Eric Longenhagen Chat: 3/13/20

12:32
Eric A Longenhagen: Good morning from Tempe

12:36
Eric A Longenhagen: It’s been a weird few days. Most of the questions in the queue are related to the impact of the global pandemic on baseball. Many of them don’t have answers yet, but deserve thought and discussion. The pace of today’s chat may be slower because it’ll likely be about weighty stuff that requires more thought than how hard Georgia Tech’s Tuesday guy throws (vary hard, btw).

12:36
Mitch: I have travel plans to go to AZ on Monday. The main reason is to go to the Cubs’ backfields. I can safely assume that those are gonna be closed to the public, right?

12:42
Eric A Longenhagen: Here’s one I don’t know. I’m not sure what teams plan to do about minor league spring training games. They aren’t typically what would be considered problem areas but now that there’s no other baseball to watch and people are either here or coming here, they’re more likely to draw bigger crowds and become risky. I think the pace at which all of this is developing means that cessation of minor league games altogether is probably coming. Players travel from all over the world to train here.

12:42
Justin: How do you think the disruption and cancellation of seasons and tournaments like the CWS will affect the draft, especially at the top?

12:50
Eric A Longenhagen: There are a couple of variables, and this is just my thinking and talking with folks in baseball to this point. 1. There either is or isn’t any amateur baseball to watch the rest of the year. 2. They either move or don’t move the date of the draft (which may depend on what happens with 1.) 3. What the NCAA does about player eligibility and scholarship numbers may impact who wants to declare.

12:51
Eric A Longenhagen: Teams are going to scout if there’s baseball to see. Already people who are upset about what has happened (which I understand, though some of these people are being less cautious than my instincts are telling me to be in this scenario) are trying to organize informal play of some kind.

12:52
PatEdMartin: If collegiate summer leagues are still allowed to go nearly as scheduled, is this going to be the most loaded pitching we’ve seen in summer leagues in a while?

12:52
Eric A Longenhagen: The answer to this depends on Variable 3, above.

12:53
Bill: Have you heard anything about what minor league players will be doing to work out and stay in shape during the layoff? Are teams doing anything to help from a distance?

12:54
Eric A Longenhagen: The teams that have commented thus far, more relating to big leaguers, have expressed a desire to keep players here where the club can control sanitation of their environment. To me, that makes more sense than shipping everyone back on planes spread out all over the world.

12:55
Eric A Longenhagen: And also avoids complications that may arise in people’s home cities/towns/countries that may make it hard for them to come back.

12:55
Ken Giles Right Hook: Please no COVID-19 related questions. Super bummed out and sick of reading about it

12:58
Eric A Longenhagen: There are straight up prospect questions here, too. And I promise I’ll mix those in and try to find a balance (places thumbs and forefingers together). But this is our reality now, my dude. It sucks, I agree. We’ve all gotta join hands (symbolically {winks}) and deal with this thing as a planet, and we will.

12:58
Humpback Chubs: Heard somewhere Brandon Williamson ecperienced a velo bump in pro ball. Any truth to it? Any chance it sticks during longer outings?

1:01
Eric A Longenhagen: Careful with this one. I really like Williamson and I thought, when his stuff was at its peak within his outing, that it was better than Nick Lodolo’s (keep in mind I’m lukewarm on Lodoolo). But the problem was that he’d lose it in the third, fourth inning and it’d be very 40/45-ish. Yes, late last summer and in bullpens this year he’s throwing harder (91-94 last summer and in the pen now) but those aren’t stamina-testing endeavors the way a full start is. I’m gonna stuff him pretty good on the Mariners list (he’ll be a 40+) because I think the stuff really plays, but I’m not convinced he’s a traditional starter yet

1:01
Guest: Did you get to watch NMSU-TAMU? Thoughts on the Gonzales-Lacy matchup? Seems like Lacy shoved. Is he nearing 50 FV territory or is the lack of third pitch + potential reliever risk too concerning?

1:04
Eric A Longenhagen: He has three pitches, it’s just the delivery is violent and kinda scary. From a pure stuff perspective, Lacy is better than Hancock. Gonzalez went 0-for-6 with three walks on Fri/Sat versus Lacy and Roa, btw. Tough look.

1:04
DJ: In your estimation is the R/R 1B stigma warranted? Are you aware of any defensive studies that show lefty throwers are somehow superior to righties around the bag? Off the cuff, seems like the throw to 2nd (primarily) would be the first reason to say a lefty would have an advantage, but while we expect to see more L/L 1B it often feels like a reason to downgrade a R/R 1B (i.e. Vaughn, Hoskins). Thanks!

1:07
Eric A Longenhagen: It’s an offensive thing, not a defensive one. Lefty throwers can only play 1B or the OF, so all lefty throwers get funneled to those positions and the best hitters among them (plus the righties who can’t play the rest of the infield for whatever reason) end up setting an unusually high offensive bar. If you’re a righty 1B, you’re not only trying to be one of the best 30-45 hitters among that group, but you’re doing it while at a platoon disadvantage most of the time because the pitching population is mostly righty.

1:09
Eric A Longenhagen: So it’s just an uphill battle for those guys, you have to be really good. Rhys Hoskins was so hot early on but, over two and a half years, he’s basically been a 50, 55 if you prorate 2017, to this point.

1:09
Jerome: How has Nick Allen’s hit tool progressed? Obviously he is a major league defender right now, will he be a good enough hitter in 2021 to sniff the bigs?

1:11
Eric A Longenhagen: I think so. He’s gotten strong enough to make viable contact but not such good contact that he’s going to have an impact bat. His exit velos are a 40 on the scale, he makes a lot of contact. Chance to be a perfectly fine everyday SS because of the glove and what he’s become with the stick, but he’s probably not a star.

1:12
Desperate Times: Are there any examples of guys with low EV profiles like Dylan Carlson succeeding in the show?

1:12
Eric A Longenhagen: Sure, you just have to take a peek at the leaderboard, there are plenty. https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/leaderboard/statcast

1:12
Rob: I’m curious as to your take on what a post-hype guy and former top prospect like Nomar Mazara is at this point in his career. At one level I concede this is a pure fantasy question. At another level, though, I’m wondering if all development isn’t linear at what point (ever?) do we say with confidence that this is who that dude is. It feels like a strong point of tension between statistical significance and ongoing player dev. Thinking the deep thoughts since we have no games to obsess over.

1:13
Eric A Longenhagen: I touched on this when I wrote up the deal. I did think he was trending up in a way that seemed most relevant to the Sox. He might just be a platoon corner guy but based on the makeup of their roster, that’s a good fit. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/white-sox-acquire-good-fit-in-mazara-range…

1:16
Humpback Chubs: Ethan Small wasn’t a pick to click of yours, but would it be reasonable to categorize him as such?

1:17
Eric A Longenhagen: Yes, if you start reading about him developing a better breaking ball then he’s arguably a 100 type.

1:17
Humpback Chubs: The Dunning Kruger effect is strong in prospect evaluation, isn’t it?

1:17
Eric A Longenhagen: damn, that’s cold

1:18
Eric A Longenhagen: Maybe I just have a natural ability (winks self to death)

1:18
Josh: If you were the Nationals general manager (congrats on your WS), would you rather give the #5 spot in rotation to Joe Ross or Austin Voth? Voth has emerged as the “analyst’s choice,” while team seems to prefer Ross.

1:20
Eric A Longenhagen: I was not a Voth guy when he was still prospect eligible but I think they made a tweak to his heater. He was a natural cut guy who was probably bettered by a release change (supination/pronation) to create backspin on his fastball.

1:20
Eric A Longenhagen: Here’s the 2018 fastball vertical movement. https://www.fangraphs.com/players/austin-voth/15047/game-log?position=…

1:21
Eric A Longenhagen: I think Voth might be real now, and Ross’ health track record makes me wanna bullpen him anyway.

1:21
Sir Nerdlington: Will you now be scouting esports prospects? This is the year it takes over, isn’t it?

1:22
Eric A Longenhagen: I could see myself getting back into Magic after a 6-moth hiatus.

1:23
Narvain: Are you still gonna be releasing team prospect lists?

1:23
Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah, I’m neck deep in the Rays right now.

1:24
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: What does a prospect analyst do now?

1:25
Eric A Longenhagen: I’m going to continue the lists as usual and seeing baseball if/when it happens (I was going to see a HS today, for instance, but it rained) while being more cautious about going to games that are heavily-attended. How the info flow behind the scenes will change because teams aren’t just going to tell you how they’re handling this stuff.

1:25
Alex: If I set Memorial Day (May 25) as an over/under date for when the MLB regular season will start, which side (before or after that date) would you lean towards?

1:26
Eric A Longenhagen: I think you set a pretty good over/under and I’d take just a shade after that date.

1:27
Brandon: Will the mlb draft this year mirror J2 signings, where teams agree to deals based on private workouts so other teams can’t get a look?

1:28
Eric A Longenhagen: Here’s a funny thing: The new data-sharing agreement includes private workouts. So if you have a workout and turn on the TrackMan or a Rapsodo, you’re supposed to share that data. Which means other teams not only have the data but know who you’re working out (which opens up bluffing possibilities, etc.), but also there’s no way of policing this.

1:29
Eric A Longenhagen: hold on…some breaking news….

1:30
Eric A Longenhagen:

The NCAA’s Council Coordination Committee has agreed to grant relief for the use of a season of competition for student-athletes who have participated in spring sports.

Committee will also discuss issues for winter sport student-athletes.

13 Mar 2020
1:30
Eric A Longenhagen:

So baseball players will get their eligibility back. What that means for certain caps – 11.7, 27 scholarship players, 35-man roster – remains to be seen.
13 Mar 2020
1:32
brad: Eric, so what happens, we just play a shortened season, or we stretch into November, or something else?

1:33
Eric A Longenhagen: Total speculation but I expect the season would be shorter. It might also end later, but it would almost certainly be shorter.

1:33
Seanto: How many prospects in the TBR list? 60? 80?

1:34
Eric A Longenhagen: I currently have 46 on the list for sure with an 18-player bubble (either in the 40/35+ FV tier or in the honorable mentions) and two calls left to make to scouts.

1:34
Steve: Who do you think has a higher offensive upside: Logan Davidson or Anthony Volpe?

1:34
Eric A Longenhagen: Davidson

1:36
TP: Do you think all this might accelerate a transition to more reliance on video and less on in person scouting? Like, once you force teams to use video more, they might less inclined to go back to in person?

1:37
Eric A Longenhagen: I think we’re about to experience the complete opposite of that.

1:37
Craig: Looks like Josh Rojas and Kevin Cron are both going to start in the minors in Arizona. Which of the two has the most upside and which is more likely to have an impact in 2020?

1:38
Eric A Longenhagen: Rojas. Lefty stick, can (kinda) play all over the place. Cron has more raw thump but is 1B/DH only for me. Maybe the gap between Walker and him is small and the club moves on from Walker for the younger dude at some point?

1:38
Will: Is there a schedule for when each team’s prospect rankings will come out? I’m eagerly awaiting the Mariners’ list

1:39
Eric A Longenhagen: Rays, then Northwest Valley clubs (Mariners, Royals, Rangers, Padres)

1:40
Ernie: What are your go-to snacks to bring when scouting a game?

1:41
Eric A Longenhagen: I am chronically under snacked. I’m not a seeds guy. I like any kind of jerky and gum/altoids

1:41
Sanford: What impact will the delayed season have on team’s decisions regarding call-ups/service time, Super Two, etc.?

1:42
Eric A Longenhagen: This one I’ve got zero clue and haven’t even begun to think about it. I’m sure it’s at the forefront of the minds of others given our collective societal eyebrow raise at minor league player pay, but this thing is impacting work-related stuff that’s more specific to my niche.

1:43
Asinwreck: What are you hearing from scouts about how their lives and work have changed this week?

1:43
Eric A Longenhagen: No flying for everyone I’ve spoken to. Short-term, some of them are just home, not going to anything. Long-term it’s cars only, stay relatively close to home just in case.

1:44
Jason N: Always seemed like you and Kiley were super-aligned on prospect rankings. Did you have a moment of confusion when you opened the ESPN rankings? Reminds me of raising kids with the ex and after the split, suddenly the children could have phones and watch TV during the week.

1:45
Eric A Longenhagen: i talked to Kiley this morning but haven’t seen his listos (I’m snorkeling with these Rays prospects) yet.

1:45
Abe Froman: I understand spring training stats don’t mean much (or anything), but did any prospect improve their status this spring? was someone throwing noticeably harder or spinning a better breaking ball than before? anyone show up noticeably stronger? thanks!

1:45
Eric A Longenhagen: Vlad Gutierrez was 94-97 in my look

1:46
BarryBondsJuicedForOurSins: Chances Alex Vesia ends the year as the Marlins closer?

1:46
Eric A Longenhagen: I think he has a shot. Fastball is really sneaky and that’s a no doubt plus change.

1:47
Seanto: Have you had a chance to see any of the prominent 2019 J2 signings? Any immediate thoughts?

1:48
Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah, really liked Ismael Mena, Zion Bannister, Erick Pena, Puason. Oh, the Angels guys Vera and Placencia.

1:49
Morbo: In your earlier answer you stated that lefties can only play 1B or the OF. I know that this is a long standing belief in baseball but I’ve never really understood the theory behind this assertion. Could you elaborate on the general theory as to why a lefty couldn’t play one of the other infield positions? Because it seems to me that whatever the theory is actually advanced for this theory you could make a counter argument based on the specific theory cited for one of 2B, SS, or 3B. I personally feel that there is very little real evidence for this assertion and that it will eventually be viewed as antiquated much like the historic obsession with avg.

1:50
Eric A Longenhagen: Go play baseball or wiffle ball with like 6 people and invert the bases and experience the chaos. It’s way harder for someone playing the far side of the infield to orient their bodies in a way that enables them to make a timely, accurate throw.

1:51
PatEdMartin: Given the availability of video for all levels of college baseball nowadays, and little to no live baseball to watch, would there really be much value to video scouting during this downtime?

1:52
Eric A Longenhagen: If one of your area scouts in Texas had to choose between two high school pitchers throwing the same night, and there’s somehow available video of the guy he chose not to see, you should get it. But that’s no different than before.

1:53
BarryBondsJuicedForOurSins: Don’t you miss stolen bases? Damn you moneyball!

1:54
Eric A Longenhagen: I do have a certain aesthetic preference that seems to be going away, but I’m okay with that for now and hopeful that, as things settle, more of the kind of baseball I like to watch creeps back into style.

1:54
Dan: Maybe your the wrong person but what happens to people who legally bet the under on number of wins a team is going to finish the season with in the case of large numbers of cancelled games?

1:55
Eric A Longenhagen: A great question. I have no idea.

1:55
Concerned south sider: Who is Yermin Mercedes and where did he come from?

1:55
Eric A Longenhagen: I’m in on Yermin. He’s gonna be a cult hero in Chicago.

1:55
mamsk: no love for bayron lora out of the 2019 group?

1:55
Eric A Longenhagen: Not beyond what I already thought

1:55
David Allan Boucher: Thoughts on Steve Hajjar?

1:56
Eric A Longenhagen: Freshman at Michigan. I really like him. Velo isn’t there yet (87-91 for me against ASU) but plus athlete, frame, command is great for an underclassman. Secondaries are fine, pitches all have tough angle.

2:01
Eric A Longenhagen: Okay, I’m going to split. Wishing you all as relaxing a weekend as you can possibly have. Take care of yourselves and one another. I’ll be back next week.





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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SenorGato
2 years ago

Not enough Yohendrick Pinango, gotta think that’ll change