Klawchat 11/16/17.

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Keith Law: Take one for the team; you’re a cog in the machine. It’s Klawchat.

Dr. Bob: Hey there, Keith. The NL ROY was obvious. I was curious about your second and third place votes since they went against the grain of other voters. Not a complaint. Can you educate us as to your reasons?
Keith Law: I was floored to see all the votes for Josh Bell – a fine player, but worth under a win because 1) he’s a first baseman and 2) he’s a *terrible* first baseman. It’s 2017; we know position matters and we know defense matters. I’m not saying my ballot was ‘right,’ but Margot was clearly worth more than Bell, thanks to defense/position, and he’s over a year younger to boot. Hoskins was worth more than Bell too, and there you’ve got the direct positional comparison. There was a clear #1, and there wasn’t really anyone in the NL who was a clear #2, or someone you’d say “well, if Bellinger hadn’t won, this guy would have probably won it.” But the downballot totals didn’t make much sense to me.

Nick: Turkey question: How would you approach seasoning a turkey that’s been dry brined and spatchcocked? I’m thinking unsalted herb butter during the cooking process?
Keith Law: I cook it at high temp with nothing else on it (just put water in the roasting pan so it doesn’t smoke), then leave seasoning to the gravy. At 425-450 I’d be concerned about burning any butter on or in the bird.

Casey: Do the Cardinals go with Paul DeJong as their opening day starter at SS? If so what are the chances he’s an average regular there?
Keith Law: I’m fairly sure they will; I’d probably say 33% chance.

Nick: Do you podcast often? If so, what are you’re favorites (I’m big on Radiolab)?
Keith Law: Grierson & Leitch’s movie podcast; The Hidden Brain; Joe Sheehan’s podcast. That’s it right now. I always listen while doing something else – driving, mowing, cooking/cleaning.

Casey: Which Cardinals SP prospect has the highest ceiling…Hicks or Alcantara?
Keith Law: Hicks.

Adam: Thoughts on the Anthoupolos hire in ATL? Did you work with him in Toronto?
Keith Law: I did, for 2+ years, and remain a huge fan. I think it was a perfect hire, someone with a great track record, lots of respect around the industry, and a philosophy that should dovetail well with their existing amateur scouting practices. They made the best of a terrible situation.

Eric: By Monday, we’ll find out if Tony Clark wants to toss a monkeywrench into Ohtani’s plans or not. Predict for us – will a posting agreement be reached?
Keith Law: I’ll predict yes, but if this deal doesn’t pay Ohtani fairly, I’d rather the answer be no. Why let the Yankees (for example) pay $5 million for a player worth $25 million-plus a year when they can clearly afford it.

Ben: Thoughts on Vieira going to the Sox?
Keith Law: Seen him 3x. 98-102 with well below average command and no average second pitch. Have seen a CB (awful) and slider (below average). Big arm strength guy. Fine pickup for international money, but high chance he never produces any value in the majors given the command issues.

Adam: So what’s the story on Andres Munoz? Are we looking at a guy with potential to be a high-leverage reliever/ future “closer?”
Keith Law: The Padres’ teenager? Yes, that’s the most likely outcome. Very hard to see him ever becoming a starter.

Dan: Will it be Stanton/Altuve tonight?
Keith Law: That’s my expectation.

Dana: Looks like Gleyber will compete for 3B and Didi won’t be traded. Time for the Yanks to extend Didi?
Keith Law: I’ve said before I think this wastes Gleyber’s defensive value.

Adam: How many picks have to work out for a draft class to be a success? Or is it more about nailing 1 superstar than a handful of role players?
Keith Law: If you get a superstar, it’s hard for anyone to argue it was a bad class … but I think any class should be judged in the context of both the picks a team had and the caliber of the class overall. So the Rays’ 2011 class, with 7 picks in the first ~80 or so, would be judged against a higher standard than a draft where a team didn’t pick until round 2 or 3.

Adam: If you ever get a Manager of the Year vote, what basis would you use to decide who you’ll vote for?
Keith Law: I had one once. I called a bunch of GMs and other front office folks in the league and asked what they thought. I don’t think there are valid, objective criteria for that award. “They won more games than we thought they would” is a terrible proxy.

Jim: Which of the Cardinals 7 or so outfielders do you see most likely to get dealt?
Keith Law: Feels like Grichuk, Mercado, O’Neill could all be available. Wonder if they’d sell low on Piscotty; I wouldn’t. I’ve always believed he could hit.

Alex: Do you believe Stanton will actually get traded? If so, who would you guess it would be to?
Keith Law: I have said for months I think it’s unlikely – that is an enormous contract with huge risk given his injury history.

Jack: Ohtani have ace potential? 3-4 plus pitches?
Keith Law: He’s a #1 starter here.

Perry: If you’re not doing a write-up, can you give us your thoughts on the Ryon Healy trade?
Keith Law: (yawn)

Juwan: How do you view the Robles v Acuna debate (and by debate I mean petty squabbling between their respective fan bases)? They both look like future stars, do you view one more highly than the other?
Keith Law: I’ll have to put one over the other when I rank prospects in January. There are no ties.

Carlo: What role do you think Luiz Gohara ultimately fills? Thanks!
Keith Law: Starter.

Nelson: What do you hope to acheive by responding to tweets like Aubrey Huff’s? You know that theres no chance youll make any impression on him, right?
Keith Law: I had no intention or expectation of changing his mind. I want to provide a factual rejoinder for any other readers who might see his tweets. If you don’t fight ignorance or falsehoods, they spread.

Alex A: So there are rumors that the Braves are going to lose prospects. I personally don’t believe Maitan will be one of them but what do you think? If you had to put a percentage chance on it, what would it be?
Keith Law: From what I heard this summer, losing Maitan wouldn’t be the devastating blow it might have seemed a year ago. As for what will happen, it really depends on what the infractions were, and I really have no idea what gossip to believe any more. Earlier this week, I had one source tell me he heard the infractions were deep on the draft side as well as amateur … and an hour later, someone else called and said he heard the amateur side wasn’t involved at all.

John: When a high level exec is hired out of a big time analytics operation like LA, how much of the organizational “secret sauce” can they feasibly or legally bring with them? I’d imagine any actual models are proprietary, but it’s not like he can just forget player valuations or concepts, right?
Keith Law: I believe that’s part of what gets people hired from other orgs – you’re brought on because of who you are and because of what you know.

Mike: Do you think there is any chance the Rockies turn first base over to McMahon next year? Bonus question: odds Helton is one-and-done in hall of fame balloting on a crowded ballot?
Keith Law: They should, and I don’t think he’ll be one and done but I don’t think he’ll get in either.

Jake: What would the Padres signing Hosmer accomplish? They already have Myers (you can debate who’s better but I’d argue that the difference isn’t worth what Hosmer would cost) and I feel like they would be smarter to go after positions of need (SP, SS). Besides, if you’re willing to spend that much, just go for Ohtani IMO. Thanks.
Keith Law: Makes zero sense. Terrible use of limited funds for them.

Meadow Party: Thoughts on Austin Meadows? I think he can rebound from injuries. Would an offensive profile similar to prime Hunter Pence be realistic? More/less?
Keith Law: Can’t project him to Pence’s power until he starts driving the ball more consistently.

Jon: Sandy Alderson on Dom Smith: “He didn’t win it [Starting 1B job] in September, let’s put it that way.” Will go into ST competing for the gig….what to even make of this?
Keith Law: My hope is that this is a motivational tactic; I know there were questions about his work ethic in the big leagues, and of course he has to keep an eye on the scale as well. My fear is that they’re overreacting to two mediocre months and ignoring the previous body of work (and his age).

Steve: Does one WS title validate trading of Torres, Jimenez, Candelario?
Keith Law: Yes. Is this even a question?

Nils: Hi Keith, loved your book. It got me thinking about prospect evaluation. We always hear about a “5 tool prospect”, where hitting is always one of the important tools. But if a .230 hitter (with poor hit tool) can get on base at a .330 clip, and a .300 hitter (with a great hit tool) also gets on base at .330, then shouldn’t plate discipline be a 6th tool? Or is it viewed less important with a prospect with the idea it can be learned?
Keith Law: Plate discipline is seen as a skill rather than a physical tool, but at this point, it’s on many scouting report forms anyway and the five-tool rubric is a bit of an anachronism.

Justin: Did the A’s get enough for Healy? I know he is a liability in the field, but a relief pitcher doesn’t seem like a great return for a competent bat under team control
Keith Law: Liability in the field and poor OBP skills.

Joseph P: Are there any prospects from the 2017 Draft that have surprised you or is the sample size too small to mean anything?
Keith Law: Too small for most guys. I will say I was pleased to see the Twins push Brent Rooker, who turned 23 two weeks ago, to high-A out of the draft, and to see Rooker respond with very strong results in 160 or so AB there.

Jeff: Brandon Woodruff a solid mid-rotation guy? Chance to be more?
Keith Law: That’s about right.

Jibraun: Every team seemingly now has a “Quality Control Coach,” but none of them can seem to give a clear delineation of the job duties. Can you clear it up?
Keith Law: I don’t know of any standardized description of that role.

Nate: Do you have (or know people in the industry that have) any concerns about Michael Fulmer for next season? Looked to be pitching hurt his final handful of starts. Rest all that is/was needed?
Keith Law: He was hurt. Elbow injury. Supposed to be fine for spring training.

KLawGod: I’ve heard a lot of people blaming the MLBPA during this whole Otani situation. As someone who is not familiar with their role, why are they at fault here in the situation? I thought the MLBPA is advocating for Otani so why are they catching flack?
Keith Law: The MLBPA was involved in the CBA negotiations, and didn’t fight to carve out any sort of protection for Ohtani or players like him, probably because he’s not a union member and any money spent on him would, in theory, not be spent on union members. However, the clearest beneficiary of the cap is the team that signs him, and you would like to think the union would recognize that even if Ohtani isn’t currently a member, the moment he signs a contract here he will be one, and the more he’s paid the more it bumps up the top end of the starting pitcher salary scale.

Eric: Griffin Conine or Seth Beer?
Keith Law: Leaning Conine, but that’s based more on secondhand reports.

Xavier: When you were in college, what did you envision yourself doing for the rest of your life?Did you ever consider becoming an investment banker or entering the finance industry in any way?
Keith Law: I did not. Many classmates did. I heard the hours those people were working and I was very not interested.

Greg: True or False: The Red Sox Opening Day 1B will be Sam Travis
Keith Law: False.

Aaron Boone: Do you have any particular opinion on Aaron Boone’s potential as a manager?
Keith Law: He’s never managed, right? So we just don’t know.

Gene Mullett: Kershaw, Kluber, Scherzer, & Sale really seem to be the elite of MLB arms & have been for a while now. With the exception of Strasburg’s health & Verlander’s hit-or-miss seasons, which SP do you think is most capable of joining them?
Keith Law: Archer has the potential – the stuff, the athleticism, the intelligence – to join them, but has never had the consistent command for it. Carlos Carrasco might be the next tier, but he’s quietly been excellent for a few years now.

Seath: ok last question. If Maitan is one of the prospects that is forfeited by the Braves how would his FA work (or any lost prospect for that matter)? Would teams need to use their International pool money or is it a free for all?
Keith Law: Precedent says it’ll be IFA money, under the cap. But he’d keep his previous bonus, so he’s protected.

Stanton: Given that Stanton was a 7.5 win player last year and is essentially payed at or under market value aren’t the Marlins right to ask for the moon in return?
Keith Law: They can ask for whatever they want, but he was a 2-win player in 2016, and I don’t believe he’d get 10 years and $290 million in free agency this winter. Not a chance.

Gene Mullett: What album(s) is/are on your household heavy rotation lately?
Keith Law: Beck, INHEAVEN, Hundred Waters, Portugal. The Man, Death from Above.

Mike Mott: I’m cooking turkey for the first time for my Friendsgiving. Any advice? I’ve been told brining is a must.
Keith Law: I’ve brined with success, but the last three years I’ve spatchcocked the bird and “dry brined” (really, salted) instead.

Jeremy: I think it is safe to say there are waaaaaay more powerful people, particularly in politics, who are serial abusers, than we can even imagine. What ticks me off the most, is that Congress has a special fund, made up entirely of taxpayer dollars, that is specifically to take care of settlements in legal complaints against our representatives. Aren’t these guys all rich enough to take care of their own business?
Keith Law: Yes, and they’re powerful enough to make us take care of their business. I agree, there are WAY more of these cases coming, in politics (both parties, so please, stop the partisan whining), entertainment, business, and sports.

Ryan: Thoughts on Urias? There seems to be a wide spectrum. With his bat I can see the ceiling as an above average 2B competing for batting titles year in and year out.
Keith Law: I’m a fan. I don’t really care about batting average titles, but Urias can hit.

John: I know conventional wisdom is not to trade within your division, but if you were Jeter, would it make sense to find a partner for Stanton in the Braves/Mets/Phillies? If he’s good, he probably opts out before you’re competitive and if he’s not, it’s a long term hamstring for whoever ends up with him.
Keith Law: That conventional wisdom is stupid. Of course they should explore in-division trades … but the Mets aren’t touching a contract like that.

Drew: With his second consecutive, and third overall, Cy Young, do you think Scherzer is a Hall of Famer? I admittedly can be a bit of a Nats homer, but was surprised that Boswell wrote that “Cooperstown talk is a long way off because Max was a bit of a late bloomer who became good in 2010, then great by ’13 as he added a curveball to his repertoire.” Your thoughts?
Keith Law: Ask me this after Mussina is elected.

David: Hi Keith, You mentioned on Twitter that Beltran should make the Hall of Fame. I agree. He was a tremendous player with a great career. I noticed his career WAR and JAWS totals were similar to Kenny Lofton (about a 1 WAR difference on B-R over their careers and peak). Why do you think Lofton never got a push? Was it simply a lack of power in a power-heavy era?
Keith Law: Yes, and that Lofton moved around a lot so he didn’t have a fan base or local writers stumping for him.

David: What do you see as the future for Jordan Luplow? Everyday player? 4th OF? More? Less?
Keith Law: Fourth OF.

Mattey: You’re aware of the beautiful baseball stadium slated for demolition in Camden. I think it’s obvious that an affiliated minor league team would have much better there than the independent league that was there, but is that right? How much would having an affiliated team there hurt Phillies ticket sales?
Keith Law: Don’t think it’d hurt at all. Might even help, as fans would have a better chance to see prospects on their way up.

Russ: Define projectability. We have a 13yo outfielder/2nd baseman who is already 5’9 and 163. He’ll naturally add height and mass as he gets older, but does he want to leave room for “projectability” or get as strong / athletic as possible……….
Keith Law: I am not a fan of kids that young doing heavy weight training to get bigger. I doubt we know the consequences of that over the long term. Just stay in shape and have fun.

Michael Izen: Hi Keith, which team do you think will land Otani, and how much of an impact will he make on that team?
Keith Law: No idea who’ll land him.

Richard: Do you still think Ohtani’s hitting is being way overhyped?
Keith Law: Absolutely. But facts don’t matter much any more, do they?

DHugh: If Ohtani comes to the MLB this off-season, would it be permissible for a team to promise that they’d release him to free agency after a year or two?
Keith Law: MLB has made it clear they’d consider that a violation of the rules. After the Atlanta imbroglio I doubt anyone would flaunt the Commissioner’s authority so brazenly.

tom: My eleven year old granddaughter has become fanatical about baseball. When asked what she wants to do when she grows up she answers,”I am going to Yale to study economics so I can train to be a GM”. Can you recommend any books that will provide her a better understanding of the dynamics of a baseball game as well as the construction of a team. While very bright, she is just eleven years old with the expected math skills for that age. Thanks. Tom PS – she chooses Yale over Harvard, because her dad is an alum.
Keith Law: I don’t know of many books on the topic – if you’re here, then you probably know about my book – but I’d certainly suggest Moneyball too, even with its flaws. Also, tell her she should study whatever subject she loves. Economics isn’t necessary or even that useful for this sport.

Jason: Given the statistics on how rare false accusations are (and how many victims stay silent), what would it take for you not to believe an accuser of sexual violence/harassment?
Keith Law: That’s a good question without an easy answer. Certainly, if the accused can produce evidence that, say, he wasn’t in that place at that time, or something else that’s clearly disproof, that would settle it. But you’re right about how rare false claims are.

Pat D: Hate to ask this, but what’s your guess on how many people use the Franken story to justify/excuse/outright ignore the Roy Moore story?
Keith Law: I don’t follow any alt-right nitwits on Twitter, but that stuff shows up in my feed anyway, and I’m seeing a lot of that nonsense. Here’s a real hot take: Franken should resign immediately. Maybe we should just go with a Senate of 100 women instead.

Greg: What’s your outlook on Gregory Polanco? Was he just constantly hurt last year? Or has he maybe taken a step backward?
Keith Law: Seems to be a lot going wrong – not healthy, but not as selective as he was, and not making hard enough contact either. The disconnect between his physical ability and his major league performance is huge. I can’t give up on that talent, but perhaps the Pirates need to find a different coach to work with him.

Dennis: Best choice for Angels to fill the chasm at second? Sign Neil Walker? Trade for Kinsler or Gordon? Convince Cozart to switch to second?
Keith Law: Lots of 2b available now – Gordon would be the best fit if they can afford him (in prospects).

Justin Y: Rumors were flying around of a Melancon/Heyward swap. Worth the risk for the Giants? Play him in CF.
Keith Law: Andy Baggarly said it was nonsense.

Jim: How long will it take AA to make a move or two in Atlanta? At some point, they have to start trading prospects for ML talent, right?
Keith Law: Knowing Alex, I’m kind of stunned he didn’t make three trades before leaving Orlando.

Jim: What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food to cook that doesn’t contain any dead animals?
Keith Law: Dead animals can be delicious. But my Thanksgiving menu is typically turkey, two stuffings (one with chicken stock, one with andouille sausage), and then a LOT of vegetables. I roast 2-3 pounds of Brussels sprouts at high temp and toss them in a sweet and sour sauce; that’s often a big hit and it scales well for the crowd.

Adam Trask: Does Al Franken’s apology matter, or should we throw him out, too?
Keith Law: I thought the apology was weak – but does an apology unring the bell? Does it un-violate the victim? There are plenty of candidates out there who didn’t grope anyone. Step aside for one of them instead.

JR: At my kids 10u game last Friday, the pitcher for the opposing team threw 99!! pitches over 5 innings. It was the second game of a double header and after the fact we found out he had thrown an inning in their first game, so between in game and warm up pitches, etc, he probably threw around 150 pitches that day. Our team was literally in shock that they had him throw so many pitches. Crazy what adults will do too young kids to win game. Sadly, the tournament has an innings limit for each kid, but not a pitch count, so they didn’t break any rules.
Keith Law: You should approach the tournament directors and push for a rule change, then.

Dr. Rob: Which player from the 70’s or 80’s do you think should be in the HOF that would surprise the most people? For me it’s Bobby Grich.
Keith Law: Whitaker is my main guy, but I agree on Grich and also Trammell.

Andrew Vargha: How much stock do you put into 1st time through the order stats when projecting how a starter could be as a reliever?
Keith Law: Not a ton because we expect a pitcher’s stuff to tick up in a relief role. It’s more that a pitcher who struggles the 2nd/3rd time through is probably not going to work out as a starter.

Alex: After seeing/hearing about Austin Riley – don’t you think 3rd base should be what AA targets this offseason?
Keith Law: I would explore it, but you can only acquire what’s available, and I don’t think 3b is that strong (not like 2b, which is deep).

Foster: In the Verlander trade, the Tigers had to pay a reported $8 mil. a year of his salary to get Perez, Cameron, and Rogers. At the deadline, if the Yankees paid all of Verlander’s salary, but insisted on sending back Ellsbury, how much of Ellsbury’s salary and what prospects would the Yankees have had to send to complete the deal? Thanks.
Keith Law: I really can’t answer that at all. I’d just be making shit up. But I should point out that any team below Houston in the standings could have just claimed Verlander on trade waivers, even to block him, but didn’t. That alone may have been the difference between Houston winning the World Series and them losing in any of the three rounds of the playoffs, especially the last two.

Doug: I read an article last week that the Sox are thinking about trying Chavis at 2B. Does he had enough range to be passable there?
Keith Law: Worth a try. Don’t think it’ll work, but it’s a good experiment.

Brad: I’m a college student that loves board games but I don’t find video games enjoyable. One of my other three roommates have the same view as I do, but the other two won’t even give them a chance. Is there anything I can do to convince them?
Keith Law: Boardgames inspired by videogames? X-COM is out. Fallout is coming. Seeing more of these as we go along.

BrandonW: Part of me is like “good on the Twins for being transparent about an issue with Marte that can be tested and proven” and another part is “are they allowed to disclose this? Are there HIPAA issues at play?” Thoughts?
Keith Law: He’s not a citizen – does that matter? I don’t know any specifics of HIPAA. Maybe it would have gotten out anyway.

Brad: Can you explain the new tax law they’re trying to pass? I had a professor come in my class and said that it was very good for America, and that it would help all of us college students with finding a job, because more jobs would be created. I just don’t understand it and everyone seems to have an agenda these days.
Keith Law: I doubt I could do a bill that complex justice here, but that professor seems to have given you a very one-sided view that isn’t supported by the history of such tax cuts. Trickle-down economics hasn’t worked; the top marginal rate in the US and the effective corporate tax rate are low enough by global standards that cutting them hasn’t led to the sort of growth proponents have promised.

John: Long term- Kevin Maitan or Vlad Jr.?
Keith Law: Vlad Jr. Not even close. Maitan might not be a top 100 prospect any more; Vlad is top 10.

Leroy: Now that Alex Cora is a manager, who will be your new top recommendation for manager jobs?
Keith Law: That should be my new offseason project – finding the next Alex Coras out there.

KJohn: Just curious how much time you spend on baseball-related matters? A 40 hour week would be about 2,000 hours/year, with intermittent peaks and valleys. How does your time investment compare?
Keith Law: Dunno. My days are so unstructured that it would be hard to count it. I’m certainly not working 9-5 on baseball each day.

Elton: Hello Keith. I think you were the first source from which I heard about the allegations about Louis CK. You must have seen Michael Schur’s apology regarding this. I’m very conflicted and ashamed myself as a (former) big fan of CK who was hoping the stories were somehow not true. Do you think this extraordinary cultural moment where men are being held more accountable will spread to athletes, when so many of them have seemed to continue unscathed after allegations of serious sexual misconduct?
Keith Law: I really hope so. Because you KNOW this is happening across sports. But the handful of times that women have come forward, they’ve had their lives torn apart. Look at Jameis Winston’s accusers – and, by the way, he skated on everything. In the time you asked that question, Jerry Jones signed three more players with histories of violence.

Bobby: Keith – First, as always, thanks so much. I look forward to these chats every week. I don’t want the Yanks to sell low on Betances – particularly if they are at least going to try Green in the rotation – but it is hard to have someone who, while generally dominant, has 2-3 periods during a season where he just loses his mechanics. What would you do w him if you’re Cash?
Keith Law: I’d consider moving him because the bullpen is such a strength for them and he’s superfluous – and could be a closer option for a team that doesn’t want to spend on a Wade Davis. Related: I don’t like moving Chad Green back to the rotation.

Jacob: Should Roy Moore win the special election, and there is a strong chance he will, will you publicly blast Alabamans for sticking behind an obvious pervert….or will you admit that there are many Democrat policies that are so unappealing to many people that they would rather vote for a pedophile than a Democrat?
Keith Law: What policies would those be? I’m genuinely curious. Incidentally, if I had a comparable choice here, I’d simply abstain. I wouldn’t vote for someone who did what Moore has done even if I agreed with all of his policy plans.

Bobby: Again, love the chats. Thanks. Best side dish for Thanksgiving? Also, do you think a sous vide machine is a good purchase or not necessary? If so, which one do you recommend? Finally, Yanks next manager – guess as to who?
Keith Law: Definitely not necessary but very fun to have. Anova is what I own and the only one I’ve used. Best side dish … depends on what you like. I have a mac & cheese recipe here on the site. I mentioned the Brussels sprouts. I really try to jazz up the vegetable sides, because people say they want turkey and starches, but you can only shove so much of that into your stomach before you want to curl up and die.

Andy: Isn’t there a concern with the Braves about their position player prospects? There aren’t many after Acuna and they are about to take away Maitan, Gutierrez, Severino potentially.
Keith Law: Hi, I’m Keith Law, President of the Cristian Pache Fan Club. Can I come in and show you some literature on this fine young centerfielder? I promise it’ll only take two to three hours.

G: Being a Pirates fan, after watching Pelotero, I was no longer comfortable rooting for their acquisition methods in Latin America. The dismissal of Rene Gayo seems like a move in the right direction, but ultimately, is there a way to compete for LA talent while still playing fair, or is the problem systemic?
Keith Law: If MLB enforces its rules, we might see a real sea change in practices down there – but they must keep in mind that impoverished players have nothing to lose by breaking the rules. You police the teams, not the players.

Another Cody: Cody Carrol has gotten hype from the AFL – is he a future big leaguer?
Keith Law: Great arm. Definite big league reliever for me.

James: Given how few free agents actually live up to their contracts why are teams so willing to give out long term contracts? In your opinion did capping the draft and international free agents actually hurt small market teams because it limited the talent they could bring in and develop?
Keith Law: It’s a constrained market: Teams have lots of money to spend and strong incentive to spend it to win now, but the pool of players on which they can spend freely is always limited. The players who’d be the best investments rarely reach free agency. And yes, those caps hurt low-revenue/low-payroll teams the most.

Patty O’Furniture: Nice use of imbroglio
Keith Law: My sesquipedalian proclivity comes in handy at times.

Drew: Follow up to my Scherzer question: I *completely* agree with you about Mussina. Do you think he makes it there eventually?
Keith Law: I do. He’s going to be the next cause celebre for those of us who pick causes celebres for the Hall.

Joe: Can you explain how position affects the defensive side of WAR? I’ve tried reading about it but don’t completely understand. Is it bumped up or down depending on what position one plays?
Keith Law: Think of it this way: All MLB first baseman, in aggregate, hit .265/.347/.487 in 2017. All MLB shortstops hit .264/.319/.416. Therefore, to be an above-average hitter for a first baseman, you must hit above that mark … which would make you a superstar hitter for a shortstop. An above-average hitter at shortstop could still be a below-average hitter at first base. Positional adjustments take this into account: The standard varies by position.

JR: Thoughts on Bitcoin? Do you own or staying away?
Keith Law: Don’t own any.

Dr. Bob: If every powerful male who abused women loses his job, there’s going to be a lot turnover in politics, top levels of business, sports, etc.
Keith Law: I’m good with that.

Sal: Sorry if this is too personal, but could you talk about your daily routine a little? For example do you read eary in the morning? I’m trying to increase my productivity.
Keith Law: My routine varies more than it should, depending on how much sleep I get. But I do like writing first thing, after I drop my daughter off, because it seems to get my brain going.

Johnny O: If you’re hiring a new manager with a team that is young and at least 50% Hispanic, how much importance would you place on finding a candidate who speaks Spanish? Or is that a factor if you have two equally qualified candidates but one of them is bilingual?
Keith Law: I’d consider Spanish skills a requirement for a managing job at any level of the system, from complex leagues on up.

Chris J: What do you expect from Julio Urias going forward?
Keith Law: I’d be surprised if he pitches again.

Steve: That should be *flouts* the commissioner’s authority. Flaunting it would be the opposite.
Keith Law: You are correct; they’d be flaunting their flouting, so to speak.

Frankie: Francis Martes — does he still have a future as a starter?
Keith Law: Not impossible; more likely a reliever for me, but far from certain.

Tom: I have a product I spent a lot of money on but now I don’t like the company. So I’m going to smash said product to smithereens even though the company already has my money cause that’ll learn em. That’s how this works, right?
Keith Law: I was so torn, because Keurigs are awful for the environment, and they make terrible coffee (the grounds are stale by the time you brew that cup), but my God was it funny to see the reactions. And, by the way, no one seemed to want to admit that Hannity claimed on air that a 14-year-old could consent to sexual contact, which is false.

Carl: Did you know Ingenious is no longer available for purchase on the App Store? That game got me through several long plane trips!
Keith Law: I didn’t – that’s a bummer. Maybe I can talk to some industry contacts about bringing it back. I think the company that did Caylus went under too.

Jay: Garvey Murphy Trammel Morris Whitaker Bill Madlock all 80s guys that got so little respect from HOF
Keith Law: Well, Garvey, Morris, and Madlock are all well below the line. Dale Murphy is a tougher one: he had a Hall of Fame peak without the longevity.

Buck: I keep seeing good reports on Austin Riley in the AFL. SSS, or could there be a little bit of a breakout here?
Keith Law: I saw him. Same guy at the plate. AFL stats aren’t useful, given the small sample, good hitting environment, and highly variable levels of competition. He has improved defensively since 2016, though – I saw it, and I have heard the same from scouts who saw him this year too.

sk: Will Hunter Renfroe ever hit for average in the majors?
Keith Law: Gotta hit or lay off the slider away for that to happen.

Sam: Are the critical reports on Maitan accurate? or a little over the top being that he’s a 17 year old playing just one season over here. Also how much time does Blake Rutherford have before people start to grumble that he could be a bust?
Keith Law: I’ve heard a lot of reports about his body that I think were over the top, but his swing looks awful now. Rutherford is probably at that point now. Another bad year and he’ll get written off. (Not without reason, given his age.)

Brian: Will you do a Periscope this year as you prep your bird?
Keith Law: Absolutely. I get requests for this every November.

addoeh: People always bring up Duke lacrosse as a counterpoint to any sexual assault claim. But in addition to a single accuser who made it up, there was also a DA, Mike Nifong, who made many serious prosecutorial errors that weren’t uncovered until later. If Nifong had done his job, we probably never hear about it.
Keith Law: Agreed. Or an ethical DA (I think Nifong was disbarred for his actions?) might have uncovered lesser crimes that didn’t become a national news story.

Jesse: Mastodon’s Emperor of Sand a candidate for your top 10 albums this year?
Keith Law: I liked it, doubt it makes my top 10 offhand.

Brian: Pressure cooker or slow cooker?
Keith Law: Pressure cooker.

Jim: How do you come up with your opening statement for Klawchat?
Keith Law: Tends to be from a song I heard in the last week.

Dennis: Funner read: Don Quixote or The Count of Monte Cristo?
Keith Law: Monte Cristo by far. It’s a hell of an adventure.

Jason: What’s Pache’s ETA? And assuming the Braves move Inciarte before he’s ready, who is the better defensive CF between Pache and Acuna?
Keith Law: Three years away. Pache might be a 70 defender now.

Bryce Harper: Keith Hernandez: Hall of Famer?
Keith Law: Not for me.

Brent: If you’re the White Sox, it’s a smart move to trade your intl cash for Vieira? That arm and Cooper, it’s not crazy to hope for another Kahnle type, no?
Keith Law: Sure. I don’t mind the trade. But I don’t think he’s a great prospect. He might not be top 20 in that system now.

Lance: Were you classmates of Radhika Jones? Know her?
Keith Law: Don’t know her. I think she was ’95.

Ham Bone: With all the allegations of sexual assault, how is Peyton Manning not brought up again. He is still the face of State Farm and Papa John’s.
Keith Law: Because no one believes women who accuse athletes.

Jackie: Dwight Evans was much better at baseball than Jim Rice. And Dewey didn’t snub my autograph request when I was eleven …
Keith Law: Evans had a legit HoF case but didn’t have any hack writers stumping for him.

Vince: Mixed feelings about the situation in Zimbabwe. Mugabe was a tyrant, but military rule is almost never the answer. Thoughts?
Keith Law: Same. Mugabe’s reign of terror has impoverished the country, though. Unless they fall into anarchy like Somalia, it’s hard to fathom anything being worse.

JP: can Profar still be an above-average regular with a change of scenery?
Keith Law: I think so. Would love to see him get the chance.

Ty: Hi Keith! Shouldn’t baseball make teams at minimum ask teams to bid draft picks for Ohtani? Seems insane that they are letting a player send $100M-$200M in surplus value to one lucky team. Obviously, the better solution is to declare him a free agent which would take care of the surplus value question.
Keith Law: That’s an interesting idea. Detroit picks first; what if MLB said hey, you can take him, today, and pay him #1 pick slot, but give up that pick? If they pass, go to the next team. That’s crazy and impossible and I kind of love it.

Iowa Cowtipper: I’m glad that the many sexual assaulters are finally being exposed and agree that most accused are guilty. Still, I’m troubled by the rush to judgement that follows accusations today. I fear a new Macarthyism of sorts.
Keith Law: The accusations we’ve seen so far have either been supported by concrete evidence or been exceptionally well sourced by the journalists who’ve brought them forward. I can think of one recent allegation that didn’t fit that – George Takei – and that has, for the moment, failed to gain traction as a result. (Which is not to say it’s false.) I’d love to say we’re at or approaching some equilibrium, where every assaulter/harasser is called out and faces the consequences of his actions, but there are no false accusations out there. That’s an impossible goal, and right now, I don’t think we’re anywhere close to it.

mike : being ifa can keep previous bonus, whats stopping them from lying during interviews to get paid twice?
Keith Law: If a player lies about his age or name or something similar, he won’t get to keep the money. IFAs have no incentive to balk at illegal deals, though; in fact, the system probably discourages them from balking at them. But I think the solution is to crack down on teams offering such deals, as Boston did and apparently Atlanta did too.

Steve: Has the beer industry gone too IPA happy?
Keith Law: You mean too hoppy?

Kilgore Trout: If a male engaged in any of this boorish or offensive behavior as a minor, but later grew up and realized the errors of his ways, should there be consequences?
Keith Law: Consequences like disqualification from public office? Sure. But that’s separate from any judicial process.

Bill: A lot of people are writing off Gardenhire as an old school manager, but he seems to have embraced the analytics training he got with the Diamondbacks, an idea backed up recently by comments from Torey Lovullo. Old dog/new tricks?
Keith Law: This will only be borne out by his actions on the job. He can say the right things now, but it’s all just words until we see a real change in his style.
Keith Law: OK, that’s all for this week, and with the holiday next week I will not chat again until the 30th. I will do a Periscope video chat while I’m prepping for the big meal, though, so I hope some of you will join me there. Thank you as always for reading and for all of your questions!

Klawchat 11/9/17.

I’ve been busy! I have a new boardgame review at Paste, covering the card-drafting game Skyward. I also had two Insider posts go up earlier this week, one previewing some potential offseason trade targets, the other ranking the top 50 free agents this winter.

I’ll also send out the next edition of my free email newsletter either this evening or tomorrow.

Keith Law: It’s the school exam and the kids have run away. Klawchat.

Erix: Why is it that pitchers go in the top 10 in the draft but are seldom top 10 intl prospects?
Keith Law: Is that true? I assume you mean pitchers are seldom among the top 10 bonuses in IFA. I would guess that the reason is that predicting arm health for 15- or 14-year-old pitchers is rather difficult.

Ronald Acuna: What type of package could Ender Inciarte return? Could he be a centerpiece of a top-of-rotation arm?
Keith Law: I would think so – or a middle-of-the-order bat at a position of need (third?). If you don’t get something like that, you don’t trade him.

Wally: What would you do if you were Mike Rizzo? All in for 2018 then let harper, Murphy maybe Stras leave and do a total rebuild? Or, do you think there is enough room between them and 2nd place in the NL East to make some changes now (trade one or more of Murphy/Gio/Roark/heaven forbid Harper?) to extend the window while still giving them a good (albeit lesser) chance to win the East in 2018
Keith Law: All in for 2018 while you have this group. Hard to forecast assembling another roster with 2 real MVP candidates, 2 real CYA candidates, and so much additional talent. Have to go for it.

Bored Lawyer, Esq. : Forrest Whitley had rather high BABIPs throughout his stops in the minors. Is that a blip? What could it mean relative to his stuff?
Keith Law: Wouldn’t take anything away from it. Research on BABIPs has focused on the majors, not minors.

ssimon: Your Stick to Baseball links from last weekend included the L.A. Times’ investigation of Disney’s tax breaks in Anaheim. Are you as opposed to these subsidies for corporations as you are for owners of baseball teams?
Keith Law: No, because there’s at least some economic benefit from such subsidies or tax breaks. Financing a sports stadium doesn’t bring economic benefits; any jobs created are unskilled and temporary, and “new” spending is generally shifted from other (local) outlets. A city or state can subsidize the construction of, say, an Intel fab or a Toyota factory, and thus create skilled jobs that will generate new tax revenues and increase local consumption. That said, there has to be an actual cost/benefit analysis there, and the LAT article claimed that Anaheim isn’t getting what it pays for.

Dan: A thought on the home run spike. Obviously the ball is juiced and that is clear as day. But isn’t interesting that the spike seemed to affect the lower-middle power guys? The players who’d normally hit 10-15 were hitting 20-25 instead. But the top end guys maybe didn’t that big of a spike? Everyone thought Stanton could do this if healthy, this might be Judge’s peak but it wasn’t out of nowhere, and bellinger is also a freak.
Keith Law: I disagree. Stanton, Judge, Bellinger all benefited, clearly. Khris Davis hit 43. Justin Smoak nearly doubled his career high to 38, putting him top 10 in the majors. It seemed to affect everyone.

Same question different day: Given the new bal environment, is it at all possible to project potential power output from minors to majors?
Keith Law: It’s probably doable but I would guess a large adjustment is required to any model – and of course it could become irrelevant if the ball gets un-juiced.

Jay: I think I’ve asked you before but am curious if you think teams are much closer to wanting more studys or medical access to this – How much do you think deteriorating eye sight for hitters as they get older factors into rising strikeout rates compared to just the physical decline component?
Keith Law: My guess, again just off the top of my head, is very little. I believe it’s mostly loss of quickness & reaction time.

Jack: What do you make of the Giants reported interest in Heyward? Is it even legitimate to think that such a trade is possible?
Keith Law: Baggarly said it’s not true. I’ll go with him on anything Giants, other than Omar Vizquel’s legacy.

Patrick: Good day Keith! As a favored source of baseball knowledge, I instead want to tap your knowledge of European metal music.
My hockey playing friends are clamoring for more of that type music, and I don’t know where to start. Recommendations that won’t scare off the rest of the on-ice skaters?
Keith Law: Maybe go for some classic German thrash like Destruction, more contemporary thrash like Hammerfall, Viking metal acts like Tyr, or, if they can handle it, something a little more experimental like Gojira.

Adam D.: I am struggling to see a realistic way for the Giants to contend before 2020. Given what they have now, would you advocate for an Astros-style tear down and who would you make untouchable? I’ll be honest, I am leaning that way and would probably only keep Bumgarner and Posey.
Keith Law: If you’re doing that, you don’t keep anybody. You trade Posey now, because a 30-year-old catcher with 3 years left on his deal and 800 games behind the plate isn’t going to gain value.

Harrisburg Hal: With your math and science interests, did you consider engineering?
Keith Law: My dad was an EE, and he liked his job, but he didn’t encourage that as a career path for me, primarily because he saw how much the job tended to change with each new generation of technology. I did enjoy programming, but I’m not sure it would have worked for a career for me, given my desire to express myself creatively too.

Stupid hypo guy: If their defensive values were the same, Vlad Jr is well above Acuna, right?
Keith Law: That’s true.

Derek: Others (maybe you too?) have said Acuna is by far the best player in the AFL. Is he really much better than Robles? 2017 minor league hitting stats look awfully similar (of course noting that Acuna is half a hear younger, and spent time in AAA and Robles did not). Does Acuna’s defense profile better in CF? It’s hard to believe Acuna has more speed.
Keith Law: I didn’t say that, because I only saw one Acuna AB (and then a HBP). Robles wasn’t there yet, but he might be the better prospect anyway.

ssimon: Based on your estimation of what the QO free agents will receive, which among Jake Arrieta, Wade Davis, Lance Lynn, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Alex Cobb, Greg Holland, and Carlos Santana, would you encourage a competitive team to sign?
Keith Law: I might consider giving up a pick for Arrieta, Cain, and maaaaaybe Santana. That’s it.

Jeff: What are the best mobile boardgames that you would recommend?
Keith Law: One of my offseason projects will be a new ranking of all the iOS/mobile boardgames I’ve played, which has to be over 40 by now. Carcassonne is still the best. Agricola is great. Caylus is too, if it’s still supported. All the Days of Wonder titles are good. 7 Wonders comes next week…

John: How much is Otani actually losing? If he is as good as advertised (an ace and a top five DH in the AL) what kind of money could he get in arbitration?
Keith Law: He won’t get to arbitration until he has three years of service. He’s leaving well over $100 million on the table by coming now.

Dale Cooper: Most murder investigations don’t take as long as MLB’s Braves investig……..wait…..did…..did the Braves……murder someone?
Keith Law: This and the weird leaks have me wondering what on earth is going on over on Park Ave.

Ryan: Enjoying the annual freakout over early offseason Boras asking prices? You’d think people who watch the same movie year after year would get wise to the plot, but apparently not.
Keith Law: And then we had the freakout over the freakout, which was really hard to fathom. I’m in favor of players asking for and getting every dollar they can, but if I think a team overpays a player, darn right I’m going to laugh at them.

Kevin: Out of the HOF veterans committee nominees, who do you think gets elected and who do you think should get elected?
Keith Law: They should elect Trammell and Miller and then fire the entire institution into the sun.

Jason: I find it odd that Corey Ray has fallen down the charts so much? Are his struggles that bad or can he turn it around?
Keith Law: I detailed his swing/stance change in my AFL post. He has to restore his old toe-tap and stride.

Ben: Sooo……Roy Moore is a pedophile. Who knew? Does it sink him? Nah. Theocratic pedophiles are all the rage now. And America’s decline continues.
Keith Law: I am morbidly curious to see how many of his supporters, who must by and large be evangelicals, stand by him by either attacking/doubting his victims or by saying it doesn’t matter. Because … yeah, it matters. Those are felonies.

Jack: thoughts on the college basketball/shoe company scandal?
Keith Law: I have no idea what this means.

Rob: Such sad news regarding Roy Halladay. A great pitcher and from everything you hear, a great person too. As trivial as this may seem right now, is he a HOF’er for you?
Keith Law: I’ve been asked this repeatedly in the last 48 hours and have declined to answer it, because it feels both trivial and a bit macabre to discuss him in such terms.

Chris : I think there’s a lot of value on the “lower end” of this year’s FA market. Guys like Joe Smith, Luke Gregerson, Jeremy Hellickson, Yunel Escobar and Chris Tillman all strike me as solid buy-low guys. Do you have any favorite one-year deal guys that could be this year’s Brandon Morrow or Alex Avila?
Keith Law: I had a few on the back of the 50, and I think I’m doing another piece on that soon? Hellickson made my list. I don’t see Escobar, who seems to have lost any defensive value, in that light, and Tillman’s stuff and results have both been awful since the mid-2016 shoulder injury and heavy use after he returned.

Bobby: Otani. I believe you think he will be a legit SP but the bat won’t play (or not enough to stop him from pitching). Think he comes over as a #2? Better/worse? Thanks, as always…
Keith Law: I think he’s a #1 starter, and opposing pitchers will tell us rather quickly if he’s anything with the bat.

Fatherz: Who are the pitchers in the Padres system that have the highest ceilings? Do Gore or Baez have #1 stuff?
Keith Law: Those are probably the top two ceilings, but I don’t think either has pure #1 stuff.

Bobby: Keith – thanks for these chats. Love them. Now that Tanaka has opted not to become a FA what do you think the Yanks should do re their pitching moving forward? Presumably their BP is more or less set…I know they would get Otani if they can…sign Sabathia maybe – anything else? What do they need to do to make it to the WS next year?
Keith Law: Bulk innings. Offense is great, bullpen is great, you don’t need to go sign Arrieta. You need some league-average quantity from your rotation, especially as insurance – Tanaka’s elbow, Montgomery’s fade in the 2nd half, any pitcher can get hurt.

Bobbo: happy Klawchat day and thanks again for answering questions. liked your positive review of Cave vs Cave; i’m intrigued. any chance it surpasses Jaipur as your fave 2p game? if not, why?
Keith Law: Jaipur is so much more elegant. I’d still have that at 1, and 7 Wonders Duel has really moved up my list from last year.

JQ: Was it ever publicly reported that Daniel Flores was battling with cancer? I do no recall ever hearing about this until the sad news yesterday.
Keith Law: I was totally unaware of this. Heartbreaking news.

Mike: I was thinking about doing a spatchcock turkey this year. Do you need to prep the turkey in anyway like a brine (either dry or wet) or just put salt and pepper on it before cooking?
Keith Law: Spatchcock and salt. Check serious eats for the exact timing but I think I salted the morning of cooking.

AC: If you could wave a magic wand and fix one thing about baseball, what would it be? (Anything from the actual game to contracts, to manager’s outfits)
Keith Law: Gosh. I would probably spike the antitrust exemption, as I think that’s led to many other problems in terms of franchise ownership/locations and labor relations.
Keith Law: Although they did carve out an exemption to the exemption for CBA talks.

Morris Buttermaker: KLaw, I have seen you refer to a pitcher’s mechanics or a batter’s swing when evaluating their chances at further success. Where did you learn this? Years of observation? Learning at the foot of older co workers?
Keith Law: Both.

Gabriel: I’m curious as to what the recent death of Daniel Flores will mean to the Red Sox’s international class this year. Would mlb be scared at the prospect of them blowing past any caps for Otani after the death of Flores and their international signing scandal? Thanks keith. Love your work
Keith Law: You can’t blow past the caps any more. These are hard limits. I don’t know if MLB would grant them additional cap space in light of Flores’ passing, though. It seems only fair to the team, no? The Flores family would still have his bonus – and yes, I understand that is no consolation for them – so they would not be further affected.

Ron: I think Mauer was a better choice for a Gold Glove than Hosmer. Course, he didn’t hit 25 homers. Maybe Dozier wasn’t as good a choice as Pedroia or Altuve? What are your thoughts?
Keith Law: Oh, were the Gold Gloves announced this week? I was all out of fucks to give, sorry.

B: Jake McGee had some odd splits last season and was much better against RHB rather than LHB (SSS WARNING). Do you think he could be a sneaky good sign for a team in need of a LH reliever?
Keith Law: I think he’s a full-inning reliever, not just a LH specialist, given his whole history and his pitches. But one-year splits are probably not reliable.

addoeh: The new Marlins ownership group has already said they want to reduce payroll. They now may be looking to trade their potential MVP winner and only real marketable star. They expect little, if anything, in return and may end up trading him to the team that is willing to pick up the greatest amount of what remains on Stanton’s contract, not on what prospects the other team could give. Does this new group have some short term financing deals that could become onerous if not paid off quickly? It doesn’t make a lot of sense otherwise.
Keith Law: This is my concern – that they trade Stanton to clear the money, but don’t get baseball talent in return – because that farm system is awful right now. Eyeballing it, I’d guess it’s #30.

Augustus: Blayne Enlow looks impressive. Could he start in the future or do you think he’s more suited for back of the bullpen?
Keith Law: I think he’s a starter … he’s also 18.

Logic: There has been much discussion about the timing of pitching changes during the world series. The manager is typically given credit or blame. Do you think that front office may actually make some of these calls once the game has started? I understand a lot of decisions are scripted with some organizations, but I am thinking about when things start to go south. Do you think the front office should intervene during the games? Thanks for continuing the chats, they are appreciated.
Keith Law: I don’t think the FO does this, or should do it. You hire the manager who is an extension of your approach, but you empower him to make these decisions in-game.

Tiberius: Do you think Trent Clark ever reaches the majors at this point?
Keith Law: I do.

Devon : Hey, Keith! Thank you as always for the chats. I was wondering who you prefer offensively in terms of overall future value: Eloy or Acuna?
Keith Law: Eloy.

Caligula: Jesus Luzardo: Is he a GUY or just a guy?
Keith Law: I hear he’s a GUY, unlike your proposed consul.

Jon (Philadelphia): I recently became a vegetarian. So far, the most challenging aspect has been finding decent options when I don’t have time to cook for myself, which is not infrequent as I basically live in the hospital as a surgical resident. In response, I have tried to cook in bulk for the week whenever I have time but am new to this cooking approach. Do you have any practical advice on how to optimize this process while ensuring that I do not compromise on flavor/nutritional content? Thanks Keith
Keith Law: Veg dishes are tricky to do in bulk because most veg don’t survive reheating well. When I have a lot of leftover cooked vegetables, I try to repurpose them. A batch of leftover roasted broccoli goes into the blender with some stock and maybe a little cream to make soup. Leftover aromatics can become the sauce or accompaniment to whatever your main protein is, or added to a cooked bean dish when served.

Joe-Nathan: Is Alex Speas Stetson Allie 2.0?
Keith Law: He’s better than that. But still might never have the control he’ll need to pitch in the majors.

Rick: You’ve said before that you don’t think that Chris Taylor hasn’t turned into anything and that it’s a SSS. Do you still feel that way even after the season and the postseason he had?
Keith Law: Only a fool would change his opinion of a player based on a postseason performance. It’s not just a small sample, it’s a skewed one.

Galba: Jahmai Jones or Jo Adell?
Keith Law: Jones for me.

Adam: In the broadest scope possible, how many WAR is required to even warrant consideration for the HOF?
Keith Law: I do not favor this approach, sorry. WAR is not precise enough to discuss thresholds, only comparisons.

Onomatopoeia: Kepler and Thorpe too much/too little for Chris Archer?
Keith Law: Too little. Archer’s contract is extremely club friendly.

Zirinsky: Hi Keith. I’m curious: is there any way to structure a pitching staff so that a team could have someone only pitching once per week (I’m thinking of the Yankees/Tanaka but this could apply to others)?
Keith Law: Yes, teams used to do it with “Sunday starters” in the four-man era. No reason you can’t do it today with the use of swingmen/long relievers.

Devon: For the first time in months we have an actual policy (tax reform) being debated in Congress, but it is already devolving into the typical echo-chamber politicization of the issues in the same way every other issue has in the last two-plus years. Is society ever going to go back to a point where people actually research issues and develop their own opinions or are we in a “new normal” where people only do what their political parties tell them to do without questioning?
Keith Law: I don’t see that happening in the next twenty years.

Vespasian: Does Carson Kelly have a future in St Louis? They seem to be pretty dead set on Yadi as a starter. Given the typical lifespan of a catcher, wouldn’t it make more sense for the Cards to flip Kelly for someone who plays a position of need?
Keith Law: Probably, if they don’t see Kelly starting in the next two seasons. But I think he’s a starter, maybe an above-average one if he can get some of the raw power he’ll show in BP into his game swing.

Jim Nantz: In your free agent piece, you named the Rangers as potential players in the 2B market, which I get since Odor was terrible last year. However, he’s still young and I know you rated him highly as a prospect. Any chance he keeps developing and bounces back, or is he simply a high HR/low OBP guy now?
Keith Law: He’s gotten worse for two straight years, and UZR even killed his defense last year (dRS didn’t, so we have a real discrepancy there). Can he improve? Yes. There are very few positive historical comparables, however. And if they want to win in 2018, getting a certain upgrade makes more sense than rolling him out there and hoping he isn’t sub-replacement level again.

Titus: Is Zack Granite just a 4th outfielder or could he be more?
Keith Law: Fourth outfielder most likely.

Joe-Nathan: I remember that you wrote a few posts about Reggie Lawson when he was in HS, and that you liked him but his stuff backed up in his senior year. No one seems to talk about him in the padres system, so I can only scout the stat line. K’s are there, so should people be talking about him?
Keith Law: My understanding is that the stuff isn’t really as good as it was his junior year. I saw him briefly in the spring and it hadn’t gotten that much better. Still a good athlete with some arm strength.

Tony: Is it outrageous to think brad hand could fetch a top 30 prospect
Keith Law: If that’s the ask, then we know why he hasn’t been traded.

Matt: Has Tatis passed Robles/Senzel as a prospect?
Keith Law: He’s clearly above Senzel. Robles … I’ll leave that till the rankings.

Dr. Bob: J.D. Martinez looks to me to be a sucker bet, especially for a National League team. In 2016 his defense was so bad that even though he had a 4.0 oWAR, his overall WAR was 1.8. He’ll be 30 with some injury history. At, say, 5 years, $150 million, you would be looking for an average of 4.0 WAR per year on the wrong side of 30. I’d talk, but probably stay away. What say you?
Keith Law: I agree – I saw that he’s looking for $200 million and thought that I wouldn’t give him half that. He seems like the type of player who could decline in a big hurry.

Jesse: What is it about Carcassonne that makes it so unique of an experience for you to consistently rank it so highly? I love the game too, but find with all the recent new games that have come out in the past five years or so, that it often gets forgotten come game nights.
Keith Law: It’s simple, elegant, extensible, and easy to teach newcomers without a loss of complexity for regulars. I also try not to succumb to recency bias on my rankings. The iOS implementation is considered the best app version of any boardgame, not just by me, but I believe by many in the industry too.

Roy Moore: How sadly unsurprised are you by the latest news about him?
Keith Law: Those who rail against immorality are often compensating for their own immoral desires.

Buck Dancer: The Cardinals appear to be the favorite to acquire Stanton. In your eyes, what is a fair package for them to send to Miami? What would acquiring Stanton do to the Cardinals chances of overtaking the Cubs and holding off the Brewers?
Keith Law: Why are they the favorite? I missed that entirely.

Mark: What prompted you to get into board games? I’m constantly mocked by my family, friends, and even strangers that I’m grown man who is engrossed in board games. How should I respond to these people?
Keith Law: There were 65,000 people at GenCon this year, mostly adults. Some were even … women. Also, if someone mocks your hobby, then they’re not your friends. Unless you’re a brony. Those people are weird.

Daniel : I have great respect for your musical tastes, so I’m interested in your insights on this simply query: Mellencamp or Springsteen?
Keith Law: Pass.

Nerva: Understanding that every prospect is unique, there seems to be a sentiment that some systems are more prone to failing in a type of player’s development (e.g. Orioles with pitchers or the Jack Z. Mariners with hitters). With that in mind, do you factor in organizational structure when rating and ranking prospects? If you have two identical pitchers and one is drafted by the Orioles while the other is drafted by the Dodgers, would you rank the latter above the former?
Keith Law: I don’t. My rankings are team-agnostic because prospects can change orgs at any time.

Charlie: If the Red Sox don’t sign a 1B, what are the odds Michael Chavis gets the most PAs there next year?
Keith Law: Travis will get a long look there if they don’t acquire one from outside (I think they will, someone with power).

Josh: Could Luis Urias be a +10 DRS guy at 2B or is that too rich?
Keith Law: Seems high, but he’s also never played there full-time, has he? He’s played a good bit of short and is competent there.

Rick: Thoughts on barstool ? I think some of the gimmicks are funny but they ripped Cortea for getting married so young and not hooking up with a bunch of different like Jeter ? #cringeworthy
Keith Law: I thought that Correa thing was some movie reference (Anchorman?) I didn’t get.

Jay: You mentioned the Giants as a possible destination for Donaldson in a trade. Would the Jays really trade him in offseason rather than the trade deadline in ’18 (assuming they are not in contention)?
Keith Law: Why not? In the offseason, far more teams think they’re contenders, and budgets are much more flexible.

Cassidy : What restaraunts did you dine at while at AFL ? The usual ? (Bianco, Matt’s, etc.?) anything new ?
Keith Law: The only new spots were Casa de Falafel in Peoria (Iraqi food, in a gas station, really great) and Forno 301 downtown. Otherwise it was Keith’s greatest hits – Hillside, Cartel, Giant, Matt’s, crepe bar, Republica Empanada, Pane Bianco, FnB, etc.

Daniel Morton: Tirso Ornelas stick in a corner or have to move to 1B
Keith Law: Corner OF.

Brandon: Would it not be a good idea for both the Rockies and CarGo to reach a one-year deal, with some playing time at 1B?
Keith Law: He didn’t hit enough to be a regular in the OF last year. Not sure why you’d want him at 1b.

Rex: A FG writer recently said that he thinks it’ll be a while before a team other than the Yankees, Indians, Astros, Red Sox, Dodgers, Nationals or Cubs is in the WS. What do you think about that?
Keith Law: I would take the other side of that bet.

Cassidy : So a GOP candidate is being accused of sexual assault (awful, if true) but do you think an accusation should merit being pulled from running for office ? One person could come forward lying and your life is ruined …?! Just doesn’t seem fair (although I do believe most accusations are true)
Keith Law: It’s one accusation of assault and several of enticement of a minor, plus other accounts of untoward behavior.

Chase: Percent chance that Ohtani will be in an MLB uniform on Opening Day?
Keith Law: I’d go up to 40% now from about 20% before he hired CAA and we heard that the parties have been negotiating or at least discussing. MLB has really, colossally screwed this up. Just waive the cap for him and forget about it.

Jason: Do you prefer dominick smith to greg bird, (Birds health issues aside?)
Keith Law: Smith is a much better hitter with less power and much more defense, so yes.

John C.: I know he’s not great by any stretch, but Ryon Healy would be a huge upgrade at 3B over Garcia and Ruiz for the Braves. Given his youth and contract, which young starter would you be willing to trade to acquire him from Oakland?
Keith Law: He can’t play third.

Jason: Would you care if your daughter smoked weed, but was still productive ? Struggling with my daughter wether to allow it or not
Keith Law: I would not.

Jerry: What are the chances Ohtani already has a deal in place with a team?
Keith Law: Zero. Unless some GM wants to get fired.

Moe Mentum: Rank and defend these decades-old parody movies that end with exclamation points: Airplane! Hot Shots! Top Secret!
Keith Law: Top Secret, Airplane, I never even finished Hot Shots.

David Stearns: Help! I can’t tell if 2016 Jonathan Villar is the mirage or if 2017 Jonathan Villar is the fluke…which one is right?
Keith Law: 2016 seemed way out of line with the rest of his career.

Sterling Malory Chris Archer: So I started reading The Master and Margarita based on the fact it’s your number one book. Any suggestions on what to pay attention to while reading?
Keith Law: Remember that Bulgakov wrote it as an anti-communist fable while he was writing as a state playwright for the Soviet government.

Dan: I know that injuries kinda derailed Isan Diaz’s 2017 but is he still a top 100 caliber prospect for you?
Keith Law: I think so, since the hamate probably wrecked his year.

Tom: I realize I run the risk of being struck by a lightning bolt, especially where I live, but when I heard Vin Scully’s national anthem comments, all I could think of was “89 year old white grandpa misses the point completely.” (Ducking)
Keith Law: Yep. I felt the same. Met Vin once, as nice a man as you’ll come across, but that was quite ignorant given the players he covered in his career.

Dan: Is a line of .280/.350/.400 a pretty accurate projection for Kevin Newman?
Keith Law: A year ago I would have said yes. Given how little power he showed in AAA, just in terms of hard contact, I’m thinking less now.

PD: Really sad story about Daniel Flores. I was looking at video of his release and swing and he looked really good. Where would he had ranked for you?
Keith Law: As with Halladay/HoF, I would simply prefer not to discuss the recently departed in those terms. I’m sorry.

Andy: The last two WS winners have largely done it with home grown hitters carrying the bulk of the load. If you want to throw the Dodgers and Indians into the mix, they also did it with more homegrown hitters (with Kershaw being an exception.) Do you think that the additional certainty with a hitter could make teams value bats above pitching in the top of drafts?
Keith Law: Some teams, notably the Cubs, have argued that you want bats in the top 10-15 picks, then go pitching later. They’ve drafted that way quite a bit. I think the Dodgers have too. There’s more predictability in their performance and lower attrition rates.

Nick: What’s the ideal path for the oriole’s at this point? I say Trade Manny and Brach now, and Britton mid season hoping he stays healthy the first half, sign a couple bounce back candidate starting pitchers to high AAV short term deals and hope to flip them as well? Don’t see a path to winning next year so maybe try to rebuild on the fly without completely tearing it down?
Keith Law: Trade Britton and/or Brach now. If they intend to compete this year, then they keep Machado and ride it out. If they intend to rebuild, then trade everyone now.

Sage: Everyone mentions the ball is juiced, but I’ve heard the seams are not raised like they used to be, causing a decline on effective pitching, and spike in distance a ball does. Are these same thing, or am I misinterpreting ?
Keith Law: Two different things. The coefficient of restitution has changed too (the ball is bouncier).

Chris: interesting trade idea on RAB today: Yelich for Acevedo, Adams, Solak, and Frazier. I know youre not super high on the first two, but what do you think? Obv Denbo knows their system well.
Keith Law: Supposedly they don’t want to deal Yelich at all. That seems like a bunch of quantity over quality.

Andrew: Would a solution like Toastmasters help me with a problem with my public speaking?
Keith Law: I know people who swear by them, but I’ve never participated in it (or done anything for public speaking).

JJ: Keith, weird question, but with as health conscious as players/teams are today, are there players who are major smokers (similar to Leyland)? I know smokeless tobacco is still popular among players and isn’t healthy but was curious how much of that is hidden from public image.
Keith Law: The answer depends completely on what leaf we are discussing.

Joe: Do the minor league use the same balls as the major leaguers?
Keith Law: They do not.

Nick: Greatest mankind accomplishment of all time? Moon landing? Building of Pyramids? Internet? Something else?
Keith Law: Eradicating smallpox.

Andrew: I know you mentioned in one of these chats or your twitter that the interview process isn’t a good way to evaluating a potential hire (Dave Martinez). What is a good way of seeing if someone is a good hire?
Keith Law: Resume and references.

Nick: Who is the most surprising top 10 draft pick you’ve seen since covering the draft?
Keith Law: Hm. Most surprising first rounder was Hayden Simpson, but I think he was 15th or 16th overall. DeShields Jr at 8 to Houston in 2010 was a surprise, just that he went that high, although I think I had him projected to them at pick 19 (they took Foltynewicz there). Hobgood in 2009 and Townsend the second time around to Tampa Bay in 2005 come to mind too.

Jock: Austin Beck – do you think he was a reach at #6 last year or do you think that he represents a good departure for the A’s as they aim to develop more “toolsy” and “high reward” players in hopes of landing a new stadium in a few years? Thanks, Keith.
Keith Law: Not a reach, but huge risk huge reward type of guy.

JJ: Care to make an early prediction on the 2018 ROYs?
Keith Law: I do not, thanks.

Ed: There’s no way Davis doesn’t accept the QO, right?
Keith Law: If he thinks he can get multiple years elsewhere, then he would decline it.

Nathan: Keith! Love your work … I need some help. I’m trying to acquire the taste for straight black coffee. Can you give me some tips on what roast or brand I should start with? Much appreciated…
Keith Law: I never drank my coffee black until I tried Intelligentsia, and from there branched out to other “third wave” roasters (very light roasts, usually from single estates or small regions). Adding dairy to coffee introduces fats that block the bitter receptors on your tongue, but really good coffee that is properly roasted has very little to no bitterness.

yankees fan: I know you have been impressed by sheffield recently. Has he considerably improved since last years trade? If yes, in what way?
Keith Law: He has. He’s throwing harder and has switched to a slider.

Tim: Cooking question. Is it safe to feed a toddler food cooked with wine (braised, risotto, etc.)? I see so much conflicting information online.
Keith Law: Yes. Most of the alcohol will cook out – it evaporates at about 173 F. And a batch of risotto should use 1/2 cup of wine, which works out to about 14 ml of alcohol. Even if your toddler ate the entire batch, well, he’d get sick from all that rice first.
Keith Law: I need to wrap this up to pick up my car from the mechanic’s. Thank you for all of your questions and for reading all the content I’ve put together this week. I should be back next Thursday for a chat, and there will be a video chat as usual when I spatchcock the turkey before Thanksgiving. Have a safe weekend, everyone.

Klawchat 11/2/17.

While you’re here, check out my free email newsletter, sent weekly or just whenever I feel like it, but not more than weekly, really.

Keith Law: I was dumbfounded by truth. Klawchat.

Jake: Seems like Dodgers fans are looking to pin the blame on someone. Is it supposed to be Darvish?
Keith Law: Never a fan of putting the blame for the loss of an entire series on one player, or even just on a manager. Darvish hurt them, probably more than any other individual player, but he was far from alone. Roberts had a bad series, especially Game 5. The Dodgers’ LHB had some atrocious at bats in high-leverage spots last night. Bellinger’s error in the 1st was critical. And yet they still came within a game of winning.

J.P.: What do you make of this new complication between the Ham Fighters and the MLBPA with regards to Ohtani?
Keith Law: I actually think it’s a positive sign that everyone is trying to find a workaround. Maybe he will come over after all.

Tim: Shane baz? is it true he has plus fastball, plus slider plus cutter and average to above curveball and average change?
Keith Law: No.

Eric: After the Vegas shooting, Trump is suspiciously quiet. After the NYC attack he tweets immediately – to blame someone else. Your thoughts?
Keith Law: I think he’s playing to his base and they eat it up like soylent.

Chris : What would your offseason plan look like if your mets? Other than pray for health of Conforto, Wheeler, Matz, Harvey, Thor, Familia, and Cespedes, I’m kind of puzzled on how this team improves that much this offseason. Their health alone is what separates them from 70 and 90 wins, no?
Keith Law: I think that’s fair – their health is a bigger source of potential gains than any offseason acquisitions would be. I also would guess that would make them reluctant to spend this winter, assuming they had any money to spend, because they could spend well and still fall flat.

Pat: Hi Keith, thank you for your prospect coverage. Why is Sandy Alcantara not missing more bats? Is it lack of elite secondary stuff, little deception, is his fastball too straight? I would just think a guy that throws 100 would strike out more batters. Thanks Keith.
Keith Law: Fastball is pretty true, just hard, but velocity alone doesn’t miss bats. You need deception, movement, or spin. He will show you above-average secondary stuff but it’s not consistent. He’s also pretty young, so I’m not terribly worried.

Ed M.: Hi, Keith. I just finished reading Smart Baseball and loved every page. I’m a 36-year-old lifetime baseball fan and I love learning as much as I can about the analytical aspect of the game. One question for you: the phrase “reach/reached base safely” often comes up in your book. This isn’t meant to be a smartass question, but when does one NOT reach base safely? Aren’t all batters/runners who reach base also safe?
Keith Law: We tend to exclude reaching on an error from calculations of times on base.

Harold : Now that teams that blatantly tanked have won the the WS two years in a row, should MLB change the draft rules to eliminate Tanking?
Keith Law: They did condense the slot values of the top picks in the most recent CBA, which I think would discourage deliberately losing … but I don’t think Houston deliberately lost so much as they realized it was stupid to spend money on mediocre veterans. Buster & I discussed this on the podcast today.

Peter : Is Bobby Witt Jr closest thing we’ve seen to Harper in terms of pure talent coming out of high school? Not saying he’s just as good or that type of generational prospect.
Keith Law: No, he’s not in Harper’s class.

Lark11: Defensive shifting makes logical and intuitive sense; places fielders where hitters have higher probability of hitting the ball. That said, I’m somewhat struggling with its effectiveness. MLB BABIP by Year: 2013: .297; 2014: .299; 2015: .299; 2016: .300; and 2017: .300.
Keith Law: BABIP includes home runs, which have increased over that time period, but aren’t affected by defensive shifts. Also, aren’t exit velocities and launch angles increasing? Those should affect BABIP, or at least expected BABIP.

Eric: Thoughts on J-Up’s 5-year deal with the Halos?
Keith Law: Love it for the Angels. Yes, he’s risky, lot of volatility in his performance, but he’s a potential 5-win player and still in his peak years. He was my #1 free agent going into the winter.

Ralph: Would you rather have Pence or Trump as president?
Keith Law: I would absolutely take Hunter Pence as President over the current occupant.

Junkyard Dog: Who do you like more between Justus Sheffield and Max Fried? Who has the higher ceiling?
Keith Law: Sheffield.

Ben: We have officially arrived in an alternate reality, where fossil fuels can prevent sexual assaults and the air is TOO clean. Children need to breath dirty air to build up immunity for Christ’s sake! …..I weep for humanity.
Keith Law: The reality is that these anti-science “scientists” can say whatever they want, and their followers will just accept it.

Adam: The Braves and Coppolella drama has me thinking; Is it an open secret within your industry which GMs are despised by their peers, and what role does the media have in skewing the public perception of these men?
Keith Law: I tend to hear if people don’t like dealing with a certain GM or agent, or even a scouting director, but I think what you hear through the media lens is distorted.

Keith Law: Some food no one cares about is really good and your favorite player is awful.
Keith Law: Wrong. Everyone cares about good food.

Microsoft Excel: So do all the computers and spreadsheets in Houston get WS rings? Asking for a friend
Keith Law: Yes, one ring per vacuum tube.

Rick: Loved your newsletter, but I couldn’t help thinking how much your decision might have changed baseball history. If you had gone to the Astros, they surely would have drafted Kris Bryant, and the Cubs never would have won the World Series.
Keith Law: You’re very kind, but you failed to consider the possibility that I’d have given terrible advice and the Astros would never have sniffed the playoffs.

Hey there: Do you have a favorite/least favorite kind of player to scout (other than assholes like Chapman, or guys that can’t play)?
Keith Law: I love athletes. Granted, I can’t stand it when they have physical tools and no instincts or feel, but there’s absolutely something electric about seeing players who can do things with their bodies that even an average professional athlete can’t do.

Mike: I was wading way too deep into this with my wife last night, but now that it’s complete, where do you think this World Series ranks among those since 2000?
Keith Law: The blah game 7 hurts; I’d put this behind last year’s and 2011 for sure, probably 2001 as well. I could argue for 2002 and 2014 in there somewhere.

Roger: Should the Astros add Whitley and Tucker to their 25 man roster to start the 2018 season, or let them work in the minors for a few more months than bring them up mid-season?
Keith Law: That’s very premature.

Jim Nantz: I’m worried Conforto’s shoulder injury is going to sap his power for next year? Do you share this concern?
Keith Law: I don’t think we have any evidence either way on this.

Dr. Bob: As a Dodgers fan, I’m bummed at the end result, but I’m hopeful looking to the future. Friedman has built the right kind of organization. The team’s deep pockets has allowed it to eat dead money without hampering its ability to sign other players. We’ll see if the process adjusts the “book” that Dave Roberts seemed to be working from.
Keith Law: I wonder if Roberts is the right guy going forward, which I know sounds weird given the season they just had, but it does appear that he’s not a very good tactical manager, and I don’t know that he’s a good developmental manager, at least with young pitching. I don’t think firing him is some panacea or even a good idea, but the more I see him, the more I think they can do better. And, building off that, they’re going to have to develop young pitching soon, so they don’t have to go trade for a Darvish each July.

Roger: Do you ever really get an offseason since minor league ball is essentially now year round?
Keith Law: I’m done. The minors ended in mid-September, and I’ve already gone to the AFL.

David: Cardinals GM John Mozeliak has said an impact bat is most likely going to have to come via trade. There’s speculation the Cards will be in on Christian Yelich and Josh Donaldson, maybe even acquiring both players. Cards fans are worried two such acquisitions will deplete the farm system. Do the Cards have enough surplus prospects to make a couple of deals and not be barren? Who in this system is untouchable in your eyes? Thanks.
Keith Law: Not sure anyone could trade for both those guys and still have depth – maybe Atlanta, but even they’d have to pay with quantity – but the Cards do have a lot of prospects with value to other clubs and I don’t think they have anyone untouchable right now.

Andy: Did I miss it, or was the atrocious strike zone in the Series glossed over?
Keith Law: Nope, it came up, and I know the teams had a lot to say about it. It was game to game, though. Bill Miller’s was by far the worst. Last night was no picnic either.

Daniel: This is obviously not a small ‘if’ but if Kaprielian returns to form and stays healthy, could you see him becoming the top pitching prospect in baseball? Seemed to have that profile before he went down. Just hadn’t pitched enough yet.
Keith Law: He has #1 upside if he’s healthy. He hasn’t been healthy for a full season in pro ball, which would probably eliminate him from consideration for #1 overall.

Josh: Besides Ticket to Ride, any game recommendations for a newly-reading kid? Shorter play times would be preferred.
Keith Law: Depends on age, but I get the sense you’re talking 4 or 5, and there are now kids’ versions of TtR, Carcassonne, and Catan.

Ridley Kemp: Howdy Keith,

I have a long-ish Charlie Morton question. I’ve always been a fan of his because of his extreme ground ball rates and his ability to avoid the long ball. He’s definitely become a different pitcher this year, working up in the zone, getting more strikeouts at the expense of allowing more home runs. My question is: Is he really a better pitcher now? His ERA and FiP this year is about the same as what they were in most of his healthier years (2011,2013, and 2014). He certainly LOOKS better, but are the results that different?
Keith Law: He did just post the lowest FIP of his career, and that’s not adjusted for league/year … his ERA- was a career best, and it was just his second ERA+ over 100 (which is average) in any season over 20 IP. So yeah, I think he’s better.

Chris: Can I get an FYEAHBASEBALL!
Keith Law: Fuck yeah, you can.

Tracy: Hi Keith, I usually ask you questions related to books or current events but I actually have a baseball question—an odd one, but here goes: If you were able to go back in time and survey a particular baseball era, not just scouting players but also observing the way the game is played at that time, which would it be? For me, it would be going back to the height of the old Negro Leagues and seeing what we really missed out on.
Keith Law: Oh, 100% on that. There’s so much myth around those guys and so little facts that I’d love to see what it really looked like.

Ben: GOP tax bill apparently allows churches to endorse political candidates. Unless they plan on taxing churches, that should be illegal, no?
Keith Law: Of course it should, but nobody cares – and good luck getting anyone to agree we should tax churches. (Reminder that the Church of Scientology harassed its way into tax-exempt status.)

Jim Nantz: When will your top FA list comeout?
Keith Law: Monday.

Michael: Hi Klaw – thoughts on the Gabe Kapler hire? While I was initially in the Wathan camp, the more I have read the more I like this move.
Keith Law: I’ve known him a few years and I’m a big fan. Ideal hire for a club that will be full of young players for the next few years. Brings energy & new ideas. And he’s actually managed a year in the minors, which puts him ahead of a lot of recent managerial hires.

Bobby: Keith – thanks in advance. Love these chats. I have always thought that managers in baseball don’t move the needle much. Clearly, Cashman thinks otherwise as he is taking a risk moving on from a very good manager in the hope of finding a great one. What do you think in general re manager importance and specifically re the risk Cash is taking and the commitment he is showing (to the concept that a manager is very important).
Keith Law: I’m not clear that this was Cashman. Couldn’t it have been ownership? It feels too impetuous to be Cash.

Archie: Do you think the game is trending too much toward the 3 true outcome model? If so, what would you do to “fix” things?
Keith Law: Tighten the manufacturing specs on the ball, and raise the bottom of the strike zone (which already happened a little this year).

Casey: On a scale of doesn’t matter to existential dread, how much consternation should Dombrowski’s hiring of LaRussa give Sox fans?
Keith Law: Doesn’t matter. Doubt he has any influence.

Zach: What do you make of hearing that Darvish was tipping his pitches (according to Beltran on postgame show)? After he was traded to Dodgers, they apparently “fixed” that issue.
Keith Law: Eduardo Perez said the same for us last night – he specifically saw a hand movement. If that’s true, then the question would be why no Dodger coach picked it up after the first inning.

Michael: Hey Klaw – What do you think is the actual deal with all of the anti-sabermetrics comments across the board. These people are so angry, you’d think someone kidnapped their kids. Do you think it’s just a matter of: this is what I know, this is what I am used to, math is hard, I’m not getting younger, get off my lawn, and waaaaaa, waaaaaa – ?
Keith Law: I think many people view technology as an existential threat. And they’re not entirely wrong – Houston is replacing pro scouting with video work and analytics. Automation is affecting all industries. Beat writer jobs are disappearing because of technological changes. So I get it. But it’s evolve or die. You can’t just will away analytics because they bother you.

Mika: Do you believe it’s likely we’re living in a computer simulation? On a scale of 1-100, how full of crap is Elon Musk?
Keith Law: I think the ratio of media attention Musk receives to the quality of his commentary is too high and increasing exponentially. (And yet he’s doing some legitimately good work, like Tesla getting a hospital in Puerto Rico back online with solar panels.)

Podcast: It’s kind of funny how Game 7 pretty much turned on exactly what you said to Buster on the podcast about Hinch being more flexible than Roberts
Keith Law: I thought Hinch managed a great game last night and a great series in general, whereas Roberts didn’t seem to have a clear plan if Darvish was out that early.

Bobby: Where would you rank the Tiger’s farm system right now? Middle of the pack? Who else is likely to be dealt this winter? Thanks!
Keith Law: I haven’t started any prospect work at all, but eyeballing it, I’d say below middle of the pack.

E: Have you seen Trumps’s quote on the tax cut? Every time his words are written down and read, it reinforces just how little he knows about, well everything.
Keith Law: If this issue matters to any of you, I would suggest ignoring what the President says and focusing on what the actual tax cut/reform proposal says – and what experts say it will do. For example, they’re proposing cutting the mortgage interest deduction dramatically. The way it’s shaped, it will adversely affect homeowners who financed very expensive houses … and homeowners in very expensive real estate markets, which almost all happen to be in blue states. And that, in the longer term, would likely slow the acceleration of house prices as the real cost of buying & financing houses above the threshold increases because you lose some of the tax break. That’s one tiny bit of the proposal and already its effect is complicated.

Todd: Domingo Acevedo the next Betances or is he a legit starter?
Keith Law: Reliever for me. Out of control delivery.

Drew: First of all, thank you for all of the work you do throughout the season. I particularly appreciate your appearances on the BBTN podcast, and wanted to ask you something about that. While I agree that Darvish’s two world-class clunkers in the WS shouldn’t costs him tens of millions of dollars, do you think it makes a reunion with The Dodgers unlikely? As analytically savvy as the front office is, do you think they’re keeping fan blowback in mind?
Keith Law: No, I don’t think that would affect them, but if having him for three months told them something about him – his psyche, his preparation, whatever – that they didn’t like, that would affect their decision beyond what the data suggest.

Walt: How difficult would it be for a team to go 11-0 and break the 2005 White Sox record?
Keith Law: Entirely doable. If we had another 200 postseasons before the end of the world, which seems unlikely, some team would do it.

Andrew: Any books you can suggest on how to manage time?
Keith Law: I’ve seen books on the subject but have never read any. My advice to people who ask about my own time management is probably not great, but it’s to look at how much time you use on unproductive things each day. If you watch 2 hours of TV each night, that’s obviously your choice … but it’s 2 hours you’re not doing something that might be more productive, whether it’s work, learning, reading, being with family, whatever you value. And maybe you value TV time. Maybe you’re Alan Sepinwall and TV time is work. It’s all about what you want to accomplish during the day.

Willy: I’ve read that Eloy is a protypical RF, and I’ve read that he’s barely a LF who may and up at 1B. What do you think?
Keith Law: He’s a good RF. Anyone who said he’s barely a LF hasn’t seen him.

Joe: How easy are in-game adjustments to make for a player? I’m thinking specifically of Bellinger laying off the breaking ball down and in but am asking if that is something we should expect from players?
Keith Law: I think in-game adjustments are tough. Maybe half of MLB hitters can do that. Probably less than that.

CapePorpoise: Any opinion on the meal delivery services HelloFresh and their ilk? For couples like my wife and I with limited menu imagination, It is kind of fun to be working with fresh tarragon and dill and rosemary in these meals, and we’re definitely getting the kind of variety we’d otherwise never experience.
Keith Law: Never tried them, but I also work from home, so i have the time to go shop for food, and I actually enjoy it.

ck: Not necessarily my opinion, but if Kershaw was available for 4 IP, why not start him?
Keith Law: It’s an excellent question. I might argue that the Dodgers had 3 options to start, and they chose the worst one. (That’s a bit of a conceit – I don’t know that they knew that beforehand or that we did, and Alex Wood hasn’t really been the same guy since the last DL stint.)

Todd: Am I wrong in saying that last off season the Yankees were under rated, but now next season they’ll be way over rated? See it all the time in sports, an upstart team has a big season ahead of schedule and everyone inflated expectations.
Keith Law: Yes, that’s the typical pattern, but they could alter their fortunes depending on what they do in free agency, especially for pitching.

Andy: If you’re Cleveland, what decision are you making about Bruce, Santana, and Brantley?
Keith Law: Brantley has an option that I assume they’ll decline. The other two are just free agents, so the decision is made.

Lark11: Any early thoughts on Griffin Conine and where he’ll go in the 2018 draft? First rounder? Top half of the first round? Thanks!
Keith Law: I have been told first rounder, not top 10 type, although the college crop is weak enough that some guys will be pushed up into that tier. The UVA hitters weren’t supposed to be top 10 prospects coming into spring 2017 and ended up going 7 and 8.

Chris: Book question: I have To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis next on my to-read list. Having read your review, do you think you missed a lot by not reading Three Men in a Boat first?
Keith Law: I read Three Men in a Boat right afterward, but the other way around would have helped. It’s a quick read and in the public domain if you have a Kindle or iBooks.

CKS: Given the blatant disregard for the international free agency rules by most teams, is there any push to finally fix the problem? Or will this continue to be an issue for years to come?
Keith Law: The lesson of the Atlanta scandal is, as always, don’t get caught.

Hinkie: I know it’s very early … but … could you give us a top of the draft mock (shot in the dark guess): 1 Tigers _______ , 2 Giants ________ , 3 Phillies ________
Keith Law: Nope. It would be pure bullshit.

Kris : Should the Braves go young in rotation or trade for a pitcher?
Keith Law: If they trade, it should be for a power bat. The system has a ton of pitching but little to nothing at the corners or with power.

Alan: Favorite movie of 2017?
Keith Law: So far, Dunkirk, but I’ve only seen 12 movies so far.

Philip: If you were in charge of the A’s, would Bruce Maxwell still be in the organization?
Keith Law: If he’s guilty of threatening someone with a gun, then no, I would cut him loose.

Jeffrey: Orioles should move Machado in the offseason or mid-season? And how can they justify bringing back their whole coaching staff?
Keith Law: Should move him and Britton this winter, don’t get the sense they plan to do either (yet).

Jason: Keith, I have never had anxiety until a couple weeks ago an intruder attempted to enter our home a few weeks back. Now I feel very nervous and anxoius going to sleep. Any advice?
Keith Law: Wow, I’m sorry that happened to you. That’s a discussion to have with a doctor; when I had my worst anxiety/panic, I took Xanax to help me sleep for about a week until I could get used to a regular sleep pattern.

CapePorpoise: Have you read much John Fowles? Granted, I was much younger, but French Lieutenant
Keith Law: Only read that one. Didn’t love the unique ending.

Derek: Thoughts on Dave Martinez as the Nats new manager?
Keith Law: I’ve only heard good things about him, other than that he doesn’t interview well, which as I’ve said before is a terrible way to evaluate a manager hire anyway.

Hinkie: What do hear about Gabe Kapler, both as a new manager and as a person ?
Keith Law: O AN HE SEXY

JJ: I’m guessing this was Carlos Beltran’s last ride. If so, is he a HOFer?
Keith Law: I think he’s a borderline guy by historical standards. I’d probably vote for him.

Cindy: Austin Riley has had some great results in the AFL. I’ve read a scouting report here or there that says that he has cut down on his swing, lost some weight, and is now able to catch up with high velocity fastballs….something he couldn’t do before on a regular basis. Have you heard anything about this? How far away is he from the majors?
Keith Law: Saw him. That’s just not true – I saw velocity blow him up again, as his bat is still slow. He’s gotten better at third base, though; that was true during the season as well.

Craig: Thanks for the chat Keith, really enjoy your work. Any feeling on if Tanaka opts out or not? Would you if you were him?
Keith Law: It depends on the health of his elbow, and I doubt anyone has a great read on that other than him and the team doctors.

JJ: Three playoff managers got the axe after their post-season was done: Baker, Farrell, and Girardi. Are any of those three “game changers” that should hired elsewhere immediately?
Keith Law: No, but all three did fine jobs and none deserved to be fired based on team performance or the jobs they did on the field. (We often don’t know off field factors.)

Todd: Better in 2 years? Bregman or Moncada?
Keith Law: Bregman.

Bobby: Would anyone in their right mind actually make a play to deal for Miguel Cabrera? I’ll never say never after seeing Prince Fielder dealt but this seems impossible
Keith Law: That would be bonkers.

Josh: Thanks for answering the kid game question. I’m actually talking about a 1st grader who can handle Ticket to Ride but isn’t quite where she can read and comprehend quickly enough to make competitive decisions in real time. And our lifestyle is such that long play time like TtR is too much.
Keith Law: Splendor might be pushing it a little … but maybe not. It’s largely a color-matching game and the graphics & tokens are kid-friendly.

Corey: Also, Americans are increasingly terrible dealing with gray area or nuance. Everything in the US including obviously our politics has grown either/or, zero-sum, us vs them. People can’t accept that analytics is one tool among many. That somehow, you can only run a team with “the nerds” or the “baseball guys” but not both.
Keith Law: This would apply to many issues in our society outside of sports. But yes, the idea that using analytics means you hate scouts or coaches or humans is wrong.

Bobbo: The blurb you did for Farlight in your Paste – Best of GenCon 2017 enticed me. Also the one for Echo. did you play/obtain them? any chance of full reviews for either? thanks for the chatting!
Keith Law: I haven’t seen Farlight beyond that demo, but I hope to catch them again at PAX Unplugged. I don’t know which game you mean by Echo, sorry.

Karl in Utah: Was this year from Whit Merrifield an anomaly or do you think it is sustainable (assuming the juiced ball stays in place)?
Keith Law: I do not think it’s sustainable.

Eric Reiners: I’ve read reports that eliminating the mortgage interest deduction entirely would be one of the easiest ways for the government to boost revenues while keeping the effect on the middle/lower class as light as possible. Real estate values would initially take a hit across the board, but it’d be an effective way of tackling the deficit. I’m surprised they even took this step, to be honest, as it mostly affects rich white people. But on the other hand…they had tax cuts to rich white people to fund.
Keith Law: It would affect the middle classes more. US tax policy has encouraged home ownership for decades. Pulling that deduction entirely would amount to a regressive tax that hits the lowest-income homeowners more than the highest-income ones.

Ryan: Has Randolph progressed at all for the Phillies? For someone drafted for his pure hitting ability, he has struggled.
Keith Law: Not really. It is disappointing.

Drew: My daughter just turned three today. Any book recommendations from when yours was that age?
Keith Law: I believe that’s when I read her the first two Mary Poppins books and the first two Winnie-the-Pooh books.

Jason: It appears Keaton Huira played the field without any issues with his elbow. Assuming that continues would he skyrocket up your Top 100 lists? How high?
Keith Law: Skyrocket? He’ll be on the top 100. Let’s leave it there for now.

Harold: Sounds like you don’t want to pay your fair share.
Keith Law: On the contrary, I have no complaints at all with what I pay in taxes; if anything, I think our local/state taxes here in Delaware are too low. But I don’t see the economic benefit to reducing my taxes while raising those on lower-income households, or of giving me more of a reduction than the lower-income households get.
Keith Law: Thanks as always for all of your questions. The top 50 free agent rankings post will go up on Monday for Insiders, and I’ll be around at some point next week to chat about it. Enjoy your (sadly baseball-free) weekends.

Klawchat 10/26/17.

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

Keith Law: You can do it your own way – if it’s done just how I say. Klawchat.

Keith: How important a role does a particular team’s development capability and track record play in your rankings? It strikes me that the abilities of individual teams to develop talent varies widely and often is underrated when assessing a prospects progress. What teams do you think are better in this area? Does it vary by positions? Any prospects you think we harmed because they were drafted by the wrong team?
Keith Law: I don’t consider it at all. The rankings of players are team agnostic because a player can change orgs at any time.

Deacon Phillipe : What’s your reaction to the Girardi firing?
Keith Law: Confusion. But I know there may be details we don’t know.

Guy F.: Am I correct to profile you as an index fund guy? Do you own individual stocks outside what you might get from Disney as part of your comp package?
Keith Law: I am an index funds guy, period.

Deacon Phillipe : I’ve been rooting against the Astros because I hate seeing their blatant tanking rewarded. I know they were playing by the rules of the game, but they basically made a mockery of 3 seasons worth of games to get higher picks. Even the Cubs never sunk so low when they tanked. (I rooted against them last year).
Keith Law: I disagree. One, what they did wasn’t just legal, it was smart – the rules gave them every incentive to do this. Two, asking teams that aren’t going to win anyway to throw away cash on veterans just to win a few more regular-season games does nothing for me. I’d rather see prospects and fringe players get those opportunities. Maybe you’ll find a JD Martinez or a Chris Taylor or a Marwin Gonzalez in there.

Chris: Pax Unplugged will be my first gaming convention. I’m only able to go for one day (Friday) and was wondering if you had any tips for how to approach it? I’m feeling overwhelmed by all the options and going solo so my schedule is whatever I make it.
Keith Law: They can be pretty overwhelming. I’d say leave yourself lots of time to wander the floor and just explore all the new stuff on display, and if you have certain games you love, look for their tournaments or for any free-play sessions. I’ll be at PAX Unplugged all 3 days, and on the Saturday (Nov 18) I’ll be signing copies of Smart Baseball if you bring yours along.

Jimmy Z: Keith, (sorry, screwed up and hit enter before asking question): Joe Girardi. 2014 – Yanks have a -31 run differential, yet win 84. 2016 – Yanks have a -22 run differential, yet win 84. 2017 – Yanks are picked by no one to make the playoffs, and in their “2nd rebuilding year” Joe takes them to Game 7 of the ALCS. Am I missing something here?
Keith Law: I can’t believe that this was about Joe’s on-field results. I also don’t think he can be blamed in any way for their ALCS loss. He made some mistakes, and had some weak spots, but they were legitimately beaten by a better team.

Angel: Hey keith do you see Albert abreu in the top 100 at some point next season?
Keith Law: Possible but not likely. Secondary stuff isn’t that advanced right now.

Joe: As someone who spent so much time in recent years scouting many of the guys killing it in the World Series this year, how cool is it personally to see them all come together like this on the biggest stage?
Keith Law: It’s very rewarding to watch these guys reach the pinnacle.

edward: thanks, keith – thoughts on who the phillies should be looking at for their next manager?
Keith Law: Someone with a strong developmental track record. Gabe Kapler is on their list, and I know him fairly well, enough to recommend him. (The reports that they’d chosen Dusty Wathan already were not accurate. I don’t know where that came from.)

gus johnson: Do you think a player’s salary should be considered in the MVP Voting? To measure the true value of a player, shouldn’t we consider both the results AND the cost? For example, Stanton’s 6.9 WAR isn’t as valuable as Rendon’s 6.9 WAR from a cost perspective.
Keith Law: No. No. Also no.

Chris J: How do you see the Red Sox setting their lineup with Pedroia out around 2 months? Mookie at 2B? Chavis at 2B? Brock Holt?
Keith Law: Probably Holt. Chavis is pretty questionable at third, no reason to think he’ll be able to go right to 2nd and handle it.

Jimmy Hillman: Thanks for the chat! Of the two Pirate prospects that were exalted by many in 2015-2016 but had a rough 2017 – Glasnow or Meadows – which one do you think has the better chance to bounce back in 2018 and reclaim some (all?) of that shine?
Keith Law: Meadows. Health will go a long way for him.

Lyle: The last several Mariners GMs have generally failed to develop and keep position player prospects (essentially Kyle Seager and Mike Zunino are it for the last dozen years). Everyone else either busts (Ackley, e.g.) or is traded away for pennies (Adam Jones, Chris Taylor, etc.) How do the Mariners go about changing that culture in their system before Kyle Lewis and Evan White arrive?
Keith Law: They already changed GMs since all that. But also ownership has to say they’re willing to take a few years of losing to rebuild it – I think the mandate now is for DiPoto to try to win, and that may mean trading someone like Lewis for major-league help.

Mike: Bote has been crushing in the AFL but I’ll give that to a SSS and the Arizona climate. A story came out that he has changed his swing over the last couple of years. He is already 24, but do you think he has a chance as a starter?
Keith Law: Probably a bench guy. Think he can hit some, maybe not enough bat + defense to be more than a second-tier regular at 2nd base, but likely a real utility guy you can plug in at four or five positions.

Brian: Keith what is your take on Nicky Lopez in the Royals system? Looks to be good defensively at short and has a good approach at the plate. Utility infielder or potential starter? Thanks.
Keith Law: Outside chance to start. Can hit, can play short. Power is light, approach isn’t actually that great. Good instincts, though. Stands out in a weak system.

Evan: What are your thoughts on the Mets new manager Mickey Callaway?
Keith Law: He’s never managed, so we just don’t know. I’m not a fan of hiring managers with zero managerial experience at any level.

jp: Does the huge number of cord cutters mean clubs are gonna struggle with future TV deals? Seems like a bubble that could burst, but then again, plenty of fans are still gonna want to watch the games.
Keith Law: It depends on where and whether cord-cutters go for their baseball content. If MLB.tv ends up with a local team option, then that might balance out the revenues – but also provides another chance for MLB to smooth out the revenue gaps between the largest and smallest markets. If 100% of TV revenue came from MLB.tv, for instance, then they could simply divide it equally among all teams. Then the revenue gap would be from attendance and corporate sponsorships, so large market teams would still have an advantage, but much less of one, and maybe revenue-sharing could even go away.

Moltar: If the Mets don’t add Guillorme to the 40 man, he’ll definitely get rule-V’d, no? I feel like the glove would play off the bench at the minimum.
Keith Law: I’m not sure – I wouldn’t say it’s definite. It might be an 8 glove and a 3 bat. That’s not easy to carry.

Dan: Albert Almora Jr. improved mightily against RHP in the second half (123 wRC+). With his above average defense and ability to crush LHP seems like he’s turning into an above average regular.
Keith Law: I do think he’s a regular.

Ben: Have you gotten a chance to see much of Andrew Knizner at AFL? How would you compare to Carson Kelly?
Keith Law: Not even close to Kelly for me. Kelly’s the same seasonal age and already has succeeded in AAA, with good receiving skills and more bat. Knizner has to catch or he’s not a prospect, and I don’t think the glove is a sure thing.

John S: Houston makes the world series. Its rebuild has been marvelous even if not perfect (Aiken, Appel). And… they fire their scouts. What gives? I read that the org wants to focus even more on analytics. Fine and well, but it’s not like there is some cap on what can be spent on scouting. Is it an issue of too much information dilutes useful information?
Keith Law: They believe pro scouting is becoming obsolete. I disagree, of course, but it is their philosophy that trackman data and video ‘scouting’ can replace it.

Stuxnet: Its been a disappointing few years for the Texas Rangers, and they look like they have a mediocre major league team with a bad farm system, putting them in a bad spot for the future. Is it time for them to get a new g.m. in place, since it appears the rest of the league has passed Jon Daniels by?
Keith Law: They won the AL West in 2016, Van Winkle.

Moltar: Consensus seems to be that Calloway is a good hire, but what kind of impact can we expect to see him make on the Mets’ pitchers in the upcoming season?
Keith Law: I would guess very little, now that he’s the manager and not the pitching coach. The latter will be the name that matters to your question.

Amy: Cora got his gig! What will you do with all this free time? Also, thoughts on how Sox get some power in there?
Keith Law: I’m thrilled for him. It’s a good situation given the solid young core on that roster … and potentially difficult given some of the personalities among the veterans. Devers has power, Betts showed more power in 2016 than 2017, Bogaerts has power when his hand isn’t hurt, I think Benintendi will be a 25-30 homer guy. What they could really use is a power hitter at 1b, but the four big 1b free agents (Hosmer, Santana, Morrison, Alonso) aren’t really power bats. I like Sam Travis a lot as a prospect, but I think he’s more a hitter for average than for power.

Craig: I keep thinking back to Brett Gardner’s amazing at bat in Game 7 of the ALDS. I was rooting for the Indians, but by about pitch 10, I just wanted the at-bat to be over. If I felt that way watching it, I can’t imagine how Cody Allen felt trying to pitch to him.

Is being able to continually foul-off pitches a skill that can be taught? If so, how?
Keith Law: I think it’s a function of hand-eye coordination above all else. That is the biggest thing I didn’t see with Pedroia as a rookie (well, that and he was out of shape in September 2006) – he was exceptional at fouling off pitches he couldn’t hit, which is how he made that really unconventional swing work.

Jake: How has Tyler Jay looked in AFL?
Keith Law: What I saw was great, but I talked to Eric Longenhagen last week and he saw about 2 mph less on the fastball than I did.

Dennis: Which are your favorite Agatha Christie novels?
Keith Law: Murder of Roger Ackroyd always stands out for me. I’m nervous about this movie … the ending of Murder on the Orient Express is so iconic that they can’t change it, and I think a lot of people know it, so how will they craft a compelling story where a decent portion of the audience knows the culprit?

Warren for Pres 2020!: Do you think that whenever Trump’s reign of terror is over, we’ll see a cascade of books from various current/former WH staff, such as Sean “Puffy” Spicer and Sarah Huckabee “Don’t Call Me Colonel” Sanders, detailing their true feelings about the human bottle of Ipecac they’re forced to defend and rationalize on a daily basis?
Keith Law: No question. Once it’s safe, there will be dozens of books, documentaries, even some “Game Change” style TV series about it.

Alex: Keith what do you make of all the coaching/front office changes the Giants have made? From the outside the coaches seem like the least of their problems.
Keith Law: I’d heard they felt like the clubhouse had gotten stale. Whether that’s true, or at all relevant to the on-field performance, is another matter.

RSO: Is Brett Gardner criminally underrated? He has the 47th best WAR all-time for a left fielder, and was second this year in WAR (ahead of Gary Sanchez) on the Yankees.
Keith Law: He’s spent about 1/3 of his games in CF, which probably skewed those rankings, and I’ve noticed some centerfielders who play left end up with crazy defensive numbers there because the average at that position is pulled down by the Matt Kemps of the world (hey, we can’t play this guy anywhere, so put him in left). His WAR puts him right with Jeff Heath, a player from the 1940s who played in a roughly similar number of games, and whom I’d never heard of till just now.

Dennis: Are Jahmai Jones and Brandon Marsh of the Angels top 100 prospects? If not, are they close?
Keith Law: Jones was on my top 100 already.

Bort: Hey Keith, thanks as always for your writing and for the chat. If Luis Castillo’s changeup continues to be effective against lefties (21% whiff rate, .110 ISO this year) but his fringy slider doesn’t improve, do you think he will still be an above-average starter? Do you think he’ll be better than Dinelson Lamet, who seems to have a fringy changeup but an effective slider?
Keith Law: I think I’d rather have the FB/CH guy than the FB/SL guy. You can still get same-side hitters with the CH but it’s really hard to get other-side hitters out with a breaking ball (as a starter – lots of relievers do this).

Ron: HI Keith- Any thoughts on the Twins hiring of John Manuel? Good, bad or not any impact? Do you think Molitor is going to embrace more analytics or still old school? Thanks!
Keith Law: Very happy for John. I wouldn’t say the hiring of any area scout, no matter how good, would have an impact the average fan would see. That’s no slight on John, whom I expect to do excellent work for the Twins.

Darryl: Starting a MLB team from scratch today…who’s your 1st pick? Trout? Harper? Correa? Seager?
Keith Law: Still Trout. All great choices. Machado belongs in the discussion set, though.

Amy: Do you think Mookie could still play 2b? Is he capable?
Keith Law: I do, he was very good there, but you’d lose a lot of defense in the OF from doing so.

Matt: The Cards have put together a pretty nice, cost-controlled rotation ( Weaver, CMart, Reyes, Flaherty). Knowing that young SP can be fickle, how do you think this sets them up for the next few years?
Keith Law: I don’t think that’s enough in bulk innings or starter certainty. They can certainly supplement from outside – and you didn’t include Hudson or Alcantara, both reasonably close – but that’s only a beginning, not a complete solution.

Sam: Considering the success Altuve is having do you see scouts being more open to not rule someone out because of size or other traditional measures or is he just so far of an outlier that it will have no impact?
Keith Law: Bregman was the #2 pick in the draft, and wasn’t going much later than that anyway, and he’s maybe 5’8″. Benintendi’s no giant. Stroman might be 5’9″, Sonny Gray 5’8″. Nick Allen is 5’6″ and got $2 million (I think) in the draft last year. So teams are open to it. It’s just one factor among many – if you’re small, but strong, with a sound swing, and play a skill position, you’ll still get lots of consideration. Altuve was just so small at 15 that he couldn’t even get the Astros to sign him – they cut him the first time from their scout team in VZ and he had to come back the next day with his dad to beg for another chance.

Jesse: Have you tried Century: Spice Road yet? I think you and your family might really enjoy it. It’s similar to Slendor with maybe a little more strategy.
Keith Law: I played it at GenCon and agree it’s very similar to Splendor, with maybe a little more variation in how you can approach the game. But I didn’t think it was novel – it felt familiar to me.

Evan: Was Avi Garcia’s season a BABIP driven mirage, or is he actually good now?
Keith Law: Can it be both?

Chris: Do you have more info on Jhailyn Ortiz, stats looking good and as a Phillies fan never heard of him
Keith Law: Very interesting power bat with feel to hit, better athlete than expected given his size. They gave him a lot of money as an amateur, and I know some scouts were down on him because they thought he’d get fat, but so far he’s looked great.

Matt: I haven’t seen this mentioned, but the way the Dodgers managed the game last night was…odd. Using 9 relief pitchers in a game vs Verlander?
Keith Law: Hill was wobbly early, no problem with going to Maeda. Really, I can’t blame Roberts for anything. Hinch pressed the “HIT DINGERS” button and that was that.

Eddie Gaedel: If Kong is allowed to return in 2018, do you have the same moral aversion to him as you do to domestic abusers? After all, he risked people’s lives by driving drunk, and he was a serial offender. Can baseball allow him to return on a probationary period, and should they?
Keith Law: I would have no problem with MLB banning him, or even the government saying he can’t get a work visa now. He’s dangerous.

Jimmy: How much do teams factor in Coors for free agents leaving Colorado? I’m mostly wondering if teams will overlook some of Jake McGee’s struggles and treat like he’s the same guy he was with the Rays.
Keith Law: Statcast data will help players in extreme environments, I think. I’m a big McGee fan and will have him fairly high for a reliever on my FA rankings, which I believe go up 11/6.

Matt: What is your degree of confidence that any of De La Cruz, Albertos, Clifton, or Alzolay will be able to help Cub rotation at some point in ’18 or ’19?
Keith Law: 2018, very low. 2019, Alzolay or maybe Clifton. De la Cruz can’t stay healthy and Albertos, while very talented, has barely pitched.

RSO: I know in the past you said Gleyber Torres is best suited for SS, but with Didi Gregorious in tow, what position would you rather play him at 2B or 3B?
Keith Law: Moving Torres off shortstop wastes a good portion of his value.

Ed: I spatchcocked my Turkey last year, and am already getting request this year for it despite not even hosting TG. There is no going back
Keith Law: Really is a game changer. Plus it cooks faster.

Evan: Do the Braves have a hidden gem at catcher in Alex Jackson or is he still too big of a liability behind the plate?
Keith Law: You need to read my AFL posts. He was the lead item in the second one.

Harrisburg Hal: Thanks for posting about the board game apps last week – after feeling like I’d mastered Splendor, I purchased Jaipur and got repeatedly pummeled by the AI.
Keith Law: The Jaipur app’s medium AI kicks my ass. I am not good at that game.

Pete: Last night’s game was fun to watch, but to me, the best play was Hernandez’s tying single that scored Forsythe, which was more fun than watching solo home run after solo home run. If baseball keeps the same ball, combined with the length of games, this isn’t a good long-term outlook for the enjoyment of the sport. Thoughts?
Keith Law: Agree – the last three innings were exciting, but I’d much rather see more balls in play and fewer HR/K. It also felt like we were just waiting for the next homer. It’s aesthetic, though – it was still a great game.

Kelly : How does being on the disabled list affect the Rule 5 draft? (For example, Sam Coonrood in the Giants system was Rule 5 eligible but is on the DL for Tommy John’s.)
Keith Law: There is no offseason DL. All those players must be activated and assigned to a roster.

Steven: Last night Smoltz implied the analytics were to take Hill out after 4 but that seemed to hurt them later when they were very low on bullpen depth when it mattered. Seems like this was a case of over analysis rather than a manager observing that he had a guy who was pitching well with a decent pitch count. Had the been able to get another inning or two out of him it may have made a big difference in the 8-11 innings.
Keith Law: Maybe, but I didn’t think Hill looked sharp, and you really can’t manage inning 5 around innings 10 and 11.

BigPapaChuck: Do you think the Braves already know their fate but have to keep silent until MLB announces it after the WS? They have to have a lot of contingency plans in place, no?
Keith Law: I don’t think that is the case.

Pat D: The word is that the Yankees will look for someone with a mind to analytics. So obviously Dusty isn’t a candidate, right? Is there anyone you know of who might fit that bill who’s ready?
Keith Law: I never heard that Girardi was anti-analytics, so maybe they just want someone even more in favor of using it? It’s a little strange to me. I also don’t know if they’d consider a rookie manager again, or if they want someone who’s managed MLB teams before. Manny Acta is one of the latter who I know is very open to analytics, since I worked with him on BBTN.

JP: % chance Stanton is traded this offseason? And best guess where to?
Keith Law: Low. 20%.

Tom: In the post game last night, Frank Thomas said he didn’t like bringing guys in for a 6 out save essentially because they haven’t been in those situations all season, and hence haven’t practiced it. Granted this was on the heels of Jansen and Giles both blowing leads, but do you find merit in this logic?
Keith Law: I don’t, and I don’t think it was the reason they blew those leads. Jansen threw one bad pitch to Marwin. Is that because he wasn’t used to facing five batters in an outing?

Chris : Who’s going to shell out years and dollars to this year’s starting pitcher FA class? It seems like all clubs realize second contracts for SPs dont make sense unless your name is Scherzer or something.
Keith Law: Except that they’ll all get to the GM meetings, look at their depth charts, and realize they need pitching, and this market is all they have. Guys will still get paid, at least on a per-year basis.

Daniel: Shipley is now old for a prospect but is he still a SP for you? Stillhas two solid secondaries and is a great athlete despite the dip in velocity.
Keith Law: Still a starter, but he needs his old fastball back to be more than a five.

Dr. Bob: You go to the AFL every year. If it is a lot of SSS and guys working on things, what are you and other scouts hoping to see there?
Keith Law: It’s not really guys working on things – that’s instructional league – just guys getting more reps. So it’s a good way to look at swings, deliveries, BP, guys facing better competition than they saw during the year, plus a lot of players on the 40-man bubble (like Guillorme) on whom you might want one more scouting report.

Chris : Would you move Wheeler or Matz to the bullpen? Does it even matter, bc more likely than not they’ll both just get hurt anyway?
Keith Law: I’d consider it depending on what the doctors say. Relief work isn’t a panacea for arm trouble; some guys would get hurt with all the back-to-back usage too.

Daniel: I read that you had Houser 92-95 with a good CB in the AFL. If he can remain healthy he’s a SP, yes?
Keith Law: He’s a starter.

Martha Stewart: Are there any cooking shows you watch besides Iron Chef? Do you have a favorite ‘ethnic food’?
Keith Law: I don’t watch Iron Chef, just Top Chef. Isn’t pretty much all food ethnic?

Jimmy: I’ve read a few times that the Yankees’ player development people have great success helping their pitching prospects throw harder. It always comes up in profiles about Chance Adams. Do you know if there’s any evidence that they’re actually better at it than other teams? Or is this just an anecdote someone noticed and a bunch of other people grabbed?
Keith Law: It’s anecdotal evidence across a pretty long list of players, so I’m inclined to believe it. I know I’ve seen a lot of these guys in Trenton the last few years. Adams isn’t even the best example, with a slightly above average fastball. They got Tate’s fastball back. Sheffield throws harder than ever now. And they keep finding these relievers, like Cody Carroll, late in the draft who get into the system and suddenly start bumping 98.

Craig: How do you feel about Trump’s tax plan announcement?
Keith Law: I think the evidence does not support their claim that tax cuts for the highest income levels will boost economic growth. That may have been true in the 1960s, when the top marginal rates were over 50%, but it appears to be untrue today, when even the top rates are moderate for a developed country. I do think tax cuts can stimulate the economy, but need to go to people who’ll increase consumption as well as investment, and I think no one wants to talk about the benefit of radical tax reform because both parties love to regulate behavior through taxation. (But please, tell me why anyone should be able to deduct mortgage interest – up to $1 million of it! – on a *second* home.)

Timothy : How much stock do you put into the AFL? (Ex: Alex Jackson)
Keith Law: AFL performance is close to meaningless. It’s too small of a sample, in a very hitter-friendly environment. Joey Terdoslavich led the league in homers one year and Atlanta fans went nuts when I said he wasn’t really a prospect.

Patrick: What do you think of Thario? Can he be marketed as a starting infielder and used as trade bait, or is he better served in a utility/depth role? Do you like him or Wade better?
Keith Law: Thairo is a second division starter for me, or a good utility guy. Might have more value in trade in a package given their depth chart.

Clyde: Did Michael Gettys make any progress this year? 191 whiffs certainly suggest not, but he did up his walk rate, I believe.
Keith Law: He was repeating high-A. No.

Nick: Does Justus Sheffield have #1 stuff?
Keith Law: Sure looked like it in the AFL. We’ll see if he can pitch with that stuff for a full season, but it’s very promising.

Brian: Can we please kill the K Zone, now also appearing on Fox? I would like to see the pitch with my own eyes. If it’s a debatable call, show me the K Zone on replay. Am I wrong?
Keith Law: Not a huge fan either. I have Gameday for that stuff. I tend to watch games both ways.

Antonio: What is it about Chance Adams that doesn’t really get him prospect list love? Supposedly throws hard and the numbers are obviously there. I don’t get it.
Keith Law: Doesn’t throw that hard, doesn’t have a real out pitch, undersized without great fastball plane.

Patty O’Furniture: Giancarlo’s not really going to the Giants, is he?
Keith Law: It makes no sense for either club. The Giants’ system is weak at the moment, so the Marlins wouldn’t get much of a return. And the Giants would be taking on an albatross contract for a player who doesn’t make them a contender right away.

Sean: Keith, having just finished your book and reading about the Astros use of high-speed cameras and such in their pro scouting, I have a question about player development. How much is this stuff being used in the minor leagues?
Keith Law: It’s all over the place. You can’t go to a minor league game without seeing the cameras the parent clubs have set up to record their own guys and the visitors.

Daniel: Is it just injuries that have derailed Gilbert Lara so far? Or is he not that good?
Keith Law: I think he’s just not that good, but he’ll turn 20 on Monday and I don’t want to entirely write him off.

Pete: Isn’t a stale clubhouse what you get when all your players are old?
Keith Law: You might say that, yes.

Ridley Kemp: Are you aware of any benefits that Major League Baseball is involved with for Puerto Rico? I’ve been poking around and can’t find anything, which surprises me given the league’s ties to the island.
Keith Law: They gave $1 million in the wake of the hurricane, and individual teams have done more as well (I think the Pirates in particular have).

Patty O’Furniture: Would a bad contract swap of Matt Kemp for Jacoby Ellsbury be beneficial for either team? Or is that just kicking the can down the road?
Keith Law: I’d rather have Ellsbury. I don’t think Kemp has any value at all.

addoeh: I assume you have started your free agent list. How difficult is it to get to 50?
Keith Law: Getting to 50 isn’t hard, but the quality drops off right around 30. Beyond that, my capsules will be much shorter.

Ryan: What are your thoughts on the direction the Pirates are heading? They obviously had a fantastic 3 year run, but are now coming off of back to back losing seasons and the young reinforcements that were supposed to be arriving to bolster those playoff rosters have not lived up to expectations aside from Bell and maybe Taillon. I’m concerned the window already shut without them ever even getting out of the NLDS.
Keith Law: Might be time to churn the roster a bit – not a full rebuild, but to trade away some guys approaching free agency before they leave. They also had disappointing years from four of their top five prospects, and that has to turn around, obviously.

Dennis: As an Angels fan, I’m glad that Mike Scioscia’s ridiculous 10 year deal is up after next season. Do you agree that they should hire a new manager?
Keith Law: Yes. If they won’t just fire him, they should tell him beforehand this is it, and if he wants to stay and manage, they’ll honor him at season-end with some big celebration or whatever. I don’t care. They just need new thinking in the dugout and he’s not providing it.

Matt: I’ve heard you mention often that the Orioles aggressively revamp their young pitchers’ deliveries. Zach Davies also mentioned this briefly in a Fangraphs interview. Could you give us some specifics? What are they doing? Is this a Dan Duquette thing? Or a Buck thing? Or just a long-standing Orioles thing?
Keith Law: My understanding is that it’s been Buck and also some of their pitching coaches, not Duquette. I personally don’t like it – I would never change a pitcher’s delivery unless he was having injury or effectiveness problems. You’re asking for trouble.

Alex: Have you heard any scouts discuss Kolby Allard’s year? Was his velocity as down as reports say – 88-92. I know you had him in your Top 50.
Keith Law: He was 88-93 the last time I saw him in HS, and generally is 90-93 anyway, so I don’t know how this is “down” enough to worry about, especially for a young guy who doubled his workload this year.

Sage: Thoughts on Chili Davis new cubs hitting coach.
Keith Law: Who knows? I really don’t think we know much about the values of most coaches, unless they have several big successes or several big failures.

Max: What kind of return do you think the yankees would get if they traded Didi this offseason?
Keith Law: I wouldn’t deal him for less than a mid-rotation starter. And you might get more, if one was available. With Torres coming off TJ, though, there’s no urgency for a deal.

Ghost of Randy Smith : Do you think the Red Sox would take Miguel Cabrera?
Keith Law: They’d be foolish to do so.

CL : I saw on Baseball America that Max Fried was comped to James Paxton, would you agree with this assessment?
Keith Law: I would not. They’re so different from delivery to stuff to health history.

Matt: Pete is wrong. The best play was clearly the 2nd Base Ump getting drilled in the nads.
Keith Law: It worked on so many levels!
Keith Law: I just realized we’re way past 2 pm, so I’ll wrap this up now. Thank you all as always for reading and for all of your questions. I should be back as usual next Thursday to do this again. Enjoy the rest of the Series! #fyeahbaseball

Klawchat 10/19/17.

My two Arizona Fall League roundup posts are both up for Insiders – part one and part two.

Keith Law: Most of all you’ve got to hide it from the kids. Klawchat.

Tom Flannery: What every day position players do you see the Cubs possibly shopping this offseason for a pitcher to replace Arrieta, assuming they definitely do not re-sign him? Also, are there any free agent bullpen arms you can see them going after?
Keith Law: I feel like they already did that with the trade for Quintana. He’s the Arrieta replacement. The FA class is fairly weak overall but I will have full rankings as usual after the World Series.

Tanaka: If Tanaka opts out (which he probably will $67 mil shouldn’t be hard to beat) what would you be willing to offer him?
Keith Law: I don’t know if he’ll opt out given the known issue with his elbow. The weak class works in his favor, but I’m not sure about teams offering him much more given that he’s seen as more of a risk for a season-ending injury than your average starter.

Greg: A couple Alex Jackson questions: 1) are the issues you saw fixable ones behind the plate? 2) if he has to move back to the outfield, what were the reports on his defense in a corner when he was with Seattle? 3) is the bat enough to profile as a corner OF in the big leagues? Thanks for the chat.
Keith Law: I don’t think they are fixable, he’s playable in the outfield but not average, the bat may still profile.

Brian: I’ve become frustrated with the Cubs starting Jon Jay in now 7 straight playoff games. Jon Jay is fine, but I refuse to beleieve Jon Jay should be starting 7 straight playoff games. Am I right to be frustrated…or is it just that Heyward has lost himself and Schwarber can’t hit lefties, etc.?
Keith Law: I don’t see the great alternative here, especially with Schwarber essentially a platoon guy at the moment.

Chris : Marcos Molina and Peter Alonso for Dee Gordon with Mets taking on all of his solid contract, who says no? (I think Marlins would probably want more but asking as a delusional Mets fan)
Keith Law: Delusional indeed.

Peter: Assuming Cora gets hired by the Red Sox, do you have any views on the managerial qualities of any of the remaining candidates for the Mets already interviewed (Callaway, Long, Acta and McEwing)?
Keith Law: I know Acta, having worked with him a few years at ESPN, and think he brings a strong mix of analytical and traditional thinking to the table, and the ability to work with a lot of different sorts of players. Also bilingual, which I think is a huge advantage. I’d absolutely recommend him. I don’t know the others personally, but have heard nothing but praise for Callaway as a pitching coach (which is a very different role than manager).

Frank: North Korea’s rhetoric is really beginning to scare me. Will we still be around in a year’s time?
Keith Law: I’m more scared of our guy than their guy. They have everything to lose by launching a real attack – their economy is only propped up by imports and foreign aid, or else there’d be famine.

Bob: I think you have mentioned it somewhere in a chat before, but do you have any book recommendations for a first time expecting father?
Keith Law: The Happiest Baby on the Block.

Jay: If you could pick one show that’s been cancelled to come back for one more season, what would it be?
Keith Law: I’d take as much Broadchurch as I could get. Others: Pushing Daisies, Atlantis, Firefly.

Rahn: How does Shane Baz slot in the Pirates’ rankings for you? Does he have Mitch Keller kind of upside? And how do you feel about Ke’Bryan Hayes with his stops and starts due to injury?
Keith Law: I haven’t even looked at org top 10s or 20s yet. I think Baz has a bigger arm than Keller, but is a different kind of pitcher, more power, less command/breaking ball.

Ryan: Has Corey Ray’s swing changed dramatically from when you saw him in the spring of 2016 and if so, is it fixable?
Keith Law: I detailed the changes in his setup in my first AFL post (linked above). Fixable, but why hasn’t anyone done it yet?

Eddy: Learned about a couple of power bats in the twins system, Brent Rooker and Lewin Diaz. Anything of note with them?
Keith Law: Couple of power bats. Rooker has been old for almost everywhere he’s played, and you’re hoping he can work in left field. Diaz is younger, maybe more hit tool right now, but also might not have a position.

Matt: Last night Tim Kurkjian said the Yankees best hitter was Sanchez and not Judge. Do you agree?
Keith Law: I do not. I think it’s Judge.

Mac: Do you think an amateur pitcher can learn to throw strikes or is strike throwing an innate skill?
Keith Law: I think pitchers can improve control and command, but there are other variables that make it easier or harder, like athleticism or repeatability of a delivery.

EricVA: Greg Bird has looked great…when healthy. Do you think his true level is what we saw in 2015 or is that too optimistic?
Keith Law: Probably a little below 2015, but more than good enough to write him into the 2017 Opening Day lineup. This is part of why I’ve never bought them as a Hosmer destination – they have Bird, and they love him as a player. If they believe he’s healthy, going outside for a 1b makes little sense.

David: If you were named GM of the Braves, what moves would you look to make for this upcoming season? Would you just go with the kids, or try and acquire a guy like Stanton?
Keith Law: Would explore the market for hitters, especially at spots where the farm is weaker (3b comes to mind), and see if some of the upper level pitching depth could be packaged in such a deal.

Jshep12: Most interesting Arizona Fall League team??
Keith Law: Eh, they’re all interesting, but I wish I’d seen Peoria another time or two.

Cora: So from what it sounds like right now Alex Cora is going to have his pick of managerial openings which opening would you say is most attractive?
Keith Law: Depends on what he wants. Boston is a win-now situation with a tremendous and talented young core, but comes with high expectations and a couple of strong personalities to deal with. Philadelphia might be more interesting to someone who’s focused on development, given the wave of young hitters who’ve already arrived or are on their way.

Dana: Putting career length aside for the moment, is Didi Gregorious a better player than Derek Jeter? More power, better defense for sure.
Keith Law: Does he have more power, or is he playing with a juiced ball?

RSO: Is Gleyber Torres better suited to play 2nd base or 3rd base?
Keith Law: He’s best suited to play shortstop.

Dr. Bob: Though the paradigm established by the use of Andrew Miller and others last postseason did not really carry into the regular season, it has broken out in a huge and unexpected way this postseason. Few starters going beyond the 4th inning, 4-6 relief pitchers most nights and 4 -hour games. Is this an anomaly or a trend?
Keith Law: I think it’s a trend, but as others have pointed out, it might be a bit overused too. The rational argument behind it is largely the “times through the order” issue. That doesn’t necessarily support the “let’s empty the bullpen” strategy we seem to see.

RSO: After his performance so far in the playoffs would you resign Masahiro Tanaka if he opts out if you were the Yankees?
Keith Law: Yes, in that they know more about his health than any other team. If they’re not interested, that would be a tremendous negative signal.

Angel: What you think the Yankees should do with Torres/Andújar situation? It seem like one of the two don’t have a spot on the team for next year.. same goes for Clint Frazier if they can’t get rid of ellsbury
Keith Law: Does Andujar have to make the team next year? Seems like both guys would benefit from starting in AAA again, Torres to make up for lost reps, Andujar to continue to work on recognition and defense.

Moe Mentum: If I get accepted at an Ivy League college, should I go? There’s a “next-tier” school that I might like a little better, but that’s a pretty big opportunity I’d be declining.
Keith Law: I think going to an Ivy confers two tangible benefits: the value of the name on your resume, and the value of the alumni network. They’re not all equal in those regards, though. On the other hand, they can be prohibitively expensive, and I wouldn’t advocate them if you have a much more affordable “next-tier” option available, especially if the latter school is strong in your desired area of study.

Daniel: You think Fried’s most realistic outcome is an underachieving 3/4?
Keith Law: No, I think his most realistic outcome is a solid 3 with a chance of a 2-plus. Will probably need to work more with his offspeed and less with his four-seamer.

Daniel: Tapia should take over for CarGo, right?
Keith Law: Yes. CarGo very quietly had an atrocious season this year – under replacement level by FG.

Gene Mullett: Thanks for heads up on Twitter. Are you a fan of that site? I find it a necessary evil. Hate going there, but it’s where all my favorite baseball & hockey writers are now.
Keith Law: Yep. There’s value there, but they remain underequipped (or insufficiently motivated) to deal with the real problems of harassment, hate speech, and fake accounts. Oh, by the way, I just got a notification on my phone suggesting I watch the Periscope feed of a neo-Nazi speaking at some school in Florida. Not helping, Twitter.

Daniel: Tanner Scott the best RP prospect in the minors?
Keith Law: No.

Daniel: Julian Merryweather seems to have a 4/5 profile to me. That sound right to you? Or is he more of a long-man?
Keith Law: Sounds right to me.

DH: How much do you suppose Austin Hays will hit? is he a .280 hitter with 29 hr’s at his peak?
Keith Law: The HR projections all depend on what the baseball is like, no? Just about every regular hit 5+ homers more than I would have projected or, I think, most projection systems would have had for them a few years back. I think he can hit for average and power, yes, with moderate to low OBPs.

Christian: Hello, big fan of you work and thank you for all of the quality content. I was wondering if you can explain why minor league teams are not in Canada anymore? I remember minor league teams in Edmonton, Calgary, Ottawa, etc. Now if I do not believe any minor league team plays in Canada, just wanted to know if this was an MLB decision or individual teams? Thank you in advance.
Keith Law: I believe low attendance & expense of travel to/from those places (Edmonton is just this side of Yellowknife) were the two drivers.
Keith Law: Vancouver has a short-season team, BTW.

Danny: Do you know why Dillon Tate wasn’t sent to the AFL? Concerned about another injury?
Keith Law: Don’t know, players are pulled all the time for trivial reasons, and he pitched quite a bit down the stretch as Trenton made the playoffs.

addoeh: Why would Houston fire all of its scouts?
Keith Law: They believe pro scouting is becoming obsolete thanks to trackman data becoming available at nearly every minor league park and the prevalence of minor league video. I don’t agree, but it’s a take.

Mike: Do teams get access to prospects’ medical reports prior to the draft ? Didn’t Brady Singer go unsigned as a 2nd round pick out of HS after Toronto found something iffy on an MRI ? How will that affect his 2018 draft status ?
Keith Law: Teams only get the medical reports players submit, and if a player hasn’t had an MRI before the draft, there’s nothing for him to send to teams. I won’t comment on an amateur player’s medicals unless they’re already public.

Adam D.: Do you think Duggar can take over as the starting CF in San Francisco by June?
Keith Law: He looked off his game last week; I think the lost season has really held him back.

Gary: The Stanton to the Giants rumor persists….would simply taking on his contract while adding a low grade prospect or two be enough? Because, the Giants really have nothing but lower grade prospects to offer.
Keith Law: Who’s pushing that rumor? It doesn’t make much sense to me.

Adam D.: If the Giants are intent on getting Chris Shaw on the field, would you have him try to fake LF or send Belt out there?
Keith Law: Shaw can’t play LF. That’s not an option.

EricVA: Is the characterization of Tanaka being more injury-prone a fair one? I hear this a lot, but it’s been years and he hasn’t had an issue.
Keith Law: He’s not injury-prone. He has a known issue, but he’s pitched with it for years.

RSO: What’s your take on Jordan Montgomery going forward? What is his upside?
Keith Law: This is it, or perhaps less. He already did more than I expected given his stuff, but was worse in the second half as teams saw him more.

James: Bo Bichette, smoke and mirrors or the real deal?
Keith Law: He was on my midseason top 50 prospects update.

Hinkie: Cesar Hernandez for Tyler Skaggs and Brandon Marsh. Who says “no” ?
Keith Law: Angels would say no, with obscenities.

Tom: While watching Granderson strike out twice in the same at bat, I couldn’t help but notice that if he had just bunted against the shift, he could have downed an Old Style before trotting to first base. Why don’t more players take advantage of this?
Keith Law: Pride? Discomfort? Lack of experience bunting? I don’t know, since it’s an easy hit if it’s executed right, and you don’t have to execute it every time for it to be a net positive for the team.

Patty O’Furniture: Will the Braves lose draft picks in addition to IFA fines (and possible, but less likely, loss of prospects)?
Keith Law: It’s possible but unknown. From reading some of the media coverage around it, there’s a lot of covering of asses going on right now.

Dennis: Have you read any of Knausgaard’s “My Struggle” books? Any interest if you haven’t?
Keith Law: No interest.

Andy: Is there an org with a bleaker future than the Royals’? Bad contracts, no help coming, Twins rising, Indians dominant, White Sox to emerge.
Keith Law: Their near-term could be ugly, but if they stockpile draft picks from the impending FA losses – and then draft well – they could get back on track pretty quickly.

Dennis: Have you read Proust? If so, would you recommend?
Keith Law: I read Swann’s Way and the first part of book two. It’s a grind. The man couldn’t complete a sentence to save his life. It’s pathological.

Andrew: I’m growing increasingly frustrated with my psychiatrist because I feel he feels I’m too stable which is a good thing but deep down, I struggle to finish my own sentences and I’m still depressed. I suffer from bipolar disorder and I’ve brought up things like Wellbutrin/Adderall and he tells me that he feels the medication I”m on is ok and there’s no need to switch out of fear that I may end up back at the hospital with a manic episode. This guy’s such a nice man but Is it best I find a new psychiatrist? Man that’ll be one tough conversation.
Keith Law: If you’re not getting the results you want, then you should find a new doctor. There are so many medication options, individually and in combination, and the results seem to be so personal that I think it’s foolish to advise a patient to just accept the status quo even when he’s not satisfied with it. Good luck.

Carl: The O’s tossed out the idea of putting Hunter Harvey in the ML bullpen in 2018. Am I right in thinking that’s nuts?
Keith Law: Bonkers.

Dennis: If Justin Upton opts out, should the Angels try to bring him back? Would a 5 year, $110 million deal be reasonable or potentially another Hamiltonian disaster?
Keith Law: I think he’s in line for a big deal like that if he opts out; Hamilton was such an exception AND was seen as a bad deal at the time, whereas Upton lacks his off-field or physical problems.

Jason: If expansion happened (big if, I know), would the introduction of 25 or additional bullpen slots and diffusion of talent reduce the number of strikeouts, or are there more guys available who can throw hard and get Ks in short stints?
Keith Law: I think we’d see the shortage of starters exacerbated, at least in the short term. If MLB ever expands, which I do believe will happen eventually (just not imminently), I would hope it would come along with increased investment by the league in developing talent outside of the U.S.

Sven: Do you give any credence to the Hillary/Russia/Uranium story that appears to be gaining legitimacy? If it actually happened, she and everyone who knew about the deals being cut should all be in jail, or worse.
Keith Law: Please take your fake-news bullshit back to Stormfront. Thanks.

Eric: Keith did you ever listen to any Tragically Hip stuff, either during your time with the Jays or otherwise? We’re hurting up here.
Keith Law: I did, but it wasn’t my cup of tea.

Josef: Any reason why a pro pitcher can’t throw a strike on 3-0 when they know the hitter is taking and they throw a fastball? I’d think that location wouldn’t be that hard.
Keith Law: Two things. One, you don’t want to throw a perfect, down-the-middle strike 100% of the time on 3-0, because the batter might swing. Two, pitching is hard.

Chris: Who do you see being the more impact starter for the Tigers, Burrows or Faedo?
Keith Law: Burrows is much more likely to be a starter; I think the odds on Faedo are more likely that he’s a reliever.

TJ: Do you buy this idea that the Yankees are going to sell low on Betances this offseason? They don’t need the money so it doesn’t make sense. Addition by subtraction makes no sense either as they are still rolling right now even with him sour
Keith Law: I don’t think it makes sense, not given his struggles of late and low salary. He’s superfluous to that loaded bullpen, but they’d be selling for maybe 85 cents on the dollar.

Marcus Wilson: When will I get some recognition?
Keith Law: Define recognition. You had a great season, but it was your fourth year in pro ball.

Alex: Have you heard anything from Braves instructs? Eric Longenhagen was saying the big names have disappointed and I could only assume that means Maitan.
Keith Law: I did, and of course I spent a lot of time with Eric last week too. I saw some video of Maitan (did I say this last week?) and his swing was ugly, esp from the L side.

Ken: Would this hypothetical MLB expansion be the nightmare it seems to be on paper?
Keith Law: I think so, especially if, as the unsourced speculation says, they expand to two cities that will likely end up revenue-sharing recipients in the long term. It makes no sense to move to small markets. If you believe Montreal will support a team with a different stadium, which I think is unclear, then that is the largest market in US/Canada without a team. I have argued for a while that Austin and San Antonio would be one market for MLB purposes (they are two MSAs, and two markets in radio’s definition), which would encompass nearly 4.5 million people currently served only by triple-A teams.

Eric Rodriguez: What is the ceiling of Heliot Ramos?
Keith Law: Above-average everyday RF.

Erwin: Edmonton is 900 miles south of Yellowknife! And has a great ball park and had a terrific run in PCL for 24 years.
Keith Law: It’s really far from other PCL teams, and the weather isn’t great for baseball.

Worldwide Leader: Any changes on the horizon for you professionally? Seems like you’re one of the few ESPN Insiders still publishing…
Keith Law: Insider decisions are made above my paygrade. I’m still under contract for a while.

Drew: Any thoughts on the Nationals’ complete lack of post-season success? Bad luck? Poor managing? All of the above?
Keith Law: Bad luck more than anything. Dusty didn’t help this year, what with batting a sub-replacement level player 2nd in the lineup, but I can’t pin the loss on him.

Elton: Did you ever read “The Magicians” trilogy? I have been enjoying it immensely as a send-up of Potter/Narnia but also as a really enjoyable fantasy story in its own right.
Keith Law: Yep, loved it, reviews here on the site (books one, two, and three).

TJ: Fair to assume that the Marlins will be filled with known Jeter loyalists like Posada and Pettite in key roles?
Keith Law: Doesn’t it seem that way? It’s not as if he did an exhaustive search before hiring Denbo.

Colin : If a player is diagnosed with ADHD and is prescribed adderall are they allowed to take it or will they get suspended for banned substances.
Keith Law: They can apply for a TUE (Therapeutic Use Exemption). Something like 1 in 7 MLB players has a TUE for an ADHD drug, which means that more than 10% of the league is using speed, legally.

JR: Half way through book 12 of A Dance to the Music of Time and it’s been an enjoyable journey. Did you read all 12 books straight through or break it up by reading other books in between? I had to break it up to make the length not feel so overwhelming.
Keith Law: I broke it up, reading about one a month.

Justin Y: Super impressed by Albies down the stretch. Does he have 20 hr a season power in his prime?
Keith Law: With this ball, absolutely. With a regular ball, I might have said 15.

Terry: Have you seen the story about the Long Beach restaurant serving reheated Popeyes?
Keith Law: No, but that is fantastic.

Ozzie: Anything new on the situation in Atlanta? Do you think they lose players (Maitan) or receive significant penalties?
Keith Law: I haven’t heard anything I think I could print. There is a lot of unsourced speculation out there, including claims of criminal activity (which I believe team execs denied when they forced Coppolella and Blakely out), and I’m inclined to doubt everything until MLB weighs in.

Ed: Your liberal social stance sucks
Keith Law: Yes, I’m truly a terrible person for believing in science and supporting equal rights for everyone.

yo knows: Is there enough of a track record for the type of injury Urias had to have an idea of whether he’s going to be back where he was?
Keith Law: The limited number of players who’ve had that surgery should make you very pessimistic. He may be done. In fact, I think it’s at least even money that he is. And that, Ed, is something that actually sucks.

Moltar: There was a Fangraphs Community article recently that said a pitch at the corners was %25 more likely to be called a strike in a 3-0 count than an 0-2 count. That’s infuriating! Pace of play is a huge issue, why are we needlessly extending at bats? Robot umpires now!
Keith Law: That was in the book Scorecasting, published maybe five years ago. And yes, it’s ridiculous.

Blue Jay Way: Ryan Borucki good enough to make Toronto rotation next year? Top 100 consideration?
Keith Law: He is a prospect, but I don’t think he’s ready and he’s not a top 100 guy now.

Gene Mullett: Cleveland has drafted a lot better over the past few seasons, but the results they’ve had in trades (Santana, Kluber, Carrasco, & Bauer for example) are pretty remarkable. Is there an org that you think excels in asset management?
Keith Law: I think the Astros have done a remarkable job both in the draft and in finding low-level talent in trades, although the scout responsible for several of those finds (including Martes) just left for the Diamondbacks.

Luke: Best Dominion expansion outside of Intrigue?
Keith Law: Seaside really changes the game for the better, IMO.

Dischord40: Hi Keith, Are you planning on playing Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 and what is your opinion of legacy games in general?
Keith Law: My daughter and I are still on April of season one. It’s just hard for me, since I have to play so many new games to review, to play one game 12+ times, but the concept is great – really, anything that gets more people into the hobby is fine with me.

Matt: Keith, playing devil’s advocate here, I know you’ve advocated the Yankees trading Didi away to make room for Torres, but wouldn’t that be insanely risky for a contender to do? Didi’s not a star, but he’s a 3-4 win SS, and as good as Torres might look, he’s played just 55 games above High A. It seems like, at best, there’s a decent chance he never becomes the player Didi is right now, and that move would certainly make the Yankees worse-off in the short run (depending on the return for Didi, I guess).
Keith Law: I disagree that “there’s a decent chance he never becomes” a 3-4 WAR player. Very few shortstop prospects his age with his track record and favorable scouting reports have whiffed entirely like that. How often has the industry completely missed on a player who was a top prospect at 15 and then performed right out of the chute?

Moltar: Re: expansion, I have always been confused at how Atlanta is the only team in the South (excluding Florida). North Carolina, New Orleans and Tennessee support other big-4 franchises, yet never seem to be considered for Major League expansion.
Keith Law: Other sports don’t require the attendance or local population (for TV revenues) MLB does. I believe New Orleans’ MSA would be the smallest in MLB. Nashville’s would be in the bottom five.

Jim: And again, why are so many high on the Braves when their 2016 J2 class has underwhelmed and they have no other bats aside from Acuna and Pache.
Keith Law: Answered last week. They have a tremendous amount of pitching, and there are other J2 guys from 2016 beyond Maitan who have promise.

Bruce: Jorge Alfaro had some success in limited playing time this season though his walk rate continues to be horrendous. What are your expectations for him going forward offensively and defensively?
Keith Law: Can’t forecast him ever posting acceptable OBPs given his allergy to walks. He can really throw, he has 80 raw power, and I think he can put the bat on the ball enough to be a regular. The one deficit he can improve upon is his receiving – that can improve with work, and he has to commit to that to be their everyday guy next year.

Xandyfixit?: MrKeithLaw, what’s the future for Bogaerts? In the first half, before injuries, he seemed to be focusing on contact and not power. That’s great if he’s getting on base a substantial clip, but it wasn’t happening. Then the hits to the hands/injuries derailed everything and he seemed lost. Should he just sell out for power (as if that’s easy to do)?
Keith Law: Nice pull there. I think there’s more than average power there if he’s healthy, but couldn’t make hard enough contact once the hand injuries came. I’m still all in, and I wouldn’t advise him to change his approach at all.

Andrew: Was Keon Barnum much of a prospect coming out of high school?
Keith Law: I did not think so.

Chris: Did you see Calgary re-elected their mayor after the NHL essentially tried to interfere to get someone that would give more public money to the Flames? This is a small victory against giving public money to make rich people richer.
Keith Law: Let’s hope the people of Columbus, Ohio, do the same thing as their soccer team tries to extort money from the town.

Chris: Your liberal social stance doesn’t suck. Politics should be about arguing what to do with taxes…not fighting over equality and equity for all.
Keith Law: Agreed. And I don’t think my views on taxation would be characterized as “liberal.” (Probably not truly conservative either.)

Biscuit: Where are we at with Isan Diaz? Is the swing and miss too much to overcome, or does he end up having a few big power years in the majors?
Keith Law: Hamate injury this year. Check back in after a few months of 2018.

Marshall MN: What are your thoughts on Akil Baddoo as a prospect for the Twins, he broke out big time this year but its was low level A ball and its hard to know if those numbers will translate to anything.
Keith Law: Cautiously optimistic. Did get some very good reports on him this summer too.

Biscuit: Recently read Lonesome Dove. Loved every minute of it, and (unexpectedly) found myself laughing out loud at some of the verbal exchanges between McRea and Call. Having not seen the TV Series (which everyone seems to agree is legendary), I of course was excited to see this excellent book brought to life. Watched the first two episodes and….it’s garbage? I mean, books are generally better than movies but- man these two are not even close. No real question here, but thanks for yet another great book recommendation.
Keith Law: I never bothered with the series, given its length and age, but I’m glad to hear I made the right call.

Tex: What happens to the league when the tv bubble inevitably bursts?
Keith Law: I think MLB is already repositioning itself to sell more directly to consumers – which, by the way, could help smooth out revenue gaps between teams.

Dennis: Do you underline or write margin notes when you read fiction?
Keith Law: No, that’s heresy. But I’ll highlight on the Kindle when I read there.

Greyson: Is there any evidence of pitchers newer to pitching having a lower injury risk because they have more “tread on the tires?” When I hear that I always think of Hunter Harvey.
Keith Law: No, I think conversion guys get hurt at at least the same rate if not higher.

Science is Faith in NASA: Did you know that there are 0 pictures of earth? Even NASA’s Robert Simmon says that everything is photoshopped. Is that because the earth is geocentric and the sun and moon rotate around the earth like hands on a clock? Why does NASA need green screens and VR for live broadcasts?
Keith Law: I assume this is a joke, but there are pictures of earth (the last full photo of earth from above low orbit was taken in 1972) and Simmon (the “Blue Marble” image guy) said no such thing.

Matt: Apparently a school in Mississippi is changing it’s name from Jefferson Davis to Obama. Oh the racists are gonna be mad!
Keith Law: My wife and I enjoyed envisioning that reaction.

Andrew: Man, I know it’s early but the Brewers appear to have had a monster 2017 draft! Thoughts?
Keith Law: I think Ray Montgomery has drafted very well for years, going back to his time with Arizona, but I don’t think their 2017 class is a “monster.” They did well, and if Hiura never has to have surgery (as many teams believed predraft that he would) then so much the better.

Corey: Could Michael Chavis do a Devers and be ready for some MLB at-bats late next season ?
Keith Law: Could be ready, but not over Devers.

jp: Favorite Carcassone expansion/edition?
Keith Law: Traders and Builders is still the best, IMO. I haven’t played some of the latest ones – I feel like every game reaches a saturation point with expansions after maybe three or four.
Keith Law: That’s all for this week – thanks as always for all of the questions and for reading. Free agent rankings will be my next big Insider project, appearing whenever the World Series ends. I’ll be back some time next week for another chat.

Klawchat 10/13/17.

My first AFL roundup post is now up for Insiders, with notes on Yankees, Cards, Cubs, Twins, Brewers, Orioles, Rockies, and Padres prospects.

Paul: Have you had a chance to see Alex Jackson catch in Arizona? Or heard from anyone who did?
Keith Law: I saw him. It’s not good. I do like his swing more, but the catching has been bad.

Patty O’Furniture: Can you please provide a ray of hope about these “unprecedented” rule violations by the Braves? Still think Maitan gets to stay in the system?
Keith Law: MLB declined to comment at all, so I don’t know where these rumors are coming from. I do know that there’s no way there were “unprecedented rule violations” without the knowledge of Hart, Schuerholz, and McGuirk. I’m not sure any GM in baseball has that kind of power.

Guest: thoughts on replay/sliding decisions? acceptable unintended consequences, or something that needs to be changed
Keith Law: The call was correct, but I think we’re totally changing the intent of the game here. Are we really trying to determine if, what, a few molecules of air were between the base and some part of the player’s body?

Smikey Pineder: any thoughts on albert abreu of the yankees, #2 upside?
Keith Law: He’s in the Insider post that went up today. I’d probably go below #2.

Greg: What’s your view on Austin Riley?
Keith Law: Same problem as before – doesn’t have the bat speed to get around on good velocity. Homered on a breaking ball yesterday, was behind two fastballs he put in play.

DMan: Florial at double-A next year? How long do you should it take for his pitch recognition to improve?
Keith Law: There’s no way I’d send him to double-A given where his pitch recognition is. He’d get eaten alive.

John: What is Soroka’s ceiling/floor? Although it seems like you aren’t as high on his ceiling as you are the other Braves prospects, do you think he has a higher floor than most if not all of them?
Keith Law: I do not; I think his floor is the bullpen.

Stinkbug Jones: There seems to be a lot of buzz about Hans Crouse, the Rangers’ 2nd rounder from this year — do you think he’s getting overhyped right now, or did the Rangers potentially get a steal at the end of the second round?
Keith Law: They got him in the right spot. Good arm with some delivery and starter/reliever questions.

B: Could we see Nick Gordon in Minnesota EARLY next season, or is he more a September call up candidate?
Keith Law: They’re probably going to play service-time games with him, but I think he’ll be ready sooner rather than later in 2018.

Jon Orr: How would you handle Alex Reyes when he’s healthy next year?
Keith Law: Probably ease him into the rotation in June/July after some rehab outings. Goal should be to get him back to regular work by year-end, which may mean soft-pedaling his workload early in the season.

Joe: Given the Giants’ unconventional approach to previous drafts (picking players who fit their preferred skill sets), do you think they’ll have a similar Big Board compared to the rest of the league now that they have a top pick?
Keith Law: I do. When they’ve picked high, they’ve taken guys in that range. They’ve picked in the top ten four times since I came to ESPN. They took Lincecum in 2006, and he was a stud with stuff and performance but durability concerns. They took Bumgarner in 2007, high-ceiling HS arm with velocity. They took Posey at 5 in 2008, and he was #2 on my board that year. And they took Wheeler at 6 in 2009, which is around where I ranked him too.

Seth: Shouldn’t it be a prerequisite that you must know to bat Anthony Rendon higher than sixth to be qualified to manage in the big leagues?
Keith Law: There’s so much talk about Baker’s handling of the pitching staff, but I don’t think he really did anything wrong on that front. I argued that he should have had a quicker hook with Gio yesterday, but he did eventually get to Scherzer and then someone fired up the improbability drive on him. That wasn’t on Dusty. His biggest mistake to me, and one that may have swung the series (given how close the whole thing was), was hitting Werth 2nd and Rendon 6th. Werth probably belonged on the bench, period, but if you must play him, you can’t bat him before Harper AND rob Rendon of probably 2-3 PA over the course of the series.

Tyler: Just read round up post. Mechanically anything change with Sheffield or just new team new environment? Is he up next year?
Keith Law: It looks like the Yanks have had him ditch the curveball to go to the slider full time. He should be up next year if healthy.

Mike-OB: Do you agree with Kurkjan that the replay overturn on the pick off last night is not in the spirit of the replay rule (I agree with him)?
Keith Law: I agree too, but this is the rule right now. If we don’t like it, we need to change the rule.

RSO: Who wins the ALCS?
Keith Law: I will guess Houston in 6 and the Dodgers in 6.

AES: Klaw–thoughts on Farrell’s dismissal and the allegations of bad clubhouse culture? Leaving starters in far too long/misunderstanding the impact of 3rd+ time through the order is bad. The rest seems like post-facto poppycock.
Keith Law: Baseball as an industry has an unfortunate habit of smearing people as they walk out the door. Boston has done it to Theo, Francona, and now Farrell. Yeah, Farrell was not a great tactical manager, but maybe bad clubhouse culture is on the players?

Peter: He’s older/facing younger competition in the AFL, but did you get a chance to see Eric Filia and did he make an impression?
Keith Law: Saw one game. Can swing it a little. Probably not much ceiling but can at least hit a good fastball.

Jim: Some good reports on Jo Adell. Your thoughts based on what you’re hearing?
Keith Law: Hearing that he’s a good athlete and still can’t throw. Nothing we didn’t know in the spring.

Ben: It looked like Josh Naylor gained some significant weight throughout the season. Does he look bigger now than he did during spring training?
Keith Law: He’s very big, yes.

B: I don’t think Eric Hosmer is very good, but I’m convinced that Dave Dombrowski is going to sign Eric Hosmer to a terrible contract to play 1B for the Red Sox.
Keith Law: I think he goes back to KC for way too much money. The market for him is really limited – very few teams with money need a 1b – and his huge 2017 season is out of line with his career. He’d produced 10 WAR (B-R) over 6 seasons, then 4 WAR this year. There is a small chance this is really who he is going forward, but you can’t pay a player based on his platform year while ignoring what came before. That’s how Garry Matthews Jr. got overpaid.

Ford : Heard Acuña took a fastball of his wrist yesterday anything to worry about?
Keith Law: I tweeted about it. He left the game, probably won’t play today.

Scott: Thoughts on Brandon Waddell? Seems to keep flying under the radar anything there for the Pirates?
Keith Law: Lefty with deception but fringy stuff. I wrote about him in late August, might sneak in as a back-end starter.

Josh: Keith, I know you expressed support for Jemele Hill in a previous chat. Now she is suspended. I am not well versed in the nuances of ESPN’s social media guidelines for employees, I am just saying as a business decision, it makes sense that they would do this. She loosely implied that people should harm ESPN business partners, right?
Keith Law: I still support Jemele. I also don’t know what went on between my employer and her (and her agent) after the initial brouhaha, so I can’t offer any informed opinion on the latest issue, even if I felt like I could.

Marc: Does Alec Hansen stick as a starter? #2 ceiling?
Keith Law: Starter, yes. Ceiling might be a 2 or even a tick higher, but low probability given past control and delivery issues.

Jerry: Let’s say a guy like Franklin Perez becomes a true #4 SP and the other prospects in that deal fail. Is that a win for Detroit considering the money owed to Verlander?
Keith Law: I think it is, given what a starter is worth and what Perez would be paid early in his career.

jeff: What would be the purpose of offering contracts to any of the Royals FA? They are a .500 team with these players. Would the best course of action be just to tag them and fire sell everyone else?
Keith Law: I think the Royals should make QOs to try to collect a bunch of picks, and if someone accepts, it’s a one-year deal and you trade the guy as soon as the rules permit. Re-signing any of them to be expensive players on sub-.500 teams isn’t smart. And they don’t have the pitching, now or in the high minors, to make this team a contender in 2018-19.

BOOKS: I am reading the Master and Margarita for the first time and so far I am really enjoying it. Anything else in this vein you would recommend?
Keith Law: I read that book in college in a class called Comedy & the Novel. The reading list was M&M, Don Quixote, Joseph Andrews, The Charterhouse of Parma, Jacques the Fatalist, If on a winter’s night a traveler, Dead Souls, and Huckleberry Finn. The professor said he would have included At Swim-Two-Birds if he’d been able to squeeze in one more book. Of those, I recommend M&M, If on a winter’s night, and At Swim-Two-Birds the most.

Josh: The Reds outfield seems a little crowded with Schebler, Duvall, Winker, and Hamilton, so what will they do next year? Also, do you think the Reds try to resign Cozart? Finally, do you think Senzel will get a shot to start the year in the majors out of Spring Training?
Keith Law: Senzel probably makes it up in June or so – service time stuff. Really don’t think Schebler is someone you plan around – he’s a fourth outfielder, tops – and Duvall is only marginally better. They need guys who get on base, and neither of those two does that well at all.

Britt: Your thoughts on Adbert Alzolay? Seems to have some helium. Is he a starter long term?
Keith Law: Starter if there’s a third pitch I didn’t see in his relief outing.

Dan: Were there any particularly egrigous (cough Hendricks batting in the 4th cough cough) that happened last night that were not talked about enough, if at all?
Keith Law: Going to Albers in the fourth would qualify. And also the Werth batting order thing I mentioned above.

John : Is Max Fried a potential 2/3 still?
Keith Law: Stuff is there. That stuff should miss more bats than it has, and I think command is one big reason.

Evan: So why are you so high on the Braves system? Seems like a lot of pitching and Acuna. What other position player prospects are even worth paying attention to?
Keith Law: I think Pache is going to be an above-average regular, possibly a star. But you are correct that it is mostly pitching.

Chris: With Austin Barnes proving his worth and some solid catching prospects in the minors, should the Dodgers trade Yasmani Grandal this offseason?
Keith Law: I think so. I was too light on Barnes when he was a prospect – he’s an above-average regular back there.

Justin R: You’ve mentioned Alex Cora as a strong candidate for any head coaching job. What specifically makes him such a strong candidate?
Keith Law: Intelligent, critical thinker, likes to work with analytics department, strong player development mindset, bilingual, has coaching and managerial experience already.

TestaDuda: Did you get a look at Chavis? Is that swing set-up and execution really fixed? Still only 21 years old, I think.
Keith Law: “Fixed” is too strong a word. His hand is healthy, which helped. And the contact he’s making is hard. He can still get pretty uphill and he’s not that disciplined a hitter.

Derek: Jorge Mateo profile better at SS or CF for you? First division starter upside at either position?
Keith Law: Never seen him in CF. Think he’s fine at short.

John: If you were running the Phillies, how would you approach this winter? They have an obvious need for starting pitching and too many middle infielders. Would you go with Hoskins/Kingery/Crawford/Franco in the INF and trade Hernandez/Galvis? Would you try and acquire one of the big ticket FA starters (Arrieta) or go for the next tier down?
Keith Law: I’d explore trades for Hernandez and especially Galvis, as JPC has to play short. As much money as they have to spend, I don’t know that I’d blow it out on this year’s FA starters, who all have real question marks as long-term assets.

Steve: Cole Ragans struck a ton of people out this year, could he be a 2?
Keith Law: I have yet to see him, but I get glowing reports across the board. Sounds like a guy with mid-rotation stuff who pitches above that.

Jay: Terry Francona seems to be receiving a lot of criticism over Cleveland’s loss. They were up 2-0 despite a ton of issues. The only thing I can find fault in is having Michael Brantley playing what was basically spring training for him again and then maybe thinking Corey Kluber’s back problem was better than it was? Am I crazy to think he’s getting too much heat?
Keith Law: They didn’t hit and Kluber struggled in two starts. How can you pin that on the manager? If Brantley didn’t belong on the roster, that’s an organizational decision, not the manager’s. The one mistake I saw from Tito, which Joe Sheehan has pointed out a few times, was putting Kipnis in center, which he just cannot play.

Greg: Compared to the other long list of SP prospects in Atlanta’s system, Joey Wentz is _________?
Keith Law: One of them?

Thomas: It feels like the Tigers farm system is finally starting to trend up (albeit, simultaneous to the team collapsing). Once they add the #1 pick in next year’s draft to the fold, could they finally crack the teens in your rankings?
Keith Law: Going to take more than that. A good draft class plus a few more trades.

Justin R: I’m so confused how the same people irate that Weinstein was a big Democrat donor also voted for Trump, who was caught on tape bragging about sexual assault.
Keith Law: As am I. Sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape are not partisan issues. We should be as irate over the President doing these things as we are over Weinstein, and as we should be over anyone else of any profession or party who does it. My hope here is that more women come forward to call out other rapists and harassers, because you know these men are everywhere in every business.

M: Is there a better pitching prospect mix than the Padres? The depth is quite impressive. Gore, Quantrill, Nix, Baez, Morejon, Lucchesi, Lauer, Allen, Lawson all seem to have big league starter potential. Maybe not a No. 1 in the mix, but an impressive group.
Keith Law: Atlanta can match that.

Gene Mullett: Since you’ve been scouting & tracking players as a trade, who’s the worst/most underachieving top 3 pick you can remember?
Keith Law: Probably Tim Beckham, given industry consensus, predraft tools, and of course where he was taken.

Mickey: What happened to Manny Banuelos?
Keith Law: Multiple arm problems. Came back with reduced stuff.

Bored Lawyer, Esq. : I saw a couple Mitch Keller starts. I know it’s hard to tell from box scores, but he has command and control, right? I don’t recall seeing a young AA pitcher withcthst ability in some time.
Keith Law: Control more than command to me. Also needs to refine the changeup, which is really a BP fastball right now.

Bananas: Touki have a shot at your top 100?
Keith Law: He’s been on it at least once before.

Dan: Does the proliferation of scout lingo among in-group fans irk you at all? If you could remove one or two terms from the baseball commentariat lexicon, what would they be?
Keith Law: It’s not going to make me take you more seriously if you try to use jargon. I find fans in general tend to push toward extreme judgments – your system is not full of guys with 70 and 80 tools.

Moltar: The Mets have to make a roster spot for Guillorme, no? He’d most certainly make another team happy as a rule 5 selection if not.
Keith Law: On the 40-man yes. Not sure there’s enough bat there to make him a good ML bench guy even as a 70 or better defender.

Dylan: Do managers need to stop throwing starters out of the bullpen on short rest in the playoffs? It seems like it doesn’t work much more often than it does work.
Keith Law: I feel like it’s become a crutch of sorts without regard to whether such starters are actually the best options to get the next 1 or 3 or 6 outs. We just assume they’re better than any relievers, and over the course of a season that would be true, but in one shot, working on irregular rest, out of their routines, that may not be the case.

B: Do the Astros have anything with Arementeros? Is he just a 4/5 innings eater guy or is there more there?
Keith Law: A 4/5 innings eater guy for what they gave him ($30K, I think?) would be an outright steal. And I think he’s that.

HH: I know you hate comps but Tristan MacKenzie reminds me very much of Carl Edwards Jr. How likely is it that T-Mac can stick as a starter, given his body type?
Keith Law: Taller, longer release, better spin on his FB than Edwards.

Average Joe: regarding replay: I’ve seen several cases this year where there was less than perfect evidence a players foot/hand came off the bag and yet replay overturned a call, does NY see more than they show on TV?
Keith Law: Yes.

Dylan: Going back to the call on the slide at first base last night – science tells us we’re truly never touching anything. This could be a gamechanger for baseball. Everyone is out, all the time.
Keith Law: Exactly. Also, the universe is just a hologram and matter is
not real.

Scott: Yordan Alvarez’s ceiling is a .300 hitter with 20-25 bombs? Or too optimistic?
Keith Law: Probably right. I feel like, despite his size, he’s more of a hitter for average than big power. It’s not a lofty swing. And yes, I know everyone hits 20 HR right now.

Moltar: Should the Mets plan for 2018 be Smith as the full time 1B? Should the be looking for a higher-end backup/platoon partner?
Keith Law: Need to let him play full time, even if that means living through adjustments or struggles. Platooning young players is generally the worst thing for their development.

Greg: What are the chances that Lourdes Gurriel hits enough to be a regular player in the bigs? If he doesn’t, will he still likely profile as a big league utility player?
Keith Law: I don’t see it. Hasn’t looked good at the plate any time I’ve seen him – really slow actions everywhere.

Brent: Keith, is there a group of draft prospects that have separated from the pack to be considered 1-1 candidates? I realize games haven’t been played yet, but do you have a ballpark figure on who the likely top draft pick would be?
Keith Law: There’s a group of 1-1 guys but nobody who’s clearly above the rest. I hear Turang’s name a bit, but nobody is sold (yet) on the bat. Rocker and Hankins are the best HS arms, but no prep RHP has ever gone first overall. I don’t know if there’s a college guy even likely to get into that tier. It seems like a good college crop for the 11-30 range, but not for the top ten.

88 Keys: Are you surprised by the amount of traction Democratic Socialism appears to be getting among millennials? I’ve wondered if it isn’t just a small, loud online group, but there appears to be a decent sized faction out there who seem truly committed to the notion that centrism and neoliberalism are pejorative terms.
Keith Law: I’ve assumed some of what I’ve seen is an echo chamber effect – I know a few people into that movement, and thus I see/hear more about it. Socialism has been such an abject failure around the world that I can’t support any movement that even leans in that direction.

Gene Mullett: Did you ever see any of this coming out of Jose Rameriez? Sure, he had a lousy ALDS, but he’s been an absolute monster the last 2 seasons.

Also, how many questions are in your queue or scolling by?
Keith Law: Thought he had a chance to be a good player, never forecasted top 10 in the league, not even as a best case scenario ceiling. He was nearly always young for his levels, too, so he never performed up to his raw ability (but was always solid in context of his age).

Keith: What is your POV on how teams should best use the AFL? Some teams have sent top guys there; others (like White Sox) sent none of their top guys. How do the developmental pro/cons break out in your mind?
Keith Law: Send guys who need to face better pitching to develop. Send anyone who missed time during the year due to injury and needs to make up the AB/IP they lost. Send borderline 40-man candidates so you can evaluate them – and so can other teams, so maybe you can trade them in November.

Joe: Gary Denbo a good hire for the Marlins?
Keith Law: I don’t have an opinion on him specifically for that role, but overseeing player development AND the amateur draft is ridiculous – and worse when the person has no experience on the amateur side. Those are both departments that require one full-time head.

Dan: Sadly, there are still probably plenty of other “Harvey Weinsteins” in Hollywood and many other industries that have acted similarly. Hopefully, all these monsters can be rooted out.
Keith Law: I bet they’re all over sports too. I would imagine a woman working for a professional sports team would feel the same way many of these young actresses say they felt when Weinstein attacked them – no one will believe them, it’s a male-dominated industry, they’re alone/without support. If you’re a woman in MLB and have been harassed in any way by a male supervisor or co-worker, I’d love to hear your story.

JP: Over/Under 3 years, $30 million for Cozart?
Keith Law: I think well over on the dollars.

Tracy: Hi Keith, I’m a book imbiber just like you, but more so on the non-fiction side, particularly presidential bios, so I am looking forward to reading the new Ron Chernow book on Grant. Do you have any interest in this subject?
Keith Law: Never been huge on American history as a book topic. I go more for history of science books when I go non-fiction.

Marc: White Sox still have to go BPA at 4 even if it’s another SP right? People already seem to be itchy to start ‘filling holes’ 12 months into a rebuild.
Keith Law: Always go BPA.

Nick: Think Almora is a can be an average everyday hitter? And how good can “elite” defense really be in center field when speed is average at best?
Keith Law: Andruw was still an elite defender even when he was no longer any kind of runner. Vernon Wells never ran average but had a few years of great defense in center. I think Almora’s an elite defender and doesn’t have to hit much to be an average regular.

David Dahl: Do you think I’ll ever stay healthy enough to be an All-Star caliber player? Or just a “nice” #3 OF?
Keith Law: All-Star if healthy. Health is a big unknown here. He had a serious injury that can alter a career, but I don’t know any specifics about his case.

Mike: But I am in the camp that believes starting Bauer in game 1 was just an excuse to give Kluber’s back an extra day to recover.
Keith Law: We just don’t know, right? Maybe Kluber still wasn’t 100%. Maybe Scherzer could have started games 1 and then 4 and been fine, but the Nats didn’t want to risk it. I don’t always succeed but I try to limit criticisms of managers to stuff we know – like, hey, Jayson Werth, not so good with the bat now.

Grant: What purpose does exit velocity serve?
Keith Law: Harder contact is good, no? Increases likelihood of hits, likelihood of extra bases. No power without hard contact either.

Nick: Have you read Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy? I really enjoyed it as a quick one with excellent, funny dialogue.
Keith Law: Yep, enjoyed it, read the first sequel, thought it was repetitive.

Mickey: Hammett or Chandler?
Keith Law: Hammett

CL: Hypothetically Hart is forced to resign. Who would be a good replacement for him? Who would be a good replacement for Coppy?
Keith Law: I think it depends on who’s actually calling the shots there. You can’t bring in someone who won’t be able to work with Schuerholz, for example. If you need a president and a GM, do you hire someone who’s had success as a GM elsewhere and promote him to the President role that Hart currently fills? I threw some names out last week, but it really depends on who’s still there in Atlanta when the dust settles on the investigation.

Adam: In the Nationals situation, down two games in a five game series, was there a strategic advantage for Strasburg pitching game 4 instead of game 5? I was having trouble following what the problem would be moving him back a day if he were sick.
Keith Law: The idea of losing the series without Strasburg pitching again.

Jim: Braves J2 prospects from 2016 were high profile guys with big dollars – Maitan, Gutierrez, Severino – wouldn’t that open up the flood gates for other J2 prospects to leak tampering?
Keith Law: Every J2 player who signs on July 2nd had an illegal predraft deal in place. Could any of them come forward and demand free agency because the signing team broke the rules? Does MLB want to open that door, and thus find itself lying on the ground with a giant door on top of it? This metaphor isn’t quite working out for me, but yes, when the whole system is corrupt, then it could all collapse given the incentive the players have to take the money and then cry foul.

Clark: I don’t think I’ve ever seen you post anything about soccer, but do you have an opinion on the humiliating loss this week that saw the USMNT miss the World Cup? It’s not like American soccer was every going to challenge baseball or the other top sports, but it still has to be a huge blow to the sport’s rise here, right?
Keith Law: I assume so, but I really don’t know or follow soccer. I’ll typically watch a little World Cup, but that’s it.

Bobby: You said in your post you saw Albert Abreu ” turn the changeup over at release”. For we noobs that are just getting into this stuff, what exactly is “turning over a changeup” and how did you, as the evaluator, recognize it.
Keith Law: It’s a literal description of how the pitcher’s hand moves at release. I can see him turn it over – rotating his wrist at release. When a pitcher does it on one pitch but not the others, it’s a signal to an observant hitter what the pitch is.

Jay: Tommy Pham one year wonder or sustained success for next few years?
Keith Law: Skills are there, has to stay healthy. He really had no track record of health coming into the year.

Ted: So you’re saying the White Sox should have sent Robert to the AFL. He seems to fit the “should face better pitching to help with further development” bucket.
Keith Law: I don’t think he has a work visa yet. I was told he’s not in instructs either.

B: I like Xander Bogaerts, but where the hell is the power?
Keith Law: Played with two hand injuries this year. Can’t hit for power if you can’t grip the bat.

Corey: Speaking of the AFL, did you see Henry Owens’ start ? 5 BBs, 2 hits, 4 runs, 1 IP. Is he ever going to be anything beyond a AAA walk machine ? Seems like his height is in the way of his mechanics and nobody can figure out how to fix it
Keith Law: I was there and tweeted about it. He’s a sidearmer now and it’s ugly.

Billy: Why is young pitching in the draft still seemingly valued higher than young hitting? We’ve seen countless high profile pitchers flame out or get injured constantly whereas proven college bats seem to have a higher rate of success. For example (not necessarily the best one) the in 2015 MLB draft, top 10 picks Benintendi and Bregman are starting everyday for playoff teams whereas Dillon Tate is in AA and has been already dealt for a veteran bat rental
Keith Law: Because you might get a Clayton Kershaw (#7 overall in 2006) or a Jose Fernandez (#14 overall in 2011), and no one wants to miss on a guy like that.

Rich: A very bright friend of mine is, for some reason, a chronic conspiracy theorist. Days after the Vegas incident, he was predictably sending me all of the damning evidence that this was a false flag operation. Do you have any theories why otherwise intelligent people are so gullible when it comes to these events?
Keith Law: I would truly un-friend this person, forever. You can’t talk to someone like that.

Raphael: Is Teoscar a future regular?
Keith Law: I think so.

Sam: Should Braves fans want Dayton Moore? Seems like the “he won a WS” argument is nice, but I’m not sure I’m excited about him as an option. Their farm is a wasteland.
Keith Law: He built a good system, won two pennants and a WS, and would leave the farm in pretty bad shape. Is that an acceptable outcome for most teams? I think it is. Most fans would take one WS win and a second flag even if it means a rebuild afterwards.

Dennis: Who do you enjoy more, Henry Green or Anthony Powell? I haven’t read either, thinking of starting with Green….
Keith Law: Powell. I loved A Dance to the Music of Time.

Sam: Based on what is public knowledge or whatever is private knowledge, what do you think actually happens to the Braves through this MLB investigation?
Keith Law: Definitely big fines coming. If they find evidence the team did something wrong in the draft beyond the usual (everyone strikes predraft deals – the system more or less forces you to do so), they could strip picks. Beyond that, I truly don’t know.

Chris: I know its a few months late, but are you going to do your re-draft article 10 years after the 2007 draft? I’m sure it’s because you were finishing your book, but I always enjoyed those ones.
Keith Law: No, my editors didn’t want it this year.

Mark: Was wondering if you have ever read Dune by Frank Herbert and if so what you thought of it ?
Keith Law: Dune is great, but do not read any sequels.

Stan: Lots of talk about Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers being the greatest American band in history. Does employing a British drummer for 23 of the bands 40 tears disqualify them for the title?
Keith Law: I liked Petty’s work – although it irked me that their first “greatest hits” record omitted “Woman in Love” – but yeah, greatest American band is probably a stretch, regardless of where the drummer was born.

Dennis: Tristram Shandy worth reading?
Keith Law: It’s funny but the language is so different that I found it slow going.

Dave: Lots of great new albums out today…have you had a chance to listen? ST. Vincent, Beck, Wu-Tang, Courtney Barnett/Kurt Vile
Keith Law: Wu-Tang is surprisingly good – in the sense that it sounds a lot like vintage WTC. Hated the Barnett/Vile singles (mostly because I can’t stand how he sings) and have never liked St. Vincent at all.

Dave: What was the last concert you went to?
Keith Law: Saw Less Art in Philly a month ago.

Dave: Do you think Girardi will be back?
Keith Law: Definitely.

Ben: With the way Gregorious played this year, do you start Torres at 2b or 3b to begin his career or do you explore moving Didi while his value is at its peak?
Keith Law: My argument has been to move Didi while his value is high – once Torres is back and healthy – because I think you could get a king’s ransom for him, perhaps filling two roles with such a deal, while moving either him or Torres to another position wastes someone’s defensive value, as both can really play short.

James: Does Victor Robles open 2018 with a full time job or does he need more seasoning?
Keith Law: He really hasn’t played much above A-ball. I expect him to spend most of the year in the minors.
Keith Law: OK, I’m off to a game shortly here – thanks for joining me for the impromptu chat today. I should be back on schedule next week. Also, I will be at Changing Hands here in Phoenix at 2 pm on Saturday (tomorrow) to discuss and sign copies of my book, Smart Baseball. Hope to see some of you there!

Klawchat 10/5/17.

Keith Law: If it’s all right with you, I’ll rip this here joint apart. Klawchat.

Tyler: Given what we know as of now, do you think the Braves will lose Kevin Maitan? Do you think that would be a fair punishment for what seems like a league wide practice?
Keith Law: Given what we know to be true, I don’t think so, but MLB confirmed to me that their investigation is still ongoing. If this is merely about verbal agreements with players before they turn 16 and “hiding” them from other clubs, everyone does it, and I’ve argued for a while that the CBA provides compelling incentive for everyone to do it. If they want to root out the corruption in the July 2nd market, they need to stop trying so hard to prevent teams from paying money for talent.

Gabriel: Seems hard to believe that the johns werent involved in this whole coppy mess right?
Keith Law: I find it hard to believe they weren’t aware of these industry standard practices.

Jack: How would you go about fixing the Giants? Full rebuild necessary?
Keith Law: The system isn’t going to produce enough starting pitching in the near term to make them a contender; if Cueto and Shark turn around and have big bounceback years in 2018, they might contend, but that’s their hope for near-term success. The problem I see with a full rebuild is a lack of tradeable assets on the ML roster other than Posey, and I can’t imagine them dealing him – I’m not sure I could even advocate that.

Joe: Will all the teams that have agreements with international players for July of 2019 be told they can not sign those players or do you think the Braves will be the only team that doesn’t sign the player that they had a deal with?
Keith Law: July of 2018 … and 2019 … and 2020. MLB is very good at pretending this isn’t happening all over the place. In the draft too – I’d estimate 75% of players taken in the top 5 rounds have predraft deals in place.

Jeremy: If a team goes 86-76, are they 10 games over .500 or 5 games over .500?
Keith Law: I would rather engage in a two-hour debate over whether a hot dog is a sandwich (it is) than get involved in this semantics argument.

John: Feels like Nolan Jones is semi forgotten about. But he’s put up great numbers in A-. Does he skyrocket in 2018?
Keith Law: Don’t think he’s forgotten about, any more than a typical non-first-round HS prospect. Big progress this year, definitely a guy on the radar again, probably on the outside of my top 100 (although I haven’t even started that process yet).

Bill: Is Kris Bryant under rated or over rated? I hear both.
Keith Law: (wanking motion)

Eric: Should the Diamondbacks put Archie Bradley back in the rotation next spring or is he a bullpen-only guy from here on out?
Keith Law: I’d like to see him get a shot to start, but when a pitcher who struggled as a starter finds this kind of success in relief, he and the club may both want to leave well enough alone and I don’t argue with it. I only have an issue with teams leaving ex-starters in the pen when the pitcher still wants to start and the scouting indicators were in favor of him starting.

Bauer: Do you buy Cleveland’s reasoning for starting Bauer over Kluber in game 1? It sounds to me they’re managing for games they’re not guaranteed
Keith Law: That was my take – this was an October-long strategy rather than a win the ALDS strategy.

Scouting: I really enjoyed your scouting articles on the Phillies young hitters and Darvish and was wondering what, for you at least, are the biggest differences in scouting MLB vs MILB players? Are there different things you’re looking for?
Keith Law: As you move up the ladder, physical tools and projection become less important, approach and feel for the game become more important. You can be strong as hell, or have a beautiful swing, but if you can’t distinguish balls from strikes or fastballs from breaking balls, it’s not going to matter.

Snap into a Slim Jim: A. Cam Newton is dumb; B. Of Course he should apologize; C. We don’t need 40 articles written about it though, do we?
Keith Law: We’re going to get at least that many. If he had just apologized after the fact – the reporter said he didn’t, he actually made it all worse – then maybe we could have gotten around this. Now it’s going to go on for days and days.

Ethan: Hi Keith – love the chats and feedback, as I have learned a lot from you and your book! My question is around Dinelson Lamet. I completely understand the need for three pitches. However, is there a situation and/or example of a SP that thrived with just two elite pitches? And what level would those need to be? 60? 70? And do you think Lamet’s fastball/slider combo can reach those levels to lessen the need for an average third pitch?
Keith Law: You’re sort of begging the question here. If your two pitches leave you with a massive platoon split, then it doesn’t matter. And that’s Lamet’s problem: Neither of his two current average or better pitches gets LHB out, and his changeup is ineffective.

Coppolella : If you were running a team would you be looking to add Coppolella or Blakeley to your front office given that they’re by reputation quite smart and seemingly got caught doing something that everyone does?
Keith Law: If MLB clears one or both of serious wrongdoing, yes, but I think every team has to wait for the outcome of that. And let’s not pretend that MLB never blackballs anyone, players (coughBondscough) or execs.

RaysBiscuit: Why are defensive oriented catchers picked highly in the draft? I’m sorry for any recency bias, but whenever I see Reese McGuire, Taylor Ward, Justin O’Conner, Nick Ciuffo, Mike Zunino… I wonder why they were picked that high and it seems catchers don’t turn out to be worth the selection compared to the others though hindsight is 20/20. I’ll give Zunino a pass as he was bullet rushed but is every team hoping for a Posey type catcher when one picks a catcher in the first round?
Keith Law: Teams overdraft catchers because of positional scarcity, not just in the majors but within the draft. There are so few decent catchers in any class that they tend to get elevated on draft boards because the scarcity makes them seem more valuable – or because there’s a fear of having a draft where you don’t get any catching at all. (Solution: Draft one or two guys every year who are possible conversion candidates.)

Frankur: Yankees making a mistake by not pitching Severino in game 2?
Keith Law: If there is no physical impediment to him pitching game 2, then it’s an odd choice. But maybe he doesn’t feel right and that’s part of why he was so off in the wild card game

LDS: Which series do you think represents the biggest mismatch of the LDS and which series is the tightest to you?
Keith Law: No real mismatches to me. I’m not doing a preview piece, but I’ll at least give you some picks here: Astros, Cleveland, Nats, Dodgers.

Anti-Intellectualism: What do you think is the best way to combat the rampant anti-intellectualism that’s seemingly on the rise in our country?
Keith Law: I wish I had a good answer. I do think that the more intellectuals – really, subject matter experts – who speak up, the better chance we have for facts to win out over myths, but humans have a rather strong tendency to believe whatever they want.

Dana: Do you think football’s brain injury problems will lead to more African-Americans in baseball down the road?
Keith Law: I think that’s already happening – although it’s less “in baseball” and more “in alternatives to football.”

Jeff: I have a coworker that checked himself in to the hospital a couple of weeks ago because he thought he may commit suicide. Our boss has verbally displayed his displeasure about him missing all the work he has and has openly talked about demoting him and even firing him. Is he allowed to do that? I have great respect for my coworker for being able to reach out for help, but I hate that it could cost him his job. That just doesn’t seem right to me.
Keith Law: Don’t think that’s legal, but I’m not a lawyer. Of course, what was illegal for employers a few months ago may become legal any day now…

delatopia: Everyone in the Bay Area raves about the A’s youth but I basically see Chapman and maybe Barreto and then a bunch of second division starters and bench guys, at least among position players at the MLB level. Is there more there that I’m not seeing?
Keith Law: I agree with you – I don’t know if there’s a core player in the bunch. Lot of 2-WAR types. Nice, cheap guys to fill out a roster, but lacks the couple of 5+ WAR guys you need to build a contender.

Jim: MLB starting investigating Coppy because of a Draft Room incident? Have you heard of what went on? Hearing of plates being thrown at people…..
Keith Law: I was told that story is false. (In one version it’s a plate; in another it’s an ashtray. Good sign the story might not be quite accurate.)

Pat: How would you grade Tim Beckham defensively at SS? The metrics seem to like him, but my eyes tell me he kind of sucks.
Keith Law: I haven’t seen him there much myself in a couple of years; I thought he had the physical ability to be an above-average defender there, but didn’t have the consistency you want, more in his hands than anything else.

Dan(NJ): Do you see much difference in how the Yankees approached the WC game and a true “bullpen” game? If the goal to “bullpenning” a game is to use your 4/5/6 best pitchers, then surely Severino fits that mold. I think there were some people disappointed that a team with the staff resources like the Yankees didn’t start Green or something, but I think that in how it was played and how Girardi managed, it was a true bullpen game.
Keith Law: It ended up a bullpen game, but I don’t think Girardi planned that in any way. He did a nice job responding to the crisis, but it’s a bit different than going into a game with the expectation that your starter will only throw, say, 40-50 pitches.

Bob Villar: How close are you to believing in the Alec Hanson hype?
Keith Law: I always take the advice of Harry Allen in these situations.

Hinkie: If you were forced to predict the team Shohei Otani plays for next season, who would you pick ?
Keith Law: If I can only pick one team, I’d pick the Nippon Ham Fighters.

Jim: Are you concerned that all these pitching changes, particularly in the first couple innings, is affecting the overall product? I love baseball and having 8 innings of relievers diminished my interest. I understand the strategy but there’s no flow to the game.
Keith Law: It lengthens the game needlessly. The long innings are fine when there’s lots of action – baserunners, homers, what have you – but not when it’s commercials and mound visits.

Jeff: You called Rosenthal’s article about the Braves in-fighting a “non-story”. What’s your take now?
Keith Law: Same. Monday’s debacle was about the MLB investigation, not in-fighting.

RunawaYEM: Please confirm whether Luiz Gohara is a guy, or a full-on GUY
Keith Law: I believe he’s a GUY, but I worry that he looks more like a guy and a half.

addoeh: When would you start being interested in reports on international players that won’t be officially signed until 2019 or 2020?
Keith Law: A few days before those signing dates. There’s so much nonsense around them that I find it hard to parse, and the reality is when you verbally commit to sign a player when he’s 14, you may get a very different product when the player actually signs at 16.

Richie: Do you watch October baseball with the sound on or off?
Keith Law: Off more than on.

Andy: If Maitan is declared a free agent, what kind of deal/bidding do you think he gets? Has his “unexpected thickness” affected the market for him?
Keith Law: I’d guess north of $10 million. And you know MLB would REALLY rather not make a top prospect a free agent because it would underline just how severely underpaid amateur players are.

Aaron: The Padres had by far the worst run differential but still won 71 games (just 7th worst) in baseball. Keith, would you attribute this to randomness, or give props to Andy Green’s management ability? Thanks.
Keith Law: I think Green’s a very good manager, both in game and in development.

Luke: What’s the best new board game that both you and your daughter enjoyed most?
Keith Law: Azul, which comes out later this month, has been a big hit here. She liked the Cities of Splendor expansions a lot too.

Dave: The Yanks have gap year coming up at 3B before Machado hits FA. Is it ok to just pencil in Andujar, or does he need more work?
Keith Law: Pencil but not pen would work for me. You have to be able to live with a lot of variance in your forecasts for him in 2018 – I think he’s a legit prospect for the long term, but I couldn’t tell you that he’s definitely going to hit in his rookie season.

Ryan: Do Tatis and Gore have a chance to both be top 10 prospects by the summer of 2018.
Keith Law: Tatis already is. That’s a lot to ask of Gore and I don’t think so.

Chris: I’m guessing you have same take re starting again as to Chad Green?
Keith Law: yes, maybe even more so (leaving Green in relief) because he’s a totally different guy in this role.

Michael: Is Jake Junis with the Royals for real, or just a small sample size?
Keith Law: He could be a fifth starter.

EricVA: Did you hear something about Severino not feeling right or was that just a guess?
Keith Law: I’m just saying that would be a valid reason for pushing him back. I haven’t heard anything to this effect.

Chris: Speaking of catcher’s defense, broadcasters got all over Sanchez for the one ball he missed that Robertson slingshot into the other batters box and not the countless pitches he blocked (or took in the marbles). This is a very tough staff to catch imo, and that narrative about him is ridiculous. Thoughts?
Keith Law: I think he’s a below-average receiver but more than makes up for it with his bat. Catcher defense is a favorite topic of broadcasters, though, probably because it is so visible.

Jeff: So was Coppy well-liked in the industry? Passan’s article painted a rough picture of him.
Keith Law: My sense is that there was a mixed view of him. I had a major agent call me out of the blue on Tuesday to talk about that whole story, and he said – unprompted – how much he liked Coppolella and enjoyed negotiating with (or against) him. I’ve heard more positive comments on him than negative since Monday. But this industry loves to smear people on their way out the door – look at what happened when Francona left Boston.

Kevin: After Reyes, which arms in the Cards system do you find most intriguing?
Keith Law: It’s probably Alcantara, even with the up-and-down year.

Alan: What’s your feelings on Dayton Moore to Atlanta?
Keith Law: I understand that the job will be his if he wants it. He’d fit their system, and he has worked there before, which I think all works in his favor. He’s highly regarded as a person within the industry, too. A mutual friend suggested Tony Lacava — full disclosure, I worked with Tony in Toronto and consider him a mentor – as someone who’s worked under Hart and Schuerholz, has scouting & PD experience (as does Moore), and comes with a pristine reputation. If you just forced out your GM over ethical violations, you want your next hire to be squeaky clean.

Steve: In light of the Coppella investigation, do you think the O’s concern over participating in the international market because of shady practices of buscones is warranted? It’s possible to participate in the Latin America market “ethically” right?
Keith Law: You can participate ethically but you will likely be shut out of the top end of the market.

Dennis: Your favorite Ishiguro novel? Which would be the best to start with?
Keith Law: Remains of the Day is an absolute masterpiece of English fiction. Never Let Me Go is #2. Avoid The Unconsoled – I think it’s an outright failure of a novel.

Salty: Keith – Eric Longenhagen mentioned in his chat the potential value someone like Gose could have as a LOOGY/pinch runner. If he entered a game as a PR, could he stay in the game and pitch, and if so, would he then slot into the DH spot, with the defensive replacement slotting in to the spot vacated by the guy who was pinch-ran for?
Keith Law: You can’t switch your DH spot in the lineup like that. BTW, Gose got hurt after a few innings, and I’m not very optimistic about him even if he stays healthy.

Craig: Is Adbert Alzolay the Cubs top prospect? Can he scratch his way onto the big league team as early as next summer?
Keith Law: Top pitching prospect and yes.

Andy: Dillon Maples had this breakout season. Does he regress, keep improving, or what? How does one predict this?
Keith Law: You don’t. You just enjoy it. And I think this is very legit – the stuff matches up with the numbers.

Dennis: Do you think Jo Adell might end up in your Top 100?
Keith Law: Not this year.

Joe: Keith, what do you make of Blake Rutherford? I know to not write him off, but it is mind-boggling that a kid of his talent and pedigree put up the kind of line in low-A.
Keith Law: Same. And the swing is fine. But the ball just didn’t come off his bat well this year – poor exit velo, no power, didn’t even sound that great (I saw him the day before he was traded).

Aaron: Keith, can you explain why there’s often so much change in a prospect’s ranking between the time of the draft & the end of the season? Do we really learn that much from a month or two of professional competition? Because otherwise, this screams Small Smaple Size, and you are one of the biggest anti-SSS-ites out there. …maybe I’ve just answered my own question there…
Keith Law: I don’t think there is, not in my rankings. If you compare my final predraft rankings to where those prospects appear on my top 100 the following winter, the order is generally very similar. Any changes would be more because post-draft more scouts & execs are willing to talk about players than they are pre-draft (“I really liked that guy, we were going to take him if they didn’t”).

Joe: Fair to say that the worst thing Coppy did was send the 2000 word text messages? Honestly who does that?
Keith Law: I don’t think I’ve ever even read a text message that took more than one screen.

Dan: Are you at all encouraged by Paul Ryan’s comments on bump stocks? (I suppose I was, somewhere around 2% encouraged)
Keith Law: I wish I was but I’ve been burned by optimism before.

Oren: If you were the Jays GM, how seriously are you shopping Josh Donaldson this winter?
Keith Law: Very seriously. I generally don’t say you *have* to trade a player, but you want to make it clear you’re going to take the best offer if anything meets your standard.

MJ: Just finished your book and loved it. My question to you is do you think there is any chance at a big industry breakthrough regarding player health in the near or medium term future? Something with biometric data perhaps?
Keith Law: Having just read Erik Malinowski’s Betaball, on the Golden State Warriors, which mentions a few technologies that team used to improve player health, I’m even more convinced now than I was before that baseball teams will invest heavily in such technologies (and probably already are, we just don’t know about it) to try to reduce injuries.

Tim: Thoughts on Hader to the rotation in 2018? Or does his stuff/approach play better in the pen?
Keith Law: Better in the pen, but I wouldn’t blame the Brewers for at least giving him a chance to start and see if it works. He was great as a starter until he got to Colorado Springs, and that’s not a fair test.

Boots Poffenberger: How good is Nick Neidert?
Keith Law: Very polished, not a big upside. Maybe a league-average starter?

Dennis: Who are some writers that you would like to see win the Nobel Prize for Literature?
Keith Law: I don’t know that I could name one – I believe the honoree has to be still living, which eliminates the top 8 authors I’ve read (by # of titles), and as much as I enjoy the works of Jasper Fforde and J.K. Rowling I don’t know that either is really a serious contender for the award.

Snit: With Coppy gone, how do you think this changes the Braves’ plans for this offseason? Do you think they only kept Snitker because of scandal?
Keith Law: That’s my sense – Snitker probably would have been replaced had this not happened. I expect this will change their modus operandi more than it changes specific plans – trades like the Gohara move are much less likely now.

HugoZ: Which team is more modern-metrics friendly–Royals or Blue Jays?
Keith Law: Both are pretty forward in that department; I get the sense the Blue Jays use it more, but that may just be that they’re more open about it.

addoeh: The NRA has second highest membership of any group after AARP. And like the AARP, they vote. Until their members start leaving it because of how their leadership resistance to any sort of changes in the law, there will never be any changes.
Keith Law: They vote AND they pay dues that are then funneled to politicians.

Boots Poffenberger: What happened to Jeff Hoffman this year? Will he ever achieve his ceiling?
Keith Law: I don’t love the fit of his very flat fastball and Coors Field. Great arm, great athlete, but not a very finished product as a pitcher.

Jack: Johan Camargo…..bench piece or could he be a starter somewhere?
Keith Law: Bench piece to me.

JP: the Yankees carrying 12 pitchers in a 5-game series seems like overkill (even with Green/Robertson being unavailable today), no?. If Ellsbury pinch-runs, there isn’t a backup OF on the bench…
Keith Law: I’d never carry 12 P in a 5 game series. Hamstrings your bench too badly.

Chris: BTW for that guy who said the Yanks have a gap year til ’19, Headley is still under contract, Gleyber could be a factor, and I wouldn’t be so sure theyre gonna throw 350m at Machado.
Keith Law: All fair. I assumed he meant they weren’t going to let Headley be the everyday player next year, though.

Mike: Is there a manager more overrated than Buck Showalter?
Keith Law: There’s some competition there, yes. But I think Buck manages to skate on a lot of things that at the very least should be called into question.
Keith Law: Pitcher usage at the top of the list.

Dan: Do you have particular non-fiction interests: eras, settings, subjects, etc? (and I apologize if you’ve already made this common knowledge; I appreciate your time)
Keith Law: Particularly interested in books on science (especially physics), math, or food.

BD: For the postseason would you go with an uber talented but green guy like V Robles, or a boring but veteran backup OF ?
Keith Law: Robles. More ways he can impact the game in a small sample.

Jason: Would it make more sense for Atlanta to start 2018 with 2 of Fried/Gohara/Newcomb in the rotation, or should they get another vet (2 if Dickey retires) to fill out the rotation?
Keith Law: Would get a veteran to provide some bulk innings. You have to assume those guys might not pitch well enough to average 5 innings a start.

DBACK BACK BACK BACK’s: What’s JD’s contract look like this winter?
Keith Law: Wouldn’t shock me if he got 5 years and over $20 million a year … but he’ll play at 30 next year and has negative defensive value. Ton of downside risk.

Mark: Would you rather break the bank for Harper or Machado next year?
Keith Law: Either. Going to depend more on health than anything as both guys have had some injury issues.

BigPapaChuck: Does Coppy ever get a job in baseball again?
Keith Law: As of today, I think it’s unlikely, but it will depend a lot on what MLB finds and what they tell clubs privately.

Hinkie: With Scott Kingery knocking on the door, and the market likely to be flooded with second basemen (Daniel Murphy, DJ LeMahieu, Brian Dozier, Ian Kinsler, Logan Forsythe, and Jed Lowrie) next winter, don’t the Phillies need to trade Cesar Hernandez this off-season ?
Keith Law: I think they need to trade one of him or Galvis, maybe both, and let Kingery and Crawford be the DP combo for the next six years (we hope).

Bobbo: In the beginning of the season, my friends and I wondered who was to blame for Conforto making the big-league team but mostly riding pine. i reasoned that it was on Alderson, since TC is gonna do what the GM says. it never occurred to me that TC was operating on his own with the owner’s protection. did it occur to you?
Keith Law: I have called him Teflon Terry for a reason.

Bobby T: Do you own one baseball card?
Keith Law: I still have a few lying around. Loved them as a kid.

Dog: If you could go back in time and see one player live that you never got a chance to see, who would it be?
Keith Law: I’d go to a Negro Leagues game.

PhillyJake: Eating a Biscotti from Enrico’s in Pittsburgh. I haven’t lived in Pittsburgh for over 11 years now, but when friends from there come to visit, they always bring me one. Ever had the pleasure?
Keith Law: Yep. Best thing on the Strip when I lived there.

Steve: The Gerrymandering case before the Supreme Court is the most impactful in the past _____ years? Could argue since Roe v. Wade, right?
Keith Law: Or Brown v Board of Education.

Andy: With how good Ozzie Albies looked this season and how Dansby Swanson had lapses in the field at times, I’ve heard people suggest they switch places in the field. Do you see an advantage to that?
Keith Law: I would hate to see the team overreact to one season, but bear in mind Albies primarily moved off shortstop because of Swanson, not because of his own deficiencies.

Ridley Kemp: Any thoughts on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominations (other than “I struggle to think of a more irrelevant institution”)? I’m pulling for The Zombies this to get in this year just because they’re so much better than The Doors.
Keith Law: Yeah, they make our HoF look rational.

ML: Should MN trade Gordon or Sano for a proven starter this off-season? Both being mentioned as options in MSP.
Keith Law: I would not. Both look like potential core players.

Jerry: Which White Sox prospects will reach the majors in 2018? Is Kopech, Collins, Hansen and Eloy a decent guess?
Keith Law: Kopech very likely. The others are all less so. Collins in particular is going to have to show more ability to hit (despite the big hitch in his swing).

JP: would a perfect postseason for you be all series going to Game 7’s (Game 5’s in DS)?
Keith Law: Yes – and it’s the perfect outcome for MLB, too. Ratings go up when series go to the limit.

Cool Hand Luke: If you were Sandy Alderson, who would you target as the next Mets manager?
Keith Law: I’ve recommended my former ESPN colleague Alex Cora a few times now. I believe I dropped some other names in chat last week.

Drew: There’s no validity to the concern that a team like the Nats clenched too early and haven’t played meaningful games in a month, is there? They looked a bit flat towards the end of the season, but it seems bogus to think that’ll carry over to the postseason.
Keith Law: There’s no evidence that this supposed effect – it’s momentum, really – is true. There are plenty of counterexamples of teams who all but backed into the postseason and still advanced or even won it all.

Ben: Hey Keith, not sure how much you pay attention to portions coaching staffs outside of manager, but did it surprise you STL is parting ways with Lilliquist? Have seen nothing but positive words about him over the years. It eems to me that pitching, itself, has not been as big a problem for the Cardinals since Matheny has taken over, as much as, oh I don’t know… Matheny has been?
Keith Law: It did surprise me, but I also don’t know the inner workings there. Was more surprised to see the Rays let Jim Hickey go.

Tom: If it were entirely up to you….how would you fit the MLB draft and international signings highly visible problems?
Keith Law: The more MLB tries to prevent teams, which are absolutely flush with cash, from spending money to acquire talent, the more avenues MLB opens for rule bending and rule breaking. It’s analogous to corruption in developing countries, especially non-democratic ones: You can’t get rid of corruption by outlawing it. You have to address the incentives that enable or even encourage it. In baseball’s case, that’s going to mean going in the opposite direction from recent CBAs, allowing teams to spend more on international talent rather than less.

Pace of Play: Dumb question, maybe, but why do pitchers coming out of the pen need more than, say, three warmup pitches from the mound? Isn’t warming up what the bullpen’s for? Or do they get all those warmups to fill commercial breaks?
Keith Law: I think warmups extend to fill the time allotted by commercials.

Ben: Randomly saw you recommending Ballplayer: Pelotero on twitter. I went ahead and watched it last night; I always figured that world would be sort of slimy…
Keith Law: It’s worse than you think it is.

Mac: When evaluating a hitter what is the most important thing you look for?
Keith Law: It depends entirely on his age and level. For a younger hitter, it’s more about tools, physical ability, swing mechanics. Older hitter, I care more about approach, ability to adjust, frequency and quality of contact.

CB: Scioscia is going into the last year of his contract. Is there any argument at all in favor of extending him?
Keith Law: I think it’s best for the Angels to move on from him – to let Eppler hire his own manager, and ensure that the team doesn’t fall any farther behind the curve in terms of managerial use of analytics. It’s a handicap right now, and that’s only going to get worse going forward.

Jon: Stupid hypothetical: do you think Votto wins NL MVP if Cincy wins 85 games? Despite being the worst baserunner in the history of MLB, he was unbelievable this year.
Keith Law: If they’d made the playoffs, maybe. Otherwise, I don’t think so. He did have a tremendous year.

Josef: Only 22% of Americans own guns and many NRA members are not opposed to banning high capacity weapons or requiring licensing or training. Will we ever have common sense laws on guns?
Keith Law: Not until money stops talking.
Keith Law: That’s all for this week. Thank you all for reading and for all of your questions. If you’re in Arizona, I’ll be at Changing Hands in Phoenix on October 14th at 2 pm to talk and sign copies of Smart Baseball. Hope to see you many of you there!

Klawchat 9/29/17.

My post on the five BBWAA award ballots I don’t have went up yesterday on ESPN.com, and my latest boardgame review, the excellent light strategy game Azul, went up on Paste yesterday as well.

Keith Law: There’s a madness in us all. Klawchat.

Sean: So Jeimer Candelario can really hit huh? Is there going to be power coming or more of a high AVG/OBP kinda guy?
Keith Law: I think it’s doubles power, not a ton of BB, won’t K much. Cubs people loved his bat from when he was just a teenager; he just didn’t move up as quick as expected but it’s working out in the end.

Kyle: Could a team with corporate ownership like Toronto or Atlanta sign Otani and then a different division of the corporation sign him to a massive “marketing deal” as a way to get around the compensation rules?
Keith Law: I think MLB would challenge that. All the more reason for Manfred to waive the rule for Otani and make him a true FA.

Brandon: Brett Phillips hitting a little to end the year. 4th OF because he can play CF or potential for more of a regular role?
Keith Law: Has everyday upside. Depends on contact rate. I think he’s more of a plus RF in the long term; arm plays up there, not sure he has the range for CF every day.

Jon: Correct decision to shut down Giolito a little early right? Around 50 IP more (in game situations) than last year, was very good in his time in the bigs and doesn’t really have anything more to prove this season still coming off the surgery. Projection still as a future ace?
Keith Law: No problem with having him skip his last two starts; if he met their developmental goals this year, which I think he did, then let him go out on a high note. He threw far more strikes this year in the majors, missed more bats, showed a better CH, and got back close to his old delivery. He’s also added a slider, which is key because his curveball wasn’t as good in the majors as it had been when he was in low-A or high-A. I’d be more comfortable saying #2 ceiling. To get to ace, he’ll need the CB to be as sharp and effective as it was a few years ago, or for the slider to become that pitch.

Nelson: If you read a book then dont remember if you read it a year or two later, what do you gain by reading it? Just temporary enjoyment while reading?
Im asking because I have a horrible memory and could probably reread a book 6 months later and it be new to me so sometimes I questions the point of reading at all
Keith Law: For the enjoyment of reading in the moment. If a book takes me away for an hour or two, and then I forget it six months later – which is true of a lot of genre fiction – then I’m content.

Bruce: Do you belive in any specific “conspiracy therories”? (belief contrary to official authority position)
Keith Law: I believe the ball was juiced in 1987.

Evan: Reasonable for Mitch Keller to taste the bigs next year or is that a little aggressive? Figure he starts back in Altoona and a midseason promotion to Indy if he performs well? Was unhittable in the EL playoffs.
Keith Law: I think he debuts next year, late.

Tadd: Billy McKinney remembered how to hit this season. That pure swing hasn’t really changed. His outlook any different than from before the season? 4th OF type?
Keith Law: Still a bit too much swing and miss for a low-power corner OF, but before the year I was afraid he’d never see the majors, and now he’s clearly a major league bench guy.

Mike: Do you think popularity of games such as Monopoly and Chutes and Ladders is because of price? I know I had sticker shock over the $30-$50 price of games like Settlers and Ticket to Ride.
Keith Law: Price and ubiquity. For years, B&N was the only mass market retailer to sell Eurogames. Now Target has moved aggressively into the segment. The price is surprising to newbies, absolutely, but I think many of them justify it by how often you want to replay them. Look at your hours of use vs the cost and it makes more sense.

Jeff: What in the world can the Pirates do with Glasnow? So dominant in minors, including walk rate his last stint, to can’t throw strikes to anyone in the majors. Still let him throw as a starter? Or are we going to see him showcase a little more in the pen? He’s 24 now, not the young guy we all think of him as.
Keith Law: Has to pitch somewhere to continue to get reps; if they can designate him as a long reliever next year, handling mopup and other low leverage work where he might throw 3-5 innings, that might be the bridge he needs – as if there were a AAAA level for him.

Andy: What do the Brewers do for next season? They need more good starting pitching, but so does everyone else. They’re unlikely to try to upgrade from Thames, even if that might be warranted. Hope the young guys develop more?
Keith Law: Pray Nelson gets back to pre-surgery form. Burnes should arrive soon. I still think Lopez will develop into a ML starter. I would definitely look to upgrade from Thames, even if it’s with internal options, but otherwise they’re largely waiting on the talent in the system to progress.

Joe: As Stanton gets closer to 61 homers, there seems to be this unspoken, collective agreement that if he can get to 62 he will break the “record.” Did I miss the memo where we all decided that McGwire, Sosa, and Bonds never happened?
Keith Law: Collective my ass. If you see anyone make that claim, mock them mercilessly. It’s historical revisionism: You don’t like what happened, but it still happened. And I think the dangers of historical revisionism are self-evident.

Bruce: True or false: People who put milk and sugar in their coffee shouldnt care about how long ago it was roasted and ground.
Keith Law: You’re trying to trigger me. I will equivocate: If you drink fresher coffee, you’ll use less dairy or sweetener. If you get really good coffee, you might even go black.

Matt: Robert Stephenson last 10 games: 49.2 IP, 54 K, and only 3 HR allowed. Slowly turning a corner? Fastball sitting at 94
Keith Law: 33 walks in that span. Why would you leave that out when control has been his biggest issue?

Sanchez: Imagine advocating not using a 30 home run catcher in a winner take all game because of passed balls?
Keith Law: I saw that. It’s not good.

Mark: Now that Ausmus is gone could you throw out 3 or 4 names that should be considered as his replacement?
Keith Law: I’m going to stump for Alex Cora until he gets a shot somewhere. I know Doug Davis, currently the Scranton-Wilkes Barre defensive coach, is highly regarded in player development circles; he managed a couple of years in AAA, at least. I was talking to an exec recently about under the radar candidates and realized Billy McMillon had never gotten another managing job after a couple of successful years in AA.

Nikolai: Do you think Luis Robert could end 2018 in AA/AAA?
Keith Law: I think the range of potential outcomes for his 2018 season is extremely wide because we have no idea how advanced a hitter he is.

Thorpe: What’s Lewis Thorpe’s upside if he can stay healthy?
Keith Law: Mid-rotation starter. Maybe more, but he has to show some durability first.

Chris : I feel like Terry’s horrid lineup construction the last two months has been wildly underreported the last two months. Not playing Cecchini, continuing to sit Smith and Nimmo against lefties, continuing to throw Blevins (he’s at 74 appearances), and throwing away ABs on guys like Reynolds and Evans have all drawn my disgust. TC’s a goner, but dont people understand that this actually damaged future Mets teams bc no conclusions can be drawn from such sporadic and mindless operating?
Keith Law: Not just that, but I worry he’s damaged the hitters, or at least delayed their development, by not giving them more reps.

Caleb: What does the future look like for Braves youngster Luis Gohara?
Keith Law: High end starter.

Matt: Do you think people purposefully put questions in the “comments” or just a matter of not paying attention? Always wondered your take on this.
Keith Law: I believe the chat window doesn’t always show up on mobile devices, so some folks get confused. It’s fine. But I answer questions in here.

Steve: How do u organize all your keeper books so you can find them? Is there a KLaw Top 102 section, for ex? Sci Fi? Do tell..,
Keith Law: I only keep maybe 10-15% of what I read, and they’re semi-organized by author and type.

Derek: Do scouts ever predict the kind of defensive transcendence that Andrelton Simmons displays? With SS, it’s usually “good enough to stick at the position” or “has a chance to be above average” or something similar. I guess it’s just really tough to predict someone will be historically great. My question is: did you see Simmons becoming this defensive savant when he was a prospect? Does anybody in the minors at any position have that kind of defensive ability?
Keith Law: No; I heard he was a very good defender with an 80 arm, so maybe a 60 glove, maybe better, but I don’t recall anyone telling me he was an 80 glove. Everyone thought he’d end up on the mound.

Aaron C.: Read your newsletter this morning. Sorry to hear about the general jerkiness of humanity. Curious about the seasonal assholes you hear from: Spring = your season record predictions; Fall = your awards predictions; Winter = Hall of Fame. Who hates you in the summer?
Keith Law: Late spring and summer it’s the “you were wrong with this one take on this one player” crowd. Especially popular with players having their first good year somewhere. Whatever – it’s part of the job. My only complaint is that when I get a lot of those it can drown out real comments that might merit an answer. A week or so ago, there were some BFIBs going nuts over Luke Weaver, although they went dead silent after he faced the Cubs.

Andy: The ESPN comment section is hilarious. You’re accused of East Coast Bias due to picking Sale. Then the next comment is claiming Judge is far and away the MVP, and you clearly haven’t seen him play. Other highlights, “Javy Baez is the MVP of the Cubs,” “I don’t care about pitcher’s strikeouts,” and “Kluber has more wins in less starts.” Plus the comments about how you ignored NL ROY. To someone not you, this is all amazingly fun.
Keith Law: Never read the comments.

Guy F.: Thoughts on the salted caramel craze of the past couple of years?
Keith Law: I mean, I love salted caramel, so it’s fine with me. And the salt can mute any bitter notes in the caramel (which, since it’s lightly burned sugar, will have some bitter chemicals).

jay_B: Arbitrary end points here, but Javy Baez has been excellent in the second half. If even some of this is real, two questions: .275/.325/.500 a real possibility, and with his defensive ability, what’s that worth?
Keith Law: That’s probably a star, no? Sounds like a 4 WAR player.

Larry I in L.A.: Thanks for all of your thought-provoking work over the years, Keith! A 40-year friendship of mine is in peril due to our current political situation. We were in each other’s wedding and have been fantasy baseball partners since 1982, but now he says stuff like “I refuse to believe that our leaders would intentionally lie to us for financial gain.” (And I thought the knock on progressives was that we are gullible and naïve!) This ties in to the backlash over your hypothetical awards ballot column, another illustration that too many folks prefer to cling to outdated notions than, you know, learn new stuff. Can our country recover from this ever-widening streak of anti-intellectualism?
Keith Law: I’m not hopeful; if anything, anti-intellectualism is creeping forward, like with Florida’s legislature trying to allow the teaching of “intelligent design” (which, to be very kind, is just pseudoscience) in public schools.

Jeffry: Thought on Amed Rosario and Dom Smith after some up and down showing in the majors? Growing pains or red flags?
Keith Law: All good. Same outlook as before.
Keith Law: Aaron Judge struck out in 44% of his PA in 2016. He got better.

Chris : Do you agree with this position regarding moving players around in minors? “It’s just for versatility and flexibility,” Mets farm director Ian Levin said. “You never know what will come in the future. Also, getting exposure to other positions makes you better at your position. We get all of our middle infielders experience at second, short, even third.”
Keith Law: In general, yes. I think it also allows you to develop potential utility guys by giving them a few reps at short every year. However, I’d be concerned about putting inexperienced players at second base and having them get hurt on double plays.

Jon: How can you not include Eric Thames in your MVP consideration? I feel like you’re overweighting the final 140 games of the season.
Keith Law: Can we talk about how almost everyone is pretending that they didn’t get all hysterical over him in April? You know how many “YOU WERE WRONG ABOUT THAMES” tweets and comments I got back then? Can we remember any of this next April when some rando goes off for three weeks?

Dane Iorg: Who says no to this deal: Carson Kelly, Jack Flaherty, and Jedd Gyorko for Josh Donaldson. Cards? Jays? Both? Neither?
Keith Law: I think the Cards would and should say no to that. Very likely everyday catcher, with some upside beyond that; very likely back-end starter with modest upside; both major-league ready and cheap for six years. Ton of value there, and we’re not talking about highly volatile A-ball kids.

J.O.: Which WAR do you like better? Should I just take the average of the two? (And when I do, should I not count walks/HBP when I am calculating the average?)
Keith Law: I look at both, and where they differ greatly, I delve into where they agree and where they diverge. It’s important to understand why they differ – is it a BABIP issue (for pitchers)? Defensive disagreement (for fielders)?

Ken: What kind of line do you see Matt Chapman putting up in a full season?
Keith Law: Sub-.300 OBP, 30 HR, Gold Glove defense.

Nik: Can Dane Dunning be anything better than a decent #4?
Keith Law: I think so.

Alex A.: Is Pedro’s kid a real prospect?
Keith Law: I don’t know. I wasn’t familiar with him before he signed, and he wasn’t on Jesse Sanchez’s top 30 july 2nd prospects list this year or Longenhagen’s top 25. Also a little unusual for a prospect to sign at 17 rather than 16, but that may be because his family already has money and he was finishing school.

Grover: From your front office experience, would a move like benching Pujols require GM/ownership intervention? If he were so inclined could Scoscia just do it himself since it’s probably the best move for the team?
Keith Law: Owner would have to sign off on that.

German: How should the Twins approach the wild card game? On paper, they look overmatched, but as we know, baseball is weird.
Keith Law: If they do anything novel, it should be handling the pitching staff like there’s an extended fire drill. Start Berrios, because he’s your best starter, but have all hands on deck, and if you need seven pitchers to keep the game close, you do it. Forget the traditional model – starter goes 5-6, setup guy in 8th, closer in 9th – and just get outs. They will be overmatched, but they have at least design enough for the luck to help them.

Eddie: Any good reason why Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands aren’t states yet? It seems like bringing them officially into the union would be a win/win for everyone. My only thought is that the career politicians that run our country, on both sides of the aisle, must think bringing the 2 in will tip balance of power to the other side, therefore they choose not to push for their statehood.
Keith Law: They’d lose their favorable tax status, and American taxpayers would likely end up paying a lot to prop up their economies, especially in the first few years. I’m actually fine with that, but you can see how that might not be terribly popular in Congress, with virtually no voting constituencies in favor of it.

Sam: Keith, if I remember correctly, you mentioned you renovated your kitchen. I am starting down that path. Any recommendations? Also, thoughts on induction vs. gas stove?
Keith Law: I got a gas stove; never cooked with induction. Expect to exceed your budget by at least 10%, especially if you’re taking down drywall (oh, hello, flying splices!). And remember that granite counters help increase resale value. The only thing we couldn’t do was a double oven – the wiring wouldn’t work for it – but in hindsight that was a luxury item that I would only use maybe twice a year, not worth the extra cost anyway so it worked out.

Juan: Any thoughts on the Dr. Seuss issue?
Keith Law: I don’t understand why that librarian claims the books are racist, and I thought she really just wanted attention for her (valid) criticisms of Betsy DeVos.

Mike: A year away, but could you estimate the years and total value on the contracts Bryce Harper and Manny Machado end up signing.
Keith Law: I’ll be surprised if either ends up short of $300 million.

Matt R.: The painful decline of Albert Pujols sometimes causes us to lose track of how extraordinary he was the first 10 seasons of his career. Taking the last few years into consideration, where would you rank Pujols among right handed hitters of all-time? 1? 2? 3? Lower?
Keith Law: He’s top 3, I think, but I haven’t spent a ton of time on it. You know what’s weird is how his whole aging curve is shifted to the left by, like, five years.

Anthony: Really loving the seamless way you approach the inevitable connection of sport to politics. One of the reasons it is said there is less activism among baseball players is the lower percentage of African American players. But given the persecution of Latinos under the current administration, is it at all surprising there hasn’t been more action on that front? I also wonder if/when — particularly in a city like Los Angeles where a large portion of the fans are Latino (Mexican, primarily) — fans don’t begin to engage in peaceful protest.
Keith Law: A lot of Latino MLBers aren’t US citizens, though; I assume that’s part of why they haven’t been more vocal. And those of Venezuelan birth or descent would likely use their voices to bring attention to the failed state in Caracas instead.

Mike M.: Hi Klaw – Curious if you’ve had a chance to listen to the new Wolf Alice record, and if so, any early opinions?
Keith Law: I’ve heard the four singles they released, loved “Heavenward,” liked “Beautifully Unconventional,” found “Don’t Delete the Kisses” to be a bit twee, and thought “Yuk Foo” was a decent album track. Also, their name is really Wool Phallus, right? I’m not the only one who hears that?

Dave: You said you would explore that market for Didi. I agree with the logic, but what sort of return would you expect? Comparable to Chapman/Miller deals?
Keith Law: Two major prospects back? Sure. But he could also be a chip to get a major-league ready starter, with Pineda out, Sabathia old, and Tanaka a potential blowout at any point.

Chris: Are the Twins a good reason to change the wild card format or a good reason to keep it as is?
Keith Law: I don’t like the expanded WC, but MLB likes it – owners like it, and everyone likes the extra money – so I doubt it’s going anywhere. My opinion is that it just devalues the regular season a little bit more.

Gary: Do you know anything on the Asian prospects Bae that Atlanta signed? Any information to share?
Keith Law: He signed for just $300K, which is exceptionally low for a player from Korea, not definitive but an indicator that the industry didn’t view him as a top prospect. I’ll probably catch him in March.

Santos: Any way to get in touch with you if we want to get an autograph (on a baseball perhaps, provided with a self-addressed stamped package) and send along a donation to one of your charities? I saw your tinyletter about the boardgames and I like the idea, I’d just rather have an autograph than a board game honestly.
Keith Law: I have toyed with this idea before; I’m just concerned about executing it if a lot of requests come in. I’m not the most organized fellow when it involves anything other than writing or cooking.

James: The Royals most likely will lose their starting SS, 1B, 3B, CF and their best pitcher by WAR. We obviously don’t have the minor leaguers in AAA to cover all these holes, do you take a Dewees and have him go from AA to the majors to take over CF or take a flyer on a bargain bin veteran?
Keith Law: He can’t throw enough for CF.

Mark: Did you read the Newsday story about Collins and the Mets? If so, was any of the info new to you or is that a pretty accurate depiction of him?
Keith Law: This matched most of what I’ve heard the last few years from within the industry. Lot of complaints about him from the player side.

Matt from Milw: Is Corbin Burnes a 4th/5th, or potentially better?
Keith Law: Better.

Mark: How pathetic is it that people think Puerto Rico is another country?
Keith Law: I’ve been to PR (twice) and the USVI (once) and every time someone asked me afterwards if I needed my passport for the trip.

Matt: I saw you recently said it is just as likely players are using steroids as they are using magic (or something to that effect). I know you didn’t mean that literally, but is it unreasonable to think a small percentage are probably taking HGH or some sort of “PED”?
Keith Law: We know about 1 in 7 big leaguers is taking a PED with the league’s sanction; they get therapeutic use exemptions for the drugs, nearly always Adderall (a mixture of two amphetamine salts). My tweet was in response to a terrible NYT column that argued the rise in HR rates was due to undetected league-wide steroid use, which is obvious bunkum.

Gary: Pretty much the only successful pitcher Atlanta has called up from their rebuild focused on pitching is Gohara, and it has only been a few starts for him. Any reasons for concern about this rebuild? Is it a problem with their development? Wisler, Blair, Newcomb, Folty, Sims, etc. all have been just alright. Why are we supposed to believe the next round of arms will be different?
Keith Law: Sims was the only one in that group that Atlanta drafted. The next wave – two waves, I think – are all ATL draftees.

Colin: Would now be the time to trade Rhys Hoskins? Maybe get some youth in return?
Keith Law: Don’t think so. The 1b market is bad for sellers or free agents this winter, and also I think there’s a good chance Hoskins is a core player around whom they can build.

Max: With his inability to stay healthy, do you think it might be time for HOU to think about moving McCullers to the pen? Possibly as another Devenski?
Keith Law: I’ve suggested this many times, and of course been pilloried for it when he’s been healthy. He has a high-stress delivery, he does get hurt often, and he’s thrown 120 innings in one calendar year in the five since he signed. It’s at least a plan worth considering if you’re Houston.

Larry: Would it make sense for Atlanta to deal Inciarte instead of Kemp/Markakis? Gets Acuna in the lineup and you get a good return, whereas Kemp/Markakis wouldn’t bring back anything of value.
Keith Law: That was my argument a few weeks ago. Kemp and Markakis have negative trade value. Moving one of Inciarte or Acuna to a corner creates surplus value you can’t capture, because both can play CF.

Scrapper: Any particular storylines that you will be following in the post-season?
Keith Law: Yes, I’m curious to see who wins the World Series.

Tom: Ball Juicing: Should we care? Do you think it make the game objectively worse?
Keith Law: I think it does; the current Three True Outcomes environment likely isn’t good for growing the sport long term.

Tyler: Hear rumors that the A’s may move Barretto to CF because of the dearth of OF prospects. Any chance he will be playable out there?
Keith Law: He’s also not that great at SS. The question would be is he better in CF or at 2b; I think there’s a good chance he’s plus in CF with his speed, so I’d try it.

Joe: Keith, is this the ceiling for Trey Mancini? I am worried that if his bat drops at all he won’t be a regular since he has so much negative defensive/position value.
Keith Law: If the bat doesn’t drop, though, you have a nice, cheap regular. It’s possible.

Mark: Is Dinelson Lamet a legit 4/5 starter or just a guy?
Keith Law: Until he develops a third pitch to get lefties out, he’s just a guy.

Michael : Does Bryce Harper leave Washington?
Keith Law: I assume so. If the question is Washington or the field, I’d bet on the field. Same for Machado and Baltimore.

Bob: Do you see a connection between certain aspects of your personality (love of math; a fondness for organization) and the literature you prefer?
Keith Law: I don’t. I just love things that are great.

Mike: At what point in the draft do you roll the dice on an elite HS arm like Ethan Hankins when the draft is stocked with (more mature) college pitchers?
Keith Law: I don’t think that’s a fair summary of the class; he’s a top 5 talent right now, bearing in mind a lot can change in eight months.

Eric: Other than strategy games like chess, are there any old board games (say more than 20 years old) you still like?
Keith Law: Diplomacy’s great. Acquire is very good. And I know this isn’t what you mean, but Catan is 22 years old.

Ben: Does Albies have develop 20-25hr power in his future?
Keith Law: I want to say no, but the way the ball flies right now, there might be 40 guys this year who hit 20 HR whom I never thought would hit 20 HR.

JP: what are your thoughts on Chris Archer basically saying the clubhouse wouldn’t let him perform a peaceful protest during the National Anthem?
Keith Law: Extremely disturbed. I don’t know any details, but I hope someone in Rays management talked to him about it, and let him know they’d have his back if he chose to kneel for the anthem or sit it out.

Matt: Do you have any hope that the Orioles won’t rush Hunter Harvey?
Keith Law: I’m afraid they’ll rush him, and I heard he’s still very cross-body, which is/might be how he blew out in the first place.

Bryce Harper: Dom Smith destroyed a ball the other night with one hand. What’s his HR ceiling with the new ball?
Keith Law: I saw him in HS and thought he had plus raw or better. I’m sticking to that – there’s 25 HR in there, at least.

Ty: I bought La Flamme Rouge off of your review and like it for its balance. There seems to be a broken mechanic where exhausted cyclists can block trailing cyclists by playing exhaustion cards every turn. Have your run across it? Does this sound like a good fix? An exhaustion card cannot move into the left lane ever.
Keith Law: We didn’t run across that; I think I’d have to see this in action to follow you.

Tracy: Meanwhile, Scott Pruitt is making an abomination out of the EPA and yet no one is mentioning it, at least not the corporate media. This guy is as sleazy as they come and he is single-handedly destroying one of our most important federal agencies. Keith, if you come across any informative articles on this creep I would appreciate it if you post them on your links page.
Keith Law: The problem with the current Administration – well, one of the problems – is that with scapegraces in so many positions of power, the media can’t keep every one of their misdeeds in the spotlight. We’re busy with Tom Price spending a million bucks on luxury travel; we can’t talk about Pruitt gutting environmental protections, or DeVos making life easier for rapists on campus.

Clark: You’ve answered it before, but can you tell us what Meadow Party is a reference to?
Keith Law: Don’t blame me. I voted for Bill and Opus.

GS: The other reason PR & VI aren’t states is because they’d likely bring more Democratic Party representation to Congress. Same with DC obtaining statehood.
Keith Law: I haven’t heard that about the territories but it makes sense. Also, USVI would be the smallest state by population by almost half a million people (about 20% of what Wyoming has). That would mean you’d add two Senators for 100K people, while, say, California has two for over 37 million.

Tom: Hi Keith. A certain blogger has made the assertion that Judge is “Stanton with more walks.” Does this seem to be just a wee bit clickbait?
Keith Law: Stanton with more walks is good. I’m not sure if that’s supposed to insult one or the other.

JJ: Why are you always voting for the NL ROY? Shouldn’t they mix that up a bit? Spread your East Coast Bias around to some of the other categories, perhaps?
Keith Law: This is obviously what they’ve decided I should vote on. I have no say in it.

Chris : Royal Blood newest album is very mneh to me. Going to see them open for QOTSA at MSG regardless.
Keith Law: I loved it on first and second listen, but found I haven’t gone back to it very much.

Ron: Excited for Blade Runner 2049? Early reviews have been stellar. Grierson said it is the most gorgeous film he has ever seen.
Keith Law: Yeah, I might be proven wrong on that one. I didn’t like the idea of revisiting that world at all, especially since the first movie diverged so much from PKD’s book.

Steve: What the hell happened to Chris Tillman and can he bounce back next year?
Keith Law: Came back too quick from the shoulder injury last year and hasn’t been the same since.

Andy: Will your eventual memoir be titled: No One Ever Reads the Intro?
Keith Law: Yes, but only if I get to start with a 30-page intro.
Keith Law: That’s all for this week. Thank you all, as always, for reading, and an extra thanks to everyone who’s donated to my little boardgame-sale fundraising effort. We’re over $500 to three charities, two for hurricane relief and one a local food pantry. I appreciate everyone’s generosity; goodness knows the islands hit by Irma and/or Maria need our help. I’ll be back next week for another chat.

Klawchat 9/21/17.

Three new Insider pieces for you to check out this week: scouting notes on Yu Darvish, more notes on Aaron Nola and some young Phillies hitters, and my annual look at players I was wrong about.

Keith Law: Going with the flow, it’s all a game to me. Klawchat.

James: Does Fernando Tatis Jr stick at SS?
Keith Law: I think it’s 50/50. Depends on how much bigger he gets. Certainly has the hands and actions for it.

James: Luis Urias has a killer eye at the plate but lacks power or any other standout tool. What kind of MLB player could he develop into?
Keith Law: Possible regular at 2b but lack of power is a major concern. Think it’s a more likely outcome he becomes some sort of utility guy or multi-position regular.

Nick: Why does Scioscia continue to play Albert Pujols during a postseason run even though Pujols clearly hurts the team AND they have better options???
Keith Law: I’m going to go way out on a limb here and say it’s because of his contract.

Michael: Odd question: do you ever wear a baseball cap? If so, which logo is on it? I would think it would have to be something non-partisan like a Homestead Grays cap or some such thing.
Keith Law: If you see me at a game I will probably have a cap on, especially in the daytime. None of them have logos of any team.

Brian Sabean: When will you nerds put down your slide rulers and realize that clutch hitting is real? You can’t measure clutchitude.
Keith Law: I believe the technical term is “clutchiness.”

Clarence (not Mike D.): Rangers fan here. Last year I felt good about Roughie Odor’s season, despite the 3% walk rate, because of the 30+ homeruns and the wRC+ of 106. Given his position and age, there was some reason to be excited. This season, though? Good lord, what an atrocity. Any hope for this kid’s approach?
Keith Law: He hasn’t given us any reason to have hope for it.

TJ: Do you think that we’ll see aluminum/composite bats in MLB within the next 25 years?
Keith Law: Christ I hope not. I’ll have to find a new line of work.

@RationalMLBfan: In last week’s chat, you mentioned that Gleybar at 2B would be a waste of his defensive ability. Would you explore trading Gregorius, who has turned into a solid average SS (whose hitting is *not* a product of YS, per his splits), in the next year to address the 2019 logjam? Try to trade Castro (or not [re]sign Frazier, Headley, Machado) and move Gregorius to 2B or 3B?
Keith Law: I would explore the market for Didi; I believe strongly that 1) this is his peak and 2) Gleyber has a much higher ceiling.

TJ: Do you have any take on the Neshek/Grienke autograph story?
Keith Law: Only that mentioning Greinke’s social anxiety in the news stories about it is just bullshit.

Keith: How do you think the White Sox will handle Luis Robert next season? Has your POV on him changed based on anything you heard from the DSL?
Keith Law: He was way too old for the DSL – most players there are 18 or younger. I assume he’ll start in Kannapolis.

Thad: Any chance Sean newcomb’s increased use of his high whiff change will help spring his breakout? Control issues need to change obviously but a lefty with a good change and high spin rate breaking ball seems too good to never figure it out.
Keith Law: Still haven’t seen a good argument why he’ll throw strikes other than “he’ll eventually throw strikes.” It’s not his delivery, and I don’t see how anyone could easily alter it to improve his control or command.

Kevin: In reading one of the links you posted a couple of weeks ago, I began wondering how many kids who don’t participate in showcases actually end up being drafted out of high school. It seems like their names become known based on these events. Are there actually kids out there who are not part of that circuit who end up being “Guys”? If so, how does word typically get out about them, since it seems almost every college and pro guy loves the one stop shopping of these big events?
Keith Law: Yes, plenty of kids get drafted without paying to go to showcases. I’m not sure why you’d say “almost every college and pro guy” loves those events; have you talked to that many coaches and scouts to make such a claim? Area scouts prefer to go see players one by one in actual games rather than the artificial environment of showcases.

Mike: Once Javy started to start everyday once Addi went out it seems like his plate discipline improved. Do you think he can get to a little below average walk rate if he starts everyday?
Keith Law: I do not. I don’t think he’s wired for that.

Jose R.: The Marlins’ Brian Anderson kind of snuck up on us this year. Can he be their everyday 3B next year without hurting the team?
Keith Law: Reports on the defense have been glowing this year; if he’s really a 6 or 7 glove there, then yes, he’s a regular, even if the bat’s a little light.

Seth: A couple small things that always bothered me. With interleague play everyday, why do we have to reset the stats of a player if they switch leagues? Also: if a pitcher commits the error, should it be considered an earned run? I’ll hang up and listen!
Keith Law: Resetting the stats is an anachronism that should probably due now. I think the unearned run/earned run distinction is useless.

Dan: De la Cruz pulled from AFL. Starting to become a concern that he can’t say healthy?
Keith Law: Already was a concern, now I’d just say it’s a legitimate reason to question his value.

Juwan: Do you view Victor Robles as having superstar upside? He has looked insanely dynamic for the Nats in the few performances we got to see him.
Keith Law: I do. Huge tools, still young, has always performed even when young for his leagues.

Chris: Bob Geren. On a scale from just find a new team to root for to just jump off a cliff, what should Mets’ fans reaction be to this likely hire?
Keith Law: He’s not Terry, which is an automatic improvement. What I don’t know is if Geren will be better the second time around – if he learned anything from his failures the first time, like AJ Hinch or Terry Francona did.

TC: Hey Keith, loving the book. I coach a travel team of 12/13 year old boys (no we don’t let them pitch on consecutive days or throw more than 60 pitches in an outing!) but I was wondering about the applicability of the 75% rule for stolen bases at that age level (as in, if they can’t steal successfully at least 75% of the time then they shouldn’t even try) – should that percentage be higher? lower? . I’m happy to report that my team NEVER bunts (unless it’s for a base hit)
Keith Law: Probably much lower because of the higher likelihood of an error or misplay that results in a steal that gains you two extra bases.

Jon: Any updates thoughts on Cole Tucker (SS – Pit) now that his season is over? Could he make Trea Turner-like improvements next year in his age-22 season at AA?
Keith Law: Nothing like Turner at all. Saw him a few weeks ago and wrote about him – good news is his arm seems fine, bat isn’t as far along as i’d like.

Ml: If you are running the Twins, is Kepler a part of your future?
Keith Law: Yes.

David: What would the penalty be if MLB discovered an “under the table” deal with Ohtani?
Keith Law: A fine, and maybe a loss of international pool money and/or draft picks. Probably still worth it. MLB is royally screwing this up. Manfred should just waive the rules for Otani and let him go to the highest bidder. Otherwise, the kid is nuts to come over now, between the restrictions and his impending ankle surgery.

Pops: What is your take on the Greinke/Neshek spat? Does Zach’s anxiety belong in the conversation? Isn’t that an entirely plausible explanation for his behavior here?
Keith Law: If Greinke wants to explain his behavior by referring to his social anxiety, that’s fine. YOU do not get to do that.

Marshall : What’s the outlook on Ryan O’Hearn? Previously you said that you didn’t think he’d be a regular…. Has he done anything to change your mind?
Keith Law: I don’t think that’s a fair representation of what I said; he has big-league power, and the contact he makes tends to be very hard (I think his exit velos are good too), but he hasn’t shown the approach or OBP skills to get to regular status yet. In a weak system, with potential holes all over the major league roster next year, though, I’d like to see the Royals give him a shot.

Chris : Are there certain stats that you discount given September baseball can be less meaningful and rosters are expanded? I love watching Nimmo play but am not sure if his Sept and OBP are a product of bad pitching or actual development.
Keith Law: I would generally discount everything in September if it’s an outlier compared to what the player did before (majors or minors).

Dog: Has anything in Luke Weaver’s outstanding performance since he was called up changed your opinion of him long-term, or is this just a small sample size fluke?
Keith Law: Tiny sample, facing some bad lineups, uncharacteristically high GB% (never been close to 50% anywhere else in his pro career, over 50% in majors this year). Zach Duke had a great first half-season in the majors that didn’t look that different from Weaver’s.
Keith Law: FWIW, I think Weaver’s better than Duke. Weaver’s a starter, just not a top of rotation guy.

Derick: Did you see Sabean’s interview on clutch hitting? Is it weird that the least disturbing part of the interview (at least for a Giant’s fan) is when he said “I’ll kiss your ass on Main Street”?
Keith Law: There were a lot of comments there and from Bochy that I didn’t understand. It sounded like the team is blaming Belt for having a concussion, too.

Ben: Rant: It’s so frustrating having to watch Braves games on mute because Chip & Joe spend the whole game complaining about modern baseball. They honestly argued that hitters hit too many home runs last night. Not enough “exciting hit and run, fundamental baseball” they said. I have to watch baseball games on mute, Keith!! Ridiculous.
Keith Law: Joe Simpson – who, I’m told, has taken some shots at me on air – should spend some time with his own team’s front office.

Scott: This is something that probably takes more than a chat answer to get in to, but when you’re evaluating a catcher’s game calling, what are some of the things you look for?
Keith Law: I don’t. I rely on coaches, players, team execs. I can’t evaluate that stuff from teh stands.

Dog: Is Galvis really good enough to push JP Crawford off of SS?
Keith Law: No, that’s silly.

Dana: Do you think the Wild Card Game should be a best of 3 series? Nothing more random than one baseball game.
Keith Law: I don’t want longer playoffs.

Rob : You weren’t as high as some on Jordan Adell in the draft, so has his early minor league success surprised you at all?
Keith Law: Nothing a player does in his first summer surprises me. Go look at what Dante Bichette Jr. did his first pro summer.

CB: Do you think you have any readers in Nambia?
Keith Law: No but I’m huge in Nimbabwe.

Dog: Do you buy into the theory that the baseballs are different this season, leading to more home runs? Could that also explain why guys are seeing a power jump once they get promoted to the majors from the minors (I know its a small sample, but Jesse Winker, for example, has shown way more over the fence power than expected).
Keith Law: Not a theory any more. The baseballs are different; we have direct and secondary evidence to support this.

Danny: Do you still think Clint Frazier will produce strong average and on base numbers? I think I recall you once saying that he was the best best in the minors at one point to have a batting title.
Keith Law: Did I say that? He does have one of the 2 or 3 fastest bats I’ve ever seen, but his eye has never been great.

Eric: Should Rick Honeycutt be directing Darvish to throw his changeup/cutter as you recommended? Is the fact that Darvish isn’t throwing this way essentially Honeycutt thinking it’s unnecessary or Darvish deciding he can’t/won’t do it? Both of those scenarios seem like mismanagement of an asset; the Dodgers should be trying to extract as much value out of Darvish as they can while they have him.
Keith Law: It’s not easy to just go tell a veteran player “do this, not that.” You have to get him to buy into it. I don’t have to worry about that in my job – I get to just state my opinion and not worry about whether the player agrees – but that should at least be a conversation the Dodgers have with Darvish, about throwing his changeup more (or maybe restoring the splitter?) and throwing the cutter a lot less.

Danny: Do Jorge Guzman or Freicer Perez look like starters to you?
Keith Law: I haven’t seen either yet, but based on what scouts have told me, Perez yes, Guzman probably not.

Brett: Is Klaw an Apple or Android kind of guy?
Keith Law: Apple. Had bad experiences with two Android phones years ago and that ended it for me. I do own a Kindle Fire, but use it almost exclusively as an e-reader.

Andrew, NY: I just watched the video you posted of lagreca on twitter. and he is dead wrong about the pythagorean theorem not being in baseball. My nephew just moved up a level in little league and is a C. we wanted to see have far his throw is now compared to last year and used that theorem to figure it out. and i didnt even have to do a mock lisp..go figure.
Keith Law: The rank anti-intellectualism of the rant was maybe the most disturbing part but hardly the only one. I wonder if he can explain the Pythagorean Theorem in plain English. Either the baseball one or the real one.

Robert: Do you think Duggar or Bryan Reynolds would be a better fit for CF at AT&T park in S.F.? Thanks
Keith Law: Reynolds, I think. Both are interesting, with some upside. I’ve seen Reynolds more in CF and believe he can play it.

Miguel: Do you think Eric Hosmer is an upgrade over Brandon Belt? Belt walks a ton more and rates as a much better fielder but on the Baseball Tonight podcast Buster and Kurkjian were saying the Giants should dump Belt for Hosmer. Are they forgetting Hosmer had a negative WAR just last year?
Keith Law: Hosmer’s 2017 season is an enormous outlier compared to the rest of his career; even with this year, Belt has nearly twice the career WAR. I don’t think a reasonable projection for each player has Hosmer as an upgrade – certainly not enough of one to justify paying him a premium, selling low on Belt, and probably ceding a draft pick.

JOD: Thoughts on the AL CY race? See arguments both ways re Sale vs. Kluber. To me it matters Sale has made 4 more starts, and it shouldn’t be held against him since Kluber’s made fewer starts and has a lower ERA.
Keith Law: Kluber for me but I don’t feel strongly about it. Either is deserving.

Andres: Thoughts on Slotface’s new release?
Keith Law: Liked most of it. They should be getting a lot more airplay/attention here than they are.

Scott: Nobody ever talks about Tom Eshelman, probably because he barely cracks 90 mph. But unlike Nick Pivetta, for example, who throws 95, Eshelman doesn’t walk anyone or give up home runs. Do you think he can be an effective big league starter? If so, what’s his ceiling?
Keith Law: He doesn’t give up home runs *in the minors*. We’ll see if Eshelman can avoid giving up home runs when sitting 87-88 against big league hitters.

Marty: Will we finally see netting down the lines at all stadiums, after what happened in NY yesterday? Why does it always take a tragedy/near tragedy for people to wake up about something so obvious?
Keith Law: I hope so. Otherwise we’re saying “we’ll just wait until a fan dies.”

Hinkie: I know the 2018 draft is going to be loaded with pitching, but I’d like your thoughts on a couple of hitters … 1 college, 1 prep. Are Jeremy Eierman and/or Nolan Gorman the type of players good enough to be top 5 picks ?
Keith Law: Think that’s probably optimistic on both.

Alex: Do you really think Braves trade Ender Inciarte?
Keith Law: I never said I thought they would; I said I thought they should.

Steve: Hi Keith, have you read any NK Jemisin? I just finished The Inheritance trilogy and it was beautiful.
Keith Law: I’ve read The Fifth Season and really liked it.

Pat D: Have to play devil’s advocate here a little. ESPN ultimately fired Curt Schilling for a history of saying “controversial” things. Jemelle Hill has a similar history, not as extensive, perhaps, yet she was not fired. Doesn’t this help fuel the ESPN bias narrative that certain people love to perpetuate?
Keith Law: “Controversial” is quite the euphemism. The devil deserves a better advocate than you.

Great Big Little Panther: How often do you go to a minor league or amateur game to scout a known prospect, but come away more impressed by a relatively unknown player?
Keith Law: Almost never.

Pat: Have you heard anything about the severity of Sedlock’s “forearm” injury? Was a disaster this year, then got hurt (though maybe the injury caused the ineffectiveness).
Keith Law: Not really, just heard he wasn’t coming back. Add him to the pile of young arms littering the site of I-895.

Ethan: Do you see Otani coming over now for less money, or waiting for big payday? Does the lower price tag make it any more likely that a team with a lower payroll could actually end up signing him?
Keith Law: I think it’s more likely he waits, given the cap, the ankle injury, and the fact that he hasn’t even hired an agent yet.

Alex: Is the ceiling of Bryse Wilson really higher than Mike Soroka?
Keith Law: I think it is.

Kirby Puckett & The Union Gap: Devers has made a bunch of errors lately, & his fielding percentage has fallen almost to Ryan Braun level. just a slump, or cause for concern?
Keith Law: If you want to talk about a player’s error total, you’re in the wrong chat, pal.

Matt : Is there any chance Judge can still win the MVP? Maybe if the Yankees win the division with him breaking McGuire’s rookie hat record home run record? Or does Altuve have it locked up?
Keith Law: Altuve should have it locked up, but narratives do affect the voting. Maybe some nitwit will argue the Astros were so good that they didn’t need Altuve.

Brett: As of 9/21/17, do you foresee Acuna or Eloy being higher on your 2018 Top 100 list?
Keith Law: I would refer back to my top 50 list in July, which contained both players.

Ben: I’ve always loved popular science books like Asimov, Sagan, Gamow, Feynman and others. Have you read any good recent science books that you’d recommend?
Keith Law: Ed Yong’s I Contain Multitudes is the best book in that genre I’ve read this year.

Lumin: Are you evaluating prospects’ future hit/power tools (or even pitchers’ FB rate) differently in the juiced-but-still-standard ball era?
Keith Law: No, because I think (without clear proof) that the scale should hold – that the rising tide lifts all boats. I haven’t seen, for example, why certain players would get a larger boost to their power outputs than others. If I saw such evidence, however, I would make that change.

CJ: It’s a SSS, obviously, but J.P. Crawford went from 0 walks, 7 Ks in his first 6 games to 7 walks, 7 Ks in his next 8 games. Is the latter sustainable for a player as young as he is?
Keith Law: When I saw him prior to this year, his at bats were consistently good, even when the outcomes weren’t. He didn’t mind hitting with two strikes, and he seemed to really understand the outer edge of his zone. For whatever reason, that fell apart in the first half of this year, and I haven’t gotten a satisfactory explanation for it. But what he’s done the last week-plus, and what I specifically saw him do Tuesday night, looks much more like the guy I rated as a top-5 prospect the last two winters.

Jay: I saw someone on Twitter joke that the Dodgers didnt care about winning home field advantage by “benching” Pedro Baez but in theory, wouldn’t the Dodgers be better off NOT having home field advantage? What NL team would want home field in the World Series? I would have to think its more probably they would benefit from a 4th game being able to use a DH than they would playing a home game in a 7 game series filled with randomeness, right?
Keith Law: Do they have a proper DH option? I don’t think they even have three decent outfielders right now.

Ethan: I’m asking this as a proponent of WAR, but are historical WAR figures a good measure? I’ve never understood how they are compiled for players like Ruth, Williams, etc. Aren’t stats, tracking systems, measures used to calculate now that weren’t then?
Keith Law: Historical WAR figures use different defensive metrics, but the core concept is the same: Value every event, add them up, compare to position, adjust for park and league.

Mike: Ever listen to David Cone on YES network doing Yankees’ telecasts? He seems to have a strong understanding of, and appreciation for, modernized statistics AND the ability to translate them into game strategy.
Keith Law: I’ve heard Coney a few times and think he’s among the best because he’s so thoughtful about what he says. I’m not sure I have ever heard him talk just to talk.

Todd: How panicked should Brewers fans be about Jimmy Nelson’s injury? I’ve long defended the no DL in the National League but i’d like it now please.
Keith Law: Labrum surgery is never good. I’m disappointed.

Tracy: Do you sell the books you read to any particular place or do you donate them?
Keith Law: There’s a store in West Chester PA where we donate. We’ve given to local libraries, but our local system isn’t taking donations right now (with some exceptions – I had bought several out-of-print Pulitzer winners to read, and they took those because they didn’t have them anywhere in the state libraries).

Pat: Why do people assume the balls are juiced and not the players? The same “the balls are juiced” narrative happened in the 90s. Are there some actual studies on the balls being different that I’m not aware of?
Keith Law: Yes. The Ringer and 538 both ran articles on this.

Andy: Apparently the Orioles are not planning on trading Machado before next season.
Keith Law: This film doesn’t end well for them.

addoeh: You’ll get a lot of questions in the coming weeks about “clutch”. But, on a 20-80 scale, how are your manual transmission operation skills?
Keith Law: Zero. Never learned.

Don: You mentioned on the pod with Buster that you rarely take your daughter to games. Is she into baseball at all? If not, as a parent is it a bit of a let down in anyway that she’s not into something you are passionate about? (Not that you are disappointed in her for not caring, just that she doesn’t care for something that means a lot to you)
Keith Law: She’s not really into it, and she doesn’t have the attention span for any sporting event, really. We have lots of other things we can share, though; she loves games and we cook together often now. She shaped the gargagnelli (pasta) I posted to Instagram last week.

Drew: I’m seriously not trying to be smart, just curious–I know there’s no proof of Creation, but is there proof of evolution? I’ve never read The Origin of Species, but isn’t it all just theory compiled from observation? Any good references on the subject?
Keith Law: Yes, there is proof. Bill Nye’s Undeniable is a good layperson’s read on the topic. Also, if you understand how antibiotic resistance forms in bacteria, that’s evolution happening before your eyes.

Dallas: Miles Mikolas in 60 starts in Japan has a 2.12 era with 411ip, 367k, 66bb. He has been an ace for Yomiuri. He is a free agent after the season; how would you value him coming back?
Keith Law: Probably about how I valued him before he left for Japan (assuming nothing substantial has changed about him – but I haven’t looked into him at all yet).

Tom: Do you think Justin Upton will opt out of his deal at the end of the season? Do you think the Angels should hope he doesn’t? Having this Upton for a least a couple of seasons would be nice.
Keith Law: I think he will – and the Angels are probably fine either way, really. It’s not a bad deal for them if he stays, but it’s not super team-friendly either.

Ben: How do you respond to those who think adding additional netting to help prevent injuries sustained from foul balls is adding to the pussification of baseball, and how parents aren’t looking out for their kids or this would have been prevented, and everyone should be alert 100% of the time, blah blah blah?
Keith Law: With derision.

Sean: How important is home field advantage in October?
Keith Law: I think it’s marginally important – there’s a slight but significant advantage in baseball to HFA, enough that you want it, not enough to, say, overwork a pitcher to get it.

Steve: Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter will be ____ in 2018.
Keith Law: Frenemies.

JR: If Colin Kaepernick was a 4/5 SP for and kneeled for national anthem before baseball games, would MLB freeze him out the way the NFL has, or would an MLB team sign him?
Keith Law: Josh Lueke found work. I’m thinking Kaep would get signed in MLB. I am thoroughly enjoying the people claiming the NFL’s ratings are down because a few players are kneeling, though. The delusions run deep.

Joe: Keith, DJ Stewart had a good statistical season. Did he improve his prospect standing?
Keith Law: He didn’t really, though. He wasn’t young for AA, and the bar is pretty high for a no-position bat.

Brent: Do you think Seth Beer’s bat will play well enough to make him a high 1st round pick?
Keith Law: Probably. Has to put up another big statistical year, but he’s done that before.

addoeh: What is Mike Montgomery going into next year? A decent #5? A long reliever?
Keith Law: I like him a lot better as a long reliever.

Pat D: Keith, I put “controversial” in quotes because I think controversy is in the eye of the beholder a lot of times. Full disclosure, I despise Schilling, and had no problem with what Hill said, so that’s probably why I can’t make that point. But I have seen others writing that online, and not just trolls.
Keith Law: Creating a hostile work environment by, for example, making racist or transphobic comments, is not “controversial.” It can get you fired, and it can get your employer sued. The EEOC even has a page dedicated to harassment, which includes “offensive jokes, slurs, epithets … offensive pictures.”

Brian: Does Forrest Whitley see the majors in 2018?
Keith Law: I wouldn’t be shocked at all.

CJ: I seem to remember you are an Agatha Christie fan. Any interest in the movie adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express? I tend to think her books don’t necessarily translate well to movies.
Keith Law: I’ll wait and see the reviews, but that book in particular seems like it won’t do well on film.

Darren: Do you believe MLB has to change the baseball back to previous specifications and provide details in the off season of any new changes to the baseball? Or can they go into next season with more changes, not inform the public, and escape with no blame?
Keith Law: There’s no accountability on this – they don’t have to do anything. However, I think the health of the game is going to require them to eventually calm down the ball and raise the bottom of the strike zone (which someone – Hardball Times? – wrote recently has already happened a little bit in 2017).

Nick: Is there anyone from the 2017 draft that has exceeding your expectations so far or is it too early for that?
Keith Law: Too early.

Scott: Duplantier’s season was incredible but do his skills match the stat line? Can he be a front end starter?
Keith Law: It’s not front-end stuff at all; he spent way too much time in low-A even though he was too old/advanced for that level. He is a legit prospect as a starter, but not the kind of starter the stat line might imply.

Tracy: One more book question: Have you considered uploading your entire catalog of all the books you’ve read to a site like LibraryThing.com?
Keith Law: Nah, I just blog about them. I do keep a list for myself, though, which comes in very handy when I’m standing in a used bookstore, looking at Wodehouse or Christie or Greene titles, and can’t remember if I’ve read the one in my hand before.

Harold : Have Fulmer or Lopez done anything to make you more optimistic about either one sticking as a starter?
Keith Law: Not really.

Ghost of Connie Mack: Obviously A’s fans are losing their minds over Olson’s homer binge. While nice, power has never been the question with him. The question has been and will be on the contact and bat speed. Have you seen anything from him that leads you to believe those issues have been improved and he can reach his ceiling?
Keith Law: No, I think he’s a low-average, moderate-OBP, power guy who probably ends up a DH, and can be a solid regular there if the contact rate works out, with a decent chance he’s less than that.

Brian: Thoughts on Gohara? Seems like he could REALLY benefit from developing his changeup, but overall I’m encouraged. I guess I have two questions – how important do you think a 3rd pitch is for him? And how likely do you think he can develop a passable one?
Keith Law: Third pitch definitely important, although his slider is so hard he can work it like a cutter and get some RHB out with it. I do think he’s a starter, chance to be a very good one, but I don’t think i want to buy call options on his career post age-30 or so with that waistline.

Brian: If you were the Phillies would you look to trade Cesar Hernandez in the offseason for pitching or look to move Scott Kingery?
Keith Law: Make room for Kingery. He’s a stud.

mike: Other than Potter and LOTR are there any high fantasy series’ you’ve read that you rec’d for adults
Keith Law: The Magicians trilogy, by Lev Grossman. Also, not a series, but Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke is a top 20 novel all-time for me, and at 1000 pages it’s as long as a series. (The BBC miniseries was fantastic too, especially the casting of the two leads and of the man with the thistledown hair.)

Mike: Please rank the top contenders for Bryce Harper when he hits free agency next winter. Please do the same for Manny Machado.
Keith Law: All of them? I mean, any team with the cash should be interested.

Gary: Why did Forrest Whitley fall to Houston in the draft? Were there concerns that made him fall there or was it the price tag?
Keith Law: He didn’t “fall.” He went in the teens, about where he was expected to go.

Josh: Bogaerts has to be injured, right?
Keith Law: Alex Speier came on the BBTN podcast when I was hosting and said X has been dealing with two hand injuries.

Anonymous: Thoughts on Joc Pederson?
Keith Law: Change of scenery candidate. Has ability, has not converted it, don’t think he’s gotten on well with the staff in LA either.

Danny: How unusual is it for a guy like Severino to develop a plus slider out of nowhere?
Keith Law: I think it’s not unusual, but I have no good sense of how to predict which guy will take a pitch from a 4 to a 6 (or a 7 – that’s probably a 7 slider). Aaron Nola had a fringe CH, now it’s probably close to a 6. If you just bet on athletic guys with good arms, you’ll probably capture all the “new plus pitch” guys, but you’ll also get a lot of others in your net you didn’t want.

Bob: You mentioned cooking with your daughter…. do you and your family have a favorite “weeknight” meal you enjoy cooking?
Keith Law: She likes everything but knife work. I’ve made breaded/fried chicken cutlets, and she’ll do all the steps after I’ve cut the meat. She loves to roll out dough, too, whether for pasta, pizza, tortillas, or bread.

Biscuit: Noticed the scouting reports on Nola and Darvish…would you say it is more fun to scout major leaguer stars or budding minor league prospects? I think of it like mining a rough diamond (exhilarating because of the potential) versus viewing the final gemstone product (admirable in its beauty). That parallel only works if you actually value shiny stones but feel free to apply a corollary as you see fit.
Keith Law: Much more interesting to watch kids and mull over what they do well, what they need to improve, and how that improvement might come about. Darvish did not excite me. Watching the Phillies’ young guys was way more interesting.

Kevin: I know I am late to the question. But why don’t you do chats on ESPN.com anymore?
Keith Law: ESPN ended chats in August of … holy cow, 2015. I can’t believe I’ve been chatting here for two years.

Kevin: I love your taste in board games and your ranking lists. I’m going on a flight tomorrow, any new/current favorite mobile/iOS board game apps?
Keith Law: I reviewed Through the Ages the other day, have been playing Alhambra a bit (although I had a glitch the other day), still would go back to my old favorites like Carcassonne, Agricola, Caylus, Ticket to Ride, etc.
Keith Law: OK, that’s all for this week. Thank you as always for all of your questions and for reading. I should be back next Thursday for another chat as well. Enjoy your weekends.

Klawchat 9/14/17.

I have a new boardgame review up at Paste, covering Days of Wonder’s medium-weight Yamatai, which has some clever mechanics that keeps all players’ moves connected. For Insiders, I have two new posts, my final minor league scouting post of the regular season plus a look at eight top 100 prospects who took steps backward in 2017.

Keith Law: Staccato signals of constant information: It’s Klawchat.

Trey: I know you’ve marked Chad Kuhl as a future reliever, and I’ve been with you on that. But each time he goes out I see a little more development and want to give him a longer shot. Any change on your opinion?
Keith Law: None. Still a two-pitch guy who has serious trouble with LHB.

Michael: With Gray, Hoffman, Freeland, Marquez, possibly Bettis, do the Rockies have a legitimate starting rotation? Or will they need to replace some of those guys?
Keith Law: Gray is the clear keeper of the group. Hoffman might just be a bad fit for Denver, given his flat fastball. Marquez is the most likely reliever of the group given his platoon split issues. Bettis I’ve always figured was more likely a reliever, but I’m rooting for him all the way now.

William: Is esteury ruiz the next Fernando tatis?
Keith Law: Ruiz is only one month younger than Tatis, so I’ll say no.

Angel: If you have the chance to put otani in your top prospects .. what rank you will put him?
Keith Law: Otani isn’t a prospect. He has several years of experience in NPB, Japan’s top league, and I don’t rank those guys as prospects.

Adam: Austin Hedges’ defensive prowess seems to have arrived as advertised. His bat, however, Is a bit underwhelming. How much does a strong defensive catcher have to hit to remain a starter?
Keith Law: He has power, and I think he’ll hit just enough to get to it and end up not just a starter but a good one because of all the defensive value he’ll bring.

Deke: Price-gouging laws: Good or bad? I’ve heard econ. experts say they are actually bad (low price means supply gets eliminated, means even fewer people can get the water or whatever), but I have a real hard time with “sorry, poor person, economics says that case of water is $80.”
Keith Law: I think it’s too hard for authorities to truly separate gouging from supply/demand-based price increases. And it’s true that in some market conditions, high prices can lead sellers to increase supply. The key of any such law would be to focus just on short-term price spikes caused by disasters or acts of God, where the economic benefit is unclear or nonexistent – such as, it’s not like suppliers could suddenly ship a bunch of food and water and gas to south Florida on no notice.

Mike: Why do teams sometimes put guys on the 10-day DL in September? What advantage does that provide now that the rosters are expanded?
Keith Law: I actually don’t know the answer to this.

Chris : I hate to nitpick as a Mets fan, but why does the FO allow TC to sit Dom Smith and Nimmo against lefties? Also, Cecchini is on the bench in favor of ABs for useless vets like Reyes and Cabrera. It drives me crazy that they can’t even suck properly.
Keith Law: The Cecchini stuff bugs me more. I’m OK with easing up on Nimmo, who’s always had trouble with LHP, or Smith, who has shown power but hasn’t made a ton of hard contact yet, right now. By next year, however, Smith needs to be playing every day and someone else needs to be the manager.

Adam: It has been speculated that Otani’s free agency will be a situation “where money almost literally isn’t a factor,” due to the new signing rules. But the difference between $300k and $10mil is still a lot of money, even for Otani, right?
Keith Law: Of course it is. Two thoughts on Otani: One, I saw absolutely nothing this week to indicate that he’s any more likely to be posted next month than he was a few days ago. There was one completely unsourced report out of Japan … and that’s it. He may very well come over, but this was a non-story. Two, a team can sign Otani to a short-term deal with a forced non-tender clause, which most NPB free agents had in their contracts, so they’d become MLB free agents after just three or four years here. Hell, if I were GM of a contender with the cap room, I’d offer Otani one year at the maximum allowed salary and agree to nontender him at the end of the year.

Chris : If I’m the Mets I’m fielding offers for deGrom this offseason. Their minors are a disaster and if they could command a Sale or even Gray-like return, they’d have to consider it. A 2018 playoff run just doesn’t look doable right now.
Keith Law: I agree. Pitching depth is gone. I don’t think the minors are “a disaster” but they’re not helping in 2018 beyond the guys already up.

Kelly : What’s your take on Cub’s pitcher Jen-Ho Tseng, and what are your thoughts on bringing in a young starter during a pennant race?
Keith Law: Pretty average stuff, always had a flat fastball in the low minors. He stopped missing bats this year but posted the best GB rate of his career, so perhaps there’s something new there. I don’t mind bringing in a young starter for important or high-leverage games, as long as it’s someone with command, rather than a stuff guy who’s still unfinished as a pitcher.

Devon: Have you heard anything about this supposed “power struggle” in the Braves FO? I hope the old guard of Schuerholz and Cox don’t think they can win the way they used to, with a top 5 payroll any more.
Keith Law: No. I said last week I thought that story was nonsense.

Bobby: Keith – Thanks, as always, for these chats. Re Chance Adams of Yanks system, it seems like you think he is a likely reliever. That said, I imagine you think it makes sense to keep him starting until he absolutely proves he can’t? Since he has more or less proved himself against minor league hitters what would you do w him if you were Cashman?
Keith Law: I’d spot start him in the majors, definitely. Unless there’s a health reason or absolutely no room at the inn, I’d always let a starter continue to start until he proves he can’t.

Bob Horse: Have you seen/heard anything about Jesus Luzardo since he returned from TJ? Early returns look promising for the A’s
Keith Law: Heard the stuff is all the way back, so yes, very promising.

Chris : Marcos Molina a starter or reliever?
Keith Law: Reliever. Stuff isn’t the same post-TJ and it’s not a good delivery for a starter.

Paul: Keith – see any of Gohara’s start last night? You weren’t lying when you said it’s an easy 98! Slider looks filthy too. Even in the first start, the numbers were ugly, but he got seriously squeezed on a few eventual walks that became his undoing. I’m excited!
Keith Law: I did, and yes, two plus pitches, chance for a third adequate one, has the size, still very young. I liked the trade for Atlanta at the time and like it even more now.

Nick Pappagiorgio: Right now, are Kershaw’s .47 ERA and .52 xFIP advantages and superior K/BB ratio (6.7 to 4.7) enough to offset his ~25 IP deficit to Scherzer for NL CY? (They’re even on WHIP and FIP.) Thank you!
Keith Law: I don’t see why K/BB ratio or WHIP would matter at all in this discussion. It’s how much you pitched and how well you prevented runs – which you can argue is measured by ERA or RA, or by stats like FIP that focus more on what the pitcher controls. (Don’t use xFIP.)

Craig: I see where the Brewers called up Aaron Wilkerson, possibly to take Jimmy Nelson’s spot in the rotation. His AA stats this year were great — does he have the stuff to start big league games right now?
Keith Law: Yep, potential 5th starter type, great story behind it too – wasn’t even the #1 on his own HS team, ended up at NAIA Cumberland, pitched in independent ball, Red Sox scouted him there and signed him

Nancy: What’s your outlook on Albert Almora? Can he be an every day above average regular. He’s walking a little this year and has continued to hit well and play great d.
Keith Law: I think the defense makes him an above average regular in time.

Jon: What do you make of Kevin Gausman’s season? Has been electric the 2nd half. But we saw that at points last year as well. Is 2018 his year to put it all together?
Keith Law: In starts where he’s on the 1b side of the rubber, he’s been generally outstanding. Just leave him the hell alone already.

Leo: My early view of the 2018 draft is that it has a lot of depth but not much up top. A lot of HSers that project to be ok and high-floor college arms. Thoughts?
Keith Law: Don’t agree. Better HS crop than that, worse college arm crop. No Bryce Harper types at the top but good talent in the top ten overall.

DR: Is Pache a borderline top 100 guy? How much power does he have to hit for to be a top guy?
Keith Law: I think he’ll end up a future top 100 guy. The power is in there, but he’s shown none, obviously, so it’ll be hard to justify (to myself, even) ranking him above players with a little less ceiling but more production closer to the majors.

Esq: Sorry cut off earlier. Early reports on manning were that stuff was down. He looked dominant later in season. Has he returned to his top ten pick form?
Keith Law: Stuff was down pretty much all summer. At least he started throwing more strikes after he looked like he might have the yips in spring training.

Alyssa: Is AJ Reed a prime trade candidate? Seems hard for HOU to find him AB’s at the big league level but had another monster year in Fresno. He just has to play, right?
Keith Law: Agreed.

Leo: Nick Williams hasn’t really slowed down. He’s running a high BABIP though in a small sample…is his season encorauging at least?
Keith Law: Not to me – same poor pitch recognition as ever.

Brad : Hey Keith! It really looks like Giolito had turned the corner. I don’t know if he will ever be a true ace but I think there is a good chance he is at least a solid #2 or a really good #3. Do you think this is another on the list of Don Cooper doing his magic or where his issues only minor mechanical ones?
Keith Law: Cooper and others deserve credit for restoring Giolito’s old mechanics. It’s still not 100% – he didn’t look like himself yesterday after a couple of starts where he really did look like the pre-2016 version – but I’m fine projecting him as a 2 or better.

Yu: Can Yu Cheng Chang become an everyday SS or does he need a trade for that to happen?
Keith Law: Don’t think so. Not sure he’s going to hit enough for that – it’s not a great swing and he lacks the hand strength for it just now.

Ron: Is this Michael Taylor putting everything together and is it sustainable? Numbers are substantially better than his first few seasons. Were improvements made or is it a flash in the pan?
Keith Law: It’s not entirely sustainable, but he’s a plus defender with pop. I doubt he’s a .364 BABIP guy (or close to it) going forward but he does enough else to stay a regular for someone.

Hinkie: Can you please explain what MLB means when it says it “intends to be vigilant in enforcing the rules and will scrutinize any efforts to skirt them” when it comes to the Shohei Otani Sweepstakes. Is this even serious or will some team still have an “under the table” long term arrangement with Otani ?
Keith Law: No idea how MLB can stop anyone who doesn’t explicitly violate the CBA.

Yu: Is Rogelio Armenteros more than a back end starter?
Keith Law: Probably not, but given how little it cost to sign him, that would be an incredible outcome.

Jordan : Is Jordan Hicks a starter or reliever? Are this season’s stats cause for optimism?
Keith Law: Starter for me, with some performance risk. Huge upside.

Ethan: Hi Keith, I really appreciate these chats, as they are a highlight for me each week. I am a huge Padres fan and am excited about the future but am also assessing a couple of glaring holes with position players. Does Franchy Cordero have chance to be an everyday LF on a good team or more of a 4th OF? And who would you prefer more at 2B – Luis Urias, Asuaje or Spangenberg? Thanks again!
Keith Law: Urias has the best potential to be a regular at 2b, but needs to find more power than he’s ever shown. Cordero chance for a regular, more likely an extra guy, but young enough that there’s a wide range of outcomes.

Denis: Will Mitch White crack the top 100 prospects next year?
Keith Law: He made my top 50 in April and wasn’t far off the midseason list (which included recently signed draftees).

Pat: The Orioles’ approach to Austin Hays this month is obviously strange. But that aside, how likely is he to be an acceptable everyday RF on Opening Day 2018? Because I think that’s where it’s headed.
Keith Law: It’s not just strange – it’s ridiculous. Don’t add a guy to the 40-man two years early if you’re not going to play him. I do think he’s a regular for them at some point next year.

Ted: Given some of the technical flaws you’ve noted on Moncada’s swing, would he be better off focusing on hitting from one side of the plate? Any word on whether the White Sox will look for him to pick righty or lefty?
Keith Law: Too inexperienced to give up on him switch-hitting just now. It’s like the starter/reliever question earlier – my job is to forecast what I think a player will do or become, whereas the team has more incentive to play it out and see if the improbable outcome ends up occurring.

Blank: What’s your opinion on the Jemele Hill situation?
Keith Law: I stand with Jemele unequivocally. I particularly support her right to say what she did. And I find the very White House trying to silence a smart black woman of color very disturbing.

Tony P (@disguyyy): I’ll try not to hit enter (again) and end up just saying “Hi”. I’m sure you are getting a ton of these today, but hopefully I can ask in an original manner. Do you feel pressure, whether it be from yourself, co-workers or those of us who are fans of your willingness to speak truth or even opinion (gasp!) in an environment that does not encourage it, to defend people who even though they may have a higher profile in that environment, historically could benefit greatly from your verbal support? How do you determine when to speak up and when to let the situation settle itself? Thanks, as always.
Keith Law: I’m just going to be me. If I think I need to say something, I’ll say it. Evolution is real, vaccines are safe and effective, climate change is real and caused by man, chemtrails aren’t a thing, the earth is round, we did go to the moon, and open borders are good for the economy.

Paul: Hey Keith – I enjoyed your Dunkirk review and agreed with it across the board. One thing you didn’t mention that really jumped out to me – I thought the sound throughout the movie was amazing. Kept me on the edge of my seat – a euphemism that in this case was literally true – for 90 minutes straight.
Keith Law: I thought it was mixed too loud, at least where I saw it; I found some of the battle noise distracting to the point where I wasn’t paying enough attention to the on-screen action. But that could just be me.

Mike: Disappointing years for Jays pitching prospects: which of Greene, Harris and SRF are most likely to rebound?
Keith Law: I hear the best comments on Greene and the least favorable on Harris. I didn’t get to see any this year, unfortunately.

Andy: Would you rather have rhys hoskins or yoan moncada?
Keith Law: I’d still roll the dice on Moncada’s upside even knowing that Hoskins is probably no worse than an average major-league regular.

Rob : Why do left handed hitters seem to more often have such extreme splits against left handed pitching than right handed hitters do against right handed pitchers? Or is that a narrative baseball people have implanted in our heads?
Keith Law: It’s very true, and I think it’s a function of LHB seeing so few decent LHP as amateurs or low-minors prospects.

Mark: Was pleasantly surprised to read your scouting report on Tate. If he reaches his ceiling, can we expect a solid #2 or very good #3?
Keith Law: It’s #2 stuff and #4/5 kind of not-missing-bats results. I’m cautiously optimistic, though. I don’t think this is Nate Eovaldi, where the velocity is good but there’s nothing else. Tate’s fastball has life and he does have two decent offspeed pitches.

Owen: What was Dusty Baker thinking last night leaving Scherzer in for 120 pitches with the division locked up and his ace clearly tired?
Keith Law: The last inning was probably pushing it. I don’t think 120 is an automatic negative with Scherzer, given his age, size, durability, etc., but he might have been fatigued at teh very end.

Justin: What do you make of Tyler Glasnow? He seemed to fix his control problems in AAA after making a few adjustments, then pitched in MLB last night and was awful. I’m not giving up on him, but I was just curious what your current thoughts on him are.
Keith Law: Losing faith that he’ll ever have the command and control to be a starter. It’s ace stuff, but I don’t think he’s ever had a delivery that he could repeat. It does look better today than it did in March, when I compared his delivery to Bert doing the pigeon.

Owen: Thomas Boswell made a comparison between Michael A. Taylor and Mike Cameron the other day (excellent defensive CFs who didn’t break out offensively until 26, and they do show up on each other’s B-R comps by age). Fair comparison? Semi-fair? Outrageous?
Keith Law: Very fair. Similar skill sets across the board – power, speed, hard contact, strikeouts. Is Taylor as big as Cameron? I only saw Cam up close when he retired, while Daz was an amateur, and holy cow he was huge.

Denis: Which prospects are you most looking forward to seeing in AFL?
Keith Law: I’m not joking when I say all of them. It’s one of the best things I do every year. I’m like Homer in the Land of Chocolate.

Mr. Red: Is Jose Siri a legit prospect or just a guy who had a really nice hot streak? Follow-up: can you answer without making an iphone Siri joke? I’ll hang up and listen.
Keith Law: Legit prospect. But I hear he doesn’t recognize faces.

Jon V : There is talk of Tito going with a 14 position player roster for the playoffs. Do you like this strategy or is there a big risk you tax your staff if one of your starters has a bad outing?
Keith Law: If you have the right relievers, guys who can go multiple innings, then you can do this, easily.

Patty O’Furniture: Do you believe in Austin Riley yet? Hit .315 with 8 bombs once he got to AA
Keith Law: With a .393 BABIP, way above anything he’d done before. Not sure why you’re just ignoring the bad performance in high-A, either.

Daniel: Most intriguing Starting pitching prospect in Yankees system?
Keith Law: Loaisiga or Abreu.

Tracy: Keith, you mentioned last week what you do with all the books you read and it finally made me realize that not only do I enjoy reading, I am also a bibliophile — I enjoy the physical experience of reading and holding a book, hardcovers in particular (forget e-books). Does that make me a snob?
Keith Law: If it does, I’m a booksnob too. Although I do read probably 15-20 ebooks a year, and maybe a dozen audiobooks, on top of 70+ physical books.

John: Heard that the cubs thought alzolay had surpassed cease as a prospect? Do you agree with that assessment?
Keith Law: You probably heard that from me when they traded Cease.

Tom: What are your thoughts on Zack Godley? Is this season indicative of his talents, or is it just a fluke?
Keith Law: CB is much better than I’d ever heard it was, or even remember seeing on TV before this year. So I think it’s fairly real.

Angelo: Enjoyed your review of Yamataii. How is it as a two player game?
Keith Law: Plays well with two, best with three, four is crazy but good-crazy because you’re competing for space.

Brian: How much do you look into why people do bad things, and does that affect your opinion of them? I know everyone can change but it seems MUCH harder to do for some. I’m thinking of how you say people can’t be rehabilitated if they commit certain crimes (e.g. rape). What if that person grew up in a household where rape was common? Even if society says it’s wrong, all the people you’re looking up to (e.g. parents) are either participating or are observers, which can result in you thinking – even for once in your life – that it’s ok to do.
Keith Law: Many violent criminals were themselves victims. That should affect how our justice system approaches them, but the prevailing belief in the field is that such people – pedophiles, people with violent paraphilias – can’t be ‘fixed,’ either.

Ben: What World Series matchup are you hoping for? I think Indians-Dodgers would be a lot of fun.
Keith Law: I think that or Cleveland/Nats would be the best for fans in general – meaning, if your team isn’t in the WS, what pair of clubs would most make you want to watch?

Chris: Thanks for your Trenton writeup, it’s exactly what I was hoping for when I sent you that tweet. So, is Thairo worth a 40-man spot? Likely to be popped in Rule 5 (I know, you love Rule 5 talk), but behind tons of middle infielders and utiility guys arent that hard to find.
Keith Law: I’d probably protect him – I think he’s taken for sure – but maybe that means he’s trade bait for them in November?

Bert Stanton: Hey Keith, I appreciate all of the work you do. Would you grade Kyle Tucker’s current/future hit and power tools any differently now than you did this past offseason?
Keith Law: I don’t remember where I graded them last offseason (if I did); I would say I think as much power as there is now, there’s at least another full grade in there. He’s still a good distance from his physical peak.

David: Will we get read your thoughts on Dillon Tate’s start at some point?
Keith Law: Posted this morning, and the link is at the top of this post.

Bort: Are you buying shares in Max Fried?
Keith Law: I see above-average CB and CH, average or better FB, below command, good athlete, needs time but no physical reason he can’t be a good three-pitch starter.

Chris: Gut feeling by ASB next year: Andujar at 3B, Gleyber at 2B, Headley playing some first and Castro traded. Seem reasonable?
Keith Law: Gleyber at 2B is a waste of his defensive ability. Andujar at 3b works for me, though. Good player, may never get the hype he deserves because he’s behind bigger prospects in that system.

TK: One more note on Dunkirk and the sound: that’s the first movie I can remember with almost no silence. Maybe only a couple seconds before the end of the movie. Plus, Hans Zimmer’s use of the Shepard tones created the effect of rising tension throughout that had people (literally and metaphorically) on the edge of their seats.
Keith Law: And now I have a page saved for later reading about Shepard tones.

TK: I think you mentioned before you have the NL ROY vote again this year, so I don’t know how much you can comment on this, but has Josh Bell’s defense improved at all this year? Fangraphs WAR has his defense at -11.5! Is there any hope for him to become at least average at first? Or is his future back in the outfield or, sigh, at DH with an AL team?
Keith Law: That’s misleading. His UZR, the main defensive metric used by Fangraphs, is -2.1, so two runs below average at first base. The -11.5 figure includes the positional adjustment for first base. It’s saying he’s a slightly below-average defensive first baseman, and I’d say that matches the eye test – not average, maybe even a tick worse than the -2.1 indicates (first base defense isn’t well captured by defensive metrics yet), but playable.

Owen: Follow-up: Mike Cameron listed at 6’2″, 210. Michael A. Taylor at 6’3″, 210, although his face makes him look like his mom is expecting him to come home from the park for dinner.
Keith Law: OK, Mike Cameron was not 210 at age ~40, I can promise you that.

Jshep12: Do you now feel like Serverino’s change up is good enough to keep him in a starting roll or do you still see him as a reliever going forward?
Keith Law: I never had an issue with his changeup – it was his best pitch when he was in low-A. He didn’t have much of a slider till this year, and now he has one, it’s really hard, and he throws it a ton.

Michael: Looking for a board game rec for my 4yo. She’s mastered UNO and Sorry. Any suggestions so she can continue to develop strategic sense?
Keith Law: Ticket to Ride First Journey is good for that 4-8 age range. A reader said yesterday on twitter that the youth version of Carcassonne is good too.

David: Could we get a few words on Jonathan Loaisiga? Really interesting to hear you mention him over some more widely-known low-minors Yankee pitching prospects.
Keith Law: Also in that post linked above…

Brian: Corey Knebel the long term solution for the Brewers at closer? Or would you look to flip him for an impact bat?
Keith Law: Every closer on a non-contender – well, the Brewers are contenders and builders at the same time – should be considered trade bait. The attrition rate on closers is too high.

Connor: Is Nick Allen already a MLB-caliber SS?
Keith Law: No.

JR: Have we become numb to mass shootings? Last weekend guy shot his ex wife and 7 others at a football watching party, yesterday there was a shooting at a spokane high school. Feels like as they have become more common, media coverage and talk about it goes way down, which is scary.
Keith Law: We’ve become numb – someone tweeted after the failure of gun control legislation after Sandy Hook that the battle was over, that if 20 dead kids couldn’t move the needle, nothing will – and we’ve also been overwhelmed by the constant scandal, controversy, and policy nightmares of the current Administration.

Austin: Thoughts on the Cleveland Indians?
Keith Law: They’re good.

Jeff: I notice that you do not use the Indians nickname (see Cleveland/Nats above). Anything the team could do to redeem the nickname in your view? Perhaps something like this:
1) Announce that regardless of the historical origin (which is murky) of the nickname from the 1910s, going forward the Indians are named to honor Louis Sockalexis.
2) Eliminate Chief Wahoo and hire a task force of Native American artists to design a new logo.
Keith Law: Yeah, they could fucking drop it because it’s racist garbage.

kmill: Keith, I live on the island of St. John and made it off the day before Irma hit. I know you are aware of the issues we are facing and help needed. You and your readers help spreading awareness is greatly appreciated. The US in USVI stands for United States, we are part of this country and should receive equal benefits for disaster relief. thanks
Keith Law: I’ve sent $100 to St. John’s Rescue, and the little boardgame sale I announced in my newsletter already raised $90 that I sent to Tim Duncan’s Youcaring fund for USVI relief. I know not everyone has the ability to give, but if you do, please consider those funds – those two islands need our help. So do Barbuda and St. Martin, but the USVI are particularly dependent on us to help, and there are thousands of people there who’ll need shelter, food, and basics just to resume their lives.
Keith Law: That’s all for this week – thank you all for your questions and for reading. I should be back next Thursday on schedule for another chat. Enjoy your weekends!