Klawchat 2/8/18.

My latest game review for Paste covers Majesty: For the Realm, the newest board game from the designer of Splendor.

Keith Law: I’ve lived a thousand years and it never bothered me. Klawchat.

Bob W.: Curious: for your analyses, do you keep it simple with basic spreadsheet functionality only, or do you also use specialized analytical and statistical packages, as in B-school stats courses?
Keith Law: I don’t use any specialized software; if I had access to Statcast or Trackman data, then I would need to because of the sheer quantity of data involved.

Bill G: Thanks as always for your excellent work on the prospects. I am interested in your take on Jorge Lopez, who made your top 100 2 years ago and now has fallen completely off your lists. Do you believe he has a future in MLB, in what role? Thanks again!
Keith Law: Still think he’s a big league starter, maybe more of a back-end guy than I once believed. He had family issues that probably contributed to his 2016 season – a sick kid, I think? – but also I hope the Brewers learned not to send pitching prospects to Colorado Springs. No good comes of pitching there.

Rob: A couple months back in a chat you said ” I like music that’s interesting, that boasts something like strong melodies, intelligent lyrics, technical proficiency, new sounds or textures.” Have you ever done a deep dive on Regina Spektor? She’s got it all. Her middle albums are especially spectacular.
Keith Law: Deep, no, mostly because I haven’t loved enough of her singles for that. She does write great lyrics, though.

BE: Do you find the “you hate my team” comments more amusing or irritating? As a Tigers fan, its amazing how much negativity I read about you, even though you spent 5 pages of Smart Baseball supporting Tram and Lou.
Keith Law: Any fan, reader, or Twitter follower who accuses me of hating his favorite team is telling me one thing: He’s dumb. (It’s always men, BTW.) It’s truly a lack of intelligence – there’s no way I could do this job effectively if I carried actual biases against any organizations. And now, with nearly 12 years on the job, I have a sufficient body of work to point to positive and negative things I’ve said about every team. A bunch of Padre man-babies got all mad online because I said, repeatedly, that Trevor 28 WAR Hoffman was not worthy of being a Hall of Famer, and many accused me of anti-Padre bias, which 1) is silly as I’ve praised their farm system incessantly for two-plus years and 2) who the fuck would even bother to hate the Padres?
Keith Law: Ah, that felt good.

Thomas: Assuming he’s their starting third baseman, what should Tigers fans realistically expect from Jeimer Candelario this season?
Keith Law: High average, mediocre OBP, more doubles than homers, below average defense. Dude can put the bat on the ball, though.

Greg: Hi Keith,
Would be interested what players you would have on top of a list of hitters with the highest ceiling at least 2 plus years away from the majors. Yasel Antuna? R Rojas? Gabriel Arias?
Thanks for your work, only reason I just renewed insider.
Keith Law: That list would be dominated by guys on my top 100, though. You’re looking for deeper names than that, for which I’d suggest looking at the Sleeper I listed for each org. Those are usually players 2+ years away with big upsides; if I list someone closer, or with a more modest ceiling, it’s because the org is devoid of the type of player I’d prefer.

Greg: Which player would you Wander to if you had a choice?
Keith Law: Greg, even if I Wander, I’m keeping you in sight.

Rocky Mountain High: Whom do you expect to give more of a push to Arrenaudo in the future, Welker or Vilade? Not saying they take the job from him, but the guy that gives management thought about the next Rockies 3B.
Keith Law: Vilade. He might be a stud. Team USA staff loved him as a player and a person. I have generally gotten negative enough reports on Welker’s defense to think he at least has a chance to move off that position.

Scott : With the Mets making every possible roster move to banish the newly sculpted Dominic Smith to Vegas where he has already proven he can rake (and get himself out of shape), if you were running a rebuilding team would you be aggressive and make them an offer they can’t refuse?
Keith Law: Yes. I think he’s an obvious guy to target.

Dana: Would you hit Judge/Stanton/Sanchez 2-3-4 or break them up somehow with a lefty?
Keith Law: I think inserting a LHB for its own sake just ends up costing a better hitter at bats. If they were L-L-L, that would be a different story.

Kyle Tucker: Am I on the opening roster or do I come up in June? What should Astro fans expect of me ?
Keith Law: I would be surprised if you were up before September.

Philadelphia resident : Can you explain why people ruin their cities when they win a championship ?
Keith Law: Or when they lose. That’s the part I don’t get – they were going to riot and burn the city down either way. Oh, excuse me, they were going to overzealously celebrate the city down. We only call it a “riot” when it’s people of color.

Ben: Headed to Chicago in a couple weeks to see NGHFB. Any must-hit spots for food that one person can get into on short notice? Or any Chicago pizza recommendations?
Keith Law: New Girls Hit the Fuckin’ Block? Monteverde is my favorite restaurant in Chicago. Publican & their lunch offshoot are great. Any Rick Bayless place (Frontera is the flagship) will be excellent. They don’t serve pizza in Chicago – they serve bread with stuff on it.

Archie: I get the frustration of agents, however, how many of them would buy a Camry today because that is all they could afford without going into debt, instead of waiting until next year when they can buy a Ferrari with cash?
Keith Law: You have kind of hinted at the principal-agent problem, though.

Chris: Can the Mets get anything for Nimmo or Cecchini? I don’t see how their values improve with glut of players in majors at their positions for Mets.
Keith Law: Maybe a comparable fringe big leaguer – trade one of them for a useful bullpen piece or fifth starter?

Logic: I think the sports media is missing the actual dynamics of this years free agent market. If there is collusion, it’s with the agents not the owners. Agents, primarily Scott Boras have decided to let their players sit if they don’t get their customary irrational owner driven contracts. In addition, by doing this they can suggest collusion by owners due to the inactivity the agents are creating. Quite smart. Your thoughts
Keith Law: Disagree. Agents do talk – they’re allowed to – but I don’t think there’s this grand conspiracy either.

Evan: What do you think of the Todd Frazier deal?
Keith Law: Yawn. Really didn’t make much sense for the Mets, unless they just wanted to find another way to limit Dom’s playing time. And I don’t think Frazier’s one-year walk-rate spike is sustainable.

Amy: If the redsox sign JDM, when Pedroia is out, would it make sense to play JDM is LF, Benintendi in right (or center), and Mookie at 2nd? Hanley DH.
Keith Law: I legit thought you were going to suggest playing JDM at second. I may need some caffeine. (Also, Brock Holt probably ends up on the field somewhere there.)

Aaron C.: With the release of PECOTA projections this week, I have a *general* question: How should fans view projections? “For entertainment purposes only” or is there some underlying value for fans and/or analysts such as yourself?
Keith Law: Projections come with error bars, and PECOTA has long been explicit about things like best- or worst-case scenarios – here’s a stat line for this player that would be in the top 10% of outcomes for him, so it’s not likely, but an analysis of his past performance, physical details, and whatever other inputs they use says this is possible.

Gregory: Any suggestions on what to look for in a pressure cooker and in a kitchen scale (for cooking, coffee)?
Keith Law: My pressure cooker is nothing fancy – stovetop model, old-fashioned. I own two kitchen scales – one for larger measurements, and this smaller one for more precise measurements where a gram either way might matter (coffee grounds, yeast for baking): http://amzn.to/2siE8Ya

Aaron C.: With the Padres’ prospects pail overflowing, are there decent odds that you’ll be making a trip to Lake Elsinore this year (where I can get my copies of “Smart Baseball” and Warren G’s debut album signed?
Keith Law: Probably not. That’s a cross-country trip now and I don’t generally do those for pro prospects. I’ll see some of their top guys in Peoria next month.

JJ: Keith, you seem bullish on the Red Sox’ Jason Groom, ranking him as your #30 prospect. However, the Red Sox have done a pretty lousy job in recent years when it comes to developing starting pitchers (where have you gone, Trey Ball?) — does that organizational weakness affect your view/ranking of Groome at all?
Keith Law: I say at the top of the rankings every year that they are team-agnostic. Any player can be traded at any time, and his ranking would not change. BTW, Ball’s issue wasn’t really on player development; he was projectable at 18 and just never got any extra velocity.

JJ: Like you, I’m not thrilled with the idea of Trevor Hoffman in the HOF, but that’s a moot point now. Mariano will undoubtedly coast in on his first ballot next year, but after that, who’s the next reliever to get in? Lee Smith, via Veterans’ Committee? Craig Kimbrel?
Keith Law: I am not supporting this in any way, shape, or form, but K-Rod has a pretty good case with Hoffman in, and so will Joe Nathan. Even if K-Rod doesn’t pitch again this year, he’ll still be 4th all time in saves, and we heard ad nauseum how impressive it was that Hoffman was 2nd. There’s a difference of about 100 IP and 4 WAR between Hoffman and K-Rod right now. I would never, ever vote for Rodriguez, but his argument became plausible with Hoffman in.

Dan: Pirates made some retooling type trades instead of reloads, but there doesn’t seem to be enough talent in place to compete in the short or medium term. What do you think? I feel like they’re counting on more guys stepping up than is reasonable to assume.
Keith Law: I felt like they went more towards rebuild, but the two guys they traded were seen as flawed assets in the market.

Ben: When you’re on the road and eating on your own do you make a reservation or just try to walk-in places? I always wonder how you get into all the best spots!
Keith Law: I walk in and tell the maitre d’, “Do you know who I am?” Then s/he usually says, “Do you know who *I* am?” and I ask meekly if there’s a seat at the bar.

Rex: Hey Keith, thanks for doing this chat. To what degree do you consider the federal deficit to be a problem? If you could decide how to address, what are some measures you’d take?
Keith Law: The growth of the deficit is a major problem, but a truly balanced budget is both unrealistic and perhaps a poor policy decision anyway. Eventually, however, we will lose some of our seemingly infinite borrowing power.
Keith Law: And that could have all sorts of nasty consequences, including stagflation or economic contraction.

Tony: Do you think Andujar will be good enough to prevent the Yanks from going after Machado next year?
Keith Law: I love Andujar, but he’s not Machado good.

Adam: If you did a Top 150, which team do you think would have the most prospects on the list?
Keith Law: Atlanta had the most on my top 100; I would not give a different answer here without doing the entire exercise.

David: Does any data exist indicating the value of splitting up handedness of a starting rotation or is any perceived benefit strictly anecdotal?
Keith Law: Anecdotal. And likely bunk.

Noah: Will there be a strike? Feels like there is so much momentum towards one
Keith Law: They just signed a new CBA a year ago. There isn’t going to be a strike until that’s over.

DealsDealsDeals: What are Blue Jays fans to make of Danny Jansen? Being anointed the Jay’s Catcher of the Future is a lot like being Spinal Tap’s drummer.
Keith Law: Good chance he really is their catcher of the future, everyday guy with more bat than defensive skills, biggest flaw has been trouble staying healthy (at a position not conducive to keeping oneself off the DL).

Andy: Say you’re given the power to fix baseball. You can’t abolish the draft, get rid of commercials, or fire any owners into the sun. What actual changes can be made to even out the power dynamic between players and owners or improve the game? Is it as simple as just calling a better strike zone, granting free agency earlier, and getting rid of spending caps?
Keith Law: Still think you can reduce the time required for pitching changes, perhaps running ads on the screen without breaking completely for commercials. Players used to fight for earlier arbitration and/or free agency, but seem to have dropped or deprioritized that in this last round. Perhaps that was their big mistake.

John: I recently finished your book, and enjoyed it very much. Question – if statcast allows us to measure how far a player travels from crack of the bat until the out, wouldn’t that fail to capture a Ripken-style skill?
Keith Law: I’m not sure what the skill here is.

Nick: Hey Keith, I really enjoyed the new prospect coverage. I’m curios about a guy I did not see on there…what are your thoughts on Rays catcher Ronaldo Hernandez? What’s the upside? Is there breakout potential?
Keith Law: He’s outside of their top 20. One of many interesting, check-back-in-a-year types, but not someone I would tab as a breakout candidate or that the org themselves pushed as a top 15-20 guy. (I talk to people from every club to get their own thoughts and sometimes internal rankings of players.)

john w: i know you don’t compare your lists to that of competitors (and that is totally fine and understandable!). but i was wondering what your thoughts on the value of computer-driven prospect lists, like dan’s at espn. not asking you to attack him or anything, just wondering how you see a list like that and what you take from it. thanks for all the great stuff.
Keith Law: I think they’re useful because they’re different.

Jay: based on what you saw last year is Miguel Cabrera done or was he injured?
Keith Law: Probably hurt.

Jimmy: Cubs win Central fairly easily this year?
Keith Law: No, Jimmy from Chicago

Erich: I am curious as to your position on meat consumption and big business agriculture in the world. We could make as big of an impact regarding climate change and emissions by changing the way we eat compared to changing our energy and transportation, yet we only ever hear about the energy/transportation. This isn’t even considering the rain forest destruction. Why do you think this is? Would it be viewed as an attack on farmers if someone said “we need to eat less meat and dairy to help sustainability feed a planet that will soon have 10 billion people?”
Keith Law: That might be the most unrealistic proposal of all. If we solve our climate change problems, and there’s a damn good chance we don’t, it’s not going to come from convincing 2-3 billion people who are accustomed to eating meat once or twice a day to give it up while also convincing another 2-3 billion people who rarely eat meat but view it as a symbol of wealth or prosperity that they didn’t really want it after all.

Tyler: What would you say is the breakdown of how you get evalutations players? e.g. 50% in person, 30% talking with other evaluators, 20% stats/metrics? Apologies if you’ve given this breakdown before.
Keith Law: There is no answer to that. It differs for each player.

Jaipur rules: Rather than a six year $150 million offer to Darvish/Arrieta do you think someone like the Cubs should look into trading a decent prospect to the Dbacks and take on Greinke and say 75% of his remaining contract? Arizona could potentially resign JD then. Not sure how much Greinke has left in the tank.
Keith Law: If the Dbacks want to contend again this year, they have to keep Greinke. I don’t see them being competitive without him, because any trade would likely be one to shed his salary rather than bringing back talent.

Jesse: Your thoughts on the game Broom Service? I love the cowardly/brave mechanic but it has never gone over well when I bring it out on a games night.
Keith Law: I think it’s fun and very clever, but we find its length is a little tough for weeknight play.

Sparhawk: What does Joey Wentz need to do in order to establish himself as one of the best LHP prospects?
Keith Law: He made my top 100. He’s already one of the best LHP prospects.

mike sixel: I understand that long term deals stink at the end, generally, but they are often good for the team at the beginning…..from a $/WAR stance. If teams are really going to balk at long term deals, which we’ll see probably isn’t true still this spring and next year, won’t they almost “have” to pay more on an AAV basis? If I was an agent, that would be my argument.
Keith Law: The $/WAR stuff is so overblown – getting a ‘good deal’ is nice, but if your team isn’t in a position to capitalize on those marginal wins, then … you got a nice deal, congrats? If I were running a team within range of a wild-card spot or division title, I’d be less concerned about getting the most efficient deal specifically and more about getting the marginal wins I need to get into the playoffs. So I’d be fine overpaying on an AAV basis – and if anything I’d overpay in the short-term to try to get one or two fewer years at the end of the contract, when, as you said, most of them have long gone bad.

Andrew: Can you explain what is meant when a pitcher is described as athletic?
Keith Law: It means he’s a good athlete. I am a bit befuddled by your question. There’s no secondary connotation here – some pitchers are good athletes, some are not. I like good athletes in general because I think they can repeat their mechanics and have more physical potential to make adjustments.

JJ: You’re understandably down on Ray and Rutherford”s prospectness. What do you think they need to do to get back on course/do you think they can make those corrections?
Keith Law: Ray needs a stance/setup overhaul. Rutherford just didn’t impact the ball at all last year. Not sure how to fix that one.

Kay: Frazier at $8.5 million is a steal right? The average has to come up some and he seems to have no other obvious flaws as a player.
Keith Law: Why does the average “have to come up some?” He didn’t hit for average at all in 2016 and was only a little better in 2014. I think there’s a good chance he’s just a sub-.240 hitter now.

Tyler: I’ve been wanting to get into board games for quite awhile and finally convinced my friend group to try Catan. We all loved it! I know you put out your list of top board games, but what are 2-3 other “beginner” games like Catan?
Keith Law: Carcassonne, Splendor, Ticket to Ride are all good ‘gateway’ games that still hold up even though I’ve probably played 200+ other games since I got into the hobby.

Eric: Keith, loyal insider subscriber here. I know the draft is far off and nobody knows this but do you think Nolan Gorman makes it to the Padres pick at 7? I would love to see them add another impact bat to go with all of the developing arms. Thanks for all your work.
Keith Law: He’s a great prospect but nobody has any idea where players are going.

Tom: Assuming Moniak returns to Lakewood, would you advance Haseley to keep him in CF?
Keith Law: I would, but I don’t know if Moniak is returning to Lakewood. I think it would help him, and keep Haseley on track, and if Haseley rakes in Clearwater you just move them both up.

Tom: Have you used Chris Bianco’s cookbook? Do you have any thoughts on it?
Keith Law: I own it – I received an advance copy from the publisher – and it’s beautiful with some very fun writing (if you’ve ever heard Chris talk, you can ‘hear’ him while you read it), but the non-pizza recipes have not worked out well for me at all. I don’t think they were sufficiently tested.

Chris: Vimael Machin, SS in the Cubs’ system, is he anything more than just an org guy?
Keith Law: He’s not a shortstop – only played 6 games at short last year – and was 23 in low-A. Just an org guy.

Darren: Hello Keith,
Sorry to hear you and your daughter had to quit red meat, but hopefully you will be better for it. My wife and I stopped eating meat months ago and now we are both off medications, lost weight without trying, have less pain and just feel better in every way. I found quitting meat was much easier than I expected. For people that have time to cook and prepare good healthy food it is well worth it. As for money, you may spend more on healthy food but we save money and time on medication and doctor visits. Best decision I ever made, even better than getting Acuna for a buck last year in my roto league.
Keith Law: We couldn’t trace eating beef (which is what we gave up, not all red meat) to any specific medical issues, but given our metabolic disorder, it seemed worth trying to see if our shared sense that we felt lousy after eating it was real and not just psychosomatic (or guilt-induced). I miss it sometimes, but less than I expected. Mostly when I go to Shake Shack.

Drew: If the Twins were to opt for a trade as a way to get SP help would a Kepler/Gordon package for Archer be enough and/or a good use of their resources?
Keith Law: My guess is the Rays would insist on more, probably Romero too. Although Gordon fits the Rays’ m.o. of acquiring shortstops who don’t project to stay at shortstop.

Eric: Tirson Ornelas turns 18 in March and he would likely be a high school senior if he had grown up in America. If he was in this year’s draft class, how would he stack up against this year’s class and what round do you think he would go in?
Keith Law: First rounder. Billy McKinney was a first-rounder even though he was a fringy runner limited to LF, because everyone loved his swing. Ornelas can play RF and has more pop, plus one of my favorite swings in the minors.

Darren: How would you rank?
Brent Rooker Peter Alonso Lewin Diaz
Keith Law: Just like that.

Benjy: For someone who says they weren’t going to watch the Super Bowl, you sure had a bunch of tweets about it.
Keith Law: Virtually none of which were about the game, Lassie. And my wife wanted the game on; I don’t dictate what other family members get to watch just because I might prefer something else.

Justin R: Is it fair to say regardless of how free agency shakes out that the Yankees, Red Sox, Indians, Astros, Nationals, Cubs, and Dodgers are playoff locks for 2018?
Keith Law: Anyone discussing “playoff locks” right now is probably asking for fate to prove them very, very wrong. If you give me that prop bet on those seven teams making the playoffs I will gladly take the other side of it.

Moltar: I know you’re “out” on the show but I miss your top chef recaps.
Keith Law: Thank you – I appreciate the kind words from folks who say they miss them, but I do not miss losing the 2-3 hours a week those posts required.

Darren: Hey Keith,
Thoughts on Richard Urena? Even if Tulo wasn’t signed into the next millennium do you see him being a starting SS? Thanks.
Keith Law: He’s in my Blue Jays org report. Plenty of detail there.

Karolyn: If you were Theo, what would you offer Darvish or Jake? At some point they are going to have to accept a 3-4 year deal, right?
Keith Law: I would take either guy on a 4-year deal; I wonder if GMs are holding especially firm on pitcher contracts because there’s been such a bad history of longer deals, and everyone has known this for a while now, but there would always be one or two GMs (or owners) who would come and Leeroy Jenkins the whole market by saying “SEVEN YEEEEEEEEEARS!”

JD: A number of evaluators, including yourself, have tagged Forrest Whitley’s weight at 240. About a month ago he tweeted that he hadn’t been 240 in years and was 195. Because his size and conditioning has been part of the discussion of him as a prospect, does it make a difference? If he’s 195 does that mean he’s taking conditioning seriously? Or does it just take forever to recalibrate when a player loses weight. Joe Musgrove is still listed at the 265 he was when i saw him in short season A but clearly changed his body which made a big difference when he started rising up the Astros system.
Keith Law: I go with official heights and weights from the teams themselves. As long as Whitley is in good shape, I don’t really care if he’s 195 or 235. He’s 6’7″; “fat” for him is going to be a bigger number.

Jeff: Agents never dump clients. What did Puig do?
Keith Law: Nothing would surprise me with that guy. The rumors have been … hard to believe over the years.

Azam Farooqui: Have you read Nicholas Taleb’s tweet’s about skin in the game? He seems to be very critical of academics, do you have any thoughts?
Keith Law: Taleb the Assad-supporting, pseudoscience-touting racist? Yeah, hard pass on that one. I don’t follow him. It’s a shame, as The Black Swan was an entertaining read.

TJ: How was no one able to beat 2 for 17 for the Toddfather? Do you think the Yankees will seriously roll the dice with Andujar?
Keith Law: No one wanted to beat 2 for 17, understandably so given his low batting averages and age.

Eric: So the Braves didn’t trade their upper level SP depth again this offseason. At what point have they missed the opportunity and some of these arms will blow out or lose value?
Keith Law: I think some of them would gain value if they got closer to the majors/pitched better in the majors.

Justin: Klaw,

Non-spoiler Top Chef note. On an episode last week they highlighted a chef that kept “charged” crystals in his pockets as an energy source. It’s not bad enough that people actually believe this crap but they have to include it in an episode so some people can just accept this as fact?
Keith Law: I have heard – but not seen – that this season also featured that Youtube clown Logan Paul as a guest judge, and that one episode featured nachos as a winning dish. I feel like I might have picked a good season to skip.

John Liotta: What are the most well-known books/authors that you have yet to read? I would guess, based on comments over the years, one would be Ayn Rand (good choice). Beyond a reading challenge, what will eventually compel you to finally breakdown and read any of these?
Keith Law: Never read Rand, never will. Never read any Stephen King, either. Some famous novels I haven’t read: David Copperfield, Daniel Deronda, Clarissa, Pilgrim’s Progress, The Plague, Finnegan’s Wake. Probably more non-fiction classics I haven’t read, especially those that tend toward academic/reference work rather than narrative style.

TJ: You have been very open on your support for board games – are you a chess player at all?
Keith Law: I know how to play, but I play it very poorly.

Jay: Enjoyed your book! I’ve always been a stats person but was able to see things in a different perspective. Do you see Michael A. Taylor as a legit RF option for 2-3 years if Bryce leaves and they keep Soto? The defense could be incredible with Robles in CF and Eaton in LF.
Keith Law: Don’t think MAT has the OBP skills for RF. Agreed on defense, though.

John: In years past, I would try to measure who was the best defensive CF in the game, and it would vary from stat to stat. This past year, it kinda looks like Buxton stands out above all of them. Is that your assessment?
Keith Law: Yes, I think he’s the best. An 80 defender, 80 runner, huge arm strength, and not bad at the plate.

John S: it seems that if Franchy Cordero resolves his contact/pitch recognition skills he should be an above-average regular. not that the development is likely, but where do you think the experiment should take place SD or El Paso? it’s not as if the Padres are harming their chances of winning by playing him every day in LF.
Keith Law: I agree it’s unlikely, but I’m hoping he becomes part of that outfield rotation this year. El Paso probably won’t do much to advance his approach.

Yinka Double Dare: You must hate my team, I didn’t see a top 10 prospects for Mystery Team.
Keith Law: They wouldn’t take my calls.

TomahawkCruiseMissile: Does Rhys Hoskins have a chance to be as good of a LF as Kyle Schwarber?
Keith Law: I would say yes. Low bar, though.

Rick C: There’s some video on Twitter of Kyle Muller hitting 95mph off the mound, working with Driveline Baseball. Do you have any concerns with pitchers putting in the type of offseason work they might be doing?
Keith Law: I don’t have enough information or knowledge to be concerned. I know Driveline has posted videos of guys throwing very hard but in non-baseball conditions (different ball, for example).

sage: Most racist city you’ve personally visited?
Keith Law: Tough to say with visits, but I spent two academic years in Pittsburgh in the late 1990s and was floored by how segregated the city is and by the casual if subtle racism of the residents I encountered. There was no chance I was staying there after graduating – too grey, really – but that did not help.

Dr. Bob: Don’t know if you saw this, but I loved Derrick Goold’s simple answer to the question as to why the FA market is so slow: “Math.”
Keith Law: He’s not wrong.

Jshep12: Do you watch any college baseball? If so what are your thoughts on their continued use of metal bats? Is it just to expensive for them to use wooden bats or is the skill level there just not high enough?
Keith Law: That’s part of my job, yes. The bat manufacturers make sure the colleges use metal bats, even though wood bats would improve the product and help players get ready for pro ball.

Danny: Do you expect the Yankees to move Loasigia somewhat aggressively through the system (AA ball by season’s end?) because he’s already on the 40 man and does that necesitate a move to the bullpen?
Keith Law: Yes to the former, no to the latter. Starter potential there. You have three years before he has to be on the 25-man, and that should be plenty of time.

John S: any interest in going to Monterrey to see the Dodgers – Padres series? I feel like I’m the only one going which makes me wonder about the site selection.
Keith Law: In theory, sure, although it’s probably outside the scope of my job. If they play overseas again, I’d be more interested because I think there are non-baseball angles to cover.

Kay: Is is odd that I’m kind of encouraged by the raw talent in the Mets minors still? Desmond Lindsay and Justin Dunn are still young, raw, talented prospects who had rough years. Szapucki coming back from TJ, three legit LHP starter prospects…and a high pick this year. Not so bad
Keith Law: It’s just not that bad a system if they get everyone healthy. Lindsay had a vision issue, and then got hurt about six weeks after he got new goggles and started hitting. Considering how little they’ve gotten back in trades, I think the system is fine. They could just use some better luck this year – them and Colorado, who also had a ridiculous year of dudes getting hurt.

SJ: Do you see Zach Granite ever hitting enough to be a starter? If so, is his ceiling Kevin Pillar or more Kiermaier/someone else?
Keith Law: I don’t.

Joey Bagodonuts: Will you be doing a writeup of the Lincecum showcase? Seriously, though, if his velocity is back in the low 90s, he can be a decent pen option, can’t he? As long as he doesn’t face anyone more than once?
Keith Law: Sure, but I’d be shocked if he were throwing that hard.

SJ: Seems like Amir Garrett’s rough 2017 is attributed to pitching through a hip injury. If he’s healthy, how do you see him performing going forward?
Keith Law: Very good reliever potential, fourth starter-ish if he stays in the rotation.

John: Suppose Edgar and Trammell get into the Hall. Who do you suppose is the next cause celebre for the analytically minded?
Keith Law: Trammell’s in. Whitaker for the Vets committee clownshow, Mussina for the BBWAA.

SJ: Do you think Teoscar Hernandez ends up outplaying Grichuk/Granderson/etc to take a starting job at some point this year?
Keith Law: I think he has the best chance to become a full-time OF of that group.

Germolene: Following up on the Bayless eateries, were you able to try Frontera Cocina at Disney? We went last year, and it was amazing.
Keith Law: Yes, limited menu compared to Chicago but everything was excellent. Went twice. Even the margaritas were excellent and that’s not usually my drink of choice.

Jebby: As a vet, the worst thing about dog-and-ponies like parades is the opportunity cost. Even ignoring the explicit $ cost, all of the time sucked away from training and put toward rehearsals, inspections, and meetings…great way to convince airmen/marines/soldiers/sailors that the mission is secondary.
Keith Law: I would have given the same answer six months ago, but after reading The Body Keeps the Score, I’m even more incensed at how poorly we treat veterans who come home with PTSD. Trauma physically alters the brain. We asked these kids to go overseas and we owe them every possible medical resource to help them recover from the trauma to which they were exposed. You can keep your jingoistic, Leni Riefenstahl-inspired pomp and circumstance. I say put the same funds into training and deploying mental health specialists here for the veterans and around the world for soldiers on assignment.
Keith Law: That’s all for this week – thank you all as always for all of your questions. Sorry I didn’t get to more of them. I’m starting some early draft work, including a top 30 ranking for some time in the next two weeks, and of course will be busy cranking through Oscar nominated films before the awards next month. I should be back for another chat next Thursday as well. Enjoy your weekends!


  1. Yes, Chicago is known for deep dish pizza. In fact, I even love it. But it’s really tourist/suburban food. The locals… the people actually from Chicago go to neighborhood pizzerias that all serve a thin cracker crust cut into squares. I feel like the Chicago the media always talks about is so different than the Chicago that people actually live in.

    • Bob Pollard


      I have to think Keith has had real Chicago pizza.

    • You’re not wrong, of course, but when a tourist goes to Chicago to get pizza, they’re probably ending up at a pizzagna place for the experience. Do you have any recommendations for specific local places?

    • Bob Pollard

      It depends on where you go. “Local” is a pretty broad description. You can go to the “tourist” chains that specialize in deep-dish pizza, like Lou Malnati’s or Giordano’s or Gino’s East, and get good thin-crust pies.

    • I did eat at Bar Toma, which is now closed, but did solid Neapolitan pizza. Never made it to the fabled Great Lakes, which closed “temporarily” but never re-opened.

    • I think the best “pizzagna” is Pequod’s in Morton Grove (also one in the city on Clybourn but I’ve never had it at that location). Burt’s Place was also good before Burt passed away. It has re-opened, but I haven’t been back since Burt’s passing. In fact, Pequod’s and Burt’s Place were both started by Burt. Malnati’s is, I think, the best chain pizza place.

      For thin crust, Piece in Wicker Park is good, though it is more New Haven style. I also like Aureilo’s and Barnaby’s for more Chicago-style thin crust. And, of course, Spacca Napoli, for Neapolitan pizza.

    • I totally forgot Spacca Napoli. They are excellent.

    • Real Chicago

      When I’m talking about neighborhood places:
      John’s Pizzeria on Western
      Marie’s Pizza & Liquor on Lawrence
      Vito’s & Nick’s in Ashburn
      Candlelite in Rogers Park
      Fox’s in Beverly
      Dino’s in Norwood Park
      These are just few.

      Obviously there’s all sorts of different types like Piece, Spacca Napoli, Forno Rosso, Coalfire Pizza, Pizza Art Cafe,

      And you guys listed a bunch above… but there’s so many others throughout the city and suburbs. I know we’re known for deep dish, but Chicago has so much more to offer, Just want to get the word out. This is a great pizza town, no matter what type you enjoy… and I highly, highly recomment John’s Pizza listed above for classic Chicago thin crust, and Forno Rosso for *certified* authentic Neoplolitan pizza. BTW, Burt’s is reopened and fantastic!

    • Is this thin pizza similar to St. Louis style? I really like St. Louis style, but that’s because my family is from Indiana, where it’s common. Most people find it bizarre.

    • Yeah, the crust is similar to St Louis-style, just without the Provel cheese.

  2. That guy from Detroit

    Was that Black Sabbath or 1000 Homo DJs?

  3. That Leroy Jenkins bit made me laugh. Thanks.

  4. “2) who the fuck would even bother to hate the Padres?’
    -That is seriously funny stuff, Keith. That is another reason to love your work. Come for the intelligent baseball analysis, stay for the hilarious owning of backwards trolls.

  5. I haven’t ever seen you comment on other cooking “reality” shows like Hell’s Kitchen/Master Chef/Chopped, etc. Regarding the first two, is it Ramsey’s personality that you don’t like or is it something else?

    • I enjoyed Ramsey’s BBC shows like his original Kitchen Nightmares. Just never got into the shows you mentioned. I watch very, very little TV.

    • With regards to Chef Ramsey, that’s definitely not his real personality…it’s all for the show. My sister has been on Hell’s Kitchen twice and absolutely raved about what a nice and funny guy he is. It’s not fake when he does demos and they all are in awe.

      Personally, I HATE Hell’s Kitchen – and I had to watch two seasons because of my sister – because it’s not at all about the cooking. It’s a drama reality show set in a kitchen.

  6. Taleb blocking me on Twitter for bringing up his clueless remarks regarding Trump has been my social media apex. And what exactly is he saying when he accuses his men he disagrees with of being “low-testosterone” types?

  7. Taleb was using that intended epithet prior to the emergence of the alt-right and their phraseology. It’s basically like using “girl” or “gay person” as an insult.

  8. “I would guess, based on comments over the years, one would be Ayn Rand (good choice).”

    Gotta love the Randians. So precious.

    And what’s with the could shoulder to King? Guy’s a great writer, way more than just ghost-filled gorefests.

    • Did you, perhaps, misconstrue my mention of Rand as a suggestion that I am a fan? Because I am not, though I have read two of her books. I must admit, during weaker times, to doing it for a girl.

  9. I actually think you picked a fairly bad year to skip Top Chef.

    Yes, the crystals guy is a bit loony, but the nacho dish did not win (actually the chef got eliminated for it), and Logan Paul was just a guest, he had no judging.

    They also edited out Besh in that episode.

    I’ve actually found the set of chefs to be fairly good this year. Definitely had the best chemistry of any season in recent years apart from 1-2 people that only stood out because the rest got along so well. With this, much less focus on drama and house dynamics.

    • I may come back to it next year. The timing of the season’s start is actually poor for me, because I’m just ramping up on prospect work, and am also trying to see the year’s best movies, which often don’t get to me until January.

    • Fair enough. Wasn’t sure if you were done for good or just taking a break.

      Just wanted to say don’t believe what you hear. This season’s been actually fairly good to date.

    • I second this. I’m actually really enjoying this season, much more than the last. A number of interesting and talented chefs, no clear-cut favorite, like the idea of giving vets a chance to try again but making them earn it through LCK. The “controversies” have been completely overblown, overall it’s been entertaining and food-focused. Really miss the KLaw recaps though, my wife and I DVR the show so we can watch it on the weekend and used to read the recap right after each episode, always added to our enjoyment of the show,

  10. Re: Hoffman being in. Billy Wagner and his nearly identical WAR (and vastly superior ERA+) can’t even get to 20%

  11. Thanks for landing on the topic of care for veterans. My brother-in-law did two tours in Afghanistan, and was recently diagnosed with PTSD. He is decidedly NOT the same person who enlisted- panic attacks and serious sleep issues are the challenges I know about and possibly/probably just the tip of the iceberg. He has a wife and son, and the lack of resources and qualified and reliable treatment makes not just his life more difficult, but theirs- future generations are impacted. It’s shameful that kids are so readily put in position to serve without consideration or care for their lives afterward.

  12. Speaking of pizza, I remember your top 40 pizzerias ranked article from over two years ago. Are there any changes or updates you make to it today?


    • Yeah, I need to update it. Spacca Napoli in Chicago and Garage Bar in Louisville come to mind.

Speak Your Mind