Klaw: The situation may not be rectified. Klawchat.
Gene Mullett: Will you be doing any book signings? Is there any way to get a signed copy of your tome via mail?
Klaw: I will do some book signings, but as of right now nothing specific is planned, and it’s more up to Harper Collins than me. I will figure out some way to sign books if I’m not doing many appearances for that.
Ryan: Thoughts on the Bautista deal?
Klaw: I’ve said there’s no such thing as a bad one year deal. That’s pretty much how I feel here. The Jays get to roll the dice on having Bautista get healthy and produce more than he did last year; if he does 2015 again, it’s a steal.
Ryan: Would you rather Bautista at 1 year, $18m, or Trumbo at 3 years, $37m?
Klaw: Bautista, easily.
Adam: Is Seth Beer the early favorite for the first pick in the 2018 Draft?
Klaw: I don’t think so. I think he’s just the name you know.
Kramer: I have asked you about Carson Kelly before and you said you think he is an everyday catcher. Why do you think the upside is? I know he was originally drafted for the bat and has taken to Catcher well defensively. Is there more to the bat that could come out as it develops.
Klaw: Yes, I think there is – and I think we’ve even seen a little more of that this past year. There’s an old baseball maxim about catchers developing later offensively because of the physical and mental toll of the position. I don’t know how true that is, or how you’d really measure that given the various ways catchers become catchers, but we’ve seen a lot of examples of late-blooming hitters behind the plate, like Lucroy and Mesoraco, enough that I try to keep an open mind on guys like Kelly.
Greg: Hey Keith, I didn’t see a write up from you on the Gohara trade. What are your thoughts on him? Did you like the move for Atlanta?
Klaw: He was going to be #2 on my Seattle list, and is on the top 100. No-brainer for Atlanta, even with the very high risk Gohara brings. Huge LHP with ++ fastball and the chance for a plus breaking ball.
Anonymous: Of all your farm system rankings, name a couple of systems that have the best group of reliever prospects.
Klaw: Twins come to mind immediately. Chargois, Reed, Melotakis, Burdi if healthy, etc.
Frank: You have been less positive about Aaron Sanchez than some in the past. How has last season (and reports from this winter) changed your perspective on his career, if at all?
Klaw: Not true. I ranked Sanchez as a top 20 prospect in baseball one year.
Ryan C.: Could the Phillies trade cesar to the dodgers for buehler and another prospects? Now that they signed saunders they could move Kendrick to 2nd and play one of their younger outfielders in left.
Klaw: There is no way you’re getting Buehler for Cesar Hernandez. That’s wishful thinking to the extreme.
guren: Hi Keith. Would you be in favor of removing undeserving players from the Hall of Fame in order to reset the baseline for induction?
Klaw: Not really. I’d just prefer to see us remedy past mistakes by declining to repeat them.
addoeh: Is Omar Vizquel going to be today’s Jack Morris for HOF voting? Those that use phrases like “eye test” will vote him in. Those that use advanced stats won’t.
Klaw: Yes, it’s already starting. The objective data are clear that he’s not deserving. The illusion of memory – or the simple desire for something false to be true – can’t trump that. And oh, by the way, Vizquel got exactly one MVP vote, 8th on someone’s ballot in 1999, in his entire career. So the guy was never considered by any voter as a top ten player in his league except that one time, but he’s a Hall of Famer? These are essentially the same voters, and they’re just changing their minds on a whim, because he was a nice guy or some shit like that.
ron: what are your thoughts on the phrase “not my president?”
Klaw: He’s the President of the country where I live, of which I am a proud citizen. Therefore, he is ‘my’ President, even though I do not support him, his actions, or his proposed policies. I don’t get to pretend there’s some shadow government in exile and that that’s my president instead.
Nick: If Swanson had two more PAs during last season and was ineligible, is the Atlanta system still #1?
Klaw: I get a bunch of these questions every year, and the answer is always the same. One prospect just doesn’t make that kind of difference. This week’s trade of Dan Straily wasn’t factored into the org rankings because it happened too late, but I wouldn’t move any teams for it either.
Hobbes: Any chance Hunter Greene is a SS instead of a pitcher?
Klaw: Definitely a chance, but he does have to answer real questions about his hit tool. There’s power, but I don’t know if he will actually hit.
Colored Marbles: How do you assses Quintana’s value vs Sale’s value in the market? Quintana has an additional year of control. Should Quintana net more in return than Sale?
Klaw: Sale’s the slightly better pitcher, Quintana has the extra year of control, so I think it’s fair to say you expect as much for Q as for Sale. I don’t see a case for saying more or less.
JC: Keith…do you see StL as a potential top 5/top 10 farm next year if some of their low minors players have a good 2017?
Klaw: That’s true of almost every team in the 11-20 range. Plus we’ll have another draft, another July 2 period, another trade deadline…
Phillip: It seems pretty set in stone that Alex Jackson is moving back to catcher for the Braves, what does this do for his value, and where do you anticipate he will be assigned this spring?
Klaw: Helps his value right off the bat, but the bat is the question, isn’t it? He hasn’t hit enough to be an everyday catcher yet.
Denis: If you are the Dodgers, do you hold onto Bellinger at all costs knowing he’s A-Gon’s replacement next year or do you flip him in a trade for Dozier?
Klaw: Hold him. No way I deal him for Dozier. Or anyone, practically speaking.
Pete: Keith, I think a lot of Phillies fans are mad about being outside the top 10. Can you explain why you don’t see this as a top 10 system?
Klaw: Because there are ten better? Saying your team should be in the top 5 or 10 is meaningless unless you can make a specific case that they’re better than, say, Cincinnati or Milwaukee. And really, the Phillies’ system as a whole did not have a good 2016. Crawford struggled. Appel got hurt. Quinn got hurt, which he does a lot. Kilome struggled way more than he should have. Williams regressed badly. They had a nice draft, but not a great one; Moniak wasn’t #1 on my board then and he’s below a few other 2016 draftees on the top 100. Now, I’m just listing negatives here – there are many, many positives – but that gives you some sense of why they might not be as high as you, thinking only of their system and not others, expected.
Nick: When calling my (LA) senators’ offices about the cabinet appointees, where do I even start? I feel like I wouldn’t know where to begin and would end up rambling unintelligibly.
Klaw: Keep it short (and polite – God only knows what kind of vile calls they’re getting). Are you planning to vote to confirm Person X? If so, I wish you’d reconsider; if not, thank you. And that’s it. You’re probably talking to some poor staffer who’s getting deluged with calls on both sides. Imagine being him/her, and how you’d like the callers to treat you, and do THAT.
Craig: Neftali Feliz — a good buy low/sell high option for closer for Milwaukee?
Klaw: Hasn’t had a healthy, effective season for 2011. I would not bet on him working out. Maybe a ten percent chance. Not saying it’s a bad signing, but it’s more like throwing a dart with the lights dimmed.
Kay: With Gsellman looking like a legit starter, with a better build to handle innings (presumably) and Wheeler limited in his innings, does it make sense to use Wheeler as a high leverage reliever? His stuff looks like it would play there, less stress on the arm, and makes the bullpen much stronger. Plus I’m very high on evil DeGrom
Klaw: Yep, makes sense to me. I’m all in on Gsellman. Definite starter, right now.
Tim: What are your thoughts on the Dan Straily trade?
Klaw: Love it for the Reds. Top 100 guy in Castillo, decent RHR in Brice, lottery ticket in White (probably doesn’t work out, but a guy worth having in the system to try to develop). Makes no sense for the Marlins.
Frank: You have been consistently down on Rowdy Tellez. By all reports, he has worked very hard (and effectively) on his defence. I remember you having issues more with the bat (not sure what) than the fielding, but is he a viable short term solution to an injury problem this year, or is that something you would not even try?
Klaw: Nope, guy can’t play first at all, and he’s a mediocre hitter with brute strength power. Asked a lot of scouts about him this year; outside of the Jays themselves, I can’t find anyone who buys him as a regular.
Berman86: Have we achieved peak Belanger of SS’s w/ all of the recently promoted talent & all of the shiny SS prospects flooding the minors?
Klaw: It’s pretty incredible – I remember the Jeter, A-Rod, Nomar, Tejada years and how people talked of that as a historical moment, but the current belanger of shortstops in the big leagues is even better, and similarly young.
Michael: Love your rankings-thanks for the hard work in doing them! I’m curious about one component which is often just spoken of in general terms but seems ignored…ability of an organization to develop the players to max potential. Does that factor into your projections of the players likelihood to reach their ceilings? Or even the utility in them having a good system?
Klaw: I can’t do that, because any player could be traded at any time. (Look at Kopech, Moncada, and Giolito, all top 25 guys, all traded last month.) The rankings are always team-agnostic.
Pam: Which Atlanta pitching prospect are you most confident in reaching his ceiling?
Klaw: Wiegel, because I think he’s pretty close to it, and his ceiling is lower than some of the others’.
Biscuit: Hey Keith do you think Alfaro breaks camp with the Phils? If not, when do you think he comes up and what sort of impact does he make?
Klaw: Definitely not. Think he goes to AAA and works on receiving, game calling, and taking a pitch every week or so.
Biscuit: What are your thoughts on safe injection sites for drug users? Seems to be a lot of evidence that this approach works better to rehabilitate (and just generally make streets safer) than to just try to incarcerate everyone.
Klaw: Support, strongly. European countries that have decriminalized drug use have had much better results and lower cost than we have with the War on Drugs. And I say that despite having never tried any illegal drugs (not even weed), and having lost an uncle to suicide after years of addiction.
Gerry, scranton: What’s your opinion on Saunders to Philly? Good, bad, or ehhh?
Klaw: Ehhh, eh? Eh.
Big Hen: In the Mets write up you mentioned 2 potential stars in their system — I assume Rosario is 1, but is the other Dom Smith ?? surprised to hear potential star upside with him and not very solid regular.
Klaw: It’s been very weird how even Mets fans have tended to believe the worst on Smith, even though he was the 11th pick in his draft, highly rated as an amateur, and has been young for everywhere he’s played. Dude can hit.
Nick from Somerville: Cameron Planck? what’s his upside? Seems like a lot of cash for a 11th rounder
Klaw: They’re expecting a pretty constant output from him, hoping he’ll add some length to their rotation, and that he doesn’t end up a max effort guy.
John: Which of the current crop of young superstar shortstops (Correa, Lindor, Bogaerts, Seager…) is the first to move to a different position? Which of them stick at SS throughout?
Klaw: Lindor and Bogaerts are 100% shortstops to me. Correa is most likely to move of the four, given his size and defensive metrics that say he’s been below average. Seager is already defying the odds; he’s the biggest SS in MLB history, but he’s playing well there and I doubt they move him until he either plays worse or they have a better option in the system (which I don’t think they do anyway).
Daniel: Keith, Thank you for this chat. It’s pretty remarkable the workload that you are willing to embrace. When you compile these system rankings, what is your impression of talent acquisition vs. player development? Are the best systems finding the best prospects or making the most of what they find? Thank you.
Klaw: You’re welcome. Two different competencies for organizations, and there are absolutely teams that excel in one and fail in the other. Under Doug Melvin, the Brewers acquired a lot of talent in two separate waves, but they couldn’t develop a pitcher to save their lives, and in fact ruined some pretty good prospects along the way. The White Sox had trouble getting and keeping talent in their system for some time, but their development guys worked wonders with castoffs like Quintana. Different staffs with different people, and if the two departments (really more like three, with amateur separate from international) don’t communicate, you’re probably going to have trouble.
Junior: Will your book be available at Barnes & Noble? I like going into book stores to make purchases.
Klaw: Yes, and lots of independent book stores too. I have a soft spot for buying books in person too.
Trent Steele: How long will it take before an MLB team has a female GM? Do you think it is mostly sexism that is keeping women out of these jobs?
Klaw: No, I think it’s the lack of women in the pipeline. If there’s sexism, which there might be, it’s all the way at the start of the process. But I suspect there’s some self-selection going on – women see few women rising in the orgs, so they don’t apply for entry-level jobs because they believe the opportunities aren’t there.
Joe: What is your opinion on Jorge Posada not reaching 5%? He seemed like a borderline at best candidate to me, but I was really surprised he’s one and done. Do you think the logjam of PED players hurt him or am I off on my impression of his candidacy?
Klaw: I would not have voted for him, so I can’t say “well, he should still be on the ballot,” but I agree with the sentiment that one and done makes him seem like less of a player than he was.
Seymour: You mentioned in your rankings that you would bet on Gleyber and Kapielien being the next Jeter and Pettitte – are you really that high on both?
Klaw: Yes, in the sense that Gleyber could be the cornerstone shortstop for a decade, and Kaprelian has ace stuff and size if he stays healthy. They haven’t had prospects like this in some time.
Jesse: Not advocating or panning either but I find it strange that Tim Raines made the hall of fame and Kenny Lofton fell off the ballot unceremoniously. Am I off base?
Klaw: Nope, Lofton was a borderline candidate who got no support whatsoever. The electorate as a whole does a poor job. They get the obvious ones right, but it takes a few years in some cases. They really struggle with a lot of guys who are comfortably above the historical standards but don’t “feel” like HoFers. And then they support clearly unqualified guys like Hoffman or, soon enough, Vizquel. But remember, I’m the bad guy here for trying to hold people accountable for their votes.
RB: Would white Sox jump in rankings from 10 to top 5 after a Quintana trade say for a Glasnow meadows package or martes tucker package
Klaw: Nope. See earlier answer. These rankings aren’t just about a guy or two. Atlanta’s system might run 30 deep in players who project to some sort of real major-league value. EDIT: My answer here was too quick. Yes, a Quintana trade commensurate with the Sale trade would move them up a few spots. I don’t think it would take them to top 5, but my answer here implied they wouldn’t move at all and that’s not accurate, nor is it consistent with how they moved up from the Sale and Eaton trades.
Todd from sydney: Just a thanks for all your content. You’re my favourite sports writer and really help me bridge the gap for someone that has never played. So no question, just thanks.
Klaw: You’re welcome. And if that’s Sydney, Australia, can I hang out with you for the next four to eight years?
John: Day to day, what method do you most frequently use to prepare your coffee?
Klaw: I alternate. Pour-over one day, espresso the next. If I had to choose just one, espresso. But sometimes I get single-origin beans while traveling or from friends with roasters, and those often are too potent for espresso.
Seymour: What kind of year do you expect from Gary Sanchez? Is he going to be a franchise player, or have we seen the best of him?
Klaw: If those are the choices, I’d go 70% franchise player, 30% seen the best.
J: Why would a person who is fabulously wealthy want a job/position where they have to make actual decisions when they have no grasp or passion for the job/position they are seeking?
Klaw: Fame, ego, more money. Never underestimate the desire of rich people to get richer.
Morris: I was on the basketball team at a major D1 college, and we absolutely had hazing rituals. They were great. At every airport, the freshmen (scholarship and walk-on) had to pull the entire team’s luggage off the carousel while the rest of us relaxed. I have no idea what purpose sexual assault, public humiliation, etc. plays in any of this.
Klaw: That stuff does not bother me at all. I know some people would say any hazing amounts to bullying, but if it’s not violent, doesn’t involve public humiliation, and the coaches are playing the responsible adults (making sure the trivial doesn’t become more than that), I think they can have positive effects.
Jake: Anything positive at all from the new admin? It seems like a worse dumpster fire than we could have imagined.
Klaw: I would agree. All these anti-science people overseeing departments where science matters? The Holy See is more friendly to modern science right now than our federal government.
Seymour: Pick one of these for their entire career – Gary Sanchez or Andrew Benintendi.
Klaw: That’s Benintendi. I think he’s the better prospect/player anyway, but catchers wear down faster, are more prone to injury, and play 20-25 fewer games per year.
Tom: I’ve noticed whenever you tweet anything about Trump, a standard response is “you lost, get over it.” This response amazes me. It’s like his followers think the election itself was the Super Bowl and we’re all just sitting around waiting for baseball season to start so we can move on to something new. Like his “presidenting” is not going to affect them too.
Klaw: Or like it’s a rooting interest. I care about our country – about me and my family, about all the people I know across the country, about my readers, about people who are economically or socially marginalized or at risk. I truly believe this administration will pursue policies that will hurt many of those people, far too many, without helping enough. This isn’t rah-rah stuff. And if you want to disagree with me on policy questions, by all means, let’s talk about them. But “get over it” tells me you don’t want to have that conversation. You think you won something.
JWP: Do any of the top 3 pitchers (Blair, Bradley, Shipley) that came through the AZ system have any real upside anymore?
Klaw: Yes, although it bugs me that all three lost velocity at AAA/majors. What the heck was happening in Arizona to cause that?
John: You do not seem to be a big fan of Trumbo. Who do you think was the best fit for him, what should that team have paid for him and was the deal with Baltimore good or bad?
Klaw: I’m not a big fan of his OBPs. He may be a nice guy. I just like hitters who get on base and/or play a position. I didn’t like the Baltimore deal – he’s being paid to be a fringy regular, but if he’s back to a .300 OBP he’s closer to replacement-level.
Chris: KLaw…Quick! Say something nice about Trevor Hoffman! In all seriousness, as a huge Padres fan, I get an respect your thoughts on why he’s not a Hall of Famer. Sorry, some of my fellow San Diego fans didn’t keep it civil. It’s been a tough week for us. Love and respect the job you do.
Klaw: Thanks. Very disappointing how offering an opinion based entirely on objective information – Hoffman threw only 1089 innings, didn’t reach 30 WAR, etc. – brought about such vitriol. Such is Twitter. Imagine what the trolls would have said if I were a woman of color.
Joe: Anyone from the 2016 Draft Class Round 2 or later that you would say has leaped up in rankings?
Klaw: Alec Hansen. Could have been a top 10 pick if he’d pitched in the spring the way he pitched after he signed.
Mike: Looking to learn how to make tomato sauce….Ruhlman’s recipe a good place to start, or do you have any other recommendations?
Klaw: Yes, that’s a good place to start. I rarely eat it, and so I rarely make it, but I do believe in keeping it very simple. Onion, garlic, basil, maybe thyme. No sugar, ever. A splash of red or even white wine, because there are some aromatic compounds in tomatoes that are alcohol-soluble but not water-soluble. And no cheese in the sauce.
Chris K: What do you think of Matt Snyder’s take that Yadier Molina is a no doubt Hall of Famer?
Klaw: I haven’t read it, so I can’t comment. I don’t think he’s going to have a good statistical case. It’ll involve a lot of what-ifs and assumptions about the stuff we can’t or couldn’t measure. That said, peak Molina was way better than peak Vizquel.
Todd: If Andruw Jones’ career had ended after 2007, would he already be in the HOF? Or did the late career phase of him as a decent but fat guy knock him out of contention, despite the extra counting stats?
Klaw: I don’t think so, unless he’d had a tragic end like Puckett getting glaucoma. (I always thought there was a sympathy vote going on there. Puckett was not a HoFer at any point. Nice guy, who turned out to be a creep, whose career ended too early.)
Jason Reynolds: Should the Reds be worried they have a lot of solid talent on the way but no projected stars?
Klaw: That’s a fair question. You might only peg Senzel as a projected star, although Trammell bears watching because every report I got this summer said he had a more advanced approach than most kids that age, especially the stereotypical Georgia ath-a-lete. I don’t think any of the pitchers is a 1, unless Stephenson gets his head out and starts pitching like a power guy again.
Patrick: “And oh, by the way, Vizquel got exactly one MVP vote, 8th on someone’s ballot in 1999, in his entire career. So the guy was never considered by any voter as a top ten player in his league except that one time, but he’s a Hall of Famer?” I don’t think Omar Vizquel is a Hall of Famer, but someone could say nearly the exact same thing about Lou Whitaker, who is incredibly deserving. He received MVP votes in just one year (although he received more support that year than Vizquel. But still, Whitaker’s MVP finishes consist of one 8th place finish). You’re right about Vizquel of course, but that’s not really a great argument.
Klaw: In Whitaker’s case, the voters were consistent, though. Here, we have specific people claiming Vizquel is clearly a Hall of Famer who never said Vizquel was a top ten player in the league. That is the most blatant sort of revisionism and it nauseates me.
Ted: Does Daniel Gossett profile as a 4/5 starter?
Klaw: I think he could be more.
Garrett: Is Peter Alonso ever a factor for the Mets at the MLB level?
Klaw: I think so, unless he’s blocked by Smith. Alonso can hit.
Larry: Any chance Addison Russell makes it into the conversation with the other young stud SS, or is he a notch below?
Klaw: I’ve always been a fan, but as of this moment, he’s not with the quartet someone mentioned earlier.
CB: Ballpark figure, how many years did Dave Stewart set the Diamondbacks back in his two years on the job?
Klaw: It’ll take three years for Hazen & Co. to undo the damage.
Vladimir G: Will I get voted in next year?
Klaw: I believe so. You, Hoffman, and Chipper get in next January. That’s my prediction, not my ballot, of course.
Klentak: what are the differences between a guy like Gallo vs. Cozens? both have ridiculously high K%s & immense power potential but Cozens seems more athletic. Am I missing something?
Klaw: Gallo is way more athletic. That’s not even close. Gallo might be able to play third, although not in Texas. Cozens is bad in RF.
addoeh: Know your schedule for going to spring training, specifically AZ?
Klaw: I don’t, other than general plans. I may attend two of the three WBC games at Dodger Stadium, which breaks the month right in half.
Boe: Last 3 energy secretaries: a nuclear physicist, a Nobel prize winning physicist and…….Rick Perry. WTF?
Klaw: I mean, Joe Perry was at least as qualified.
Dusty: Do you think Fernando Romero of the Twins has a good chance of becoming a frontline pitching prospect this year?
Klaw: Might already be one.
Francis: Do you think Christian Arroyo’s step backward was due to an injury, trying to make adjustments to his mechanics/approach, being overwhelmed by the competition, or a some or all of the above?
Klaw: Call it a step sideways, maybe? Disappointing year, for sure, but he’s still pretty young.
Joe: You said three first rounders for the Yankees are among their top six prospects. When did you come around so much on Cito Culver?
Klaw: I remember getting yelled at by Yankee fans for disliking the Culver and Bichette picks – neither was on my predraft top 100s in their respective years – but that seems to have stopped now. And they’ve been on an absolute roll in the draft, too.
Barry: You don’t think Thome will make it next year on his first try?
Klaw: No. Hasn’t every big power guy failed to get in on his first year recently? Griffey got in, but he was also a good centerfielder throughout his 20s. Thome is Hall-worthy, but he was all bat.
Brad: What did you think of the Smyly trade? I’ve been very concerned about the moves made by the Rays since Silverman took over.
Klaw: I don’t know what the market was for Smyly given his injuries the last few years, but I thought the return was just OK. Smith is an extra OF for me. Yarbrough might be a fifth starter but I think he’s a tick below that – low 3/4 guy, average stuff, really pitches & competes. It might be that the Rays’ international guys loved Vargas, who’s still a baby but projects to plus power.
Keith Law Disciple: From the 2015 Draft, who has the best chance for a rebound (Whitley, Clark, etc.)?
Klaw: Clark was hurt much of 2016. I’d bet on him. Whitley was totally overmatched, though. His year was the most concerning of that whole class. Tate, Bickford, Stewart, Plummer all had awful first years. Russell couldn’t find the plate and was trying to paint at 86-87. Martin surprised me with how little he hit. I’d add Tyler Stephenson to Clark – Stephenson had a concussion and then hurt his wrist. He might have given the John Oliver “fuck you” to 2016 even more than everyone else did.
Klaw: And that’s all for this week’s chat – I have more capsules to write – but I will do this again next Friday, once the entire top 100 is posted, so that we can discuss the whole list at once. Thank you as always for reading!