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!

Klawchat 9/7/17.

My latest Insider column named Vlad Guerrero, Jr., our Prospect of the Year for 2017. I also have recent boardgame content on the various Game of Thrones boardgames (at Vulture) and the best of GenCon 2017 (Paste).

Keith Law: Things were good when we were young. Klawchat.

Chris : I’m IN on Plawecki. Is that nuts? Low K rate and better D than d’Arnaud make me a believer.
Keith Law: Not nuts; I’ve liked him in the past, too, before Teflon Terry decided it was smart to trash his own young player to the press.

Connor: Corey Ray, Isan Diaz, Lucas Erceg, Trent Clark, Marcos Diplan all had down years at Carolina. Coincidence or organizational issue?
Keith Law: Doubt it’s a coincidence when that many hitters all scuffle at one level. Clark hadn’t really hit well last year either, so I might take him out of the equation, but the others all came in with track record and/or pedigree and fell totally flat. That said, Gatewood and Harrison both had breakout years for the same club – but both had been handled very conservatively and given lots of time to fail and adjust.

Todd: Where would you assign AJ Puk to start next season, and what is his ceiling and the probability of him getting close to it?
Keith Law: Probably back in AA. Maybe a #2 ceiling, but low probability of getting the command and control required to reach it.

Chris : You see anything promising from Jhoan Urena or David Thompson?
Keith Law: I do not.

EricVA: My wife and I have lived in the DC area for a long time. We love the culture and culinary options that come with DC but hate the high cost of living. Now we pay child care that’s equal to the cost of our mortgage. We’ve always been looking to relocate. Recently I was looking at the Wilmington area as an option. Is there enough going on that we wouldn’t be bored? Is Philly the closest option for entertainment?
Keith Law: Philly is the closest option for much of anything. Delaware’s cost of living is low, and the state’s politics generally align well with my own, but you aren’t moving here for the food or entertainment scenes. I’m 35 minutes from downtown Philly, though, so I have access to it.

Josh : The Orioles just called up Austin Hays. He has performed tremendously at both high-A and AA this year (in scarily identical fashion). What do you expect him to become long-term?
Keith Law: I like Austin Hays and think he’s a regular, but you can’t call a 4.5% walk rate for a corner outfielder performing “tremendously.” He’s going to have to tame the aggressiveness – he’s not a hacker, but MLB pitchers aren’t going to give him as many pitches to drive early in the count.

Steve: Of the many paperbacks/hardcovers you read, which do you keep, and how do you organize them in the bookshelves in your home?
Keith Law: I keep maybe a quarter of them – books I absolutely loved, books by certain authors (Wodehouse, Greene, Waugh, Chandler), books I think my wife or daughter might want to read. I sell or donate the rest. I so rarely re-read anything that it doesn’t make sense to keep a book just because it looks nice on the shelf.

Erix: Thoughts on Nate Pearson’s start yesterday?
Keith Law: I wasn’t there.

Raphael: Why does age matter more for hitting prospects than pitchers?
Keith Law: The short answer is that past studies have shown it matters much more for hitters – that performing when young for a level is a huge positive indicator, and being old for a level is a strong negative – than for pitchers. I think a longer scouting answer would include the possibility that a younger pitcher already has major-league quality stuff whereas very young hitters are still developing their approaches even if they’re physically mature.

Dodger fans: Oh, so that’s what regression to the mean is.
Keith Law: Like Cheryl C told Tastee-Taste, it’s a motherfucker.

Marc: Thoughts on Flaherty’s first few starts? Why will he eventually be better than Weaver, who’s been impressive in small sample?
Keith Law: Don’t like judging anyone on two starts – or one, as I saw with Gohara yesterday on my internets – but I think Flaherty has several advantages over Weaver, the biggest of which is an above-average to plus breaking ball. I think he’s a 2 or 3, whereas Weaver is a 4.

Josh: Do you sleep? I highly appreciate all the wide ranging content you generate, but I have no idea how I could be that efficient. I have only read 5 and listened to 8 books so far this year, for example.
Keith Law: I read fast, I don’t watch a lot of TV, and I rarely do ‘nothing.’ I can’t even mow the lawn without a podcast (Grierson & Leitch – one episode almost exactly gets me through the whole half acre) or an audiobook going.

Dr. Bob: Indulge me a moment regarding a Mike Trout trade. Why couldn’t a team like, say, St. Louis put together a package. The Angels have no farm system and not enough talent at the major league level. The Cardinals (and other teams might fit as well) have tremendous depth, though no real standout players and in need of a shakeup. Why couldn’t they put together a package of 8-10 players that would help re-stock both the Angels’ big club and the minor leagues? They would still have core players to add to Trout to build a competitive team.
Keith Law: The obstacle has always been the Angels’ owner, who doesn’t want to trade his Mickey Mantle. With the team on the edge of a playoff berth this year, I doubt he’ll change his mind any time soon.

Dan: Did the Phillies break an unwritten rule in flipping Nicasio to the Cards when Huntington pretty much said he wouldn’t deal to them because they lowballed him? Does this affect their ability to do deals with teams?
Keith Law: I’m not a fan of unwritten rules, but I don’t think the Phils broke one here anyway.

CR: In the wake of some fans’ response to the Michael Bennett incident, and to Colin Kaepernick and other athletes who take action, and as I watch guys like Jose Reyes and Aroldis Chapman not only awarded the privilege of professional athletics but touted by teams’ social media depts., based on your front office experience, is their anything the average fan can do to force teams in all leagues to be more actively socially responsible? I’ve long since given up on the NFL, but my kids still like it and I don’t want to completely eliminate all sports from my life, but I’m feeling like no other option exists but to tune out. Thanks for the chats and for tackling tough issues like this and others.
Keith Law: Sports teams and leagues recognize one language, that of the dollar. If people stop watching and stop attending, the entities will change their policies.

Jack: Overall, what do you think of the pitching in the Phillies system?
Keith Law: Ton of depth in arms who might be starters. Good chance there’s no one there who’s more than an above-average starter. You can dream a little on Sixto with the 80 fastball.

Terrence: After that exchange with Avisail Garcia, Bauer seemed to pitch better while angry. Fangraphs had an interesting article about that, and how normally people want their pitchers to be calm on the mound. Are there some guys you just let them be as mad, weird, crazy as they want as long as it helps?
Keith Law: I saw Johan Oviedo (STL) pitch for State College the other night, and he was really disappointing – 89-91, overusing the CB, not much of a CH – but did touch 93 once. I asked around, and was told sometimes he’ll show that 93-95 after giving up a homer or other big hit. So if it’s in there, and what he’s showing most of the time isn’t good enough (it’s not), maybe he’d be better if he were just regularly pissed off.

addoeh: Where should the “blame” go for Yankees-Red Sox stealing signs fiasco? Is the line drawn where modern technology shouldn’t be used, but all else is more or less fair game? Should teams do a better job of changing up their signals?
Keith Law: Boston’s biggest mistake was getting caught.

Adam: Do you have more faith in Jo Adell or Heliot Ramos long term?
Keith Law: That sounds like a question of probability, so I’d say Ramos. Adell has a much higher ceiling.

Lee D, LA: Keith — I know about SSS and all, but would the D-Backs be favored over the Dodgers in a 7 game series right now?
Keith Law: No. Remember in 2007 when the Yankees swept all six games from Cleveland in the regular season, and then Cleveland won the ALDS from the Yanks 3 games to 1? Regular-season matchup results mean nothing for October.

Rebuilding is terrible: If my memory serves me right, you were the first one who recognized Ozzie Albies when he was in the rookie ball. Do you think he will surpass Dansby Swanson next year?
Keith Law: I doubt I was first but I appreciate the credit. I think Swanson will still end up a very good player, with Albies also producing well as soon as next year. Also, whenever he homers, we need to get #OzzieDuzIt trending.

Brett: Cannot argue with your choice of Vlad Jr. as Prospect of the Year. How close was Acuna? Any others on your short list?
Keith Law: That list was in rough order, so Acuna was second.

Philip: Ultimately does Madrigal’s size prevent him from going top 5? And at this way too early point which range would you be comfortable on taking him?
Keith Law: Don’t think he’s a top 5 guy even if he were average size. First rounder for sure.

Matt: Do you think Vlad Jr stays at 3B long term or has to move off the position?
Keith Law: I told Scott Mackenzie on TSN 1050 yesterday that I thought it was 50/50.

Nate: What do you expect from Raul Mondesi going forward? I know he’s not technically a prospect anymore but he’s still very young.
Keith Law: Very young with no history of performance, largely because he was rushed up the ladder. 19 UIBB this year in 394 PA. Since his breakout 2014 season, he has 60 UIBB in 1677 PA. He’s very fast, and has bat speed, but he’s never really learned to hit – and the Royals have had him bunting a LOT, which I think is counterproductive when a kid has a poor approach to begin with.

Matt: Has pint had such a disappointing first year that he’s no longer a top 100 prospect?
Keith Law: I don’t think he was on my top 100 last January, so it’s not as if this season would elevate him. The Rockies can’t be surprised – we knew he had huge stuff and control problems, plus asheville is a big hitter’s park.

Mark: Klaw,
As the Diamondbacks continue to roll, how much credit for the team’s success does the Stewart-La Russa-Watson group deserve due to the moves they made: a lot, some, none and why?
Keith Law: I’ll credit them for Robbie Ray. That’s it.

Matt Walsh: Saves cradle and protect Wins. RBIs enable and protect both. This is how it ought to be, despite what smart baseball says.
Keith Law: Took me a second, but then I saw the name. Well done.

Mike: Very sorry to hear about the passing of Gene Michael today. Do you think that he receives due credit as an excellent executive from baseball people outside of NY?
Keith Law: Within the game, yes. Very highly respected as an evaluator and a person.

Max: Alex Bregman is having a 4+ WAR (BR) season. Is this what you expect from him going forward, with maybe one or two 5-7 WAR seasons in there as a peak, until he hits his decline phase?
Keith Law: I think there might be another grade of hit in there.

Utilm: Is it just me or is Yankees farm full of hard throwing guys that are probably pen guys long term? Abreu, Acevado, Guzman, Perez
Keith Law: Lot of hard-throwing guys who are probably pen guys … but if you give me five such pitchers, there’s a good enough chance that one of them starts that I’d be happy with the portfolio. Severino looked (still looks, really) like a big breakdown risk who’ll end up in the pen, but he gave them one good year of starting already. If Abreu, who I think has the best chance to start of the group, does that, it’s found money.

tom: What do you think Ian Happ’s potential is? Thanks
Keith Law: Above-average regular, fringe star. High OBP, high K guy with power. Adequate D at second, can fake a lot of positions.

Tim: Which tools are hardest to improve in the Majors? Think we all get caught up in thinking a guy’s AA or AAA stats will dictate exactly who the guy is at the next level.
Keith Law: If a guy doesn’t hit in AA, the odds of him learning to hit in the majors are low – not zero, but low. You can teach a lot of things, though. Guys do occasionally improve their plate discipline, or learn a new pitch, or find command.

Dallas: What do you think happens to Khris Davis this winter? He’s going over $11.0 million as a 4+ in arbitration. Will he be non-tendered? Chris Carter is the comparison but I think Khris Davis has been better than Carter as a hitter however there defensive value is similar (though I wonder what happened this year to Davis’ range in LF; it’s always been good but this year it’s negative). Do the A’s tender him? Trade him? Would he have more value after the tender date because teams will try to steal him thinking he will be non-tendered? Thanks as always for your time and consideration.
Keith Law: Buster asked me about this on the podcast today. I think the A’s try to trade him, but there’s a real chance he gets non-tendered because he’ll take 40+ homers into arb and get something like $10 million. The market wouldn’t pay him that.

Jesse: How much have you read about AI? Are you concerned it could be an existential threat to humans?
Keith Law: No, this isn’t really something taking up much of my mindshare right now.

Jon V : Am I wrong to be incredibly excited about Triston McKenzie? Can he be an ace or more like a really good 2/3?
Keith Law: He can grow into an ace, but he’s not there yet. It’s the expectation that he will add velocity as he fills out, as he still has a very slight teenager’s build.

Peggy Sue: Greetings. Hate crime legislation: Good, or thoughtcrime in disguise?
Keith Law: I think it’s both. I think it serves a useful societal function … but it criminalizes intent in a way that few if any other laws do.

Ron: Hi Keith I see E. Rosario is at 286/326/490 with an 816 OPS. The biggest thing is his OBP which is higher than his career of 304. Is this a SSS or has he done a better job of not swinging at everything? Has some pop and seems like he slowly has improved since April.
Keith Law: He’s gone from “degenerate hacker” to “uncomfortably aggressive.” But he’s always been a bat-speed/high-contact sort of guy so I think it can work for him. He’ll never be a star, IMO, but could hang in as a regular for a while.

Jon V : If you were running the Indians would you look to move Kipnis this offseason and make Ramirez an everyday 2B and play Diaz at 3rd?
Keith Law: Yes.

JR: Theory: the Thursday Next world Jasper Fforde writes about is real. We had a stupidity surplus. The government decided to use the surplus to get Trump elected. It’s the only thing that makes sense.
Keith Law: In that case I think they overspent.

Michael: Hi Keith – wondering if there is any use in today’s day and age for batting average? Or does OBP (and other stats) completely supplant it? Wouldn’t the newpaper and the local tv feed be better off showing OBP than Avg. as they currently do?
Keith Law: I’d much rather see OBP there, but if the audience expects AVG, you can’t just eliminate it without working to educate them on why you’re making the switch.

Chris: Hey Keith, looking at the AFL rosters, some teams have sent upper tier prospects, while others have sent middling ones. What is the overall intent of the AFL, extra reps or putting the best against the best?
Keith Law: Extra reps or letting other teams scout guys you might want to trade. Or for a few franchises it’s just a nuisance so you send a bunch of NPs.

Marco: Heliot Ramos had a great season in the AZL, but didn’t show up on your list of best performances for 2017 draftees. Does he strike out too much, or do you not see him developing like the Giants desperately need him to?
Keith Law: Struck out too much for that list.

B: What are your thoughts on Bo Bichette? Is he a guy that could ultimately be a top 20 prospect?
Keith Law: Love the bat. Don’t think he’s a SS long term.

Alex: As a Giants fan the only thing I have left to cheer for this season is next years number 1 pick. Are there any franchise changing players available at the top of next years class?
Keith Law: At the moment, it doesn’t look like it. Good top tier of HS players, no Harper types.

Garrett: In your prospect write up yesterday you mentioned Acuna as Atlanta’s CF of the (near) future, so I just wanted to see if you would move Inciarte to RF or move Acuna to RF instead? Do you think Acuna has a defensive upside greater than Inciarte?
Keith Law: I’d trade Inciarte. He becomes surplus when Acuna arrives.

B: As an Astros guy, why should I believe in Yordan Alvarez and his success after being completely disappointed with AJ Reed? I know players are different, but what does Alvarez have now that Reed didn’t have when he was raking in the minors?
Keith Law: Reed had (has) questions about his bat speed that proved to be a problem in the majors. Alvarez doesn’t have that.

Joe: Would you try Chad Green as a starter again? If I recall, you were never a big fan of him starting.
Keith Law: No, I’d let him be the new Adam Warren, which is a valuable role.

Evan: Red Sox. Apple. Discuss.
Keith Law: I got her numbah.

Seath: Favorite “Cheap” Beer?
Keith Law: Water.

Nancy: Why not just get books from the library? At least while there still are libraries.
Keith Law: I do that too. I go through ~100 a year, so I’m getting them all over the place – used bookstores, new bookstores, e-books, libraries, and occasionally borrowing from friends.

Brett: I’ve always been curious, and without asking too much personal information, what is performance based on at work in your type of position? Quality of your written work? Quality of the analysis?
Keith Law: People read my work and they pay to read my work. That is what keeps me employed.

Tate: Serious question here….we have had about a decade long drought of major storms bashing the gulf and east coasts. Is this hurricane season a major sign of drastic change, or just a SSS and an outlier while we see a more gradual change in climate over the next few decades?
Keith Law: Better question for climate scientists.

Greg: What have you seen/heard on Ke’Bryan Hayes’ season? Do Hayes or Cole Tucker have a shot at being in your next top 50 or top 100? Thanks!
Keith Law: Tucker no. Just saw him and wrote him up (http://klaw.me/2g9NTCh). Hayes was on my top 100 last year, will still be this winter. High-contact hitter with ++ defense at third. Can grow into some power.

Sean: Obligatory Giolito question: do you see noticeable improvements to delivery/stuff relative to where he was a year ago?
Keith Law: Absolutely. This is a lot more like what he looked like in the Sally League when he raced up all our lists. And I thought his changeup on Sunday was as good as I’ve ever seen it. Still doesn’t quite have the CB feel back, but he’s compensating with some power sliders in CB counts.

Mark: Question from a parent with a young high school position player. Is it better to workout and be in your best physical shape and perform at a high level in high school/summer, or is it better to be in “good” shape and perform at a high level in high school/summer, which leaves some room for “projection” of your body/maturity?
Keith Law: Projection isn’t about in or out of shape, but how a young body may look when the player is 22 or 23. So get in good shape and play well. The rest is out of your hands.

Mike: Keith I was hoping you could help with something for my 10 year old son. He is and has been the best player in his little league since he was about 5. He loves the game and always wants to play. He is a natural righty but has swung a bat left handed even as young as 2 years old. All of his coaches want him to try and switch hit but I am of the mindset that he should learn to do one thing well so there is no need to switch hit now. I also think to try and teach a kid that young 2 swings is crazy but they saying teach him now when he is young as it will be easier than when he gets older. Am I right or are they? If I am at what age is teaching him to switch hit appropriate? Thanks.
Keith Law: The only thing you didn’t mention would be my first question: What does your son want to do? If he doesn’t want to switch hit, that should end the discussion.

Joe: Keith, is there any way that Judge doesn’t win ROY? I have seen crazy people on Twitter say that Benintendi or even Mancini deserves it more because of consistency.
Keith Law: That’s just stupid. Judge has this on lockdown. Benintendi would be #2 if I had that ballot (I have NL ROY again).

John: I was puzzled by your comment last week about Harvey being caused/exacerbated by climate change. It was a slow moving Cat-4; that’s happened plenty before, right? Just bad luck when it hits the country’s fourth biggest city. (No fair referring to Irma in your response — I’m looking for what your thinking was last week. Thanks.)
Keith Law: The frequency of strong hurricanes (cat 3+) is increasing as the climate warms, and they will carry more water and thus dump more rain because of the warming temps. So, no, “it’s happened before” isn’t the right answer. These major storms are gradually becoming stronger and more common.

JR: As a another example to the 2007 Cle/NYY series, in 2015 the Cubs swept the Mets in regular season. Mets swept NLCS in 4.
Keith Law: If anyone – anyone – tries to cite in-season results to predict a postseason series, especially someone who ostensibly covers this sport for a living, they are completely full of shit and you should call them out on it. This is so obvious, and we have so many examples showing it’s obvious, that for anyone to still peddle this crap is insulting to all of our intelligences.

Steve: Has Trey Mancini performed about as you expected based on his minor league numbers?
Keith Law: I’d say he outperformed based on my overall expectations, which includes what I saw of him and what scouts told me they thought of him.

PD: Can the Lighthouse be a viable starting pitcher walking 5 per 9?
Keith Law: No, but he can work from there to something like 4 per 9 and be viable at that level.

Harrisburg Hal: Philly sandwich preference – hot roast pork or cheesesteak?
Keith Law: Roast pork. That other thing isn’t even worth discussing.

Danny: What’s the outlook on Miguel Andujar? Is he a guy who makes an all-star team or two, or more a guy who makes a starting line-up or two?
Keith Law: Guy who makes a lot more than two starting lineups but maybe never makes the AS team.

Adam: Thoughts on Touki’s year? Really had a good 2nd half and the looney toon breaking ball is there. Still 2 years out?
Keith Law: Yeah, two years sounds reasonable, or a guy who’s up in a year in a long relief role or up-and-down role while he continues to develop. I still love the athleticism, arm strength, and CB.

ElanC: Is it time to get worried about the Dodgers?
Keith Law: No.

Brett: What flavor of WAR do you prefer and why?
Keith Law: Chocolate.
Keith Law: Because the answer is *always* chocolate.

Chris W: Have you come by any great noir novels published in the last decade or so? As an avid fan of the genre who has knocked out all the classics, it’s getting harder and harder to pick what to read next.
Keith Law: Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union has a lot of noir elements.

Archie: Would you encourage anyone to throw a screwball?
Keith Law: Yes. If it’s “learn a screwball” or “get released,” then yeah, learn the screwball.

ScottyD: Jurickson Profar – Where does he fit positionally based upon his skill set and do you still see him as anything better than a major league regular (assuming he escapes Arlington this off-season via trade)?
Keith Law: Shortstop. Needs to go somewhere where he can play every day even if he struggles. That’s not Texas.

Brett: Juan Soto’s injuries. Unfortunate series of isolated incidents or real reason to question his ability to stay on the field long term?
Keith Law: Two flukes.

Mike: Keith I recently got the Anova based on your review and the price drop on amazon. Thanks. So far I have made steak and pork chops. All have been good. Do have any recommendations or good places to find recipes that you have enjoyed?
Keith Law: Anova themselves publish a bunch and so does J. Kenji Lopez-Alt on Serious Eats.

Gary: Thoughts on Taylor Trammell? Possibly a top 25 prospect heading into next season?
Keith Law: Not close to a top 25 prospect heading into next season. Still a lot of untapped potential.

Tim: With “It” coming out today, was wondering, ever read any Stephen King?
Keith Law: Not a word.

Mike: Pablo Sandoval, is he finished or is there anything serviceable left?
Keith Law: Finished.

Randy: If a pitcher needed to learn a new offspeed pitch, which one would you try to teach, knowing it would be the easiest for them to command?
Keith Law: Coaches have always indicated to me that the changeup is the easiest to teach, and curveball is the hardest (either you can spin it or you can’t).

Ben: Keith, really love when you’re on the Baseball Tonight podcast. Have you ever thought about revisiting that type of medium? Baseball Today was a staple in my media consumption, and have missed it since. Not saying I don’t enjoy your writing, it’s just harder to consumer while on a jog, as the pod was one of my constant companions. Don’t mean to rehash, but are you at liberty of saying why that ended?
Keith Law: I can say ESPN wanted to brand the show to match the TV program.

Ben: Of the Braves’ rookie pitchers (Sims, Fried, Gohara, Newcomb), which ones do you think stick in the rotation long term?
Keith Law: Fried and Gohara are starters for me. Newcomb could go either way, but the command/control issues point towards relief. Sims I think is a reliever or a meh 5.

Ben: Re: recent noir novels. Pynchon’s Inherent Vice is real fun kind of noir on drugs novel….
Keith Law: Yes, great rec – one of the funniest novels I’ve ever read, too.

Dan: Any fantasy book series recommendations?
Keith Law: Lev Grossman’s The Magicians.

Todd: If healthy, Yanks going to egret trading Kaprielian?
Keith Law: He’ll be good but they got a good player back in the deal.

ScottyD: Michael Kopech – future starter or power bullpen arm?
Keith Law: Starter for me. Three pitches with size and a solid delivery.

Todd: Tim Tebow the GOP nominee circa 2035?
Keith Law: Please, the Tebags were insufferable enough this year on the rare days when he did something at the plate. Don’t encourage them.

Marshall MN: Keith, the Twins have had a nice bounceback after the trade deadline but the last WC spot is still tight. Are you surprised that they haven’t called up Stephen Gonsalves to give him a run as starter?
Keith Law: I’m not surprised, especially if they feel like he was wearing down at the end of his season (last 3 starts included a 3-homer outing and one where he couldn’t get out of the first).

John: Ever read any Robert Stone? He’s occasionally a little melodramatic, but I’ve loved some of his books.
Keith Law: Read Dog Soldiers but I barely even remember it.

mike: Pearson w Vancouver 4IP 74p 47strikes, 1h, 4BB, 10K Oruns. That stat line is impressive, but the BB indicate the big concern for him is the control/command right?
Keith Law: Without either being there or talking to someone who was, I’m loath to draw a conclusion from the stat line.

ScottyD: Is Chance Sisco a regular, above average or All-Star caliber player at peak?
Keith Law: Above-average peak. Although it’s hard to know when Buck is going to take a shine to a rookie and when he’s going to bury him.

David: Profar a good fit for the Padres?
Keith Law: Good fit for a lot of teams, and I’m sure Preller would take his boy back.

Ethan: Where do you stand on win now moves versus weighing present and future? I think I heard you discussing this with Karabell on pod recently, and don’t know if you gave your opinion.
Keith Law: Flags fly forever. When you’ve got a real shot to win – not just getting into the WC, but making a deep playoff run – you should probably go for it.

Jarred: Klaw thanks for all your insight. 2 quick questions, 1. Over or under on the Braves having 7 guys in this off-seasons top 100? Also, Fried struggled between AA/AAA this year, but was outstanding in shorter starts 4-5 innings and then pulled. Is this a cause for concern long term, or just a pitcher still stretching out/ recovering form from TJ a few years ago?
Keith Law: I think 7’s about right. Not worried about Fried, just developing a little slower due, I think, to all the time off, and lagging fastball command, which leads to some elevated pitch counts.

Matt V: Which of the prospects the White Sox acquired this year do you think have a legit chance to be solid major leaguers?
Keith Law: Eloy and Cease for sure. Rutherford was even worse post-trade, but I wouldn’t give up on him entirely just yet.

Steve: Back to the screwball…almost nobody throws it anymore. Could a pitcher who gains some mastery of it have at least some short term success simply because it would be a pitch nobody else throws?
Keith Law: I have always maintained that this would be the case. You’d have to throw a good one, I guess, although the hitters would tell you quickly if that was true.

mike: is Max Pentecost still a guy or has his injuries since being drafted too much to overcome?
Keith Law: Injuries and non-performance.

Chris : Corey Oswalt have back-end starter ceiling?
Keith Law: If that. Probably a 5/6 type.

Joe: What is your opinion on Carter Kieboom?
Keith Law: Wish I’d seen him this year but he was hurt when I caught Hagerstown. Think he’s an above-average regular in the long run. Wasn’t sure about his ultimate position when he was drafted.

Gary: Which father/son combo finishes with more lifetime WAR: the Griffeys or Vlad and Vlad, Jr.?
Keith Law: Wow. The Griffeys combined for 118 WAR, and Vlad Sr had 59, so do I think Vlad Jr gets to 60 WAR? The honest answer is no – how many players in A-ball would you ever realistically forecast to get to that mark? And in Vlad Jr.’s case, he’s a corner guy who may not stay at third, so he’s not getting the positional and defensive bump Ken Jr. got. But, you know, saying I would bet under 60 WAR on a prospect’s career isn’t exactly an insult.

Matt V: Moncada was rated the #1 MLB prospect by some, but struggled last year in his brief stint with Boston and again this year with Chicago. As a White Sox fan, should I be worried about him?
Keith Law: Never rated there or in the top ten by me. Swing and recognition issues.

Kevin : How often do you use the vacuum sealer? Just for sous-vide, or for other storage? I want to try sous-vide and the sealer seems important but also wasteful with the single use plastic.
Keith Law: I use for both sous-vide and storage. But yes, it does waste some plastic. I might otherwise be storing things in the freezer in zip-top bags, so this at least allows me to cut bags to size and be more efficient in how much plastic I waste.

Todd: Matz and Wheeler ever amount to anything? Or just hype?
Keith Law: That’s not fair – both kids have had a litany of injuries, and in Wheeler’s case there wasn’t even any indication he’d have this trouble. It’s not “just hype” when a player who has ability is highly touted or valued but is derailed by physical problems. Both were prospects, Wheeler more so than Matz (who flashed stuff but never showed any durability), so dismissing them as “just hype” is inaccurate.
Keith Law: OK, that’s all for this week’s chat. Thank you all, as always, for all of your questions. I should be back next Thursday to do this all over again.

Klawchat 8/31/17.

Recent content: looking at five potential September callups of note (Insider), my monthly new music playlist, reviewing the Tour de France-themed boardgame La Flamme Rouge, and reviewing the Jaipur boardgame app.

Keith Law: I know you love the way it’s going down. Klawchat.

Sourman: So… Austin Hays. He can hit it hard and make a lot of contact. He’s a really good prospect, right?
Keith Law: He’s a prospect. He doesn’t work the count much and he’s a corner outfielder. He does have power even the other way and I think he can hit, but perhaps not with much OBP.

Tyler: I am under no delusion that Ian Happ will be able to hit HRs at his current pace (almost 40 homer pace), but what kind of return do you think he could command in the offseason. I have to assume the Cubs will try to shop him, Russell, or Baez – who has the most value of the three?
Keith Law: Russell might have the least given the injury, the domestic violence accusation, and the nonperformance before he got hurt. I think Happ has more offensive potential than Baez because he has a much better approach, so that would imply Baez – who has a .291 OBP without those 13 IBB – would be the one to market.

Sean: In your September call up article you talked about Chance Adams, do you think if he converted to being a reliever full time he would be able to be above average? Or is he just someone who’s destined to be average regardless of role?
Keith Law: I think he’d be above-average in relief and below if he starts.

Andrew: Have you seen or heard anything about Pete Alonso? What are your thoughts on him? Thank you.
Keith Law: Heard he got way too big.

Dog: Given his success in the upper minors this season, will Miguel Andujar get some consideration for being a top 50 prospect?
Keith Law: Nope.

Adam: It’s not fair to say teams “missed” on a player who went 17th overall in the draft, but what was missing from Forrest Whitley’s profile as an amateur that had him ranked lower than other pitching prospects in his class?
Keith Law: He missed over a month at the start of that spring with a thumb injury; I was supposed to go see him but he got hurt and I never got back to texas.

Tracy: Could you explain how the Az Fall League is organized? How are the groupings of the teams are arranged?
Keith Law: I can’t explain it because I don’t know of any explanation.

Eric: Really enjoyed listening to your talk in Berkeley, I’m glad you were able to make it out this far. During that session, one person asked about how teams are using data to position fielders. (Or something to that effect) My follow-up question to that would be the Game Theory approach to that information: If you as a hitter (and your coaches) know that the defense is going to shift for you, don’t you try and adjust your approach to hit against the shift? Why don’t we see more guys laying down bunts or trying to drive the ball the other way?
Keith Law: Of course they should; I’m sure some guys can’t execute it, but there are more guys who can do it and aren’t.

Adam: Scouts are reportedly concerned with how quickly Kevin Maitan has matured physically. Is it really that worrisome considering the successes of huskier prospects like Devers and Vlad Jr, or does the concern have more to do with his conditioning?
Keith Law: I haven’t heard that from any actual scouts, and I think it’s funny that everyone comped him to Miggy when he was 14 and now they’re upset that he (allegedly) has a mature body … like Miggy did even when fairly young.
Keith Law: There’s some weird shit going around with people taking oblique shots at Atlanta and I don’t get it.

Adam: Hudson Potts has had a strong second half to the season. Has his projection changed for you at all?
Keith Law: Nope. But I also wasn’t declaring him a non-prospect when he struggled this spring at 18 in low-A.

Josh Meyer: Think Royce Lewis will have a better MLB career than Buxton?
Keith Law: I don’t, but I also think Buxton is a star.

Dog: Given that his peripherals make him roughly equivalent to Mike Leake (looking at FIP and DRA), wouldn’t the Cardinals (or any other team in free agency) be crazy to give Lance Lynn a long term contract in the $20m/year range?
Keith Law: That would be crazy money, yes. Maybe if he had never been hurt, but it’s not like he brings 200 automatic innings a year.

Adam: Can Bryse Wilson be added to the list of great Braves pitching prospects or is his ceiling lower than a lot of the other guys in that system?
Keith Law: I think I said last week (?) that he’s ahead of Wentz for me.

Sourman: Is Dustin May already a top 100 prospect?
Keith Law: Nope.

Nic AZ: Hey Keith, what do you make of the season Joey Lucchesi is having? Stat line looks good, have you heard much about him?
Keith Law: Yeah, better than a senior sign when they drafted him, but more of a deception guy than stuff with a funky delivery.

Adam: Do you read graphic novels? Not necessarily the superhero stuff, but other stories told through that medium?
Keith Law: No, I dislike the medium entirely.

Rahn: Hi Keith, the Nicasio release/waivers deal is just the latest in deflating, $-grubbing moves by the Nutting-owned Pirates. Stood next to the Penguins and Steelers (who obviously work within the league salary cap), the Pirates are seen rightfully as nickel-and-dimers that never make the commitment to winning the others do. What has been your perspective on the Pirates franchise?
Keith Law: Don’t think that’s remotely fair to the club.

Michael: Hi Klaw- Do you have any go-to cookbooks, sites, or recipes for quick (under 30 mins prep/cook time) dinners for family that actually taste decent?
Keith Law: I don’t per se, but any decent cookbook for beginners (I always start with Joy of Cooking) should indicate total time – and remember to add a little bit if it’s your first time doing a recipe.

Roger: What do you think the Reds do with Senzel and Suarez? Senzel looks like a future star while Suarez just turned 26 and has worked himself into a very good hitter and solid fielder. Move one to second? Outfield?
Keith Law: Suarez to 2b, Senzel stays at 3b.

Otanimania: If you were a GM who was told by Otani’s agent that allowing him to hit was a mandatory part of signing him would you do it? I imagine given the IFA restrictions his decision will probably come down to something like that
Keith Law: If we’re doing handshake deals I’d rather do one that says, hey, we’ll tear this up in a year and give you $20MM a year than hamstring myself like that given the probability that he’s not even an adequate MLB hitter.

Rob K: Terry keeps pinch hitting for Dom Smith against lefties. Jose Reyes is on pace to lead the Mets in plate appearances. Sandy had to prioritize dumping payroll over restocking a now-empty farm system. The only treatment for Matz’s clearly swollen elbow (before season-ending surgery) was weeks of injecting painkillers. No question, I am just sad.
Keith Law: No answer other than that Teflon Terry needed to be gone a year ago.

Your Honor: How worried should the Yankees be about Aaron Judge’s post all star break? Have you seen anything in his swing that would indicate he’s hurt or is it just something wrong mechanically? It just seems very odd that his hard hit ball% would fall off a cliff so suddenly.
Keith Law: He is hurt, right? I’m pretty sure the shoulder is a problem.

chito: Why is Allard ranked higher in most prospect rankings than Soroka? Thanks!
Keith Law: LHP with plus CB vs low-slot RHP without.

Jake Lewis: Can you talk for a little bit about Miguel Castro? The Kids been filthy ever since he got called up in Baltimore. Thoughts on his long term as a SP?
Keith Law: More likely a reliever but an electric arm.

ExExpos: Taylor Ward, Matt Thaiss and Jahmai Jones have been doing well after their recent promotions. Do any have a shot at being in your top 100? And do you think Thaiss could develop more power?
Keith Law: Jones was already there. Ward has no shot – why would you just ignore how awful he was in a larger sample before the promotion? I don’t think Thaiss will develop more than average power, if that; he’s a high hit tool/low power type.

Derek: If you squint, Robles’s 2017 numbers don’t look all that different from Acuna’s. Numbers wise, Robles was better in High-A and not quite as good in AA. Robles has high BABIPs, though not completely insane for a fast guy who makes good contact. Acuna’s numbers are clearly inflated – though surely just somewhat – by his pushing .400 BABIP. If Acuna merits a call-up in September, doesn’t Robles? Yes, the Nats aren’t going to do this, but should they? They need OF help in the short term with Harper out and maybe Robles is lightning in a bottle. Why not give him a look?
Keith Law: There are service-time/40-man reasons not to promote a guy before he’s needed, especially if he’s not likely to be on the OD roster the next year. Not least is that if he gets hurt, now or in March, you’re going to have to carry him on the major-league DL, pay him a ML salary, and give him service time while he’s out. Bigger risk for pitchers, obviously.

Advanced: Do you view statcast stuff like spinrate, exit velocity, launch angle, perceived velocity, etc as a way to put a number on things scouts pick up on?
Keith Law: Some. I discuss this at length in the last few chapters of Smart Baseball.

addoeh: I know rosters expanding to 40 in September gives some guys a chance to play in the majors and some young players experience. But shouldn’t we still keep a 25 man roster for the games? That 25 man roster can change every day if managers want to, giving players opportunities to play. But it seems better solution than each team having 15-20 pitchers in the bullpen and countless pitching changes. These games still have meaning and it seems silly to play 80% of the year with one set of rules and 20% with another set. Agree?
Keith Law: I’d be fine with 28-man rosters, a nod to the need to maybe ease up on some pitchers and rotate some hitters out but still let them get 2 AB for themselves or for the fans (like in spring training). 40 is bonkers.

jay_B: Over/under two 3-WAR seasons for Kyle Schwarber in his career? BABIP in the 230s is going to make it tough.
Keith Law: I do not believe he’s a .230 BABIP guy. I’ll say over.

AD: How do you think society can get to a point where things like anxiety, depression, and substance addiction are widely viewed/treated as the diseases that they are instead of a state of mind or a defect?
Keith Law: Eh, we’re a long way from that. We can’t even seem to accept that a trans person is an actual person.

Chris: Thanks for another chat, Keith. I’m a Mets fan and readily and freely admit many Mets fans are panicky clowns. Many are already having the vapors over Dom Smith’s weight/lack of immediate production. What do I tell my friends who are ready to move Smith in favor of Peter Alonso, who is older than Smith but only now in AA and off to a good start there? I’ll just go on ignoring all together the ones wanting to bring back Jay Bruce to play 1b.
Keith Law: You need better friends.

Derek: Assuming Eaton is healthy in 2018, do you think the Nats should (a) put Eaton in CF and pursue a corner guy in a trade/FA; or (b) platoon Michael A. Taylor and Brian Goodwin and invest resources elsewhere? Put another way, is a MAT/Goodwin platoon good enough for a club that has WS aspirations in 2018?
Keith Law: Harper’s last year means you go all in.

Satya: Hi Keith, is it too early to get excited by Austin Riley’s better numbers at AA than he had at A+? And has he made swing adjustments to help overcome his slow bat speed?
Keith Law: He’s striking out at a much higher rate in AA. And a good rule of thumb is that if a guy stunk at high-A and then has 100 good AB in AA, the first part is real.

Benny: I saw your tweet about Greg Allen’s call-up. Think he can be a starter or more of a 4OF type?
Keith Law: 4OF. Zero power, and not a super-disciplined guy for high OBPs. Plus I can’t see pitchers pitching around him much.

J: Vlad the Impaler with Impaling Discipline is doing more than fine at High-A at age 18 (33/26 BB/K). Start 2018 at AA? Or do they slow him down a bit and return to Dunedin?
Keith Law: I bet he starts in Dunedin and gets to AA around May 1st when the snow melts.

Rob: What are your overall impressions of Villains? I feel like the album starts out and closes very strong, but really falls flat in the middle. Thanks.
Keith Law: Two great tracks, a lot of solid album tracks. Planning to listen to it again on my drive to Reading tonight.

Nate: Keith, My observation of Moncada has been his high k-rates have been a lot about a passive approach. Has this always been the case?
Keith Law: No, he has trouble getting the bat head to the zone in time especially on stuff in on his hands.

Jason: What do you see as a realistic outcome for Scott Kingery’s career? I’ve seen on other chats that you’ve compared him to Altuve but do you see that as his ceiling? Or is he a star?
Keith Law: If he develops some patience – he really just goes after the first pitch he can hit, and so far, he’s hit most of them – he could turn into an Altuve type, but that’s a top 5% kind of outcome. Very few players go from this sort of approach to Altuve’s level of patience.

Sean: When will you admit that you were wrong about Dylan Bundy?
Keith Law: Maybe when I’m wrong about him. Pro tip: “When will you admit…” is a grade 20 approach.

Andrew, NY: i didnt read the article about the TEX/HOU swap, but did see some of your back and forth on twitter. if the idea was to just swap the home games how is Tex negatively effected? would the cost be that high to accommodate the switch?
Keith Law: Those home games are not equal. Houston lost those three home games to the hurricane. Those games and the associated revenue were gone. Houston wanted to be able to move those dates to the future, to games Texas already had on their calendar, for which they had sold tickets and likely set up promotions, games Texas might need for their wild card chances (unlikely, but nonzero), to recoup the lost revenue at Texas’s expense. There’s no reason on earth the Rangers should take that deal, because it’s a pure loss for them and gain for Houston. Instead, the Rangers offered to host the games, let Houston be the home team, and give Houston all the revenue. That was so much clearly better than 1) status quo for Houston or 2) playing in the St. Petersburg mausoleum that the Astros declining the offer left them without a nose.

Stanley: Hi! Percentage odds Tatis Jr. stays at short?
Keith Law: Better than even.

Chris: With Acuna’s streak, he’s obviously a hot topic in Braves country. He’s not Mike Trout (no one is), but is Jim Edmonds a reasonable expectation?
Keith Law: Edmonds hit 393 homers in his career and topped 40 twice. I would not bet on Acuna doing that.

Brian: What exactly IS Tommy Pham? A guy enjoying a temporary spike in performance? Or someone who’s achieved a newfound level of health (mostly on account of corrective eye surgery) who can be a solid everyday player going forward?
Keith Law: Both. Some of this is clearly flukish, and he’s 29, so it’s not like we’ve got a long window here, but he’s had some history of hitting (and has some tools too) around his nonstop injuries.

David: Loved the book! Surprised you didn’t take the opportunity to vent about the double whammy of a guy blowing the save and then getting credit for the win when his team bails him out later. There’s a special level of hell in the scorebook for that one. Pickings too easy there, or just got left on the editing room floor?
Keith Law: Too big a tangent.

Adam D.: As it’s impossible to know who will be best player available come June, who is the better fit for the Giants right now, Brady Singer or Seth Beer and why in your opinion?
Keith Law: Neither. Singer has big reliever risk – reminds me a bit of Jonathan Crawford – and Beer is at the far end of the defensive spectrum.

Brian: In the preseason you said that Jack Flaherty had great command, good-but-not-great stuff, and projects as a mid-rotation starter. Is that still how you see him? Or has his stuff improved over the past year?
Keith Law: Yep, still that guy. Excited to see him tomorrow.
Keith Law: on TV, that is. I won’t be there.

Aaron: In Houston. Thanks for the chat Klaw. Much needed after all the devistation. It’s the little things. When will climate change be taken seriously by our govt.
Keith Law: You are already seeing alt-right voices rushing to say this has nothing to do with climate change, and the basket of gullibles who follow them will eat it right up.

Hunter Harvey: What are your current thoughts on Hunter Harvey now that he is back throwing successfully for the first time in a long time?
Keith Law: Stuff is great but still very cross-body, the way the O’s changed him before he got hurt … not many guys stay healthy throwing like that.

Jake: So…Rafael Montero has actually been okay the last month. Is he a GUY?
Keith Law: Yes. I think he’s more than OK but has had some horrible luck/non-support from defense.

Mike: Lord knows I’ve tried, but somewhere in the rubble of the late 70s/early 80s there’s a “Saturday Night Fever” ripoff that starred Adrian Zmed and only played on Cinemax. The new Arcade Fire is the soundtrack for that movie.
Keith Law: That’s frighteningly accurate. The shame is that “Everything Now” is one of the five best songs I’ve heard this year. The middle of the album is a pretentious mess.

J: Do you think WIllie Calhoun gets a cup of coffee next week, or gets held off til next April? Bat seems ready…
Keith Law: See the answer above about premature callups. They have some disincentive due to the CBA, which is unfortunate for players and fans.

Hank: The Braves obviously have a lot of arms in the minor league system, but I’m still nervous about it. I don’t scout these guys, so please give me your thoughts. I just don’t see anyone with front line upside besides Wright and maybe Gohara. Looks like a bunch of mid rotation guys, no?
Keith Law: Anderson and Wilson would be in that group too.

Steve: Any books post- Lush Life to be added soon to KLaw Top 100?
Keith Law: I do need to update that this winter. All the Light We Cannot See and In the Light of What We Know would both make it. Infinite Jest would. The Orphan Master’s Son and The Sense of an Ending would both require some thought. I finished the Bloomsbury Must-Read Novels list after I posted that last 100, I think, so something like Middlemarch or Bleak House might belong.

Jeremiah: Before the season, you were tauting Daniel Norris as a potential #1/#2 starter, but he has been terrible. (He currently has a 10.50 ERA after five rehab starts in Triple A.) Has his stuff regressed? Has he lost command? Has he been hurt all year? What’s going on here?
Keith Law: Hasn’t been healthy all year.

Danny: Hoping to hear your take on Nick Solak and Kyle Holder with the Yankees. Do they profile as MLB regulars to you after the seasons they’ve had?
Keith Law: Holder is a backup for me – all glove no bat. Solak might be a second-division regular, I think, but I’d like to see him more.

Tim: Was hoping for a Strand or other NYC book store signing this summer. Any chance of that still happening over the off-season?
Keith Law: Nothing worked out. If you have a local store that does signings and they want to try to set something up, let me know or have them contact Danielle Bartlett at HarperCollins.

Angelo: Is it to early to ask which players are worth watching in the AFL?
Keith Law: Yes only because I’m not going to spend time on the rosters until we get closer to October. Some guys won’t be there when AFL Opening Day rolls around.

Jeremiah: Jordan Hicks has been great since his promotion to Palm Beach (1.00 ERA, 32 Ks/6 BBs in 27 innings.) Has he turned a corner? What can we expect from him? Front-end starter?
Keith Law: Front-end starter stuff, but command isn’t there yet.

Jack: Think the Phillies can pencil Hoskins into their 3 hole for the next 5 years?
Keith Law: I think he’s their first baseman for the next 5 years. I don’t want to overreact to a crazy first 20 games.

Chris : Who would you like Mets to look at to replace TC?
Keith Law: There’s a potted plant in my office that would make a nice upgrade.

Larry: I’m an Atlanta fan terrified about rebuilding around pitching. Why is the next group of pitchers different from Blair, Wisler, Newcomb, Sims?
Keith Law: The next wave is better across the board – better stuff, better athletes, more command.

Jon Orr: Have you/are you doing a write up on the Leake trade?
Keith Law: Nope. I don’t bother with salary dumps.

romorr: Keegan Akin, did his season go as you expected, anything he did better or worse? Going forward, what could he work on to improve on his 2017 season?
Keith Law: I wasn’t a big fan, so I guess as expected? Also he’s hurt and I heard he wasn’t good his last few outings.

Jim: So, I’m not trying to name names….but, it sure sounds like that Rosenthal article had the Wren family(Frank or Jeff) written all over it. Okay – so there are some names.
Keith Law: That was my immediate assumption too. Atlanta promoted and reassigned a bunch of people, like every team does every fall. The rest sounded like bullshit.

Chris: Was a bit disappointing to hear your take on Adams, but it seems the Yanks themselves may be not all in on him as a SP. BTW, what did you think of Yard Goats’ field never heard?
Keith Law: Both Hartford and Scranton have beautiful parks. Really impressed by both. Love that Hartford’s park is in a ‘bad’ area of town, too, since that might actually spur a little growth – never enough to justify the public expense, but at least it might help.

Jack: So apparently Buxton has a hamate bone injury. They don’t know if it’s broke yet or not. Is the Twins season over if it is?
Keith Law: No, but if he broke his hamate I don’t want to see him play again until March. Players who’ve had that talk about how long it takes to regain full strength in the hand.

Strohm: Best version of Ticket to Ride?
My vacation rental house had the USA version and my nephew was really into it. Want to get him one for upcoming bday.
Keith Law: USA with the 1910 expansion and Europe are still my favorites. France map (coming soon) will drastically change the game, maybe making it better but also more complex.

Kris: The phillies rebuild is an unmitigated disaster right? Having guys like Joseph and Galvis block top prospects makes zero sense. No imminent pitching help. Most of their prospects not named Sixto having disappointing seasons. MacPhail needs to go.
Keith Law: Well, that honeymoon ended quickly.

TJ: What do you make of billy McKinneys good statistical season? Do you think he can be an every day caliber player in MLB?
Keith Law: Saw him. Probably not a regular, but there’s a chance. Still a lot of swing and miss there for a guy with such a pretty swing.

JR: Have you made any donations to charity to help Houston? I’ve read too much bad stuff on red cross to consider donation to them, but want to help. Any thoughts on most worthwhile places to donate too to help?
Keith Law: I don’t give to the Red Cross, ever. I had just written a check to a local food bank last week, so all I’ve done so far is bought about $50 in supplies for that law firm (Merritt) in Dallas that’s loading up trucks with essentials to ship down to Houston.

Michael Devon : Thanks, Keith. Logan Allen and Freddy Peralta. Curious what scouts are saying. Thanks!
Keith Law: Discussed Allen last week. Peralta is a short RHP who’s 88-92. Not sure why I’ve been asked about him a few times this week on twitter. He’s just a guy.

A: Hi Keith, thanks for chatting. What would you expect to see out of Cornelius Randolph in the AFL?
Keith Law: I’d like to actually see him hit; he’s been pretty disappointing at the plate, and that’s his entire game.

Ben, the NYC: Have you seen Ronaldo Hernandez?
Keith Law: I have never been to an Appy League game in my life.

Dallas: Have you heard anything on Gabriel Arias the 2016 July 1st signing moved up to Lo-A for the Padres?
Keith Law: Saw him in March, he’s pretty young for low-A but they have so many young SS that someone had to move up to get everyone playing time. I liked what I saw in spring training but he seemed a long way away, like most of their 17-year-old kids. Tatis was there, and even one year older made him look like the grown-up in the group.

TG: If you are the Nationals and are concerned you can’t sign Harper, would you try to get Stanton and his comparatively friendly deal compared to what it might take to sign Harper.
Keith Law: Stanton’s deal is the opposite of friendly, IMO, but I could very much see the Nats acquiring him if they believe Harper is as good as gone. They also need to figure out how much they’ll pay Rendon, who is quietly having an MVP type of season.

J: What do you think about Cleveland’s C prospect Mejia playing 3rd base now? Defense stalled at C? Or just trying to get him on the roster?
Keith Law: I have a feeling it’s to get him on the roster and/or give him some time off from behind the plate. I don’t think his defense has stalled or that he needs a new position.

Tom: 538 had a column confirming what we pretty much knew: Albert Pujols is the worst everyday player in MLB (despite the RBIs). But… in your opinion, what can the Angels really do with him at this point?
Keith Law: Nothing. I don’t see them releasing him so they have to wear it.

Jesse B: Does Adbert Alzolay have the size to pitch 200+ innings, or is he more reliever? What’s his ceiling?
Keith Law: I haven’t seen him myself, but others tell me he’s a clear starter with a chance to be a very good one, a two or better.

Layton Sheets: Do you see Alex Jackson as a future star in the Major Leagues ?
Keith Law: No, but unlike a year ago, he looks like a big leaguer.

TG: Do you support nuclear power as a way to combat climate change? It really is the only carbon neutral technology that is capable of powering our grids in the near future.
Keith Law: I do but I fear Fukushima may have ended our hope of a nuclear power renaissance.

Jim: So Anderson and Wilson have higher upsides than Allard and Soroka?
Keith Law: Yes, that’s accurate.

Chris: i read somewhere the upside comp for Billy McKinney is Seth Smith. Fair?
Keith Law: I can’t go that far.

Bro: Who are your top 5 pitching prospects at the end of the year? Based on previous chats and media, I was thinking your top 5 would be (in no particular order) Whitley, Kopech, Keller, Buehler, and I don’t really know who the 5th would be. Quantrill maybe?
Keith Law: Those are the top four, clearly, and then there’s a big black line between that group and the next tier. The next group of high-upside guys are all kids a long way off – Sixto, Groome, Ian Anderson – too far to put them in the top tier.

Josh Gilbert: What do you think about old guys collecting baseball players autographs ?
Keith Law: Whatever finds your lost remote.

Terpitude: Hunter Greene reportedly 100-102 in one short inning of work. Having just turned 18, could this be a guy who pitches at around 105 with command when his body fills out? That would be unprecedented as a starter. Thanks.
Keith Law: No, I don’t expect him to add any velocity. His arm ain’t getting faster. Nor would I want that.

Joe: Did you do a write-up on your trip to SWB? I want to see your thoughts on Andujar and McKinney.
Keith Law: Not yet; if I had you would certainly be sick of me posting the link. I post writeups every few games, so that the individual posts aren’t too short or too specific to one team.

Drew: Any cause for concern with Erick Fedde’s rough start, especially with diminished velocity in his last outing? I know us Nats fans were spoiled by Strasburg’s debut but Fedde isn’t separating pod from sock right now…
Keith Law: Yes, big concern. He looks awful.

Keith: Do you view the rising K rate of hitters as a problem that MLB needs to solve? If so, how? 4 strikes and you’re out?
Keith Law: Raise the bottom of the strike zone.

Dr. Bob: I have the 30-minute cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen. Good stuff in there.
Keith Law: Their stuff is pretty solid overall, too, although I find Kimball’s writing a little cloying.

David: Knowing what you know of Urias’ injury, do you see he or Buehler with the higher upside (in 3 years) to be the Dodgers’ #2 starter?
Keith Law: Urias’ career might be over. I would assign him a value near zero at this point because of the probability that he’s done or comes back greatly reduced.

MJ: Verdugo getting called up. Has hit .252 in last two months. Is it smart to start his service time now?
Keith Law: I don’t care what his average was in the last two months if I’m deciding whether to call a player up.

Dave : Hey Keith, anything to read into with Mason Martin destroying GCL? Probably not, right?
Keith Law: Not really. He hit 7 homers in the first 12 games (I think) then 3 in the next 40 or so. Weird stuff happens in short season. At least, that’s what Mitch Einertson and Dante Bichette, Jr., told me.

Rahn: So if that is not fair to the Pirates, what is fair comment or consideration, Keith?
Keith Law: Nicasio had limited trade value; I know they shopped him in July, asked for a lot, and didn’t get an offer they liked. It’s two months of a rental reliever who is very good now but has only been good for a year and a half. I had an AGM with another club speculate to me that the team that claimed Nicasio on trade waivers – which he was, by an NL team – offered the Pirates bupkis, so rather than do that they chose to just let him go and figure he’d at least get to go pitch for a playoff team in the AL. I can’t confirm that, but it makes sense, and it doesn’t make the Pirates “cheap.”

Tom: Is Grayson Long a legitimate mid-rotation starter?
Keith Law: No, back-end at best.

ML: Twins just announced it’s a bone contusion for Buxton. Not a hamate
Keith Law: Hamate is a bone, though.

Gerry: I know he’s better on DL twice but is Aaron Altherr for real from what you’ve seen?
Keith Law: He’s intriguing – athlete who never really put it together at the plate, suddenly does so in the majors, so the track record isn’t there but the physical tools are. That’s an “I’m not sure.”

Jesse B: Why isn’t Honeywell in the top 5?
Keith Law: Why would he be? Doesn’t have the stuff of those guys.

Mick: Will you be following the U18 Thunder Bay Canada tournament? Any prospects from non traditional baseball countries that you’re excited about?
Keith Law: I wanted to go see team USA in Minneapolis but the forecast was for rain all weekend. I wouldn’t follow any team but ours there.

Connor: Another injury for Meadows. Do his repeated injuries now effect his prospect ranking for you at all?
Keith Law: Injuries are why I omitted him from my top 50 at midyear.

B: What happens if Albert Pujols retires? I mean, if he continues to struggle and doesn’t want to “tarnish” his legacy, could the Angels quietly offer him a buyout to retire?
Keith Law: I don’t know the man but I wonder if he’s conscious of some upcoming milestones. He’s 61 hits from 3000, and 18 homers from tying Griffey. Junior limped through the last decade or so of his career and still sailed into the Hall.

Bradley: What are your thoughts on Mickey Moniak’s struggles this year? Young for that league…struggles with hitting LHP? Do you imagine he will right the ship from what you’ve seen?
Keith Law: Didn’t like what I saw this year but he’s still just 19. Recognition of breaking stuff was awful.

Jon, WI: How do you like Orlando Arcia’s first full year of performance? What’s his ceiling hitting wise?
Keith Law: Was hoping for a little more but I am pleased with his progress. Still a lot more upside in the bat especially as the approach improves.

Jon: Just looking at your tags and found that the last time you used “sushi” was in 2014. Have you stopped eating sushi?
Keith Law: I’m glad someone uses the tags on these posts – I tag everything and put a lot of thought into them. I do eat sushi but not frequently because I’m really picky about it (it’s raw fish, I think it’s fair to be picky).

ML: Touche. Just meant they’re saying it’s not broken and he’s available for defense and on the bases today
Keith Law: That’s good news. But I’d be fine if they said they’re giving him the weekend off or something.

Jared: Jimmie Nelson seems to have had a breakout year (5th in Fangraphs WAR). Is this who he is or is he still more of a 3/4?
Keith Law: This is probably a peak but I’d be fine with a forecast of a run of seasons that range from league-average to comfortably above-average.

Patrick : Medina, Suarez, Kilome, Dominguez, Romero…all legit prospects after Sixto? Thanks Klaw
Keith Law: Yes, no idea, seeing tonight, probably, yes. I’m assuming those are Luis Suarez and Seranthony Dominguez.

romorr: Mancini is putting up some nice numbers, HRs seem right, but with his lack of patience, hes bound to lose some average. Just curious if that was what you saw, or is there a better eye as he matures.
Keith Law: Suprised by the power, but I guess everyone hits 20+ homers now. Agree that the average seems likely to come down.

Grover: is it really a foregone conclusion that the Nats won’t resign Harper? They aren’t exactly a small market, and aren’t averse to spending. Just seems like everyone has been expecting them to part ways for years.
Keith Law: Not a conclusion but a likelihood. I see no chance he or Machado signs for less than the best offer. With the number of likely bidders for both guys, how likely are you as one team to have the best offer on either? You have to plan like he’s gone.

Adam F.: What are some games that would scale well as a four player game, with two ten year olds, an eight year and a six year old? They have played Ticket to Ride and King of Tokyo, but not much else outside of your basic generic board games. Thanks!
Keith Law: I’d give Splendor a shot. Takenoko is very cute and might work if you help the six-year-old a little. I also reviewed Kingdomino here last week and think it would work for that group: http://klaw.me/2wqhy0y
Keith Law: OK, that’s all for this week. I’ll be in Reading tonight and hope to hit a couple more minor league games next week before the season wraps up. I should be back for another chat next Thursday. Thank you all as always for reading and for all of your questions!

Klawchat 8/24/17.

My 5000-word GenCon wrapup piece, including a ranking of the top 20 new games I saw/played/demoed there, is now up at Paste.

Keith Law: Three words we shared said too early on: This is Klawchat.

Lee D: Keith, with half of the Dodgers’ best pitchers on the DL but coming off soon, and Rich Hill’s amazing game last night, how would you line up their starters for the playoffs?
Keith Law: Kershaw and Darvish (who I think wasn’t really hurt, just stashed on the 10-day DL like the Dodgers have been doing all year) would be the 1-2. If Hill’s healthy and Wood isn’t, Hill is the 3. I’m not that optimistic about Wood; he’s been out twice with this shoulder injury, and he’s got a long history of DL time.

Seath: What do you make of Royce Lewis promotion to Low A? He seems to be doing well (SSS). I know lot of people in MN were upset they didn’t go for Greene.
Keith Law: Seems aggressive. If he’s really that advanced a bat, then it’s not a bad idea to get him a cup of coffee there since he’ll play there next year … but if he’s not that advanced, then there’s the risk he’ll be overmatched. I did not think this spring that he was that advanced a bat.

Bobby: KLAW – Again, thanks for these chats. Love them. I know in the past you have suggested Severino is an elite reliever for you rather than a starter. Obv seems like he is a legit starter now (which is fine – no one can be right 100% of time) but do you think he is? Has he fixed something or is it still likely he ends up in ‘pen in your opinion?
Keith Law: Two things look different – he got a LOT bigger, and his slider improved a lot. The slider was a below-average pitch for him in the minors and not that effective for him in the majors till this year, but it’s been his best pitch by Fangraphs’ pitch values this year and he’s throwing it more than 1/3 of the time. The three-pitch mix is elite for a starter, but I can’t think of a starter who had his sort of delivery and held up over time.

addoeh: How big of a disadvantage is there for a left handed third baseman, short stop, and catcher?
Keith Law: I think it’s huge for a shortstop or 3b, irrelevant for a catcher – but as I said on the podcast today, a LH catcher with arm strength ends up on the mound.

Kirkie: Daniel Johnson, at Potomac. 20+HR, 20+steals across lo and hi A ball. and apparently all 3 outfield positions with a cannon of an arm too.
Keith Law: Saw him. Not a centerfielder, not even close. Way too old for low-A, and questionable pitch recognition when I saw him there.

Kris: Any chance of Jordan Zimmermann rebounding from this two year downward trend in performance?
Keith Law: No, I think he’s likely done as an effective starter.

Michael: Hi Klaw- Looking to the future for the Phils infield, would you trade Franco and have the 2B-SS-3B positions manned by some combo of Hernandez, Kingery, Crawford and Galvis?
Keith Law: Would Franco have much trade value? I think Galvis is the guy you trade, with Kingery/Crawford the DP combo going forward.

Mike: do you believe splitters rob starting pitchers of velocity? is that why it fell out of favor?
Keith Law: I believe that people in the industry believe that. I do not know of any evidence to support it.

Guest: Tyler Glasnow has been blowing away Triple A for the past month. Is he destined to be one of those guys that is just too good for Triple A but whose command isn’t good enough to get MLB hitters out?
Keith Law: I think he can eventually be more than that, but what you described is what he is now.

Jerry: Has it sunk in yet that you (and ESPN) played a role in helping Trump get elected? Feel free to apologize.
Keith Law: That’s quite a take.

Joe: What keeps Forrest Whitely from having a ceiling above #2/3?
Keith Law: He’s a future ace. Disregard what I said in chat last week.

Dog: Nick Williams’ first exposure to MLB seems to be going pretty well offensively, but I noticed on BaseballReference that his WAR is only 0.1 because he is at -0.9 defensively, which almost outweighs his offensive contributions. Is his defense truly that bad, or is that small sample size noise?
Keith Law: I haven’t seen him enough in the majors to comment on that; I saw him a lot in the minors and thought he had poor instincts, but had athleticism to make up for some of it, and I know of multiple scouts who thought he’d be above average in a corner or playable in CF. (I don’t think I ever wrote that he would be those things. He’s one of the least instinctive players I’ve scouted.)

Dog: Jesse Winker has always seemed like Joey Votto without the power, which still would be a valuable player. Do you think his profile will work long-term in the majors or will he need to add power to be effective (notwithstanding that he’s slugging over .500 in his small sample size so far).
Keith Law: I think he’s strong enough to slug in the .400s regularly with a ton of doubles. He’s not weak; he just doesn’t have much HR power or the swing for it.

Phils Guy: Have you ever tried substituting a sweet (Vidalia) onion for a savory (white or yellow) onion in a recipe? My wife made a french onion tart using a Vidalia onion and it was good, but the balance between sweet and savory wasn’t what we expected.
Keith Law: I never buy Vidalias for that very reason.

Minnie: Would you suspect that the White Sox had the option of either Moncada or Devers as the centerpiece of the Sale deal and that knowing what they knew at the time they made the correct decision?
Keith Law: I don’t know if they had the choice. I would have chosen Devers in that situation, which was reflected in my prospect rankings at the time.

JJ: Does Blake Swihart need a change of organization, has the prospect ship sailed, or is this just a year of bad luck? The Red Sox always seemed strangely indifferent toward his potential success.
Keith Law: He might need a trade so he can go to a team that will just let him play regularly … I can’t believe he’s just forgotten how to hit after he hit so well in the high minors before last year. Boston isn’t likely to be in a position to hand him a regular job next year, though, and that’s what he really needs.

Tony: What kind of player do you project Ian Happ to be? Really good power but poor plate discipline this year. Also might be the worst imposter located in center field but that’s not his fault…
Keith Law: I strongly disagree that he has poor plate discipline. I think he has some contact issues, but he’s not a hacker or impatient. He’ll work deep counts and strike out too often.

silv: DJ Peters won the Cal League MVP. Big pop, big kid, big Ks, young for the level (though not super young). Thoughts on his outlook?
Keith Law: Good hitter’s park too. Good chance for an above average regular in RF/LF with some risk because of the contact issues you mentioned.

Greg: I am looking for beginner games for my 3 year old son. He loves Animal Upon Animal. Anything else to recommend?
Keith Law: Chicken Cha-Cha-Cha was a favorite of my daughter’s at that age. He’s not too far from Ticket to Ride: First Journey either.

Jesse: Do you expect Luis Robert to start next season at low A ball?
Keith Law: Probably. I guess low-A or high-A would work, but I’d start him at the lower level since he’ll be coming from the DSL.

Nick: What’s your opinion of Jesus Sanchez? Seems like other younger guys who have over the last year become industry consensus top 100 prospects have been written about more (e.g. Tatis, Bichette, Alvarez, Florial). Is Sanchez on par with guys? If the power comes, seems like he could be a star at the plate?
Keith Law: Florial’s not a top 100 guy for me; Sanchez probably will be. Florial’s tooled up with huge swing and miss issues; Sanchez is much less toolsy but projects to a plus hit tool.

Jim: I really enjoyed the recent podcasts you hosted. It’s wonderful to be able to experience you in that format rather than on the twitter cesspool.
Keith Law: Thank you – it was fun to do those. And yes, it’s a much better format for humor and snark than Twitter.

Tyler: Forget command, any chance Josh Staumont ever gains control?
Keith Law: Delivery is clean. It’s not mechanical; it’s mental.

Sean: Any thoughts from a scouting perspective on whether Delmonico can be an average to above average bat?
Keith Law: I thought so when he was much younger, but didn’t know if he had a position at all. Then he wasn’t good, got suspended, was released … and has been a little more like predraft reports since the White Sox signed him. I think it’s fair to think he could end up a low-average power bat with some OBP skills, a fringe regular who’ll play for the White Sox now but maybe get passed by better prospects later.

Evan: Is Max Fried a long term starter for the Braves or has he been shuffled back in the pack because of an awful 2017?
Keith Law: Still think he’s a starter. Too athletic, too good a pitch mix to give up on that.
Keith Law: Bummed he was sent out – they play here next week and I was hoping to go see him.

Mike : Have you gotten to watch any of Hoskins since his call up? What are your thoughts on how he’s adjusting?
Keith Law: I’ve seen more highlights than full at bats. Does seem like he’s doing a good job taking the right pitches and getting himself into good counts. I think he’s a 55 – an above-average regular – for a good long while.

Jeremy: Hey Klaw, think I’m going to spring for KingDomino thanks to your review. Looks fun!
Keith Law: Enjoy! I like it quite a bit even though it’s a lighter game than I usually like.

Tyler Smith: Should Ronald Acuna be in the majors right now?
Keith Law: No, but I bet he’s up in a week or so.

Luke: I saw where you seemed to really like the Cities of Splendor expansions? How much of a difference to they make in strategy and gameplay?
Keith Law: I played three of the four; two of those just layer something on the base game (Cities and Trading Posts) that really fits in well with the basic concept. Strongholds changes the game a lot – you get to put a temporary block or hold on a card on the table, and if someone else wants that card, they have to remove your stronghold(s) first. I thought that made the game more interactive, but in a cutthroat way.

The Average Sports Fan: Do you think Nick Senzel can play 2b?
Keith Law: This would surprise me.

Jeff: Hey Keith, love your work. Do you think Jerimiah Estrada has front line potential or do you think it’s too early to predict at the moment. Thanks!
Keith Law: I don’t think he does.

Franc: From a hitting (ok, fine, fantasy) perspective, who would you rather have moving forward, Josh Bell or Dominic Smith?
Keith Law: Love both, probably Bell for higher power ceiling.

Philip: What kind of reports have you gotten on Logan Allen (Padres)?
Keith Law: Glowing.

Mick: Might it be a good sign that baseball is becoming more popular in Italy w/ them being the Euro/Africa rep for the past two years?
Keith Law: I hope so, if only to get a scouting trip there once before I retire.

Will: I don’t feel generally depressed or anxious, but the state of politics is overwhelmingly depressing.
Keith Law: I would agree with the latter half of that statement.

Lukas: Has Blake Snell turned the corner? Or still too small a sample of good pitching to say?
Keith Law: Too small a sample, but it’s a nice sign. I’m still a fan.

Erix: How much should I make of stories of hitters’ improvements due to improved vision? Danny Jansen started wearing glasses this season and is raking, but also is healthy for the first time ever
Keith Law: I think it’s the latter. Jays people have talked him up for two years but he’s always been hurt.

Will: What is antifa? I have my own suspicions (false equivalence of the far right), but I’d like to hear you.
Keith Law: “Antifa” is the word the far right/Nazi sympathizers like to use to try to distract from their own misdeeds. I don’t think it actually exists any more than “alt-left” does.

Chris: What kind of contract do you see Eric Hosmer getting this winter?
Keith Law: More than I thought in May … but not much more. The number of teams with the need for a 1b and the money to pay him remains quite small, and his career record isn’t great for a 1b’s bat.

Alex R : Hey Keith, I’m wondering if you’ve heard anything about fellow Long Islander Kyle Young. 6’11 LHP with a 57/12 K/BB ratio this season. Is he a guy?
Keith Law: He’s a maybe.

Bob: Hoskins just hit his 8th home run. I know you were a bit higher on him than others. What do you see as his ceiling?
Keith Law: See above – but I concede I never saw this kind of power coming. I thought he was Goldschmidt Lite, not Full Goldschmidt.

Sean: What’s going on with Trent Clark this year?
Keith Law: That whole lineup has gone flat. Ray is striking out a ton, Erceg hasn’t hit close to expectations. I don’t have a good answer.

Greg: How would you rank Atlanta’s Rome trio of Bryse Wilson, Ian Anderson and Joey Wentz?
Keith Law: Anderson, Wilson, Wentz. Case for Wilson over Anderson.

MJ: I picked up Great Western Trail based mostly on your positive review a while back. I’ve only played it twice (and only with 2 players) but it seems as though the best strategy to win is to focus on buying all the best cows. Is that what you’ve found as well (assuming you’ve played it more and/or with more players than I have)?
Keith Law: I thought a broader strategy mattered – don’t ignore the workers, especially. But I haven’t played it a ton. The only downside to being a reviewer is that I don’t go back to great games as often as I’d like.

Raphael: Curious, how come there was no ranking for best command in your write up like last year?
Keith Law: No reason.

J: This is a semi-question and semi-statement, hopefully reasonably cogent and not too reductive. Venezuela is in the process of collapse. Do you know if MLB is doing anything to help players/players’ families/any involvement at all? Or in lieu of that, are you hearing anything about what players are doing? As I track Ronald Acuna’s (and Jose Altuve’s) incredible seasons, I keep thinking of what awaits them at home. This may be too much of a question for a chat, but been on my mind for a while.
Keith Law: I don’t know of anything other than telling teams not to send personnel there. Some agents in VZ brought prospects to Aruba a month ago for a workout to compensate. MLB should really make this formal if they care at all about the pipeline and the welfare of both players and scouts.

Patrick: How concerned are you by Moncada’s astronomical K-rate in the majors? I know you’ve typically been lower on him than other writers due to your concerns about swing mechanics. Do you think he’s more first-division regular than star?
Keith Law: This is in line with my expectations and, I think, everything I’ve written about him the last year or so. He’s going to take some time. He’s also a pretty sick athlete and I wouldn’t put anything out of his reach either – he just has specific mechanical and approach problems that have to change.

Greg Bird fan: He probably doesn’t get much playing time with the Yankees, but do you see Jake Cave as an everyday player somewhere? He seems to be having a really solid year.
Keith Law: I don’t – more of an extra guy.

Dog: Do you think the Rays will give Brendan McKay a real shot at being a two-way player? If not, do you think he ends up as a pitcher or 1B, long term?
Keith Law: They say they will. I think eventually he’ll end up at one or the other. I feel like either is a real possibility now.

J: You’re the Colorado Rockies. Where do you start McMahon and Rodgers in 2018? And what do you do with Lucroy?
Keith Law: Lucroy is a free agent. McMahon could be their first baseman on Opening Day. Rodgers has to go back to double-A, and shouldn’t be promoted until he’s hit some specific targets for patience and plate discipline. He can hit, he has some pop, he can play short, but you can’t send him to the PCL until he’s shown he can work the count.

Trini: Dillon Tate – does he project as a starter or reliever?
Keith Law: Starter possible again. He’s regained some of the lost velocity.

mike: I’ve read some websites say Vlad Jr could see some MLB time next year, that would be rushing him through levels wouldn’t it?
Keith Law: I think he and Tatis could both see the majors next year.

Nate: Keith, am I crazy for thinking Alec Hansen could be a top 50 guy in the offseason?
Keith Law: Yes, you are crazy, and that’s only one reason of many.

Brian : I know he is old for the FSL despite being drafted this year but Rooker is off to a great start. Do you think he can be a league average player?
Keith Law: Yep, that’s probably the best case scenario because he might be a DH and won’t be an asset on the field. More likely an up-and-down guy, but everyday player is possible.

Grant: Would would happen to Twitter if Trump was banned from tweeting?
Keith Law: I think it would hurt their business substantially. A lot of users – granted, a lot of users I wouldn’t miss – would probably quit the service.

M.D. Pepper : Jarred Kelenic, all five-tools average or better?
Keith Law: Not at all.

Rhys Hoskins: I just homered again. That’s 8 in 15 games. Can I keep this up?
Keith Law: There is no way you can homer while also submitting chat questions. It’s just not possible.

Lilith: How do Ethan Hankins and Kumar Rocker compare to Hunter Greene? Is it close at all?
Keith Law: All pretty different. Greene is the best athlete and was younger on draft day. Rocker is already filled out with a body like a 23-year-old. Hankins is the most polished pitcher of the three for his age.

Saxton: Did you see anything at GenCon (besides Kingdomino, which we already have and enjoy) that would be good to play with a 7 year old daughter? Thanks for the chats and all your other writing!
Keith Law: Please read the long writeup I posted at Paste, which I think has a bunch of games that might fit, but Kerala comes to mind as something light, easy to learn, and still fun for adults.

Logic: Who survives in the Angelos/Duquette/Showalter triangle? Compared to their predecessors it has worked well. But it seems unlikely to continue.
Keith Law: Only one thing can stop Angelos, so of the three, I bet Showalter topples Duquette and survives into next year.

Dave: What happened with the Astros at the trade deadline? Was it just a simple matter of them not wanting to give up their top prospects?
Keith Law: What was the benefit to them trading top prospects when they had already sealed up the division? It made no sense to give up that much value.

John: What do you think of Tatis’ promotion to AA? Do you think this is a temporary end of season trip, or does he have a chance to start there beginning of next season?
Keith Law: Chance to start there, but also chance to promote him and still extend his season into September because San Antonio is headed to the playoffs (and Lake Elsinore isn’t).

Archie: Is it unreasonable to be optimistic that Derek Hill has started to hit since returning from TJ, or did he just take advantage of a level he should have mastered a year or two ago?
Keith Law: Not unreasonable at all. Glad they bumped him up to high-A; the development plan should be for him to reach double-A next July, assuming he continues to hit in high-A, since he’ll play at 22 next year.

Zack: Is Michael Hermosillo anything more than a Quad-A player?
Keith Law: I think so. Chance for a regular.

Teddy: Is it better to throw 85 pitches in one day once a week, or throw 35-50 pitches every other day for a couple of weeks? Just asking so I know when the 6’2″ kid from NC in Williamsport can expect to have his arm explode.
Keith Law: I don’t know. That’s a good question but I don’t know the answer.

Grant: What’s Jose Siri’s projection?
Keith Law: Why don’t you ask her?

dan: You had a follower ask if the padres 2016 draft is just meh based off the results so far? Its mind boggling. Quantrill, Lauer, Lucchesi will probably all be in the rotation at some point (granted, it will be back end), Hudson Potts is really young, and performing better. Reggie Lawson has been good. Mason Thompson is still very intriguing. This looks like a good draft at this point. Am I crazy?
Keith Law: This is how I feel about it too.

Ike: Is Mitchell white a top 50 prospect by seasons end? Seems to have a nice #2/3 profile.
Keith Law: He was on my top 50 in April, just missed in July, probably makes it or is very very close in January due to promotions ahead of him.

Andrew: Gammons said a few days ago that someone who he respects thinks Whitley is the best pitching prospect in baseball. Agree or disagree?
Keith Law: Agree. He’s on the short list for that – him, Kopech, Buehler, Keller.

Harrisburg Hal: Do you observe National Waffle Day or are you of different faith? If so, savory or sweet?
Keith Law: I didn’t know that was today. I love waffles – I make big batches and freeze them to toast and eat like bread. Savory/sweet, doesn’t matter. What matters is that you put a ton of fat in them. My recipe is about 1 3/4 cups of flours and 12 tbsp of butter + oil.

Ryan: What are your thoughts on Byron Buxton? Overall numbers don’t look great due to the first month of the year but if you take that out he looks pretty good. Is he finally turning into the player many thought he’d be in the big leagues?
Keith Law: I believe so. I said on Twitter that he’s a star and I stand by it: He’s the best defensive CF in baseball and he’s showing enough progress at the plate that I’m very, very confident he’s becoming the player I forecasted he’d be (and so did everyone else … this isn’t just me).

Lance: Has any regular ever had more HR’s than doubles like Smoak?
Keith Law: That has happened over 500 times since 2000 according to Baseball-Reference’s Play Index. Smoak is at 34 HR and 22 2B, a ratio of 1.54; there have been 116 player-seasons with a HR/2B ratio over 1.5 in that span. Hoskins, however, takes the cake: 8 HR, 0 2B, for an undefined HR/2B ratio.

Hogie: Wilmer Difo has done well filling in for the Nats this season. Everyday regular at SS for someone?
Keith Law: Everyday regular somewhere for someone.

Claw: Keith – Acuna is tearing up AAA – regarding the levels, was he seeing better pitching at AA or AAA?
Keith Law: This is small sample noise.

Justin: Klaw, loved your Gen Con review. Can’t believe I didn’t know about Cities of Splendor, but it is now at the top of my list. I’m also curious about Ancestree. Based on how you ranked it, I presume it’s pretty good. I’ve played one other lineage-creating game, “Legacy: Testament of Duke de Crecy,” and while generally enjoyable, I found that a “birth complication” mechanism, where the player might choose whether to save the mother or child, to be an uncomfortable element. Can you comment on whether Ancestree has any such off-putting elements that one might imagine could be present in a lineage-creating board game?
Keith Law: Nah, in Ancestree you’re just laying tiles, never removing, never worrying about stuff like you describe. It’s light.

Ben: Have you ever read “Cutting for Stone” by Abraham Verghese?
Keith Law: No – but I’ve had folks recommend it to me.

Marcus: Tyler Beede has been having a disappointing season in Sacramento. Cause for concern about the Giants’ top pitching prospect or is it just taking awhile for him to adjust to the level?
Keith Law: It’s also a tough place to pitch (the PCL in general, less specifically Sacramento). He had 5 starts where he gave up 5 or more earned runs; four came in severe hitters’ parks, one at home. I’m really only concerned/surprised that he hasn’t missed more bats. He’s also been on the DL for a month with a groin injury.

Russ: Thoughts on the decrease in age at which baseball recruiting is falling to. Seeing 8th graders verbally commit. Also seeing colleges w/ 17-22 player signing classes and having 22-25 returning players. 2nd time through this process, and it has changed in 3-4 years.
Keith Law: The NCAA, which has never done the right thing ever, should ban such “verbal commitments,” which are worth about as much as anything you’ve flushed down your toilet in the last 24 hours.

JR: Conforto just hurt himself swinging the bat, which is a perfect summary of the Mets 2017 season.
Keith Law: Terry was right to prevent him from swinging the bat all those games last year.

Rick C: Is Ian Anderson hurt, or are the Braves just limiting his innings?
Keith Law: I believe he’s been shut down due to an innings cap. He’s not hurt.

Andy: For a while it looked as if Folty for the Braves had started to figure it out, but has recently fell apart. Do you think he will ever figure it out or is he better off in the bullpen?
Keith Law: Showed way too much as a starter before his last two outings to let those ruin his season. He was league-average on the season before the start at Coors.

avid reader of smrt baseball: what a useless stat Rich Hill being a losing pitcher?
Keith Law: I hate that that is the narrative. The Dodgers lost the game. Don’t fucking blame Hill like HE did something wrong.

Kyle: On a scale of 20-80 how excited are you for Pax Unplugged?
Keith Law: After I had such a blast at GenCon, that’s an 80, like Judge has 80 power or Buxton has 80 speed kind of 80.

Mark: T/F: Miguel Andujar posts at least two 3+ WAR seasons
Keith Law: Hm. If he gets the playing time, yes.

Hinkie: Is Brady Singer a better prospect than either AJ Puk or Alex Faedo were after their sophomore years at Florida ?
Keith Law: Nope. If healthy, Kowar is a better pro prospect than Singer.

Dan: Is Johan Oviedo the next big Cardinals pitching prospect? Has a ways to go but it seems like the upside is quite substantial.
Keith Law: Upside is huge. Also, over/under on times I refer to him as Juan Carlos: 2.5.

Bob: What is outlook of the 2014 Yankees spending spree look three years out?
Keith Law: International? Not great given the sheer quantity signed.

Patrick: Is Scott Kingery good enough to draw walks at the big league level. The hit tool is obviously legit, i just want to make sure he can lay off enough pitches to walk and not strikeout too much. Also, is he the best defensive second baseman in AAA
Keith Law: Swings early and often. Doesn’t miss much. I’ll at least roll with a guy like that, rather than a guy like Williams who swings a lot and misses a lot too.

Daniel: On a scale of 1 to ER MER GERD, how excited should I be for Fernando Tatis Jr?
Keith Law: He’s going to end up in my top 10 this winter.

JJ: Will Trevor Hoffmann eventually get into the HOF? He compiled impressive save stats, and some voters love compilers, but he gets crushed by having a career that so closely coincided with Mariano’s. “Closer” seems like it would be the hardest position to evaluate for a HOF voter.
Keith Law: He will get in this winter, but does not deserve to.

Todd: Which Brewer prospect at Carolina has been more disappointing: Ray, Clark, or Diaz? Which one has the most hope of turning it around?
Keith Law: Ray most disappointing to me. Diaz probably still the best chance to turn it around. But I’m also wondering if there’s a systemic issue there that four hitters (+ Erceg) all flopped there this year.

Chris: Luis Guillorme : 70/80 glove, .370 OBP in AA, zero pop, blocked in NY. Feel like he’s a sleeper.
Keith Law: Not a sleeper, just a quality backup. Don’t see the OBP sticking around with no pop and below-average hit tool. He is probably an 80 defender, though. Rey Ordonez?

Leonard: Pedro Gonzalez just got traded to the Rangers, what’s his ceiling ?
Keith Law: Ceiling is really high – maybe a 60 – but with low probability. Still a ways off, more raw ability than present game skills.

Evan: It’s a small sample size but Rafael Montero has looked decent in his most recent stint as a starter. Is there anything different that he’s doing that could lead to him being the pitcher the Mets thought they once had when he was a prospect?
Keith Law: Maybe just that he’s healthy again?

Pat D: Keith, we’ve had the opportunity to communicate a few times in the past, via Facebook, your blog, and your chats, but there’s one question that’s always been on my mind that I just have to ask: how do you type with boxing gloves on your hands? ?
Keith Law: DELETED

Brian : For what it’s worth, we ran a sympathetic piece explaining who antifa are: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/made-by-history/wp/2017/08/16/who-…
Keith Law: Thank you – I’ll add this to my reading list.

section 34: Hey Keith, you sometimes retweet racist and ignorant comments with snarky replies, which I enjoy. I’m curious about what percentage, roughly, of people commenting to you would you call racist, as opposed to ignorant about baseball (pro-RBI, etc). Also, is this percentage higher on Twitter or other media? Thanks.
Keith Law: I don’t get that many racist/sexist/homophobic comments any more because I block people who say that shit. I don’t need you as a fan or reader if you can’t treat others as fundamentally equal.

Craig: I know and everyone who isn’t a Hot Take Talking Head knows that Tim Tebow is not a legitimate baseball prospect. But is what he is doing in the minors a legitimate athletic accomplishment? I doubt there are many 29 year olds — who haven’t played since high school — that could top the Mendoza line at High A. Is that wrong?
Keith Law: If you’re not looking at him in baseball terms, sure. But he’s a waste of a roster spot that should go to someone who isn’t just screwing around.

Ethan: Last year Josh Bell showed the extreme plate discipline and bat-on-ball abilities that he’s known for, but not as much power. This year, the tables have turned on the two–though not extremely. What are the chances he brings the two together?
Keith Law: High. 75%. I think it’s all in there – he has shown each of these skills in isolation.

Proops: Lance McCullers: is his future still in the bullpen?
Keith Law: If he can’t stay healthy, yes. He’s never reached 160 innings in any pro season and won’t come close again this year. He’s thrown 194 total since the start of 2016.

Luke: Will Pache develop 20 hrs power in the next 2 years ?
Keith Law: In the next 5 years, yes.

Gene Mullett: Any opinion of The Atlantic? Was surprised to see Rosenthal join. Gotta imagine someone has tried to recruit you by now.
Keith Law: No opinion as I haven’t read any of their content. I support the idea of outlets charging subscribers and then providing (or at least trying to provide) higher-quality content.

Andrew: Klaw – Love your stuff, a weekly lunch hour highlight! Can you summarize briefly the less-optimal aspects of Severino’s motion? Worth trying to fix or let it ride given the results this year?
Keith Law: Never used his lower half at all in his delivery; guys who do that don’t generally develop command and often get hurt. Wouldn’t change a thing with him now – he’s having success, ride it until something goes wrong.

Luke: Acuna or Eloy ?
Keith Law: Eloy has more of a chance to be a star, a 60 or a 70, Acuna more likely to have a longer career as a regular.

Bucs: If I’m not mistaken, you scouted Keller in person recently; what did you see?
Keith Law: I did and here’s the post for Insiders, also including notes on Cole Tucker, Hays, Mountcastle, and others.

Declan: Otani a 2 way guy, or not, and what is your guess on his salary?
Keith Law: Pitcher. Salary depends on when he’s posted because of the new CBA.

Evan: Is there anything to be worried about with Amed Rosario’s low walk rate and high strikeout rate in the MLB? Right now he has just one walk and 26 strikeouts in 22 games.
Keith Law: It’s. Twenty. Two. Games.

Evan: Dom Smith hasn’t hit much so far. Do you think it’s just because he’s adjusting to MLB pitching? Or is it something that fans should worry about?
Keith Law: It’s. Thirteen. Games.

Concerned: Why does everything have to be left or right, conservative or liberal, democrat or republican? Why does everything have to be partisan? What’s wrong with just being a good person, helping others, and throwing politics in the gutter where it belongs?
Keith Law: You won’t last long on the internet, my friend.

Concerned: To piggy back Trump tweeting question, do you feel he should be allowed to tweet? It strikes me as an extremely odd practice for President, everything else aside, obviously.
Keith Law: What would be the legal rationale for stopping him? It may be unwise for him, but I can’t see the argument against it.

Dr. Bob: You have rightly dismissed those promoting Yadier Molina’s HOF chances. Right now he stands at 28th on the list with 35.6 WAR. If he plays another 4 years and accumulates 9 more wins, he would be 14th on the list. Given that dWAR is tricky for catchers, would that be high enough to at least have a serious discussion about his candidacy?
Keith Law: I think that would leave him on the outside.

Jake: Have you seen any reports on Dylan Carlson? He is very young for his league, but it doesn’t seem like he has the hit tool or power to be an eventual regular. Did the Cardinals reach a little too far with that pick?
Keith Law: I thought it was a reach, but he’s still 18 and in the Midwest League (he turns 19 in October). It’s way too early to draw any conclusions; he could repeat Peoria next year and still be young for the level.

Dr. Bob: You should have the Disneyland Fastpass option so that we could choose to pay to get our questions at the front of the queue.
Keith Law: … 3. PROFIT

Eric: You’re Derek Falvey. Do you shut down Fernando Romero as he’s already surpassed his career high in IP?
Keith Law: Do we actually know what a safe innings jump is? The Verducci claim has been debunked. Now it’s just an assumption without evidence, no?

addoeh: What are the remaining Pulitzers on your list?
Keith Law: After Scarlet Sister Mary, which I’ll finish tomorrow, I will have five left: In This Our Life, The Store, Years of Grace, Guard of Honor, and Andersonville.

Andrew: At this point, who’s the favourite to go # 1 overall in the 2018 MLB Draft?
Keith Law: There is no clear favorite. The best player might be Rocker, mentioned above, but no HS RHP has ever gone 1-1 and there’s clearly a disinclination among teams to take a prep arm first.

HugoZ: Is it possible that Coppy is being so aggressive about promoting prospects because his contract expires in 2019 and he needs a playoff appearance by then?
Keith Law: Possible, because moral hazard exists, but I don’t believe this is true, based on conversations with him and others in the organization. I also don’t think rushing prospects gets you a playoff appearance.

Mike: Any feedback on Michael Matuella? The numbers don’t look great but he hasn’t broken this year
Keith Law: I enjoy the low expectations in there. “He’s not dead! Hooray!”

Monty: Agree or disagree: At the highest levels, most players have roughly the same ability. The ones who succeed push themselves to be in the best physical condition and tend to be the mentally most prepared to handle the ups and downs of the game?
Keith Law: Disagree.

James: Any idea if Ashe Russell will come back with the Royals?
Keith Law: He had the yips. Few if any come back from that.

Scott: Saw your earlier response re Darvish going to the DL and was wondering if you thought more teams do this than is noticed and if it was something you would consider as a GM?
Keith Law: If it’s allowed you’d be remiss if you didn’t utilize it.

Jake: Luke Weaver, can he keep posting a 3.18 FIP. Asking for a friend…
Keith Law: Bet the over.

Oklahomabrave: Touki has made 8 or so great starts with better control. Figured something out or too soon?
Keith Law: I’ve heard good things. Athletic with a good delivery; no physical reason he couldn’t find control.

addoeh: Does Ian Anderson need a Jethro Tull referenced nickname? Aqualung doesn’t seem too flattering. Maybe Locomotive Breath.
Keith Law: I worked that into one of my capsules on him. What if he posts an ERA of zero to the power of ten?

Will: Will the braves call up Louis Gohara in Sept.? Does he have a third pitch that can be average in the bigs?
Keith Law: He has to go on the 40-man so I think he’ll be up next month.

Franc: Keon Broxton never seemed to be on your radar (from what I could tell); he’s been up and down this year (literally), but what’s your thought on him?
Keith Law: Up and down guy is about what I’ve had on him. Athletic without enough of an approach to be more than that.

Bryce Harper: Mets broadcasters gave you a shout out for your tools articles but wondered why Lagares wasn’t mentioned for arm. Injuries/playing time? Same for Thor and the fastball category?
Keith Law: Lagares’ arm doesn’t make the cut. Thor was because he’s been out with injury – didn’t seem fair to consider him and just assume he’ll be exactly what he was when he returns (he’ll be fine in time, I’m sure). Very kind of the Mets’ announcers to mention me.

Scott: Do you have any interest in the “fight” Saturday?
Keith Law: Hell no. And has anyone asked the Killers why they took money to promote that domestic abuser?

Bobbo: Do you still play/enjoy/top-tenify base Dominion and Intrigue? the 83rd expansion, Nocturne, is slated to come out q4 this year – interested?
Keith Law: Don’t play much any more. Great game, but I got expansion fatigue.

Dan in DC: Thoughts on the Robert Lee story?
Keith Law: Read Will Leitch’s piece today on Sports on Earth. I thought he did a superb job.

Henry: You may not be able to comment, but ESPN blew the whole Robert Lee thing out of proportion. The game would have been seen by about 30,000 people on TV. All of the memes or internet jokes people made about him would have been forgotten by the time Alabama and Florida State kicked off their game later in the evening.
Keith Law: I wasn’t involved in any way, shape, or form in this, but I can say that if I were Lee in that situation, I would have been legitimately concerned about getting caught up in that storm. It’s not fun to be the center of attention for the wrong reasons.

George: Given you don’t have much experience playing baseball, how have you learned to scout and judge peoples mechanics?
Keith Law: I have no experience playing baseball. I’ve spent a lot of time with scouts and execs who were kind enough to teach me and/or answer my questions, and I’ve been seeing players for 12-13 years now too.

jay_B: You have made a lot of Homestar Runner references (including this chat) but I have never seen it. Is it worth going back to watch now, or is it one of those “certain time and place” type things?
Keith Law: It’s goofy but timeless. We introduced our daughter to it and she’s in on the gags too.
Keith Law: OK, that’s a long one but I’m going to end the chat here. Thanks so much for all your questions and for reading. It was great to meet many of you at GenCon as well. I’ll be back next Thursday for another chat.

Klawchat 8/16/17.

I’ll be at GenCon 50 in Indianapolis from Thursday afternoon till Sunday afternoon, signing copies of Smart Baseball Friday at 2 pm, speaking on a few panels, and otherwise checking out all the new titles. If you spot me walking around, please say hello. If you have the book but can’t make the signing, just stop me as I’m walking around and I’ll happily sign it for you.

Keith Law: Took myself a small vacation. Get high on a Klawchat.

Mark: Can you tell me a bit about Danny Jansen’s defence – BP metrics hate him but what do scouts say?
Keith Law: Offense-first catcher, adequate behind the plate, enough to stay there. Biggest issue for him has long been health – I think I had him as a sleeper in their system two years ago (?) but he missed much of that season.

Ben: Did you attend the Under Armour game? If so, when can we expect your writeup?
Keith Law: I did, but probably won’t end up posting on it.

Bryan: Food plans while in Indy?
Keith Law: Probably won’t get to venture out much because I need to stay close to the convention center during the day and have GenCon-related plans two of the three evenings – but I’m open to suggestions.

Michael: What are your expectations for Rhys Hoskins?
Keith Law: Above-average regular. I’m in. He’ll continue to beat expectations.

Clubber Lang: who will end up winning the NL central?? Cubs are the best team on paper but don’t look like they want it??
Keith Law: I’m pretty sure they want it. I also think they will win by just a game or two.

Tim: Do you still hold Byron buxton in as highly of regard as when he was a prospect?
Keith Law: Yes. I think he’s already an average regular and will develop into much more.

Tom: Does Forrest Whitley have ace ceiling? What’s his most probable outcome, in your opinion?
Keith Law: I’ve talked to scouts who’ve seen him – I can’t believe he pitched in Wilmington while I was on vacation! – and no one says ace. Lot of 2-3 reports, which is still very good. But he’s already filled out, and not a great athlete overall, so he’s more of a high-floor guy than you’d expect given the age.

Charlie: I know you think Domingo Acevedo is a reliever because of the delivery. That said, do you think he can become an elite closer type?
Keith Law: Tough to say; I haven’t seen the huge second pitch that you might expect but he does have the elite fastball for it.

Jon: Has Bryse Wilson always been this good or is he more of a pop-up prospect? I know it’s hard to get pub in the Braves’ loaded system.
Keith Law: I wrote him quite positively back in March, because they had cleaned up his delivery and he was throwing a better breaking ball. That’s improved even more since then.

Matt: What’s your opinion on Corbin Burnes? He’s dominated at every level he’s pitched at so far, but is not on anybody’s top 100 list.
Keith Law: He was on my top 50 a few weeks ago.

bartleby: As America circles the drain, my question is… “why aren’t athletes en masse protesting the current political reality”?
Keith Law: Maybe they see how Kaepernick et al have been treated.

Devin: Who would you rather have for the next three seasons: paul goldschmidt, nolan arenado or corey Seager? Thanks
Keith Law: Seager.

Robert: Now that Bryan Reynolds has cut his K% below 20%, is he more in line with the player you thought he would be coming out of the draft? Thanks.
Keith Law: I expected more power. It is certainly in there, but he hasn’t shown much this year (bearing in mind that San Jose isn’t a great hitter’s park).

Josh: If you were the White Sox, would you have Giolito up and working out of the pen for these last few weeks, and have Cooper working with him directly or would you keep him in Charlotte and continue to work on his issues there?
Keith Law: I’d only bring him up if I could get him regular work – you don’t want him in a short relief role, but if you make him a tandem starter or otherwise a long reliever who goes every Nth day, that’s a good way to bring him up and get him working with Cooper. The Nats really did a number on his mechanics.

Zirinsky: Hi Keith. What’s your take on Judge: simple reversion to the mean?
Keith Law: Yes, mostly or completely that. His BABIP was unsustainable. Still a great player, but I’ll bet someone else wins MVP – Altuve or sale.

Al: You’ve said before that what Tatis is doing at low A is special. Do you think the power or speed will translate better into the majors? Thanks
Keith Law: Power more than speed, although I think he’s a complete player who’ll do some of everything.

Darren: If you so desired, would it be possible for a company to produce a pod cast for you to encompass anything you want to talk about? Or would ESPN have issues with you discussing baseball for another company?
Keith Law: My contract prohibits me from discussing baseball (sports, really, but there are no other sports) for another outlet. I think that’s perfectly reasonable.

Krupcake: You tweeted you thought the Red Sox kept the right prospects in their recent big trades – was this to mean just Benintendi and Devers? Or would you toss other names into that “glad we kept em” list
Keith Law: Those two in particular. And they did trade some good prospects, especially Kopech, but you trade a guy like that for Sale. I was specifically thinking about the two you mentioned.

Kevin: Would splitting season into 2 halves have any benefit to baseball and injury treatment ?
Keith Law: It would probably kill my fandom. Some folks might call that a benefit.

G: Is Ronald Acuna a baby Trout in the making?
Keith Law: I’m going to go with ‘no’ on that one.

ssimo02: Rumor has it Giancarlo Stanton cleared waivers. Given his recent performance (and setting aside any no-trade clause), do you think the contract is untradeable?
Keith Law: I do, not unless the new owners decide to pay some large portion of the remainder. Loria backloaded all his deals so he could do just this – pay very little of his own money and stick the next owner with the bill.

Mickey: hey keith – congrats and great job on “Smart Baseball” — looking forward to a sequel! Knowing you enjoy cooking, I wonder: do you have an herb garden?
Keith Law: We do have a garden, herbs, some vegetables, and a pumpkin vine that grew out of the compost that has already yielded one giant fruit with more coming.

Will: Why does Twitter continue to let Dick Spencer and Davey Duke use their service? Are they fucked in the head?
Keith Law: It’s a good question. I’m pretty sure that whole neo-Nazi contingent violates Twitter’s ToS every time they take a breath.

Jack: How would you compare Hunter Greene to Sixto Sanchez?
Keith Law: I wouldn’t. Greene’s taller, more athletic, with a better chance for plus secondary. Sanchez is 5’10” and a more polished pitcher but lacks projection. They’re not terribly comparable at all.

Sterling Mallory Chris Archer: Have you heard any updates from scouts on JP Crawford? You sent a ripple in the fandom with your comments last time. Also, what’s it like knowing that you can singlehandedly change the public outlook on one player?
Keith Law: It’s incredibly unfortunate – even more so because they weren’t MY comments, but comments from scouts and executives. And a local Philly news outlet used that content and some comments from John Manuel at BA in blog posts that were comically biased, cheering Crawford on and acting like this should be bulletin-board material. FWIW, I haven’t heard anything different on him in the last month. I’m glad he’s playing better, but scouts aren’t seeing anything different yet.

The Average Sports Fan: Has Moncada been pretty much what you expected since his promotion?
Keith Law: I guess, although in such a small sample you could expect anything and still be within reason.

Steven: Keibert Ruiz: (barely) 19 yr old C in A+, 12% K rate across two levels and has hit .300+ at every stop in his, albeit, short career. Stat line and age-level case looks strong, can you offer the scouting take?
Keith Law: Saw him in March. Big strong kid, looks like he can hit (good swing, feel to hit), did not get much of a look behind the plate but folks tell me he’s a bat-first guy.

Young Hoss Radbourn: Greetings, Klaw. If you had to hang your hat on one guy becoming a star, who would it be out of Fernando Tatis, Jr, Forest Whitley, Juan Soto, or Bo Bichette?
Keith Law: Tatis Jr.

addoeh: Many Republicans may be blind to problems of climate change, and anti-vax, and a host of other issues, but at least they are smart enough to see that neo-Nazis are the fucking worst. It’s a low bar, but it’s something. Shame our President doesn’t see it that way.
Keith Law: Shame so many officials in government only feel that way in private conversations, instead of going on the record.

jim: Afternoon Keith. Finally finished Smart Baseball and loved it. Do you think this season for the Mets is just a bump in the road or the start of another down turn? They seem to have the makings of a really solid core with Conforto, Cespedes, Rosario, and Smith but the rotation, outside maybe deGrom and Noah, and bullpen are still question marks. Thanks!
Keith Law: I agree the rotation needs help. You could argue they had bad luck with health, and some of that (Thor with a non-arm injury) is true, but Harvey isn’t reliable, Matz has no history of health, and even deGrom is probably less consistent than you want. But the offensive core is coming together really nicely. Szapucki getting hurt and Dunn scuffling so badly in A-ball both hurt their depth badly.

Tommy: How have Michel Baez’s secondary pitches progressed this season?
Keith Law: Well. Have heard the CH has shown plus and the breaking ball above average.

Aiden: Okay, let’s start with a difficult one for our president to answer: Nazis, good or bad?
Keith Law: Gotta hear both sides, Aiden.

JD: Odds that Devers keeps up the Sanchez-esque (Sahchezque?) late-season debut?
Keith Law: I wouldn’t predict he keeps this up, but I have long contended that Devers will be a superstar and I’m not budging.

Brian: Javier Baez has a 5.3% walk rate. Which, not great. Hides the more concerning thing that 11 of his 19 walks are IBBs (10 in front of pitchers). What are the chances he can become more than this? And what he is now isn’t a disaster as a guy that can play fine defense anywhere on the IF….but it leaves me wanting more.
Keith Law: This is probably what he is – 90% chance this is it. Useful, not a regular.

John: Focusing only on defense, how worried should a Red Sox fan be about a left side of the infield with Devers and Bogaerts? I feel like the defensive stats have been all over the map for Bogaerts.
Keith Law: Bogaerts is an enigma to me – he had power as a teenager, but makes relatively poor contact; he has good hands and instincts, but generally grades out poorly by advanced defensive metrics. Devers will be fine, but they may need a better glove at short.
Keith Law: Which puts X … nowhere.

Tommy: With Reynolds crashing back to Earth, is McMahon going to take the long side of a 1B platoon in COL rest of season?
Keith Law: Would love to see that.

BE: Enjoyed the book. Thanks for touching on the caught stealing. Is there a way to quantify GIDP or is there too much RBI type noise?
Keith Law: Fangraphs tries to value it, but you nailed the problem (opportunities vary). It’s a skill in that a certain player type – slow runner, hard contact, too many balls hit on the ground – will hit into more of them.

Danny: Still very early but has Nick Williams performance thus far exceeded your expectations?
Keith Law: Nope.

Lenny: Let’s say Kopech turns into a #2 (too many walks or something keeping him from being a true ace) and Moncada plateaus into something like a league-average guy, perhaps a tick more. Would the White Sox be happy with an outcome like that – even if they hoped for more? (not saying this is the likely outcome at all, just speculating on how blockbuster trades like that are viewed later on)
Keith Law: They should be happy with that, but I would guess White Sox fans would be disappointed in that outcome because both players have the potential to be more.

Rob K: Some BP prospect writers seem to be down on Dom Smith (relative to others) because the hit tool is hard to evaluate. I guess my question is: is the hit tool hard to evaluate?
Keith Law: The hit tool is hard to evaluate. Smith’s hit tool is not hard to evaluate. You won’t find many scouts, if any, who question his ability to hit. He’s been showing it since he was 16.

Nick: Acevedo is know to have a really good changeup why do you say he has no secondary stuff?
Keith Law: Because I’ve seen him multiple times.

Steve: Duplantier is a bit old for A+, but since he’s dominating in the CAL League, does that mitigate his age relative to league a bit?
Keith Law: Less worried about age than lack of a clear out pitch. Like the delivery, the overall repertoire, wish there was a clear 60 or betterthere.

Chet: If Stanton hits 60+ HR’s, do you think he has a realistic shot at the NL MVP? (I’m sure he wouldn’t get your vote, but would he get others)
Keith Law: Don’t think so. Goldschmidt, Seager, Rendon in some order. Any would be worthy.

JR: In the recent Mets trades, do you think they were focused more on dumping salary then maximizing return (thanks, Wilpons), or did they do the best they could given the circumstances and the lack of market for guys they were looking to trade?
Keith Law: I think 1) they wanted to dump salary and 2) no one really wanted these players.

Chet: How surprised would you be if Dane Dunning is the best pitcher that the White Sox acquired in there rebuild?
Keith Law: Very. That would mean he was better than Kopech, Giolito, and Lopez. Hard to see that happening.

Jake: I know Willie Calhoun has some defensive flaws–can he still be a valuable player at DH?
Keith Law: It depends on your definition of valuable; I think his upside there is an everyday player. He’s very strong for his size, and he can definitely hit. I don’t know if there’s a position he can play adequately.

Bob: Enough data on Kevin Maitan for a better read at this point?
Keith Law: I don’t think so – bumping him up to the Appy League at 17 clouds the data.

Mike: We all know Eloy’s bat will play anywhere, but what about his defense? I’ve seen reports that he’s going to be above average right fielder than others that say he will be below average in left.
Keith Law: Above average for me. I’ve seen him plenty.

Kevin: Trey Mancini: you buying or selling?
Keith Law: I guess selling, in that I think he’ll regress from this, but will be an everyday player.

Mike B: Tim Beckham? Obviously he won’t keep up the pace he’s set since he joined the O’s, but do you think he’s finally putting it all together? Is he a “needed a change of scenery” guy?
Keith Law: I don’t think anything has changed but the randomness of a small sample; he does this same thing in Tampa and no one notices because the stats aren’t broken out from the rest of his season. I thought it was a decent pickup for Baltimore, but also really like the arm Tampa got back.

Nate: Keith, are there 5 names to keep an eye on for the 2018 draft?
Keith Law: In no order, Ethan Hankins, Kumar Rocker, Brice Turang(arang), Jackson Kowar, Seth Beer. I don’t know if those are the top 5, but they’re 5 to watch.

Ryan: I know how you feel about Tebow the player but – marketing, etc. considered – does he retire with over/under 0.5 at-bats at the MLB level?
Keith Law: I think someone will give him at bats for the publicity. He’s not doing anything to merit it – he didn’t even deserve the promotion to high-A – but money talks.

Ortho Stice: I see lots of people trying to decipher Miguel Cabrera’s “down year”, but hardly a mention of what it must be like to try and focus on baseball with the turmoil in Venezuela. Isn’t that a fairly plausible explanation?
Keith Law: Possible, but he’s also a 34-year-old player at the wrong end of the defensive spectrum. He could just be getting old, too.

Harvey Dent: How much has Michael Chavis restored his prospect stock? It seems like he’s tailing off a little bit after a blistering run, but still solid overall
Keith Law: I’m inclined to write off 2016 completely because he was playing hurt – like Eric Hosmer’s bad year in low-A when he had a broken metacarpal in his hand.

Mas: Jen-Ho Tseng was not on your Cubs top 10 prospect list but seems to be doing really well in AAA. Is he potentially starter-worthy, and what’s his ceiling?
Keith Law: Don’t think he’s a starter in the long run; fastball is pretty flat, doesn’t have a definite out pitch. Strike thrower though with a lot of average stuff so I do think he’ll pitch in the majors.

BJ: Any chance Padres’ Enyel de Los Santos can crack rotation in ’18?
Keith Law: I get the sense he’s more like two years away than one.

Bret: Has your future outlook for Dansby Swanson changed at all based on his struggles this season?
Keith Law: No. Plenty of good players struggled in their first time through the majors. I try to always avoid that kind of recency bias, because it’s so easy to fall into that trap.

Sterling Mallory Chris Archer: Has your thoughts on Moniak changed due to his struggles in his first year or was this to be expected?
Keith Law: I mentioned in July after I saw him that I don’t like how poor his recognition of breaking stuff is – especially vs lefties. And there isn’t going to be power with that narrow stance and lack of weight transfer. I think there’s untapped physical ability there, but right now he’s definitely behind where I expected him to be – and IIRC I only had him 5th in the draft class to begin with.

Jon: Does Aaron Nola have the ceiling of an ace?
Keith Law: With that new changeup, he might. I’d probably put my money on a #2 rather than a #1.

Nick: Does Devers stick at 3B long term? If not where does he move to?
Keith Law: I have never had any doubt about him at 3b.

Ray T R: Is there another gear for Eduardo Rodriguez? Seems like he is slipping into the Buchholz void of frequent injury and tantalizing but too inconsistent of results
Keith Law: The knee issues are a real concern.

AtownAA: any chance chris taylor is this for real? like the swing change made him that much better ala justin turner previous changes?
Keith Law: Not buying. No one can sustain a .396 BABIP.

Nick: Aaron Hicks’ breakout this year has been something to watch. He looks like a true 5 tool player with a high .OBP Is this the player you expected him to become as a prospect?
Keith Law: Yep, maybe a year or two after I thought he’d get there.

Matt : Did you read that article last week (I forget who wrote it) about how Jeter doesn’t like the shift (and sabermetrics in general) and may not allow the manager to use it. The dude is gonna hire Dave Stewart as GM and Dusty Baker as the manager isn’t he?
Keith Law: I didn’t, but if so, holy cow is that great news for the media.

Kody: are the Republicans really the anti-vaxers? I tend to see that being the one anti-science point of the far left.
Keith Law: I think you’ll find anti-vax stuff at both extremes (a lot of it in fringe religious groups, like Christian “Scientists”), but if you want to find anti-science nonsense on the left, it’s the anti-GMO looney toons.

JR: Withe Rosario and Smith now at MLB, who would you rank as Mets top prospect still in minors?
Keith Law: Ummmmmmmmm …. probably Peterson. Maybe Dunn. Dunn has higher upside, but he’s clearly not as far along as I thought.

Chet: Who is better: Jorge Soler or Rusney Castillo?
Keith Law: Ouch.

Tim: When you say “regular” when referring to a player – are you thinking a regular on a playoff team or a regular for any team that can hold his role multiple years? 1st and 2nd tier regular gets thrown around a lot.
Keith Law: If I say “regular” I mean someone right around league average over a couple of years, but rarely if ever so far above-average that we call him “above-average” or “star.”

Matt : Can you scout from home and watch on TV or is it something you need to see in person?
Keith Law: For what I do, I need to be at the games or to get video from a scout friend of mine (since I mimic what they do).

Adam: Has Christian Pache’s lack of power output affected his prospect status in any major way? Has his realistic ceiling dropped because of it?
Keith Law: He’s 18 years old in the Sally League, and he looks about 16. Not only is the question – or I guess the implication? – an overreaction, I think that Pache will end up a 20 HR guy in the majors. He still has to grow into his body.

NYTT: Joey Wentz has been getting great results in Rome. I know you spoke weeks ago about wanting to see better pure stuff, but is he a guy that already has realistic MOR upside and can be more if he adds a couple mph through natural projection?
Keith Law: No, I’d probably drop a half-grade on everything you said there. He’s fine, but doesn’t have Wilson’s upside.

Brian: Is the hit tool hard to evaluate because the level of stuff and control/command at the MLB level is so much better than in the minors that you’re kind of guessing if the hit tool maintains or if it’s just good enough to hit lesser stuff?
Keith Law: That’s part of it. Stuff is less consistent pitcher to pitcher in the minors. And certainly you can see guys make solid contact over a multiple-game stretch despite a below-average hit tool.

Nick: Yeah and you’ve seen Severino multiple times and he apparently had no chance to start…..
Keith Law: I’ve said before I could be wrong on Severino – I could be wrong on ANY player. But he’s been a good starter for 2/3 of a season, after he was awful last year. If a pitcher has poor mechanics that may lead to a breakdown, it may not happen in year one or two. Maybe it’ll never happen. But perhaps you should consider dialing back on the recency bias yourself.

Jim Bankoff: What is your take on the Deadspin SBN piece?
Keith Law: The SBN model is common, it’s probably unethical, I have no idea if it’s illegal, but it is one of many serious problems facing the media as a whole. The proliferation of free content provided by unpaid or very poorly paid writers creates unfair competition for larger media outlets. The benefit, however, is that outlets like SBN provide opportunities for writers who might otherwise have been shut out of the market because they lacked access or contacts, because their writing didn’t fit a conventional role or format, or because of discrimination. So … it’s complicated.

Jackson: Is Florial a top-50 guy at this point?
Keith Law: Nope, not with those contact issues.

Brian: Recently read The Stranger and The Plague by Camus. Wondering if you’d read and if so, if you had any thoughts.
Keith Law: I read the Stranger maybe a decade ago. I just can’t get on board with that sort of nihilistic worldview. I understand what he was saying, but it doesn’t click for me at all.

Wilmer Fan: Pence cuts his trip short, is it finally happening? Also you can build around Conforto or Rosario, who would you pick?
Keith Law: Probably Conforto, just because we’ve seen how good he is.

Tom Allen: Related to your question above, do you think Giolito will still be a 1 or 2 in a major league rotation?
Keith Law: I do.

Tom: Speaking of MVPs, just wanted to point out that Andrelton Simmons is second overall in WAR (behind Altuve), and his offense is higher than his defense. He got no All-Star consideration and may get like a 7th place MVP vote. Heck, I’m not even mad, that’s amazing.
Keith Law: And is there any doubt that the value on his defense, which is the most common complaint about WAR, is valid? He’s the best defensive shortstop of the last 20 years. He might be the best *ever*. He should appear on a lot of MVP ballots, maybe all of them.

Brett: What is the scouting report on Thyago Vieria? Destined to be a reliever? Could he be a potential closer?
Keith Law: 80 fastball, up to 102, and a trash breaking ball every time I’ve seen him.

Wade: Now that Loria is out, who is the worst owner in baseball?
Keith Law: Angelos and the Wilpons can duke this one out.

Jon: Where would be the best place to find you at GenCon 50 on Saturday?
Keith Law: I’m speaking on two panels that day – one at 10 am, one at 1 pm – so right before or after those would be your best bet. The first one is in a room called Cabinet, the second Causus, but I don’t know yet where those are.

Mark: Have you ever played Magic: The Gathering? I ask because you’re such a big fan of board games and your ol’ running mate Longenhagen is an avowed fan.
Keith Law: I haven’t. In general I don’t do collectible card games.

Jung the philly fan.: Do you like any other young pitchers in Philly besides Nola?
Keith Law: I would guess he’s the only one who’s in their rotation when the team gets good. They have a lot of pitching depth in the system, though.
Keith Law: I saw Elniery Garcia last night – 88-93, mostly 89-91, flashed average CB and CH, just back from an 80-game suspension. Maxed out physically but definitely a prospect, looks like a starter but didn’t show the plus pitch last night.

Lance: Is Trout MVP worthy this year?
Keith Law: He is, but I don’t think he’ll end up more valuable than all of Sale, Altuve, and Judge.

Andrew: Is Posey the most successful mega contract over the past decade?
Keith Law: Define “Mega.” Longoria’s first deal was pretty absurd for the team. Sale and Quintana have been raging steals too.

Tim: Should the Cubs resign Arrieta? Looking like the stuff has returned recently.
Keith Law: Getting Q should allow them to let Arrieta walk.

Tim: Senzel looks about ready for the big leagues – would you move Suarez off 3B for him (given the season he’s having) or would you ask Senzel to learn 2B or OF to make him more versatile?
Keith Law: Senzel came so far to become an average defender at third that i would hesitate to move him again.

Adam: Cal Quantrill’s first season back from TJ has now reached the 100 innings mark. Hi-A and AA are two difficult levels to pitch at, and he’s been solid if not spectacular. Has a larger body of work affected your opinion on him as a prospect at all?
Keith Law: After I put him fairly high on my top 50, I got more feedback from within the industry that I should have had him a bit lower. Solid but not spectacular is a perfect description. I’d like to see if one more year off the surgery gives him any more stuff, especially on the breaking ball, but at this point it would be realistic to assume this is it and treat improvement as just one scenario.

Adam: Maybe I’m just being a brat, but has the Padres 2016 draft just been “meh” considering the quantity of picks and pool amount?
Keith Law: I think that is really premature. You’re talking about a lot of 19- and 18-year-olds already in full-season ball. Hudson Potts probably should have started in extended, for one example.

Tim: Do you think Chicago asked for Devers instead of Moncada or did they just like Moncada more?
Keith Law: Truly don’t know. Neither would surprise me.

Steve: There has been discussion that the Orioles’ lack of participation in the international draft is due to Angelos’ belief that the process is corrupt due to the predatory practices of buscones. Is there merit to this argument?
Keith Law: He’d be right that there is corruption in that market. They should still be participating in the July 2nd market. All he’s doing is putting his team at a needless disadvantage.

Nick: Yankees drafted Steven Sensley this year and ever since he has absolutely ripped the cover off of the ball. What do you see in him?
Keith Law: I don’t know anything about him offhand – 12th rounder out of UL-Lafayette, a young college senior who’ll turn 22 next month, that’s all I got – but I did want to point out that he has spent almost his whole summer in short-season ball, and he’s way too old for those levels (GCL and Appy). He’s now in low-A Charleston, which is at least close to appropriate, but with just 53 AB. He’s even a shade old for low-A, but if he rakes there, I’d take him much more seriously.

Chet: I know all prospects are different, but I’m skeptical to believe in any Astros 1B prospect because of Singleton and AJ Reed. But, should I believe that Yordan Alvarez is going to be good?
Keith Law: I think so. Think he’s got a plus hit tool, not sure what to think of the power.

HugoZ: If you’re a gm whose contract ends in say, 2019, do you much care about holding back a prospect like Acuna so that team control is through 2024 instead of 2023?
Keith Law: You might not – I’ve talked about moral hazard for GMs before, where you might sign a player to a long-term deal, knowing if it doesn’t work out, you’ll be fired way before you have to clean up the mess. But there’s also risk in promoting a top prospect too soon and having him flop out of the gate, which might color your boss’s opinion of you as a GM if you’ve been saying all year how good this kid was going to be.
Keith Law: OK, I think that makes up for the abbreviated chat earlier today. Sorry about the technical difficulties. I’ll be back next week for another chat. Hope to see you some of you at GenCon this weekend.

Klawchat, 7/27/17.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Klawchat, 7/21/17.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John: Keith,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Klawchat, 7/13/17.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Klawchat, 7/7/17.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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