Chat with Keith Law
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, MLB Insider Keith Law will be here to take your questions on anything baseball related.
Law is the senior baseball analyst for Scouts Inc. Before joining ESPN, Law served as special assistant to the general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays and was a writer for Baseball Prospectus.
Send your questions now and join Law Thursday at 1 p.m. ET!
Keith Law (1:09 PM)
Which are you less likely to see: the Loch Ness Monster, or a game-ending called third strike against the Red Sox at Fenway?
KO (Pittsfield, MA)
Good day Klaw. Do you regard the Baseball World Cup and specifically Justin Smoak's recent world domination as something we should trust or is the competition lacking?
Keith Law (1:10 PM)
The competition is horrible.
Who is the Jays #1 prospect? Zach Stewart, Henderson Alvarez, Moises Sierra, Chad Jenkins, none/vacant?
Keith Law (1:11 PM)
Stewart. Although None/Vacant had a solid year for Dunedin.
For most of the year the Colorado announcers and analysts were talking about how difficult it was for Jim Tracy to start Seth Smith because he was such a valuable pinch hitter. Smith can't possibly be more valuable as a pinch hitter as he would be getting four ABs every day, right? Or is there some way that a guy could be more valuable as pinch hitter if you ALWAYS used him in high-leverage situations (like with runners on in every close game)?
Keith Law (1:12 PM)
Um, no. That's just absurd. If only FJM would come back for a day to dispatch that sort of thinking...
You mentioned this morning that when you were with the Jays, you filed a protest with the league office on those late inning Fenway calls. You got a date on that?
Keith Law (1:13 PM)
No, but I remember one such game, and one call in particular. Halladay vs Pedro, scoreless into the 7th, Doc doesn't get the called third strike on Ortiz, who homers in the same at bat. Maybe someone can see how good my memory is.
Do you still view Travis Snider as a star??
Keith Law (1:15 PM)
He's going to be one, yes.
KO (Pittsfield, MA)
Is it that big of a stretch to say Mike Stanton will end up a better player than Jason Heyward? Seems like Heyward is the safer pick, but Stanton has a higher ceiling with additional risk of not panning out. Is that about right?
Keith Law (1:16 PM)
No, I'd say Heyward has the higher ceiling and the higher probability of panning out.
Dan (Buffalo, NY)
Klaw, would you ever trade for a 19-year old that throws 98 while he's on the DL for a shoulder strain?
Keith Law (1:16 PM)
No. And Knapp didn't actually throw that hard when healthy. It is amazing to me how one bogus high-end velocity number gets repeated.
Any thoughts on Brian Fuentes' comments that the Sox get calls at Fenway because the umps are afraid? Sounds like sour grapes to me.
Keith Law (1:17 PM)
I'm shocked that this question came from Boston. I absolutely agree with Fuentes, both on the third strike to Green and in general.
Stanely (Duluth, MN)
KLAW--think the voters will snub Mauer? I'm pretty much counting on it, even though he's raised his average 12 points over the last five days. Will this snub rank up there with the biggest snubs of all time?
Keith Law (1:19 PM)
I'm expecting it too. When you see articles appearing that try to argue against the best player's overwhelming statistical advantage because Favorite Player (Jeter, this year) "means more to his team" or some other such garbage, you know we're headed for trouble.
Onan (Atlanta, GA)
Jayson Stark thinks the Mets need to blow up their team. Do you agree?Isn't their offense (when healthy) good enough? Shouldn't fixing the rotation be enough for them to win?
Keith Law (1:20 PM)
No, that's a bad idea. A Met club with a healthy Reyes, Beltran, Wright, and Santana has a chance to contend.
The game was April 10th, 2004. Scoreless into the 6th, Papi homers and the Sox won 4-1. Good call.
Keith Law (1:20 PM)
Well, I was close on the inning. One of the bigger stomach-punch games of my time with Toronto.
Brian (Brooklyn NY)
Have you ever psoted a review for The Road? I saw you made a reference to it a few weeks back when discussing the Jays inability to sign their top picks but I couldn't find your review of it anywhere
Keith Law (1:21 PM)
Yes, last summer. Very tough to get through, but the more time that passes since I read it, the more I realize how brilliant it was.
Ed (San Diego)
Where do you see Jameson Tailon going in the draft next year? Top 2? Top 5? Top 10?
Keith Law (1:22 PM)
On talent alone, top 3. He's using the Hendricks Brothers, though - Crow's agents - which could push him down on signability. He's better than any of the prep arms from this year's draft except Matzek, and even that is a tough call.
Jason (UC Berkeley)
Keith, what do you make of a guy like Mickey Storey? 30th round pick last year, pitches at FOUR levels this year, completely dominates at all four. Does that make him a legit prospect who was just somehow completely overlooked?
Keith Law (1:24 PM)
"Completely dominates?" 7 innings in AA, 3 in AAA. Settle down.
If Jeter wins, you should jump on stage at the press conference and pull a Kanye
Keith Law (1:24 PM)
I'd love to see A-Rod do that.
Willie Bloomquist is leading off and playing right field today. I'm not sure who gets the $5 fine for this, but it shouldn't be me!
Keith Law (1:26 PM)
You clearly lack the faith to be a true Branch Daytonian. Trust the Process, David. Trust the Process.
Phil (Danville, CA)
You are familiar with a lot of languages. Is it true that Aaron Rowand translates to "Automatic Out" in some Eastern European dialects?
Keith Law (1:27 PM)
In Molvanian, his name translates as a term that can only be pronounced by sticking your entire fist down your throat, producing thirteen minutes of emesis.
Aaron B. (Novato, Calif.)
How much do the Giants need to upgrade their offense this offseason? Drastically, really drastically, or really really drastically?
Keith Law (1:31 PM)
Really drastically. Figure they start next season with Panda at 3b (star) and Posey at c (at least above-average hitter for his position). I don't really like Uribe, but he's had a good year and they could probably bring him back at a reasonable cost. That puts them, oh, three hitters short of an offense?
What are the chances of the Tigers beating the Yankees should they end up meeting in the 1st round?
Keith Law (1:32 PM)
Steve (Erie, PA)
Newbie to the chat world here, but what is your take on teams shutting down young arms towards the end of the year due to inning counts? For example, the Bucs are shutting down Ohlendorf and thinking about doing the same with Hart. Won?t they get more by working on things their last few starts then being shut down?
Keith Law (1:32 PM)
I'm fine with teams protecting valuable young arms by reducing their workloads late in the year. You're not telling me what they're supposed to be working on during those last few outings.
MRA (Pasadena, CA)
Do the Cardinals look like a typical "bully" team to you, in that they beat up the weaklings but show their true identity to teams of equal talent? Or, are they the team to beat in AAAA?
Keith Law (1:32 PM)
It's not like the NL is full of stronglings, MRA.
John (Los Angeles, Ca.)
Keith, are you still high on Phillies catcher Travis d'Arnaud? He had a great 2nd half and it looks like his power is coming. Tons of doubles. Any majors ETA? Thanks.
Keith Law (1:34 PM)
Yes. Late 2012 or early 2013.
Casey (Lawrence, KS)
Is there an MVP case to be made for Greinke?
Keith Law (1:35 PM)
Yes, but I'd still vote for Mauer, and I'm too busy tilting at smaller windmills to go after the giant "pitcher for MVP" turbine.
I don't know Keith, I just read Heyman say Ben Molina had another strong year at the plate...
Keith Law (1:37 PM)
Ah, speaking of which, I spoke to someone at the Giants about Sabean's comments that a guy a year out of college shouldn't be a challenge to Molina. He was speaking just about 2009, not about 2010, which, while I don't fully agree with it, does make some sense. Yes, I think Posey would be better for the Giants right now, but I understand the reluctance to stick him in there while they're still in the race. If Molina starts for SF on Opening Day next year, you can boil up the tar and I'll bring the feathers.
Keith, do you have an AL CY Young vote too? If not who is your pick? Def. Zack Greinke right? How far ahead is he in your mind?
Keith Law (1:37 PM)
I don't, but I could probably file that ballot right now if I did - Greinke 1 and Felix 2.
Hesh (New York)
Is this the real Jared Weaver that we are seeing? Frontline guy for years to come??
Keith Law (1:39 PM)
Huh? 3.85 ERA in a pitchers' park with a good defense behind him, 4.69 xFIP. If that's frontline, what the heck is in the back?
I pestered you weekly for 3 months on what you thought of Kendrey Morales and I know you just recently saw him live. What do you execpt from him going forward?
Keith Law (1:42 PM)
Very strong, uses mostly upper body to generate power, doesn't get cheated much on the swing. Looks like he's really trying to pull the ball, and I think you can work him soft away. I think if I'd seen him before the breakout, I would have really questioned the way he doesn't use his lower half - watch his legs, especially his back foot, during his swing - but he's strong enough to hit for power without it.
So, what do you make of Granderson's struggles? Just trying to hit too many home runs?
Keith Law (1:45 PM)
He has never looked good against left-handers, and I think at this point the problem might be chronic.
How would you feel about the Indians changing their name to the Cleveland Tribe?
Keith Law (1:46 PM)
Assuming they eliminate the racist imagery that goes with their current slur of a nickname, then yes, it would be a big improvement.
Patrick (SF, CA)
What Bochy did last night was a fireable offense, right? Not only starting Renteria in (essentially) a must-win game, but letting him get an at-bat representing the game winning run in the 9th with 2 on and no out? At the very least, that combined with the past month of "Are you serious?" moves means the Giants won't possibly re-sign him, will they?
Keith Law (1:47 PM)
I imagine that the Giants' run at the wild card means job security for Bochy and Sabean, even though Bochy seems to have his own level of managerial fail.
Cleveland Tribe Called Quest would be even better
Keith Law (1:48 PM)
Of course. Although I don't see an award tour in Cleveland any time soon.
Scott (Boston, MA)
Hey Keith, give us the Scout's thoughts on Dice-K's first start back? Fluke? or sign of things to come...
Keith Law (1:51 PM)
Looked very good, best I've seen him since 2007. Stuff was sharper, up to 93 repeatedly, although he still doesn't throw the changeup often enough. What really impressed me was the aggressiveness - going after hitters, especially on the inner half. The second time through the Angels' order, he went inside both for the out and to set up the outside pitch. If that's the guy he is for the next few weeks, he'll be a big help to them in October, whereas last week I think it was a question whether he'd even make the playoff rotation.
So if we get rid of Indians, should we get rid of Cowboys, Pirates, Buccaneers, and Vikings??
Keith Law (1:52 PM)
Wow, epic comprehension fail. We should get rid of Braves and Redskins, since, you know, those are actual ethnic groups. If Pirates are an ethnic group, it's news to me.
What's more of a joke? An umpire being afraid to call a game-ending third strike or an "all-star" closer losing a game to Nick Green and Alex Gonzalez?
Keith Law (1:54 PM)
Fuentes absolutely provided the fuel for the fire. I am not defending his performance.
Actually Braves is no different than Cowboy ...And by the way, Vikings would happen to be an ethnic group.
Keith Law (1:55 PM)
Maybe I'm just embarrassed at our nation's longstanding repression of Viking rights, but I think this is beyond silly.
Jon (Jacksonville, Florida)
K-Law, do you see Michael Taylor or Domonic Brown being able to sneak in some PT next year in Philly?
Keith Law (1:56 PM)
Taylor more likely than Brown. Someone will get hurt in Philly's outfield - Werth has a long history of injuries, and Ibanez is getting up there in years.
Brain (Long Beach, CA)
Do you think Juan Rivera dogged it on that hit by Gonzalez? Not even a dive?
Keith Law (1:57 PM)
Put it this way - I thought it was an out off the bat, and I was shocked he didn't lay out for it.
Do either Pedro Alvarez or Justin Smoak earn starting spots out of spring training in 2010? Who ends up being the better overall hitter?
Keith Law (1:58 PM)
I'm going to guess neither guy makes the OD lineup. I'll still take Smoak long-term over Alvarez.
Wil Myers or Max Stassi?
Keith Law (1:59 PM)
Stassi. One criticism I've heard of Myers post-draft is that his body type doesn't typically play anywhere on the field. I'm not sure I'd rule him out as a catcher based just on that, but I do think the odds are against him in that one aspect of his game.
Not to overload you with Phils questions, but who would you throw as closer for them?
Keith Law (2:00 PM)
If you're forcing me to use the traditional bullpen structure - and Manuel certainly will - Madson.
Being the #1 prospect and all, does Stewart have a shot at big-league time next season? Be it in the rotation or the pen?
Keith Law (2:00 PM)
Jason ((San Francisco))
What is your opinion on Alberto Callaspo? Had never heard of him until this year. Is he going to be a .300 hitter for years to come with some pop? A Placido Polanco?
Keith Law (2:03 PM)
High contact guy, good chance to hit .300 but not much else there. Has not looked good at 2b this year, although once upon a time he was a decent shortstop. By the way, I love that the Royals traded Cortes and Gutierrez because of makeup/character issues, but were happy to trade for a guy arrested for hitting his wife.
Rob (Brighton, MA)
I hear often about pitchers who have ugly mechanics, but teams won't change them for fear of messing with success. Does the same thing happen with hitters? Is there a poster child for guys with an ugly swing that make it work?
Keith Law (2:04 PM)
Rob in Brighton is asking for a guy with an ugly swing who makes it work ... I feel like there's a name that should come to Rob's mind ... someone who plays very close to him ... a second baseman ...
Jake (Easton, PA)
So then you agree with Chris Rock, that having a team with the name Indians or Redskins is the same as calling a team the Newark N-word?
Keith Law (2:05 PM)
Redskins, yes. I don't know if Indians rises to that level of offensiveness, but you wouldn't call a team the Baltimore Blacks or the Washington Jews.
John (Portland, ME)
Should the Blue Jays owner fire Beeston and/or JP just for turning down the Red Sox supposed offer of Buchholz, Masterson, Bowden, Hagadone and Reddick for Halladay? I can't believe the Red Sox offered all that and I really can't believe the Blue Jays turend it down.
Keith Law (2:08 PM)
I don't think that offer was actually made by Boston.
Steve (Milwaukee, WI)
Is it possible for the Brewers to pick up enough pitching for 2010 to make it worth keeping Fielder? It really seems like their best option is to cash in on him now and hope they can put something together for 2012.
Keith Law (2:09 PM)
I agree. I don't think they can add enough pitching to contend in 2010. They'd have to get extremely lucky with one or more options already in house.
In a short series, would rather face SF or Colorado?
Keith Law (2:10 PM)
Stanley (Duluth, MN)
KLAW--Thanks for taking the previous question about the AL MVP. I was curious if you've seen the mlb.com article where the guy uses the fact that Jeter passed Gehrig on the Yankees all time hit list as a reason why he should be AL MVP. He also says that Jeter is "well on his way" to breaking Rose's all-time hit record...as a reason why Jeter should be the MVP. Why is sports journalism, or at least a large part of it, bad?
Keith Law (2:11 PM)
I think that article was properly addressed elsewhere, but yes, I think it is absurd to say that Jeter passing Gehrig (and, as the Onion pointed out today, remaining 144 hits short of Harold Freaking Baines) makes him a better MVP candidate.
At this point (based at least on his last 5 starts) do you see Buchholz as a strong #3 or 2 moving forward---or do you feel that he can be a legit 1? Also, do you consider Jon Lester an elite pitcher?
Keith Law (2:13 PM)
Lester is already a #1 starter. I still think Buchholz has
While everyone is gung-ho about Jeter having the most hits in Yankee history, nobody acknowledges that he's made the most outs in Yankee history too. Not knocking Jeter, but don't tell me he's in the same class as the Yankee legends of the past
Keith Law (2:14 PM)
I guess that would ruin the narrative.
how would you set up the Phillies postseason rotation?
Keith Law (2:16 PM)
Hamels, Lee, Pedro, Blanton. Or Blanton, Pedro if Martinez needs the extra rest (and he probably does).
Zach (Mpls, MN)
Keith, I'm losing faith in the Twins mgmt by the day. Smith seems to be over his head on roster construction and Gardy favors proven (and worthless) vets over young guys. No question, just venting.
Your Buchholz answer got eaten
Keith Law (2:17 PM)
Of course it did. "I still think Buchholz has number-1 potential, but he's got a ways to go yet. Just hard to walk away from a guy with a pitch that's at least a 70 (the changeup), an average to above-average fastball, and a chance for an above-average to plus breaking ball."
Is either reddick or westmoreland ready to step into the red sox picture by the second half next year?
Keith Law (2:18 PM)
Westmoreland spent the summer in short-season ball and ended it with a broken collar bone. I think it's a little aggressive to assume he'll move up five levels by July. Reddick, yes, potentially.
Chris (hartford, ct)
Speaking of Pedro, is he further evidence of the AAAA this year, or did the time off actually help his body recover to the extent that he's much more effective and healthy this year?
Keith Law (2:19 PM)
Little of both. He's throwing harder than he was last September and showing more willingness to use his offspeed stuff. I'm not sure how much work he can handle in a calendar year, but he could pitch like this for several more years if his arm can take it.
Edwin Jackson (Detroit)
I'm getting hit hard again today. What's going on with me?
Keith Law (2:19 PM)
Your first half was a fluke. You're exactly the same guy you were last year - big stuff, below-average command.
John T (Eagan, MN)
According to Buster Olney, "The Kansas City Royals are on the verge of an agreement with their No. 1 draft pick, pitcher Aaron Crow, for a major league deal that will pay him between $3 million and $4.5 million, sources said." They're joking, right? How did he improve his bargaining position over the course of a year?
Keith Law (2:21 PM)
If true, I don't think that's better than what he turned down from Washington. On a major league deal, that money is spread out over however many years the deal covers. Plus, he would have been closer to the majors, possibly in the majors (given Washington's rotation now), if he'd signed last year. It looks to me like he cost himself a lot of money with the holdout.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
Four of the last eight World Champions came out of the 'AAAA League.' Just wanted to point that out.
Keith Law (2:22 PM)
Sure. The AL has a .575 winning percentage against the NL in the last four years of interleague play, which is a substantially larger and more meaningful sample. Just wanted to point that out.
Matusz or Buchholz?
Keith Law (2:23 PM)
Wow, good one. I'm leaning Buchholz, but it's very close. Matusz actually has a chance for four above-average pitches.
Hey Klaw, how about a non ethnic Indians question? Two questions actually: First, How do you like Brantley so far and do you think he makes an impact next year? Second, who do you see catching for the Indians next year? Is it Santiago, or does he spend next year at AAA? Thanks Klaw!!
Keith Law (2:24 PM)
I assume you mean Santana, who should be their OD starter next year. And I like Brantley, he's definitely better than I thought at the time of the trade - good swing, great hand-eye coordination, plus runner, can play CF. If Sizemore can't come back in time for OD next year, Brantley would be a great option.
Keith Law (2:25 PM)
That's all for this week. Thanks for the questions, even the dumb ones!