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Eric Longenhagen Chat – 3/22/19

12:01
Eric A Longenhagen: Howdy howdy, let’s chat

12:01
GPT: Have you had the opportunity to see Giants spring training yet, any standouts if so?

12:02
Eric A Longenhagen: yes was there yesterday, actually. Sean Hjelle looks pretty good, certainly the fastball does. 92-94 with tough angle and some life. Gregory Santos was 93-95 yesterday, some plus sliders. Marco Luciano looks incredible but we knew that already.

12:02
David: More total future value: The three first-rounders the Padres signed in 2016 (Quantrill, Potts, Lauer), or the three future first-rounders (Rolison, Bishop, Bleday) they called but didn’t sign on day three?

12:02
Eric A Longenhagen: the latter group

12:02
Edgar: Is late 2020 a feasible debut for Andrew Vaughn? Despite height, can he be a 25 HR guy?

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Rays Extend Rookie Brandon Lowe

Late Tuesday night, Ken Rosenthal reported that the Tampa Bay Rays had agreed to a six-year, $24 million contract extension with 24-year-old second baseman and outfielder Brandon Lowe. Lowe is our 46th overall prospect, the top one in the 50 FV tier, and the No. 5 prospect in a loaded Rays system.

According to the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin, the deal also includes two club option years, which, along with incentives, could bring the total value to $49 million; if those options are exercised, Lowe will be 32 when the deal ends. Lowe will now obviously be making much more during his pre-arb seasons than he would have with standard contract renewals, but the possibility of overarching changes to baseball’s compensation structure in the next CBA currently make it impossible to evaluate the latter parts of the deal on Lowe’s end.

If he becomes the type of player I expect him to be — Lowe has power, walks at an above-average clip, and plays several positions including a passable second base, all of which makes me think he’s a two to three win player — a $4 million average annual value would make Lowe a bargain for the Rays. Based on Craig Edwards’ work at our site (and Driveline Baseball’s recent attempt to refine that research), 50 FV position player prospects like Lowe should be valued at $28 million, quite close to the value of his deal, excluding of the team option years. The AAV of the two option years, which would encompass Lowe’s age-31 and 32 seasons, is $12.5 million, almost exactly what D.J. LeMahieu received this offseason (age 30, two years, $24 million), and LeMahieu has been what we’d call a 50 in prospect parlance, as he was on average about a two win player during his tenure with Colorado. Read the rest of this entry »


2019 Positional Power Rankings: Left Field

This morning, we considered the catcher position. This afternoon, the positional power rankings take us out to left field.

Has batted ball data and modern defensive positioning altered the defensive spectrum? It likely won’t surprise readers to learn that the average wRC+ by position starts with first base and right field, but it may be revelatory to learn that the gap between right and left field has been pretty wide. The last four years, the average right fielder has produced an average wRC+ 4.75 ticks higher than his counterpart in left. The offensive bar at third base has also been higher on average than in left field during the last four years.

Why? Perhaps improved defensive positioning on the infield has enabled more bat-centric players to play third base when, in years past, they’d be at first. Most hitters are right-handed, and increased focus on pulling the ball in the air could have quickly made defensive range in left field more important than it has been in the past. The average sprint speed among left fielders is now on par with that at shortstop. Is it a long term, tectonic shift that should impact things like prospect evaluation? It’s hard to say definitively at this point because so much about the game is changing and still has the potential to change. But it’s worth discussing — eventually. For now, here are our current left fielders. Read the rest of this entry »


Eric Longenhagen Chat – 3/15/18

12:02
Eric A Longenhagen: Hi everyone. Links to all the prospect stuff can be found at fangraphs/com/prospects so let’s get started. This will be my new chat time for a while since it doesn’t conflict with minor league spring training.

12:02
Mike from Tempe: I’m going to go to Giants minor league spring training games next weekend, at their facility. Any advice on where to sit or any other pro-tips? Also when does BP happen? 1.5 hrs before game? Thank you Eric!

12:03
Eric A Longenhagen: My advice is to not go to the Giants facility for their minor league spring games. It’s not a viewer-friendly place to watch games for you or I, I’m just staying away. Go to their road games.

12:03
Santa’s Reindeer: You guys listed Josiah Gray and Michael Grove as potential top 100 guys on next year’s list. What’s the biggest thing you guys are looking for from each/both of them this year that would move them up?

12:04
Eric A Longenhagen: Gray would be development of a third impact pitch, Grove is a blind dart throw based on LA’s track record with injured college arms.

12:04
Anthony: Did you read Ben’s piece on the old Reds scouting reports? If so, how different do you think current scouting infrastructures look now than they did 20 years ago?

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Eric Longenhagen Chat – 2/28/19

2:00
Eric A Longenhagen: Howdy everyone, let’s dive right in so I can finish the A’s list after we’re done.

2:00
JD: I’m sure it’s different from position to position, but if you had to put an overall defensive grade on a player, how would you weigh their arm and field tools?

2:02
Eric A Longenhagen: Arm is it’s own thing, though I’d like to break defense into multiple categories — hands, feet, range, maybe actions too if you consider those separate from hands. You could look at those categories and know which positions a player is athletically capable of playing and how well instead of getting confused by the way different tools impact others like…

2:02
Darren: Normally, speed guys are supposed to be good defenders. What keeps a guy like CJ Abrams at a 50 FV as a fielder?

2:04
Eric A Longenhagen: We have Abrams evaluated at SS right now but he has issues throwing from those weird athletic platforms that shortstops need to be able to throw from to be really good there. So he has elite range, his hands are fine, his windup/max effort arm strength is good, but he still may not be all that great at short because he can’t make these types of throws

2:05
Santa’s Reindeer: When’s your first mock draft coming out?

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Eric Longenhagen Chat- 2/21/19

2:00
Eric A Longenhagen: Hey everyone, looks like they’re gonna try to play this A’s/Mariners game so this may be a shorter chat, but after last week’s marathon I’m sure you’re all cool with that.

2:00
Trent: What would it take for the Cubs to get into the top half of MLB farm systems this year? A miracle?

2:01
Eric A Longenhagen: It probably means Roederer and Davis take huge steps forward, maybe one of the young pitching prospects, too. That’s a good start toward a climb.

2:01
Tommy N.: Where would Tatis and Machado rank in the best SS/3B combos in baseball?

2:02
Eric A Longenhagen: Probably top 5 once Tatis is fully formed, right? Turner/Rendon, Ramirez/Lindor, Correa/Bregman, Arenado/Story…kinda run out of obvious ones in tthat area after that.

2:03
Twitter Handle: If you had to choose one of the Padres pitching prospects likely to turn into a 1/2; who would it be? Gore, Morejon, Paddack, Patino, other

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Prospect Limbo: The Best of the Post-Prospects

Prospects “graduate” from prospect lists when they exceed the playing time/roster days necessary to retain rookie eligibility. But of course, that doesn’t mean they’re all in the big leagues for good. Several are up for a while but end up getting bounced back and forth from Triple-A for an extended period of time. Others get hurt at an inopportune moment and virtually disappear for years.

Nobody really covers these players in a meaningful way; they slip through the cracks, and exist in a limbo between prospectdom and any kind of relevant big-league sample. Adalberto Mondesi, Jurickson Profar, A.J. Reed, and Tyler Glasnow are recent examples of this. To address this blind spot in coverage, I’ve cherry-picked some of the more interesting players who fall under this umbrella who we didn’t see much of last year, but who we may in 2019. Read the rest of this entry »


Junior Colleges Have Become Scouting’s Most Active Battleground

You’ve visited this website and clicked on this article, so chances are, you’re not only familiar with new forms of baseball data, but with the impact that data has had on various branches of the game, including and especially scouting. Kiley and I have each written about some of the ways that new data and technology are transforming player evaluation, but all you really need to know for the purposes of this article is that these developments have funneled in-person scouting resources down to lower levels of baseball, both amateur and professional.

There are several reasons for this. For one, the majors and the upper levels of the minors (Double- and Triple-A) are more stable competitive environments, and thus teams are more comfortable with statistical performance accumulated at those tiers of play. Individuals who reach those heights almost always have sufficient talent, technical proficiency, or some combination of the two, to play competitive baseball there, whereas the on-field competency of lower-level pro baseball talent (think teenagers in the DSL, AZL, Pioneer League, etc.) is more variable player to player.

As a result, statistical performance is much more reliable the further up the pro ladder a player climbs, allowing teams to more confidently incorporate it into their player evaluations. This, combined with the proliferation of TrackMan and Statcast metrics in pro baseball (almost every minor league park in the country has a TrackMan unit now), means that a growing number of teams feel that they have a firm grasp on upper-level players even if those players are not seen as much by scouts, and some organizations have even begun to de-emphasize in-person scouting at these levels. This frees up scouts to sift through the growing bodies and developing athletes at the lower levels, where statistical performance is almost meaningless. Read the rest of this entry »


Eric Longenhagen Chat- 2/7/19

2:03
Eric A Longenhagen: Hey there, it is I. Today’s chat will be quick and I will need to update The Board if/when the Realmuto trade is official

2:03
Starbucks Nightmare: Is Morgan Cooper alive

2:03
Eric A Longenhagen: Yes but the Dodgers typically take things very slowly with the injured college pitching they’re constantly drafting.

2:04
John Stamos: Any words on Maximo Castillo in the upcoming Blue Jays list?

2:04
Eric A Longenhagen: a bunch of 50s, he’s in the Others section

2:04
Cave Dameron: How fast can you throw a baseball right now?

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Eric Longenhagen Chat- 1/31/19

2:01
Eric A Longenhagen: Hello, it is I. I’m sure most of you know where the content is, so let’s get right to it.

2:01
randplaty: Is there a case for Tatis Jr over Vlad Jr? Or is that a non-starter?

2:03
Eric A Longenhagen: Sure, if you think Vlad moves to 1B/DH sooer than later and also have strong eval of Tatis at SS, I get it. I think Vlad stays at 3B for two years or so before he has to move.

2:03
randplaty: Any chance Luis Urias is a plus defender at second? He looked great defensively in his major league debut.

2:03
Eric A Longenhagen: Sure, you could argue he’s fine at short, too.

2:04
GPT: Read your Giants instrux notes, great stuff. Anybody else stand out to you? Jairo Pomares, Jalen Miller, Yorlis Rodriguez?

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