.

Alec Asher Wojciechowski: Do you think Kyle Tucker will ultimately be traded this deadline?
Keith Law: I don’t. I think they’d trade Fisher first.

Nick: Didn’t expect him to be in the top 50 but what are your thoughts on Jesus Sanchez? Can he be top 50 by the January top 100?
Keith Law: Could be top 100 in January, but I didn’t rank more than about 60 guys in this exercise.

Rick: With Corey Ray, is the talent out of line with results? Thanks a lot for the list and chat.
Keith Law: He, Clark, and Erceg have all been various shades of disappointing in high-A. Ray perhaps the most – just swinging and missing too much at pitching of a caliber he should hit.

Nick: Franklin Perez… what do you think his ETA is? Pitching well at AA but so young why rush, right? Or does he still have a lot of arm strength and durability build (total assumption based on age)?
Keith Law: After Julio Urias’ injury, why NOT rush? Perez isn’t a projection guy – he’s pretty filled out already – but needs to work on command and learning to pitch more off the FB, based especially on what I saw from him last month.

Jason: Was Luis Urias close at all to making your top 50?
Keith Law: He was not.

Tim: Do you think Bo Bichette will be a guy who has trouble in more advanced levels because of his unusual swing/approach?
Keith Law: I think his hand-eye coordination is so good and his hands so quick that he won’t.

Dallas: Hunter Greene has the exact same size (6-3, 195) as Michael Kopech when Kopech was drafted. Judging by their draft slots it’s obvious Greene was a far better draft prospect but is Kopech in 2017 someone who Greene could be in 2019 (earlier because hopefully no injury or suspension)?
Keith Law: That’s a reasonable forecast, but I will say I hope that Greene in two years has a more consistent slider than Kopech has now. Kopech’s will show plus, and then he’ll throw one that’s a 45. He’s missed so much time and his arm has gotten so fast that I think he’s still figuring out how to use it, but the fact that he can show a plus slider and can show an above-average changeup is all positive.

Lee D, LA: Keith, if you were Dodgers GM, would you trade a top prospect (e.g. Verdugo) to upgrade left field from Chris Taylor (.285/.365/.480)?
Keith Law: I would promote Verdugo to upgrade left field from Chris Taylor.

J.P.: Thoughts on the Q for Eloy/Cease/etc trade? We gotta know!
Keith Law: Already filed to ESPN an hour-plus ago. Waiting for them to post.

Nick: Do you think Lucius Fox can hit enough to be a major league starter one day?
Keith Law: He needs to get a LOT stronger. But he’s also the age of a HS senior.

TJ: In terms of prospects, how much would Brad Hand or another good reliever fetch in trade? Two top 100s?
Keith Law: Any GM who gives up two top 100s for Brad Hand should be fired.

Jake: Now that Quintana is off the board, who do you think is the best starter available for trade?
Keith Law: Probably Gray.

Frank: Keith thanks again for doing these chats. There were no Giants on the list. Were Beede, Reynolds or Suarez close to cracking the top 50?
Keith Law: Not really, no. Been a tough year on the farm for them.

Mo: The Yankees had 5 top 50 guys preseason. One graduated, one got hurt (Kaprelian), and two (Rutherford and Frazier) seem to have dropped off. Two questions — (1) it seems like the farm overall has had a good year, with something like 6-9 top 100 or near top 100 caliber prospects even after the graduations and injuries, but that there’s been a move from those guys being concentrated at the top of the list to the bottom. Is that fair? (2) Why in particular did Frazier and Rutherford drop as much as they did. Frazier has a 122 wRC+ in AAA and success in his tiny sample in the majors. Curious what you’re seeing on him that isn’t necessarily reflected by the stats.
Keith Law: Frazier is in the majors and ineligible.

KG: Hi Keith – in the Quintana trade to the Cubs, did the White Sox get more from the Cubs than they were being offered by other teams in the offseason? The Sox weren’t going to contend so not trading him before the season seemed to introduce risk from subpar performance or injury to Quintana. And if the Sox were waiting for a bidding war between multiple teams still in contention at the trade deadline, did they trade Quintana too soon now? Thanks.
Keith Law: I know Hahn said it was the best offer they’d gotten on Quintana. I don’t have any information to the contrary – I’ve said before that the rumored Astros offer was bogus.

Marcus: Holy crap, the White Sox will be amazing in 2020
Keith Law: It sure as heck looks like it.

Theo: Am I going to regret letting go of Eloy?
Keith Law: I think Eloy is going to be a star. Whether you regret it depends on what Q does for you in the next three years.

Darren: Who was the toughest omission? the number 51 guy you couldn’t fit on the list but wanted to?
Keith Law: There wasn’t just one guy, but others I considered at least: Morejon, Conner Greene, Ronald Guzman, Kevin Maitan (just too little info), Sheffield, Fernando Romero, Sixto, Alzolay.

Evan: I was a bit surprised to see Yordan Alvarez in your top 50 as you tend to be generally averse to 1B-only prospects. Is this a reflection of how monstrous his bat could be, or do you buy into reports stating the Astros believe he could play LF?
Keith Law: Dude can hit.

KPB: What do you like about Logan Warmouth that makes you rank him higher than others ?
Keith Law: Again, don’t know or care where “others” rank him. I like his swing, his defense at short, and his makeup.

Dave53: The last fourteen outs recorded by Dillon Maples for the Double-A Tennessee Smokies have all been by strikeout. (Three hits, Three walks, and no runs over the five outings.) Can Maples contribute at the MLB level this year?
Keith Law: Heard he’s been up to 99 with a +++ slider. His K% in AA is 45% (27/60). Yeah, I think he can. They should nickname him “the Revenant” because his prospect status was deader than dead.

Darren: Have you read the reports on the recent differences in the making of MLB baseballs? How do changes get made to the specific size and make up of an MLB baseball and not get reported? This is critical information that should be made public, but yet it takes investigative reporting to discover. IMHO it seems like MLB management is trying to sneak moreoffense into the game artificially without telling the fans? Would like to hear your thoughts.
Keith Law: As Rob Arthur wrote in that great 538 piece I keep citing, the specifications for regulation baseballs are flexible enough that the ball can differ in tangible ways and still be considered okay.

addoeh: What time will you be on Waddle and Silvy this afternoon to talk about Quintana for Jimenez/Cease?
Keith Law: Good guess. 4:30 CT.

Norman: How far has Corey Ray fallen in your eyes, and with the good news on his arm and the incredible start to his pro career (albeit in rookie league) was Keston Hiura anywhere close to your top 50?
Keith Law: Ray is well out of the top 50, and Hiura was not close. He doesn’t really have a position right now.

TP: Do off the field issues involving a prospect’s family members impact his draft status or standing with an organization?
Keith Law: It may have hurt Groome in the draft last year; there were a lot of rumors about bad makeup, and I think most folks knew there was at least one family member involved with drugs, but I don’t know how much that drove Groome down to pick 12 – or if it was just general concern about a HS pitcher. I know a lot of false stories were out there about him last spring and even after he signed.

Beau Burrows: Coming into the year Florial was all tools. Has his performance this year put him in the conversation for your top 50?
Keith Law: It’s a long path from setup to contact, and it shows in the 30%+ strikeout rate. I think he’s still intriguing, but he wasn’t a consideration at all for the 50.

Greg P: What’s the outlook for Kyle Zimmer? I know he is pitching again, but will his health ever let him get to the majors and will it be as a reliever if he does?
Keith Law: They’re giving him so many days off between outings that I’m not sure how he could pitch as a major-league reliever.

Formica: Do what extent do you care about this juiced ball stuff?
Keith Law: I care if it’s affecting player outcomes. If certain pitchers are struggling with the transition because the ball is different, that’s a real issue, not just for my work but for the work done by the people I know in front offices and scouting departments too.

Chris A: Do you see any reasonable, wholesale changes that can be made to the minor league system to make it better for players? Apart from just increasing salaries, is there something grander that could be done?
Keith Law: Pay them a fair wage (and comply with minimum wage laws). Restore the old rule 5 rules. Tie minor league free agency to age rather than service time, so college players don’t have to wait till they’re 27 or 28 to get there.

EC: Thanks for the top 50 list and all the content you produce. My question is about that content, which appears here, on Paste, on BBC America, and other places outside of ESPN. Is this something that you had to negotiate for? Or are you allowed to do your own thing as long as it isn’t directly competing with other ESPN content?
Keith Law: Short answer is that my contract allows me to write non-sports content for other outlets. I couldn’t write about sports for anyone else without ESPN’s express permission, and in that case, they would be within their rights to withhold it.

Anthony: Years back I was leaning into the anti vax movement but eventually settled into the “spread them out” camp. Looking at the article you post was one of the biggest reasons I came to my senses and moved on from any anti vax sentiments. I truly believe conversation is the key to changing minds, as headstrong as some are. Thanks
Keith Law: I don’t think I’ll ever change the minds of the delusional lunatics in the anti-vax camp. I want there to be plenty of pro-science, pro-vaccination information and commentary out there for anyone who comes into the fray with questions. Otherwise they’ll just hear the idiots.

Matt: If Judge and Stanton can’t hit a baseball 565 feet, can we stop pretending that Mickey Mantle did it?
Keith Law: I said this on Twitter the other day and it applies to Josh Gibson too. Unless the winds were 40 mph blowing out or the ball wasn’t actually a baseball, then no, it didn’t happen.

Nolan: Here’s something that’s been gnawing at me: as good of a job as the White Sox seem to be doing of facilitating their rebuild, how in the holy hell did the Shields/Tatis swap happen? Reports on Tatis seemed positive almost immediately after they traded him, and now he seems to be a budding star. Shouldn’t the Sox have had the best read on him? It’s not like they were going after a huge trade target, and had to include him. They gave him up for a starter who is essentially cooked now and was essentially cooked at the time.
Keith Law: I think that if Tatis had just started playing anywhere before the deal they wouldn’t have done it. He slipped through the internal cracks, which isn’t an excuse, but it’s a reason.

Chris: Now that the Chicago teams set a price, is Gray for Fisher, Perez/Whitley, plus a low end lottery ticket too heavy, too light, or juuuuuuuust right?
Keith Law: That’s an awful lot.

Brian: Now that’s he’s healthy, what kind of player can chavis end up being? what does he need to continue to work on?
Keith Law: Defense is still a big question for me. Also not sold on the approach vs better pitching, but we’ll get a better read on that now that he’s in AA.

Joe: Keith, how concerned are you about the underwhelming seasons of Moniak and Rutherford?
Keith Law: quite concerned, for different reasons – Rutherford because he’s already 20, Moniak because he really doesn’t like left-handed pitching at all.

Little Jerry Seinfeld: What are the Braves doing with these aggressive promotions? Austin Riley to AA?? He’s struggling at high A. Why move up Acuna so quickly ? There’s not even a spot for him on the ML outfield.
Keith Law: Riley to AA makes absolutely no sense. That’s like the Yanks promoting Mateo after a .290 OBP in high-A. I know it’s not just about statistical benchmarks, but don’t you want to reward good performance and avoid rewarding bad performance?

Grant: Keith – How much is proximity to majors factored into these new ranks? I ask because Hunter Greene over Brent Honeywell provides an interesting debate!
Keith Law: Does it? Greene has way more upside than almost any pitcher in the minors. Honeywell is closer to major-league value.

Nate: Quintana get about what you thought or more than you expected?
Keith Law: Given how much I believe in Eloy, I’d say it’s about what I thought.

Dave: Love what you do for the fan’s Klaw!Now that Jimenez and Cease have moved south, does that impact their ranking in any way? Is organization a factor in your ranking?
Keith Law: It is not. Jimenez was #5 this morning, and he’s still #5 now (but we’ve updated the article and logo).

Dougie Jones: Do the White Sox now have the #1 system?
Keith Law: I don’t think I’d put them over Atlanta, which has so much more depth (7 guys on my top 50, and the list keeps on going). But they might be #2. I haven’t done a ton of work on that.

Cam: What are your biggest concerns with Triston McKenzie? Could he potentially be an ace?
Keith Law: That he has to walk around the storm grate or he’ll slip through the bars.

Joe: Yankees only had 1 Top 50 prospect, which isn’t the worst thing since a lot of their top talent has lost eligibility, but is it a concern to you that they don’t have enough top end talent? I assume that they have at least 3 back end Top 100 between Rutherford, Frazier, and Sheffield.
Keith Law: Frazier isn’t eligible, as I said above, but Kaprielian would be somewhere there, and I think Adams would be too. Florial I discussed above, but I think the jury is still out on him.

Andrew: Yordan Alvarez sure shot up quick. He says he models his swing after Hosmer. Do you see any similarity in that comp? More power potential (I hope)?
Keith Law: Looked like it (more power, now and future) to me.

John: I realize its sss but Royce Lewis is posting huge numbers in rookie ball, any reason not to move him to Cedar Rapids (low-A)?
Keith Law: You’re proposing a two-level jump for an 18-yo after 13 games. I don’t agree with that.

Chris: I am guessing Royce Lewis is SSS but I am guessing he is top 75? Could you see him top 50 at years end?
Keith Law: Probably top 75, based on draft ranking. Still playing short, and I don’t believe he can stay there. (If I thought he had even a 50/50 shot at staying at short, he’d have been a top 50 prospect.)

Andy: Why is there no baseball today? This would be a great day to do make up games or even schedule games to allow an off day later this season.
Keith Law: Union wanted the extra off day. I can’t blame them.

Grant: Walker Buehler and Mitch Keller close by on the list – Seems like Buehler’s stuff is more impressive, what does Keller do well?
Keith Law: Keller has been up to 99 before, so I dispute the premise of your question. He’s also got a better build/frame.

Paddy: Why is Robles ranked higher than Acuna? Acuna seems to be a better hitter and has played at higher levels?
Keith Law: I dispute that he’s a better hitter, and he’s played at higher levels because they’re rushing him up the ladder. I think Robles has a better approach and is presently a better defensive CF.

Chris: Hot take on the trade?
Keith Law: I don’t do hot takes.

Neema: Do you think there’s >20% chance that AJ Puk makes the necessary improvement to become a Top-10 prospect?
Keith Law: I’d probably take the under on that. I rarely have more than 3 pitchers in my top 10, and I don’t feel like i could see him as a top 3 pitching prospect.

Jack: Was Alec Hansen close to making it ? If not on the list, has he surpassed Lopez and Fulmer in the system?
Keith Law: I have had Hansen over those two (who project as relievers for me) all along.

Paddy: Why aren’t you high on Jon Duplantier? You can’t argue with his numbers!
Keith Law: I can indeed: He’s a 22-yo college product in low-A. And it’s not huge stuff.

Amy: I was a little surprised to see Groome ahead of Greene. What was the (small) separator and who is more likely to reach a no 2ish?
Keith Law: Groome has the out-pitch curveball. I think they’re both likely to get to #2 or better status.

Chris: Were any July 2 guys in contention this year?
Keith Law: No. I think I’ve ranked exactly one July 2nd 16-year-old on my top 100s in the last five years, Maitan, who by all accounts was an exceptional prospect.

PJ: When Bour has a breakout year you indicate it’s a fluke. When Kingery has a huge power spike is it a fluke or him getting stronger, older, etc. When’s the cutoff on determining that?
Keith Law: Bour is 29. And I don’t believe I ever called it a “fluke.”

Salty: Missed you at Lakewood by a day a couple weeks ago – wanted to check out Sixto live. Would you rank the following based on pure stuff alone Groome/Keller/Sixto? Of the three, does Keller have the more likely chance to become a #1/#2, or is Groome on the same level?
Keith Law: Sixto probably has a top three fastball in all of the minors. He hit 100 six times in 46 or 47 fastballs last night, and it’s got a little life to it. Groome and Keller have way better breaking stuff.

Tracy: Book question: you mentioned Andersonville in a previous post. Is that on your reading docket or not?
Keith Law: Eventually. I have seven Pulitzer winners left, and that’s one of them. It looks like a beast, though, so I’m procrastinating.

Tim: Saw you at Lakewood last night, and noticed you did not stand for God Bless America. I think the requirement of one, let alone two patriotic songs is ridiculous, but do you ever get criticized by fans for doing so or worry about it impacting your employment?
Keith Law: That’s correct. I don’t care if folks don’t like it. You stand if you want to. I’ll refrain from standing if I want to.

Matt: Did Christin Stewart get any consideration? The power seems to be legit, and after a slow start, he’s up to .268/.346/.533 in Erie.
Keith Law: Power is legit but I think he’s a 45 glove in left.

JR: You called it on the podcast yesterday – the Cubs would look to trade for a young, controllable starter. I’m assuming we will get a write up from you on the trade at some point?
Keith Law: I’m still waiting for a link over here.
Keith Law: Whoop, they never sent it to me, but it’s up.

Dom: How do you rate players who will obviously make the majors at some point, i.e. someone like Kyle Holder who fields well enough to at least be a UTIL, versus objectively higher ceiling guys who may never make it?
Keith Law: Huge tilt in favor of the latter. I think the Holders of the world are relatively easy to find. Not value-less, but low value.

Aubrey: Considering the wide variability apparently in what Derek Fisher could be, is it safe to say some organizations might consider him a future star, and value him accordingly? Or his potential floor would temper that for pretty much any team?
Keith Law: Probably fair. I think questions about his defense and how much contact he’ll make in the majors will ding his trade value, but he’d still be a major piece in a larger trade.

Jake : Brewers prospect most likely to crack your next rankings update?
Keith Law: The next update will be 100 names in January. I imagine there will be a half-dozen or so Brewers on there.
Keith Law: OK, I need to wrap this up and get some other work done. Thank you as always for reading and for all of your questions – I had hundreds more than I could answer this week. I should be back next Thursday or Friday, depending on travel, for another chat. Come see me in Harrisburg at Midtown Scholar at 3 pm on Saturday, and at Books Inc in Berkeley CA on Wednesday at 7:30 pm!

Comments

  1. Aaron P. (Wilmington, DE)

    Not specifically Top-50 related, but how would you rank the Phillies A-ball pitching prospects (Sixto, Seranthony, Kilome, Medina, , etc.)? Also, can you indicate who you think can remain a starter if/when they get to the majors?

  2. If i post the question in the chat box above and you dont answer it will everyone still see it?

    Should i have posted this in the chat box above?

    Should i have posted this in the chat box above?
    Should i have posted this in the chat box above?
    Should i have posted this in the chat box above?
    Should i have posted this in the chat box above?
    I cant’ stop now, can it?
    Crap. I keep asking questions! How do i stop?
    DAMNIT

  3. Got a link to the vaccination article that Anthony referenced?

  4. What are the “old” Rule 5 rules?

    • From Wikipedia (so the usual caveats, but this appears correct):

      “Players are eligible for selection in the Rule 5 draft who are not on their major league organization’s 40-man roster and:

      – were 18 or younger on the June 5 preceding their signing and this is the fifth Rule 5 draft upcoming; or

      – were 19 or older on the June 5 preceding their signing and this is the fourth Rule 5 draft upcoming.

      These exemption periods (one year longer than those in effect previously) went into effect as part of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement in October 2006. The change took effect immediately, exempting many players from the 2006 Rule 5 draft even though they had been signed in some cases more than four years before the new agreement came into effect. Prior to the rule change, players were exempt from the first two or three Rule 5 drafts held after their signing (regardless of the year they were drafted), rather than from the first three or four Rule 5 drafts after their signing.”

      The effect of the rule change is that fewer players are seen as desirable by other teams because they have an additional year to be added to the 40-man roster

    • Right, and it wiped out the bulk of the value of the rule 5 draft. We’ve had very few players of any consequence come out of it since the rule change. I think Odubel Herrera is the best pick in the major-league phase since the Soria/Hamilton year (which may have been the last pre-change draft).

    • Gracias to both of you.

  5. Keith I agree with your ranking on Verdugo seems like he’s is under valued by a lot of publications even tho he’s been one of the youngest players at almost every level and has performed, in curios as to why he made such a huge jump in your rankings and what do you see his future as ?

  6. Another content-filled chat in the books, although a bit snark-free for my taste.

    Thanks, Keith.

  7. A plea from your readers: An absolutely great list/blog would be a discussion of the past top prospects who have fallen off the top lists and are suffering from some prospect fatigue, but might be very interesting players nonetheless. Maybe even not “prospects”, but rather the youngsters who still have lots of potential but just haven’t shown it.

    On the prospect side, I’d be thinking guys like Swihart, Owens (I’m a Yankees fan, but two Sox players came to mind first, weird), Carson Fulmer, Cody Reed, or more recent guys like Dillon Tate. On the Majors side, guys like Jorge Soler, Mike Zunino, Tyler Glasnow (maybe unfair to include him with the other two, who have had more time to show their stuff than he has) seem to have all the potential in the world, but aren’t really talked about as much anymore because well, the production hasn’t been there.

    Basically: Who are the potential Aaron Hicks’ out there — the guys who have been forgotten, but shouldn’t be.

    • This is of more historical value, but if that interests you at all you might enjoy a piece that BP put up yesterday of the 50 most disappointing prospects of the draft era:

      http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=32278

    • That BP piece is a great idea done about as poorly as possible. There is no historical perspective involved.

    • To Keith’s point, more than half are from the decade of 2000-2009, with another four since 2010 (just as many as all of the 1970’s). As a Cub fan, I can put a couple prospects that didn’t pan out ahead of David Kelton that didn’t make the list (Brooks Kieschnick, Corey Patterson, Felix Pie (ha!), and Mike “Cartwheel” Harkey).

    • Exactly. The list looks like 1) it was written entirely by people born after 1990 and 2) done without any input at all from actual baseball people – folks who might remember, say, the hype around Brien Taylor or Danny Goodwin.

      Also, no Jackson Melian? He set a record for the highest bonus given to an international free agent in 1997, and never reached the majors.

  8. Keith,
    Any other stops while in California?

    • No, sorry. I’m speaking at a closed event that morning, and flying home Thursday because we have a family event over the weekend.

  9. Just a curious question to Klaw and the readers re the broadcast of the Futures Game. Vasgergian referred to every player as the “property of X.” I’m not making a big deal of it, just curious if anyone else found that off-putting. It had a fork on the chalkboard effect every time I heard it.

    • I didn’t see the broadcast, since I was there, but yeah, that’s some serious bullshit. They’re not chattel.

  10. Keith – just finished the book – great read! Does a guy like Dakota Mekkes have a good shot at the Cubs pen in a few years. I know he was 10th round pick but his his stats in the Cubs system since drafted are eye popping. Seems like nobody can hit him and only concern would be walk rate.

  11. Quick comment, one made with respect. Love your work and your chats, and generally have no problem with your snark. That said, you do have a tendency to not answer questions which you yourself have chosen. Two examples:

    Dario Saric: Why didn’t Sixto Sanchez crack the top-50?
    Keith Law: The simple answer is that I think there are fifty prospects who are currently more valuable (or valued, by the industry and me) than he is.


    Nate: Two questions. Was Espinoza left off because of concerns he can stay healthy or diminished stuff? Raul Mondesi make the list if he were prospect eligible?
    Keith Law: He’s been hurt all year and might not pitch in games at all until instructs. That’s kind of a problem. Mondesi was not eligible.

    In regard to the first question, “Dario” asked why you think there are 50 better prospects — it’s kind of weird to respond with a tautology, to paraphrase “he’s not in the top 50 because he’s not among the 50 most valuable” doesn’t answer the question of why he’s not among the 50 most valuable.

    In regard to the second question, “Nate” stipulated “if” Mondesi was prospect eligible — presumably he knows, therefore, Mondesi isn’t eligible.

    I get that you may not like certain questions, but wouldn’t it be easier to not select them for a response rather than give a non-response?

    My two bits as it’s a pattern I’ve noticed from time to time. And, again, not trying to troll or get under your skin — neither “Dario” nor “Nate” are me and I have no sense their questions are of burning importance — but just thought it might be constructive to point that out.

    Peace.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Keith Law (subs. req’d) posted his midseason top 50 prospects list and SS Gleyber Torres ranks second behind Mets SS Amed Rosario. No other Yankees make the list, though OF Clint Frazier is not eligible because he’s in the big leagues. OF Blake Rutherford was ranked 22nd before the season and dropped out of the top 50 entirely. “Two scouts I asked said he’s just not making hard contact at all. That’s shocking given what I saw from him in (high school),” said Law during his chat. […]

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