Eric Longenhagen Chat- 12/20/18

2:17
Eric A Longenhagen: Hey, everyone. It’s been a while since we’ve chatted. I’ll spare you the list of links to things written since then and just remind everyone that fangraphs.com/prospects is where all of it ends up.

2:17
Mike: I know you hate when people compare prospect lists, but I’ve seen three top 10/30 lists for the Cubs and one Paul Richan was ranked #5 and the other two, he wasn’t ranked at all. Is there a wide range of opinions on him?

2:19
Eric A Longenhagen: I don’t think there is a wide range of opinions. I’d be surprised if anyone had an eval outside of the #4/5-6th starter range and I think the disparity in rankings comes from how various publications value that type guy, not the eval itself.

2:19
The West is Wild: The Diamondbacks will have a large bonus pool in 2019. Is there any kind of general trend of how teams with similarly large pools have strategized? This situation seems unique to me as their pool is big without having a top 5 pick…

2:22
Eric A Longenhagen: You’re kind of at the mercy of the talent structure of the draft class and where other teams with multiple picks select in relation to you. Like Philly had a ton of money in the Moniak draft but the tier of preps they wanted to spend the extra money on was scooped up by teams who had extra picks before their second one. Kansas City just kinda stuck to their board last year and got a bunch of good value college picks, they didn’t play games at all.

2:23
Eric A Longenhagen: There are countless scenarios and variables teams can’t control. What is best for ARI to do will be more obvious 4 months from now.

2:23
BlueJayMatt: Jays GM Ross Atkins seems to absolutely love Trent Thornton, he’s hyping him whenever he can. Do you share this view of Thornton? Where do you see his value and ceiling?

2:24
2:24
Eric A Longenhagen: In short, I like him, think he’s a solid contributor on a good staff but not a star.

2:25
an amateur Amateur Scout: Do you think there is any chance Yu Chang becomes the Indians everyday 3B in 2019?

2:25
Eric A Longenhagen: Yes, I think he’s a 50 there

2:26
Justin: I’m curious as to how the industry feels about how the White Sox rebuild is going. Personally, I like some of the talent they have but something still feels behind what the industry is doing, but I can’t put my finger on what.

2:28
Eric A Longenhagen: Other than a few individuals (Adolfo, Robert, Tatis, I like Mieses but not as much as any of those guys) they haven’t had depth coming from Latin America. Also nobody they’ve acquired has completely ceiling’d.

2:28
Idea: would it be possible to get a column that lists a player’s Rule 5 eligibility on THE BOARD?

2:30
Eric A Longenhagen: We’d eventually like to have the date a player is eligible or if they’ve been 40-manned… that kind of stuff. But there are so many weird corner cases for Rule 5 eligibility and it would need to be maintained manually to some degree and I’m not sure that’s feasible. It’s def a thing we’ve thought about and would like to do.

2:31
Bret: There have been some rumblings that Carter Kieboom could be in the mix for the Nationals 2B job this year. Do you see him as being able to produce in MLB this year?

2:31
Eric A Longenhagen: He wouldn’t be fully formed, but yeah I could see him hitting in the first half at Double-A then getting called up and being okay.

2:31
Aaron: Why the hell would the Reds want Kluber?

2:32
Eric A Longenhagen: He’s good, they need pitching and have some upper level overflow of position players. Like, I like Shed Long but where does that guy play for the Reds? He’s exactly the kind of piece they should think about flipping for pitching.

2:33
David: Pick a lefty to jump from the fringes to the middle of the Padres’ deep system: Osvaldo Hernandez, Joey Cantillo, Ramon Perez, or other.

2:33
Eric A Longenhagen: Nick Margevicius

2:34
Mark : I’m wondering about a pitchers height in scouting evaluations. With the newer emphasis on spin rate up in the zone, does a pitchers height matter less?

2:35
Eric A Longenhagen: No but it matters in a different way.

2:37
I am the Walrus: If Brewers SS Arcia was still a prospect would he be in the top 100? Top 50? or out?

2:38
Eric A Longenhagen: He might sneak on as a 50 FV, of not I’d probably 45 him.

2:38
The Final Boss: Does Nick Solak have any kind of realistic path to the rays or does the emergence of Wendle bury him?

2:39
Eric A Longenhagen: I think positional fluidity is a Rays priority and that Solak has seen time in the OF because of this.

2:40
BOARD MAN: Can we get a column on the board with your writeup on the player? It’s still nice to go to the writeup for each team to get a grasp of their org as a whole, but when comparing multiple players on different teams it would be much easier to have the write-ups right there on THE BOARD!

2:40
Eric A Longenhagen: I anticipate adding those after all the articles are up but it would defeat the purpose of those in the interim.

2:41
Quincy: General consensus among Indians’ fans is that the Tribe’s system is very strong in the Lower-A levels and fairly weak at the top. Does this agree with your own assessment?

2:41
Eric A Longenhagen: If by ‘up top’ you mean at like Double and Triple A, then yeah.  Their teenage group is great.

2:41
Chris is trash: How bad are the ‘Rays will fix Yandy’s launch angle’ takes and mock me for believing in it.

2:42
Eric A Longenhagen: It’s possible but it isn’t like Cleveland didn’t know it was an issue, you know? He might be a guy who just can’t make that adjustment.

2:42
Ben: With the new deal with Cuba, who are the top Cuban players on MLB teams’ radars and which teams will initially be most active in the Cuban-player market?

2:43
Eric A Longenhagen: Ones who don’t mind paying the premium on top of the kid’s bonus. Look at the teams who have done well in Mexico for guidance. LA, CHC.

2:43
Hamboy: Thoughts on PHI’s Cole Irvin? He isn’t at the top of most prospects lists and I get he isn’t a flashy pitcher but his numbers across a full season of AAA seem pretty good. Did he figure something out in 2018 or is it a SSS mirage? Could he crack a big league rotation as a 3-4?

2:44
Eric A Longenhagen: Pitchability lefty with plus braking ball command. backend/spot starter for me.

2:44
Tom: The International Board has those players available for July 2 signings, with the top guys receiving 45 grades (or 45+).  With the cuba situation, if we did a board of rookie eligble players, are just a lot of 40 prospects in Cuba, or anyone else who may be 45, 50, 55 worthy?

2:46
Eric A Longenhagen: Talent in Cuba is down right now because all the players in their early 20s and teens left in recent years. There will be more 16/17 year olds every year, but now the new deal is going to create some gap between now and when they sign. Cuba probably wants Yoelkis Cespedes to play Series Nacional for a while. I bet they’d have wanted Lazarito to play there for a while. So it may be a bit before Cuban talent flows stateside.

2:48
Jimminy: Kiley posted this on his chat but I want to ask you as well: Kiley seems like a libertarian and you seem like a socialist. Does this strain your relationship?

2:50
Eric A Longenhagen: LOL I’m dying. I guess I’m glad our writing and pod conveys enough level of personality that people think they can piece this stuff together. We’ve never explicitly talked about that and I wouldn’t characterize it as true, but our acknowledged differences don’t strain anything.

2:51
Stan: Other than the “risk” column on THE BOARD, what’s a good way to identify or quantify the highest variance or high risk/high reward guys out there?

2:52
Eric A Longenhagen: We should have something more detailed on the 100 but that’s the most digestable way of saying that type of thing right now.

2:52
Guest: Can we get some weekly david lynch content going? Rank blue velvet, mulholland drive, fire walk, lost highway, inland empire

2:53
Eric A Longenhagen:

2:53
Cito’s Mustache: How common are infield shifts in the low minors? Does usage start to resemble the majors the higher the level is?

2:54
Eric A Longenhagen: Yes, it’s become much more common the last two years and is getting closer to big league rates at this point.

2:54
Hamboy: How quickly do you see Kelenic moving through the M’s system? A cup of coffee in 2021 too optimistic?

2:55
Eric A Longenhagen: No, I think that’s possible. He’s an advanced, physically mature, old for the HS class…lots of quick-mover traits.

2:56
Tyler Callihan: Time to add me to the 2019 Draft Board.  45+?

2:56
Eric A Longenhagen: Here’s a thing we’ll fight about: I don’t know where to put this guy on defense, Kiley thinks he’s gonna rake and that doesn’t matter so much.

2:58
Abe Lincoln: Does Shed Long actually fit on an Indians’ team in the future? I don’t think he does, Senzel as the centerpiece would fulfill anything Shed Long could offer. Senzel plus pitching would be the Indians’ target.

2:59
Eric A Longenhagen: That question was conceptual, not specific to this CLE/CIN rumor. Or at least that’s how I interpreted it.

2:59
Ray: Who do you think is better over the long term, Ramon Laureano or Jake Bauers?

2:59
Eric A Longenhagen: Bauers but I think it’s a half grade difference and that’s it

2:59
Ray: With all the arms the Angels are acquiring, will Jaime Barria be a fixture in the rotation?

3:00
Eric A Longenhagen: I think they’re correct to acquire depth instead of just a single, more splashy name because injuries are going to occur. Because of that, yeah I think Barria, Suarez, Canning might all see LA a lot next year.

3:01
Matt: How is Senzel’s playing time outlook these days? Also any idea how serious CIN is about including him in Kluber talks?

3:01
Eric A Longenhagen: He was supposed to play OF during instructs and Fall League but got hurt again and never played. I expect they’d like to see him in CF but I have no idea if he can do it.

3:02
Mario: Give me something cool Braves related to hold me down. I need my fix

3:02
Eric A Longenhagen: Look at all these dudes who can spin it: https://www.fangraphs.com/prospects/the-board/2019-prospect-list?team=…

3:03
Norm: If Milwaukee doesn’t sign a stop gap 2B, is Hiura ready to start for them (perhaps come up a few weeks in so they maintain an extra year of control), or does he actually need more seasoning in the minors?

3:03
Eric A Longenhagen: I bet he’d be fine right away.

3:04
Michael Scott: Awesome job on the lists so far! Question for you: Is getting into baseball at other levels as hard as it to get in at the entry level? Seems like at the WM it was a one-time shot or a pipe-dream for most job seekers there where if it didn’t work out they’d move on.. Do you think it’s smart for a recent college grad to try and do something else baseball related for a couple years and try & get in a little later on down the road where there’s less competition? Thanks Eric!

3:05
Eric A Longenhagen: I think each individual’s path is so unique that giving you cookie cutter advice would be a disservice. Trust your instincts, I bet they’re pretty good.

3:05
Tom AND Jerry: Any way to get swinging strike % in a player’s profile for minor leaguers? I can get to it by going to the minor league leaderboards but that it.

3:06
Eric A Longenhagen: Sean is working on a stat/scouting chocolate/vanilla swirl of The Board and that’s on my wishlist of stats to have on there.

3:06
Cole: RE the recent Nationals list. What do you think about Jose Sanchez?

3:07
Eric A Longenhagen: Plus defensive hands, arm is fine, just think there’s no bat at all.

3:08
Jay: Is Eli Morgan’s changeup good enough for him to be a BOR guy or do you think given his lack of velocity that he might be better served as someone deployed in an “opener” or bulk innings guy following an opener?

3:10
Eric A Longenhagen: I think you’re splitting hairs from a value perspective but that you’re absolutely dialed in as to how we have that type of arm projected. Like lining up him and someone like Neidert is so close, I’d just take Neidert because his delivery ha a little hope that screws with hitters’ timing. The margins are super thin as to what makes a #4/5 and what isn;t in a rotation.

3:10
Sir Nerdlington: The coverage since the two of you paired up is amazing.  Other than four hands typing instead of two, how has Kiley made you better?  Great work gents.  Thank you.

3:13
Eric A Longenhagen: Hey thanks. Lindbergh said the following to us as we were recording a pod. I don’t know if it made air but I think it describes what you’re asking: “Kiley is the agent, Eric is the player.” Kiley has been much better at understanding what readers want and how to present all this stuff than me.

3:14
Santa: Nick Pivetta: Does he take the next step this year? Or will he be a bag of coal under the tree?

3:14
Eric A Longenhagen: On a truly contending team I think that guy is in the bullpen.

3:14
Colossus of Clout: What would Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez’s PV/FV rates have been as of his time in the Sandlot?

3:16
Eric A Longenhagen: From the sounds of things at the end of the movie, Jet was CF leadoff type whose twilight was a 4th OF. So that’s like, Coco Crisp?

3:16
Eric A Longenhagen: So like, a 55?

3:17
IsIt2015Yet?!: Why did folks seem to like Kevin Newman at draft time? Seeing him in MLB last year it seemed more likely the pitch would knock the bat out of his hands than he’d make any solid contact.

3:17
Eric A Longenhagen: 6 run 6 bat SS who hit with wood on the Cape. I get it, that guy goes mid to late rnd 1 every time.

3:18
Sammy Sooser: Why does Bellinger have a 45 grade as a runner? At 28.9 ft/sec, he’s tied with Andrew Stevenson, who is also a 70. What gives? 2 and a half grades is a very large gap, and league average is 27.0 ft/sec.

3:19
Eric A Longenhagen: Sprint speed is peak speed and peak speed does not factor in acceleration. Our grades are based on home to first times, which obviously have a component of acceleration. Also, we don’t update prospect tool grades after they graduate. Yet.

3:20
Trey: When evaluating pitchers, does their come a certain point where you see no plus offerings or plus/plus command but this guy is just really, really good at getting outs and you’re like how is he doing this?

3:20
Eric A Longenhagen: Yes but we think we (and baseball) are starting to better understand where that stuff comes from.

3:20
Jay: Tyler O’Neill wasn’t on the Cardinals prospect list, so I guess he must have graduated from eligibility. How high could he have been ranked if he was still eligible? Between Cardinal fans clamoring for Harper and ownership talking up Fowler it seems like O’Neill has been forgotten, which is strange because he had one of the best years of any prospect last season. His AAA numbers were unreal, and his defense and speed looked much better than advertised in the majors (29.5 ft/s sprint speed, top 20 in MLB)

3:20
Eric A Longenhagen: I’d have a 50 on ONeill

3:21
Bearry: Are you in or out on Jesus Sanchez? His batted ball profile makes it look like he’s changing his swing every year. Even with his loud tools, combine it with his questionable plate discipline and it’s not my favorite look for a prospect.

3:21
Eric A Longenhagen: It’s definitely kind of scary but he’s so talented that I’m in.

3:21
Eric A Longenhagen: Like Nick Williams was scary but so talented and he’s flawed but fine, right? Same kind of thing.

3:22
Ethan: How does J.J. Bleday compare to recent 1st-round college hitters?

3:23
Eric A Longenhagen: He’s one of those guys I haven’t asked anyone about because I’m just gonna see him in mid-February.

3:23
Trey: You’d probably be happy to hear that Statcast is adding acceleration soon to Savant (i think)

3:23
Eric A Longenhagen: Correctamundo

3:23
Angel: Any chance Kevin Maitan  turns into a top-50 guy again?

3:23
Eric A Longenhagen: Very doubtful

3:23
Ace: Do any of Reid-Foley, Pannone, Bourucki, Thorton, or Zeuch have mid rotation potential?

3:24
Eric A Longenhagen: I think they’re all in the 40-45 range

3:24
Hugh: I was a little surprised to see a 60 FV on Trammell. Do you think he has a shot to be considered a top 5 prospect a year from now?

3:24
Eric A Longenhagen: Not sure that kind of in-game pop is in there.

3:24
Purple Mays Haze: Gavin Lux had very similar numbers to Carter Kieboom…what does he need to do to be comparable in terms of FV?

3:25
Eric A Longenhagen: Reports on his throwing indicate he can’t stay at SS, which is bizarre considering he was a glove-first HS prospect.

3:25
Eric A Longenhagen: Okay frands, I’ve gotta go. See you next week. Merry Christmas to those celebrating it next week.

We hoped you liked reading Eric Longenhagen Chat- 12/20/18 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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