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Kiley McDaniel Chat – 6/12/19

12:10

Kiley McDaniel: Hello from ATL where Scout is passed out next to me from a busy day of napping. Some quick self-promotion before we get started

12:11

Kiley McDaniel: Last week was draft week! You can find all the draft content in the widget on the home page https://www.fangraphs.com/ or our up to the second rankings of everyone and everything at https://www.fangraphs.com/prospects/the-board/2019-prospect-list?sort=…

12:12

Kiley McDaniel: we’re rolling out some of our favorite clips of draft video at our instagram @fangraphs but my personal favorite is also on twitter: Zach Thompson’s 3000+ rpm curveball:

 

Kiley McDaniel
@kileymcd

 

One of the coolest clips we got this spring was Cardinals 1st rounder Kentucky LHP Zach Thompson throwing a 3000+ rpm hook in warmups. Look at the wrist action.
11 Jun 2019
12:13

Kiley McDaniel: and lastly, so those interested, we have a new top 100 and all the team lists have movement, graduations taken off, draft (all top 10 rounders or confirmed later signs) are added. I would guess that comes out this week since we’re just doing clerical stuff now like filling out blurbs and whatnot. Possibly Monday.

12:13

Kiley McDaniel: Eric is at PG National this week and I’ll be hitting the summer circuit starting a few weeks from now, so if you’re 2020 draft curious, peek THE BOARD for updates as we learn them https://www.fangraphs.com/prospects/the-board/2020-mlb-draft?sort=-1,1…

12:14

Kiley McDaniel: to your questions:

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Kiley McDaniel Chat – 6/5/19

12:06

Kiley McDaniel: Hello from ATL. I was trying to finishing editing our podcast we recorded last night about the first 10 rounds but wasn’t able to get it down. Should go up shortly after this is done. about 85 minutes with 2-3 minutes of our thoughts on each club, we’ll throw in time stamps so you can finally know how much we hate your team

12:07

Kiley McDaniel: any of the rest of our draft content interest you? it’s in the widget for draft week on the mainpage at https://www.fangraphs.com/

12:07

Kiley McDaniel: and pretty much anything else you’ll need can be found at THE BOARD, which was up to the second with who has been drafted where, but round 11 just started so now I need to go update that after this chat as well

https://www.fangraphs.com/prospects/the-board/2019-mlb-draft?sort=-1,1…

12:07

Kiley McDaniel: To your questions:

12:08

LudeBurger: Kiley, dude, bro, woah. How? Man, you’re a monster for doing this chat after Monday’s epoque

12:08

Kiley McDaniel: Once you don’t sleep that much, spewing out thoughts in all mediums just kinda runs together

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Swing Changers: Spurning College to Get Pro Development

It’s not a secret that baseball at every level is being changed by the information gleaned from advanced tech like TrackMan, StatCast, and about a dozen other platforms. There are examples of changes in swing plane, pitch grips, sequencing, and location from every team in the big leagues derived purely from this data. It’s also generally known that this progressive approach has reached into the minor leagues for many teams and is also spreading to amateur baseball. Because the pitching end of this march began early (PITCHf/x came about nearly a decade before we heard the term exit velo), progressive hitting knowledge has lagged years behind pitching, and now the fact that colleges haven’t fully embraced it is affecting the draft and what kind of talent gets to campus.

Eric and I have spoken with numerous scouts in recent weeks about a topic that came up innocently in our draft prep but that, when we dug deeper, appears to be indicative of a larger trend in the game. There are an unusual amount of high school position player prospects who are signable in the $250,000 to $500,000 bonus range. One crosschecker said his region normally has at most one prospect per year of this sort, and this year there are at least seven. Every other regional or national scout we’ve asked has confirmed that they’ve noticed the same thing, but none had a ready-made explanation for why it is happening. We put together a hypothesis, and got universal agreement that we were onto something.

Colleges Coach Hitters for College
Many, if not most, top collegiate hitting prospects need a substantive swing change right after they’re drafted to match what’s going on in pro ball. Last year South Alabama’s Travis Swaggerty (reduce effort/movement) and Wichita State’s Alec Bohm (extend arms/increase loft), our fourth and fifth prospects in the draft, most needed to modernize their swings. This year our 12th and 26th prospects, Texas Tech’s Josh Jung (more pull/lift/loft) and Missouri’s Kameron Misner (eliminate toe tap/improve timing), are the two prospects in greatest need of a swing change. It’s not every player, and some prospects I haven’t mentioned need less obvious adjustments, but this is also choosing from a group of the most elite tools and performances in the country.

You may ask why collegiate hitting coaches aren’t addressing these issues. A more fully actualized and pro version of these hitters would surely help their college team in the short term, right? Not necessarily. BABIPs are much higher in college because of the lower skill level, particularly on defense. It’s common for some top programs (especially on the west coast) to have middle-of-the-order batters bunt early in games, and since those bunts result in errors much more often in college, it’s a better strategic play than it is in the majors. An opposite field, line drive, and grounders approach also results in more hits than it would in pro ball while a groundball, at any level of baseball, is more likely to result in a hit than a fly ball. Read the rest of this entry »


Kiley McDaniel Chat – 5/29/19

1:07

Kiley McDaniel: Hello from ATL, I’m back home and just got back from lunch. Scout is in the backyard policing the squirrel/chipmunk population and occasionally glaring at me through the window when she wants a play partner.

1:08

Kiley McDaniel: Today Eric and I published our latest mock, this time the full 78 picks that go on day one: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/mock-draft-3-0-two-rounds/

1:08

Kiley McDaniel: With that nav bar at the top of the page you can see what else we have planned for draft week, including a few things that are draft-related that aren’t up there

1:09

Kiley McDaniel: Lastly, your questions about which player we prefer at this moment for the draft, or any future draft, or for July 2 or for the minors can all be answered at THE BOARD, which is quickly reaching ludicrous size: https://www.fangraphs.com/prospects/the-board/2019-mlb-draft?type=0

1:10

RP: If the Phillies go underslot for Hoese or Henderson, any names they could float to 71? That’s a long way.

1:12

Kiley McDaniel: Yeah that would be tough. We don’t think they cut much from that pick and often when the savings+overage is about $1M and the gap to the next pick is long, it doesn’t all get spent on the 2nd pick. You’d need to target 4-6 players that all have a chance to get to 71 to have any real chance of getting one there. Often just taking what gets to you for slot is a better plan

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Kiley McDaniel Chat – 5/24/19

12:11

Kiley McDaniel: Hello! I’ve taken a mini vacation to regain my sanity from going to baseball games but I’m also still doing some work so I guess I can never really escape these things.

12:12

Kiley McDaniel: On a brighter note!

12:12

Kiley McDaniel: Went long on the Carter Stewart Japan signing and broke it down into six big takeaways from the signing, which I think is being underrated for it’s long-term effects on the industry: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/how-scott-boras-got-carter-stewarts-groove…

12:13

Kiley McDaniel: Also went long once again on one topic: the international draft. Jeff Passan and Eric joined me to walk through all the parties involved, possible structure (trading of picks!!!), and motivations: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/fangraphs-audio-presents-the-untitled-mcdo…

12:13

Kiley McDaniel: A mock is coming next week. I would guess it will be on Tuesday and it will be different in format than the last one

12:14

Kiley McDaniel: Here is the previous one: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/mock-draft-2-0/

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How Scott Boras Got Carter Stewart’s Groove Back

ESPN’s Jeff Passan was first with the full details about Eastern Florida State College RHP Carter Stewart’s (our 56th-ranked prospect for next month’s 2019 draft) shocking signing with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of Japan’s Pacific League. Stewart will receive $7 million over the next six years, enabling him to qualify for MLB free agency at age 25 (through the new tiered posting process) when the deal ends, provided he plays in the Pacific League in parts of all six years.

There are a number of impactful outcomes from this deal, so I’ll take them one at a time:

1. This is surely more money than Stewart could’ve gotten through the draft and MLB path over the next six years.

Passan and J.J. Cooper took a stab at projecting Stewart’s earnings over the next six seasons in America, and I’ve come to the same conclusion. Charitably projecting roughly $2 million in a draft bonus, something like $20,000 to $30,000 in total minor league salaries (depending on how quickly he gets to the big leagues), and something between $750,000 and $1.8 million in the big leagues (again, depending on when he gets there and if he stays). The rosiest versions of those numbers doesn’t even get Stewart to $4 million, which is still about $1 million less than the slot value ($4.98 million) at the pick where he didn’t sign with the Braves last year, roughly what he could’ve expected without the dispute over his wrist.

2. This sets up an alternative path for draft prospects to gain negotiating leverage, likely starting with next month’s draft.

Going overseas for six years and then coming back to a free agent payday is only a move that an elite prospect that’s solely focused on baseball and somewhat culturally open-minded would approach, so this won’t be a negotiating tactic for the whole draft. For prep or first-year junior college prospects projected for the top two rounds, however, this could be a real bargaining tactic, even if it’s never fully explored by the player. Read the rest of this entry »


FanGraphs Audio Presents: The Untitled McDongenhagen Project, Ep. 15

UMP: The Untitled McDongenhagen Project, Episode 15

This is the 15th episode of a sorta weekly program co-hosted by Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel about player evaluation in all its forms. The show, which is available through the normal FanGraphs Audio feed, has a working name but barely. The show is not all prospect stuff, but there is plenty of that, as the hosts are Prospect Men.

This episode is the first, and possibly only, Important Episode, focusing on news of a potential international draft, as reported by our guest, ESPN’s Jeff Passan. Please support him by purchasing any Elmo products, authentic or knock-off.

0:20 – Jeff outright rejects the intro
1:22 – Kiley tries again, leaning into Jeff’s unlikability
2:09 – Jeff breaks down the news as he’s reported it
2:33 – Jeff is under attack in his own car and makes metaphorical lemonade
4:15 – They touch on the human issue of how the pro players who are discarded by clubs in developing countries are handled
6:20 – The soon-to-be-best-prospect-in-baseball instance of Wander Franco and his experience in this system
8:42 – Comparing the typical Latin prospect to a typical suburban American one, and where the MLB Players’ Association and MLB come in
11:10 – MLB’s morally-driven approach to human trafficking re: Cuba could impact how the international draft is put together
12:50 – The MLBPA’s response to Jeff’s report and does a point the MLBPA makes suggest MLB planned this whole progression out years in advance?
15:40 – Is this just step one of a few for MLB? How did the MLBPA allow us to get here?
17:50 – Why don’t the international pools track the draft pools? How close should they be?
20:45 – How to use hard slotting to solve some problems and then transition into making July 2nd into a TV event and a pilot program for doing it with the domestic draft.
24:35 – Where does this go next? What’s the timetable for making the change? Can Jeff really learn Spanish?
25:40 – Elmo makes an appearance?
26:55 – Jeff details how anti-social he is on planes and how this prepares him to be a general manager
29:30 – Eric joins the podcast for the second segment and answers Kiley’s burning question
31:00 – Eric and Kiley break down the international draft possibilities for each stakeholder, starting with the 5-10 most efficient MLB clubs in Latin America. Kiley broke down earlier this year what the ROI is on an international dollar spent and is it big.
33:30 – They break down the bottom tier of clubs, with less infrastructure and with smaller staffing budgets
36:00 – The big unanswered question: how much will MLB assert themselves in controlling the scouting environment?
40:45 – The MLB Players Association’s role in negotiations. Kiley mentioned in this year’s July 2nd preview that clubs can get steroid tests on prospects as young as age 13, which can’t possibly be the status quo for long.
42:13 – The next stakeholders: the kids that are signing an international amateurs
46:30 – What happens to a 17 year old who opted not to sign as a 16 year old? How would the structure of the draft affect this? Would it lead to trading of picks? A TV event?
51:25 – In fairness, this would also be great for us
52:27 – MLB’s role and motivations in improving this situation. Here’s the first time Kiley wrote about MLB likely using the overage money to help institute a draft.
58:30 – Eric’s experience watching fringe international prospects get released from a complex
59:55 – Could this indirectly affect the amount of minor league teams?
1:02:15 – The humanitarian element, particularly in Venezuela
1:04:00 – The last major stakeholder: the buscones
1:07:00 – The least important stakeholder: Kiley and Eric

Don’t hesitate to direct pod-related correspondence to @kileymcd or @longenhagen on Twitter or at prospects@fangraphs.com.

You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or other feeder things.

Audio after the jump. (Approximately 1 hour 12 min play time.)

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Called Up: Austin Riley

Yesterday, the Braves called up Austin Riley, who we ranked second in their system and 33rd in our Top 100. He continued his blazing hot 2019, going 1-for-3 in his big league debut last night, including a home run that was hit 109 mph off the bat. He put up insane numbers at Triple-A in 37 games this year, hitting 15 homers and posting a 160 wRC+ with an unlucky .286 BABIP given his quality of contact.

I’ve been in to see him a few times this spring and captured a homer (102.1 mph off the bat, 32 degrees, 405.3 feet, a homer to straight-away center field) and an off-balance but well-struck double to the pull gap in glorious 1000 frames per second below. You can reference these swings (particularly the first) as an example of the actualized version of Riley’s swing from the mechanical journey I describe below.

Riley got on most clubs’ radar as a standout on arguably the best prep team in Mississippi. He was all over the showcase circuit but was a little thicker then and was arguably a better pitching prospect. He showed some starter traits, running his heater up to 95 mph at times, but having mostly average stuff with limited physical projection. In the spring, he started shaping up his frame, which has continued through his pro career as well. He looked like he had a shot to stick at third base and was getting more athletic, to the point where he was getting to his plus power in games more often. Read the rest of this entry »


Kiley McDaniel Chat – 5/15/19

1:10

Kiley McDaniel: Hello from ATL, running around a lot today after a five-day trip through the Carolinas and I’m flying to Chicago tomorrow to see Quinn Priester, so there’s lots of maintenance things to get done today

1:10

Paul: WHEN IS THE NEXT MOCK

1:11

Kiley McDaniel: Oh yes and in case you missed it, there was a new mock yesterday and we already have a solid half dozen more pieces of dope to go in the next one…which will be whenever we think is time for a new one

1:11

mark: What is the domino effect if Vaughn goes 1 to BAL?

1:14

Kiley McDaniel: Not completely sure, but my best guess would be:
1. BAL – Vaughn
2. KC – Rutschman
3. CHW – Abrams
4. MIA – Witt
5. DET – Greene
6. SD – Bleday

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FanGraphs Audio Presents: The Untitled McDongenhagen Project, Ep. 14

UMP: The Untitled McDongenhagen Project, Episode 14

This is the 14th episode of a sorta weekly program co-hosted by Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel about player evaluation in all its forms. The show, which is available through the normal FanGraphs Audio feed, has a working name but barely. The show is not all prospect stuff, but there is plenty of that, as the hosts are Prospect Men.

This episode waited a little longer than expected to be edited, as it was recorded last week, but with Mock Draft 2.0 coming out today, it’s a timely, mostly-draft-related discussion.

0:26 – The guys start out hot with some takes on the verbiage they try to avoid around draft time and makeup in general
6:24 – Where Kiley and Eric have been the last week or so, what the guys look for with regards to which scouts are at which games, how much rain sucks
11:14 – The guys cover the top handful of players on their board, mostly in the style that clubs use in their area scout meetings, including an interesting quirk in the C.J. Abrams vs. Bobby Witt, Jr. debate
23:55 – The guys cover some challenges in making today’s mock draft.
30:50 – Eric is uncomfortable with the future.
32:10 – A preview of this year’s draft coverage to come
34:00 – Eric’s Game of Thrones thoughts, as someone who doesn’t watch the show
35:00 – The guys shout out Dorothy Hamill?
35:40 – And Andre Agassi?

Don’t hesitate to direct pod-related correspondence to @kileymcd or @longenhagen on Twitter or at prospects@fangraphs.com.

You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or other feeder things.

Audio after the jump. (Approximately 37 min play time.)

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