Klawchat 2/23/17.

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Klaw: I got an open mind, so why don’t you all get inside? Klawchat.

Andy (KC): At what point should a team like the Royals bring up a guy like Zimmer and just let him fire whatever bullets he has in live action? I have to assume he’d be good out of the bullpen already, and what’s the point of him throwing another pitch that doesn’t count?
Klaw: I tend to agree with this, but if Zimmer can’t go back-to-back days, which seems likely given his history of arm issues, then it’s hard to carry him as a reliever in a modern bullpen. You’d have to structure some of the bullpen usage around him, which I think implies a certain type of manager.

Matt: In last week’s chat, someone mentioned he enjoyed learning and was wondering about college even though he was 37. I went back to college when I was 39. Not only did I enjoy it, but I was never the oldest student in the class. Don’t let age be a deterrent to learning!
Klaw: Indeed. Why would anyone ever stop learning? If I didn’t have to work, I’d probably spend some of my free time taking classes. If I’ve lost my interest in learning, stick a mirror under my nose.

Bill G.: Hi Keith. Which pitcher has more upside potential: Alec Mills (CHC) or Jorge Lopez (MIL). Thanks!
Klaw: Lopez. Potential mid-rotation guy or better. Worlds ahead of Mills.

Rahn: Kind of feel like Brooke has been foreshadowed to win Top Chef all year and tonight we’ll see, but I have to say this crop of contestants looks to be one of the weakest. (Said the guy who didn’t get to taste one thing.) But really, the newbies either never got the benefit of the doubt at Judges’ Table or were overmatched, leading to a run by the also-rans. I mean, that rude, sweaty John was in the final four!
Klaw: Agreed across the board. Been debating this with another parent from the bus stop – she has still enjoyed the season, I haven’t as much. I think if you were a big fan of any of the final 3, you probably got more out of this season than I did. (Although I admit to being Team Brooke this year, because she’s just that good.)

Fred: Hi Keith. What do you think is the likelihood Josh Staumont can remain a starter? Thanks
Klaw: Less than 10%.

Vander: If Jeren Kendall strikes out at a pace of once per game or more, how far down team’s boards do you think he’d fall? Do you think the Twins or Reds would still consider him at the top of the draft?
Klaw: Given his other abilities and the general comfort level with higher strikeout rates, I doubt he gets out of the top 5 unless his other stats are all down. Kendall does plenty on contact, and if the projected power shows up more in games, it’ll balance out some strikeout concerns. That said, if he strikes out 70 times and doesn’t walk much or doesn’t show much power or scouts question his defense, that’s a brutal combination.

Edward: Keith, longtime reader, first time questioner in the chats. If an outfielder has a “20 arm”, is it possible for them to improve that ability? And can they improve dramatically? Thinking about Donnie Dewees and his noted skillset
Klaw: Welcome! My bark is worse than my bite. A 20 arm is a gift from the gods. It’s not getting any better without divine intervention.

John: Could you compare Jake Burger to Nick Senzel please? Do you think Burger will still be available in 30’s in the draft?
Klaw: Not even close. That’s like comparing Jake’s Wayback Burgers to Shake Shack. Bear in mind that Senzel put up those stats in the SEC, not in the Missouri Valley.

Jim: What was your “WTF” font size when you read that Jered Weaver was signed by the Padres? Aren’t they rebuilding?
Klaw: Yeah but someone’s gotta pitch. Bring in a bunch of veterans on one-year deals, sort ’em out in March.

Nick: I’m trying to perfect the classic breakfast skillet (potatoes, bacon, cheese), and can’t get the potatoes crispy enough. Any suggestions?
Klaw: Parcook them beforehand and make sure they’re really dry when they hit the oil in the skillet. Also, roughing them up a little bit between the two stages will increase the surface area in contact with the oil. I have fried potatoes almost any way you could think of, and I still prefer hashbrown or rosti style (shredded, salted, moisture squeezed out) for maximum crispiness.

Jimmy: Chances of Astros making playoffs once in next 3 years?
Klaw: Once or more? 75%.

Josh: Best version of Ticket To Ride for 3 people? My 9-year-old has started playing the app version.
Klaw: Start with the classic game. Europe is a slightly better game overall, but adds two rules that you don’t need for a first-time kid player.

Lewis: I heard you on MLB Network (I think it was you) praising Tyler O’Neill as a guy who could flat-out hit, but you seemed down on his hit tool by omitting him from the top 100. Has your read on him changed, or am I imagining this whole scenario?
Klaw: You are imagining this whole scenario because I don’t work for MLB Network and have never appeared on it.

Sean: It was only a one inning appearance, but any initial thoughts to Anthony Banda being recorded at 95-97 during the game against GCU? Possible relief ace if he doesn’t make it as a starter?
Klaw: It was a one-inning appearance in March. I remember Andy Oliver doing that one spring. That didn’t quite work out.

Chris: Have you ever watched the movie Inside Out? I feel like it’s really underrated and has a pretty solid storyline/message.
Klaw: Yes and reviewed it. I would vote for that over any of the five 2016 animated films I’ve seen – four of the nominees or Finding Dory.

Joe: If international players were part of the amateur draft, where do you think Maitan would have been drafted?
Klaw: He’s 16, so it’s not a reasonable comparison. If he’d gone to a US high school for a year and come out at 17, which is feasible, then assuming he performed like I expect he’d have been a top ten pick. But if you’d put him right in the draft at 16 compared to ‘proven’ amateur talents in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico, I don’t think he does.

Still not James Baldwin: Did you have a chance to catch either Neruda or I Am Not a Negro last weekend? I saw Neruda and thought I liked it, but left confused. Pork tenderloin at Cocina Lolo was 80 grade, though. Looking forward to your reviews . . .
Klaw: I saw IANYN yesterday in Philly. I don’t understand the praise for it, and I’ll try to write up a review tomorrow. Neruda I’ll have to catch online later on. I’m also super annoyed that My Life as a Zucchini isn’t opening nationally until next Friday, after the Oscars, or I would have gotten all 5 animated nominees in time. I did get all 5 documentaries and 7/9 best picture nominees.

Andy: Can Ian Anderson be a true ace, or is a 2/3 his ceiling? P.S. I really appreciated your very subtle reference to Jethro Tull in his top 100 write-up. It was the obvious joke, but you didn’t force it. Bravo
Klaw: I’d say more of a #2, with enough variance either way that ace is within the range of potential outcomes.

Nick: Do you see Bukauskas and Houck as starters or relievers at the next level?
Klaw: Relievers. I give JBB more of a chance to start than Houck.

Brian: By the way, no question, just a thank you…for not sticking to sports. #resist
Klaw: You’re welcome. By the way, did anyone notice my former home state of Arizona’s latest? The state Senate is trying to block residents’ First Amendment rights to freedom of assembly. I hope those of you who live there have been on the phones today.

Jeff: Keith, where would you start Mitch White in the Dodgers system this season? How quickly do you think he can move through said system?
Klaw: I assume he’ll be on an innings cap, and I’d rather limit his time in the California League anyway, so I have no problem with starting him in Great Lakes and moving him up fast if he dominates. That innings cap also means he wouldn’t get to the majors very quickly.

Eugene: Can better pitch tunneling and deception be taught to pitchers?
Klaw: Deception is largely a function of delivery. Change the delivery and you will change (but not necessarily improve) deception. The tunneling stuff is brand new and I think still in the hypothesis stage. If your question is whether a pitcher can be taught to throw one pitch that looks like another pitch until relatively close to the point where it hits the plate, well, yeah. That’s something a good changeup is supposed to do, for example, or why we talk about a pitcher who can manipulate the spin on his breaking ball a little more.

Jon Weisman: Keith, given your site URL, I’m wondering what your thoughts are on current and past Bloom County. It was one of my true favorites in the 1980s, along with Doonesbury, Far Side and Calvin & Hobbes. But whenever I read it now, I don’t feel it holds up as well. Doonesbury still feels like a really sharp time capsule by comparison, and Calvin & Hobbes truly seems timeless. Were you/are you reading any of these?
Klaw: Huge BC fan, of course, more from its heyday than the more recent iteration. I think the classics are still very funny but some of the jokes are products of their time. It would be hard to explain to my daughter why the whole Banana Jr 5000 joke was funny, or what the hair tonic storyline was about (the War on Drugs, for those who don’t remember it). But god, those characters were tremendous, and Breathed’s punchlines were some of the best and smartest anywhere on the comics page.

Paul: Hi Keith, is your book only related to baseball or are you touching on other topics that you seem to enjoy talking about (I am fine with it but I am not interested)? If it is only baseball I will buy it, otherwise I will pass – thanks!
Klaw: The book is only baseball – I discuss traditional stats that are falling out of favor and why they don’t tell you what they purport to tell you; newer and/or better stats, from OBP to WAR to wOBA etc., that better answer questions about performance; and what baseball analytics might look like going forward, including a chapter on Statcast and its potential impact.

Erich: 2 part question. Do you think the NCAA has the power to fight against Trump’s pull back on bathroom freedom by withholding events from states that move forward with “bathroom bills?” 2. Do you think the NCAA will actually do this?
Klaw: Yes, they do, unless every state tried it. I guess it could be a boon for New York and California, though. And I think they will, or they’ll try to do it, at least. Corporate America is not with Trump on this topic. They want their taxes cut and their regulations gutted, but it’s pretty clear they want access to the largest workforce possible and one that isn’t fighting or worrying about discrimination.

DeMarcus: Hi keith, love these chats. I threatened to slap my friend once when he said that steaks didn’t need to be seasoned as long as they were cooked medium rare. Is there any other way I could have reacted? I was just so shocked.
Klaw: No, you did good.

DeMarcus: Is there any chance that Connor Sadzeck can be an average starter at the big league level? Or is he destined for the bullpen?
Klaw: I think it’s 90% bullpen if not higher.

Joe: Hi Keith – I think people are missing the point of the new intentional walk rule, as I’ve repeatedly heard remarks such as “this is stupid, this won’t solve the problem, why bother.” I don’t recall Manfred every saying this will make a drastic difference, and what I see this as is a small step in the right direction. Sure this may only shave a minute (yes it takes longer than a few seconds to throw four balls) off of NL games, but compounded with future changes (hopefully!), such as limited mound visits and quickening replay reviews, it could make a substantial difference. Your thoughts?
Klaw: If you’re arguing it opens the door to more changes … I guess? I saw it as something so innocuous that no one would really object. If they try a pitch clock, though, they’re going to get pushback.

John: Hey Keith, I’m not sure if you saw the segment on Mike & Mike discussing Ankiel’s recent admission to drinking before games to calm his nerves. The turned the narrative into players drinking and totally ignored how this stemmed from his issues with anxiety which in 2001 wasn’t as well known as it is today. I guess this is less a question and more a statement that mental health issues, when it comes to athletes, seem like an avenue that could raise awareness but it overlooked for a more popular narrative. It’s disappointing and I’m thankful that you address the real issue and not the popular narratives when it comes to these issues.
Klaw: I didn’t see or hear it, but that is a shame. It sounds like (from your description only) they didn’t treat anxiety as a medical issue, and how Ankiel may have self-medicated with alcohol. It’s really too bad because I could have helped that discussion.

Yoan Moncada: What is my best position, both objectively and for the long term plans of the White Sox?
Klaw: Looked better at third to me than second. I think centerfield will always be an option given his speed.

Chris: Do you think Cashman responded to Randy Levine’s fuckery internally? What would you have done?
Klaw: I would have called the player and the agent to apologize, to say that idiot doesn’t speak for me or the organization, and to ensure the player that I value his contributions and perhaps open the door to a multi-year agreement that would avoid further acrimony in arbitration hearings.

Chris in London: Any chance the ridiculous runner on 2nd proposal is just to distract us from a slightly less controversial rule change? P.S. Sorry about Piers Morgan.
Klaw: That’s Machiavellian. Or Trumpian. Also the runner on 2nd in extras is the worst idea ever.

Sean: After the embarrassment of the latest CBA negotiations, how is Tony Clark still leading the union?
Klaw: Everyone who asks something like this ignores that the players got the things that were most important to them in the last negotiation.

Francisco: Have you seen Kyler Murray and Brandon Mcillwain ? How good are they in baseball ?
Klaw: I saw Murray in parts of two games and McIlwain in one. I’d say both have first-round talent if they commit to playing full-time.

Culture: Do you buy the argument that anything the Oscars do really has any tangible real world impact beyond that room? Like for instance Moonlight winning Best Picture would somehow be a win for gay rights
Klaw: No, especially since that industry is fairly concentrated in blue states. But I might argue that Moonlight winning BP would lead more people to go see it and perhaps help some fraction of that new viewership view LBGTQ people or people of color a little more sympathetically. I don’t think it would lead to any sort of sea change in views, though.

Christian: Is Brendan McKay a hitter or pitcher long term in your opinion? What are his overall ceilings at both respective positions?
Klaw: Pitcher 100%. Mid-rotation potential.

Wannabe Top Chef: Chef Law – how do you go about organizing the recipes you use, either self created or taken from another chef/home cook? I find it hard to remember everything I’ve made in the past or would like to make in the future and tend to make the same meals quite often instead of enjoying a variety of different foods.
Klaw: I have a shelf of cookbooks and binders with recipes I’ve clipped, plus stuff I’ve saved online, but when I decide what to cook it’s usually either a request from a family member or because I was at the store and saw something that I wanted to cook (or reminded me of a favorite recipe, etc.).

Travis: If you want to know how messed up the NCAA really is, listen to this. I’m trying to work for a D1 Football team as. student assistant. I can’t technically work for them because it’s against NCAA rules. A way around that would be to get into the work study program provided by the school. I can’t get into the work study, because my parents make too much money. Even if I register as an independent, my parents still influence whether or not I can get into the work study program. The only way I get into the work study without my parents influencing it is if I was 24 (I’m 19), if my parents were in jail or dead (they aren’t), or if I’m homeless (I’m not) along with a couple of other factors. An appeal to the NCAA could be sent but it it would just get immediately rejected according to our compliance office. It’s just sucks that I get punished because my parents make too much when this job would actually help me advance my career. So the NCAA doesn’t just screw the players.
Klaw: The NCAA is a legal cartel. I don’t understand why they seem to be exempt from antitrust laws. Do they pretend to non-profit status?

Matt: Can you believe Milo? I was OK with what he said about women, blacks, and immigrants. But he crossed a line with pedophilia! Please excuse me while I clutch my pearls and lie on my fainting couch.
Klaw: I’ll escort you to your safe space, snowflake.

Chris (Chicago): Grimes’ album Art Angels is still one of the best albums the last 3 years. That is all.
Klaw: Yep. And she did a song with Janelle Monae, which is worth 50 million bonus points.

Greg (DC): An article was published today about the potential for MLB to expand to 32 teams. Most of the opinions suggested four divisions in each league, with four teams each (and then presumably one wild card for each league because MLB isn’t going to reduce the number of teams making the playoffs). I think two divisions per league with 8 teams each makes more sense. If the playoffs have four division winners and one WC, one division winner would have to play the play-in game with the WC (deflating the regular season accomplishment of the division winner), or there would need to be a first round bye and longer playoffs. With three WCs, we could keep the play-in for the last two in. Also, I think larger divisions might increase interest outside home markets, by putting more teams in the same division as your hometown team. Do you have a preference for expansion, or is it too far off in your view? Thanks for all your great work.
Klaw: I saw this on our site and disagreed with basically everything in it. I’d MUCH rather have fewer divisions with more teams than the converse, and I think the player pool and economy would support expansion but not in the way that roundtable expressed.

Justin: I read your review on Hidden Figures today, and you don’t seem to be the only person questioning it’s quality as a movie itself. I know this will probably come off wrong, and I don’t want it to, but is it possible that it received the Oscar Nominations it did because of last year’s controversy? And if that’s the case, is there a problem with that?
Klaw: Oscars So White? Very possible. Grierson and Leitch wondered if that might help Denzel win Best Actor too (one said it would, the other still predicted Affleck). But I actually think the better explanation is that it’s a very popular movie with a very positive and timely message. With Texas busy trying to roll back rights 60 years, it’s a good time for movies that remind us what those days were like, whether it’s HF or IANYN or The 13th.

Travis: Hey Keith, thanks for taking my question. I have a three year old boy, and he loves throwing things… but his mechanics are a mess! His “W”s are all inverted, and sometimes look like “M”s. He often leads with the wrong foot. No question here, just nonsense from a young father, who appreciates all you do for us baseball fanatics.
Klaw: The real problem is that you forgot to tie his right arm down so he learns to throw a gyroball with his left hand.

Lucas: Ever since Billy Eppler left the Yankees for the Angels GM job, I’ve wondered about the possibility of him trading Trout to his former employers. Could you imagine the Yanks using their farm system to get Trout and then signing Harper?
Klaw: Somehow i missed the news of Arte Moreno’s passing.

Bobbo: big fan here. i posted this in comments a few posts back but i’m still curious: why is drip-over superior to traditional drip? seems like the same process either way. (and by “superior” i’m only talking about the quality of the cup or pot of coffee)
Klaw: I’m going to let Serious Eats answer this one.

EL: Can Arroyo and Beede help the Giants in 2017?
Klaw: No on Arroyo. Possibly on Beede but I don’t think they’re inclined to rush him.

JR: Going to keep watching Legion or was the pilot enough for you?
Klaw: We watched episode 2 last week. We’re a day behind because we’re watching via amazon (we don’t get FX … we have a small bundle from Fios).

Bob (Cleveland): Wondering if you’ve had any opportunity to see Jason Heyward’s “revamped” swing. From the half-dozen or so wings I’ve seen on video, it appears that there’s some obvious emphasis on adding loft, but I’m wondering whether you’ve seen it and, if so, whether it appears to address what you consider to be the most glaring issue(s).
Klaw: No – our radio affiliate in Chicago asked me about this and I shot it down right away. It doesn’t mean jack until he’s facing live pitching. I’m not trying to be Mr. Skeptical Smart Guy, but a swing that looks right in the cage doesn’t mean a whole lot. Call when someone runs 95 in on his hands.

Anonymous: With ICE performing a real life Milgram experiment, what do you foresee happening?
Klaw: We know what happened at Stanford. It’s already happening in the wild.

CVD: Thought on Wieters to the Nats?
Klaw: Whatever. I mean, I don’t think it makes them better, unless he has that breakout year I predicted for him forever ago that has just never happened. And he’s a poor framer and not considered a great game-caller. They had Norris and Lobaton. What’s the upgrade here? A few runs, if that?

TK: Loved listening to you talk boardgames on the Just Not Sports podcast. I don’t know if I’ve seen you talk about this, so I just wanted to see if you’ve played Letters from Whitechapel. My wife and I have played with a couple of friends several times now and we really enjoy it. Thanks for everything (including not sticking to sports)!
Klaw: Nope, haven’t. Heard good things though.

AH: Any good food places in the ashburn virginia area? if i recall, you said you spend a fair amount of time here!
Klaw: We’ve hit some good spots in Leesburg and the area, including a place called Doner Kebab (I think) that makes the German-Turkish sandwiches of that name. I also love King Street Coffee right downtown there and visit every time I see my folks (they live in Ashburn).

addoeh: What about Ian Anderson’s flute skills? Grade 80?
Klaw: Absolutely.

Todd: A’s take ___________ 6th overall in the draft ?
Klaw: I have no idea. It’s February. Ask me that around mid-April and I can at least hazard a reasonable guess, but today, it would be a bullshit answer and I really try to avoid those whenever possible.

Lee: You’ve mentioned previously that you have voted Republican in previous elections. Can I ask what policies you agree with Republican’s on? You seem like a pretty intelligent guy and I don’t see what would draw you to any Republican candidate.
Klaw: Free trade was a huge one – it’s about the only policy that most economists agree on, it’s a net positive for both partners (with some groups within each country that lose out, and whose needs should be addressed), and it fosters the flow of information and culture, which may/should help spread democratic ideals. Of course, the Republican party has become the batshit protectionist party, so that’s out the window.

MS: At what point did you realize you weren’t going to play baseball professionally?
Klaw: I realized around age 7 or 8 that I would never be big enough to play any sport. I didn’t know at the time that I had an organic acidemia that limits my muscle growth, but that was the main reason I couldn’t even play sports in high school.

Chuck: You’ve liked Castellanos in the past. Spring training reports that he’s shown big power in BP and may bat 2nd. Over/under on 29.5 home runs? Did you see anything that may indicate he’ll have a more patient approach?
Klaw: Season high to date is 18, so under on 29.5. Never seen anything to make me believe he’ll get into better counts to get to more power. Also, big power in spring training BP is in the same category as new swing mechanics in the cage.

Mike: As a parent of young kids, question… do you think of life insurance as merely “term for the death benefit, god forbid”, or “whole life- as a way to diversify investment portfolio as well” ? thanks.
Klaw: It’s a God forbid policy for us.

Ajax: Logenhagen in a Fangraphs chat this week said that Lourdes Gurriel, Jr had a utility ceiling, based on his sources, and the size of his contract. I dropped Gurriel from my 75 player roster dynasty team and picked up Cristian Pache. I am also doing research on Cionel Perez. What are your thoughts? BP’s recent dynasty 101 has Lourdes Gurriel’s ceiling as ‘top ten 2b’ and his floor as utility player. Looking for some perspective.
Klaw: Everyone I asked about Gurriel in the fall when he signed said utility guy, and he was kind of paid like one too. Cionel is in my Astros writeup. (Gurriel isn’t in the Toronto writeup because he signed as a pro, which is my demarcation line for Cuban players. He’s also not a great prospect.)

Adam: Royce Lewis is a name I hear as a guy who could break his way into the #1 pick conversation. What is your primer on him?
Klaw: I said that last week. So, uh, good memory? Big tools at the plate, unclear long-term position, not sure folks believe quite enough in the hit tool.

Mark in Santa Monica: Sure this has been asked in the past but I’m knew to your site. How did Trout last until the 24/25th pick? Was he ever consideration for top ten? And do you think he finishes his contract and becainea a free agent or will he resign or be traded? He’s our only hope out here!
Klaw: Worth answering again. I know for sure Oakland considered him strongly at pick 12, and I think he was on the long list for Seattle at 2 (they did consider him, but they picked 2 and took the consensus guy). Trout was a northeast HS position player who did not show 80 speed at the time. He faced poor pitching his whole career. Billy Rowell, from the same area, had gone 9th overall three years earlier and was an outright disaster. And Trout’s senior year was wrecked by rain – it was the worst spring for scouting I’ve spent up here, and his games were constantly being pushed back due to weather or poor field conditions. The day I saw him was a Friday and there were 9 scouts there with me. I think teams just didn’t get enough looks at him to jump on him earlier.

Buckner 86: Can Aaron Nola become a Top 5-10 SP in the NL?
Klaw: No, that’s outside of even his 95% outcome for me. Also, he’s gotta get healthy.

Tom: Baseball doesn’t need a pitch clock. If they want to speed up games, Barry Bonds has some free time. MLB should hire him to teach batters to stay in the damn batter’s box after each pitch. If perhaps the greatest hitter of all time could do it, other guys can learn how to not go all Pedroia with their batting gloves.
Klaw: This is my #1 pet peeve as a fan. Stay. In. The. Box.

Jonathan: Best post-hype sleeper for 2017: Dylan Bundy?
Klaw: Not for me. Wore down visibly in 2016.

Luke: What game or games does your daughter enjoy playing most with you and your wife?
Klaw: I’ll ask her when I pick her up today, after the chat, but I would guess her favorites are Splendor, Small World, Ticket to Ride, Istanbul (because she beat us at that one early on), and recent favorite Imhotep. She also loves the Lanterns app.

JJ: Where did it go wrong for Daisuke Matsuzaka? Was he just overhyped?
Klaw: Overpitched when young? Also refused to pitch inside much when he came here.

Ethan: It sounded like you didn’t know this to be the case, but yes, the NCAA is a 501(c)(3)–which is non-profit status–according to the IRS, and I believe they fall under this as education providers. I wrote a paper on it in college, but the details are fuzzy right this second.
Klaw: That’s hilarious.

Akronohiomofo: What’s your take on Daniel Murphy’s 2016 increase in WAR? Were you suprised? Sustainable or an aberration?
Klaw: Changed his swing. Would bet on some regression, but not a ton.

Rahn: Totally with you on Hidden Figures. I liked it, but in a fuller field year for the Oscars, would not make the cut. If my first words to people who ask about a movie are “It’s fine, you’ll enjoy it” it’s usually just that. Fine. I feel like it’s been elevated because it’s a feel-good tale of extraordinary people during such divisive times of governmental intolerance.
Klaw: Yep, I’ve probably seen 20 better movies from last year, including Loving, The Lobster, and the movie everyone in this chat needs to see, Everybody Wants Some!!

James: First, I am a lifelong moderate Republican that did not vote for Trump. That being said, i still side with the Republican party on a number of issues. One thing that concerns me is that if I disagree with a democrat on any policy, nor I want to have a civil discussion about a policy, I am immediately branded a racist/hater/homophobe….you name it. The level of discourse from those that don’t agree with you has become incredibly hateful (which is one of the main things they are often fighting for).
Klaw: Well, it depends on the policy, right? If you oppose affirmative action, for example, I don’t think that’s racist or sexist. If you support these “bathroom bills” (which always seem to have a second section rolling back anti-LGBT discrimination laws), well, then I’m probably going to find a word to describe you that you might not like.

Matt: Faedo and Wright both got off to rocky starts to the season, but it’s nearly impossible to find any information on how their stuff looked, only statlines. Did you hear anything (particularly on Faedo coming off knee surgery) to make you think they shouldn’t still be the top 2 college SPs off the board?
Klaw: Yes. I know Crawford and Longenhagen were at Wright’s start, so you might ask them for more, but I was told his stuff was great early, he didn’t hold it, and he never showed average command. Faedo’s stuff I heard was good not great. No idea how his knees felt or if he had any ill effects. Heard Houck looked totally relieverish with two pitches and below average command. Martin at A&M was pure reliever too. McKay I tweeted about but I’ll add that he kept finishing with his fastball up, especially up and away to right-handers, and I don’t think it was a plan.

Zac: Keith, I can’t help but think that Max Fried could absolutely sky rocket up prospect lists if he continues his late season domination over the course of this entire year. Do you tend to agree with that assessment?
Klaw: I only discuss my prospect list, and if you see where I ranked him, he doesn’t have much room to rocket anywhere.

Elton: Vince Velasquez: If I remember correctly you’ve said in the past he was probably a future reliever. Is that because of durability/health or more about his pitches?
Klaw: I haven’t said that – I’ve said there’s risk. Never had a full healthy season, and the breaking ball is often fringy to a tick below average. He threw 136 innings in 25 starts last year including one rehab outing, and both marked career highs for a guy who signed in 2010.

Dave: Most underhyped way Trump voters will be screwed by their leader: repeal of the fiduciary rule.
Klaw: That’s a solid choice, but I would probably vote for repealed or reduced environmental regulations, which tend to help the poor more than the rich. I don’t live near factories or dumps or power plants. Companies build that stuff near poor communities.

Ethan: Wow, just looked at the tax code, and the Exempt Purposes for tax exemption include “charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and preventing cruelty to children or animals.” I do not remember this when I did research in college on the topic. The IRS and NCAA are in cahoots!
Klaw: With the full faith and support of the rest of the federal government. Competition is good, so it would be nice if we had some in college athletics.

Klaw: That’s all for this week’s chat – thank you as always for all of your questions. I’ll be back some time next week but it might not be Thursday, so watch here, Twitter, Facebook, or my newsletter for more details.

Klawchat, 2/16/17.

Starting at 2 pm ET. Questions go in the frame below, not in the comments!

You can preorder my upcoming book, Smart Baseball, on amazon, or from other sites via the Harper-Collins page for the book. Also, please sign up for my more-or-less weekly email newsletter.

Klaw: If knowledge is the key, then I think it’s time you learn. Klawchat.

Nathan: How quickly do you expect Hunter Greene to move through the minors once drafted? As a SS/P will he need extra seasoning on the mound or could he follow a Julio Urias trajectory if everything clicks?
Klaw: I don’t think he’s a fast mover, but I also don’t think this is about being a two-way guy – he’s athletic as hell with an 80 fastball and, if it is possible to throw an ‘easy’ 100, he does, but his secondary stuff isn’t that advanced and he’s a ways from average command. He’s better than Riley Pint at the same stage, though.

Michael: Is it time to cut bait on Joey Gallo as an MLB regular? Seems to be a long shot to start in Texas out of spring training.
Klaw: Joey Gallo is 23 years old. Talk of “cutting bait” on him as a regular is beyond premature. It’s a trumpian overreaction.

Michael: Can Jose Berrios be a 2-3 starter or is his fastball too flat as some have asserted?
Klaw: As *I* have asserted, you mean. I don’t think he’s ever going to be a 2.

Josh: No question. Just wanted to thank you for all the work you do & for voicing your beliefs in non-baseball related arenas.
Klaw: You’re welcome. I appreciate all the readers who’ve spoken up in support of me speaking up, so to speak.

Papa K: Do you think the Braves are making a mistake but not allowing Jace Peterson a chance to play full time at second base ?
Klaw: No, I think he’s a utility IF.

guren: I gather from previous chats, etc. that wine is not your preferred adult beverage. Do you still have an open mind with regard to wine appreciation, or do you think that boat has left the harbor?
Klaw: I’ve never enjoyed wine. If you put a decent wine in front of me, I’ll drink it, but it’s never my choice, and my knowledge of what’s good is incredibly limited.

Bob: Hi Keith – won’t be on during chat so hope you answer. Dave Stewart, paraphrasing that “his gut told him to not trade Dansby Swanson ” Didn’t his gut tell him to make that trade – I forget what his gut says. But he “was overruled by three people”. I am guessing the three are Kendrick, LaRussa and Hall. And Kendrick makes sense, he is a meddler. My question, as GM – if you are told to make that trade – why not just quit if your “gut” says its wrong
Klaw: Stewart said that, and Trump said he “inherited a mess.” Here’s a hint: I think they’re both lying.

joshkvt: What’s missing in the min wage debate is that raising it a reasonable amount also helps — not hurts — those making more. A skilled/educated worker making $16 now would benefit from a $15 min by having options. Where they probably wouldn’t quit stressful jobs and risk a $6/hr pay cut, they gain leverage if quitting to flip burgers would mean $1 less. Many skilled workers making $16 would quickly be bumped up to $18-20. It wouldn’t deter those who in the same breath say that unskilled workers don’t deserve a living wage and that we need to boot people off welfare, but it would help real people.
Klaw: Agreed. (This is a continuation of something from last week’s chat, for those of you who missed it.) I haven’t seen any good research showing that raising the minimum wage is harmful – again, within reason, because a $50/hour minimum wage would clearly wreak havoc.

JimLindeman15: Reyes out for season, not cool. I’m looking for Dakota Hudson to play a role with the big club this summer. Am I wrong?
Klaw: I think you’re wrong. I don’t think he’s ready, and I think they’ll cycle through a bunch of other guys (Weaver, Rosenthal, perhaps Gonzales) first.

Dale: Thanks for your shout out to Velocity Girl in your Top 100 songs for 2016. I miss them even though I never heard of them until yesterday. If ‘veterans’ match their peaks what do you think is the potential of the A’s rotation of Gray-Hahn-Manaea-Graveman-Cotton? Ho hum or one that will keep A’s in most games?
Klaw: I mean … health, health, health, #5 ceiling, high-variance, in order. I guess if everything works out for all five guys that’s a pretty good rotation, but what is the probability of that?

Gene Mullett: Of all the minor league games you see, what league do you see the most? Is there a stadium that you have visited the most? Do you have a favorite? Least favorite?
Klaw: I see the Carolina League the most because it’s in my backyard – I can truly go for just a few innings to see one player, or decide at the last minute to head over, because the Blue Rocks are so close. Favorite minor league stadium ever is tough – Greenville SC’s is pretty wonderful. I love going to Lakewood for games where the sun sets after first pitch. Aberdeen’s ballpark is amazing for short-season.

Nick: Do you think JJ Schwarz can stick at catcher at the next level?
Klaw: I think there’s 0% chance of that.

Patrick: Can Klaw do it better? Durned straight. Keith, any culinary cities in the U.S. on your current bucket list?
Klaw: Portland OR. Asheville NC. I could use another few days in Austin, especially now with Vigilante Bar (a boardgame bar & restaurant) opening.

Pei: You put out so much work on top of your hobbies and family obligations, so clearly you use your time wisely. However, I do remember (I hope correctly!) you saying that you once were not efficient with your time and wasted a lot of it watching tv etc until you realized that you could do better, and then you did. Do you have any tips on how you were able to break your time wasting habits and develop much more fruitful ones?
Klaw: The biggest problem for me was recognizing when I was wasting time – and that I could be doing “nonproductive” things (like reading, or playing games) that were more enjoyable than other time-wasters (watching mediocre TV, arguing with science deniers on Twitter)>

Nate: Hey Keith, a big story last year was how Giolito changes his mechanics. Some of the articles I’ve seen say he decided to do it mostly on his own. But my question to you, what were these mechanical changes that were made? How did his mechanics from last year differ from previous seasons? And what do you think the White Sox will do? Will they go back to his old mechanics? If that happens, is he a top 10 prospect in the game? In other words, are the mechanical changes the lone factor that led to his drop (velocity and command being results of those changes of course) in rankings? Thanks Keith.
Klaw: I haven’t seen those articles, and they would be false; the Nationals’ AA pitching coach did it. He already returned to his prior mechanics and I didn’t drop him much at all on my rankings this winter.

Justin: What are your thoughts on Shed Long? Any impact potential there? Or more of a reserve type?
Klaw: Reserve type. As a 2b only, he might be a tweener.

Brian In ahwatukee: I’ve started reading the Pulitzer list and appreciate your reviews. Do you read the nominees that don’t win?
Klaw: Only if they’re recommended somewhere. I have Kelly Link’s Get in Trouble on my to-read shelf at the moment, for example. I’ll warn you some of the winners from the 1920s and 1930s are really dreadful.

ED: Did the debuts of Orlando Arcia, who you had 10th, and Tim Anderson, who you had 45th, change your views on them at all?
Klaw: No. That would also probably be too overreactive. I did say last year that I thought promoting Anderson that soon might harm his development because he’d be hard-pressed to develop more patience while trying to just survive in the majors, but that’s not about his performance.

Max: Hi Keith, if Vlad Jr. has to move off 3B (I know you stated its a 50/50 chance he sticks) to the other side of the diamond, how much value does he lose? Is the bat good enough to profile at 1B or even DH?
Klaw: Yes, he profiles as at least an above-average regular anywhere, but if he moves off 3b he’ll go to RF before that worst-case scenario.

Matthew: If you had first hand knowledge of Jays player using PEDs from your time with the org, would you be able to report that now based on any contract language you may have had? And if so, would you based on your personal reporting guidelines?
Klaw: I do have this knowledge, although it’s only on a couple of guys, but I would not reveal it now. It’s pointless.

Kyle D: What announced but unreleased boardgame are you most looking forward to in 2017?
Klaw: A Feast for Odin, La Flamme Rouge, Yamatai, First Class.

Mike S: Moving from the city to the suburbs with my family. Any advice house shopping?
Klaw: Woof, that could be its own post. School district has always reigned supreme for us when buying or selling. Also, when buying, look for anything that might be an automatic turnoff to future buyers. Our first house was a real starter home with no backyard, and that ended up a real problem when we went to sell. (And then there was one guy who literally walked out because we didn’t have a fireplace. Wacko.)

Tim: With the Rule Draft is 4 months away (and knowing College and HS ball will have a lot to say about the top of the draft) do Wright, Kendall, Faedo and Greene all figure in your current top 5 2017 draft prospects? At least top 10?
Klaw: I posted a ranking with Chris Crawford in November. I’ll update that some time next month.

Philip: Which college pitcher isn’t quite in the first tier like Wright and Faedo that you think could get 1-1 buzz with a realistic breakout?
Klaw: Brandon McKay. In a related story, I’m seeing him tomorrow. (EDIT: It’s Brendan McKay, not Brandon.)

Ty: In last week’s chat you said no to the following question “Is there a team whose 11-20 is better than another’s 1-10?”. I submit Braves 11-15 of Weigel, Toussaint, Wentz, Jackson and Pache as being enough to beat AZ’s list that starts off with Anthony Banda.
Klaw: I’m aware of that list, and I disagree with your assessment. Banda is just outside the top 100, BTW.

Ryan: Just how good was Nathan Kirby’s stuff before the injury? I’ve heard some talk of three 60+ or better pitches and reasonable command. That’s nuts, right?
Klaw: That’s not nuts, it’s just inaccurate.

M: No fault of yours, but that welfare discussion last week was infuriating. When people use that word, what on earth do they think it means? It seems like every time I encounter someone complaining about “welfare,” it is as if they are discussing some sort of guaranteed income program! Makes me think American politics would be totally different if high schools spent some time in civics class teaching students what little the social safety net actually consists of.
Klaw: We do a lousy job of teaching economics in general and the politics of entitlement problems and social safety-net programs in specific. Welfare’s a terrible name for what is really poverty prevention. We can disagree on specific implementations, but even ignoring the compassion angle, society is better off in the long run if its poorest children are housed, fed, and educated.

RationalMLBFan: You list/rank a wide variety of things: baseball players/teams, books, songs, board games, and food recommendations, for starters. Have you always use lists/ranking as an organizing principle? Is it a tool to help you think deeply in order to make fine distinctions between, say, #33 and #34, even though, as you normally say, there is only a minimal gap between rankings within 5 of each other on a top 100?
Klaw: I’m a ranker by nature, but I’ve also learned that you guys love rankings. Someone asked the other day if I intended to rank 2016 movies (I do, probably Oscar Sunday). I think they just create a good starting point for any discussion because everyone will have a unique ranking.

Rob in Gilbert AZ: What is one thing that you would eliminate from the “stadium experience” at major (or minor) league games?
Klaw: No music during innings, ever. Music between innings, fine. Shut the fucking thing off when there’s baseball happening.

Ryan: Are you watching Trump’s press conference right now? This man is actually insane. How worried should this country be on a scale of 1 to 10?
Klaw: I saw bits of it while I was at the gym. I think we’ve elected This is fine Dog as President of the United States.

Ryan: How are events like the (accidental) sinking of the USS Maine, which gets used to turn fan the flames of the Spanish-American War, different than propagated fake content? or are they not? (by the way, I’d recommend recent non-fiction – The True Flag – on the idea/debate/adoption of American Imperialism at the turn of the century)
Klaw: That was basically staged to start a war, no? The yellow journalism that followed it was probably the ancestor of today’s fake news.

not James Baldwin: I saw your reviews of The 13th and Loving. I was caught up in the passion of the former, forgetting to demand the data that you wanted to see in it, and haven’t seen the latter. I Am Not Your Negro will be at Theatre N in Wilmington this weekend. Any plans on seeing it? If so, I’d love to read your review, unless I bump into you there.
Klaw: wait, what? I’ve lived here three years and never been there. They’re playing that and Neruda, so I might have to get to one of those. (I’d like to see both of those movies as soon as I can.)

Chris: Hi Keith, I’m the one who tweeted you the pic of the SMRT office here in Portland. Just moved here up the hill from Hadlock Field. Have you ever been to a game there, supposed to be one of the better AA parks (and I’m looking forward to seeing the loaded Trenton team visit)?
Klaw: Yep, great stadium, usually draw well, and obviously there will be a few prospects there too.

Ray: Do you think Kyle Wright/Alex Faedo are advanced enough to start 2018 in AA and see a big league cameo in 2018
Klaw: No. A college player who can go right to AA is pretty rare. I think two guys did it out of the 2015 draft (Bregman and Hader).

Wade: I believe you’ve mentioned trips to Italy in the past and that you still have family there. I’m going to Croatia for our honeymoon. Ever been there? Any suggestions?
Klaw: No, but Dubrovnik is a bucket-list place for me.

Scott: As grad student who can’t afford a fancy coffee press or something like that, what’s your best advice for making do with a regular coffee pot?
Klaw: Buy a Hario V60 pour-over device – they’re like $20, plus filters. Better than traditional drip or French press.

Kilgore: How do you decide what to read next when you have a shelf full of unread books? I tend to buy A LOT of books at once and end up with so many I actually get a bit anxiety trying to decide what to read.
Klaw: I almost always go in order to avoid that exact problem – or to avoid pushing a longer/more difficult book to the back of the queue. I might skip one ahead so I can alternative fiction with non-fiction, or light with heavy.

Chris: Btw, if you havent been to Hadlock Field, in addition to that and seeing SMRT for yourself, Portland has an indie bookstore called Print that just opened a few months ago (signing!) and a boardgame bar that is right around the corner called Arcadia. Just sayin’.
Klaw: If it wasn’t inside the Arctic Circle I might move there.

Jacob: Keith, Thanks for hosting these chats here. I realize this isn’t the optimal forum for this question and you aren’t a doctor, but you frequently do talk about health, so I’ll ask: how many drinks a week do you think is too many? Basically if a friend or colleague said they had x drinks per week, at what point would you raise your eyebrows.
Klaw: I’m definitely not qualified to answer that, but if a friend told me he was having ten drinks a week I would start to worry about him.

JR: At the gym? Trying to make sure you show up at spring training in the best shape of your life so you will fit in with everyone else?
Klaw: Well I might be in the worst shape of my life right now so I need to do something about that.

Darryl: Who loads up a bigger Brinks truck in 2 years…Machado or Harper?
Klaw: If they were free agents today, Machado. But I bet Harper ends up with more in two years.

Bill: Have you have ever been surprised by someone who has retweeted one of your posts? I know the bassist from REM (a big baseball fan) does on occasion…
Klaw: Yes – that’s one of the best parts of Twitter. JK Rowling liked one of my tweets a few weeks ago, and when I showed my daughter she screamed “that’s awesome!” and hugged me. (She’s 10. And a huge Potter fan.) Didn’t know that about Mills, though.

Michael: How do you feel about immigrants closing their restaurants? We are all immigrants except the Native Americans. Keep the restaurant open and market that there are great cuisines and cultures to be enjoyed through food. Don’t know how closing and losing profits helps- any insights?
Klaw: It makes news. I think that’s the point. And I agree, we’re all immigrants. My ancestors came from Italy (one grandparent, four other great-grandparents), Ireland (one great-great grandparent), and England (not sure how far back, but that’s where Law comes from).

Felix: If your the Reyes TJ news had come out before you finished your rankings how far down the list do you think it would drop him?
Klaw: Good question. I usually dock guys who are just out with TJ pretty substantially – probably to around the 30-40 range, maybe a touch lower because I feel like the delivery offered us clues that he’d get hurt. This is why Reyes 1) wasn’t my top pitching prospect and 2) couldn’t possibly be over guys like Benintendi or Swanson. Hell, I’ll bet there isn’t a GM in baseball right now who would have traded Benintendi for a fully healthy Reyes a week ago.

Bob: With Alex Reyes out for the year, it appears that Wacha is going to get the first crack at being the fifth starter for STL. If I recall right, you were never as high on him as others were and his performance has been uneven at best. If he has indeed strengthened the muscles around his shoulder, what would you expect from him going forward?
Klaw: My concern with him was really around the lack of an average breaking ball. He had an average fastball, 70 changeup, and above-average or plus command. Never thought he’d be inconsistent or regularly injured, so I take no credit here. If I’m Mozeliak, I’m putting Wacha in the mix for that spot, but figuring I get 15 starts from him, 10 from someone else, etc. I wouldn’t bank on him going 180 innings.

Howard: I have an Anova sous vide and I’m looking for some good, cheap options to sous vide – in particular, chicken? Any specific chicken recipes you’ve tried on that that came out amazing?
Klaw: Yes, Serious Eats has a chicken thighs (or legs) recipe that is foolproof. I also use the tip from Richard Blais’ Try This at Home to sous vide boneless breasts for about an hour at 145-150 – I’ve even done 155 and they’re still good but 150 is probably ideal – to use later in applications like chicken salad. I’ve done that to shred chicken for soups too. It comes out way more tender.

RAW: How do you get over the feeling that brain power devoted now to baseball (also, all sports & entertainment) is not wasteful, fake news?
Klaw: I think about it for a moment and then I go on living my life.

Dave: Does Braden Shipley still have a future as a starter? He’s dropped off the prospect list map.
Klaw: He dropped off because he lost his eligibility. Yes, I absolutely believe he’s a starter. Too athletic and too good a changeup & curveball.

Robert Gsellman: What makes Robert Gsellman so different than Michael Fulmer?
Klaw: Fulmer had better secondary stuff at the same stage of development.

James: What do you think of Josh Ockimey? He was so good in his first 75-80 games and so bad in his final 40 or so. I would imagine he’s an extreme risk, but it he a risky guy you like?
Klaw: Yep, he’s in my Boston org writeup, and it was just what you said. Has to hit, since he’s 1b only, but he really seemed to hit a wall in late July and was just toast.

CD: Can you speculate as to why Thames kind of busted here as a player his fist go round?
Klaw: Swing was a big problem. Tried to dead-pull a lot of stuff to RF. Also never very disciplined at the plate.

Harrisburg Hal: Can you see a day in the future when you invest in a restaurant? I picture you more as a “back of the house” cog. Although maybe I have that completely wrong.
Klaw: Yes, I could, if I ever had that kind of free cash. Right now anything we save goes to my daughter’s college fund, our retirement, or things like planning to replace our furnace (which I’m pretty sure is older than our marriage) before it dies.

Anonymous: Good Eats is _________ cooking show of all time? Alton Brown has to be on top of your people you would like to meet
Klaw: Number one, and yes.

Hank: I’m 39 years old with no college. I have a good paying job that supports my family. Yet, I CRAVE some sort of education in my life to keep my brain active. I read regularly, but I think I need something more. Is there anything you would recommend in order to keep my brain active?
Klaw: I’ve never tried those free online “great” courses, but some reputable universities have lectures online you might try. Also, I think learning a language is great brain exercise. So are boardgames.

Jeremiah: Hey Keith, love your work and your prospect material seems to come at just the right time to break up the bore of the offseason. I wsnted to ask, if you could start a team around one minor league player with no mlb experience, who would be the first one or two that come to mind? Who do you see with superstar potential..with no mlb experience. Thx for your time
Klaw: I put Kopech where I did for that reason – on the pitcher side, he’s got the best combination of upside (ace, maybe top 5 in baseball kind of starter) and probability (there’s a lot already in place). Position player, Rosario. I’d want a guy up the middle with offensive upside.

Austin: Sad news that Matt Imhof retired after the gruesome eye injury he suffered last year. Was he ever going to be more than just a guy for you? Was a 2nd round pick and pitched great on the collegiate national team
Klaw: Probably not. Pitched with a 45 fastball in college and less in pro ball. Still a tragedy, though.

Aaron: Smoltz is forecasting a “pitching shortage” in the near future due to arm injuries caused by infatuation with throwing hard starting in youth baseball and up to the big leagues. What is your interpretation of how the pitcher has evolved and how common TJ has become on the heels of another young pitcher going under the knife before his career has had a chance to get going?
Klaw: That’s an interesting forecast – I think there’s a lot of merit in that. Will parents steer kids away from pitching too, seeing the injury risk? Are they steering kids away from youth football now, seeing the death and dementia risk?

Ceej: Regardless of how much they play, do you think that Bellinger/Brinson are ready?
Klaw: Bellinger would hold his own, Brinson would struggle.

Scott in Fla: Spring training too long? Just right? Also for fun, even though this is serious stuff: Better top 3 of rotation Red Sox or Cubs? Thanks.!
Klaw: This year, too long. Actually most years too long, so this year it’s too long … er. Red Sox.

guren: If you were a professor at an American university, what are one undergraduate and one graduate class that you would like to teach?
Klaw: Something on modern literature, or on the craft of writing. I’m not qualified to teach anything else.

Steve Gasser: Do you think Rafael Devers will have any/many .300/.500 seasons in the majors? Thanks.
Klaw: Slugging .500, absolutely. Hitting .300, maybe a few. I think he’s a superstar, though.

Dana: Do you buy Adam Warren as a #5 starter?
Klaw: Not really. Swingman. Very good in that role, though.

Bruce: My son just turned 14 and is in advanced English. They have a regular assignment to read “classic” literature and write reports on these books. He has read 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 so far. I’ve made several recommendations of other books I have enjoyed. What books would you recommend for this age group?
Klaw: Animal Farm. War of the Worlds. The Yearling. Scoop. To Kill a Mockingbird (duh). Beloved might be a little mature, depending on your son. Frankenstein. Three Men in a Boat (and then have him read To Say Nothing of the Dog!).

Scott: Will Kennedy and De Niro ever actually pay anyone $100k?
Klaw: It sounds like they’ve rigged it to be impossible. They’re nut jobs and I’m disappointed in how much media coverage they’re getting for being information terrorists – by spreading irrational, baseless fears of vaccines, they’re putting public health at risk.

Tim: In non-prospect world – Jose Peraza or Dilson Herrera are in line for the keystone in Cincinnati – either of them project as a regular or better there?
Klaw: Herrera has more upside – better hitter, more power – but Peraza is faster and will probably make more contact right now. I’d rather play Herrera every day and let Peraza back up 2b and ss … or just bench/trade Cozart and play Peraza every day at ss.

Matt from Milwaukee: Klaw, love your stuff – thanks for all the insights! Wondering about Jacob Nottingham. He did not make your Brewer prospects list, even a mention, yet he had seemed to be a nice gain for their system at trade time with good power. Issues in ’16?? Fall into the same “not developing trap” the bulk of the Crew’s system is in? Thanks!
Klaw: Can’t catch. Was borderline a year ago, got worse across the board. Don’t see what they have there now.

Elf: I know you do prospect assessment without looking at others doing the same type of lists, but as someone who’s been compiling major prospect lists for the last decade, it seems like this year has had by far the most discrepancy of any year I’ve seen, with top 50 players that aren’t even mentioned by others. Do you see any reason why this may be happening; easier access to MiLB stats, prevalence of fantasy, change in valued skills, or just a fluke year with guys like Mateo and Zimmer making it seem like there’s a shift? Thanks!
Klaw: On the contrary, I know MLB’s list and mine lined up quite a bit – Mayo and I were discussing that just the other day. I haven’t looked at BA’s list yet and I don’t think Eric has posted one yet on Fangraphs. That’s all the lists I’d look at; I don’t think others are comparable (although I would never say “don’t read X,” I’m just saying a direct comparison doesn’t work because of how folks like Jim, Jonathan, John and I put ours together).

Bob: When my wife went to work in retail 15 years ago, I became the cook by default. What I lack in true technique I try to make up with creativity (I get most of my ideas from Food Network and America’s Test Kitchen). This past weekend, I tried a new creation that just didn’t work. My saintly wife was gamely going to eat it until I said, “How about if I go get a pizza.” She was so relieved. Do you often have meals that just don’t work? Does you family give you honest feedback?
Klaw: I do. I tried some new recipes from Isa Does It!, which is a vegan cookbook, because I love her restaurant in Omaha (and now Brooklyn) called Modern Love. It was a mixed bag – some great, some OK, one flop. My family’s used to it.

Frank: Any food recommendations in Salt Lake City? I’m there for a conference in 2 weeks and I know they have a AAA team where Mike Trout played, so I’m asking you!
Klaw: I haven’t been there in almost 20 years. I know scouts who rave about a place there called Red Iguana, though.

Ethan: Piggy backing off of question re: Smoltz…Pirates drafted several HS pitchers with little experience throwing a breaking ball due to their parents not allowing them. Could this be a trend, is it a good strategy? Thoughts?
Klaw: I think it’s an interesting tactic, but I don’t know that I like the idea of leaning on that as a primary criterion (if they actually did so). It might make me favor one guy over another.

Archie: Re: the Smoltz question….until teams draft guys who can pitch with lesser velocity over guys who have elite arm strength, but no feel for pitching, there will be no change. Could continued success of guys like Hendricks and Estrada potentially change the course baseball is on?
Klaw: We do, though. Garrett went 8th overall but pitches at 90-93. Groome was mostly 89-93 and went 12th. Colt Griffin doesn’t go top 10 in 2017.

Owen: Re: restaurant strike/closing – As I live in DC and work at a restaurant that will be open tonight, I think the strike is a good idea to show just how much a major industry relies on immigrants. If we have full participation, we’ll have only three people to work the BOH.
Klaw: I’m in favor of it. This idea that our economy can run with limited immigration, or that immigrants are stealin’ ur jobz, is not just counterfactual but brain-dead.

Jonathan: What would it take for a team to pry Bregman away from the Astros?
Klaw: A pair of pliers and a blowtorch.

Tom: What’s funny is that it’s actually been shown that the older the parents are when the child is born, the chances increase that there can be some sort of disorder, especially if the parent is over 50. But I’m guessing DeNiro is avoiding that one.
Klaw: Indeed. why blame yourself when you can blame Big Evil Pharma?

Sam: If you could get in a time machine, go back and get all of the game’s best pitchers, and bring them to today to compete, is it possible Kershaw would be better than any of them? There have been some stellar arms, but it seems like his mix of stuff and command may put him at the top of the mountain.
Klaw: Yes, especially because he’s likely bigger, stronger, and harder-throwing than any of them.

Marco: Do you see a problem with staying in a job you’re comfortable with over trying to “challenge yourself, make more money, etc.” People tell me I need to branch out or try harder, but I just like working in a job that’s easy with no responsibility and I don’t have to try too hard.
Klaw: Just be happy. If your job fills your financial needs and gives you the time to do other things that matter to you, then why worry about what anyone else says?

Klaw: That’s all for this week. I’ll be at the Louisville game tomorrow in Clearwater to kick off the draft season, but home next week, which should mean another chat on Thursday. As always, thank you all for reading and for all of your questions.

Klawchat, 2/9/17.

My latest boardgame review for Paste covers The Blood of an Englishman, an asymmetrical, two-player card game based on the Jack and the Beanstalk story.

You can preorder my upcoming book, Smart Baseball, on amazon, or from other sites via the Harper-Collins page for the book. Also, please sign up for my more-or-less weekly email newsletter.

Klaw: There was music in the cafes at night and revolution in the air. Klawchat.

Ryan: Cubs traded for Alec Mills yesterday, is he a starter long term?
Klaw: Yes. Opinions I’ve heard range from okay fourth starter (so, think a little below league average) to swingman. I think he’s probably a decent fifth starter option, which the Cubs needed. Nothing really exciting.

addoeh: My favorite Dylan song! Would she change it all if her hair was still red? Starting pitching depth the biggest concern of the Cubs? Top four is set. Fifth, and in case of injuries beyond, not so much.
Klaw: I think acquiring Mills gives them at least 3 viable options for the fifth spot with him, Anderson, and I guess Montgomery (who I still think is better suited to relief). The issue is as you said that they’re not well set up to fill an extended opening in the front four.

Steve: Very much agree on your ranking for Quantrill. Not a lot to there to not like. How soon before we see him in the majors? Late 2018 too aggressive?
Klaw: On stuff/command it’s not too aggressive, but I imagine his workload this year will be heavily restricted, and that may push his debut further back even if he doesn’t suffer any further injuries.

Dan: You said in the last Klawchat that if you knew you’d be in this industry you wouldn’t take the same education path. What would you study if you could go back?
Klaw: I’d major in applied math and take a bunch of foreign language classes, because I love all of that stuff and would have enjoyed college much more had I done so.

guren: I seem to recall reading somewhere (on Twitter?) that you will not be providing the narration for the audiobook version of Smart Baseball. Was this your decision? I personally would be more inclined to purchase the audiobook if you were the narrator, but rest assured I will still purchase the hardcover book.
Klaw: Publisher’s decision. Not sure I have a good voice for that, and of course there’s a time commitment involved too.

jay_B: Do you think Jeimer Candelario has a MLB-regular future? Tough to tell from your capsule on him but it doesn’t sound great.
Klaw: Yes, but not with the Cubs. I have seen him very bad at 3b. Other scouts claim he’s better than that.

J: In the past couple years, I feel like you’ve been ahead/higher on a couple guys who are now moving up lists in general – thinking of Alex Verdugo and Kevin Newman specifically. Not a compare/contrast to others’ work, but do you think there’s anyone who fits that description this year?
Klaw: I haven’t compared my list to Mayo/Callis’ yet but I imagine we have some wide differences. I probably had Quantrill a lot higher?

Marky Mark: Why is one 6 WAR player more valuable than 2 3 WARS
Klaw: Because roster spots are scarce.

Cory: Lots of positive press about Hunter Greene going #1 to the Twins in the draft. Why should the Twins take someone other than Greene?
Klaw: Because high school pitchers are a high-risk class, and this draft has several college players who are 1-1 worthy.

Paul: Bundy bringing back the cutter this season. Reason for optimism or added risk to the injured wing?
Klaw: I think it’s good for Bundy, but he wore down badly at the end of the summer and already had shoulder damage before the season. I don’t think the cutter adds to that concern, but I’m bearish on him staying healthy.

Nick: Rhys Hoskins, Dominic Smith, Rowdy Tellez. Hoskins is 23 w/ a lot of question marks for me. But Tellez and Smith are both 21, I would argue Tellez had a far superior 2016, both were in AA. How is Smith a top 30 guy, and Tellez nowhere to be found? Also like the Tellez is 6’4″ instead of Smith’s 6’0″. Thoughts?
Klaw: I dispute that Tellez had a “far superior 2016,” since NH is a very good park for LH pull power hitters. Smith’s a much better pure hitter, able to hit velocity Tellez can’t touch, and is a much better defender at first (Tellez is more likely a DH).

Joe: Keith, do you have any opinion on the Bart Hubbuch saga?
Klaw: I’m not familiar enough with that NY labor law to have an opinion.

ND republican: I’m not a fan of Trump in the slightest, but just curious if the republican nominee would’ve been Romney instead of Trump, would you still have voted Clinton?
Klaw: It depends on which Romney – the 2012 nominee version, or the Massachusetts Governor version (for whom I did vote back in ’04 or whenever that was).

Andres Alvarado: Hey KLAW, I’m at work and won’t be able to log on today, so I’m taking a sec to send in my question. Hopefully I can get you to answer and read up on it late. What do you think of the full LP by Ten Fé? It finally released!!
Klaw: Liked it quite a bit, although all the best songs were the ones we’d already heard as singles.

Ted: What is your assessment of Bobby Dalbec and was he close to making your top 100?
Klaw: Power over hit right now, never had a consistent stance or swing in college. 70 arm at third. Not close to the top 100; wasn’t even on my predraft top 100 after he had a horrendous spring with an unacceptable K rate.

Andy: I know you place emphasis on depth in ranking the farm systems, but I’m having a hard time understanding how the Indians, with two top 100 guys (and a couple more HMs) are next the the Red Sox, who still have so much elite talent. How deep/shallow are the relative systems that they can be so close? Is this almost anomalous?
Klaw: I think you answered it – after Boston’s top 4 guys there’s a big dropoff.

Adam: Is there a team whose 11-20 is better than another’s 1-10?
Klaw: No. I get this question pretty much every year, BTW, and I don’t think I’ve ever answered “yes.”

Adam: Jacob Nix is consistently ranked 6 or 7 on most Padres prospect lists. Could you expand on what Padres fans can dream on in regards to him?
Klaw: Potential #2 starter. Three pitches, good delivery, control already there.

Tyler: Keith, you left guys like Dietrich Enns and Jordan Montgomery off of your Yankees prospect list. Both guys dominated AA-AAA last year. I understand that success in the minors does not translate to the pros and that there are so much that goes into it. (1) Can you give a brief explanation why they are ranked so low to give me a better understanding and (2) can I expect to see them get called up during the season to fill a back end starter role with the Yankees rotation being so thin? Thanks.
Klaw: I don’t think either is a big-league starter, so what are they then? Middle relief options? I think guys like those are a dime a dozen, and while a few will end up having big-league value – an unexpected velocity spike, a new pitch, magic pixie dust – I don’t see anything to separate them right now from all the other similar guys in the upper minors.

Nelson: When scouting, do you take all height/weight listings with a grain of salt? If Fransisco Lindor is listed at 190lbs, hes gotta be the strongest skinny person Ive ever seen
Klaw: I ask teams if I think a listed height/weight is wrong. Often public sites still have info from when the player signed or was drafted.

Ben (Washington, DC): In your review of “The Blood of an Englishman” you mentioned that you hadn’t come close to the 30 minute suggested game time. Does this mean it took you longer or shorter to get through a game?
Klaw: Much shorter. We finished in 15-20 minutes every time.

Jesse: Are there any board games currently in the 101-150 range that could move way with a good season?
Klaw: Nicely done.

Michael: I’ve never been political until now, but in the last month have called and written by Senators/rep, attended a town hall, called Congress to oppose Bannon.What I can’t comprehend is how each party isn’t up in arms that Trump is blatantly and brazenly profiting off the office. How is this not a bigger deal? It violates the constitution and our basic principles of democracy.
Klaw: I think today’s Kelly Anne Conway exhortation to buy Ivanka products is a bellwether. She appears to have violated a federal law. If the Republicans won’t support an effort to charge her, well, then you’ve got your answer.

Pei: What happened to Gordon Beckham? Went from projected star to utility player almost overnight it seems
Klaw: I flip-flopped on him – was way out after seeing his swing when he was a sophomore, he had a huge junior year and easily a dozen people told me I was wrong, so I figured hey, maybe he’s like Hunter Pence and can hit with that huge hitch. So I was right, and then wrong. Anyway I think that’s the explanation – he never could get over the hitch and get the bat to the zone on time.

Nelson: Gleybar Torres held his own at a young age, but didnt really break out last year unless you consider the AFL. Why the big surge in your rankings?
Klaw: He spent most of the year in Myrtle (great pitchers’ park) and then some in Tampa (good pitchers’ league in general) and hit for more power with a higher walk rate. I think that’s a breakout.

Nelson: Not all republican senators are dummies, so how can you explain them voting in DeVos? Are the afraid of going against Trump? Against Ryan?
Klaw: I assume so. Follow the party line and you’ll get something that matters to you down the road? I think the majority of Congresspersons operate that way.

Elf: What are your thoughts on Daniel Murphy getting close to repeating last year’s numbers? An ESPN cohort of yours has an article saying yes, but uses a lot of loathsome phrases like “eye test” and “lineup protection” to make his argument.
Klaw: I guess it depends on “getting close” but I’d bet the under. He set career highs in BABIP and ISO last year, and while there’s some mechanical explanation there, there was almost certainly some good fortune involved too. If you offered me three choices for his performance in 2017 – his 2015 line, his 2016 line, or right down the middle of those two – I’d take the third option.

Freddie Gibbs: Have you ever seen Oscar De La Cruz pitch?
Klaw: Nope. He hasn’t pitched that much due to injuries. But after I listed him as a Cubs sleeper a scout I know texted me to say he approved of that choice.

Geno: Appreciate all of your hard work Keith. What are your thoughts on the Alec Mills for Donnie Dewees swap? Thanks!
Klaw: Mills I discussed earlier. Dewees can run and put the ball in play but has no power and a 20 arm. I don’t think you can use him in CF, so what is he? Bench bat?

John Liotta: Will you be updating your KLaw Top 100 novels soon? This year?
Klaw: I think I’m due, but of course last year was crazy busy so it wasn’t a priority. I need to update my iOS boardgame apps list too.

Ben: Is AJ Minter being a bit overhyped with people saying he’s best braves reliever prospect since Kimbrel? Or is he really that good?
Klaw: Wildly overhyped because people are scouting the stat line.

HugoZ: So which is worse, the seven-inning game, or a runner on second to begin extra innings?
Klaw: The seven inning game might end me as a baseball fan.

Tim: I believe you have contested the idea that PEDs led to the spike in offense during the 1990s/200s. I think part of your reasoning is lack of evidence. But what level of proof are you looking for? If the standard was simply more likely than not – such as in a civil case – would that change your opinion? Asking because it seems your belief is based on a lack of scientific evidence, which is a pretty high standard of proof.
Klaw: Offensive levels spiked very quickly from 1992 to 1993, so unless you think everyone started using the good shit all at once, the PED explanation doesn’t pass even your “more likely than not” test. I’m sure PEDs were part of it, but they don’t suffice as the whole explanation or even a major part of it. Just to be clear, though, my issue with steroids/HGH/similar drugs is that we don’t know what their effect on performance is or was, so trying to say “well, this guy wouldn’t be a Hall of Famer without them” is pseudointellectual masturbation. We just don’t know, and we can’t know, so it’s a waste of time.

Andrew: Bummed Ohani won’t be playing in the WBC. Or exhibition games so who cares?
Klaw: This killed my number one reason to watch. I shouldn’t say that, I guess, because I love the concept of the WBC, but he was the main attraction for me.

Frank: Can we finally agree that if the Marlins, one of the worst run baseball teams are actually going to sell for 1.6 Billion that no owner is ever allowed to cry poor again and ask the public to pay for a stadium.
Klaw: We can agree but voters will derp every time they’re asked for a “bond guarantee” or some other euphemism for a handout.

Nelson: Any interest in the Twin Peaks re-boot coming out in May?
Klaw: I liked TP season one back in the day, but I think 2-3 episodes into season 2 it petered out completely. I’ll wait and see what Sepinwall etc. say about it. I did record Legion last night so that might be my next new series.

Tim (KC): KLaw – Thoughs on the Minor League implementation of having a runner start on 2nd base for every extra inning? (And possible MLB implementation?) Personally, I feel it is stupid as they are fixing something that is not broken… I mean extra- innings are a gift. MLB wants people to get their sleep in the playoffs I guess?
Klaw: Agree. It’s a solution in search of a problem. And was anyone complaining about how WS game 7 played out?

Matt: Why do the Mets feel the need to take guys like Anthony Kay in the draft who projects as a 5th starter when they seem to crap out an Ace every other year?
Klaw: I thought he projected as more than that.

Scherzer’s Blue Eye: Which is more foolish: the 4-year/5-year deals to Melancon, Jansen, et al; or what the Nats are doing: rolling the dice on Kelley, Glover, Treinen, et al.
Klaw: The long-term deals. I think there’s a closer in that mix for Washington – Glover has the stuff and aggressiveness, just not the command – and that Rizzo has played this out very wisely.

Sam: Javier Lopez retired yesterday. Greatest LOOGY of all time? If nothing else he helped define one of the best baseball terms ever.
Klaw: He retired as the best MLB pitcher to ever come out of UVA by WAR.

Johnny: Is Victor Robles pronounced “Rob-LES”, or “Ro-blay”
Klaw: ROBE-less, like he left his robe at home.

Dave M: Are you a fan of Philip Roth? Have you read American Pastoral or Portnoy’s Complaint?
Klaw: Read both and didn’t love either. I think I particularly dislike Zuckerman the character, and in AP, the scene where Swede sees his daughter again and doesn’t attempt to physically rescue her is unfathomable to me.

Marty: Do you have any thoughts on the Eddie Butler trade for the Cubs?
Klaw: If healthy, he’s got great shit. I’d take that flier and see if it was either the injury or the altitude that killed him.

Jobu: Hi Keith. Thanks for your recommendations of coffee roasters. I’ve really enjoyed several of their selections. Any Boston/Cambridge are roasters you’ve had in the past that you’d recommend?
Klaw: I haven’t been to George Howell but he’s a legend in third-wave coffee and I want to try his stuff out this summer.

Matt: if you had to put odds on Frankie Montas sticking as a starter, what would it be? 1/10?
Klaw: Yep, that sounds about right. Lacks the third pitch or maybe even a good enough second one, the command, or the body.

Ron: Hi Keith- If Buxton is up all of 2017 and is the full-time CF for the Twins, Where would you rank his arm among CF in both leagues? One of the best or above average? Hope he can hit decent and get on base. Packs a lot of wallop in that frame!
Klaw: It’s at least a 70 arm. He’s a legit 5 tool guy, and regular readers know I hate when that term is thrown around loosely.

Jer: How far would have had to list the Mets prospects to have Tim Tebow? 316?
Klaw: Maybe 23.2.

Alec: What do you think of raising the minimum wage? Every time this comes up–as it has in my state now–it makes me angry. I feel it’s just catering to a high voting base, and anyone with any sense sees it does nothing good–creates job loss due to higher costs, raisers prices, puts businesses out of business, etc.
Klaw: The academic research on the subject doesn’t favor your appeal to common sense argument; its effects on employment are mixed, at least. Doesn’t it also depend on the new wage level? Raising from $7 to $8 won’t have the same effects as raising from $7 to $15.

Jay: PECOTA projecting the Dodgers to win 98 games (and score more runs than most AL teams) with mostly the same roster (except Forsythe) which had among the worst wOBA against lefties in all MLB?
Klaw: Does PECOTA consider platoon splits? I don’t know the answer.

Rick: I heard an explanation that Otani can’t pitch and play the outfield on “off” days because of the throwing that outfielders have to do, so what about using him as a DH in between starts?
Klaw: Yes, you definitely want your ace to miss 4-6 weeks after straining an oblique muscle while swinging the bat as a DH.

Lyle: Did the Mariners get enough in return for Gohara?
Klaw: His stock was way down, so while I prefer Gohara, I understand their side of the deal.

Tim (KC): RE: 90’s and 2000’s power surge: 4 Expansion teams in the 90’s… which means more pitchers to pitch those increased number of innings/games. Basically, the talent level of the average pitcher decreases due to the increase in pitcher spots to be filled from what is a finite supply of quality pitchers.
Klaw: Yes, also very true – we’ve seen outlier individual seasons in every expansion year, I believe, including 1961 and 1998. And new ballparks, some of which played more hitter-friendly than the parks they replaced.

Mike: Why is PECOTA consistently way off on the Orioles? For example projecting 71 wins this season. Underrating the bullpen?
Klaw: Again, I can’t answer anything about PECOTA. I would say that they project to have one of the worst rotations in baseball (again) and that their offense is almost certain to be worse this year after a career year from Trumbo and no apparent upside there. And can Britton possibly match what he just did? I’ve long been a big believer in his stuff, but I could never predict any pitcher to put up a year like that.

Mike: Any business that claims it will go out of business because it had to pay a higher minimum wage was going to go out of business anyway. Seriously, if you build your business on having the cheapest possible labor, you are just wasting your time and money.
Klaw: if you build your business on having the cheapest possible labor, you can become Secretary of Labor!

Zac: Is Lucas Erceg a guy you could see “vaulting” up your rankings with a strong season?
Klaw: I was pretty aggressive with him this year. Lowest drafted player (2016) on my top 100, I believe.

Jim: When you say a player might get too big for SS, do you really mean too slow? If a guy got bigger but could maintain his lateral quickness somehow, wouldn’t he be just as good or better?
Klaw: Slow would imply foot speed; I’m talking about agility and yes lateral range. Rare is the guy who can get bigger without losing either or both of those.

Anonymous: Does Houston really NEED to add a starter? Where do you rank a Keuchel/McCullers/McHugh trio, given the play near their “reasonable expected level,” whatever that is? Do Musgrove/Martes/Morton/Fiers round out a solid enough 4-5? I feel like the rotation is very middle of the pack, could be top 10, or bottom 10 also though.
Klaw: Need, no. Would help, yes. I don’t think you can reasonably expect 25 starts from McCullers, but I think they have five other solid starter options. Adding Quintana would still be a 3-win upgrade though.

Scott: Any good Environmental/Climate Change organizations that you recommend donating to?
Klaw: I haven’t given to any yet – so far it’s been Human Rights Campaign, ACLU, and a lot to our local food pantry, Food Bank of Delaware.

Mitch: Youve said before that you voted Republican in the past. May I ask which GOP candidates you voted for? Reagan?
Klaw: I’m too young for Reagan; my first Presidential election ballot was 1992. I’ve voted GOP at all levels – mentioned Romney above, voted against Ted Kennedy every ballot I had, etc. Last year, however, I was straight-line Democrat, and I won’t vote GOP again until this strand of white nationalism is out of the party.

Tristan: The Blue Jays aren’t exactly blocking Dalton Pompey with their planned platoon of Carrera & Upton. Can he still be a long-term asset, with speed and defence, even if the bat never fully blooms? He’s still young and has upside. What’s your take on his future?
Klaw: Still think he’s got value. Obviously came up too soon, had a hard time adjusting, but the talent that made him a top 100 guy is all still there.

Joe: Kevin Gausman had, in a lot of ways, one of the 15 best seasons of any AL starter last year. Is there another step for him to take?
Klaw: Yes, sort of. I think he started to take that step in the second half. Breaking ball was consistently better after he moved back towards the middle of the rubber.

Liberal Fringe: am I paranoid waiting for Trump’s Reichstag?
Klaw: Nope.

Nelson: Ever been to Iceland? Have any recommendations?
Klaw: I have. Go to Gullfoss. Breathtaking.

Alberto, Dom. Rep.: Hi Keith. What’s your interest level in the WBC? and what are your thoughts on it? Here in Latin America we take it very seriously but it sure doesn’t seem that way in the States.
Klaw: This is why it matters – it’s good for marketing the game in Latin America and east Asia. I don’t ever want the US to win because that defeats the tournament’s whole purpose.

Greg: So you don’t think Minter is elite RP prospect since people who are really high on him are just scouting the stat line?
Klaw: Strawman. I don’t think he’s an elite prospect because I’ve seen him and don’t evaluate him that way. Really, did you think you had a point with this question?

Ridley Kemp: The governor of Texas is actually trying to foment a constitutional convention and bring back nullification and has taken to use the phrase “You’re fired!” As bad as things are in D.C., they could always be worse, huh?
Klaw: Just leave us Austin and Texas can go back to being its own country.

Santino: Are you going to do your “breakout players” under 25 this year? I truly tried to look up the schedule that was posted a while back but could not dig it up.
Klaw: Two separate pieces. Breakouts in March. Top players under 25 I don’t know.

Bulgakov: What do you make of the recent paucity of African American big league catchers? Ever since Charles Johnson last played 12 years ago, I think only Russell Martin (technically Afro-Canadian) is the only one to log significant, if any, playing time. Do you think there’s a bias somewhere along the line that keeps African Americans away from the backstop position?
Klaw: I don’t even see African-American HS catchers very often, so if there’s a bias (likely) it may be happening even before scouts see these kids. Martin was a converted infielder, too.

Dave: Klaw, on raising the minimum wage, wouldn’t the higher minimum wage lead to less need for welfare, etc which could lead to tax breaks for businesses offsetting the raise? Or am I delusional…..
Klaw: It’s a very complicated economic question. It’s not as simple as drawing a supply and demand curve. And a fair minimum wage in NYC would be a lot more than a fair minimum wage in Utica.

Andy: Based on various terrible laws, will that impact your traveling to see prospects this year?
Klaw: I don’t think so, although where I have discretion I’ll try to see certain players on the road (e.g., JB Bukauskas) to avoid spending extra money in states with discriminatory laws on the books.

Chris: Wondering if you have seen the 13th on Netflix? It seems like the white nationalism has been in the Republican party since it migrated from the Democrats in the 60s. Amazing that some people think the impact of race is in this country is overstated. It has defined politics in this country since the beginning.
Klaw: This is next on my watchlist.

Ethan: Have you ever read or spoke with anyone at Pirates Prospects? I value their work on Pittsburgh minor league system and was just wondering if you had any reason to ever come across it?
Klaw: Spent some time with Tim last March. Really enjoyed my chat with him.

Stan: Higher wages don’t lead to less welfare. Less welfare would be the result of forcing people to choose a way to support themselves outside of welfare. The old “work or starve” analogy.
Klaw: Actually, the best way to get people off welfare is to cut welfare. We tried that c. 1995 and it worked fantastically.

Hank: As a Twins fan, I fear that Miguel Sano is going down the Chris Carter path. I still believe, but I also think this year is a make or break year for him….as far as for the Twins, not for his career by any means. Do you think he can improve and be the star everyone thought he would be?
Klaw: I think he’s a better hitter now than Carter ever was.

Nathan: Percent chance Glasnow reaches his upside?
Klaw: A year ago I would have said over 50%. Now, maybe 30-40%.

Scott: Do you think Manaea has the durability to become a #2?
Klaw: I’m not sure he has all the elements to be a #2 (someone who’s ranked somewhere between, say, 20 and 50 in MLB). I feel better about saying he’ll most likely end up a #3, with a fairly small chance to be more.

Henry: I am intrigued by the welfare question. Welfare is a lifestyle for many, even if most on it are struggling to survive. There are simply people who choose the path with the least amount of responsibility attached. So, if you want to get the most people off of welfare, the best way is to eliminate welfare so that people have to find other ways to feed themselves and their dependents.
Klaw: What ways would you suggest they find? You can tell them to get off welfare and get a job, but what if there isn’t a job there for them? Who takes care of their kids? How do they get to/from work? What if they’re physically unable to work? What if it’s more lucrative for them to do something illegal? And is welfare really “a lifestyle for many?” I fully understand the economic disincentives of handouts, but let’s not pretend this issue is as simple as “get a job.”

Ethan: Making Shrimp Po Boys and can’t decide what to serve with it; any suggestions?
Klaw: Something with acid. Fresh cole slaw?

Andy: The problem with the “work or starve” mentality, is that some people would starve, which creates a problem with crime/vagrancy, without even getting into the moral issues.
Klaw: And you have victims there – kids who are malnourished, perhaps otherwise abused, who then grow up to become financial burdens on the state. There’s a financial incentive to take care of these kids now, but there will be adults who take advantage of any such system.

Pat: I am very concerned about the Orioles’ cavalier approach to Bundy’s health. Last year, they set a 75 inning limit and blew way past it (he threw almost 110), and he wore down. Now going into 2017 they seem willing to let him loose with no innings limit. What gives?
Klaw: It became more important to make the playoffs (for one game, as the last entrant) last year than to protect him or Tillman going forward. I didn’t like the abrupt change in plans, and if I were publishing forecasts on individual players I’d adjust both pitchers down for 2017.

Patrick: What do you think are the best coffee(s) or types of coffee for cold-brewing?
Klaw: I’ve never cold-brewed. It’s all pour-over or espresso for me.

Joe: Some of these questions on welfare are borderline stunning in their cruelty. Is this what we’ve actually become?
Klaw: I’d just say they lack some compassion. Stories of “welfare queens” are generally unfounded. Any government program that transfers wealth to specific individuals or companies will be abused. You want to limit such abuse, yes, but there’s still a policy goal here, or several goals, that we can’t just throw away.

Timothy: An argument of fairness and striving for something. I’m college educated and make $17.50/hour, so why is it right for a fast food worker to make $15?
Klaw: Why does that fast-food worker’s wage matter to you? Is he holding your wage down?

CJ: As relievers are typically pitchers who can’t handle starting, do you think that a starter with non-traditional closer stuff – think Tom Glavine – would have been a dominant reliever?
Klaw: Relievers are often guys who couldn’t handle the starter workload, lacked the third or second pitch to start, lacked the fastball command to start, or got hurt. I don’t think Glavine, working with a lot of average stuff, would have been a dominant reliever.

Tim (KC): RE Immigration: When you over generalize a group of people (like say those on welfare) and give them a certain stereotype (they are all lazy and looking for a handout)… then you lead to further illogical thoughts like “let’s ban everyone from a specific country” or worse.
Klaw: I’d agree with all of this. I wouldn’t generalize any group – those on welfare, or those who pay the most into the system and thus end up supporting those on welfare.

Ridley Kemp: On Anthony Bourdain’s Part Unknown, he had an interesting discussion with Jiao Tong University who noted “The difficulty is that the technology is so advanced that we don’t really need that many people.” His premise was that there simply isn’t enough need for work to provide sustainable employment for everyone (or that there were too many people). Is there any reasonable solution to this problem that isn’t monstrous? That seems like a looming issue of almost global warming dimensions.
Klaw: That’s the argument behind a Universal Basic Income. I truly don’t know what to make of that – I think the arguments around it are too far beyond my education – but I agree that we’re going to face questions around finding sufficient employment for future generations, not because of immigration but because of automation.

Garrett: Speaking of converted catchers, you think Texas’ Josh Morgan makes it as a big league backstop?
Klaw: If he moves there permanently, I think he’ll be at least a 55.

BD: Not saying I agree with this, but the flipside to a guy like Bundy, is go ahead and “fire the bullets” so to speak, extract what value is there, as he is a ticking time bomb.
Klaw: Understood, but he and Tillman had worse results as they fatigued too.

Zach: Your response to the fast food eage question is everything. Just because someone gets a raise doesn’t mean it comes out of your pocket. I’m noy sure why people have a hard time understAnding that.
Klaw: The only time I’ve ever cared about what someone else was making was when it was someone in the same role as mine or one similar enough that it was useful in comparison for negotiations, or as a sign that I was underpaid and should leave the company.

Kyle: Re: Lack of black catchers; Do you think it could have something to do with the high price of catcher’s equipment? Not to over generalize, but anecdotally the majority of high-end african american players seem to have been either multi-sport athletes at some point, or came from inner city baseball leagues. Is the several hundred dollars requisite for a good set of gear a road-block for players who a) play several sports and don’t want to make a heavy financial investment in just one, or B) do not have the wiggle-room in their budget to afford to?
Klaw: I think that’s the argument, or at least an argument, why we don’t see enough black players in youth baseball, period.

Archie: Is there any single pitch that you think specifically causes injury to pitchers?
Klaw: No. I guess it’s possible the screwball does, but we have almost no samples to examine anyway. I think it’s less what you throw and more how you throw it.

Mikey: Are the Rangers mishandling Jurickson Profar? I realize he hasn’t been truly healthy but isn’t he being stifled by lack of playing time? Wouldn’t he make for a better fielding 2B than Odor, who by many metrics is below average?
Klaw: I would like to see Profar get 500 AB if healthy this year. Wherever it happens is fine with me. (But yes, I think he’ll be a better defender at 2b than Odor.)

Billy: Unintentionally, I think we have gotten to the crux of Trump’s Detroit campaign speech wherein he built on his immigration stance by saying the jobs illegals have been working will now be available for Americans, particularly those struggling in the inner city. Which begs the question….is it unreasonable to expect people receiving handouts to take available jobs in construction, agriculture, or other industries that they do not feel like working in?
Klaw: Many of those jobs require skills that the working poor or unemployed poor don’t have, or physical access they lack (you can’t tell someone living in the inner city, hey, go take a farm job).

Timothy: In some ways, yes, the fast food worker’s wage does affect me. As middle class, my wage does not go up, but doubling wages will affect what I have to pay for goods/services, thus lowering my spending power.
Klaw: I don’t believe that will apply at the lowest end of the income scale. The point of a “living wage” is to cover basic living expenses, which have relatively inelastic prices. Raising the minimum wage to $25 or $40 an hour might do so, because then you’re giving a whole new class of people disposable income they can use on nonessential items with greater price elasticity.

JR: Your response on wages reminds me of this excellent Louie CK quote: “The only time you look in your neighbor’s bowl is to make sure that they have enough. You don’t look in your neighbor’s bowl to see if you have as much as them.”
Klaw: Compassion. Pass it on.

Klaw: OK, that’s all for WelfareChat this week. I’ll be back next Thursday to do it all over again, and will have another Insider column up on Tuesday too. Thank you as always for reading and for all of your questions. I’m sorry I couldn’t get to more.

Klawchat, 2/3/17.

You can preorder my upcoming book, Smart Baseball, on amazon, or from other sites via the Harper-Collins page for the book. Also, please sign up for my more-or-less weekly email newsletter.

My last prospects piece went up this morning for Insiders, identifying one “sleeper” prospect from all 30 teams.

Klaw: The grabbing hands grab all they can. Klawchat.

Jeremy: How do you feel about the Cardinals’ punishment? Just right, not enough, too much? Also, where were YOU during the Bowling Green Massacre?
Klaw: I’m not sure how we could tell – it’s not as if we have any sort of precedent for this. It’s harsh, but it’s not the baseball equivalent of the NCAA death penalty. And it needed to be harsh, so I guess that means it’s just right? During the BGM, I was in bed, tweeting about my great TV ratings.

Ed: Does Joey Gallo still have former top 20 prospect value? Do you think TX is / has mis-handled him or he still has a shot?
Klaw: He’s no longer eligible for the list, still a very high-risk/high-reward guy. I do think they mishandled him in one way – when he was called up last year, he spent way too much time on the bench. He needs to play, specifically to get reps at the plate, if he’s going to turn into anything at all.

Mike: First of all I want to thank you for what you’re doing on Twitter. Most people with your type of platform don’t advocate. Spreading the message of resistance is very important. My question is do you think that the Cubs’ starting rotation in 2020 could be Hendricks, Cease, Clifton, Monty, and de la Cruz?
Klaw: You’re welcome. I don’t think that’s their 2020 rotation for a few reasons. One is that I’m sure they will add a veteran starter or two between now and then. The other is that you’re being quite optimistic on all those young guys – and Montgomery, whom I don’t believe can be an effective starter.

Jason: Keith, thanks for all the work you put into your rankings, etc. For Sandy Alcantara, is the development of a breaking ball what determines if he will be a reliever or starter for you? Can he be a No. 2?
Klaw: That’s his main developmental need, and fastball command is second. Pretty exciting package though. Number one upside.

Jason: Best guess…does StL get Cordoba back from Padres?
Klaw: There’s no reason to think he’s going to hit coming straight from the Appy League, so the question is whether the Padres are willing to carry him for a year and take zero offense (but maybe adequate defense) just to have him in their system? I could see that.

Gene Mullett: Who was your “gateway” band into grindcore? Did you tell us once it was Pitch Shifter?
Klaw: I don’t know Pitch Shifter. I wouldn’t say I’m a grindcore fan – I’m just aware of the genre. Carcass came out of that but ended up essentially founding melodic death metal, and that’s the genre I like.

Joe: I see all types of people on the internet stating that surely Trump won’t last four years. As someone with a grounded viewpoint, do you see this as hyperbole or an actual inevitability?
Klaw: I think there’s some wishcasting in there. If you want Trump out before 2020, then you’d better work for the Democrats to retake the House in 2018, and that’s no easy task. The current GOP has shown zero interest whatsoever in stopping the rollbacks of civil rights or of regulations set up to protect the public from corporate malfeasance.

Bill G: Keith, I want to thank you for all the hard work you do to deliver the prospect lists and information. Outstanding job! Question: I do not want to get into differences in player ratings between your list and those from MLB Pipeline, but are there philosophical differences at play here, or is this truly the “eye of the beholder”. Thanks!
Klaw: There’s one thing to bear in mind between our processes, which is that I rely more on my own first-person scouting than Jonathan and Jim do on theirs. It doesn’t make one better than the other, but it does make ours different.

Zach: I was almost certain the Pirates sleeper prospect was going to be Gage Hinsz, but Escobar a solid choice as well. What can Gage develop into?
Klaw: Every scout I asked who saw Hinsz said he projects as a reliever. Escobar has starter upside that Hinsz might lack.

Andy: What happened with Andy Marte (in his playing days?) I remember that he was a top prospect for years. It doesn’t seem like he had makeup issues. What caused him to be basically a non-entity as a pro?
Klaw: Raked in the minors, had a great swing, never had a big plate discipline problem. I’ve wondered about this myself, and I don’t know that he ever got enough of a chance in the majors – would other teams have just let him play through mediocre years, figuring he wasn’t a .250 BABIP guy forever? I mean, yeah, he struggled some with major-league breaking pitches, but a lot of guys do right out of the chute.

Nick: Keith, if Wilmer Difo was prospect eligible would he have had a shot at the top 100? Or is he kinda stuck in neutral until hes traded out of the logjam in DC? Thanks
Klaw: Two separate questions there. One, I don’t try to rerank guys who’ve lost their eligibility, just as a policy. Two, I don’t consider a prospect’s current status, such as being blocked by other players, when ranking him, so I would still rank Difo as a probable everyday middle infielder rather than considering him a bench guy because he’s stuck.

Horacio: Hi Keith, several weeks ago I asked you on Twitter if your book was going to be available on the UK. Your answer was that you didn’t know then and were going to find out. Do you have more info now? Looking forward to read it!
Klaw: It will be, and you can pre-order it on amazon.co.uk already.

Van: How can Jeren Kendall be at the top of so many lists when his K/BB ratio is so bad? Aren’t evaluaters worried about that? How does he stack up against someone like Corey Ray?
Klaw: Because K/BB isn’t the only thing that matters, and Kendall is a very toolsy player with power, speed, and defensive value – and while he strikes out more often than we want, he’s not undisciplined. He has more upside than Ray in power and defense.

Todd: A lot has been made lately of college students and recent graduates working for free in order to break into their desired field. I understand you went to Harvard and then got an MBA. I was wondering what was your own experience as you broke into baseball with Toronto?
Klaw: I wouldn’t get the MBA again if I’d known I’d end up in this career. I didn’t work for free in Toronto or ever, actually – I didn’t even take any unpaid internships in college, although at the time they were much less prevalent. I would never advise anyone to work for free, especially not if you have skills to offer.

Travis: I observed that Rio Ruiz didn’t make your Braves report. I admit to knowing nothing other than his stat line but it seemed solid if unspectacular at age 22 in AAA after a few years of inconsistency. Is there anything new to report on him from this past season and what do you think the future holds for him? Now on the 40 man with not much above him on the depth chart, it seems the opportunity is there if he can seize it.
Klaw: He’s a below-average defensive 3b without power. I don’t see what the value is there.

Paul: Hi Keith, I live nearby Stanford and college baseball is coming up. Are there any Standford players that could be drafted high this year or next year that I could focus on (instead of getting frustrated by Marquess 1950’s strategy)? Thanks!
Klaw: Tristan Beck for sure. Maybe Colton Hock.

Donald: when you say a kid is too young or too old for a league, what do you mean? what are the age ranges a kid should be in a league? I am in Fort Wayne with a Low-A team
Klaw: If a player is much older or younger than his competition, that’s going to affect his performance or how we evaluate it. It matters more for hitters than pitchers. Anyone over 20 in Fort Wayne is too old for the level, especially if he’s a college product.

JRG: Just wanted to say nice job on all the prospect work on ESPN – I really enjoyed it.
Klaw: Thank you. It’s exhausting, but this is truly why I do it.

Chris F: Hi Keith, I was surprised that Sandro Fabian didn’t get a mention in your GIants write-up. Is he too far away or do you not see him having above average regular potential?
Klaw: Both. I don’t shove short-season players into reports unless there’s something particularly notable about them, good or bad.

Smrt: I’ve seen a few articles marking Robbie Ray as a breakout candidate, mainly based on his strikeout rate last year. Do you buy that logic. Is Ray more than a mid-rotation guy?
Klaw: I had him as a breakout guy last year, and he sort of broke out, I think. But I don’t think this is strictly a matter of bad luck for him in 2016 that you forecast a big bump from better fortune.

Nick: You mentioned Moniak may be able to generate more power with some tweaks – is Moniak with 70/45 hit/power more valuable than 60/55? 60/50?
Klaw: If he’s got a 70 hit tool, you’ll live with 45 power. He’s not super rotational at the plate, but I wouldn’t change him to try to gain power and risk contact.

CP: For Top Chef, I feel this season (and to be honest, the last few) to be less food-focused and more on the “confessional camera” interview side. Which wouldn’t be as bad if the chefs are more likable or interesting. What do you think? Also, I am strongly against this season’s half returning chefs and half newbies. All new chefs gives viewers more people to learn about and possibly new food destinations to visit across the country.
Klaw: I agree with nearly all of this. The only thing I’d say in favor of the format is that Brooke is awesome and I’m rooting for her to win. Otherwise, no more mixed vets and rookies, please. (I haven’t watched last night’s ep yet.)

Mr. Pink: Eliezer Alvarez didn’t make your Cardinals list, but other lists have had him in their top 10. What are your thoughts on him and why doesn’t he make the cut for you? Thanks.
Klaw: I have no idea why “other lists” would do that. Scouting the stat line, I suppose.

Michael: How can you trust the information given to you about prospects when it is given by an employee of a club? They have a pretty big conflict of interest, even if they work for a different team from the player, no? I remember Ricciardi and other Blue Jay people making Curtis Thigpen out to be the next Craig Biggio…
Klaw: “Trust but verify” is a good motto. But in most cases these are relationships I have going back five to ten years, so there’s a level of trust I’ve established where I get more candor off the record than those public comments you might see. Plus, if someone’s always lying to me, I’ll figure it out.

Ken: The Nationals think Koda Glover might be able to close for them this year or soon after. What are your thoughts on him?
Klaw: Yes, I think that’s about right.

Nick: You have Jahmai Jones with potential 60 power but others have him with 45-50. Are these types of difference purely projection (aka preference)? In other words is there that big a difference between what scouts actually see at present?
Klaw: Again, no idea what “others” you mean. I know I saw him show off plus raw in HS, and he’s shown it some in pro ball. I don’t think it’s really debatable. We can argue over things like a hit tool, but a guy’s got power or he doesn’t.

Rod: Higher upside, Michael Fulmer or Sean Manaea?
Klaw: Fulmer.

Nelson: What type of player is Cole Stobbe ?
Klaw: Thought he was 4th-5th round talent, bit old for a HS senior, don’t love the defense or the power yet, but he hasn’t played a whole lot, coming from Nebraska (ergo short spring seasons). I don’t love being real definitive on lower HS position player drafts, because sometimes they get into pro ball and show us wildly different plate discipline than expected.

Mike: I face a dilemma; I used to be blissfully ignorant, never knowing anything past what ESPN had to say. Now, I’ve started to become slightly more informed about what’s going on in the world–which society seems to think is important I do–and now I’m just depressed. So, what’s better–to be ignorant and happy or informed and sad with nothing I can do about it?
Klaw: You can do something. You can call your elected reps regularly. You can attend their town hall meetings. You can donate to non-profits that fight for causes that matter to you. You can volunteer your time. I’m getting more involved myself because I’m disgusted with the state of the nation, not least because we are turning away from rational, science-based policies. I may not have an impact on anything, but I’m trying.

Sean: Any traction to the Robbie Cano comps for Isan Diaz?
Klaw: Cano is about two seasons away from being a Hall of Famer. I’m not hanging that on any prospect. And if I thought Diaz was Cano, he’d have been #1.

paul d.: Keith, getting an idea of college talent. Roughly, where would Kyle Wright rank on your Top 100? Thanks for all you do and the hard work!
Klaw: The first overall pick in the draft usually lands between 10 and 20 on my list. Last year’s, Moniak, was lower because that draft class didn’t have a clear best prospect, and I didn’t have him at #1 on my board before the draft.

Dusty: What do you think about Twins SS prospect Wander Javier. Does he have a chance to be a star?
Klaw: Think he’s a long, long way off. Less than even money he’s a shortstop for me. Swing was a mess when they signed him – power over hit for sure.

Nick: Long term, do you prefer Jeren Kendall over guys like C. Ray or K. Lewis? How does he stack up vs recent OF draftees?
Klaw: Definitely have him over Ray or Lewis now, or even comparing to those guys last January.

Henry: Keith, I have to admit the cover for your book seems a bit bland. I have no doubt about the quality of the prose and analysis but did you have a say in the cover?
Klaw: I did. You’re the first person to say anything negative to me about it.

Tony: Hey Keith, what would be your best advice to a young kid who is struggling to find his way in life? I’m a pretty young male and I see all my friends who know what exactly what they wish to major in at college, and I’m clueless. It’s depressing not to know, and it is a decision that keeps me up at night. I’ve had numerous sleepless nights over it. It’s absolute hell when relatives always pose the question and I’m always telling them, “I don’t know.” Just feels like they look at me like I’m some sort of failure for not knowing. How do I go about solving this problem? Are there any books you could recommend regarding the subject perhaps? It has reached the point where I legitimately don’t believe in myself that I’ll ever solve this problem. I’ve already spent my two years at a community college (which I’ve been on the Deans list every semester), but I’m still clueless. What do you think is the best way to solve this problem? Thanks Keith!
Klaw: Whoa, heavy question. I don’t think you actually have to know what you want to do in life right now – I didn’t start at ESPN till I was 33, at Toronto until I was 28, so I went a lot farther than you did without finding my career. But you would probably feel better if you figured out something you love to do, whether it’s a subject or a skill or even a hobby, and looked at pursuing that as a career, or even as a college major. I would have enjoyed college more if I’d just majored in stuff I liked.

Classiest Question Ever: I’ve read most of your work the last 7-8 years, and on a few occasions you’ve written or Tweeted the following about Michael Young: ‘Classiest double play ever’ (after he grounded into a DP), and ‘Total class on that E5’ (after he kicked a groundball). These may not be exactly what you wrote, but they’re close. My question is this: Is that a poke at MY himself (because maybe he’s not as classy and slick as his reputation suggests), or more of a dig at the fans/media folks who perpetuated that idea?
Klaw: A dig at the media who always talked about how classy he was, and who refused to acknowledge his declining skills because they felt he was just so classy.

Jeremy: In a recent interview, Tyler Glasnow mentioned that his stride length was too long causing him to land on his heel with his plant foot causing his stuff to fluctuate. He said he was going to shorten his stride a bit to correct the problem. I know you wrote that Tijuan Walker shortened his stride length and you believe that it had a negative effect on his stuff. Is it a bad idea for Glasnow to do this? I know from reading his perceived velocity was about 3mph faster do to his overwhelming stride length.
Klaw: If you’re not landing cleanly, your stuff and command will suffer. Shortening your stride is a problem if the result is short itself. If your stride is too long, you can shorten it a little without harm.

Jack C.: It seems as if many of the baseball writers I follow sway (actually, more than sway) to the left when it comes to politics. Now, it may just be coincidence that the people I follow and listen to have these viewpoints. From your perspective, does this seem to be the case? If so, why?
Klaw: I’m sure it’s true, because writers tend to be well-educated, with at least bachelor’s degrees and sometimes master’s, and the more education you have, the more likely it is that you lean left and/or vote Democrat.

Pat: Am I wrong to think that Dylan Cease is a reliever long term?
Klaw: You are wrong if you think there’s 0% chance he’s a starter. You’re not wrong if you think there’s more chance he’s a reliever, although i disagree.

Grant: I’ve recently decided to get into coffee. Up until this year I’ve been a folgers drip in a Mr coffee guy. I’ve been mostly cold and pour over brewing while manual burr grinding beans from a local roaster and of course its been awesome. I want to start learning about beans (this far I just ask roaster recs) but the subject seems so vast that I don’t know where to start, like a sandwich too big to bite into. Any suggestions on where to start?
Klaw: I think you’re doing exactly the right things. Just keep trying new stuff. That’s what I do, mostly.

JJ: Who are your early ROY favorites for 2017? I’m assuming Benintendi in the AL gets your vote.
Klaw: And Swanson in the NL.

mike R: I was somewhat surprised to see that you ranked josh bell higher than Margot given the opposing ends of the defensive spectrum. Are you that much more confident in Bell’s bat or were there other considerations (MLB success?) that created the separation? thanks
Klaw: I may be higher on Bell than the industry, but I see a guy who can hit, use the whole field, get on base, and hit for power. We like those guys, right?

Justin: Heading to Nashville in 2 weeks and I need to plan dinner for a group in their mid 30’s, any recommedations?
Klaw: Husk if you can get in. Also Two Ten Jack, 404 Kitchen, City House.

TC: I knew Kevin Grendell wouldn’t be close to the top 100 because he’s a reliever. But I was surprised I didn’t see him in your prospect coverage at all this offseason. What do you think his future is? Could he be an elite reliever?
Klaw: He’s in the Angels’ writeup as the #17 prospect in their system.

Nick: Any thoughts on Giants OF Austin Slater? He looks intriguing but I know that lots of hitters coming out of Stanford seem to have a bad rep.
Klaw: Not enough power to be a LF regular, hits enough to be a big league bench bat.

Michael: All the talk about the Yankees farm system being so good by the NY media seems to overlook that a bunch of their top prospects which they drafted/signed (Mateo, Judge, etc.) seemed to have regressed a bit (or not developed as hoped). Fair to be concerned about their development process? (Yes, I’m ignoring Sanchez’s graduation, but it’s been two months so hard to be supper bullish)
Klaw: I don’t think Judge has regressed or stagnated; he’s got one of the biggest strike zones in baseball but has made several gradual adjustments to get to the big leagues. Mateo has regressed. Jagielo flopped. Otherwise you’d have to go further back to the culver/bichette years.

Tim (KC): Keith… the Rockies off-season is really confusing… specifically signing Ian Desmond playing first base… with a stacked young infield and a logjam in the outfield (the positions that better align with his defensive versatility) in Dahl, Cargo, Blackmon, Parra and Tapia on his way . What are your thoughts? Were they planning on trading OF this off-season (and maybe that got torpedoed by the Eaton trade?) or maybe they just signed the Cargo-replacement a year early because they did not like the OF free agent crop next year (but that does not account for Tapia)?
Klaw: I don’t understand the Desmond signing at all. Not the player, not the contract, not the lost draft pick.

Philip: What you hearing about Luis Robert? Sounds like a top 150 prospect type? No
Klaw: Haven’t heard anything to put him up there. I haven’t seen him myself.

Fred: Why is Gimenez considered a “sleeper”? I know you often wouldn’t be accused of being conservative, but 16th on the Mets list after the season he had? Its not like he’s a pop-up guy, as you said in the report, big money guy. Is it simply the lack of experience playing in the states?
Klaw: You’re asking me how a guy who just turned 18 after the season and has never played outside of the DSL is a “sleeper?” Next year, do you want me to pick some T-ball slugger who’s still in diapers?

Matt: I’m 41 and thinking of starting a new career; possibly in writing. What are your thoughts on writing for free to build a resume and writing samples, content mills, etc.?
Klaw: I wouldn’t advise it. While there isn’t great money in freelancing, there is some money. Even a token payment means the publisher has some skin in the game too.

Mike: Nomar Mazara: Future superstar, all-star or solid regular?
Klaw: All-Star.

Farquat: Steve Bannon is: a) the devil. b) the devil. c) the devil. d) seriously, he’s the devil.
Klaw: He’s the devil without Mr. Woland’s charm.

Alex: Hey Keith. I very much enjoy your book reviews. Recently finished Station Eleven off your recommendation and loved it. I was wondering whether you had plans to update your ranking of top novels. Thanks for your work!
Klaw: Eventually, but between the prospect stuff and the book I haven’t had a ton of time for extra dish content in a while now.

Don: Dave Cameron said that Nate Jones “has a ton of value. Not quite as the Giles level, but he’d get a big return”. Do you agree with this? I can’t imagine a 31-year old reliever with a TJ in his past getting a ton in return.
Klaw: That’s probably not fair to Dave because I haven’t seen his explanation, but on its face, I don’t think he’d get a return like Giles or even the two closer trades last summer.

Tracy: We are living in increasingly dangerous times when I can call you an elitist east/west coast snob who spouts “facts” as truth and feel justified in doing so because our president can do the same thing to anybody or any institution without the slightest regard to legitimacy. You say climate change is a grave threat to our future? Hell, now I can retort by tagging you as fake news and go on my way without a second of meaningful consideration because it directly counters my narrow worldview and now I have a convenient “out.” Keith, I don’t know what else can be done to counteract this institutionalized ignorance beyond the standard Twitter warfare. Thoughts?
Klaw: My plan is to never shut up.

Chris: Your writeup on Nolan Jones mentioned that he k’d too much with no power, but he obviously has plenty of upside. How much leeway would you give him at this point and will he even get to full season ball this year?
Klaw: If he starts in extended spring training, that’s not necessarily a problem, although I would hope he’d do well enough in the Penn League that he might end the year in low-A.

Mike: Do you have a take on what happened in Berkeley this past week? When does it become appropriate, if ever, to resort to non-peaceful means in order to be heard and have something done?
Klaw: I don’t see how that neo-Nazi’s free speech rights were impacted at all. And I wouldn’t want that guy speaking on my campus or in my town and potentially fomenting further racial animus.

Chris: Keith, I saw your comment on Javier Guerra and was a little surprised. I thought most of his struggles this year were due to character issues. Does he have a shot to be on the top 100 next year?
Klaw: Character issues? Absolutely not. Anyone who says that – and I understand you’re saying you heard that somewhere – should be embarrassed. Yes, he does have a shot to return to the top 100 if fully healthy.

Steve: A non prospect question if I may. Peavy, Lincecum and Ryan Howard are former cy young/MVP winners looking for a job. Do you think any of them are on an opening day roster?
Klaw: Nope. Someone pointed out to me on twitter that years ago I’d predicted Lincecum wouldn’t make it to 30. I kind of can’t believe I said that – even for me, that sounds awfully harsh – but, well, here we are.

Nick: Hi Keith, any chance Peter Alonso can play a passable 3b? Since he is blocked by Smith, would be his best path to the bigs with the Mets.
Klaw: I highly doubt it.

Harrisburg Hal: I was looking for a carnitas recipe – you speak highly of them so I looked here first. I came across your pressure cooker recipe. We don’t have a pressure cooker. Can I use a dutch oven or crock pot?
Klaw: Yes, and it’ll probably be even better. Use the Dutch oven. Cook ’em low and slow.

Nick: Hi Keith, any chance Peter Alonso can play a passable 3b? Since he is blocked by Smith, 3b would be his best path to the bigs with the Mets.
Klaw: I don’t think he will.

Michael: Removal of Trump would require 2/3 of the Senate, meaning he would have to upset plenty of Republicans too. That “answer” was just a shot at the GOP.
Klaw: You don’t the GOP deserved that shot? Where exactly have they been, including the ones who had plenty of criticism of Trump and his proposed policies before the election? I’ve voted Republican many times in my life, but they are dead to me now.

Red Sox are better: Wasn’t Gary Sanchez monster quarter season the definition of SSS? He never hit for much power in any level before this. How can he be so well regarded by Zips and projectors as a 30+ HR catcher when he’s never done it before, never caught 130 games and faces wear and tear and pitchers figuring him out? What’s your projection for him?
Klaw: Oh, he has power. At 19 that guy was making incredibly hard contact off older pitchers.

Don: Has Alec Hansen floor raised or is there still significant Ankiel potential?
Klaw: Never thought he was Ankiel, but I wouldn’t say the concern that he’ll be too wild is gone yet.

Excited Book Buyer: If eligible, where would you slot Otani in the Top 100?
Klaw: He’d be #1, but again, it’s a bit unfair to comp a guy who is essentially a big leaguer already (in NPB) to prospects.

Vince: I am the parent of a 3 year old. My daughter just started watching TV (Daniel Tiger and Sesame Street). Curious what your TV and technology policy with your daughter was and how that has evolved as she got older. What worked/didn’t work.
Klaw: She can’t watch any shows we haven’t approved. We axed some for being dumb, some for humor we found offensive (including Disney’s Jessie, which I thought had dialogue that was rude to the point of bullying), but never really cut her off completely because it seemed futile.

Jeb: Why doesn’t Mateo make hard contact? Poor swing path? Lack of strength? Poor pitch recognition? Something else?
Klaw: I think it’s a hand strength issue.

Chris: Can Kodi Mediros make it even in the pen at this point?
Klaw: I’d just move him there now and see. Gotta throw strikes there too.

Baseball Dad: Hi Keith. I have a son, a high school freshman, who is being recruited by college baseball programs. Is there value in committing this early? In your opinion, what are the pros and cons? Thanks.
Klaw: Zero value, and as we’ve seen this winter with a bunch of football programs, no commitment is worth anything until it’s on paper.

Matt: Just want to say, I started watching Top Chef because of you. I know nothing about cooking, but now I watch and read your recaps. So thanks.
Klaw: I’ll do a recap later today or tomorrow too. Last week’s just never happened with all the prospect writing.

Greg: How do you deal with people who preach intolerant views who claim “liberals claim to be tolerant! Unless you don’t agree with them!” Nothing drives me more insane than the fact that they’re complaining about intolerance of their intolerant views and somehow think they deserve “equal time.” but i’ve yet to come up with a cogent, or at least semi-witty response. Or is that just impossible? HELP ME KLAW
Klaw: It’s the paradox of tolerance.

Elliott: O/U 20 hrs for Jorge Soler this year?
Klaw: I’ll go over. He’s been okay when healthy.

Jon: Keith, If I wanted to stock up on rookie cards of a Pennsylvania corner infielder to finance my retirement, would you say Ke’Bryan Hayes or Rhys Hoskins would have the best chance of being a HOFer? Either better than 1% chance? Thanks!
Klaw: I won’t say HoFer but Hayes is the better prospect.

Jason: Is DJ Peterson anything more than just a guy?
Klaw: Just a guy for me.

Henry: Going back to an earlier question, how do you deal with a scout who violated your trust by providing an inaccurate evaluation? Its one thing to ignore him but doesn’t that leak throughout the industry and compromise organizational trust?
Klaw: I just won’t ask that guy for help again. We can still be friends, or friendly.

Nelson: I’m admittedly not deeply knowledgeable about all of the things you write about board games, but most of the time i don’t recognize any of the games. I’m just curious if you have positive feelings about any of the “classic” games that you may have played as a kid. Any of them still in rotation for you?
Klaw: None of them. Monopoly – whoever gets lucky in the first round probably wins. Scrabble – that’s work, I’m not memorizing any fucking wordlists. Sorry – all luck, might as well go play roulette. Stratego – see you in a few hours. Risk – decent idea, poorly executed.

Harrisburg Hal: You are probably above bribery, but I’d gladly buy the hardback edition of your book if you sign it with something like….”and by the way I do actually hate your team”
Klaw: I’ll do that for free if I get out to do some signings.

Randy: We know G Stubbs can hit and play good defense but we don’t know how many games he can catch; we think Nido and Diaz can catch more games but don’t know whether they can hit–why not prefer the Stubbs uncertainty?
Klaw: Have you seen him up close? He’s a little dude. Like, I’m calling him a little dude. And I’m tiny.

Louie: I asked this last week but it went unanswered, so I’m not as clear on details; I think it was something like 7 out of the top 24 prospects would have been the Red Sox if not for trades within the last year, and that’s not even other pieces they gave up. Where would that kind of top talent have ranked since you’ve been doing these rankings?
Klaw: I don’t think any team has pulled that off, ever.

Al: Do i put questions in the comment section?
Klaw: imma smack you

Jer: When America crumbles are you going to Canada or Italy?
Klaw: I looked into Italian citizenship, but even though my grandfather was born there, I can’t get it because my mom never got hers.

Klaw: That’s all for this week; thank you as always for all your questions and for reading all that prospect content. I’ll be around next week but I’m also going to get some rest for a change. I’ll try to bring the chats back to Thursday starting this week and going forward.

Klawchat, 1/27/17.

The whole top 100 is now up; you can see the top 20 prospects here or go to this landing page with links to all parts of the prospect rankings package.

You can preorder my upcoming book, Smart Baseball, on amazon, or from other sites via the Harper-Collins page for the book. Also, please sign up for my more-or-less weekly email newsletter.

Klaw: It’s the highest in commodity grade, and you can get it today. Klawchat.

jay_B: Brendan Rodgers writeup mentions he struck out “just” 98 times in 110 games. Is that actually a good number or am I just misunderstanding that whole section?
Klaw: That’s actually a good number for a guy his age. Look at strikeout totals across the minors – they’re really high now, just as they are in the majors.

Carl Spackler: How close were guys like Clifton, De La Cruz, Almora and Candelario to your top 100? Would those guys all be in your 100-150ish range?
Klaw: None was terribly close, although I bet de la Cruz would have made it had he been healthy all season (or just lacked those concerns going forward).

Oden: Hi Keith– I was a little surprised that David Paulino wasn’t in your top 100. Future reliever for you, or something else keeping him out? Thanks!
Klaw: Future reliever. Like 90/10 odds. Delivery is out of control for me, can’t see starter command or ability to repeat it 100 times a game.

Phillip: Do you have a list of “next ten” that didn’t make the top 100? Or at least the guys who you remember having just missed the cut?
Klaw: That list of ten goes up tomorrow.

Mike: I did not see Reynaldo Lopez on your list. Is this because you think he is 100% a reliever or was he not eligible?
Klaw: Another one I think is absolutely a reliever. Can’t start with that delivery.

Danny: Are you shocked how bad this first week of know nothing politics went?
Klaw: Shocked, no. Dismayed, yes.

Alivio: Keith, looks like you let your ego get the best of you once again with that Yoan ranking. Seems he’s a shoe in as a top 5 prospect. Why so low on him?
Klaw: Yes, it’s all my ego, not a rational examination of each player’s strengths and weaknesses, which I then spelled out at length for everyone to see. It’s just me.

Aaron C.: As the father of a 12-year-old ball player, I was encouraged to see so many prospects of African-American descent in your top 100. In your view, is this indicative of any burgeoning reconciliation between black youth and baseball? Is the RBI program bearing fruit? Or, is it just small sample size snapshot? Thanks!
Klaw: Probably just an upturn in the cycle. I’ll feel better about it if and when we get more African-American players in the majors in regular roles that have often been closed off to them, like starting pitchers or catchers.

J.P.: Curious not to see Luke Weaver anywhere. Thoughts?
Klaw: Not even close. Two-pitch guy who lacks plane on the fastball.

Allan: Mike Soroka must have been close to being included on your top 100, right? What other Braves prospects warranted consideration?
Klaw: He’s the top Atlanta prospect who missed, but I’m not sure I’d say he was close either. Low slot guy with slight frame. Scouts were very mixed on him staying a starter; one scout I talked to who saw Rome’s whole rotation put Weigel over Soroka.

Ben: Chances of Bellinger moving to the OF permanently?
Klaw: What I’ve heard is that you’re trading a 7 glove at 1b for a 5 glove in the outfield. I don’t think the Dodgers would do that.

Mike Sixel: Would you have traded Dozier straight up for De Leon, from the Twins’ side? thanks!
Klaw: No. I don’t think that’s enough value given what Dozier has been the last two years.

Adam: Fernando Tatis Jr is someone a lot of people are including on Padres Top 10 lists, but to consider him a Top 50 prospect in all of baseball is pleasantly surprising. Is this ranking based on what he’s done, or what you expect him to do in 2017?
Klaw: It’s based in this case entirely on scouts’ feedback about him specifically and the list as a whole. I have yet to see him play.

Tom: You have mentioned teams trying to avoid sending prospects to extreme environments (Colorado Springs, Lancaster, High Desert, etc.) or ballparks (Savannah) that might adversely impact their development. What factors do teams consider when seeking player development contracts with minor league affiliates? Is there a reason some teams get stuck with affiliates that don’t really make sense for player development, geographic, or business reasons (thinking the Brewers in Colorado Springs or the Mets in Las Vegas)? I understand there are only a limited number of markets and minor league teams, but why aren’t teams more aggressive in seeking agreements with affiliates, or owning them outright (like the Braves)?
Klaw: Proximity to MLB club, quality of facilities, hitting environment, attendance are all factors. More clubs are buying affiliates to avoid the biennial shuffle.

Stevie: Hey Keith, thanks for all the great work. If you had to pick a Mets prospect to jump into the Top 100 next yr between Andres Gimenez, Wuilmer Becerra, Tomas Nido, Luis Carpio and Dez Lindsay…….who would you choose? Do you think any of them (or even more than one of them make that jump? Thanks again.
Klaw: I pick a sleeper for each team, which is exactly what you describe, in the org reports that will run next week. The 10 East teams run Monday, Central Tuesday, West Wednesday.

Johnny: No Tyler O’Neill, Keith? That’s just baffling to me, especially given his breakout year away from the CAL. Please explain!
Klaw: Breakout year? Interesting, given the mediocre contact rate. He’s also a bat-first guy who’s physically maxed out already and won’t provide value on defense. Now, to be clear, omitting a guy from the top 100 is not saying he sucks. I’m saying he’s not one of the top 100 prospects in baseball. There are more than 100 prospects in the minors right now, and always.

Danny: How close was Bradley zimmer to making the 100 cut? Thought he might eke in there after his strong afl. Thx!
Klaw: But he didn’t have a strong AFL. Lefties destroyed him there – 14 K in 30 PA.

Johnny: I assume Calhoun missed because of his defensive (lack of) prowess, but which position would suit him best?
Klaw: Batters’ box.

Jake: Did Anthony Banda get any consideration in such a desolate system such as AZ’s? (Cue “High Noon”)
Klaw: No – I wouldn’t force a guy on the list just because he’s the best guy in a bad system.

Grant: Come on, where is Tyler O’Neill? This is a GLARING omission!
Klaw: Oh, well, if it’s GLARING, I’d better get on that.

addoeh: Without giving anything away, I was surprised by your Tebow ranking. Thoughts?
Klaw: He’s ranked #666.

Ethan: Keith, I am curious your thoughts on Hunter Renfroe. With him not being in your Top 100, are you most concerned with strikeouts? Thanks for your work!
Klaw: Not just strikeouts but lack of offspeed recognition period.

Lenny: I was surprised not to see Gavin Cecchini crack the top 100. You’ve said in the past that he’s likely to stay at SS and while I know you don’t think his offensive profile is as good as the top shortstops, he had an expected year in AAA. What happened that caused you to drop him?
Klaw: He’s no longer likely to stay at shortstop. His throwing problems from 2015 got worse.

Travis: What fan base usually asks the most questions on a weekly bases?
Klaw: Right now it’s Atlanta, although there’s been a strange uptick in White Sox questions lately.

KLaw is out of his mind: A guy with makeup issues (and hasn’t pitched above High-A) is the top SP prospect over two SPs who can throw nearly as hard, have better secondary stuff – and both have seen the bigs. Well, I’m convinced. (sarcasm detector in the red)
Klaw: You lost me right there at “makeup issues.” You almost certainly know nothing about Kopech’s makeup except the secondhand stuff you’ve read. I would bet good money I know more about the subject, and obviously I’m comfortable ranking him where I did even knowing that information. And hey, feel free to omit the delivery questions I had on Reyes, since they don’t support your whining.

Craig: As a Brewers fan, I am really happy to see so many players in your top 100 at various positions (2 SPs, 2B, 3B, 2 OF) to go with Orlando Arcia. But is there anyone in the Brewers system who profiles as a future starter with good power (40 HR potential). For a team long known for sluggers, it seems odd that there isn’t a big power guy already in the minors.
Klaw: Brinson has 30 HR power, least. 40 HR power is pretty rare.

G: I know you’ve reviewed the board game “Tak” for Paste, but I was wondering if you’ve given any consideration to reading the Kingkiller Chronicle books. I’m halfway through the 2nd book at the moment, and really enjoying it, even though it falls into a lot of the traps of the fantasy genre.
Klaw: Nah, too long.

Luke: Hi Keith, love your work! The aspects of Boston/Cambridge that you miss the most/least are…?
Klaw: The cultural opportunities Boston offered.

Parrot: Assuming Zack Collins can’t stay behind the plate, how much of a gap exists between him and Matt Thaiss?
Klaw: Large. He’s got way more power. And I think he’s a better hitter than I credited him for being before the draft.

Fan of Tyler: Surprised to see Tyler O’Neill miss the list. What don’t you like about him?
Klaw: Wrong question. It’s not “like.” This is what I believe the player to be, or to lack.

Nolan LeMond: Touki Toussaint fell outside your Top 100, not terribly surprising. Do you see his future more as a wipe-out reliever than a starter at this point?
Klaw: I’d still develop him as a starter, but he has to repeat the delivery better to stay there. The reps of starting will help him even if he ends up in the bullpen.

Adam: What are your thoughts on relief pitchers in the Hall of Fame? The top four relievers per JAWS are Eck, Mariano, Hoyt Wilhelm and Goose. I would be inclined to draw the line right there. I am not in favor of Trevor Hoffman for the HOF, and I thought Bruce Sutter was a very bad selection a few years back. However, I am willing to give Rollie Fingers a pass on account of the mustache.
Klaw: I feel pretty much the same way, although Eck was a dubious choice too, sort of compounding the error of the MVP award he got.

Crumb: Any thoughts on the Dodgers Julian Leon? Or is he too far away to really project?
Klaw: He hasn’t hit in two years and can’t catch.

Van: You rated Nick Senzel extremely highly. Assuming he is still prospect eligible at this time next year, do you think there’s any chance that Taylor Trammell could be ranked higher than Senzel?
Klaw: Not really. But I think Trammell is a candidate to make a big jump this year.

Nick: One of my favorite things about the prospect list is seeing the balance between ceiling and proximity to the majors. Ever give any thought to extending it to still-young major leaguers? I.E. I would love to see how the added certainty of Addison Russell compares to the upside of Ahmed Rosario.
Klaw: No, because this is already more work than I can handle.

Jeff: Reading the reports for Yadier Alvarez & Kopech…they seem fairly similar yet one is in the mid 40s and the other in the top 10. Can you elaborate on why such a difference between these two specific players? Thanks as always for the work…this package is the whole reason I pay for insider.
Klaw: Big command difference between the two even right now. Alvarez could barely throw a strike a year ago. I don’t know if he ever gets past 40 command. Kopech I think will.

Paul: How far has Brady Aiken’s stock fallen for you?
Klaw: He was pitching with a 45 fastball last summer, so until he gets all his velocity back, he’s not a top 100 candidate.

Jeff: A lot of mentions of “too big to stay at SS”, even going back to Seager and Correa. Obviously a lot of guys will move off the position for various reasons, but at what point might we have to adjust the thinking in terms of size based on how athletes in all sports are getting bigger, faster, stronger than in prior generations?
Klaw: Correa’s defensive numbers are not good, so I think size still matters for shortstops. Perhaps Seager is an exception, although based on one year I don’t think I’d give up on the old maxim.

Denis: You once thought very highly of Jorge Soler; are you still a believer?
Klaw: Yes. Just gotta stay healthy.

Joshkvt: PEDs and assault of an elderly employee aside, it would be fair for a HOF voter to reject Manny for tanking an at-bat in an important game because he was pouting, right?
Klaw: Or for simply giving up on defense. There are fair reasons to omit him in favor of ten other candidates.

Henry: Keith, what are your thoughts on the Forsythe/De Leon trade?
Klaw: Liked it a little more for Tampa Bay. De Leon needs some tweaking but I think he’s a surefire back-end starter now.

Democ..libertari…idk: Everyone’s fine with a big government as long as their party is in charge. But once the opposition takes control they freak out because they know/realize how much power the President & company has. Sure, big governments in the right hands can do some good things, but it also makes it easier for what’s happening right now to happen. Am I wrong?
Klaw: That sounds reasonable to me. Although I feel like the Republican party pushed for smaller government for so long (something I could buy into, although as always the devil’s in the details) that it’s weird to see them now advocating lots of big government expenditures.

Nick: Have an opinion on Jose Albertos? Crazy young and small sample sized, but what’s the upside look like?
Klaw: Four innings is about as small a sample as you can get, but he’s in my Cubs top ten, so check that out on Tuesday. It’s legit stuff. Albertos’, I mean, not my Cubs top ten. Well, both, really. OK, next question.

Nick: Apparently the Cubs had the choice to send Jimenez or Torres to New York for Chapman. Think they blew it, or is it too early (and excessive knitpicking)? I’m aware of their rankings in your top 100.
Klaw: No. Either guy was going to be a big price to pay, and obviously I feel like both guys are going to end up stars. No matter who they gave up, you’d feel a little mixed right now about losing that kind of prospect even with the World Series win.

The Kid: Have you ever released a teams top 10 within the top 100 before? Braves almost snuck in there (I assume they will with the honorable mentions)
Klaw: No. I believe they did set the record with 9 guys on this year’s list, though. I don’t recall any team ever getting to 9 before.

Shaun: Jorge Mateo vs. Gleyber Torres: Who is the Yankees future SS, and does the other move to CF?
Klaw: Torres. Mateo has to show he can make good enough contact to play at any position right now. That’s two years of weak contact, and while he’s way faster than Torres, Torres has better hands and actions at short.

Randy: If Willie Calhoun could play average defense at 2nd would he have made your top 100?
Klaw: And if my aunt had balls, she’d be my uncle.

Jack C.: The big issue on Twitter today is the debate on whether or not people should write for free. For example, Daren Rovell and Matthew Berry argue that you should write for free for companies to make connections, gain exposure, etc. Everyone has to start somewhere and that is how they did it. On the other hand, people are arguing that you should never write for free and that you are being taken advantage of when it comes to your hard work. I guess this relates to many things – but in relation to working in baseball (bb ops department) or writing about baseball, what is your stance on this issue? I worked in a non-baseball ops internship role in baseball for minimum wage and have been writing about baseball for a few years now with zero pay.
Klaw: I never work for free. Even now, when I can afford it, I wouldn’t write for anyone else for free. Now it’s part principle, part ensuring both parties have some skin in the game. I also truly wish – not that it’s happening in the next four years – that the federal government would call free internships what they are, an illegal circumvention of minimum wage laws.

Chris Garosi: Not really a question, but a suggestion for a book tour should one come to fruition. If you come to DC, Politics & Prose would be a great choice and then an “after party” at Comet Ping Pong which is just around the corner.
Klaw: Hell, I’d go visit CPP just to show my support for them after what the tin-foil hat Nazi crowd has done this year.

Joe: Is is too early to say the Phillies made a mistake taking Moniak first overall since Rutherford is ranked higher and cost about half as much? I could understand not taking Groome if they didn’t want a pitcher, but Rutherford plays the same position.
Klaw: It’s too early and I didn’t rank them THAT far apart.

RiverCity: This seems intuitive, but do team with major local prospects actually see them more than teams further afield? Like the Reds and Jordon Adell in Louisville or players from the University of Louisville for instance?
Klaw: I think that’s much true of someone like Josh Hader, who was a local kid for the Orioles but was not on the national radar, than someone like Adell, whom even I’ve seen 2-3 times already and I don’t live anywhere near there.

Dennis: Christian Arroyo fell from #65 all the way out of the top 100. I had been hoping he would take over 3rd base for the big league club at some point this season. What do you see happening with him long term?
Klaw: First of all, there is no “fell.” I said in the methodology piece that I do this list from scratch each year, so where a player ranked before has zero impact on where he ranked this year. This isn’t the Billboard Hot 100 and I am not Casey Kasem. As for Arroyo, he got exposed a bit by better pitching in double-A, and I don’t think he has the power for third base in the long run (or the arm?).

Richard: I’m assuming there is not much separating the top 4 shortstops for you but who among them do you think has the highest ceiling and who has the highest floor? Lowest ceiling and floor?
Klaw: I’m the most sure about Swanson, and I think Rosario has the best chance to be a superstar from that quartet.

Jason: Has a team executive ever bribed you to put one of their prospects on the top 100 or higher on the list than they deserved to be?
Klaw: No. But everyone pushes their guys – that’s normal.

Dennis: What would it take to get you out to Hawaii this year for a book signing?
Klaw: Not much convincing.

David: I get that Bobby Bradley has some holes in his game. But how much value do you put on the age vs. level metric? Led high-A in homers at 20? Seems like a good profile to have. Devers is another example, where a lot of his talent is still hypothetical.
Klaw: Age vs level is useful, but hardly definitive. Bradley is a below avg 1B with huge swing and miss.

Patrick: Keith, you got it from here. Question on reading to/with your daughter–do you do different voices for different characters in the books? Or just read them more or less straight?
Klaw: Different voices. The Harry Potter series was a real challenge.

Ty: How high could Acuna have ranked with a full season of his production?
Klaw: Not that much higher unless he’d moved up a level and performed against better pitching.

ssimo02: Klaw, I was going to print this question out and send to you in a box… Anyway, what’s your take on writing for free (for a profit-making enterprise) as an advancement strategy? Were you paid from Day 1 at BP? Thanks as always.
Klaw: I owned a piece of BP. That’s a different story.

Dave: I know you’re not an economist, but any thoughts on this idea? What if the government forgave all student loan debt? I know I’d have a lot more money to spend every month, but I’m not sure if this would have much of an impact on the economy overall.
Klaw: I’ve thought about that too. I think it’s a huge economic stimulus, albeit one that doesn’t directly help the lowest economic classes. But what’s the process – the government then pays the banks that hold all this debt? The feds don’t actually own the loans.

JP: the readers at River Ave Blues (great Yankees blog), think the reason you dropped Moncada is simply because he’s no longer a Red Sox #Meow
Klaw: That is a great blog, and that is a really fucking stupid thing for them to say.

Tracy: For all the books you read year in and year out, do you keep any sort of catalog that keeps track of what you read?
Klaw: I have a spreadsheet with everything i’ve read (and dates) for the last nine years.

Dave: Trump holds the nuclear codes. I think that’s what scares me most of all right now.
Klaw: Yes but his teeny tiny fingers won’t be able to push the button. (I have tiny hands too, so I would know.)

Rob: In regards to your tweet about not being interested in seeing “a Mel Gibson movie.” Is this solely because of his actions that landed him in so much trouble? If so, are there other artists — Polanski, Kazan, Michael Jackson — whose actions put up similar red flags? In this era, where it’s impossible to separate artist from the art they produce, what does this say about how we can suspend our disbelief and appreciate a work of art?
Klaw: I won’t see a Woody Allen movie or a Roman Polanski movie either.

Joseph: I understand your ranking of Yoan Moncada; but for those that see at 70 FV prospect ranked elsewhere, how do you explain the massive drop? Is his swing and miss issues that pronounced? Does he not still project to be a 70 FV to you?
Klaw: I simply don’t see a 70 Future Value as a likely enough outcome.

PHM: Better bat now and in the future: Bregman or Benintendi? Thanks!
Klaw: Bat alone, Bregman.

Mike: Is Juan soto any good?
Klaw: Yes, quite.

Peet: What does it mean to get on top of a fastball? Thanks
Klaw: Think about pitchers’ release points; the higher it is, the more your hand is on top of the ball at release and can drive the pitch down (with “angle”) towards the bottom fo the zone. A lower slot merely makes that more difficult, but not impossible.

Tyler S: Glad to see Tapia get some respect with a Top 60 rating. Who was the top Rockies prospect that missed your list? Any consideration for German Marquez or Ryan Castellani? Marquez advanced quickly to the majors with three consecutive seasons of a consistent ERA around 3.30 and many think Castellani is poised for a break out
Klaw: They have someone on the just missed list tomorrow.

Thomas: Is there a group of people who love telling other people what they’re allowed to do/feel more so than straight white men?
Klaw: You’re not allowed to feel that way, Thomas.

JP: was it a coincidence that Guerrero Jr and Tatis Jr were ranked back-to-back?
Klaw: Yes. I didn’t realize I did that.

Matt: Is this your least favorite chat of the year? How much hate can one person endure?
Klaw: Nah, there’s always a mid- to late-April chat or two where the “YOU WERE WRONG” people show up armed with 13 games of data. Some of the questions now are great, and a few are the whole “I read something on some blog and you don’t agree so you’re wrong!” thing.

JP: Jorge Mateo dropped significantly, how much was due to performance vs suspension?
Klaw: I’ll just add that the suspension had zero impact on where I ranked him this year. It was over something trivial.

Mikey: Any opinions on Bo Bichette’s potential upside?
Klaw: I’m a big fan of the bat, and he could be a top 100 guy next year if he settles at a position (2b for me) and hits like I expect him to.

JP: Is Javier Guerra a glove-only type SS prospect at this point?
Klaw: There’s more potential there than you’d think from the stat line.

Adam: Thoughts on Alex Jackson going back behind the plate again? How did he project there before he moved to the OF?
Klaw: He needs to be there to restore his chance of having value, and I thought in HS that he could catch. He has the arm and his body is right. That’s a position that requires hard work, though, and I think that’s his challenge now.

Tom: 2016 was certainly a disappointing year for the Phillies’ prospects but do you still think the future is bright soon for the system to produce some big league value other than Crawford? What kind of potential does ths system have tget back in the Top 10 with just bounce back/breakout years from some guys even with the graduation of Crawford?
Klaw: Yes. It’s not a bad system by any means and I think it will end up producing a lot of big leaguers, but a lot of their main guys seemed to lose something off the right tails of their distributions of potential outcomes.

Donald J: Zips has Mazara having a 1 win season. As he ascended through the minors, I saw you state a few times that he “could” be a superstar. Is that still his ceiling? How far away is he from achieving that?
Klaw: I would bet the over on that.

Nils: Hi Keith, thanks for the top 100 list. From what you have seen and heard of Moncada, does he have the potential to become more than average defensively at 2B?
Klaw: No. I liked him better at 3B, where the explosiveness plays up and his trouble getting down on balls is less of an issue.

Kevin: Do you know if they’re putting up an index of all 100 prospects like in years past? It’s a quick resource for finding GUYS instead of hunting through the different sections.
Klaw: I am going to ask about that.

Joseph: How close or far off this list is Tom Murphy? He looked solid in September, and seems to have a solid bat, is his defense what holds him back?
Klaw: Defense and dead-pull approach. Was not a consideration.

Philip: how do you usually make your eggs?
Klaw: Love a poached egg or a soft-scrambled one.

Aaron (Houston): Klaw, I think it’s amazing the amount of content (baseball, cooking, board games, music, politics, etc.) you supply, plus reading so much and providing good family time. How do you do it? Also, what kind of power potential can we see from Rafael Devers. Will the defense ever come around, or is he destined for 1st base? Thanks!!!
Klaw: I think there’s 30 HR power in there given time. He got big this winter, so I wonder if he’s just going to grow off third base – his defense there right now is actually pretty good, but man he is huge.

Matt: Just to dive a little further into Reynaldo Lopez, if you don’t mind. Two years ago, when he had very little experience and, presumably, the same delivery, he ranked 75th on your list. Two years later, after a breakout season in which he dominated the minors as a starter and looked at least passable in the Majors (8.59 K/9), why has he only fallen in your eyes?
Klaw: He hasn’t “fallen,” and that’s your entire problem here. He doesn’t have the delivery to start, ergo, he’s not on the list. He even had a big split between starting and relief work in the majors (small samples for both, though).

Philip: Do you think Mason Thompson could be a top 100 guy in a year
Klaw: I do. He’s pretty exciting. Showed up post-draft with a changeup no one, including the Padres, seemed to know he had. (He threw one inning his whole senior year due to TJ.)

Fred: Were you hesitant to put Gsellman in your top 50 given his improvements seem to have only been a few at the end of the season? I thought your scouting report of him sounded very safe.
Klaw: I think he is very safe, so that’s good. But no one thinks he has the kind of upside he’d need to be top 50.

Garrett: Didn’t expect to see him on the list given the questions on his contact, but do you think Travis Demeritte coudl eventually profile at 3B for ATL? I know you aren’t to high on Riley and I am just trying to get a glimpse of a potential future.
Klaw: Demeritte’s a 2B and might be a 70 defender there. He’s got range and quick actions there that i never saw from him at short.

Denis: Do you ever get tired of explaining to Trump supporters that a tariff on Mexican goods would simply raise the cost on American consumers and in turn, Americans would be the one’s paying for the wall? I think most people (Trump supporters) think we lose jobs to Mexico and China when the #1 job killer is technology and automation.
Klaw: Given the abysmal state of economics education in this country, I’m not surprised by any of the reaction. It’s also worth pointing out that once upon a time, the GOP was the party of lower taxes and free trade (and that was a period when I would regularly vote Republican). I miss those days. I felt like I had an actual choice.

Eduardo: As a phd student in history, I’m curious about your approach to writing. Do you sit down and type it all? Handwrite first? Handwrite notes and then type? Staring at a blank screen is panic inducing so I hand write everything first. Of course, this also handicaps my output in terms of volume. Just curious!
Klaw: I never hand write. I sit down, I type, I get up to take a leak, I type some more.

Miller: You’re obviously 1,000 times more plugged in than we are (no sarcasm, honestly), so is it fair to say you’re more down on Tyler O’Neill than other analysts are, or like most fans of teams/players, have we M’s fans been overvaluing him?
Klaw: I think if you’re just looking at his age and the stat line, you’d like him more than if you saw him and went through a process like I do to get more info on him. Part of the benefit of being young for one’s league is that the player is expected to mature physically but is already showing the approach or other skills that will make future successes even stronger. If the player’s already maxed out physically at 21 – seriously, O’Neill is jacked up like a bodybuilder – then you lose out on the projection.

Jason: Can Kyle Zimmer bounce back and be a top-100 prospect again?
Klaw: That poor guy has to stay healthy. The latest was surgery to repair thoracic outlet syndrome. Check back in March.

Dobis: What are your thoughts on Cornelius Randolph in Philly?
Klaw: Can hit, questionable in left, not sure if it’ll be more than average power. Had some injury troubles last year that probably obscured his skills.

Dobis: What do you think of the upside for Nolan Jones in Cleveland? Was he really a first round talent?
Klaw: I think he was a first-round talent, but he was a little overmatched in the AZL.

Jim: Keith, regarding the De Leon-Forsythe trade, I’ve read some claims that you dissed De Leon’s MLB stint, focusing on his low swing-and-miss rate (over 300 pitches). Given your long-held stance on SSS, I find their charge curious. Are you being trolled?
Klaw: Two things. One, the original capsule on De Leon was messed up (on my end, not my editors). It had his number of swings and misses on changeups (9) as if that were his total number (32, I believe – all from baseballsavant). Two, no, that wasn’t the basis for his ranking, but something that I felt supported the point that his high K rate from triple-A and double-A might not carry over to the majors. He has no breaking ball, and his fastball is just average and a little true. He’s aggressive, he throws strikes, he’s an awesome kid, and the changeup is a solid 55 for me. I like him, but if you just look at the minor league stats you might see an ace, and he’s not that.

G: Was pleasantly surprised by your Josh Bell ranking. Do you think with the weight he’s lost this offseason he could play a passable right field were a McCutchen trade to happen?
Klaw: I would just leave the guy at first and let him work on the position. I never thought he had the arm for RF – I figured he’d end up in left.

Jake the Snake: Was Jake Bauers left off the list because he can’t hit a homerun out of coors field? If he add power this year could he make the mid season top 100 or is that like saying if my aunt had balls, she would be my uncle?
Klaw: I just don’t see big upside for a guy with no projection and, as you said, limited power. We don’t see many 1b with good OBPs but fringy power, so it’s hard to look at him and say he’s more than a regular, but he might be an exception there.

Ben: Are you going to take a trip down to Vanderbilt soon? A couple friends of mine are big fans and would love to buy you a beer if you’re seeing Kendall and Wright.
Klaw: I fully intend to come to Vanderbilt this year to see those guys and be in Nashville because Nashville is awesome. Just don’t pass any hate bills before I get there.

Daniel: Hi Keith, Great work as always. I appreciate all the work. How close was Luis Urias to the top 100? I understand the lack of power, but Ive read some scouting reports where they mention some pop in that little frame .
Klaw: Not close. Not even the first or second Padre off the list.

Jake: I know you’ve questioned Austin Rileys bat speed in the past, but did his second half numbers change your mind at all on him?
Klaw: Not in the least.

John: Can’t Brandon Nimmo get some back of the list love? 159WRC+. How many guys are doing that?
Klaw: Doesn’t hit lefties, has to play a corner, and that stat you cited is an extreme outlier from his partial season in Las Vegas.

Tom(2): How frustrating does it get each year when the following scenario happens repeatedly: You: Research player by talking to scouts, execs, and actually SEEING the player in person, give detailed explanation of player ranking. Fan: Scans another writer’s list, sees player ranked high, satisfies own confirmation bias, claims you know nothing because player isn’t ranked high enough.
Klaw: Well, it’s part of the job, I guess – plus the rise in the cult of the amateur, where anyone who can buy a video camera thinks he’s a scout. (I’m not a scout, BTW, but I talk to a lot of them.)

Dobis: Does Donnie Dewees have potential to ever make the top 100?
Klaw: Not in my opinion.

Alex: As has also been pointed out on twitter, hiring only those who have worked unpaid internships basically guarantees you will only hire affluent people who can afford to work for free.
Klaw: And I’d bet your talent pool would be rather homogenous at that point.

Matt: I’m curious to get your take on Nats’ OF prospect Juan Soto, who is getting a lot of buzz around these parts. Is he a guy who could jump way up the list with an impressive full season debut this year?
Klaw: He’s #2 in the Nats’ top ten.

Eric: You’re consistently the “high” prospect guy on Dom Smith. What do you think his career looks like? Peak seasons? Thanks for the chats as always!
Klaw: High averages and OBPs, 20+ homers, good defense, and too many GIDP.

Adam: Does Christian Arroyo profile best as a second baseman?
Klaw: I’d like him a lot more over there.

Lark11: Awful news about Matt Imhoff. Do you have any anecdotes or final thoughts on what he might have become on the mound?
Klaw: He was a bit of a longshot because he was such a soft tosser, but that is as bad a break as you can imagine. For folks who don’t remember, he was doing some routine stretch-band work when the metal piece to which he’d attached his band came off the wall and damaged his eye so much doctors had to remove it. I really hope he just has a good quality of life going forward. That’s beyond baseball.

Tom(2): Glad the Angels finally got someone in the Top 100 again, but realistically, how far away from the ML roster is Jones? 2-3 years?
Klaw: More like 3-4 years.

Joe: Any opinions on Dante Bichette Jr’s potential upside?
Klaw: The Yankees guy? Org player. No upside. If you meant Bo with Toronto, I discussed him earlier in the chat.

BD: Have you ever rated a 17 year old as high as you have Maitan at 59?
Klaw: Yes. Sano was around #50 at one point, and I had Villalona way too high on a list one year before we knew (or I knew) he would swing at everything and was going to kill somebody.

Kay: Would (have?) you ever do a list based on position? The Top 100 is always crowded with SS-CF types (reasonably so) but it would be neat to see where prospects stacked up against their positional compatriots
Klaw: We do this every year after all the lists run. I don’t know exactly when that’s running this year, but it’ll be soon.

Tom: Sorry my question about the philosophy behind Watchmen and how it relates to humanity wasn’t good enough to deserve an answer.
Klaw: It was way too long, and I have over 500 unanswered questions in the queue (although 100 are Eric submitting that Dom Smith question – please don’t do that again, Eric).

Alex: Do you agree that the problem with Trump is not so much his policies but rather the man delivering the message? Another person trying to implement the same policies would not have the same amount of resistance as he does.
Klaw: Oh, some of his policies would get resistance, like ACA repeal or making federal park land essentially worth zero dollars.

Kevin: Is Adam Walker just AAA filler at this point? I see that he was a top 20 prospect for the O’s on MLB.com’s final 2016 update
Klaw: He can’t hit and has no position. I don’t see ranking him anywhere.

Dave: Could Marcos Molina stay healthy/have value if shifted to the bullpen?
Klaw: I think that’s where he ends up, but why not start him this year and see how it goes? Lets the Mets manage his innings more easily anyway.

KS: No Verdugo or O’neill??
Klaw: Verdugo is on the list.

Philip: Did Greg Allen get some consideration or no? Seems like he could have a Inciarte type career
Klaw: No. Nice player, maybe a good fourth OF, has to bump up at least a grade on defense to be what you’re describing.

Keith: What kind upside does Joe Rizzo have? Any chance he surges up the rankings with a big year?
Klaw: I don’t see the upside there for this. Short, squat guy with hit tool but no projection and unclear position.

Pat D: Just to be fair to RAB, it’s the commenters, a lot of whom I can tell you from first-hand experience are blithering idiots, making those Moncada comments, not Mike or any of the actual people working at the site.
Klaw: I know that – the folks who run RAB are good people and have been very, very supportive of my work for a long time.

Bob: The Braves had 9 prospects in your list this year. Impressive. Have you had years when a team placed no one in the top 100?
Klaw: The Royals and Dbacks had none this year. The Angels missed last year. The Brewers missed in either 2013 or 2014.

Jack C.: Is it worth spending 50K+ on an MBA nowadays? I just graduated with my undergrad and managed to score a pretty decent paying job. I still hope to break into baseball ops one day. Thoughts?
Klaw: No. In most fields, the MBA doesn’t pay off. If you have a promotion or raised promised to you if you get an MBA, or are in one of the few fields that truly values the MBA, that’s different. For baseball, though, no.

Ridley Kemp: My wife just got hired at a board game bar. Do we live in marvelous times or what?
Klaw: That’s a good job. I might do that for free.

MikeM: Does your projection of Mateo change if the Yankees move him to CF? His speed has the potential to make him a plus defender there.
Klaw: His speed gave him the potential for plus defense at shortstop but it’s not happening.

Mark: Your Moncada ranking is interesting as I figured he would be a shoe in for the #1 spot just based off of all the hype I’ve read about him and him being Minor League Player of the Year. Granted ranking him 17 isn’t anything to sneeze at but from the write up it sounds like you’re very concerned with his swing and miss. Obviously there have been former #1 prospects that were busts (like Delmon Young) how would you rank Moncada’s bust potential?
Klaw: Minor League Player of the Year doesn’t affect my opinion of a player – it’s just a vote. I think the swing itself leads to swing and miss and a major hole that he’s going to struggle to close.

Jack C.: If Lucas Erceg puts on another 10-15 pounds of muscle, could he be a legitimate 30 HR guy? Obviously, some other things have to break his way, but I like his upside.
Klaw: The swing isn’t built for that.

J.J.: Keith, you’re put in charge of Top Chef next season and can do whatever you want. What would you do? What city would you film out of?
Klaw: Nashville deserves it.

Joseph: What do you think about Brandon Marsh? I know he didn’t play, and was injured, but reports going into the draft sounded very encouraging
Klaw: Yep, that’s about right – encouraging, but we need to see him face pro pitching. The injury was a stress fracture in his lower back that isn’t supposed to cause any long-term problems.

HugoZ: Say, isn’t citing a “Nobel Prize winning” economist to support your point just an appeal to authority?
Klaw: No, because I didn’t cite his prize as the reason his argument was valid. His argument was valid because it matched mine!

Jeff: What are your thoughts on Conor Jones, Cards rookie? Any consideration for this list or 100-150 ranking?
Klaw: No consideration. Needs to get the Virginia out of his delivery.

Nelson: Thinking of Mike Soroka’s justified exclusion from you too 100 would a young Tom Glavine make it at a similar stage in his career? If so, why?
Klaw: Glavine probably wouldn’t make it, because I’ve never projected a pitcher to get a strike zone six inches wider than everyone else’s.

Klaw: That’s all for this week – thank you as always for the questions and for reading all that content this week. Just missed column runs tomorrow, org reports next week, and other stuff, with another chat likely next Friday. Have a good weekend, everyone.

Klawchat, 1/20/17.

You can preorder my upcoming book, Smart Baseball, on amazon, or from other sites via the Harper-Collins page for the book. Also, please sign up for my more-or-less weekly email newsletter.

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!

Klawchat 1/5/17.

You can preorder my upcoming book, Smart Baseball, on amazon. Also, please sign up for my more-or-less weekly email newsletter.

Klaw: Hanging on to hope when there is no hope to speak of. Klawchat.

Ron: Use of second half stats such as your piece on Desmond’s second half slump as a representation of what to expect going forward. This is not true and any study of projections will demonstrate that this is a false picture. Data for players is so limited anyway and full season data is the much stronger option to use. When you use second half stats to misrepresent a player’s value it produces a false narrative just like you always warn against. Of course that doesn’t detract too much from your overall point in Desmond’s case. Anyway not a jab. I follow your work extensively for a reason. Just a heads up
Klaw: Except that I didn’t do that. I pointed out that Desmond’s second half looked a lot like his performance from 2014-15. That’s a much larger sample to work with. Second half stats alone are subject to small sample size issues and caliber of competition problems with September callups.

Niles standish: Does Christian Arroyo have a chance to crack the top 50 on your next list? Do you think moving him to 3B will be a struggle for him due to his limited range? Thank you.
Klaw: I don’t think he’s a top 50 prospect.

ILLINIcheid: With all the talk about the obscure California labor law that could affect player free agency (Trout, Bumgarner, Posey…not Pujols), if a lesser player used this clause would they be blackballed by MLB teams? Would the directive be from MLB brass, owners, or would General Managers take it upon themselves?
Klaw: Fangraphs ran a piece yesterday claiming a California labor law could grant free agency to players with seven years of employment for any California-based team. The article is almost certainly wrong – the CBA would supersede that law – and doesn’t seem to have any opinions of anyone but the author. I didn’t see anyone from MLB or the union mentioned in there. To your question, blackballing such a player would result in a lawsuit and probably wouldn’t stand, even if such a thing happened (all 30 teams ignoring a player of value).

Dave: As someone who obviously values paying for creative services (and rightfully so), what are your thoughts on Spotify and how it pays artists? From what I’ve read, seems that artists (the smaller ones mainly) get underpaid, potentially even enormously. It’s led to my hesitancy to make the switch to Spotify.
Klaw: I’ve asked some professional musicians I know, and they favor it – they do make money from it, hardly enough but some, and it gives them wider exposure. I actually signed up for the paid service after one of the members of Superhumanoids (Cameron Parkins) told me he thought it benefited small artists.

Jamie: Gavin Cecchini made the back end of your Top 100 last year and you still seemed optimistic that he could stay at SS. From all I’ve read it seems his defense got even worse, but he still looks to be a solid hitter. Will he be anywhere near your Top 100 this year? Do you see him ending up an everyday player?
Klaw: No, he got much worse, and I think he’s a 2b only.

Zach: In theory, do you think teams that ask for taxpayer money to build stadiums should have their full finances open to the public?
Klaw: Yes. Or I’d favor a federal law banning this. If no cities can offer it, then the practice goes away. (And yes, this sort of corporate welfare happens in other industries too, probably to states’ or cities’ detriment, but at least those factories or offices create better jobs.)

Trumbo: Why do you think there’s been such a lull in the FA market?
Klaw: Market is weak and most of the top guys on my rankings have already signed.

Jarrod: Recently heard Sam Miller voice his distaste for ROY award, citing it favors older players and is biased against players who enter midseason for fiscal reasons (e.g., Gary Sanchez). As an alternative, he suggests best player awards by age groups (e.g., best under 25). As part of his case, Miller stated that Felix Hernandez was younger than at least one top 3 finisher for ROY for 7 straight years(!). Thoughts on Miller’s idea?
Klaw: My solution to this problem has been to consider players’ ages, look at performance relative to playing time, and perhaps consider their prospect status as well. I don’t think the award should be just “rookie who had the best year.” We’re trying to point to stars here and tell fans, “hey, watch these two guys, they might be stars.”

Sam: I’m struggling with the whole RP shouldn’t be in the HOF argument. I get that many, if not all, relief pitchers are guys who weren’t good enough to be starters, and I get the argument that they don’t throw as many innings as starters so it’s difficult to impact a game as much. However, relief pitching is still certainly a very important part of baseball, and wields itself in virtually every game one-way or another. As so, can’t we just appreciate relievers for what they are and what their role is? And put the guys that were the very best in this role in the HOF? I know you don’t like Hoffman as a HOF’er, but he’s a guy that had a lot of success for a long time, and as we know, that kind of sustained success is rare for relievers.
Klaw: If you put most average, not HoF-caliber starters in relief roles, they’d be as good as or better than nearly all closers (Mo Rivera excepted). Relievers are guys who couldn’t start, like utility infielders are guys who couldn’t play every day.

Nick: Could either of the big name PR players (Ricardo De La Torre & Wilberto Rivera) sneak into the first round of the draft?
Klaw: I think that’s a low probability, maybe 20% chance we see a Puerto Rican player go in the true first round this year. There are a lot of probable top 100 guys in PR this year, but nobody who’s clearly first-round worthy.

JD, Arlington: Does Tyson Ross have anything left? SD ditching him is damning. I’ll hang up and listen.
Klaw: I’m out. Bad delivery, hurt often, never throws strikes.

Mike: Seems like the holdup on the Twins trading Dozier to the Dodgers is the isistance on getting 2 MLB-ready prospects from the Dodgers. Are the Dodgers being unreasonable by trying to hold on to both DeLeon and Stewart?
Klaw: I don’t think that’s an unfair ask for the Twins, but that would severely cut into the Dodgers’ starting pitching depth, and I think the result would reduce the Dodgers’ potential gains from adding Dozier.

Adam: Why don’t people make a bigger deal of Faedo’s knee issues when discussing his draft stock?
Klaw: Because we don’t know anything about them yet. Teams haven’t seen medicals. He hasn’t come back to the mound and had any trouble, or shown no ill effects.

Chris: In some parallel universe where the Wilpons didn’t own the Mets, what kind of return would you expect for Bruce if mets ate his entire salary?
Klaw: Very little. If you get someone’s 8th best prospect you’re probably happy.

Jay: When do you expect to have your top 100 up?
Klaw: The team rankings will appear starting on January 18th, and the top 100 will start rolling out on January 23rd, appearing in blocks of 20 each day.

JR: Surprised at all the bats still available this late in the offseason?
Klaw: I’m not because they’re all pretty flawed. Few guys who can play a position. Lot of platoon DH types. Why pay more for that when you probably have someone who’s 85% of that in your system?

Josh: People have frequently talking about Wieters’ lack of pitch-framing skill this offseason. Do you believe that’s something a catcher can “learn” at some point in their career or is it an innate skill that can’t necessarily be taught?
Klaw: We have tangible evidence it can be taught. Jason Castro is one good example.

Scott: I’ve seen some talk lately of Robert ‘The Lighthouse’ Stephenson being destined for the bullpen this year due to his command issues, but wouldn’t it make more sense to keep trying him as a starter and using those three option years he has remaining to be sure he can’t maximize that potential?
Klaw: I would, because he has three pitches that grade out as above-average to plus, and I think in his case it’s not just the catch-all command issue but the overuse of the changeup.

Jeff: I’ve heard you say repeatedly that the Angels will not trade Mike Trout. But, it just doesn’t make sense to me. If you can trade one 9-win player for three 4-win players, don’t you do that?
Klaw: This isn’t the issue. The issue is the owner won’t trade him.

Rob: Dave Cameron mentioned shortly after the Eaton trade that sources he spoke to said Giolito’s stock is down and those sources have doubts about Giolito reaching the #1 starter type, more of a 3 or 4 now. Do you agree with that assessment?
Klaw: I do not, nor do the folks I’ve talked to; the common refrain has been that the Nats shouldn’t have altered his delivery or brought him to the majors while he was still readjusting, and that the 2015 version is likely still there.

Matt: So…Curt Schilling. He seems like he’s become a bitter angry man that blames others for his own shortcomings. If there is ever an example of money doesn’t make you happy, it’s him. I’m glad I don’t go through life with so much anger and hate.
Klaw: It’s been sad to see; I’ve said before I never had any issues working with Curt, and I think he’s got a lot of stuff to contribute when talking pitching. His commentary of late has moved even further away from anything I can comprehend.

Mike: Has the outlook on Berrios dimmed at all? Any clue on what we can attribute the control issues to?
Klaw: His fastball is flat and straight, and I think in the majors he tried to pitch away from contact more. I have to take a break for that phone call – it moved 1 to 2 to 1:30 – but I will return in maybe 45 minutes to finish the chat.

David: Can you imagine Dusty working with Dave Stewart? That would be a historic train wreck, wouldn’t it?
Klaw: I think that’s too many old ideas and not enough new thinking.

Dustin: I have vowed to listen to (even) more music this year. I am quite open-minded and enjoy many genres. Please recommend as many non-mainstream albums/artists as you feel compelled to name.
Klaw: If you have Spotify, check out my top 100 songs of last year.

Jason: Why has Tyrell Jenkins been picked up and released four times in the last month? Is there a particular reason (contract, options, or otherwise) why teams can’t just keep him stashed in the minors?
Klaw: Talked to a few scouts about him this winter. Consensus is that for a great athlete he’s got a less-athletic delivery, something that either was taught to him or that came about after the shoulder surgery, but that either way the stuff wasn’t as crisp and of course he couldn’t miss bats. I think he’s a perfect project for the Padres – try to restore the delivery, get some length back, take advantage of his size and looseness, see if you can find the missing stuff.

Bob: Here’s an answer to the closers-in-the-HOF argument. Would you have traded prime Trevor Hoffman for prime Curt Schilling straight up? Yeah, I thought not.
Klaw: That’s another way to look at it. So is just the sheer total innings comparison; Hoffman’s career IP is about six innings of a starter, which wouldn’t even qualify you for the Hall.

Bucky: How soon do you think Bellinger can be ML ready? Can you forsee another Belt/Huff situation with he and Gonzalez?
Klaw: Some time this year, and I think the Dodgers will make room when he’s ready.

Gene Mullett: Heard the Goblin Cock LP on JoyfulNoise? Certainly not trying to be facetious, I didn’t pick the name. It’s Rob from Pinback & it’s been a very pleasant surprise.
Klaw: Yeah, it’s actually pretty good, like they started out as a parody band and suddenly made some decent music.

John Liotta: Hope you had a great holiday! I finished the year having read 128 books- my goal was 100. I knocked out a lot of the books I wanted to read. Of course there are still more; there are always more. What were some of your favorites this year? What’s on your list to read this year? And, is there anything you have been continually pushing aside?
Klaw: Nice job! I’ve never gotten to 120 or even 110 in a year. Some of my favorites that I read in 2016: In the Light of What We Know, The Executioner’s Song, the Caine Mutiny, The Vorrh, Station Eleven, The Most Dangerous Book, The Sellout, The Doomsday Book, Predictably Irrational, The Alchemy of Air. The to-do list is already about 20 deep, and the book I’ve pushed aside is Brin’s The Uplift War, which I started reading last January, and gave up when I found it slow and, as it turned out, was about to get horribly sick.

Ryan S: What level of baseball understanding is your target audience for your book? I love your baseball input but don’t want to spend the money if it’s way over my head or meant for a complete novice.
Klaw: It’s not over anyone’s head. A complete novice? Well, I’m not explaining what a ball and a bat are, so you might be OK.

Paul: Hi Keith, what are your thoughts on Louis Gohara? Can he be a number 2 in a few years? I know he had some make up issues but he seems to have found his focus last season
Klaw: I think the upside is at least a two, but there’s huge risk, not least because he’s huge.

JB: Thoughts on what Wikileaks and Snowden have provided? Traitors or heroes?
Klaw: Snowden’s a hero to me. Wikileaks as a conduit is what it is – an outlet for leaked documents. Assange is a sleaze, and I have no idea why the Ecuadorian embassy (or anyone) would protect an accused rapist.

Anonymous: The Yankees appear to be at a critical point in the win curve, have spaces in their rotation that could use an upgrade, have one of the deepest farms in the game, and just gave nearly 18 mil a year for a closer. Specific package aside, are there any reasons why the Yankees shouldn’t press hard for Quintana?
Klaw: No; I think any holdup is over the price in prospects. When you have a deep, strong system, people will ask for a lot.

Bryan: Based on your recommendation, I bought Pandemic from Amazon 2 months ago, and my wife and I love it. However, we seem to be able to win relatively easy. This might seem like an odd question, but how much do you collaborate with other players when you play? We keep our cards face up during the entire game.
Klaw: We collaborate too. You can tweak the difficulty level by increasing the threat level and using more Epidemic cards.

Votto: Klaw, every now and then, usually around HOF time, you insist that “there is no evidence” that PED’s have any effect on baseball performance. So what are you saying, exactly – that you have doubts that HGH or steroids have even an indirect effect on one’s playing performance because a peer-reviewed study in a medical journal doesn’t say so? That until this happens, players may as well be popping Smarties?
Klaw: I thought that was clear. There is no evidence that they help. That’s not saying they DON’T help; it’s saying that the absence of evidence has allowed the tight-underpants crowd to treat all PEDs as superpills and to act like they’re all equal in power. For the record, I believe that amphetamines, which are classified as PEDs, truly do help – but I can’t tell you how much, or even necessarily prove that belief.

J: Smart Baseball book tour means Portland which means Powells which means Apizza Scholls & Le Pigeon. Good reason to write the book
Klaw: Book tour is still TBD but, as Doug Judy would say, that’s still very much on the table.

Albert: As arguably the best defensive CF ever, with almost 450 home runs, Andruw Jones belongs in the Hall of Fame, right?
Klaw: He’s going to be very tough. My gut says yes, the best CF ever belongs in the Hall, and it’s not like he was Bill Mazeroski with the stick, either. But he was effectively done at 30, and I think his career totals across the board are a little light for the Hall. One of my favorites to watch, though. I believe I get a vote in his first or second year on the ballot, so at some point I’ll have to commit.

Shaughn: Keith, with all of the activity around A’s ownership/loss of revenue sharing this offseason, I expected some bigger moves (moving Sonny, exploring more trades), but the lack of activity this offseason (Rajai Davis?) has me scratching my head… is there any hope on the horizon?
Klaw: I didn’t get the Davis move – he’s likely a 1 WAR guy this year, and $6 million for one win in Oakland probably is a net loss (a win isn’t worth much to a below-average team in with a low revenue base). Would playing Eibner for nothing really be that much worse?

G: Word around the time of the Adam Eaton trade was that Giolito’s value amongst teams around the league isn’t as high as recent prospect lists would lead one to believe–and now similar things are being said about Glasnow amidst the Quintana talk. When making your yearly list, do you consult team executives, or do you rely on your own scouting and reports?
Klaw: My list is more reliant on my scouting, notes from all the scouts I talk to, and some analytics work. I do discuss my list with execs, and their input matters, but it can’t be wishy-washy kind of feedback like what you’re describing. Also, bear in mind sometimes you may get folks trying to run certain prospects’ value down.

Orbit: How good can Astros Martes be? Would you have traded martes , tucker for Sale?
Klaw: I wouldn’t have traded Sale for Tucker & Martes.

Anonymous: Am I just being particular and pedantic when I get annoyed by people who talk about an “aging player” or an “aging roster”? I mean we’re all aging. E just aged reading this question.
Klaw: It’s the polite way of saying, fuck, you’re old.

Zach: How high do you think walker buehler’s ceiling is?
Klaw: If he can really hold this stuff over a full season, I don’t see why he’s not a number one starter. But we have no evidence he can do that yet.

Ray Grace: It sounds like Willie Calhoun doesn’t have the defensive chops to be the Dodger’s long term 2nd baseman but I saw someone write that he’s most likely a Zobrist-like super utility type player. Do you agree and does the bat ultimately play in the majors?
Klaw: He’s not a second baseman, and won’t be good enough on the dirt to be Zobrist. That little SOB can hit, though. I think he finds a way to be an everyday player somewhere, maybe LF.

HugoZ: Given that Oakland’s payroll projects to be around 72 million at the moment, is there any real reason to get as concerned about Davis’ salary as one twitter pundit appears to be? They can play him, trade him, bench him, what difference will it make?
Klaw: Their resources are finite, so that $6 million doesn’t go to a player with a real chance to return something in trade. Daniel Hudson got $11 million over two years, and that’s a deal with much more potential upside for the club, either in trade or returned value, than a 36-year-old whose bat is pretty clearly in decline.

ILLINIcheid: RE: blackballing in MLB. You mention that a blackball situation would result in a lawsuit. I would agree except that it can be very difficult to provide evidence of blackballing unless you have a smoking gun that would likely come in the form of an email that would likely require a whistle-blower. That being said, Barry Bonds was a 3+ WAR player coming off a 28 HR season in 2007, and didn’t get a sniff from any team during Free Agency of 2008. Were Bond’s contract demands simply too high or did baseball decide he was not worth the headache?
Klaw: I think Selig – excuse me, Hall of Famer Bud Selig – made it clear to teams he didn’t want bonds to sign. Remember, Bonds offered to play for the minimum. That said, Selig’s gone and I don’t think Manfred would do such a thing.

Aaron C.: As a longtime A’s fan, I wonder if yesterday’s ridiculously passionate defense of the Rajai Davis signing & rumored interest in Mark Trumbo is evidence that the “cult of Beane” is a little *too* in the tank for a front office that is deservingly lauded, but also…guilty of more than a few missteps in recent seasons?
Klaw: This is my interpretation as well.

David Coonce: I read the Master and Margarita on your suggestion. Complex read but I loved it. I’ve read there is a film adaptation in the works but can’t fathom how that would work. Can you?
Klaw: Nope. Unfilmable, and I’m OK with that. I saw The Handmaid’s Tale is coming as a movie or TV project and I’m not sure I could stomach that. It’s bad enough Texans have to live it.

Matthias: I think my biggest problem with top chef this year is that all returning contestants did very well on they’re years. Idea would have worked better if just chefs returning were eliminated in their first or second episode. This is like if you took the all stars season and added eight rookies to the cast.
Klaw: Yes. It’s Top Chef Some-Stars.

Pete the Cat: Cruising to St Maarten, St Kitt, Grand Turk and Puerto Rico next week. Only on land for 8ish hours at each island. Any food or tourist recommendations for those spots? Thanks!!
Klaw: Only been to two. St. Kitts, if you can seek out the Spice Mill, food was good and view was spectacular. Puerto Rico, if you have a car, find Gustos Coffee a little out of San Juan, in an industrial area, maybe the only Puerto Rico-grown coffee you’ll ever have. I wanted to try La Princesa in San Juan but they were closed for a festival the last time I was there.

Gene Mullett: Do you do vinyl/physical copies of music or are you all digital? Are you the same way with books?
Klaw: Mostly digital music other than occasional vinyl I get from friends in the industry. Books I’m split. I prefer paper but if I see something I want for sale on Kindle I buy it.

Paul: Keith – did you happen to read the Thrillist series on the impending burst of the restaurant bubble? (Part 3 is here, with links to parts 1 and 2 inside.). I thought it was really good and, sadly, made all too much sense. I know you have gotten to know some restaurant owners and wonder if you have an opinion besides “this sucks”.
Klaw: I haven’t, but I’ll check it out. I have wondered sometimes how we can possibly support all these new restaurants I see opening – not just famous ones, but even all the chain places i see. There can’t be enough disposable income and people with time to keep them all in business.

Dave: So you do think that Tyson Ross will soon be out of baseball altogether?
Klaw: No. I wouldn’t sign him, though.

John T: My 5-year-old son got Ticket To Ride: First Journey (ages 6+) for Christmas and loves playing it. I’ve been trying to think of some other games to get that don’t involve reading or more than simple addition. Any suggestions?
Klaw: There’s also a My First Stone Age game I haven’t tried but that might work.

Ted Timmerman: Favorite Prankster: Francine Carruthers, Danny Rebus or Manny Spamboni?
Klaw: Annie Scramble was kind of cute.

Ethan: So, the Org rankings are out the 18th. When do the Team Top 10’s come out?
Klaw: The final week. My editors chose to change the schedule and roll all the content out slowly.

Larry: Any early reports on Maitan out of instructs?
Klaw: He looked great, because no player has ever looked bad in instructional league.

Dave: What are your thoughts on Dylan Cease? He throws hard, but barely throws any innings. Is he a bullpen guy?
Klaw: He barely throws any innings because he had Tommy John surgery in 2014.

Larry: Dustin Peterson a regular?
Klaw: I think so – a 40-50% chance to be a regular, maybe.

Aaron (Astrobeerman): No question. Thanks for the turkey spatchcock turkey advice. I don’t see making turkey any other way. Skin was fantastic.
Klaw: It’s unbeatable and so much faster.

MJ: Did you see Nathaniel Grow’s article on Fangraphs regarding Trout (or other CA based players) possibly being able to exploit a law to grant them free agency after 7 years? Thoughts on whether or not Trout is the one (possibly only?) player for which it’d be worth the risk to try to exploit the law?
Klaw: Answered above. I don’t think it’s accurate.

Bob: Should college students have the right to due process when expelled for allegations of sexual misconduct?
Klaw: That’s a complicated question. I will answer an easy question instead: Colleges should turn questions of sexual misconduct over to the police if they appear to break any laws.

Donald J: Mazara, Conforto, & Dahl… 1) How would you rank them this year? 2) How would you rank them going forward? Do any of them have a bigly future?
Klaw: Love them all, they are tremendous players, they get the best hits. This year, Dahl, Conforto, Mazara. Long-term, flip it.

Barry: Speaking of your book tour I’m guessing you’re going to be signing books at independent book stores and B&N? Any chance of linking them too for preorders instead of just Amazon? I’ve checked and indiebound.org and bn.com have your book available to order. FWIW, I don’t mean to sound rude. I work in publishing and authors just linking Amazon is a pet peeve of mine. I’m looking forward to buying and reading your book.
Klaw: Harper Collins’ official page links to all of those. I use the amazon link because then I can see how often people are clicking and/or ordering. I can’t do that through the other sites.

Darryl: Which Stanford hurler has the most future stardom potential…Quantrill, Hock or Beck?
Klaw: Quantrill. Might have been 1-1 if he’d been healthy all spring.

Anonymous: Did you see anything in Patrick Corbin’s delivery last year that explains his fall from his pre-TJ days? Overcompensating to be protective of the elbow?
Klaw: Nope, I have no good explanation for what happened. Although to be fair to Pat, he was far from the only AZ pitcher to struggle in the majors last year.

Marshall MN: The Andruw Jones question is interesting – he is part of a group of CF’s (Edmonds, Lofton, to a much lesser extent Torii Hunter, who I don’t think deserves to get in) that I think will all get overlooked when it comes to HOF voting. And in regards to Edmonds and Lofton in particular, they already have gotten the boot.
Klaw: Andruw was much more famous, he had an all-time elite skill, and had some postseason glory as a kid. I think he’ll stick around on the ballot but not get in.

Dave: Theo/Jed are among the best in the business, but they have drafted over 100 pitchers since 2012, and not one of them is a reliable starter….is it that much more difficult to evaluate pitching? Do you just have to get lucky?
Klaw: I don’t think that’s quite fair. Did they even sign all those guys? And are you counting 2015 and 2016 draftees? Trevor Clifton was a 2013 draft pick and looks like he’s on track to be a big league starter at age 22 or 23. That’s not a failed pick.

Brian: Settlers of Catan – rhymes with “Satan” or “rattan”? It’s really been bugging me. Thanks
Klaw: Rhymes with “rattan.”

Justin: Can WAR be simply extrapolated when talking about a shortened season ala Jose Reyes. He had a 1.3 WAR for 60 games, if he stayed consistent can we assume 3.5 WAR for a season? And if so, at 500K wouldnt that make him pretty valuable?
Klaw: I don’t think that’s a good way to make a projection. You should ask Szymborski et al, but I’m guessing that you’d want to project based on the components that are most predictive. For example, Reyes, who choke-slammed his wife into a door last offseason, posted his highest ISO in ten years. You can’t expect that to continue in his age-34 season.

el fuego 25: If you were granted an expansion team, where would you concentrate your draft resources? It feels much more difficult to predict pitching, but sadly someone has to put the ball in play.
Klaw: In an expansion draft? I’d focus on guys who seemed to have untapped upside – players who might benefit from new coaches, from getting healthy, just from more playing time – and thus who might return more in trade than, say, the generic 5th starter types you might otherwise get.

Mike: Have you had a chance to see Sixto Sanchez ? If not, have you heard from others who have ? Is there serious reason for optimism if you’re a Phillies fan ?
Klaw: He’ll be in the Phillies org writeup. I have not seen him – I don’t see any games in the GCL or DSL.

Telly: Why would an organization draft a player, like Giolito, watch him perform well with elite tools, then decide he needs to change things? If my memory serves right, the Giants tried the same thing with Bumgarner, saw him stink for awhile, then let him go back to his natural way of doing things. At least they realized the stupidity of their ways.
Klaw: I don’t have an answer to that, although I ask the same question. And it’s not like the Nats are dumb. They’ve got good people there, including in player development. Someone made a mistake.

Ed: I think we all know what Reyes did. And no one approves, but what is the point of answering the question like that? Is “chokeslammed his wife” part of his name now for you?
Klaw: It’s part of his identity. That is who he is, and all the fake-apologies and references to “the incident” won’t change that.

John from Cincinnati: You mentioned earlier in the chat about not thinking Manfred would blackball players… am I wrong in thinking that he’s going to be a very good commissioner? I don’t distrust him the same way I did Selig.
Klaw: I’m a fan. I think he’s going to be great for the sport.

Matt: Do you have any recommendations for books/shows on what I’ll call Cooking Theory 101? I’m hoping to get a better, broader understanding of spices, flavors, etc. and how they all go together. Feels like a good way to be able to cook well without recipes.
Klaw: The Flavor Bible. Lists of ingredients that play well with others, based on wide surveys of chefs.

Tom: How would you say the D-Backs FO is doing so far this offseason? Or is there too little to comment on?
Klaw: Small moves so far but I’ve liked them all. The one big move, trading Segura for Walker and Marte, was just the kind of move they need to make – trading a guy coming off a career year with two years of control left for two former top prospects with upside and risk and more years left.

Jessica: Trea Turner’s power and hit tools seemed higher than expected last year. Has his ceiling changed for you? Are we talking about a top 10 player in MLB?
Klaw: Yeah, I was light on his strength overall, so he’s going to hit and have more power than I thought. I changed my personal forecast for him early last season, which is why I kept banging the drum for the Nats to bring him up and bench Espinosa.

John: Two other factors for Theo/Jed drafting pitchers: they haven’t used any first round pick on pitching. That means (1) they haven’t drafted elite pitching prospects, and (2) they haven’t drafted many pitchers who are expected to move especially quickly through the minors. (As an aside, even though they didn’t draft him, they should probably get some credit for some of Hendricks’ development)
Klaw: I believe their draft philosophy specifically excludes taking pitchers up top unless a no-doubt college arm is there, which hasn’t happened. (I think they would have taken Appel in 2013, but he went 1.)

Rob: What are some of the causes of Tyler Glasnow’s control issues and are they fixable to the point where he reaches his potential?
Klaw: He’s 6’8″ and his control has already gotten way better since he first signed and had his velocity jump. Those super-tall guys often need more time and physical maturity to get enough coordination to repeat their deliveries. I’m not terribly concerned.

Pat: Keith – have you spoken with some attorneys on the Trout/CA labor law thing? Just wondering why you think the CBA would supersede. I’m a lawyer — albeit not one in CA and not a labor lawyer — but generally speaking I think a CBA would only preempt a state labor law if it’s made pursuant to a federal statute, like the Railway Labor Act.
Klaw: Yes, I have spoken to attorneys about it, because I am not one and don’t know jack about it.

Sean: Do you care to provide a current or former MLB comp for Amed Rosario?
Klaw: I really dislike doing comps unless something strikes me as very apt.

Bob: Have you ever seen anyone throw as many career innings as J Arrieta before having such a massive breakthrough? What did the Orioles do to him??
Klaw: That’s a long story, but I think it’s fair to say that Buck and Rick Adair did a lot of things wrong with him, with his mechanics and with how they handled him. It’s a mistake they should be very wary of repeating with any of the other very talented arms they’ve brought in recently, like Gausman and now Sedlock or Akin and I hope eventually Harvey.

Klaw: That’s all for this week – thanks so much for bearing with me on the time, but it’s top 100 research time which means a lot of phone calls. I will try to chat every week this month as long as the workload allows me to do so.

Klawchat, 12/22/16.

You can preorder my upcoming book, Smart Baseball, on amazon. Also, please sign up for my more-or-less weekly email newsletter.

Klaw: Bow down before the one you serve. Klawchat.

Jimmy: Over/Under 3 division titles for Cubs in next 3 years?
Klaw: Pretty sure “under” is the safe bet on that one. You can build the best team in history on paper, but you can’t control for injuries, non-performance, or, say, the Pirates collectively having career years and slipping past you.

G: So, after the bizarrely affordable Nova signing, do the Pirates still have a series of blockbuster moves ahead of them? Acquire Quintana, deal McCutchen?
Klaw: I’d like to see them do that, if possible – trade Cutch now if a strong offer comes in, because his value will be lower next winter, and of course I’m a big Q fan. Those moves probably make them a 90-win team again, no?

Nathan: Suggestions for an aspiring baseball nerd who has yet to grasp advanced defensive metrics and statistics?
Klaw: I heard about this book called Smart Baseball that’s coming out in April. You should check it out. The writer’s a funny guy.

Matt T: Idk if you have in the past, but if offered a chance for a book signing, would you ever do it? I’d love to get your autograph. Been a huge fan of yours for awhile
Klaw: Yes. If Harper Collins doesn’t have me to do a full book tour, we’ll still do some ad hoc events around my spring travel. Also, I have confirmed there will be an audiobook version of Smart Baseball.

TCJ: Any thoughts on Jason Hewyards new swing?
Klaw: Any thoughts today would be pure piffle. Let’s see it against live pitching before we think anything of it.

Jim: My girlfriend gets bored with board games to the point that she tries to lose on purpose so she can stop playing. What game(s) would you recommend for a smart, creative, and historically-bored-with-board-games person? If possible, something that works as a two player? Thanks!
Klaw: I’d say stick to games that play well in 30 minutes or less. 7 Ronin. 7 Wonders Duel (no connection). Patchwork. Jaipur might be too light, but it plays very fast. I put a whole list of the best two-player games at the bottom of my top 100 ranking.

Jake: Do you see Cody Sedlock starting in high A next season ?
Klaw: I would expect him to, yes. He’s polished enough.

Ross: How high of a ceiling do you see for Delvin Perez?
Klaw: True ceiling, all-star regular at short. Probability of that, maybe 10%.

Aron: Are there any dishes that you never get at a restaurant because you can make it easily/better? Any that are so time-consuming to make at home that you never make them and just get them at restaurants?
Klaw: I don’t order pasta dishes in restaurants unless the pasta is freshly made, and you won’t see me order something like pasta alla carbonara for that same reason. Long-cooked dishes like brisket (smoked or braised), pot roast, etc. are easy choices for me at restaurants because of the time required. I also eat more seafood out because I can’t cook shellfish at home (wife is allergic) and don’t cook much regular seafood either.

Alex: Do you see Dakota Hudson as a high potential guy?
Klaw: High ceiling? no. Move fast, get him to the rotation soon to extract value, mid-rotation upside.

Michael nuno: Your thoughts on Thomas Szapucki. What’s his ipside ?
Klaw: Probably a number two. Well above-average starter.

Mattey: What’s on the menu for Xmas Eve, Xmas day at Casa Klaw?
Klaw: Nothing special on Christmas eve. Going to do a roast pork shoulder on Christmas day.

Pat: Head Like a Hole. If 1st round draft picks were fully tradable, what kind of Major League talent would s straight up trade for a first round pick bring? Obviously, the higher the selection, and the more deep the draft pool the better, how much contract control is left for the Najor Leaguer(s) involved, etc. But any general sense what a first round draft pick is worth in terms of Major League talent?
Klaw: Depends on the pick, too, but a top 10 pick should return an average regular with a few years of control. The expected return on a pick that high probably is less than that in terms of annual production, but it comes with six years of control, three of them (or three-plus) at the minimum salary.

John Wick: What do you see as Kyle Tucker’s upside? Would he be a sticking point for you in a Quintana deal?
Klaw: I’m a fan, think he’s at least an above-average regular in a corner who hits for average with power, but if he’s the best player in the deal, I’m OK with that for Houston, because Q is an ace.

Tom: Do Alex Faedo and Kyle Wright have TOR type potential?
Klaw: Yes, Wright more than Faedo for me. They are the only college starters in this class I’d say have that potential. Houck looks like a reliever. Lange doesn’t have this stuff. Bukauskus has ace stuff but he’s a six foot RHP with some effort.

Anonymous: Keith, I truly appreciate your work. Good stuff. Thank you. Now what do you think about Bud Selig being elected to the Hall of Fame? Don’t you think there’s a bit of hypocracy there considering voters have decided not to let players connected to steroids into the hall? Seelig turned a blind eye to all of it so that baseball could profit. Also, his ideas on how to implement instant replay (4 dude string around waiting to talk to someone in a remote location) and the all-star game winner gets home field advantage were absolutely garbage. Yeah he made MLB a lot of money but is anyone considering the opportunity cost of what could have been. Baseball is truly regional (root for the home team) in that hardly anyone on the east coast knows who Mike Trout is. Thoughts?
Klaw: Absolute joke. It’s a big baseball circle-jerk. But I think it has opened the door for writers to vote for Bonds, Clemens, and even suspected-without-evidence PED guys to get in. So that’s good. But let’s not normalize Selig’s reign. He shut the sport down in ’94. He colluded against free agents in the 1980s. He ran players and the sport down for most of the first decade of the century, caved to Congressional pressure, and instituted policies (e.g., HGH testing) that have delivered no tangible benefit to the sport. The industry thrived under him, and he gets some (but not all) credit for that, but don’t forget the harm he did first to put baseball in the position in which he found it.

JJ: Any thoughts on Josh Tobias, the player acquired in the Clay Buchholz trade? Does he have any upside, or is he just a warm body to complete the salary dump?
Klaw: I wrote that deal up the other day.

Thomas: How is Joe Mixon not in jail?
Klaw: Because he’s good at hand-egg. Better question: How is Stoops or the Oklahoma athletic director still employed?

Doug: Happy Holidays to you and your family KLaw! Thank you for always being accessible and answering questions via multi-mediums! Curious, what kept Patch The Sky off of the top 10 (or expanding the 10 to 11)? I know you loved the three song romp that opens the record…did the back half drop off that much for you?
Klaw: Found it kind of repetitive after that. Not bad, certainly, but I felt like I was listening to the same songs again. Had I gone to 16 albums as I originally intended it would have been on there.

Anonymous: Regarding your answer last week about relievers and the HOF – are you saying that Rivera should be the threshold for relievers to make it in?
Klaw: I’m saying he’s above the threshold, but no other modern reliever comes close to the threshold. There’s an enormous gap between him and whoever you feel is #2 (Hoffman, Wagner, other).

Scrapper: In a year with more celebrity deaths than I can recall, was there a particular celebrity’s passing that impacted you this year?
Klaw: Prince, given his age, talent, and the fact that I have been a huge fan of his music, at least his peak output, for about 25 years.

CB: Now that Ryan Howard, A-Rod, etc. are off the books, what’s the worst contract in baseball right now? Cabrera? Pujols?
Klaw: Probably Pujols. Not that productive, under contract forever. At least Miggy produces. Dark horse right now: Stanton. Can’t earn that kind of coin if you’re rarely healthy.

Ivan’s a BUCKS-aneer: Not that he’s so great, but I’m shocked Nova got so little guaranteed in this pitching market. Toronto’s gamble with Happ paid off so well last year. Granted, he’s a lefty & hadn’t had TJ surgery, but I though Nova would at least match that pact, since so little pitching is available. I think this is a GREAT gamble for the Pirates to take. How do you feel?
Klaw: I think so too. Between that and the bargain salary for Hudson, the Pirates have had a nice week working in a bad pitching market. I’d be very happy with these moves if I were a Pirates fan.

Tom: Hi Keith- what do you think of Marco Gonzales for the Cardinals going forward? Any chance he can stick as a starter or do you think he’s a reliever post-injury?
Klaw: Starter for me. Not sure what that looks like as a reliever – I don’t think he’s going to have better stuff in short stints; he’s a fringy fastball, plus change, above avg CB guy, who’ll have to work to the edges of the strike zone with his fastball. That’s not the profile of a guy who’ll be better as a reliever.

Dave: What would you do if you were the Orioles? Tear it down, make some incremental upgrades for the short term? The system is pretty barren and player development is lacking, so I’m worried about this being a messy rebuild like the Reds.
Klaw: All in for 2017, then look at dealing Machado after the season. Or in July if things go really pear-shaped, which they might if Duquette can’t find some starting pitching.

JWR: What is your favorite holiday movie?
Klaw: Muppet Christmas Carol. We usually watch that, Holiday Inn (yes, the original cut), and White Christmas.

JWR: If you were suddenly instilled as GM of the Angels and if the owner said that he would accede to whatever vision you see for the team, would you trade Trout for a mega-package?
Klaw: Yes. It’s the best path back to contention for them. It’s going to take a lot of time to rebuild that farm system to the point where they can field an organic contender around Trout.

Big Hen: unless the Mets get someone outside the org. isn’t their best OF alignment, Yo-Lagares-Conforto from left to right? I get the skepticism but they can’t play Grandy in CF and Bruce in RF, I will throw up.
Klaw: If Lagares is healthy, yes, I agree with that. I see no role for Granderson or Bruce there at this point.

Lars: How do you think trump’s predictably horrendous approval ratings will impact his decisions? On the one hand, he doesn’t seem to care at all about keeping his word and doing what he promised. On the other, he is about as ego-driven as you can possibly be.
Klaw: I don’t do much in the way of political predictions anyway – I never predicted anything around the election or primaries, because WTF do I know – but I will predict this: Trump is and will remain unpredictable. I guess “mercurial” is the kind word. If the Republican party believes they can control him, I would predict that they’ll be disappointed.

LarryA: Last week you metionned briefly ordering mail-order coffee beans. Wouldnt lower quality but fresher beans rasted locally be better than older beans packed and shipped from across the country?
Klaw: No, not if they’re packed correctly, and I’ve learned that better quality beans benefit from a few days of rest after roasting, especially for pour-over or other drip coffee use.

Greg: I know you’ve had concerns about Austin Riley’s bat speed. In the second half, his Ks went down a lot and he hit 17 homers while hitting .284. Did you hear anything that was encouraging on him, or are you still really down on him?
Klaw: There’s nothing different; he just hit better in a smaller sample. The default expectation for prospects who aren’t promoted should be a better second half than first, because other prospects in the same league were promoted and, presumably, replaced with younger or lesser players. Sometimes that doesn’t work out – guys get tired, play hurt, etc. – but it’s a good starting point.

Marshall MN: Reports say the Trumbo offer was pulled by the Orioles, the rumored amount seemed really high anyway. I have a feeling internally that they are probably kicking themselves for not pulling their monstrous offer to Crush Davis last year as well. Why pay Trumbo $70 million when you could get a slightly downgraded version of him off the street for less money and less years?
Klaw: Pretty sure the Davis thing came from Angelos, not Duquette. No way I’d pay Trumbo that when you can get the next Trumbo for essentially nothing – trading a possibly-racist backup catcher, or claiming a guy off waivers.

Ty: Acuna is triple slashing 375/446/556 in the ABL through 20 games. Is the ABL High A quality and if so could Acuna open up in AA and be a skip away from the big leagues despite the relatively few professional at bats?
Klaw: ABL is below high-A quality. Maybe below low-A quality. But I like Acuna a lot anyway.

Jeremy: what did you think was the best and worst thing to come out of the new CBA?
Klaw: I hate the international amateur system – the players blew that, they should have taken a draft – and that we don’t have trading of draft picks. I like reducing the link between free agents and the draft, love the ban on hazing (duh), and love that the league is going to stop subsidizing Oakland. Move the team or sell it.

Jiminy Christmas: Michelle 2020? Warren 2020? Hanks 2020? Who would make you most excited?
Klaw: Booker? I really don’t know. Good chance it’s no one on our radar now. The DNC’s position that nothing is really wrong so let’s keep all the same people doesn’t give me a ton of hope.

splash: I have a two hour flight tomorrow. Is there a recent collection of short stories you could recommend?
Klaw: Edith Pearlman’s Honeydew.

Ben: I’ve been tasked with cooking the Christmas prime rib. I just got an Anova sous vide circulator and want to use it. The roast is 10 lbs, boneless, and I’m looking for medium rare. My thought is to cut it in half and put them in separate bags (to make it easier to handle), cook at 134 for about 6 hours, then finish in a 450 degree oven to brown it. Does that sound about right? Got any tips?
Klaw: I have never cooked prime rib via any method, but my gut reaction reading this is that 134 then 450 oven is going to push you to medium. Also ensure you have some resting time, maybe 30 minutes, between the sous vide and the browning step.

Joe: Have you gained respect for anyone (in the public eye) you didn’t expect to since the election? Lost any?
Klaw: Lindsay Graham has been one of the few Republicans to continue to say anything at all against Trump, and while that’s a low bar, I’m pretty impressed by his relative willingness to stand his ground.

Jeremy: seems like whoever inks EE for 3/$60M for DH-only duty will be pretty happy in 2017/2018, no?
Klaw: I think so. If EE’s agent is bluffing, as I kind of think he is, there’s a little bargain potential there for a team with cash.

Craig: Can you win at this game:

Klaw: I think two of those are players. This isn’t as fun as “Ikea item or death metal band,” though. (UPDATE: I only got 2/5 right. Womp womp.)

Tim: Derrick Goold and Baseball America just put out the Cardinals top 10. I was surprised Jack Flaherty wasn’t on it, but Goold did offer a solid explanation. Sounds like managers and coaches within the league just weren’t that impressed. What are your thoughts? I was excited by the selection and he seemed to have success, but that’s admittedly stat-lining.
Klaw: That surprises me that he’s not in their top 10, but I haven’t done anything with their system yet, and as a general policy I don’t criticize anyone else’s lists. Usually I don’t even mention other lists, but Derrick’s a friend and knows that organization extremely well.

Jeremy: Brett Anderson as a 7th starter insurance is a better option than Brian Johnson/Henry Owens/Elias, right?
Klaw: Yes. Most of Anderson’s career, he’s been good when healthy. I’d be fine giving him a deal where he gets like $500-700K a start or something. Like, here, you earn the minimum with your first start, and every additional start where we don’t have to put you on the DL, here’s another check. Not that I think he needs incentive – I’ve talked to Brett, it’s not like he wants to get hurt – but it’s totally reasonable to pay a good-when-healthy guy for how often he’s healthy because you’re probably both going to be happy with the return.

Oscar: Any books for first time parents that you recommend? Thanks.
Klaw: The Happiest Baby on the Block.

Matt: Have you heard anything about Chesny Young in the Cubs system? Seems to be able to hit no matter where he goes…zero power an obvious issue. Is there a potential UTIL here, or just a AAAA guy?
Klaw: No power indeed, don’t see those guys much in the majors any more, think he sees the majors but would say 60/40 against him having any kind of role.

Bryan: Klaw, please correct any portion of the following that I have wrong. Regarding Schilling, I think you have said in the past that you consider him a friend and that you would vote him into the Hall. I am all for his Hall candidacy, but a little surprised you would count him as a friend. Do you object to people that claim Curt is a bigot?
Klaw: You’re conflating a bunch of things here. Yes, Curt’s a friend, and I get along very well with him. Yes, I would vote for him for the Hall, because I think his performance merits it, not because I know him. No, I do not object to people who call him a bigot, and I could not disagree with him more on pretty much anything on politics, race relations, LGBTQ rights, and so on. I can be friends with people I disagree with politically; we’re friends with a family around here who are gun-toting, possibly survivalist Trump supporters. I wouldn’t and don’t support any of the stuff Curt has said about minority groups, and I said at the time I understood ESPN’s decision completely.

Kyle KS: What is the appropriate punishment for college football players that act violently against women? Mixon would’ve been taken in by another college due to his talent. A lessor player would’ve been forgotten and no one would remember the consequence. The NFL tolerates players with recent incidents of violence in college like Tyreek Hill who was kicked off his team but has talent. Should the NFL go to a zero tolerance policy to take an actual stand against this behavior?
Klaw: Zero tolerance policies are complicated, as many people have written recently, because taking away the livelihood of an abuser can make the victim, if she’s still with him, worse off. However, for an individual school to say, we’re revoking your scholarship because you hit a woman … that’s well within their rights, and they can certainly take a moral stand even if Mixon would end up playing for another school. Give the scholarship and the possibility of an education (ha!) to a more deserving person.

JR: How annoying is it when you know you are going to be in a place where you will have some reading time (airplane, doctor’s office, etc.) and then the person next to you tries to start a conversation while you are deep in your book. “what are you reading” “is it good” “what’s it about.” So annoying. I’m not anti-social, but I planned ahead and brought a book, so leave me alone.
Klaw: It really depends. This happens to me a lot, of course, because I always have a book. Sometimes it’s clear the person is just being kind and the smalltalk won’t last. Sometimes the person really knows the book I’m reading, or is truly asking if it’s worth reading. And I’ve had some wonderful, entirely serendipitous conversations because of stuff like that. If my gut reaction is that this person is a wacko, or going to be rude, or about to proselytize to me (that’s happened a few times), then I try to polite close the conversation. But I try to at least start with the assumption that s/he doesn’t realize s/he’s being rude and go from there.

Tim (NJ): We traditionally do a tenderloin for christmas – sear in pan, finish in oven (rosemary, mustard seeds, etc). Any recs/thoughts on how to spice it up?
Klaw: Beef? Black pepper. Cloves. Garlic. Lots of garlic. I’m not a huge fan of beef – I’d choose pork over it every time – so I’m probably not the ideal person to ask. If it’s not a short rib or a brisket, which are both good because they’re fatty as hell, I’ll have the pork shoulder, thanks.

Jeremy: do you do ‘Elf on the Shelf’ with your daughter?
Klaw: No. That little fucker is creepy.

addoeh: I sw you aren’t doing a long write-up, but any quick thoughts on last week’s episode of Top Chef?
Klaw: Yes, I apologize for skipping last week but I will resume with tonight’s episode. I thought it was bad TV, in a sense, that every dish was apparently good, and we didn’t get a ton of explanation of why the guy who went home went home. Asking “did you make your own bread” seemed a bit of a stretch too – we almost never see anyone make his/her own bread on this show. Also, if every dish includes radishes, tell us more about how the chefs are cooking them, because that’s something I have only eaten raw.

Pat D: Should I try to defend that guy by saying “at least he voted for the maximum amount of players” or is the vote for Hoffman over Raines just way too indefensible?
Klaw: If you put Hoffman, who faced a total of about 4400 batters in his entire career, over Raines, who *reached base* about 4000 times in his career, you don’t understand the first thing about the sport and shouldn’t vote. This is so incredibly fundamental, and that voter’s friends being all “don’t ballot shame” is just a way of avoiding accountability, which is exactly the wrong direction for the electorate to take. You want the vote? Fine. Be accountable. Don’t vote stupid.

Ed: Is Dylan Cease ready for Myrtle Beach, or would you keep him at Eugene?
Klaw: You’re skipping low-A there. He needs to go to a full-season league, yes. I might be willing to jump him to high-A because of weather, but I don’t think he’s demonstrated he’s ready for high-A hitters just yet.

Tim (NJ): Top Chef – so they put 8 veterans with a massive thumb on their scale (experience with contest, more experience after contest) against 8 chefs new to the competition. This seems like a ratings grab, bc from a competition standpoint, this seems really fixed.
Klaw: I’ve been disappointed with the season to date for that reason.

Adam: Do you see any HS or college players poised to shoot up draft boards between now and June? Do you see any that look like they’ll fall?
Klaw: No. Too early for that.

Tim (NJ): If a fortune teller told you Senzel would win ROY in 2018, would that surprise you?
Klaw: No. Although it wouldn’t shock me if he played 50 games in the majors in 2017, either. Kid can hit. You’re not waiting on a ton there.

Tom: Just wanted to say thanks for all the columns, chats, Saturday links, your kindness in Twitter convos, and of course, restaurant recs. A lot of people try to speak for me on Twitter that I’m only interested in your baseball stuff and nothing else. “No you can’t take that away from me.”
Klaw: You’re welcome, and thank you for the kind words. I couldn’t stick to baseball if I wanted to. People who demand that of me get muted or blocked.

Zoey: Keith, how much does pedigree play into prospect rankings? I’m wondering even if it’s subconscious, would a guy like Patrick Weigel rank higher if he was a say a top 50 pick?
Klaw: Not on my rankings. Once you’re in pro ball, the slate is clean.

Tyler: So the original title was suppose to be “Smrt Baseball” right? Publisher forced you to add the a?
Klaw: We thought Smrt Baseball would be unsearchable.

Chris: Given the how sharply the cost of good relief pitching has risen, has it caused you to re-evaluate how you rank prospects that are likely relievers?
Klaw: No, because the value a reliever delivers hasn’t really changed, and we’re not any better today at predicting who they’ll be than we were five years ago. Betances is a great example – total washout as a starter, awful command, goes to the pen, completely different guy now.

Carl: No question. Just wanted to say thanks for the great content, science advocacy, & common sense. Now let me get back to Star Realms while eating leftover Ruhlman Roast Chicken and reading this chat.
Klaw: That’s a strong combination. And you’re welcome. I stand for science.

CB: Weird, I heard the author of Smart Baseball is a biased tool of the liberal media who hates all 32 teams and feels the need to comment on things other than baseball.
Klaw: That too.

Ed: What are your thoughts on Eddy Martinez’ first season? About what you expected? Better / worse?
Klaw: Worse than I expected. Same for Yusnier Diaz. Hopeful both are better in 2017 now that any rust is gone. But maybe I overrated both guys.

Andy: Gary Bettman, the NHL commish, overlapping a lot with Selig, seems utterly incompetent. The NHL canceled a full season and had multiple labor disputes. Yet the NHL is still a money maker for the owners. Losing money on an established sports league at this point would frankly be more shocking.
Klaw: TV money is the determining variable here. It’s like when Democrats tried to give credit for the Internet economic bubble to Bill Clinton. Yes, he made some decent policy decisions. He was also sitting on the oil deposit when it started gushing … oh, god, this analogy is terrible, I’m sorry.

Geoff: Hi Keith – spending a year of grad school in Gainesville, is the UF team worth checking out? I’m from Massachusetts, never seen big time college baseball. Thanks
Klaw: Always worth checking out, with two potential first-rounders this year in Faedo and Schwarz, and Guthrie not far behind.

Zach: Hey Keith, aside from ATCQ (Goat) has any hip-hop album really stood out for you this year?
Klaw: Nothing really. Kendrick’s untitled record was good, but I never felt compelled to go back to it after March.

Joe Schmo: My wife went to see her primary because of some numbness in hands and face. He thinks it could be caused by stress so he prescribed Xanax. He’s the medical professional…but it worries me that he’s offering it to her so willingly without going through a proper diagnosis from a psychiatrist. Am I overreacting?
Klaw: Xanax is a go-to script for primary care docs these days, even though it’s quite habit-forming. I feel like i know a dozen people who’ve told me they have it. I’ve taken it maybe four times in my life, all during my episode of panic attacks and inability to sleep in 2012, and then stopped when I was able to sleep again because I worried about long-term use.

Cletus: Nats should give closer to- Glover, Treinen, or other??
Klaw: I bet they acquire someone but I’d put Glover over Treinen.

Felix: In all of your travels, where did you find the best brisket?
Klaw: Franklin BBQ in Austin is the best, Little Miss BBQ in Phoenix is second. 4 Rivers near Orlando is good too.

Zach: I imagine you’re too busy to really play video games, but was the younger Klaw a gamer? Picturing you as the Rpg type.
Klaw: Only a little. I played some computer RPGs like Bard’s Tale and the original Pool of Radiance but didn’t have a ton of patience for them. Loved the original Civilization game, though. I lost a lot of time one semester in college to that.

Andrew: Isn’t there a logical fallacy to the rise in Clemens/Bonds voters as a result of the Selig HOF selection? In theory, if we shouldn’t use Jim Rice to argue that similar players are HOFers….shouldn’t we not use Selig to justify Bonds/Clemens? (p.s. I’m still pro Bonds/Clemens in the HOF, but still)
Klaw: In this case, I think voters are saying, well, we asked you for guidance on PED guys, and you implicitly gave it to us by putting Commissioner See-No-Evil in, so, all’s fair now.

Andy: I know you aren’t a fan of the extremely vague character clause. Bonds and Schilling’s on field play is good enough for you to vote. If it comes up, would someone with an offense like Chapman’s violate your personal character clause to vote for the HOF?
Klaw: Probably not. If he had Rivera’s credentials, for example, and this one incident is the only one of its kind he has (nothing worse, either), I would likely include him, reluctantly. Of course, with Chapman, there’s been other stuff, some smaller offenses that are public, some character issues that are not.

Chris: Do you think people are finding false comfort on stating over and over again that 2016 has been a particularly terrible year? I mean, can’t it get much worse? And isn’t it likely that it will?
Klaw: It can, it probably will, and it’s not like the universe is aware that the western system of numbering collections of days is about to see the last digit roll over.

Jay: Could Bryan Reynolds be an above average CF (offensively and defensively) at AT&T park? ETA in 2018 or 2019?
Klaw: Yes. I’m in. Some risk with high K rate but great value pick there with upside on both sides of the ball.

Ryan V.: Shazaam, starring Sinbad – great movie, or Greatest Movie?
Klaw: That story is in my list for Saturday’s links post. That’s absolutely amazing. The power of a collective delusion?

Andrew: Do you agree with eat like a king during breakfast, a king at lunch and a pauper for dinner? Trying to find ways to improve my diet.
Klaw: No. I eat more at dinner than the other two meals, typically. I don’t know that it’s best, but it works for me.

Mikey: Give me a reason to believe in Javier Guerra. He really struggled with the stick. Can he figure it out or is he a future Rey Ordonez?
Klaw: I think he was very young for the level, has plenty of ability, and is in a good situation now with an organization that is committing a lot of resources to helping him. He’s going to be good.

Dan: Did you watch The Magicians series? Have only read the first book and am ~7 episodes in. It took me a while but I finally enjoy how different it is from the source material.
Klaw: No, it’s on my to-do list, which is getting longer rather than shorter.

addoeh: Through odd circumstances, someone has taken your espresso machine away from you and will give it back if you do one of two things; watch three hours of Calliou or a three hour video of the 2016 Cleveland Browns highlights. Which will you watch?
Klaw: I don’t know football well enough to be bothered by watching a bad team play badly.

Moltar: Definitive ranking of renditions of A Christmas Carol: 1.) Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol 2.) Muppet Christmas Carol 3.) Scrooged 4.) Flinstones Christmas Carol 5.) Patrick Stewart version
Klaw: You missed the George C. Scott version, which I think is my favorite straight-up adaptation.

Andy: If Bud Selig were still commish, he would threaten to contract Oakland and TB, and then sell both teams to Jeff Loria for practically nothing.
Klaw: Also a problem we tend to forget. He certainly didn’t solve either team’s situation, or even push towards a resolution.

Joey Bagodonuts: I just wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas and say that I look forward to being mentioned in your draft projections for 2017.
Klaw: Thank you, and I can tell you now that you merited a mention in Smart Baseball.

J: Yes The R&R Hall of Fame is ridiculous as art is not a competition, but one band/performer you think should be in that is not? Using the current no criteria criteria of couse
Klaw: I was floored that Bad Brains, who are incredibly influential despite having no popularity themselves, were nominated but left out. You don’t have to like their music to recognize that they influenced entire genres and broke the race barrier in punk.

Steve Fratantaro: Hi Keith. i’m curious to hear your thoughts on the contract Odubel Herrera signed recently. Seems like a team friendly deal to me. What do you think?
Klaw: Team friendly if he never gets any better, bargain if he does. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve heard questions about his work ethic, however, and if those are legitimate – let’s face it, makeup rumors can be complete bullshit – then there’s some risk to the team here.

Jeff: Gavin Newsom is a darkhorse I would watch for in 2020, but 2024 is probably a better bet. But given the recent reports of how Trump partially makes his Cabinet decisions based on looks, maybe 2020 is a real possibility. Can you imagine how intimidated Trump would be seeing Newsom standing across the debate stage? He’d probably call him “Dreamy Gavin”.
Klaw: I’ve been impressed by Newsom’s commentary so far, especially on some pretty contentious issues, but it’s easier to take a firm stand when you’re preaching to the choir in your home state. It’s hard, for example, to remain so firmly pro-gun control when you see how much of the electorate opposes that and will vote on that one issue.

Nelson: Coffee question. I use the Kalita Wave with a burr grinder. Do you vary your grind with the bean? Do you locally roasted beans or mail order? Thoughts on Ronald Acuna as compared to Andruw Jones?
Klaw: Yes, I have to vary the grind by the bean for whatever I’m making. I don’t see the Acuna/Jones comparison, though.

Craig: Regarding Schilling’s drop in HOF support, do you think it is permanent or do you think that voters are latching on to his comments as a way to cull their ballot down to 10 names (i.e. “I have 12 guys I would vote for and only 10 slots, so the jerk gets cut first”) and he’ll rebound as the ballot sorts itself out in future years?
Klaw: I think the timing of his post about lynching reporters is having a direct effect on his support, but I don’t know if that endures. We may not know for another year or two until we reach a point where most people agree the number of qualified candidates on the ballot is ten or fewer. Right now I would say there are twelve and I’d accept any answer from about eleven to maybe fifteen.

Ang: What are you doing with the pork shoulder for xmas? I really like the recipes I’ve been using, one Korean with a long gochujang marinade and the other a kind of kalua pork, but would like to try something new this year,
Klaw: Using the Momofuku bo ssam recipe, which is easy, almost foolproof, and damn good.

Klaw: That’s all for this week, and I apologize for being a little slow today – I woke up with a migraine, slept another hour and a half after I got my daughter to school, and still am not at 100%. Thank you all for bearing with me, for your questions, and for your support throughout the year. Have a Merry Christmas, for those of you who celebrate it, and for the rest of you, may the calendar keep bringing Happy Holidays to you.

Klawchat, 12/15/16.

You can preorder my upcoming book, Smart Baseball, on amazon. Also, please sign up for my more-or-less weekly email newsletter.

Klaw: Flaccid ego in your hand … it’s Klawchat.

Greg: Atlanta has mentioned wanting a catching prospect in AA or AAA. Would Baltimore part with Sisco?
Klaw: I didn’t think so a few months ago, but now I think they might, especially with Castillo potentially there for two years. I like Sisco – not a star, but a good regular who can hit.

Evan: In a previous chat you mentioned that you used points for a vacation. Curious if you have any recommendations for a hotel chain to use for business travel. Thanks!
Klaw: I’m a Marriott whore like everyone else in baseball.

Matt: So umm…Russia. Apparently more than 50 members of the Electoral Collage demanding an investigation to Russia tampering w/ the election. Think there’s merit to this or it’s just smoke and mirrors?
Klaw: I think it’s probably less dramatic than the headlines appear, but I would also favor an investigation if only to determine whether something happened at all that we need to protect against in 2018 and 2020. If Trump’s camp specifically worked with Russian hackers or authorities, that’s a legal question that I probably don’t know enough to answer.

Armin: Hi Keith, wouldn’t it be the perfect time to trade Masahiro Tanaka? 1. If he stays healthy he will definitely opt out of his contract after the 2017 season. 2. He has had elbow problems in the not so distant past. 3. The market for top talent has been set with the trades for Miller (deadline), Chapman (deadline), Sale, Eaton, etc. I know the Yankees want to be competitive while still rebuilding but this seems like a good opportunity to cash in on Tanaka. What do you think?
Klaw: It’s a good time to explore his market, with no starters really out there, but if the Yanks trade him it’s probably a hit of a couple of wins a year that they can’t easily replace.

Adam: Assuming that the pre-season rankings of draft prospects holds up until draft time, is there a prospect with upside so big that you take him over one of the “big three” of Greene, Kendall, or Wright?
Klaw: We have Kendall 1, and I think that’ll hold for a while unless he has a surprisingly poor spring. Royce Lewis is a guy to watch, with 1-1 kind of upside.

section 34: I keep reading that the CBA is considered a win for the owners. Why?
Klaw: I’m going to write about this very soon. I generally agree with that sentiment.

JG: What ado about the Padres these days? Seems counterintuitive to target any quality SPs to ensure a quality tank. And maybe the same thought about targeting a Jose Iglesias as a SS upgrade.
Klaw: I think tanking in baseball is overstated – teams don’t tank so much as they trade away players who can help now for prospects who can help later. So that implies acquiring a quality SP or two whom you can trade at the deadline.

Ben: No question here. Just find it funny that Javier Vazquez (43.3 bWAR, 53.9 fWAR, 105 ERA+, and one very famous 2nd place Cy Young vote) can’t even crack the Hall of Fame ballot, while Jack Morris (43.8 bWAR, 55.8 fWAR, 105 ERA+, and all teh wins!) came within a whisker of being inducted.
Klaw: All about the narrative. And maybe skin color has a little something to do with it.

Robert: Keith, we don’t know his justifications, but I have a lot of issues with Steven Marcus’ 2017 HOF ballot. What is the fairest way to determine if a reliever is HOF worthy? I have a hard time, statistically or anecdotally, of giving a HOF vote to any reliever outside of Mariano Rivera (but definitely not Trevor Hoffman).
Klaw: I think Rivera should be the threshold for career innings going forward. He pitched more than Sutter, Hoffman, or Wagner, and pitched better than any of them, and had that postseason resume to boost his candidacy. If you can’t even reach Mo’s modest 1200-odd innings, then most likely you’re not worth further discussion, because it’s hard to believe you could have been as valuable as Rivera while pitching less.

Andy: One thing on the anti-hazing thing. It seems like, it’s just banning it as part of a team organized thing. I’m sure that Huston Street is still free to wear cheerleading and Hooters outfits wherever and whenever he wants to. I’m guessing he will choose not to do so, because of various reasons like unmanly and that he’ll be made fun of. And I’m sure he wouldn’t understand the irony.
Klaw: Agreed. A reader said to me on Twitter (I think) that this is not about the 8-10 rookies a year who are fine with dressing up as a gag. It’s about the one or two who aren’t fine with it. And that’s exactly it.

Mike: Given the automatic depreciation of Rockie hitters’ stats, would you project they can get better than a #3 or #4 starter for Charlie Blackmon? Related question: has Bridich lost his mind?
Klaw: Really don’t understand their offseason so far. $18 million for a mediocre LHR after giving up pick 11 for Desmond? Blackmon’s pretty well regarded though because he’s always had great tools, so there’s enough of a belief that he’ll produce outside of Coors. He’s not Dante Bichette.

Nick: If you were Lunhow, would you trade Musgrove + Martes + Tucker for Quintana, and why or why not? I go back and forth as an Astros fan but think I’d be happy with him pulling the trigger.
Klaw: If I’m Luhnow I do it. If I’m Hahn I’m not even countering because it’s so low. FWIW, I don’t know that that was ever discussed by the clubs.

Jake: Hi Keith, not trying to come at you, just legitimately asking. Why do you occasionally rush to break trades on Twitter? You strike me as the type that would say “leave the rat race to Heyman, Rosenthal, etc. and analyze thoroughly once all details are known”. What’s the benefit in those extra 5 minutes? Thanks for the chat!
Klaw: Because if I get news, I share it. I have no idea why you’d even ask.

Keith: Now that the White Sox are clearing their MLB roster, do you think Matt Davidson will get a chance to play? Last I heard, his 3B defense was considered plus. Does he still have everyday starter upside to you?
Klaw: He’s not a plus defender, but he has a good swing and average power. I hope he gets one more chance before he’s discarded to the NRI scrap heap.

A Short Guy: Will guys like Nick Allen (2017) and Nick Madrigal (2018) get first round consideration or does their height hurt them too much?
Klaw: Don’t think either ends up in the first round for that very reason.

Seath: My Fiance and I are having a Christmas Eve Dinner with my parents at my brother and his wife’s house. Because they have a newborn, my Fiance and I would love to provide the main course for dinner but are having a hard time figuring out what we can cook if we have to also transport it. What do you reccomend?
Klaw: You want weight to it so it’ll retain its heat in transport, or can be reheated without doing damage to it. Something like a stew (HT Carl Weathers). Maybe Serious Eats’ pressure-cooker Green chicken chili? That’s a go-to dish for me.

Nick: How close was Clarke Schmidt to making your top 30 draft list? I remember you liked him in previous tweets and chats.
Klaw: I like the stuff, but it’s a bad delivery.

Ceej: Would you move Moncada to CF to take advantage of his speed?
Klaw: If he shows he can’t improve at 3b. Lifelong infielder moving to CF shouldn’t be taken as a given that it works.

Jackson: How is it ok to support a Casey Affleck movie and not support Chapman or any other POS? If you’d resign if forced to sign Chapman, shouldn’t you refuse to see the Afleck movie?
Klaw: Three people have asked variations of this profoundly stupid question. The analogy to seeing Affleck’s movie is watching Chapman pitch, not signing him to an $86 million deal. Think critically for a second before playing this dumbass “gotcha” game.

Jeff: Speaking only in terms of fit, and not expected cost to acquire, is Logan Forsythe, Brian Dozier or Yangervis Solarte the best option for the Dodgers current roster?
Klaw: Dozier’s a legitimate all-star, and if they can acquire him without giving up Bellinger or Verdugo I’d do it. Those two kids are close to major-league ready with huge upsides, and I don’t think I’d part with either for Dozier’s age-30 and -31 seasons.

Ed: Have you ever made figgy pudding?
Klaw: Piggy pudding? With bacon?

Kramer: Can Carson Kelly be an everyday Catcher? What do you see his upside as?
Klaw: Yes, above-average regular for me. Great athlete, great kid, really improved defensively over the last two years, more pop in there than he’s shown to date.

Danny: Thoughts on Josh Staumont? I think he’s a RP without a drastic uptick in command (which is possible but he’s not a fresh prep pitcher).
Klaw: I agree with you completely. He can be around the strike zone, but I saw maybe his best outing of 2016 and it was still below-average command. He was just blowing A-ball guys up with pure stuff.

Marshall MN: The Onion had a great headline this week about Rick Perry getting nominated as Secretary of a department he once wanted to get rid of (Dept Energy) – oh wait that wasn’t a satirical headline from The Onion, it was reality.
Klaw: I’m waiting for General Sherman to get the nod for Secretary of Agriculture.

BoBo from FishTown: Thoughts on Brandon Brooks of the PHL Eagles ‘coming out’ about His anxiety atttacks that have prevented Him from playing the last few games? And His coach calling it a ‘weird situatuon’?
Klaw: I’m glad he felt confident enough to talk about it publicly and deal with the ignorance that he’s getting from his coach and from fans.

John: How does Jeren Kendell stack up with recent draftees from the SEC (Senzel, Swanson, Bregman, Benintendi)? How concerned are you about his k-rate?
Klaw: I ranked him at 1, so I’m obviously not that concerned about his K rate; he’s unusually toolsy for a college hitter. He has more upside than the first three guys you mentioned, but those three were also better hitters as sophomores and better equipped to get to double-A quickly than Kendall is right now.

Pramit Bose: There has been some sentiment around here that the Jays acted too quickly in signing Kendrys Morales to a 3 year deal given that there hasn’t exactly been huge demand for power this off season. Do you think this is the case? And are we starting to see organizations value more “complete” players (i.e. offense, baserunning and defense) than one dimensional ones?
Klaw: Yes, I was out of the country when that happened but I thought it was a bad deal for the Jays given all the comparable players out there who’ll probably end up signing for a year.

Lee: Keith, which of the Braves pitching prospects will likely have the most impact on the team? Seems to me Fried is getting overlooked and could be a future ace.
Klaw: Don’t think he could be an ace but I think he could be an above-average starter. Toussaint might have the best upside of anyone, but isn’t as close to getting to his ceiling as Fried is to his.

Chris: Keith, I wanted to thank you for turning me on to the concept of sipping rums. I now prefer them to bourbon. Have you tried either Dictador or Zaya 12 year?
Klaw: Not yet. Not familiar with Dictador at all.

Marshall MN: Plus just generally in regard to any hazing…why should any of it be allowed? I hate when hear stories about rookies having to buy the vets dinner (especially given how comparatively little most rooks make), or carrying their bags, or doing anything that demeans them. It isn’t needed, there are better ways to build camaraderie, and a lot of times all of this stuff just ventures in physical/mental abuse.
Klaw: I tend to agree with this, as I explained in my email newsletter this week, but I’m realistic about what teams will be able to enforce in the short term, and I thought the introduction of any policy on the topic was a big first step.

Priya: Any trick to identifying which prospect with Sale like deficiencies will defy the odds and stay healthy or is it a fool’s errand?
Klaw: I don’t think so, but I tend to think in a certain way, building heuristics and being very critical of exceptions to those guidelines. Sale violated several of them – the bad delivery, the lack of a breaking ball in college, and the narrow frame – and yet has had a Hall of Fame start to his career. Credit the White Sox with drafting him in spite of the questions about whether he could start, and with getting him from a 40 breaking ball to a 70. But if I saw another Chris Sale I’d probably have similar reservations because the majority of guys with those issues don’t pan out.

Tom: Agree that people are playing the wrong game of “gotcha”. The question they should be asking in relation to the Casey Affleck film is, “If you were still a Yankees fan, would you purchase a ticket to watch a game knowing they employ Aroldis Chapman?”
Klaw: Yep. Or, if I were a film director, would I cast Casey Affleck, knowing the accusations that he’s harassed women? (Probably not.) But for me to deny the quality of his performance would be analogous to denying Chapman’s effectiveness as a pitcher, which I’ve been very careful to avoid doing. Chapman’s a great pitcher I wouldn’t want on my team. Affleck’s a great actor I wouldn’t want in my film.

Pat D: So based upon your answer to Ed’s question, is John Denver & The Muppets the greatest Christmas album of all time, or merely one of the very good? Also, appreciated the Coach Z reference on Twitter this week.
Klaw: I grew up listening to that album so I can’t pretend to be objective. Pretty much any vintage Muppets Christmas thing is good, including the Muppet Christmas Carol, which we watched last night as I sang along with my daughter. If they gave a prize for bein’ mean, the winner would be him!

Tommy Tutone: What do you see from Paxton this year?
Klaw: More of the same maddening inconsistency, I think.

Jason: Keith, hopefully you can help me out here regarding the Russians. I’m a Republican who didn’t vote for Trump (or Clinton, for that matter). Let’s assume that the Russian government did release the emails purposefully to help Trump. Why would that mean that the electoral college should then vote for Clinton? As long as they weren’t actually tampering with the votes themselves, why should this interference be actionable? It’s not as if Putin favoring Trump was some secret
Klaw: Is anyone arguing the EC should vote for Clinton? I have not, and would not, even though I voted for her and would prefer to see her as President than any GOP option. The idea of faithless electors isn’t to give the election to the other party.

Tommy Tutone: How good is Lance McCullers? Will he be a #1?
Klaw: I’ve said for a while I think LMJr will end up in the bullpen because of his delivery. It’s ace stuff, but he has yet to hit 160 innings in any season and keeps getting hurt. I’d rather see him stay healthy all year.

Chris: How batshit crazy are these guys in Washington that are trying to pass legislation allowing guns into the stadiums?
Klaw: I mean, do you want to be in the stadium with people who decide to bring guns into it? Who says, hey, I’m going to see the M’s, where’s my TEC-9?

Troy McClure: I’m surprised someone with social anxiety would say such harsh things to so many readers. You shouldn’t always assume bad intent with bad questions.
Klaw: Don’t drag my anxiety into this irrelevant discussion. And “gotcha” questions always have bad intent.

Perry: What do you think on the next CA Attorney General stating that he will not adhere to federal law regarding immigration and will go so far as to obstruct the federal government from enforcing its laws?
Klaw: This is how we get cases into the judicial system, no?

Jeremy: Who should get the most innings behind the plate in 2017: Castillo, Joseph, or Sisco?
Klaw: Castillo. If Sisco’s not their catcher of the future any more, they should trade him for a young starter.

Chris: Given the amount they can get in return, should Baltimore trade Machado if they get off to a slow start? They aren’t terrible but they aren’t great and their farm system is sorely lacking, so I think this should actually kick start a real fix.
Klaw: I think they’re going to have to explore trading him soon, but since they were a WC team in 2016 doing it now would probably be seen as a white flag. Explore it in July, push it in November.

Vin: Are you a believer in a Parker/Williamson LF platoon for SF?
Klaw: I am not.

Jim: Ken Rosenthal wrote an article about how the Braves farm system is considered not mature enough yet and how that hurt in the Sale talks. Also that their pitchers were high risk with mid rotation upside. Why do people keep writing these things about the Braves system yet they are ranked Top 5 by nearly every prospect guy?
Klaw: No idea. Atlanta has so many prospect arms that I think your second sentence is not a fair summary of the system; they have many with higher upside, and of course many with lower upside. You can’t just take the average of all the prospects.

Jeremy: Any favorite Christmas books for children? We give one to each child to open in bed each Christmas morning and, with 4 kids, we feel like we’re running out of quality options.
Klaw: Not specifically Christmas but my daughter always loved Stranger in the Woods.

Tom: So you wouldn’t cast Casey Affleck in a movie but you’ll vote to put Bill Clinton back in the White House? He settled out-of-court on multiple sexual assault lawsuits.
Klaw: Bill Clinton hasn’t run for President since 1996. It’s funny how people do this with a woman running for office, but never with a man.

Todd-bowls: It feels like Greene is decent at two positions rather than great at one. Agree or Disagree
Klaw: Great defensive shortstop. Questionable bat. Potentially great pitcher, huge upside, not there yet. So it’s a little more involved although I understand why you’d ask that.

Rusty: Keith, do you have an opinion on acupuncture?
Klaw: I’ve seen no research that indicates it works, and there’s no known biological mechanism to explain why it would work. Here’s a good essay on why.

Rob: I know the Pirates are probably unlikely to get involved, but would Meadows, Keller and Newman be enough/too much to get Quintana?
Klaw: I don’t think that fits the White Sox’ goals for such a deal and probably isn’t enough close-to-the-majors value, but it’s better than the reported Houston proposal.

Chris: Rockies with a puzzling offseason so far, eh?
Klaw: I don’t understand it. They’re not a terrible team, but so far they haven’t done enough that I could project them to even 85 or so wins, and I could easily see the Desmond deal going south on them quickly.

Chuck: If there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that something is effective but no science-based research, is there merit for you? Thinking of acupuncture or anything else.
Klaw: Well there’s a lot of research on acupuncture that hasn’t shown it’s any better than a placebo. If there’s zero research, and a plausible explanation why something might work, then I’d consider it.

Aron: What kind of package from the Mariners gets Smyly?
Klaw: Not sure the two teams really line up. The M’s system is thin at the moment. Plus, do they have a shortstop prospect who can’t stay at short? That’s Tampa’s favorite kind of player.

Lee: It appears the Red Sox are going all out for a championshipo with the recent moves they’ve made. So why the apparent hesitation to cross the luxury tax this season? Wouldn’t signing EE to a 3 year deal make them more likely to win a World Series in their “window”?
Klaw: Yes, it would, in year one, but I could imagine they might not want to go that long on a player his age.

Chris: Do you think Reynaldo Lopez will be given time to develop as a starter with the Sox, with the fallback on going to the pen or will he be a pen guy with the Sox right off the bat?
Klaw: Sounded like they’ll let him try to start, which is fine given that they’re not trying to win right now, but I have said before I think there’s no chance he can stay healthy and effective as a starter.

Jake: If last years draft was held today who would be the top 5 picks? Moniak still #1?
Klaw: I don’t think the Phillies have changed their view on him to alter that. I have a feeling in a few years we’ll look back and wonder how Groome fell to 12.

Anthony: What would do with Joey Gallo? Should they let him play everyday at 1B or start him in the minors?
Klaw: I think he needs to play regularly and the Rangers need to accept that there will be a long period of adjustment. Gallo still strikes out too much, but he’s improved his ability to lay off stuff outside the zone and to make contact within it over the last few years. He’ll come up, he’ll struggle again, but he’ll make some adjustments and get to a point where he’s at least productive. He can strike out 200 times in 600 PA and still be a valuable player because of the power and walks.

brandino: Where would Cal Quantril rank in the hierarchy of college pitchers in this years draft (assuming he was the best college pitcher in last years draft)?
Klaw: He’s another one, like Groome, where we may look back even in a year and think how big a steal he was where he was picked. A healthy Q would be in there with Wright and Faedo.

Jake: Who do you think is the better prospect Gleyber or Rosario?
Klaw: Gleyber. Both studs. Gleyber’s just uncanny though – he plays like he’s 25.

Concerned Giants fan: Read Jeff Passan’s article about how the future Dodgers are quite scary. Your thoughts on how their combination of prospects/$$ compares to the Giants’ also sizable budget? I need to know whether to be concerned about that Dodger prospect pipeline coming up.
Klaw: If they keep that prospect core, they’re indeed going to be very scary, because their lineup will be strong and inexpensive, and they will be able to buy pitching and still stay under the cap. So be concerned.

Ridley Kemp: The Trainspotting sequel is going to break my heart, isn’t it? Everything about it looks like a re-hash (except for the welcome Wolf Alice inclusion). Am I foolish to hope?
Klaw: I’ve actually never seen the original. I’m pretty bad with 1990s movies.

John: Do you see Tom Raines as a much better HoF candidate than Kenny Lofton? Raines a much better hitter but similar overall fWAR.
Klaw: Better peak for Raines too. Raines was one of the 2-3 best players in baseball for a short period. Lofton never had that peak.

Rick Gassko: Do you think Aaron Judge, Hunter Renfroe and/or A.J. Reed ever get past their low contact rates and high K rates seen in their major league debuts to become above-average regulars? What are the odds on each that they are busts?
Klaw: I’m most optimistic about Judge, then Reed, then Renfroe. Renfroe is the one I’ve seen look the worst on breaking stuff, and I think he’s the least patient. Reed’s issue is modest bat speed, but his eye is good. Judge has the best idea, and the longest arms.

David: I know it’s far away, but is there any prospect of Gavin Lux playing SS for the Dodgers? Trade bait in a few years, or could he be their future 2B?
Klaw: I would let him play short for a few years and see how he looks and how his body changes. I think right now he has the raw ability to do it, but if he loses any speed he would likely move to second. Bigger concern right now is cleaning up his swing a bit to address the hit tool.

Reilly: At a recent team caravan event, Frank Coonelly expressed frustration over the fan base’s exhaustion over the FO’s “unwillingness to spend.” My opinion has always been smart moves/spending is more important than moves/spending for the sake of. What say you?
Klaw: Never been a fan of spending for spending’s sake. Is the team in question missing out on good deals? Playing clearly inferior players to save money? Skimping on draft picks or on July 2? Those things would concern me, rather than just looking at total payroll.

Sigmund Fraud: You seem like a great husband/father. Cooks, works from home a lot, involved in raising his kid… so what is Mrs. Klaw’s biggest pet peeve? Surely you can’t ALWAYS be so wonderful. (or would you beg to differ?)
Klaw: Oh, she’d have some things to say, I assure you. Not least among them is how much time I’m online doing stuff.

Steve: Hi, Keith. I know you’re not a fantasy baseball guy but I’d really appreciate your real life expertise here. I can only keep one of Urias or Alex Reyes. Which one? Thanks!
Klaw: Urias. More optimistic about him short- and long-term. Reyes has huge upside but has had arm soreness and the delivery isn’t ideal.

Tim (KC): The Rockies reportedly want Eaton-type return on Charlie Blackmon (free agent after 2018). Seems like they don’t understand player value/contract/economics. They seem to be really become delusional this off-season. Are the Rockies ready to contend or is this the next Padres/Diamondbacks (what is it will the NL West)?
Klaw: Eaton’s value was as much in the contract as in the player himself. Blackmon’s probably a better bet to hold his value, but as you said, Eaton’s contract, both cost and years of control, made him a much more valuable asset.

Chris: Josh Byrnes got a raw deal in San Diego and Preller has ruined the organization. People who point to their minors looking great now forget that Preller dealt Turner, Ross, Grandal and others. How does he still have a job?
Klaw: Byrnes inherited a good system from Hoyer/McLeod and left it in worse shape. Preller’s first year was bad, but this year he’s restocked the system quickly and thoroughly. And while he should have kept Turner/Ross, Myers is a good player and they didn’t end up with nothing.

addoeh: Do you think the new CBA will curb the Dodgers spending? It seems to me they’ll just shrug their shoulders and say “Ok.”
Klaw: I think it will, because it’s a tax and loss of draft position (and bonus pool). Also, they are likely to have Seager, Verdugo, and Bellinger as their core making no money at some point very soon.

Jake: Who would you have taken in last years draft at #1? You seem to like Groome, Rutherford and Corey Ray the best.
Klaw: I had Ray 1, but I said there were a couple of guys who were worth that spot, including the others you named.

Jon: Keith, Re:Gallo. Isn’t he a more athletic version of Adam Dunn? Dunn was productive at the plate in the same manner as Gallo with a ton of K’s but killed teams with his defense. Gallo’s not as terrible. Do you think it will take a new team to get that chance?
Klaw: Gallo’s not a terrible defender – he’s a good athlete, as you said, with an 80 arm. But if he’s only Adam Dunn, well, Dunn was a good player for several years, just frustrating.

Ron: Buxton takes the next step this year? Maybe breakout? Incredible physical tools. If he squares one up he can hit it as far as anyone.
Klaw: I’m buying.

Jim: Shouldn’t Tim Raines get in the HOF before Tom Raines gets any consideration?
Klaw: I wanted to vote for Claude Raines but I didn’t see him on the ballot.

Joe: Keith, I enjoyed your Disney food reviews, even though they are a few years old now. Did you ever publish any reviews about the attractions that you liked at Disney?
Klaw: I haven’t, and it’s funny you ask because my daughter asks when we might go again, but last time around she was only interested in a handful of rides. I think she enjoys being there more than doing the attractions.

Bob: You said in reply to my Twitter question that the gap between the best and worst FOs has gotten small. I wonder, then, if the new market inefficiency is how well you develop talent. Mike Trout or Corey Seegar are going to be stars regardless, but there are plenty of prospects that benefit from good coaching. Some teams seem to do this better than others, don’t they?
Klaw: I think there are still inefficiencies but they’ll be less obvious. Development is a large area for inefficiencies. Health is one. Using Statcast data to improve game plans, or to contribute to development, is another. We just may not spot these until after the fact.

Mark: Any tips for a 24 year old looking to take up baseball in junior college? The one thing I have going for me is that I can really, really run. Like Billy Hamilton run. What do I have to do to get noticed by scouts this upcoming season?
Klaw: I really don’t know the answer to that. I suppose the obvious, but real, answer is that you are going to have to hit a lot to get anyone to overcome the skepticism of seeing a 24-year-old in JC.

Kenny: If the 3 major parts of the game are offense, defense, and pitching, which 2 would you emphasize the most when putting a team together? In other words, if you could make your team very strong in 2 of them, while being weak in one, which 2 would help you win the most?
Klaw: I think there are two major parts: run scoring and run prevention. Pitching and defense go together in run prevention but the share for each is either unknown or variable. If you can build a great offense that also contributes to run prevention, well, that’s a good way to go, but those players are rare and often expensive.

Joe: Does Jason McLeod accept a GM spot now that he has helped the Cubs finally win a WS? If not, what is he waiting for?
Klaw: He just signed an extension so I don’t think he’s going anywhere now.

Walt: The story of the former Wake Forest assistant football coach turned radio announcer, who took his frustrations of not being retained by a new head coach out by giving game plans to other teams, seems to be a cautionary tale for anyone in sports. What kind of safeguards to teams have against former employees giving away all of their secrets?
Klaw: What else can you do besides NDAs? I guess then you sue the hell out of violators to make it clear that there are real penalties involved. Beyond that, I don’t think you can stop someone intent on leaking your secrets.

Scott: I can’t stop buying board games. Any suggestions?
Klaw: You’re asking someone who owns over 100. I have no help for you.

Bob: Follow up, if I may. If player development is an area where you can really improve over the other guy, then this issue should factor into hiring a new GM, shouldn’t it?
Klaw: I think it should.

Tim (KC): What is your HOF ballot this year?
Klaw: Raines, Bagwell, Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Edgar, Mussina, Pudge, Schilling, Walker. Still leaving guys off because of the 10-man limit. (Most of you know this, but I do not have a ballot yet. Two more years.)

Duane: If you had a choice of never reading a new book or never trying a new food, which would you choose?
Klaw: I could go on very happily eating all the amazing things I’ve already eaten, but I’d shrivel up without new books.

MikeM: Is there a release date for your prospect lists in 2017. I really enjoy reading them every year and are one of the main reasons I have an Insider account.
Klaw: It’s up to the new baseball editor but she told me she was looking at the third and fourth weeks of January. We’re going to roll them out over more days – so it might be, say, 25 prospects a day for four days.

HugoZ: Is having an inflammatory statement on a t-shirt a great reason to deprive someone of your HOF vote?
Klaw: The statement in question targeted the profession of the voters. That said, I still had Schilling on mine, as you saw.

Jon: Concerning Mark heading off to JC. If he’s serious about pro ball, would an indy league team be a better route than a Juco program?
Klaw: I think he’s more likely to be seen at a JC, but his performance in an indy league might carry more weight. I assume part of going to a JC here is to work towards a degree, though.

mike: Is Dom Smith the Mets everyday 1b next year? Theres alot of varying opinions about him in the prospect community
Klaw: In 2018, I think so. Still developing but it was nice to see more power from him now that he got out of the Mets’ A-ball environments.

Ben: Piggy backing off of the team building question. If EE’s market were to crater to the point that an NL team gets involved, let’s say the Cardinals. Do you think his bat in their lineup would be worth the defensive downgrade with EE at 1b and Carpenter at 3b?
Klaw: I’d roll those dice, so to speak. Huge boost with the bat.

JJ: Since it appears the Red Sox’ heavy lifting is done this winter, what does that mean for Blake Swihart? Is he ticketed to be the everyday catcher at Pawtucket? How much did the lost year that was 2016 hurt his development?
Klaw: I think that’s indeed the plan, unfortunately. He should be playing everyday for somebody.

Rob: Based on previous statements, I’m guessing you’d advocate for either a long suspension or ban for Familia. My question is: what should players like him, Chapman, and Reyes be doing instead of baseball? Ray Rice has apparently been speaking to NFL rookies, telling them to not make the same mistakes he did. Not a bad intention, but I don’t know if it’s actually effective.
Klaw: I like that Rice is doing that, although I’m not even sure how we’d know if it was effective. Such players could also spend time volunteering at battered women’s shelters. As for Familia, I saw the charges were dismissed but I have no idea what the details were and assume MLB will conduct its own investigation as they have with other players in similar situations.

Greg: Wife and I are going to Charleston for the weekend. Any recommendations on what to do or eat?
Klaw: Husk if you can get in. Fig, Fat Hen, Minero, Evo.

Joseph: I’m interested in getting my brother coffee for christmas. Can you recommend a couple good brands or flavors? My coffee knowledge is non-existent and the only thing I don’t want are kcups.
Klaw: K-cups are evil. If he has a pour-over device (like the Hario V60 I’ve mentioned) or a French press, then you want some good single origin coffees from small roasters. There may be one near you, or you could mail order from places like Intelligentsia, Four Barrel, Cartel, or Archetype, all of whom are among my favorites. I mentioned Royal Mile in NJ on Twitter recently – they have (had) an Ethiopian Kochere that was one of the best coffees I’ve ever tried.

Chief Sockalexis: Given the new CBA does Shohei Otani still sign with a large market team?
Klaw: I think he’s got a few options. I have a feeling he’ll get paid one way or another – perhaps signing a contract here that forces a team to non-tender him after two years or something. I assume every team that can find $20 million for the posting fee will bid though.

Doug: Josh Byrnes traded Anthony Rizzo for Andrew Cashner. But yet Chris thinks he didn’t get a fair shake in SD? Give me Preller all day over Byrnes.
Klaw: And I hated that deal at the time for the Padres. I think Preller’s on the right track but it’s going to take several more years to get to their goal.

Klaw: That’s all for this week – thanks as always for reading and for all of your questions. I will chat again before Christmas, probably at the usual time next Thursday.

Klawchat, 12/9/16.

Klaw: There’s emptiness behind their eyes, there’s dust in all their hearts. Klawchat.

Nate: Keith, do the white Sox have a top 5 system now?
Klaw: No, although they might by the end of the winter. They’ve added a lot of high-end talent, but to be a top-five system you have to have continued strength beyond the top 8-10 guys and I don’t think they do yet.

Michael: I get Eaton is a good player, but if I told you they traded Gioloto for Eaton straight up wouldn’t you say that’s fair? Seems to me that those three prospects should have brought back someone with a longer track record of success.
Klaw: I get the sense that the Nationals, for reasons on which I can only speculate, soured on Giolito after his brief MLB time last year (which wasn’t good). But he was handled poorly all year, from the delivery change in the minors to the constant yo-yo up and down from the minors to the overuse of the fastball when he was in the majors. He’s still 22, healthy, athletic, and has the same stuff he had a year ago when everyone was in love with him. That is the most confusing part of all to me.

Jason (Milwaukee): What do you think of the Brewers’ signing of Eric Thames? Will be be any good in MLB after putting up Bonds-esque number in Korea?
Klaw: Offensive levels in Korea are substantially higher than they are here, and the level of competition is substantially worse. So no, I don’t think he will.

Dutiful Husband: The wife wants a cast iron skillet for Xmas – any recommendations
Klaw: The only major brand is Lodge, and theirs are the best. I find the 12-inch skillet to be incredibly useful, but it is heavy to lift with one hand.

Adam D.: I agree with your take(s) on the downside of signing relief pitchers for more than a couple years. That said, as a Giants fan I can’t remember the need for one player being so acute. Would you agree that in the case of a team like that Giants that is a true threat to win it all, absorbing the back end of a bad deal like that is justifiable? Especially because they didn’t surrender a draft pick to do it.
Klaw: The risk starts essentially on day one for relievers – your ability to project performance and health starts to drop right away, just because of their attrition rates. I think we’ve been a little spoiled of late by some elite relievers having a couple of good back-to-back seasons, but look at Kimbrel, who is still effective but has already started to see his numbers come back to merely good from otherworldly. And he hasn’t blown out or missed half a season or anything – he’s just aged. I agree the need was acute for the Giants, but I still don’t like the signing.

Jeff: If, as we expect, Jansen signs somewhere other than LA, does it make sense for the Dodgers to use more of a committee approach in the pen, or should they explore trades for a “proven closer”?
Klaw: I think they will try to create a closer – find someone underutilized in another pen, convert a guy, etc. I can’t imagine them overpaying in trade for a ninth inning guy.

Preston: Is there a prospect package not involving Eloy or Happ the Cubs could realistically offer to obtain a solid young starter?
Klaw: You’ve asked, in essence, if they can get such a starter without paying for one. So no.

Marshall MN: The Ian Desmond deal has to go down as the most confusing of the offseason right? Non of the components of the deal – the size of the contract, the length, the fit of Desmond on the team, giving up a draft pick – seems to make any sense. I guess it is still early, and a team might “out do” the Rockies and give a guy like Trumbo a 5 year deal and give up a draft pick as well. But I imagine the Rangers front office was celebrating.
Klaw: It’s the worst deal of the offseason for me. Giving up a pick for him, the 11th pick with all that pool money attached, is stupid. I don’t love calling moves stupid, but this time it fits.

Travis: I loved Brotha Jenkins on the Braves. Really really likeable guy. Did it really make that much sense to trade him and was it because the Braves just gave up on him?
Klaw: His stuff hasn’t missed bats in AAA or the majors. Hard to blame them for questioning his long-term value. I’d still rather have him than Jackson, because Jenkins has better stuff and is an 80 athlete, but I get the frustration.

Travis: Higher ceiling, Mike Soroka or Sean Newcomb?
Klaw: Soroka for me.

David: Hi Keith, I’m glad Top Chef is back, but disappointed in so many returning chefs. Like you, I would rather see someone new. With that said, who do you think is the best chef to appear as a contestant on the show? Richard Blais? Kristen Kish? Paul Qui? Voltaggios? Someone else I’m missing?
Klaw: Qui dominated his season like no one else did, but Blais nearly won the first time and then won All-Stars, so I’d probably give him the nod.

Carl C: Klaw, How can you be so sensible in every other aspect but have such a bad taste in music?
Klaw: Do I have only one bad taste in music, or several?

Nelson: Will you do a best books of 2016 post?
Klaw: No, I don’t read many books that are brand-new.

Nelson: What role will Blake Swihart have this year?
Klaw: I thought the Sox might return him to 3b, where he played some in HS, but it sounds like he’s going to catch regularly wherever he plays.

Adam: The general mindset is the Padres took the 3 most talented players in the Rule 5 draft but all are longshots to stick. I know you don’t care about that draft at all, but what are your thoughts on the individual players?
Klaw: My thoughts are (yawn).

Jim: What do you think of the rumors that the phillies might be open to moving herrera? Could he get a lot back?
Klaw: I think it’s a good time to sell. He’s been great considering how they got him (rule 5, so basically free), but I think he showed some flaws in his game in 2016 that may limit his potential to be better going forward, and I know work ethic has been a concern for the team. Explore his value now while he’s cheap for one more year and has four years of control left – and while the OF market is really pretty thin anyway.

JJ: The market for relievers — especially closers — seems ridiculously out of control. By definition, relievers are failed starters. For every Mariano Rivera or Bobby Thigpen, there are literally dozens of BJ Ryans and Jim Johnsons. Why don’t GMs see this? For the money they gave Chapman, the Yankees could’ve signed Edwin Encarnacion.
Klaw: I have asked the same question and I don’t know the answer. Perhaps October is skewing views on relievers – how they were used that month, but also how the teams that got Miller and Chapman ended up in the WS, and the team with Jansen nearly got there, and the team with the worst closer situation (SF) lost its series because they didn’t have a ninth inning solution. But if you’re here, you probably know what I’d do with that money.

addoeh: Odds that Mike Montgomery is a serviceable #5 starter?
Klaw: Ten percent. Maybe 15 percent. I don’t think he has the command for it. He never did before, and he certainly had plenty of chances to start for his previous employers.

Jon v: is the loss of the 27th pick more palatable for Cleveland if they can get Encarnacion on a two year deal rather than the presumed four year deal heading into the winter meetings?
Klaw: Yes, I’d give up a late first-round pick if it meant cutting two years off a long-term deal. That’s a reasonable trade off.

Paul: I enjoy reading your analysis, I can live with your outside baseball comments (I don’t agree with most of them but it is ok with me), but I really was puzzled by one passage in your Chapmann article on espn: ” I can’t imagine giving someone with such serious character concerns […] a five-year deal with life-changing money. To borrow an old line from P.J. O’Rourke, it’s like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” You don’t like Chapman and I don’t either, but I dislike this thinking that since he did something horrible, he should not get to do his job and being paid accordingly. I think second chances, whether it is a pro player or a random dude, and you seem to disagree with it. Would you care to elaborate? thanks
Klaw: You completely misread the comment. If I were a GM, I would not give someone with such serious character concerns that money. He can get to do his job, just on someone else’s dime. Also, let’s not pretend that all “second chances” are equal. If you hit a woman, watching an After School Special isn’t going to suddenly make you someone who won’t hit a woman again.

Jeffrey: If the Nats truly believe they will not be resigning Bryce Harper at the end of the 2018 season, would now be the time to truly explore trading him. With 2 years left on his obviously under market arbitration contract, the Nats would get a haul back for him. I understand the Nats are in a win now mode, but I believe they could get pieces back to make them still a contender in 2017 and going forward. For example, would a Nats and Red Sox deal be plausible? Bogarts, Bradley, Benintendi, Groome for Harper? Maybe I’m way off on that proposal, but it’s something that can be a starting point. Am I way off base on this? Thanks, Keith.
Klaw: It would be if they weren’t contending, but if they want to win the World Series in 2017, which I think they have as good a chance as the Cubs to do, then they need Harper. I would bet on him posting at least a 6 WAR this year if he’s completely healthy again (which I think he will be – I haven’t seen anything to the contrary).

Paul: After reading all your free agent signing analysis, seems like you disagree with the amount of $ or/and the number of years 90% of the time. Time to re-evaluate your scale Keith, seems like the industry has much more money that you think!
Klaw: That would be true if most free agent contracts work out, but they don’t. Free agents are overpaid in large part because players not yet eligible for free agency are so underpaid.

Tracy: I am looking forward to reading your book next year. However, I have to admit when you first mentioned you were writing a book, I thought it was fiction! Any chance you’d ever brush up on your wordsmith chops to write the Great American Novel?
Klaw: This is something I’d truly like to do, and I hope soon – a novel, that is, not that I think I could write the Great American Novel – but I have to put Smart Baseball completely to bed before I can think about it.

Mark: Do you think Huntington would have accepted the Eaton offer for McCutchen?
Klaw: I would certainly hope so. But I doubt Rizzo would have offered it. The difference in years of control is enormous.

Marty: The winter meetings are a great example of market economics. Supply and demand rule everything that happens. For instance, 5-year closer deals seem insane, unless there aren’t many closers and you really need one. That’s how a guy like Encarnacion could be unsigned, when he is arguably one of the best players on the market….only, there are a lot of 1B/DH types and not a ton of teams willing to spend money on them. Heck, you even have the concept of value of things having different meanings to different people, illustrated by the trades both Sox teams and the Nationals made. If you want to teach high school kids how our markets work, the winter meetings are your place.
Klaw: They’re also a good example of the winner’s curse – if you’re the team that has the highest projections for a player, you’re probably going to end up with the player, and that’s not always a good thing.

Phil: Do you see either Machado or Harper signing an extension with their current teams?
Klaw: I would say there’s less than a 5% chance of either guy signing an extension in the next twelve months. I’m tempted to say zero, but it’s not technically impossible, just wildly unlikely.

JJ: Bobby Valentine as US ambassador to Japan — insanely stupid idea, or just an insane idea?
Klaw: Does he get to wear the fake mustache? This is important to my decision.

Meeeeeeeeeeeee: Do you think a Severino-type (trained as a starter, but probably won’t succeed in the role) would be best used as a multi-inning reliever, 40-45 appearances per year, 1-4 innings at a time, one day of rest for every inning pitched? You could easily get 120 high-leverage innings without overtaxing the arm.
Klaw: Yes. Even if it’s 100 innings, with lots of rest, it’ll still deliver a ton of value. Some team is going to try this soon, but I think the Yanks are a good example here – they still hold out hope for Severino as a starter, and they need the starter, so they’re going to give him another shot there.

Joe: Did you go to any restaurants at the casino while you while in National Harbor? I would think the Voltaggio Brother’s restaurant would be on interest to you.
Klaw: The casino opened today. I left NH yesterday. I ate at Rose’s Luxury, All Purpose, Smoked & Stacked, and Succotash while in town, as well as coffee and a breakfast sandwich (for lunch) from Pineapple & Pearls. In a related story, I’ve been full for five days now.

Tim: Would it be fair to say that the industry is converging on a fairly similar set of models and metrics for evaluating and valuing talent? If so, do you see trades overall becoming less lopsided (in terms of there being clear winners or losers even at the time of the deal) vs., say, five+ years ago?
Klaw: I don’t think we’re going to see many deals like the Dansby Swanson trade any time soon – that sort of heist is probably over because there aren’t any FOs that are as far behind the rest of the industry as Dave Stewart’s was. But you may still see unbalanced deals because one team is all in for the current season and willing to pay heavily in future value for a player to win now.

Meeeeeeeeeeeee: I know you’re a foodie (tho not a snob), but do you have a secret fast-food indulgence and supermarket goodie you are ashamed of, but give into a couple of times a year?
Klaw: Everyone knows how I feel about Oreos. I can’t buy them – I eat too many at once. Fast food … I love Shake Shack, and that’s fast food. Any other fast food I eat is a matter of necessity rather than desire. I’ll seek out a Panera or a Chipotle rather than eat at McDonald’s, assuming I’m in the sticks somewhere.

Chris S.: Hi Keith, no baseball questions today…just wanted to thank you for bringing spatchcocking to my attention. It was the best bird in decades of cooking turkeys, and I have been preaching the gospel ever since.
Klaw: Changes Thanksgiving completely, doesn’t it? A better end product in less time.

Stanyon Turtze: Now that you’re so well-known on the internet & ESPN TV, does your wife ever worry about groupies?
Klaw: I ain’t going THAT good.

Josh: Understanding that valuing the return package is important, from on on-field standpoint only, aren’t the Royals probably better off with Soler than Davis in 2017 anyway? Have to figure Davis is never giving 2014 and 2015 quality and quantity of innings again.
Klaw: Even if he is, are the Royals that likely to win 90+ where his extra value will matter to a playoff spot? I feel like the answer is probably no.

Forsyth: Given that the Red Sox have a great young core at the MLB level, is there more justification to sending over Moncada and Kopech to the ChiSox for Sale? Fundamentally speaking, where do you draw the line between giving your young core the best chance to win for the next 3 years vs retaining your kids for the future?
Klaw: The Red Sox have a great young core and still have Devers and Groome, so Moncada and Kopech came from strength – and both guys they traded are still fairly high risk. I could see a 30% chance that Moncada busts because he never cuts the strikeout rate enough. There’s probably about that chance, maybe 40%, that Kopech’s a reliever, even though my gut says he’s a high-end starter. So, I get it, and if Sale doesn’t break down it’s going to work out fine, but I also fully understand why some Red Sox fans are flipping out over all the prospects DD has dealt.

Forsyth: How do you compare Devers and Moncada? Essentially, Devers trading speed for more power? Who do you like more going forward?
Klaw: I’ve always had Devers higher – better hit tool, more power, actually a better 3b although you never seem to hear that.

Ari: Hey Keith – which of the rule 5 picks do you find most intriguing? Do you think Torrens could really stick all year with the Padres? Thanks and love your work.
Klaw: Torrens is a weird case – could you hide a backup catcher all year, and if so, doesn’t that totally screw his development? That felt like Preller saying “I loved that guy as an amateur, let’s take him!”

Todd: What caliber of prospect is Lazaro Armenteros? Top 100 potential down the line? GUY or guy?
Klaw: Nice prospect, don’t think he’s a top 100 type.

Marvin Millers Sad Ghost: Does Tony Clark last a long time as Union chief, & (if so) does he feel pressure to ‘bring down the hammer’ during the next CBA negotiations to make up for perceived failures in this one? Do you think the next negotiations could be more contentious as a result?
Klaw: I’m working on a piece on the CBA for this upcoming week – I think the media coverage to date has unfairly characterized this deal for the union.

Mike: Astros have to make a deal for Quintana at this point no? Assuming the rays aren’t trading archer there isn’t another option that keeps them on their current plan. Seems like the perfect scenario for Hahn to strike gold again.
Klaw: It’s the ideal fit if they can agree on a price. If I’m Hahn, I’m focused on the bigger prospects, but definitely hoping to snag AJ Reed in the deal too.

Lee D: Keith, knowing how badly most long-term reliever deals work out, would you do (or should LA do) 5 years/$80M on Kenley? Is it possible he is Mariano lite (or heavy)?
Klaw: I wouldn’t do 5 years on any reliever, ever.

Andy: On the ESPN article, someone argued for the Ian Desmond signing because of making the All Star team, his batting average, and his amount of RBIs. So my question is, will you have hundreds of copies of your book that you will send to people like that?
Klaw: I feel like someone like that will not read my book even if you clamped his eyelids open and forced him to look at the pages.

Tom: Hi Klaw- no question, just wanted to say thanks for all the writing you do on board games. My then fiancee (and now wife) got Lost Cities in 2012 off your recommendation and now own many games off your top 100 list and hope to add a few more this month. Thanks for the countless hours of fun!
Klaw: You’re welcome. I’m very fortunate to have had a hobby turn into a nice little freelance gig where I get to try lots of games. I just filed my Top 10 games of 2016 piece to Paste, too.

Alan: What do you think about Jordan Adell? Can he stick in center, and how good is the bat? Top 5 pick?
Klaw: Top 5 potential, depends on the bat, which is scouts’ main question on him – is there enough contact there once he faces pro pitching. I’ll see him in the spring.

Larry: When do you guys ramp up draft coverage?
Klaw: Late February. Usually right when the colleges start.

Chip: Keith, you occasionally use rough language in your chats. I’m wondering if that crosses over to your spoken vocabulary, and if so, how did you go about cleaning that up as your daughter developed her language skills? I’m trying to keep my two year from dropping an f-bomb like her dad does from time to time.
Klaw: Although we didn’t use foul language around her, we also didn’t hide it in music she might hear with us, and we just explained when she was old enough – maybe around 7? – that there are some words people shouldn’t use in public (such as, you know, to your teacher). But I felt like pretending those words didn’t exist would only turn her into one of those kids who learns his first curse word and then starts using it all the time, even where it doesn’t make sense.

Larry: I know the joke is always that this year’s draft isn’t as good as last year’s. Is that the case again this year?
Klaw: I think the 2017 class is better than 2016. Way more college pitching.

RB: Bellinger Deleon and verdugo for Quintana? Who says no
Klaw: I bet the Dodgers say no but that’s not unreasonable given Quintana’s contract.

Larry: Cards sign Fowler and have years of Piscotty and Grichuk. What happens to Bader? Is he trade bait?
Klaw: I think he could be trade bait this year, but if Grichuk can’t top a .277 OBP vs RHP this year, maybe Bader ends up their LF in time.

John: Hey Keith. I was wondering if you could have your employer add an RSS feed to your blog when you post new content. Not being on Social Media, I tend to randomly check your blog for new material. Thanks.
Klaw: There was one, but they seem to have killed it some time in the last year or so. I do try to post all my links here on Saturdays and through my email newsletter (which I haven’t sent out in two weeks, I apologize).

Nick: Who serves the best burger you’ve ever had?
Klaw: The Bar at Husk in Charleston, SC.

Jesse: Keith, Addison Russell improved from 2015 to 2016. He lowered his K% by 6% and raised his BB% by 1%. Do you think Russell can continue to improve those number, even slightly, going forward? If he’s even a .340 OBP guy as soon as next year, that’s a damn good young SS for the Cubs. It’s hard to believe he’ll only be 23 going into 2017.
Klaw: Yes. I think he’s going to be a legitimate superstar – OBP, some power, great defense.

Erich: Has Trump made a nomination yet that makes any sense? Seems like everyone picked is incredibly unqualified and/or morally bankrupt.
Klaw: It’s the greatest DC troll job in history. I think if you’re at all progressive in your views, this is the ideal Administration, because it is just so extreme that it might turn off more voters than it pleases.

Nick: You’ve suggested before that the Astros switch Bregman and Correa in the field, and I’ve seen that opinion echoed elsewhere. What is it that makes Bregman the better defender at short? Based on scouting reports it seems Correa has the advantage in arm strength and they’re similar in speed, so I’m assuming it has to do with first step / instincts. Thanks Keith
Klaw: Correa’s numbers at short on defense haven’t been good and he’s only getting bigger. Bregman is not getting bigger (sorry, Alex).

Sean: I’m trying to keep an open mind that MLB teams are run by smart individuals, but I cannot understand how the market is such that Chapman is more valuable than Fowler right now. Can you provide any insight on this?
Klaw: I don’t understand it either, especially because I don’t think there were actually that many suitors for Chapman. Hell, if the Marlins want him, let them sign him, then trade for him in a year when Loria wants to dump the contract.

Steve: Keith, do you think Allen Cordoba has a chance to stick in SD? He’s got tons of talent but he’s nowhere near ready for MLB pitching, right?
Klaw: Right. I don’t think he’s close to ready. I like Santander a little – Chris Crawford thought he was the most interesting guy taken – but I don’t think he’s close to ready. This is another reason I hate the rule 5 draft. The guys who are eligible nearly always aren’t ready.

John Liotta: What are your thoughts on Michael Chabon? His new novel, not surprisingly, is getting a lot of praise. I kind of feel like his stuff has been progressively meh since Kavalier and Clay (which was also badly in need of editing).
Klaw: I’ve only read K and C, and I didn’t love it. You nailed one of the main reasons. It was a very smart book, imaginative, but not compelling enough. And the scene in the middle of the book with the police raid really bothered me – it felt overdramatic, designed to shock rather than to move.

Mark: I think you mentioned you were reading ,”The Caine Mutiny” , but I never saw your review. Was also wondering if you had read any of Ken Follett’s work and if so , what your thought’s were ?
Klaw: I never reviewed The Caine Mutiny, which I enjoyed greatly, because I got horribly sick that week and ended up having to push the top 100 back.

Ethan: I know how to calculate Isolated Power, but what is it supposed to reveal? I’m not a big fan of stats just combine different stats; is there anything to it for you?
Klaw: Are you talking about OPS? Isolated power isn’t combining everything – it’s a quick look at a player’s rate of producing extra bases, most of which result from power. (Some come from speed, especially on triples, which are like fast doubles.)

Nelson: How was Rose’s Luxury? Doing a DC eats post?
Klaw: I’m hoping to do one, but I have a lot of writing in front of me, including this chat.

Pat D: Keith, I wasn’t a fan of the way the Yankees acquired Chapman last year. I like him as a player and loathe him as a person. I’d resigned myself to the Yankees re-signing him a while ago. I’m still not overly thrilled by any of this. All that being said, I’m not going to stop rooting for the team. So on a scale of 1-10, how deplorable a person does that make me?
Klaw: Depends on who you voted for.

James: perhaps I am wrong but as a Cardinals fan I do not care for the Fowler signing. Seemed like Management was just reacting. 5 years was too long …..and the further cost was giving up the 18th pick (and bonus pool money) in a draft with seemingly strong first round talent. Finally Cubs get a bonus 1st round pick. What are your thoughts?
Klaw: I liked the signing. My analysis just went up for Insiders.

Scott of Lincolnshire: I saw this tweet:
Klaw: There are a lot of problems with that tweet, starting with using career data when the two players are clearly not the same players they were in 2012.

Jeff: will Rey Lopez be a part of the rotation in 2017, or does he need more time in the minors
Klaw: I think he’s a reliever, not a starter, due to his delivery.

Marshall MN: The amount and level of prospects that have been traded thus far has actually increased my hope that the Twins get a really good prospect in return for Dozier. Have you been surprised at the level of prospect that has changed hands this year?
Klaw: I’ve been pleased by it, but not that surprised. Lot of teams built to win right now.

Rob: Does it seem to you like Jason Heyward needs to rebuild his swing from scratch? It looks to the naked eye (not a scout) like it’s way too long.
Klaw: Yes. I think the biggest issue is (may be) where he starts his hands, so he’s coming down at the ball and putting it on the ground.

Andrew: What do you make of Otani still wanting to come over next year despite the severely limited earning potential? MLB/owners thrilled or wondering what they haven’t figured out?
Klaw: I have a sneaking suspicion that Otani’s still going to end up with his money one way or another.

Chris: I love going through your chats and reading about prospects and money allotments and who could be traded for who…then all of a sudden come across a great political point from you. Keep up the good work with your “Liberal Agenda” KLaw Marx!
Klaw: I’ll keep pounding the table for such extreme ideas as “women should have the same rights as men” or “we shouldn’t dump dangerous compounds into our drinking water.”

Chris: You ranked Corbin Martin pretty high in your draft rankings since he performed well on the Cape. If he can keep up that type of performance, is he a candidate for top 3?
Klaw: I don’t think he has that kind of upside.

Frank: Is there a more scientific way to test for pitcher injuries? Is there an MRI that can show thickness of tendons, and flexibility of a particular pitcher? Seems like your “eyeball” mechanics test is very flawed to the point of almost useless.
Klaw: Cool, thanks for reading.

Jonathan: any good comparison for Braxton Garrett ? is he ready to start in Greensboro ?
Klaw: I think with that curveball he has to go to full-season ball now, because in extended spring he’s just going to wipe those hitters out with it.

Joe: What were you thoughts on having the winter meetings in National Harbor/DC? The vibe I got from a lot of writers was negative.
Klaw: I don’t like these all-in-one complexes where it’s an effort to go outside, and where we’re a good distance from the city we’re supposedly in. When I travel for work I try to do something to soak up a little culture, whether it’s just food or something like a museum or, say, the Oklahoma City Memorial, which might still be my top memory of something I visited while traveling to see a player. National Harbor is this synthetic shopping complex a good 20 minutes south of a pretty good city.

Ed: Hi Keith. Thank you for taking the time to do these chats. I got Splendor for the kids and me last Christmas on your recommendation and it’s been a hit. May I please ask for another suggestion that would be suitable for 8th and 5th graders? Thank you.
Klaw: Ticket to Ride, Small World, Stone Age (although it’s out of print right now).

Dennis: Hi Keith, I’m getting a little bored with literary minimalism, so I’m thinking of tackling Henry James. Any recommendations for a Henry James neophyte? Thank you for the chat, and happy holidays!
Klaw: I liked Portrait of a Lady and hated Wings of the Dove.

Nick: Ever made your own bbq sauce? I’ve been experimenting with my own lately and have found Coke to be a useful ingredient. Any suggestions?
Klaw: That BBQ sauce sounds addictive.

Chris: Fangraphs rated Yadier Alvarez the Dodgers top prospect, which goes against most other rankings. What are your thoughts on that and what do you believe his ceiling to be?
Klaw: I will do my rankings in January, but I would be the last person on earth to say that someone going against most other rankings is just wrong.

Matthew: As a French press guy that has not tried pour over, I was just curious what differences lead to your preference?
Klaw: I think pour-over leads to a cleaner cup.

AJ: Did the Royals get enough in the Wade Davis trade? Did they overvalue Soler?
Klaw: I wrote this up and I don’t think they overvalued Soler or got too little.

Marshall MN: Thus far Trump has named a SecEd that doesn’t believe in public education, a head of the EPA who doesn’t care about protecting the environment, a SecLabor who doesn’t care about laborers, an Attorney General who doesn’t care about civil rights, not to mention other just horrid appointments – things are looking even worse than I feared at this point.
Klaw: And his Labor pick’s ex-wife accused him more than once of assaulting her. Where is the Republican leadership on this? Are they good with a wife-beater in the Cabinet, just to get the policies they want? They couldn’t find a conservative Labor candidate who doesn’t hit women?

ITYSB: What are your thoughts on the DNC leadership refusing to take a long, hard look at reality? Reid said the only thing wrong with the DNC is it’s marketing. Pelosi said they don’t need to learn anything from losing and that Sanders’ progressive values have no part in their strategy.
Klaw: I thought after this debacle, and word that the Clinton campaign did little or nothing on the ground to boost turnout, the DNC would turn its whole leadership over, and instead they’re singing a praise chorus while the ship sinks.

Matt: Aren’t October outs “more valuable” than outs in the regular season? I can see it being dumb to pay so much money for a reliever like Chapman if you are not really expecting to go anywhere. But I’m sure the Yankees have a plan to make a run for the WS in the next 5 years and they deemed paying Chapman that money would be worth it if he’s able to get those outs in October. Then again, you can probably throw any reliever out there to get 3 outs so what do I know.
Klaw: But also can they know with enough certainty that Chapman will still be the best guy for those 3 outs in October of 2019? I don’t think so. Relievers are volatile. And we’ve never seen anyone throw this hard before so we have no comps, good or bad, for his potential to stay healthy and/or effective.

Jarrod: Is small ball officially a thing of the past? There seem to be clear cases where it pays off (a SB can easily shift a teams chance of winning by a few percentage points, which adds up). But the analytics say it’s not worth it. If pitchers continue to become more unhittable, doesn’t that make every little advance on the bases valuable?
Klaw: Small ball is useful in small doses, in specific situations. And we’re getting to the point where it’s used less often than it was albeit probably still more often than it should be.

AJ: In-N-Out vs Shake Shack?
Klaw: Shake Shack, and it’s not even a little bit close.

Andy: Plus almost all of the nominations are millionaires.
Klaw: It’s not like he knows anyone who isn’t.

Matt: My younger sister (24) clearly has an anxiety problem to the point where it interferes with our family dynamic. I’ve begged/insisted/pleaded for her to get help (see a therapist and/or try anti-anxiety medication) but she comes up with an excuse or insists there isn’t a problem. Do you have any advice? Thanks a lot.
Klaw: It’s hard to push someone who doesn’t want help, but the one thing you might try is seeing if you can get her to talk to someone who’s gotten help and seen the benefit. My quality of life improved once I got medication and therapy and developed some coping skills for it.

DH: You’re given carte blanche over the organization of MLB teams. Do you move Oakland? add teams in Charlotte, Montreal, or some other cities? reorganize divisions? what’s your priority list?
Klaw: I think Oakland to the San Jose area solves that problem. Tampa Bay may need a new market entirely. The biggest undeserved market I see in the US/Canada right now is the Austin/San Antonio area, which has over 3 million people in two cities that are about 70 miles apart, but is 3-4 hours away from the nearest team. Of course, Texas’ state government is busy trying to recreate 1890, so maybe that’s not the best target for relocation.

Jesse: You continue to say if you were a GM you wouldn’t sign someone with Chapmans history. What if the owner said “I want to sign him regardless”. Isn’t your job to do what the owner says? I’m sure disagreements come up all the time between what a GM and owner respectively want to do, but it’s not like there are thousands of other GM jobs out there..
Klaw: Then I would quit. This isn’t complicated.

Tom: I know you recommend your espresso machine, but I’m wondering if you’ve heard any good feedback on brands under $500 (price and space constraints are possible roadblocks for me).
Klaw: I had a Gaggia Carezza for years and I liked it, even if it wasn’t as good as what I have now. It’s a true espresso machine, not one of the fakes you’ll see for $60 at Bloodbath & Beyond. I think they’ve replaced that model with the Evolution. But it’s not really any smaller – it’s still too tall for any cabinet I’ve had.

Pat D: I could have sworn you once wrote that you weren’t sure if Kopech could stick as a starter, but your analysis of him this week made no such mention. So am I just obviously misremembering?
Klaw: I don’t remember saying that, but prospects his age change quickly, so maybe I said it about him in high school and revised it this year when he pitched so well and I also got a fresh look?

bill: you should en your chats by just signing off and no good bye. I bet a lot of people will be confused or think they have connection probs.
Klaw: That’s just mean.