Klawchat, 7/27/17.

I’ll be in Chicago this weekend, speaking over lunch at the Standard Club (a ticketed event) and then signing books that evening at Volumes Book Cafe.

Keith Law: I’m on track, like a Long Island train. Klawchat.

Sean: With the Sonny Gray situation do you think the A’s should take the best offer now or wait until the offseason hoping a better market develops?
Keith Law: I don’t think they HAVE to take the best offer now; if they feel like they’re not getting sufficient return, they can and should wait. But I think they will get an offer they like.

Dodgers catchers: Do you like Keibert Ruiz or Will Smith more? Do you think both make it as catchers?
Keith Law: Ruiz has a lot more offensive upside than Smith, but lower probability. Smith is more advanced on defense right now; I think Ruiz is more bat-first.

Jack: JP Crawford has gotta be a september callup this year right?
Keith Law: Depends. A month ago, he hadn’t done anything to justify a callup. If he keeps hitting AND playing hard AND shows better defense, then yes.

Noah: Is Turang your early favorite to go 1-1 next year?
Keith Law: He’s a possible candidate for 1-1, not an early favorite. Don’t think there is a favorite in this class.

International: One thing that’s always intrigued be is that despite the fact that the Dominican Republic and Haiti are the same island we see so few players come from Haiti, do you have any insight into why that is? Are they truly that different from a socioeconomic standpoint?
Keith Law: Same island, different countries, cultures, and languages. They play baseball as kids in the DR everywhere on the island, but don’t in Haiti. Players with Haitian ancestry have all grown up in the DR (I think).

brian snitker: is Dansby’s demotion too early or too late?
Keith Law: It is short-sighted and unnecessary. When you’re building, you don’t demote your long-term shortstop in favor of short-term assets (Phillips, Adams) or flashes in the pan (Camargo). It’s really out of character for Atlanta, who’ve done almost everything for the long term.

Nick: What’re your thoughts on the Neshek trade?
Keith Law: Phillies got three useful pieces, none elite prospects, nobody in the Rockies’ top 15 or so. Requena is the most intriguing because it sounds like he can stay a starter and he’s pitched well in a horrible home environment (Asheville). Hammer is a one-pitch reliever with a high spin rate on the FB. Gomez is probably a good utility infielder; if he got on base more, I’d like him as a potential regular at 2b.

Nick: As a Phillies fan, I’m really frustrated by managements commitment to Tommy Joseph. Why won’t they just bench him and play Hoskins???
Keith Law: I think they were hoping they’d get something for Joseph in trade. That seems unlikely now.

Ed: What do you do to keep your knives sharp? Steel, steel + something else, send them out every once in a while.
Keith Law: I have a small knife sharpener recommended by Michael Ruhlman (et al) that I use maybe twice a year.

Johnny Lee: In your opinion, what Blue jays should do before this 7/31?
Keith Law: Sell anyone unlikely to be part of the 2019 Jays. Wouldn’t sell Stroman, which I’ve seen suggested on the interwebs, in what appears to be a buyer’s market.

Jon: Giolito with another strong outing, of course on the heels of a few lesser ones. How much longer until we see him in the CHW rotation in a lost year?
Keith Law: I expect he’ll be up in September. Reports I’ve gotten have generally been positive on the stuff but varied start to start on his delivery. I would love to see him in the majors working with Don Cooper regularly, once they feel like they can trust his delivery enough that he’ll come up and be around the zone.

Sour beer: Yadier Alvarez or Mitch White?
Keith Law: Alvarez by a small and decreasing margin.

David: Duane Underwood Jr has the lively arm and athleticism, but has never put it together. Do you try him as a reliever or let him continue to eat up a 40 man spot and try and make it happen as a starter?
Keith Law: I’d try him as a reliever, with the possibility of returning him to the rotation one day if he ever fulfills his physical projection. But you’re right – it’s not happening yet.

Justen: Pirates had a triple SS promotion last week with Kevin Newman, Cole Tucker and Stephen Alemais all moving up a level. Know you’ve been bullish on Newman and he seems to be hitting better of late. Do they have anything with the other two guys?
Keith Law: I like Tucker – missed a year with shoulder surgery, bit slow coming back, great kid, very good athlete, still young for AA and probably spends most of 2018 there.

Terrence (Atlanta): KLaw, what’s the report on this kid Flexen starting for the Mets tonight?
Keith Law: I had a note on him here: http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0681316008736069655-4

Toby: Josh Naylor seems to be acclimateing well to AA, has he put his maturity issues behind him?
Keith Law: I haven’t heard anything about that, but his body is getting somewhat worse. I think he’s going to have to work to avoid becoming a DH.

Bob: How excited should we be in Padre-land about Michel Baez and Adrian Morejon? Which are you higher on?
Keith Law: Morejon is a 3-pitch guy right now, and LH, but Baez has size and hasn’t had Morejon’s injury scare this year. I prefer Morejon.

James : In April you wrote that Amed Rosario has “so much bat speed and strength … that he should eventually hit 15-20 homers.” Assuming he ever gets called up, is that still your expectation for him? Which young SS is he most comparable to (Lindor, Correa, Bogaerts, Seager)?
Keith Law: Yes, I think he’ll peak in that power range. I don’t like player comps; he’s his own guy.

Kyle KS: Is Bader a CF long term or destined for a corner? I thought it was odd that he was starting there over Pham who has performed well in CF in a small sample.
Keith Law: Bader looks much better than expected in CF, but I think the standard for CF defense is so high right now that he’ll eventually end up bumped by someone better (like Sierra).

Greg: Hey Keith, I was wondering what your general outlook was on the Pirates’ current state. On one hand, they have a good, young, controllable core in place (Polanco, Marte, Bell, Taillon, Rivero, etc). On the other hand, they still seem to be a few pieces away from being legitimate contenders. If you were Neal Huntington, would you aggressively pursue trades for Cole/McCutchen/Harrison now or in the winter, or would you stay the course, hope for better luck and try to win within next 2 years? Thanks!
Keith Law: I would aggressively pursue trades for those guys, targeting players in or near to the majors rather than more total talent that’s further away. I don’t think they need to consider a total rebuild.

Jesse: Who is the greatest prospect you have ever seen in person that did not make it in the majors?
Keith Law: I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone like a Brien Taylor, who is pretty clearly the biggest prospect ‘bust’ of all time – he was as good a pitching prospect as scouts of that generation had seen, and of course was derailed by an injury suffered in a bar fight (and I think is now in jail?). I saw Wade Townsend once as an amateur and his shit was ridiculous, but we know what happened there. Delmon Young was a pretty big disappointment too, but, in hindsight, I think his advantage was that he was so physically mature at 18.
Keith Law: Sorry, that answer required a little research.

addoeh: Baseball seems to be slowly turning into a situation where most at bats end with either a HR, K, or BB. It was frustrating trying to watch Tuesday’s Cubs-White Sox game because of it (even with Hawk Harrelson getting angry). Is there a solution?
Keith Law: I think it’s a problem, and I would say raise the bottom of the strike zone.

Randy: Walker Buehler rebounded nicely last night, first game just a fluke? Should the Dodgers bring him up for help out of the pen in the playoffs?
Keith Law: I believe that is their plan. I wasn’t at either game; I assume the first outing (where he couldn’t retire a batter) was a fluke.

Twflan: To what do you attribute to Kris Bryant’s relative inability to hit well with RISP this year? I know RBI’s are a silly stat these days and very situational based on your teammates getting on base, but KB has not done as well as expected in those situations…
Keith Law: Typical random fluctuation. Player performance is not uniform.

Collin Jones: The returns for the early trades have been quite underwhelming? Is that a sense of what the market is this year, or am I undervaluing the prospects involved?
Keith Law: Multiple execs have told me it’s a buyer’s market, so the returns are all coming back light.

Rachel Failla: Do you think, in our lifetimes, we’ll see a trans professional baseball player? It seems we’ve just started making progress into openly gay athletes in pro. sports, but Trump’s comments yesterday frighten me into believing trans tolerance/understanding isn’t being improved, rather taking a step backwards.
Keith Law: I think we’ll see an openly gay player in the next five years. I don’t know about a trans player, primarily because I think societal acceptance of transgender rights (or transgenderism as an inborn condition, rather than a mental illness) is so far behind acceptance even of gay & lesbian rights.

Adam: Kumar Rocker or Ethan Hankins?
Keith Law: No idea. It’s way too early for that.

Adam: I’m not sure if I missed it, but did you do a writeup on the Royals, Padres trade? Or were there not enough prospects involved for your coverage?
Keith Law: Not significant enough of a trade. Couple of spare parts for the Royals, future starter for the Padres (Strahm) and a nice lottery-ticket bat with a good swing (Ruiz).

Nate: Keith, is there a non-zero chance Casey Gillaspie turns into an average major leaguer?
Keith Law: Non-zero, but low, under 20%. I thought he was a 2nd/3rd round talent in the draft – below average athlete, first base only, strong kid but didn’t use his legs at all in his swing, making the power suspect.

Jay: Over the past few weeks Cornelius Randolph has brought his line up to .255/.350, with a little more power. (10 HR Now) I know he’s stuck in a corner OF spot, do you believe he might be throwing off the title of “failed prospect”?
Keith Law: I dislike using the past tense on a player who hasn’t clearly ‘failed,’ either through release or many years of non-performance. You could call Randolph a failing prospect, or a disappointing prospect. I don’t think anything he’s done the last few weeks changes the outlook for him; the last two scouts I asked about him came back with similarly negative views, a position-less guy without the elite hit and/or power tools he’d need. (I do or at least did like his swing last year. Really surprised he hasn’t at least hit for some average.)

@RationalMLBfan: Just read Smart Baseball very thoroughly–good book! Questions about Stolen Bases chapter. (1) Is there a database that separates out normal caught stealing with hit-and-run? (2) From a sabermetrics perspective, is the hit-and-run play a good play or does it put artificial pressure on the hitter to make contact (and possibly reduce the quality of batted ball contact), which negates any benefit of distorting the defense moving to cover the SB attempt?
Keith Law: I don’t think so on 1, because someone would have to identify those manually (subjectively) and code them as such. That means any answer to 2 won’t be derived from data, but I know Earl Weaver, among others, disdained the hit-and-run for the reason you cited – you’re forcing a swing on the hitter rather than leaving swing/no-swing decision to him to make based on the pitch.

ECinDC: Erick Fedde is getting called up to start for an injured Stras. What can we expect?
Keith Law: I think he’s more likely a reliever in the long run. Everything he throws is hard, so there’s a fringy changeup and he’s had trouble separating the breaking balls. It’s reliever feel.

Lee D, LA: Keith, two weeks ago you answered my question about “upgrading Chris Taylor” by suggesting they replace him with Verdugo. Taylor is now at .320/.388/.541 in almost 300 ABs, and only 26 years old. Still think this is a SSS phenomenon?
Keith Law: Yes, I do. His BABIP is .427. That would be the third-best BABIP for a hitter who qualified for the batting title in MLB history, behind Ty Cobb in 1911 and Joe Jackson in … oh, 1911, there you go. (In fact, no one has topped .410 since 1924, but Taylor and Ben Gamel are both over that mark right now.

Brian: What is Ronald Guzman’s ceiling in your opinion? Everyday regular?
Keith Law: Ceiling is above-average regular. Feel pretty good about him being an everyday guy.

Mac: Hi Keith. How do you justify eating meat to aggressive vegans? I never feel like my responses counter their concerns about animals. I’m not changing, but I’d just love to have a good argument. Thanks!
Keith Law: I don’t. I don’t think I need to justify my food choices to anyone but myself – and arguing meat-eating with “aggressive vegans” would be like talking religion to an atheist or atheism to a devout person. It’s just not worth the time.

Frankur: When you went to the SFG game with google, were the google employees fighting each other to see who would get to sit next to you?
Keith Law: They rotated seats. It was all quite civil. Now, if they’d been Bing people, that might have been a different story.

Mark: What is wrong with Steven Matz? Traditional numbers and peripherals are both terrible.
Keith Law: Don’t think he’s fully healthy. That’s been his story his entire pro career, unfortunately.

TJ: Is there something to this idea that Chance Adams can’t make it through the batting order three times? He’s had success at every level.
Keith Law: I haven’t heard that about him. He’s pretty good, better than I had him coming out of last year. What I get back on him that’s negative is generally about his height and lack of FB plane – but he’s a Yankee, so he’ll come up and throw a ton of offspeed stuff, mitigating any concerns (if they’re real) about the FB.

Dorn: You’re obviously down on Austin Meadows, but lets assume he comes back and finishes the year strong and healthy. Does that put him back to where you had him preseason?
Keith Law: I’m not down on him; he’s been hurt on and off this year and hasn’t performed at all. Everyone (team sources) who saw my top 50 before I published it indicated he didn’t belong.

Brett: Atlanta promoted Luiz Gohara to AAA today. Are you a fan of the move? What do you think his ceiling could be?
Keith Law: #2 starter. I guess you could argue it’s ace stuff and size but he’s never indicated that he’ll have that kind of command/control.

Nate: Thoughts on Jordan Luplow?
Keith Law: Good kid with some power and a bit of length to his swing.

James: Matt Strahm – starter or reliever for the Friars?
Keith Law: Starter once he’s healthy again. He’ll be in the ideal ballpark for developing as a starter.

Joe: Keith, it is unrealistic for the Orioles to land a Chapman/Miller package for Britton?
Keith Law: If they put him out there they should demand a package like that.

Manu: Is it possible to see Acuña in ATL this year?
Keith Law: I bet he and Gohara come up in September.

JR: Conforto on pace to hit 30 HRs (and that is with a stint on the DL and the Mets dinking around with his playing time early season). Would you be surprised if he had some 40 HR seasons (assuming he gets his name in the lineup almost every day)?
Keith Law: I would definitely be surprised – and I’ve always been a Conforto guy. Thought he’d hit .300/.400 AVG/OBP but didn’t foresee 30+ HR power.

David: Who is the worst prospect you have seen that became a star in the majors?
Keith Law: I don’t think anyone who’s been a ‘terrible’ prospect has been a star; I can think of guys I didn’t rate highly who became stars, and guys like Kinsler (whom I never saw as a prospect) who were late picks and always old for the levels but turned into stars.

Peet: So how does next year’s draft class compare to others, overall? Thanks!
Keith Law: It looks stronger, especially on the HS side.

David: Did you expect Hunter Renfroe to look this bad in the majors? Is he really just Jeff Francouer without the speed and defense?
Keith Law: He has always had two issues – bat speed is just fair, and he does not see breaking stuff well. So I’m not shocked at the struggles. I’m more shocked by Margot’s numbers.
Keith Law: Sorry, just found out a cousin of mine passed away yesterday, in her 70s I think – very sweet person who helped me reconnect with a branch of the family we’d lost contact with years ago. What a bummer.

Mike: Are the Orioles *trying to injure DylanBundy?
Keith Law: I have not liked or understood their handling of him going back to last spring. They knew he had calcification in his shoulder, they knew his injury history, and the moment he started hitting 95 in relief, they put him back in the rotation and had him going 100 pitches an outing – and did it again this year. It’s a shame. He would be on my very short list of the best HS pitchers I’ve ever seen live.

Otto: Who do you like better for the next 10 years. Manuel Margot or Andrew Benitendi? Thanks
Keith Law: Benintendi.

Mark: Blake Rutherford – second division regular or 4th OF?
Keith Law: I’m not willing to downgrade him that much just yet. It’s not the year we expected from him, but the swing is still really good and he has a solid approach.

Jay: Given Bo Bichette’s numbers, have we ever seen a prospect ever come in and hold batting averages as high as he has since being drafted?
Keith Law: I’m sure we have. Look at what his brother did that first summer. Kinsler hit like .420 or so in low-A.

Tim F: Can you critique Paul DeJong of the Cards – is his current play an outlier or can he be a solid professional shortstop? Thanks.
Keith Law: Of course his current play is an outlier (2% walk rate, 31% K rate, .300+ ISO) – but he’s definitely a big leaguer of some sort, maybe not an everyday shortstop but either a regular at 2b/3b or a multi-position regular.

John: If you had to hitch your horse to a tall Yankee pitching prospect — is Domingo Acevedo or Frecier Perez the guy to bet on?
Keith Law: Perez. Acevedo’s delivery is really rough. He can’t repeat it.

Zirinsky: Keith: What’s going on with Mateo? SSS or did the (undeserved) promotion cause something to click?
Keith Law: He looked pretty good the other day – bat speed was good, hit that HR I tweeted about, made one really great play at short, then didn’t run out a grounder and half-assed a throw on a routine play that the 1b had to scoop. I do not know this firsthand, but I have a feeling he was moping in high-A and started to play harder after the promotion. The player I saw on Wednesday should not have hit .240/.280/.whatever in high-A.

Carlin: Been reading rumors about the A’s coveting a CF prospect for Gray and scouting Florial heavily. Even speaking as a Yankees fan, isn’t Florial a really underwhelming centerpiece for the a top-of-the-roto guy?
Keith Law: He should be the second piece, not the first. 30% K rate and just generally raw. He’s like a Cameron Maybin sort of prospect – enormous upside due to his physical gifts, but a long way to go as a player.

HugoZ: Why should we be so exercised about Swanson’s demotion if he’s likely to be brought back on Sept. 1?
Keith Law: Because of the philosophy behind it – it seems to be entirely driven by recency bias and an emphasis on winning, what, one or two extra games this year?

Gene Mullett: Have you ever been really excited to try a restaurant or something by a celebrity chef & been disappointed? Care to share?
Keith Law: Spotted Pig in NYC. I have her cookbook and liked a few recipes from it. Meal was disappointing start to finish.

Keith Law: I’m throwing a post-chat bonus answer here, because I saw a few tweets asking about this but didn’t see a question in the chat queue (I never even get to see them all because you guys ask so many, and thanks for that). People are asking if I think Luis Severino is a starter now, because he’s having an amazing season as a starter. My concern on him was always delivery-related; pitchers who don’t rely on their lower halves tend to break down and/or have trouble with command. Severino’s delivery was all arm – like Reynaldo Lopez’s, like JB Bukauskas’s, two other guys with starter stuff and track records but reliever-ish mechanics. Severino is bigger now, and throwing a ton of sliders, a pitch that is much better than it was when I saw him as a prospect (and better than I projected it to become). So yes, he’s a damn good starter right now, even though I don’t know if he’s changed the way he uses his legs at all. I hope he is using his lower half more so that he can pitch like this for a long time.

Keith Law: Gotta wrap this up for a phone call – sorry to cut it a bit short this week. I will be in Bristol on Monday for our BBTN trade deadline show that afternoon, and will probably not chat now for two weeks. Thank you as always for all of your questions. I hope to meet many of you this weekend in Chicago!

Klawchat, 7/21/17.

My latest boardgame review for Paste covers the asymmetrical game Not Alone, where one player faces off against up to six opponents in an alien-themed game where the team of players is hunted by an unknown Creature.

Keith Law: Two steps forward, six steps back. Klawchat.

Jeremy: If Michel Baez performs in High-A as as well as in Low-A, do we start taking him seriously?
Keith Law: It’ll really depend more on the secondary stuff than on performance.

Preston: What’s a realistic return for the Cubs if Candelario is the lead to a package of prospects? Certainly not high-impact RP like Britton, right?
Keith Law: I don’t think so, but I’ve always been a little bearish on his defense. He can hit though.

Erix: Hey Keith. Last week you mentioned Connor Greene as a fringe top 50 prospect. I’m curious as to what the reports on him are. Scouting the stat line (I know) shows little swing and miss, and too many walks (but an elite groundball rate). Thanks!
Keith Law: He’s been up to 98 pretty regularly and will at least flash above-average secondary stuff. Still not fully filled out physically either.

Lance: First time, long time. Can you explain Justin Smoak? How has he turned in to what you thought he’d be after being terrible for so long? Is it sustainable?
Keith Law: The explanations I’ve heard – e.g., that he’s finally feeling like he can be himself as a hitter, rather than trying to prove his worth or justify a lineup spot every day – are not terribly satisfying. So, no, I can’t.

john w: What’s a realistic timetable for Mejia to contribute in the next year and a half-ish? And what’s a reasonable expectation if he’s included in a deal? Not asking for names necessarily, just wondering what Cleveland’s options realistically are.
Keith Law: I’d demand a Quintana-level return. Mejia is certainly comparable to Eloy as a prospect, and you could argue he’s more value as a trade asset right now because he’s closer to the majors. If you believe Mejia will become even an average receiver/framer, then he might be the #1 prospect in the minors.

Drew: What is your future projection for Jamie Barria? Guy is looking pretty good so far.
Keith Law: Starter stuff, reliever delivery & command.

David S: Are you familiar with the band Ghost? If so, what do you think? I saw them open for Maiden and found them quite interesting in a good way.
Keith Law: I like their music quite a bit, but the whole Satan-worship gimmick is puerile.

Kevin: There seem to be more wide-ranging views on the Phillies rebuild than any other club. This likely stems from the fact they have very good depth (and upside, i.e. Sixto), but lack the “can’t-miss” top prospects other clubs have. On a scale of 1-10, how confident are you they could compete by 2019-2020?
Keith Law: I agree with your assessment of their system, but I don’t think they’re contending in 2019 unless they add significant talent from outside the organization – like signing a major free agent to supplement what they already have.

Benjamin: Thoughts on twins prospect Ricky De La Torre?
Keith Law: Ricardo? I’d refer you back to my reports on him before and right after the draft.

Jake: Do the Cubs have the pieces necessary to acquire Gray, Darvish or Verlander?
Keith Law: I would not think so.

Tom (NYC): Hi, love the chat, and thanks for answering the question. Assuming Smith and Rosario graduate this year, what is your opinion of the NYM minor league system going forward? Also, relative to your last offseason ranking, are there any guys notably rising or falling in their minor league ranks?
Keith Law: It’ll be thinner without those guys – I don’t think they’ve drafted or signed players of quite that caliber the last two years – but I still am fairly bullish on guys like Szapucki (as long as he’s healthy), Alonso, Gimenez, even Dunn, who is still just 21 years old.

John: Thanks for the chat Keith! Was wondering about the inactivity of the Padres in the trade market thus far. Have you heard anything from your sources that teams are shunning San Diego, or are they truly just holding out for a big return?
Keith Law: I’ve never heard of anyone “shunning” a team with players to trade.

Nick: Beltre for Devers. Who says no?
Keith Law: Both.

Dave53: Thanks for doing the talk in Berkeley two nights ago. (You and I spoke about Dillon Maples.) Food question: Two friends and I will soon take our ninth annual minor league baseball trip. This year, we’ll be in your area, with stops in Bowie, Aberdeen, Frederick, Hagerstown, and on up to Scranton. Our daily pattern is a hearty breakfast, followed by beer and bar food for the rest of the day. I couldn’t find anything on your website, but do you have any breakfast recommendations along our route?
Keith Law: I know Michael Voltaggio has a place or two in Frederick, but otherwise, I’d suggest you veer off into the larger cities you’re passing like Baltimore and Philly.

Nick: Seems like this Adzolay has really picked it up this year. Think he’s a top 100 type, and where do you see his ceiling?
Keith Law: Had I continued past ranking 50 names, he would have been in the next ten.

JR: I know you consider the Tim Tebow “expirament” a publicity stunt (and I totally agreed with that take); but have you been surprised he has done this well? I pretty much thought he would just wash out. It was interesting to hear that he was consciously being an opposite field hitter. I figured that was probably because he just lacks bat speed… but it also could indicate a player who can adapt and play within himself. I’ve got the feeling now that, unless he quits, he will eventually get a September call up. Probably for t-shirt sales of course but still, way better than I ever expected.
Keith Law: He does lack bat speed, or any other useful tool except pull power. If they call him up, it’s an insult to every other player in the minors. Bill Veeck is dead. Let’s leave the marketing stunts in the cemetery too.

Biscuit: Would the Nats ever consider calling the Angels and offering a deal centered around Trout and Turner? No timetable yet for Turner, but hard to envision him helping a ton again this year, especially with wrist injuries tending to linger. Maybe Nats ask for Simmons back as well, and send a few prospects back to the Angels.
Keith Law: Every week, I get questions about the Angels trading Trout, and the answer is always the same: The owner has made it clear he’s not trading him. Fin.

The Bilmo: Kershaw or Koufax?
Keith Law: Kershaw.

BJ: Fair to say Javier Guerra is a bust. Heard reports that he can’t hit breaking balls. Numbers don’t lie .226 20 BB 100 K
Keith Law: He’s had a very significant health issue the last year-plus. If you feel good calling him a “bust” for that, be my guest.

Nick: Andrew Pullin – Why does he continue to get no love? Not a Phillies fan by any means, but love what he’s done the last 2 seasons at each stop. Thought he’d sneak on to at least 1 top 100 sheet, since he should be getting a call up this fall (or risk being lost…).
Keith Law: He’s a corner outfielder without exceptional power, patience, or defensive ability. There’s no way he’d be a top 100 guy. Also, I think you’re confusing the rules – protecting a player from the rule 5 draft merely means putting him on the 40-man, not calling him up.

Anthony: After trading Sale, Quintana, Eaton, Frazier and the relievers, how do you feel the entirety of this last year for the White Sox? It seems to me that they are handling this rebuild as well as they could and have made solid trades all around. Over under on prospects they received becoming everyday regulars? 5.5?
Keith Law: I think they’ve done exceptionally well so far.

Levitator: Dunkirk is getting rave reviews, do you plan to go see it in the theatre?
Keith Law: Probably not.

Steven: Tyler O’Neill seems to be adjusting –
at least from a performance view –
to AAA with wRC+ by month: 52, 84, 121, 179. Can he be an impact bat for the Mariners in 2018+?
Keith Law: Well, now he certainly won’t be. I also don’t like using month to month splits like that as evidence of anything but random variation.

Levitator: The Jam-band Phish is playing 13 consecutive concerts at Madison Square Garden (with a day off after every three shows). Have you ever seen a jam band live before and allowed yourself to relax and enjoy the unstructured flow a la jazz?
Keith Law: Boring AF.

Steven: He’s years away, but is Taylor Trammell a GUY?
Keith Law: Not yet. The pro reports I’ve gotten on him so far have been a touch disappointing – I expected raves about the athleticism, but everyone I’ve asked has called him just a good athlete but not an exceptional one. I haven’t seen him since before he signed, so I don’t know if he’s really lost something or if everyone just overrated him on draft day.

Adam: Okay, so we know your opinion on the alternate flavor Oreos, but what is your stance on regular vs Double Stuf?
Keith Law: Regular all the way. Double Stuff is double wrong.

Young Hoss Radbourn: Hello Klaw. If you’re Brian Cashman, are you better off staying the course and putting Chance Adams in the rotation? Or do you give up a package of Mateo/Acevedo, etc for Sonny Gray and let Adams continue to work on his 3rd pitch in Scranton?
Keith Law: If Mateo + Acevedo gets you Sonny Gray, you do it before Beane comes to his senses. (But I’d call Adams up.)

Chris: If you’re Jeff Luhnow, what is a realistic package of players you’re willing to give up for Sonny Gray?
Keith Law: I don’t see any reason why they need to acquire Gray, at least not at the likely cost. I wouldn’t give up Tucker for him, but the A’s would probably insist on that. I don’t think Martes is a sure thing, though, so if he could headline such a deal I’d consider it. Martes has a great arm but I’m not sure he’s ever going to have enough fastball command to be that kind of starter.

John: How often do you go back and re-read a book? I read many of the “classics” back in my teens and 20s, but now I don’t remember much more than the basic storylines (and I suspect that my younger self would have missed important aspects of the writing). I’m tempted to reread them, but I feel like that would come at the expense of books I haven’t read yet.
Keith Law: I think I’ve probably read fewer than a half-dozen novels twice – outside of Harry Potter, which I read once myself and again all the way through to my daughter. Off the top of my head: Master & Margarita, Great Gatsby, Pride & Prejudice, The Eyre Affair. I’ve also re-read one Agatha Christie novel and one PG Wodehouse novel twice, both because I hadn’t realized I’d already read them until I was halfway through.

Minnie: Heard Rutherford may have been working to cut his swing down to make it quicker, but sacrificing power for now. Does any of that jive with what you saw?
Keith Law: No, it doesn’t. That sounds like a post hoc rationalization to me.

Sean: Keith, thanks for chatting as always. JP Crawford has really been hitting well in July, hitting for power, getting on base a lot – this seems a lot more like what was expected. Any chance he’s “back”, or was the words you heard from scouts so negative that you’d be surprised to see this kind of performance continue moving forward?
Keith Law: It’s just a handful of games, not enough to believe it’s all changed. And it doesn’t address why everyone I asked said his defense was just average or below, after it was consistently above-average to plus in the past.

Nick: Ok, so you’re Sandy Alderson. For whatever reason you didn’t call up Amed Rosario earlier this year after the super 2 date, and somehow still haven’t. Am I nuts to think that at this point just wait until next year super 2 date, or would 3 months of big league experience be worth losing that extra year of control on the back end?
Keith Law: If you want players to develop, you call them up when they’re ready. Returning Rosario to AAA would not accomplish anything.

Ben: Reaction to T. O’Neill for M. Gonzales trade?
Keith Law: I’ll file something on this later today.

toddfather: How do you deal with sunburn prevention/care? You must have gotten some insane sun burns scouting the Arizona League in the middle of July
Keith Law: AZL games are at night.

TK: How much trouble is our Republic in if Trump starts handing out pardons left and right, fires Mueller and not a single person in the GOP stands up to him?
Keith Law: I would consider this – including Trump pardoning himself or family members – a de facto coup d’etat.

CD: I know they’re the best team in the league right now, I just get the feeling the Dodgers are going to make a play for Sonny. The FO have history, they know the players inside and out, they did a big deal last year. Is Verdugo/Buehler too rich for your blood, or should Oak shoot lower, like Calhoun/White?
Keith Law: Oakland should ask for Verdugo and Buehler – whose outing last night would scare the hell out of me, because it’s the kind of thing that happens when a pitcher is hurt – but expect to only get one of them, if a deal happens at all.

Ed: I had some sticker shock after the Quintana trade, and while I am feeling better about it (Q’s first start helped!) I’m still disappointed to see Cease go given the Cubs inability to develop pitching. Where did you have Cease fitting in with the pitchers in the Cubs’ latest draft? 3rd behind Little and Lange?
Keith Law: Cease > Lange. I don’t think Lange is a starter in the long run.

steve: Keith: The Red Sox have done a terrible job with Swihart. (C to LF, now 3b), does he have value left?
Keith Law: If he hits like he used to/is expected to, he can be a good value overall at 3b – he played it some in HS, even played some short, and was athletic enough to be good there.

Josh: Frequently sports media personalities expound about players increasing/decreasing their value at the trade deadline by having a really good/bad start the week before; e.g., Jaime Garcia. Just finished Smart Baseball this week and I have to assume actual front offices don’t put any stock in this beyond potential injury concerns from a bad start, right?
Keith Law: Right. So with Buehler last night, it’s not that he had a bad line, but that a guy with his stuff failing to record a single out and walking 3/5 guys is a concern that something is physically wrong with him.

Ed: Now that we’re through a good portion of the season, what are your thoughts on Heyward’s new swing? While his numbers aren’t spectacular, they’re better than last year. Just season to season noise or do you think the swing helped?
Keith Law: I’m guessing season to season noise, but really couldn’t say that for sure. It’s a small enough improvement that it could be random chance but I don’t know how we’d be certain that it’s not.

Moltar: Big bummer about Szapucki. Since he won’t be back until 2019 realistically, how does this affect his ceiling?
Keith Law: TJ doesn’t affect a player’s ceiling, unless he’s in the 15% or so who don’t get their stuff back, but it affects both his probability and his timetable. So we’ll see in April or so where his stuff is, if he’s on track and seems to have his fastball back, but I’d drop him in any rankings as I’ve always done with guys who just had TJ and aren’t back yet.

Bill: Heard a commentator say that Quintana slots in as the Cubs ace ahead of Lester next year. I realize in terms of teams with an embarrassment of riches that you can have two #1’s but wanted your opinion of whether Quintana is truly ahead of Lester.
Keith Law: He is, and it’s not close.

Marshall MN: Rooker got moved up to High A ball for the Twins, I know this is something that you said should be expected given his age, but nonetheless it is nice to see a rookie position player performing at such a level so quickly for the Twins.
Keith Law: He’s still too old for high-A, but at least he’s at a level where he’s closer in age to the pitching he’s facing.

Ben: What do you think of Jake Rogers? I know he was considered a great defensive catcher already, but he’s really hit this year (as a 22-year old in A and A+).
Keith Law: Absolutely terrible when I saw him.

Rick: Yaisel Sierra didn’t pan out as a starter but seems to be pretty good RP, could he help the Dodgers bullpen this year and into the playoffs?
Keith Law: He’s off the 40-man so I don’t know if they’ll rush him up the ladder for this year, but I do think he has future value as a quality reliever. They were smart to sneak him off the 40 when he was struggling.

Moltar: With Szapucki down, any other names to watch among Mets arms? I love the numbers being put up by Flexen and Crismatt but have no way of knowing their value without asking nice people like you.
Keith Law: Neither has his potential. They’re suddenly short on arms.

Michael: Hi Klaw – If you were Scott Proefrock would you bring up Hoskins now? What would you do with Joseph assuming there is no market for him? Just let him sit?
Keith Law: If I were Matt Klentak, I’d wonder what you were talking about.

Zach Otto: Good Afternoon, what do you see as Alex Verdugo’s power ceiling? Picked him up in my fantasy minor league draft two years ago due to your rankings.
Keith Law: Average power, 15-20 range. Think he’s more of a well-rounded hitter with doubles power than a 30-HR type.

David: Is Jen-ho Tseng a realistic back of rotation piece in a year or 2 or just an org guy?
Keith Law: Back of the rotation possibility, bullpen likely, much more than an org guy.

Ben: As an A’s fan, is it purely wishful thinking that Sonny Gray could get Kyle Tucker and Forrest Whitely in return?
Keith Law: I think that’d be insane.

Jake: Hey Keith! A buddy and I are spending a long weekend in Nashville, any restaurant recommendations?
Keith Law: Use the search box above – I have several posts on Nashville food.

Carl: How much value do you put in the Statcast stats? For instance, they have their own xBA (expected batting average) based on quality of contact, which right now says Jose Altuve should be hitting .268 instead of .353.
Keith Law: We have under three years of Statcast data. I’m not sure how we could even argue we have enough to create an x-anything stat off it.

Common Dolphin/Rehoboth Beach: Will the Orioles surprise everyone and trade Machado at the deadline, or during the offseason
Keith Law: I think they’ll surprise no one and keep him, which will be a wasted opportunity for the franchise.

Justin: With Raul Mondesi finally having some minor league success (.316/.346/.544) in AAA Omaha, how would you rank him were he still able to qualify as a prospect considering he’s still only 21?
Keith Law: I don’t rank guys who’ve played that much in the majors, ever. I don’t even like to hypothetically rank them, because we have information on them that we don’t have on players who still have their eligibility. (I’d always prefer to see players who care close to the cutoffs graduate, rather than facing the same information gap repeatedly every winter.)

Daniel: It certainly seems ESPN has no interest in getting back to a Klaw podcast, but have you ever considering doing it independently? No sports then, but food, games, politics, etc. It’d be a time commitment for sure, but Bomani Jones’ show seems to do pretty well.
Keith Law: Given the time commitment, I’d need someone else to produce & otherwise handle it.

Arin, D-town: Robert Stephenson is starting this weekend, what is he long-term? relief pitcher, 4th or 5th starter, or something else?
Keith Law: That stuff should pitch in the top few spots in a rotation, but he’s basically had 35 command for a year-plus now. Between AAA and the majors, he’s allowed 15 homers in 65 innings. Jim Acker is applauding his efforts.

John: Your notes on Sixto seemed to highlight how raw he is. How more unrefined is he compared to the average 18/19 year old pitching prospect?
Keith Law: I don’t think he’s less refined than the average prospect that age – that would be unfair to him. He’s pitching in low-A at an age where many pitchers are still in high school, and most are in short-season. That he can have success there, even on this extremely restricted regimen, is in his favor. And he’s not unrefined in the sense of a guy with a crude delivery or no idea where the plate is.

Chuck: Did you do a family oriented board game list? I have a 10 & 7 year old. 10 year old can handle 7 wonders but not Catan. 7 year old just plays what she can in 7 wonders no strategy. PS love the chats.
Keith Law: I haven’t done that breakdown but I add complexity scores to every game I rank each November, which you can use as a proxy for this.

Schlitz : Mitchell White or Dennis Santana?
Keith Law: White.

Daniel: You mentioned in the last chat wanting to tie free agency to age rather than years of control. Would that deter teams from selecting college players in favor of high-schoolers? Or are the benefits so far down the road that it would come out in the wash?
Keith Law: The college players get there faster, so it would wash out.

PhillyJake: How hard were the Pirates shopping Cutch this past offseason? Seems the only real suitors were the Nats and what NH was asking for was ridiculous. Or was it more the Nats asking about Cutch and NH seeing if he could get more than Cutch was worth?
Keith Law: I am not sure how to answer that precisely, but I can say he was definitely available this winter. I know Pittsburgh approached at least some specific teams.

Marshall MN: Do you think there’s any truth to the rumors that the Marlins want to get rid of Stanton? Shouldn’t a well-to-do franchise (are any outside Oakland NOT well-to-do) take a serious look at trading for if the Marlins are seriously looking at it like a salary dump?
Keith Law: Stanton’s is one of the worst contracts in baseball from the team’s perspective. They should be looking to trade him.

John: There was a Joel Sherman report suggesting that Blake Rutherford wouldn’t hit for power nor stick in CF. Legitimate concerns, or spin from the team giving away a prospect?
Keith Law: There is no chance Rutherford sticks in CF. I have no idea how anyone got the idea that he would. Just watch him play.

CVD: Besides the Doolittle and Madson additions, do you think the Nats will do anything else to address the bullpen?
Keith Law: I don’t think they need to do anything else.

Angelo: Mitchell White was recently promoted to AA, any concerns with him thus far other than missing innings with the toe injury?
Keith Law: Nope.

michael: Kris Bryant is kinda soft, right?
Keith Law: Don’t know. I’ve never touched him.

Patrick: You ever use an Aeropress? I think its changed my life. I used to make coffee daily with a French Press.
Keith Law: I haven’t. I use a V60 for drip, and I have an espresso machine that I use most days.

j : Have you heard any good reports on Jorge Mateo lately? Lot of extra-base hits so far in his stay with Trenton. I know, it’s only been a few weeks there
Keith Law: I have not; I’ll go see them again soon. And I’d ask this: If this is somehow the “real” Mateo, which I doubt, was he just being lazy in Tampa? Not trying? Sulking?

Sterling Mallory Chris Archer: It’s known that Sixto needs to work on his breaking ball. What do you think he needs to do physically or mechanically in order to do so?
Keith Law: Nothing. I wouldn’t change the delivery.
Keith Law: And he’s not going to get much bigger (nor should he try to).

Matt: Keith, you seem largely unconcerned about Kopech’s control issues over the last couple of years despite a sky-high walk rate. What do you see in him that makes you think he’s more likely to resolve the issue than other guys with similar control problems?
Keith Law: Plus athlete with a delivery that should eventually allow it.

Josh: It was great having you in Harrisburg last weekend, thanks again! I know your reports on Meadows are down. Does he have any trade value? Wondering if the Bucs could package him and stuff for someone like Gray.
Keith Law: Trade value would be very low between injury and non-performance in AAA.

John: Keith–as someone who doesn’t seem afraid to take on anyone on Twitter and sifts through a lot of garbage–I have a dilemma. I’m somewhat new to Twitter and love to discuss baseball, mainly the Pirates. However, the large majority of discussion is negative, uneducated, or flat out wrong. This makes the discussion unenjoyable and draining. So, how do you view this kind of interaction? Is it worth it?
Keith Law: No, it’s not worth it. I don’t engage in Twitter discussions or arguments anywhere near as often as I did before.

MikeM: You have been bearish on Severino’s ability to be a SP long term. So far this year he has looked great. Has your outlook on him changed at all? Is he just one of those guys who has a funky delivery and is able to make it work?
Keith Law: He looked awful last year, he’s looked great this year. He has improved his slider by at least a full grade, and he’s throwing it a LOT this year. Whether he can hold up with that delivery is another matter.
Keith Law: I have said before, though, that I haven’t seen him live this year to see if he’s corrected the failure to use his lower half.

Matt: Has there ever been talk about a Senior League for MLB? Kinda of how there’s a Senior PGA Tour. It would be pretty cool to see match ups that never happened in MLB. Like Jim Palmer facing Barry Bonds or something like that.
Keith Law: There was one in 1989-90 in Florida; it folded during its second season. They played in the offseason, which probably didn’t help, and they played in Florida, which definitely didn’t help.

Ben: The Tigers say Manning’s velo drops when he’s focused on the zone and pitching ahead in the count. That sound like BS to you?
Keith Law: The only velo that matters is the velo he shows when he’s throwing strikes. 98 to the backstop is just eyewash.

Brett: Would you rather have Bo Bichette or Fernando Tatis in your minor league system and why?
Keith Law: Tatis might stay at short; Bichette won’t. And Tatis has more power.

Carljam: What is step 1 in the Orioles righting their sinking ship?
Keith Law: Something that isn’t likely to happen while Angelos is alive.

MRA in Pasadena: Are you interested in the film adaption of “Station Eleven”? I really enjoyed the book (on your recommendation) but think it would be a better mini-series than movie
Keith Law: It might also be creepy as hell on film, where in the book the post-apocalyptic setting managed to be more atmospheric.

John: Keith,

I plan to be at GenCon all 4 days, but I couldn’t find you in the event list. Where/when do you specifically intend to be holding a book signing there? I definitely don’t want to miss it.
Keith Law: Friday afternoon at 1 pm (I think). I’ll make sure to post about where to find me when the event gets closer.

Gene Mullett: Big jump for me!
Big jump for me!
(Love early Gang of Four)

If you were a GM & needed an SP, is there one you’d target first of those available?
Keith Law: If Darvish is available for a rental, I’d take him in a heartbeat.

Jim (Boston): Any thoughts on Chavis? Does he have a future in Boston?
Keith Law: I think he’s more likely to end up traded than to play for the Sox, but he’s probably a solid-average regular at third or maybe in RF if his defense doesn’t improve enough.

Pat: Why do the Orioles literally punt the international signing period, and shouldnt there be recourse from either the league or the union?
Keith Law: I don’t know, and the recourse is going to be a lack of prospects.

Ethan: Keith, looking for a board game rec for 6 mid-twenties participants, with possibility of partnering into 3 couples. Suggestions?
Keith Law: Citadels is the best game I know for six (or more) players.

Schlitz : How good can Keibert Ruiz be? All the reports I’m reading is he’s a great hitter and a great receiver/framer for being just 19
Keith Law: Lot of potential with the bat. Don’t think he’s a “great receiver/framer” now.

Matthew: Volt in Frederick is quite good. Make reservations for Table 21 (The 8-seater around the prep area of the open kitchen) if that is of interest.
Keith Law: I’ve never actually been there – it’s a pretty long drive for me, and if I need to see the Keys, they come here three times a year.

Tyler: does Verlander get in the HOF? He has essentially had Koufax career to this point.
Keith Law: No he hasn’t, not essentially, not even kind of. Koufax is a fairly strong outlier among HoFers – he only appeared in 12 seasons and only qualified for the ERA title 8 times. He had a HoF peak, but not close to the longevity we typically demand of candidates (barring those who died young or lost time to war). If someone has his career today, I think he’d have a tough time getting in.

Chad: How concerning is Luis Urias’ lack of power?
Keith Law: I don’t think he’s ever going to have much power, but it seems like a strange thing on which to fixate given his profile – small guy with great plate discipline, good bat control, plays in the middle of the field.

Tariq: I see a lot of comps of Jesus Luzardo to Gio Gonzales. In your opinion, is that a lazy or fair comparison?
Keith Law: Lazy. I don’t think they’re very similar. But I do think Luzardo can be productive like Gio has – it just won’t come the same way.

Duke: Double stuffed ruined single stuffed for me. Just tastes like all cookie. What’s the reasoning behind your choice?
Keith Law: Because the best part of Oreos is the cookie.

michael: What sources do you recommend for health/nutrition? eg. Are nitrates really bad for you? Is farmed salmon really unhealthy? etc
Keith Law: I look for actual research on the topic, or articles in reliable outlets that refer to actual research (peer-reviewed science). Cured meats prepared with added nitrates (pink salt) aren’t bad for you – nitrates on their own are dangerous, of course – and those labels that claim “nitrate-free” and use celery juice or powder are just scamming you. Celery contains nitrites that serve the same purpose in curing. It’s like claiming “evaporated cane juice” isn’t sugar.

Nick: May be anecdotal but I’ve seen more and more of my friends a peers (mid-20-year-olds) rejecting capitalism outright for socialism. To me, there are too many benefits to capitalism and too many pitfalls to socialism for that. I’m all for meeting in the middle. What’re your thoughts on this?
Keith Law: Here’s my complete list of successful socialist economies:

justin: O’Neill seems a lot like Grichuk. Good power, poor contact. Fair comparison?
Keith Law: Fair comparison.

Kretin: Jahmai Jones promoted to High-A. He wasn’t necessarily lighting Low-A up, are the Angels being too aggressive?
Keith Law: Peculiar. I know he’d been better after a bad April, but he’s still just 19, and now he’s going to play in some good hitters’ parks, which isn’t going to teach him much.

Schlitz : DJ Peters has some swing and miss to his game, though his OBP is high. With his power and speed, what kind of prospect can he become?
Keith Law: He looks like Jayson Werth, physically, but there are some similarities to their games as well. The swing and miss is the real concern.

Jack: Should Tigers fans be concerned about reports of Manning’s velocity being down this year? I read that he may have been asked to dial it back so that he could improve his command.
Keith Law: I’m probably answering too many Manning questions here, but he couldn’t throw strikes in the spring. He wasn’t “asked to” dial it back; he had to.

Jeffery: Am I the only White Sox fan who feels like we may have given a lot away for nothing?
Keith Law: I think so. All the other White Sox fans are yelling at me for ranking any non-White Sox prospects in my top 20.

Dean: Franklin Barreto has struck out 123 times this season. How much of a concern is this?
Keith Law: For a speed/slap guy with a very compact swing, it’s a huge concern. I wouldn’t have called him up.

BE: AA says he got the best he could for JDM. Is he the right guy to handle what looks to be an ugly rebuid?
Keith Law: If that was the best offer on July 18th, I might have waited until closer to the deadline. Walking away from that deal wouldn’t have been the end of the world.

Brett: What are the Law’s doing this weekend?
Keith Law: Family birthday party (wife’s side). And trying not to melt.
Keith Law: That’s all for this week – thanks for bearing with me on the late start. I should be back next Thursday, before I head to Chicago for my talk at the Standard Club and signing at Volumes Book Cafe on the 28th. Enjoy your weekends.

Klawchat, 7/13/17.

Starting at 1 pm ET. Questions go in the frame below, not in the comments.

My updated ranking of the top 50 prospects in the minors is now up for Insiders, as is my analysis of the Cubs-White Sox trade.

Keith Law: Klawchat. A cry for help in a world gone mad.

Matt: I’m surprised Alex Reyes didn’t make the list at all. Tommy John is pretty common now a days. His arm that big of a concern going forward?
Keith Law: TJ surgery is common, but not routine or something to handwave away. The success rate is still only around 85%, maybe a tick lower, and that’s without considering whether pitchers who have one are at greater risk of having another. So, since he’s not even back throwing yet, I don’t think he’s a top 50 prospect right now.

Bryan Daniel Carter: Was Derek Fisher in consideration? What are your thoughts on his breakout this year?
Keith Law: In consideration, not top 50.

Pops: Sixto Sanchez deserves a place at the table. Have you seen his electric arm?
Keith Law: Saw him last night and tweeted about him several times. Not top 50, somewhere in the next tier.

Brendan: What separates Vladdy from Bo Bichette, considering performances so far? Is it age, mechanics, something else?
Keith Law: Yes, all of that, but especially age. Doing what Vlad and Tatis are doing at age 18 in full-season ball is ridiculous.

Andrew: Before the last two were promoted, Lakewood had an all time grade 80 pitching staff of names: Sixto Sanchez, Adonis Medina, Ranger Suarez, JoJo Romero
Keith Law: I hadn’t realized that but yes, that’s a murderer’s row of great names.

Bob: Within the Padres organization, Lauer and Lucchesi have been phenomenal, but are never cited as having the upside that Quantrill does. Granted that their time in the minors has been pretty short, but what is it that’s seen as the limiting factor that they have relative to Quantrill?
Keith Law: Nowhere close to the same stuff.

Ben: How far off your list was Maitan? About how many years away is he?
Keith Law: He’s 17 with a handful of GCL at bats, not really enough to justify running him up the list. He’d be in the next group as well.

Mike F: Just finished Smart Baseball and loved it! I was a little surprised to see Kingery on the list at 31 but Hoskins not make it. Is it mostly because of defense? Thanks for all the writing and the chats!
Keith Law: Hoskins is 1b only and there’s still a lot of doubt about whether it’s going to be more than just average power in the majors. I think he’s at least an everyday player, but I think Kingery is at least an above-average everyday player.

Jake: Thoughts on Acuna’s bump to Gwinnett? Do the Braves see Andruw 2.0 in him?
Keith Law: I think they’re rushing him. He’s a hell of a prospect, but I don’t get the urgency here, and I’d like to see him struggle at a level and then have to stay there long enough to make adjustments at the plate, since he’s not very patient or selective.

addoeh: No Luis Robert?! Don’t you know an anonymous, and perhaps non-existent, director of international scouting claimed he was the best player on the planet, without exaggeration?
Keith Law: I had heard about that, yes, and share your skepticism that the source even exists.

Randy Burgess: Do you think Flaherty (50), Tyler Mahle, and Chance Adams have similar ceilings?
Keith Law: I do not. Flaherty’s is higher. Adams is the most ready of those three. All are big-league starters.

Joel Embiid: What are your thoughts on J.P. Crawford since he’s fallen out of your top-50? Should Phillies fans be alarmed?
Keith Law: I got nothing but negative reports on him from scouts and execs this month. I heard unanimous downgrades on his defense at short, and multiple scouts say he’s swinging for the fences too much and becoming much less disciplined at the plate. I’m alarmed, and I’ve been a big fan of his since high school. I don’t know if he’s sulking, or if he thinks hitting bombs will get him promoted, or maybe I was just wrong about his ability, but this doesn’t sound like the guy I’ve seen every year for the past four or five years.

Dario Saric: Why didn’t Sixto Sanchez crack the top-50?
Keith Law: The simple answer is that I think there are fifty prospects who are currently more valuable (or valued, by the industry and me) than he is.

Ryan: Philly.com had a very impressive article about Sixto Sanchez’s start last night, quoting four scouts in attendance. I believe you were also in attendance from your Twitter account. Thoughts and would that have changed today list at all? Thanks!
Keith Law: I finished this list after I got home from Lakewood; if I thought I had to change the list based on one 62-pitch outing, I would have, but didn’t. It’s an 80 fastball and it’s very easy. The rest is a work in progress.

Chris: Keith, any real concerns with Delvin Perez yet? Only a couple weeks worth of games but he’s been demoted and there seem to be serious concerns with his work ethic? If his name was Chase Peters (wink, wink) would people still be as concerned?
Keith Law: He had off-field/behavior questions in HS, some tied to actual incidents, so I don’t think this is racial issue. He needs to grow the heck up. No one suggested him for my top 50 either.

@richfreed: Cleveland media says Mejia is vastly improved defensively. He has worked on his English and communicates better with pitchers. Truth or local media pumping a prospect?
Keith Law: I saw him once in AA plus the Futures Game, and he threw great but received just fine. Couple of scouts I asked who’ve seen that club more were more bearish on his glove. I think he’ll be fine in time, but isn’t major-league ready defensively.

Jake: Where would Luis Robert have ranked? I’m assuming he didn’t qualify.
Keith Law: He qualified. Not top 50.

Randy Burgess: Do you think Alderson is preventing Rosario from getting the Conforto-treatment by a lame duck Collins?
Keith Law: That’s possible. Until Collins is gone, I can’t be terribly optimistic about short-term development of prospects (Rosario, Smith, anyone else they call up).

Ethan: No Tigers arms in your top 50?! How would you rank Burrows-Manning-Faedo-Funkhouser?
Keith Law: Burrows, Funkhouser, Faedo, Manning. Manning was having trouble throwing strikes this spring, and his stuff has been down in the NYPL.

Nate: Two questions. Was Espinoza left off because of concerns he can stay healthy or diminished stuff? Raul Mondesi make the list if he were prospect eligible?
Keith Law: He’s been hurt all year and might not pitch in games at all until instructs. That’s kind of a problem. Mondesi was not eligible.

Kevin: Michel Baez has been dominant but it sounds like it’s been primarily his fastball. How’s his secondary stuff?
Keith Law: Saw him in March, it was mostly FB and sheer size. Big dude, gets on top of the ball well.

Kevin S.: Hey Keith. Any idea what happened to Blake Rutherford? A quick look at his stat line is showing a power drop-off. Do you think that’s something structural there, or is it just adjustment to a more challenging level?
Keith Law: Hoping to see him in Lakewood this weekend. Two scouts I asked said he’s just not making hard contact at all. That’s shocking given what I saw from him in HS (and what I think everyone else saw too).

kur: Seems like with all the mediocre-to-bad reports on Yadi Alvarez (flat FB, zero command of anything) other publications have zero problem moving him down, but he actually jumped almost 20 spots for you. Any particular reason?
Keith Law: We had a lot of graduations and guys dropping due to injury; inertia moved a lot of guys up. I could not care less about other publications’ rankings.

John: What does Martes, Perez, and Alvarez get the Astros in trade? Cole? Quintana? Gray?
Keith Law: I can tell you this: It won’t get them Quintana!

boston: any particular reason you do a top 50 and not a top 100?
Keith Law: The amount of work required and the desire not to give anyone a false sense of precision.

Raylan: Can Ian Happ play CF on an everyday basis?
Keith Law: No.

Robbie: If you were GM of the Orioles, what would be your plan for Machado?
Keith Law: Have to trade him. Now or winter, but there’s really no other option.

Jesse: Austin Meadows has dropped from #9 in your preseason ranks to outside the top 50. Is the upside still there if he ever manages to stay healthy? Or have the skills eroded as well?
Keith Law: Trouble staying healthy and hasn’t performed at all in AAA.

Erik: Taking T.J. into consideration, what range did Braxton Garrett fall into?
Keith Law: Like Reyes, somewhere in the top 100, Garrett lower since he never even got to pitch.

Jason: What is Kingery’s ceiling?
Keith Law: All-Star ceiling. 70 glove, 70 run, at least 55 power now. Wish he’d show more patience – he is up there to hit, and if he gets a pitch, especially a fastball in the zone, he thinks he can drive, he’s after it, which is fine until he faces pitchers who can avoid those areas in the strike zone. But I’m buying.

Dusty: Do you agree with the aggressive promotion of Acuna to AAA? Think he sees the majors in 2017?
Keith Law: I assume this is the plan for them – probably was all along. It’s not like he dominated high-A to justify the first promotion, so this must be a “get him to the majors” agenda.

Gene Mullett: Thanks for the chat. Multiple, but quick ones…

1)Is Mejia’s bat ready for the show? Is he mostly in the minors to work on receiving skills? I love Gomes, but I am not sure I can stand to watch another AB.

2)Is a signed copy of the book available or should I suck it up, buy one, & then just hope to run into you at a Carolina League park?
Keith Law: Some bookstores I visit will have me sign extra copies for them to sell. Books and Books in Coral Gables, Florida, has (had) at least ten when I left on Saturday.

jay_B: Cubs (and former Cubs) have a couple of high spots on the updated list, but after that, not much. Any Cubs prospects that are close to the list, or who have the potential to make the list next year?
Keith Law: And they lost one since you submitted this. Alzolay would be their next guy outside the 50. De la Cruz might be next, if he comes back and can stay healthy the rest of the year.

Nate: Keith, were there any considerations for Dunning or Hansen of the White Sox?
Keith Law: No – good prospects, not top 50.

JK: If you were ranking those same 50 prospects for fantasy players, who would rise and drop the most? Many of us reference your list but it’s somewhat difficult without knowing how much of their talent is glove vs bat. Thanks for any insight.
Keith Law: Hard to say. I haven’t played fantasy baseball in any form in 15 years, and I don’t really keep track of the counting stats that matter in fantasy.

The Bilmo: Why does everyone have to get in the game? Isn’t the important thing being named to the team?
Keith Law: I don’t know when this became a Thing, but it is definitely one now, and I agree that it makes the game worse to watch.

NYTT: How difficult is it to avoid prospect fatigue in evaluations/rankings? Do you try and be cognizant of prospect fatigue and minimize it or not worry about it because you know it will be there regardless?
Keith Law: I am not sure what you mean.

Matt: Hi Keith, love your work. Has the opinion on Tyler O’neil shifted some given his recent hot streak? Seems to have adjusted after a pretty crummy start.
Keith Law: He wasn’t on my top 100 before the season and he wouldn’t be on it now.

Josh C: What are your thoughts on Francis Martes? Would he have made the top 50 if he wasn’t in the majors right now? How do you compare him to Whitley, Perez, etc?
Keith Law: I think he was in my preseason top 50. Beyond that, it’s hard to say – he’s now pitched against major-league hitters for several weeks, and I can’t pretend that didn’t happen. Whitley is the one who seems to be emerging as the best of the group, although that’s no slight on the other two.

Matt: Are your rankings based on your own scouting or are they based on your impressions of industry consensus?
Keith Law: I see as many players as I can, but I can’t see everyone, and I don’t get long looks at guys, so I talk to lots of scouts and execs. I circulated several versions of the top 50 starting about a week ago and asked folks (all with teams) for feedback. The final list reflects much of what they gave back to me.

NYTT: How did Cristian Pache look last night?
Keith Law: Great in center, overwhelmed at the plate by the dude throwing 100.

Marc : Any consideration for Woodruff in top 50?
Keith Law: Players in the majors right now are not eligible for my midyear lists. He’s actually on the major-league DL, so he’s out.

NYTT: I know Joey Wentz didn’t make the top 50, but everything I’ve read about him has been very positive. What does he need to show next year to be put on that level with the elite left handed starters in the minors, aside from durability?
Keith Law: Would like to see better pure stuff. I think he has modest projection, not huge but enough that another half-grade of everything ought to be in there.

Jason: Any chance Alex Jackson can play himself back into being considered a legitimate prospect?
Keith Law: He’s a prospect, just no longer an elite one. I think he’ll get to the majors.

Marc : What’s your take on Hoskins? Some Phillies fans think Tommy Joseph is “too good” to trade away…
Keith Law: I would have Hoskins up in the majors already.

Alec Asher Wojciechowski: Do you think Kyle Tucker will ultimately be traded this deadline?
Keith Law: I don’t. I think they’d trade Fisher first.

Nick: Didn’t expect him to be in the top 50 but what are your thoughts on Jesus Sanchez? Can he be top 50 by the January top 100?
Keith Law: Could be top 100 in January, but I didn’t rank more than about 60 guys in this exercise.

Rick: With Corey Ray, is the talent out of line with results? Thanks a lot for the list and chat.
Keith Law: He, Clark, and Erceg have all been various shades of disappointing in high-A. Ray perhaps the most – just swinging and missing too much at pitching of a caliber he should hit.

Nick: Franklin Perez… what do you think his ETA is? Pitching well at AA but so young why rush, right? Or does he still have a lot of arm strength and durability build (total assumption based on age)?
Keith Law: After Julio Urias’ injury, why NOT rush? Perez isn’t a projection guy – he’s pretty filled out already – but needs to work on command and learning to pitch more off the FB, based especially on what I saw from him last month.

Jason: Was Luis Urias close at all to making your top 50?
Keith Law: He was not.

Tim: Do you think Bo Bichette will be a guy who has trouble in more advanced levels because of his unusual swing/approach?
Keith Law: I think his hand-eye coordination is so good and his hands so quick that he won’t.

Dallas: Hunter Greene has the exact same size (6-3, 195) as Michael Kopech when Kopech was drafted. Judging by their draft slots it’s obvious Greene was a far better draft prospect but is Kopech in 2017 someone who Greene could be in 2019 (earlier because hopefully no injury or suspension)?
Keith Law: That’s a reasonable forecast, but I will say I hope that Greene in two years has a more consistent slider than Kopech has now. Kopech’s will show plus, and then he’ll throw one that’s a 45. He’s missed so much time and his arm has gotten so fast that I think he’s still figuring out how to use it, but the fact that he can show a plus slider and can show an above-average changeup is all positive.

Lee D, LA: Keith, if you were Dodgers GM, would you trade a top prospect (e.g. Verdugo) to upgrade left field from Chris Taylor (.285/.365/.480)?
Keith Law: I would promote Verdugo to upgrade left field from Chris Taylor.

J.P.: Thoughts on the Q for Eloy/Cease/etc trade? We gotta know!
Keith Law: Already filed to ESPN an hour-plus ago. Waiting for them to post.

Nick: Do you think Lucius Fox can hit enough to be a major league starter one day?
Keith Law: He needs to get a LOT stronger. But he’s also the age of a HS senior.

TJ: In terms of prospects, how much would Brad Hand or another good reliever fetch in trade? Two top 100s?
Keith Law: Any GM who gives up two top 100s for Brad Hand should be fired.

Jake: Now that Quintana is off the board, who do you think is the best starter available for trade?
Keith Law: Probably Gray.

Frank: Keith thanks again for doing these chats. There were no Giants on the list. Were Beede, Reynolds or Suarez close to cracking the top 50?
Keith Law: Not really, no. Been a tough year on the farm for them.

Mo: The Yankees had 5 top 50 guys preseason. One graduated, one got hurt (Kaprelian), and two (Rutherford and Frazier) seem to have dropped off. Two questions — (1) it seems like the farm overall has had a good year, with something like 6-9 top 100 or near top 100 caliber prospects even after the graduations and injuries, but that there’s been a move from those guys being concentrated at the top of the list to the bottom. Is that fair? (2) Why in particular did Frazier and Rutherford drop as much as they did. Frazier has a 122 wRC+ in AAA and success in his tiny sample in the majors. Curious what you’re seeing on him that isn’t necessarily reflected by the stats.
Keith Law: Frazier is in the majors and ineligible.

KG: Hi Keith – in the Quintana trade to the Cubs, did the White Sox get more from the Cubs than they were being offered by other teams in the offseason? The Sox weren’t going to contend so not trading him before the season seemed to introduce risk from subpar performance or injury to Quintana. And if the Sox were waiting for a bidding war between multiple teams still in contention at the trade deadline, did they trade Quintana too soon now? Thanks.
Keith Law: I know Hahn said it was the best offer they’d gotten on Quintana. I don’t have any information to the contrary – I’ve said before that the rumored Astros offer was bogus.

Marcus: Holy crap, the White Sox will be amazing in 2020
Keith Law: It sure as heck looks like it.

Theo: Am I going to regret letting go of Eloy?
Keith Law: I think Eloy is going to be a star. Whether you regret it depends on what Q does for you in the next three years.

Darren: Who was the toughest omission? the number 51 guy you couldn’t fit on the list but wanted to?
Keith Law: There wasn’t just one guy, but others I considered at least: Morejon, Conner Greene, Ronald Guzman, Kevin Maitan (just too little info), Sheffield, Fernando Romero, Sixto, Alzolay.

Evan: I was a bit surprised to see Yordan Alvarez in your top 50 as you tend to be generally averse to 1B-only prospects. Is this a reflection of how monstrous his bat could be, or do you buy into reports stating the Astros believe he could play LF?
Keith Law: Dude can hit.

KPB: What do you like about Logan Warmouth that makes you rank him higher than others ?
Keith Law: Again, don’t know or care where “others” rank him. I like his swing, his defense at short, and his makeup.

Dave53: The last fourteen outs recorded by Dillon Maples for the Double-A Tennessee Smokies have all been by strikeout. (Three hits, Three walks, and no runs over the five outings.) Can Maples contribute at the MLB level this year?
Keith Law: Heard he’s been up to 99 with a +++ slider. His K% in AA is 45% (27/60). Yeah, I think he can. They should nickname him “the Revenant” because his prospect status was deader than dead.

Darren: Have you read the reports on the recent differences in the making of MLB baseballs? How do changes get made to the specific size and make up of an MLB baseball and not get reported? This is critical information that should be made public, but yet it takes investigative reporting to discover. IMHO it seems like MLB management is trying to sneak moreoffense into the game artificially without telling the fans? Would like to hear your thoughts.
Keith Law: As Rob Arthur wrote in that great 538 piece I keep citing, the specifications for regulation baseballs are flexible enough that the ball can differ in tangible ways and still be considered okay.

addoeh: What time will you be on Waddle and Silvy this afternoon to talk about Quintana for Jimenez/Cease?
Keith Law: Good guess. 4:30 CT.

Norman: How far has Corey Ray fallen in your eyes, and with the good news on his arm and the incredible start to his pro career (albeit in rookie league) was Keston Hiura anywhere close to your top 50?
Keith Law: Ray is well out of the top 50, and Hiura was not close. He doesn’t really have a position right now.

TP: Do off the field issues involving a prospect’s family members impact his draft status or standing with an organization?
Keith Law: It may have hurt Groome in the draft last year; there were a lot of rumors about bad makeup, and I think most folks knew there was at least one family member involved with drugs, but I don’t know how much that drove Groome down to pick 12 – or if it was just general concern about a HS pitcher. I know a lot of false stories were out there about him last spring and even after he signed.

Beau Burrows: Coming into the year Florial was all tools. Has his performance this year put him in the conversation for your top 50?
Keith Law: It’s a long path from setup to contact, and it shows in the 30%+ strikeout rate. I think he’s still intriguing, but he wasn’t a consideration at all for the 50.

Greg P: What’s the outlook for Kyle Zimmer? I know he is pitching again, but will his health ever let him get to the majors and will it be as a reliever if he does?
Keith Law: They’re giving him so many days off between outings that I’m not sure how he could pitch as a major-league reliever.

Formica: Do what extent do you care about this juiced ball stuff?
Keith Law: I care if it’s affecting player outcomes. If certain pitchers are struggling with the transition because the ball is different, that’s a real issue, not just for my work but for the work done by the people I know in front offices and scouting departments too.

Chris A: Do you see any reasonable, wholesale changes that can be made to the minor league system to make it better for players? Apart from just increasing salaries, is there something grander that could be done?
Keith Law: Pay them a fair wage (and comply with minimum wage laws). Restore the old rule 5 rules. Tie minor league free agency to age rather than service time, so college players don’t have to wait till they’re 27 or 28 to get there.

EC: Thanks for the top 50 list and all the content you produce. My question is about that content, which appears here, on Paste, on BBC America, and other places outside of ESPN. Is this something that you had to negotiate for? Or are you allowed to do your own thing as long as it isn’t directly competing with other ESPN content?
Keith Law: Short answer is that my contract allows me to write non-sports content for other outlets. I couldn’t write about sports for anyone else without ESPN’s express permission, and in that case, they would be within their rights to withhold it.

Anthony: Years back I was leaning into the anti vax movement but eventually settled into the “spread them out” camp. Looking at the article you post was one of the biggest reasons I came to my senses and moved on from any anti vax sentiments. I truly believe conversation is the key to changing minds, as headstrong as some are. Thanks
Keith Law: I don’t think I’ll ever change the minds of the delusional lunatics in the anti-vax camp. I want there to be plenty of pro-science, pro-vaccination information and commentary out there for anyone who comes into the fray with questions. Otherwise they’ll just hear the idiots.

Matt: If Judge and Stanton can’t hit a baseball 565 feet, can we stop pretending that Mickey Mantle did it?
Keith Law: I said this on Twitter the other day and it applies to Josh Gibson too. Unless the winds were 40 mph blowing out or the ball wasn’t actually a baseball, then no, it didn’t happen.

Nolan: Here’s something that’s been gnawing at me: as good of a job as the White Sox seem to be doing of facilitating their rebuild, how in the holy hell did the Shields/Tatis swap happen? Reports on Tatis seemed positive almost immediately after they traded him, and now he seems to be a budding star. Shouldn’t the Sox have had the best read on him? It’s not like they were going after a huge trade target, and had to include him. They gave him up for a starter who is essentially cooked now and was essentially cooked at the time.
Keith Law: I think that if Tatis had just started playing anywhere before the deal they wouldn’t have done it. He slipped through the internal cracks, which isn’t an excuse, but it’s a reason.

Chris: Now that the Chicago teams set a price, is Gray for Fisher, Perez/Whitley, plus a low end lottery ticket too heavy, too light, or juuuuuuuust right?
Keith Law: That’s an awful lot.

Brian: Now that’s he’s healthy, what kind of player can chavis end up being? what does he need to continue to work on?
Keith Law: Defense is still a big question for me. Also not sold on the approach vs better pitching, but we’ll get a better read on that now that he’s in AA.

Joe: Keith, how concerned are you about the underwhelming seasons of Moniak and Rutherford?
Keith Law: quite concerned, for different reasons – Rutherford because he’s already 20, Moniak because he really doesn’t like left-handed pitching at all.

Little Jerry Seinfeld: What are the Braves doing with these aggressive promotions? Austin Riley to AA?? He’s struggling at high A. Why move up Acuna so quickly ? There’s not even a spot for him on the ML outfield.
Keith Law: Riley to AA makes absolutely no sense. That’s like the Yanks promoting Mateo after a .290 OBP in high-A. I know it’s not just about statistical benchmarks, but don’t you want to reward good performance and avoid rewarding bad performance?

Grant: Keith – How much is proximity to majors factored into these new ranks? I ask because Hunter Greene over Brent Honeywell provides an interesting debate!
Keith Law: Does it? Greene has way more upside than almost any pitcher in the minors. Honeywell is closer to major-league value.

Nate: Quintana get about what you thought or more than you expected?
Keith Law: Given how much I believe in Eloy, I’d say it’s about what I thought.

Dave: Love what you do for the fan’s Klaw!Now that Jimenez and Cease have moved south, does that impact their ranking in any way? Is organization a factor in your ranking?
Keith Law: It is not. Jimenez was #5 this morning, and he’s still #5 now (but we’ve updated the article and logo).

Dougie Jones: Do the White Sox now have the #1 system?
Keith Law: I don’t think I’d put them over Atlanta, which has so much more depth (7 guys on my top 50, and the list keeps on going). But they might be #2. I haven’t done a ton of work on that.

Cam: What are your biggest concerns with Triston McKenzie? Could he potentially be an ace?
Keith Law: That he has to walk around the storm grate or he’ll slip through the bars.

Joe: Yankees only had 1 Top 50 prospect, which isn’t the worst thing since a lot of their top talent has lost eligibility, but is it a concern to you that they don’t have enough top end talent? I assume that they have at least 3 back end Top 100 between Rutherford, Frazier, and Sheffield.
Keith Law: Frazier isn’t eligible, as I said above, but Kaprielian would be somewhere there, and I think Adams would be too. Florial I discussed above, but I think the jury is still out on him.

Andrew: Yordan Alvarez sure shot up quick. He says he models his swing after Hosmer. Do you see any similarity in that comp? More power potential (I hope)?
Keith Law: Looked like it (more power, now and future) to me.

John: I realize its sss but Royce Lewis is posting huge numbers in rookie ball, any reason not to move him to Cedar Rapids (low-A)?
Keith Law: You’re proposing a two-level jump for an 18-yo after 13 games. I don’t agree with that.

Chris: I am guessing Royce Lewis is SSS but I am guessing he is top 75? Could you see him top 50 at years end?
Keith Law: Probably top 75, based on draft ranking. Still playing short, and I don’t believe he can stay there. (If I thought he had even a 50/50 shot at staying at short, he’d have been a top 50 prospect.)

Andy: Why is there no baseball today? This would be a great day to do make up games or even schedule games to allow an off day later this season.
Keith Law: Union wanted the extra off day. I can’t blame them.

Grant: Walker Buehler and Mitch Keller close by on the list – Seems like Buehler’s stuff is more impressive, what does Keller do well?
Keith Law: Keller has been up to 99 before, so I dispute the premise of your question. He’s also got a better build/frame.

Paddy: Why is Robles ranked higher than Acuna? Acuna seems to be a better hitter and has played at higher levels?
Keith Law: I dispute that he’s a better hitter, and he’s played at higher levels because they’re rushing him up the ladder. I think Robles has a better approach and is presently a better defensive CF.

Chris: Hot take on the trade?
Keith Law: I don’t do hot takes.

Neema: Do you think there’s >20% chance that AJ Puk makes the necessary improvement to become a Top-10 prospect?
Keith Law: I’d probably take the under on that. I rarely have more than 3 pitchers in my top 10, and I don’t feel like i could see him as a top 3 pitching prospect.

Jack: Was Alec Hansen close to making it ? If not on the list, has he surpassed Lopez and Fulmer in the system?
Keith Law: I have had Hansen over those two (who project as relievers for me) all along.

Paddy: Why aren’t you high on Jon Duplantier? You can’t argue with his numbers!
Keith Law: I can indeed: He’s a 22-yo college product in low-A. And it’s not huge stuff.

Amy: I was a little surprised to see Groome ahead of Greene. What was the (small) separator and who is more likely to reach a no 2ish?
Keith Law: Groome has the out-pitch curveball. I think they’re both likely to get to #2 or better status.

Chris: Were any July 2 guys in contention this year?
Keith Law: No. I think I’ve ranked exactly one July 2nd 16-year-old on my top 100s in the last five years, Maitan, who by all accounts was an exceptional prospect.

PJ: When Bour has a breakout year you indicate it’s a fluke. When Kingery has a huge power spike is it a fluke or him getting stronger, older, etc. When’s the cutoff on determining that?
Keith Law: Bour is 29. And I don’t believe I ever called it a “fluke.”

Salty: Missed you at Lakewood by a day a couple weeks ago – wanted to check out Sixto live. Would you rank the following based on pure stuff alone Groome/Keller/Sixto? Of the three, does Keller have the more likely chance to become a #1/#2, or is Groome on the same level?
Keith Law: Sixto probably has a top three fastball in all of the minors. He hit 100 six times in 46 or 47 fastballs last night, and it’s got a little life to it. Groome and Keller have way better breaking stuff.

Tracy: Book question: you mentioned Andersonville in a previous post. Is that on your reading docket or not?
Keith Law: Eventually. I have seven Pulitzer winners left, and that’s one of them. It looks like a beast, though, so I’m procrastinating.

Tim: Saw you at Lakewood last night, and noticed you did not stand for God Bless America. I think the requirement of one, let alone two patriotic songs is ridiculous, but do you ever get criticized by fans for doing so or worry about it impacting your employment?
Keith Law: That’s correct. I don’t care if folks don’t like it. You stand if you want to. I’ll refrain from standing if I want to.

Matt: Did Christin Stewart get any consideration? The power seems to be legit, and after a slow start, he’s up to .268/.346/.533 in Erie.
Keith Law: Power is legit but I think he’s a 45 glove in left.

JR: You called it on the podcast yesterday – the Cubs would look to trade for a young, controllable starter. I’m assuming we will get a write up from you on the trade at some point?
Keith Law: I’m still waiting for a link over here.
Keith Law: Whoop, they never sent it to me, but it’s up.

Dom: How do you rate players who will obviously make the majors at some point, i.e. someone like Kyle Holder who fields well enough to at least be a UTIL, versus objectively higher ceiling guys who may never make it?
Keith Law: Huge tilt in favor of the latter. I think the Holders of the world are relatively easy to find. Not value-less, but low value.

Aubrey: Considering the wide variability apparently in what Derek Fisher could be, is it safe to say some organizations might consider him a future star, and value him accordingly? Or his potential floor would temper that for pretty much any team?
Keith Law: Probably fair. I think questions about his defense and how much contact he’ll make in the majors will ding his trade value, but he’d still be a major piece in a larger trade.

Jake : Brewers prospect most likely to crack your next rankings update?
Keith Law: The next update will be 100 names in January. I imagine there will be a half-dozen or so Brewers on there.
Keith Law: OK, I need to wrap this up and get some other work done. Thank you as always for reading and for all of your questions – I had hundreds more than I could answer this week. I should be back next Thursday or Friday, depending on travel, for another chat. Come see me in Harrisburg at Midtown Scholar at 3 pm on Saturday, and at Books Inc in Berkeley CA on Wednesday at 7:30 pm!

Klawchat, 7/7/17.

New content: I reviewed the boardgame Great Western Trail for Paste this week, and previewed the Futures Game for Insiders. I also have a new piece up at Vulture looking at how the TV show Orphan Black has used boardgames as an integral part of several episodes.

I’ll be at Books and Books in Coral Gables, Florida, on Saturday at 3 pm to discuss my new book Smart Baseball and sign copies for readers.

Keith Law: Klawchat: One man on a lonely platform.

Eddy: If we want to say hi during futures game, when would be the best time? And where?
Keith Law: After BP is done, which is usually about an hour before game time, I’ll find a spot on the concourse to meet folks. If anyone has a suggestion for a good location – I’ve never set foot in Loria’s Boondoggle before – I’m all ears.

Jack: Who among the A’s young position players is likely to see success in the big leagues? Other than Barreto and Chapman, are any of Pinder/Healy/Olson/Brugman/Maxwell likely to be MLB regulars or better?
Keith Law: I would not bet on any of those five guys, individually, becoming average big leaguers.

Philip: What have you heard about Logan Allen’s stuff this year? Could he merit offseason top 100 consideration?
Keith Law: I’ve heard it’s been good like it was last year, but if I say he’ll get consideration for the top 100, that’s kind of a non-answer because I consider hundreds of players.

Jim: Is there a way to read your work without receiving gay porn in the mail?
Keith Law: I don’t care for or about the body issue, but characterizing non-explicit photos as “gay porn” is a little dramatic.

Shawn: Does Forrest Whitley have ace potential? Ken Rosenthal said he’s hearing that Whitley is basically untouchable in trade with the Astros.
Keith Law: He’s got pretty high upside, clearly a top 50 guy at this point. Hard to call any teenaged pitcher “untouchable” given how fragile arms are.

Greg: As a fan following GCL/AZL leagues, I know there’s not a ton of value in the stats — if any at all. Is there anything of value in the numbers of a player in those leagues?
Keith Law: The problem is the wide variance in levels of competition makes the stats almost impossible to interpret without scouting context. Look at Dante Bichette Jr’s GCL line from 2011: he was 18, hit .342/.446/.505 with a strikeout rate around 16%, and has been awful ever since. In 900 PA in AA he’s got a .233/.310/.343 line.

Hank: Max Fried has been horrible this year, and there are reports of the stuff not being as good this season. Have you heard anything?
Keith Law: I have heard multiple reports that the stuff is every bit as good as it was last year. I have no idea where you’re getting that info.

Coolguy: Thought’s on Austin Hays?
Keith Law: I think average regular, trending upwards as he continues to hit better pitching.

Fred: Bellinger’s HR production has dropped significantly the last couple of weeks. Realistically, the previous pace was not sustainable, and I assume the league has made adjustments, and now its his turn to do same. Given that the overall AB quality looks good, he should start hitting them out again in time, agree? Also, what kind of ceiling for him is realistic?
Keith Law: I think he’s a regular 30-HR guy who’ll have a few 40+ seasons, with strong OBPs and ridiculous defense at first. MVP type of player.

Jshep12: Yankee brass anonymously criticizing Bird for being hurt. Warranted or are they jerks?
Keith Law: Jerks. Even if it’s true, don’t slag your players to the press. And put your fucking name on it if you do it, you cowards.

Bill: Do you believe Maikel Franco will ever be good enough to start on a good team?
Keith Law: I think he still has the potential but he’s shown no adjustments in almost two years now.

Coolguy: If Carter Kieboom comes back soon and continues to hit could he still make to p100 lists, or has he missed too much time?
Keith Law: There are a lot of ifs in there that make it hard to answer. Even if he misses the rest of the season, it might be difficult to justify putting him on my top 100, but lack of information isn’t the same as negative information. He would still be a good prospect, but I would be working with less evidence (stats and scouting) to justify a high ranking.

Matt: Does Joe Gray have 1-1 potential
Keith Law: Yes, from what I’ve seen/heard.

Esteban: Is Daniel Brito a riser for you? Is he someone you’ve gotten any eyes on?
Keith Law: Yes, I saw him last week. Completely overmatched. Very interesting projection, but he looked like a kid playing grown-ups.

Stomper: Austin Beck is off to a putrid start in Rookie ball – be concerned? SSS? Other factors like an 18 y/o living on his own? All of the above?
Keith Law: Just the contact rate – he never faced good pitching as an amateur, missing the 2016 summer due to injury and playing weak competition this spring (I saw his school win a 15-0 game via mercy rule in 3 innings, and he got 4 PA). But he could whiff 40% of the time this summer and still end up a good player – it depends on whether he can make any adjustments to his approach now that he’s 1) swinging a wood bat and 2) facing guys with better stuff on a semi-regular basis.

Rob: Favorite QOTSA album? Era Vulgaris is last, but I can see an argument for every other album of theirs being best.
Keith Law: I don’t know that I’ve ever loved any of their albums start to finish; I tend to like 3-5 tracks from every record. Era Vulgaris had the most songs that I liked, but I don’t know if any song from that record makes my QotSA top five.

AlmostSmartBaseball: Eloy Jimenez untouchable for you?
Keith Law: No. If you can get a young, high-end starter with some years of control left, you trade him. And I think Eloy is a future superstar, too.

Mike: What’s been your assessment of Alex Wood? Is he this good or is this not sustainable?
Keith Law: He’s got very little history of health, and is now throwing harder than before, so I think he’ll continue to dominate as long as he can stay on the mound but am skeptical that he can do that all year.

Benjamin: What would you say is Royce Lewis’ ceiling?
Keith Law: A 60 overall player as a CF – a sometime All-Star who adds value on defense, with his bat, and especially on the bases.

James Williams: Any suggestions you could give to a 23 year old trying to figure out what they want to do in life?
Keith Law: Find something you love to do and see if there’s any potential for a career in it. Many people don’t get that opportunity at all, but you’re young enough to give it one shot.

Jerry: I got rid of my cable specifically because of ESPN. Chord cutting and ESPN’s general crapiness are not independent of one another. What’s it like to work for a failing company?
Keith Law: You seem to have some issues, not the least of which is your atrocious command of the language. ESPN isn’t failing and Disney, which is my actual employer (my paychecks say Disney, my benefits are Disney), is thriving.

Benjamin: What is Brent Rooker’s potential?
Keith Law: I think there’s a low probability of him hitting enough high-level pitching to be a regular, but that potential is there – he could be a regular at 1b/dh. The swing itself is fine and he’s strong as heck.

Nick: Bobby Bradley seems to be getting better as the year goes on, any chance he makes enough contact in the majors to be a starting 1B?
Keith Law: Any chance, yes, but a low one. Didn’t look good when I saw him last month, especially in terms of picking up pitches.

James: Do you think players like Fulmer and Aaron Nola will be available at the deadline for huge returns?
Keith Law: I would be surprised if either was traded.

Nate : Keith, Chicago media is pumping Collins defensive improvement. Have you heard anything to validate this?
Keith Law: Not at all.

Kris: What are the chances of Aaron Blair and Jake Thompson regaining their footing on possible MLB careers?
Keith Law: I’d give Blair more of a chance than Thompson, but both have lost stuff, not just results, and I don’t know why or when to forecast a pitcher recovering lost velocity.

John: I have read several articles about the ball 100% being juiced this year. What say you?
Keith Law: I interviewed Rob Arthur (538) on the BBTN pod yesterday, and he mentioned the Ringer article on the same topic. The evidence is quite clear. The ball is different, enough to explain more than half of the rise in HR.

Todd Boss: How is Seth Romero getting an overslot deal? He has no college team to return to and all these well-known character issues. What leverage does he have?
Keith Law: I think some teams told players pre-draft, “we’ll give you $x if you get to our pick, so tell teams above us you won’t sign.” That’s not legal, of course, but everyone does it and I don’t see any harm at all in it. However, if you picked above Washington and liked Romero, wouldn’t you just take him and dare him to turn you down? Maybe give him Matt Harrington’s phone number? Or Karsten Whitson’s?

Jon: Any concerns over Austin Meadows’ injury history?
Keith Law: Yes, very much so.

Jon Orr: What’s Jack Flaherity’s upside and when can Cards fans expect to see him up?
Keith Law: It’s mid-rotation/average starter sort of stuff, with plus command. I would like to see him Sunday vs the good World bats to see how guys who haven’t seen him before seem to pick up the ball out of his hand; he’s always had a very clean delivery, but I don’t know how much deception is there. I do like him quite a bit, just not sure how high the upside is.

Brian: Bashing JP Crawford and downgrading his potential has become a common media theme in recent weeks. But does his performance since a week on the DL indicate that he’s a young guy who was pressing and just needed a break and is now reverting to the mean for someone with his natural talent?
Keith Law: I can’t and won’t speak to what anyone else might have said about him. I can tell you I am getting consistent, negative feedback from scouts who’ve seen him, saying he’s swinging too far uphill and isn’t playing the same caliber of defense as in the past.

Jon V : What are your early thoughts on Zimmer at the major league level?
Keith Law: I think he’s been as expected – solid vs RHP, atrocious vs LHP.

fortekay: Klaw! Thomas Nido made the futures game and Pat Mazeika is having a big offensive year (even if he’s a bit older for the league). Either long term options at Catcher?
Keith Law: Nido at least as a backup. Mazeika less. Hasn’t held up since the hot start and he’s too old for A-ball.

Jake: Buxton seems to have figured some things out. Swing looks shorter, eliminating some holes. Have you seen the changes and do you think they are sustainable?
Keith Law: I do think so – better swing decisions, better contact in the zone.

John: Hey Keith. Anything new to report on Alec Hansen. Was looking at his numbers and he is just dominating guys. But that is reading the stat line. Do you think he has legit #1 upside or more like 2 or 3?
Keith Law: He dominated guys in low-A, where he was last year, and has been fair in 3 high-A starts. Stuff is huge, command not there yet.

Evan: Is it time to start worrying about Thomas Szapucki with his injuries?
Keith Law: No.

Mike Mitchell: Is there an argument for the Astros to do nothing? They have 5 of the top 57 in Baseball America’s update. The playoffs are a crapshoot. Long window. Why shorten it?
Keith Law: I think the argument for pushing now is that they may never be this good again in the window, even if they have other good years. It’s rare to be in this comfortable a position in July, so Luhnow can patch around the edges and focus on acquisitions likely to improve their October odds.

Your fan: Healy not likely to be an average MLB regular? that’s a bit of a surprise……
Keith Law: It’s a surprise that a bad defensive 3b with a .304 OBP isn’t an average regular?

Matthew: Can we talk about Jose Ramirez? You seemed to be higher on him than most (IIRC, he was on a “just missed” top 100 list), but I don’t think anyone saw this coming, right? Last 365 days, 144 wRC+???
Keith Law: He was on a just missed list, then wasn’t eligible the next year when he might have made the list, but no, I would never have forecasted this kind of star-level offense from him. Thought he’d be a good player, but if I thought he’d be this, I would have been way more aggressive.

Paul: I’ve been really excited reading the box scores for Gohara this year. I watched him for the first time last night, and I’d read that he was large, but he’s even bigger than I thought. Can that body work and hold up as a big league starter?
Keith Law: I’m not concerned about the body as much as the fact that he’s been throwing so hard at such a young age. I guess eventually he could have knee and back issues from his size – he looks like CC Sabathia already – but for now it’s just arm health and command that I’d focus on .

Derek: Brian Goodwin has been playing well at the MLB level recently. Has the former top-75 prospect regained some of his luster? What do you expect going forward? Related, who do you like more for the Nats in 2018 – Goodwin or Michael A. Taylor (who also has been hitting well, though may be coasting on some BABIP fuel). MAT can clearly stick in CF. Can Goodwin? So far the arm looks plus but what about Goodwin’s range?
Keith Law: I think there’s some SSS going on with Goodwin, but at least he’s turning on good fastballs again. I’d like to know where his speed went – dude was a plus runner as an amateur. Would probably bet on Taylor over Goodwin going forward.

Derek: The Nats aren’t foolish enough to give up Robles for a reliever, are they? Soto, too, has to be untouchable in a reliever trade, right?
Keith Law: Don’t think Robles is going anywhere. Soto’s intriguing but the guy has barely played this year and is still on the DL (now rehabbing in the GCL). If he’s untouchable too, what do they have left to make a big move? I think that’s tantamount to saying you’re not going to swing a Miller/Chapman type of trade.

Evan: What are you thoughts on Mets first rounder David Peterson?
Keith Law: Mid-rotation starter type. Big groundball guy, deception, average fastball, can really pitch – feel, command, control. Thought he was a little light for a first-round pick but I think the industry as a whole valued him in the top 20.

Joe: I’m assuming Ryan Mountcastle ends up in the OF but how good of a prospect would he be if he hypothetically played just average defense at SS?
Keith Law: If he were capable of playing average D at short he probably wouldn’t hit like he does.

Mike M: Is J.B. Bukauskas a top 100 guy? The Astros sure love drafting electric two-pitch guys and insisting on starting them.
Keith Law: He’ll probably be on the back of the list; anyone I’ve ranked in the top 10 in a draft class who has signed right away has made a subsequent top 100 barring something catastrophic (like surgery).

Ryan: I keep hearing Cards draft pick Fuller being referred to as “intriguing.” Do you have any additional insight on him?
Keith Law: I wrote him up in the Cards draft report. There’s some Larry Green comparisons there.

Jay: Planning a board game night with my 6 year old son and some of his friends. Some suggestions?
Keith Law: Ticket to Ride would be appropriate for that age. Mole Rats in Space is a great coop game that you could probably play with them, just giving them a little guidance.

BobbyL: Can Juan Soto make a jump into top 20 range by the end of the season
Keith Law: I said this last week too – people in general want their own prospects to be too high. Look at the typical top 20: it’s guys who are performing at a huge level for their ages, guys who were very high picks/big bonus kids, or otherwise guys with plus tools.

Logan: If you’re the Jays, 4.5 back in the WC, do you sell or buy at the deadline?
Keith Law: Probably sell.

Isaac: Have you had a chance to see Maitan yet, any initial reactions other than his original write ups. Obviously he just got in games, but hadn’t heard anything from extended
Keith Law: I haven’t. I think he’s played 2-3 games.

Al : Really enjoyed the podcast yesterday. You’re truly great in that format. What can your readers do to get you a regular podcast?
Keith Law: Thank you – it was great to be at the helm and to get back together with Eric. ESPN doesn’t run many podcasts, however; they’ve decided at a corporate level that it’s not an area for investment.

Matt: The Orioles appear to not be signing Conlon. How does that happen? Don’t they agree to a number prior to the selection?
Keith Law: Sometimes one side or the other changes their minds post-draft. Also, it sounds like they’re going to go way over for Cameron Bishop, a UC-Irvine starter who missed the whole spring with a strained oblique* but has been dealing on the Cape with an average fastball and two plus secondary pitches. (*Bishop strains his oblique and doesn’t pitch for four months. Clarke Schmidt at South Carolina strains his oblique, misses one start, comes back to throw 100+ pitches a few times and then blows out his elbow. Weird.)

Jason: Fair to say that the whole “voter fraud” phenomenon is the Rs way of trying to insulate against the coming demographic wave that (if they don’t change their message) is going to wash over them?
Keith Law: I interpret it as “we’re going to purge voter rolls of people who aren’t likely to vote for us.”

fortekay: Best Futures Game prospect no one has really heard of?
Keith Law: Yordan Alvarez.

Dave: How is Greene not signed yet? Chances he doesn’t sign?
Keith Law: Doesn’t matter until the deadline. I believe he’ll sign.

Larry: As a University of Florida baseball fan, I’m curious your thoughts on Brady McConnell. I know he was a top-100 draft prospect, but what kind of player is he?
Keith Law: More tools/athleticism than performance. Could develop into a first-rounder if he hits, but I saw a guy who couldn’t wait to swing at the first strike he saw.

John: There’s been plenty of talk about Rosario; but, how far away is Dom Smith? September? 2018? Thanks!
Keith Law: Ready this fall, but I’m sure the Mets will wait a good three or four more years just to be on the safe side.

AJ: Have you heard anything about Jesus Luzardo recently? Eric Longenhagen said he was throwing in the mid 90s.
Keith Law: I believe it. He was doing that pre-injury too.

Mark: Hi Keith – my sister is moving to Milan and I’m looking to get her some (translated) Italian novels as a parting gift. So far my ideas are The Betrothed (Manzoni), The Leopard (Tomasi), and Christ Stopped at Eboli (Levi). Do you have any (other) recommendations that give nice background/introduction on Italian/Milanese culture? Thanks!
Keith Law: Perhaps the Elena Ferrante novels? I also liked Alessandro Piperno’s books, but they are weird and in some ways a little testosterone-fueled like Portnoy’s Complaint (Roth is a clear influence).

Tye: Would someone like Stroman, Gray, or Archer be a reasonable get for the Twins?
Keith Law: It makes absolutely no sense for the Twins to trade prospects for major-league help right now.

Your fan: One thing that surprised me about your book is that you didn’t discuss the value of traditional scouting more as online you’re a big advocate for those skills.
Keith Law: I gave scouting a whole chapter in a book about analytics.

Will: Lucas Sims still a reliever for you?
Keith Law: Yes, more likely than starter.

Tye: Has Zack Granite changed his prospect status from fringe prospect to an actual one with his play this season?
Keith Law: No.

Mike M: K. Tucker, Franklin Perez and Martes for Gerrit Cole. Who says no?
Keith Law: Doubt the Astros would consider that. Tucker is ridiculously good for his age. Actually, so is Perez.

romorr: Cedric Mullins a future regular, or 4th OFer?
Keith Law: Probably a fourth OF but a real (nonzero) chance he’s a regular. Kind of undersized but strong for his build.

Morris: We all got a chuckle out of bookcase-gate. But it wasn’t really funny at all – the guy got on your case because he’s an Oregon State fan that didn’t like what you said about Luke Heimlich. That seems incredibly dangerous to me – the rush to defend someone who molested a girl aged 4-6 because he’s good at baseball.
Keith Law: I saw some of his other tweets about Heimlich and he was kind of a truther – not denying the crime, but handwaving it away as something that’s over, that no one should be concerned about going forward, which at the very least is a naive interpretation of events about which none of us knows very much at all.

Steve: How concerned are you over Anderson Espinoza’s lingering injury? How much of it is legitimate worry about a smaller pitcher who throws that hard, albeit with an easy delivery? How much might be the Padres just trying to manage his innings?
Keith Law: He’s not small, but I wonder if they’re delaying the inevitable here. He’s going to miss the entire summer anyway.

Scott: What should oakland do with Alonso? Is he an ok guy to offer something like 3/36 to?
Keith Law: Age 30, so no, I wouldn’t.

Steve: What do you think of the O’s strategy to sell off all of their international signing pool money?
Keith Law: I think it’s awful but it’s par for the course for that org. You can’t ignore an entire swath of the player pool and suffer no consequences.

Jason: Talk dirty to me about Fernando Tatis. Star or Superstar?
Keith Law: I would say ‘likely’ to star with a chance to be a superstar. Scouts are all in. I saw him in March and physically he reminds me a lot of Machado at that age.

Greg: Is it time for the Pirates to move Chad Kuhl to the bullpen?
Keith Law: If they have a better option for the spot, yes. I don’t think Kuhl can start, never did.

Johnny O: Chance Adams? I can only scout the stat line but he’s been promoted to AAA and jumped into BA’s midseason top 100. What have you seen/heard about him?
Keith Law: Performer, not big ceiling, get very mixed opinions from scouts, definitely a big league starter.

Nick: Thanks for the continued hard work, Keith. Have you hard anything more about Lucas Giolito’s mechanics and delivery?
Keith Law: Mechanics largely back to where they were and his velocity is up again. Just not consistent start to start like he needs to be.

Steve: I once hit a homerun in Little League the day after we got our flu shots. So flu shots must cause power breakouts. I’ll make a YouTube video and soon everyone will agree.
Keith Law: If you ever want to see some of the most facepalm-inducing arguments ever, check out that mammoth vaccine/anti-vax Twitter thread I’m on. The denialists are the best cherrypickers I’ve ever seen, on top of their innumeracy and inability to distinguish correlation from causation.

Devin: What should the Brewers do? Stand pat and see if they can still win the division?Trade a top 100 prospect for Quintana? Weird since they are technically still in a rebuild.
Keith Law: I think so. Can’t sell if you’re in first place, right? What a terrible message to the fans. But I wouldn’t buy, especially not with several major prospects (Ray, Clark, Erceg) having disappointing years.

Tom: So last year it was Brach, this year it’s LeMahieu… actually, my question is, why do you think Andrelton Simmons didn’t get any consideration for the AL team? If nothing else, he’s sporting a 3.4 WAR this year which makes him equal with Trout (shut up).
Keith Law: Simmons should probably be an All-Star regular, but his value is so much on the defensive side that he’s rarely recognized for what he is.

Justin: The cable industry is failing, ESPN is just caught in the tailspin. Eventually the cable industry with have to make adjustments.
Keith Law: I agree with that. Can ESPN sell directly to consumers via an app and streaming package? I don’t know, but I think we need to try that, as do most cable channels.

Guest: Any chance you have gotten to see Domingo Acevedo this year? Do you think he has a future as a starter?
Keith Law: Last year. Not with that delivery he doesn’t.

BEN : Is Yordan Alvarez a top 10 1b prospect, even if that’s not that much
Keith Law: Yes, he’s legit.

Matt: You might not remember this, but last year I asked you about Kingerys potential and you said Altuve with more power. I thought you were crazy because no scouts said Kingery would develop power. I just wanted to say that, you sir, are very good at what you do.
Keith Law: Sometimes I get something right.

Aaron: What does this injury do to Torres? Will he still become a star?
Keith Law: Not worried about it. It sucks for us, and maybe pushes back his arrival by a few months, but he’s still going to be a star.

John: What do you make of the Rays’ failure to sign Rasmussen? Who, pardon the pun, dropped the ball here?
Keith Law: Because the player didn’t participate in the predraft voluntary MRI process, he loses the protection granted by rule 4 if, hypothetically, the Rays found something wrong with his arm in their post-draft physical. (I must be very clear that no one has told me what, if anything, they found.) So the Rays can walk away and still get same-slot compensation, while Rasmussen has to re-enter the draft next year rather than gaining free agency. Do I blame anyone? I think the lesson is that there’s a benefit to submitting an MRI pre-draft if MLB includes you in that program – had he done so, and whatever team took him declined to offer him the minimum for that slot, he would have gained free agency. But Griffin Canning submitted an MRI, and whatever was on it – supposedly he might need TJ surgery – was enough to knock him out of the first round completely.

Joe: Can Rutherford or Frazier play cf or is Fowler the CF of the future for Yankees?
Keith Law: Rutherford and Frazier are corner outfielders only.

Will: Speaking of Karsten Whitson, what do you make of Kyle Serrano’s situation? Talented pitcher turns down $$$ to play for his dad, has an underwhelming college career+TJ, and then leaves the team in his final season for personal reasons but just signed an overslot deal with Houston.
Keith Law: “Overslot” was $200K. He turned down seven figures out of HS. If you’re a pitcher and you get that kind of offer, take the money.

Jake: No chance for R. Lewis to stay at short? Nick Gordon?
Keith Law: Gordon is a true SS. Lewis has no chance IMO.

Reds Fan: Why Herget over Mahle in the Futures game? Please explain this to me.
Keith Law: I think you’re taking that a little too seriously. Herget’s really good as a reliever – and putting one or two good relievers on each roster is a good plan, IMO, given the nature of the game and the fact that every year we get someone who comes in and can’t get an out (or throw a strike).

Nate : Keith, how frequently are you speaking with scouts on players? Daily, Weekly
Keith Law: Daily is about right.

Your fan: do you ever film when scouting? If so, what equipment do you use?
Keith Law: Always, HD-quality sony camera (so we can use the footage on air).

Steve: Since you saw Brito recently, did you get any eyes on Jojo Romero?
Keith Law: No, I saw Medina, great arm, really loose, not very polished but the breaking ball is in there.

Moltar: Who names all three of their kids Wander? Is he lost?
Keith Law: I think this is a custom in some countries/cultures – same first name, differing middle names – although I’m not certain.

Dan: What’s your projection for Derek Fisher? Is he a regular as a corner OF?
Keith Law: Yes, potentially a star.

Ryan: I read Delvij Perez was upset about being sent to a short season team and then he was benched for throwing his helmet after a K or something silly like that. Add on the steroid test, are there real makeup issues at play there?
Keith Law: There were real makeup issues pre-draft too. Lot of reports of immaturity. Got in a yelling match with an opposing coach once before the draft. He needs to grow up.

Greg: Keith, my brother is having a tough time. 25, unemployed, living at home. He never smiles and only responds to our parents with yes/no answers. I think he’s depressed but it’s impossible to talk to him about it. Any advice?
Keith Law: Sounds like it. Any chance you could get him to talk to a doctor? Even his primary care doc might have something to offer.

Dan: Do you do a midseason prospect rankings update?
Keith Law: Yes, it’ll be up on Thursday, and that’s why I’ve avoided some questions about players who’ll be on it.

Paul: Hey Keith – you’ve probably been asked this before, so forgive me if I’ve missed it, but have you ever thought about creating a board game? Or maybe if not creating from scratch, co-creating or consulting on one? Now that you’ve written a book (one that I loved, by the way), it seems like that should be next!
Keith Law: Yes, of course, but I wonder if I know the math/modeling aspects enough to do it well.
Keith Law: That’s all for this week. Thank you for all of the questions, as always, and I hope to see many of you this weekend in Miami. I’ll be back to chat again next week once the midyear top 50 is up.

Klawchat, 6/30/17.

My Insider post looking at the top free agents in the international class is now up. Also, did you know I wrote a book, called Smart Baseball? I did. I hear it might even be good.

Keith Law: Let’s shock the world with what we know. Klawchat.

Adam: What is a realistic ceiling for Juan Soto?
Keith Law: Funny you ask. I’ll be seeing him tonight at 7 pm at Lakewood.

Billy Beane: Who was more upside, Anderson Espinoza or Sixto Sanchez?
Keith Law: If healthy, Espinoza, by quite a bit. But he’s not healthy and Sixto is.

Adam: Chris Rodriguez seems to be skyrocketing up prospect lists. What about him stands out and just how high do you see him rising?
Keith Law: He isn’t “skyrocketing” up any of my lists. I heard he looked good in extended, but those are glorified practice games. He’s gotten bombed in two actual starts this year. He was a pop-up kid in Florida in last year’s draft, very projectable, started to show more velocity this spring, still a work in progress.

Mason: Will Gregory Polanco ever figure it out?
Keith Law: I think he figured a lot out last year. I don’t think he’s a .264 BABIP guy (his figure this year).

CJ: How many career games will it take for Nick Williams to earn his first walk?
Keith Law: I’ll answer this: I think it’ll take at least 50 games for him to draw his 10th walk (unless they bat him right before the pitcher, that’s cheating).

Sloth: Higher ceiling – Barreto or Chapman?
Keith Law: Barreto, with Chapman, a 70 defender at third right now, having the higher floor than Barreto, who still may end up at another position.

Bob: Luis Castillo was very impressive against Milwaukee this week. Specifically, that looked like a plus changeup and he sat 97-99 all game. Future two perhaps?
Keith Law: Not without a better breaking ball, which is going to be hard for him given his arm action/slot.

Jennifer: Do the Braves have a solid argument/reason to make a move now for a front-line, cost-controlled starter that will help next year and the year after or are they still better off waiting?
Keith Law: If the right one is available, sure, but I have a feeling if they call on someone like Sonny Gray the price is going to be exorbitant because wouldn’t you ask Atlanta for the moon?
Keith Law: I guess that’s me saying I doubt they end up doing that.

G: It seemed like Calvin Mitchell’s stock dropped a good amount in the past 10 months or so. Were his problems mechanical? His swing looked nice in the HR in his first GCL game.
Keith Law: He didn’t hit well all spring, and when your only tool is your bat, and scouts come see you not hit, it’s kind of a problem.

Anthony: There are myriad teams in the AL technically “in the race.” Who of KC, SEA, TEX, ANA, TOR, BAL should be selling?
Keith Law: I can’t see the Angels selling, and unless the Orioles are willing to sell Machado I don’t know that it makes a ton of sense for them. The Royals and Mariners should probably sell. The others probably should wait another 2-3 weeks before deciding. A 2-10 or 10-2 fortnight can change your strategy.

Adam: Is there anything left for Vlad Jr and Bichette to prove offensively in Low-A? Their numbers are ridiculous even when comparing them to a similarly vaunted prospect like Tatis Jr.
Keith Law: I would move Bichette before Vlad, since Bo’s a year older. I don’t think it’s imperative that Vlad move right away.

Bertil: Do you think Astros should switch positions for Correa and Bergman? And if so, when?
Keith Law: I do, now, but I don’t think it happens.

Jay: Just got back from Phoenix. Thanks for all the food and drink recommendations. They were all incredible. Blue Hound especially!
Keith Law: It’s a better food town than its reputation would indicate.

Raphael: How outlandish is it to believe that Vladdy Jr is the #1 prospect in baseball?
Keith Law: It’s 80 on the 20-80 outlandish scale. You must be a Jays fan.

Chad: Has Jorge Ona been dissapointing, or is he doing fine (despite being 20 yrs old in A-ball)
Keith Law: He’s doing fine.

nb: Keith – Been a horrible season here in Philly. I need some good news. What have you seen or heard about Sixto Sanchez? Thanks!
Keith Law: Throwing very hard (regularly topping out at 99) with plus control but fringy to below average secondary stuff.

Adam D.: Should I be excited about what Brian Reynolds is doing at High-A, or skeptical because he is a college guy playing in an offense-friendly league against young(ish) competition?
Keith Law: I’d like to see more power and walks, really. San Jose hasn’t historically been good for home runs, but I’m surprised he isn’t walking more.

Pat: Mitch K. or Walker B. ?
Keith Law: It helps if you give me the last names. If that’s Mitch Keller, I have him ranked well above Walker Buehler.

Casey: Rockies have lost 8 straight… do you think they have the pitching to make the playoffs?
Keith Law: The odds of them missing the playoffs are pretty low, given how far ahead they are in the standings. I don’t think they have the pitching to do much in the playoffs, but that’s another question.

Jeff: Bellinger’ future average will look like? Sub .280 due to aggressive nature of swing?
Keith Law: I don’t know what you’re referring to about his swing, but I think his feel for the zone is so advanced that he’ll gradually get up to high batting averages and OBPs.

Josh in DC: What are you feelings about Red Sox’ trade for Tyler Thornburg? With full hindsight, it’s as bad a trade as one can imagine. But it still made sense (to me, anyway) at the time. How do you evaluate something like this?
Keith Law: I agree, it made sense on the day they made it. And really, Shaw’s having a great season, but he’s still a platoon player (.293 OBP vs lefties) and is already 27. It’s not like they gave up a top prospect.

Emily: Hi Keith,

I don’t have a question, but as someone who has suffered with depression, I was just hoping you could share this link with your readers. I came across an article today about someone sharing the story of their own battles with depression and how baseball has helped them through it.

http://toronto.locals.baseballprospectus.com/2017/06/30/staying-in-the…
Keith Law: Thank you. The more we talk about mental illness, the more we reduce the stigma around it.

Sam: Yandy Diaz…Where do you see him long term?
Keith Law: Think he ends up a regular at 3b.

Casey: Ever had any roommate conflicts?
Keith Law: I’ve been married for 22 years, so, yeah, a few.

Scherzer’s Blue Eye: Soto is on the DL, dammit.
Keith Law: Dammit is right – I didn’t even check the rosters.

Chris: It doesn’t seem like many people believed Bo Bichette had this in him. Can he keep it up, and where would he fall in your top 100 today?
Keith Law: I’ve always liked him and spoken well of his bat, but really, if anyone thought he’d do this, he would have been a top ten pick last year, and even I didn’t argue for that. I’ll do an updated top 50 after the Futures Game and I assume he’ll be on it – but I haven’t actually sat down to make up the list, so I reserve the right to change my mind.

Joe: What do you think about the Cardinals sending guys down to the minors to work out their swings; such as Grichuk and others? Is this a good thing or a sign that the major league coaching staff isn’t able to help them?
Keith Law: I would think it’s easier to alter a swing in the minors than it is while your MLB club is trying to win. Also, his issue is less his swing and more his chronic problems with recognizing offspeed stuff.

Scherzer’s Blue Eye: Thoughts on Daniel Johnson? He’ll be at Lakewood too–would love a report!
Keith Law: Watson is pitching too, plus Adonis Medina throwing for Lakewood … should be a productive night anyway.

Levi: What does an Andrew McCutchen trade return look like at this point? Seems like a 4 WAR bat in left field
Keith Law: He didn’t seem like a 4 WAR bat in left field a month ago, so I wouldn’t expect a trade return to value him as such. I think he gets them a couple of mid-level prospects.

Guy Smiley: With Gurriel Jr., the recent draftees, and the on-fire Bichette in the Jays’ system, is Urena the odd SS out? What’s he worth as trade bait?
Keith Law: Bichette isn’t staying at short, and I wouldn’t bank on G(o)urriel just yet.

Casey: Is Anthony Banda in Arizona minors anything special? A 3?
Keith Law: A 4 with a chance to be a 3.

Guest: Why can’t Nats fans have nice things? Is it because of the whole relocation from Montreal? We didn’t actively solicit the team or steal the team like some other cities, release us from this curse fickle Baseball tyrants.
Keith Law: Well Baltimore stole an NFL team from Cleveland, only to have them win two Super Bowls, so I’m going to say that the fates don’t seem to care about morality in sports franchise success.

Iggy: New QOTSA song, yay or nay?
Keith Law: Yay, it’s on my latest new music playlist.

Rob K: Could any Mets with expiring contracts (Bruce, Asdrubal, Grandy, Walker, Addison Reed, Duda, Reyes) bring anything back that could help the team in 2018? Keep in mind the Wilpons will eat zero money.
Keith Law: Bruce might get something now that he’s hitting again. Reed would. Reyes they can fire into the sun for all I care.

Braves Fan: They say you can never have too much pitching but are the Braves getting close? It seems like every level has multiple good prospects
Keith Law: No, because you’re already seeing some of the attrition, like Weigel getting hurt.

Mike: In the end Lindor, Correa, or Seager?
Keith Law: Oooof. Seager’s the best bat, but Lindor is probably the best all-around player including defense and baserunning. Except the bunting. Stop bunting.

Vic: Does Mountcastle stick at short? Enough bat to play left?
Keith Law: Zero chance he sticks at short. Maybe on LF. I was hoping he or Austin Hays (more Hays) would make the Futures Game, rather than Tanner Scott, who throws hard but is just a reliever in the end.

Taylor: Most upside out of Tyler Austin, Tyler Wade, Miguel Andujar, and Dustin Fowler (get well soon)?
Keith Law: Fowler or Andujar. What a horrible, freak injury for the kid.

Matt: Given the trajectory of Cubs’ season, should they be aggressive with their inventory of prospects to acquire a controllable, young SP?
Keith Law: Yes – and I said in April on the BBTN podcast that I believe that’s been their plan all along. Maybe not young, but with years of control.

SJ: Rabbit-cocktail sounding name aside, does Victor Caratini project as a league average catcher or is he destined for another position?
Keith Law: OK, now he’s Victor Carrot-ini forever. I had him as more a multi-position UT who can also be your backup catcher, so maybe a guy who’s more valuable because he essentially frees up a roster spot than his performance might indicate.

Kevin: I know we are less than ecstatic about comps but is Kyle Wright a strong one for Brady Singer? I couldn’t help but conclude that during the CWS. Wright is a tick or two higher with velo and a deeper repertoire while Singer has the better breaking ball. Thoughts? Thoughts on the Florida fireballer?
Keith Law: Don’t think Singer has a better breaking ball, and he has a worse arm action. I saw them pitch against each other in April; Singer was 90-91 all night, Wright 92-96. Singer has thrown harder since then, and I did see him 92-95 in a short start as a freshman, but I don’t think he’s close to Wright as a starter prospect.

Brad: How soon do you think before you think we’ll be seeing Devers man the hot corner in Boston? Just after the ASB, or will he be a September call-up? Thanks!
Keith Law: I think he gets up in September, but why is he still in AA? He should be in Pawtucket to try to get him more ready for a callup.

Pat D: If someone is going to write, “Considering Frazier’s perceived bravado, could Frazier have asked for a Yankees number to be unretired? Yeah, it’s possible.” should I ever read that person’s work again? This is kind of thing that it seems only a sportswriter can get away with, and I find it infuriating.
Keith Law: I would not read that person’s work again, no. That’s basically the “you have to ask the question” backhanded accusation bullshit we’ve seen with bogus PED claims. It makes me insane.

JoeNathan: Hey Keith, I just wanted to say thank you again for signing my book and I enjoyed our chat. I wanted to ask you about what you meant when you said that you would be much further along with your career had you started 5 years earlier? Was that a comment on the landscape of MLB offices at the time or something else?
Keith Law: I was referring to the benefit of experience seeing players to my ability to evaluate players.

Tony: Do you ever read a book where you can definitely see why it’s considered “great,” but it’s not necessarily good? I’m about 2/3 of the way through EAST OF EDEN and struggling. I respect it as a work of literature, but I’m not sure I actually like it.
Keith Law: All the time. I’ve commented on some of the Pulitzer winners I’ve read that I understand why they won but didn’t enjoy them.

nb: Keith – Just bought the book and it’s set to be my beach reading next week. Are you planning on ant Trenton trips soon? Book can use an autograph. Thanks!
Keith Law: I’m sure I’ll be there again soon, but I don’t plan minor league trips more than a few days in advance because of weather and pitching matchups.

Mike Maddux: Over/under 200 Ks for Giolito next year with him discovering his old form after I screwed him up?
Keith Law: I’ll take the under, but I think he’s eventually a 200 K guy.

Rob K: Do teams really avoid trades that otherwise make sense if it’s with a division rival? Is that wise?
Keith Law: I think that is going by the wayside with the changes in front offices around the game.

Arin, D-town: Is Scott Kingery a future starter or utility guy?
Keith Law: Come on, he’s at least an above average everyday 2b. I just wrote and raved about him a week ago.

AJ: Fernando Tatis Jr comp?
Keith Law: I don’t do comps, sorry … but I will say that I think he’s modeling himself a bit after Manny Machado. He does have a similar frame to Manny at 18, and it looked like he’s adopted some of Manny’s actions and mannerisms. That’s a pretty good guy to imitate.

Asdrubal: Think Duplantier could crack the top 100 this year?
Keith Law: He’s just dominating younger competition. I liked the pick a lot and it’s great to see him healthy, but he needs to get to high-A or even AA now that he’s rolling.

Guest: Hi Keith! Any updates on Morejon and Espinoza of the Padres?
Keith Law: Morejon’s been pitching for Tri-City in the Northwest League. Espinoza is just playing catch and I don’t know if we’ll see him at all this summer.

Juwan: To your mind, did Anthony Rendon live up to your pre-draft eval? Some analysts predicted that he’d win a batting title or two, and he hasn’t quite been that level of hitter, but he’s been red hot for 50 games now and he’s stacked together multiple very solid seasons.
Keith Law: Fangraphs has him at 17 career WAR already, so I’d say yes, he’s living up to it, and he’ll end up a great pick at 6th overall.

Eric: Is Luis Urias a top 20 prospect now?
Keith Law: No. I feel like when people ask “is my favorite team’s prospect in the top X now,” the instinct is to make X too low. Top 20 is ridiculously selective.

Gerard: How did Z Collins get in the Futures game this year?
Keith Law: Getting enough catchers is hard.

Chris: Nick Williams from Phils just called up… he anything good?
Keith Law: See above. Has raw power, some tools, chronically undisciplined at the plate.

John S: Any reason to believe that Lamet should stay in the rotation? His numbers against lefties have been… bad. But, four of his six starts have been better than any other padre this season
Keith Law: It won’t hurt his development to get smacked around by lefties as a starter, but he can’t remain one long-term without a viable third pitch.

Dylan: Is there anything preventing Francisco Mejia from being the top prospect in baseball? His bat at catcher just seems so absurdly good, I’m not sure what the comparison is outside of the elite.
Keith Law: He’s not that advanced a defensive catcher.

Arnie: When the Astros picked up Yordan Alvarez for Josh Fields, I assumed he was a marginal or (non-) prospect. Is there real prospect value there beyond his loud stat line?
Keith Law: He’s legit, no question. Dodgers had given him $3 million, I think.

Andy: Urias going out with a shoulder issue like this is really bad right?
Keith Law: With *that* shoulder issue, yes. That’s heavy surgery. Definitely bad.

JC: Is Flaherty for real, or just having a great year? What does he project to be in the majors?
Keith Law: Been on my top 100 the last two winters. Command/control right-hander, durable, maybe more mid-rotation than top two but still very good.

Ed: Can we stop pretending moderate republicans exist? Can we stop pretending they are going to save us?
Keith Law: That’s not fair. They exist. They’re just not anywhere to be found in the federal government right now.

Mark: What % chance would you give to each Acuna, Allard, and Soroka being September call ups?
Keith Law: Zero or effectively zero to all three.

David: Have you read any good nonfiction recently ?
Keith Law: I just finished a great audiobook, Dancing to the Glory of Monsters by Jason Stearns, right before I pulled into the parking lot here. It’s about the series of wars in the DR of the Congo since 1990, and tries to get at why the country is such a disaster. I also loved Ed Yong’s I Contain Multitudes, about the microbiome, which I reviewed in March.

Josh: David Lynch fan? If so, wondering your thoughts if you’ve seen the Twin Peaks revival
Keith Law: Not a huge fan. Haven’t seen the revival.

MP, San Jose: Who is the pitcher on the cover of your book, and why that pitcher in particular?
Keith Law: Stock photo.

Vic: Does Franklin Perez make it to Houston by 2020?
Keith Law: I would guess 2019.

Dave: Can Josh Bell be a top 5 first baseman in the game?
Keith Law: Probably not? But I had to think about it. I do think he’s going to be very good, and if he really unlocks all that raw power in games, then he probably could be.

Tom: Tyler Glasgow – starter or reliever?
Keith Law: Ah dinnae ken.

Robert: What happened to AJ Reed? Does he still have a shot to fulfill last year’s promise?
Keith Law: Zero adjustments in big leagues. They throw offspeed stuff for strikes in the majors. He’s going to have to figure out how to adjust to that.

Tom: Kevin Newman going to hit enough to be an everyday player?
Keith Law: He’s been disappointing this year, especially since he was hit in the head by a pitch about 5-6 weeks ago. I would have said yes without hesitation in March, and he’s still making a lot of contact, but scouts have told me it’s just not hard enough contact.

Tim: You’ve been relatively modest about your long time praise of Judge, but even from the get go during your draft review, you were extremely positive about him. What’s more rewarding for you, on guys that you are high on? An immediate breakout like Judge or late bloomers like Hicks and Smoak?
Keith Law: Smoak is beyond “late,” so I can’t take credit for that one, but it is gratifying when a guy like Judge or Hicks becomes the player I thought he could be, especially if I was higher than the industry was (e.g., having Judge ranked higher than where he was drafted – same is true for Kingery, whom I had as a late first round talent).

Brian: Nathan’s hot dogs and bud heavy on the menu for the KLAW July 4th cookout?
Keith Law: I don’t really eat beef any more but I do have a sentimental soft spot for Nathan’s.

Josh in DC: It’s interesting that you’d judge the Thornburg trade by noting Travis Shaw isn’t a “top prospect.” The fact is, the Red Sox need a third baseman for THIS season. The Sox already HAVE a top prospect at third base. Aren’t you undervaluing the importance of the present season in judging this trade?
Keith Law: He’s a below-average defensive third baseman, so, no, I’m not.

Andy: Now that we’re actually in negotiating season, is there any picks that you’re hearing have raised their bonus demands that there is a question about signing before the deadline?
Keith Law: Nope. Assume everyone in the top ten rounds will sign unless someone fails his physical.

Jason: Any concerns about Jahmai Jones’ struggles this year?
Keith Law: He’s 19 in low A, making plenty of contact, don’t think I’d say he’s “struggled,” just hasn’t blown up.

Ed: Tell me that the Cubs aren’t trading Jiminez for any rentals this year.
Keith Law: I think – but have no inside info – that he’ll be the one guy they won’t deal, unless they were getting some star young pitcher with years of control left. I don’t think Stroman is or would be available, but if he were, that’s a guy I’d deal Eloy for.

Damien: In honor of the Buerhle jersey retirement, is he solidly in the “Hall of Very Good”? Could a few more productive years have garnered him serious HOF consideration?
Keith Law: He never had HoF peak for me. Just longevity, which makes him HoVG.

Jason: What percent of the increase in home runs this year do you attribute to changes in the baseball?
Keith Law: I’ll leave that to the experts, like Rob Arthur, who’s done some great work on the topic.

Ryan D: Has your opinion on Jordan Montgomery changed? I know SSS, but he looks like a solid 4 sp this year, or do you still think he ends up in the pen long term?
Keith Law: He might be a back-end starter. It’s still pretty average stuff across the board, but he’s throwing everything for strikes enough that I would revise him up to ‘starter.’

Tony: In your chat last week, you mentioned that a scout said JP Crawford’s swing changed. Is this a case of a launch angle change gone bad?
Keith Law: I don’t think so. I think the kid is overswinging right now to try to hit for power he probably doesn’t have.

Jason: Is Chris shaw starting in San Francisco by the trading deadline?
Keith Law: Meh. Not a big believer in his bat.

Rob K: I know you don’t like talking about Tebow, but: does his promotion High A over AA (where he’d be downright embarrassed by good breaking stuff) mean we’ll see 2 years of this sideshow?
Keith Law: As long as he’s willing to play (and get his cut of jersey sales), we’ll see this sideshow.

hg: how was your trip to Toronto. Get to any restaurants? has the city changed, in your opinion, since your last visit?
Keith Law: Pitch Talks was a lot of fun, but I didn’t get to explore at all due to time constraints. My one good rec was Sorry Coffee on Bloor, which is excellent.

Vic: Odds of Josh Ockimey being a productive 1B?
Keith Law: Low, not zero, maybe 20%.

JC: Thoughts on the Mo/Girsch move today?
Keith Law: These tend to be paper moves, so I wouldn’t think anything of it until we see any real operational changes.

Nate: What would you say the chances are the White Sox trade Q…60/40?
Keith Law: That’s probably about right. I think they should shop him aggressively, but they don’t *have* to trade him.

Mike: With Terry Collins likely retiring after this year, do you have any early favorites as far as who the Mets should interview to replace him?
Keith Law: Judging by his work, I thought he already retired.

Christian: Any update on Willie Calhoun’s defense? Bat is certainly holding up fine
Keith Law: This sounds like wishful thinking. He’s almost certainly a DH.

John: Why would it be that Bogaerts doesn’t hit for power these days?
Keith Law: More generally, why doesn’t he make hard contact? He was a power prospect when he was still a teenager. I don’t understand how or when he made that tradeoff.

Zach : Hey Keith, How quickly so you think Brendan Rodgers moves through the Rockies system? Thanks!
Keith Law: I think he’s going to have a big adjustment to make in AA now to guys with better secondary stuff. I still rate him very highly, but he hasn’t been challenged much yet, playing in two great hitters’ parks.

John K: Is Mookie Betts a good comp for Scott Kingery?
Keith Law: No, Betts is a borderline MVP, Kingery is … not that.

Steve: Travis Blankenhorn a potential everyday guy?
Keith Law: Yes, although I’m not sure where.

Nick: Is expansion to 32 likely in the next decade?
Keith Law: Depends on whether owners decide they want more money.

Jeff b: Thoughts on Sean Newcombe so far? Had little control at AAA.
Keith Law: Very skeptical that this has improved in the majors just via magic.

Patrick: What’s the ceiling for Christin Stewart? And how close is Jairo Labourt?
Keith Law: Solid average regular in LF; close but likely to be wild in the majors.
Keith Law: OK, my battery is dying and I’m not near an outlet, so I’ll wrap this up. Thank you as always for all of the questions and for joining me for this impromptu chat. I’ll be back next week, almost certainly Thursday, for a pre-Futures Game chat.

Klawchat, 6/22/17.

Questions go in the frame below, not in the comments!

My latest Insider posts look at which teams may have just drafted their #1 or #2 prospects and at some Phillies, Cleveland, Red Sox, and Astros prospects I’ve scouted recently.

Keith Law: I still find it so hard to say what I need to say. Klawchat.

addoeh: What was the first MLB game you attended?
Keith Law: You’d have to ask my parents that – I definitely remember going to a Mets game when I was around 7 or 8, but it’s possible I went to one (Mets or Yanks) when younger that I don’t recall. But baseball was always on TV in my house.

Josh: My Royals have played themselves squarely into the middle of the pack. Should they trade what they can by the deadline and plan for the future, or should they just play out the string and make everyone QO’s after the season and let guys walk?
Keith Law: Very hard to see a team this bad at getting on base getting to the postseason. And if they don’t sell, they’re going to end up in terrible long-term shape going into 2018, with one of the game’s worst farm systems AND a terrible ML roster.

HankQ: Sean Newcomb has had good success in his first three starts with the braves. That said, his walk rate in the minors has been high, his stuff and walk rate remind me of Mark Langston. Would you say in the best case scenario that Langston’s career would be Newcomb’s upside?
Keith Law: No way. Mark Langston had a 50 WAR, 16-year career. He’s a Hall of the Very Good pitcher. That might be a top 1% outcome for Newcomb.

Eduardo: Which MLB teams have the strongest presence in Brazil? And what do you think about Eric Pardinho? Obrigado. Valéu!
Keith Law: I’ll have a note up on Pardinho and a few other top July 2nd guys – just the elite names – at the end of next week. He did a bunch of events outside Brazil, including the PG event in Jupiter, so every team had a chance to see him. The Rangers, Rays, Mariners, and Jays have all been active in Brazil, but my understanding from scouts (and that great Pedro Moura series of articles from two years ago) is that it’s a very insular, corrupt baseball community there.

Max: 3 months ago Bellinger was, according to everybody, a better prospect than Judge. Who you think will have the better career? (I still think Bellinger will be better, if slightly)
Keith Law: Bellinger by a lot. He’s more than three years younger than Judge, and he’s a 70 defender at first who can also handle centerfield. There’s no comparison for me here – and I think Yankee fans can vouch for my longtime optimism about Judge.

Brad: Knowing that he was just sent to AAA to “clear his head” a bit, do you have any opinions on what Schwarber has done differently this year that has negatively affected his hitting? Chasing too many pitches? Slow bat? He’s been so much better than this thus far in his career…Thanks!
Keith Law: I really don’t have any good insight to offer on this, sorry.

Dog: Do you think Jonathan Villar’s 2016 was a mirage and his 2015 and 2017 seasons are more reflective of who he is as a player?
Keith Law: I think his 2016 power spike was a mirage. But in 2015, he had just 128 PA – I don’t think that was reflective of anything about him.

Andrew: If you had to re-rank the top three Padres prospects as of today, would there be any change from your pre-season rankings? I believe you had Espinoza, Quantrill, and Margot. Does Tatis crack that group as of today?
Keith Law: I answered this in the link at the top of this chat, on which teams just drafted their new top prospects. San Diego is on there.

Phils Guy: How should a first-time author, who may lack positional assets including name recognition and twitter followers, decide whether to pursue a traditional publisher versus independently publishing an e-book?
Keith Law: My decision was easy – I had access to a literary agent through my regular agent, and when we put a proposal out, a traditional publisher bought it right away. If that’s an option for you, pursue it. The worst that happens is no one bites and you choose to publish yourself.

Ruben Amaro Jr: Keith, the Phillies seem to have a comparatively poor rate relative to MLB in having draft picks contribute at the major league level. Development (see Williams, Nick and Crawford, JP) seems to stagnate, even players on the roster (Franco, for one) don’t seem to break out. Is this a failure to develop talented players, or simply an inability to identify talent in the first place?
Keith Law: I don’t think there’s a single cause, and some of those issues cross regimes, too. Williams didn’t stagnate so much as become the player he’s always been. Crawford, on the other hand, is a major concern – I had a scout who saw him this year say he’s “swinging uphill” and covering much less ground at short – and if he isn’t a 60 or better, then who in that system projects as anything more than an average regular?

Preston: Who has a higher ceiling, Sean Newcomb or Kyle Wright?
Keith Law: Wright.

danny: Why are the Braves going far over slot value for Wright? Would he turn down the slot value at #5? (alternative question: Freeman to 3B? Really?)
Keith Law: My guess? That was worked out beforehand, so that Wright would turn down underslot offers at picks 1-4 if any arose. As for Freeman to third … I’m less disturbed by the thought of him playing there than I am the idea that this is to accommodate Matt Freaking Adams.

Adam: Is Alex Verdugo an elite prospect?
Keith Law: He’s really the Joe Flacco of prospects.

Matt: Do you ever write any articles on potential trade candidates and what teams may be targeting them and willing to give up?
Keith Law: No, because I hate reading those articles. They’re kind of bullshit.

James : Hi Keith, Huge fan of your work. I remember you had Luis Carpio as a guy to watch in the Mets system, but then he tore his labrum and missed most of 2016. Is he still someone who piques your interest? Potential top-100 prospect in a couple years or nah?
Keith Law: I haven’t seen him this year – weather & travel killed me when Columbia came north, but the good news is I also missed the washed-up quarterback – and reports I’ve had from other scouts say he’s definitely lost something, including throwing, post-injury. I wouldn’t give up on him, but I was hoping for a little more this year.

Chris: I was just reading the piece you linked at the top about prospects from PHI, CLE, BOS, and HOU. About Francisco Mejia you said that, because his pitchers weren’t holding runners very well, he still gave up a couple stolen bases. Has that ever been a real problem for you while scouting: a legit prospect being held back (for lack of a better term) by the talent around him? If a team is made up of 24 org guys and one prospect, does that make it harder to scout him?
Keith Law: No, that was more an explanation of why I would say he’s got a great arm but, hey, they were 2-2 off him stealing that night.

Judlow: Suppose you’re Bobby Evans. (Sorry.) Do you read 2017 as bad dream and push through it retaining core of position players intact? Or are you witnessing in real, excruciating time that Span / Pence done, Crawford / Panik / Belt just not that good? If latter, would you blow up team as much as you could?
Keith Law: Joe Sheehan raised the question of how much they really have to deal if they do blow things up. Cueto is hard to price because of the player option (note: teams should never give out player options, and this is one reason why). Crawford would have value, I think: low-OBP plus defender at short who’ll hit a few mistakes into the seats every year. Lot of teams could use that guy. Shark has very little value in trade, I think, given the contract and inconsistency. So what could you really do?

Neema: Do you think AJ Puk’s performance so far this year is more a reflection of his relatively weaker competition in high Class A or has he made significant improvement since he was drafted? Is he a legitimate top 50 prospect now?
Keith Law: My understanding is that he was overpowering high-A hitters – and that his stuff is consistently better than it was last spring too. So, yeah, I think he’s a little better, but also he needs to face better competition too. Not a top 50 guy at the moment, although I won’t actually assemble a top 50 list until after the Futures Game.

Kris: I read your recent post regarding Phillies prospects. Regarding Pullin and his approach (or lackthereof), I know it’s only one game, but doesn’t his seeing only six pitches in four plate appearances expose a pervasive plate discipline issue within their minor league system? Guys like Cozens, Williams, Alfaro all project a similar lack of patience — and graduates like Franco, Herrera, etc have been exposed at the MLB level by demonstrating this flailing approach.
Keith Law: I don’t think they’re really preaching or rewarding patience, but in their defense, how are you going to tell guys like Kingery or Pullin to change their approaches when they’re both raking in AA? Franco would be the one guy in that whole system whom I might argue was allowed to reach the majors without showing sufficient development in his approach … but then he was good his first half-season anyway and it’s possible that his trajectory to this point wouldn’t have been any different.

Andrew: Great timing with scouting notebook including Pullin today – promoted to LHV. Thanks for all your work.
Keith Law: I found that out about a half-hour after the article was posted.

Vin: Is there anything that the stat line isn’t telling us with Ahmed Rosario that is leading Mets mgmt to say he isn’t ready and leaving him in the minors in spite of huge glaring needs and a season rapidly slipping away? What sort of stats can we expect when he is called up?
Keith Law: Any hitter stat line in Vegas may be fool’s gold. I happen to think he can really hit anyway, and he’s a better defender than Cabrera or the domestic abuser, so I don’t know why they won’t call him up.

Dr. Bob: Joe Sheehan ranked Mike Matheny as the last major league manager for tactical managing. Making the sting even worse here in the midwest is that MM finished behind Scioscia, Ausmus, Collins, and Mattingly. Man, if you can’t finish ahead of that group, you are bad.
Keith Law: And I think Joe was spot on. Matheny is really overmatched by in-game tactical decisions. It really shows when he’s managing against one of the better tacticians.

Ron: Could you see Gordon up with the Twins in September and either Polanco or Dozier traded at the deadline? Thanks!
Keith Law: Gordon, no, zero reason for them to do that. Dozier, maybe, but only if they get a sizable return, I think. Again, no real push for them to do so.

Matt: At this point can we assume Dominic Smith is James Loney trapped in a Mo Vaughn-like body? His power numbers in Vegas seem to say “yes”.
Keith Law: That’s not what his numbers seem to say at all.

Sim: I saw your article on drafted players who would be their team’s No. 1 or No. 2 prospect but didn’t see Heliot Ramos on there. Where do you think he’d rank with the Giants?
Keith Law: No higher than third.

kim: Love the chat. Have you been back to TO recently? the city is exploding. Wondering what was your favourite restaurants here. Also the Tulo Hoffman trade – while not quite Dickey Thor debacle – is looking like worse each day. comment? thanks, Keith!
Keith Law: Monday’s PitchTalks event – I think there are still a few tickets left – will be my first trip to T.O. since 2005. Not sure any of my old favorite haunts still exist – and I understand there’s a huge culinary scene there now. Hoffman isn’t going to post a 7% HR/FB rate as a Rockie for very long.

Rob: Rutherford, Andujar, Sheffield & Florial for Quintana. Who says no?
Keith Law: You must be a White Sox fan.

Rick C: I know he can’t run a .400+ BABIP and 2.0- BB% forever, but could Johan Camargo be a guy? The Braves apparently felt he was worth protecting from the rule 5, and he hit well at AAA this year.
Keith Law: Nope.

Jonathan: Thoughts on the new Ride album. Also, with Chavis and Devers now both in Portland, does this mean Devers goes to Pawtucket and/or does one of them switch positions?
Keith Law: Front half of the album is superb, vintage Ride but maybe with cleaner production. It loses steam towards the end. Devers is a better 3b now than Chavis, so I wouldn’t expect them to move him.

Dr. Bob: I am baffled by the number of players expected to be taken in the first couple rounds of the draft of whom it is said, “has no position” or “1B/DH only.” If I were the parent or coach of a player who looked like he had a hit tool, I would try to teach them to play a position. These are decent athletes, right? Couldn’t many of them learn a position if they started early enough? How does this happen?
Keith Law: A lot of them aren’t very good athletes, but they can hit. Or maybe you could say their athletic ability is limited to their swings.

MAS: How does Gleyber Torres recent injury impact his future development? Would it be better for a prospect to play well in AA/AAA as a 20 yo then have a major injury or struggle/ do OK at AA all year and remain healthy.
Keith Law: No impact. Non-throwing elbow, misses half a season of AB. Sucks that he won’t get the callup in September, but long-term I don’t think this means a thing.

JP: Is David Dahl is basically a clone Michael Brantley at this point? Very toolsy, but probably not playing more than 100 games/year?
Keith Law: I’m worried the back issues will be (or are) chronic.

Larry: Question about draft approach. For a team like Atlanta with a loaded farm system, they went all in with their money on basically three draft prospects — Wright, Waters, Tarnok. Do you like that approach or the one they used last year to spread the money out throughout the draft?
Keith Law: This draft class was not a good one to try to spread money out – the 2016 class had a lot of good prep arms to overpay, which they did, but the 2017 class didn’t..

Ben: If Russia hacks affected voter registration & prevented certain people from voting, that’s terrifying. And that our president & other republicans don’t seem to care is worse.
Keith Law: And the cynic in me wonders if the Democrats only care because it may have cost them some elections. But yeah, it’s terrifying, and the national apathy over it is even more so.

Stevie: Shed Long was recently promoted to Double-A after destroying High-A. Has his prospect status changed this year?
Keith Law: It has not.

Brian in ahwatukee: As an A’s fan, did “I believe in Stephan Vogt” ever have trade value?
Keith Law: I think he did at the All-Star Break in 2015, and even suggested it on our SF area radio affiliate at the time, for which I was insulted, flamed, sworn at, etc.

Devin: in your opinion, does heliot ramos project to be a plus center fielder?
Keith Law: That’s probably more than I’d project on his defense.

Nolan: Hey Keith, any thoughts on the Rizzo-Hedges play? A few things bug me about it, mainly: 1. That MLB told Rizzo he broke the rule but has no punishment system in place, and 2. Rizzos comment that “every ump I ask says if the C has the ball he’s fair game.” Is Rizzo lying, or do umps not even understand the rule? Does he go around asking when it’s okay to railroad catchers?
Keith Law: He pretty clearly targeted the catcher, and I certainly wondered if his status as a very popular, face-of-baseball sort of player on a rather important franchise had any effect on MLB giving it a big shrug.

Angel: Keith 2 in one .. chavis was promoted from AA Why the Yankees can’t do the same with Andújar?.. and do you think Torres will be fine after the surgery?.. I mean you think he will change because of that?
Keith Law: Andujar was promoted to AAA the other day.

Jonah: Has then ship sailed on Appel ever becoming a big leaguer?
Keith Law: He just had his best start ever in pro ball, so your timing is curious. He’s clearly going to be a big leaguer. The question is what kind of big leaguer.

Darren: Whom do you believe will be promoted to the majors first. Senzel, B Rodgers, Eloy or Rutherford? Would a good guess for all 4 be in that order?
Keith Law: Yep, that’s just the order I’d suggest.

Jorge: Having read that the Yankees may soon be looking to the trade market to resolve their first base issues, I imagine Matt Adams is a potential target (This Freddie Freeman to third business is nonsense posturing I hope). If a trade like that were to happen, in what prospect range (1-10, 11-20, 21-30) would you put a potential return for the Braves? And could you see a prospect (11-20) included with Matt Adams to get to a (1-10) range? Thanks, reading your book on my iphone while my dad reads the hard copy I bought him for father’s day. We are both really enjoying it.
Keith Law: Really doubt they get a top prospect for Adams. He’s a platoon player, really.

Drew: We know S Romero was kicked off his team for fighting with a teammate, as well as marijuana use. Does his overall character concern paint him as more of a “young guy who needs to grow up”, or a legitimately bad guy you dont want in your clubhouse?
Keith Law: I think there’s enough risk of the latter that I would have passed on him in the draft, especially where he was taken. Let someone else roll that die.

BD: What did the Orioles do to Kevin Gausman and is it fixable??
Keith Law: Kept changing his delivery, moving him on the rubber. They changed Bundy. They changed Harvey and wrecked him. A lot of this is Rick Peterson, who’s now gone, but at some point don’t Buck & co. have to answer for this stuff too?

Darren: Hi Keith, thanks for the chat. We were having a discussion on sending back food at restaurants, and as a general rule I will not do it and ask for a new meal. If it’s completely inedible I will just ask for my money back and eat later. I’ve heard too many horror stories from people that work in the industry. What are your thoughts?
Keith Law: I will only send something back if there is something truly wrong (e.g., I didn’t order that) or if it’s cooked so poorly that it’s inedible. I don’t think I do this even once a year. If I just don’t like something, I simply leave it. If the server asks, I’ll (very politely) explain the issue, but I don’t ask for anything at all – not a refund, not a replacement, nothing.

Buck: Am I right in thinking that Tyler Mahle will be making a big jump onto the midseason list? JJ Cooper recently said he has “front-end stuff” and the AA stats sure seem to back that up. Do you agree? Do you like him better than Luis Castillo?
Keith Law: I don’t think it’s front end of the rotation stuff? I like him, had him on the “just missed” list, think he’s a big league starter, but wouldn’t forecast him as a future #2.

Brad: Son’s team won a 13u championship last week in East Cobb. Played against a kid throwing 84. Now another team from Texas is playing in the Semi-Finals of a perfect game 13U tournament at LakePoint. Game is currently in the 10th, but team from Florida has a kid that is sitting 84-86 and has hit 88. That is harder than most HS teams will have on their team next year.
Keith Law: That just strikes me as “not a good thing.” You never really know – the issue isn’t how hard the kid throws, but whether he’s throwing at the max end of his velocity range. But it sounds bad.

norman: now that we’re past the asg would you challenge vladito and bichette with high A? if that even is a challenge for them?
Keith Law: I don’t think it’s imperative, but I’d do it with Bichette before Vlad, given their ages.

Mark: Just want to say first how much I enjoy the chats and appreciate the effort on your end. Food question…When making Marinara sauce I know you have said in the past adding wine is key. I usually let the wine reduce down as I saute the garlic , onions, etc. My first question is , Red or White ? I tend to use red , but I think sometime it overpowers the sauce a bit. My second question is , is reducing the wine the right way to go or should I just add to the sauce as it cooks ?
Keith Law: Tradition says red. I use white. I think it’s less overpowering, and reducing red wine can concentrate its bitter flavors. You can simply add with the tomatoes and let the alcohol simmer out – if the sauce is even gently simmering that’ll cook out most of the booze.

Nick: Should the Braves just trade
Keith Law: Probably yes.

Nils: Can we get this out of the way early? Yes, player _______ on your favorite team is going to sign before the deadline. Thanks.
Keith Law: Yep. Last year two players didn’t sign in the top ten rounds. Unless a guy flunks a physical or was never going to sign anyway, he’s signing.

Chris: Just curious of youre aware of this insanity of Mike Francesa seeing nothing wrong with saying “Oriental-Americans”, claiming CNBC used it first (no proof), and thinks finding one single Asian-American person to back him up vindicates him. Shocking that Mike’s a Trump guy.
Keith Law: He probably loves the attention. I doubt any of this was an occident.

Jay: Recently had a chance to see Brady Aiken start and chat with him after a game. Velo was only 88-90. One of the coaches sounded like he was going to reprimand me because he thought I was asking Aiken about his velo. That’s gotta be a red flag they are worried?
Keith Law: The coach is out of line if he thought he was going to do something to you. But yes, he’s only upper 80s now and yes I believe they are concerned.

Ben: So Missouri voted to allow employers to fire women who use birth control? What the fuck, Keith. This country’s going to shit real quick. Idk what to do anymore.
Keith Law: This is proposed, not passed, right? Still, that it is even reaching the legislature floor is absolutely ridiculous. The attempt to roll back basic women’s rights in this country is brazen – just as one side tells us there’s no “war on women” happening.

John: Before this year Zach Granite looked like a 4th OF at best. Has something changed, or are we just seeing SSS at work?
Keith Law: It’s just 200 PA of BABIP madness. Although I look forward to lots of puns if he’s called up.

Wade: STL signs 7th round JR (pinder) at 110k over slot … really necessary there given their situation this year?
Keith Law: That’s really strange. I thought he was great value in the round, but he wasn’t a top 3 rounds talent for me.

Aaron C.: Favorite Mobb Deep track? Or was their heyday after your divorce from rap music?
Keith Law: Flavor for the Non-Believes. I know it’s not considered one of their best, but I thought it showcased their flow best and I like the minimalist feel.

Adam: Any thoughts on Newcomb past that crazy Langston comparison? Command has looked pretty good so far. The walks are up from one bad inning where he was squeezed a bit
Keith Law: You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who walked as many guys as he did in the minors and then just stone-cold stopped in the majors. Let’s give him some time.

Jeff: I have a daughter that is going to be a senior in high school this coming year. She’s starting to explore her college options and I was curious if you had any tips on picking a school. She thinks she wants to go to med school afterwards but isn’t sure. We are a middle income family and she is smart enough to get a decent amount of scholarships, but not enough to pay her way. What do you think we should look for? Should the school have a med school or can she undergrad elsewhere? In-state vs. out of state? Overall price? The education she’ll be getting? Overall comfortability with the school? Thanks for your tips.
Keith Law: I couldn’t advise you on the med school aspect, having never gone that route, but on the undergrad part itself, I don’t think paying more for private school or going out of state makes sense if you have a reasonable in-state/public option. Few private universities have the brand name to provide sufficient ROI to match what you’d get by her going to state school and, if your daughter is a good student, excelling there.

Lilith: Who would you say was a better comp round pick? Jeter Downs or Taylor Trammell? Who has the better upside?
Keith Law: I think Trammell, but to be fair, I think in hindsight i was light on Downs.

Ben: Writing a book can take a long time. What did you do to keep yourself motivated and to write every day & get it done? I’ve always wanted to write (have many ideas), but I lack patience and discipline to do so.
Keith Law: Knowing that you have a deadline, and that there’s a big check coming when you finish the manuscript, both help tremendously. I tend to write fast, especially under pressure, so that pushed me too.

Dennis: 1st round picks this year, what % had a deal/agreement in place before the pick was made?
Keith Law: I don’t know what you mean, Dennis. Everyone knows predraft deals are illegal. /rolls eyes so hard my retinas detach

Harrisburg Hal: I’m thinking of ducking out of my Mom’s 70th birthday party to see you in Harrisburg. If there is a book left there for you to sign for me at your appearance, it’s because I thought better of it…or more likely my idea was shot down by my better half.
Keith Law: I’ll sign another one for your mom, then.

Stephen: How many variables do you consider when grading someone’s fastball? Velocity is and will always be the top measure. How much can movement, though, make up for lack of premium heat?
Keith Law: A fastball grade should be about velocity. Fastball movement is typically its own category.

Lisa: What % do you think are females asking you questions?
Keith Law: People seem to think I’m more likely to take questions from women. It’s not true – I don’t look at the names other than to make sure there’s nothing offensive there.

Frank Underwood: Do you watch my show? If so, what did you think of Season 5?
Keith Law: Since I don’t know who you are, I think it’s safe to say I do not watch whatever show you’re on.

Ricky: What % of questions go unanswered each week if you had to guess?
Keith Law: 75% or more.

JG: Do you know much about Landon Leach? He wasn’t in your top 100…
Keith Law: I do … and he wasn’t, indeed.

Andy: Sounds like you got a bad look at Mejia. Any way this influences your outlook? Had you heard other things about trouble with offspeed pitches?
Keith Law: Not really, it’s just one night, but it’ll be something I watch for in the future and ask other scouts about.

Jason: When should teams move minor leaguers who are blocked at the big-league level to another position? I remember you thought the Braves moved Peraza off short too early.
Keith Law: Only when absolutely necessary. They did hurt Peraza’s trade value by doing that. That was a Wren decision, though.

Andy: You’ve commented that the 73% gender wage gap is overstated? Why is that?
Keith Law: There is a wage gap (by gender), but the 73% figure doesn’t consider other independent variables that might explain wage differences. Women do get paid less for equal work, though, and that’s a social problem that requires a political solution.

Steve: Austin Slater isn’t gonna slash .310/.365/.466 at the end of the season, but he is now and has always hit. Think he’s a 3 win player next year?
Keith Law: I’d take the under on that. But I do think he can hit. I had him as a top 100 draft prospect in 2014, but the Giants got him in the 8th (!) round. He’s always had a good swing and I saw him hit good velocity in college.

Chris: Not as timely a question as it could be, but since I’ve missed your last few chats: were/are you a fan of Denis Johnson?
Keith Law: I didn’t care for Tree of Smoke.

Franklin: Please help me decide an argument. Is Happ overmatched right now? He has great power and some good peripheral numbers, but he strikes out a ton, usually swings at the first pitch and if he doesn’t hit it out of the park he’s likely to get out.
Keith Law: He’s always struck out quite a bit, even in college, so that doesn’t concern me. The better question is this: are the Cubs better off with him killing AAA again, or trying to develop his approach in the majors? I think the latter, even if he produces less than they need from that spot.

Michael: Any thoughts on what more we as concerned citizens can do to stop the Republican health care bill? The way they have managed this process in darkness, combined with the awful things the bill does, are very frightening.
Keith Law: Probably not much, other than calling all your elected reps and making sure they are aware you oppose the bill. And then get out in 2018 and get involved. I intend to.

Rob: Micker Adolfo seems to have turned a corner this year. Is there still potential there?
Keith Law: I think so but he’s still a longshot with that approach.

Franklin: You’ve been a big Addison Russell fan and (appropriately) against domestic violence. If you are the GM, there have been no charges brought and he’s publicly denied anything. How would Klaw handle that situation?
Keith Law: Wait for the MLB investigation’s results. If they find sufficient cause for action – and you know my bar on that is pretty low – then I’d make a move.

Estuve: How much movement does Hunter Greene’s fastball have?
Keith Law: Not much – it’s a four-seamer, so it’s hard, but it’s up. I think the Reds have a number of things to try to develop here – he needs to pick one breaking ball, and he needs to throw that changeup more too.

Goody: How far off is a Tyler Mahle comparison to Mitch Keller?
Keith Law: Way off. Keller has better stuff.

jon: Didn’t Clay Buccholz had character issues when he was drafted out of college? Was his character issues different than Seth Romero?
Keith Law: He was arrested for stealing computers. One incident, but a very stupid one that speaks to bad character. Romero has had a variety of incidents.

Jared: Orlando Arcia was one of your breakout candidates this year and I now see why. His defense is incredible and his bat is coming around. What kind of player can he become?
Keith Law: I think he makes some All-Star teams … but maybe not this year.

PJ: Do you feel weird signing autographs?
Keith Law: No, especially not since it’s usually my book I’m signing.

Jeries: Should the White Sox put Carson Fulmer in relief? He’s been getting shelled in AAA again.
Keith Law: I have said this since he was in high school. I can’t see him ever commanding anything enough to start. But he could be pretty damn good for one inning.

Jeff: Do you think the Diamondbacks season is sustainable?
Keith Law: I think it’d take a catastrophe for them or the Rockies to miss the playoffs.

NYTT: You talked before about the Braves cleaning up Bryse Wilson’s mechanics a little bit. Anything you’ve heard to believe he can stay a starter?
Keith Law: I saw him. He can start.

JR: Dilson Herrera – still have a chance to be an everyday 2b, or has that ship sailed?
Keith Law: Based on what I’ve heard from scouts this year it has sailed.

Josh: Help! I’ve got 1 day in LA next month, top 2 places to eat?
Keith Law: Need more than one day for LA! Any of the Jon & Vinny places (Animal, Son of a Gun, Jon & Vinny’s, Petit Trois). And find that Guerrilla Taco truck!
Keith Law: That’s all for this week. I hope to see a bunch of you on Monday at PitchTalks in Toronto, and I’ll be back next week to chat before a brief trip to Bristol. Thank you all as always for your questions and for reading.

Klawchat, 6/13/17.

My recap of the draft’s first day is up for Insiders. I’ll do team-by-team recaps, as always, later in the week, probably starting tomorrow with the AL.

Keith Law: You can’t have the fire without the flame. It’s Klawchat.

Jason: Hi Keith, what are your thoughts on the Brewers’ first rounder, Hiura? Would you be seriously concerned about his elow?
Keith Law: He may need TJ. I ranked him lower because he’s going to miss 200 or so PA of development. But folks say he can really rake.

Moltar: Today I learned that David Peterson’s father was a legendary horse trainer who trained Seattle Slew. Over/under number of times he’s referred to as a Thoroughbred? And am I right to think of him as a Dallas Keuchel type?
Keith Law: Keuchel’s command has become exceptional; he wasn’t like this in college at all. But Peterson is a similar guy in that he throws strikes and gets a ton of groundballs.

Moltar: Will the Mets have any issue signing Vientos? I really liked their day 1 haul.
Keith Law: You should assume any player taken in the top ten rounds is going to sign. I think last year two didn’t sign. Teams check prices before drafting because it screws up your bonus pool if you fail to sign a high pick.

Adam D.: The Giants did what the Giants always seem to do and went way off-board. Am I wrong to criticize the picks, even understanding the both Ramos and Gonzalez could pan out?

It just seems to me that they really pain themselves into a corner picking guys that the industry is not nearly as high on. If they work out, great, but if they find themselves in a spot where trading a prospect for a ML player is something they want to do, they are stuck with guys that other teams don’t value similarly.
Keith Law: They do have a good track record with bats they liked a lot more than the industry did, though, so I don’t like to just assume they’re doing something wrong. They’ve found nice value that way in the past. The problem I see in their system is they don’t have up the middle guys with trade value.

Todd Boss: Nats Day 1 thoughts: do the picks of Romero (who has no school to go back to) and Crowe (4th yr, 3rd time drafted) indicate perhaps their attempt to save some slot dollars for a run at a prep kid today? Both players they picked have leverage issues.
Keith Law: I assume you sent this before the third round, when they took another college player, but I would have said then that Romero wasn’t going to be an under slot guy. His advisor is Boras and I’m pretty sure he’s getting slot or above.

Ryan: Re Astros’ drafting of Joe Perez: What kind of bat does he profile to have? Is his selection to move money around to grab other talent?
Keith Law: I’ll do recaps for every team in the next 48 hours, so I’ll have more detail on lots of second to fifth round picks especially. Perez is having TJ surgery this week, though, and I assume there’s a deal in place for him – he was hitting 97 and was probably going in this range of the draft anyway.

Bobby: Keith! Thanks, as always, for the chats and your great content. As a Yanks fan it is hard to be excited about their pick. I assume, as you wrote, they are not concerned w violent deliveries, as most others are. That said, can you see any logic here given who else was available? Could Schmidt at least be a cheaper sign leaving them able to go overslot later?
Keith Law: Clearly they see a starter there. Not every bad delivery guy ends up in the pen and not every good delivery guy stays healthy. What gets me on Schmidt is that he blew out and had a bad delivery and wasn’t throwing 97 until this year, so if he comes back and is at his 2016 velocity again, then do you have a mid-first-round result? I don’t think so.

Rick C: What happened to the Braves taking Vientos or Beck at #41?
Keith Law: They took someone else?
Keith Law: Serious answer – teams have LOTS of players on their boards for picks after the first one. We would rank ~50 on our main board in Toronto and then have categories for beyond that so that by the end of the meetings we had something like 400-500 magnets up. The board falls a certain way, a player’s demands change, you just make sure you’re prepared for any contingency.

John T: Looks like the Twins saved their cash for Enlow. Fair to assume that he’ll sign, seeing as how they had a day to work it out with him? If so, that’s a pretty nice move, methinks.
Keith Law: Yes, no way the first pick on day two doesn’t sign – or doesn’t already have a deal in place.

Nate: You said you thought Baz had a predraft deal with a team. Chances pretty high it was the pirates?
Keith Law: No, I don’t think so, nor do I know if he had any deal. That was the rumor in the industry, but no one knows for sure except the kid.

James: Why did Bukauskus fall to the Astros at 15? Teams worried about his size?
Keith Law: Size, delivery, little bit of fatigue at the finish. He went right around where Sonny Gray went and ahead of Marcus Stroman, two even shorter RHP from good colleges.

addoeh: Are there teams that have a history of drafting guys with certain flaws specifically because they have had a good history of correcting them?
Keith Law: I think of the White Sox with unusual delivery guys – they’re at least unconcerned with taking them. Maybe the Yankees have decided to adopt that philosophy.

Tim: How do you think the Reds have made out thus far w/ Greene, Downs, Fairchild & Heatherly?
Keith Law: And Cash Case too. Pretty strong for the first four rounds.

Alex: I think you could fit at least 10 more of your book on the shelf behind you. Go for broke!
Keith Law: That guy is still going and actually complained to the ESPN “Public Editor” (note: i have no idea who that person even is) on twitter.

Nick: Think the Cubs and A’s could partner up on something involving Gray and Candelario+? Am I overvaluing Candy?
Keith Law: I don’t see Candelario as the centerpiece of a deal like that, and the A’s have lots of players in that same bucket anyway.

Marshall MN: Can Royce Lewis develop the footwork necessary to play IF? You seem doubtful of that possibility, is there any track record of players developing that skill?
Keith Law: I’m very skeptical. At least he has to move off short. Then you end up questioning whether you are better off with the player at 2b, where he might be an average or 55 defender, or in CF, where he might develop into a 70.

ReleasetheMckraken: Regarding Brent Rooker’s position, is he truly limited to 1B? I read he can handle the OF but was playing 1st because MSU had a need.
Keith Law: Every scout I asked, even guys who liked him, told me he’s a 1b in pro ball. I haven’t seen him this year.

Nick: Not sure if you follow the NBA, but do you have any issue with Durant’s move to the Warriors? I don’t mind the transfer of talent, but players taking discounts seems to be bad for any league.
Keith Law: I know enough to know what you’re talking about and see no problem with it. Free agency means free agency. A player should be able to go where he wants for whatever reasons he wants.

Cooper: Hey Kieth, thanks for all the work you do. Daulton Varsho fascinates me. Do you think he can stick at catcher, or will he move somewhere else? And, after reading the chapter about stolen bases, how important is it to have a catcher with a good arm? It’s a nice luxury, but is it a necessity?
Keith Law: Much more important to get a good receiver/framer than thrower. Varsho was WAY off my radar – I know who he is, of course, but didn’t think he was a top 5 rounds guy.

Greg P: Keith – how do you characterize the Royals’ selection of Pratto in the 1st round? You’ve stated he’s limited to first and doesn’t have much physical projection. Was there a better selection available to them at 14?
Keith Law: I think they took him in the right range, but there were better players available, and their system is so thin right now that I would have preferred the greater asset value of either some up the middle guys or one of the top HS arms still on the board. That said, if Pratto really rakes, it’s going to be fine. He does have a great swing.

Marshall MN: Are there are any players from the first couple rounds that you would predict right now as not signing with team that drafted them? Sam Carlson seems to be a popular pick, anyone else?
Keith Law: Carlson’s going to sign. They’re all going to sign.

Aaron: In your chat yesterday you said Warmoth might be fastest to the majors. Are you higher on him than industry or is his ceiling not that high? Wondering why he was chosen somewhat lower than Haseley.
Keith Law: I didn’t say that about Warmoth. I said I liked him as someone who could move fast, but would not call him fastest to the majors.

J: Yes, they’re in a relatively unique position to take the chance, but does Kendall to the Dodgers have a chance to be the best value as pick number relative to player in the draft?
Keith Law: Yes, and yes, they’re in a good position to roll the dice on that. Lot of work to do with his swing, though.

Bill: Jim Callis threw around a rumor of the Rays letting Mckay try to pitch and hit. Lets say the experiment works and he does play both relatively well. What would that most likely look like? DH/RP, 1b/RP, or some combo of DH/1b/SP with more days off than a typical position player?
Keith Law: I tweeted yesterday that the Rays WILL let him do both. It’s not a rumor; he’ll be developed both ways, probably starting next year. My guess is that he plays 1b 3x a week and gets some rest by DHing the day before he pitches.

Steve: Brandon Little’s chance to be a starting pitcher and whats his ceiling if everything clicks?
Keith Law: I think he’s got a good chance – 40-50% – delivery isn’t ideal but has the fastball and out pitch in the CB. I saw a decent CH too.

Rick: Hey Keith. You have stated you think Royce Lewis probably ends up an outfielder by the time he reaches the majors. I’m wondering who you prefer as a prospect, Lewis or last years #1 overall, Moniak? Thanks.
Keith Law: Moniak has a higher probability of being a big leaguer but I think Lewis has more ceiling and would take him.

Joe-Nathan: Which guys drafted who immediately becoming the top prospect on their team?
Keith Law: McKay for sure. Wright maybe; depends on where Acuna ends up on my midseason list. Beck. Greene of course, although Senzel’s pretty damn good. DL Hall. I think Pratto would be too. Rogers, by default, since Garrett is hurt.

EricVA: Non-draft question: What do you think would happen (congressional reaction, DOJ reaction, public reaction) if Trump got Mueller fired?
Keith Law: Congressional Republicans will be quick to issue stern comments expressing their Grave Concern.

EricVA: Does the Yankees’ 2nd pick of Sauer make the Schmidt pick any better for you?
Keith Law: No, because I didn’t have Sauer as a top 50 guy either.

Juan: What’s the furthest you’ve ever had to drive from your hotel or an airport to scout a prospect?
Keith Law: Byron Buxton. Flew to Atlanta from Phoenix, drove to Macon, stayed the night, drove about three hours the next day to Baxley (his town), drove back to Macon, stayed the night, drove back to ATL, swapped rental cars, kept on driving to Greenville SC.

mike: There seem to be a lot of two position guys drafted at the top this year. Can you address how teams evaluate which way to go? How about the Jays saying Danner is a C to them?
Keith Law: If the two sides are close, teams nearly always choose bat first, figuring the player could always pitch later.

Marshall MN: Have you talked to people around the league to get their reaction to the Twins taking Lewis 1-1? It seemed to be an ongoing rumor for a while that it was a possibility, but from what you know did any other team have Lewis at the top of their board?
Keith Law: I can think of two teams that I believe had Lewis at 1, but it wasn’t a majority view, and the reactions I got from other teams last night and this morning weren’t favorable.

Arnold: What can you tell us about Giants 1st round pick Heliot Ramos? Is he really a 5-tool player like the Giants are claiming?
Keith Law: He is not a five-tool player.

Ryan: Do you have any information on Matt Tabor? You don’t see a lot of pitchers throwing in the high 90s in Massachusetts.
Keith Law: I do; he wasn’t a top 100 guy, and he doesn’t throw in the high 90s. Up to 95 with really bad delivery and below average breaking ball.

John: Twins fan here. With the Blayne pick should I get off the ledge that the new management team blew their first draft?
Keith Law: That’s way over the top. It’s still mid-draft. No one really has any idea how this will look in five to ten years. We just have opinions.

Dave: Keith, thanks for all your draft coverage. How excited should A’s fans be about Nick Allen? And do you like the A’s draft with up-the-middle talent?
Keith Law: Love this pick. First round talent. But the A’s didn’t go up the middle all the way – Deichmann certainly isn’t, and Merrell’s best chance to stay in the middle is in CF, not SS.

John: Why wouldn’t McKay take an underslot deal at #1 rather than falling to #4?
Keith Law: Because he could get over slot at 4.

Bret: I’m really excited about the Blue Jays selecting Logan Warmoth. If you could take a guess, where will he fit in amongst their top prospects?
Keith Law: Certainly behind Vlad and Bichette.

Dave: Are you exclusively answering draft questions today?
Keith Law: The draft is ongoing right now, so that’s going to be my focus.

Jesse: With Kyle Wright being a more advanced college arm than the Braves have been taking, where do you think he ends up pitching the remainder of this season? Starting next season?
Keith Law: Probably won’t pitch much this year period since he’s already over 100 innings, but I bet he spends the bulk of next year in AA.

Jeries: Should the White Sox move Burger to 1B immediately?
Keith Law: No reason to do that.

Tim: What kind of prospect is Heimlich? Where would he have gone if he hadn’t molested that girl?
Keith Law: I think second round. I don’t think he’ll be drafted today, if at all.

Jeries: Is Carson Fulmer a fair comp for Bukauskus? Who do you like more?
Keith Law: Bukauskas throws better strikes and his delivery isn’t violent like Fulmer’s.

CWS: What is your outlook on Spencer Adams? I remember you had him as a top 100 at one point. He doesn’t appear to be striking out many batters, but isn’t walking anyone either and his ERA and peripherals looks good.
Keith Law: I don’t think his fastball has ever gotten back to where it was in year one.

Mark: If Cincy had not taken Greene, do you think Preller would have or did he likely still favor Gore?
Keith Law: I think the Padres had them ranked Greene, Gore, McKay.

Linda: Does Peterson possibly have more in his arm? I ask mainly bc it seems all Mets pitchers somehow end up throwing a good bit harder once they hit the big leagues…..
Keith Law: Don’t think so, but given his groundball rates, I wouldn’t change anything.

Mike: What’s the knock on Burger besides defense? The stat line looks great (sorry) power, average, obp, low strikeouts
Keith Law: Defense, hasn’t faced great competition in that conference.

Guest: Thoughts on Luis Gonzalez out of New Mexico?
Keith Law: Would have gone higher but there were some late makeup concerns. Thought it was a solid value there.

Mike J: Pirates taking 4 HS players on Day 1 and now two college position players. Your thoughts so far on their draft? Thanks for your time.
Keith Law: I think they’re doing money-savers now to pay Baz, Jennings, etc.

Tom: Is Pavin Smith 1b only, or does he have a chance to move to a corner outfield spot?
Keith Law: I can’t fathom him in an outfield corner. He doesn’t move like an outfielder would.

Tyler: Hey Keith, loving Smart Baseball! Why does it matter what position a draftee is announced at? Does it impact bonus $?
Keith Law: The team asks for him to be announced at a certain position, which can tell us if they intend to move him to another position or, in the case of a two-way guy, which way they intend to start him. Perez, Danner, Greene were all two-way guys announced one way. McKay was supposed to be announced as both but MLB made a mistake.

Tim: How long until players drafted this wee can be traded? Is this another rule (like pre-draft tradeable picks) you might like to see changed in the next CBA?
Keith Law: After the World Series. I wanted this changed like ten years ago.

Tim: Who had the best breaking ball in this draft? Bukauskus slider? Hall’s curve?
Keith Law: Little’s curve.

Archie: If your son had a strong college commitment and was going to get drafted, assuming he would be offered slot money, at what point would you deem the college experience more valuable than what he would get to sign?
Keith Law: The college experience will be there after pro ball if he wants it. If he’s good enough to be drafted in the first few rounds and he wants to go play pro ball, I’d encourage him to sign.

Rob: Are you going to be on Buster’s podcast on Tuesdays from here on out, or is it a temporary thing because of draft/scouting conflicts?
Keith Law: He wanted me to come on yesterday and today to talk about the draft.

Johnny O: Grade instant draft grades on the scouting scale. I believe 20 is lowest but I think we can make an exception and go down to 0 for these useless articles (even if your editor makes you do one).
Keith Law: I have steadfastly refused to do draft grades for eleven years now.

Jeries: Why don’t minor league teams use 6 or 7 man rotations to keep IP down? Is it simply because there isn’t enough SP talent?
Keith Law: A lot of minor league teams use six-man rotations.

Aaron C.: What’s your personal policy on writing about/discussing “makeup” issues? Do you prefer to independently confirm them or do you only address them if they’ve already been publicly reported elsewhere? Thanks!
Keith Law: I rarely discuss them, because it’s dangerous. If there’s an arrest or a suspension, that’s easy. A failed drug test is pretty concrete too. But on a guy like DL Hall, where I think some scouts just didn’t like the kid very much, is that something you need to know about as readers? What if it’s bogus, but still affected where he was picked? That’s where I struggle. I’m supposed to explain to you what’s going on, but if a stupid rumor is the cause, but is just a stupid rumor, how do I present that to you all?

Brett: Kyle Hurt is still on the board. Have you heard anything on him, or is he likely heading to school at this point?
Keith Law: He missed a chunk of the spring after an ACL injury and didn’t come back at 100%, so he may just be a school guy.
Keith Law: Also, keep this in mind. If a player I ranked high doesn’t get drafted till way later, there are three likely explanations – the three M’s: Money, Medicals, or Me. He wanted too much money; there’s a bad medical report that steered teams away; or I screwed up the evaluation.

Jeries: If Hunter Greene insisted on playing the field full time and never pitching, where would he be drafted?
Keith Law: Late first round. Or maybe still top ten because some team would believe they could convince him to pitch eventually.

Joe-Nathan: Gigliotti just went to KC in the 4th, why so late? Rough start to the season but finished very well, solid obp and should be a CF.
Keith Law: Really never played that well and a slew of his hits this year were bunt singles, which doesn’t give you a ton of confidence in the stat line.

Marshall MN: In regard to Lewis’ skill set, how do they compare to Buxton’s coming out of HS? If Buxton had 80 speed and defensive potential, how would Lewis rate?
Keith Law: Buxton was way more tooled up, but Lewis probably has a better hit tool today than Buxton did at 19.

Kretin: Any insight into what is going on with Griffin Canning? Good pick by the Angels?
Keith Law: MLB reported the other day and I mentioned in my writeup this morning that teams didn’t like something on his MRI.

Alex: Do you think McKay will pitch at all this year, or exclusively hit?
Keith Law: No chance he pitches. He’s at 104 innings and Louisville is going to Omaha.

Paul: Is Drew Waters an over-slot guy? Seems like he was picked about where he was ranked, and I assume Wright will get full slot. Braves’ 3rd and 4th rounders both seemed somewhat off the board (not to say they aren’t good, just that I haven’t heard of them), so wondering if there is any room down the board to go over-slot. Thinking it would come down to what Waters gets.
Keith Law: I bet he’s an over slot guy.

Leo: Giants just selected Garret Cave. Do you think he can remain a starter or is he destined for the bullpen?
Keith Law: I would start him. He seemed totally undeveloped – not bad, not violent, just like someone who’d never been taught a proper delivery.

Jeries: What successful big leaguer were you most skeptical about turning raw power into actual game power as a prospect?
Keith Law: AJ Pollock had very little power as an amateur and ended up with quite a bit in the majors.

Robert: What percentage of time do teams not select the BPA from their draft board due to signability or bonus pool considerations?
Keith Law: I don’t know what percentage of the time that would be. Teams sometimes do that because they took BPA with an earlier pick – we went over at pick one, so we have to shave money at picks four and five. The Pirates seem to be doing that today.

Guest: Injuries occuring after the draft aside, which Mets pick do you like better as a college prospect – Peterson or Kay last yr? Are they roughly the same sort of prospect (safe, mid-rotation lefty) or is one significantly ahead of the other?
Keith Law: Peterson more than Kay. Kay was stronger but Peterson has better results and better sink.

Tallulah: Saw the Dodgers just nabbed Marinan in the 4th (your #56). Are you just higher on him or did he slip due to bonus demands?
Keith Law: He came on kind of late this spring and I think some teams had ‘finished’ with him early. He also wasn’t very consistent.

Liam: Non-draft question: I can’t access your Top 100 prospects list from ’09, ’10, ’11. Were they taken down or is there still a way to access them?
Keith Law: The site redesign swallowed a bunch of old content,

Ryan: At what point do you stop researching potential picks? Do you stop at around the top 200, or are you able to give at least a quick nugget of information on most power conference players?
Keith Law: I’ll stop after the fifth round – if a kid drafted after that wasn’t already on my radar, he might still be a prospect, but the odds of him becoming a big leaguer are pretty low.

banksy_: Would you draft a kid from Alaska?
Keith Law: Yes. Talent comes from everywhere. There’s an Alaskan kid in this class who should be drafted today.

Greg: Hi Keith! Thoughts on Kevin Smith (the baseball player)? Did decently well on the Cape last year, but overall college numbers are rather underwhelming.
Keith Law: Thought he was a 4th/5th round guy, probably utility player, just did not perform this spring in a bad conference.

Jeb: Is Garrett Mitchell also going to school?
Keith Law: I think so. He’s also a type 1 diabetic and I believe some teams were worried about that. There are very few everyday players today or in the past who were type 1 diabetics.

Drew: What do you think was the cause of Sam Carlson dropping? It seemed likely to me that he was a Twins target since they may have gone underslot and he was thought of pretty highly by a lot of evaluators. Was he overhyped or is this just a “diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks” thing?
Keith Law: People assumed he was a Twins target because he’s local. That’s almost never true in practice. We saw a bunch of good HS arms drafted later than folks like me or Mayo had them ranked because that’s how the bonus pools work.

Rod: Any issues with Kyle Wright’s mechanics? Some Braves fans are hating the pick because of the Inverted W
Keith Law: The Inverted W is Utter Nonsense.

Charlie: Has anyone been drafted yet where your reaction was “who?”. No shame in it just curious, as someone who hasn’t know a pick since the 2nd round or so
Keith Law: Yes, the JC kid the Astros took in the 4th, Tyler Ivey. Had nothing on him. (I do now, of course.)

Dave: My brother is anti-vaccination. What can I tell him to get him on the correct side of the issue?
Keith Law: Answer every stupid falsehood with facts. And don’t stop. If he has kids, their health is at risk, perhaps even their lives.

Jace: Best player going to college so they haven’t been drafted yet?
Keith Law: Garrett Mitchell, Kyle Hurt, Adam Oviedo.

Matt: You remain a Kendall believer but if Toffey had better offensive #s across the board is past history and defensive ability the main reason he’s a 4th rd pick? Harder to fall than it is easier to rise?
Keith Law: Toffey’s just not a very good hitter. There’s no upside there.

banksy_: What other arm actions/delivery flaws (i.e. Inverted W) are also nonsense? Any come to mind that are pushed hard throughout the public or industry?
Keith Law: The idea that short pitchers were more likely to get hurt is still around. I have never bought that. My issue with short P is that they need to be able to get the ball down. But I know of no evidence that they get hurt any more often than medium to tall pitchers do.

CVD: You a Will Crowe guy?
Keith Law: I like him. I don’t have to sift through his medicals, though.

Dave: I’m an adult stutterer. I can control it most of the time but I do a lot of delay tactics and things to avoid speaking. Anxiety goes hand in hand with it. Do you have any tips to share? Whether it be something to read, breathing exercises to do etc.
Keith Law: I’ve recommended the book Fully Present to a lot of people – you may find the breathing and mindfulness tips in there useful too.

Jeries: What innings limit should the Sox look at for Kopech? 65 IP in 2015, 56 IP in 2016, and 62 IP already this year.
Keith Law: I don’t really know the science behind this – whether there’s any at all, to be honest. This idea of N+30 or N+50 or whatever, some fixed number above the previous year … if there’s real research demonstarting its value, I haven’t seen it. The claim by one writer that increasing year over year by 30+ innings has been debunked. So with Kopech – I wouldn’t push him excessively, not 150 or something, but I wouldn’t panic if he gets to 100 or 120. And remember he probably pitched more than just those 56 last year if you consider sim games or extended spring.

Benny: Are the Reds the big winners of the draft so far? What do you think about Stuart Fairchild- especially with Waters still on the board?
Keith Law: I don’t like to name winners or losers on draft day. It’s hot-take-ish. I liked Fairchild and Waters would have required a bigger bonus.

MRA: Is there anything to like in the Cardinals picks in rounds 3 (Hurst), 4 (Robertson) or 5 (Kirtley)? Thank you.
Keith Law: They had no money to spend so I’m loath to be too critical. I didn’t rank any of those guys or have them close to the top 100.

Jeff Sessions: And I perjure myself in 3….2….
Keith Law: I’m glad I have the draft to distract me from our crumbling republic.

Ed: Do the Cubs draft a player like Lange with the expectation that they can clean up his delivery? If so, does that often work?
Keith Law: I hope not. That’s faulty logic – and I would be shocked if the Cubs thought that. I bet they saw Lange as a fast to the majors reliever – i heard that from a bunch of scouts this spring.

Charlie: Lucas Giolito thoughts? Seems to be really making some strides as of late, but obviously could just be some SSS
Keith Law: I have heard the delivery is much closer to where it was in 2015.

Drew: How quick could Rooker move? He’s old but I don’t know how that translates to a minor league assignment. Do they move him to AA?
Keith Law: Doesn’t he have to? He’s older than five current big league hitters (I think). Sending him to low-A seems futile.

Kevin: Thoughts on the Tigers 2nd rd pick Reynaldo Rivera. Gigantic dude, but didn’t see him on any of your list.
Keith Law: For good reason. Gigantic, strong, but substantial questions about his hit tool.

Matt: I think a good argument to make for MLB being the hardest sport to play is the fact that the players getting drafted often don’t appear in the majors for 3-5 years. Imagine the Patriots drafting Tom Brady and he doesn’t get to be QB until 2007?
Keith Law: But then we wouldn’t have had deflate-a-lago and all the bloviating that generated … and I think to myself … what a wonderful world.
Keith Law: OK, I have some draft recaps to write. Thank you all for your questions today and yesterday and for reading all my draft content. I will not chat again this week but should be back to my regular slot next Thursday. Look for my team-by-team draft recaps (focusing on the top five rounds) starting tomorrow!

Klawchat, 6/12/17.

Happy Draft Day! My latest mock draft (posted Sunday morning) is up for Insiders.

Keith Law: Why do I find it hard to write the next line? It’s Klawchat.

Alan: Still confident in Wright to Atlanta? Any rumors about them going underslot to save money?
Keith Law: As far as I know, that’s still the most likely scenario (the 1-6 I had in my mock yesterday). Yes, there are those rumors, but I don’t think it comes to pass.

Alan: Kyle wright was 1-1 a few days ago, now most people have him falling to at least 5. Have any concerns popped up with him, or is it just that teams at 2, 3 and 4 don’t like him as much?
Keith Law: No concerns and not falling – just that teams 2-4 were focused on other players beforehand.

Alan: Keaton Hieura getting top 10 talk now. Is that a reach to you? Is it because he’ll sign for cheap?
Keith Law: Hiura is a reach to me because he can’t play the field and has some kind of arm injury that will have to be addressed postdraft. It’s possible he won’t play till next year as a result. But scouts tell me he’s the best pure bat in the class (I didn’t see, went to SoCal twice, Irvine was on the road both times) and if he’d been healthy all spring he might have legitimately gone top 10. I think he goes 8 or 10 although he’s worked out at 5 and 6.

addoeh: Where does today rank in baseball related holidays for you? Start of free agency, Opening Day, start of spring training?
Keith Law: It’s like Thanksgiving for me: I enjoy it, but by the time it actually arrives, I’m so exhausted by the preparation that I’m just relieved that it’s happening.

Clubber Lang: Do Cubs finally go with some pitching with 2 1st round picks? Seems any bat they draft is a waste? Any dark horse SP there for them in round 1?
Keith Law: They can always trade bats they draft and can’t use, so “waste” is not an appropriate description. I do think one of those two picks (27 and 30) will be a pitcher, maybe a prep or JC arm at 30 after a bat at 27 because the good college starters should all be gone by that point.

Jim – Chicago: Hi Keith- Bukauskas seems to give you less reservations than other similar “short” RHP draft prospects in recent years. Am I interpreting that correctly and, if so, is their something in his delivery that might eventually get him some plane on his fastball?
Keith Law: No, I have the same reservations – lack of FB plane, doesn’t use lower half in his delivery – but this class is weaker than most.

Pete: If the Mets go pitching over hitting tonight, is that a reaction to their top arms having graduated the system?
Keith Law: Don’t think so. I think it would just mean they liked the arm at 20 over available bats.

Rob: IYO, would Warmoth to the ChiSox at 11 (underslot deal) make sense? Or, is there nothing connecting them to Warmoth? Thanks Keith!
Keith Law: Don’t think they’re on Warmoth at all.

Zach: Could you please contrast Hunter Greene vs. Robert Stephenson at the time they were drafted? As a Reds fan, I’m hesitant to go down the “unpolished flamethrowing HS RHP” track again.
Keith Law: Stephenson had a better breaking ball but a more violent delivery. Greene is younger and more athletic and the delivery is very easy.

Steve: Shouldn’t Rays take the best player at 4 instead of cutting a deal with Bubba Thompson?
Keith Law: I think they will and projected them to do so (BPA, not a deal).

Sean: Are the under-slot deals really a “good idea” for teams like the Rays, Braves, etc? Is the possible drafting of an over-slot 2nd rounder worth it?
Or do they only do it because they don’t see anyone with enough high-level talent in the 1st round?
Keith Law: I don’t think this draft has enough guys to guarantee you get who you want at pick 40 or 41 or whatever. Just take BPA in the top 5.

Brian: Thanks for the chat today. Are the Philllies still focused on the 2 UVA bats? Who would your pick be knowing their system.? thanks!
Keith Law: Also heard Hiura with them, some prep arms, but most likely a college bat.

Michael: Tangently related to the draft, I finished school a month ago and am in the middle of a business internship (paid). My friend is a mid-tier player on one of the teams still in the College WS chase and probably won’t be done until almost July. School starts again late August. He can’t get a real summer job that will help him and isn’t going to play pro ball. How are these guys “student” athletes again?
Keith Law: Because apparently a “scholarship” worth 1/4 of your tuition is sufficient compensation even though the CWS chase brings in a lot of revenue to the school and the NCAA as a whole.

PhillyJake: Can one draw the conclusion that Pavin Smith and Nick Pratto are both destined to be future DHs?
Keith Law: Absolutely not.

S.S. Size: Last year we saw a few South Jersey kids get drafted (Groom, Mondial, that kid from Haddon Heights). Any SJ prospects of note this year?
Keith Law: Don’t have any on my top 100, and don’t think we’ll see any till day 3, maybe Ergatuk there.

Paulie: How did Franklin Perez look yesterday?
Keith Law: Good, not outstanding, but the makings of a good mid-rotation starter. Chance for three pitches, 92-96, secondary wasn’t plus, threw a lot of strikes.

Ryan: When reading about Jaren Kendall, based on the toolshe kind of reminds me of George Springer. Besides Springer being a bit more polished at the same age, is there really much that separates the two? Thanks Keith!
Keith Law: Springer was stronger & more physical, and his swing worked better mechanically, while he lacked a two-strike approach.

Balor: What odds would you give to Nate Pearson ending up a starter vs. a reliever?
Keith Law: 50/50? Huge FB, but no one thinks he has a consistently above average second pitch yet.

Squire: Any non-first round names associated with the Phillies?
Keith Law: Nope. No one knows who’s going in the top 30. Projecting the second round is like rolling dice.

Phil: Hi Keith. What’s one player who you think will be picked later in the draft (so not first round) who you think could end up a star?
Keith Law: I don’t know the third tier of prospects as well this year as I have in past years so I don’t have any great answers on that – but I do like Stephen Jennings, Kyle Hurt, and Blaine Enlow, all pretty high on my Big Board but not likely to to go first round.

Paul: Hey Keith. Thanks for the chat. I keep reading that the Dbacks are interested in Pavan Smith, and reading about him really does not excite me. Is there any chance he can play a position other than first base? And how much power do you think he’ll end up having? Thanks!
Keith Law: First base only. I think average power. Some people think more. I’ve never seen him really hit anything hard, and to me that’s a swing for contact rather than power.

Trixie: Who’s your favorite mystery writer? Have you ever read anything by Sue Grafton?
Keith Law: Still Agatha Christie. Never read anything by Grafton or other mass-market authors like her.

Dave: Keith, thanks for all your draft coverage. Do you think the A’s will take a HS OF (Beck, maybe Lewis) or college bat (Smith, Hiura) at 6?
Keith Law: I think Beck is their guy, unless Gore gets there. Not on Lewis or Smith.

Nate: Thanks for the chat Keith! What are your thoughts on the recent rumors that the Twins might be trying to cut a deal with Royce Lewis at 1-1 and, if they do, who might they be considering at 35?
Keith Law: That’s been rumored for a few weeks, but I don’t see why Lewis would take an underslot deal at 1. He’s going 4 or 5 at worst, so why would he sign for less than McKay, who’s also going 4 or 5 if he doesn’t go 1, and has less leverage than Lewis does? I could be way off but I wonder if there’s some posturing here to negotiate McKay (or someone else) down.

Will: Michael Chavis is showing some power at High A this season. How much, if at all, does this change Chavis’s prospect stock?
Keith Law: He was hurt last year but didn’t disclose it or miss any time. So I’d rather say that my rankings of him off last year were the error, and he’ll resume his correct place now that he’s health and performing again.

Kevin: Why do you think Minnesota is passing on Greene for a college arm?
Keith Law: For increased certainty.

Moltar: Am I wrong to be kind of underwhelmed with the mock selection of Lange to the Mets? His scouting reports don’t get me as excited as Pearson or Peterson if they’re set on an arm (I’d rather they catch my fave pokemon Warmoth).
Keith Law: I would take Warmoth there in a heartbeat. Lange for me is almost certainly a reliever.

Craig: Every draft preview I have seen has the Brewers taking a HS outfielder with a comment about how MIL keeps collecting outfielders with a certain profile (speedy, plus defense, good bat with potential for developing power). To what extent is that an organizational plan vs. collecting guys that happen to be available at that time/spot?
Keith Law: I haven’t made that comment – I don’t think that’s their profile or type, just that they take BPA. They could take Kendall too, college guy who can run and has power but needs a lot of swing help, along the lines of Montgomery taking other top talents who got farther down the draft than they should have.

Joe-Nathan: I remember Nathan Kirby opting out of the draft by refusing to subject himself to drug testing a few years ago, so my question is there anything onerous about being draft eligible? If not why would anyone, like Joe Boyle, declare themselves ineligible for the draft????
Keith Law: It’s possible the player didn’t think he could pass the drug test. It’s also possible the player is just taking bad advice from the college coach, too. I would never send any young pitcher to Notre Dame; Mik Aoki has a long history of overusing pitchers and no history of developing them.

Andy: Hi, Keith! Hope all is well with you and your family. Not sure if this chat is solely about tonight’s mock, but I had a non-draft question for you. Have you had a chance to see Lucas Giolito over the past month or so? I’ve been lucky enough to catch most of his starts this year and he’s never looked better than he has of late. He’s confident in the curve and has this really neat changeup, too. Wanted to see if you’ve heard anything about him lately as the Sox unravel and piece back together his motion and mechanics.
Keith Law: Haven’t seen him but have talked to folks who have and am hearing just that – he’s getting close to where he was before Mike Maddux etc. changed his delivery.

Kevin: How much projection is left for Gore? Seems like a safe choice (for a HS pick), but am I wrong thinking that he’ll be nothing more that a #3/4 in time?
Keith Law: Totally disagree. Much more upside than that.

Casey (Saint Paul, MN): Hello Keith, Are teams likely to overlook Kyle Wright’s most recent game or is that something that could actually impact his draft position?
Keith Law: You consider everything. It’s a factor, but shouldn’t be weighted more heavily than other starts (hello, recency bias).

Adam: Has the lack of over-the-fence power shown by Jorge Ona been concerning for some scouts?
Keith Law: That’s an ambiguously-worded question. Am I concerned? Not really. It’s two months.

Adam: Tommy Mace is an interesting prospect. Heard anything on him?
Keith Law: He’s #99 on my Big Board.

Adam: Any teams tied to Mark Vientos?
Keith Law: Could sneak into the teens, likely in the 20-35 range, doesn’t get past 41 Atlanta.

Adam: Does Mackenzie Gore’s mechanics give evaluators some pause? His hip swing/ leg kick motion seems like it would be an injury concern as he ages.
Keith Law: On the contrary, I’ve had scouts praise him for it, saying it demonstrates how athletic he is.

Joe-Nathan: I get that Seth Romero is talented but how can a staff full of educated adults justify giving this kid who clearly has issues over a million dollars by drafting him? The odds of him imploding are so high that
Keith Law: Your question cut off, but I think what you think. This is a bad idea.

banksy_: No question today, just want to say thank you for all that you do for your readers. I wouldn’t follow the draft as closely if it weren’t for you and many other writers that do a fantastic job of educating readers on the nuances of scouting and projecting amateur talent. But especially you, since I’ve really enjoyed your book so far! Looking forward to passing it on/recommending it to friends and family when I do finish it!
Keith Law: Thanks. Big fan of your street art, too.

Randy: In years past, you did a great job picking out Conforto and Benintendi as picks that had a good chance to move through the minors quickly. Whom would be your best players for similar advancement in today’s draft?
Keith Law: Warmoth is my guy this year. Haseley too, but Warmoth is the one whose swing I like, and I think he stays at short.

Justin: To a draft newbie, if the consensus top talent by all accounts is Greene, why would the Twins not take him first? Higher probability of flameout as a high schooler than a college player?
Keith Law: He’s not the consensus by all accounts. He’s #1 on some boards, not all, maybe not even a majority.

Andrew: Have you heard the Nats connected to anyone besides the usual 4 of Romero, Lange, Schmidt, and Houck?
Keith Law: I think they’re taking Romero, haven’t heard them on Houck.

Intramural Legend: Is McKay being underrated at this point? Statistically (pitching specific), he was much better than Wright
Keith Law: Wright was better in the second half; he improved while McKay seemed to tire (unsurprisingly). And durability is a factor teams will consider.

Bob: Hey, Keith. Are you in Bristol to do TV today for the draft? Is there a special show?
Keith Law: I’m home. No TV, no more BBTN, so I’ll sleep in my own bed tonight.

Mike Trout: Thinking about a new boardgame and leaning towards 7 wonders, any advice? Have enjoyed Catan, Carcassone, & Ticket to Ride
Keith Law: 7 Wonders is fantastic. Probably a step up in strategy and complexity from what you’ve played.

AJ: Hey Keith– loved your appearance on OTL today. You have the White Sox taking JB Bukauskas over bats you’ve stated they’re linked to like Jeren Kendall. Do they have a specific interest in Bukauskas from what you know? Do you think they’d take an under-slot HS OF like Adell or Beck over a college pitcher if available?
Keith Law: If you look at my mock, those 27 pairings of team and player are all based on industry rumors. Someone told me the White Sox like Bukauskas. I can’t say who, but I can tell you everything in there is based on what I considered solid intel.

Jack: What are your thoughts on Luke Heimlich’s future? Will he get drafted? Has he paid enough for his mistake?
Keith Law: I don’t think he’ll be drafted inside of the top ten rounds. After that, there’s little to no opportunity cost if you take him and fail to sign him, so then it becomes possible.

Ian: Is McKay at #1 a mistake?
Keith Law: No. I think taking Lewis over him, Wright, or Greene might be a mistake … but I can’t even say “would be” because who the heck knows? I can’t even get consensus on what kind of hitting prospect Lewis is from scouts and execs I’ve asked.

Bret: As a general rule, how much of the info that you get (or that other analysts are getting) today is just smoke being put out by team’s to lower the price on a player they’re targeting or impact other team’s decisions? (Not suggesting you always come forward with this info, I’m sure you have a process to determine what’s real and what’s not, too)
Keith Law: Don’t think I’ve heard much of that today.

Tim (KC): Keith, disregarding your mocks, how would you draft if you were the GM of each of the teams with top 5 picks?
Keith Law: That’s what my Big Board represents – ignoring signability too, plus stuff I don’t get, like medicals or drug test results.

MetsFan: Can the Mets get Warmoth or Huira? Would love both
Keith Law: No shot on Hiura. Warmoth maybe.

Patrick: When do you think Canning goes?
Keith Law: I think someone’s second pick. Kid was overused by UCLA for three years, and now there’s something on his MRI teams don’t like. I wonder if those two are connected in any way.

Pramit: Have you heard if the Jays are interested in Nick Allen? If so, could you see them taking him at 22 if they believe he’ll be unavailable at 28?
Keith Law: Haven’t heard them with him.

Ken: If Burger gets to the Mets do you think they take him over aforementioned pitching options?
Keith Law: I think so. He’s got a bunch of teams in the 20-27 range that would take him.

Ike: Do you wish that teams could trade their picks like the NBA and NFL?
Keith Law: Yes, it’d make today much more fun/interesting.

Ryan: Do you think there is any chance Kyle Wright falls to the phillies with some people reporting under slot deals?
Keith Law: Zero.

DA: Any chance Minnesota goes Lewis #1 and uses extra money on Shane Baz at #35?
Keith Law: I don’t think so.

Tim: Any chance on Kendall going in the 6-10 range?
Keith Law: Brewers would be the only team in there who might take him, from what I know.

Chris: I’m moving to the Cape. Who should I try to see in a game this summer?
Keith Law: Just go to whatever games are nearby and enjoy them.

Drew: If Otani were in this draft class where would he go?
Keith Law: 1-1, pitcher only.
Keith Law: Bear in mind he’s also a professional, and older & more experienced than everyone else in the class, so it’s a flawed comparison.

JR: Is info come fast and furious all day today, or at some point do you hit “calm before the storm” point where nothing much happens until the draft starts.
Keith Law: It’s been fairly quiet today. Around 5 pm or so the fit will hit the shan, so to speak.

Dan P: How many guys in this draft would plug right into your top 100 prospects? Who would they be? Thanks for all your hard draft work!
Keith Law: In a typical year, I get 12-16 guys from a June draft in the next January’s top 100. I don’t do midseason 100s, however.

Jim: Any pitchers that could come up and help in the bullpen later this season, like Sale did in his draft year?
Keith Law: Lange.

Dan P: Sad to not see you live with Longenhagen tonight. Will you be blogging live or anything?
Keith Law: I’ll tweet (via the ESPN Shortstop app, so you’ll see a tweet and then a link if I wrote more than 140 chars) about each of the first round picks, and then I’ll write up a recap with thoughts on day one.

Jared S: Kind of funny Twins rumors went from Greene early, to McKaey, then to Wright, then to maybe McKay and now Lewis. Wild.
Keith Law: Eh, I don’t think there were rumors of the Twins with Greene. It’s been mostly McKay/Wright for the last month.

Nick: Thanks, as always, for the chats klaw. About to be first time father here (baby boy was due yesterday). Any advice for making the first few months here as happy and comfortable as possible for my wife?
Keith Law: It worked much better for us when we decided to alternate nights for feeding our daughter (we bottle-fed) – I’d take both feedings one night, my wife would take both the next night. We got somewhat more quality sleep out of that.

Devon: The rumors of Kyle Wright falling to the Braves have me excited because he didn’t seem attainable recently, but would you have any concern about over-crowding of SP prospects? Obviously the bust rate for pitching prospects is extremely high, but if the Braves drafted a polished college arm like Wright there would potentially be a major crunch for innings in Mississippi or Gwinnett in a year or two
Keith Law: Can’t have too many starters. They’ll figure it out somehow.

Patrick: While I fully recognize MLB is a completely different animal than say NFL or NBA where you can say team X needs a linebacker or a point guard, I still think it interesting how a team is linked to say a college starting pitcher and a high school third baseman. Is that solely because they grade out equal to each other on a team’s big board, or is that more a function of different voices within the organization fighting for they guys they are really high on?
Keith Law: Because they grade out similarly on the main board. You have to rank them all, regardless of how different they are. Imagine how much worse it’ll be if MLB ever forces a worldwide draft on us.

Dallas: Lewis takes an underslot deal at #1 ($7.0) because he won’t get $7.0 anywhere else.
Keith Law: I don’t think that’s true at all. Couple of teams below that would give him $7MM if they could.

ck: Who cares what is on your bookshelf when you are on TV? Stupid trolls need to get a life….
Keith Law: It never ceases to amaze me how mad some people will get over the most trivial things.

Mike J: Hi Keith. Hearing any new news regarding the Pirates’ thinking? Thanks for your time. Folks appreciate all of your hard work on this draft and being accessible to answer our questions.
Keith Law: Nothing new since the mock yesterday. The one pick I would change from that is the Yanks – think they’d take Pratto if there rather than Peterson, so Peterson then drops a few spots, maybe to the Giants, Mets, Orioles range, no worse than Toronto 22.

justin: Any players have a chance at cracking your top 20 baseball prospects upon being drafted?
Keith Law: I don’t think so.

Manny: Other than normal reliever attrition, am I crazy in thinking that Bukauskas is likely to be a RP?
Keith Law: I think there’s a very good chance of it, yes.

Adam D.: Please make me feel better about the Giants inevitably taking Evan White. Please?
Keith Law: Some folks think he runs well enough to play the outfield, maybe center. That would make him much more interesting.

Joe (Green Bay, WI): Comments like “…Nothing more than a #3/4,” are bothersome. It’s as if guys that profile as mid-rotation starters are found on trees.
Keith Law: Look at what they get in free agency! There have long been fans getting mad at me for saying someone “only” projects as a fourth starter. Those guys earn eight figures now.

John: Could taking Romero be a desperation move to try and help an awful Nats bullpen? Also, when you say you do not like his delivery, do you mean it could cause injury? Thanks as always.
Keith Law: He’s already had injury issues, so yes, and also I don’t think that’s a delivery that he’s going to repeat enough for average command.

Tim: Any feeling that someone other than McKay, Wright, Greene, Gore go in the top 3? Surprise pick like Moniack last year?
Keith Law: Moniak we knew as a 1-1 possibility about three weeks out. That hasn’t happened this year.

Daniel: Any thoughts on Drew Ellis? Would he be better served coming back to Louisville, or is he thought of highly enough to be a top 2-3 round pick?
Keith Law: He’s going to be drafted tonight, I think, but his swing-at-everything style scares me.

Frank: Which of the top names are being advised by Boras?
Keith Law: I do not print this information until players have signed, because the NCAA is the worst.

Ridley Kemp: Howdy Keith, I have a non-baseball Arizona question for you: My wife and I want to move to a smaller town in the desert. We love but can’t afford Marfa, so we’re looking at Bisbee. Have you ever been there, and do you have any impressions to share? I want the truth to be said.
Keith Law: Never been. Sedona was lovely, though.

Matt: Do any colleges have set-ups that allow them to track some of the new statistical measures we’re seeing a lot of in the majors right now (e.g., exit velocity, spin rate, etc.)? If so, are those stats shared with MLB teams?
Keith Law: I believe a few have set up some of the equipment for this.

James: how good is hiura’s bat? Good enough to stick him in left field and let him get to the majors asap?
Keith Law: Can’t play left if you can’t throw at all.

Garrett: What are the ceiling for Chris Seise and Ryan Vilade?
Keith Law: Both are on my Big Board … everyday regulars, but both with some bat risks. Seise seems like he needs to get a lot stronger.

Andy: Not a draft question, but….what should Tigers fans take of Manning still being in extended spring? Are they holding him back to hold down his workload, or is he not ready for full season ball yet?
Keith Law: Had trouble throwing strikes in March. I think they couldn’t send him out.

Joe-Nathan: I’m planning to get you to sign my book in Toronto. Any specific restaurants/coffee shops from your blue jay days you are excited about for your visit?
Keith Law: I haven’t been there since 2005, so I’m treating this like a first visit. I’ll only be on the ground about 24 hours.

Jay: Not a draft question, but how much research or questions are raised internally about players eye sight as they age? We know bat speed declines with age, but eye sight in general does as well for most people. Obviously it’s really hard to combat this but how much is this talked about with clubs when signing guys or doing medical research on them and do you think this is something that eventually become a bigger deal as teams try to discover the next market inefficiency in the health/biometrics area?
Keith Law: Most teams want vision test results for potential draftees, and some teams will crush a guy with poor results. So it’s definitely a factor tonight, but I don’t hear it much for veteran players.

Wally: hey Keith – love the book. Was curious about your comment in the mock draft about Romero (‘at a certain point it becomes indistinguishable from parody ‘). Is that a shot at the Nats or the industry generally for considering a screwup because he has talent?
Keith Law: Want to make an educated guess who the Nats are taking? Find the most famous player still on the board.

Jim: Where would Luis Robert go in this draft class?
Keith Law: Probably middle of the first round.

Dave: Keith, non-draft question, how many MLB stadiums have you been to?
Keith Law: I think 27. I’ll add one in July at the Futures Game. I’d still need Seattle and Texas.

Quinn: Likelihood of Kyle Wright falling out of the top 5?
Keith Law: Under 5%.

addoeh: So no trip to Omaha then?
Keith Law: For me? No, we’re not doing BBTN any more, so no BBTNs from Omaha either.

Wade: When is Rooker taken?
Keith Law: Tonight, somewhere between 30-50 is my guess.

Danny: Sorry if you’ve answered his before, but who are the players in mind that teams cutting a deal want to fall in the supplemental 1st or 2nd round?
Keith Law: Prep arms, largely. Carlson, Enlow, Jennings, Baz (in theory, doubt it happens), Crouse, Heatherly, etc.

Noah: Who has the final say for a draft pick, is it the GM, Farm Director, or President of Baseball Ops?
Keith Law: First round it’s usually the GM, although he may simply choose to take who the scouting director wants. After that it’s typically the scouting director, unless there’s a deal already in place.

Steve: FYI, if you think having Sandy Hook Truthers on TV isn’t a thing NBC should do, you can tell them about it here: http://www.nbc.com/contact-us
Keith Law: It’s definitely not something any tv station should do, but let’s face it, the networks will do anything for eyeballs at this point.

Scott C: This isn’t a draft question, but did you get to see any of Newcomb’s debut over the weekend?
Keith Law: Nope. Didn’t watch any MLB games this weekend – I was either doing draft prep or at the Blue Rocks’ games Saturday and Sunday.

Kyle: About where does JJ Schwarz go at this point?
Keith Law: Fourth or fifth round? Would he even sign there, or go back to UF to try to come out after a better senior year?

addoeh: Unless you have been there already this year, new Atlanta ballpark as well.
Keith Law: oh that’s right. Boondoogle Park is on the list.

Andy: What are the chances the a player not in your top 100 is taken tonight? I guess the question is, have you heard other guys getting mentioned towards the end, that you have outside 100.
Keith Law: 100% chance of that. Last year there were a couple – JB Woodman, the guy Ole Miss fans kept claiming was a 5-tool player, was the first, I think. (He has a 39% K rate as a 22-year-old in low-A this year.) The Pirates also skunked everyone with their last pick of day one, Travis “Monarch of the Glen” Macgregor.

Jerry: To combat the way some college coaches abuse their best arms, what is keeping the NCAA from instituting pitch limits and mandatory rest periods, the same way every amateur level in America is currently doing?
Keith Law: This would assume the NCAA cares one iota about keeping pitchers healthy.

Steve: When you say Hiura can’t throw “at all,” how bad are you talking? Ben Revere bad? Or an actual bottom-of-the-scale 20 arm?
Keith Law: He didn’t play the field all spring because of whatever’s going on with his arm. That’s why I listed him as a DH/2B.

Mo: Not a question, but as an African-American and lifelong baseball fan, Hunter Greene might already be my new favorite player
Keith Law: I was extremely impressed when I sat down with him. His answers weren’t canned or hackneyed; he’s intelligent and his answers were really thoughtful.

Dalton: Any thoughts on Chase Vallot this weekend? 129 wRC+ in A+ from a 20yo is nice with all the walks and power, even if he’s striking out more than me when I try to ask girls out on a date.
Keith Law: He’s terrible. It’s a negative approach at the plate. FWIW, I don’t think wRC+ is a useful stat for discussing prospects.

Joey Bag-O-Donuts: I appreciate you not mentioning me and my draft prospects this year, Keith. You have brought up my name every year for what seems like a decade. Maybe this year, without all of the hype, will be the year my dream finally comes true.
Keith Law: I gave you enough love in Smart Baseball, Joey.

Andy: The ESPN comments were annoyed with the fact that you “made it a black thing” about Greene.
Keith Law: As if I had made him black.

Brett: Hi Keith. Thank you for all your draft coverage. I have a question about KJ Harrison. It seems not many, if anyone, sees him as a C anymore. Do you just think the bat isn’t good enough to make
Keith Law: I don’t think the bat is good enough for him to be worth a top 3 rounds pick at another position.

Dalton: Care to clarify on wRC+ for prospects? Do you think linear weights are different in the minors? The only complaint I think could be that wRC+ adjusts for league but the not park (in the minors that is).
Keith Law: Why are linear weights the goal, though? Woodman has a 108 wRC+, so above average, but he just pulled his strikeout rate down under 40% in the last few days. So he does good things on contact (perhaps a function of being old for the league), but makes such infrequent contact that it won’t matter. We’re not looking for the most valuable players in the Midwest League, but the most projectable ones.

Brad: What is the boardgame you play most these days?
Keith Law: Usually new stuff – Santorini, Barenpark, and Unlock! the last three – with the family, older stuff more online.

Jeb: When is the actual first pick tonight (as opposed to the beginning of the broadcast)?
Keith Law: 7:05 pm, I think.

Dan: I know it may not be realistic, but do you think there’s a chance McKay ends up as a reliever/1B/DH? If he were to be an above-average reliever for 50 innings and say, Brandon Belt at the dish, he’s a 5-win player. He is after all, the best two way player, maybe ever in college.
Keith Law: I don’t. I think he’s too good at both to end up in that role. You’re talking brooks kieschnick.

Ed: Did you see Wonder Woman? We don’t go to the movies that often anymore with the time to in-home availability shrinking, but we had a great time watching this one on the big screen. My 11-year-old daughter had been looking forward to it since she was about 9, and she thoroughly enjoyed it.
Keith Law: No, but we plan to see it somewhere. I haven’t seen a movie in a few weeks now because of this draft nonsense.

Tallulah: Duke Uselton? As a huge Zootopia fan, I can only shake my head. Re Burger and scouts agreeing he won’t stay at 3rd – is he 1B/DH only, or could profile at a corner OF spot?
Keith Law: First base only, I think. And that was my favorite line in Zootopia.
Keith Law: OK, the phone is starting to buzz again so I’m going to wrap this up. I’ll be on Twitter tonight and there will be a live file running on ESPN that gathers my quick notes on each of the first round picks, and I’ll shoot for a chat tomorrow afternoon once we are through round five. Thank you as always for reading and for all of your questions!

Klawchat 6/9/17.

I ranked all the main Leda clones on Orphan Black for BBC America ahead of the season premiere tomorrow night. Last call for Clone Club!

Keith Law: I’m not expecting to grow flowers in the desert. It’s Klawchat.

Ken: Please explain why Austin Beck is seen as the superior prospect to Jaren Kendall? They appear to have similar general strengths and weaknesses, but Kendall has 3 years in the SEC and Beck has missed a summer and reportedly has minimal experience of competing against elite competition in his age group. Is it simply because Beck’s ceiling is considerably higher?
Keith Law: There’s a lot to unpack here, but I’ll give it a shot. One, they don’t have similar strengths and weaknesses to begin with, but let’s assume they did. Two, Kendall has 3 years in the SEC … of huge strikeout rates and lack of adjustments. It’s often easier to dream on the kid who hasn’t been challenged than the one who has and has struggled. Three, scouts have major concerns about the mechanics of Kendall’s swing, but not Beck’s. I do have questions about Beck – you named some; I think there’s effort to his game, even the ++ bat speed – but how can we overlook how often Kendall strikes out, and specifically swings and misses, against decent competition?

cj: if the braves draft McKay, they wouldn’t put him in RF, and Acuna in LF would they? Shouldn’t that be flipped the other way?
Keith Law: McKay is a first baseman, and I think there’s maybe a 2% chance he gets to Atlanta (pick 5) anyway. BTW, I should have said this up front, but I’m going to focus on draft questions today.

Erix: Hey Keith!

Everyone preaches taking best player available, but one often hears that a team is focused on college bats, or prep righties, or some other subset. Does this fly in the face of BPA or does it just suggest that’s where they think the best players are?
Keith Law: The latter. Hey, we’d like to get a college bat, but if the best player available isn’t one, then we won’t force it.

Sean: Grabs popcorn, waits for the deluge of questions about Jordan Adell. Should be fun.
Keith Law: I see one. I don’t really understand this comment.

Kyle: Is your ranking of Adell based more heavily on your own scouting? Just trying to reconcile seeing him at 50 while showing up at 9 on the mock. Are the Brewers outliers in their evaluation of him? Thanks!
Keith Law: Based more than anything on comments from scouts and crosscheckers who were off him early this spring – and who say his big HR total is a reflection of a tiny home park. But bear in mind my rankings and my mocks are not connected in any way.

Jim: What’s your take on the Oregon State – Heimlich situation? How will MLB offices deal with it?
Keith Law: A few teams have already told me they took his magnet off their draft boards. My guess is someone takes him on day three, then decides whether to sign him after seeing what PR backlash there is and what the kid says to them in person afterwards. He hasn’t commented publicly; I don’t know if he’s spoken to any scouts or teams since the news broke. And I’m loath to say too much because of how sensitive the subject is, but I wouldn’t draft him, period.

Mike: This might sound like a dumb question but humor me. Can you explain to me why left on left/right on right is a good pitching matchup?
Keith Law: Hitters fare better against pitchers from the other side because they can see the ball earlier out of the pitcher’s hand.

Jake: Odds that Estevan Florial is a top 100 prospect next March?
Keith Law: Low.

Lilith: Do you have any idea who the Reds might have interest in at 32 or 38?
Keith Law: Not really. It’s like every year – they want some HS overslot candidate to fall.

Mac: Do you think players should have to declare for the draft? That would seem to clear up all the signability issues that makes a complicate decision even more complicated.
Keith Law: No, because the NCAA would find a way to use that to fuck players over.

David: I know it varies from team to team. So on average how many amateur scouts, crosscheckers, and the like do teams generally employ?
Keith Law: 12-14 area guys, 3-6 crosscheckers (can include regional or just national), a director, maybe a few others like an assistant director or a special assignment scout who reports to the GM but sees amateurs in the spring.

Andy: Did McIlwain cost the SC coach his job? He was fired for not making the NCAA tourney. Scouting the stat line only, it looks like the weakest position was CF. The coach probably would have spent more time recruiting or stabilizing that position if he didn’t have a QB penciled in there.
Keith Law: That was one of many problems with Holbrook – working Clarke Schmidt as hard as he did, followed by a Schmidt TJ, couldn’t have helped matters on or off the field.

Andy: Would you prefer that we take finished copies of your book to a local library for donation, or to an independent bookseller to resell?
Keith Law: The library. I don’t like the idea that there’s a financial threshold for readers – not everyone can spend liberally on books. Thank you for asking, BTW.

ILLINIcheid: What do you think is causing the increase in home runs? It can’t possibly be primarily due to launch angle.

If the ball has been juiced, how is that possible? Isn’t there a specific compression the balls have to adhere to? I’m sure pitchers who have been hit in the head by line drives would be unhappy to learn about a juiced ball.
Keith Law: Why can’t it be due primarily to launch angle, or just generally to attempts to swing for the fences more?

Mike: Does Andruw Jones ever get elected to the HoF? Baseball-Reference has a top 4 similarity score to Dale Murphy, Jose Canseco, Joe Carter and Jim Edmonds.
Keith Law: Don’t think so but he will get some support, more than Edmonds (one and done) did.

Michael: Can the Twins really pass on Hunter Greene? As a fan, I’m not as excited about the other options.
Keith Law: Can and I think will.

Corbett: How do negotiations happen after a player is picked? Do agents let teams know if they’re seeking an over slot deal before the draft?
Keith Law: Yeah, there’s a lot of discussion before the draft, and a lot of players have already agreed to terms when they’re picked. It’s not permitted, but everyone does it, so MLB can’t enforce the rules. It’s why I advocate allowing teams to negotiate with players or agents beforehand – they’re doing it anyway, you’ll never stop it, so force it out from the shadows.

Dave: Have you heard about the Kooks Burrito uproar in Portland? Is cultural appropriation of food a real thing? I had never heard of this before.
Keith Law: Talk about political correctness run amok. It’s about as stupid a food non-troversy as I can remember seeing. Unless those two women were doing something really insensitive in their marketing or branding, I don’t understand this at all. Rick Bayliss is one of the most important chefs of Mexican cuisine in the world, and he’s not Mexican. (He’s Skip’s brother.) He’s done as much to popularize regional Mexican cooking and educate American palates on it as anybody. The idea that this would somehow be ‘appropriation’ is absurd. It’s like saying American authors can’t write fiction because Japanese and British authors did it first.

Tom L: Also, any chance you’ll be making a visit to Powell’s here in Portland?
Keith Law: Nope. Wonderful store, but they never asked.

Michael: This may be a question with an obvious answer, but what do teams do with the 40+ new players they acquire every year (40 round draft and intn’l signings)? If they stick them on a rookie league team (how many of those does each team have anyway) – then the guys from the prior year have to move up to A, AA, etc. right? Do they release 40-ish players each year who are not even org guys?
Keith Law: They release a bunch of guys when extended spring ends, on top of releases at the end of March.

Ray Grace: I know it’s a small sample size but where in the hell did Chris Taylor come from? Did his scouting report when drafted give any hit that he could turn into this type of hitter?
Keith Law: Small sample size. I don’t think he’s turned into anything.

PhillyJake: In your last mock you had the Pirates taking J.B. Bukauskas. I don’t see it. They usually go for the six and a half foot (give or take an inch) pitchers, Bukauskas is only 6’0″. What’s different about this guy?
Keith Law: “I don’t see it” doesn’t work as an argument unless you’ve been talking to sources about the draft.

Mike M: Did you think Devers would be this good in AA right away?
Keith Law: I’ve ranked him very highly for two-plus years, putting him over Moncada both years they’ve been on the the top 100.
Keith Law: So, yes, I would say I expected him to be good fast. (Sorry for the lag there – my PC blue-screened.)

Jim: Do you think the Mets would take Jake Burger at 20? And do you think he’s too fat for third?
Keith Law: I think he’d be on their list, but not necessarily their first choice, and he’s not fat, but he’s going to end up at 1b.

Sterling Mallory Chris Archer: Is there any way to see past newsletters? I wanted to read the anxiety one you wrote three weeks ago but for some reason I wasn’t getting the emails.
Keith Law: yes, on the signup page you can see some past newsletter, including the one you want.

JP: Based solely on climate, culture, and politics, where would you choose to live (domestically and internationally)?
Keith Law: Italy. Good weather. Great people. Amazing food. Government too unstable and incompetent to do much harm.

Len: So let’s assume the top 4 is Wright, Greene, Gore, McKay like most expect. Atlanta would take Lewis, right? I hope they don’t get cute again and try to float someone when it would be really tough to do for them this year.
Keith Law: That is my current top 5. Beck 6, then I think Haseley or Smith 7.

Matt : From what you’ve heard, are Seth Romero’s issues related more to immaturity or is he, for lack of a better phrase, a bad guy.
Keith Law: More than immaturity. Also, that’s not a great delivery.

Brett: If someone asked you to do a commencement speech, would you? Are you afraid of public speaking, or has your time on TV mitigated that?
Keith Law: Done plenty of public speaking – including another one at Pitch Talks in Toronto on 6/26, tix still available! – and have never been “afraid” of it. I’ll be more anxious right before I start, and then once it begins, I get extremely focused and will always lose track of time. I did this once in Boston to a CMU alumni group, thought I had talked for about 20 minutes, and was told over an hour had gone by.

Brad: Any chance of you coming to the Tattered Cover out here in Denver for a book signing? It was a great read, by the way – I gave it to my dad when he was recuperating from back surgery.
Keith Law: Glad you enjoyed it. All scheduled book signings have come from stores or venues contacting HarperCollins to invite me. If that happens, I can try to work it into my schedule (usually tied into a trip I’m taking for another reason). I’ll be at Books & Books in Miami the day before the Futures Game, for example.

Marshall MN: Despite wanting Greene to the Twins, I have come to accept taking Wright #1 overall. What level do you seem him starting out at after signing, High-A ball?
Keith Law: I would expect him to start 2018 in high-A. He probably won’t pitch much this summer.

Macabe : Where do you think Stanford SS Nico Hoerner gets drafted next year? Looks like he has had success but I don’t really know what evaluators think of him at the next level
Keith Law: I can’t think about next year’s draft until I’ve survived this one.

Hey J.P.: Lamonte Wade, Brandon Lowe, or Mike Shawryn on your next top 100 list?
Keith Law: No.

Bret: How much does Nick Allen’s height concern you? It may be recency bias, but my instinct is that worrying about a player’s height tends to be a bit overblown?
Keith Law: It doesn’t. Dude can hit and can play short. He’s fine.

j : Thoughts on Jordan Montgomery? He’s looked pretty solid here early on
Keith Law: It’s extremely average stuff. I expect the K rate to decline with more looks. He’ll have to cut the walk rate to compensate.

Phils Guy: When my twin sons were in middle school, I had to verbally twist my pediatrician’s to get the Gardasil regimen started. Parents of boys, please insist that your pre-teen sons get vaccinated for HSV, It may not happen if you don’t force the issue.
Keith Law: Our daughter’s doctors – PCP and metabolic specialist – both encouraged us to get her the HPV vaccine when she turned 11 (which she *just* did so we haven’t gone yet). It’s really weird that they do so for girls but not boys.

Andy: It seems like Kendall has a really high ceiling, and a seemingly more possible floor of never making the majors. Does he have like a Cameron Maybin middle, ending up as a good fielder with huge Ks, but still a serviceable player?
Keith Law: That’s a reasonable point of view.

cj: Can you tell me about Bubba Thomson? Is he a potential top 10 so a team can go overslot later?
Keith Law: Not a potential top 10. I have him ranked right around where I think he’ll go (coincidence), in the 20s.

FG: how many of the top 50 draft prospects do you get to scout in person?
Keith Law: In a typical year, maybe 30-35. This year, half that, because my book came out during draft season.

PhillyJake: I realize I don’t see it doesn’t work as an argument. Which is why I asked what different about this guy? Or, what is it they like about him to break their pattern in terms of pitchers they draft?
Keith Law: I don’t know their specific thinking, but he’s a three-year performer who will show three above average pitches.

Len: Can you give us an update on your mock schedule between now and the draft?
Keith Law: Next one posts Sunday morning and we will keep that file ‘live’ till the draft, editing that rather than rewriting the whole thing.

Sam: Still thinking Nick Allen for the Cubs? Would they save any money for high-ceiling options at #30?
Keith Law: I didn’t have them with Allen in my last mock. I have heard they would like to pair up those picks (27 and 29), go over slot with one and under with the other, to try to nab a top 15 talent who fell due to bonus demands/college commitment.

Chris: Why is a quiche not a pie?
Keith Law: It’s a pie. A custard pie.

Ed: Non Draft Question – Eddie Butler has looked decent with the Cubs, albeit a SSS and not pitching a mile above sea level. Have you seen anything different in his delivery that might help him have more success going forward?
Keith Law: I think it’s more that his shoulder is finally healthy again and he’s not pitching in Denver.

Marshall MN: At what spot in this draft does a team stop scouting Wright/Greene/McKay? It seems like by pick 6 or 7 that there isn
Keith Law: Yes, teams in that 6-10 range have told me they expect those three guys to be gone.

Mike: Jack Flaherty, who you call a possible #2 starter, has opened his time in AAA with two solid starts. How far is he from being ready for a ML rotation?
Keith Law: He could get a cup of coffee in September but it’s more realistic to think he’ll be up nextx spring.

Hey J.P.: Otani a two way player in the majors? And either way, how would he fare if he was draft eligible?
Keith Law: No, pitcher only.

Ed: Are the Cubs still on Luis Gonzalez? Seems like a lot of risk – HS guy playing in altitude with limited upside. Any chance they look at pitching or do they continue to do what they’ve been good at – picking bats? Thanks!
Keith Law: Luis Gonzalez is at UNM. You’re (possibly) confusing him with Jacob Gonzalez, whose father Luis played for the Dbacks, who is an Arizona HS kid.

Mike: Is it possible the Addison Russell accusations are completely false?
Keith Law: Possible, sure. Likely, no. False accusation rates for domestic and sexual assault are in the single digits.

Dan: Like many others, you had Smoak as a top prospect. Then he spent the next seven years looking like a bust. Now he’s suddenly become one of the top 1B in the AL. What’s happened?
Keith Law: I told him he was making me look bad, and he apologized and said he’d take care of it.

preston: non draft question. Newcomb starts tomorrow. if you are Atl, do you release Bartolo and go with Newcomb the remainder of the year?
Keith Law: I don’t see why we should expect Newcomb to succeed given his chronically high walk rates throughout the minors, including AAA.

Andy: Honestly, the second worst part of the OSU pitcher’s story (behind the actions) is that most of the family took his side. How does someone do that? It isn’t like it’s a he said-she said, like sexual assault. He pleaded guilty. Grade 20 family he’s from.
Keith Law: You mean like the Duggar family. And Mike Huckabee, the soi-disant “christian” who defended the molester.

Josh: You had positive things to say about Yordan Alvarez before the season. Have you gotten any scouting reports since he started tearing up Low A?
Keith Law: Just that he’s overmatching the league. I wish he were in high-A because Buies Creek is in town this weekend. (Also, I’m calling them “Boo-Ya’s Creek” until someone corrects me.)

Brian: What do you think about Louisville taking the result of the play ( ground ball out to ss) and the run instead of the catcher’s interference vs UK today? If they took the interference it would’ve been bases loaded, 1 out (U of L up 1-0) instead it was runner on 3rd, 2 outs (2-0). Good Strategy or No?
Keith Law: Would depend on who was up next. You pretty much always trade an out for a run on offense unless you’re trailing by a lot, right?

Ethan: Any idea what time the signing in Harrisburg next week is?
Keith Law: It’s next month, not next week.

Nick: This may be a dumb question, but do you find joy/happiness from your job? I know many people feel they would, but I’m curious if it plays out that way. While scouting and writing about baseball seems to be many peoples’ dream, I am wondering if you still view it in such a positive light. Thanks for all the work you do.
Keith Law: I do, definitely, but it is also very much a job. And there are times when I am doing something (sitting or standing at a HS game, watching a kid who’s not as good as advertised, in cold or wet weather) that I wouldn’t be doing if it weren’t an obligation.

Brett: Have you ever scouted internationally? If so, what countries have you been to?
Keith Law: I’ve been to the DR and Taiwan, once each, and would barely call it scouting. I’ve got no interest in that lifestyle – your trips are long and grueling.

Drew Dog: With the “Trea Turner rule” now changed, what is stopping a team from asking a top 3 picking team to draft a guy, then trading them minor or MLB talent immediately after?
Keith Law: It’s not immediate – it’s five months – and a lot can happen in the interim.

Drew Dog: Why do so many UVA pitchers appear to bust? Tyler Wilson, D Hultzen, Nick Howard, Branden Kline…
Keith Law: Because they push everyone to have the same delivery, and that doesn’t work. I believe Javier Lopez is still their all-time leader in pitching WAR.

Dustin: Keith, who are you hearing connected to Houston at #15? So far I’ve seen Hiura, Baz, and Peterson
Keith Law: I believe I’ve mentioned all three of them with Houston in past mocks.

Fonz: What are your thoughts on Tarik Skubal? And will he be offered enough to forgo another year in school to rebuild his stock?
Keith Law: He’s throwing bullpens for teams now, but no one ever scouted him in a game (he had TJ on 4/20/16) so unless he’s willing to take a deep discount he may be better off either 1) heading to school or 2) trying to pitch somewhere like the Cape this summer to see if a team drafts him late and will go over slot for him.

Oren: Revisiting last year’s draft, what have you heard about Cal Quantrill? His numbers look okay, but I know he’s in a bit of a hitter’s league. What are the scouting reports saying? Does he look anything close to the guy he was when he was seen as a 1-1 candidate?
Keith Law: I’ve heard yes, he has, but he’s also barely two years off TJ and has outings where he doesn’t have his command.

Matt: I don’t think it applies here to the Addison Russell case because they are married, but it appears the rates of false accusations amongst professional athletes in SA/DV cases is higher than the general population given their income levels (and therefore monetary value to gain). Isnt it best to wait for the facts (when possible) before permanently changing opinions on players?
Keith Law: I’d like to see proof of that claim about such false accusations. You mention the monetary gain to claimants, but ignore the vitriol they face from mouthbreathing fans who will call them sluts or golddiggers, who’ll dox them, who’ll go after their jobs, and so on. Just look at what Patrick Kane’s victim went through.

Brett: Kind of piggy backing off of Nick’s question, do you ever sit back at night and watch a baseball game for pure enjoyment?
Keith Law: Never. Baseball is work. If I do something that isn’t work, it won’t be baseball.

Wrong Verb: Speaking of trading newly drafted players, what is the reason why MLB won’t allow draft picks to be traded?
Keith Law: The fear that small market teams would choose to trade picks rather than pay high bonuses – and that agents would use that as leverage. I think those are overblown; small market teams have the most to gain from gathering picks and paying to add amateur talent at the draft’s discounted prices.

Ed: Is Pearson’s stock getting too high for him to fall to the Cubs?
Keith Law: I have heard Nate Pearson has a deal in the 21-26 range.

Greg: Keith, how much did injuries impact your Tristian Beck ranking? I’ve read others say he’s a first-round talent, do you agree?
Keith Law: He was on my list as a potential first-round talent coming into the spring, but never pitched. I don’t see how you can handwave away a back injury for a pitcher.

Matt: You don’t watch the World Series unless you get paid?
Keith Law: You think I’m paid by the game?

Greg: Signability issues with Brady McConnell?
Keith Law: He won’t come cheap. Kind of kid who could end up a first rounder in 3 years if he goes to school and performs at the plate, but hasn’t performed enough this year and of course there’s the risk he goes to school and flops.

Hank: Hey Keith, can you clarify this for me — Your Shane Baz write up mentions three plus pitches but not much deception. Does the lack of deception not have an impact on the grade of the pitches?
Keith Law: Not to be flippant, but if it impacted the pitch grades, I would have said so. You can throw 98, and that’s a plus fastball, but if hitters square it up (Mark Appel comes to mind), then there’s a reason – lack of movement, lack of deception, lack of command – and that’s a separate line item.

Rick C: So I take it Tristan Beck is a lesser pitcher than Kolby Allard? And/or is his back injury more serious?
Keith Law: Allard pitched that spring; I saw him.

Brett: I’m assuming, assuming, that you have your work emails on your phone. Assuming you do, how do you balance that with your home life. Do you find it hard, when spending time with your wife and daughter, to not peak at your emails? I struggle with that as a professional and as a Father.
Keith Law: Absolutely. Especially this time of year. There’s always another person looking for me. I get so many inbound messages through various platforms that I have stopped responding to most of them because I just don’t have the time.

Hank: Geez man, just asking a question. Not really sure why you need the tough guy mantra when people are asking questions.
Keith Law: Yes, that’s how people describe me, a real “tough guy.”

Jason: Had he been stateside and eligible, where would Vlad Jr. fall?
Keith Law: Top ten guy, don’t think he would have been 1-1 (as some others have asked in the queue) because of body type and positional question. Very, very hard to compare Latin American kids to US kids because of different ages (sign at 16 internationally, usually 18 here) and levels of competition.

Nick: Keith, halfway through your book and enjoying it thoroughly. The amount of historical baseball queries is pretty impressive; do you pull each of those points as you write, or can you outsource that part to someone else?
Keith Law: I did most of them myself, while writing, but Meredith Wills helped quite a bit too.

satya: who are some of the high school kids who teams could try to push down?
Keith Law: Carlson, Enlow, Baz, Jennings (heard maybe 30 to Texas), Hurt, Heatherly, Corry.

Kevin: Loved your Orphan Black list. I would probably argue that Allison is underrated because she’s a great character. Her storylines over the last year hurt her, though. She’s every bit the survivor that Sarah is.
Keith Law: They all are, I think, but her storylines have always been the worst IMO. It’s a great performance by Maslany – Alison is like this strange mix of Leah Remini and young Valerie Bertinelli – but the writers too often put her into ridiculous situations.

Brad: It would seem to me Gore has just as much upside as Lewis and possibly even Green. Is he under serious consideration at 1-1?
Keith Law: He doesn’t have as much upside as Greene, at all, and I have heard he’s on the Twins’ longlist at 1 but not short list.

Michael: Why did you decide to inject race into that Hunter Greene article?
Keith Law: If you know Greene at all, you know this is an issue that’s extremely important to him. You don’t know Greene, obviously, but you just wanted to say something really stupid.

Randy: With the two extra picks (and therefore more money) from the Cardinals, if Baz is available at 15 do you see the Astros drafting him, giving him over slot money, and then drafting easy to sign college seniors with the Cardinals picks?
Keith Law: There’s a rumor that Baz has a big deal in place somewhere, and what you described was my guess. It’s just speculation, though.

Joe: Have you had many women scoping you out on the book tour?
Keith Law: Depends on whether you’re telling my wife.

Bob: Vin Scully never watched a game he wasn’t broadcasting, in person or on TV. No one ever accused him of not liking baseball. You’re in good company.
Keith Law: I’ll take that, even if I can’t hold a candle to Vin.
Keith Law: That’s all for this week. I plan to chat on Monday afternoon predraft and then some time on Tuesday once we’re through round 5 or so to recap. I’m home Monday night, so I’ll react to each pick via ESPN’s Shortstop app (which kicks to Twitter too) and may do a Google Hangout with Eric Longenhagen if we can make the tech work and I don’t bluescreen again. Thank you as always for all of your questions.

Klawchat, 6/2/17.

New game review over at Paste of the light detective/puzzle game Watson and Holmes.

Keith Law: I’m riding high upon a deep depression. It’s Klawchat.

Greg: What’s the latest draft buzz in the top 5?
Keith Law: I just posted a mock 3 days ago: http://klaw.me/2rfDkiH

Steeeve: How is it possible to have a lower OBP than average?
Keith Law: No walks, 1 sacrifice fly. This is something I decided not to rant about in Smart Baseball because it seemed too wonky/math-nerdy (although I am not ashamed of being a math nerd), but it’s a really obvious flaw in the system. Also, true story, i had a long argument with some Blue Jays front office members in 2002 or 2003 about this … and they all defended making the sac fly a non-at bat, and even argued that a run-scoring groundout deserved the same treatment!

Patty O’Furniture: So…Ronald Acuna is kind of crushing everything right now. Thoughts?
Keith Law: Nothing new, really. I ranked him high this winter, because I loved the bat speed and feel for contact. But a .520 BABIP or whatever he has? There’s no way to interpret that without assuming a huge portion of it is noise – again, even if you really like the player, which I do.

Brian: Devers in Boston by August?
Keith Law: Possible. I’d like to see them bump him up to AAA soon if they’re thinking about that. BTW, I saw Buster tweeted a note from another evaluator saying Devers is too big for 3b; I couldn’t disagree more. Not only is he physically able to stay there, he’s got great hands and a plus arm.

John: Is the Nate Pearson Mets buzz legitimate?
Keith Law: I don’t believe they’d take him unless their board absolutely fell apart. Even then I’m not sure; you’re talking about a guy with an 80 fastball, but questionable secondary stuff and a screw in his elbow. Pretty big risk for top 20 … which isn’t to say it won’t happen, just that I think it’s unlikely to happen.

Jake: Which prospects in the Phillies system are actually worth getting excited about at this point?
Keith Law: Lots? I still think Crawford’s going to be fine. Hoskins is good. Kingery is good, maybe really good. Brito is good. Moniak is good. They have some power arms, although none is really close to ready. It’s a solid system.

Greg: How was Garage Bar?
Keith Law: Excellent. I ate really well in Louisville – there, Gralehaus, Milkwood, Royal Chicken, Mayan Cafe, Sunergos, Quills, Press on Market.

Greg: Sorry, I didn’t realize the teams in the top 5 all were thinking exactly the same way they were 3 days ago.
Keith Law: Wow, that was wildly unnecessary. This isn’t Twitter.

JDB: Are you hearing a lot of talk about the Red Sox and Hiura or just a predictable landing spot in your eyes?
Keith Law: No, they’re linked. But I don’t think it’s better than 50/50 that he’s there; a lot will depend on how teams view his medical and if they’re willing to take that risk to get a bat who projects to plus hit (or better) with at least 55 power. Could go as high as 12, I think.

Sam: What is up with Max Fried? Dude was dominant in A ball and really good in spring training, but his peripherals have not been good this year.
Keith Law: His peripherals are fine, but his ERA isn’t, because he’s been atrocious from the stretch. He’s had a mild split (bases empty/runners on) before, but this year it’s out of control. Too small a sample to say it’s conclusive, but that’s how you post a near-6 ERA with those secondary numbers.

Marc: What albums on the horizon do you have your eye on?
Keith Law: alt-J came out today; I thought it was just so-so. WAVVES new album is great. Less Art’s debut is very good but not out till July (I got a copy because I know two of the members quite well). I think that’s all I know about, but I tend to just take new music as it comes rather than mapping out future releases like I would with movies.

Paul: Mets going for college or highschool with 20th pick. I am hoping for Logan Warmoth. Thoughts?
Keith Law: That’s who I gave them in my mock, so we appear to be on the same page. Kid can really hit.

Ken from AZ: I’m going to reply to your question by quoting it, and you’re not allowed to make any reference to it. So there.
Keith Law: Dammit, Ken, you got me again.

Fred: How good is Derek Fisher? Hitting over .340 in AAA, 4 straight games with a HR.
Keith Law: He’s good, but remember it’s the PCL, and those 4 straight games include 3 against Albuquerque’s atrocious pitching staff.

Dan: With all these rookies coming up and being hot right away (eventually leveling out), is it weird that Mike Trout had his worst half season ever when he came up?
Keith Law: He was only 19, though. Not that weird.

Jack: If the Giants looked to deal Cueto, could Eloy Jimenez be had?
Keith Law: For a half-season rental, I doubt it. Eloy is pretty special.

Jack: Is Pavin Smith to the Phillies just smoke? Have you heard anything else in regards to Austin Beck?
Keith Law: The Phillies were very heavy at the ACC tournament too, but if those games hold any weight, I don’t see how they’d take Smith at 8; in two games he didn’t hit a single ball hard. Haseley did, though. If I revised that mock from the other day right now, I’d have Beck 6 to Oakland instead of Smith.

Nate: who do you see falling in the draft and taking an over slot sandwich round deal?
Keith Law: Pick a dozen high school arms after the group of Greene, Gore, Hall. Half of them will do what you said. Enlow seems likely to do that. Carlson too.

Jack: What position do you think Hiura ends up at post-elbow surgery? Also any other names the Red Sox might be considering at 24?
Keith Law: Batters’ box? No one seems to know if he can really play second base post-surgery. It wasn’t a very good arm before he got hurt. Best college bat there is the most likely pick, although the only thing I think they probably won’t do is a HS arm, not after taking Groome last year.

Chris: Obviously the real Michael Chavis is somewhere between this year and last year, but what is your current assessment of him?
Keith Law: He played hurt last year and didn’t tell the Red Sox. I’m inclined to throw 2016 out the window for him.

Jack: Has there been enough of a sample to be cautiously optimistic that Avisail Garcia may turn into a useful player?
Keith Law: He’s been useful this year, even with the big dropoff in May from April. Do we think he can be a high-BABIP guy, enough to overcome the lack of walks, speed, or big power? I’d buy that. He had a .350 BABIP in May and hit .301/.345/.485; that’s enough to make him a regular in a corner.

Jeff: Love the Garbage reference. What would you say is Cody Bellinger’s ceiling?
Keith Law: Superstar, MVP type of player. He was originally #2 on my top 100 in January, only behind Benintendi, but everyone I sent the rough list out to said I had him too high. I should have bet on myself for a change.

Gary: What are your thoughts on Kevin Kramer? Can he be a starter?
Keith Law: More inclined to say utility guy, since his roll this year is entirely BABIP-fueled … but a shortstop who never strikes out is a beautiful thing, right? Plenty of guys have started out like that and developed into regulars in their late 20s.

DJB: Robbie Ray?!?!! Is this real or just SSS
Keith Law: I think it’s real. Huge K numbers last year, prone to the big inning and bad luck (or bad performance) with sequencing. I had him and Aaron Hicks on my 2016 breakouts list. Guess I should just go back and edit that file…

JDB: If you were a college AD who would your top choices be for manager if you had an opening? The Chad Holbrook experiment looks to be ending. It’s like he spent to much time on Twitter.
Keith Law: Remember how Holbrook came after me when I pointed out the futility of Brandon McIlwain matriculating early, thus removing any chance some MLB team would shove seven figures at him on draft day? Derailed the kid’s career, at least for now, although I’m hopeful he’ll get back on track at Cal next spring. Between that and overworking some arms, including Clarke Schmidt (who may have been destined to break anyway with that arm action), I can’t say it was a great run for Holbrook there. As for candidates, I’ll demur because I don’t think I know enough people to give a good opinion.

Tim: Question regarding McKay/Greene – assuming they don’t take the mound after the draft – are they likely to try their hand at both pitching and hitting next year or will they likely be headed straight to the mound w/o concern for how well they hit this year?
Keith Law: McKay will almost certainly do both. Greene’s future is on the mound, IMO.

Aaron: If I recall this correctly, Kingery was one of your top three 2b prospects this (or was it last) year, but outside of the top 100. Does his sudden power boom (SSS) change your perception at all?
Keith Law: It’s Reading, and lots of guys see power spikes in Reading, but graduations from the top 100 would have likely put him on the list anyway.

John: Can you elaborate on why you think Jack Flaherty (just promoted to AAA) could be a #2? I’ve read others say he’s more of a pitchability 4th starter type.
Keith Law: I’d ask them why they think he’s a “pitchability” type with that stuff. The only knock I’ve ever heard on him is that his delivery is so easy it might not provide enough deception. Hochevar and Appel come to mind with this.

HH: Have you heard anything about Brady Aiken’s progress? I’m trying to resist scouting the stat line as someone taught me.
Keith Law: Throwing upper 80s. So in this case the stat line isn’t lying to you. He hasn’t gotten back to where he was.

Well Played Mauer: How much should one look into the Hunter Greene workout with the Twins 3 days before the draft?
Keith Law: That’s normal stuff. Teams will work out anyone who’ll agree to come work out for them.

Logan: I asked you about a month ago about Beck to the Braves, and we both agreed that would be a stretch.. I’m hoping for for Gore/Lewis, but just wondering who you think has the higher upside between the two?
Keith Law: Gore. People I trust talk about Gore in terms that they’re not even using for Greene.

Ted: As someone who has scouted McKay, can you explain the top 5 interest to me? He’s 1B only with the bat and that profile isn’t great. On the mound, hasn’t he been 89-92? Is that profile really worthy of first-round consideration?
Keith Law: You skipped over the kind of hitter he’s become this year – plus hit with power, good plate discipline, super quiet approach. He hit 95 for me in February with a plus change, but last week he looked gassed and was more 89-92, yes.

DJB: Would Mickey Moniak be 1.1 in this years draft?
Keith Law: I doubt it, given the presence of two college guys who are 1-1 worthy, but I didn’t think he was the #1 guy in last year’s draft class either.

Steve: If you’re a team trying to trade with the Astros, would you rather have Martes or Tucker?
Keith Law: Tucker.

Rich: Will you be at a Regional this weekend? Super Regional next? Hope to see you in Baton Rouge
Keith Law: Nope, I don’t cover college baseball games, just the prospects, so unless something were easy for me to get to where I could see a handful of first rounders, you’ll probably never see me at a regional or super.

Johnny : do you think any of Jermiah Estrada, Garrett Mitchell, or Danner go to UCLA?
Keith Law: Probably, almost definitely, and 50/50.

Chris: Concerns about the hitch in Zack Collins swing? I feel like no one really talked about it leading up to the draft last year…
Keith Law: Yes, I think I wrote about that in March? definitely a concern.

Guest: No question just thanks for writing Smart Baseball. Just finished the audiobook. We read to be informed and entertained, and you managed both. Well done!
Keith Law: Thank you! Glad you found it entertaining – I really wanted to get that material across without making it dry.

Tim: Hi Keith. T. Trammell seems to be handling low-A ball pretty well as a 19 year old. Does he have some serious helium right now or more “we knew he was good”?
Keith Law: We knew he was good, yes, but also, it’s 46 games – you don’t see players’ values within the industry change that fast unless there’s a big underlying skill change or physical change.

Charles Bronson: Hi Keith, big fan of your writing, but whats an easy entry-level pie to start baking?
Keith Law: Blueberry is the easiest I’ve ever made. Skip the quiche, though. It’s not pie.

Evan: What’s your best estimate for when the Super Two deadline will pass? Do you think the Mets would call Amed Rosario up before it passes?
Keith Law: I wish Super Two would die, really, because it does nothing but confuse fans. And it’s not fans’ fault – it’s just a bad system. We don’t know the actual date, and we won’t know the actual date for this year until after 2020. So teams guess, based on past history. Once we get to June 15th or so, we’re almost certainly past it given previous years’ cutoffs.

Rob: Any concerns with Gleyber’s slow start in AAA?
Keith Law: He’s been there a week.

Cole: Is Chris Seise a first rounder? Seems like one of the best prep SS. Major upside in all 5 tools
Keith Law: No. Nor does he have “major upside in all 5 tools.” He can stay at short, which makes him a top 100 guy, but that’s it.

Lukas: So, publications around Atlanta have thrown the idea of trading Kemp at the deadline. With his atrocious defense, high BABIP and extremely high salary, I don’t think this is realistic. Do you have any insight on this?
Keith Law: Probably unrealistic.

Nate: What are your thoughts on small ball in youth and high school leagues?
Keith Law: Depends. Is the goal to win games? Then it might make sense, given the presence of players on those teams who just aren’t very good hitters or fielders (bunt to make the other team make an error!). Is the goal to develop players? If so, then swing the fucking bat.

Tim: “Too big for 3B” – did that scout ever watch Scott Rolen in his prime?
Keith Law: I met Scott Rolen in or near his prime. Dude could carry an 18-wheeler on his back.

ScottyD in Downingtown: Kyle Tucker just got elevated to AA and is continuing to hit well. Is it possible to see a mid-2018 arrival in Houston or would that be overly aggressive?
Keith Law: Yeah, I was pissed about that because Buies Creek comes here next weekend. He’s good, mid-2018 is not insane.

John: I wonder if you could give some advice. My adult sister was recently diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. The doctor is optimistic that it can go into remission with a powerful drug, methotrexate. I want her to do that, because I’ve seen how much pain she’s been in and they say it’s important to catch it early. She’s reluctant because it’s such a powerful drug, apparently the same thing used for some chemo. But I think she’s also being influenced by her husband, who is a bit of a conspiracy theorist and is always talking about the drug companies influencing the medical studies. Any thoughts, including on how I can help her steer clear of her husband’s loony ideas?
Keith Law: Get her to some other doctors (real doctors, not “alternative” anything) for further opinions. I know nothing about that drug other than, as you said, it’s used for chemo. But maybe hearing it face to face from more qualified experts will help?

Jack: For a guy like Brendan McKay, how many years would he have to spend focused on pitching to lose his status as a top first baseman prospect? Does the skill go pretty quickly?
Keith Law: I would bet good money on him staying at first base for a while, rather than pitching and giving up hitting. He could do both, but if he does one thing, given how he’s worn down on the mound, I think it’ll be hitting.

Matt: What’s up w/ the Paris Accord? Why would Trump withdraw the US if it doesn’t take effect until after the 2020 election? Something about the entire thing smells fishy to me.
Keith Law: Sop to his base? Have you seen his supporters and cheerleaders celebrating this? I’d say it’s bizarre, but with an entire wing of one of our major parties demonizing science, it’s kind of par for the course.

Keith: Hi fellow Keith. I’m staying in Scottsdale in July for one night for my 17th anniversary at the end of a 5000 mile road trip . Recommendation for a restaurant pleas ?
Keith Law: I have a whole guide to Phoenix area eats right here http://klaw.me/21e74em

Rod: Where do you see Mark Vientos getting drafted? He was allegedly working out for the Braves yesterday but I don’t know if he lasts until 41
Keith Law: He might, although I think he probably goes in the 30s to a team with multiple picks.

Carlin: Read Tough Guys Don’t Dance last week and was blown away. Thanks for the suggestion, are you aware of any good noir in the same vein, beyond the obvious Chandler, Hammett, etc?
Keith Law: The Killer Inside Me, The Grifters, pop. 1280, all Jim Thompson. Double Indemnity & The Postman Always Rings Twice, both James Cain. Horace McCoy’s They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? is in a similar vein too. While not noir, I love the Nero Wolfe novels from Rex Stout, because they have such great characters.

Ben: NLE – moving forward, who would you have more confidence in, Vince Velasquez or Robert Gsellman?
Keith Law: Gsellman. Velasquez might be made of glass.

Tim: First to majors – Tyler Mahle or Luis Castillo? Both possible #3 starters?
Keith Law: Mahle more likely to start. Castillo better fastball, needs a breaking ball.

Jacque Jones: What are your thoughts on Nick Gordon after some time in the minors, compared to at draft time, etc? Should Twins fans be excited?
Keith Law: Yes. He’s a damn good player. He’ll produce, and he’ll be one of those players you want to argue is worth even more than the stats say.

John: Thoughts on Giolito this year?
Keith Law: Still undoing the delivery damage done to him last year. His stuff has ticked back up and he’s had outings where he looked more like his pre-2015 self.

James: Hey Keith. Thoroughly enjoying Smart Baseball. Mets question for you. Rosario has tore it up since being promoted to AA last year. Does he eventually entrench himself with the Lindors and Correas? Or fall short (no pun intended)?
Keith Law: I think he’s that kind of talent. His bat speed is ridiculous.

Harry: Could the Nats take Hiura, given their penchant for guys with TJ on their plates?
Keith Law: Don’t think he gets there, but along those lines, I could see them taking Schmidt or Drew Rasmussen.

Dan: It seems that the Cubs are connected to Nick Allen. What are your thoughts on that match?
Keith Law: Not at 27.

Dan: Have you seen any of Severino’s starts this year? Has he changes his mechanics at all that you think might lead to sustained success as a starter?
Keith Law: I have seen him, but can’t tell from the CF camera if the delivery is different. He did bulk up a ton, though. I saw him once on a TV screen at an airport and thought at first that was Pineda.

MikeM: Rumors are that the Yankees want Gleyber Torres to take over at 3B this year. Do you think the jump from AA to MLB will be too much for him?
Keith Law: I don’t, but what a waste of a glove to move him off short.

TD: I’m a bit of a novice when it comes to reading mystery books and looking to include some in my summer reading. Any recommendations?
Keith Law: I think Agatha Christie is considered the best for good reason: her prose is smart but very readable, her two detective characters are wonderful, and her mysteries are well-crafted. I have grown to enjoy Dorothy Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey novels too, although the first one (Whose Body?) is the worst.

ScottyD in Downingtown: The Philadelphia sports pundits continue to defend the lackluster play of Cameron Rupp and Tommy Joseph. They say that both will be solid major leaguers and Hoskins & Alfaro just aren’t ready yet. Do you concur?
Keith Law: I would give Hoskins a chance. Alfaro is more of a black box in that his game-calling and receiving needed work, which isn’t going to be evidence unless you go watch him a lot, but that job should be his by the summer too.

Cardinals: How would you approach the draft if you ran the Cardinals? One or two high profile talents and then go underslot with all the 5-10 round guys, or go for depth throughout 3-10?
Keith Law: They don’t have the money to do that. Just take best players available.

Chris: Doesn’t the white sox Jaren Kendall pick just scream Jared Mitchell?
Keith Law: Not in the least. Is that a racial comp I’m not getting? They are totally dissimilar players.

Chris: Speaking of Twitter, I’m surprised you kept at it that long with lawn guy, his “logic” was making my head hurt.
Keith Law: I was truly enjoying myself. I don’t normally take any pleasure in deliberately annoying people, but that was fun.

Bosa: Do you think Paul DeJong could be above average second baseman at ML level
Keith Law: I’d say average, but what I saw of his defense on the left side in the fall didn’t match reports I had from the summer.

Zihuatenejo: In this era of instant analysis how many years should a fair-minded person wait to judge a draft? Relatedly, if the 2013 draft were re-held today, how many players other than Bryant and Crawford would be taken before Aaron Judge?
Keith Law: Too soon, because the high school guys are just reaching the majors now. I don’t like even discussing a draft inside of five years, or truly evaluating one until about ten. But I will pat myself on the back for ranking Judge well above where he was drafted!

addoeh: Please rank the four main regional styles of BBQ; Carolinas, Memphis, Kansas City, and Texas.
Keith Law: Texas, KC, Memphis. We won’t even discuss that vinegary shit.

Mike: Are you still watching Orphan Black?
Keith Law: Yep, returns June 10th. I have to finish S4 though.

Amru: Were Braves doing due diligence by hosting Austin Beck for a private workout, or is there a better than average chance they take him at 5?
Keith Law: When you hear about these workouts, again, bear in mind they are totally normal. We had lots of players at workouts in Toronto – including, in 2002, a Canadian kid named Joey Votto – but it never even meant they were on our shortlists.

Papi: At the beginning of the year i traded Buxton for Dansby and Trent Clark in my dynasty league… who would have thought Clark would be the most successful piece to date
Keith Law: Buxton hit .254/.321/.380 in May. If he just does that, with his defense and speed, he’ll be a hell of a player. And I think that he’s going to be more than that.

George: How do you find all of the news stories that you post every week?
Keith Law: I read a lot. I also see lots of stuff on Twitter – I try to follow a broad mix of people from outside of baseball. I follow a few people just for science. I follow way more women on Twitter than a baseball-only feed would have. And I get some email digests from aggregators that help.

Mattey: The Mackanin extension seemed odd at the time, and looks worse now, only a month outDo you have insight on why the Phillies extended him when they did, and do think they’re regretting it by now?
Keith Law: They love him as a person, but to be honest I am not sure I’d say this year makes it look any better or worse. The team isn’t good and that’s not his fault. My issue is this: You’re hired as CEO. You walk into the office building. Sitting in the CFO’s chair is a guy in a suit. You don’t simply assume that, because he’s in that seat, that he’s the best guy for the job – or even qualified for it.

Tim From Philly: Desperate and way too early question but…any favorites yet to be 1/1 in 2018 draft? Only name that seems to get attention besides Seth Beer is Kumar Rocker. Hoping you have heard more than a future 1B and high school right-hander.
Keith Law: I saw Beer last week. That’s not what 1-1 looks like. I haven’t seen Rocker or done any work on 2018 really.

Pramit Bose: Do you think Vlad Guerrero and Bo Bichette will get promoted if they keep performing as they have? Or are there flaws in their game that don’t show up in their stat lines that need correcting before going to high A or double A?
Keith Law: I think it’s more age – they’re so young that there’s no rush, and I would probably at least let them face some opponents twice to see if anyone makes adjustments. But I’m very high on both guys.

Travis: What is it about the Shane Baz delivery that concerns you?
Keith Law: It’s that he lacks deception and I’ve had scouts say they have seen hitters square him up in the mid 90s. But I had another scout say the other day it’s a 7 fastball, 6 curve, 6 slider, and how do you say no to that? (He makes a valid point.)

Joe: What is your take on Mr. Met flipping a fan off?
Keith Law: Non-troversy. As opposed to, say, Kathy Griffin’s act, which I thought was tasteless and way out of line.

Travis: What grade would you put on Mackenzie Gore’s fastball?
Keith Law: He sits 90-93. That’s a 50, maybe 55 for a lefty.

Mickey: I just realized what a good retort to rudeness “This isn’t Twitter” is. I may have to employ that on the subway.
Keith Law: Good luck. Don’t get shiv’d.

Jake: Are you as impatient as I am for the new Arcade Fire album?
Keith Law: No. I didn’t love Reflector.

Lyle: Anthony Jimenez was not on any Mariners top prospect lists that I recall but he’s at 307/376/518 after two months in the Midwest League. Rising prospect? Anything interesting to hope for?
Keith Law: He’s 21 and striking out about 30% of the time. Old for his level with that K rate = no.

Brian: What is your opinion on AJ Preller? Being in San Diego, most national media coverage doesnt talk about the Padres much except bringing up the hiding injury issue. How has he done so far in your opinion? How long should an owner give a GM who’s doing a mass rebuild like Preller is doing before they look at a new GM?
Keith Law: Rebuild has been great so far. Ridiculous quantity of talent in that system.

Amru: Pardon my ignorance, but has Royce Lewis had any substantial time in CF? Or is it an assumption that his athleticism will make up for inexperience?
Keith Law: Don’t think he’s ever played it. He’s a bad shortstop who’s a plus runner and has shown great instincts as a baserunner, so the assumption is he’ll be able to play CF.

Dave: Hi Klaw, thanks for the chats. Guess what, the head of the EPA has admitted that global warming is due to human activities. He can’t say how much of the planet’s warming is due to humans, that’s too difficult. He also can’t say if POTUS believes what all but flat earthers believe. But progress is progress, although there’s no word on whether the administration has any plans whatsoever to try to fix or even slow global warming. I’m thinking of investing in some ocean front property in Iowa
Keith Law: Meanwhile, teachers in Florida aren’t even allowed to tell their kids about climate change, so we’re trying to raise a generation of dummies … at least down there.

Isaac: Could Ronald Acuna be a top 5 prospect by seasons end? The reports are glowing, have you had a chance to see him this season?
Keith Law: I saw him in March and wrote about him then.

Potato: Julian Merryweather has looked good and ive read that his stuff has improved. Heard much about him?
Keith Law: His stuff hasn’t changed but he’s having more success than before and doing it at higher levels – up to 95, power curveball, good change, it’s 3 at least major league average pitches, definitely a starter, not sure if that CB is the swing and miss pitch he needs.

Aaron: Does Brendan Rodgers have anything left to prove in HiA?
Keith Law: The problem is playing in Lancaster is like playing on one of Jupiter’s moons. Get him to AA where he’ll play in a real environment, even if it means he’s going to start 2018 back there. I like him quite a bit as a prospect and have always ranked him high – #1 in his draft class – but hitting stats in Lancaster are a joke.

Robert: At the time of the Luis Robert signing, you wrote that there was a consensus among your scouting sources about concerns related to his hit tool. Have you heard from any sources since then that disagree?
Keith Law: Not a one.

J.O.: Grilling chicken breasts tonight from a homemade balsamic marinade…..any side suggestions? (we are having grilled corn on the cob as well.)
Keith Law: Just stay at the grill and don’t cook them past about 155. The only thing easier to overcook on a grill than chicken breasts is fish.

Isaac: I know you haven’t been to high on Jesus Sanchez, but he seems to be showing more power. Is he a rising prospect or more hype than anything else?
Keith Law: That’s inaccurate; I’ve ranked him where he belonged. He’s more hit than power, though.

Nick: Thoughts on Lamet?
Keith Law: Discussed on San Diego radio – he has a below average changeup, and lefties have killed him everywhere he’s pitched, including so far in the majors (where they’re on his fastball because his change is ineffective).

Jay: Lots of chat about Bo Bichette lately – do you think his ‘violent swing’ will play at higher levels, or will he need to calm down a bit?
Keith Law: Not a violent swing. That’s out of date.

Tyler: Does Sheffield belong in the HOF? If so, what is keeping him out? Link to steroids, lack of 150+ game seasons, way he treated the media?
Keith Law: No defensive value. His WAR total gets wrecked by below average defense.

Matt R: Sorry if you’ve answered this question but are you planning a Cape trip this year? Less than 2 weeks til the season starts!
Keith Law: Don’t know. ESPN wants me more focused on pro stuff over the summer than amateur, which makes the Cape tough.
Keith Law: (They’re not wrong, BTW. More people are interested in pro content than draft.)

Greg: Rule 5 draft seems to be a dumpster dive, unless of course you’re talking about the Padres grabbing prospects from the Cardinals. Córdoba & Perdomo represent a nice haul–did Mozeilak make a mistake not protecting either on the 40 man roster?
Keith Law: Perdomo surprised me. Cordoba was in the freaking Appy League. It’s crazy that they even took him.

Greg: Keith- help a brother out… Is there any way to engage with or at least quickly end an argument with a close friend who is increasingly buying into climate-change denying claims? Besides ending the friendship? It’s drives me mad that the think they’re thinking critically by not accepting what they’re told and questioning everything, but in reality they’re just ignoring the vast majority of scientists.
Keith Law: I’ve had friends try anti- or pseudoscience bullshit on me. I give them facts. If they don’t want to be friends after that, it’s fine with me. I had someone recently try to tell me that celiac is the result of how we breed wheat in this country and that people with celiac can eat bread in Europe, which is … just very, very wrong. And I said so. I don’t think it went over well.

Sam: What did you think of Jose Ramirez when he was younger? I previously hadn’t thought too much of him, but his run of success is getting to be too long for it to be a fluke.
Keith Law: He’s legit. I had him just off the top 100 one year, highest I ever put him, and then I think he was ineligible the following year because of at bats. I’m fully on board. He was on my top 25 under 25 last month.

Bruce: Jake Gatewood has had a nice season so far making a bit more contact and walking more. What are your thoughts on his future?
Keith Law: Sounds like he’s seeing the ball for the first time in a while thanks to eye (LASIK?) surgery. That’s a good explanation for a massive stat change like that. I’m buying.

Jake: Just ate at Snooze in San Diego. Now I’m taking a nap
Keith Law: Very solid 55 for me. Mission is better, but Snooze is acceptable.

Steve: I know he’s not tooled up, but Austin Slater just keeps hitting. Think he’s a long term solution for SF?
Keith Law: More a short-term solution than long-term. But I like him a little as a plug for their leaking LF situation.

Ross: I know the bigger story on Jake Gatewood was finding out he needed contacts, but there was also talk he made some swing changes. Have you heard anything about them?
Keith Law: I guess it was contacts, not LASIK. Don’t think he’s made swing changes.

Elton: Did you like the new season of Master of None?
Keith Law: Haven’t watched any of it. Sort of got some other stuff going on right now…

Matty D – SF: 1st KLaw thanks for doing the chats they’re amazing. 2nd Does Puig need the proverbial change of scenery? And when are you coming to the Bay for a book signing? Smart Baseball (I’m finally getting to it) is phenomenal.
Keith Law: You’re welcome. Berkeley 7/19 at Books Inc.

Cal: What would Vlad jr have to do over the next year or so to get called up by the Jays in 2018?
Keith Law: He’s 18 in low-A. How about 2019?

Brian: Hunter Renfroe had 15 BBs in May and his OPS was .868. How long before it is safe to say he has made an adjustment that has legs?
Keith Law: About 300 more PA, roughly. Also struck out 30 times in ~100 PA.

Peeeeete: We don’t have a lot of hot seasons here in Iowa, but we’re all excited about Jake Adams. What’s the scouting report on Adams?
Keith Law: Wouldn’t get too excited. Not a top 100 guy; 6′ 250 pound 1b/dh with some power but no wood bat experience.

CharleyT648: SP Jordan Humpreys
Keith Law: Samoans! Do the Humprey Hump.

Jim: Have you seen Gore in person this year? Any chance he could go at 1?
Keith Law: No. That’s my big miss on seeing guys this spring (of those I could reasonably have seen). Book release & personal issues kept me home more. He is in the mix at 1.

Denny Hocking: Anything interesting rumor-wise around the Twins since you blessed us with your last mock?
Keith Law: Same names. I don’t expect much to change until teams get in their draft rooms this weekend.

Dallas: Could Royce Lewis slip out of the top 10 ? Let’s say Wright/Greene/Gore/Mckay go 1st 4 picks; Atl goes pitching again; Oak/Ari go college; Boras scares Phi/Mil/LAA/CWS/Pit/Mia; could he fall to Houston at 15 and get top draft money there?
Keith Law: This is very, very silly.

Erich: whos hot start do you believe is more sustainable? Justin Smoak or Yonder Alonso? Both look like like completely different players this year.
Keith Law: Alonso. But you’re damn right I’m enjoying Smoak’s season.

Arch Stanton: Project Schwarber’s career: better or worse than Matt Stairs?
Keith Law: Better. Kid can hit. Just be patient. They can’t all be Michael Conforto.
Keith Law: That’s all for this week – thank you all for your questions, for buying Smart Baseball, and for quote-tweeting me while letting me respond to you. I will chat again late next week, and my next mock will be June 11th, the day before the draft. I’ll also have a top 100 ranking up on Wednesday. Enjoy your weekends!