Eric Longenhagen Chat- 12/18/20 by Eric Longenhagen December 18, 2020 12:01 Eric A Longenhagen: Morning, everyone. I’m gonna let a few more questions flow in and then we’ll begin 12:03 Philip: forget the team situation for the second. CJ Abrams maximizes his value at SS/2B/or CF? 12:05 Eric A Longenhagen: Any/every player would max out at shortstop, which is the most valuable defensive position on the field. If you’re asking which I think Abrams would end up playing independent of Tatis? I’m still more in the 2B/CF camp. I was CF-only until this fall, CJ looked pretty good on the infield. 12:05 Jeff: What puts Steven Hajjar ahead of Chrisitian MacLeod in the college ranks? 12:05 Eric A Longenhagen: Athleticism/body projection right now, but they’re not crazy far apart and MacLeod could have bigger conference stats to tout by the time we’re through. 12:06 Guest: Your pick to win the central? Cards could do it with Hicks, Reyes and a nice season from Carlson 12:06 Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah, and I’d make them the favorites for Lindor if I were making the odds. 12:06 Esteban: How many innings will Kopech throw this season? Easy to say he’ll be limited but everyone is coming off a short season, so aren’t the CWS going to have to push him at least a little bit? 12:06 Eric A Longenhagen: Fingers crossed for 120-140ish 12:07 flava flav: 3M for Wacha: too rich given lack of production over the last 3 years, too good of a deal given K-BB and velo and the number of teams needing SPs, or weird fit given it’s a low floor outcome and this is supposed to be a playoff team? 12:07 Eric A Longenhagen: He’ll throw a ton of changeups in a relief or abbreviated starting role and either be good or get hurt and not occupy a roster spot. 12:07 Guest #2: Did you hear anything from the A’s alternate site about Robert Puason? Seems like he could burst out of the gate next year after getting reps with a bunch of AAA guys. 12:09 Eric A Longenhagen: Oakland is one of those teams I didn’t see in the Fall and I haven’t done targeted sourcing on their intsructs yet, but casual conversations I’ve had in which he’s come up have not been great. Like I think Reggie Preciado has passed him, for example. I don’t think I’ll move Puason down or anything, but he was a pick to click that didn’t click, sounds like. But ask me again come A’s list time. 12:09 Joe: Have you heard what changes will be made to roster sizes at the minor league level? 12:10 Eric A Longenhagen: I’ve got teams anticipating having 180 minor league roster spots and being limited to one complex-level team, but nothing concrete, I’m not reporting that, it’s just buzz and logical conclusions being drawn and there’s a distinction to be made there. 12:10 Philip: If Mason Thompson is moved to bullpen full time as rumored, do you think he can see MLB time in 2021? Supposedly was sitting mid to upper 90s 12:11 Eric A Longenhagen: Saw him twice in the fall and was 96-99 with a plus slider, relief-only control. Def ‘pen piece based on that look, but he’s been that good for stretches before and then either gotten hurt or regressed. Been a wild ride for that guy since HS. 12:13 Eric A Longenhagen: I’m uploading some video of him now, will share once it’s done 12:13 Peter Off-Brand: Do Daulton Jefferies and James Kaprielian have a real shot to be above average major league starters? 12:14 Eric A Longenhagen: For stretches, yes, but do I trust either/both to be healthy consistently during their years of team control and sustain that level? Probably not. I’d just ‘pen Kap at this point, especially with Hendricks leaving. 12:15 Jon: It seems Wander Franco‘s stock is down slightly for the first time. What are you thoughts on recent news about him? 12:15 Eric A Longenhagen: He had biceps soreness and got shut down, I don’t know how that shifts his evaluation tho. 12:15 Greg: What’s the order you’re doing team prospect writeups? 12:16 Eric A Longenhagen: I cluster them based on spring training location, so LAD and CHW go together since both are at Camelback Ranch, CLE/CIN are next since they’re Southwest Valley clubs near the Ranch and the same scouts often cover some combo of those four orgs. The Fort Myers teams will come after that. But I don’t schedule out all 30 clubs 12:17 Larry: I don’t know that I’ve read much of anything out of Atlanta’s alternate site last year. Anything you’ve heard about the prospects? 12:17 Eric A Longenhagen: Anything coming from anyone’s Alt site, unless it’s data or video-driven opinions from other teams, is state media. Pass. 12:20 FV: Is it fair to say an FV 45 generally has less upside than FV 40+. Or just lower variance? 12:20 Eric A Longenhagen: I think in some cases both are true. At some point, players are so different that playing the “who would you rather have in your system” game starts to depend on what team we’re talking about. I think a lot of the young, toolsy, 40+ FV hitters have more upside than a lot of the 45 FV pitchers but pitching depth is so important and valued at a premium not just in MLB, but globally. Everyone needs all the pitching they can get. So I’m trying to reflect that. You can’t just pref guys based on what you think their peak outcome might be. 12:22 Guest: Really cards favorites for Lindor? FO has just been talk about cost cutting all off season. Love the Idea can you elaborate? 12:22 Eric A Longenhagen: They have the kind of players in their system who CLE has targeted in trades, specifically some who I think were model-friendly HS players like Jordan Walker. Any Lindor deal will probably need a pre-negotiated extension like Goldy’s trade did. 12:23 flava flav: why are some teams still posting jobs mid-december? don’t most jobs go up before the winter meetings and people get hired there? 12:23 Eric A Longenhagen: There wasn’t an actual winter meetings because of the pandemic, and teams got budget and staffing guidance later than usual. Doesn’t strike me as odd that postings are only happening now. 12:23 Eric A Longenhagen: Also, I got sent one last week that I neglected to send to Meg for a few days, so that one was late because of me. 12:24 Jeff: How much credit will super relatable rookie owner, Steve-y Cohen, get when people notice that the Mets actually have some good stuff on the farm? Looking forward to PCA playing some pro ball 12:24 Eric A Longenhagen: How is that guy relatable? Because he’s online? 12:25 Matt: If you had to informedly guess, which sort of prospect do you think is most negatively affected by the lack of games this year? The intuition is “hitters”, I think, but what sort of hitter? 12:25 Eric A Longenhagen: Ones who need to see live pitching to better ID either balls/strikes or breaking ball/fastball. There are ways of replicating that via virtual reality but I don’t think it has widespread use throughout baseball. 12:26 Halos in the OF: Is Adell still considered a rookie? Do you think he’ll start the year in the minors? 12:26 Eric A Longenhagen: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-prospect-list-season-starting-gun-exam… 12:26 Eric A Longenhagen: he graduated due to the 2020 single-year rule change 12:26 Bill: Did you get any info on Juan Then from the alternate site/Arizona? Supposedly up to 100 – or approaching it… Is he a SP or RP moving forward? 12:27 Eric A Longenhagen: From last year’s Mariners list: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/top-38-prospects-seattle-mariners/ 12:27 Eric A Longenhagen: this was a spike we knew about and reflected in the rankings months ago 12:27 Eric A Longenhagen: Reliever for me 12:27 Jon: It looks like MLB and the MLBPA are at it again. Do you think they play a full season in 2021? 12:28 Eric A Longenhagen: No 12:28 Rafe: If Justin Dunn is moved to relief – does he sit in the upper 90’s with his fastball? Would he end up a closer or something else? 12:29 Eric A Longenhagen: I’m in “I won’t believe it until I see it” mode with Dunn now. He was 93-96 with a plus slider out of the BC bullpen in college, that’s probably a middle reliever now, not a closer. 12:30 Sodo Mojo: I know the Mariner’s fall site was shut down to media. Are there any reports from Julio Rodriguez‘s play in the Dominican Winter League that would change your view on him? 12:30 Eric A Longenhagen: I’ve been watching and that front foot still bails too often, he’s trying to pull everything and getting wrecked by sliders away from him. He either needs to get better at identifying those sliders so he stops swinging at them or he needs to have a more closed stride direction and stay through the ball more often to hit them. He’s behind Kelenic for me now but still a top 10-ish prospect. 12:33 Cito Gaston: How would you characterize the data sharing agreement between teams’ Alt sites this year? Were all 30 on board, or were there some holdouts? And was any of the data even that useful in such a short stint? 12:33 Eric A Longenhagen: Here’s who I have opting out of video: Padres, White Sox, Yankees, Nationals, Royals, Dodgers, Braves, Tigers, Brewers, Athletics. 12:35 Eric A Longenhagen: and from the fall I have CHW opting out, sounds like MIN and NYY too? Uncomfirmed and there may be more. I think you can tell if a pitcher has changed via the data but hitters are much more complicated to evaluate when they’re seeing the same couple of pitchers for weeks 12:38 Arden: Is the general consensus that the first 2-3 rounds of the 2021 draft will be a pretty typical talent pool, but the later rounds will have much more talent due to 2020’s shortened draft? Or is it deeper in the top couple rounds as well? 12:38 Eric A Longenhagen: I suppose I haven’t framed the question in this way to anyone, but yeah that strikes me as being about right. 12:39 Mordecai and Rigby: Have you started watching The Mandalorian? Season 2 has been awesome so far! I know you’re a big Batman fan, but I’m not sure about your feelings on SW (or Disney)… 12:39 Eric A Longenhagen: I’ve been watching sports and Frontline docs during most of the pandemic. Haven’t seen Mandalorian. 12:40 MiLB: Do you expect the lack of a minor league season this year would affect the ETA timelines of players, particularly those who were not part of the alternate site player pools? Obviously they were training somewhere, but did not see the typical live action they would have seen. Alternatively, will some players skip levels due to a year advancing? 12:40 Eric A Longenhagen: Yes, I’m actually struggling to have a real feel for how the bottlenecking is going to work and I feel like I’ve got way too many 2021 ETAs in my first two systems. 12:40 Benny: Was surprised to see that Christian Javier’s fastball did not have a higher spin rate. If not spin, what makes the invisi-ball work? 12:40 Eric A Longenhagen: Angle of approach. 12:42 Sam: Could Edman be part of a Lindor trade package? Would leave cards light on infield but they have been stacking up depth. Edman is the MLB proven type player CLE likes and they could use a utility man 12:42 Eric A Longenhagen: Sure. Again, I don’t have specific dope here so I don’t want team blogs aggregating this for cheap clicks, but Edman is a switch-hitting, versatile player with years of team control remaining, and that’s right up Cleveland’s alley, that’s a good guy to point a speculative finger at. 12:43 flava flav: what are the odds minor league ST is super late this year and we don’t get prospect looks until like april? 12:43 Eric A Longenhagen: blerg, fairly high I think 12:44 Eric A Longenhagen: Especially if they have spring training in AZ/FL rather than at the big league stadiums, you probaby have to wait to bring in the minor leaguers until after the big leaguers have left 12:46 Guest: How do you think one should evaluate Quinn Priester’s new velocity, given it was in shorter bursts this Fall? 12:46 Eric A Longenhagen: Super tough question. I’m wrestling with that myself for him and Abel. Obviously you need to consider the context, as you note. I think if it’s couple with another change, like a delivery tweak or more mature physicality, I’m more likely to roll with it. 12:47 Eric A Longenhagen: here’s that Mason Thompson look I promised: 12:47 Eric A Longenhagen: 12:47 Benny: Seems Jeremy Pena is playing well in Winter League. Will he crack your top 100? 12:48 Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah, he’ll be somewhere toward the back. Plus range, hands and actions, can get the bat head on pitches in while still rotating with some explosion. Think he’ll be a good everyday big leaguer. 12:50 Jeff: What did you think about Andy Haines’ comment about the direction of amateur baseball being more about showcases than you….playing baseball? I think asking players to develop “showcase muscles” vs functional, conditioned muscles is all part of the amateur trap the owners have set 12:51 Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah, I think it’s a tough situation to parse. Obviously showcases have pros and cons. They increase a socioeconomic gap in baseball players, they shamelessly proceeded during the pandemic, there’s now a showcase company in bed with MLB that will be using unpaid amateur labor in these new draft leagues, when all the talent is concentrated in the showcases you need fewer scouts… 12:52 Eric A Longenhagen: But also, the most telling look you get at a hitter is when they’r facing the best pitching their age, and that happens in showcases. It’s very efficient for someone like me to go to them and see the top tier of talent (which PG and PBR are typically pretty good at picking out) rather than spend 200 days a year on the road seeing them all over the place. 12:53 Eric A Longenhagen: I think “balance” is best, and we don’t have that right now but I’m also not exactly sure how to get there either. 12:54 flava flav: (and I assume none of us should plan on flying up to spring training to watch games 🙁 ) 12:54 Eric A Longenhagen: lol, yeah please don’t come here yet. Get a vax and come next Fall for the Fall League and instructs and I’ll drag Kiley’s ass out here for a book signing, we’ll drink and be merry 12:56 Alex: Eric, I know you were a big Corbin Carroll guy because of his high exit velo relative to his physical size. Have there been any reports of him getting physically stronger the past year? Do you see him now as a potential 60 hit/50 power guy? 12:56 Eric A Longenhagen: I’m gonna 7 his bat, don’t think he gets to average home run production tho. He’s definitely strong for how little he is and he’ll make you pay if you leave a fat one on the inner half, but he’s a gap-to-gap spray-and-sprint guy for me. 12:58 Eric A Longenhagen: OKay everyone, I’ve gotta split. Thanks for coming this week. Please check out the Dodgers and Sox lists and the new info I’ve got on The Board, as well as this week’s FanGraphs Audio where Jay and I talk through an alternate HoF timeline.