If you’re at all familiar with my career, you know that it’s been a series of years-long periods of waiting, punctuated by changes and opportunities that have popped up more quickly than I could’ve imagined. I won’t bore you with examples, but I’ve found myself in another of those times of change. Some of the twists and turns have been great to share with the people here at FanGraphs. I got engaged last weekend; the book that Eric and I wrote is now at the printer, set to come out in April. But others have been harder. This one is hard. I have accepted a job at ESPN, which I start this week. The move completes a circle of sorts that began when I worked there under Keith Law during the 2012 season. I’ve said goodbye once before, but that doesn’t make it any easier now. FanGraphs is a special place, filled with special people who have been there for me when I needed them the most.
There are a lot of people I’d like to recognize who helped me get to this point. David Appelman and Dave Cameron come to mind first, since they brought me to FanGraphs. The first time, it was a chance to prove myself on the big stage; the second time, it was after I’d chosen to leave a bad situation with the Braves. They were excited to welcome me back when I wasn’t sure what my career would look like or where it would go next. It is impossible to overstate how much that meant to me. I’ve never had a bad thing to say about this job, this place, or the management here. It’s the perfect place to work in a lot of ways.
Eric Longenhagen has been my co-pilot this second time through and is one of those forever friends who I found later in life; I’ll always be thankful that I did. I’m sure he’ll do a great job in his role without me, but we’ll also see each other plenty, too. Meg Rowley has done an amazing job running the site, gracefully editing my words, being a great forever friend in her own regard, and, perhaps most importantly, advising me through my kitchen remodel and the workshopping of my worst tweet drafts. The list could go on forever, but there’s one other person who must be mentioned here. Keith Law has been a great friend and mentor and gave me my first chance to write words that people, both inside and outside the industry, actually read. I have huge shoes to fill at the Worldwide Leader.
I’ll leave the terms of my exact role and focus at ESPN for their press release. I’ll have more to share in the coming weeks as I get on-boarded, like what I’ll do to take the place of my weekly chats here. I’m in Bristol right now and am excited for this new challenge and to work with a new, talented team.
I think it’s appropriate to close with what I first told the people mentioned above about my decision: I am two-thirds excited about the new role, and one-third bummed that I am leaving such a great place that had done so much for me. Long live this amazing baseball blog.
Kiley McDaniel: Hello from ATL! Scout is perched beside me watching every owner walking their dog outside and somehow choosing to bark at 10% of them
Kiley McDaniel: We put up the Tigers list yesterday: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/top-38-prospects-detroit-tigers/
Kiley McDaniel: and we’ve got a couple of other list in progress, some prospect week/top 100 as well. amateur draft season is just around the corner, with JC games already starting, so keep an eye on our draft rankings here: https://www.fangraphs.com/prospects/the-board/2020-mlb-draft/summary?s…
Kiley McDaniel: we have exactly 1,225 players in the 2020, 2021 and 2022 draft rankings so I feel like you can’t want more than that
Kiley McDaniel: I also added some notes to the scouting reports with notes from scrimmages last week. Emerson Hancock, Cole Wilcox, Tanner Burns and Carmen Mlodzinski are ones I can remember that are potential first rounders with new notes/tools/ranks as a result
Kiley McDaniel: to your questions:
Read the rest of this entry »
Kiley McDaniel: Hello from ATL! Scout is eating lunch and I’ve got a busy day so let’s get going before a quick review of recent pieces
Kiley McDaniel: Braves list is out: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/top-27-prospects-atlanta-braves/
Kiley McDaniel: and post Ozuna signing, there’s lots of ATL questions in the queue but I’ll try to limit them
Kiley McDaniel: I also wrote about what’s next for the Astros: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/whats-next-for-the-astros/
Kiley McDaniel: and Prospects Week is set for February but lemme find the actual date for you
Kiley McDaniel: on Feb 10
Plenty has been written in the last few days about Major League Baseball’s findings during its investigation into the Astros and the pending inquiry into the Red Sox, the penalties that were received or will be, and what these punishments say about baseball. The various (and sometimes divergent) constituencies commissioner Rob Manfred had to satisfy made doing so basically impossible; I’ve made it clear how I feel about the punishments. The Astros dismissed Jeff Luhnow and AJ Hinch following their suspension by MLB. The Red Sox mutually parted ways with Alex Cora on Tuesday; Carlos Beltrán and the Mets followed suit Thursday afternoon. It is and will continue to be a dark time for the league.
But even as the ramifications of the scandal continue to make themselves felt, we can look ahead to how we think the Astros baseball operations group might operate going forward. Houston’s baseball ops groups was already on the small side before Luhnow was fired, both by design and as a result of recent departures. In the last year or so, the club has lost Mike Elias, Sig Mejdal, and Eve Rosenbaum to the Orioles, Mike Fast and Ronit Shah to the Braves, and Oz Ocampo to the Pirates. Colin Wyers departed the organization, but hasn’t yet landed with another team. Brandon Taubman was fired before being placed on baseball’s ineligible list; he can apply for reinstatement after this season. And all of that has come against the backdrop of another scouting purge, and a couple of lower-level departures. So what comes next in Houston? Read the rest of this entry »
Kiley McDaniel: Hello from ATL! Just wrapped up some calls and I see that we have new font options in the chat software now.
Kiley McDaniel: We did the Cardinals prospect list today and the Braves should be coming either this week or on Monday. Handy nav bar under prospects at the top of the screen for the other lists we’ve done so far.
Kiley McDaniel: THE BOARD is always changing and I’ve been adding draft guys the last few weeks, so there’s dozens of new guys on all the lists if you haven’t checked in for awhile :https://www.fangraphs.com/prospects/the-board/2020-prospect-list/summa…
Kiley McDaniel: I wrote this week about the Rays roster churn and unique posture: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/instagraphs/rays-continue-their-roster-chu…
Kiley McDaniel: Jay wrote about the Houston sign stealing stuff: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/rob-manfred-hammers-the-astros/
Kiley McDaniel: and I’ve got something in for editing now about how the Astros will proceed from a baseball ops perspective
Kiley McDaniel: Hello from ATL! Scout and special guest puppy Poe are within arms distance. Went to the UK/UGA hoops game last night because there is no offseason to scouting elite prospects. Eric and I have been pumping out prospect lists and NYM may go up as early as tomorrow. STL and ATL are both largely done.
Kiley McDaniel: My iPhone decided to pitch a fit this morning so it just got restored and I probably lost a bunch of files but in the scheme of things I probably needed to delete most of those since I was out of space anyway
Kiley McDaniel: As always, you can find all of our prospect information at the prospects home page from the prospects menu across the top of the site
Kiley McDaniel: and many of your questions can be answered at THE BOARD: https://www.fangraphs.com/prospects/the-board/2020-prospect-list/summa…
Kiley McDaniel: (which has included some key MLB Draft rankings changes/additions in the last week)
Kiley McDaniel: which includes new 2020 RHP Nick Bitsko:
Had a loud East Coast Pro outing where he started 94-96 and flashed a plus hook, usable changeup at 6’4/220 having turned 17 a month before. Hit 95 for the first time right after turning 16. Moved to our 2020 rankings: #17 overall, 3rd best HS arm for now fangraphs.com/prospects/the-…
Kiley McDaniel: Hello from ATL, Scout is eating lunch and I have a bunch of errands to run once we finish up here
Kiley McDaniel: Twins list came out this week: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/top-43-prospects-minnesota-twins/
Kiley McDaniel: Eric wrote up the scouting reports of Rule 5 guys: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-2019-rule-5-draft-scouting-reports/
Kiley McDaniel: Dan did the projections end of the Rule 5: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/instagraphs/projecting-the-eleven-players-…
Kiley McDaniel: Nats list is done and will be up tomorrow
Kiley McDaniel: Eric and I broke a little news about the data wars on the amateur side: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/mlb-outlaws-amateur-trackman-data-exclusiv…
Kiley McDaniel: Hello from my San Diego hotel room, away from the huddled masses in the larger hotel down the street where everyone else is.
Kiley McDaniel: Eric and I have the lengthy Twins list that should be set for tomorrow
Kiley McDaniel: Some minor draft news on a 2020 player early enrolling to get into the 2022 class and skip being draft-eligible out of HS:
So the other shoe dropped on this one and KS prep SS Robert Moore (son of Dayton) announced today that he’s early-enrolling at Arkansas in January. Low 40 FV has been moved to 2022 rankings: fangraphs.com/prospects/the-…
Kiley McDaniel: and, for those that haven’t heard, Eric and I are writing a book!
Proud to announce that @longenhagen and I wrote a book: FUTURE VALUE, coming in April 2020.
We explore the tension between analytics and scouting along w/the state of the art & old school ways teams find superstars.
Preorder now triumphbooks.com/FutureValue for 20% off w/code FV20
Kiley McDaniel: Also, as long requested, we have a new drop-down menu that’s prospects only on the site, so it’s easier to find all of our stuff
Kiley McDaniel: Hello from ATL! Scout and I are sitting on the bed while the kitchen floor gets sanded and refinished, which she is somehow sleeping through.
Kiley McDaniel: We’re in list season, so hit the new PROSPECTS dropdown at the top of the page to see the latest. Red Sox should be out tomorrow, Twins early next week while we’re all in San Diego for the Winter Meetings. We’ll be doing the WSH/HOU/STL/MIA spring training pod next.
Kiley McDaniel: Eric has written up:
The Profar trade: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/instagraphs/padres-add-profar/
40-man decision day: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/on-40-man-decision-day-and-the-prospects-w…
MIL/SDP trade that happened right before last week’s chat: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/analyzing-the-brewers-and-padres-swap-of-y…
Kiley McDaniel: I wrote up the Nestor Cortes/SEA swap right before last week’s chat as well: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/mariners-add-cortes-for-international-bonu…
Kiley McDaniel: and I think you guys will find some interesting sleepers and an overarching development in the BOS list tomorrow
Kiley McDaniel: Hello from a rainy ATL! Scout is napping in the other room and I’m scrambling to finish stuff before the holiday grocery shopping and prep. May share some finished products and more kitchen looks on my instagram @kileymcdaniel
Kiley McDaniel: Also, there’s a bunch of moves happening in the last hour. Gibson to TEX, Pomeranz at SDP, Urias-Grisham MIL-SDP deal, so I’m sure we’ll spend time on that.
Kiley McDaniel: Lastly, we were in NYC last week and had a live event that sold out and went really well! Eric and I joined Meg and Ben on stage for a prospects panel with a Q&A and it’s the last segment on this episode of EW: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/effectively-wild-episode-1460-live-from-ne…
Kiley McDaniel: While at that event, Eric and I revealed something we’ve been hinting at for the last few weeks: we wrote a book!
Kiley McDaniel: you can preorder it here: https://www.triumphbooks.com/future-value-products-9781629377674.php?p…
and use code FV20 to get 20% through the end of the year
Kiley McDaniel: there’s summaries there and on Amazon, but the idea is this is a follow-up on the happenings of Moneyball, about the tension between stats and scouting and where things are now in baseball. Also covers how to scout, how to get a job in baseball, how to train/get a scholarship as a player and many other things!