Klawchat 8/31/17.

Recent content: looking at five potential September callups of note (Insider), my monthly new music playlist, reviewing the Tour de France-themed boardgame La Flamme Rouge, and reviewing the Jaipur boardgame app.

Keith Law: I know you love the way it’s going down. Klawchat.

Sourman: So… Austin Hays. He can hit it hard and make a lot of contact. He’s a really good prospect, right?
Keith Law: He’s a prospect. He doesn’t work the count much and he’s a corner outfielder. He does have power even the other way and I think he can hit, but perhaps not with much OBP.

Tyler: I am under no delusion that Ian Happ will be able to hit HRs at his current pace (almost 40 homer pace), but what kind of return do you think he could command in the offseason. I have to assume the Cubs will try to shop him, Russell, or Baez – who has the most value of the three?
Keith Law: Russell might have the least given the injury, the domestic violence accusation, and the nonperformance before he got hurt. I think Happ has more offensive potential than Baez because he has a much better approach, so that would imply Baez – who has a .291 OBP without those 13 IBB – would be the one to market.

Sean: In your September call up article you talked about Chance Adams, do you think if he converted to being a reliever full time he would be able to be above average? Or is he just someone who’s destined to be average regardless of role?
Keith Law: I think he’d be above-average in relief and below if he starts.

Andrew: Have you seen or heard anything about Pete Alonso? What are your thoughts on him? Thank you.
Keith Law: Heard he got way too big.

Dog: Given his success in the upper minors this season, will Miguel Andujar get some consideration for being a top 50 prospect?
Keith Law: Nope.

Adam: It’s not fair to say teams “missed” on a player who went 17th overall in the draft, but what was missing from Forrest Whitley’s profile as an amateur that had him ranked lower than other pitching prospects in his class?
Keith Law: He missed over a month at the start of that spring with a thumb injury; I was supposed to go see him but he got hurt and I never got back to texas.

Tracy: Could you explain how the Az Fall League is organized? How are the groupings of the teams are arranged?
Keith Law: I can’t explain it because I don’t know of any explanation.

Eric: Really enjoyed listening to your talk in Berkeley, I’m glad you were able to make it out this far. During that session, one person asked about how teams are using data to position fielders. (Or something to that effect) My follow-up question to that would be the Game Theory approach to that information: If you as a hitter (and your coaches) know that the defense is going to shift for you, don’t you try and adjust your approach to hit against the shift? Why don’t we see more guys laying down bunts or trying to drive the ball the other way?
Keith Law: Of course they should; I’m sure some guys can’t execute it, but there are more guys who can do it and aren’t.

Adam: Scouts are reportedly concerned with how quickly Kevin Maitan has matured physically. Is it really that worrisome considering the successes of huskier prospects like Devers and Vlad Jr, or does the concern have more to do with his conditioning?
Keith Law: I haven’t heard that from any actual scouts, and I think it’s funny that everyone comped him to Miggy when he was 14 and now they’re upset that he (allegedly) has a mature body … like Miggy did even when fairly young.
Keith Law: There’s some weird shit going around with people taking oblique shots at Atlanta and I don’t get it.

Adam: Hudson Potts has had a strong second half to the season. Has his projection changed for you at all?
Keith Law: Nope. But I also wasn’t declaring him a non-prospect when he struggled this spring at 18 in low-A.

Josh Meyer: Think Royce Lewis will have a better MLB career than Buxton?
Keith Law: I don’t, but I also think Buxton is a star.

Dog: Given that his peripherals make him roughly equivalent to Mike Leake (looking at FIP and DRA), wouldn’t the Cardinals (or any other team in free agency) be crazy to give Lance Lynn a long term contract in the $20m/year range?
Keith Law: That would be crazy money, yes. Maybe if he had never been hurt, but it’s not like he brings 200 automatic innings a year.

Adam: Can Bryse Wilson be added to the list of great Braves pitching prospects or is his ceiling lower than a lot of the other guys in that system?
Keith Law: I think I said last week (?) that he’s ahead of Wentz for me.

Sourman: Is Dustin May already a top 100 prospect?
Keith Law: Nope.

Nic AZ: Hey Keith, what do you make of the season Joey Lucchesi is having? Stat line looks good, have you heard much about him?
Keith Law: Yeah, better than a senior sign when they drafted him, but more of a deception guy than stuff with a funky delivery.

Adam: Do you read graphic novels? Not necessarily the superhero stuff, but other stories told through that medium?
Keith Law: No, I dislike the medium entirely.

Rahn: Hi Keith, the Nicasio release/waivers deal is just the latest in deflating, $-grubbing moves by the Nutting-owned Pirates. Stood next to the Penguins and Steelers (who obviously work within the league salary cap), the Pirates are seen rightfully as nickel-and-dimers that never make the commitment to winning the others do. What has been your perspective on the Pirates franchise?
Keith Law: Don’t think that’s remotely fair to the club.

Michael: Hi Klaw- Do you have any go-to cookbooks, sites, or recipes for quick (under 30 mins prep/cook time) dinners for family that actually taste decent?
Keith Law: I don’t per se, but any decent cookbook for beginners (I always start with Joy of Cooking) should indicate total time – and remember to add a little bit if it’s your first time doing a recipe.

Roger: What do you think the Reds do with Senzel and Suarez? Senzel looks like a future star while Suarez just turned 26 and has worked himself into a very good hitter and solid fielder. Move one to second? Outfield?
Keith Law: Suarez to 2b, Senzel stays at 3b.

Otanimania: If you were a GM who was told by Otani’s agent that allowing him to hit was a mandatory part of signing him would you do it? I imagine given the IFA restrictions his decision will probably come down to something like that
Keith Law: If we’re doing handshake deals I’d rather do one that says, hey, we’ll tear this up in a year and give you $20MM a year than hamstring myself like that given the probability that he’s not even an adequate MLB hitter.

Rob K: Terry keeps pinch hitting for Dom Smith against lefties. Jose Reyes is on pace to lead the Mets in plate appearances. Sandy had to prioritize dumping payroll over restocking a now-empty farm system. The only treatment for Matz’s clearly swollen elbow (before season-ending surgery) was weeks of injecting painkillers. No question, I am just sad.
Keith Law: No answer other than that Teflon Terry needed to be gone a year ago.

Your Honor: How worried should the Yankees be about Aaron Judge’s post all star break? Have you seen anything in his swing that would indicate he’s hurt or is it just something wrong mechanically? It just seems very odd that his hard hit ball% would fall off a cliff so suddenly.
Keith Law: He is hurt, right? I’m pretty sure the shoulder is a problem.

chito: Why is Allard ranked higher in most prospect rankings than Soroka? Thanks!
Keith Law: LHP with plus CB vs low-slot RHP without.

Jake Lewis: Can you talk for a little bit about Miguel Castro? The Kids been filthy ever since he got called up in Baltimore. Thoughts on his long term as a SP?
Keith Law: More likely a reliever but an electric arm.

ExExpos: Taylor Ward, Matt Thaiss and Jahmai Jones have been doing well after their recent promotions. Do any have a shot at being in your top 100? And do you think Thaiss could develop more power?
Keith Law: Jones was already there. Ward has no shot – why would you just ignore how awful he was in a larger sample before the promotion? I don’t think Thaiss will develop more than average power, if that; he’s a high hit tool/low power type.

Derek: If you squint, Robles’s 2017 numbers don’t look all that different from Acuna’s. Numbers wise, Robles was better in High-A and not quite as good in AA. Robles has high BABIPs, though not completely insane for a fast guy who makes good contact. Acuna’s numbers are clearly inflated – though surely just somewhat – by his pushing .400 BABIP. If Acuna merits a call-up in September, doesn’t Robles? Yes, the Nats aren’t going to do this, but should they? They need OF help in the short term with Harper out and maybe Robles is lightning in a bottle. Why not give him a look?
Keith Law: There are service-time/40-man reasons not to promote a guy before he’s needed, especially if he’s not likely to be on the OD roster the next year. Not least is that if he gets hurt, now or in March, you’re going to have to carry him on the major-league DL, pay him a ML salary, and give him service time while he’s out. Bigger risk for pitchers, obviously.

Advanced: Do you view statcast stuff like spinrate, exit velocity, launch angle, perceived velocity, etc as a way to put a number on things scouts pick up on?
Keith Law: Some. I discuss this at length in the last few chapters of Smart Baseball.

addoeh: I know rosters expanding to 40 in September gives some guys a chance to play in the majors and some young players experience. But shouldn’t we still keep a 25 man roster for the games? That 25 man roster can change every day if managers want to, giving players opportunities to play. But it seems better solution than each team having 15-20 pitchers in the bullpen and countless pitching changes. These games still have meaning and it seems silly to play 80% of the year with one set of rules and 20% with another set. Agree?
Keith Law: I’d be fine with 28-man rosters, a nod to the need to maybe ease up on some pitchers and rotate some hitters out but still let them get 2 AB for themselves or for the fans (like in spring training). 40 is bonkers.

jay_B: Over/under two 3-WAR seasons for Kyle Schwarber in his career? BABIP in the 230s is going to make it tough.
Keith Law: I do not believe he’s a .230 BABIP guy. I’ll say over.

AD: How do you think society can get to a point where things like anxiety, depression, and substance addiction are widely viewed/treated as the diseases that they are instead of a state of mind or a defect?
Keith Law: Eh, we’re a long way from that. We can’t even seem to accept that a trans person is an actual person.

Chris: Thanks for another chat, Keith. I’m a Mets fan and readily and freely admit many Mets fans are panicky clowns. Many are already having the vapors over Dom Smith’s weight/lack of immediate production. What do I tell my friends who are ready to move Smith in favor of Peter Alonso, who is older than Smith but only now in AA and off to a good start there? I’ll just go on ignoring all together the ones wanting to bring back Jay Bruce to play 1b.
Keith Law: You need better friends.

Derek: Assuming Eaton is healthy in 2018, do you think the Nats should (a) put Eaton in CF and pursue a corner guy in a trade/FA; or (b) platoon Michael A. Taylor and Brian Goodwin and invest resources elsewhere? Put another way, is a MAT/Goodwin platoon good enough for a club that has WS aspirations in 2018?
Keith Law: Harper’s last year means you go all in.

Satya: Hi Keith, is it too early to get excited by Austin Riley’s better numbers at AA than he had at A+? And has he made swing adjustments to help overcome his slow bat speed?
Keith Law: He’s striking out at a much higher rate in AA. And a good rule of thumb is that if a guy stunk at high-A and then has 100 good AB in AA, the first part is real.

Benny: I saw your tweet about Greg Allen’s call-up. Think he can be a starter or more of a 4OF type?
Keith Law: 4OF. Zero power, and not a super-disciplined guy for high OBPs. Plus I can’t see pitchers pitching around him much.

J: Vlad the Impaler with Impaling Discipline is doing more than fine at High-A at age 18 (33/26 BB/K). Start 2018 at AA? Or do they slow him down a bit and return to Dunedin?
Keith Law: I bet he starts in Dunedin and gets to AA around May 1st when the snow melts.

Rob: What are your overall impressions of Villains? I feel like the album starts out and closes very strong, but really falls flat in the middle. Thanks.
Keith Law: Two great tracks, a lot of solid album tracks. Planning to listen to it again on my drive to Reading tonight.

Nate: Keith, My observation of Moncada has been his high k-rates have been a lot about a passive approach. Has this always been the case?
Keith Law: No, he has trouble getting the bat head to the zone in time especially on stuff in on his hands.

Jason: What do you see as a realistic outcome for Scott Kingery’s career? I’ve seen on other chats that you’ve compared him to Altuve but do you see that as his ceiling? Or is he a star?
Keith Law: If he develops some patience – he really just goes after the first pitch he can hit, and so far, he’s hit most of them – he could turn into an Altuve type, but that’s a top 5% kind of outcome. Very few players go from this sort of approach to Altuve’s level of patience.

Sean: When will you admit that you were wrong about Dylan Bundy?
Keith Law: Maybe when I’m wrong about him. Pro tip: “When will you admit…” is a grade 20 approach.

Andrew, NY: i didnt read the article about the TEX/HOU swap, but did see some of your back and forth on twitter. if the idea was to just swap the home games how is Tex negatively effected? would the cost be that high to accommodate the switch?
Keith Law: Those home games are not equal. Houston lost those three home games to the hurricane. Those games and the associated revenue were gone. Houston wanted to be able to move those dates to the future, to games Texas already had on their calendar, for which they had sold tickets and likely set up promotions, games Texas might need for their wild card chances (unlikely, but nonzero), to recoup the lost revenue at Texas’s expense. There’s no reason on earth the Rangers should take that deal, because it’s a pure loss for them and gain for Houston. Instead, the Rangers offered to host the games, let Houston be the home team, and give Houston all the revenue. That was so much clearly better than 1) status quo for Houston or 2) playing in the St. Petersburg mausoleum that the Astros declining the offer left them without a nose.

Stanley: Hi! Percentage odds Tatis Jr. stays at short?
Keith Law: Better than even.

Chris: With Acuna’s streak, he’s obviously a hot topic in Braves country. He’s not Mike Trout (no one is), but is Jim Edmonds a reasonable expectation?
Keith Law: Edmonds hit 393 homers in his career and topped 40 twice. I would not bet on Acuna doing that.

Brian: What exactly IS Tommy Pham? A guy enjoying a temporary spike in performance? Or someone who’s achieved a newfound level of health (mostly on account of corrective eye surgery) who can be a solid everyday player going forward?
Keith Law: Both. Some of this is clearly flukish, and he’s 29, so it’s not like we’ve got a long window here, but he’s had some history of hitting (and has some tools too) around his nonstop injuries.

David: Loved the book! Surprised you didn’t take the opportunity to vent about the double whammy of a guy blowing the save and then getting credit for the win when his team bails him out later. There’s a special level of hell in the scorebook for that one. Pickings too easy there, or just got left on the editing room floor?
Keith Law: Too big a tangent.

Adam D.: As it’s impossible to know who will be best player available come June, who is the better fit for the Giants right now, Brady Singer or Seth Beer and why in your opinion?
Keith Law: Neither. Singer has big reliever risk – reminds me a bit of Jonathan Crawford – and Beer is at the far end of the defensive spectrum.

Brian: In the preseason you said that Jack Flaherty had great command, good-but-not-great stuff, and projects as a mid-rotation starter. Is that still how you see him? Or has his stuff improved over the past year?
Keith Law: Yep, still that guy. Excited to see him tomorrow.
Keith Law: on TV, that is. I won’t be there.

Aaron: In Houston. Thanks for the chat Klaw. Much needed after all the devistation. It’s the little things. When will climate change be taken seriously by our govt.
Keith Law: You are already seeing alt-right voices rushing to say this has nothing to do with climate change, and the basket of gullibles who follow them will eat it right up.

Hunter Harvey: What are your current thoughts on Hunter Harvey now that he is back throwing successfully for the first time in a long time?
Keith Law: Stuff is great but still very cross-body, the way the O’s changed him before he got hurt … not many guys stay healthy throwing like that.

Jake: So…Rafael Montero has actually been okay the last month. Is he a GUY?
Keith Law: Yes. I think he’s more than OK but has had some horrible luck/non-support from defense.

Mike: Lord knows I’ve tried, but somewhere in the rubble of the late 70s/early 80s there’s a “Saturday Night Fever” ripoff that starred Adrian Zmed and only played on Cinemax. The new Arcade Fire is the soundtrack for that movie.
Keith Law: That’s frighteningly accurate. The shame is that “Everything Now” is one of the five best songs I’ve heard this year. The middle of the album is a pretentious mess.

J: Do you think WIllie Calhoun gets a cup of coffee next week, or gets held off til next April? Bat seems ready…
Keith Law: See the answer above about premature callups. They have some disincentive due to the CBA, which is unfortunate for players and fans.

Hank: The Braves obviously have a lot of arms in the minor league system, but I’m still nervous about it. I don’t scout these guys, so please give me your thoughts. I just don’t see anyone with front line upside besides Wright and maybe Gohara. Looks like a bunch of mid rotation guys, no?
Keith Law: Anderson and Wilson would be in that group too.

Steve: Any books post- Lush Life to be added soon to KLaw Top 100?
Keith Law: I do need to update that this winter. All the Light We Cannot See and In the Light of What We Know would both make it. Infinite Jest would. The Orphan Master’s Son and The Sense of an Ending would both require some thought. I finished the Bloomsbury Must-Read Novels list after I posted that last 100, I think, so something like Middlemarch or Bleak House might belong.

Jeremiah: Before the season, you were tauting Daniel Norris as a potential #1/#2 starter, but he has been terrible. (He currently has a 10.50 ERA after five rehab starts in Triple A.) Has his stuff regressed? Has he lost command? Has he been hurt all year? What’s going on here?
Keith Law: Hasn’t been healthy all year.

Danny: Hoping to hear your take on Nick Solak and Kyle Holder with the Yankees. Do they profile as MLB regulars to you after the seasons they’ve had?
Keith Law: Holder is a backup for me – all glove no bat. Solak might be a second-division regular, I think, but I’d like to see him more.

Tim: Was hoping for a Strand or other NYC book store signing this summer. Any chance of that still happening over the off-season?
Keith Law: Nothing worked out. If you have a local store that does signings and they want to try to set something up, let me know or have them contact Danielle Bartlett at HarperCollins.

Angelo: Is it to early to ask which players are worth watching in the AFL?
Keith Law: Yes only because I’m not going to spend time on the rosters until we get closer to October. Some guys won’t be there when AFL Opening Day rolls around.

Jeremiah: Jordan Hicks has been great since his promotion to Palm Beach (1.00 ERA, 32 Ks/6 BBs in 27 innings.) Has he turned a corner? What can we expect from him? Front-end starter?
Keith Law: Front-end starter stuff, but command isn’t there yet.

Jack: Think the Phillies can pencil Hoskins into their 3 hole for the next 5 years?
Keith Law: I think he’s their first baseman for the next 5 years. I don’t want to overreact to a crazy first 20 games.

Chris : Who would you like Mets to look at to replace TC?
Keith Law: There’s a potted plant in my office that would make a nice upgrade.

Larry: I’m an Atlanta fan terrified about rebuilding around pitching. Why is the next group of pitchers different from Blair, Wisler, Newcomb, Sims?
Keith Law: The next wave is better across the board – better stuff, better athletes, more command.

Jon Orr: Have you/are you doing a write up on the Leake trade?
Keith Law: Nope. I don’t bother with salary dumps.

romorr: Keegan Akin, did his season go as you expected, anything he did better or worse? Going forward, what could he work on to improve on his 2017 season?
Keith Law: I wasn’t a big fan, so I guess as expected? Also he’s hurt and I heard he wasn’t good his last few outings.

Jim: So, I’m not trying to name names….but, it sure sounds like that Rosenthal article had the Wren family(Frank or Jeff) written all over it. Okay – so there are some names.
Keith Law: That was my immediate assumption too. Atlanta promoted and reassigned a bunch of people, like every team does every fall. The rest sounded like bullshit.

Chris: Was a bit disappointing to hear your take on Adams, but it seems the Yanks themselves may be not all in on him as a SP. BTW, what did you think of Yard Goats’ field never heard?
Keith Law: Both Hartford and Scranton have beautiful parks. Really impressed by both. Love that Hartford’s park is in a ‘bad’ area of town, too, since that might actually spur a little growth – never enough to justify the public expense, but at least it might help.

Jack: So apparently Buxton has a hamate bone injury. They don’t know if it’s broke yet or not. Is the Twins season over if it is?
Keith Law: No, but if he broke his hamate I don’t want to see him play again until March. Players who’ve had that talk about how long it takes to regain full strength in the hand.

Strohm: Best version of Ticket to Ride?
My vacation rental house had the USA version and my nephew was really into it. Want to get him one for upcoming bday.
Keith Law: USA with the 1910 expansion and Europe are still my favorites. France map (coming soon) will drastically change the game, maybe making it better but also more complex.

Kris: The phillies rebuild is an unmitigated disaster right? Having guys like Joseph and Galvis block top prospects makes zero sense. No imminent pitching help. Most of their prospects not named Sixto having disappointing seasons. MacPhail needs to go.
Keith Law: Well, that honeymoon ended quickly.

TJ: What do you make of billy McKinneys good statistical season? Do you think he can be an every day caliber player in MLB?
Keith Law: Saw him. Probably not a regular, but there’s a chance. Still a lot of swing and miss there for a guy with such a pretty swing.

JR: Have you made any donations to charity to help Houston? I’ve read too much bad stuff on red cross to consider donation to them, but want to help. Any thoughts on most worthwhile places to donate too to help?
Keith Law: I don’t give to the Red Cross, ever. I had just written a check to a local food bank last week, so all I’ve done so far is bought about $50 in supplies for that law firm (Merritt) in Dallas that’s loading up trucks with essentials to ship down to Houston.

Michael Devon : Thanks, Keith. Logan Allen and Freddy Peralta. Curious what scouts are saying. Thanks!
Keith Law: Discussed Allen last week. Peralta is a short RHP who’s 88-92. Not sure why I’ve been asked about him a few times this week on twitter. He’s just a guy.

A: Hi Keith, thanks for chatting. What would you expect to see out of Cornelius Randolph in the AFL?
Keith Law: I’d like to actually see him hit; he’s been pretty disappointing at the plate, and that’s his entire game.

Ben, the NYC: Have you seen Ronaldo Hernandez?
Keith Law: I have never been to an Appy League game in my life.

Dallas: Have you heard anything on Gabriel Arias the 2016 July 1st signing moved up to Lo-A for the Padres?
Keith Law: Saw him in March, he’s pretty young for low-A but they have so many young SS that someone had to move up to get everyone playing time. I liked what I saw in spring training but he seemed a long way away, like most of their 17-year-old kids. Tatis was there, and even one year older made him look like the grown-up in the group.

TG: If you are the Nationals and are concerned you can’t sign Harper, would you try to get Stanton and his comparatively friendly deal compared to what it might take to sign Harper.
Keith Law: Stanton’s deal is the opposite of friendly, IMO, but I could very much see the Nats acquiring him if they believe Harper is as good as gone. They also need to figure out how much they’ll pay Rendon, who is quietly having an MVP type of season.

J: What do you think about Cleveland’s C prospect Mejia playing 3rd base now? Defense stalled at C? Or just trying to get him on the roster?
Keith Law: I have a feeling it’s to get him on the roster and/or give him some time off from behind the plate. I don’t think his defense has stalled or that he needs a new position.

Tom: 538 had a column confirming what we pretty much knew: Albert Pujols is the worst everyday player in MLB (despite the RBIs). But… in your opinion, what can the Angels really do with him at this point?
Keith Law: Nothing. I don’t see them releasing him so they have to wear it.

Jesse B: Does Adbert Alzolay have the size to pitch 200+ innings, or is he more reliever? What’s his ceiling?
Keith Law: I haven’t seen him myself, but others tell me he’s a clear starter with a chance to be a very good one, a two or better.

Layton Sheets: Do you see Alex Jackson as a future star in the Major Leagues ?
Keith Law: No, but unlike a year ago, he looks like a big leaguer.

TG: Do you support nuclear power as a way to combat climate change? It really is the only carbon neutral technology that is capable of powering our grids in the near future.
Keith Law: I do but I fear Fukushima may have ended our hope of a nuclear power renaissance.

Jim: So Anderson and Wilson have higher upsides than Allard and Soroka?
Keith Law: Yes, that’s accurate.

Chris: i read somewhere the upside comp for Billy McKinney is Seth Smith. Fair?
Keith Law: I can’t go that far.

Bro: Who are your top 5 pitching prospects at the end of the year? Based on previous chats and media, I was thinking your top 5 would be (in no particular order) Whitley, Kopech, Keller, Buehler, and I don’t really know who the 5th would be. Quantrill maybe?
Keith Law: Those are the top four, clearly, and then there’s a big black line between that group and the next tier. The next group of high-upside guys are all kids a long way off – Sixto, Groome, Ian Anderson – too far to put them in the top tier.

Josh Gilbert: What do you think about old guys collecting baseball players autographs ?
Keith Law: Whatever finds your lost remote.

Terpitude: Hunter Greene reportedly 100-102 in one short inning of work. Having just turned 18, could this be a guy who pitches at around 105 with command when his body fills out? That would be unprecedented as a starter. Thanks.
Keith Law: No, I don’t expect him to add any velocity. His arm ain’t getting faster. Nor would I want that.

Joe: Did you do a write-up on your trip to SWB? I want to see your thoughts on Andujar and McKinney.
Keith Law: Not yet; if I had you would certainly be sick of me posting the link. I post writeups every few games, so that the individual posts aren’t too short or too specific to one team.

Drew: Any cause for concern with Erick Fedde’s rough start, especially with diminished velocity in his last outing? I know us Nats fans were spoiled by Strasburg’s debut but Fedde isn’t separating pod from sock right now…
Keith Law: Yes, big concern. He looks awful.

Keith: Do you view the rising K rate of hitters as a problem that MLB needs to solve? If so, how? 4 strikes and you’re out?
Keith Law: Raise the bottom of the strike zone.

Dr. Bob: I have the 30-minute cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen. Good stuff in there.
Keith Law: Their stuff is pretty solid overall, too, although I find Kimball’s writing a little cloying.

David: Knowing what you know of Urias’ injury, do you see he or Buehler with the higher upside (in 3 years) to be the Dodgers’ #2 starter?
Keith Law: Urias’ career might be over. I would assign him a value near zero at this point because of the probability that he’s done or comes back greatly reduced.

MJ: Verdugo getting called up. Has hit .252 in last two months. Is it smart to start his service time now?
Keith Law: I don’t care what his average was in the last two months if I’m deciding whether to call a player up.

Dave : Hey Keith, anything to read into with Mason Martin destroying GCL? Probably not, right?
Keith Law: Not really. He hit 7 homers in the first 12 games (I think) then 3 in the next 40 or so. Weird stuff happens in short season. At least, that’s what Mitch Einertson and Dante Bichette, Jr., told me.

Rahn: So if that is not fair to the Pirates, what is fair comment or consideration, Keith?
Keith Law: Nicasio had limited trade value; I know they shopped him in July, asked for a lot, and didn’t get an offer they liked. It’s two months of a rental reliever who is very good now but has only been good for a year and a half. I had an AGM with another club speculate to me that the team that claimed Nicasio on trade waivers – which he was, by an NL team – offered the Pirates bupkis, so rather than do that they chose to just let him go and figure he’d at least get to go pitch for a playoff team in the AL. I can’t confirm that, but it makes sense, and it doesn’t make the Pirates “cheap.”

Tom: Is Grayson Long a legitimate mid-rotation starter?
Keith Law: No, back-end at best.

ML: Twins just announced it’s a bone contusion for Buxton. Not a hamate
Keith Law: Hamate is a bone, though.

Gerry: I know he’s better on DL twice but is Aaron Altherr for real from what you’ve seen?
Keith Law: He’s intriguing – athlete who never really put it together at the plate, suddenly does so in the majors, so the track record isn’t there but the physical tools are. That’s an “I’m not sure.”

Jesse B: Why isn’t Honeywell in the top 5?
Keith Law: Why would he be? Doesn’t have the stuff of those guys.

Mick: Will you be following the U18 Thunder Bay Canada tournament? Any prospects from non traditional baseball countries that you’re excited about?
Keith Law: I wanted to go see team USA in Minneapolis but the forecast was for rain all weekend. I wouldn’t follow any team but ours there.

Connor: Another injury for Meadows. Do his repeated injuries now effect his prospect ranking for you at all?
Keith Law: Injuries are why I omitted him from my top 50 at midyear.

B: What happens if Albert Pujols retires? I mean, if he continues to struggle and doesn’t want to “tarnish” his legacy, could the Angels quietly offer him a buyout to retire?
Keith Law: I don’t know the man but I wonder if he’s conscious of some upcoming milestones. He’s 61 hits from 3000, and 18 homers from tying Griffey. Junior limped through the last decade or so of his career and still sailed into the Hall.

Bradley: What are your thoughts on Mickey Moniak’s struggles this year? Young for that league…struggles with hitting LHP? Do you imagine he will right the ship from what you’ve seen?
Keith Law: Didn’t like what I saw this year but he’s still just 19. Recognition of breaking stuff was awful.

Jon, WI: How do you like Orlando Arcia’s first full year of performance? What’s his ceiling hitting wise?
Keith Law: Was hoping for a little more but I am pleased with his progress. Still a lot more upside in the bat especially as the approach improves.

Jon: Just looking at your tags and found that the last time you used “sushi” was in 2014. Have you stopped eating sushi?
Keith Law: I’m glad someone uses the tags on these posts – I tag everything and put a lot of thought into them. I do eat sushi but not frequently because I’m really picky about it (it’s raw fish, I think it’s fair to be picky).

ML: Touche. Just meant they’re saying it’s not broken and he’s available for defense and on the bases today
Keith Law: That’s good news. But I’d be fine if they said they’re giving him the weekend off or something.

Jared: Jimmie Nelson seems to have had a breakout year (5th in Fangraphs WAR). Is this who he is or is he still more of a 3/4?
Keith Law: This is probably a peak but I’d be fine with a forecast of a run of seasons that range from league-average to comfortably above-average.

Patrick : Medina, Suarez, Kilome, Dominguez, Romero…all legit prospects after Sixto? Thanks Klaw
Keith Law: Yes, no idea, seeing tonight, probably, yes. I’m assuming those are Luis Suarez and Seranthony Dominguez.

romorr: Mancini is putting up some nice numbers, HRs seem right, but with his lack of patience, hes bound to lose some average. Just curious if that was what you saw, or is there a better eye as he matures.
Keith Law: Suprised by the power, but I guess everyone hits 20+ homers now. Agree that the average seems likely to come down.

Grover: is it really a foregone conclusion that the Nats won’t resign Harper? They aren’t exactly a small market, and aren’t averse to spending. Just seems like everyone has been expecting them to part ways for years.
Keith Law: Not a conclusion but a likelihood. I see no chance he or Machado signs for less than the best offer. With the number of likely bidders for both guys, how likely are you as one team to have the best offer on either? You have to plan like he’s gone.

Adam F.: What are some games that would scale well as a four player game, with two ten year olds, an eight year and a six year old? They have played Ticket to Ride and King of Tokyo, but not much else outside of your basic generic board games. Thanks!
Keith Law: I’d give Splendor a shot. Takenoko is very cute and might work if you help the six-year-old a little. I also reviewed Kingdomino here last week and think it would work for that group: http://klaw.me/2wqhy0y
Keith Law: OK, that’s all for this week. I’ll be in Reading tonight and hope to hit a couple more minor league games next week before the season wraps up. I should be back for another chat next Thursday. Thank you all as always for reading and for all of your questions!


  1. Yinka Double Dare

    Following on re: Urias – I don’t think most people know just how terrible the prognosis is on guys who had shoulder capsule tear surgery. The only guy you could even call a success at all was Chris Young, and he still was diminished some from where he was prior to the injury. Next up would be someone like John Danks, who was bad but at least able to munch some innings for a couple years. Johan Santana looked good for a couple months then went to crap. Many others never got back to the majors at all.

    It’s really bad.

  2. Re: 4 player games for kids, that also sounds like perfect Forbidden Island/Desert territory.

  3. What’s the objection to the Red Cross?

    • The Red Cross has been coasting on its reputation for a while now. It’s responses to Katrina, Sandy, and the Haitian earthquake were abysmal. If I remember correctly, they also blatantly misrepresented their response to the earthquake, saying they had built something like 100,000 houses for those displaced by the disaster, when they had actually only built 6.

      The other major issue is that they are extremely opaque about how donations are spent. They claim to spend 91 cents on the dollar, but several news organizations have shown it to be substantially less.

  4. Thank you for answering my question. Splendor is a good choice and I can’t believe I had not thought about that one. I don’t have Takenoko, but I might pick it up this weekend.