Eric A Longenhagen: Good morning, everyone. I’ve gotta fix a data entry issue on The Board very quickly and I’ll be right with you.
Eric A Longenhagen: OKay, thanks for bearing with me. Rangers and White Sox bonus amounts should be populated on The Board shortly.
Eric A Longenhagen: Hope everyone’s as well as can be. Let’s escape into some baseball discussion for a while…
white sox logjam: between Abreu/Vaughn and Collins/Mercedes/Adolfo it seems the white sox have a big time pileup at 1B/DH spots. Which of the latter three do you think other teams would be most interested in for a trade?
Eric A Longenhagen: If you think one of Yermin or Collins either can or will soon be able to catch than you probably prefer that one. I think that’s Collins. But if you think neither or both then you want the one you feel has the best chance to hit, and I think you can make arguments for either of them at that point.
hurtado: Mask of the Phantasm only a 50? Are you high?
Eric A Longenhagen: Rewatch it. Parts of it didn’t hold up for me. A lot of the Animated Series episodes don’t (some do, and they’re righteous)
Mordecai and Rigby: So I’ve been following your 2020 draft list and one pitching prospect I like isn’t on there anymore? What happened to RHP Jackson Fristoe and where would he be listed on THE BOARD now? Do you have notes on him? Thanks
Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah, I lopped a bunch of guys off the bottom. At one point had like 3x more players on there than a 5 round draft would require. Fristoe was one. He’s on the 35/35+FV line. good frame at 6-foot-34 200, maybe a little less projectable than most of the others prep kids. 92-93 with an average breaking ball in my looks.
Eric A Longenhagen: he’s listed 6-4*
Ian: Which 2019 J2 guys were making a name for themselves this spring?
Eric A Longenhagen: Other than some of the clubs who had the young guys in very early for a sort of instructs, that level of player had barely even arrived for lots of clubs. Robert Puason was definitely in the weight room all winter.
Aaron: Do you think Max Meyer will drop on draft day like most undersized pitchers that throw hard? If not, what makes him different?
Eric A Longenhagen: I think if anything makes him drop it’ll just be that he’s part of a fat tier of really good college pitching. It wouldn’t surprise me if he fell because a bunch of teams in a row felt better with someone who has a longer track record of starting and holding their stuff over the course of a season while handling starter’s innings, or maybe someone who they feel has a more advanced pitch mix, but I don’t think his size and velo are negatives.
Neal: Hi Eric. I’m drawn toward prospects like Taylor Trammell, who are competitive and work really hard to improve and adjust. Who are some prospects (outside of the top 25-30) you’d bet on maximizing their potential based on their work ethic and baseball aptitude? Stay safe!
Eric A Longenhagen: How ya feel, Neal? Okay, off the top of my head here are a bunch of guys with purportedly great makeup:Luis Patino, Bobby Witt, Vidal Brujan, Dylan Carlson, Madrigal…
Kier: Question about two teens in the OAK system, Marcus Smith and Jordan Diaz. Do you think either has enough helium for an FV40+ grade when the A’s list comes out?
Eric A Longenhagen: I’m not that heavy on Smith, though I do like him and he’ll be a 40. Diaz is on the line.Same is probably true for Diaz, though based on how advanced his feel for contact is, he’s the one of the two who there might be a statistical case to be made that he’s a 40+, I just don’t know if that’s true yet.
Eric A Longenhagen: Like, if he has an elite in-zone contact rate or something like that, I’ll be more inclined to + him.
Austin: Hi Eric, thanks for the chat. I get you’re a bit low on Reid Detmers (if 15th on your board and a 45FV could mean to be low). Chances for him to become a #2 starter?
Eric A Longenhagen: #2? Pretty slim, as long as we’re defining #2 in the same way.
Red: Did the mid/late 2010s run environment/ball change affect prospect evaluation for you? By the way, am I crazy for thinking that with all the high octane in today’s bullpens, the 2015/2016 run environment would be producing a better product for MLB rn..
Eric A Longenhagen: I’ve adjusted some things. The way I’m evaluating fastballs is different now, both with where the velo scale is (guys started throwing harder during that window) and how I look at fastballs overall….
Eric A Longenhagen: What happens with the baseball manufacturing process and the way more common use of four outfielders impacts flyball hitter performance are two short term issues that have kept me from formally altering how I think about grading power output, but again it’s something I’ve wondered we might need to do
Eric A Longenhagen: I remember that one year we had a ton of no-no’s and everyone was worried we were entering a low-scoring era, ya know?
Pete: If you were drafting based on hitting ability alone, would Patrick Bailey even be in 1st round consideration? Seems as if all his value is tied to his glove.
Eric A Longenhagen: I guess? If this is a clever way of backdooring a fantasy question into this chat, let me just say Patrick Bailey probably won’t be a great fantasy prospect. But he’s a polished switch-hitter who can catch and I think that guy goes round one.
Balex: You (like the Nationals) had Jackson Rutledge ranked above guys like Priester, Thompson, Kirby, and Walston pre-draft. What’s prevented you from bumping him to the same FV45+ tier as those guys, is it more a medical thing or have you become less optimistic about his control maturing? Thanks!
Eric A Longenhagen: I had new info on all the guys I moved up (Walston I saw in AZL and thought the changeup and carry on the fastball were undersold before the draft, Thompson I got TM data, Kirby was throwing 94-97 in the bullpen this spring) but nothing new and illuminating like that on Rutledge
Mordecai and Rigby: Do you think Coby Mayo has any shot at staying at 3B? I like the raw power and the swing looks solid to me. The deep crouch and setup is kinda weird, but it works for him. I’m wondering if he ends up in LF/RF or if has a legit shot at sticking at 3B with some work?
Eric A Longenhagen: Corner OF for me, don’t think he was athletic enough to play 3B, agree he has huge juice
Aaron: Why is Carmen Mlodzinski considered a 1st rounder. Missed a year with the broken ankle/foot. No real swing and miss pitch. Not much track record either.
Eric A Longenhagen: Deep repertoire, rare slider velo for a college arm, SC pitching track record in pro ball is good.. I’m skeptical of him relative to the other college pitchers but I see why people like him
Bob (Miami): Not sure in what world these two players really need to be compared, but I’m curious who you’d pref between Jerar Encarnacion and Andy Pages. My read so far is that the overall FV says Encarnacion, but the tools say Pages.
Eric A Longenhagen: I had some support for Pages on the back of the top 100. Dodgers list is up next and yes, he’ll either be in that 45 (like Jerar) or 45+ tier. I think Encarnacion’s big league timeline is much shorter of those two, but yes Pages is toolsier.
Marvin: I’m not sure I quite understand how to interpret Picks to Click. Just to choose an example, Josh Jung (FV45+) has to be a better bet to crack the FV50 barrier next year than, say, Ryder Green (FV40), no? I’m sort of imagining Picks to Click means something like “a better shot to become a Top 100 player than you’d expect from their FV alone.” Does that sound close?
Eric A Longenhagen: Think of Picks to Click as gut feel guys I think will break out.
Jeff: I’ve been acting like there is a large gap between Mick Abel and Jared Kelly. The gap should be between those two and all the other HS arms?
Eric A Longenhagen: I have Abel cleanly over Kelley because his frame is better, I think his breaking ball has more ceiling than Kelley’s. Abel’s change probably won’t ever be as good as JK’s but it has a better chance of coming close than Jk’s breaker does at approaching Abel’s
Jamie: Does a short season help the rookie SPs? Thoughts on Puk, McKay, Pearson impact this year?
Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah, it probably means less concern over workload for all of those guys. And the volatility of a shorter, weird season means teams like Toronto have incentive take the training wheels off Pearson and see if they can sneak in a postseason run of some kind.
Tyler: What sort of prospects do you think are helped (in relative terms) and hurt by the minor league season being canceled? My instinct is maybe that older guys who are closer to the bigs and have already had more professional training kinda have a leg up here, while an 18-year-old sitting at home without access to gyms or coaching is losing more valuable dev time?
Eric A Longenhagen: Yup, that makes sense to me. The players who are 2021 ETA’s on The Board I think are also hurt. Most of them are Rule 5 eligible this winter and needed to prove they deserved a 40-man spot this summer but now won’t have that opportunity. Even if you assume teams need to have a minor league team staying sharp on backfields somewhere (I do) that means 14 players on the 40-man plus 10-15 prospects, and that’s just not very many.
will smith: Publications that “forecast” a team’s lineup four years into the future: why do they do this? I can’t imagine any of them have ever been remotely correct. They exist in a world without trades, free agency, or the vagaries of player development.
Eric A Longenhagen: Meh. i think it’s just a fun thing to do and that doing something like that attracts casual baseball fans to your stuff. I agree it’s not really a useful exercise from an analysis standpoint for the reasons you suggest.
Jefferson: How does Benjamin Bailey’s upside compare with some of the 2019 J2 class? I hear so much hype about Maximo Acosta, bayron Lora, etc, but almost nothing about Bailey
Eric A Longenhagen: I have him a tier behind all those guys. Let me see if I can get Dolinar to make the Search function on the Board enable you to type “2019 J2” and get all the guys. You can kind of sort it to do that now but not as cleanly as I’d like.
Nitpicker!: In the TEX write-up you referred to Anderson Tejeda (FV45+) being in the same “tier” as Bryson Stott (FV45+) and Greg Jones (FV45). Do the 45s and 45+s constitute a tier, or are you suggesting something more about Greg Jones?
Eric A Longenhagen: I should have said they’re similar player types. Shortstops (maybe) with power but issues with contact for various reasons.
Eric A Longenhagen: LAD, CLE, CIN (then the East Valley cluster and I’m done)
Carlos: Next list(s) in order will be….
Sandy: Hi Eric, will LHP Matt Turner or cINF J. Noel make the Indians list?
Eric A Longenhagen: Noel will, Turner will not. His performance made it so I did some work on him but he’s 87-90 without impact movement. Just not enough stuff to be on there yet.
Sandy: When you’re writing the Indians list, give Adam Scott a mention
Eric A Longenhagen: another guy who has performed. 90-94 as a starter, he’s 24 but was only drafted in 2018 so has 40-man flexibility even though he’s at the upper levels. Can you shoehorn him as a reliever somehow? Yeah kinda interesting.
Ford: Do you think the draft process (both MLB and other sports) will change after all of this? Move to less in-person workouts or something. Idk about baseball, but NBA at least has a ton of in-person workouts that seem to bias teams towards “workout warriors” that don’t seem to work out much
Eric A Longenhagen: If problems with the virus persist then I do think we’ll have to change how some things are done in the short term (almost certainly next year, maybe 2022) with less reliance on travel for all parties involved (scouts to games on planes, players to tournaments on planes) but some people are hellbent on making money, too. Did you see Drew Rosenhaus on planes and in multiple players’ living rooms during the draft? There’s a travel ball circuit CEO on Twitter who’s kind of a virus truther and wants to get going again soon…
Eric A Longenhagen: it’s gonna be a weird time even once we get back to work
Bob: Have you specifically discussed with your FO sources the challenges of developing young players in the minors this year? If so, what kind of things are being discussed.
Eric A Longenhagen: We’ve talked about what scenarios we think are likely (I mentioned the taxi squad likelihood earlier) as things get underway and later in the fall. Decisions about what will happen this year are being discussed and made at pay grades way, way above the people I just casually talk to on the phone, though. Some orgs have players on their complex right now because those kids never left, they either couldn’t or didn’t want to.
Guest: For those who haven’t seen Yermin Mercedes, what should we visualize to get a sense of his punk rock swing?
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.