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Chat: Joe Sheehan

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Tuesday March 10, 2009 2:30 PM ET chat session with Joe Sheehan.


Check in with Joe Sheehan on what's going on around the game.

Joe Sheehan: I need to beg your indulgence for a few minutes more as I finish today's PT on the WBC. Once done, I'll hang out for a while taking both baseball and basketball questions.

Trevor (Austin Tx. ): How is the NL West going to look at the end of the season

Joe Sheehan: I'd be surprised if anyone got to 90 wins, although beating up on the Padres will help that cause. That's a bad team, about to enter a pretty ugly couple of seasons. I think the Diamondbacks hold off the Dodgers, with the Giants staying in the thing all year long and the Rockies around 76 wins. I'm honestly talking myself into the Giants more each day. That really could be a hell of a rotation.

dwiest12 (NoVa): Will the FBI probe into the skimming of signing bonuses push MLB into developing an amateur draft for Latin America/rest of the world?

Joe Sheehan: I don't think there's a real cause-and-effect there--"We need an anti-competition measure to keep us from cheating these people" is, shall we say, weak--but it may be used to advance the discussion. I am notably shrill about the draft, however.

Lenny Dee (Portland OR): Hi Joe, Whoever wrote the Marlin chapter has them "making a play at the wild card right now." Pecota has them at 69 wins. That's quite a disparity. What your take on the Fish

Joe Sheehan: I like when that happens, and I think it shows the value of having an analyst's take as well as the system's. I think the Marlins have a heck of a core. However, their defensive problems and OBP issues limit their upside. I'm hopeful that Cameron Maybin can hit enough to play CF and help the defense, because that staff needs a true CF. Overall, I say 78 wins. 2010 should be a fun year.

That's all on-field, of course. They remain something of a disaster overall because of the relationship with the city and the fans.

Bryan (Manteno): Hey Joe, I'm reading the book "Fantasyland" now and saw that you had joined the same season as author Sam Walker. Have you read the book and what was your reactions towards some of the managers in that league?

Joe Sheehan: The entire reason I play AL Tout Wars is the people in that league. I'm not a great fantasy player, especially in one-season leagues (I do all right in perpetual ones), and I'm clearly coming up short in that room. However, getting to compete with those guys, calling them friends, is an honor. I play because it's fun, and the people are why it's fun.

Connor (Chicago, IL): What are the chances of Nate McLouth not being a Pirate by August?

Joe Sheehan: Slim to none. That contract was about locking down a popular player, or, if you prefer, repeating the mistakes of the previous administration. I'm bearish on McLouth. This is the Jack Wilson contract, basically.

MikeFetters (Normal, IL): In your Monday 344-to-65 you mentioned the "subjectivity test" as something that always works in favor of the BCS schools. Will Illinois State get ANY consideration based on the Osiris Eldridge thriller in the MVC final, two wins over Creighton by a combined 54 points, and only one loss (Niagara) by more than six points? Or do multiple devastating last-second OT and double-OT losses count the same as last year's MVC final debacle vs Drake that kept the 'Birds out of the Dance?

Joe Sheehan: Their nonconference schedule was a joke. You can't schedule like that, finish third in your mid-major conference and ask for a bid. They had a similar problem last year. I believe they have two top-50 wins over two seasons. They were never on my bubble.

Jimmy (South Bend): How do you rank these recent draftees as far as offensive potential; Smoak, Hosmer, Gordon Beckham, and Tim Beckham?

Joe Sheehan: Smoak, Hosmer, staggering gap, T. Beckham, G. Beckham.

tonipeluso (Oakland, CA): With Duke getting shelved indefinately, do you see the A's having either Mazz, Cahill or Anderson on the opening day roster? And with a starting rotation of Duke (when/if healthy), Eveland, Gallagher, Braden, Gio (??) do you see the A's with any chance to give the Halo's a run in the AL West, especially with Santana getting shut down also?

Joe Sheehan: That staff, with or without Duschscherer, needs a really good defense behind it. I'll be curious to see how they allot playing time in right field and center, and how they suffer through the third-base problem. Realistically, this is an 83- or 84-win team, and honestly, I don't know how the front office will handle June and July if that's the case. They punted a year ago, and I'm not questioning that, but it makes it hard to predict 2009.

cubfan131 (Iowa): What seed does Northern Iowa get in the touney? I've seen mostly 12 or 13 from the analysts. Am I biased or are they a better team then that?

Joe Sheehan: No, that's about right. They had no at-large case, but will be one of the top auto-bids. They lost to Siena and Marquette, beat Auburn...with all the seed maneuvering, they could end up anywhere from 10-13, but I see them as a "true" 12.

John (New York, NY): Watching the Sports Reporters and watching Selena Roberts and Mike Lupica drill into Alex Rodriguez - why does the media hate the player who may be the greatest player of his generation? What is this REALLY about?

Joe Sheehan: Lieutenant Weinberg: "They beat up on a weakling, and that's all they did. The rest is just smoke-filled coffeehouse crap. They tortured and tormented a weaker kid. They didn't like him."

Boiler_Dude (FlyOverState): Why all the hate for Big 10 basketball?

Joe Sheehan: I think they've taken "slow" to a highly unentertaining extreme, which distorts the perception of what's going on up there. It's not defense; it's a lack of possessions and a lack of skilled players. They can't dribble-penetrate or, in many cases, shoot. They also have a couple of teams that scheduled in an embarrassing fashion this year, but find themselves in contention for at-large bid. Indiana also provided a special case; they're not even DePaul or Colorado, they're a patched-together mid-major, at least for one season, and wins over them are fairly meaningless. (I think Tom Crean did a phenomenal job getting five wins from the players on hand.)

When you get down to it, as long as they stop at six, I'm OK, but if they get seven or more, especially if Penn State gets in without beating Purdue Friday, it's a mistake.

Fred (Houston): Do you see anybody poised to challenge the Cubs in the NL Central this season?

Joe Sheehan: Oh, sure. I'm pretty down on the Cubs, who have no center fielder on the roster, invested $30 million in a guy who can't stay on the field, and are relying on Rich Harden to make 30 starts. This could all fall apart in a hurry. I'd take the field at -110 right now. The Reds are my sleeper, but the Cardinals are the safer bet to pass the Cubs.

Alex (SF, CA): Okay seriously is anything more baffling than this current bit of nonsense that the Yankees are somehow better without A-Rod?!?! Are these people insane or is it just that hard to meet wordcount demands?

Joe Sheehan: Are people really saying that? I have a few questions in this vein...judge me all you want, but I tend to not consume the local media here.

It's an indefensible concept. Then again, we're lousy with those these days.

mhixpgh (Pittsburgh): Hey Joe- I'll be at work this afternoon so, regretfully, I'll miss the live chat this afternoon. If you can sqeeze in my question I'd appreciate it. What can we expect from from Matt Laporta this season? Will the Indians use him at 1st or LF or DH? Perhaps will they will "longoria-nize" him and bring him up mid-April or May. This would allow them to use him where he is most needed. Sometimes if you stand by the barn door the horse (or the decision...) comes to you. Thanks for taking my question...

Joe Sheehan: You don't worry about service time with LaPorta, because as a bat-only player who's already 24, you're not concerned about locking up his age-30 season. Just play him once he's ready, and given that the team has a contract that hasn't hit in years at DH, and the open question of Ryan Garko at first base, there should be time for him. If Choo has to miss any time, that seals the deal for carrying LaPorta on Opening Day. I think he'll hit .270/.345/.490 in the majors this year if he plays.

Pete Sake (Ohfur Crien Outloud): You've pulled so hard on the PED pendulum that instead of re-centering it, you've dislocated it from the pivot point. Spreading responsibility between owners, players, the media, and even fans is fair. Acting like the players bear none, or that we don't even know if radically improving strength and shortening recovery time counts as "enhancing performance," (CK) that's just stupid.

Joe Sheehan: I haven't dislocated anything. I'm simply stating the rest of the case, the one that is never, ever discussed in the mainstream.

Players bear the ultimate responsibility for their decisions, including what substances they do or do not take. However, the context of those actions is important, and that context is entirely missing from the last half-decade of witch hunts.

If the pendulum were moving at all, trust me, you'd have noticed by now.

dcoonce (bloomington, indiana): Kouzmanoff for Kennedy/Melky. Who hangs up first?

Joe Sheehan: The Yankees, I would hope. They'd be trading two players low for a guy who might not hit in the AL, who can't play defense, and who is an empty roster spot come 6/1 or so. If the Yankees want to patch this with a trade, they can go get Mark Loretta or something, a player who will be useful after Rodriguez returns.

Zach (Buffalo): Has Brett Gardner won the CF starting job over Melky with his spring showing so far? With the power that Gardner is showing - is this just small sample size or is he demonstrating an improvement in that skill set?

Joe Sheehan: I don't think Brett Gardner can hit for any kind of power in the majors. He's Juan Pierre, more or less. That's a useful player at $400,000 in a less-than-critical role.

Tangential note. You know how it feels like we've been in spring training forever and can start to reach conclusions? We're still nearly four weeks from Opening Day, and between the WBC and injuries, a whole hell of a lot of major leaguers are missing from Florida and Arizona. Moreso then ever, spring training stats are meaningless.

J (SF): The just updated Lunardi has the Big 11 at 8.

Joe Sheehan: I'm coming around on seven, actually, having looked at Kansas State and gotten a number of e-mails about them today. Nebraska...would be a real ugly pick.

The 20th through 50th teams in the country have done less to distinguish themselves this year than in any year since I've been doing this. I don't think it's "they all suck at basketball," I think something systemic, tied to the expansion of Division I that has made it very easy to avoid playing enough games to build a profile.

southsidepride (Chicago): PECOTA has the White Sox finishing last in that division, what do you think? I like the core group of offense and it seems the big question was the same as last year, the last two pitchers in the rotation.

Joe Sheehan: They're pretty bad up the middle, especially defensively, and their rotation will pay the price for that problem. Throw in the aging of the team's best hitters, and a collapse seems imminent. They could be among the league's worst at three positions.

In their favor is Kenny Williams, who has become an above-average GM, capable of finding league-average starters and capable relievers almost at will. They could use some better drafting, but this won't be a Padres-style rebuild; they could bounce back quickly.

Robert (Houston): Should Mets fans be worried at all by Perez getting bombed by Australia?

Joe Sheehan: No.

Jon (DC): If you were Omar would you look at Pedro for the 5th starter role? He probably wants decent guaranteed money but he has to be better than the hit machine Livan Hernandez. What about Redding and Garcia?

Joe Sheehan: The problem with signing Pedro Martinez, especially if you're the Mets, is managing expectations. You can't make him your fifth starter. You have to plan to get 15-20 starts from him, or make him a two-inning reliever. I'd love him in the latter role, because he's kind of a pitching genius who can beat teams at 88 mph. I understand why he's still out there, but when you consider the pitchers who have gotten deals, Pedro should be getting more attention.

Dusty Baker (Cincy): You like the Reds? Give me another year to ruin some arms...

Joe Sheehan: Other than the extra-inning game in San Diego that seems to have ruined Aaron Harang's season, you did a really good job last year. Not that it couldn't change, but you've earned cautious optimism.

collins (greenville nc): The comments feature at BP is great, mostly because the posters tend to be civil and intelligent. There's been a marked increase in trolling and abusive behavior, though. Any idea how to curb this? People who frequently post obscenities don't get their privileges rescinded, it seems.

Joe Sheehan: The self-policing seems to work fairly well, which I attribute to the decision to restrict it to subscribers. I suspect that the tone will ebb and flow, and encourage you to use the moderation flag to bring abusers to our attention.

Just as a baseball fan, I've loved the comments. I think the discussions we've had throughout the site have been fantastic, and the tone, on the whole, the right one.

Gray (Chicago): Joe, considering the salary dumps the Cubs were forced to make to sign Milton Bradley, I wonder...would you rather have Hoffpauir, DeRosa, and Wood or Bradley, Fontenot/Miles, and Gregg?

Joe Sheehan: I'm not that high on Hoffpaiur or DeRosa, but I'd still rather have the guys who can actually take the field. Bradley, for the last four years, has shown little ability to do so. I love the bat, and I've defended him on some of the other stuff, but he needs to be in the AL.

formersd (San Diego): Do you think the UNLV/San Diego State game in the MWC is essentially a play-ing game barring lots of Major Conference Upsets?

Joe Sheehan: Yes. Both teams need at least another quality win, and SDSU needs a road win to enhance their resume. Neither team can make the field if they lose.

Frank (Vegas): Any "unaffiliated" player of interest currently in the WBC that might get signed by a big league club?

Joe Sheehan: This year's Peter Moylan? I haven't seen one yet, and it seems like more of these guys are affiliated now than they were three years ago.

NealH (Pitt, PA): Joe, given the monetary success this year of arb-eligible players vs FA's, do you expect there to be less arb offers to FA's nextyear? For someone like the Bucs, I'm wondering if guys like JWilson and FSanchez are now not offerred arb with the fear they might actually accept, hence losing the chance at type A or B draft compensation if it applies?

Joe Sheehan: The risk has shifted with mid-level free agents now. It's hard to say exactly where the economy will be in seven months, but my sense is that we've reached a point where the risk of getting stuck with a guy in arb who's overpaid for his production is high enough to limit arb offers. You can't possibly offer it to the likes of Sanchez or Wilson, Type A or not.

I should note that I was pretty wrong about this four months ago, killing the Yankees, among others, for not offering arbitration to Abreu and Pettitte. The two signed for less, combined, than what either would have gotten through arb.

Bobby Crosby (Arizona): I've got a bet with Chavez that I get more ABs than he does this year, who's gonna win?

Joe Sheehan: No one.

straymond (toronto): Any chance the WBC moves to mid-season or end of the season so that pitchers can pitch like in any other game?

Joe Sheehan: I think an in-season event is a non-starter, and a postseason one would have even more pull-outs.

Jon (DC): Thoughts on the Lester deal?

Joe Sheehan: The number of pitchers I would ever have signed to a five-year deal in my lifetime is comfortably under ten. You guess as to whether Lester makes the cut.

perforatededge54 (ny): Is Penn State making the dance? What do they need to do in the conference tourney to assert their position?

Joe Sheehan: Beat Purdue. Anything less and they're a very weak candidate.

perforatededge54 (ny): Is Penn State making the dance? What do they need to do in the conference tourney to assert their position?

Joe Sheehan: Beat Purdue. Anything less and they're a very weak candidate.

DGU (Wrigleyville): I just don't get your apocalyptic tone on Bradley. The Cubs have one of the better offenses in the league even when Bradley's sitting. Don't they only need Bradley and Harden healthy in the fall?

Joe Sheehan: I don't think they have one of the best offenses in the league without him. A whole hell of a lot of guys were at the tops of their ranges last season, and they can't afford Soto, Fontenot, Theriot, Oreo, Cheerio and whatever-o to slip back. They need those runs.

Jake (Chapel Hill): If Mich State had to play a full ACC schedule, I got em at 10-6...thoughts?

Joe Sheehan: Well, define "a full ACC schedule." It's different for Clemson than for Miami.

Michigan State isn't the Big 11's problem. They schedule well and beat good teams, they can play different styles, and they win on the road. The issue, just this year, is that the middle of the conference has some inflated records that, in my opinion, don't reflect the number of tournament-caliber teams actually in the league.

I think in two years, when Beilein is running his offense with his players, and Crean has rebuilt Indiana, and Purdue's sophomores are seniors...this could be a ridiculous league.

Gunpuddy (Nashville): Joe, 140 pitchers made 15 starts last year. That's an average of less than five per team. So why shouldn't 15-20 starts be enough for Pedro to be a fifth starter?

Joe Sheehan: Because you don't plan, in April, for 15-20 starts from your fifth starter. You plan to have a rotation, and you lose starts along the way to injuries or ineffectivenes. If you plan to have Martinez start 15-20 games, what does that look like from a roster-management perspective? A couple of DL trips? A six-day rotation? A swingman role?

I'm not saying you shouldn't sign him and figure this stuff out, just noting that you have to manage expectations.

Tony (Tacos): Joe, Lester's deal isn't exactly signing him to a five-year deal. The Red Sox are bumping up his arbitration years' salaries, but they are only buying out one free agent year.

Joe Sheehan: A commitment they don't have to make.

I'll make the same argument I made when the Cards signed Carpenter: you don't commit to pay a pitcher a lot of money 400 innings out. It's bad business.

Eric (Seattle): Liriano, Hamels, Verlander? Best SP for the next 10 years?

Joe Sheehan: Hamels, Liriano, Verlander. But wow, that's a tough call.

Drew (Columbus): Pablo Sandoval: over/under .300, over/under 15 home runs?

Joe Sheehan: Under, over.

Jake (Cincinnati): Well, Dusty did let Volquez throw 110+ pitches in 4 of his 5 meaningless Spetmber starts...not exactly smart.

Joe Sheehan: Nope, that's the sweet spot for starters. A major-league starting pitcher should be able to throw in the 110s consistently without getting hurt. Beyond that, regular work over 120, and there are issues. The number "100" was a guideline in developing a system, and has become far, far too important to people who think Rany and Keith handed it down on stone tablets.

Stan (Chicago): Of course the cards have no secondbaseman on their roster are counting on 30 starts from chris carpenter and have however much invested in a thirdbaseman that can't stay on the field either? Can I get the other side of that bet? :)

Joe Sheehan: They have much more trade depth, much more depth in general. However, I think their infield is a real problem as well, especially given what their pitching staff does. Can you really have a learning-the-job 2B and a right-handed ball-in-play staff? That seems ill-thought-out.

Matt (Chicago): Give us your pick for the most likely Final Four run by a (prospective) five seed or higher.

Joe Sheehan: I really like Syracuse's athleticism and mix of talents on offense. The problem is that when they play Rautins and Devendorf together, they're vulnerable defensively. I suspect they'll be my idiosyncratic FF pick, pending matchups.

Eric (Dallas, TX): What "fanbase" asks you the least amount of questions?

Joe Sheehan: The Padres, I think. The Astros could be a contender.

Mike (Denver): Long-term what does a peak season from Lastings Milledge look like?

Joe Sheehan: .300/.370/.460 with +10 steals and +5 defense in CF.

cutter (glendale): Do you think that leagues with fewer teams make extreme strategies less viable? For example, if you are in a 9 team mixed league does it make sense to try to minimize your pitching budget to less than $60?

Joe Sheehan: Assuming a reasonable amount of access to the remaining player pool (not monthly transactions or something), yes.

TGisriel (Baltimore): What are your thoughts on the pattern now of bringing up your top rookie up in May or so? Longoria last year. The Rays appear ready to do it again with Price. The Orioles appear to be planning on starting Wieters in AAA.

Joe Sheehan: It's trading one month of a player now for one year at his peak. Unless you're contending now or the player isn't good enough to worry about (LaPorta) this issue with, it's the right play.

Eric (Toronto): How in the world will Toronto ever win the division?

Joe Sheehan: By building a very good baseball team. They had 60% of one last year, but didn't fill out the offense. That's not money--that's choosing Shannon Stewart and David Eckstein.

The Ghost of Frank Cashen (Flushing): Do the Mets really think those corner outfielders are good enough? Has a team ever squandered such an outstanding core this many years in a row?

Joe Sheehan: The 1990s Mariners say "hi."

This plan works if Daniel Murphy is the guy they think he is. Then you patch right field and live with a Church/Tatis solution. If Murphy doesn't hit, then you have some issues.

TGisriel (Baltimore): If the Orioles were in the AL Central, would they contend?

Joe Sheehan: Not this year, but probably next. That rotation doesn't really play anywhere.

Rhett (Dayton): Whom (we're not all illiterate here in O-HI-O!) do you like better, the Flyers to make any kind of run in the tourney, or the Reds to win the wild card? Thanks!

Joe Sheehan: The Flyers haven't shown much outside of the state, and that's a program characteristic that dates back years. So probably the Reds.

Randy (Ann Arbor, MI): Proverbial gun to head: who makes it to the Final Four?

Joe Sheehan: UNC, Louisville, Syracuse, Michigan State. The first two are set, but any of 15 teams could fill the other slots.

JROB4349 (jax,fl): safe to assume the yankees have one of the worst outfields of anyone, and with a pretty bad defense, why are so many picking them in the east.it seems they have the greatest amount of pitfalls

Joe Sheehan: Because they spent a lot of money, and actually spent it reasonably well. I don't think they're a prohibitive favorite, just a slight edge over the Sox, one that probably disappeared with the Rodriguez injury.

lemppi (Ankeny, IA): Can you even strike out 18 guys in a video game like Strasburg did last week? Do you hear much buzz about him from industry sources? Thanks.

Joe Sheehan: Um, yeah, he's on most radars. He's the presumptive #1 overall pick in the draft.

Jon (DC): Is there any way that both UNLV and SDSU make the tournament?

Joe Sheehan: I can't see it. If UNLV loses, they're the clear #5 and will have an RPI under 50. If SDSU loses, they'll be suspect for the lack of road wins. I can probably concoct a degenerate case involving every BCS bubble team losing its next game, but realistically...no.

Actually, the way things have gone, maybe it's not so unlikely.

tompshock (San Diego): Andruw Jones has had an encouraging spring thus far. Does he make the Rangers opening day roster and if so what can we expect out of him this year as far as playing time and numbers go?

Joe Sheehan: I'd like to see him batting eighth or ninth and playing center field a lot of the time. The Rangers have simply refused to put good defensive players in the outfield for quite some time. It'd be nice to see if a real CF made the pitching better. Given that I don't think much of David Murphy, I have no problem with a Cruz/Jones/Hamilton outfield, with Murphy as the fourth and Byrd as the fifth.

blaseta (Calgary): You teased it now deliver...give us your list of pitchers you would have ever signed to a five-year deal

Joe Sheehan: Maddux, Santana, Clemens, Prior, Seaver, Saberhagen...that might be it.

Jon (DC): Joe, at 5 million Omar could have had Abreu and wouldn't have had to worry about Church and Tatis.

Joe Sheehan: This is a true statement, and a pretty strong argument against the plan they executed. I can't really defend the Mets' inaction given where the corner outfielders went and what they were paid.

JJ (NY): Not Gooden? Would you have known he was a coke head right away?

Joe Sheehan: No, the workload at age 20.

Lighting round.

TGisriel (Baltimore): Will Adam Jones take a major step forward offensively this year?

Joe Sheehan: Minor step forward, but it may be hidden if the BABIP slips a bit. Focus on the flyball rate and the K/BB, and remember that he's a long-term play.

george (Hallifax): Debating a buddy over who will be better this year, Votto or Morneau. Can you offer us comparative projections? (Both are Canadian 1Bs)

Joe Sheehan: Morneau's right in his peak...I know a couple of systems love Votto's defense, which may tilt the scale in his favor. Overall, I'd take Morneau this year, and Votto thereafter.

chumsferd (pasadena): I find it admirable that you put Prior on the list. Most would've left him off (revisionist history). maddux is the clear #1. do you at least contemplate Pedro?

Joe Sheehan: Contemplate? Sure. But his size would have scared me off.

Charlie (Bethesda, MD): If Maryland beats NC State and Wake this weekend, and doesn't get embarassed by Duke, do you they get in?

Joe Sheehan: That's their path exactly. Beating Wake is the key.

TGisriel (Baltimore): Will Pie hit in Baltimore? Should the O's platoon him, especially at the beginning, in light of his difficulties with left handed pitcheing?

Joe Sheehan: I think the best use of Wigginton is in just that role.

Joe (Boston): How do you see the Julio Lugo/Jed Lowrie situation shaking out at SS? Is there really anybody who'd take on Lugo's deal at this point?

Joe Sheehan: Hard to see the Yankees and Sox doing a deal, but they could have Lugo play third for two months and then he'd be a pretty good UT afterwards. There's no argument for playing Lugo over Lowrie.

Adam (Rochester): Webb or Billingsley for 2009?

Joe Sheehan: Webb, and I say that as someone who loves Billingsley.

bam022 (Chicago): So what you are really saying with regards to contracts for pitchers is that if you ran a team, you'd have a pretty terrible rotation, right?

Joe Sheehan: Maybe. Or I'd have a lot of zero-to-seven guys who could pitch.

polyspast (Brooklyn): Standard 5x5 keeper league - After Reyes, Tex, BJ Upton - fourth keeper is: Pedroia or Markakis?

Joe Sheehan: Markakis. We just saw Pedroia's best season. He'll have other good ones, but not like Markakis will.

SaberTJ (Cleveland): Over/Under - Hafner hits 25 home runs

Joe Sheehan: Under.

mattymatty2000 (Philly, PA): So you're taking the Yankees over the Sox in the East? Where do the Rays fit into that picture?

Joe Sheehan: Third. Some regression on defense and in the bullpen leave them behind the other two. You're still talking about a top-five team in MLB.

Charlie (Bethesda, MD): Perhaps you've never watched Maryland basketball before. Showing up against NC State and playing 40 minutes is the key. They'll likely show up if they get to Wake, although, yes, winning is also key.

Joe Sheehan: The Virginia loss was inexcusable.

MkeMan (Milwaukee): What seed do you think the free-falling James-less Marquette Warriors will get? (Note: not necessarily free-falling, considering the teams they've lost to.)

Joe Sheehan: They're a six, and they move up one seed line with each win this week.

Hank (Milwaukee): Cruz or Kubel?

Joe Sheehan: Cruz. He's this year's Ludwick.

Joe Sheehan: Gotta get back to writing and editing. Thanks for all the great questions. I am not sure where I'll be next week, but if 100 people e-mail ckahrl at baseballprospectus dot com to request a chat, we'll schedule one Tuesday or Wednesday.

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