2024 Prospect Week Chat

12:02
Eric A Longenhagen: Good morning from Tempe! Thank you for checking out all of our Prospect Week work for the site, including this chat.

12:02
Eric A Longenhagen: Let’s get right into it.

12:03
Andrew: You’re a bit lower on Colt Emerson than a lot of the industry it seems. What does he need to show to get up into that ~50 range? And thoughts on Jeter Martinez?

12:06
Eric A Longenhagen: I like Emerson a lot, ideally he performs a little better versus belt-high fastballs going forward. Jeter is an 18-year-old Mexican DSL arm sitting 92-93 touching better than that, slider will flash. Long-term dev project, last I saw arm action was super long

12:06
Jesse: Do the Mets have a top farm system after eating all that money for prospects during the trade deadline last year?

12:06
Eric A Longenhagen: More like tier 2 behind Cubs, BoSox

12:07
Free Kyle Manzardo: What’s the beef with Kyle Manzardo, man

12:07
Eric A Longenhagen: Not enough beef, as in power, to be a 2 annual WAR performer at 1B. More a 45 type

12:08
Angelus Novus: Why is Hollday (70) graded higher than pre-2023 Gunnar/Carroll (65s)? Who do you take over the next decade, from that group?

12:08
Eric A Longenhagen: Better perceived chance to stay at SS than I had of Gunnar at that point. Tough not to take Gunnar of those three in this moment.

12:08
JDP’s biggest fan: What’s holding back JDP from being a top 100 prospect? Just need to see a bit more power in game?

12:09
Eric A Longenhagen: Underlying swing and miss was worse than his surface K%, in a corner OF spot I want you to prove the hit/power combo is real more than he has to this point, force my hand. Pretty mediocre feel for the barrel, gonna have gigantic power. There’s still a good chance he pops, just hasn’t yet.

12:10
Morgan (NY): Which prospects currently ranked below 75 have the best chance to enter the top 25 next season?

12:10
Eric A Longenhagen: The teenagers in that range

12:10
Jon Kay: Do chats count as comments? No real question, I appreciate what you do. Hopefully you can stuff Grant Brisbee in a locker.

12:10
Eric A Longenhagen: lol some of them do have a comment section vibe

12:10
Ben Schneider: Hi Eric, thanks for all the great work. After a strong year at the plate, why do you think Connor Norby is not a 50 FV player, and how does he fit on the Orioles’ roster?

12:11
Eric A Longenhagen: LF for me, not enough offense to be a 50 there. Either he or Mountcastle needs to move for him to play, probably.

12:11
Chris: How far was Jose Fleury from your pick to click next year ?

12:14
Eric A Longenhagen: He’s super weird. This is a little Astros righty with an uphill low-90s fastball, he throws a ton of really excellent changeups and cutters, pretty even pitch mix. I don’t think it’ll work in a way that he’ll ever be on the Top 100, he only sits like 91 mph, but he should be a really deceptive long reliever

12:14
Eric A Longenhagen: Maybe like Yusmeiro Petit type?

12:14
Roman: What are your thoughts on some Zips100 prospects that didn’t make your list? I saw Jagger Haynes at #99 and I don’t think he’s top15 in SD’s system

12:15
Eric A Longenhagen: Jagger will be on the Another 10 Names to Know piece. Prototypical frame, 91-96 across a whole start, above avg curveball, ill-timed TJ cost him a lot of time. Needs to show he can hold that velo across actual SP innings and dev a third pitch

12:15
Jon Kay: I like to think about your ratings for FV as functional normal distributions for outcomes and assume that the value you settle on is the most likely. Is there a way that you could add SD on your evalus as a way of measuring floor and celling? This guy plays great CF defense so it limits is floor and therefore I put a 55 FV on it but the SD has more skewness? Or is this just dressing up what is a qualitative process with opinion values to turn it quantitive?

12:17
Eric A Longenhagen: One of the former prospect writers at the site tried to do a version of this and people felt it was super confusing to have floor/likely/ceiling grades. Grade+Variance is a little easier and doesn’t feel like you’re abdicating making an actual call

12:18
eye test appreciator: saw an interesting quote from chris antonetti saying good things about estevan florial. almost every prospecter and even yankees homers had left him for dead (myself included). anything change in his skillset or is antonetti just wishcasting

12:20
Eric A Longenhagen: Swing changed last year, big time lefty power hitting his physical prime. I really liked him as a buy-low for them, has what they need in power. Could catch lightning in a bottle for a couple of years while he’s peaking like this. Don’t think he’s suddenly a star, he’s still very flawed with K’s, but could have Raley/Siri run here. He isn’t prospect eligible anymore, hasn’t been since 2022.

12:20
Ryan: Could teams value prospects from Wake Forest less because they assume they have already matched out their skills with the pitching lab?

12:20
Eric A Longenhagen: I dunno if “value less” is exactly right but “project less” probably would be.

12:20
Lasres: did you forget Robby Snelling existed when doing the top 100?

12:22
Eric A Longenhagen: pitch performance is pretty generic, fastball velo is below MLB average, feels like another Ryan Weathersesque PR campaign is working on hard-blinking online folks

12:22
Too Many Mooks: Eric, really loved the ‘How’s my Driving?’ piece. I hope you can do a version of it every year.

12:22
Eric A Longenhagen: Hope to do a couple versions of it throughout each year, teams lists, draft ranks, etc. gracias

12:23
dave: How much of a negative effect has the elimination of short-season leagues had on player development? What percentage of teams would choose to have a short-season team, if allowed?

12:25
Eric A Longenhagen: I think it harms the level of play in A-ball because guys who wouldn’t have climbed through short season end up there. It provides fewer players opportunity to develop but maybe doesn’t hurt any individual’s dev? I think the cash rich teams would love to have more affiliates, especially ones who know they’re good at dev. Percentage wise…

12:26
Eric A Longenhagen: lol going thru a team checklist in my head, would BOS pay for another affiliate at this point? jeepers

12:26
Eric A Longenhagen: probably like half the teams? There are definnitely people in baseball who still think there are too many minor leaguers, and MLB has econ incentive to outsource as much of dev as possible to college baseball. I bet we see further reduction and restructuring next CBA

12:27
Luke: Curious what happened with Ben Brown (top 50 for you end of season)? Are you viewing his 2nd half command issues as a long term problem?

12:27
Eric A Longenhagen: Enough that it limits his role, yeah. Not enough that it makes him bad.

12:27
wheelhouse: Do a specific org’s specific flaws ever impact your assessment of an individual prospect? I look at reports of what Spencer Jones needs to improve upon to reach his ceiling and see contact rates, breaking/offspeed recognition, and ground balls, and those flaws have seemingly been endemic in the yankees’ org for half a decade now with no success stories.

12:28
Eric A Longenhagen: Not really. You get into the gray area between scouting and predicting if you do it that way. It would feel weird to have Grade X on a draft prospect, then either raise or lower depending on the org that drafts him. I think most FG readers who care about prospects for the purposes of fantasy baseball are smart enough to make those kinds of adjustments themselves as they parse the neutral work.

12:28
Oliver: If not for the perception that he was a strong commit to attend college, where would Cooper Pratt have slotted in the last draft. The Brewers landed a bunch of exciting prospects ahead of him but he seems to have a comparable ceiling to the guys taken ahead of him.

12:30
Eric A Longenhagen: I probably had hi ma little too high. He got $1.3 million, which is late 2nd round money. He’s probably more early/mid second round in a normal draft, was late 2 in a loaded one

12:30
NB: Eric and Tess, Great work again on Prospect Week!  I subscribe to Fangraphs and other publications because I love getting a diversity of opinions.  I feel like you guys tend to rate younger international signees higher than others while ranking recent MLB draftees a little lower.  I’m wondering about how much you like Brock Wilken, Aiden Miller, and Dillon Head, 3 draftees who missed your Top 100.  Thx!

12:32
Eric A Longenhagen: All three were picks to click, we like them a lot. Head put really strong contact data on paper in pro ball. Miller did too, but I’m a little suss of his swing, which is like Carter Kieboom/Keston Hiura/Jeter Downs in the way his hands loop. Let’s see how he does against big velo. Wilken, you know the report. I want 1B/3B types to have closer proximity to the big league before I value them as a 50. The kids’ ceilings are so much bigger than Wilken-types (Walcott, etc) that even though they’re lower-prob players I wwant to value to possibility that they’re unicorn players ahead of guys like Wilken unless they’re performing for a while at AA/AAA

12:32
Bob: You are the low guys on Tyler Black. What do you see keeping him from being a top 100 type? Lack of a defensive home? Not enough bat for questionable defense?

12:34
Eric A Longenhagen: A lot of these questions are just going to be answered with the next piece. I don’t believe in his hit tool as much as the others, I guess. Also looking like a 3B/1B with 40 power. Can you find me a guy with that profile in the bigs? Lamonte Wade? Is Wade someone you’d 50? He’s fine but not *that* good.

12:34
Tim: Do you think Colton Cowser is anything more than a platoon guy?

12:35
Eric A Longenhagen: I do not

12:35
Keith: Would Drew Thorpe be a solid comp for Alonzo Treadwell? Do you feel he could be elite with a velo bump?

12:36
Eric A Longenhagen: Nah, very diff fastball profiles. Another guy whose name is in this next piece. Vert FB/CRV combo, sitting 92 at UCLA, could use stride alteration to shallow out his FB angle. A breakout pick because Houston tends to be good at this.

12:36
Ralph: If Dominguez didn’t tear his UCL, where would he have slotted?

12:36
Eric A Longenhagen: Closer to 50th overall

12:37
birds birds birds: Long ago, I read somewhere that the step from A to AA was the biggest jump for a minor leaguer to make.  Agree?

12:37
Eric A Longenhagen: Triple-A to big leagues. WIthin the confines of the minors it’s probably High-A to Double-A, yes.

12:37
Mike Cameron Maybin: Any hope to offer for Luciano being a productive regular this year? Obviously the power’s there and he’s got time, but the K rate is… woof. The defense wasn’t stellar either, and early reports are that he’s put on weight coming into camp. Continued contact issues and a move to a corner of spot feels pretty bleak, right?

12:38
Eric A Longenhagen: Pretty bleak, imo. 64% contact rate is below any present MLB SS, let alone OF if he has to move. Still has huge juice, though.

12:38
sad Rangers fan: What is your outlook on Leiter now? is there a chance he becomes front end or even mid-rotation starter? is it an issue of shape of pitches, command, control or combination of all?

12:39
Eric A Longenhagen: Fastball is still really good, has zero feel for location. Kinda in Mac Gore limbo right now, still think Jack will be a fair big leaguer but probably an RP at this point. This is his 40-man eval year so we might see TEX make a move in that regard

12:39
Your name: Love and appreciate all the content. Just out of curiosity, when do you guys change a prospects position? You have Caminero as a RFer even though he hasnt played there in the majors or minors, but you have Shaw as 2B even though he’s taking reps at 3B and fangraphs indicated that is the position he has the clearest path to the majors.

12:40
Eric A Longenhagen: Totally our projection, when I think it’s the right call and am tooling around in the guts of The Board, I change it

12:40
Jason: What happened to the Just Missed article?

12:40
Eric A Longenhagen: It’s more a “100 more names to know” article so as you can imagine, it’s quite long and is being edited.

12:40
Chris: How close was Lazaro montes to being 50’d? What does he need to show in order to be in the top 100 a year from now?

12:41
Eric A Longenhagen: Another guy in the upcoming article. Gigantic kid with huge present raw, think the length in his swing makes him risky. Wanna see him adjust to fastballs around his hands.

12:41
Nervous Flyball Pitcher: Can science explain why multiple projection systems (ZiPS and Steamer) think Coby Mayo will play above average 3B defense? I would be thrilled, but those conclusions are the direct opposite of what prospect writers say. I think Longenhagen/Taruskin have projected him at RF since last year.

12:43
Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah, evaluating minor league defense visually (when you can actually do it thoroughly) will give you way better results than a proj system is going to. MAybe proprietary minor league kinatrax and statcast type stuff could help you model defense if you had access to that data.

12:43
Eddie: When Spencer Jones was as old as Jasson Dominguez is right now he had a sub .800 OPS in the SEC. Are we being too harsh on Dominguez still? Feel like there’s a lot of upwards projection for Spencer and downwards for Jasson when they both don’t have a ton of ABs per say

12:44
Eric A Longenhagen: If I showed you all of Jasson’s swings in a super tight edit right on top of one another, you’d see how little barrel control there is. Doesn’t mean I think he’s bad, just think the long-term ceiling on Spenny is so big that he needed to be elevated

12:45
Eric A Longenhagen: Age differences and differences in projection often go hand in hand, but not as far as those two are concerned. Jasson’s body is maxed, the cement is dry. Jones’ is not.

12:45
Jordash: Is it just me, or do you sometimes confuse Jordan Westburg and Paul Westerberg, lead singer of the Replacements?

12:45
Eric A Longenhagen: I confused John Henry and Patrick Henry on a history test in high school and my teacher told me my priorities were effed

12:45
Jordash: Jordan Westburg gets overshadowed in the strong Orioles system. Do you think he can be an everyday guy by year’s end?

12:46
Eric A Longenhagen: I have more a 45 on him because the defense is kinda bleh. Might be out-talented by the others. Still a good player, just ideally want him to have a lefty/defense caddy. Think J Ortiz was more an omnisituational guy, Westy has more juice tho.

12:47
Refugee: For Eric/Tess: 1. How do you use plate discipline and batted ball data to color your scouting? 2. Where are you getting that data from? I can only find it publicly available at the AAA level.

12:49
Eric A Longenhagen: We are sourcing milb-wide data from team contacts. I’m looking at chase, chase relative to raw swing%, and for the first time this offseason chase relative to 2-strike chase%. The chase data is illuminating more than in-person looks, batted ball/contact stuff serves to confirm the visual scouting report and find guys we’ve overlooked.

12:49
Scott: Noticed Solometo is not on top 100.  What do you need to see from him to crack list in the future?

12:51
Eric A Longenhagen: Two or three more ticks. I think he’s more a no. 4/5 than a mid-rotatino guy, there aren’t many impact starters who only sit 91-92.

12:51
mason morris: Druw Jones? Why does no one love him?

12:51
Eric A Longenhagen: Looked so out of whack when he was healthy last year that there’s no way he hits unless his sing changes.

12:52
JH: Juan Brito was on last year’s version of the Picks to Click and seemed to perform exactly as expected, succeeding in A+ and AA while showing the same mix of contact, patience, and a little pop that seemed to catch your eye last year. Any insight as to why he missed this year’s list? Has the scouting report backed up, or were you projecting a leap forward while his year was more like treading water?

12:52
Eric A Longenhagen: Defense is terrible

12:52
Ryan: How difficult is it to change your fastball shape? If you are able to change the shape, how much does it impact your command/control?

12:54
Eric A Longenhagen: Probably easier said than done and depends on the person. I’ve seen guy simply alter pronation/supination on release, I’ve seen guys change the way their wrist is positioned, I’ve seen reworked arm paths and changes in stride direction that have impact up the body in such a way that alters arm and approach angle. Finding something the athlete can do consistently so their control doesn’t totally wash out is an important piece of it.

12:54
Phil: Do you have any thoughts about David Sandlin? Breslow seems to think he could be a major league starter soon.

12:54
Eric A Longenhagen: Pretty typical three-quarters arm slot righty with a mid-90s fastball and presently average slider. His changeup’s rate stats from 2023 suggest he should be throwing it more, and we should all be looking to see if Boston tweaks the shape/grip of his slider this year. They have two years to develop him before he needs to be put on the 40-man.

12:55
Keith: Any examples of very successful pitchers with poor fastball shape? How doomed is a pitcher with a “lifeless” fastball?

12:55
Eric A Longenhagen: Luzardo, Bibbee, Kirby…lots of guys, you just have to do other stuff like throw really hard.

12:56
Phils honk: Is Caba the best defender you’ve ever seen at that age? Is he the most talented defensive SS since Ozzie Smith like some say?

12:56
Eric A Longenhagen: Slickest infield I’ve seen since Jose Iglesias and Freddy Galvis

12:56
guest: How do you reconcile traditional scouting versus newer advanced metrics approaches like Stuff+? take Sawyer Gibson-Long for example. he was never a high pedigree prospect and his fastball according to Fangraphs scouting is a 40 grade. But according to stuff+, his change-up and sinker are two of the highest rated pitches in the model, and his fast is above average. His FIP and xERA seem to back up his limited results. Thank you for the feedback!

12:57
Eric A Longenhagen: Stuff+ overvalues guys whose stuff has lateral action

12:57
Get Two, Brute?: Is there any particular development issue with recent Pittsburgh graduates you can point to regarding their stalled rebuild? Three pitching prospects lost substantial velocity in 2023. And on the position player side, they gave roughly 1500 plate appearances to rookies who put up a collective 0.2 WAR. Is there something to point to with their young players struggling so much?

12:57
Eric A Longenhagen: That’s one of those backfields that I’m only on once or twice a year, and it’s tough for me to snoop enough to get a better idea of what they’re doing with dev.

12:58
Mike S: What happened to Yiddi Cappe last season?  Is he still a prospect in your eyes or has he dropped off the map?

12:58
Eric A Longenhagen: Blerg, didn’t look viable at SS and not enough offensive juice to comfortably profile at 2b only. I was overzealous last year.

12:58
David: Farmelo is a surprise, tooled up high schooler was kind of the description of him going into the draft and due to injury he was barely able to play in the minors, was curious if there was anything additional to could note about what you saw during instructs? Did he really stand out that much more than most every one else?

12:59
Eric A Longenhagen: He played during instructs and then during Cal League playoffs. Freakish size/strength for a teenager when you stand right next to him, swing is still work in progress, crazy power/speed combo.

12:59
PJ: I was surprised to see Payton Martin omitted from the picks to click list. What about him fails to impress you?

1:02
Eric A Longenhagen: Gotta reject the premise of this question. Just not enough space on P2C to include every single prospect I like, he’s a prospect and will be on the team list. 6ft righty threw less than 40 innings last year, sitting 95 (show me over 120 innings por favor), hard mid-80s slider. Good prospect

1:02
romorr: If there was a Baltimore Oriole pitching prospect in next years top 100, can you give me your two best guesses? Baumeister and De Leon?

1:02
Eric A Longenhagen: nailed it with Baumeister i think

1:03
Eric A Longenhagen: you guys are good at this and basically guessing the names in this next piece

1:03
jakefromboonesfarm: Lots of distance between major rankings of Kjerstad/Cowser, neither of whom blew any doors off in majors last year.  What separates them so much in your eval?

1:04
Eric A Longenhagen: Kjerstad’s physicality and barrel control > Cowser. Cowser is a more discerning hitter but doesn’t have nearly as much physical talent. Heston looked bulky and strong during ’22 AFL, looked super cut and explosive in 2023, I thought he hit a different gear.

1:04
Jeremy: As a Phillies fan, how worried should I be that Mick Abel doesn’t seem to have improved much since he was drafted?

1:05
Eric A Longenhagen: A little bit. I’m still betting on his body and the way it moves in a pretty profound way. I think it’s more about him getting feel for his long/explsoive body than them altering what he’s doing.

1:05
Reggie: the dodgers seem to have really done well with their most recent DSL team. Who do you like best joendry vargas. Quintero or someone else?

1:05
Eric A Longenhagen: well one of them was on the top 100 and one was a pick to click

1:05
Kate: Surprised to not see Celesten in the “this is what they look like” section of the picks to click.  Is that merely a result of him just not getting into games last year?

1:06
Eric A Longenhagen: yep, also in the upcoming piece, saw two games in the Fall and looked good on D, rusty at the dish. purely a wait and see how he looks type, we still don’t truly *know* anything about the hit tool with zero pro data and because of how limited in-person looks were in 2023

1:06
Colton: Prospect week has been awesome, thanks for capping it off with this chat. Out of curiosity, how often do you find yourself writing up a guy that neither you or Tess have seen yourself? Just going purely off what other colleagues in the industry have on them.

1:06
Eric A Longenhagen: never ever

1:08
Eric A Longenhagen: there are guys who i haven’t seen in person but, at worst, I’m doing a ton of film study and have data to formulate my own opinion

1:08
Abimelec Ortiz: Thoughts on the hitter with the best name in the minors?  He crushed it last year with K improvements upon promotion, but obviously 1B hurts his list-ability.

1:08
Eric A Longenhagen: you nailed it, just think the performance is a little shy of top 15 at 1B because it’s 1B.

1:08
Daniel: How big of swing in terms of value is Austin Wells defensive position?

1:10
Eric A Longenhagen: enormous. Jonah Heim and Edward Olivares had the same wRC+ last year.

1:10
Gronch: How would you have graded Brandon Belt’s power coming up? Obviously the whole package, with excellent on-base, above average defense, and playable hit tool was enough to profile as an above average 1B, but he never hit for massive power

1:11
Eric A Longenhagen: Dayum, you’re hitting me with a throwback. hold please…

1:11
Eric A Longenhagen: Longenhagen: Brandon Belt

1:11
Eric A Longenhagen: I was a few months shy of turning 22

1:12
Matt: What are you feelings on Brandon Crawford?  Most people have him ranked but you did not.  

Overall, do you see the Phillies as having an organization that is trending in the right direction?

1:13
Eric A Longenhagen: Justin Crawford (no worries, we all brainfart) has a full report on the Phils list. Just not enough power, no current MLB hitter hits the ball on the ground as much as he does. needs adjustment pretty badly, imo.

1:13
Sanford: Mets prospects are short (Gilbert 5’9″, Jett 5’6″, Acuña 5’8″). Just a coincidence or is this reflective of some organizational philosophy (obviously not re: height specifically, but perhaps re: tools/profile/floor/ceiling that shorter prospects tend to have, if such stuff can even be generalized across height)

1:14
Eric A Longenhagen: good catch. I do think lever length is a trait teams care about and might have to do with stability of the hit tool. The Grizzlies seem to take guys undervalued due to lack of length in the NBA, too. Bane, Tillman, Roddy, Brooks, etc.

1:14
Kate: Was a little surprised to see Luis Morales jump into the Top 100 so early.  Do you think he’s a fast mover from here to the majors?

1:14
Eric A Longenhagen: Definitely not. Prototype pitcher’s body and elite arm speed, purely a ceiling-driven include.

1:15
Tacoby Bellsbury: What’s the most surprising industry feedback you received on your top 101 this season?

1:15
Eric A Longenhagen: had too few inside jokes

1:15
ram: Has there ever been a disparity between your list and the ZIPs list that has caused you to go back and reevaluate a prospect?

1:17
Eric A Longenhagen: Yes, Danny sends me zips a few days ahead so i can double check some guys. This year it was Danny de Andrade, who I felt comfortable moving on from quickly from a top 100 standpoint, still a fair prospect who’ll be on their team list

1:17
Pirates Hurdles: Curious about Termarr’s path, what do you need to see from him in 2024 to move him back up the lists?

1:17
Eric A Longenhagen: Tess-driven stuff job there. Mucho power and lift, will have rare 2B pop despite flawed hit tool. Gonna K a ton.

1:17
Deputy: Who is the next unheralded Yankee arm that becomes a stud reliever for them in 24?

1:18
Eric A Longenhagen: Take your pick of the DSL arms on their list, Arias, etc.

1:18
RoadWarriorShaq: What does Chandler Simpson have to do this year to start making his way onto prospect lists.  .330 OBP, 50 SB, good CF defense looks more like a certainty than a possibility.

1:18
Eric A Longenhagen: Def a team list guy already. Top 100? IDK, is Myles Straw working out gangbusters?

1:18
Walton Dilcox: I’m crazy about this Wyatt Langford, some freaky dominant numbers here. What keeps him out of the #1 spots?

1:19
Eric A Longenhagen: Might be a DH

1:19
Too Many Mooks: To what percentage of these questions could you just reply “Read the article, dingus”?

1:19
Eric A Longenhagen: The percentage has lowered since we started chatting

1:19
Eric A Longenhagen: honestly this year it’s probably only like 10%

1:19
Spencer: Of the guys on the top 100 who have yet to play in the MLB yet, who is most likely to open up on the MLB roster and have a successful season?

1:20
Eric A Longenhagen: I won’t count Chourio, either (but it’s probably him)…

1:21
Eric A Longenhagen: saying Colt Keith is also kinda cheating…

1:21
Eric A Longenhagen: How about Jairo Iriarte?

1:21
J: This is both a real-life and fantasy-driven question. With the evolution of the SP role, I find it increasingly difficult to gauge value.  Just in terms of how you approach rankings, both value/slotting, has it affected you and Tess’ valuations? If so, what has it modified?

1:24
Eric A Longenhagen: For sure. I’ve flattened their curve, so to speak. Fewer workhorse SPs generating WAR value via innings volume, more innings to go around means more 40/40+ types who work in bulk relief, or who you need to get key outs in the middle innings. For fantasy I do not envy you because it’s more about counting stats than talent and you’re also gauging team situation. In the one league I’m in (dynasty sim) I really only draft sexy arms when the value feels too good to pass up, I’m more on stable performers and paths to opportunity than upside most of the time

1:24
Eric A Longenhagen: great question btw

1:25
Your Name: Have you heard of or seen Kevin Watson Jr.? Lesser known outfield/catching prospect in the low minors of the Angels org. If so, would love any notes you have

1:26
Eric A Longenhagen: Of course, that guy’s like the mayor of the IE. Had a bobblehead night last year, didn’t he? Lefty-hitting org guy with fun defensive versatility.

1:26
Billy G: In addition to all the relocation stuff for the A’s, they’ve really gotten screwed a bit with the draft lottery. Sixth pick in a draft that had five “first overall” types in most years. Now fourth in a weak draft. And if I’m reading the CBA correctly, they can’t pick top 10 next year regardless of how bad they are. Even if I stick with them to Vegas, is there any hope?

1:28
Eric A Longenhagen: Bro, it’s a sad situation. The people who work for that org in the front office, dev and scouting, as well as the players themselves, all deserve better. What must it be like to be Tyler Soderstrom or Gelof right now and know you’re going to spend the next couple of years grinding for its own sake. It could be career-altering for their young players to be in such a weird, awkward bind like that and attempt to motivate eacother just because.

1:28
prospect month: Graham Pauley getting reps at 1B and LF–how passable would the glove have to be in those spots for the bat to play as an average starter?

1:28
Eric A Longenhagen: Maybe not an average starter (you’re talking like 15th best guy at LF/1B, that’s a really good player) but definitely better than their alternatives.

1:29
Manny: You’re an expansion team and you can steal all the Yankees in the top 100 or all the RedSox. Which group are you taking?

1:29
Eric A Longenhagen: hmmmmmmm BoSox

1:30
romorr: Speaking of ZiPS, Fabian was pretty high there, but the K% was pretty horrid once he got to AA. How many prospects K that much, that figure it out at that level? Steep hill to climb, no?

1:30
Eric A Longenhagen: Yes and did film work on his defense, which isn’t CF fit for me

1:30
camelcase: Sebastian Walcott’s report fascinates me. Extreme power potential with weak hit tool at a premium defensive position. Is this Joey Gallo at shortstop if everything breaks right?

1:32
Eric A Longenhagen: Javy Baez if everything breaks right. Mark Reynolds is more middle of the line outcome

1:32
sliptoad: thoughts on brice matthews replacing bregman at third? people on the astros subreddit seem to think that’s the future but based on your picks to click writeup he seems far too raw for that kind of timeline

1:33
Eric A Longenhagen: agree with you more than the redditors. He’s SO raw. Super gifted, though. Would expect a lower burn. But hey, George Springer was also a talented mess when he was drafted…

1:33
Eric A Longenhagen: so was derek fisher

1:34
Thom: Hi Eric: you’ve previously mentioned that this year’s list is shorter due to a smaller pool of high-end prospect talent. Do you see this as temporary or do you expect the high-end prospect talent pool to remain relatively small going forward?

1:34
Eric A Longenhagen: Little bit of both. I think this is a down year but also think the post-covid rules around rookie eligibility make it easier to graduate off the lists.

1:35
John: Roki Sasaki would rank top 3 if he were on the list?

1:35
Eric A Longenhagen: 2-4 range, yeah

1:35
New UK Fan: Thank you for all the work. Rafaela vs PCA for defence only?

1:35
Eric A Longenhagen: man that’s soooo tough. Gimme Rafaela because he can play the INF too

1:36
Jake: What is your prediction for the next wave in analytics?

1:38
Eric A Longenhagen: It’s already underway across a lot of the league, but: quantifying the way the body moves in real time. Mapping patterns of movement via graph, assessing flexibility via angles of the hips and shoulders and using it both as an eval tool and to make MLB adjustments in-game

1:39
Eric A Longenhagen: I also wonder what multiple years of the combine will yield in terms of the way those assessment correlate or not with pro success.

1:39
onomatopoeia: No question, just wanted to say prospect week rules. There’s so much excellent content. I especially love the Effectively Wild appearances. Thanks for all of the hard work!

1:39
Eric A Longenhagen: gracias, it seems like a lot of folks listen to EW

1:39
Kate: Not a top 100 guys, but I’ve heard super disparate reports on Ricardo Cabrera.  Some had him as a legit plus runner last year on the complex and now I’m seeing others reporting that his body has backed up significantly to the point where he may need to move to 1B eventually.  Have you gotten any looks at him recently?

1:40
Eric A Longenhagen: Super rough look at SS, can barely throw the ball to first base accurately. Definitely gonna tumble down the defensive spectrum, hit data is really strong.

1:40
Billy G: Any notes yet on Tzu-Chen Sha?

1:40
Eric A Longenhagen: OMG yes, nerd

1:42
Eric A Longenhagen: sneaky 90-92, curveball command and depth, changeup looked pretty good in the fall, too. backend type

1:42
Simon: Hi Eric, Wyatt Langford’s jump over the three guys drafted above him is super interesting to me. What did he show in those last few months post-draft that the scouts weren’t seeing? Seems like the consensus on his “rank” in that class shifted overnight

1:42
Eric A Longenhagen: Turning on the ball with power way better than just about any other top prospect

1:43
Eric A Longenhagen: Absolutely cleaning out velo around his hands, where Crews Chourio and Cami all can get beat

1:43
Walton Dilcox: Can Rodney Green play CF?

1:44
Eric A Longenhagen: This is an OF at Cal. Not for me. Tough profile in a corner, prob not enough contact. Love the power, though.

1:44
Snowbird: I wonder your thoughts on Welbyn Francisca?  You had him as a 70 grade hit in 2023, his debut went well, and I heard that he is now 5’11’’ 185-ish. Any chance he pops?

1:44
Eric A Longenhagen: yes

1:44
romorr: I don’t really think Chayce McDermott has done enough to be a starter, but there were some signs late. Still a MIRP/SIRP for  you? Or do you think there is “more” that could get him a spot in the rotation.

1:45
Eric A Longenhagen: of the guys with relief risk in that 45 FV area he’s the one I think has the best chance to iron things out. he’s so loose and long and athletic…gonna be an impact arm of some kind.

1:45
h8r: Are dodgers prospects the most overrated (industry-wide) due to perceived developmental advantages in the org?

1:45
Eric A Longenhagen: I do think the sexy orgs get a bump, generally

1:45
Misplaced A’s Fan: I read that Matt Shaw had a 90% z-contact rate and premium EV last season. But his future hit tool grade is only a 50 and future power is graded as a 55. Did I get bad info on his contact rates or is Fangraphs being conservative on his projections?

1:46
Eric A Longenhagen: I’m being somewhat conservative because his swing is kinda weird looking, and i think the chase will eventually impact his hit tool

1:47
Will: Did you consider including Yohandy Morales in your “Picks to Click for 2025” article? And if so, was there a specific reason you’ve soured on him since the 2023 draft? Or was he overlooked/there just wasn’t enough space to mention him in that article?

1:47
Eric A Longenhagen: Was really high on him pre-draft, went later than i thought, total inability to pull the ball is somewhat concerning so if I had to pick a reason that’d be it

1:48
Walton Dilcox: Is it just me or did the 2023 class kick ass during their pro debuts? College and HS esp up top…I’m crazy about Langford and Jenkins now and even beyond it seems like a banner draft

1:48
Eric A Longenhagen: they kicked ass

1:48
j: what goes on into the significant differences, when they happen, between sprint speed (78th percentile) and run grade (45/40) for guys like volpe? how can we identify candidates to outperform run grades?

1:50
Eric A Longenhagen: I don’t think sprint speed is a great way to eval speed. Or rather, it’s less useful than a player’s typical run time in my opinion. Sprint speed measures speed in their fastest one-second window of running. Home-to-first times incorporate acceleration and long speed, as well as a measure of the instance in which speed makes the biggest difference (out vs safe at 1B).

1:50
Nervous Flyball Pitcher: How often do you get a chance to watch International or Eastern League games in person? Do you have video sources in lieu of seeing them at the park?

1:52
Eric A Longenhagen: I’ll go home to PA for a week or two every summer and base myself out of Catty, get like 10 games or something like that. It’s not perfect, I’d love to have a second full time writer who in a geographically different spot than I’m in but FG is a small op. Synergy is an incredible tool

1:52
Narvain: Great work, Eric!  On your EW podcast appearance you talked about pitchers having the ideal frame being something you looked at for prospect evaluation.  What is the ideal body size for a SP nowadays?  Has it changed at all?

1:53
Eric A Longenhagen: 6ft3 or so, broad shoulders, flat back tapering down to a high waist. low-to-the-ground athletcism with bend, power, balance in the lower body, loose arm action

1:53
Eric A Longenhagen: I think teams are more open to short king pitchers because of approach angle considerations

1:53
TomBruno23: What/Who are you most looking forward to watching in FL and AZ once the fake games get going?

1:54
Eric A Longenhagen: I think both Central divisions could be a lot of fun.

1:54
Jonny: If Kevin Parada can’t stay behind the plate, does he still have value as a corner OF/IB type?  Or is his offense not sufficient?

1:54
Eric A Longenhagen: (cringes) looked substandard across the board last year, my dude

1:55
Hal: Is there a prospect archetype you’ve become significantly higher or lower on over the last several years?

1:55
Eric A Longenhagen: Flawed corner bats when the power is a 70 or better

1:57
Bob: Lamonte wade is projected to finish w/ 6.7 war through end of team control. is that not a 50?

1:57
Eric A Longenhagen: Nah, 2 annual WAR (so 12 give or take) is my barometer for a 50

1:58
Parv: I’ve seen several comments recently (from both writers and readers) asserting that scouting/prospecting is overall much more accurate now than it was even 5 or 10 years ago, partially due to all of this newly available data in the minors and college. What’s your take on that? Do you know anyone who’s tried to analyze this through time to see if we’re identifying the right prospects earlier or getting more accurate with FV grades?

1:59
Eric A Longenhagen: Oh we’re way better at this now, both through experience and access to learning tools. I’d love to do retrospective analysis but you end up denigrating your peers, I’m not neutral because i write for one of the pubs worth evaluating (i’d hope) and I have so much work to do keeping up with the current goings on. I tried to some self eval via my How’s My Driving piece last week

1:59
Eric A Longenhagen: couple more, daddy’s battery is dying and his coffee is getting cold

1:59
Colton: Where would Soderstrom have slotted if he hadn’t surpassed rookie eligibility?

1:59
Eric A Longenhagen: I’d still stuff him. 70 power

2:00
Eric A Longenhagen: 55 near Kjerstad

2:00
Ryan: What can we expect to see from Justin Campbell this year? Thanks for your time.

2:00
Eric A Longenhagen: Someone with CLE told me he’s good to go but I have no idea how he’ll look

2:00
Andrew: How much do you discount HBP relative to BB for a batter?  Seems like some guys (e.g., Dalton Rushing has been HBP like 8% of the time since his last year at Louisville) have this as a “skill” to some degree, but it’s probably less repeatable than BB skill?

2:02
Eric A Longenhagen: Agreed. Ty France gets hit by so many pitches because he half-swings at pitches in on his hands that he has no business swinging at and his back elbow gets lit up. It’s a consistent part of his game but it’s created by a deficiency not a skill.

2:02
Scurvy: I need you to go out on a limb and give me a gut prediction for how Daniel Espino’s career will turn out.

2:02
Eric A Longenhagen: Most likely? Brendan McKay’s buddy.

2:02
Eric A Longenhagen: I came home giddy the last time i saw him healthy was some of the best stuff i’ve ever seen in person, ever ever. Shoulders, man.

2:03
Will: Is DJ Herz still expected to be just a reliever? Or did his performance in 2023 give any reason to change that impression?

2:03
Eric A Longenhagen: RP, imo

2:03
Eric A Longenhagen: Washington should give him every opp to start, why not?

2:03
DH: I was a bit surprised not to see Joey Loperfido in the top 100 given his proximity and versatility. Does he look more like a 45, and if so, why?

2:04
Eric A Longenhagen: you have it gauged right, contact rates aren’t good but I really like him, had him stuffed on HOU list last year and will be in a similar spot as a march thru team lists

2:04
Nassim Nunez: Whats my ceiling ?

2:04
Eric A Longenhagen: slick utility guy

2:04
Contented O: Are Norby and Cowser enough to headline a trade package for Cease? I think if they can get it done without moving Holliday Mayo Kjerstad Westburg Basallo, giddy up!

2:04
Eric A Longenhagen: not for me, bro.

2:04
Eric A Longenhagen: Not even close

2:04
Kate: How is the last article coming today different from the picks to click article exactly?  Sounds like today’s may include guys who you don’t expect to rise, but are just outside the top 100 at the moment?  Maybe includes guys expected to graduate as well?

2:05
Eric A Longenhagen: It’s more about guys you want to know about right now for a narrative reason. It’s not titled well in the nav widget, which is all Megan’s fault. 🙂

2:05
Tempe, AZ: Easy access to the ACL, extended spring training, and the AFL seems like a huge plus for living here.  How does this impact your process of evaluating prospects? Does it allow you to get more and better looks at players whose teams have complexes in Arizona? And do you feel more confident in those evals in comparison to prospects from teams who you might only see on video or 1-2 per year (like those who train in Florida)?

2:06
Eric A Longenhagen: Yes to all, this is my full time job and I’m at a few hundred games a year

2:06
Travis: Was Zach Thornton at Mets most recent instructs? Saw him a lot throughout his amateur career and he always comped to a Matt Strahm type for me, curious to your thoughts despite him not throwing a professional inning yet.

2:07
Eric A Longenhagen: Nobody did instructs in FL besides TB and PIT. I like Thornton, lefty from GCU, upper-80s, loose/athletic/projectable body, breakong ball has shape but needs power…interesting dev college arm

2:08
Eric A Longenhagen: Okay everyone, after just over 2 hrs i’m gonna call it. Thanks to the 500 of you who are still here. Please consider a subscription to the site and thank you for all your kind words.





Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.

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Left of Centerfield
3 months ago

I’m obviously not a prospect evaluator but I’ve never understood the idea that Manzardo doesn’t have enough beef/power. The actual results seem to suggest otherwise. So far a .258 ISO in the minors. And that would likely be higher if he hadn’t struggled with a shoulder injury last year.