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Chat: Jonah Keri

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday March 09, 2006 7:30 PM ET chat session with Jonah Keri.

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Jonah Keri is an author of Baseball Prospectus and the editor and co-author of Baseball Between The Numbers. He'll be signing copies of both Baseball Between the Numbers and Baseball Prospectus 2006 this Monday night, Feb. 13, 7 pm, at Third Place Books in Bothell, WA.

Jonah Keri: Happy spring training to everyone. I'm fresh off a fun weekend in Arizona (thanks to Kevin Towers and Bill Bavasi for being so generous with their time at Peoria Stadium), coming off the always-fun LABR draft and now hard at work talking up BP's other cool new book, Baseball Between the Numbers. If you're in the Seattle area, come out to Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park this Monday night at 7 pm. I'll be the guy with the goofy grin on his face. Let's get started...

Howler (Chicago): What short of divine intervention has to happen for the Cubs to have any chance to make the playoffs this year?

Jonah Keri: Pitching health, and an opportune in-season trade (though I wouldn't be above hitting up Vishnu for a favor). Having Mark Prior in the rotation for 32 starts would make a huge difference. It's unrealistic to expect the same for Kerry Wood, but maybe a conversion to a high-leverage relief role could kee him healthy and producing. I still think they're short a bat, though, even with the Cards and Astros likely to regress this year.

Actually the Cubs may have gotten a bit of divine intervention today (albeit cruel intervention if you're a Brewers fan) with Ben Sheets leaving the game against Oakland with shoulder discomfort. It'd a shame if he's seriously hurt, because he's fun to watch and a key element on an intriguing Brewers club.

dianagramr (Brooklyn): Hey Jonah! You guys topped last year's BP annual with the 2006 edition. Lots of nice new features with the comparables and the short player notes at the end of each team's section. The editing on the top 50 prospects was a little shaky, but other than that ... great job! So, when will we be able to buy BP t-shirts?

Jonah Keri: Thanks Diana, and always good to hear from you. Is it a coincidence that this year's annual was a solid improvement over 2005, and this was the first time since 2002 that I wasn't one of the book co-editors? :-p

Anyway, full credit to the new editing duo of Steven Goldman and Christina Kahrl, and to our great group of authors. The new blood in particularly turned in some fantastic work, with people like Jay Jaffe, John Erhardt and Cliff Corcoran stepping up and producing like veterans.

As for T-shirts, we actually did sell 'em a few years back. Suffice it to say that logistically they created problems and a distraction from our ability to generate great Web and book content and improve the BP site. We've batted around the idea of rolling out some more shorts in the future, but if we did it would likely be on a limited basis, and more as swag for Pizza Feeds than as an uprising against Fruit of the Loom.

Daryl (New York, NY): Considering how successful under difficult circumstances Jim Bowden's been performing in Washington, do you think Larry Luchino wishes he had been able to lure Bowden away when he had the chance? That would have been nice. Thanks.

Jonah Keri: Well the Expos actually had a nice, underrated core of veterans before they moved to DC for 2005, Daryl. I do think Bowden did some things right, sure. But then again, given more capital to work with than Omar Minaya had, he went out and signed Vinny Castilla and Cristian Guzman to multi-year deals, and predictably got terrible results. Then he compounded the problem by trading Brad Wilkerson for Alfonso Soriano, getting the inferior player in the deal, at a much higher salary, and acquiring a malcontent in the process. And that's not even mentioning throwing in a useful 4th OF like Sledge and an intriguing arm like Galarraga.

There are a lot of bright, hard-working folks in the Nationals' front office. They've made some great moves that pre-date the Bowden era, such as the draft pick of Chad Cordero and later the Ryan Zimmerman pick. But both on and off the field, the Nats still have a long way to go...

Barn Owl (Chicago): Who is going to be worse, the Marlins or the Nationals?

Jonah Keri: ...so much so that I can get questions like this one.

Marlins will be worse. Watch for them around 2008-2009, though. The salary dump they executed actually brought in a whole bunch of good, young talent, and this team could be a real threat down the road. It's funny, there's some similarity to what the Fish did after winning the World Series in 1997.

We go into the history of the Fish and the mechanics of rebuilding in great detail in the chapter "Is Wayne Huizenga A Genius?" in...you guessed it, Baseball Between The Numbers.

Conor Glassey (Redmond, WA): Hey Jonah - Fantasy question for you: For a 12 team, head-to-head keeper league, how would you rank these pitchers: Daniel Cabrera, John Lackey & Brett Myers. Thanks!

Jonah Keri: Lackey and Myers are a coin flip, COnor--I don't think you could go wrong with either guy, Myers bringing a touch more upside, LAckey having a longer track record of MLB success. Cabrera has a world of potential with his fantastic K and GB rates, but his command is still sketchy. It's one thing to cite the potential of Mazzone Magic, but until it happens, we can't elevate Cabrera above two pitchers with much better results and plenty of talent of their own.

metsRok (nyc): I sure you've received some Adam Stern questions. Mine is "is there any chance that he could be a late bloomer and become an all-star caliber OF in the ML?"

Jonah Keri: PECOTA likes Stern more than you'd think given his modest reputation, and obviously his tour de force against the U.S. yesterday in the WBC (Go Canada!) was pretty exciting. Once my glee over watching Chase Utley skulk his cocky ass back to the dugout after that Bret Boone-like bat flip and great catch by Stern, it occurred to me that there may be some David Eckstein similarities here. Never considered a legit prospect by scouts, goood batting eye, apparent high baseball HQ, both guys initially coming up through the Boston system.

The Red Sox have the money to spend that they don't need to take a chance on handing the high-profile starting CF job to a maybe guy like Stern. But I think a good career as a 4th OF is well within reach, and I'd be interested to see what happens is Stern ever snuck his way into a starting OF Podsednik-style.

Peter (New York): Got my copy of Baseball Between the Numbers yesterday and I'm enjoying it very much so far. Just one minor complaint: why hardcover?

Jonah Keri: Really, Peter? That's actually the first complaint I've heard about the book being hardcover--many people I've spoken to really like that format, truth be told. Oh well, tough to be perfect, of course.

I'm really happy you're enjoying it otherwise, though. Steve Goldman, Christina Kahrl and others will be at Coliseum Books Saturday to sign copies of Baseball Between the Numbers and BP06. You can always whack Steve over the head with a couple hardcovers if he starts in on Tony Womack or his obsession with Ringo Starr's toothpick collection.

JK (Los Angeles): Hey Jonah I want to thank you for your email last year...I was the guy who was having a career crisis (I was trying to get into Investment Management) and asked about the life of a performance analyst/Writer. Your email scared me straight and I worked harder on my job search and I got a great job at a top Investment Firm. I appreciate your support and honesty. Anyway I think that Josh Byrnes has had the best offseason so far...I've been very happy with his moves...any thoughts?

Jonah Keri: Congrats, JK, that's great to hear! I'm about the least scary writer you're likely to ever meet, but I appreciate the kind words regardless and I'm glad things worked out for you.

Byrnes has done a great job, I agree. Chris Young has rocketed up the prospect charts and now projects as a middle-of-the-order hitter and strong CF for years to come. I like the DBacks' patience in not rushing out to sign any huge contracts too, while the team phases in its terrific stable of prospects. Between Jackson, Quentin, Nippert, Upton et al, it's hard not to be excited if you're an Arizona fan. I expect a bunch of division titles, honestly, starting sooner than you think.

brdirck (Noblesville, IN): Jonah, my parents live in San Antonio, and are all excited about landing the Marlins. Is this a real possibility, or should I rain on their parade and tell them they're city is just a big stick wielded by Loria to beat a new stadium deal out of his Florida neighbors?

Jonah Keri: If I ever got to talk to Jeffrey Loria, I'm sure I'd have a lot of suggestions for where he can put that stick.

Yes, they're trying to extort local government. No, you don't want Loria and Samson owning a team in your town. I understand the enthusiasm for getting an MLB team there, but there are less painful ways to get one. For now, enjoy the team that may be the best-run franchise in pro sports in the Spurs. Now there's a great success story.

Jason (NYC): What do you see Adam Dunn doing over the next few years? Can he take the next step?

Jonah Keri: I could see Dunn putting up a 50-homer season or three--his raw power is unbelievable. Batting average is a highly variable stat, and one of these years Dunn is going to hit .285 (instead of .245) by accident. When that happens, assuming his walks and power stay the same or edge higher, he'll be a front-line MVP candidate. Or at least a top-5 NL player, his team's performance notwithstanding.

Carla (Buckman Springs): Jonah, last year you predicted that guys like Dan Haren and Brandon McCarthy would have a big impact on their respective teams. Who are your breakout players this year? And like McCarthy, which prospect is flying a bit under the radar?

Jonah Keri: Hi Carla,

I like Rafael Soriano a lot--he's going to be the Mariners' closer very soon and he's going to be dominant in the role. The only way that doesn't happen soon if if the M's make him a starter instead, but he's only got two legit big league pitches right now, and only Randy Johnson has been able to sustain success with that M.O. in recent years.

Staying with the M's, I see a nice improvement for Jeremy Reed this season. Anthony Reyes could be huge. I'm a big-time Curtis Granderson fan, in that big-league players who do a lot of thigns well tend to see a great deal of success. Fellow Tiger Jeremy Bonderman is about to unleash Hell's fury on the American League. And I know he's a possible pick, but I heart Brian McCann. I just remember what he did in Myrtle Beach a few years ago, hitting for power in an impossible park. That McCann-Pratt semi-platoon will be the best unheralded combo in the majors for the money.

Edwin Encarnacion (Zone): Man, I'm having some spring training. What kind of season am I gonna have in 2006?

Jonah Keri: Here's another breakout candidate. There's just a ton of third-base talent out there right now between Encarnacion, Marte, Zimmerman, and peak-age guys like Blalock, Ensberg, Chavez, Glaus et al.

massie (rancho deluxe, nm): Jonah, What are your choices for best non-sabermetrics/statistical analysis based baseball book of the 80's? The 90's? The 00's? (The 70's "Ball Four" is the GOAT, at least in my eyes)

Jonah Keri: I say it all the time, but "Dollar Sign On The Muscle" is tremendous, really a neat history lesson in scouting and an inside look at the scouting life, which has got to be hellish given all the travel, crappy food, low pay and anonymity. And yet to a man, so many scouts seem thrilled to be doing what they're doing. This book captures that, even though it's now more than 20 years since it came out.

I have to highly recommend Alex Belth's terrific new book on Curt Flood, which hits the shelves March 20. I was lucky enough to get an advance copy, and Alex does a terrific job of telling a story not many people know all that well.

I'll give you a sleeper too. The Iowa Baseball Confederacy by W.P. Kinsella. Kinsella gets credit for his fine book Shoeless Joe of course (the one that inspired the Field of Dreams movie). But Iowa has even more of that cool mystical aspect, and it's just a ton of fun to read. If you really want to get into Kinsella, check out some his many short stories. There's some fascinating stuff about life on native reservations in Canada that I read years ago that are still fresh in my mind.

bigd81234 (Toronto): How much do you love Howie Kendrick?

Jonah Keri: 812

Jason (NYC): What do you think of Chase Utley? I'm not sure why, but I'm not a believer. Maybe it's an inherent skepticism of all things Phillie.

Jonah Keri: Bat flip aside, he's the goods. Big-time power, doesn't offer at to many bad pitches, plays an up-the-middle position at least competently, just coming into his prime.

UCLA sucks, though, for the record.

Quicksilver (Bethesda. MD): Greetings Jonah: I know you want to concentrate on your new book, but I would appreciate your reasoned opinion on something. I am playing ROTO 5X5 (standard scoring categories) for the first time. I have read several commentators who recommend "punting" the saves category because they are so unpredictable. Would this strategy mean only drafting two relievers (out of 9 pitchers total) in the later rounds or dispensing with relievers altogether to concentrate on accumulating wins and strikeouts? Your advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Jonah Keri: I'm not a big believer in punting saves actually. In fact in a 5x5 league, the conventional wisdom is so biased against saves (and often favors the idea of punting the category) that you can almost make a case for going the other way. This works better in an auction than a draft, but in general, grab closers when they're clearly being offered at a discount, be it a few rounds too late or for $5 too little in an auction. Even if you end up with excess saves, people will inevitbaly come to you with trade offers later on. Then you can pick your spots on where up need to upgrade in trades.

bigd81234 (Toronto): 812? what the heck does that mean?

Jonah Keri: Sorry, I was being silly.

I like Kendrick a lot. I spec'd on him with the first overall pick in the AL-LABR reserve rounds. He just rakes--I could see a couple of .330/.400/.530 type seasons in his prime. He profiles well statistically, and he gets enough praise in scouting circles for his bat speed that the positive reports match up well. The only minor caveat you might conjure up is that he's played in some favorable parks/leagues during his minor league career (same goes for Brandon Wood, Josh Barfield et al). But yes, he's a great prospect, and I could see a Kennedy trade by year's end, if not sooner.

cy (TOR): is steve still with us after that political explosion also known as last week's chat? ps - aj burnett projection?

Jonah Keri: Steve is alive and well and awaiting my promise of free drinks after BPCon at the Yogi Berra Museum March 26. In real life he likes the Green Lantern a little too much and has the sweetest family you'd ever hope to meet.

I'll say 197 IP, 3.92 ERA for Burnett.

scottbdz (worcester MA): discuss: assuming Boston has rotation of Schilling/Beckett/Wells/Wakefield/Arroyo, why not use Matt Clement as closer with Ketih Foulke in setup?

Jonah Keri: Because Clement's likely to be better than both Arrojo and Wells this year, possibly a lot better. I think Sox fans are worried a little too much about their supposed excess of pitching. Whenever you go into spring training with a certain number of projected starters, just subtract 2 right away, because injuries and general ineffectiveness are going to happen. If you throw in Papelbon the Sox have 7 worthy SP candidates. That works out well in a five-man rotation.

dangor (New York): I trust your opinion. If you were the gambling type, who would you bet on to have the most HR's in the majors given these real odds? A.Jones 5-1, A-Rod 6-1, Pujols 8-1, Ortiz 10-1, Dunn 10-1, Teixeira 13-1, Manny 14-1, Lee 15-1, Bonds 17-1, Konerko 20-1, Sexson 25-1, Vlad 30-1, Cabrera 35-1, Glaus 40-1, Griffey 40-1.

Jonah Keri: Teixeira at 13-1 looks sweet, with Dunn second.

Lightning round, I'm on WGN Radio in Chicago in 5 minutes, where I'll attempt not to say "eh" too much.

chris (queens): I know this is not your area, but what are your thoughts on yesterday's SD health report? Disheartening stuff -- Jake Peavy with a strong red light.

Jonah Keri: I'll go on record and say I disagree with the Team Health Report on Peavy. I think he'll be excellent, and the title of "The National League's Best Pitcher" that we affixed to his photo on the cover of BP06 is a reasonable projection.

Besides, no one ever fails after appearing on the cover of BP.

Smiley (Hotlanta): How risky is Chipper Jones this year? Is he more likely to put up a full year of monster performance or will he regress back to 2004 or worse?

Jonah Keri: Split the difference. If he can avoid those pesky hand injuries (and I think he will, for the most part), he's still got some nice pop.

Evan (Vancouver, BC): So, do we credit Stern and Loewen for that victory, or should we send nice cards to Willis and Leiter?

Jonah Keri: Let's just get the win over Mexico tonight, Evan, so I can stop getting conspiracy e-mails from my BP colleagues about how they need to lose 3 to -6 or how the U.S. need sto win by 83 runs to advance to the next round. The WBC's rules are insane.

dokomoy (Los Angeles): How does one love Green Lantern too much? Unless your talking Kyle Raner, he's a douche. How many BP writers are comic fans?

Jonah Keri: I changed my mind, I'm going to do the WGN gig, then come back on and continue the chat. Give me a 10-minute grace period.

Also, Green Lantern vs. Aquaman, cage match. Discuss.

Phil (IL): I have a dream. In that dream Jeremy Affeldt stays healthy and finally puts everything together. He terrorizes the league with an insane curveball and goes on to have a solid career as a starter.

Jonah Keri: ...and the Royals get all the way up to 68 wins as a result.

Sorry, don't mean to be negative. KC does have some interesting prospects coming up in Gordon and Butler, I thijnk Donnie Murphy's underrated and could be an MLB-caliber 2B in the next couple years, and there are other sprinkles of optimism here and there. But this team has lacked top-flight pitching for a long time. It's perplexing too, because it's not like they play in a huge hitter's park or anything. You wonder how long they'll go before making some changes in the player development staff or even at the top.

Oh and I'm back. Dave Kaplan and Tom Waddle are cool.

cy (TOR): NO QUESTION green lantern kicks aquaman's ass...green lantern is very underrated in the overall hierarchy of superheros...i'd say hes the chone figgins of superheros, he can pretty much do it all but doesn't get quite the herald that he deserves ps again - curtis granderson: grady sizemore II?

Jonah Keri: This is the kind of high-quality content you can look forward to in Superheroes Prospectus 2007.

Graderson's a different player than Sizemore, I think. Will probably hit for a lower average, maybe draw more walks. I like Grady's career a little better, especially since he's a year and a half younger than Granderson. But if all you amount to is a slightly lesser version of Grady Sizemore, that's not half bad.

lyricalkiller (The OC): Does it bug you to hear about how the Canadians won because they had more heart, or that the US is no better than the 2004 Dreamish Team, or that Dontelle choked? I mean, Dontrelle sometimes gets shelled. That's all that happened. For Pete's sake, South Africa nearly beat the Canadians, so were our northern neighbors nothing but a bunch of ego-driven rich guys then? Blech.

Jonah Keri: My aorta is 13% bigger than the average American's. This may or may not be due to excessive poutine consumption however.

Ganthet (Oa): Jonah, very cool of you to come back and continue the chat. What do you make of the reports of Brad Penny being in great shape this year? I know he's been injury prone (and prone to scary stuff), but he's always had a ton of talent. How 'bout him as a breakout candidate?

Jonah Keri: I like Penny, sure, and I could even see Odalis Perez having a nice comeback year. The Dodgers don't have a very sexy team in terms of future superstars of the David Wright-Felix Hernandez type. But there are enough above-average players on that team that in a weak division they could get that second division title in 3 years.

...and then they'll win 84 games and finish 3rd in '07, and Frank McCourt will fire Coletti for no good reason too.

dangor (New York): Great job at the LABR AL draft. Any unusual trends or draft styles noted versus your perception? Anybody you would do differently? Anybody draft a killer team?

Jonah Keri: This was the first year in a while that the LABR league was back to an all "experts" format after going with a bunch of "regular guys" for a while. The thing about drafting against all experts is that everyone is great at what they do. But they're also more predictable. There just aren't going to be many (any?) huge bargains at the table, because everyone knows the sleepers, everyone understands the value of strikeout-to-walk ratio for pitchers, everyone has heard the latest on that hot prospect. It's worth it to try to win ugly a little. That doesn't mean spending $20 for Archi Cianfrocco. But do you take a chance at $10 on Corey Patterson, one year removed from hitting 24 homers and stealing 32 bases--when PECOTA has him at $24? Yeah, why not? I've finished 2nd in 2 of the 3 experts league season I've done. And no one gives a fig except me.

By the way, no knock against "regular guys". Just the opposite actually--regular guys won the LABR-NL league the last 2 years, including a devastating performance by fellow Canuck Trev Braunig last year.

Brian (Hoboken, NJ): Pedro '99 versus Bonds '04 -- what happens? The stadium is instantly destoyed as it cannont contain the power of awesome!

Jonah Keri: No one ever talks about 1997 Pedro. Let me tell you, I was there to see him close up with the rest of the nutty 'Spos fans. Not only was he unhittable, people were scared to death of him. In those days he still had a rep as a headhunter, even though all he was doing was controlling the inside half of the plate.

To this day Reggie Sanders and Derek Bell are still my two least favorite players of all-time, because they charged the mound after Pedro dared to throw them ionside fastballs (and not dangerously inside either). Sanders did it WHILE PEDRO WAS THROWING A PERFECT GAME. So, boo Reggie Sanders, I say.

scot (somewhere in NY): Jonah! Any MTL-TOR pizza feeds on thr books for 2006?

Jonah Keri: I get back to both cities at least once a summer, Scot, so it's a possibility. I'll see if I can rustle up some BP colleagues to head up too. Will Carroll, for one, is notoriously game for those kinds of trips.

Tone (TX): GL vs. Aquaman? HA! Green Lantern falls in right after Superman and Flash (they can move faster than he can think). He's a serious player. Are you going to write an article for the NY Sun this year?

Jonah Keri: There's a great episode of one of my favorite shows, Robot Chicken (it's on the Cartoon Network, just trust me), where they do a "Real World: Justice League" take-off. And everyone picks on Aquaman. It's inspired stuff.

Don't know if I can swing it for the Sun this year, Tone. BP's keeping me very busy as always, and I actually started a gig recently doing a twice-monthly college basketball column for the New York Times, under the "Keeping Score" banner that Alan Schwarz and David Leonhardt conceived. It's great fun (I'm an absolute college hoops junkie, have been since like age 6) and it sucks up about all the remaining free time I have. If I swung a golf club today I imagine I'd whiff completely, given how long it's been since I've been able to blow 6 hours on a Sunday.

Ricard (NJ): Jonah, what do you expect from Jason Lane this year? Do you think last year was as good as it gets?

Jonah Keri: I think there's some untapped power still to be had, Ricard. Lane didn't get a shot until late, and just by dint of repeated playing time, I could see a peak 35-homer season. Power does often develop a little later than other skills, and he's got that nice short porch to work with at Minute Maid. Lane's a bright spot on a team with some problematic offensive holes.

phil44 (Boston): Yesterday's result between Canada and the USA brings a lot of reflections. Namely, the decision to deploy Ken Griffey in the outfield, CF no less, (-18 FRAA last year) and the decisions to carry Matt Holliday and particularly Al Leiter hurt the US badly. I know any one game is statistically insignificant but roster construction always matters.

Jonah Keri: Holliday's a reasonable player. I suspect Leiter was largely some kind of political thing. Heck I'd have preferred inviting a young guy like a Cain if no other true aces were willing to play.

The U.S. will be fine, though. Canada's in trouble vs. Mexico as we speak, and what little I understand about the WBC's rules tells me they'll be eliminated if they lose to Mexico, even after taking down Los Americanos.

SGreenwell (Narragansett, RI): Hey Jonah, pouring through BP 2006 cover to cover right now, love it so far! Pushing PECOTA and scouting projections aside, who are some players you personally (as a fan) would like to see do well this year? As a guy with a Boston Mark Bellhorn jersey, I have an interest in somewhat obscure players.

Jonah Keri: Brad Wilkerson has been my favorite player since the Expos improbably drafted him as a college-trained hitter with power and patience back in the 90s, rather than going with some high-risk, remote chance of reward ath-a-lete (and Wilkerson's plenty athletic to boot). So I'm hoping he does great for Jon Daniels, Jamey Newberg and other Ranger folks.

I saw Bellhorn hit a long home run Sunday in Peoria, and I agree, it'd be cool if he stepped up and snatched the job there. I've been a Nomar fan forever too, and even after all his troubles, I'm still pulling for him in L.A. I'm an unapologetic Milton Bradley supporter since he caused fights in Vermont.

And of course I'm a big Adam Stern fan now.

Jerry (OH): As you mentioned in BP 2006, Cliff Lee's flyball rate remains troubling. Going into this season, is there really that much difference between him and Jake Westbrook?

Jonah Keri: Well they're very differenbt pitchers, Jerry. In terms of value to the club, I do think they're pretty comparable. But Lee needs help from his outfielders to run down the ample flyballs he gives up into the gaps, while Westbrook needs his infielders to vacuum up the huge number of grounders he induces. If Westbrook had 1 more K per 9 IP on his ledger he'd be a borderline elite guy. Unfortunately Nate Silver's work with PECOTA tells us that strikeout rates tend to satrtg falling very early in a pitcher's career, often when they're still in their early 20s.

AL ((brutopia on crescent)): Jonah, it seems like the elite tier of obvious fantasy aces with 250+ Ks(Pedro, Johnson, Brown etc...) have retired or faded. How do you rank today's top five fantasy starters?

Jonah Keri: Johnson's not done yet, I see one more big year from him.

For 2006 only, I'd go:

Santana
Pedro
Johnson
Felix (how lucky am I, to be able to watch this guy close up here in Seattle)
Peavy

metsRok (NYC): Wily Mo or Austin in a traditional 5*5 roto league? if you were the reds and wanted (should) trade for pitching ? whom do you keep?

Jonah Keri: I think this is the year Kearns finally starts to live up to expectations. The thing about Pena is that even when he's doing well (for him), he's not that much better than Kearns, because Austin gets on base more. I'd take Kearns long-term. I'd also trade both of them, a gallon of Skyline chili and a pack of Big Red Machine O-Pee-Chee cards for Adam Dunn.

The candid KT (Peoria, AZ): Bonds is the alpha and omega for the Giants, but we must be a close second with our reliance on Giles and Peavy. Do Stauffer and Carrillo offer enough hope to that wretched rotation?

Jonah Keri: I like Carillo a lot as a prospect and I'd have to have seen people who follow this stuff rate him higher this season (though I understand with a short professional track record why he wasn't). He'll help the club a lot down the road, but expecting much before '07 may be a smidge too ambitious. Stauffer can be functional, sure.

As the Candid KT said in Peoria to those of us who were there, the Pads have some good talent, but like every other team in that division, they also have some holes. It may be that a trade for an innocuous #4 starter type of the Suppan mold is all it takes to put them over the hump. I'm really looking forward to that NL West race actually.

OK, one last one, I have like 38 college hoops games TiVo'd that I need to watch before someone starts calling me and yelling out scores.

scot (somewhere in NY): John Patterson: legitimate breakout in 2005, or park-assisted fluke?

Jonah Keri: Legit breakout. And you should know I think that, Scot, since I just traded Shawn Green and Odalis Perez for Jeremy Reed and Patterson in our super-awesome, 4x4 OBP-SLG-BB-AB/ERA-WHIP-K-Outs roto league.

RFK is helping Patterson some, yes, but that strikeout rate can't be blamed on the ball not carrying. Livan Hernandez, on the other hand--I'd worry about him, given his softening peripherals. I'm a big Livan fan because he throws that eephus pitch, hits like a second baseman and is really competitive, but if he gets dealt to a contender at mid-season, the flop possibilities are high.

Jonah Keri: OK, that'll do it. Mangaed to answer 40 questions, some of them featuring essays on Canada-U.S. relations and superhero throwdowns, so I'll take it. Enjoy the WBC, spring training and March Madness. I highly recommend both the Baseball Prospectus 2006 and Baseball Between the Numbers books to keep you company. Drop me a line anytime at jkeri@baseballprospectus.com to discuss the books, West Virginia's motion offense, or anything else. Salut!


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