Eric Longenhagen Chat 1/10/20

12:32

Eric A Longenhagen: Good morning, chat. Busy day on the site for a Friday. Go peep the Mets list. Cardinals and Braves run next week (non-zero chance we rope Detroit in with Atlanta) before we move on to the Northwest Valley cluster (TEX, SEA, KCR, SDP)

12:32

Eric A Longenhagen: And now, i shall take your questions with gusto

12:33

Adam : Do major league teams ever sign veteran players to minor league deals thinking “if we ever have to call this guy up, we’re screwed?”

12:35

Eric A Longenhagen: I’m sure if you’re Anaheim and sign an minor league free agent CF youh’re probably thinking that, but generally teams are enthused about the players they’re signing, even when those signigns are just for emergency depth or a shot their player dev can make a relevant change to create viable depth

12:36

Trumbo No. 5: Where is in-person scouting most valuable still? At the amateur/HS level? More rural/cold-weather areas without easy showcase access? Where would you aim as a young scout looking to cover under-tread territory?

12:38

Eric A Longenhagen: Wherever the data and video are least present (you nailed the general settings) as well as where context is important. The lower you go, the less technological infrastructure there is, the more important scouts are. Unless you have some visual machine learning concept that can identify mechanical inefficiencies, you need an eyeball scout to unearth that stuff, too.

12:38

CC: Does the Encarnacion signing make a Vaughn debut u likely this year?

12:38

Eric A Longenhagen: I think so, unless Edwin is clearly washed.

12:38

Sigh: Thoughts on Kevin Alcantara as a possible 50 by this offseason? Had a really solid year in the GCL as a 16 year old

12:39

Eric A Longenhagen: He’s on the 45+/50 line as we circulate the early version of the 100. I’d say Alexander Vargas is more likely to be a 50.

12:40

Adam : I imagine most players don’t even consider who their GM is most of the time since there isn’t a ton of daily interaction, but are there GM’s with good reputations among players in the league?

12:41

Eric A Longenhagen: That’s a good question and I don’t have an answer because I purposefully avoid the kind of interaction with players that would lead them to divulge that sort of thing.

12:42

BeefLoaf108: What under 21 year old White Sox prospects need to have a good year to buoy their farm system after a few big names graduate in 2020?

12:44

Eric A Longenhagen: Benyamin Bailey, DJ Gladney, Yolbert Sanchez is 22 but it’d be nice if he performed, the two prep arms they drafted early in 2019

12:45

Eric A Longenhagen: I’m also a big Codi Heuer fan but that’s more a relief look than a cornerstone who bolsters your farm ranking

12:45

David: Any thoughts on the pieces returning in the Astros – Rays trade for Pruitt?

12:47

Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah, Rays needed to make a 40-man move after the Arozarena deal so rather than lose Pruitt for nothing they moved him for two fliers. Stevenson’s control of the strike zone is great, he was hurt in college which is part of why he fell to where he did. He’s relativley  positionless and I wish he’d get pushed to an age-appropriate level but he has a shot to be something because of the stick.

12:48

Eric A Longenhagen: Peyton Battenfield I have 90-93, touch 94, has that 12:30ish spin axis I’m sure you’re all sick of me talking about, plus vertical movement on the heater so it might play even though it’s got 40/45 velo

12:48

My Man: Is Sheldon Neuse Opening day 2B for the Athletics?

12:49

Eric A Longenhagen: Perhaps, someone is going to have to emerge from that group (Mateo, Barreto) and take the job. I think Barreto would get the longest look

12:49

Tony the Cameraman: Does your office have a sufficiently large enough nut spoon?

12:51

Eric A Longenhagen: No and it is infuriating. We try to keep things hygenic around here and the nuts just end up getting pushed all over the table because the spoon sucks.

12:52

Beetlejuice: Hey Eric. What is a good result for Hunter Greene this year? Full year in High-A and just getting his arm strength back? Anything more a bonus?

12:55

Eric A Longenhagen: I’d say the velo coming back and him staying healthy is the median outcome, showing good command, as well, would be plus. And showing an improved breaking ball too would be as much as I could possibly hope for.

12:55
12:55

Eric A Longenhagen: Magic, but not for your dynasty league

12:56

Derek Smalls: Hey Eric! This is second year in a row FanGraphs has mentioned Toro is “divisive”. Do you think he could fake 2nd base, and in the process be somewhat Marwin Gonzalez v. 2.0, minus the SS ability? Would someone on the high end on him think this (besides me!)? Thanks!

12:57

Eric A Longenhagen: Remember to take that cucumber out before you hit TSA. I’m not on Toro at 2B. The Muncy types who are playing there now have good hands/actions and limited range, and I wouldn’t characterize Toro in that way. I’d guess Myles Straw would get an opportunity on the middle infield if something happened to Correa or Altuve.

12:57

Fangraphs reader: Looking at his age/stats, it certainly seems like Vallente Bellozo belongs on the Astros’ list.  What’s keeping him from making it?

12:58

Eric A Longenhagen: another 12:00ish spin axis guy. 89-93, though.

12:58

Eric A Longenhagen: just not enough juice to put on a list unless he’s proved it for several years and against upper level hitting.

12:59

Matt: I think people are overrating the likelihood Puk can be stretched out as a reliable starting pitcher next season. This seems like something that’ll take more time to develop, whereas a guy like Luzardo is clearly more polished. What do you think of this? Is it more likely the A’s use him in some creative relief role down the stretch?

1:00

Eric A Longenhagen: I disagree. As long as Puk’s control is what is has been in pro ball (he was a little wild at Florida) I think he’s a lock to start. Four pitches, several of them plus. Any shift to a relief role for either of them is probably in service of load management, not a lack of talent.

1:00

Jabroni: Do you know why the Rays gave up on Liberatore so quickly?

1:01

Eric A Longenhagen: They’re just pushing chips in to stack the big club, don’t think they gave up on him. They most certainly like him, just clearly valuing big league help more than long term prospects right now.

1:01

Steve: Randy Arozarena…….Andrew McCutchen light?

1:01

Eric A Longenhagen: too beaucoup

1:02

Eric A Longenhagen: but he is a top 100 candidate

1:02

Beetlejuice: Does Tyler Stephenson have more then avg. regular upside? Hit tool seems to be on par but I’ve not heard a lot about defensive/receiving improvements.

1:03

Eric A Longenhagen: Has that kind of ceiling because of the raw power. We have him stuffed. It’s a contact-oriented approach right now, but I thought he had the second best BPs in Fall League after Royce Lewis. The defense is fine. Takes him a little to get out of his crouch sometimes because he’s freaking huge, but the raw arm strength makes up for some of that.

1:03

Adam : With the presence of Tommy Pham, can Taylor Trammell and Trent Grisham play either of the other two outfield positions with average or better defense?

1:04

Eric A Longenhagen: I think TT is left field-only because of his arm. Grisham could be a 45 in CF, like him more in RF. I’m not a big Pham guy going forawrd. Thought he looked hobbled late last year and think you can beat him away, get him to roll over everything.

1:05

Damien: The Tigers received a comp. balance pick in round B for the first time, which also allows them to spend an extra 500k on int. amateurs. How much does this really help them since most of the deals are agreed to years earlier and (at least for them) couldn’t be planned on?

1:06

Eric A Longenhagen: It means they can pick up someone who bubbles up later, like someone in Asian or form Cuba.

1:06

Nico: Hi! Im curious as to what would happen if hypothetically the Astros lose their first two draft picks as punishment for the cheating scandal, and then sign a FA with a QO (I know it’s not likely, but still curios). What pick would they then lose?

1:07

Eric A Longenhagen: Another great question I don’t have an answer for, one I hope was already broached by MLB, for their sake.

1:07

Jimmy Dean: Offensive upside of Alejandro Kirk vs. Diego Caraya?

1:08

Logan: What does the Jose Martinez trade tell us about the value of competitive balance picks or draft picks in general?

1:08

Eric A Longenhagen: Cartaya

1:09

Eric A Longenhagen: This year’s draft is deep and teams have placed a premium on those. The one-for-one player/pick swaps are what you should look to for immediate value comparisons.

1:09

Johnny: Do you think a HS RHP will be picked in the top 10 this year, or more likely slide to the teens with the high number of quality college arms available?

1:12

Eric A Longenhagen: I think it’s highly unlikely. Jarred Kelley is the top of that group after the summer but I’d give Mick Abel, maybe even Masyn Winn a better shot of really exploding into that tier during the spring because they’re more projectable/athletic and might show up bumping the upper-90s.

1:13

Stew: Would Robert Puason had gone in the first round of last year’s draft if he was eligible and who does he remind you of as a prospect?

1:14

Eric A Longenhagen: Yes, he goes rnd 1. I don’t have a nifty comp.

1:14

Dave: Given the well known challenges the Rockies face in attracting and developing players, would you do anything different in the draft than “take the best player available”?

1:14

Eric A Longenhagen: I think they’re already doing that as it pertains to the kind of pitching they target (more college pitchability sinker sorts)

1:16

Sophie B+ Hawkins: Thanks for the Mets list! Saw a few names that I was completely unfamiliar with there, which is cool. I keep asking random prospect folks, and I’m hoping to get a bite someday: any feedback on Tommy Wilson, who made it to AA in his second year?

1:18

Eric A Longenhagen: Hey, good one. I kinda dig Tommy Wilson. Plus athlete, really gets down the mound well, needs to hide the ball pretty carefully because of how early he pulls it out of his glove (you can see the pitch grip if he doesn’t), he’ll flash a plus change, 45/50 slider, fastball has flat approach angle which helos to miss bats, but he’s 87-90 t92 and it’s tough to pitch in the bigs like that

1:19

Lenny: Any update on y’all hosting college stats?

1:19

Eric A Longenhagen: I’ll bug Meg and Dave about it

1:21

John: Can you take my question about Ryan Gusto with gusto? What did the Astros see in him to give him that bonus in the 11th?

1:21

Eric A Longenhagen: Sure, love all the fringe prospect questions in this chat, y’all, you guys are going deep.

1:22

Eric A Longenhagen: Low-90s, very long, hooking arm action that’s kinda scary, has the components you see frlmo HOU arms: fastball angle plays best at the letters, has a decent curveball. The velo just fell a bit short for us.

1:22

Alex: I’m a college student interested in scouting for a pro team. Tips?

1:23

Eric A Longenhagen: Go to games, learn Spanish and/or video software and database skills.

1:23

Eric A Longenhagen: oh wait, i get to do this, too….

1:24

Eric A Longenhagen: This book will also be of use to you: https://www.triumphbooks.com/future-value-products-9781629377674.php

1:25

Tejeda Sunrise: Garrett Mitchell supposedly is a five tool prospect – if he takes another step forward this year, does he have a shot at going top 5?

1:26

Eric A Longenhagen: I don’t think that’s out of the question. He’d have to pass a bunch of the prep OFs we currently have ahead of him but he has physical ability on par with those kids, just not as projectable because he’s several years older.

1:26

Tim Yost: Brewers seem to be gearing up to trade either Arcia or Urias after there signing of Gyorko. Seems like one too many bench bats on the roster. Do you think this is likely or is Sterns really thinking Gyorko/Sogard is a thing a contender should move forward with at 3rd?

1:28

Eric A Longenhagen: I’m not a Gyorko fan but I actually like him paired with the names you mentioned above. This club contended last year with a nothingburger Jesus Aguilar year at 1B, I think a clever L/R, bat/glove timeshare on the infield will work out, it just leaves you vulnerable to injury if you’re banking on these pieces all working together for the whole season.

1:29

Justin: Eric, can you tell us anything about Jose Acosta in the Reds system?  He put up crazy numbers in the DSL (I know, DSL numbers…) but I can’t find any scouting reports on him or barely any information outside of his stat line.

1:30

Eric A Longenhagen: I could dig into my notes from late last summer after he came up to the AZL, but I don’t recall seeing him. Reds have been backburnered in my mind since they have instructs in February, Acosta is the type of dude I can see then.

1:30

Curtis: How often are scouts poached from other organizations?  Do we have any idea how much they are paid relative to each other?

1:31

Eric A Longenhagen: Sometimes, yeah, but almost always in order to take a higher job title. Some orgs pay better than others.

1:31

Greg: How do you see the Diamondbacks rotation shaking out?  Gallen to start in AAA or Ray gets dealt this off-season?  Seems they have 6 SPs if you think Kelly is worth a slot.

1:32

Eric A Longenhagen: Gallen is in it all year, imo.
Bum
Gallen
Weaver
Ray
Leake/Young piggyback?

1:33

Sonny: This is the second high profile prospect the Rays have traded. Is it all roster crunch, diversifying assets, internal evals lower than industry?

1:34

Eric A Longenhagen: The roster crunch aspect is a real part of it (especially the Solak trade), the internal eval was probably a larger part of it in the Jesus Sanchez trade (plate discipline is lacking).

1:35

Safety Stegosaurus: Can you explain this office device with a name which I am scared to search for while at work?

1:35

Eric A Longenhagen: it’s a Conan bit

1:35

Int’l Scouts r not just trucks: If MLB does eliminate the minor league teams, how do you think that alters scouting as we know it today?

1:36

Eric A Longenhagen: bad for pro scouting because there are less players to scout, places more importance on getting draft picks right. there will be several unintended consequences that I’ve not considered, surely

1:37

Guest: Anyone on NYM list over which you and Kiley diverged?  Who was the high/low guy?

1:38

Eric A Longenhagen: Nope, part of the reason this one came together faster than St Louis (which we began before we started Mets) was because we lined this group up pretty much the same as one another

1:38

Tormund: Do you prefer a farm system that is heavy at the top level in MLB talent, albeit low ceiling players (45, 45+), or a system that is heavy in the lower levels (RK, Short Season, A), but the prospects have higher ceilings along with the larger variances that come with it.

1:38

Eric A Longenhagen: I gut-prefer the latter system but Craig’s research says the top-heavy system is more valuable

1:38

Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: You were probably consulted for the Rays piece that just went up, but any quick hits on Arozarena?

1:39

Eric A Longenhagen: Yup, we were. 6 glove in LF, 6 run, exit velos are stronger than you’d guess, plays his ass off, makes a lot of had contact. Arguably a 50 FV

1:39

David: Any notable takeaways from the Caribbean winter leagues? In general do the winter leagues have much influence as they relate to player evaluations?

1:41

Eric A Longenhagen: Generally these venues are useful for seeing players, either minor league free agents or the progress of actual prospect. Not as much big info from LIDOM this year but Luis Urias and Isaac Paredes are on the same Mexican team this winter so I’ve got some dope on them (mostly IP) and that’s how we learned of some of Houston’s interesting arms down there.

1:41

Bob we had ababyitsaboy: Hey if you can remember, what is the oldest age you have seen a body naturally transform?

1:42

Eric A Longenhagen: Dodgers prospect Brandon Lewis? that was the first that came to mind. He did it later in college. I’m sure I’m missing someone

1:42

Curtis: What’s the lowest individual tool grade you’ve ever given a 60+ Prospect?  Who was it and what was the grade?

1:43

Eric A Longenhagen: I’m sure we’ve 30’d someone’s speed or arm.

1:43

Sammy Sooser: The Rays traded Liberatore. All of us internet skeptics want to know what’s wrong with him. Got anything?

1:44

Eric A Longenhagen: Fastball spin rate and axis means it’s a sinker, and the Rays just aren’t about that. Nothing wrong with him, still think he’s a top 100 arm, but that’s a thing we know now that we didn’t before he was in pro ball, and all else being equal, give me the guy whose heater has carry.

1:44

GSon: Joel Kuhnel.. sleeper/Aaron Civale type or a future pen guy with hope for spot starting in the show?

1:45

Eric A Longenhagen: we have him ‘penned

1:45

David: How do you project a player like Sam Carlson, or in 2021 Michael Limoncelli. Very good high school pitchers coming off TJS, with no (or very minimal) pro experience.

1:47

Eric A Longenhagen: we basically handle TJs by thinking about it as an issue of time. The rate of recovery is high, it’s not perfect, but the real problem is losing a year and a half of progress up the ladder. So when a guy like that goes down with TJ, we instantly value him like a pitcher with the exact same stuff who is a year and a half behind, developmentally. So, in Carlson’s case, that was like high school underclassman. Now we just wait and see what the stuff looks like when he finally comes back.

1:47

Sonic the Hedgehog: Have you ever talked to a team about their prospects and found they are significantly lower on them? If so, do you adjust your own ratings/thoughts on those prospects?

1:48

Eric A Longenhagen: Nope, teams are invariably *higher* on their own guys. We do adjust to the baseline of the person we’re speaking with, but that’s a thing that takes time to learn how to do and is imperfect, impacted by our own biases and my horrible trust issues.

1:49

Eric A Longenhagen: couple more

1:49

Dan: How would you rate the Cards’ efforts in unloading their OF surplus? (Pham, Mercado, Garcia, Arozarena)?

1:50

Eric A Longenhagen: I’m going to try to remember to write about that at some length in the Cardinals system overview

1:51

Fred: Is Luis Guillorme no longer prospect eligible due to days in MLB, or did he fail to qualify for the Mets’ list on merit?

1:51

Eric A Longenhagen: He graduated due to roster days

1:51

Rich: Does the magnitude of signing bonus influence the degree of coverage on an IFA?  The big dollar guys get all the press but teams also sign tons of others…

1:52

Eric A Longenhagen: it does. If you tell me a guy is getting 2mil, I’m gonna watch him more closely than the guy getting 100k

1:52

Tormund: Mookie Betts– 27M in Arb, a record, Kris Bryant settles with 18.6M

1:52

Data from the Goonies: Does the seemingly eminent addition of electronic ball/strike calling mean you will change your valuation of catching prospects, specifically with regards to pitch framing?  Any guys in particular get a boost by this?

1:54

Eric A Longenhagen: yes and we’re already taking an anticipatory approach on this stuff. Alejandro Kirk, Andrew Knizner, Daulton Varsho, Cal Raleigh. Hell, poor Jake Rogers may not be a big leaguer once it happens. I

1:55

Jason: Other than going to THE BOARD and sorting by team, is there a way to see what org lists have been released?

1:55

Eric A Longenhagen: yeah you can go to the homepage and scroll a little bit. The grid is there.

1:56

Joe: How many innings will you watch, at any level of play, in-person in 2020?

1:56

Eric A Longenhagen: oh gosh, i have no idea. should i track it this year?

1:57

Eric A Longenhagen: okay, you guys submitted terrific questions this week but i’ve gotta go.

1:58

Eric A Longenhagen: thanks for hanging out, enjoy what’s left of your friday and this weekend’s playoff games. I’ve got Driveline Pro Day on Sunday and then baseball gets going in AZ next weekend, which may impact my chat schedule. I’ll keep you posted on Twitter even though it’s horrible for all of us.

1:58

Eric A Longenhagen: see you next week.

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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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Joe Don
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Joe Don

You were in rare form today.