WEEI>On Demand>>Keith Law talks about his Top 100 prospects of 2014

Keith Law talks about his Top 100 prospects of 2014

Jan 30, 2014|

Rob Bradford and Alex Speier talk with Keith Law of ESPN, who just put out his list of the top 100 baseball prospects of 2014.

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Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Well joining us Keith -- ESP yankees. Are you doing and I am glad Beriault out great we -- that we can't wait to dive into this list and I've been -- and Keith by saying that you and Alex. Through the four most prospect. Engineers. I don't know how to Al Wallace they should put it prospect minors. At that those who know prospects the best. Have had very similar list when it comes to Red Sox top ten. But there was one difference there's one key difference you know without -- Know which way it's okay well let me ask you this of the Red Sox top ten which one did you feel little uneasy about where he placed. I never feel uneasy about it and well there's only certain I don't know doubted that that -- of that question I apologize. Which I did view. I don't know there's actually -- a -- -- -- who's ever done the spine. Let's give -- -- -- -- asked him about it you had -- -- number one Henry on number two Jackie Bradley junior number three appearance -- any number four -- -- five -- -- -- six. Matt Barnes at seven Allen Webster and eight Anthony Varnado had nine and -- ball. And number ten. So did does so in a world in which you did not have certainty. On the hypothetical world of course was there it was there when guy he went back and forth on the most work a couple of guys -- you found you -- Did the most difficult to define their relative ranking. That guy but that's the guy you might serve you right -- that -- served for the listeners put a list together I talked at. Dozens of people. Put together preliminary list of centered around you -- scouting guys. -- office executives just people like trot -- who've seen a lot of the minor direct access to a lot of reports. And I get feedback and it a couple of cycle they were vital aspect of it around again at center. I want I get I would say the most inconsistent feedback on what smoky back and where. Some people that I am too low. Eight actually higher than what the original. And the book that I had to high impact one person and said. Oh the lore of this second baseman and the Rangers system quite also like a lot what clearly above milky that's not even close. It turned out that person -- -- in the minority I don't agree with that although I like both players. But the better athlete I think he can play sort -- if you move them over the air it was kind of separating factor -- the at this I think he's a little bit of a polarizing player part of it is the UQ what -- super high draft pick in high but you know not a this is not a first rounder. Any sort of came a little bit out of nowhere this year his performance. I was unexpected and Matt I think we'd catch it some people by surprise him and it may take -- -- Adjust their thinking hey will -- that the better player than we thought he was twelve. Before -- up before -- delve into some of the action let's get into the -- it's the polarized and Robin -- and I are fascinated by the differing you know difference of opinion between you and out of his hands on hole. We -- -- we had the identical top three I had Bogart's Owens and Bradley when I was going through this ranking process for baseball America an infinite number four I had -- Webster in for me Webster was the most polarizing person but I hate that I encountered. In terms of the scouting feedback I had some people tell me. That he was as high as number two in the Red Sox system above everyone except for Bogart's because. They had seen him you know there was there's applause that he 200 especially in spring training. When he was working in kind of mid to high ninety's that definitely -- right -- -- -- -- Blah well it wasn't just being such -- though because at that point he mixed in. Pretty nasty spring in his changeup -- and it's spring training right so timing is out of whack. But what looked like we missed changeup for him his slider and then all of a sudden in one of his outings he busted out -- twelve to six on a curve ball. And you know and it was it was very impressive so. I had so there were some people who said. You know he he is evocative and in some ways of -- -- Greinke type with his up criticism and stuff and then there were others said. The make up in the inability to throw the fastball for strikes would have him almost on the top ten. And I wave wrestled with him a lot and ended up with him actually number four above the above my heart and he. Your ability that. Loud. I've always said your view -- Jays -- Alex Brown all he produces ground balls with his you know he has a fastball that shouldn't your Purdue's ground balls. And get swings and misses multiple. There's a pretty good chance to -- I mean as a starter -- essentially reduced to two pitch guy he's got to eat he can sink the fastball. -- it's not as much as you'd expect but he does get -- ground ball Adam. He has very poor fastball command to try to pitch in the upper part of the zone that care how hard you throw -- -- row. Fastball up -- by big league hitters even at 9899. Big league hitters can catch up to that stuff. So. His approach with a fastball just if he's not working terrible this year and -- that would yet accurately describe him -- pitched 65 or seven if you wanna go on the twenty scale not arguing that all. He did not have an average breaking ball -- working as a starter. And what you described in spring training I would totally believe I think if you told him. -- -- thirty pitches. -- worst he's gonna go out there -- you know what he's gonna speed up his arm because he knows he can let it all out he's not trying to pace himself. And I bet you both Britain will be sharper in that situation. I think they moved into the pan am not saying they should do that right now but if they decide at some point. Either he's not a starter or we need him more in the pen and we that's where that -- you don't crisis. I -- he would be nasty there. I understand keeper of the story working as a starter I still think what if I'd kept the top 100 going into the and when he spot he'd be on there. But there's enough probably at the -- is not a power oriented back and starter because he can command staff on that. I did not see him as. Top seven in their system more top 100 on -- the global ranked. He's lobbyist BA and joining as the as the east's top 100 prospects in baseball out right now and Keith. We talked about I think it was a year ago with -- in -- Bogart's. And you're you're. Very very oh over the top you praise as a lot of people are. Has anything he dot has done over the last year or eve been at the end of last season changed the way you view him. For better or for worse. -- thing for batter to when he came out to the Blakely can you saw. His willingness to work the count to one deep counts to do we just worked the at bat there was a there was a plan and a patient the -- The -- Expression elegant the world heartbeat here that not panicky at the plate he gets two strikes. Would fall apart. There was no anxiety attack got -- swing they can't allow myself to get behind the -- helmet just gets two strikes. And. The fact he would be willing to do that in the post season when we saw the results aren't always there but he's gone bad I'm not worried about the effect perceived to be. Patience calm that comes somewhat of a plan for a guy so young. That's -- -- now he's the next step for him developmentally he's going to be convert that that's great that you got that willingness to run a deep count and get yourself ahead in the count sometimes. But don't be too passive don't beat -- -- the prospect who could never panned out the draw. He post 400 on base percentages in the minors could he would just walk he would take walks albeit I I looked adamant that looked at got a great approach he's patient like -- will be -- Gonna be able convert that we're eventually pitcher so to say what the heck with that it -- -- throw strikes and I think -- -- -- -- he will make that adjustment but he's not there yet. Yeah and it's going back to triple late stage used to do that it would be the worst in the world and -- -- I'd say we want to capitalize. Especially hitters count to get that ball -- can drive in -- can't even if it's borderline strike we want do you attack that that's the next step for him development. Yeah it was quite interesting because there was a conscious effort on his part this here after he walked one time in the final month he spent in 2012. In Portland to show that he was going to be more selective and so it was kind of he implemented that after our after the previous here he was aggressive and very successful in double play. On to -- you know part of the reason why he deserves the ranking the game is number two overall and all of the minors is precisely because. He has the aptitude to say this is a deficiency in my game I'm going to attack hit it I'm going to apply it. And you know to me that's. Remarkable separate her for twenty. Girl that's why he's there and played with -- big part of my attitude Russell is third on my list is that. One I think his hit tool had a chance to be at six or seven -- -- this guy I think is gonna be the kind of guy who compete contend for a batting average title. But also. The etiquette question many times they get the accountants and the work ethic to make significant changes not just thinking that the kid who lost. 1520 pounds between junior and senior year of high school property without -- But people called and -- too big to play shortstop and did not want to play shortstop what do I have to do well get this. Extra muscle -- okay I'll do that and kept their conditioning now for two solid years. To the point where he clearly shortstop for me in the fact that he. Took that feedback if the question to the feedback and executed that special chronic in there and typically that's crucial in the top ten they've -- got amazing physical -- But it got really good physical get. And have that kind of make up for that kind of aptitude. One thing that is striking about your right your top 100 does that at the top of it it's all position players Indians mostly short stops. Is this way it are -- dealing with kind of by a new era of of shorts up kind of the next iteration of the of the Jeter A-Rod. You know it Jeter A-Rod Nomar generation and if so are the offensive standards for what we expect to see -- normal short -- but -- production about a change. At my new strategy of the new money ball shortstop at every position a lot. A big part of why had a short stop source. Stuck up there is replacement level at shortstop and an average at shortstop in the big leagues right now it really well so you've got a guy who can play it would get shortstop defensively. -- hit that to be hitting for average in on base and high clip in power whatever it. Expected to be an extremely valuable -- When every get the big -- as long as he can stay at the position but these guys might move further reasons but all the -- the -- in the top ten if forced to play short but the big league level. Would be able to do it. The other reason I had. -- -- these particular shortstop up there is that the new paradigm I think -- teams drafting or signing amateur shortstop and developing them. To focus that much on their defense is they get on their offense whereas in the ninety's and early 2000. -- such an emphasis on offense. Just hit for power in them that they -- hit for power and get on base you didn't see team. Focusing so much on the diet shortstop -- have to really be able to defend have to be able had every range good hands a good arm. Now teams are recognizing. There's there is. A benefit to balance to the shortstop who is at least an average defender and an above average bat or. B and -- -- model we've got one of the best defensive shortstop I have ever seen and I got to provide a little bit with the bat and it turned out. When you measure and analytically he great out pretty well and so those guys have got to the top they're all right well I think can legitimately play shortstop to do it very well. And projected to be something with a back. I'll ask one last question keeps you having your top ten Henry Jones at number two you have by you have Barnes at seven. Webster and eight Coronado at nine. And conditions are guys like Brandon Workman Andrew beat toros in the Red Sox system. How much of a separate -- is the Red Sox depth right now at its starting pitchers pitching from other AL east teams. -- well ahead. I think all except. The Orioles the difference with the Orioles don't have definite starting pitching but they ceiling scotsman Bundy when he comes back from. Tommy John surgery and then under RB who can -- all bothered by an -- Wonder what their first round pick last year. All three of those guys look like they're gonna pitch at or near the top of the big league rotation that almost nobody in baseball can match that but what the Red Sox have. It just leads. A potential starting pitchers all throughout the system and that kind of depth. Allows you to do you a couple of things one to sell your degree rotation to them look I'd end up in the bullpen like Brandon Workman and end up valuable bullpen assets. Three maybe most importantly for a team that intends to be in contention as much threats are still you got to -- -- an -- the trade assets. You got a guy who looks like he did a year away or less from plugging into a big league rotation -- make the minimum salary. Every team wants those guys those under control young starting pitchers are extremely valuable trade accept and I think it's that the Red Sox have to be in a very strong position. Anytime they want to get out to the trade market and go get a player who is established in the big leagues and maybe two years or year and a half from free agents. Q does your rookie year this year American League nationally. The American League I honestly I think -- that are going to be taco or Brady with the White Sox assuming that they get. That they would give him a full time job in Chicago which seems likely at this point given the investment. David -- is on the roster. In national league for me is Dwayne more open to. It's not clear that any of these top top rookies is gonna get the job right out of the chute but do you think Archie Bradley if he were to come -- -- -- yourself would rack up the kind of strike -- numbers. Very early that would probably give him a chance to be wore out there seeing situations think Lewis did not have a job right now all want to rookies got a job there. But to -- comes up on May first I think he goes all Wellemeyer from the National League. Especially in the home runs and RBIs which voters like he could win the award as well. As long as he doesn't let up -- drop on the warning track no right right those weren't as -- Key block great stuff -- a good job littlest by the way. I appreciate it I do those thousand plagued it all paid off it was great stuff. I'm glad your -- -- our congratulations on getting through keeping guard Keith thanks for joining us will apartment on the road. That is key -- PM you can Steve his entire list. One -- 100 top prospects in baseball on espn.com. Also the Red Sox top ten which Alex referenced earlier it winds up pretty much with. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- But hey that's what -- -- -- are great that have those sort of debates and why they're limited yes absolutely.

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