Eric Longenhagen Chat – 12/11/20

12:01
Eric A Longenhagen: Good morning from Tempe. I had several pieces go up over the last 24 hours and I trust folks know how to find those, so I won’t bore you with links (so long as you don’t bore me with questions about stuff I’ve already written about) and instead will get right to the chat

12:02
Peter: What are your thoughts on the Lowe/Heriberto trade? Is Lowe a little like Solak, ready to shine but just fell victim to Rays 40-man? Or is there another reason they “gave up” on him?

12:02
Eric A Longenhagen: great start

12:02
BlueJayMatt: What position do you think Jays prospect Austin Martin will play in the majors?

12:03
Eric A Longenhagen: I think that’s very much up in the air. He could fall as far down the defensive spectrum as LF. He was not running well, nor throwing well from third base early in the season but if that is because of an injury that has since healed then maybe the left side of the infield is a fit, still.

12:04
Andrew: Do you see Rockies going HS position player route? Mayer or Lawler would pair nicely with Veen, Romo in building back the farm

12:04
Eric A Longenhagen: far too early to know

12:06
Eric A Longenhagen: I was late on the changeup development AND on how to valu e his profile, which I’ve written multiple times and corrected. As far as the process, check out Future Value that pulls the curtain back as best I can

12:06
Marc: On June 2, 2020, you said that Devin William’s changeup is a 40/40 and that his slider/curveball are ahead of his changeup. How is that possible? How do you compile and verify your scouting grades?

12:07
purplemini: Does Heriberto Hernandez’s value change with the move to Tampa? Seems like TB has a better player development system but much more crowded roster.

12:07
Eric A Longenhagen: nope, he’ll be in basically the same place I had him last offseason

12:07
Joe: Any word on which teams are adding a second complex team to supplement the loss of their short season league teams?

12:07
Eric A Longenhagen: Many teams still don’t have clear 2021 ops budgets, which I think will impact whether that’s done this year or in future years.

12:08
Eric A Longenhagen: But I anticipate it will be many teams. Many already have two GCL or AZL clubs.

12:08
Piotr: Hi Eric. I just picked up Future Value and it is terrific so far, so thanks for making this cold stove a little less boring. I don’t believe he has a FanGraphs player page yet, so I wanted to ask where you thought Tomoyuki Sugano would fit in an MLB rotation? Do you think his stuff will translate well? Thanks.

12:08
Eric A Longenhagen: I’ve got notes on Sugano over on the Int’l players tab on The Board https://www.fangraphs.com/prospects/the-board/international-players/su…

12:08
Eric A Longenhagen: in short, I think his command is great and will be enough for him to stick in a rotation

12:09
Eric A Longenhagen: but let’s remember that Shun Yamaguchi led NPB in K’s two seasons ago and was really bad in MLB this year, his stuff is just not good enough.

12:09
Hegelbon: I take it you’re off Braylon Bishop somewhat after your latest Top 50 update. Is it because of lack of data or because something changed in his profile that you didn’t like?

12:10
Eric A Longenhagen: No data, I just think the swing has remained disconcertingly noisy and others (whose bats I’m now more confident in) have passed him. He still has really special bat speed

12:11
Chris: Why isn’t oscar colas on the international board? Is he the real deal in your opinion?

12:11
Eric A Longenhagen: he’s on there

12:11
Roger: Hi Eric, welcome back! Your little mic drop recently about adding Gregory Santos to your Top 100 suggests (pretty strongly) that you still see him as a SP candidate with the electric stuff. But the options clock and long way to go in his development certainly makes the late-inning relief option tempting and Farhan Zaidi has talked about how quickly he can move as reliever. What level of conviction do you have that he stays SP and if not is the Top 100 status still legit?

12:12
Eric A Longenhagen: I’d say it’s 50/50 for me that he starts, but remember I stuck Brusdar, Karinchak, Brailyn Marquez and later Devin WIlliams toward the back of the 100 knowing they’re relief-only types for me. Even if you told me Santos was gonna relieve, I’d still 100 him as a high-leverage piece based on how his stuff looked in the Fall.

12:13
Roger: Luis Matos seems to have simply exploded in Instructs this year. Where do you have his FV pegged now and does he leap frog over Bishop, Canario and, dare I say, maybe even Ramos?

12:14
Eric A Longenhagen: He definitely looked better than Bishop, about the same as Canario from a hitting standpoint (whose ranking will be impacted by the shoulder surgery, probably not his FV but definitely his ranking if that makes sense) but Matos has a better chance to stay in CF. He’ll likely also make the back of the 100 but not go past Ramos

12:14
Carlos: Hi Eric, thank you for hosting the chat. First time commenter but long time reader. Big fan. Can you offer any insight on what is going on with the international talent this year? Seems like there is very little clarity on when players like Wilman Diaz, Carlos Colmenarez, and Christian Hernandez might sign. From articles I’ve read on mlb.com, it seems like January is the hope, but is there a specific date for these players?

12:15
Eric A Longenhagen: I anticipate they’ll sign in January, yes.

12:15
Jerry S: How do teams protect players in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft? Is the list of players available made public?

12:15
Eric A Longenhagen: all they have to do is put them on a sufficiently high minor league roster relative to their years in pro ball. I don’t think there’s a public list available.

12:16
Angelus Novus: Do you buy Means as a potential 2/3 starter? Had a velo tick in 2020, lost command, then found it at the end of the year and dominated. Do you build in additional ceiling for a guy who in basically a three year span went from 87-90 then 91-93, then 93-96? As a mid 20-year old.

12:16
Eric A Longenhagen: i do not

12:17
Jim Leyland Palmer: Which of your top two college bats (McLain & Fabian) do you think (at this extremely early point) the Tigers FO would favor if they were to go that route?

12:17
Eric A Longenhagen: They tend to pop SEC guys with more confidence (totally anecdotal on my part there)

12:17
Miley Cyrus: might we see the first team prospect rankings drop? Asking for a friend.

12:18
Eric A Longenhagen: Monday or Tuesday

12:18
David: Been seeing Mo Hanley a D3 arm surging up draft boards and prospect lists. What is the word on him?

12:19
Eric A Longenhagen: Really loose low-3/4s lefty with arm strength. Was told I need to be on him in the spring and put him on the list once it expands but that he’s not close to the top 50.

12:19
Cade: Cleveland lost power arm Oviedo in the Rule 5 draft, but selected power arm T. Stephan. Thoughts?

12:19
Eric A Longenhagen: I prefer Oviedo as a prospect but Stephan is considered more big league ready right now.

12:20
Scotty: If there was a pure relief prospect who you thought it is likely they would turn out to be Josh Hader level good, what FV would you give that player? 55? 60?

12:24
Eric A Longenhagen: Good question and it’s one I’m asking myself all the time because it helps refine the process: If you know a player is going to have the career of Player X, where should he be on a prospect list, where on the FV scale? For Hader, if we prorate 2020 across his usual innings output, we’re looking at a 7.5-ish WAR guy across four seasons, which is basically a 50 FV. If he were peak Hader (2.5ish WAR) for all six team control years, then he’s at leat a 55, maybe a 60 if you think relievers are too punished by WAR-driven analysis.

12:24
Adam: Why is Christian Franklin not ranked on your top 50 prospects?

12:25
Eric A Longenhagen: I don’t think the hit tool is as good as his proponents (which there are several) do

12:25
Justin: Would you say that it’s unlikely that the Pirates viewed Soriano as the best player available in the Rule 5, but put a high value on the fact that he’ll basically be allowed to have 40% of a normal minor league season via a long rehab stint, against appropriate competition? When so many of the top picks are coming back from TJ, it makes me think that teams see that as a valuable trait in the Rule 5.

12:25
Eric A Longenhagen: I basically agree with all this, yes.

12:26
Eric A Longenhagen: Though it wouldn’t surprise me if PIT thought Soriano was the best pitching prospect available, or at least among them.

12:26
David: The Mariners seemed to be a little more open than most when it came to providing public information about the Instructional league. Anything interesting to gleam from their results?

12:26
Eric A Longenhagen: No, I wasn’t allowed at their camp and I view anything orgs say about their own prospects as propaganda.

12:27
FatGreenPuppet: How long until Mick Abel is traded?

12:27
Eric A Longenhagen: I admit that this was also my first thought when they announced Dombrowski’s hiring.

12:29
Wesley: Do you think the Dodgers see if Lux can play a little 2B, and a little LF, absorbing the Kike/Joc at bats, this year? Feels like he’d be a good platoon partner for Taylor/Pollack if the pressure is taken off his defence.

12:29
Eric A Longenhagen: Yup, totally agree. Not confident he’ll be anything close to as good a 2B glove as Hernandez, but he should still play there situationally.

12:31
Eric A Longenhagen: Kiley likes him much more than I do and our last sweeping update was from when he was still around. Also, teenagers change really fast. Let’s FV only fell like half a grade, I just have others passing him.

12:31
Jon: How did Luke Leto fall from 3-46?

12:32
Rob: Saw a Twitter rumor that there’s recent concern over K. Robinson’s hit tool. I know he has a wide range of outcomes, but any truth to recent concerns?

12:32
Eric A Longenhagen: His at-bats were not good in the fall (i saw ARI a bunch) but he’s also a teenage kid who was away from home literally all year because of COVID, so I’m not sure what to take away from a couple weeks at the very end of that time period.

12:33
Board: The “arm” rating is missing from the draft board for position players

12:33
Eric A Longenhagen: No it isn’t, it is on the new “physical attributes” tab so I could add stuff I thought was more relevant to the hitters’ tool page

12:36
El Zilcho: Per Brittany Ghiroli’s story in the Athletic, some teams believe that through remote coaching and application of tech some teams will come out of this season with their minor leaguers way ahead of the rest of the league. Any insight into which teams will benefit? I’m guessing Dodgers, Rays, Astros…

12:37
Eric A Longenhagen: Of course teams think their methods are better than the other teams’ and coaches want to tout the way they do things. We need to do a better job of understanding peoples’ individual incentives in the game.

12:38
Don Jenver: Brewers get Leo Crawford to complete Knebel deal. Guessing he is a pitchability lefty with something funky going on?

12:38
Will: Any thoughts on Jason Bahr? Good strikeout rates, reportedly good extension and life on the fastball but not much hype

12:39
Eric A Longenhagen: Let me check what I’ve got on both of these obscure guys very quickly…

12:41
Eric A Longenhagen: last I saw Crawford he was 87-92 coming out of the Tony Cingrani sort of release point. Milwaukee likes those pitchers who present an odd look, so maybe that’s at play here

12:42
Eric A Longenhagen: Bahr yes, big life on the heater even though its spin axis isn’t the kind typically driving that sort of movement, have him 89-93 but missing bats with it

12:42
Perd Hapley: Do you think that these new “partner leagues” can survive long term?

12:43
Eric A Longenhagen: sure, they’re using even cheaper labor than before in unpaid college kids rather than poorly-paid minor leaguers

12:43
Dr. Sticks: Eric, love your chats. Much has been made of the velo dip Triston McKenzie experienced in his last couple of starts. The build is clearly unique. Do you think he’s got the endurance to handle 120 IP as a starter? Or would he make a better bulk guy, throwing 3-4 innings after an opener?

12:43
Eric A Longenhagen: it’s a great question and I truly don’t know.

12:43
Eric A Longenhagen: You have to do whatever keeps his stuff crisp, imo

12:44
Eric A Longenhagen: so i suppose that pushes him toward fewer innings, but I wonder if variable deployment is worse for stuff consistency than keeping him on a starter’s schedule? it’s tough

12:45
Swinging Friar: Can you offer some insight on the year Adrian Morejon had? He looked great some outings and got tagged a few other times. Rising stock? Falling? As expected?

12:46
Eric A Longenhagen: Same for me, 45+ FV, just outside the 100, basically the pitching version of Franchy Cordero and Estevan Florial types: hurt a bunch, command comes and goes, fastball doesn’t play to its velo because it’s a sinker style fastball but stuff is really good otherwise

12:47
Sushi: Thoughts on either Oneil Cruz or Luis Campusano?

12:47
Eric A Longenhagen: It means I probably push the Pirates and Padres lists (and therefore the Mariners list) back toward the end of the run so we can have more clarity on what’s going on there.

12:49
drat: Are the yankees carrying more raw prospects on their roster than ever before, or are these guys less raw than they appear? I feel like in previous years teams like the Mariners or Marlins would overpay for them with younger players- is that going to happen this offseason for guys like Abreu, Contreras, Gomez, Vizcaino, Gil, etc? Is this a change in approach by the yankees?

12:50
Eric A Longenhagen: I agree they have a bunch of volatile arms who don’t throw strikes but I’m not sure it’s a change in approach or just coincidence that several of them came due for the 40-man in a short window of time.

12:51
Eric A Longenhagen: Great question. I do think at one point there was a huge gap between a few top teams and the rest and that gap is starting to close. It’s tough to know because teams contract out some of that stuff, or use consultants, or are actually putting $ into R&D and R&D is what eventually drives player dev machination…

12:52
Eric A Longenhagen: I definitely agree that teams have shifted from spending on eval to dev based on ROI on the dev side, but as teams take a more uniform approach that gap is going to close

12:52
Chuck E: How significant are the differences in how much money teams invest in player development? Differences in major league payroll are well known, but I don’t have a sense of differences invested in player development.

12:55
Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah, that’s valid. The 50 FV tier is tough because the “who would you rather have?” question starts to be answered a few different ways depending on who the team is, what their roser is like, where they are on the competitive timeline, etc.

12:55
kyles: In Craig’s original piece on valuing prospects, players were valued on a sliding scale where the 50th ranked prospect would be worth more than the 100th prospect even if they are both 50FV. The way the BOARD is currently set up, the 100th guy will be valued more than the 50th if the 100th is a position player and the 50th is a pitcher. Why was this change made? Craig’s original sliding scale seems like it made more sense. Thanks.

12:55
Brian: Thoughts on 2021 draft prospect James Wood, OF from IMG Academy? I don’t see him in your top 50 but I’ve seen other sources having him as a mid-first round talent so I’m curious where you see him

12:57
Eric A Longenhagen: Huge guy with huge power projection, I think he’s a slow-twitch 30 athlete with scary long levers. I get what others are seeing, I just don’t feel as good about the hit tool allowing him to get to that power.

12:59
Billy: On the new “physical attributes” tab what should be take away from the “levers” column? The longer the lever the more power but also more swing and miss?

12:59
Eric A Longenhagen: That’s my hypothesis. Tracking it now to eventually see if that’s true or not.

1:00
Peter: it’s hard not to notice that all the early FA signings were pitchers, esp. pitchers with velo increases like Smyly, Ray. is this just because teams always need pitching, and the position players are more affected by the nontenders? or does this tell us anything about how teams value players?

1:01
Eric A Longenhagen: I think both. I think the constant need for pitching depth creates scarcity and teams are less bothered by injury-prone pitchers (like Smyly) because when they’re hurt they don’t occupy a roster spot. The need for depth also supports what you said about the non-tender market flooding with hitters.

1:01
Donkey Kong: Could you describe how you organize all your information? Seems like mountains of data, I’m not even sure which programs you’re relying on.

1:02
Eric A Longenhagen: I’m kind of a Luddite. I have some spreadsheets of this and that TM stuff and the data informs what I’m doing, but more than half of what’s happening here is still just coming from my eyeballs and phone.

1:03
Peter: You’re writing the new CBA: how do you motivate teams to compete/disincentivize tanking?

1:03
Eric A Longenhagen: term limits for executives

1:04
Mark: Great work as always. How did you select which Asian league players to put on the Board? I notice some players much further off (Lee, Kang, Sasaki) and are on, but players that have earlier ETAs (Seiya Suzuki, Senga, etc) or posted this offseason (Arihara, Nishikawa) are not.

1:06
Eric A Longenhagen: Totally driven by what folks mentioned on the phone, data, or players who I already knew about. The NPB has so, so many guys who could justifiably be on The Board so I picked some splashy names rather than the lesser posted guys, though there’s enough interest in them (based on your questions) that I should add them this weekend it seems.

1:06
Rob: I wish the base all hall of fame acted more like a museum that shows the good and bad part of the sport. I don’t see any reason why it should leave the nest players of its history out as “punishment” when it can dedicate their places in the space as education for new and old fans alike on how they affected the game on and off the field. Recognition doesn’t have to equal celebration.

1:07
Eric A Longenhagen: I agree. My thoughts on the HoF have really changed just in like the last five year. I’m pro Vizquel and Yadi now.

1:07
Bufnell: What’s the wrongest you’ve ever been on a guy who turned out good? Would you still make the same mistake today?

1:08
Eric A Longenhagen: Matt Chapman? Shit I hope not.

1:08
Guest: Do you think teams are legitimately toying with the idea of letting Bauer pitch every 4th day? Can you think of any other player in the minors (or majors) who could pull that off?

1:08
Eric A Longenhagen: If he’s on a 1-year deal then yes, go for it

1:08
Purple Mays Haze: Is it more difficult to develop a prospect’s hit tool from below average to average? Or from average to above average?

1:09
Eric A Longenhagen: oooh man that’s tough. I’ll guess average to above average? I think you can limit a guy’s approach to his strengths and get him close to average but being better than average takes unteachable skills

1:10
Kate: Duplantier going to be good for start of the season? Havent seen much info on him. If so, what are his odds of cracking the rotation this year?

1:11
Eric A Longenhagen: i view the lack of info and opportunity (on a team that needed pitching help) as a concern. I suppose there’ a chance he arrives for the spring and suddenly has the same stuff he did in the 2018 (?) Fall League but I’m not betting on it right now

1:14
Eric A Longenhagen: okay folks, thanks for coming by but I’m gonna split. I hope everyone has a good weekend, is generally well, and is starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel a little bit. Happy Hanukkah to those who celebrate! signing of from the desert





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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Rickmember
2 years ago

“term limits for executives”. I laughed out loud.