Eric Longenhagen Chat: 12/16/23 by Eric Longenhagen December 16, 2022 12:02 Eric A Longenhagen: Happy Friday, everyone. I’m gonna give it a minute for questions to flood the queue since I posted the chat close to noon. 12:02 Eric A Longenhagen: Please enjoy as I post some links from this week’s stuff. Twin Peaks Theme – YouTube 12:03 Eric A Longenhagen: Wrote about NPB players here: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/update-to-the-board-npb-prospects/ 12:04 Eric A Longenhagen: A long analysis of Kodai Senga here: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/mets-bolster-rotation-sign-kodai-senga/ 12:04 Eric A Longenhagen: KBO players here: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/update-to-the-board-kbo-prospects/ 12:04 Eric A Longenhagen: International amateurs here: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/board-update-2023-international-amateur-pr… 12:04 Eric A Longenhagen: Projected teams and scouting reports through here: International Prospects | THE BOARD | FanGraphs 12:05 Eric A Longenhagen: There are also some relevant visual aids here: FanGraphs – YouTube 12:05 Eric A Longenhagen: okay let’s do this thing 12:05 Danboy McGraw: Volpe ready for the show? 12:06 Eric A Longenhagen: Definitely getting there, but given that he isn’t on the 40-man and they have so much depth and versatility among the infielders who are, it’ll either take him seriously kicking down the door or a slew of injuries for him to get there. I think 2024 is more likely. 12:06 Joe: What is the industry consensus on Jasson Dominguez? Seemed to take that step forward last year closer but definitely at initial expectations (which were totally unfair). Are we looking at a solid regular, or is it out of the question he takes another leap forward this year and hops back on the path to stardom? 12:07 Eric A Longenhagen: Talking about him lots throughout Fall League with folks and folks tend to think he’s likely a 5 with a shot to be a 6. I’m in that camp, too. 12:08 Eric A Longenhagen: Routes in CF were quite good all Fall, i buy there will be playable power, probably a 40 hit tool but still good offensive combo in CF. 12:08 M: You mentioned in your international prospects write up that there were some under $2 mil prospects you added to the Board because they were personal favorites of yours….which guys particularly stand out in that category? 12:09 Eric A Longenhagen: Welbyn Francisca (gap), Kevin Ereu, Yoelin Cespedes, Reiner Lopez 12:09 Danboy McGraw: What happened to Jeter Downs? He was supposed to be our big get from the Dodgers and now all we have is 2 WAR Verdugo 12:09 Eric A Longenhagen: Became apparent in the upper levels that he could not get on top of high fastballs and he couldn’t adjust once the book was out 12:10 Efrim: Hi Eric – When does the first team list go up? Any order you can let us know about? 12:10 Eric A Longenhagen: Next week. Brewers, Dodgers, White Sox, Guardians, Reds is the first batch 12:11 Hen: Any hope for Pratto or Brujan in 2023? Both were in a lot better shape a year ago. 12:11 Eric A Longenhagen: Brujan’s length to entry despite his short levers is starting to scare me, and he might just be a util after all. Pratto i still think will be a 50. 12:12 Eric A Longenhagen: I understand the fantasy community sees those Brujan SBs and becomes thirsty for guys like that and hype can get out of hand. 12:12 Jeff: Is it possible to be a good international scout if you didn’t grow up in that country? I understand evaluation is still the same but it seems that some of the softer parts of scouting would be hard to do without having lived in that culture. Hopefully this doesn’t come across as xenophobic 12:14 Eric A Longenhagen: It doesn’t come across that way at all. I think you’re right, so much of scouting in that space is about your social network and relationship building, communicating even to get basic stuff like workout times and locations is an outsized part of it. There are good int’l scouts and directors who are native english speakers but lots of them are fluent in Spanish. It’s the first thing I’d tell someone hoping to get into baseball to learn. 12:15 Romorr: If I said Drew Rom was going to succeed, where other soft tossing lefties failed, like Wells, Lowther, and Zimmermann, what would be the number 1 reason for that success? 12:16 Eric A Longenhagen: Command and sneaky fastball utility? I think he’ll succeed insofar as he’s a backend starter, not a huge impact guy. 12:17 Steven: After all the trades, where do you see the Padres farm system trending now? Jackson Merrill, Dylan Lesko, Samuel Zavala & Ethan Salas look like an interesting quartet of high upside youth… thoughts? Adam Mazur real pulse? 12:18 Eric A Longenhagen: I agree those names are top of the heap, you might add Robby Snelling to that list (i’m lower on him). They tend to do a good job picking the right guys. Depth throughout the system is kind of an issue but the way the big league roster is structured relies less on that than other teams. Let’s see how the pitching dev trends now that we’re a little over a year out from them making changes to their staff in that space. 12:18 Hen: Frelick, Bo Naylor or Toglia, who am I hitching my wagon to? 12:19 Eric A Longenhagen: Naylor for me, then Frelick, then a big gap before Toglia who I think is a 40, if that. 12:19 Guest: Should F Alvarez be starting full/most-time in Queens from Opening Day? 12:20 Eric A Longenhagen: No, definitely looked undercooked back there when they put him in the lineup, super anxious at the plate too. Could see him grabbing the lion’s share of playing time during the year but probably not out the gate. 12:21 Kirk: Feels like the Nats are still looking for another bat so who is a realistic option? 12:23 Eric A Longenhagen: I don’t have any dope around that but just looking at their roster needs (outfield upgrades feel most likely) and tendencies as an org (hit-tool driven guys like Asdrubal, Harrison, Kendrick, Cesar) there’s Drury (gives you versatility and thump), Jean Segura (their type for sure but redundant positionally with Garcia), Profar (again, lots of contact) and David Peralta. Not really a sexy option or long-term pillar. 12:23 Guest: We’re Vientos/Baty in the show enough to affect your outlook on either/both? 12:24 Eric A Longenhagen: Vientos I’m scared of the bottom falling out of the hit tool. Baty is tough because the swing just doesn’t let him get to all the power, and 3B is loaded league-wide so he’s gonna look meh on the continuum unless he is getting to the power. 12:25 Quincy: Josue .de Paula the next big thing for the dodgers? 12:26 Eric A Longenhagen: Saw him a couple times in the fall and he looked pretty good. Beware of DSL stat-based hype you see on social media, I feel like it got out of hand with this guy, but yeah his frame and swing are exciting and he didn’t look awful making the leap from DSL pitching to instructs pitching. 12:26 Tyler: I’ve been watching some of the pitchers who came up in September and I’m fascinated by Drey Jameson. Do you think his extreme GB profile can stick long-term as a starter? 12:27 Eric A Longenhagen: I do. He’s such a good athlete and for years now has held his velo and thrown strikes despite some of the noise and violence in his delivery. I buy it. 12:27 Insert Witty Name Here: What could or are teams doing to evaluate HS pitchers so they don’t miss out on an Andrew Painter type? 12:28 Eric A Longenhagen: Meh, as good as he looks, let’s remember how volatile pitching is as a thing. At one point Forrest Whitley and Sixto Sanchez and MacKenzie Gore and Alex Reyes and A.J. Puk and on and on were in the same position. Painter’s career has just gotten going, he’s not a huge “hit” already. He might be, certainly looks incredible, it’s just that weird things tend to happen to these dudes, entropy. 12:29 Eric A Longenhagen: To more directly answer the question, I’d take opportunistic gambles on HS pitching, which I think PHI has done in both Painter and Abel. They each fell too far because of their demo, PHI snatched them up and it feels good at this stage. 12:29 Keefths: How much of a stud is Hunter Brown going to be ? 12:29 Eric A Longenhagen: I have him 50’d and am sticking to it. 12:30 Nate: I’m not sure how much attention you paid to Jeremy Pena in the postseason…but considering how well he hit from about September on after he cut out his little leg kick, do you think that can be a more accurate gauge of what he can be now offensively? Or think he’ll crash back down to his projections again? Because they seem a bit…low. Seems like he’s bound to improve just by getting more experience against upper level pitching now too 12:32 Eric A Longenhagen: I see what you’re saying but also know that this guy has had a hard time laying off sliders for basically his whole life. He’s a real dude, obviously, but I don’t think he’s a pound-for-pound replacement for Correa or anything like that. The projections see his walk rate (and associated metrics) and project regression, which is what my instincts would be, as well. 12:33 Eric A Longenhagen: That you see a swing tweak there is definitely evidence that he’s made an adjustment that might remedy some of that stuff, though. Those are things the projection systems don’t see. 12:33 Carl: A lack of power might limit his ceiling, but even with that in mind it feels like Sal Frelick gets overlooked more than what makes sense to me. Those contact skills and that plate discipline, combined with positional/defensive/baserunning valueand closeness to the majors surely makes for quite a valuable prospect, no? 12:33 Eric A Longenhagen: I agree and he’s my type of guy, but if you look at the CF leaderboard, it’s rare to find someone who isn’t hitting for at least moderate home run power. 12:34 Eric A Longenhagen: Major League Leaderboards » 2022 » Center Fielders » Dashboard | FanGraphs Baseball 12:34 Eric A Longenhagen: Guys like Nimmo and Mullins (though Mullins’ big WAR year so far had lots of power) are fair precedents for what the high-end outcome looks like for somebody like Frelick. 12:35 Eric A Longenhagen: And Nimmo has been a 45 for half his seasons: Brandon Nimmo – Stats – Batting | FanGraphs Baseball 12:35 J: Do you think gavin lux playable at shortstop? What about muncy at 2nd with thr new shift rules? 12:35 Eric A Longenhagen: No to both, imo 12:35 Guest: If Dominguez ends up a 5, does that mean he underperformed his bonus? 12:37 Eric A Longenhagen: Not from an ROI standpoint, maybe from a “these Int’l players got $5 mil” standpoint. Six years of team control of a 50 is worth like $100 mil. 12:37 Guest: Would an international draft make your job easier or harder? 12:38 Eric A Longenhagen: Good question, I haven’t thought about that. I’ve learned enough about how to do it in its current format that initially it would probably be harder to adjust to a whole new thing, but if MLB takes more control over showcasing players (especially if it happens in the states) then I’d end up seeing more of that prospect contingent in person, which would be helpful. 12:39 Guy: What’s the deal with Encarnaction-Strand? He’s hit everywhere he’s played but most evaluators still say it’s a below average tool. Are scouts underrating him, or has he just been lucky and/or beating up on younger/less talented pitching along the way? 12:39 Eric A Longenhagen: 77% in-zone contact rate in 2022, puts him at the very bottom of this group: Major League Leaderboards » 2022 » Third Basemen » Plate Discipline Statistics | FanGraphs Baseball 12:40 Eric A Longenhagen: There’s enough pop that I think he’s a role player but not an everyday guy. 12:40 Eric A Longenhagen: Like Pat Wisdom is a pretty good comp there. 12:40 Keefths: I just finished reading Future Value. Great book. What’s my next baseball read ? 12:41 Eric A Longenhagen: Gracias, probably this: Dollar Sign on the Muscle: The World of Baseball Scouting by Kevin Kerrane (goodreads.com) 12:41 barrust: I find it hard to believe that the A’s took the best offer (based on FV) for Murphy. What do you think happened? Have you heard of better offers that were on the table? 12:42 Eric A Longenhagen: If the rumor Ben fed me on this week’s FanGraphs audio is true (St. Louis, Nootbaar, etc.) I’d have preferred that one. But otherwise I have no idea. 12:42 RTJ: forgive me if you have written about this before. What am I supposed to think about Torkelson’s outlook in 2023? If you were the Tigers, would you want to start him in AAA? 12:44 Eric A Longenhagen: He’s a tough one. Both he and Kelenic seem to have the same problem: they lifted so much they became stiff in the lower half and can no longer bend to reach low breaking balls. Purely my opinion. Both seem to be hungry, competitive dudes so maybe they’ll make adjustments. I’d see how he hits during the spring before assignment. Probably just want him up if you made me choose right now. 12:44 Jake: With the new bases/pitch clock/and pickoff rules how do you assess stolen base potential of prospects? 12:45 Eric A Longenhagen: I don’t especially care about SBs because they’ve become such a small part of the big league game. You should always take the under on minor league steals when projecting them to MLB, the quality of catching and pitchers’ ability to control the run game in most cases is on a way different level than in the minors. 12:45 Pirates Hurdles: One other Bucco question, I see Matt Fraizer still at 45+ after a horrible year in AA. Is that just an oversight in updating or is there something still there? 12:46 Eric A Longenhagen: He’s due for an offseason adjustment 12:46 JJ: Why the 45+ and not the full 50 on Salas? Age? Sounds like he’s the real deal. 12:46 Eric A Longenhagen: The demo is just so risky 12:47 Insert Witty Name Here: You getting help this year with the lists? I remember last year you lost some good people and a lot was put on your fingers. Hopefully you’re in a good headspace and just know that you’re a legend in our baseball community. 12:48 Eric A Longenhagen: Tess has had discussions with a couple of teams about full-time jobs. They should hire her, but if they don’t it’ll be Tess and I. It’ll be good. Lotta writing but whatever, I’ve done it before. 12:48 Mike: Ethan Salas note has PG experience in it, do they run events internationally and is that common experience, or does he live or travel to the US and is unique among J2 guys with that experience? 12:49 Eric A Longenhagen: Sometimes int’l players come to the states and play in their events, they do nothing internationally as far as I know. The Bahamians and often players with family already in the MLB system (Ethan’s brother is Jose with Miami, and there’s a third Salas coming) tend to be the ones who play at PG events, usually in Florida. 12:50 Martin: Jhaylin Ortiz always felt very boom or bust. Safe to say bust at this point? 12:50 Eric A Longenhagen: Might still be a useful bench weapon but not a plug-and-play 1B/RF or anything. 12:50 shortstoppin: how do you see the Gunnar/Ortiz/Westburg/Mayo defensive alignment working itself out 12:51 Eric A Longenhagen: I have Mayo projected in RF, Westburg becomes the square peg at 2B but maybe you live with it because of the bat 12:51 Kate: Wiemer had an incredibly up and down year in 2022. Started out hot then slumped terribly before catching fire again to end the year at AAA. Obviously this is all hit tool related. How does this impact your eval going forward? Still flawed hit tool with enough crazy tools and approach to make it work? 12:52 Eric A Longenhagen: That’s my position, yeah. It’s possible he’ll have some gigantic big league seasons and some duds. 12:52 Prospecting: Is there another level of control coming for Kyle Harrison? Seems like the missed spots will cost him more as he moves up the ladder. Would you rather have him or Daniel Espino following the lost season? 12:52 Eric A Longenhagen: I’d take Espino despite the injury because it’s a more traditional look. Harrison’s slider has so much length that it can be easy for experienced hitters to lay off, and yeah the command piece for him is just okay right now. 12:53 Russ: Will Wagner had a very successful AFL, what are your thoughts on his future at the highest level? Also, out of Korey Lee and YAiner Diaz which one project to take over for Maldy in ’23 but mostly for ’24? 12:54 Eric A Longenhagen: I loved Wagner, dude. Think he’s a real piece, maybe a 45 FV type 3B. I tend to think Yainer’s bat gives him the edge over Lee, who has that arm but still needs to polish other aspects of his defense. Yainer played 1B in the Dominican last night and he’s no lock to stick at C so both are in a liminal space rather than slam dunk long-term answers. That they have two options is good. 12:54 Kate: You made a big move on Endy, but I seem to recall you’ve always been a bit dubious of his power upside. Is he the type of guy that could hit tool his way to better than expected power outputs? 12:56 Eric A Longenhagen: Yes, watching him tuck his hands in and rip the barrel through the inner third of the zone is, um, arousing. I don’t think he’s Jose Ramirez or anything and a big part of why I have him stuffed is because of the switch-hitting and defensive flexibility more than because I think there will be 20+ homers. 12:57 Quincy: Rayne doncon-what did you think of his development this year? 12:58 Eric A Longenhagen: Blerg, his approach turned out to be really bad and I got too excited from his backfield look during ’21 instructs and ’22 milb spring training. Upside is still huge because his bat speed is, but the pitch recognition is scary. 12:58 Mat: Did the entirety of Will Benson’s 2022 change your evaluation on him at all? Seemed like he smashed AAA but never got any consistent playing time in the majors. What’s your projection for him? 12:58 Eric A Longenhagen: Working on that system now, will see if there’s been a mechanical adjustment that might firm up confidence in his bat. 12:59 Dalton Wilcox: Pedro Ramirez has outperformed all of the Cubs’ teen sensations through age 18 and by alot. What be his prospects? 12:59 Eric A Longenhagen: Cute little 2B who can hit, doesn’t have Hernandez’s upside but I like him more than the positionless thumpers from that group, like Ballesteros. 1:00 Anthony Rendon fan: please give me an Angels pitching prospect you like 1:00 Eric A Longenhagen: Walbert Urena 1:01 Moon Boy: Do the M’s have enough in their system to land Bryan Reynolds, assuming Reynolds even moves this off-season? Or should I cross “trade for Reynolds” off my Christmas wishlist for the M’s? 1:03 Eric A Longenhagen: I bet they could swing it. PIT has tended to take back bulk and buy-low types. SEA could throw a bunch of pitching at them and Kelenic or someone like that. Some of the rumored Reynolds deals from the past year or so have been pretty exciting but obviously a year of control has now slipped away. Not sure what the market is like for him but there are lots of alternatives (the Dbacks guys, Ramon Laureano, etc.) who might make it tough for PIT to get the deal they want 1:04 SH, Jr.: Injuries excluded, have you ever seen playing winter ball hurt a player’s development? Is there such a thing as bad reps, where the environment or experience is so non productive that a guy probably just ought to have lifted weights and played xBox for a couple months? 1:05 Eric A Longenhagen: I can’t think of one off the top of my head. I think young guys spending time with older dudes who are working hard to barely stay in pro ball tends to be good, and the buzzy environment (esp in the DR) prevents you from sleep walking through it. You can get hurt, though. I watched Jose Siri grab at his oblique this week and that feels bad. 1:06 Prospecting: Pulled a Jordy Barley autographed card, any hope for him to become something? 1:06 Eric A Longenhagen: Probably not but he is fun as hell to watch. Hit huge bombs, run 4.1, make a sick play on D then boot a routine grounder and TOOTBLAN the next two innings. 1:07 Daniel Bardo Pond: Many observers are down on Ronny Mauricio but you actually bumped him up in your end-of-year rankings. Can you elaborate on what you saw/heard that gives you continued confidence in him? Thx Eric. 1:08 Eric A Longenhagen: The amount of in-zone contact and the quality of the contact (90 mph avg exit, nearly a plus-plus hard hit%) is exciting and I think he’s a legit SS. His approach is awful and he’s super risky but all the FVs are a mesh of risk and upside, and his upside is large. 1:09 Pete: Remember when FG covered prospects? That was fun 1:09 Eric A Longenhagen: And with that the internet trolls have found the chat and it’s time to wrap up. Thanks so much for coming everyone, talk again soon.