Nova shows up in Law’s Top 50 under 25

The RAB Radio Show: December 2, 2011
And so it begins: Yankees interested in Mike Gonzalez

This week on, Keith Law wrote up his list of the top 50 players 25 and under (subscription required). It covers only players who are no longer eligible for Rookie of the Year, so Jesus Montero does not find his way onto the list. Yet there is a Yankee towards the end. Ivan Nova ranks No. 46. After making a banal comment about wins, Law talks about Nova’s command, ground ball rate, and slider as positives going forward. “There’s enough here that you can see a mid-rotation starter as he matures,” writes Law. Eduardo Nunez was pretty much the only other Yankees eligible for the list, and it’s no surprise that he didn’t make it.

The RAB Radio Show: December 2, 2011
And so it begins: Yankees interested in Mike Gonzalez
  • CP

    “There’s enough here that you can see a mid-rotation starter as he matures,” writes Law.

    That’s not really going out on a limb considering that he was a solid mid-rotation starter this year.

    • Jesse

      Remember, this is Keith Law. The same Keith Law that said that no one thinks Montero can be a big league catcher outside the Yankee organization.

      • Now Batting

        Eh I’m not so sure anyone in the Yankees organization thinks he can be a full time MLB catcher

      • Ted Nelson

        And Romine isn’t a passable C either… and Culver couldn’t hit in little league (exaggerating, but he ripped the guy a new one)… and the Yankees were confused between Bichette and his father (obviously a joke, but looks pretty dumb at the moment)… and the Yankees are idiots for not having Manny in their starting rotation opening day 2011…

        • Esteban

          I think you’re twisting what he said about those players to make it seem like he has some sort of bias against the Yankees.

          We don’t know if Culver can hit or Bichette will be any good. If he said that not many people he’s talked to in the industry believe Montero can be a catcher, do you think he’s lying?

          • Ted Nelson

            You’re twisting his words to make them seem more reasonable than they were. Literally said Manny should be in the opening day rotation, Culver can’t play SS because of his arm, and missed his platoon splits… I don’t need to twist those statements at all.

            What’s with your man crush on Keith Law? I don’t like his work. That’s my opinion. I think he’s been overly bearish on the Yankees recently. That’s again my opinion. Why are you so defensive about Law? That’s several comments now… What do you think he does so well?

        • thenamestsam

          Don’t you think the fact that every single fanbase thinks that Keith Law hates their team suggests that it might be more than some sort of simple anti-Yankees bias?

          He says plenty of positive things about Yankees prospects too, and to be honest, it’s not like any of those is really that crazy an opinion.

          • Ted Nelson

            I didn’t say he hates the Yankees or is biased.

            I said that I have found his work to be overly bearish on the Yankees and overly bullish on the Red Sox. He had the Yankees at #9 and Sox at #11 in farm rankings entering last season… I found that ridiculous.

            It’s not some intangible bias I am pointing to. I am pointing to particular rankings and comments that I took exception to.

            • thenamestsam

              The suggestion of the comment I replied to was certainly that he has a Yankees bias. Maybe that’s not what you intended. As for your point being about specific comments, you’re not actually pointing to them. You’re alluding to them. You haven’t linked to any specific comment that I’ve seen. As for the system ranking, I agree that I thought he was overrating the Sox, although I thought his Yankees rating was pretty fair.

              • Ted Nelson

                The comment you replied to was a list of things he’s said (paraphrased). It was not meant to suggest a bias so much as poor job performance. I feel that the value he can bring is to analyze prospects and use his Carnegie Mellon MBA to add some formal statistical analysis. Instead he mostly tells you what prospects he likes and doesn’t like. I see little value in that. He’s wrong WAY more often than he’s right, which would probably be the case for any scout… that’s the nature of the game, so why make such definitive conclusions (probably to make money for ESPN… but I am a really anti-MSM guy so I have little respect for pandering to the ignorance of the masses).

                “although I thought his Yankees rating was pretty fair.”

                I thought he was a little light on Montero even as a DH, and I thought that for having so many Yankees in his top 100 he was too low on their overall system. (He pointed to low minors… which is again where I think clearly disclosing his assumptions would help… and also missed that the Yankees short-season squads were just dominant.)

        • Jimmy McNulty

          Bichette’s still a bit premature. He tore up rookie ball, but that’s basically HS level of competition. He writes for ESPN, he doesn’t get hits unless he makes controversial statements about teams with big fanbases.

          • Ted Nelson

            I agree that it’s premature to say he’s had any success… but I don’t think it’s premature to question Law’s comment that the Yankees weren’t aware he wasn’t his father. (Hopefully he’s a lot better, actually.) He went after them hard, and early returns suggest he had no idea what he was talking about.

            Rookie ball is not HS competition. That’s the excuse Law used to justify his comments after DB was making him look like a fool. It’s the best HS players in the country… like an All-America league, not like a random HS schedule.

            I agree that he has to get hits. I think a more rational and thought-out approach would be the way to do that, though.

            • Mister Delaware

              Its only the best HS players (seniors) in the country once all have signed and reported. Bichette was a very early sign and report.

              • Ted Nelson

                And many top Latin American and Asian players.

                It’s concentrated… there are thousands of HS’s around the country. I’m not saying it’s great competition, I’m saying it’s not HS competition and that I think Law leaned on that excuse to some extent.

            • Jimmy McNulty

              Well most of the best HSers sign too late to play in those leagues, either that or they just go to college. So I’d say it’s about a shade below tough prep league competition, but better than a public HS circuit.

              • Ted Nelson

                Most kids a HS team plays against will never come close to getting drafted. The kids in rookie ball were good enough to sign with pro teams.

                “So I’d say it’s about a shade below tough prep league competition, but better than a public HS circuit.”

                Below? Are you joking? It’s a concentration of HS players good enough to play professionally as well as Latin American players good enough to come over and play professionally.

                • Jimmy McNulty

                  These top prep leagues often have some pretty good teams. You won’t see Bubba Starling, Archie Bradley, or anyone like that in there. You also won’t see the guys that went to college. Prep leagues often have several future big leaguers in there and lots of other guys who are good enough to have career AAA players. A-Rod and Doug Mientkiewicz were HS teammates, and there’s plenty of big leaguers that were on the same prep circuit. It’s not the HS All-American collection you make it out to be, those guys rarely sign on time.

                  • Ted Nelson

                    And I’m sure A-Rod and Doug had a bunch of teammates and opponents who never sniffed pro ball. Every single player in rookie ball is a professional baseball player. You might not go 0-5 the time you face Archie Bradley… but you also aren’t facing some 5-9, 150 HS sophomore who throws 70 MPH when you play that patsy team. Every single PA is against a pro pitcher (and vice versa).

                    • Jimmy McNulty

                      The top prep rosters have a pretty good collection of talent, and they could probably beat some of these pro teams that Bichette played on and against. You’ll have guys that are good enough to have an indy league career, be college players, and several players that probably washed out of proball fairly quickly too.

                      While I agree you’ll facing a fair amount of mediocre talent even in top prep circuits, I think the lack of the truly elite HS talent makes up for that. Yeah, these are professional baseball players, but are they’re extremely raw professional baseball players that can’t find the strikezone or command a breaking pitch. Which basically puts them right around the level of a good prep circuit. Yeah, I’m sure not every player in Miami, California, and Texas prep league will be a professional baseball player, but at the same time I’m pretty sure the leagues that Bichette’s playing in have their fare share of terrible players too yet lack the high end talent that either goes to college (sometimes even on other sports too) or signs late.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Again, we are not talking about teams. We are talking about leagues. Even if you are right that a few HS teams in the country could beat a pro team–and I think you are way overstating that–it doesn’t mean the league is nearly as tough.

                      I think you are way off base. The concentration of talent is on a totally different level. If you honestly think rookie players are raw and HS players aren’t… Good for you.

                    • Jimmy McNulty

                      I don’t think I ever stated that these HSers are extremely raw either, I was simply suggesting that lots of these leagues offer the same problems that top HS circuits do. Yet they don’t have the elite top shelf talents. The talent level of the league is no where near high enough to suggest that Bichette was worth a top pick. I mean yeah, awesome, Bichette raked in his first cup of tea in pro ball. He did the things that he’s supposed to do. That being said, we still have no earthly clue whether or not he’ll be able to do what he needs to do be a successful big leaguer. Yeah he walked a lot, lots of these kids can’t find the strikezone. Yeah he hit well, lots of these pitchers would get destroyed in A ball. Whether you consider this league to be a high level of play or not, you can’t honestly say that this guy raking in rookie ball is indicative of things to come and undoes an entire pre-draft evaluation.

              • YanksFan in MA

                That is one of the most insanely idiotic things ever posted on RAB. A HS team could beat a pro team if they have a 1st round talent pitcher go out and dominate and scratch a run across, but there is no HS league in the country that has more depth and talent than a professional league, let alone most D3 college leagues. Let’s not forget that HS ballplayers are generally between 15-18 and the GCL generally has 17-20 year olds and also add in the fact that a great deal of HS players never play a meaningful game after their senior ends and it becomes pretty apparent that your statement is hilariously ridiculous.

      • sprot sprotster

        The same Keith Law that says that Brandon Beachy’s upside is a #3 starter.


      • bonestock94

        Doesn’t he LOVE his bat though?

      • Doug

        does anyone?

      • Jimmy McNulty

        Well…he probably can’t. That’s a pretty pervasive opinion, the Yankees didn’t seem to show much faith in his catching in his cup of coffee. Obviously they love his hitting.

      • RetroRob

        Actually, Klaw was a supporter of Nova after the Yankees called him up last year when most though Nova was at best a back-end starter or even a bullpen guy. He though his upside was midrotation over a year ago. He also likes Noesi, thinking he has as much, or more upside than Nova.

        • RetroRob


          I forgave msyself (a regular happening) for writing though instead of thought once, but to do it twice clearly shows I’m putting no though into this…I mean thought.

    • Slugger27

      thats actually a much rosier picture than i expected from him.

  • MannyB ace2be

    So now Nova is seen as a “mid rotation starter” if he has another good season next year sub 4 ERA / FIP would you possibly trade high on him and upgrade to a true ace type pitcher ?

    • Mister Delaware


  • William

    Nova is a true mid rotation sinkerballer. Think Derek Lowe.

  • Ted Nelson

    It’s one perspective, but I don’t put much weight on what Law says. It comes across to me as sort of an arbitrary balance between production and Law’s scouting… basically, he pulled it out of his butt.

    • Scout

      Then let’s hope he washes his hands before dinner.

    • Slugger27

      ummm… what else is he supposed to go on besides production and scouting? i mean, what else is there?

      it’s his opinion.

      • Ted Nelson

        Have a more systematic way of doing it. Not just arbitrarily decide when to use a guy’s production and when to ignore it.

        I realize it’s his opinion… I don’t think that’s worth much given some of his comments in the past.

    • Mike Axisa

      It comes across to me as sort of an arbitrary balance between production and Law’s scouting

      That’s what everyone does, including you.

      • Ted Nelson

        If I was to do a ranking of the top 50 players under 25 (or of anything really) I would use a more systematic approach.

        If nothing else, I think he should state his assumptions more clearly. For example, list a projected average annual WAR or some form of rating the player. And/or a scouting report rating of the 5 tools/different pitches. If he lists his assumptions, you can see where you disagree with him… or see why maybe he thought of something that you didn’t. Right now, you’re just reading his opinion and taking it for what it’s worth (not much in my opinion… which isn’t even an insult to him… these are prospects).

        I have suggested this to him on his prospect rankings. He gave me a line about how he has so much work to do blah… blah… blah… This is his freaking job. All year he has to watch baseball, write like 5 ranking lists, and maintain a blog. This is literally the job you yourself do as a side job. Law is paid (probably pretty well) to do it. If you got paid to do this and nothing else, I have to imagine you’d have time to make a database for 50 players or 100 prospects ranking the projected WAR you have for them based on historical performance and/or tools/stuff-control.

        This is really simple stuff. Finance provides clear examples of how to do it. For a guy with a Carnegie Mellon MBA, I’d think Law would have a basic education in finance. There are certainly people who just invest with their guts, but quantitative analysis is not rocket science. Baseball players are assets just like securities or commodities.

        • Esteban

          It’s his job to make sure his prospect rankings conform to your standards or his bosses’?

          • Ted Nelson

            Do I care about his bosses’ opinions or mine?

            This is what I think would make his rankings stronger and more palatable.

            • Esteban

              But if he’s getting good responses from the general public and his bosses are happy with his output and results (PAGE VIEWS! and insider subscriptions), he’s going to continue to do rankings this way.

              • Ted Nelson

                I have no idea what his “rating” are… I don’t particularly like his stuff, and this is something that would make me like it more. That’s all I’m saying. I also think it would help with the general public. Give them more info to look at, learn from, disagree with, etc.

        • thenamestsam

          I don’t really see what an average annual WAR value would add to this conversation. He says he sees the guy as a mid-rotation starter. That gives you a range of WAR values right there.

          As for taking a more finance-type approach, you’re basically asking for a projection system that projects players using their current stats and some scouting-type information, right? That’s fairly similar to PECOTA which took someone smarter than Law many years to develop and which has been subsequently broken by other smart people. I don’t think it’s as trivial as you’re making it out to be. And that only incorporates the simplest scouting-type information like body type. To input skill set as well somehow is going to be incredibly complicated, and require an unbelievable data gathering effort.

          • Ted Nelson

            I think it would add a consistent basis for evaluation besides “because I’m Keith fucking Law and I say so.”

            The biggest value to me is to get an insight into his thinking. Rather than giving a two sentence blurb about a guys curveball is good, but he lacks control a little (or whatever), give us a scale to look at.

            “I don’t think it’s as trivial as you’re making it out to be.”

            I’m not saying that he can make a perfect system. I’m saying that he can make a better system. If he is right 5% of the time and can make a system that’s right 10% of the time… it’s still going to suck 90% of the time, but be twice as good as his current system. If you’re right in investing 51% of the time you’re going to be loaded… similar principle.

            “To input skill set as well somehow is going to be incredibly complicated, and require an unbelievable data gathering effort.”

            It’s 50 players. Take the 60-75 candidates and rank them. Again… it’s his job. He’s got all off-season. Should take him a few hours to slap something together, and a few days to do a really solid job.

            I’m not asking for perfection. Just some effort to make a systematic ranking system. That’s what I personally would prefer. Doesn’t mean it’s what Law will do, and it seems quite clear he will not do it.

            • Mister Delaware

              Do you realize how insane this sounds? You don’t value the guys opinions but you would if he converted them into numerical form? Recognizing what can’t be quantified is as important as quantifying what can be.

              • Ted Nelson

                That’s not what I said.

                I said that I don’t think he goes through a process of actually quantifying these things, and therefore his opinions are less valid than if he formed them in a systematic way. Why don’t I think he has a formal system? A. Because I’ve asked and he basically said (paraphrasing without a link) that he does not and B. because if he had one in an Excel spreadsheet it would take him two minutes to attach it in an e-mail to the programmers at ESPN to format for his rankings.

                Maybe hear me out before misinterpreting my point and calling me insane. Just a thought.

      • Slugger27

        that sentence confused me as well. im not sure what more you can ask other than a balance of production and scouting for a guy under 25.

        • Ted Nelson

          It was probably poorly worded, but my point was that he gives an arbitrary balance that suits his personal opinion on a guy… leading it to be more about his arbitrary projections than any coherent projection system. I can’t guarantee that even a good projection system would be better than Law’s made up projections… but I’m willing to bet it would be more accurate if tweaked and improved against actual results. And that system could include subjective scouting that’s roughly quantified along a scale.

  • Bronx Byte

    Oh yes …. Keith Law, the Boston hoot.

    • Esteban

      Where did this idea that he loves Boston come from? Say what you want about KIETH but I don’t think he’s biased for or against any team.

      • http://twitter/TheRealJeromeS Jerome S.

        This. Sometimes he just makes dumb comments that annoy the heck out of everyone, but he hasn’t shown any favortism at all for Boston.

      • Ted Nelson

        I think his rankings have definitely been overly bullish on the Sox prospects and bearish on the Yankees recently. The Red Sox have a fairly barren farm, and he had them 2 spots behind the Yankees entering the season. I found that to be a bit of a joke. He just tears the Yankees drafting apart for the most part, but the early returns the last two seasons are at least solid.

        He might have legitimate justification (my guess is mostly a believe that the Boy Genius had a strong staff and Opp wasn’t as strong… therefore the Red Sox should continue producing hits and the Yankees shouldn’t), or he might just be biased.

        • Esteban

          So it could be legitimate or bias, but you’re pretty sure it’s bias, why? Has he gone against the grain to say that Yankees prospects that were generally held in high regard were bad? Are his concerns about Montero’s defense or Culver’s hitting not widely held opinions? Maybe everyone has a bias against the type of players the Yankees draft, but not the team?

          • Ted Nelson

            Not saying that he’s biased… saying that he comes across as quite bearish on the Yankees and bullish on the Red Sox (up until very recently maybe)

            “Has he gone against the grain to say that Yankees prospects that were generally held in high regard were bad?”

            Off the top of my head:

            Widely held, but he took the extreme:
            -Montero can’t catch… not well, but his argument revolves mostly around injuries to C… which he did little besides point to Mauer and like 4 other Cs over 6’4″ or something
            -Culver can’t hit… from one side that’s the case, from the other not so much
            -Bichette… Yanks were criticized, but he was ridiculous

            Against the grain:
            -Romine can’t catch… has his critics, but Law flat out said he can’t C in MLB from what I remember
            -Culver has a bad arm… arm is basically his best tool according to reports I’ve read, Law took a tiny sample of one game and projected it on the guy as a general rule from what I remember
            -Yankees are stupid for not having Manny in their opening day starting rotation 2011… speaks for itself

            • Mister Delaware

              I’m going to ask for quotes on those last three. The one that says “Romine can’t catch in the majors”, Culver has “a bad arm” and the Yankees were “stupid” for not starting Banuelos in the majors last year.

              • Ted Nelson

                I was paraphrasing not quoting him.

                I don’t see links at first glance on Google and am not going to spend all day on this, but I can guarantee you he made all three statements. Think whatever you want about me, but I am not a liar.

                -He had a list of prospects who were MLB ready before 2011, and said that Manny in 2011 = Jason Heyward in 2010.

                -He said Culver would need to move off SS because of his arm.

                -And I don’t remember the details of the Romine comment, but he said something to the effect of he cannot C in MLB.

                • Mister Delaware

                  Well, we can revisit this later if you find any support.

                  • thenamestsam

                    I did a search. I’m guessing this is the qoute he’s referring to:

                    Kev (NYC):Is Montero is an A+ bat, how high do you rate Romine’s fielding ability?
                    Klaw(1:19 PM): Romine can’t catch – as in, he struggles very badly to receive the ball. Plus arm, but I’m not sure how you get from where he is now to acceptable major-league receiver.

                    I can’t find an exact date, but it looks like over a year ago based on the other questions. Ted’s would be a pretty rough paraphrase if that’s the quote he’s referring to.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      “Romine can’t catch”
                      “I’m not sure how you get from where he is now to acceptable major-league receiver”

                      I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say Law does not view Romine as an acceptable MLB catcher… it’s one facet of the job, but he says that not even acceptable at it. Receiveing is a pretty big part of defense to be “unacceptable” at when you’re a league average hitter your second stint in AA.

                    • thenamestsam

                      That’s fair. It’s true that I haven’t seen anyone else that critical of Romine’s defense and I do think KLaw tends to be pretty hyperbolic in everything he does, both on the upside and the downside. I think that’s why people tend to think he’s overly negative towards their team. I’m guessing if you’d paid as much attention to things he said about Red Sox players you’d have a whole list of times he has slighted them also.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Yeah, the hyperbole is what bothers me. Perhaps it’s what sells, but I don’t like it.

                      I probably would say the same thing about any other team if I paid attention (I stopped reading his stuff for the most part… occasionally look at it… just remember some things that stick out strongly in my memory specifically because they were anti-Yankee). That’s why my point is more that I think he does a mediocre job than that he’s biased.

                      My bearish/bullish NYY/BOS comment is mostly about his pre-season rankings and draft rankings. (Might be that he just thinks like the Red Sox, though others have suggested he has better relationships with the Sox FO and is thereby more influenced by their thinking… opinion is going to vary really widely on HS kids across the country, so totally possible his rankings are influenced by friends who work for the scouts–he often says he uses scout imput–while the Yankees keep the kids they like more under wraps to avoid them getting other teams’ attention… just a theory I’ve seen).

                  • Ted Nelson

                    I don’t really need to revisit anything. I have my opinion on Law. It is what it is. You can have a totally different opinion on him if you’d like.

                    (And my opinion on him is not that he’s biased, it’s that he’s not very good at his job. He is not systematic and he takes definitive stances on 18 year olds.)

                    The Manny thing was a particularly big thing at the time. Generated a ton of buzz. The Culver thing was a comment in a chat or something.

                    • Mister Delaware

                      Systematic how? You’d complain less if he called Nova a 50 or a C+ than if he called him a mid-rotation starter?

                    • Ted Nelson

                      I have explained in detail what I mean by systematic.

                      Last time:

                      That I would like to see a system in place and laid out in the article as to how he arrives at his conclusions. What are his assumptions. Not just one rating… although that would be the bare minimum of what I’m referring to… a start that would take almost no extra work. Right now he just sort of says “well this guys produced a bit and I sort of like his curveball… so he’s like maybe a #2 starter” (in which rotation? it’s often surprising how bad the average #2 or #3 is… i.e. the 45th or 75th SP in baseball… compared to how those terms are used). I would like to see a statistical projection based on historical data (and these are all MLB players on this list) coupled with a scouting report along some basic areas… like 5 tools. Then a way to balance the two that is consistent across players. Not… well I really like Porcello because he threw 97 in HS… but I didn’t like that kid in HS so much.

                      Then test that system against actual performance and see how well it does. Let’s say you invest with someone at Morgan Stanley. Are you just going to take their word that they like the investments that they’ve gotten you into? Or are you going to look at the actual results? I think most people will look at how they did vs. some market index over a somewhat large sample size… rather than judge it based on the gut feeling of the Morgan Stanley employee at the time they pitched the investment.
                      Do the Yankees trust that Opp is the man, or do they probably monitor the results of his drafts?

                      I am not looking for Law to be 100% right… I’m just looking to compare his performance to reality. If he thinks the gut method is better than a systematic method… I’d like to compare it to someone with a system. I realize that I’m making a mountain out of a mole hill. I am asking for some degree of this, not necessarily a market index for different media prospect ranking systems.

                    • Mister Delaware

                      Lets use Betances here. Would he project his best case, his most likely case, his weighted average … ? Project as a starter or reliever if he sees it as a 50/50 chance he goes to the pen? And what if the projection ends up looking like Tim Belcher’s career line but his view of Betances is nothing like Tim Belcher?

                      I don’t see how that’s more valuable than “potential future 2 or late inning reliever with swing and miss stuff but poor command”. That tells you far more about the player.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      “Lets use Betances here. Would he project his best case, his most likely case, his weighted average … ?”

                      I honestly find this to be sort of a silly question.

                      The most likely case… which waits the best case, the worst case, and every case in between according to their likeliness of occurring. It’s basic undergraduate statistics that I have to assume Law had given his educational background. That’s how you project things.

                      “Project as a starter or reliever if he sees it as a 50/50 chance he goes to the pen?”

                      Again… I don’t see why you would ask this.

                      If he sees it as 50/50… weight the starter scenario 50% and the reliever scenario 50%.

                      “And what if the projection ends up looking like Tim Belcher’s career line but his view of Betances is nothing like Tim Belcher?”

                      Then he either has to change his projections or his view of Betances… Again, these questions seem silly to me.

                      “I don’t see how that’s more valuable than “potential future 2 or late inning reliever with swing and miss stuff but poor command”. That tells you far more about the player.”

                      A. He can do both.
                      B. In some cases I feel the blurb tells you absolutely nothing about the player. Betances is a particularly volatile prospect. This ranking is of MLB players, so of them with several years of pro experience.
                      C. All of those things would come through in the projections… his BB% would be high while his k% would be high and his swing and miss rate… his potential and risk could be reflected with a standard deviation or other statistic to express the range of likely outcomes…

                    • Ted Nelson

                      “which waits”


                      The outcomes would be distributed around an average with is both the weighted average and most likely case.

                    • Mister Delaware

                      I figured you’d say that. You realize if a guy is a true boom or bust, his weighted average could land exactly on top of a high probability, low ceiling guy, right? That sort of kills the projection value.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Are you serious man? Do you read my comments and/or have a basic understanding of stats? I already said a standard deviation stat could be incorporated. Should be probably.

                      (If you don’t have a basic understanding of stats, by the way, why keep insisting you’re right and going to far as to act like I have no idea what I’m talking about with smartass remarks?)

                      I also don’t think such a boom or bust prospect exists that he’s either going to be amazing or terrible… He’d pretty much have to be able to land somewhere in between. Betances could be a #2, an an elite reliever, a bust, a #3, #4, #5, #1, ok reliever, bad reliever… That he has a higher chance of great success or failure doesn’t mean he can’t end up in between. This is really besides the point of a st dev being incorporated… But not really in the sense of how stats looks at probabilities.

                    • Mister Delaware

                      Betances also has a chance of never making it to the majors, right? How do you work that into the average?

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Take an introductory statistics class if you really have to ask that…

                      You weight all the possible outcomes by your projected probabilities of their occurrence.

            • thenamestsam

              Also I haven’t been one of the people harassing or making cracks but when you’re accusing someone of bias based on things he said and writing things like “from what I remember” repeatedly, you definitely need a source for those things.

              • Ted Nelson

                Again… I am not accusing him of bias. I am saying that my personal impression of him is that he’s been unrealistically low on Yankees prospects and unrealistically high on Sox prospects.

                I have specifically said that this might not be bias and might be his true feeling about those players and/or a feeling that because the Red Sox are better run their prospects will tend to turn out better.

                Either way, I think it was out of line with mainstream thinking and that he was wrong.

                • thenamestsam

                  I’m not really sure how that’s different than bias. If you have a true feeling about something in one specific direction that is also incorrect, or even that just rules out equally valid viewpoints…that’s basically the definition of bias.

                  As I mentioned above I’m guessing that if you paid as much attention to the things he said about Sox prospects you’d probably think he was overly negative on them too. He tends to be a bit hyperbolic.

                  • Ted Nelson

                    I guess it’s the difference between a conscious bias… and just being incorrect in you assessment. Semantically he might be biased, but I am not accusing him of maliciously detracting from the Yankees.

                    “As I mentioned above I’m guessing that if you paid as much attention to the things he said about Sox prospects you’d probably think he was overly negative on them too. He tends to be a bit hyperbolic.”

                    I’m more talking about his rankings with the bearish/bullish comments.

                    He loves their drafts, which might be his honest assessment or fit the theory that he lives in NE and has more friends in their front office or anything else.
                    The Red Sox traded three of their top prospects and were left with little else (Ranaudo, Middlebrook, a SS who can’t hit a lick, Reddick…), but he still had them at #11 last season. It might have just been a failure to adjust his thinking to the new reality of the Red Sox farm… but I found it laughable. He cited their short-season guys. I feel those guys need to be weighted less since they’re so far away/volatile, and that he underrated the Yankees’ last couple of drafts.

                    • thenamestsam

                      I agree with you 100% about him overrating the Sox farm last offseason for all the reasons you just stated.

          • Mister Delaware

            Haven’t we established 100 times that Klaw’s “Boston bias” is anything but? Klaw ranks the top Rule IV eligible players, Boston annually picks a lot of those players while the Yankees don’t, Klaw prefers the Boston drafts to the Yankees. This is consistency of opinion. If the Yankees took 2 of his top 100 players while Boston took 6 and Klaw praised the Yankees draft, that would be bias.

        • JobaWockeeZ

          Again you continue to over exaggerate anything that doesn’t say the Yankees are the clear winners.

          • Ted Nelson

            The Yankees are clear winners: they’ve averaged over 97 wins per season since 1996. I also think they’re a well run organization.

            So, yeah, I don’t like it when people make ridiculous claims about how terribly run they are.

            You have to be the grumpiest poster on the internet.

        • Sarah

          I haven’t heard anything good about Boston’s farm out of KLaw lately.

          He thinks Lavarnway is more likely to catch than Montero, but thinks Montero will hit better. Which would you rather have?

          When the Sox were rolling out their hot mess of a rotation in September, on Baseball Today he regularly laughed and grimaced at the idea of Andrew Miller or Kyle Weiland starting a game.

          • Ted Nelson

            Was more referring to his pre-season rankings… he came around on Boston’s farm well after the general public in my opinion. He still had them as the #11 farm in baseball entering last season (after the AGon trade) and had the Yankees at #9.

      • uncleargyle

        Keith Law grew up a Yankees fan btw

  • parmesan

    Isn’t Hughes 25? Why wouldn’t he be eligile for the list, or did he just not (unsurprisingly) make the cut?

    • Slugger27

      well, its UNDER 25, so im not sure he’d qualify. and even if he did, that guy has no business being on a top 50 list.

    • Mike Axisa

      He misses the cutoff date by a week or so.

      • Art Vandelay

        typical espn anti yankee hate … i’m sure they waited a week for hughes to turn 25 then make the list. outrageous !


  • Doug

    Man, if only the 2nd guy on the list were available on the trade market. He might be a good guy to target.

  • Andrew

    His name is “Kieth”, and later in the post he also went on to criticize Nova for not using a dry spice rub prior to grilling his steaks. He used a bottle of barbecue sauce like some kind of animal.

    • FIPster Doofus

      He also lambasted Nova for not enjoying hipster indie music or board games.

      • Mister Delaware

        How did the hipster burn his mouth?

        He ate pizza that wasn’t even cool yet.

        (Klaw hates The National. I’ll flip out on him for that before anything Yankee prospect related. Bias!)

  • Gonzo

    Does he rate this the same way he does his prospect list? That is, upside, upside, upside?

    • RetroRob


  • Keith Law

    I greatly dislike you…all of you.

  • RetroRob

    I found the Klaw comments above kind of funny. If you read the postings at, there are segments of every fan population who are dead sure he has a bias against their team.

    Over the years, he’s liked a number of Yankee prospects and is less enthusiastic on others. His ratings always provide greater weight on what he views as the peak and longterm value of the players. He’s right up front about that. On the Yankees, he’s loved players like Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain, and Jesus Montero’s bat (not the glove). He’s big on Manny Banuelos. He was one of the first to write about Banuelos last year.

    Considering Law’s bias toward peak and longterm (yes, there’s his bias!), the fact that he has Ivan Nova on his list can and should be taken as a major positive. He was one of the first talent evaluators a year ago who was already projecting Nova’s peak as a mid-rotation starter, which was higher than many others, including Yankee fans over here. His write-up on Nova includes the obligitory reference to “wins are meaningless,” but he provides the balance that those who try to use Nova’s wins against him don’t: Nova is a groundball pitcher who has a good arm and has good stuff. He only has Nova a few spots lower than Hellickson, who has been the subject of a love-fest among many other talent evaluators for the past year. I took Klaw’s synopsis and ranking of Nova as a major positive.

    • Gonzo

      Are you trying to incite a riot?

      I like KLaw and agree with you but there is no point in sharing that with this crowd.

      • RetroRob

        Hmmm, is this the online equivalent of yelling fire in a movie theatre???

        What attracted me to RAB a few years back (although under a different name) was its acceptance of advanced analysis, both on the sabermetric side and the scouting side. We’ve lost a few of the more sane posters over the past year; hopefully we don’t lose all of them.