Eric A Longenhagen: Good morning from lovely Tempe, chat. Hope you’ve had a good week, let’s talk baseball.
Wander Franco: Is it reasonable to give me an 80-grade hit tool when I haven’t seen Double-A pitching yet?
Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah, in addition to the visual evaluation, there’s data to support it. Franco has one of the lowest swinging strike rates in the minors, the best quality of contact among those with the lowest swinging strike rates. Totally reasonable. And that’s coming from the guy who wouldn’t 80 Vlad’s raw power, I’m pretty miserly.
Eric A Longenhagen: I think you can hope for it but shouldn’t expect it.
Eric A Longenhagen: He’s pretty maxed out.
Optimistic Reds Fan: Am I being overly confident, or has the Reds farm system outperformed expectation?
Eric A Longenhagen: No, I think it’s fair to say that. India has held serve, but a lot of other higher profile guys have improved. I’m way in on Jose Garcia, we’ve been in on Stephenson for a while. Aquino’s leap was real, I think.
Vegan Man!: You guys were pretty high on Aramis Ademan last year. Still a 50FV/top 100 guy for you? Thanks!
Eric A Longenhagen: highly unlikely. Cubs are gonna be toward the end but I seriously doubt it.
Vegan Man!: Jose Suarez had a … brutal… year last year. Still see a #4 ceiling there? Thank you!
Eric A Longenhagen: yeah, not ready to move off a guy that young. Has to stay healthy, though.
Tim: Who are some Pirates prospects that could breakout and move up the rankings this coming year?
Eric A Longenhagen: Some of the recent Int’l guys (gonna make you wait for their list, sorry)
Matt: Hi Eric, last year we saw guys like Mitch Keller and Corbin Burnes get their fastballs knocked around, which led to some brutal ERAs despite them both missing lots of bats. Do you see either pitcher improving their fastballs to the point where they could be useful SP?
Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah, I’d be trying to buy low on those two in fantasy leagues right now. Especially Burnes.
ETA: Detroit list ETA?
Eric A Longenhagen: Monday
Eric A Longenhagen: Then we’re doing the Tampa cluster, so TB, NYY, PHI, TOR, PIT, BAL (this cluster moved ahead of the Northwest Phoenix cluster for reasons you’ll understand a week from today)
Jabroni: Who is currently the most devisive minor league player?
Eric A Longenhagen: some of it depends on the dynamic you’re trying to highlight. Like analysts vs scouts or among scouts.
Eric A Longenhagen: lots of Houston’s pitching is divisive due to strike throwing, some stat-friendly, unathletic types like Ramon Urias have proponents in the analytical community but scout no like.
CautiouslyOptomistic: What is Dylan Carlson‘s ceiling in your opinion?
Eric A Longenhagen: the 55 we dropped on him on the STL list is what I think he is. He’s close enough to the bigs that there’s not time value discount to the FV
David: Fraley and Lewis are looking like the starting corner outfielders for the Mariners, think either of them going to stick?
Eric A Longenhagen: Once Lewis started looking healthy and more able to put stress on that knee, I was all in. Fraley I still wonder how much in-game power there will be, have him in the 45 FV tier as the bulk of Mariners thought is still only on the horizon.
beck: Is IFA pitching significantly less predictable than HS pitchers in the draft? Seems like it is cheaper to acquire pitching in IFA than it is to acquire HS arms via the draft. Just seems like a market inefficiency given that pitching in IFA is generally considerably cheaper than hitting.
Eric A Longenhagen: IFA pitching’s opportunity cost is pool space while HS pitching’s opportunity cost is pool space plus the players you could have picked instead. A high-volume approach internationally (a bunch of lanky pitchers who you hope grow is more possible) is more feasible
Devin Sweet: Am I someone to keep an eye on? Really good numbers for the past two years but no fanfare. What’s holding me back? Will I be ranked on the Mariners’ list?
Eric A Longenhagen: you’ll be on there. Plus changeup, velo spiked.
Cito’s Mustache: What % relief risk would you put on Nate Pearson now?
Eric A Longenhagen: very little, now that question is “how many innings as a starter?”
Jeff: Yesterday Kiley was very vague about what a “hook” is. I’ve seen the term pop up a ton from scouts lately and it seems to be some universal word for any breaking ball. Can you explain further?
Eric A Longenhagen: Yep, it’s just another term for a curveball.
DJ Tanner: Of the strong rookie relievers (Clase, Karinchak, Ginkel), who do you think has the best chance to become an elite closer for a long time?
Eric A Longenhagen: Karinchak and Clase. I have more confidence in Karinchak’s fastball playing at an elite level than I do Clase’s, but feel better about Clase’s track record of health.
Garth: Where would Emerson Hancock rank on the Board were he eligible?
Eric A Longenhagen: You and Tarik Skubal are the “can a starter use his fastball this much and get away with it?” guinea pigs
Seattle: long term who do you like more? Kelenic or Waters?
Eric A Longenhagen: Kelenic
cavebird: Looking at the numbers and having seen them, it looks to me like recent prospect graduates Tyler O’Neil and Austin Riley are more or less the same player with the same strengths and same (perhaps fatal) flaws. Is there any reason to expect one to do better than the other going forward?
Eric A Longenhagen: Riley’s plate discipline is a little better and he can play the infield?
Guest: Wander > Vladito?
Eric A Longenhagen: im0, yeah
Guest: A. Gimenez tracking to be a disappointment? Seems like all the shine has rubbed off
Eric A Longenhagen: Still think he’s a 50, has basically been so for a couple years at this site, unless I’m misremembering. Solid regular. If you were anticipating a star, than you were overprojecting on the power, probably.
Dee Arby: Bird in hand or two in the bush? Thinking Spencer Howard and Bohm for Arenado as the framework. Is it better to hope both pan out instead of getting the guarenteed superstar?
Eric A Longenhagen: considering what kind of $ Philly has committed elsewhere, I imagine they’re more inclined to hold onto those two, but man Arenado is so incredible that you’d probably have to do it.
Not an awkward question: What was the most impressive prep school physique you’ve ever seen?
Timmy: Eric, I hear good reports about Maximo Acosta of Texas. Is there any way to measure whether he’s leapfrogged Roberto Puason as the top SS signing this J2, or have neither gotten enough reps to change your priors? Thanks!
Eric A Longenhagen: Acosta is okay, no way has he lept over Puason
Wheat: How likely is it at this point that Jose Soriano becomes a middle of the rotation guy
Eric A Longenhagen: un
Eric A Longenhagen: but still a good pitching prospect
chet: what happened to Luis Garcia (PHI) last year? thought he was going to be a breakthrough guy
Eric A Longenhagen: just think they pushed him too fast
Damian: What’s the worst season you’ve seen a prospect have that still wasn’t bad enough to make you change your projection on them?
MB: What are some general trends you’ve noticed about differences in how different sites (MLB pipeline/Baseball America/etc) prioritize or de-prioritize certain skills or characteristics on their top 100 lists and how it affects the rankings?
Eric A Longenhagen: It’s a great question but to protect from things like groupthink, i don’t read any other prospect content. I’d love for an independent source to do a study on stuff like this, see whose lists best predict the following years’ lists, etc., but every major publication has a conflict of interest because they typically have a prospect writer/staff
Scottie: When you discount a guy’s value because he’s not close to the bigs — that’s because it makes for a riskier profile, or because in your estimation a win five years from now is worth less than a win two years from now?
Eric A Longenhagen: combo of both
Sodo Mojo: For the Mariners who has the higher ceiling Rodriguez or Kelenic?
Eric A Longenhagen: Julio
Eric A Longenhagen: julio will be No. 1 on the M’s list
Kretin: Who are some of the pitchers to keep an eye on in the Angels system?
Eric A Longenhagen: Hector Yan, siward quino, williams holmes
John S.: The Marlins seemed to be focused on adding leftys to the majors and minors (Jazz, Jesus Sanchez, Bleday, Lewin Diaz, Dickerson, and others are all lefty’s). Is there a particular reason they are stocking up there?
Eric A Longenhagen: i’m not sure it’s an explicit strategy, but most of the pitching pop is right-handed
Johnnt5Alive: re: corbin burnes – I liked him and had him for a couple years, but as a middle reliever will he really be worth ‘buying low’
Eric A Longenhagen: i disagree with your assumption that he’s a reliever long term
Mike Fiers Mustache: Dakota Hudson has pitched well at every level, but people want to dive into his K/9 and his walk rate. Give me reason to believe he can be the #2 starter by years end.
Kevin: This is more informational than accusartory. When you and kylie evaluate players, do you care at all about “fantasy” or is it exclusively from a real world baseball perspective?
Eric A Longenhagen: real world
Kevin: How often do you guys evaluate post hype prospects. Thinking about a guy like Rosasio or Arcia who were both consensus top 10 prospects (maybe not by you guys) but have flamed out mostly, Arcia especially. If so, what has hurt arcia the most?
Eric A Longenhagen: there’s a Prospect Limbo piece annually, during prospect week (mid-February)
Guinea Pig: Is Tarik Skubal’s fastball that good and are his secondaries bad? Has he experimented with increasing breaking ball usage?
Eric A Longenhagen: 67% fastball, yes it’s a great heater. Velo is above average but other traits make it play like a 70-grade pitch (vertical movement, mostly), secondaries are all closer to average. All the MLB starters with fastball usage in that range are sinker guys, Skubal is not.
Jonathan M: Is jose iglesias a fair comp for Nick Allen?
Eric A Longenhagen: yes
ryan: How much would an individual team’s prospect list change if compiled first versus last?
Eric A Longenhagen: Let’s take the Cubs. The Cubs have winter instructs happening very soon. If I did that list first, none of what happens at that camp would be included in the info on the list. This is why the Cubs list is schedule to run when it does, as teams who have no offseason activity like this were moved toward the front of the line. I can’t say exactly how it impacts stuff, it depends on the team and individual players, but there’s logic applied to how we go about auditing each org.
Yordan Alvarez‘s Mom: are there any prospects who you were surprised by once you saw their EV data? (in either a good or bad way)
Eric A Longenhagen: Dylan Carlson (very vanilla), X Edwards (worse), DJ Gladney‘s (way higher)
andy: if you were putting a FV grade on tommy edman now, would it be up from 40? or does that question even make sense after a guy has 350 MLB PAs?
Eric A Longenhagen: 45? I don’t think 2019’s statline is emblematic of his future. Think he’s a good multi-positional player, a great role player on a competitive team.
kcbg: Hi Eric!
Eric A Longenhagen: sup
Cito’s Mustache: Who is the most physically jacked minor leaguer? (this question may or may not have been inspired by Stanton bench pressing a supermodel)
Eric A Longenhagen: Adell was doing 66-inch box jumps last week, so that’s freaking nuts. Kopech is a monster, too.
Jim: Any minor league arms that will be returning from TJ this year that you think have a shot to gain some momentum?
NotGraphs Revivalist: Hey Eric, what would be a good comp for Pache’s floor and a good comp for Pache’s ceiling?
Eric A Longenhagen: Floor: We hope Kevin Pillar Ceiling: Those peak BJ Upton years but over a longer period of time
Morbo: Hi Eric, bit of a random prospect question. Do you know anything about Tommy Parsons? I can’f find much info on him other than basic pitching data like IP, K%, and BB%. He seems to have pretty good control based on his bb%. I was wondering if you had any additional information on him
Eric A Longenhagen: 88-91, touch 93, more spin than usual at that velo, front side opens up creating something like Michael Wacha‘s arm slot (though not that extreme) has 40/45 curveball that he locates glove side
Eric A Longenhagen: that’s what I’ve got
Jimmy: Will Yandy Diaz play full time? More than 25 HR?
Eric A Longenhagen: I doubt it. Has gotten too big and stiff to play 3B in my opinion, 1B/DH/LF really packed in TB.
Ken Giles Right Hook: Which 2019 J2 guy you highest on? Peña, Vera or Puason?
Ryan: What does robo umps coming, at least in some capacity, do for the value of bat over glove catchers (looking at you Zack Collins)?
Eric A Longenhagen: we think 2 years until the Auto Zone arrives and it’s impacted how we’re thinking about both extremes (Jake Rogers/Austin Hedges types, and yeah the Collins/Alex Jacksons)
Eric A Longenhagen: couple more then I’m gonna split.
Prison Mike: With the consistency Jared Oliva has shown, has he jumped from fringy to more real prospect? What are the knocks on his profile?
Eric A Longenhagen: Swing plane doesn’t fully enable the power, but I agree he’s a stock up guy
Kevin: Percent chance that Oneil Cruz moves up to a 65 or greater FV?
Eric A Longenhagen:
mamsk: When’s the last time you had eyes on Acosta? The helium from the other publications (Gleyber Torres comparisons) are hard to ignore and I don’t think Puason is clearly above him at any of the other major evaluation sites
Eric A Longenhagen: during instructs. Mature-bodied kid, almost built like a catcher. I’m of the Heriberto Hernandez > Maximo Acosta mind.
pro boy : Who’s the oldest minor leaguer you’ve ever considered a serious prospect?
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.