Eric Longenhagen Chat – 11/15/18

2:01
Eric A Longenhagen: Good afternoon from Tempe. here are some links to things:

2:01
Eric A Longenhagen: I wrote up the Luplow/EGon trade here: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/cleveland-and-pittsburgh-swap-surplus-…

2:02
Eric A Longenhagen: There’s been a ton of prospect stuff on the site this week. Short of linking all of it, I’ll just point you to the prospect land page where you can find all of it. https://www.fangraphs.com/prospects/

2:03
KW: What’s currently keeping you from hanging a 50 FV on Nico Hoerner? Would you need to see more power out of his bat to justify him inevitably moving to 2B?

2:03
Eric A Longenhagen: He might move up when we do the Cubs list

2:03
Eric A Longenhagen: The power he’s shown here in AZ has been surprising

2:04
pelkey: is inciarte, newcomb, and the top pitching prospect of cleveland’s choice a good start for kluber? way off? how much would need to be added? i’ve had non-braves fans tell me that would be too much as is.

2:04
Oklahomabrave: Who do to see the Braves making a “big trade” for

2:04
Big Ben: Braves are forced to include one of Ian Anderson or Mike Soroka to get Corey Kluber/Madison Bumgarner/etc…

1) do you do it?
2) which of the two would you give up if pressed to move one?

2:05
Eric A Longenhagen: There are a lot of hypothetical trade suggestions (or similar questions) in the queue. Allow me to respectfully say I think it’s generally not worth spending time thinking about that stuff.

2:05
Brooklyngail: Is Braxton Davidson figuring it out or is he just running into a few pitches?

2:06
Eric A Longenhagen: He does have huge raw power but he’s not a ‘stock up’ guy for me this fall

2:06
Keith: How has his performance in the AFL changed your view on Luis Robert?

2:06
Eric A Longenhagen: Less confident in the hit tool now than I was from my spring and summer looks

2:07
BlueJayMatt: How do you deal with prospect value for guys like Julian Merryweather who have had surgery? Do you reduce their value? Increase their risk? A bit of both?

2:10
Eric A Longenhagen: We tend to scale back TJ surgery guys based on time more than risk. We’re more likely to ding their FV if they have TJ at a time that costs them a full season or more. Merryweather is a weird case because 1) he’s a pure reliever and already more of a 45/40 FV type than someone we care about ranking overall and 2) he’s already 27, so we’re already near what might be his decline phase. I think he’ll be a 40 FV on the TOR list this offseason.

2:10
GPT: Giants signed Zach Green as a free agent out of the Phillies org, he had a big year in AA, anything on him?

2:12
Eric A Longenhagen: Plus power corner guy who strikes out a lot. Those guys are running around all over the place. Once in a while they work out and become Mark Reynolds or something like that.

2:13
Mandy: 2 Thumbs Up, Way Up : Will Josh Staumont’s control problems keep him from being an effective reliever?

2:14
Eric A Longenhagen: I think they’ll keep him from fully actualizing, but I think he’ll be in a bullpen at some point.

2:14
Mike: What do you make of Garrett Williams season in AA and now AFL, and also his future?

2:15
Eric A Longenhagen: Arm swing is a little longer than I remember, has been low-90s here in AZ, breaking ball is still plus, control still well-below average. Pretty standard lefty relief prospect for me.

2:15
Big Ben: With Contreras, Melendez, R.Hernandez, Ruiz, W.Smith, Knizner, Amaya, Mejia, Bart, Murphy, Varsho, and even a couple draftees this year in Naylor and Seigler, is this as good as catcher has looked for top 100-150 in the last decade?

2:16
Eric A Longenhagen: I’m very excited about the catching. Not all of them will pan out, but yes it looks like the position is in good hands

2:16
ericmlord: What’s the prognosis on Yusei Kikuchi? Ceiling? Floor?

2:16
Eric A Longenhagen: Wrote his capsule in the FA rankings: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/2018-top-50-free-agents/

2:18
Fidrych: Kiley mentioned yesterday that you guys are working on how to assess prospects with limited major league experience (players in between prospect and proven). I’ve been thinking about this a lot in regards to Josh James. I understand that you aren’t sold that the command will ever develop even to a 50, and when putting a future value on him, you have to apply likelihood of outcomes, so he might still profile as a 45-50 FV. He has one month of MLB results, against 40-man rosters, both huge caveats. But am I off base to look at the positives (velo, strong whiff rates for each of three pitches in the bigs, 24% whiff rate in the playoffs [albeit as a reliever]) and determine that his ceiling is something like 60 FV in his peak years?

TL;DR – Am I getting carried away with expectations for Josh James, or does his short MLB stint make his FV grade more complex than your typical prospect?

2:18
Eric A Longenhagen: He’s definitely a more complex case because of the changes to relief usage, the apnea, etc,

2:19
Flip: Will there be a graduated prospects list with FVs like you did last year?

2:20
Eric A Longenhagen: I imagine we’ll do something where we re-evaluate the FVs later, but for now here are the grads with what we had on them when they graduated: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/instagraphs/2018-prospect-graduations/

2:20
Mandy: 2 Thumbs Up, Way Up : The latest CBA obviously punted the issue, but has there been any new discussions on an international draft, especially in light of the ongoing legal issues?

2:21
Eric A Longenhagen: Depends how much the MLBPA wants to continue selling the rigihts of amateur players away for their own gain.

2:21
Jack: Have you seen Gionti Turner? Seems intriguing.

2:22
Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah, he’s okay. Very young, good frame, a bunch of 40s and 45s that could mature into 50s, which i s great on a MIF

2:23
Mandy: 2 Thumbs Up, Way Up : What is the general hierarchy of positions in a scouting department below the scouting director?

2:26
Eric A Longenhagen: You’ve got the directors of each department (pro, amateur, international), there might be an assistant director beneath any of those, then you have national crosscheckers, than regional crosscheckers on the amateur side, then the area scouts. For pro there may be a special assignment scout who sees trade targets or high-priority players, but mostly all the pro scouts report right to the directors or maybe a scouting coordinator. Int’l scouts are scoured all over the globe.

2:26
Purple Mays Haze: How pervasive are technologies like TrackMan, Yakkertech, etc in the minor leagues? Is something like playing with pitch grips and seeing if it translates into spin rate available to minor league players and coaching staff?

2:27
Eric A Longenhagen: They’re spreading rapidly. Trackman is probably ubiquitous at this point.

2:27
TomBruno23: As a Cardinal fan, I feel that is a list of kids only a parent could love.  Led off by a guy who has pitched one game in two years, a hitter who wears catching equipment, the future joey Gallo, a guy whose best tools are age and switch-hitting, Dakota Hudson, a complex teenage OF, a scaled down Miguel Sano (who you know I’m excited about), an injured pitcher, a defensive utility IF, the future Luke Gregerson, and Wheels Garcia.  I do think Andy Young will be a good utility player,  I’m now remembering my dream last night that Pham beat Fowler out for RF and now realizing he was dealt for the #15 and #19 guys on this list.  How should I feel about the future?

2:27
Eric A Longenhagen: I think the future is bleak for all of us

2:28
AngelusNovus: I don’t expect you to reveal all your secrets, but do the Orioles have any 50 FV players in their farm system? Or are the top guys just a collection of 45/45+ with either big holes/high risk profiles (Mountcastle, Hays, Harvey, Hall) or lacking impact tools (Mullins, McKenna, Diaz)?

2:28
Eric A Longenhagen: I really like Hall and I think one can make strong arguments for Mountcastle and DIaz on either side of the 45 FV line

2:30
Heather: 20 year-old in High-A blasts 15 HRs in 29 games (a 66 HR pace!) with a 1.246 OPS and 13% walk rate. So why can’t Carlos Rincon get on THE BOARD? Is he really not among the Dodgers’ Top 32 prospects?

2:31
Eric A Longenhagen: He’ll probably be on their offseason list, but keep in mind that guy, over a sample three times larger than the Cal League one (also, Cal League) hit .220/.330/.350

2:31
Eric A Longenhagen: If we used only/heavily stat-based analysis, we’d just write some code and this job would be way easier.

2:33
tb.25: I read your name as Eric Longbottom… Have I been watching too much Harry Potter?

2:33
Eric A Longenhagen: Probably. I watched Fantastic Beasts with Jill on Saturday and it was a 35.

2:33
Mandy: 2 Thumbs Up, Way Up : How do teams find players in remote areas? Does a coach need to call around on a kid?  Do area scouts just hear through the grapevine that there might be a kid throwing 97 MPH in Backwater County and then start calling around?

2:35
Eric A Longenhagen: Travel ball and the pervasiveness of video has largely eliminated these types of prospects. Anyone with a cellphone can now effectively show the world they have talent worth coming to see in person.

2:35
Mandy: 2 Thumbs Up, Way Up : I assume it is very high, but what is the percentage of U.S. amateur high school prospects playing on club/travel teams?

2:36
Eric A Longenhagen: A good question for which their is probably a correct answer, but I’m not sure. I also assume it’s pretty high, but you can probably cross reference our draf trankings or BA’s 500 with Perfect Game’s list of players on travel teams and get a pretty close answer. There’s some selection bias though, right? Because Kiley and I are out at travel ball tournys finding players.

2:37
Adam: Which farm systems top end talent would you consider the most volatile? One teeming with boom or bust players?

2:38
Eric A Longenhagen: DET, MIA, KCR, OAK

2:39
Baloo: I realize comps are annoying, but would you say roughly Zunino-like would be a possible outcome for Jake Rogers?

2:39
Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah, that’s what it’ll look like if Rogers works out

2:39
Eric A Longenhagen: Power, defense, huge holes elsewhere

2:40
Jason N: The farm valuation work is superb.  Is there a model that helps me translate some of the far away 40/45 FV guys into 55-70 guys as they climb the ladder?  The Padres already have a commanding valuation lead and a ton of far away guys in the 40/45 buckets – is their lead likely to grow as some become premium prospects or is that likelihood already baked into the numbers?

2:41
Eric A Longenhagen: That’s a good question because the guys we like as risers are the ones who, in this process, I think are undervalued. We’re kicking around ideas of how to signal who those guys are on the board or on their player pages, but we may have to show a multi-year ability to pick them correctly  before we’d feel good about making mathematical alterations to Craig’s work.

2:42
Matt: Have you heard anything regarding Chris Rodriguez? Does a healthy year vault him back into top 100 consideration?

2:42
Eric A Longenhagen: Nothing new, but I haven’t asked. If his stuff comes back, yeah that’s a top 100 guy for me. Stuff was so filthy.

2:42
KW: Has Trent Giambrone shown you anything in the AFL to move him up your prospect list?

2:43
Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah, I kinda dig him. He’s an above average athlete with a swing I love, he can play a bunch of different positions.

2:43
Eric A Longenhagen: Someone asks this every week and, if he is, I don’t know about it. If the kid has an instagram I bet following that gives you the answer before I know it.

2:44
Eric A Longenhagen: Whooooops, that was for this wuestion:

2:44
Lil Pedro: Has Anderson Espinoza started throwing yet? Still like the FV?

2:44
Jason N: FG seems to uniquely have the professional lifecycle of a ball player covered (you and Kiley on prospects all the way to Jaffe on HoF).  Can’t you guys work together to build a model to translate the FV/WAR in the farm valuation work into projections of things like how many HoFers a system is likely to have at any given time?

2:46
Eric A Longenhagen: Hmmmm. I wonder if HoFers are just so incredible that they’d just be noise. There’s very probably a future HoF someone on our lists right now but I’d be lying if I told you there were clear signs of who it was. Like Utley is on the fringe but he’d only probably have been toward the back of our hundred.

2:46
BOARD LUVR: Can we get a column on the board for your guys writeups from the prospect lists?

2:47
Eric A Longenhagen: Great idea. It’s possible this idea was rejected because it would eliminate the need to visit the articles at all, but I’ll ask.

2:48
Eric A Longenhagen: Also, if you have ideas for stuff like that, we want to hear it. This space, twitter or the FG prospect email (prospects at fangraphs dot com) are your avenues for suggestion.

2:48
Ozzie Ozzie Albies Free: which farm system are you most looking forward to writing up? Least?

2:49
Eric A Longenhagen: I’d rather not write up the Mets or White Sox. Stoked to write up Cleveland.

2:51
Mike: I’ve asked this question in the last two Fangraphs chats and have yet to get a reply. 3rd time’s a charm, yeah? Ok, here goes nothing.. In soccer, player transactions are done almost entirely by one team purchasing a player from another team. If Man U wants Christian Pulisic from Dortmond, they just have to fork over the money. In baseball, you see this very rarely, usually for lesser-valued players in exchange for “cash considerations.” The recent Fangraphs valuation for prospects makes me think that a team could gain a competitive advantage if they wanted to buy a player from another team’s system, if that team wanted to sign a FA but needed extra money. Ex: The Phillies want to win now but may need extra cap space. With a good farm system, they could sell one or two of their top prospects and use the money to gain the upper hand to sign Machado or Harper. The purchasing team – say, San Diego – gets to invest in a future asset without giving anything up. Do you see this working ever?

2:53
Eric A Longenhagen: The commish’s office needs to approve trades where in excess of $1mil cash changes hands, so there are some pitfalls built into the current CBA aside from some of the other problems that would come from abusing this idea.

2:53
Captain Clarence Oveur: How good of a chance does Tyler Nevin have to get to above average game power? Seems like a “stock up” guy…

2:54
Eric A Longenhagen: Might hit enough to produce at that level, yes. Definitely someone whose bat I’m high on after AFL

2:54
Kimbrel Questioner: What’s with all the news about Cincinnati looking to add stars? I’ve heard them in the mix for FA guys, Paxton, etc. Do you believe it?

2:55
Eric A Longenhagen: Yes, they have a ton of position player talent and it’s easy to see them adding pitching and being competitive

2:55
He is the One: Do we have enough on Antonio Cabello to know what he’s going to be? If he develops, will he be an across the board contributor, or can he have middle of the order thunder?

2:57
Eric A Longenhagen: He’s weird but I think it’s a good weird. Has zero physical projection and I don’t know what he’s going to look like, physically, at 22-25, nor how it might impact how his skills develop, if he retains speed, etc. He’s a tough one but he’s very talented.

2:57
Pen Name: Have you run into players/minors guys who ask you chat questions? Ever think a farmhand could be asking for their own scouting report seeing where they stand in the industry?

2:58
Eric A Longenhagen: Nah, those guys should focus on working on their game rather than what any of us think about them.

2:58
Purple Mays Haze: you linked to 2018 FA listing for Kikuchi – obviously it’s the 2019 link: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/2019-top-50-free-agents/

2:58
Eric A Longenhagen: gracias

2:58
Santino: What do the dodgers have in Miguel Vargas? Could he be a plus hit/plus power guy?

2:58
Eric A Longenhagen: He could. Wanna see more from the lower half in the swing, but the other stuff is promising.

2:59
JoeT: I ask this with all due respect: Do you think the team prospect write-ups will be done by spring?

2:59
Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah

2:59
Eric A Longenhagen: But you know I don’t like to compromise this style/quality, either. It sucks when they crawl out, but I feel much better looking back at them than I would if I skimped.

3:00
Trent: Any concerns about Alonso’s AFL performance?

3:00
Eric A Longenhagen: Nah, rest easy. He’ll mash.

3:00
Don: Do you think rebuilding clubs will be more and more aggressive with drafting promising prospects in R5 the draft who are below Double-A?

3:00
Eric A Longenhagen: I do

3:01
robby: Is Franmil Reyes for real?

3:01
Eric A Longenhagen: I’m skeptical but others are not.

3:01
Richard: Logan Gilbert.. is Single-A a reasonable starting platform for him next year?

3:01
Eric A Longenhagen: Yes

3:01
Carlos: Does Riley Greene ever not hit? 3 hits yesterday in the USA training game.

3:01
Eric A Longenhagen: Lol, apparently not.

3:01
Mitch: Hiuri is having a big Arizona fall league with the bat, which you have written is liget . How has the glove looked?

3:02
Eric A Longenhagen: Better, totally fine at 2B, arm strength is about average.

3:02
nb: Hey Eric – I was interested in something from your Cardinals rankings.  You said that the Cards just started scouting the backfields.  I don’t get why teams don’t do this, especially in AZ where the complexes are so close together.  Seems like teams are missing out on a potential goldmine.  Why?

3:02
Eric A Longenhagen: Ownership is cheap

3:02
Magglio O: Where are you on Buxton? Any hope for him?

3:02
Eric A Longenhagen: Yes, but know that I’ll go down with that ship

3:02
Bobby Bradley’s 40-time: Jazz Chisholm have enough glove to stick at SS?

3:03
Eric A Longenhagen: Yes

3:04
Matt: Twins are reported to hire Wes Johnson from the University of Arkansas. Do you think more teams will/should hire from the collegiate level?

3:05
Eric A Longenhagen: They should but college coaches often make more money and have better job security than anyone in pro ball. Baseball really leverages your passion against you if you wanna work in the industry, which I imagine is true for film, fashion, music, etc.

3:06
Billy Beane: Eric, do you have any strong feelings about baseball players crossing picket lines? Obviously, they don’t really choose the hotels, but they could presumably insist if it were important to them.

3:07
Eric A Longenhagen: I’m a pro-union guy, so yeah ideally I’d like MLBers (who are part of a union) to recognize the importance of those issues and understand how they can affect positive change by not crossing that line.

3:08
Guest: Stat based analysis pulls the train more often than not, would you not agree?

3:08
Eric A Longenhagen: For A-ball hitters and below? Nah.

3:08
Kvn: “I think the future is bleak for all of us.” Cistulli’s influence is pervasive….

3:08
Eric A Longenhagen: sigh

3:08
Lawrence: Which single prospect are you most excited to watch this year?

3:08
Eric A Longenhagen: Let’s just see how nutty Wander Franco becoms with a year of growth

3:08
Big Ben: What are your thoughts on the MLB Prospect Development Pipeline initiative?

3:10
Eric A Longenhagen: It’ll have some unintended consequences like anything else, but in general I think trying to find an alternative to the travel ball circuit is good. It’s hard for economically disadvantaged kids to play baseball in the first place.

3:11
Rock Pile: Saw you tweet out some impressive velocity from Rockies prospect Justin Lawrence in the AFL. Do you think he has a chance to move quickly as a relief option for that bullpen?

3:11
Eric A Longenhagen: Oh hell yes

3:11
Matt: “I watched Fantastic Beasts with Jill on Saturday and it was a 35.” Do you grade all non-baseball things in your life on a 20-80 scale?

3:11
Eric A Longenhagen: (nods in shame)

3:11
Scaramouche!: The Cardinals prospect list is great! thanks for that.  If Carson Kelly were still a prospect, would you rank him above Kinzer?

3:11
Eric A Longenhagen: Nope

3:11
Eric A Longenhagen: But he’d be a 50

3:11
Dylan: Fantastic Beasts was a 35? You just ruined my day

3:12
Eric A Longenhagen: The first one, not the new one. New one might be great, I don’t know. I 40’d Last Jedi. I like David Lynch movies, I may not be the best barometer for grading blockbusters.

3:13
Billy Boy: How many hours/week do most baseball execs work?

3:13
Eric A Longenhagen: 80-100, easy.

3:14
Agent Cooper: Which teams are going to have their prospect lists published next?

3:14
Eric A Longenhagen: rest of NL Central

3:14
Guille: Whatever happened to Mike Ford?

3:14
Eric A Longenhagen: DIdn’t stick with SEA and then Voit happened so he’s buried again

3:16
Oklahomabrave: 40 for last Jedi is generous

3:16
Eric A Longenhagen: But Space Dern

3:17
XKE: Earlier in this chat u replied that u look forward to digging into the Indians prospects. Why the excitement ?

3:17
Eric A Longenhagen: I get to write about all these AZL guys I saw a ton of

3:17
Glendale: Will his poor AFL performance have an impact on L.A. Basabe’s FV, or is it small sample, long season noise?

3:18
Eric A Longenhagen: Nah, I see all six weeks of Fall League and never look at a statistic. Once Dustin Ackley happened I realized they just don’t matter. They’re something for team blogs to grab hold of during a time when there’s nothing else going on from which to generate content.

3:19
STL Dave: I was very surprised at the appearance of RF Jhon Torres at 6th on the Cardinals top 40 prospects after assuming he was a throw-in in the Oscar Mercado trade. Did Cleveland get fleeced?

3:19
Eric A Longenhagen: Nah, I just think ‘throw in’ gets assigned to rookie-level prospects too often.

3:20
ericmlord: Is Carson Kelly not still a prospect? Rookie status is still intact though this offseason.

3:21
Eric A Longenhagen: Exceeded to 45-day non-September roster days rule

3:21
Joser: What is the worst system you’ve ever covered in all your years? How does the current Mariners’ system compare to the Angels’ system from 3-4 years ago?

3:22
Eric A Longenhagen: It’s worse right now. I like the guys they have, but they don’t have many guys.

3:23
Eric A Longenhagen: Okay, that’s all from me. NO CHAT NEXT WEEK because I’ll be drinking and eating heavily and many of you will be, too. until next time, everyone…

We hoped you liked reading Eric Longenhagen Chat – 11/15/18 by Eric Longenhagen!

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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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