Klawchat 9/7/17.

My latest Insider column named Vlad Guerrero, Jr., our Prospect of the Year for 2017. I also have recent boardgame content on the various Game of Thrones boardgames (at Vulture) and the best of GenCon 2017 (Paste).

Keith Law: Things were good when we were young. Klawchat.

Chris : I’m IN on Plawecki. Is that nuts? Low K rate and better D than d’Arnaud make me a believer.
Keith Law: Not nuts; I’ve liked him in the past, too, before Teflon Terry decided it was smart to trash his own young player to the press.

Connor: Corey Ray, Isan Diaz, Lucas Erceg, Trent Clark, Marcos Diplan all had down years at Carolina. Coincidence or organizational issue?
Keith Law: Doubt it’s a coincidence when that many hitters all scuffle at one level. Clark hadn’t really hit well last year either, so I might take him out of the equation, but the others all came in with track record and/or pedigree and fell totally flat. That said, Gatewood and Harrison both had breakout years for the same club – but both had been handled very conservatively and given lots of time to fail and adjust.

Todd: Where would you assign AJ Puk to start next season, and what is his ceiling and the probability of him getting close to it?
Keith Law: Probably back in AA. Maybe a #2 ceiling, but low probability of getting the command and control required to reach it.

Chris : You see anything promising from Jhoan Urena or David Thompson?
Keith Law: I do not.

EricVA: My wife and I have lived in the DC area for a long time. We love the culture and culinary options that come with DC but hate the high cost of living. Now we pay child care that’s equal to the cost of our mortgage. We’ve always been looking to relocate. Recently I was looking at the Wilmington area as an option. Is there enough going on that we wouldn’t be bored? Is Philly the closest option for entertainment?
Keith Law: Philly is the closest option for much of anything. Delaware’s cost of living is low, and the state’s politics generally align well with my own, but you aren’t moving here for the food or entertainment scenes. I’m 35 minutes from downtown Philly, though, so I have access to it.

Josh : The Orioles just called up Austin Hays. He has performed tremendously at both high-A and AA this year (in scarily identical fashion). What do you expect him to become long-term?
Keith Law: I like Austin Hays and think he’s a regular, but you can’t call a 4.5% walk rate for a corner outfielder performing “tremendously.” He’s going to have to tame the aggressiveness – he’s not a hacker, but MLB pitchers aren’t going to give him as many pitches to drive early in the count.

Steve: Of the many paperbacks/hardcovers you read, which do you keep, and how do you organize them in the bookshelves in your home?
Keith Law: I keep maybe a quarter of them – books I absolutely loved, books by certain authors (Wodehouse, Greene, Waugh, Chandler), books I think my wife or daughter might want to read. I sell or donate the rest. I so rarely re-read anything that it doesn’t make sense to keep a book just because it looks nice on the shelf.

Erix: Thoughts on Nate Pearson’s start yesterday?
Keith Law: I wasn’t there.

Raphael: Why does age matter more for hitting prospects than pitchers?
Keith Law: The short answer is that past studies have shown it matters much more for hitters – that performing when young for a level is a huge positive indicator, and being old for a level is a strong negative – than for pitchers. I think a longer scouting answer would include the possibility that a younger pitcher already has major-league quality stuff whereas very young hitters are still developing their approaches even if they’re physically mature.

Dodger fans: Oh, so that’s what regression to the mean is.
Keith Law: Like Cheryl C told Tastee-Taste, it’s a motherfucker.

Marc: Thoughts on Flaherty’s first few starts? Why will he eventually be better than Weaver, who’s been impressive in small sample?
Keith Law: Don’t like judging anyone on two starts – or one, as I saw with Gohara yesterday on my internets – but I think Flaherty has several advantages over Weaver, the biggest of which is an above-average to plus breaking ball. I think he’s a 2 or 3, whereas Weaver is a 4.

Josh: Do you sleep? I highly appreciate all the wide ranging content you generate, but I have no idea how I could be that efficient. I have only read 5 and listened to 8 books so far this year, for example.
Keith Law: I read fast, I don’t watch a lot of TV, and I rarely do ‘nothing.’ I can’t even mow the lawn without a podcast (Grierson & Leitch – one episode almost exactly gets me through the whole half acre) or an audiobook going.

Dr. Bob: Indulge me a moment regarding a Mike Trout trade. Why couldn’t a team like, say, St. Louis put together a package. The Angels have no farm system and not enough talent at the major league level. The Cardinals (and other teams might fit as well) have tremendous depth, though no real standout players and in need of a shakeup. Why couldn’t they put together a package of 8-10 players that would help re-stock both the Angels’ big club and the minor leagues? They would still have core players to add to Trout to build a competitive team.
Keith Law: The obstacle has always been the Angels’ owner, who doesn’t want to trade his Mickey Mantle. With the team on the edge of a playoff berth this year, I doubt he’ll change his mind any time soon.

Dan: Did the Phillies break an unwritten rule in flipping Nicasio to the Cards when Huntington pretty much said he wouldn’t deal to them because they lowballed him? Does this affect their ability to do deals with teams?
Keith Law: I’m not a fan of unwritten rules, but I don’t think the Phils broke one here anyway.

CR: In the wake of some fans’ response to the Michael Bennett incident, and to Colin Kaepernick and other athletes who take action, and as I watch guys like Jose Reyes and Aroldis Chapman not only awarded the privilege of professional athletics but touted by teams’ social media depts., based on your front office experience, is their anything the average fan can do to force teams in all leagues to be more actively socially responsible? I’ve long since given up on the NFL, but my kids still like it and I don’t want to completely eliminate all sports from my life, but I’m feeling like no other option exists but to tune out. Thanks for the chats and for tackling tough issues like this and others.
Keith Law: Sports teams and leagues recognize one language, that of the dollar. If people stop watching and stop attending, the entities will change their policies.

Jack: Overall, what do you think of the pitching in the Phillies system?
Keith Law: Ton of depth in arms who might be starters. Good chance there’s no one there who’s more than an above-average starter. You can dream a little on Sixto with the 80 fastball.

Terrence: After that exchange with Avisail Garcia, Bauer seemed to pitch better while angry. Fangraphs had an interesting article about that, and how normally people want their pitchers to be calm on the mound. Are there some guys you just let them be as mad, weird, crazy as they want as long as it helps?
Keith Law: I saw Johan Oviedo (STL) pitch for State College the other night, and he was really disappointing – 89-91, overusing the CB, not much of a CH – but did touch 93 once. I asked around, and was told sometimes he’ll show that 93-95 after giving up a homer or other big hit. So if it’s in there, and what he’s showing most of the time isn’t good enough (it’s not), maybe he’d be better if he were just regularly pissed off.

addoeh: Where should the “blame” go for Yankees-Red Sox stealing signs fiasco? Is the line drawn where modern technology shouldn’t be used, but all else is more or less fair game? Should teams do a better job of changing up their signals?
Keith Law: Boston’s biggest mistake was getting caught.

Adam: Do you have more faith in Jo Adell or Heliot Ramos long term?
Keith Law: That sounds like a question of probability, so I’d say Ramos. Adell has a much higher ceiling.

Lee D, LA: Keith — I know about SSS and all, but would the D-Backs be favored over the Dodgers in a 7 game series right now?
Keith Law: No. Remember in 2007 when the Yankees swept all six games from Cleveland in the regular season, and then Cleveland won the ALDS from the Yanks 3 games to 1? Regular-season matchup results mean nothing for October.

Rebuilding is terrible: If my memory serves me right, you were the first one who recognized Ozzie Albies when he was in the rookie ball. Do you think he will surpass Dansby Swanson next year?
Keith Law: I doubt I was first but I appreciate the credit. I think Swanson will still end up a very good player, with Albies also producing well as soon as next year. Also, whenever he homers, we need to get #OzzieDuzIt trending.

Brett: Cannot argue with your choice of Vlad Jr. as Prospect of the Year. How close was Acuna? Any others on your short list?
Keith Law: That list was in rough order, so Acuna was second.

Philip: Ultimately does Madrigal’s size prevent him from going top 5? And at this way too early point which range would you be comfortable on taking him?
Keith Law: Don’t think he’s a top 5 guy even if he were average size. First rounder for sure.

Matt: Do you think Vlad Jr stays at 3B long term or has to move off the position?
Keith Law: I told Scott Mackenzie on TSN 1050 yesterday that I thought it was 50/50.

Nate: What do you expect from Raul Mondesi going forward? I know he’s not technically a prospect anymore but he’s still very young.
Keith Law: Very young with no history of performance, largely because he was rushed up the ladder. 19 UIBB this year in 394 PA. Since his breakout 2014 season, he has 60 UIBB in 1677 PA. He’s very fast, and has bat speed, but he’s never really learned to hit – and the Royals have had him bunting a LOT, which I think is counterproductive when a kid has a poor approach to begin with.

Matt: Has pint had such a disappointing first year that he’s no longer a top 100 prospect?
Keith Law: I don’t think he was on my top 100 last January, so it’s not as if this season would elevate him. The Rockies can’t be surprised – we knew he had huge stuff and control problems, plus asheville is a big hitter’s park.

Mark: Klaw,
As the Diamondbacks continue to roll, how much credit for the team’s success does the Stewart-La Russa-Watson group deserve due to the moves they made: a lot, some, none and why?
Keith Law: I’ll credit them for Robbie Ray. That’s it.

Matt Walsh: Saves cradle and protect Wins. RBIs enable and protect both. This is how it ought to be, despite what smart baseball says.
Keith Law: Took me a second, but then I saw the name. Well done.

Mike: Very sorry to hear about the passing of Gene Michael today. Do you think that he receives due credit as an excellent executive from baseball people outside of NY?
Keith Law: Within the game, yes. Very highly respected as an evaluator and a person.

Max: Alex Bregman is having a 4+ WAR (BR) season. Is this what you expect from him going forward, with maybe one or two 5-7 WAR seasons in there as a peak, until he hits his decline phase?
Keith Law: I think there might be another grade of hit in there.

Utilm: Is it just me or is Yankees farm full of hard throwing guys that are probably pen guys long term? Abreu, Acevado, Guzman, Perez
Keith Law: Lot of hard-throwing guys who are probably pen guys … but if you give me five such pitchers, there’s a good enough chance that one of them starts that I’d be happy with the portfolio. Severino looked (still looks, really) like a big breakdown risk who’ll end up in the pen, but he gave them one good year of starting already. If Abreu, who I think has the best chance to start of the group, does that, it’s found money.

tom: What do you think Ian Happ’s potential is? Thanks
Keith Law: Above-average regular, fringe star. High OBP, high K guy with power. Adequate D at second, can fake a lot of positions.

Tim: Which tools are hardest to improve in the Majors? Think we all get caught up in thinking a guy’s AA or AAA stats will dictate exactly who the guy is at the next level.
Keith Law: If a guy doesn’t hit in AA, the odds of him learning to hit in the majors are low – not zero, but low. You can teach a lot of things, though. Guys do occasionally improve their plate discipline, or learn a new pitch, or find command.

Dallas: What do you think happens to Khris Davis this winter? He’s going over $11.0 million as a 4+ in arbitration. Will he be non-tendered? Chris Carter is the comparison but I think Khris Davis has been better than Carter as a hitter however there defensive value is similar (though I wonder what happened this year to Davis’ range in LF; it’s always been good but this year it’s negative). Do the A’s tender him? Trade him? Would he have more value after the tender date because teams will try to steal him thinking he will be non-tendered? Thanks as always for your time and consideration.
Keith Law: Buster asked me about this on the podcast today. I think the A’s try to trade him, but there’s a real chance he gets non-tendered because he’ll take 40+ homers into arb and get something like $10 million. The market wouldn’t pay him that.

Jesse: How much have you read about AI? Are you concerned it could be an existential threat to humans?
Keith Law: No, this isn’t really something taking up much of my mindshare right now.

Jon V : Am I wrong to be incredibly excited about Triston McKenzie? Can he be an ace or more like a really good 2/3?
Keith Law: He can grow into an ace, but he’s not there yet. It’s the expectation that he will add velocity as he fills out, as he still has a very slight teenager’s build.

Peggy Sue: Greetings. Hate crime legislation: Good, or thoughtcrime in disguise?
Keith Law: I think it’s both. I think it serves a useful societal function … but it criminalizes intent in a way that few if any other laws do.

Ron: Hi Keith I see E. Rosario is at 286/326/490 with an 816 OPS. The biggest thing is his OBP which is higher than his career of 304. Is this a SSS or has he done a better job of not swinging at everything? Has some pop and seems like he slowly has improved since April.
Keith Law: He’s gone from “degenerate hacker” to “uncomfortably aggressive.” But he’s always been a bat-speed/high-contact sort of guy so I think it can work for him. He’ll never be a star, IMO, but could hang in as a regular for a while.

Jon V : If you were running the Indians would you look to move Kipnis this offseason and make Ramirez an everyday 2B and play Diaz at 3rd?
Keith Law: Yes.

JR: Theory: the Thursday Next world Jasper Fforde writes about is real. We had a stupidity surplus. The government decided to use the surplus to get Trump elected. It’s the only thing that makes sense.
Keith Law: In that case I think they overspent.

Michael: Hi Keith – wondering if there is any use in today’s day and age for batting average? Or does OBP (and other stats) completely supplant it? Wouldn’t the newpaper and the local tv feed be better off showing OBP than Avg. as they currently do?
Keith Law: I’d much rather see OBP there, but if the audience expects AVG, you can’t just eliminate it without working to educate them on why you’re making the switch.

Chris: Hey Keith, looking at the AFL rosters, some teams have sent upper tier prospects, while others have sent middling ones. What is the overall intent of the AFL, extra reps or putting the best against the best?
Keith Law: Extra reps or letting other teams scout guys you might want to trade. Or for a few franchises it’s just a nuisance so you send a bunch of NPs.

Marco: Heliot Ramos had a great season in the AZL, but didn’t show up on your list of best performances for 2017 draftees. Does he strike out too much, or do you not see him developing like the Giants desperately need him to?
Keith Law: Struck out too much for that list.

B: What are your thoughts on Bo Bichette? Is he a guy that could ultimately be a top 20 prospect?
Keith Law: Love the bat. Don’t think he’s a SS long term.

Alex: As a Giants fan the only thing I have left to cheer for this season is next years number 1 pick. Are there any franchise changing players available at the top of next years class?
Keith Law: At the moment, it doesn’t look like it. Good top tier of HS players, no Harper types.

Garrett: In your prospect write up yesterday you mentioned Acuna as Atlanta’s CF of the (near) future, so I just wanted to see if you would move Inciarte to RF or move Acuna to RF instead? Do you think Acuna has a defensive upside greater than Inciarte?
Keith Law: I’d trade Inciarte. He becomes surplus when Acuna arrives.

B: As an Astros guy, why should I believe in Yordan Alvarez and his success after being completely disappointed with AJ Reed? I know players are different, but what does Alvarez have now that Reed didn’t have when he was raking in the minors?
Keith Law: Reed had (has) questions about his bat speed that proved to be a problem in the majors. Alvarez doesn’t have that.

Joe: Would you try Chad Green as a starter again? If I recall, you were never a big fan of him starting.
Keith Law: No, I’d let him be the new Adam Warren, which is a valuable role.

Evan: Red Sox. Apple. Discuss.
Keith Law: I got her numbah.

Seath: Favorite “Cheap” Beer?
Keith Law: Water.

Nancy: Why not just get books from the library? At least while there still are libraries.
Keith Law: I do that too. I go through ~100 a year, so I’m getting them all over the place – used bookstores, new bookstores, e-books, libraries, and occasionally borrowing from friends.

Brett: I’ve always been curious, and without asking too much personal information, what is performance based on at work in your type of position? Quality of your written work? Quality of the analysis?
Keith Law: People read my work and they pay to read my work. That is what keeps me employed.

Tate: Serious question here….we have had about a decade long drought of major storms bashing the gulf and east coasts. Is this hurricane season a major sign of drastic change, or just a SSS and an outlier while we see a more gradual change in climate over the next few decades?
Keith Law: Better question for climate scientists.

Greg: What have you seen/heard on Ke’Bryan Hayes’ season? Do Hayes or Cole Tucker have a shot at being in your next top 50 or top 100? Thanks!
Keith Law: Tucker no. Just saw him and wrote him up (http://klaw.me/2g9NTCh). Hayes was on my top 100 last year, will still be this winter. High-contact hitter with ++ defense at third. Can grow into some power.

Sean: Obligatory Giolito question: do you see noticeable improvements to delivery/stuff relative to where he was a year ago?
Keith Law: Absolutely. This is a lot more like what he looked like in the Sally League when he raced up all our lists. And I thought his changeup on Sunday was as good as I’ve ever seen it. Still doesn’t quite have the CB feel back, but he’s compensating with some power sliders in CB counts.

Mark: Question from a parent with a young high school position player. Is it better to workout and be in your best physical shape and perform at a high level in high school/summer, or is it better to be in “good” shape and perform at a high level in high school/summer, which leaves some room for “projection” of your body/maturity?
Keith Law: Projection isn’t about in or out of shape, but how a young body may look when the player is 22 or 23. So get in good shape and play well. The rest is out of your hands.

Mike: Keith I was hoping you could help with something for my 10 year old son. He is and has been the best player in his little league since he was about 5. He loves the game and always wants to play. He is a natural righty but has swung a bat left handed even as young as 2 years old. All of his coaches want him to try and switch hit but I am of the mindset that he should learn to do one thing well so there is no need to switch hit now. I also think to try and teach a kid that young 2 swings is crazy but they saying teach him now when he is young as it will be easier than when he gets older. Am I right or are they? If I am at what age is teaching him to switch hit appropriate? Thanks.
Keith Law: The only thing you didn’t mention would be my first question: What does your son want to do? If he doesn’t want to switch hit, that should end the discussion.

Joe: Keith, is there any way that Judge doesn’t win ROY? I have seen crazy people on Twitter say that Benintendi or even Mancini deserves it more because of consistency.
Keith Law: That’s just stupid. Judge has this on lockdown. Benintendi would be #2 if I had that ballot (I have NL ROY again).

John: I was puzzled by your comment last week about Harvey being caused/exacerbated by climate change. It was a slow moving Cat-4; that’s happened plenty before, right? Just bad luck when it hits the country’s fourth biggest city. (No fair referring to Irma in your response — I’m looking for what your thinking was last week. Thanks.)
Keith Law: The frequency of strong hurricanes (cat 3+) is increasing as the climate warms, and they will carry more water and thus dump more rain because of the warming temps. So, no, “it’s happened before” isn’t the right answer. These major storms are gradually becoming stronger and more common.

JR: As a another example to the 2007 Cle/NYY series, in 2015 the Cubs swept the Mets in regular season. Mets swept NLCS in 4.
Keith Law: If anyone – anyone – tries to cite in-season results to predict a postseason series, especially someone who ostensibly covers this sport for a living, they are completely full of shit and you should call them out on it. This is so obvious, and we have so many examples showing it’s obvious, that for anyone to still peddle this crap is insulting to all of our intelligences.

Steve: Has Trey Mancini performed about as you expected based on his minor league numbers?
Keith Law: I’d say he outperformed based on my overall expectations, which includes what I saw of him and what scouts told me they thought of him.

PD: Can the Lighthouse be a viable starting pitcher walking 5 per 9?
Keith Law: No, but he can work from there to something like 4 per 9 and be viable at that level.

Harrisburg Hal: Philly sandwich preference – hot roast pork or cheesesteak?
Keith Law: Roast pork. That other thing isn’t even worth discussing.

Danny: What’s the outlook on Miguel Andujar? Is he a guy who makes an all-star team or two, or more a guy who makes a starting line-up or two?
Keith Law: Guy who makes a lot more than two starting lineups but maybe never makes the AS team.

Adam: Thoughts on Touki’s year? Really had a good 2nd half and the looney toon breaking ball is there. Still 2 years out?
Keith Law: Yeah, two years sounds reasonable, or a guy who’s up in a year in a long relief role or up-and-down role while he continues to develop. I still love the athleticism, arm strength, and CB.

ElanC: Is it time to get worried about the Dodgers?
Keith Law: No.

Brett: What flavor of WAR do you prefer and why?
Keith Law: Chocolate.
Keith Law: Because the answer is *always* chocolate.

Chris W: Have you come by any great noir novels published in the last decade or so? As an avid fan of the genre who has knocked out all the classics, it’s getting harder and harder to pick what to read next.
Keith Law: Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union has a lot of noir elements.

Archie: Would you encourage anyone to throw a screwball?
Keith Law: Yes. If it’s “learn a screwball” or “get released,” then yeah, learn the screwball.

ScottyD: Jurickson Profar – Where does he fit positionally based upon his skill set and do you still see him as anything better than a major league regular (assuming he escapes Arlington this off-season via trade)?
Keith Law: Shortstop. Needs to go somewhere where he can play every day even if he struggles. That’s not Texas.

Brett: Juan Soto’s injuries. Unfortunate series of isolated incidents or real reason to question his ability to stay on the field long term?
Keith Law: Two flukes.

Mike: Keith I recently got the Anova based on your review and the price drop on amazon. Thanks. So far I have made steak and pork chops. All have been good. Do have any recommendations or good places to find recipes that you have enjoyed?
Keith Law: Anova themselves publish a bunch and so does J. Kenji Lopez-Alt on Serious Eats.

Gary: Thoughts on Taylor Trammell? Possibly a top 25 prospect heading into next season?
Keith Law: Not close to a top 25 prospect heading into next season. Still a lot of untapped potential.

Tim: With “It” coming out today, was wondering, ever read any Stephen King?
Keith Law: Not a word.

Mike: Pablo Sandoval, is he finished or is there anything serviceable left?
Keith Law: Finished.

Randy: If a pitcher needed to learn a new offspeed pitch, which one would you try to teach, knowing it would be the easiest for them to command?
Keith Law: Coaches have always indicated to me that the changeup is the easiest to teach, and curveball is the hardest (either you can spin it or you can’t).

Ben: Keith, really love when you’re on the Baseball Tonight podcast. Have you ever thought about revisiting that type of medium? Baseball Today was a staple in my media consumption, and have missed it since. Not saying I don’t enjoy your writing, it’s just harder to consumer while on a jog, as the pod was one of my constant companions. Don’t mean to rehash, but are you at liberty of saying why that ended?
Keith Law: I can say ESPN wanted to brand the show to match the TV program.

Ben: Of the Braves’ rookie pitchers (Sims, Fried, Gohara, Newcomb), which ones do you think stick in the rotation long term?
Keith Law: Fried and Gohara are starters for me. Newcomb could go either way, but the command/control issues point towards relief. Sims I think is a reliever or a meh 5.

Ben: Re: recent noir novels. Pynchon’s Inherent Vice is real fun kind of noir on drugs novel….
Keith Law: Yes, great rec – one of the funniest novels I’ve ever read, too.

Dan: Any fantasy book series recommendations?
Keith Law: Lev Grossman’s The Magicians.

Todd: If healthy, Yanks going to egret trading Kaprielian?
Keith Law: He’ll be good but they got a good player back in the deal.

ScottyD: Michael Kopech – future starter or power bullpen arm?
Keith Law: Starter for me. Three pitches with size and a solid delivery.

Todd: Tim Tebow the GOP nominee circa 2035?
Keith Law: Please, the Tebags were insufferable enough this year on the rare days when he did something at the plate. Don’t encourage them.

Marshall MN: Keith, the Twins have had a nice bounceback after the trade deadline but the last WC spot is still tight. Are you surprised that they haven’t called up Stephen Gonsalves to give him a run as starter?
Keith Law: I’m not surprised, especially if they feel like he was wearing down at the end of his season (last 3 starts included a 3-homer outing and one where he couldn’t get out of the first).

John: Ever read any Robert Stone? He’s occasionally a little melodramatic, but I’ve loved some of his books.
Keith Law: Read Dog Soldiers but I barely even remember it.

mike: Pearson w Vancouver 4IP 74p 47strikes, 1h, 4BB, 10K Oruns. That stat line is impressive, but the BB indicate the big concern for him is the control/command right?
Keith Law: Without either being there or talking to someone who was, I’m loath to draw a conclusion from the stat line.

ScottyD: Is Chance Sisco a regular, above average or All-Star caliber player at peak?
Keith Law: Above-average peak. Although it’s hard to know when Buck is going to take a shine to a rookie and when he’s going to bury him.

David: Profar a good fit for the Padres?
Keith Law: Good fit for a lot of teams, and I’m sure Preller would take his boy back.

Ethan: Where do you stand on win now moves versus weighing present and future? I think I heard you discussing this with Karabell on pod recently, and don’t know if you gave your opinion.
Keith Law: Flags fly forever. When you’ve got a real shot to win – not just getting into the WC, but making a deep playoff run – you should probably go for it.

Jarred: Klaw thanks for all your insight. 2 quick questions, 1. Over or under on the Braves having 7 guys in this off-seasons top 100? Also, Fried struggled between AA/AAA this year, but was outstanding in shorter starts 4-5 innings and then pulled. Is this a cause for concern long term, or just a pitcher still stretching out/ recovering form from TJ a few years ago?
Keith Law: I think 7’s about right. Not worried about Fried, just developing a little slower due, I think, to all the time off, and lagging fastball command, which leads to some elevated pitch counts.

Matt V: Which of the prospects the White Sox acquired this year do you think have a legit chance to be solid major leaguers?
Keith Law: Eloy and Cease for sure. Rutherford was even worse post-trade, but I wouldn’t give up on him entirely just yet.

Steve: Back to the screwball…almost nobody throws it anymore. Could a pitcher who gains some mastery of it have at least some short term success simply because it would be a pitch nobody else throws?
Keith Law: I have always maintained that this would be the case. You’d have to throw a good one, I guess, although the hitters would tell you quickly if that was true.

mike: is Max Pentecost still a guy or has his injuries since being drafted too much to overcome?
Keith Law: Injuries and non-performance.

Chris : Corey Oswalt have back-end starter ceiling?
Keith Law: If that. Probably a 5/6 type.

Joe: What is your opinion on Carter Kieboom?
Keith Law: Wish I’d seen him this year but he was hurt when I caught Hagerstown. Think he’s an above-average regular in the long run. Wasn’t sure about his ultimate position when he was drafted.

Gary: Which father/son combo finishes with more lifetime WAR: the Griffeys or Vlad and Vlad, Jr.?
Keith Law: Wow. The Griffeys combined for 118 WAR, and Vlad Sr had 59, so do I think Vlad Jr gets to 60 WAR? The honest answer is no – how many players in A-ball would you ever realistically forecast to get to that mark? And in Vlad Jr.’s case, he’s a corner guy who may not stay at third, so he’s not getting the positional and defensive bump Ken Jr. got. But, you know, saying I would bet under 60 WAR on a prospect’s career isn’t exactly an insult.

Matt V: Moncada was rated the #1 MLB prospect by some, but struggled last year in his brief stint with Boston and again this year with Chicago. As a White Sox fan, should I be worried about him?
Keith Law: Never rated there or in the top ten by me. Swing and recognition issues.

Kevin : How often do you use the vacuum sealer? Just for sous-vide, or for other storage? I want to try sous-vide and the sealer seems important but also wasteful with the single use plastic.
Keith Law: I use for both sous-vide and storage. But yes, it does waste some plastic. I might otherwise be storing things in the freezer in zip-top bags, so this at least allows me to cut bags to size and be more efficient in how much plastic I waste.

Todd: Matz and Wheeler ever amount to anything? Or just hype?
Keith Law: That’s not fair – both kids have had a litany of injuries, and in Wheeler’s case there wasn’t even any indication he’d have this trouble. It’s not “just hype” when a player who has ability is highly touted or valued but is derailed by physical problems. Both were prospects, Wheeler more so than Matz (who flashed stuff but never showed any durability), so dismissing them as “just hype” is inaccurate.
Keith Law: OK, that’s all for this week’s chat. Thank you all, as always, for all of your questions. I should be back next Thursday to do this all over again.


  1. Hi Keith, Shane Bieber has average stuff, but flew through the CLE system on the back of impeccable control. 10 walks in over 173 IP with 162K and only 8 HR allowed. He was a 4th round pick last year. Do you think he can put up some sub 3.5 eras with that type of control

  2. C’mon Kevin….

  3. Hey Keith- Easier way to point out the frequency of hurricanes has increased- This week marks the 25th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew devastating Florida. “Andrew.” Stars with A, the first letter of the alphabet. The first named storm of 1992 wasn’t until the e August/beginning of September. We’re already looking at Tropical storm Jose.

  4. Re: Noir novels. Earlier this year, I had my first novel published, and it is a comedic noir-ish thing called The Ash Heap of History. I’m not a famous person, and the novel is currently only available in ebook form (although it will get a paperback run if it sells enough copies!), but I thought I’d throw in a couple links here just in case anybody wanted to check it out. It’d really help out a first-time novelist: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06Y2JBXZK/

  5. Regarding the vacuum sealer: It’s not necessary for sous vide. You can use the “water displacement” method and a Ziploc bag and it works just as well. Basically, you put the stuff in the bag, close it most of the way, then submerge the bag in water (except for the top part). This pushes the air out, and then you close the last part of the bag.

    • I personally found this method to be enough of a PITA that I bought a sealer. But others swear by it. I just couldn’t do it well enough to keep the bag from floating in the sous vide pot.

    • I can see that, and I myself was a bit skeptical. But I’ve used the Anova (and thus the sealing technique) a dozen times since buying it (on your recommendation) and it’s worked well for me every time.

  6. Who is “The Lighthouse” with the poor control referring to? I’ve never heard that nickname before.

    • Robert Stephenson of the Reds. I’ve called him that for a few years, because Robert Louis Stephenson’s family built the bulk of the lighthouses around the isle of Britain, and because he’s tall.

  7. FWIW, I still remember that you were the first writer to alert me to Ozzie Albies years ago. I believe you compared him to Profar and I got very excited. And I follow Braves prospects closely so you were definitely ahead of the curve.

  8. one more screwball comment. aside from having an org that had an instructor to teach it. for pitchers who have issues with opposite handed hitters and or not having a 3rd pitch in general couldn’t this change the profile on prospects that at least give them a chance to start? Is there any injury risk stigma ala the split finger?

    Is Fernando an outlier and/or is there too much SSS to even evaluate the pitch.

    • There’s a longstanding belief that the elbow movement (supination?) required to throw a screwball is dangerous for the joint itself. There have been so few people to throw it regularly that I don’t think we have empirical evidence on it; Jim Mecir is the one I can think of who threw it often and over a long career.