Author Archive

Tampa Bay Rays Top 48 Prospects

Eric Longenhagen

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Tampa Bay Rays. Scouting reports were compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as my own observations. This is the third year we’re delineating between two anticipated relief roles, the abbreviations for which you’ll see in the “position” column below: MIRP for multi-inning relief pitchers, and SIRP for single-inning relief pitchers. The ETAs listed generally correspond to the year a player has to be added to the 40-man roster to avoid being made eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Manual adjustments are made where they seem appropriate, but I use that as a rule of thumb.

A quick overview of what FV (Future Value) means can be found here. A much deeper overview can be found here.

All of the ranked prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details (and updated TrackMan data from various sources) than this article and integrates every team’s list so readers can compare prospects across farm systems. It can be found here. Read the rest of this entry »


Cleveland Guardians Top 50 Prospects

Jeff Lange / USA TODAY NETWORK

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Cleveland Guardians. Scouting reports were compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as my own observations. This is the third year we’re delineating between two anticipated relief roles, the abbreviations for which you’ll see in the “position” column below: MIRP for multi-inning relief pitchers, and SIRP for single-inning relief pitchers. The ETAs listed generally correspond to the year a player has to be added to the 40-man roster to avoid being made eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Manual adjustments are made where they seem appropriate, but I use that as a rule of thumb.

A quick overview of what FV (Future Value) means can be found here. A much deeper overview can be found here.

All of the ranked prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details (and updated TrackMan data from various sources) than this article and integrates every team’s list so readers can compare prospects across farm systems. It can be found here. Read the rest of this entry »


Cincinnati Reds Top 46 Prospects

© Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Cincinnati Reds. Scouting reports were compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as my own observations. This is the third year we’re delineating between two anticipated relief roles, the abbreviations for which you’ll see in the “position” column below: MIRP for multi-inning relief pitchers, and SIRP for single-inning relief pitchers. The ETAs listed generally correspond to the year a player has to be added to the 40-man roster to avoid being made eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Manual adjustments are made where they seem appropriate, but I use that as a rule of thumb.

A quick overview of what FV (Future Value) means can be found here. A much deeper overview can be found here.

All of the ranked prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details (and updated TrackMan data from various sources) than this article and integrates every team’s list so readers can compare prospects across farm systems. It can be found here. Read the rest of this entry »


Hard-Throwing Reliever Gregory Soto Is Headed to Philly

Lindsey Wasson-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Phillies were busy last week. They added high-profile veteran flamethrower Craig Kimbrel to the bullpen while DFA’ing former high-dollar international signee Francisco Morales to make room for him, then capped things off with a five-player trade with the Detroit Tigers headlined by two-time All Star reliever Gregory Soto. The deal involves several moving parts, both in the trade itself and in terms of what it means for the Tigers’ and Phillies’ roster and lineup construction in the upcoming season. The entire trade is:

Philadelphia receives:
RP Gregory Soto and 2B Kody Clemens

Detroit receives:
OF/1B Matt Vierling, MIF Nick Maton, C Donny Sands

The Phillies now have the majors’ two hardest-throwing left-handed pitchers in Soto and José Alvarado, and three of the top 40 regardless of handedness when you include Seranthony Domínguez. Alvarado and Domínguez handled high-leverage duty for the Phillies during the 2022 playoffs, with experienced veteran David Robertson playing the “closer” role in the event that both had already thrown, or if either was unavailable. Now Kimbrel and Soto, both with closer experience, appear poised to fall into high-octane versions of that role, and that extends to Soto’s assumed role as the second lefty in Philly’s bullpen, a part occupied last year by Brad Hand. Read the rest of this entry »


Los Angeles Dodgers Top 51 Prospects

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Scouting reports were compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as my own observations. This is the third year we’re delineating between two anticipated relief roles, the abbreviations for which you’ll see in the “position” column below: MIRP for multi-inning relief pitchers, and SIRP for single-inning relief pitchers. The ETAs listed generally correspond to the year a player has to be added to the 40-man roster to avoid being made eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Manual adjustments are made where they seem appropriate, but I use that as a rule of thumb.

A quick overview of what FV (Future Value) means can be found here. A much deeper overview can be found here.

All of the ranked prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details (and updated TrackMan data from various sources) than this article and integrates every team’s list so readers can compare prospects across farm systems. It can be found here. Read the rest of this entry »


Arizona and Toronto Make a Bold Swap

Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Diamondbacks front office isn’t afraid to make marquee “challenge trades,” deals that are consummated in a place of competitive neutrality rather than between one “buyer” and one “seller,” swaps that have more to do with player fit, or the opportunity to move a player at the peak of their trade value in exchange for one you ordinarily wouldn’t be able to acquire. They did it when they sent Jazz Chisholm Jr. to Miami for Zac Gallen and pulled off a version of it when they acquired Starling Marte from Pittsburgh. Christmas Eve Eve brought the latest example, with Arizona sending outfielder Daulton Varsho to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and catcher Gabriel Moreno. Varsho and Moreno probably aren’t names casual baseball fans know. In fact, I’d wager the culture is more familiar with Gurriel’s wavy, meringue-like locks than the two cornerstones of this trade, as Varsho has come of age in relative obscurity near the basement of a loaded NL West, and Moreno (though no longer rookie eligible due to days on the active roster) spent most of 2022 gestating in Buffalo. Instead, this is a blockbuster for the nerds and hardcore seamheads, a deal that fortifies a contending team’s lineup while giving the other club a rare opportunity to acquire a recently graduated top prospect and field a young, high-ceiling’d roster that might be able to slay the blue and brown dragons in its division if most of the youngsters pan out as hoped.

As of now, Varsho is the most accomplished and successful player in the trade. A former top 100 prospect himself, 2022 was Varsho’s third big league season, but the first in which he played the entire slate at the big league level. He had a career year, slashing .235/.302/.443 with 27 homers, 53 total extra-base hits, and 16 steals in 22 attempts, all while playing several positions, including some center field and catcher. Even with the low batting average and on-base percentage, Varsho’s season was good for a whopping 4.6 WAR, placing him 26th among all position players in baseball. A huge chunk of that WAR total comes from Varsho’s defensive metrics, as Statcast has him evaluated as having been worth 18 Outs Above Average in the outfield, sixth in all of baseball in 2022 and first among everyday outfielders.

It’s wise to take defensive metrics with a grain of salt. Even for a relatively fleet-footed player, such a superlative performance was surprising given Varsho’s catching background and prospect evaluation, which projected him to an outfield corner in the event that he couldn’t stick behind the plate. If he were truly an elite right fielder and plus center fielder (his OAA were split pretty evenly between the two positions), why wasn’t he just being deployed as an outfielder throughout his career? Part of the reason Varsho’s statistical performance is in its own stratosphere is the sheer number of opportunities rated “three star” and above he had throughout the 2022 season. He ranked no lower than 15th in all of baseball in opportunities to make three-, four-, and five-star plays on defense. But he did make those plays, all at a rate near the top of the big league leaderboards, including every single three-star play he was tasked with, a great distance from the rest of his peers when you combine raw opportunity and rate of success. Read the rest of this entry »


Chicago White Sox Top 26 Prospects

Eric Longenhagen

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Chicago White Sox. Scouting reports were compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as my own observations. This is the third year we’re delineating between two anticipated relief roles, the abbreviations for which you’ll see in the “position” column below: MIRP for multi-inning relief pitchers, and SIRP for single-inning relief pitchers. The ETAs listed generally correspond to the year a player has to be added to the 40-man roster to avoid being made eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Manual adjustments are made where they seem appropriate, but I use that as a rule of thumb.

A quick overview of what FV (Future Value) means can be found here. A much deeper overview can be found here.

All of the ranked prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details (and updated TrackMan data from various sources) than this article and integrates every team’s list so readers can compare prospects across farm systems. It can be found here. Read the rest of this entry »


Milwaukee Brewers Top 39 Prospects

© Curt Hogg / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Milwaukee Brewers. Scouting reports were compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as my own observations. This is the third year we’re delineating between two anticipated relief roles, the abbreviations for which you’ll see in the “position” column below: MIRP for multi-inning relief pitchers, and SIRP for single-inning relief pitchers. The ETAs listed generally correspond to the year a player has to be added to the 40-man roster to avoid being made eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Manual adjustments are made where they seem appropriate, but I use that as a rule of thumb.

A quick overview of what FV (Future Value) means can be found here. A much deeper overview can be found here.

All of the ranked prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details (and updated TrackMan data from various sources) than this article and integrates every team’s list so readers can compare prospects across farm systems. It can be found here. Read the rest of this entry »


Eric Longenhagen Chat: 12/16/23

12:02
Eric A Longenhagen: Happy Friday, everyone. I’m gonna give it a minute for questions to flood the queue since I posted the chat close to noon.

12:02
Eric A Longenhagen: Please enjoy as I post some links from this week’s stuff. Twin Peaks Theme – YouTube

12:03
Eric A Longenhagen: Wrote about NPB players here: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/update-to-the-board-npb-prospects/

12:04
Eric A Longenhagen: A long analysis of Kodai Senga here: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/mets-bolster-rotation-sign-kodai-senga/

12:04
12:04
Eric A Longenhagen: International amateurs here: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/board-update-2023-international-amateur-pr…

Read the rest of this entry »


Board Update: 2023 International Amateur Prospects

Michael Chow-Arizona Republic

The final installment of this week’s set of international player updates revolves around the amateur prospects who will begin to sign a month from now when the new international signing period begins on January 15. An overview of the rules that govern signing international amateurs can be found on MLB’s glossary here, while more thorough and detailed documentation can be found starting on page 287 of the CBA (forgive the 2017-21 version – the full text of the latest agreement isn’t publicly available yet), and page 38 of the Official Professional Baseball Rules Book. I pulled out portions of these documents for reference in the pieces published earlier this week and have done so again here, but I suggest readers familiarize themselves further. The international amateur arena is a procedural and ethical mess that has undergone wholesale structural changes several times during my time as a writer, most recently because of what the pandemic did to shift the timeline of each signing period.

Projected signing teams, scouting reports and tool grades on just over 30 players from the 2023 class can now be viewed over on The Board. Because the International Players tab has an apples and oranges mix of older pros from Asian leagues and soon-to-be first-year players, there is no explicit ranking on The Board, but I’ve stacked the class of anticipated 2023 signees in a table below with a ranking for reference should you need it. As has been the case with past classes, after these players sign, they will be pulled off the International Players section of The Board and warehoused in a ranking of their signing class for record-keeping purposes.

As always, the FV grade is a more important measure for readers to focus on than the ordinal rankings here. Because these players are so close in age to the younger prospects who participate in any given domestic draft, I like to use theoretical draft position as a barometer by which to grade the international amateurs. Scouting and comparing international players’ tools and athleticism to those of recent and upcoming domestic amateurs helps me to triangulate approximately where they’d go in a given draft, and assign them a FV based on that approximation. Players with a 40+ FV grade or above tend to be prospects who I think would go in the first two rounds of a draft, while the teenage 40 FV prospects are the sort I’d ballpark in the $700,000 to $1 million bonus range as draft prospects, basically the slot amounts just after the second round. Read the rest of this entry »