Eric Longenhagen Chat: 6/5/2020

12:02
Eric A Longenhagen: Morning. Abbreviated chat today, but I’ll try to move fast to get to a ton of questions.

12:02
Vern: After the draft and the Cubs and A’s lists, what do you see yourself doing for the next year without a minor league season? Any fun projects in the works that you normally wouldn’t have had the time for?

12:03
Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah, my hope is to make some structural changes to the board, do some research with all this TM data I’ve collected and publish those pieces, etc. Mostly tho I need a break after the draft.

12:03
Mike: Do you plan to update your draft board again prior to Wednesday?

12:03
Eric A Longenhagen: I’ll brush it up this weekend and Monday morning it’ll be final.

12:04
Evan: Hancock or Meyer?

12:04
Donny J.T.: Will there be any scout coverage of the taxi squad workouts/games?

12:05
Eric A Longenhagen: If I’m allowed to attend, of course.

12:05
Darren: In this strange year, are there ‘risers’ or ‘fallers’ in this draft? If so, what factors lead to players moving up or down? Or is it just about teams figuring out signability?

12:06
Eric A Longenhagen: You nailed one with signability, the other is just a lag in the way info flows to publications (whether it’s players who popped up in that brief 4 week window or scouts telling us what players their model likes a lot)

12:06
Dominikk85: Are you are but concerned about andrew Vaughn’s exit velocity? His average EV was good but his top EV was only 111 last year. That isn’t bad of course but would have ranked him 110th out of 250 qualified guys last year (so more slightly above avg than plus). There were guys hitting 30 bombs with that kind of top ev range last year (esp with juiced ball) but could his raw power be more just ok than true masher? Or will his contact quality compensate for that? If ball goes back to less juiced could that affect his game power? Obviously still a good hitter but maybe not a pete alonso type of masher?

12:07
Eric A Longenhagen: He doesn’t have elite raw, it’s about approach and consistency of contact, as you said.

12:07
Osiris: AL/NL ROY sleepers with expanded rosters? Not sure about AL but Jake Cronenworth is my NL choice

12:09
Eric A Longenhagen: Ooooh, that’s a sly sleeper if they run him out at 2B everyday or something. Post-hype Forrest Whitley in AL?

12:09
GPT: Giants likely to take on more risk at 13, who do you like with that profile there?

12:10
Eric A Longenhagen: I like Howard

12:10
Dominikk85: With 5 rounds this year what will happen? Will teams try to get extra cute with deals due to changed situation? Or will they be more conservative, mostly go with slot values and just try to get 5 legitimate prospects? Could this be a situation were progressive teams gain an edge because they can model new situations while the old school teams and the “wait 2-3 years to see if new trend is real” teams could either get burned trying to do new stuff or not trying new stuff at all because of uncertainty fear?

12:11
Eric A Longenhagen: I think a couple teams will get creative (it takes a team having a couple extra picks and also liking Landon Knack, or someone like that, a lot) but most will be conservative, and I bet we see a lot of seniors go in rounds 4 and 5 for $30k just so teams can ensure they get their earlier picks done.

12:11
Big Fan: Eric, in other years, where would the top high school RHPs likely go in the draft?

12:13
Eric A Longenhagen: Abel goes in or close to the top ten and is the best prep arm in most drafts, though I did like Libby and Cole Winn more a couple years ago. Bitsko probably gets there with a whole spring. Kelley is more a late first type

12:13
RT: Will there be another mock and a final mock before Wednesday’s draft? Or just a final mock day of?

12:13
Eric A Longenhagen: Monday, Wednesday, then maybe (if things become clearer during the day Wed), just teams and names right before the draft.

12:14
Big Fan: Any chance Bitsko slips all the way to the Braves at 25?

12:14
Eric A Longenhagen: Yes but I think the advisor tries to push him to the comp round where there’s more $, so don’t think ATL is really a fit.

12:15
Greg: Any new insight on what Atlanta wants to do at 25 or draft philosophy as a whole?

12:16
Eric A Longenhagen: I think they’ll take a college arm. Jarvis, maybe Roa.

12:16
Sam: Just finished Future Value (great read, everyone should buy it). In the acknowledgements, you mentioned being up for a local theater award senior year. I have to ask, what was your Freddy nomination for?

12:17
Eric A Longenhagen: supporting actor, godspell

12:17
D: In your book, it seems Jasson dominguez was the most highly sought J2 signing in quite some time. I’m wondering about acquiring him now in dynasty baseball, because he is sure to skyrocket on all prospect lists with just one year of good production, right? Like does he become a 60-65-70 FV on your list with one good season (because all the tools seem to be there)? Where would you put him after hitting .300 with 12 hr’s in half a season of rk ball?

12:19
Eric A Longenhagen: I can’t imagine having him near the very top of the overall list that quickly, and I’m not sure this year’s play environment is going to interact with industry confidence.

12:19
Queenbee: In fantasy where SLG (no OBP), do you prefer B. Davis or C. Carroll?

12:20
Eric A Longenhagen: Davis. Love Carroll, but Davis’ frame is has overt power projection.

12:20
Jacob: Is catcher defense considerably less valuable with the anticipation of the automated strike zone so framing (which I think is the most valuable aspect of catcher defense would be nonexistent). Where would you rank the most valuable positions to have a good defender with the automated strike zone

12:22
Eric A Longenhagen: I’d set the over/under on league wide average wRC+ for catchers at 95, which is where it was before we could quantify framing. That would still make it one of the top two most valuable positions.

12:22
Pirates Hurdles: Hi Eric, thanks for all the content. When can we expect an INTL update for this year’s group?

12:23
Eric A Longenhagen: If they move the signing deadline then probably not until later in the summer. If they don’t, then definitely this month (like I said, your boy needs a break)

12:23
miles: cancelled season/potential of short season ball getting eliminated seems like it would really hurt raw guys still learning the game, no? i’m thinking pj hilson types, dudes from the bahamas with little baseball skills

12:23
Eric A Longenhagen: i agree

12:24
Asif: Since they’re both switch hitting first basemen, how would you compare Aaron Sabato to Michael Toglia, who went in the first around last year?

12:24
Eric A Longenhagen: Sabato has more raw juice but Toglia’s build suggest more athletic longevity, and Toglia is a value-add glove at 1B.

12:25
Reid: Otherwise starved for sports content, went back and watched the 2017 Fangraphs draft coverage video. Fun to see where you got it right (Keston Huira indeed rakes, Mackenzie Gore’s delivery clearly works) and where you and Chris might have missed the mark (I don’t think Kyle Wright and David Petersen are going to be the best pitching prospects from that class).

12:25
Eric A Longenhagen: Yup. Better understanding of how fastballs work just 3 years later.

12:25
Eric A Longenhagen: I once had Corey Ray stuffed, too.

12:25
Tim: When should we expect the A’s and Cubs lists to be posted? Thanks for all your great work.

12:25
Eric A Longenhagen: Early next week.

12:26
Pat: Let’s say every player in this draft hypothetically reaches his ceiling. Who is the best player?

12:26
Eric A Longenhagen: Veen

12:27
Uncle Yucko: Any surprised in the minor league cuts outside of Isaias Quiroz?

12:29
Eric A Longenhagen: I have to go through and see if anyone on The Board has been cut so I can peel them off (will be done as drafted players are added) but of the names I’ve seen so far, none of the guys I consider prospects have been cut. Some honorable mention guys on lists have, though. Jeffry Abreu was one that surprised me.

12:29
Guest: Which college players in the 25-50 or 60 range on THE BOARD have the best tools?

12:29
Eric A Longenhagen: Casey Martin, but his approach is really bad.

12:30
Timofey: Is there a link to sortable minor league exit velo data?

12:30
Kevin: Where do you think Dalton Varsho ends up defensively? If he is not a catcher, does he drop down your fantasy ranking?

12:30
Eric A Longenhagen: I think he ends up catching some and playing OF, small chance he sees some time at 2B.

12:31
Kevin: Which 5 prospects, off the top of your head, will benefit most from the likely taxi squad?

12:34
Eric A Longenhagen: Wander Franco (I think facing a mix of 40-man, Triple- and Double-A pitching immediately will be great for him), Jazz Chisholm (same reason, he needs to start making adjustments and it has to happen vs upper crust arms), Lodolo, Max Meyer, Clayton Beeter (all of which I’d guess find a way to debut this year)

12:34
BarryBondsJuicedForOurSins: “His 2019 swing was still noisier than a Dinosaur Jr. concert in a giant aluminum dome” *chef’s kiss* perfect

12:35
Eric A Longenhagen: https://vimeo.com/369086881

12:36
Jacob: Which teams do you consider the most progressive / analytical who uses the draft models in their evaluation a lot? Maybe besides (NYY, TBR, LAD, HOU who i assumes are the most advanced in reference to analytics)

12:36
Eric A Longenhagen: HOU for sure, CLE, LAA, MIL

12:37
Billy G: Do you think we’ll see more players pull out of the draft before Wednesday?

12:37
Eric A Longenhagen: Yes, probably a couple

12:38
Kenny: Who are a couple guys in your personal 75-100 right now, that you think have the chance to be top 25 (or 30) going into next year?

12:38
Eric A Longenhagen: that stretch of huge upside guys from 75 to 82

12:38
Jason: I apologize if you have covered this before, but what exactly is bat control? I think I have a good idea, but just want to know for sure. Is it the ability to adjust to the pitch mid swing?

12:39
Eric A Longenhagen: ability to get barrel to pitches all over the zone, and yeah I’d include mid-flight adjustment to breaking stuff/offspeed.

12:40
G: What HS prospects could fall because of signability?

12:41
Eric A Longenhagen: I don’t think they’ll fall as much as not be drafted: Tanner Witt (first round $ or doesn’t sign, sounds like), Petey Halpin, Drew Bowser.

12:41
Eli: Tanner Witt is better than Jared Kelley. Tell me I’m wrong.

12:43
Eric A Longenhagen: I think you can make that argument. I’m taking the bulldog who goes at dudes with mid-90s heat and might have a 7 changeup. Witt is the athlete, projection, spin type, and it’s cool if you just like that type of guy rather than the thick dude with a fringe curveball.

12:43
Edwin: If there is a boarder line between SP and RP of poor command top prospects, which BB% is your choice?

12:43
Eric A Longenhagen: 9-11% if where it starts to get fuzzy.

12:43
Mordecai and Rigby: Hey Eric. What would you do if you were the scouting director in regards to Tyler Soderstrom? Keep him at C or move him to 3B/OF? The bat seems really special

12:45
Eric A Longenhagen: I’m catching him three times a week and picking either 3B or OF (hell, let the kid pick which) for the rest of the reps. Multi-positional catchers are so valuable. And you wanna keep the catching alive as long as possible.

12:45
Jamal: How much upside does Nick Garcia have? He seems like the perfect upside okay for a 2nd rounder to me….

12:45
Eric A Longenhagen: Saw him in February and he was 90-94 with an average slider. He was throwing absolute smoke in the fall, though. 2nd round is rich for me, he’d be 3rd/4th on my board

12:46
Chase: Any truth to the rumor that Damon Oppenheimer has been living in a tent on Austin Wells front lawn?

12:46
Eric A Longenhagen: I lol’d

12:47
Eric A Longenhagen: I do think Wells is in play late rd 1

12:47
Pat: This is obviously a hard year for front offices with limited scouting availability. Any chance a decides to just punt and offer the bare minimum bonus necessary to get a 2021 comp pick and roll into what hopefully will be a more normal season with 2 first round picks?

12:47
Eric A Longenhagen: eh, i doubt it. 100k up front is such a good deal for all these players, almost ensures everyone uses their whole pool and doesn’t do that stuff.

12:47
Mordecai and Rigby: Do you think RHP Will Sanders is comparable to Tyler Glasnow in HS? Both were super projectable and I think Sanders gains more velo on his fastball, right?

12:48
Eric A Longenhagen: Nah, I think Sanders is actually pretty advanced whereas Glasnow was super raw until his mid-20s.

12:48
DJ: What team(s) do you have the toughest time getting draft intel on?

12:50
Eric A Longenhagen: The teams mid round 1 who have new directors or GMs or who might be in the midst of a philosophical change. So, Philly, White Sox (new directors), Texas (sounds like analysts playing larger role), SF

12:50
Trent Hauser: Do you see future draft prospects focusing on meeting pitch metrics rather than building complete games? Does that question even make sense?

12:52
Eric A Longenhagen: No, I know what you’re saying. I do think there are some players for which the procedural aspects of baseball are not yet intuitive and orgs/facilities are training for that stuff prematurely, both in hitters and pitchers. I’d rather let you do whatever it is you’re doing mechanically (unless I think it’ll get you hurt) early on in your career until playing baseball is like breathing, then start to make tweaks. A lot of young kids are thinking through what to do on the field and what they’re trying to do mechanically at the same time, and I think it slows dev.

12:53
Mary: Is the only thing keeping Meyer from being the top pitcher in the draft just size and durability concerns?

12:53
Eric A Longenhagen: More relief risk than the other guys. Probably about the same as Lacy but Lacy has the more robust repertoire.

12:54
Billy G: In a world where Kyler Murray doesn’t sign with the A’s and they get the #10 pick in last year’s draft, how does that change that draft? Both for the A’s and in general

12:54
Eric A Longenhagen: That’s one hell of a question and I have no idea.

12:55
Mordecai and Rigby: Favorite draft prospect name in this year’s draft?

12:56
Eric A Longenhagen: Markevian Hence and Storm Hierholzer

12:56
Danny: How would you compare Ed Howard with Anthony Volpe? I understand neither have great tools, are likely to stay at short and are a sum greater than parts players but don’t know how they compare other than that generalization

12:57
Eric A Longenhagen: Howard’s frame and power projection > than Volpe’s, in essence where the + in Howard’s 45+ FV grade comes from. Volpe was a flat 45 last year.

12:57
nb: Eric – Assuming it happens, is it safe to assume that the AFL will be absolutely loaded this year?

12:57
Eric A Longenhagen: Oh yes.

12:59
Eric A Longenhagen: okay that’s gonna do it for me. Thanks for stopping by this week.

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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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