Eric A Longenhagen: Good morning from Tempe where we’re approaching the Fall League halfway point. Let’s chat for a bit.
NotGraphs Revivalist: What kind of prospect package would ATL or SD need to put together for Syndergaard?
Eric A Longenhagen: I’d be surprised if the the Mets move a big fish this winter. The new regime is going to be operating with incomplete information, there’s real risk of making a bad deal.
Tommy N.: Padres ownership seems to want to make a splash this offseason. It would be unwise to start trading top prospects with where the Padres are at in the rebuild process, right?
Eric A Longenhagen: They have to start consolidating talent at some point and I do think we’ll see some action this offseason, even if it’s just on the fringe of the 40-man.
Ace: When evaluating pitching prospects, what mechanical aspects of a pitcher’s delivery point to SP vs RP? Is it a certain arm slot, arm path, stride length, violent delivery, etc. Thanks
Eric A Longenhagen: Meh, as long as enough pitches play/the pitcher has a way of getting both handed hitters out and they can execute pitches, I don’t care what the delivery looks like. Some violent deliveries take away from command in such a way that guys can’t start, though.
Joe: What can we expect from Manny Margot going forward? Rough year, anything positive?
Eric A Longenhagen: Unless there’s a swing change, he’s probably a .380 slugger. He’s probably just a 45 if that’s the case. Has the physical talent to be better than that.
Andy: Eric. I may be way off here, but it seems like there’s a lot more stolen bases in AFL than MLB. Are the catchers more susceptible? No rapport/chemistry between p&c? Or are the position players here more reliant on speed than at the MLB level?
Eric A Longenhagen: Because results don’t matter here, I think players are encouraged to run down here. Which I like.
Anthony: Owen White have 2/3 starter projection?
Eric A Longenhagen: That’s too rich for me, that’s like a 4 WAR guy. #3, maybe. He’s quite good, though.
ChatzMcGee: Does Kyle Wright throw a sinker? Pitchf/x classifies it as a 4-seamer but it has very poor vertical movement, is it just a flat fastball? Is that a problem?
Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah its effectiveness is more about the velo than its shape. I think it could limit how many bats he misses but still think he’s a good big league starter.
Eric A Longenhagen: He’s a 45 for us: Big stuff, constantly injured, could pop and be really good while he’s healthy, in whatever role.
Jon: heading out there next week. any SP’s not named whitley, JBB, Duplaniter, muller etc to keep an eye on?
Eric A Longenhagen: I’d check out Yamamoto and Krook. They’re both throwing in the upper-80s right now but it still might work. Krook’s fastball has big bottom, Yamamoto can really spin it. Miguel Diaz has monster stuff and is down here, Nate Pearson you didn’t list but probably know.
Jonathan: Everyone in NY is making a big deal of Alonso’s statcast NY Met speed record double yesterday, but can you put it into context against the entire league and history of statcast? How elite is it? Thanks!
Eric A Longenhagen: I didn’t see his exit velos yesterday but you can slap 80 raw on him if you want. Exit velos in the 115+ range are nutty.
Robby: What is your take on Chris Paddack? They say he has a great change, but he lacks a true 3rd pitch. Can he be a real productive starter in MLB with 2 really good pitches and great control or does he have a servicable/good 3rd pitch in him that can take him to another level?
Eric A Longenhagen: First I’d ask who is ‘they’ and then I’d refer to Luis Castillo‘s 2017 as evidence that a two-pitch guy can succeed, and Castillo has worse control and worse fastball plane than Paddack.
Robby: Which prospects seem to be off limits for Padres to trade? Are there any prospects they seem less or more bullish on than Fangraphs
Eric A Longenhagen: I can’t speak for SD but I doubt they’d move the guys who didn’t perform, statistically, last year. They’d be selling low on those guys in a way and there’s no reason to do that. Josh Naylor, Austin Allen types are who I could see them moving.
Jim Bob Cooter: Arquimedes Gamboa is a guy whose production has never seemed to match his tools, but he’s also always been young for his league. Have you gotten eyes on him at the AFL and if so how has he looked?
Eric A Longenhagen: I’m not really on him.
Trent: MLB.com recently dropped Will Smith from their top 100, largely because of his struggles in a brief AAA stint this year. Are you still bullish on his future? (For reference, he’s 29 on the Board right now)
Eric A Longenhagen: The average big league catcher in 2018: .230/.304/.372
Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah, I’m still on Smith. And Keibert has been a joy to watch hit for the last three weeks.
Robert: Anything you can tell us about Shawn Knowles from the Angels system? Thank you!
Eric A Longenhagen: De’shawn Knowles? He’s good. Small but physical, plus-plus run, has sneaky pop for his size. Like him.
AJ Pollock: Considering my injury history, is it all that unwise to accept the $17.9MM qualifying offer (if I get it)? There’s risk obviously if I get hurt again, but how much money woikd
Eric A Longenhagen: There’s an argument for that and I think it’s a good fit for ARI if they wanna make one more run at this thing.
David: Hi Eric, What do you think of the next crop of hitters that were on the Kingsport Mets this year? Are you bullish? How would you rank them by highest ceiling between Kelenic, Mauricio, Santana, Vientos and Newton?
Eric A Longenhagen: I’d have Mauricio at the front of the list, Santana at the back.
Jerry: Heard anything on Kyle Zimmer lately? If he (miraculously) stays healthy, what’s the outlook on him?
Eric A Longenhagen: Only what Kyle has been tweeting.
Robert: Can you explain what are a couple things you look for when giving a power grade for a prospect other than his body? Thank you.
Eric A Longenhagen: How far the baseball travels off the bat during BP
Kyle: What is a likely outcome for Corey Ray. Do you think his power output last year is indicative of his likely future output or do you think he cuts down his swing a bit to lower the K rate? basically is he a .230 hitter with 25-30 HR or can he be a .270 hitter with 18-20 HR?
Eric A Longenhagen: I dig it. He’s not hitting here but I’ve been on his bat up to this point, 7 or 8 run, 7 arm. He’s playing really hard, too.
Guest: I’m somewhat new to scouting terminology, and I read somewhere (possibly on the FG 20-80 scale explainer?) that the 20-80 scale is based around an approximately normal distribution, and 10 points represents roughly a standard deviation – but wouldn’t you expect the talent levels of players to be somewhat skew, with a tail of highly skilled players, with most players being on the lower end? is it just that the way talent promotion works that it ends up filtering to normal?
Eric A Longenhagen: Big leaguers, all encompassing, are skew (20s and 30s are usually in the minors). But their individual physical tools are pretty normally distributed.
LPFan: Any Nationals that are impressive in the league so far? Do you think Carter graduates to big league as 2B next spring?
Eric A Longenhagen: Kieboom hasn’t been great down here but his hands work so well in the box and I feel really good about the bat. He has a plus arm, but the footwork hasn’t been great. Not sure when he’ll debut.
Robert: What prospect that you have seen in the Fall League has surprised you the most and why?
Eric A Longenhagen: Probably Krook just because he was a mid-90s guy for so long.
Xolo: Considering that he’s only 19, do you think there could be another level to Hudson Potts‘ power?
Eric A Longenhagen: Maybe another half grade? He’s pretty filled out for how young he is.
Ford: Have Kaprelian, Jeffries, or Holmes pitched at all in instructs for the A’s?
Eric A Longenhagen: Kap did, Jefferies did not, not sure about Holmes
Devon: Eric, how has your insomnia been?
Eric A Longenhagen: Better, thanks.
Eric A Longenhagen: But it’s list season soon, so…
Guest: JP Martinez hit for the cycle earlier in the AFL. Is he increasing his prospect status or was it a fluke?
Eric A Longenhagen: He’s okay, we’ll probably leave the 45 on him. Luxury 4th OF type.
Ryan: Which foreign country do you think teams should be spending more resources in? Australia? Brazil? Any European options?
Eric A Longenhagen: Brazil
Stephen: Do you think Jesus Sanchez is enough to headline a Realmuto trade for the Rays?
Eric A Longenhagen: As a headliner? Sure, but not without other good pieces. Realmuto is a stud.
Alex: People talk a lot about entering MLB as an analyst, but what’s it like entering as a scout? What kind of skillsets do teams tend to look for as they become more analytically minded?
Eric A Longenhagen: I think teams are still trying to figure that out, but it’s changing very rapidly right now.
Dylan B: How has the A’s contingent done in the AFL? I haven’t heard much beyond the generic “he’s impressing” stuff
Eric A Longenhagen: I have to see Sheehan again and my opinion is not solid on Eli White just yet, but otherwise (other than Barrera) I doubt any of them make the A’s list.
Crane Kenney: The Cubs are viewed (at least from the outside) as one of the more analytical clubs. However, it seems that their player dev isn’t on the same level as other, similar, teams such as the Yankees and Dodgers. Why is that?
Eric A Longenhagen: They’ve been pretty conservative with amateur talent acquisition. A lot of polished Mexican players on the international market, lots of college arms in the draft.
Farty Barrett: Who’s got the best command in the minors?
Eric A Longenhagen: Not any different from hitting
Bob: The attrition rate for low-level catchers is through the roof, which I’m sure is what’s keeping MJ Melendez from moving to the 50FV. If he does about what he did last year at the A+ level, does he move into the next tier?
Eric A Longenhagen: I plan on advocating for him as a 50 when we do the ROyasl list
Connor: I’m pretty new to baseball, so I apologize if this is a silly question, but why isn’t there more scouting for young players from countries like japan and korea?
Eric A Longenhagen: Those players are encouraged to play professionally in their native land before coming here.
AJ: Of the Rays glut of middle infield prospects/young major leaguers, which guys would you build around and who would be trade bait?
Eric A Longenhagen: Adames is an anchor. I think they’ll prioritize defensive versatility around him. Lowe and Solak have each also played OF. Brujan is athletic enough to play anywhere.
Brandon M : Any tips for insomnia Eric?
Eric A Longenhagen: Melatonin helped me. Exercise and avoiding screen just before/in bed are also good but I was already doing those things.
Woah. Mets say No. 5 prospect Franklyn Kilome, who they received in the deal for Asdrubal Cabrera, underwent Tommy John.
25 Oct 2018
Eric A Longenhagen: We scale TJ guys back based more on timeline than on risk. Might be a 40+ FV guy now until he comes back.
Nils: If the Giants trade RP Will Smith to the Dodgers, next season we might have a game where Will Smith pitches to Will Smith, maybe with actor Will Smith in attendence watching. Does the world end?
Eric A Longenhagen: The world might end but for any number of other reasons.
Luis Robert Stevenson: Maybe 70 degree weather will completely turn the WS around but DD’s strategy to trade future maybe-stars for now-stars seems to have paid off. Do you think prospect-rich clubs will try to emulate that approach? And before you say “payroll,” yes, DD was able to splurge for Price and JDM (for whom BOS was famously the only suitor…) but otherwise, BOS’s deep pockets were emptied by bad Hanley/Panda deals and modest plays like Moreland/Nunez/Leon. Just about everyone else is either homegrown or acquired with prospects.
Eric A Longenhagen: I think teams will more frequently trade long term prospects for near ready 45s and 50s to build a cheap core of serviceable everyday guys, then fill in the stars with $ or big blockbuster deals when they’re ready to compete.
Eric A Longenhagen: Fine. 5 arm is not ideal at short and he has a weird arm stroke, but I bet they let him play there.
Chaise: Did you watch Steele yesterday? Better numbers but did the process back up the results?
Eric A Longenhagen: Nope I was at SRF for Dup/Buk
Roland: Has the decrease in workloads for MLB starters changed the way that pitching prospects are regarded? For example, are smaller pitchers potentially more valuable now, since there’s less concern about them having the physical tools to pitch, e.g., 230 or 240 innings per year?
Eric A Longenhagen: I think some clubs are reshaping they way they evaluate pitching and others have been slow to enact that kind of scout re-calibration.
Shameless Cards Homer: What’s the NEXT BIG THING in scouting development? What should it be?
Eric A Longenhagen: Properly bucketing pitching into these new roles and having scouts who can identify them.
Eric A Longenhagen: Yes, with some helium. legit 8 runner
Preston: What’s rapidly changing about what teams are looking for from scouts now being hired?
Eric A Longenhagen: Willingness and ability to integrate data into their evals.
cm: Does Alex Wells belong on that command list? Anyone from Orioles look good in Arizona?
Eric A Longenhagen: Wells is in the team picture. McKenna, Cervenka (power) and Chleboard (breaking ball/breaking ball command) have been interesting
Matt: Can Feltman and Hernandez (Red Sox prospects) provide a big boost as soon as next year to the bullpen with Kimbrel potentially leaving?
Eric A Longenhagen: Yes
Jacob: How do you determine when to change a grade on a skill for a player? What about the overall grade?
Eric A Longenhagen: Just when it becomes clear what we have is outdated. That can occur in several ways (seeing players ourselves, talking with industry folks, etc). Continual performance/promotion causses overall re-evaluation and this time of year we just wipe the slate clean, basically.
Scott: So what are teams missing out on in Brazil? Is baseball increasing in popularity there?
Eric A Longenhagen: Huge population, athletes often limited to soccer and jiu jitsu, sizeable Japanese population means baseball could actually take hold within the culture.
Eric A Longenhagen: That’s my time. Thanks for coming again this week and enjoy the rest of the World Series. Fall League games will start showing up on MLB Network next weekend, so be on the lookout for those so you can get your baseball fix. See you next Thursday.
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.