Klawchat 3/23/17.

My annual breakout player picks column is up for Insiders.

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Keith Law: Bring on the new Messiah. Klawchat.

ssimo02: Is a September call-up (by necessity, on the 40-man at the time) who starts the subsequent season on the disabled list assigned to the MLB or the MiLB disabled list?
Keith Law: It depends on when he got hurt, and whether he was still in big-league camp. After a certain date (March 15th?) such a player hurt in big league camp would have to start on the major league DL. I think. It’s been a while since I ran into this.

Niklas: We don’t have a lot of baseball talent from Sweden so I’m kind of grasping at straws here. Is there a greater than 0% chance that half-Swede Antoine Duplantis (whose younger brother Armand competes for Sweden and just broke the world junior record in pole vault) of LSU gets drafted and makes it to the majors in the future?
Keith Law: I don’t know anything about him, but I found the question fascinating so I’m posting it anyway.

Josh: Is the White Sox’s Charlotte affiliate the most interesting team in AAA?
Keith Law: That’s a low bar to clear. Triple-A rosters are usually awful.

Clay: Been disappointed for the last couple years that the Twins drafted Jay over Benintendi, even if he becomes the next Andrew Miller, this is bad. Why was the plugged pulled so early?
Keith Law: I think the new Twins brass had already decided Jay was a reliever, or was unlikely enough to work out as a starter, so they moved him. I don’t agree with it, although there was clearly reliever risk with him going forward.

Chris: You and I finished The Underground Railroad at around the same time, and based on your review had similar feelings about it. It was terrifying and relevant and worthy of its accolades. But I’ve since read at least two reviews, the one most prominent from The New Republic, taking it to task for its fantastical elements, calling it escapist and trivial and minimalizing its relevance to today’s social and political scene. This is garbage right? How can this take be anything but a gross misreading of the text? I have an MFA in fiction and teach writing at a university. Normally I’d discuss this with colleagues, but we’re on spring break. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.
Keith Law: I haven’t seen that review, but that sounds rather contrarian to me, and if anything misunderstands the value in its fantastical elements (e.g., the titular Railroad is an actual, physical railroad, operating in subterranean tunnels). It gives new interest to a setting and story that’s been covered quite heavily in American fiction. It allows Whitehead to move the main character quickly to new states. It avoids the need for long passages about the hardships of flight, which, while historically accurate, don’t tell the story Whitehead wanted to tell. It’s not like this is some Paul Theroux travelogue of an escaped slave enjoying a leisurely train ride through the antebellum south.

Ben (MN): Top Chef announced the next season will be in Denver. Any potential challenge or restaurant visit you’d be excited to see in Colorado?
Keith Law: If this season doesn’t have a “cooking with weed” challenge I’ll be very disappointed, especially because Stoned Padma would be epic.

Exexposfan: Yesterday you said you knew codeified racism from working in baseball for many years from the Kinsler tweet. Assuming that comes from witnessing several events can you elaborate on an example? Not that I doubt you but I am curious and want to know such an event that goes on behind closed doors. If you can’t name names that’s fine.
Keith Law: I won’t give specifics that might affect people working or playing in the game, but I can point to two examples at a general level. One was the use of the phrase “winning player” or “not a winning player,” applied along almost exact racial lines. I think I only heard a white player called “not a winning player” once, because he was on the DL, as opposed to at least ten players of color called that. The other is one you’ve all heard before: “Athletic.” Black players are presumed to be athletic, and, in my opinion, are unfairly dinged when they aren’t. White players who are athletic are given excessive credit for it, because the presumption is that they’re less so – and that they’re smarter or more instinctive. Sorry I can’t be more specific.

WarEagle: Thoughts on Alex Faedo, Brady singer and Schwartz at Florida? Has Faedo’s stock been down due to the rough start? I also took your recommendation a couple weeks ago and saw that Keegan Thompson is someone. Also saw the other two talented pitchers Davis Daniel and Casey mize who sat at 95 according to the stadium last weekend at the Florida series so also wanted to know about them too
Keith Law: I think Faedo’s stock is down just slightly, in part because people are concerned his knees are still affecting him. Schwarz appears to have no position and hasn’t hit the same since his freshman year. Singer is a future reliever for me with a great arm. Thompson is a back-end starter prospect. Daniel was on my top 100 last June but declined to sign; he, Mize, and Singer are all underclassmen and not draft eligible this year.

Garrett: Daniel Norris’ fastball jumped 1.2 MPH last year and his slider velocity increased from 83 MPH to 88 MPH. Those velocities have continued this spring. You’ve discussed in the past the importance of velocity in relation to Norris’ ceiling. As of today, what do you think his ceiling is?
Keith Law: Potential #1 starter for me. You asked on Twitter if he was “close” to my breakouts list; there’s no close or not close on a binary list like that, but I will say Norris was too good in the majors last year for me to project a breakout. I would expect him to just continue to do as well over a full season – 150-160 innings, ERA in the low 3s. That would probably make him a good buy for fantasy players.

CB: I’m no Rangers fan, but I can’t help but note that Adrian Beltre has 90.2 bWAR, and has not had a less than 5 bWAR season since 2009. When he retires, don’t you think he’ll have overtaken Mike Schmidt as the best 3B of all time?
Keith Law: He will probably do so in fact, but not in reputation. First ballot HoFer, though.

Paul: Keith – great list today; lots of guys I’d like to see do well. Curious if you considered Mike Foltynewicz? I know you’ve been a fan. He’s trended the right way in K-rate, BB-rate, and GB% every year; lots of HRs though. What sort of expectations do you have for him this season? Thanks!
Keith Law: Command remains the big question mark and I had no real basis for saying his command will be much better this year. I do still believe he’s best suited to starting.

Joe: Jonathan Schoop didn’t clear a 300 OBP last year. Did he really break out?
Keith Law: I’m not going to argue the semantics of who ‘broke out.’ It’s a nebulous term to begin with.

Paul: I have been intrigued by the demise of the Oakland’s As, and nobody is really writing about it. They use to be the darlings of the sabermetrician community, but all the moves they have made in the last few years don’t make much sense and the roster really sucks. What is going on over there? Is the front office to be blamed? thanks
Keith Law: I think they’re chasing different inefficiencies, but ones that are less obvious to us on the outside. And they’ve made some moves I don’t understand.

TC: Is Brendan McKay a guy who can go top 3 in the draft? If so, as a hitter or pitcher?
Keith Law: Yes. I think if the draft were held today, which fortunately it isn’t because I’m not ready, the top 3 would be McKay, Greene, and Wright in some order. I know one team up top that likes McKay more as a hitter, but the consensus is still very much that he’s a LH starter. The 15 K outing didn’t hurt.

Derek: Thoughts on Koda Glover? Spring results have been impressive but have come against middling competition. Does he have top 10 reliever potential?
Keith Law: I think he does and I think he’ll end up leading the team in saves.

Mac: Keston Hiura is clearly the best hitter in college baseball but does his elbow injury make him too risky to pick in the top half of the 1st round?
Keith Law: Clearly? I’ll dispute that. I think he’s a back of the first round guy. And I know more than one scout who’ll argue that McKay is a better hitter than Hiura.

Evan (Canada): Hello, can you tell us what you’ve seen/heard about Tim Mayza from Toronto organization? Thank you.
Keith Law: Seen him. Big stuff, below average command, reliever ceiling.

JR: Just wanted to say you’re the only reason I pay for my insider sub. If you go, I go (and I still may), but thank you for your content.
Keith Law: You’re welcome. I’m flattered you find my work worth the cost.

Andy: We have a USA baseball player saying that he hopes kids watch the US players because of the way they play the game, unlike those kids from the DR or PR. We have a GM saying he wants gritty, working class players.
In a couple weeks we’ll get hand wringing about how minorities aren’t choosing baseball, instead liking a sport in which a guy nicknamed Swaggy P, who dated a “rapper”, makes crotch gyrations after a game winning shot.
Keith Law: I had to look up who Swaggy P was, which shouldn’t surprise anyone here since you all know I don’t watch basketball. But yeah, Kinsler’s comments were out of line. Another player celebrating isn’t affecting your life or your game, and regardless of his intent, it came off as blatant dog-whistling.

Andy: Any word on Brady Aiken’s velo?
Keith Law: Upper 80s. Not good.

David: Does Yankees P Jordan Montgomery have a chance to be an effective starter?
Keith Law: I do not think he’s a ML starter.

Michael: Why is there so much talk about how Tebow can’t hit? Shouldn’t we be talking more about how he can’t throw?
Keith Law: Or we could talk about how he can’t field, which means he’s going to hurt someone if he plays too much leftfield this spring.

Darren: The AL seems to be loaded with candidates for the ROY, but I’m not seeing much competition for D. Swanson. Who are some of the top candidates you expect to get enough at bats to qualify for the NL ROY?
Keith Law: I had it as Swanson, Reyes, Bell coming into the spring, and now with Reyes out I think those two are the leaders.

Philip : At this moment how would you rank McKay, Bukauskas, Wright, Faedo, Romero
Keith Law: McKay, Wright, and Faedo all project as sure starters if healthy. Bukauskas might have the best 3-pitch mix of all of them, but he’s a 6′ RHP with no plane and no use of his lower half in his delivery. I would have to rate him lowest because I think he’s probably a reliever.

Ted: Thoughts on the Tim Anderson extension?
Keith Law: Seems fine to me.

Eddy: Percent chance that Mitch White is a top 100 prospect at this time next year?
Keith Law: Pretty high if he stays healthy and pitches all year like what I saw last week. Whoa boy.

JQP: If a reader sees you at a ballgame, do you get annoyed if they approach you because you are working and they are interrupting? When would be the best time to approach you during a game?
Keith Law: Between innings, before the game, after (if you catch me … sometimes I leave skid marks), all fine. While the game is in progress is just less than ideal, because I need to focus on what’s on the field. But overall I’m very happy to meet any of you at the park.

Josh: Finally getting to try Terraforming Mars this weekend. Do you know of any new games you’ll be reviewing soon? Or once the season starts is your time too full?
Keith Law: I have at least six here that I need to play and review, but spring travel has wiped out my free time for this.

John: You made the point in your last klawchat that “‘you’re in america, speak english’ people should go jump off a tall building”. I’m wondering how consistent you are with that belief. Do you think that no matter where one lives, it is the responsibility of the locals to adapt to the foreigner’s language? I’m an American living in Peru. The vast majority of people here don’t speak any English. Should I insist they learn English to suit my needs? Or in an attempt to better integrate myself into their culture, should I continue learning Spanish so that I can better understand them and make them more comfortable?
Keith Law: Congratulations on completely missing the point.

Miz: Do you see Adolis Garcia playing at the big league level this year? What should we expect out of him as a prospect?
Keith Law: I’m hoping to see him this upcoming week. I’d rather not offer an opinion now that I have to revise in a few days.

Chuck C: I know Spring Training doesn’t matter and SSS, but have you seen or heard anything that has changed your opinion on a particular prospect or two since your rankings?
Keith Law: Only what I’ve written about so far, like Mitch White.

Tony: The Dodgers have reportedly focused on “rebuilding” Willie Calhoun’s defense, including a diet/exercise regime losing him 16 pounds a “crash course” on defensive fundamentals. Does that investment by the Dodgers give you any optimism that Calhoun could stick at 2B? And, more generally, are defensive skills/talents more easy to improve than offensive skills/talents? Off-hand, it seems to me that I hear of more minor league guys who blossom at the major league level with the glove rather than the bat. Just anecdotal or something to that?
Keith Law: Zero. You can’t just give a guy new feet. Or make a non-athlete an athlete.

John Wick: As a fan, how should I approach reports of prospects with increased velocity in spring training? Take Max Povse. Word is he’s up a few ticks? Should I trust a beat writer’s take or the spring training gun? And, if I should, what’s the likelihod that the velo bump sticks?
Keith Law: I’m very skeptical of media reports on velocity, because I don’t know where they’re coming from. Stadium gun? One scout? Front office? Someone trying to juice a guy? Players do show up with more velocity, sometimes, and other times they’re just throwing harder because they’re working 1-2 innings at a time, or are airing it out because they’re in big league camp and trying to make an impression.

Adam: If teams are already pitching around Seth Beer, could that effect his development in terms of being able to make adjustments?
Keith Law: I guess the counterargument is that the pitching he’s facing might not be good enough to force those adjustments. I think the 3-year rule is hurting him; he’d probably go 1-1 if he came out right now into this good draft class that’s muddled at the very top.

Adam: What are the chances Jordon Adell leaps to the top of position player draft boards by June?
Keith Law: Under 5%. More likely that he’s drafted on the mound.

Josh: Not sure you know the answer to this, but do you know why The Netherlands team featured players from Curacao but Puerto Rico had a separate team from the US? I guess the obvious answer has to do with the talent available, but was not sure if there was another reason.
Keith Law: Puerto Rico has its own IOC entry – separate committee, separate teams, etc. – and they can easily fill a WBC roster. The Netherlands team is almost exclusively players from Aruba and Curacao, and if you split them, you wouldn’t have a Dutch team at all.

Jason: One of your ESPN colleagues suggested a trade of Longoria for a package led by Ozzie Albies. Does even a straight-up deal for those two make sense for Atlanta?
Keith Law: No, that’s ridiculous.

Chris: With more teams moving to crazy 13 person pitching rotations, do you think a positive benefit could be that teams may work to develop players who can handle multiple defensive positions? I am thinking about players like Austin Barnes or Josh Morgan, guys who don’t quite profile as starters at premium positions or perhaps have demonstrable platoon splits, but could fill a backup role at two premium positions. Or, is it just too difficult of a developmental process?
Keith Law: I think the 13-man staff is an abomination. I agree with you on positional flexibility, although I think Morgan has a chance to be a good everyday guy as a catcher.

Tom: Any thoughts on Bill Simmons tweet calling out Jonah Keri for stealing his idea of ranking players by trade value?
Keith Law: I 100% believe that was in jest. It certainly brought Jonah’s column a lot of attention, all positive.

Jay: Keith, If pressed to build around 1 of these players to build a franchise, who would you select and why? (Maitan, Vladdy Jr, Leody Taveras, Moniak)
Keith Law: Just go back to my top 100, which included all four players. I wouldn’t give a different answer here.

Minty: Whether you agree with it or not, do you think that the Sox are positioning to call Moncada up in May after they save a year of service time?
Keith Law: No, I don’t think so.

Roman : Keith, always love your take on well, everything. Anyhow, what do you think the Cubs will do with Ian Happ?
Keith Law: I think he may end up trade bait, but that depends on how Baez looks as the regular 2b. Happ can play 2b well enough for me to be an everyday guy there for somebody.

JJ: Is Yadi Molina a future HOFer, of is he the catching equivalent of Omar Vizquel?
Keith Law: Probably not a HoFer for me, will certainly get the same media/fan treatment as Vizquel, but has a better subjective case (game-calling, pitcher handling) than Vizquel does.

Mark: What would you major in if you were to go to college all over again?
Keith Law: Applied math. And then I’d take language courses for all my electives. I had access to such amazing educational resources in college and feel like I didn’t take enough advantage of them.

Chip : Was hoping to see Jose Ramirez on the breakout list. Was he under consideration? Would he have been as an everyday 2B as opposed to playing somewhat out of position at 3b?
Keith Law: He wasn’t “under consideration.” He hit .312/.363/.462 last year; what’s the argument that he’s going to get better this year? If anything I’d say he broke out in 2016.

Rob: I saw video of Luis Castillo pitching. You had him rated #99 on your prospect list. Nasty, nasty stuff with what appears to be good control/command. Looks like a great find for the Reds. Oddly, his name does not appear on many other prospect lists. What do you think his ceiling/floor is? Thank you.
Keith Law: Ceiling mid-rotation starter. Most likely dominant two-pitch reliever. Floor good setup guy. All depends on health, and in his case the lack of a breaking ball.

Chip : Francona continues to mention Yandy Diaz’s shortcomings at 3B. Back in 2015, EL Managers voted him as the league’s best defensive 3B. Has he grown out of the position? The Indians rolled with chisenhall at 3b for several years so the bar can’t be that high.
Keith Law: I don’t think he’s that bad at 3b and neither do opposing scouts.

Rob: Kendall still ranked #1 on your draft board??? What do you think of this Austin Beck climbing up boards? Top five guy?
Keith Law: Beck is a very toolsy prep OF, not a top five guy, more than enough questions about feel to hit and about his makeup (I have no idea what, but three scouts from different teams all independently mentioned that to me). He’s probably ahead of Adell at this point. As for #1, it’s not Kendall, but I won’t do a formal ranking until mid-April, I think.

Marshall MN: Should Twins fans expect a bounce back season from Sano, or was 2016 an accurate representation of his reality? I had hopes of him being a better hitter than what he showed last year, not a guy who hits .230 with an OBP of .319.
Keith Law: Yes, I think there’s more in that bat, in average and in OBP.

David: Thoughts on Greg Bird?
Keith Law: 30 HR potential, but a DH.

joe: Did you get a chance to se Shed Long? I always like prospects with unique profiles. I wonder if he can hit enough to be a regular 2B.
Keith Law: I did not, but I don’t think anyone views him as a potential regular.

Jon: Do you think Daulton Jefferies has the stuff to move quickly and become a #3 starter if his health holds up?
Keith Law: The health question is enormous with him. He’s a slight guy who’s had real arm trouble. He’s healthy this spring and throwing well, but I would have a hard time projecting him as a mid-rotation starter right now given the last 12 months.

Drew: When will you be doing your column on breakout players? Thanks.
Keith Law: It went up this morning.

chauncey: This is much better and easier to read?
Keith Law: That’s my hope too. And the folks at Jotcast have been great about working with me on formatting.

Denis: Any thoughts on Bellinger this spring? It looks like he has been struggling.
Keith Law: Ignore. Spring training stats are useless.

Jeff: Braves fans are pushing the idea that Christian Pache is the next Acuno type player to breakout for the Braves. What kind of ceiling do you think he has?
Keith Law: That’s not crazy. Could end up a lot like Inciarte.

Mike: How far may Jeren Kendall fall in June’s draft after his slow start to his season ?
Keith Law: He’s hitting .297/.363/.560, leading Vandy in HR with 5, and while his strikeout rate is a little high it’s down from last year at 23.3%. That’s not a slow start.

Pete: So Trump/Russia……biggest political scandal or overblown?
Keith Law: I think it’s the former, but my knowledge of American political scandals is pretty limited.

Monkie_J: Probably asked and answered countless times, but what’s the best way to buy the book? As in, does one way get you an extra nickle over another?
Keith Law: Just buy it however you want. Yes, there are slight differences in what I get and I appreciate you asking – I think at least at the start I get more for an e-book than a hardcover – but really, it’s all good. If you buy it in any format, I’m happy.

Brian Snitker: What is the eta on Ronald Acuna? He looked awfully impressive in the Braves camp. Could he be ready by 2018?
Keith Law: That’s aggressive; he’s a stud but has about a half a year of AB above short-season.

Cam: Why could the whitesox not win with the core they had? Lack of depth?
Keith Law: Lack of OBP, lack of depth.

Marshall MN: Have you started to gear up for college baseball scouting, or still a bit too early to do so?
Keith Law: I’m going to see some HS/JC kids while in Florida, then see some premium college guys in April. My schedule just worked out differently this year, and I do have a little bit smaller travel budget too.

TK: You’ve probably already touched on this in the past and I missed it, but on a scale of 1-10, how dumb would it be for the 11th-inning extra-baserunner rules in the WBC to transfer to MLB? 15? 20? Infinity? I get not wanting to overexert pitchers in spring exhibitions, but I hate it for regular season games.
Keith Law: I despise these rules. It makes the games look like Little League. Just let the WBC teams carry more pitchers. I’d rather see a WBC game decided by the last man on a staff, someone who’s just there to be the long guy in the event of extras, than by that silly rule.

Archie: I read an article on how guys like Martinez and Donaldson are focusing on swinging up on the ball to get it in the air more, rather than the traditional “swinging down on the ball” and hitting it on the ground. Isn’t the ideal swing one where the hands and bat travel slightly downward from load to the hitting zone, then swing up through the same plane as the ball from contact to follow through? Doesn’t everyone who puts a good swing on the ball already “swing up”?
Keith Law: Yes, I agree with you, that’s the ideal swing, and most guys already swing that way. Hitters who swing down at the ball rarely if ever succeed. Matt Antonelli always did that. Lou Marson did that. There are few if any good big leaguers who swing down.

Drew: Your take on Kinsler’s comments were entirely off-base and over the top. I don’t doubt that racism still exists in the game; I also know that Kinsler wasn’t being racist. If you looked at the context, it was pretty clear that he was commenting on the differences, not criticizing an entire race or ethnicity. Normally I appreciate your insight–informed, considered–but in your effort to eradicate an opinion you don’t agree with, you can be extremely unfair and judgmental.
Keith Law: Allow to be more judgmental, then. Kinsler’s comments may not have come from a racist intent, but they drew a clear line between one race or ethnicity and another. It’s a case of differential impact; whether Kinsler actually thought about that is irrelevant. He should just shut up and worry about his own behavior, not about whether another team celebrates too much.

Marshall MN: Klaw, the same sort of racial based generalities are used in almost all sports. In soccer, teams from Africa are almost always described in specifically athletic terms (raw speed, agility, jumpers, etc) while teams from Europe are technical, skilled, etc. I cannot believe how frequently seemingly intelligent people fall back to the same stereotypes. Look at how African American QBs are still talked about even today.
Keith Law: I remember the days when the NFL conventional wisdom was that you couldn’t win with a black QB. Those beliefs tend to be self-reinforcing.

Ian: In relation to your note on how guys who see a massive spike in velo over a short period of time (i.e. Strasburg and Zumaya) are prone to blowing out their elbows….what usually leads to that spike? Is it better training, natural physical development, mechanical changes? All of the above?
Keith Law: I don’t know if there’s any common thread. My hypothesis, again totally untested and unverifiable, is that the newfound velocity puts more stress on the elbow ligaments than they are able to handle.

Rob: Have you seen Sal Romano this spring? Do you still think he’s a reliever going forward or can he be more? Obviously a small sample size but he is having a great spring.
Keith Law: Still think that’s a reliever’s delivery. High slot, tough to repeat, tough on the shoulder, not conducive to a good CH.

Philip : If Brendan McKay has a number 3 ceiling wouldn’t you rather try the upside of Bukauskas and Faedo
Keith Law: If McKay is only a #3 starter in the big leagues, but gets there fast and holds that value for six years, what is that worth in the free agent market? $90 million? I’m okay with it, especially since the other two guys you mentioned have real risks of their own.

Jay: Do you buy Eric Thames as a “fantasy sleeper” this year? He seems to be a popular late-round guy, according to the fantasy gurus.
Keith Law: Late round, sure, I guess. I’m not particularly sanguine about him, but isn’t there a point in your draft where he’s worth the flier?

Jackson: Paul Dejong of the cards a potential regular or utility?
Keith Law: If he can really play short, regular. But maybe that makes him a 500 AB multi-position guy, too.

Scott: Thanks for motivating me to finally pick up my copy of Yiddish Policeman’s Union that’s been sitting on the shelf for a year. My question is about the volatility in velocity of young pitchers and how it is shaping baseball. As an elevator of talent, how do you know when the decrease in velocity with top prospects like Jon Gray, Lucas Giolito and Archie Bradley is permanent? When a team sells low like the Nats did on Giolito is it because they don’t think it’s coming back?
Keith Law: I think when teams sell low it’s more that they have lost faith in their evaluations. They thought the player was X, now he looks like he’s less than that – because his stuff is down, his body hasn’t developed, his makeup is worse than they knew, or something else – so let’s move him now before his value is totally gone.

Ben: I know you don’t care much for the WBC, but did last night’s game move the meter at all for you? (i.e., Stroman’s dominance)
Keith Law: Nope. I was in bed around 11. I have a daughter in school, so I’m up at 7 am. I’m not staying up till 1 am to watch an exhibition game.

JJ: I don’t mind if Tebow wants to play minor league ball. It doesn’t bother me if the Mets want to play a non-prospect ahead of another no-chance guy on their single A team. But the media coverage, led by your employer, of this non-story drives me up a wall.
Keith Law: I agree with you, including ESPN’s coverage of his spring. It was unwarranted. And, by the way, we don’t know that he’s blocking a no-chance guy yet, do we?

Alex : Do you think Luis Robert will be cleared for the current intl signing period? Who do you think gets him?
Keith Law: No idea. I don’t even ask MLB about these guys until they’re cleared.

Ben: I know it’s early, but will you be at either the PG or UA games this summer?
Keith Law: UA for sure – maybe doing some kind of signing in Chicago? – PG unknown. Just a tough trip for me from the east coast for one day.

Another Michael: Would you vote for Gorsuch if you were a senator? Would you filibuster?
Keith Law: I would filibuster, in large part because he’s not Merrick Garland.

Eric : Jose Peraza lost some prospect shine the past two years, but it looks like it’s coming back. Do you think he’ll be able to hold his own in the 1-2 spots of the Reds lineup?
Keith Law: I’d rather see him hit 8th. Has never shown any propensity to walk, and doesn’t have the power to hit 2nd.

JJ: “Baseball Tonight” question. How does it work for the panelists on a nightly basis? Do you guys just sit in a room together with ten TVs airing all the games at once? Or are you assigned a couple of games to watch, and another panelists gets assigned another pair of games, etc.?
Keith Law: We’re all in the clubhouse with a bunch of games on the TVs and we just kind of talk about whatever we see.

John: Good job of avoiding the point then and instead just being evasive and rude.
Keith Law: I have no use for people who try to play “gotcha” games with questions like that. You want a serious discussion, then ask a serious question. Don’t compare a solitary expat trying to integrate into a monolingual country with entire communities establishing themselves in a country that has for its entire history been one of successive waves of immigrant communities, typically bringing their own languages, cultures, cuisines, and religions with them.

Mike : You still listening to Bell Biv Devoe?
Keith Law: Now you know.

Keith Law: That’s all for this week. Thank you as always for all of your questions, and for the feedback on the new software. It looks like it’s a keeper. I will almost certainly not chat next week unless I’m rained out somewhere, but chats will resume in April. Thanks again.

Klawchat 3/9/17.

Starting at 2 pm ET. Questions go in the frame below, not 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: You’re telling me it’s in disguise, just use your eyes. It’s Klawchat.

Darren: Have you seen Billy Hamilton. Any thoughts on the progress of his swing and the ceiling of how well he can hit and get on base?
Klaw: It’s probably a good idea for me to start out by saying I haven’t been out to spring training yet. Also, Billy Hamilton’s swing has never been the problem. He has so little hand and wrist strength that I don’t think he can ever hit enough to be even a moderate OBP threat.

Brian: I’d like to let you know that I appreciate the cold water you (aka reality) you throw on prospects. Blue Jays touting Tellez big time…but he is having significant issues this spring catching up to the fastball. I appreciate your takes as a fan, because it helps my untrained eye focus on things I’d miss.
Klaw: You’re welcome. I know the Jays value Tellez more highly than I do. The required offensive threshold for a DH is just so high, however, and Tellez can’t hit good velocity, so I don’t see much probability for him to be more than an up and down guy.

Don: It’s only been three starts, but Tanner Houck hasn’t gotten the results I would have expected out of a potential first round pick. Do you think he has first round talent and at what point do the lack of results start to eat away at his draft prospects?
Klaw: Three starts at the beginning of the year mean very little, especially for a pitcher. It’s much more about how you finish. I think he’s going in the first round barring injury, but I have real concerns about the delivery and lack of a third pitch.

Mark: Why are people so adamant about others speaking their second language when they never attempted to learn a second one? The “Sammy Sosa forgot how to speak English” narrative, brought up by Howard Bryant in his Selig column, is lazy, racist and ignorant. Why wouldn’t he testify under oath in Spanish? Calcaterra made a good point about it 6 years ago, but it’s still used as a default narrative. Just because people claim to have “a friend who spent a semester in Spain and came back fluent” (note: the only people who spend 6 months abroad and return fluent are people who were already fluent to begin with), doesn’t mean someone should testify in their second language. People confuse being able to converse with the media with mastering a language. I’ve spent a decade in Chile working for a bilingual news service and as a translator for an engineering company. If I had to testify in front of Congress – with my freedom at stake – I sure as shit wouldn’t do it in Spanish if I could avoid it.
Klaw: I agree that the comment about Sosa is all of those things, and that “you’re in America, speak English” people should go jump off a tall building. You speak your native language. I’ll do what I need to do to make myself able to understand you.

Francisco: Is Pavin Smith a first rounder ?
Klaw: I don’t think so. Second rounder for me.

J: I know it’s early, but…. any sense of Giolito in spring? Steps forward, steps back, treading water?
Klaw: Building on my earlier answer, I can only offer that his comments about discarding everything the Nats did with his delivery last year are the most positive thing he could have said.

JB: I do not understand all of the fury over a gay character in Beauty and the Beast…anyone who has watched the original animated version should be able to tell that LeFou is in love with Gaston. Last week you mentioned that orientation should not matter in these instances if it is not an established part of canon. On that note, I did not understand why the Broadway version of Harry Potter decided to make Hermione an African American woman for that very reason… I am all for diversity in every aspect of life, but this did seem a little too forced. Thoughts?
Klaw: On the first point, the Australian site the Chaser summed it up best with their post titled “Outrage at inclusion of gay character in film about woman-buffalo romance.” On the second, did they choose to make the character a woman of color, or did they simply cast the best actress regardless of skin color? All we ever learned about Hermione’s appearance from the books was that she had brown, bushy hair (which went out the window once they decided to play up Emma Watson’s looks).

Ned: Keith I’m not able to handle anyone’s differing opinion of things, could you please pull yourself up by your bootstraps and only give me answers that I like?
Klaw: Maybe on april 1st?

Ryan: Are you going to come back to your hometown (or LI in general) when your book is released?
Klaw: I haven’t been back to Long Island in three years, and am not sure when I’ll ever be back there. My family all moved away in 2012 or before.

guren: I recall that you put together a list of your top pizza restaurants back in 2015. Have you ever made pizza at home that compares to some of the better ones on the list, or is it impossible due to the lack of a proper oven?
Klaw: I’d need an oven that could at least get to 800 degrees, so unless I hack the self-cleaning cycle – note well: i’m not going to do that – I won’t be able to do a real Neapolitan-style pizza at home. My daughter and I do make pizza often, but it’s our own style, somewhere between that and NY slice style. Mostly it’s great because it’s from scratch and it’s ours.

addoeh: Let’s talk about a former NFL quarterback that is in his late 20’s. How much interest would teams have in Jake Locker if he announced a comeback today? IIRC, he was considered a good baseball prospect.
Klaw: He was a legit prospect both ways, and in an alternate universe where he’s not good enough to be an NFL prospect – like Kyler Murray – Locker chooses to specialize as a hitter or as a pitcher and comes out of UW as a top ten pick.

Bo: I am probably your biggest fan in the Netherlands. Could you please tell me if you think Profar is going to be a star after all?
Klaw: Still a believer. This is a big year, though. He needs to play every day, and any rationalizing his performance from last year as rust or fatigue from the two-year layoff is over.

Ben: Any chance you have read Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall?
Klaw: I read Fludd and didn’t like it, so, no, I haven’t read anything else she’s written. I just started Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad last night; it seems like it’s the favorite to win this year’s Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, to the extent that such odds exist.

Jon/Tampa: Keith, curious on your take on a couple of NYY minor leaguers and if you feel they are over hyped. Frecier Perez and Estevan Florial. Thank you in advance. Actually, more of your thoughts on them rather than if they are over hyped. I trust your judgement more.
Klaw: Florial was 18 and Perez 20 on my Yankees org ranking. They’re both intruiging, but incomplete as prospects, and a long way off. If they’re getting hyped now, it’s premature. I am kind of rooting for Florial because he was born in Haiti, and, I mean, when am I ever going to get back to Haiti?

Jon: More likely to make it as a starter Justin Dunn or Fernando Romero?
Klaw: Both are starters for me long term. Probably Dunn has higher probability because he’s never had an arm injury.

Casey: Does Paul DeJong have a chance to be an average regular or will his most likely outcome be as utility infielder?
Klaw: Has a chance, most likely a good UT who could end up with 500 AB some years playing 3-4 positions.

WarEagle: Hi Keith, I’m trying to watch some SEC baseball games at Auburn, the college I attend. Is there any guy in South Carolina or Auburn I should keep an eye on?
Klaw: Keegan Thompson at Auburn is something, back from TJ, stuff hasn’t been great yet. SC has Schmidt, probably a reliever for me, and Crowe, first-round stuff but bad medicals.

Glen L: If Gleybar Torres moves off SS – does he have the arm for 3B? footwork for 2B? which position would you want him at if not SS?
Klaw: He’s not moving off shortstop.

Herman Melville: I’m sure Harper-Collins knows how to market books better than I do, but it really seems like a missed opportunity to not have it released closer to Opening Day.
Klaw: Not my decision, of course, but I will say it’ll be easier for me to do stuff around the book with it coming out April 25th and not April 4th.

Marc: Seeing several writers tab Taylor Trammell as a breakout candidate this year, what is your take on him? Potential 5-tool?
Klaw: Oh, you mean several writers like me?

Chris Burns: What’s the word on the health of Mike Matuella? Is he someone Rangers fans can hope on getting healthy and having SP potential?
Klaw: I have zero faith in him staying healthy enough to be a starter. He’s thrown about 150 innings total over the last four calendar years.

Dan: Does Madrigal hit for enough power to be a top 50 draft prospect? He seems to have star qualities but wondering if he isn’t closer to Tony Kemp than Dustin Pedroia
Klaw: I don’t think he’s a top 50 guy, but he’s a lot better than Kemp.

College fan: Nick Quintana has made some impressive contact for a freshman. What was the knock on him as a HSer that depressed his draft stock? Is he doing better than expected?
Klaw: Little guy, not expected to have any power, can hit though.

Tim B.: I know you ranked him in your top 100, but what more can you share about the kind of player you expect Jahmai Jones to develop into? Can he be a 20/20 guy or even more?
Klaw: The SB last year surprised me a little, but I imagine you’re asking more about the power, so, yes, I think he’s a 20 HR guy. Just think he has to fill out physically. He was a young draftee.

EC: I wanted to thank you for doing the lords work – especially on twitter – dealing with the crazies who always seem to be sniffing around. It is funny, because they seem to think that you wouldn’t change your mind on anything, when the truth is that if there was a change in scientific evidence and understanding (on vaccines or climate change or whatever) you probably would have an open mind and if it proved to be correct, change your world view. Not really a question I guess, just an observation.
Klaw: You’re welcome, and you’re correct. I tell these wackadoodles that I just follow the science, at which point I’m usually called a pharma shill, or that I’m gullible and believe what the media tells me, and that I should line my hats with tin foil.

TC: What is the ceiling on Bobby Dalbec? What is the chance of him reaching that ceiling?
Klaw: There’s 30 HR power in there, but the kid had a different swing and stance seemingly every game last year, and I didn’t have him on my predraft top 100 for that reason. The Red Sox did calm him down and get him to stick with one set of mechanics all summer, and now there’s real reason for optimism. He doesn’t have to hit a ton to be a big leaguer, just maybe a K rate under 30% so that he’s hitting enough to get to some of that power.

Hinkie: Anything new on “The Adventures of Shohei Otani Coming To America” ? Will there be a CBA exemption allowing him to be a true FA or will he be limited to a J2 signing bonus ? And … If teams believe he is destined for J2, are there numerous clubs holding back on early deals with LA teens in the hopes of a shot at Otani ?
Klaw: I have heard nothing new and expect to hear nothing new until at least the fall. I’ve been told there will be no exemption, but I said in a recent chat I can come up with several loopholes to get him paid.

Michael: Does anyone do more with less than Tebow? Five outs in only three at bats! And he found the right place to stand on deck.
Klaw: The attention we and MLBN gave that game is completely unwarranted. I hope he’s long gone by the time I get to St. Lucie.

Gordon (PA): Hi Keith. Have you ever considered doing a top 100 non-fiction list to supplement your top 100 novel list? I’ve shared your enthusiasm for modern classics like the Omnivore’s Dilemna, The Third Plate, The Sixth Extinction, etc. and would love to see what all would fill your list and use it to fill up my wish list. Care to drop a top ten?
Klaw: With the novels list, I’ve read enough of the accepted classics, including others’ top 100s, Pulitzer winners, etc., that I felt like I had the base that allowed me to do a reasonable list. I couldn’t do that with nonfiction books or with movies. I will mention some other favorite nonfiction books: Barbarians at the Gate, Liar’s Poker, The Ballad of the Whiskey Robber, Thinking Fast & Slow, The Invisible Gorilla, Manhunt, Charlie Wilson’s War, Undeniable, Charlatan, Einstein’s Cosmos.

Tracy: Keith, there is a terrific blog piece in Scientific American this week that you may find interesting, written by Peter Dykstra. It’s a slap-down on climate change deniers and their reasoning for rejecting science and sound judgment. Dykstra basically links their flawed mentality to Sigmund and Anna Freud’s theory on simple denial. It’s definitely worth a read for anybody who has trouble tolerating this kind of thinking.
Klaw: I’ll check it out. Maybe we can get together and mail copies to every EPA employee we can identify?

Mike: Any concern over Greinke topping out at 89 yesterday when he was topping out at 93 at this time last year? AZ newspaper quoted a rival scout who thought Greinke’s stuff had dipped.
Klaw: Not really; I’d be concerned if Greinke, who knows how to manipulate his velocity like few others, said afterwards he was throwing at 100%.

ck: Keith, thanks for all of your work. Are the Cubs better off trying to trade Candelario, or keep him as Rizzo/Bryant insurance (aware of his defensive limits at 3B)?
Klaw: I think he’s good trade bait. He’d play in the majors for someone right now.

Gentry: Who’s better, Luis Castillo or Gohara?
Klaw: I could go either way. I rated Gohara higher, so that’s my answer, but I don’t feel strongly about it. Might be 55/45 in Gohara’s favor.

Brad: Keith, I know you were high on Aaron Blair at this time a year ago. Have you heard any specifics about what has happened to him? I can’t figure out why he hasn’t become at least a backend rotation guy.
Klaw: Velocity fell last year. So did Archie Bradley’s and Braden Shipley’s. I feel like those guys all had something in common in 2015.

A Submitter Has No Name: Hard question but I figured you’d be the best to answer: Which arm in the minors has the ceiling of a #1 and is the most likely to reach that ceiling? You do a good job of assessing risk and probability when determining ceilings (as see with the Moncada ranking). Love your work!
Klaw: That’s Kopech. You gave the reason why I ranked him highest of all pitching prospects: ceiling of a 1, best chance of such players to get to that ceiling.

Donald: Aren’t you glad that President Trumps secret plan to get rid of ISIS in 30 days was such a bigly success?
Klaw: I also enjoyed the Last Week Tonight episode from two Sundays ago, where they included Trump’s campaign promise to ensure every American has health insurance. I assume that means he’s going to veto the Trumpcare bill if it reaches his desk?

TEM: So Jason Heyward has spent the offseason developing a new swing. Based upon what I’ve read from you and elsewhere, the results to date aren’t particularly encouraging. For a guy like Heyward who has shown success with the bat in the past, why would he try to build a new swing from scratch? Why not go with what has previously worked?
Klaw: I think the idea was to restore what worked for him several years ago, as opposed to last year, when nothing worked.

Sandy Cheeks: I believe you said Sandy Alcantara has a really good chance of rising into the top 50 by the end of this season. Which outside the top 100 prospects besides Sandy could have the most movement by the end of the year?
Klaw: If you look at my sleeper for every team, those are 30+ such players. That’s the purpose of the sleepers – guys who aren’t top 100, but who could make a significant leap into the 100 next year.

Scott: Thoughts on Michael Gettys progress and development within the Padres organization and how do you see him moving forward?
Klaw: Borderline non-prospect for me. Can’t hit.

Scott: Is Quantrill going to start in the year in Lake Elsinore this year? Who else of the Padres top prospects are going to be at LE in your estimation? I am looking forward to attending some games next season.
Klaw: I assume so, but i haven’t asked any team about assignments yet, and Q may be on some sort of innings limit.

Anonymous: Hello, I’m going to be in San Francisco next month for a couple days. Could you offer your top recs for 1. coffee 2. pizza 3. one other exceptional dining experience? Thanks!
Klaw: Four Barrel for coffee, Del Popolo for pizza (tell Jon D, the owner, I sent you), and Cotogna for an exceptional dining experience. Also, bring a jacket. And a sweater.

Craig: Klaw, for pete’s sake, give The Godfather a try! It is a freaking masterpiece.
Klaw: I understand that it’s great, or widely considered to be so. The subject matter itself repels me.

JD: Have you seen/heard much of Seth Beer? Is his bat a guy, a Guy, or a G!U!Y?
Klaw: Saw him a few times in HS. Could always hit, but was older than his competition (he was on track to be a 20-yo senior). He’ll be 21.5 next spring as a college junior, and while he’s a corner OF without much defensive value, I can’t really argue against a guy who hits for power and doesn’t strike out much. I will throw this question out there – yes, the walk rate is bonkers, but is he actually that patient, or are teams just pitching around him?

Mike, (Toronto, ON): I’m filming a few days on the final episode of Orphan Black here in Toronto. Any messages from KLaw to the cast/crew? Also, I feel like the Jays are going to be alright this year, despite the fact that everyone in the US media seems to feel they’ll slip. Morales/Pearce replace EE and Smoak, Liriano replaces Dickey, no innings limits for Sanchez, healthier Bautista + JD (maybe Travis, too). Other four starters remain from best starting staff in AL last year. What am I missing?
Klaw: Well, there are few things you could say that would make me more jealous. I had given up hope that Maslany would win the Emmy, only to have her get it last year. I’m a little more bearish than you on the Jays – Morales/Pearce aren’t replacing EE, and while Bautista should be healthier he’s also nearer 40 than 30. There’s also little to no depth – if they need help during the season, it’s not coming from within. I haven’t done any of my standings predictions yet, but I think I’ll probably have them treading water or a touch below last year.

RBI, WIns, and Saves: We would like to announce we are writing a book, too! it’s called “Why We Matter and How Newfangled Stats are Ruining Baseball!” (Subtitle iw “Why Keith Law is Such a Big Poopyhead.) We think we can get Murray Chass to write the forward for us. By the way, what chance does Christin Stewart have to become a GUY?
Klaw: I thought I banned you three from the chat. I think Stewart’s going to be a 50 (average) or a 55 (above average) big leaguer, with little variance around that. His defensive limitations mean he lacks ceiling beyond that, but I feel good enough in the hit/power tools to say he’s going to be an average everyday guy.

JD: I know you generally don’t compare your reports to other writers’, but the difference on David Paulino is unusually large. Any sense what accounts for that? Seeing him at different points in the season?
Klaw: Can’t answer that, nor do I ever answer that kind of question. Paulino throws super hard with a bad delivery, below-average command, and below-average secondary stuff. I said in my Astros writeup, where he wasn’t in the top 10, that I think he’s 90% likely to end up in relief.

Gary: It looks like Derek Hill’s ceiling may be 4th or 5th OFer, due to his issues swinging the bat. Are there any adjustments you would recommend he make, or is he simply not gifted as a hitter?
Klaw: His issue has been injuries. He has to get stronger, but mostly he’s just never had the reps he needed to get any better at the plate. His swing is fine. He has to stay on the field for more than half a season.

JJ: John Farrell said this morning that he’s toying with the idea of batting Benintendi third in the order. Is that too much, too soon, for a rookie, even one with Benintendi’s upside?
Klaw: I don’t believe a hitter’s place in the batting order is going to affect his performance negatively. If anything, he may have more at bats with men on base, meaning he’ll see more pitchers working from the stretch.

Tom: Planning on attending a Wilmington Blue Rocks game this summer. Any good dining options nearby?
Klaw: Cocina Lolo in downtown Wilmington is 5 minutes away, and I think it’s the best overall restaurant in the area.

Bill: Keith – did the Yankees end up better off getting Torres rather than Schwarber (whether or not that was actually on the table is another story).
Klaw: I think so. I’d take the risk of the prospect to get the shortstop rather than the huge bat without a clear position.

Rick: “Do you believe that sick people that cannot afford medical treatment deserve medical treatment”? I feel like if we simply asked people this question before arguing the freaking minutia of all this health care debate for weeks on end, we could save ourselves a lot of time. Because I think that’s a simplified version of what this all comes down to. I give credit to the conservatives who come out and say, “No – health care is not a fundamental right”. At least I know where they stand.
Klaw: I agree, and I want more politicians to have to go on the record like that. Do you think someone should die due to lack of funds for health care that exists, but is expensive? Would you give up some of your own income to ensure that poor people you don’t know get to live longer, or be less sick? (I would.) If not, well, it’s not good, but it’s a reason.

ForteKay: Saw a couple writers mention an increased risk for Thor this season due to added muscle and not throwing in the off season – I’m a bit concerned by his desire to throw HARDER but he also has tremendous size and an easy motion. Should I be any more worried than I would be for a pitcher in general?
Klaw: That was based on comments from a former coach who’s never seen Thor and knows no specifics about him. I thought the media running with that was irresponsible.

Alex: Any recommendations on things to see in Europe?
Klaw: You may have to narrow that one down a bit.

Karl: I know you are not a fantasy sports guy, but perhaps you can help me out…in a long term dynasty league I can keep two of the following: Aaron Judge, Bradley Zimmer, or Alex Verdugo. I know you rank Verdugo the highest on your rankings but on a purely offensive stats output would that still be the case? Thanks for taking my question and I won’t ask another fantasy question ever again.
Klaw: Verdugo. Also Verdugo. In case that wasn’t clear, take Verdugo.

Mike (DC): Joe Martarano to give up football to play baseball full time. At 22 y/o, is there any shot he can develop quickly enough to make the majors some day?
Klaw: Problem was he sucked in HS. Long way to go at the plate.

dave: If the panda loses his footing will Devers have a chance for a midseason call up
Klaw: I think they’d prefer not to do that. Devers hasn’t even played a game in AA yet.

ForteKay: Re: Godfather – Is it the semi-racist connotations of Italian-Americans and crime? Or just violence in general? As a fellow Italian-American that association definitely bugs me – but hard to deny it makes for really entertaining fiction.
Klaw: It’s the former. I do not like ultraviolent films, but I avoid gore (I said on twitter I’ve never seen a slasher film, let alone this disgusting trend of ‘torture porn’ films) and accept that much great fiction includes violence. Blood Meridian is a great novel, but if someone films that it’s going to get an NC-17 for all the killings.

Steve: Thanks for spreading the word about Ten Fe. Killer album.
Klaw: Still among my favorites this year. Temples’ new record was good too. I got an early stream of the Afghan Whigs’ album, due out in May, and liked it a lot – more than I did their last record.

HugoZ: Do you find the subject matter of Richard III repellant as well? Isn’t there value to examining the nature of evil?
Klaw: Richard III is certainly a repellent character. He’s not an Italian-American, for one thing. For another, that’s Shakespeare. He had the best words. Mario Puzo is not Shakespeare.

JR: Not sure if you can say anything on this, but there have been reports in recent days that ESPN is going to be making another round of cuts. Is there anyone we can email/tweet at/send snail mail too to encourage the decision makers to keep you? You are the only reason I buy insider, so they would lose my annual sub fee if you end up elsewhere.
Klaw: Several of you have reached out on the topic, so thank you all for the concern. I just signed a new contract a few weeks ago. I’m more worried about friends of mine who work behind the scenes at ESPN, although I know nothing more than you saw in reports like Richard Deitsch’s.

Jeff: No question, just a comment. Saw Hunter Greene in person last Saturday against the local HS team. I came to the conclusion (in my amateur opinion) that he is really $#@#% good. Any chance a team drafts as a SS instead of a pitcher?
Klaw: There’s enough real doubt about the hit tool that I think he’s 80/20 or better to go as a pitcher. Up to 101, athletic as hell, now has a real slider too.

JD: re pitching around Seth Beer: the Gamecocks coach said he’d walk him 4 or 5 times if he had to, throw it to the backstop if he had to… and then the winning run scored on a passed ball during an intentional walk to Beer. So maybe people are pitching him a little too carefully?
Klaw: Is that the incident someone tweeted at me about? By the way, remember when the Gamecocks coach talked some smack about me when I said Brandon McIlwain was foolish to enroll early at SC and skip the MLB draft? How’s that working out?

Dan: I have read all of Gladwell, any other books like his you would recommend?
Klaw: I think there’s much better stuff out there in the same vein that leans more on the research and less on anecdote. Thinking Fast & Slow, Invisible Gorilla, Predictably Irrational, Superforecasting, even Freakonomics all mine that territory more effectively.

Tim (KC): Keith, now that the Diamondbacks have made changes, which teams are most behind the times analytically speaking? Which are better than the rest?
Klaw: As far as I know, all 30 teams have or are building dedicated analytics departments. Arizona, Minnesota, Philadelphia are all behind on the timeline, but it’s not due to lack of effort, budget, or willpower. They just got late starts.

Dan: Where will Lazaro Armenteros start the year? How long before he will sniff a top 100 list?
Klaw: Probably extended spring, and I’d bet on never.

Jerry: What I don’t get is how “pro-life” goes along with poor people don’t deserve shit. Also I don’t get how we haven’t overhauled medical and pharmacy billing.
Klaw: “Pro-life” people are generally “pro-birth.” You have to have that baby, and now you’re entirely responsible for it, even though kids who are malnourished, maltreated, or often sick are more likely to end up costing society as a whole when they get older. (Also, you know, compassion for those less fortunate is a good thing.)

Jerry: Bochy said he really doesn’t want to platoon LF, so does Parker hit lefties well enough to win the everyday job (because there are a ton of LH SPs in the NL West)?
Klaw: Such a long swing. I can’t see it.

Bruce: Jameson Taillon and Tyler Glasnow – what is the ceiling for both and what do you expect from them this year?
Klaw: Maybe both #2s? Taillon is much further ahead. During his long layoff he became more of a complete pitcher, not just a thrower. Glasnow’s new delivery perplexes me and I wrote about it this week.

Harold: Every economic problem in our country boils down to the fact that pols in both parties craft legislation to benefit the ultra rich and the ultra poor. They love the rich because they all fall into that category, along with those who fund their campaigns. They love the poor, because it is a large voting bloc that is easy to influence with promises of subsidies and other benefits. The problem, obviously, is that the segment in the middle is burdened with financing everything and eventually will be too small to handle it.
Klaw: Is that really true? I thought the “ultra poor,” however you define them, don’t vote at the same rates as higher socioeconomic strata. The rich do tend to get what they want, though. Everything counts in large amounts.

Bobbo: Just letting you know that someone got the “Bad Idea Jeans” joke.
Klaw: That commercial will never, ever, ever get old.

Jeff: Bomani Jones said on Twitter (paraphrasing) that Thomas Sowell is a brilliant man who lost his damn mind…was wondering how you feel about Sowell, since you are both econ buffs.
Klaw: This seems like a really interesting topic that I totally missed.

Lee: Why the heck would any somewhat intelligent human choose a football career over baseball? Football gives you lifelong debilitating diseases on a non-guaranteed salary structure. How is this even a choice for people?
Klaw: No idea. If any of our friends with kids let their sons play football – they’re all reaching the ages where that’s an option – I will try to convince them otherwise the way I would convince a vaccine resister.

Dan: This the year Daniel Norris puts it all together? What are you expecting from him this year
Klaw: I’m a believer.

Jerry: I know “best shape of life” means nothing, but was it true for Panda and does it mean anything?
Klaw: Sounds like he’s in great shape but I have no idea what if anything it means.

Stewart: As with any society, ours is in the stage where those who are the least productive are the ones reproducing the most. Studies consistently show that people are much more likely to maintain the economic status of their parents, rather than taking a huge leap forward. If politicians want to lessen the impact entitlement programs on the economy, they need to provide real incentives to middle and upper class people to have more children.
Klaw: Or to provide incentives and methods for the lowest stratum to have fewer children. You know, like easy access to affordable birth control.

Anonymous: Great news! EPA chief Scott Pruitt says CO2 is not a primary contributor to global warming. I was really starting to worry that global warming was a real long term threat to life and property. Apparently I can relax now.
Klaw: It would be great if the media would simply call him out on that bullshit every. single. day.

Nathan: Assuming both reach their potential, who ends up with more value, Meadows or Dahl?
Klaw: Meadows. My worry with Dahl is that I don’t think he has a great plan at the plate. I think he’s blessed with tremendous ability, but Meadows has a much better idea when he gets in the box.

Valdez: Did you have the same attitude toward MJordan’s foray into baseball, or did he get a pass?
Klaw: I was 20 when he did that. I had no standing to even have an opinion, and if I did have one, I have no idea what it was. I know that several years later I found out that Jordan’s little sojourn wrecked the career of a prospect behind him – I think that was Charlie Poe – so I would say now, with that knowledge and the benefit of my age and experience, that it was just as ridiculous, maybe even more so because they shoved him right to AA. (He also showed that he was way more skilled than the washed-up QB, though.)

Nick: Ever made beef jerky at home? If so, which cut of beef do you prefer (I don’t think flank is ideal).
Klaw: I haven’t, partly because I can’t get over my fear that I’d do it wrong, mostly because we eat very little beef at home.

Ethan: Is there a difference between a sinker and a two-seam fastball, as far as grip and movement? I feel like I hear the two interchanged sometimes. I could be wrong.
Klaw: Yes, two different pitches, typically different movements, but a two-seamer can sink – it usually will at least have some sink, although that type of movement, where it moves both down and to the pitcher’s arm side, is usually called ‘tail.’

Paul: Isn’t the issue with healthcare how to reduce costs? Haven’t heard any goods ideas from either party.
Klaw: Yes. That’s a bigger issue than mere price elasticity, which is what the GOP keeps pointing to with HSAs – saying that if you’re not spending your own money, you stop caring whether you’re overpaying. That is true for most goods, but doesn’t appear to be true for health care, at least not in any way that can inform policy. If you or a loved one needs lifesaving care, you will pay everything you have. That is an open invitation for providers to charge as much as possible.

TJ: Klaw, do you have any “guilty pleasure” players? Guys you know aren’t great but just enjoy watching them play? Mine would be Rajah Davis- gotta love a short, pudgy dude who looks like he’s having great fun playing and wears a giant oven mitt when on base, even if he takes the craziest routes imaginable to chase fly balls…
Klaw: I love watching athletes do athletic things. Billy Hamilton is not very good at all at the plate, but I could watch him run all day. I don’t care if he goes full Piersall and runs the bases backwards. I’d watch him run from the dugout to his position. I am just floored to see a human being move that fast.

J: Watched Lobster last night. I feel like I need to watch it again and pay more attention to all the animals who have walk on parts
Klaw: The dog should have gotten a best supporting actor nomination.

ForteKay: Any book signings planned in the New York/Westchester area? Would love to get a signed copy and talk a bit of baseball
Klaw: Nothing yet, but I think we’ll do something in NYC around the launch date. As it gets closer, more requests are coming into Harper Collins and we’re trying to work those into my scouting schedule, because I think I’m doing all my draft travel after April 1st this year (it just worked out that way).

Klaw: That’s all for this week – thank you as always for all of your questions. With travel coming up, I may move chat days/times or skip a week, so please watch here, Facebook, and Twitter for announcements on that front. Hup hup!

Klawchat 3/2/17.

Starting at 1 pm ET. Questions go in the chat widget 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: Pull your shirt off and pray. It’s Klawchat.

Henry: Keith, what has happened to JJ Schwarz? I’m a UF fan, and obviously he had a great freshman year. Last year seemed bad, and this year looks even worse in the early weeks (obviously small sample). I’m totally with you that there’s zero chance he catches in the pros, but why has the bat fallen apart so drastically?
Klaw: I think other teams started pitching him differently and he hasn’t made the adjustment. Not sure he’s even a first-round consideration any more.

Patrick: Keith, as a fan, what should i be paying attention to in Spring Training? Especially with young pitchers I hope will help my favorite team sooner rather than later?
Klaw: Health is the biggest thing. If you’re talking about watching performances, really you just want your pitchers throwing strikes and showing their usual velocity by their third or at worst fourth times out. But don’t get hung up on any spring stats.

Steve: Have you seen Heywards new swing? Besides being way to early to see if its sustainable or productive for him, does the loading and swing path look more natural and promising than what he previously had?
Klaw: On video, and talked to scouts who’ve seen it, and basically there’s nothing positive to say right now.

Cedric: Any thoughts on the DeJong/Zabala trade?
Klaw: I answered this on Twitter by linking to my Mariners report. Zabala is the only real prospect in the deal.

Robert Luis: What can you tell me about the abilities and projections of 19 year old Cuban Luis Robert? Any favorites to sign him when he becomes eligible?
Klaw: He’s already getting hyped well beyond his abilities. Who can sign him depends on whether he becomes eligible before or after the signing period ends.

Dan: Jim Bowden threw around a trade: Almora and Happ for B. Hamilton. Thoughts?
Klaw: Utterly ridiculous – I wouldn’t trade either guy straight up for Hamilton – but not even the dumbest one in the article. That would be Quintana for just Kyle Tucker and David Paulino, the latter of whom isn’t even top ten in the Astros’ system. That’s probably less than half the return the White Sox should expect for Quintana. There’s a real disconnect from real-world values here.

John: I haven’t heard much about Jake Mangum or Greg Deichman from draft analysts. Both seem to be hitting very well in the SEC but neither get much mention. Do you consider either one a 1st round possibility?
Klaw: Mangum is a freshman. He’s not eligible. Deichmann is just a corner guy who’s not a day-one prospect – and he isn’t hitting well “in the SEC,” because LSU hasn’t played any SEC opponents yet. Their schedule to date includes Maryland, Hofstra, Nicholls State, New Orleans, Army, Air Force, Pencil State, Backwater U, and Little Sisters of the Poor.

Luke: Trevor Rogers, the high school LHP from New Mexico, is already 19. Will his age affect his draft slot?
Klaw: Age is more important for position players than pitchers. For arms, the disadvantage of age – reduced physical projection – may be mitigated by reduced risk of injury.

Joaquin P: If the pirates were to trade Meadows (for Quintana perhaps) could they put Bell in RF and Will Craig at 1B? Are they better this way given how bad Bell has looked at first?
Klaw: Craig’s not major-league ready, and Bell has to play left, not right.

Jon Orr: Thoughts on Austin Gomber? Saw him in spring training and his breaking ball looked really loopy and didn’t seem to have sharp break
Klaw: Just another guy.

Chet: What do you see happening with Kyle Funkhouser this season?
Klaw: I have no idea, and I mean that quite literally – the range of possible outcomes there is enormous. If he comes out and walks 60 guys in 80 innings, I won’t be surprised. If he comes out and dominates two levels of A-ball, I won’t be surprised. He’s shown so many different looks the last two years that I feel very little confidence in any forecast I could make.

Brian: Arcadia? You’re a little too young for 80’s tunes…
Klaw: I was 12 when that song came out.

Jason: The Cardinals have two former interesting players in camp: Daniel Bard and Austin Wilson. Is there anything left to optimistic about either?
Klaw: Probably not, but the change of scenery was probably the best thing that could have happened to Wilson, and I’d say he has the better shot of the two to restore some value.

Jimmy: If Harper is healthy all year- .325BA 40 HRs?
Klaw: Yes. In other words, if he’s healthy all year, I believe he can repeat 2015.

Lou: Hi Keith! Wondering your thoughts on the Cubs big 4 starters all posting career low babips last year? Their defense and positioning must play a large in that right? But lots of teams have good defensive players and smart analytical departments that can improve positioning, what makes (or made) the Cubs so much better? And if it is defense and positioning, why would we expect the numbers to regress?
Klaw: I think it’s more defense and positioning than it is just pitching, but we’d expect it to regress because defense and positioning include some randomness too. You can position ‘perfectly’ and still not get to all of the balls in play you expect to get to. I think last year the Cubs got to more of those balls than we would have anticipated.

Nick: Can Chesney Young turn into something like a Neil Walker, or am overly optimistic and assuming too much power (I’ve read it’s near zero).
Klaw: There’s nothing similar about those guys at all. He has virtually no power.

Derek: I’ve seen a few breathless pieces about the Harper-Machado-Kershaw free agent bonanza of 2018-19. Often these articles list Matt Harvey along with those others. Harvey’s been a great pitcher, no question, but I’m very skeptical about his return to greatness. The surgery to repair thoracic outlet syndrome is no joke and Jaime Garcia is probably the most successful guy to have come back from it. Not to mention that Harvey’s a Tommy John guy and the number of guys who’ve had both procedures is quite small. If I had to bet on whether Harvey ever throws 200 innings in a season again, I’d probably bet he doesn’t. What do you think?
Klaw: I would agree. Bet the under on that.

Nick: How does Hunter Greene compare to other recent HS RHP phenoms? Guys like Bundy, pre-TJ Giolito, and Taillon.
Klaw: Nobody has thrown this hard except Pint, and Greene does it much easier. Giolito and Bundy had better secondary stuff at this age. Greene is probably the best athlete of this whole group. And he can play plus defense at short.

Vander: Heard anything new about Jo Adell?
Klaw: His season starts on Monday.

Tracy: Keith, is it me or do you also get miffed when you see people basking in all the “great” weather we’re having? Folks, long stretches of sixty- and seventy-degree temps in February is not normal. For those where there should be snow on the ground, put the damned flip-flops away!
Klaw: I get more miffed when I see idiots, often idiots in government, ‘gloating’ on cold days that climate change must be wrong, because we seem to have no problem electing people who are so stupid they don’t know the differences between climate and weather or between income and wealth.

Andy: Do you watch Top Chef with your daughter? My son (a little younger) would love the food aspects, but I’d like to avoid all of the human drama that sometimes gets played up. I really don’t want to watch Chopped to satisfy his food competition wants.
Klaw: No, because of the language, but we did watch the last two episodes of Project Runway with her this year because she really wanted to see the dresses (and she was super annoyed at who won), which meant a little chat about what language she might hear that would be inappropriate to repeat.

Josh C: Do you think Ramon Laureano can play center or is he strictly a corner guy?
Klaw: Corner guy.

Ron: HI Keith-Sorry to hear about Kiriloff’s injury. Another bad luck bite on the Twins. Hope he comes out of it in good shape and ready to go next year. Losing the year of development is the worst thing. Do you have any favorite eating places in North Dakota? Ever been here? Thanks!
Klaw: Drove across it in 1998. Didn’t eat anywhere special – it wasn’t quite so easy to find good spots back then – but we loved Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Ed: Will you be updating your AZ eats this month? Will be there later in the month. Any kid friendly places on your 2016 list (which I have been using as my guide). Will be in Scottsdale most of trip.
Klaw: I might, although there won’t be many changes. I’d add Tacos Chiwas and Tratto, and I think one or two places closed. The core recommendations wouldn’t change, though.

Alex: Feel you’re the most accurate when it comes to projections, so what kind of ceiling do you see for Sandy Alcanatara and Junior Fernandez? Any chance Fernandez can stay as a starter?
Klaw: Very good chance Fernandez can stay a starter, although Alcantara has a better chance to stay a starter and a little more ceiling. I’m going to spend at least two days on the Cards’ back fields later this month, and that group of Latin American arms is the main reason.

Jerry: Do you think it’s ethically wrong to download music cds from the library onto your computer? If so, what if you delete them after a couple of weeks?
Klaw: Still copyright infringement, even if you delete them. You can just listen to almost any of them on Spotify for free anyway, so why do it?

Fritz: Thanks for all that you do – I’m an Insider to read your work. What is the best way for an organization to evaluate its scouts?
Klaw: I don’t like the idea of just evaluating long-term outcomes, because we know how many outside variables can screw that up. (Ryan Westmoreland comes to mind as the most extreme example.) But I would try to match up short-term grades and projections – the scout said this guy had a 60 curveball, he’s in pro ball now, other scouts say it’s a 50, he’s not getting many swings and misses on it, so that’s a mistake in the grades. A team could execute on that plan of accountability, and scouts would understand how they’re being evaluated too.

Cedric: RE: the DeJong/Aneurys trade, is Drew Jackson just another guy?
Klaw: Yes. Can’t hit.

Andrew: Regarding Quintana – is his contract situation (he’s a relative bargain) actually over-inflating his perceived value? In other words, he’s good and inexpensive, but how much better does he really make, say, the Astros? I’d be inclined to hold on to Tucker and Martes if I were Lunhow…
Klaw: He’s a top 10 pitcher in the AL, maybe in all of baseball, on a wildly team-friendly contract. I don’t know if you can overstate his value.

TK: So … our new AG likely committed perjury regarding communications with Russia. We’ve got that going for us now, too. Is this real life?
Klaw: I agreed with the impeachment of Bill Clinton when he committed perjury (later acquitted) over a trivial matter. I certainly agree that Sessions should be removed form his post for committing perjury over a more serious matter.

Chris: Re ignoring spring stats, wrt Bird his showing some pop is worth noting given the injury he’s coming off, right?
Klaw: Yes, it at least indicates he’s swinging without pain or restriction.

Adam: I was having a conversation with a friend during the Oscars and they said their issue with Ryan Gosling is that he’s a bad actor who picks great movies. Do you agree with that sentiment?
Klaw: I disagree. As evidence, I submit his performance in Drive.

Adam: Jesus Sanchez in the Rays system is a name I stumbled upon on another prospect list, and they almost made him out to be the second coming. Does he have potential to shoot up lists next year?
Klaw: He was #13 on my Rays list this winter. Second Coming is a bit much, probably from scouting the stat line.

Adam: AJ Preller traded Max Fried for Justin Upton and then did NOT trade Upton for Michael Fulmer, ultimately taking Eric Lauer with the compensation pick used when Upton signed with the Tigers. Oof
Klaw: Fried for Upton has the potential to look historically bad for them.

Kay: Could Nimmo play well enough in CF to make a platoon of him and Lagares? Compliment each other well enough with the bat and he can’t be worse than Grandy or Conforto out there.
Klaw: I do not believe Nimmo can play CF that well, even if his knee is 100%.

Shaun: Your top five disney world restaurants?
Klaw: Jiko, Via Napoli, Raglan Road (not as good as it once was, but still a good place for a pint of Guinness and some bangers and mash). But Disney Springs has some new places I haven’t tried, like Rick Bayless’ Frontera Cocina, and a sushi place from Morimoto.

Alan: Johan Camargo seems to be getting rave reviews in Braves camp. Anything more than a utility guy in the future?
Klaw: If that. He has never hit anywhere he’s played and he’s 23.

Dan: Long-term, who project as the better SP: Lugo or Gsellman? Thanks, Keith.
Klaw: Gsellman.

Kay: What is the single biggest difference in the way people like yourself evaluate prospects that might lead to big differences in opinion?
Klaw: People who try to write about prospects but don’t see them, or see them but can’t evaluate what they’re seeing, or don’t have good sources to discuss players with are not going to produce good content. Better at that point to simply report what happened and link to folks like BA or MLB or Fangraphs or me.

Craig: Klaw, who would you say is the most well-known person you attended Harvard with? And did you ever socialize with them?
Klaw: Paul Wylie was there while I was and I met him twice. Couldn’t have been nicer. I know some entrepreneurs were in my class, like the guys who founded LinkExchange and sold it for a few hundred million. I met them once or twice. The daughter of the Aga Khan was in my class but I’m not sure if I ever saw her. I believe Karenna Gore was a year behind me. I also remember a classmate from the Houghton family, whose name adorns one of the buildings on the Yard; I had one class with him, but didn’t know him well, and I remember him largely because he took his own life during our sophomore year.

Cedric: TIL that Matt Harvey once threw 157 pitches in a college game. Should that coach have been criminally prosecuted?
Klaw: He’s still the head coach at UNC. And people praise him.

John: Jake Mangum is definitely not a freshman.
Klaw: Sorry, his bio page at MSU still says “freshman,” but I can see now they haven’t updated that. Looks like he’s age-eligible this year.

Ryan: Just saw the news that LeFou will be gay in the upcoming Beauty and the Beast remake? Thoughts? I understand the importance of representation, but do you have a problem with changing established character traits–even though his orientation was never established? Does it feel like pandering?
Klaw: I saw this news item and didn’t give it a second thought. A character’s sexual orientation shouldn’t be news unless (as you imply) it’s changed from established canon.

Ron: Klaw, between Republicans claiming they have inherited a terrible economy and liberals claiming that it is fantastic, how would you characterize the economy that Trump inherited?
Klaw: I’d say it was growing, but in a way that isn’t addressing inequality and may be exacerbating it. The Republicans are lying, while the Democrats are exaggerating (a lot).

bartleby: from your book cover “and the right way to think about baseball” – don’t you think that’s a bit arrogant?
Klaw: I think I could not possibly care less what you think. Is that arrogant too? My bad.

Elliot, Baton Rouge: Hey Keith, aside from Alex Lange (who I’d be curious to hear your draft projection on) are there any other legit prospects playing for LSU this spring?
Klaw: I think Lange is a reliever or low-end starter, tops. Not a first rounder. Deichmann is a draft guy but not a major prospect IMO.

Paul: Generally prefer getting stuff on my Kindle these days, unless there are lots of graphics in a book. Which format would you suggest for your book?
Klaw: Not many graphics in the book. A few tables that should display just fine, one or two graphs. I tried to stick to words over numbers wherever I could, and we moved most formulas (like explaining OBP or linear weights) to the footnotes so the book would be a more fluid read.

Ian: When evaluating a high school pitcher, how important is it for you that they spin something adequately? Can a kid with a good arm and clean mechanics learn how to spin the ball as he matures?
Klaw: Might be a million dollar question. Guys who can’t spin anything scare me, because I wonder if they’ll ever have anything more than a 45 breaking ball. Now I wonder if that will even translate to lower spin rates on fastballs too. Eovaldi, the paragon of fastballs that didn’t spin enough, never had a good breaking ball either.

Joe: I think it’s easy to forget that Addison Russell is 19 days older than Dansby Swanson and only 63 days older than Alex Bregman. I feel like Russell is somewhat forgotten about when people talk about the great SS in the game right now. Does he have an MVP caliber ceiling?
Klaw: I think he does. There’s a lot of untapped offensive potential in Russell. Had he spent another 18 months in the minors and destroyed AA and AAA, maybe we’d look at him differently?

Kevin: Would you rather have a pitcher who can ride his fastball up in the zone, or one who sinks it effectively?
Klaw: No preference. Both work, although I might argue that pitching up requires more skill (command and/or spin) than pitching down.

Kay: Klaw – you get to step into the box for BP against any pitcher in the league, Theo Epstein style – who do you pick? And how do you fair?
Klaw: You could lob it to me and I might not square it up. Putting a decent swing on a pitch with a wood bat requires hand and wrist strength that I could never have.

Erik: The economy will never grow like it should be unless the abomination know as Dodd-Frank is repealed. Any problems with Trump should be mitigated by his promise to cut overly onerous regulations
Klaw: Define “overly onerous regulations.” I for one am a fan of clean air and water, for example. I’d like to see more onerous regulations on those topics, so that black people get clean air and water too!

Rob: Thanks again for your vaccine related discussions. For better or worse, people take very seriously what public figures have to say (and we need more rational voices than that of De Niro and Mccarthy). You’ll never convince the idiot on twitter that you’re arguing with but, hopefully a silent reader on the fence, will be swayed in the right direction.
Klaw: You’re welcome. I’m hoping a few people see the links I post and decide to vaccinate their kids, and that other folks with platforms like I have also speak out on public health and science topics.

Joe: What was harder: writing the book, or doing the self-promoting? For me, I think the self-promoting would be harder, but that’s mainly due to my personality. Have you enjoyed/not enjoyed that part of it?
Klaw: Writing is always easier for me because it’s so solitary. I’m not one to promote myself or my work beyond a tweet here or there.

Archie: Serious question….if a guy at a lower level school pops up as a serious draft candidate, do you automatically start to wonder how he ended up there? Are there enough late bloomers who may have been undeveloped and/or overlooked in HS that would keep you from assuming that a high level guy in D-II, III, or NAIA has some sort of makeup issues that led them to that level?
Klaw: I think we get more late bloomers, especially pitchers, than other sports do.

GFY: There’s nothing more annoying than someone who is super arrogant and I think you’ve officially crossed that line with your reply to the “is it arrogant” question. Have a nice life.
Klaw: If you couldn’t see the humor intended in that answer, well, between that and your profane message to me, I truly do not want you as a reader.

JR: While the Mets haven’t said anything official, reading between the lines it appears they (or at least Collins) still prefer Bruce over Conforto (Bruce has been given the same treatment as other veteran starters this spring – not traveling on road games and penciled in as RF starter for home games). How shocked would you be if Bruce is starting RF and Conforto is on bench or in AAA to start the season?
Klaw: I wouldn’t be shocked but I’ll mock the hell out of the team if they do that. That’s plain shooting themselves in the foot.

BD: Surprised S Kieboom was DFA’d? He can help someone right?
Klaw: I hadn’t seen that. Thought he’d be a decent backup catcher with occasional pop but no OBP. Nats are a little flush with catchers though.

Henry: Keith, is this the first season that every MLB team has an analytic department, even a bare bones one to measure performance? I was thinking the other day how the industry has changed full circle on this in a relatively decent amount of time, which is a very good thing. It makes the sport far more enjoyable to evaluate. Thanks!
Klaw: I believe all 30 teams have this now, yes.

Matt: I can spare about $10/mo to go towards either a subscription like the Washington Post or the ACLU. Any idea which organization would get the bigger bang for my money? Don’t really want to give money to a cause that doesn’t need it as much as a different one may.
Klaw: If you want the most bang for the buck, find a local food pantry, or a local shelter for victims of domestic violence, or something similarly small and focused. That will produce the best return and will most directly help people who need it.

Corey: Do you think Brian Johnson can still end up a solid 3/4 starter in the big leagues ? Assuming he’s depth for this season in Boston, can he crack the rotation next year or is he a trade chip ?
Klaw: I do, but he has to get all his velocity back for that to happen and it wasn’t there at the end of last summer.

John: No one wants to acknowledge the two elephants in the room: an aging populations and slowing global growth from large economies like China starting to mature mean long run domestic real growth rates are going to be slower. Those manufacturing jobs are never coming back and we will need a basic income framework at some point. Of every 100 manufacturing jobs lost since NAFTA passed 85 went to automation, 5 became obsolete, 5 went to China or Mexico, and 5 went somewhere else.
Klaw: I am seeing more acknowledgement of the automation issue, although it’s not part of the mainstream political discourse. Better to just scream “JOBS” real loud and hope for the best.

JJ: I, for one, appreciate your arrogance. It’s arguably your finest quality. Keep it up!
Klaw: Uh … thanks?

Thomas: What is Renfroe’s ceiling?
Klaw: Hunter’s? If he hits, above-average everyday RF. I don’t think there’s more than a 45 hit tool there, though.

Ted, Atlanta: over/under 10 HR, 15 SB for Dansby this year
Klaw: Over on both.

Jake: You get to make one law that every single human must follow – what is it?
Klaw: Never put ketchup on steak.

Justin: Regarding your suggestion with Wheeler coming into relief once every rotation turn; wouldn’t it be more beneficail to him and the team to just have him in extended ST or in low A ball. It seems like a big risk both to the team (being short in the pen and Wheeler by not letting him work his arm strength up, especially if its a close game and he can’t locate.
Klaw: That’s also an option. I tried to lay out a few possible plans that the Mets might pursue, discarding anything I know they don’t do.

Ben: If Price needs TJS, do Red Sox have enough depth there, or will they look to acquire another starter?
Klaw: They don’t have anyone to replace the 5-6 wins he’d be worth. But I don’t know if they’ll make a panic trade now, either. That’s a recipe for a bad decision.

Alan: Anything new out of Braves minor league camp?
Klaw: Minor league games don’t begin until the week of the 13th. Anything you ‘hear’ now is static.

Joey Bagodonuts: Pencil U really recruited me hard. Glad I didn’t go there.
Klaw: But their graphology department is top notch!

David: Thoughts on Dermis Garcia Yankees?
Klaw: 80 raw power. 20 defender. Maybe a 30 bat right now – a long way off and a long shot to have value.

Keith: What order would you put the following in terms of likeliest to reach top of the rotation status? Kopech, Keller, Alvarez?
Klaw: That is the order in which I ranked them on the top 100, and the order in which I’d answer that question (because the combination of ceiling and probability of reaching ceiling is a major criterion for me).

Zac: Robinson Cano had 39 HR’s as a 33 year old 2B last season, which is the most HR’s by a 2B in the AL since Alfonso Soriano in 2002. Is Robinson Cano the best all around 2B since Joe Morgan, or am I underrating Roberto Alomar?
Klaw: Cano’s probably going to retire as the best 2b since guy-who-won’t-read-Moneyball, and will almost certainly end up a Hall of Famer.

Trader: I would submit that global trade is the single most important issues that is either horribly understood or subject to the worst effects of populism. It is jaw-dropping to see things like the Border Adjustment Tax even being proposed. It has as much potential as anything to push us closer to 3rd world status. and highlights just how far we have fallen in terms of leadership and economics — on all sides.
Klaw: Free trade might be the only thing on which most economists agree – it’s a net positive for all countries involved. The continued popularity of protectionism speaks to 1) poor economics education in American secondary schools and 2) how pandering to existential fears remains a winning formula for electoral success.

Kay: Arrogant bastards unite! Seriously, you’re just straightforward and have strongly held beliefs. This is something I like and respect about you. Dark sense of humor is a bonus.
Klaw: Thank you. And that is what I hope to be – I’d rather give strong opinions I can back up, and some day have to explain why some were wrong, than refuse to give strong opinions for fear of just that. Oh, and back to the book title thing – you want the book to have a strong title and subtitle to get the consumer’s attention, even if it might seem offputting. “Hey, this guy thinks he’s got the right way to think about baseball? What the hell is he talking about?” is a good reaction. Read some of it, buy the book, yell at me later.

Tom: Thoughts on Archie Bradley 177 innings into his MLB career?
Klaw: Ask me again about him and Shipley and Ray and Corbin in a few months, now that Romper Room has closed its Phoenix location.

David: Why are there some who feel Gleyber is overrated?
Klaw: Why are there some who believe vaccines cause autism? People believe all kinds of stupid shit. I will say I didn’t get any negative feedback whatsoever after ranking Gleyber #4 overall.

josh: Why is it that any time someone brings up a honest discussion about regulations someone always acts like the Republicans want to take away everyone’s clean air and water? Talk about a strawman….
Klaw: Maybe because Trump literally just signed a document to start to roll back a major clean water rule?

Anonymous: What do you think of Heyman’s sentiment today that he would be surprised if Hunter Greene is not the 1st pick in the draft?
Klaw: If you’re asking me where I’d put $100, Greene or the field, I’d put the field. One, because he’s not so much better than everyone else (like Harper or Strasburg) that I feel confident he’s going to be 1-1 today, three months out. Two, because no HS RHP has ever gone 1-1, and ignoring that is pure base-rate neglect.

Joey Joe Joe: Surprised at how little interest there was in Joe Blanton?
Klaw: Yes. He was pretty dang good last year.

Clint: Fernando Tatis jr = next Machado? Or am I thinking to big league?
Klaw: I wouldn’t say =, but I’d say “might turn into.” He’s a pretty special talent.

JD: How do you see the college pitchers in this draft? Any real standouts for you?
Klaw: None has come out very good, other than perhaps McKay – whom, I learned this week, at least one team up top prefers as a hitter. (I think that’s crazy. A 1b without power, who’s also a LHP up to 95 with a good CB? Easy choice.)

Rob: What kind of ceiling do Alvaro Seijas and Johan Oviedo have? Legit arms?
Klaw: Those are the other two I’m hoping to see in Cardinals camp (with Fernandez and Alcantara), plus the Cubans they’ve signed in the last year. I’m probably going to spend more time in the Palm Beach/Jupiter area than anywhere else in Florida.

Frank: No question just a comment. If the state of Texas wants a transgender person to use the bathroom of their birth then they can’t complain when they complete in sports against those of the same birth sex. Anything else would be hypocritical, not like that would ever happen.
Klaw: This is a valid point. Also, once again we get back to the fallacy of two biological sexes. But that’s science, and science ain’t real popular in Texas political circles right now.

Ron: I thought Dozier had the most homers for a 2nd baseman since Soriano? Or how many of the 42 included as DH?
Klaw: Baseball-Reference shows 40 as a 2b, 2 as a DH. That stuff, while absolutely accurate, is why I never get hung up on “most X by a player at position Y” stats. Dozier had 2 homers as a DH. Was he magically not able to play second base on those days? Like, he woke up and put his glove on his right ear instead?

Kay: Is consistency really all that much to ask for? From ball players, to umpires, to politicians, to friends and their beliefs.
Klaw: It’s the hobgoblin of rational minds, apparently.

Klaw: That’s all for this week’s chat. Thank you as always for all of your questions. I’ll be holding a Facebook Live session Monday morning to talk about Smart Baseball and answer chat-style questions as well, so please come join me there and tell your friends about this amazing book that tells you the most arrogant way to think about baseball! Enjoy your weekends, everyone.

Klawchat 2/23/17.

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: 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.