Eric Longenhagen Chat: 9/13/18

Eric A Longenhagen: Hey from Tempe, everyone.

Eric A Longenhagen: Not much to link to because I was off last week and have been doing work on the guts of the Board this week in preparation for the offseason, so let’s hop right in to this…

Padulla: Out of all the recent international signees by the Yankees, which one are you most excited to see?

Eric A Longenhagen: Kevin Alcantara, who is simply the kind of player I like to watch. Yankees instrux games start the 25th. Haven’t seen their roster yet but lots of July 2 signees are here in the fall for instrux so he can be seen, domestically.

Ben: The Yankees system didn’t quite hit the highs of previous years – should Yankees fans be disappointed? Or is the ‘fall’ of the system in rankings more due to Major League graduations, which are obviously good?

Eric A Longenhagen: I think it’s clear their recent record of player dev means the system is always ‘good’ if there’s malleable talent in the lower levels, and there is.

Towel: What is Ramon Laureano? Is he actually this guy racking up DRS in CF and mashing taters with A 10% bb rate? Or something less than that

Eric A Longenhagen: I don’t know, Towel. He looked awesome in the 2016 AFL and I thought he could be an everyday player. Then he was terrible the following year. I saw him this spring and didn’t think he looked very good, had less twitch to him, the physical ability had just appeared to have left. And now he’s great again. So, he’s been all over the place and  I just don’t know what to make of him. He’s playing great, though.

A big dumb idiot: What can we expect from Nate Pearson in the AFL?

Eric A Longenhagen: No idea. Once guys get assigned to Fall League rosters I stop asking about them since they’ll just be here in a month. I asumme he’ll also tune up during instructional league, though.

Bored at work: Malcom Nunez and Jhon Torres. Anything tools to back ups their complex league performances or just statistical flash in the pans?

Eric A Longenhagen: I’ve got nothing on Nunez and I don’t think the Cardinals are playing instructional league games so he’s going to be a tough one to gather info on for the Cards list. Torres is very talented. Traditional RF profile. Big, 6-3 frame, power, athletic, feel to hit is fine.

Angelus Novus: Did you know Dean Kremer (of the Machado trade) had the most Ks in all of MILB with 178?  Has he elevated his profile? Orioles fans need any morsel of good news to cling to these days

Eric A Longenhagen: If he learns to set up his change, he’s a good rotation piece. If not, a good reliever. So, yep.

NYTT: There seems to be two trends within Camargo’s season: the first half was a really patient hitter with bad BABIP luck and the second is a less patient/more strikeout hitter with regression to the mean BABIP and more power. Question is, who is he long term?

Eric A Longenhagen: Coming up, I thought he’d be a premium utility guy. I think there’s been a little more game power this year than I’d expected moving forward, but still probably enough to be an everydya player.

Eric A Longenhagen: Though, maybe Austin Riley’s presence forces him into a lesser role?

Rox Fan: Does Garrett Hampson’s 2018 performance improve his forecast from super-utility type to everyday player?

Eric A Longenhagen: I think he’ll get a chance to be the everyday guy at 2B with Lemahieu set for free agency and I bet he sticks

Old Timer: Who in the high minors has a chance to be the next  Ramon Laureano?  By that I mean a prospect without much shine currently who could actually wind up as an actual MLB starter.

Eric A Longenhagen: Just peeking at the older players on The Board to eyeball some potential candidates: Tim Locastro (speed/contact guy on the favorable end of the defensive spectrum in an org that has a history of tweaking swings for the better), Adolis Garcia (tools guy who might get pushed out of a crowded OF picture in StL), Conner Joe (another Dodgers swing change guy)

Adam: Is the “catching controversy” in San Diego being overblown? Austin Hedges’ career high in games started is 120 and that’s also the only season in which he’s caught over 100 games. There seems to be plenty of playing time to go around.

Eric A Longenhagen: I think you can pair Mejia and Hedges effectively. Mejia can catch the guys with lesser stuff to mask his deficiencies. I just think this is just a thing for people invested in the Padres to talk about during a meaningless September and it’s not controversial in any way.

Coach K: Talent and opportunity, when it comes together who are your top 5 prospects that in your opinion make a nice splash as rookie starting pitchers in 2019.

Eric A Longenhagen: I think we some of who we’ll see next year are Paddack, Duplantier, Honeywell, Keller, Neidert, Puk, Jose Suarez and Taylor Hearn

Eric A Longenhagen: Oh, Colin Poche, too. Which will be very interesting.

976: If Austin Allen can catch, and that’s a big if that he’ll answer in fall league, does his FV go up?  Is he the backup in SD eventually?

Eric A Longenhagen: Yes. Might be ‘a’ backup eventually maybe not ‘the’ backup, if that makes sense.

Dan: Welcome back after a week off!  Of the 2018 draftees, who in your mind has made the biggest rankings jump from where you and Kiley initially had them?

Eric A Longenhagen: Those evals tend not to change but the few that I believe we were light on and will alter this offseason: Cole Roederer (Cubs OF who I thought was a high-contact LF without pop, has gotten stronger than I anticipated he would and was crushing the b all in the AZL), Austin Cox (Royals lefty relief prospect with two-pitch mix that I think will miss big league bats, could move fast), Josiah Gray (Reds draftee, athletic conversion arm frmo small, northeastern school. Mid-90s, slider flashes plus, lots of strikes)

Fall Ball: Can you explain the World Series odds to me? If the Dodgers have less than a 70% chance of making the playoffs and the Braves are around 97%, how are LA’s odds of winning it all nearly 4 times as high as ATL’s?

Eric A Longenhagen: The projection system thinks the Dodgers are more talented than Atlanta in a vacuum but the Dodgers postseason situation is more in doubt due to how tightly packed they are atop their division.

Davey Jones’ Lockerroom: Hi Eric.  What’s your thought on the end of season showing for Kyle Lewis, Julio Rodriguez, and Evan White?  Encouraged? What you’d expect?  Underwhelmed?

Eric A Longenhagen: Very encouraged by White’s changes. I really like Julio but he’s much more physical than the typical teenager and probably belonged in the AZL. Lewis I’m still hesitant.

Try anything once.: Have you and Kiley considered ranking pitchers and position players separately? It seems like an over-complicated task to try to compare such different species in one list. And what’s to lose? The magical, mystical number 100?

Eric A Longenhagen: We’ve talked about how best to account for the issues you’re alluding to but never gone so far as to suggest separating the two completely.  You can also just view hitters and pitchers on The Board, separately,.

Jack: What are your thoughts on Dustin Fowler? Struggled during his run in the big leagues this year but seemed to really impress in AAA. Solid 4th outfielder/occasional starter, or do you think he has unfixable problems?

Eric A Longenhagen: Still think he’s an everyday player. Low-OBP CF with power.

Abe: Cake or pie?

Eric A Longenhagen: Pie. It’s gotta be the right pie(s), but the ceiling on pie is higher. I’ll take a Derby Pie over any cake. But I’d take generic chocolate cake over a pie I don’t like for textural reasons.

James: Angels have a lot of good young arms coming up. Thoughts on Jose Soriano? He has grown 4 inches and added 40 lb since the Angels signed him in 2016 as a 16 yo.

Eric A Longenhagen: Saw him yesterday, was 92-94 exclusively from the stretch during an unscheduled instructional league intrasquad. Have seen him up to 97, flash a plus curveball. Have also seen him really struggle to locate. I really like him, but he has shortcomings you’d expect for a teenage prospect of this type.

Bill: Is Dominic Smith still a potential plus regular?

Eric A Longenhagen: I’ve always just had a 50 on him, which I think is more than the Mets think he is. It sure looks that way on the outside, anyway.

James: Why wouldn’t the Angels throw Canning and Suarez this year to get their feet wet? Season is over and there is no real risk (other than their confidence) and both are still going to pitch in fall leagues. Is it a service time thing?

Eric A Longenhagen: It’s probably partially a service time thing and also an innings thing (especially for Canning, who was worked really hard at UCLA)

Vinbaka: What’s your current grade on Tapia? Had a nice season in AAA.

Eric A Longenhagen: 50

Nate: Any other Indians prospects in Arizona that have popped into the 35FV since the mid season update? It seems like there have been a lot of surprises in the lower levels of their system this year

Eric A Longenhagen: I think the guys I’ve got on there now are probably it? We’re gonna move like 6-10 players this week (just players we’ve seen the last few weeks and feel strongly about and also as a way of setting some checkpoints as we line players up later in the offseason. One of the guys I’ll be moving is Brayan Rocchio.

Logan: There have been multiple articles in the past indicating hitters tend to be worth more in terms of surplus value than pitchers when in the same FV or ranking tier (at least for 50FV and above). That doesn’t seem to be reflected in your current rankings. Is that because you have issues with the research, or because you believe your valuation of pitching prospects will be more selective and flatten the values out going forward?

Eric A Longenhagen: I guess I’d disagree that it isn’t reflected in the rankings and ask you to support that with something. If anything I wonder if we sometimes round down on pitchers too much.

CubbieBlues: Hey Eric, thanks for chatting. Should we read anything into the aggressive promotions of Keegan Thompson? Any chance he gets an up arrow on the BOARD sometime soon?

Eric A Longenhagen: I think you can take it as a sign that he’s moving past some of the other college arms from his draft class in that org.

Billy Beane: Thanks for the chat, Eric. Do you have any strong feelings about Willians Astudillo? It seems like basically everyone who isn’t a scout loves him because he is so strange and so fun, but I don’t know that I’ve actually read a proper scouting report on him (apologies ifone exists that I simply missed).

Eric A Longenhagen: Of course I love Astudillo and it’s great that he’s up and others get to revel in such a bizarre skillset and physical package. Weird players are scattered throughout the minors and it’s cool when one comes up and becomes a cult sensation like this.

Eric A Longenhagen: As for you second question, he’s probably been an Honorable Mention for me at some point, just because his peripherals have been so nuts.

Matt : Any thoughts on the Phillies firing all their minor league hitting instructors?  What are your current thoughts on their system?  Seems like with hoskins/crawford/kingery/williams/alfaro all graduated they won’t have any position players coming for quite some time

Eric A Longenhagen: I still like the system and think the timing of the moves makes sense given that the player you’re citing are now finished with the developmental program and the next wave of really interesting talent is mostly in A-ball or below and will have multiple years under the new system. As far as position players coming up soon, it’ll be more of a trickle than a deluge like the last two years but Haseley is almost there, Moniak’s second half could see him in Double-A next year, any of the talented MIFs could take off at any time.

Dave in London: Does Derek Fisher fit into Houston’s plans next year, or is he just trade bait/4-AAA fill-in going forward?

Eric A Longenhagen: Teams have asked for FIsher in trades and Houston has said no, which could mean they think he’s a long term piece or just that they preferred him to Teoscar and Laureano as a depth option in the moment.

Bernie: General question on THE BOARD – it looks like a huge majority of the prospects listed are either medium or high variance players. Why that approach versus raising the cutoffs for low-medium-high, then saying “all prospects are risky, attrition is very likely, these variance rankings are relative to the very risky pool of players we have”?

Eric A Longenhagen: Great question. Part of it is we’d like ‘variance’ to mean more than ‘risk’, otherwise we’d have just called it ‘risk’. Part of what we incorporate into that is the chances that a guy really takes off. And if we’re trying to do that we can’t just make an adjustment to the way we view the whole population because, and I think this is reasonable, some of these players don’t have the kind of physical talent to do that. It’s not a perfect system and we’re currently arguing about adding projected roles or some other means of communicating this thing that perhaps ‘variance’ doesn’t communicate well enough.

Logan: How much will Bobby Witt’s age hurt him in the draft?

Eric A Longenhagen: Meh, I think age is more a way to separate the talents toward the middle of the pack than up top. If anything hurts him it’s concern about the hit tool, though I guess his age kind of adds fuel to that particular fire.

John: If julio rodriguez of the mariners was in this years draft where would he have gone? Potential star?

Eric A Longenhagen: Mid to late round 1? Just looking at our 2018 draft board he’d probably slot behind the preps we think stay up the middle, so somewhere near Groshans

Mike: Seems like there’s at least some chance that Daz Cameron, Willi Castro, Isaac Paredes and Jake Rogers are getting meaningful MLB at bats next year. How many of those guys would you view as having a legit chance of being legit regulars for the Tigers moving forward?

Eric A Longenhagen: All of them

Nate: Can Royce Lewis be the number 1 prospect a year from now?

Eric A Longenhagen: Sure, I could see that.

Billy E: Trent Deveaux was horrible in AZL this year, while D’Shawn Knowles was great, reaching Orem and looking like he’ll debut in A ball next year at 18 years old. Worried about Deveaux, and has Knowles passed him?

Eric A Longenhagen: I’m not sure what to make of Deveaux after a season of constant mechanical tweaks, including one in the middle of yesterday’s game. This is unusual. I don’t know if it’s bad, but he has played badly. Knowles is good.

James: Angels drafted a lot of pitchers in 2018 and many didn’t throw during the minor league season, but they are all throwing in the instructional league. Is this common for teams to do? Is it a more controlled setting?

Eric A Longenhagen: Pretty common to have some kind of limitation to the workload, but not always the entire rest of the summer.

Roger: What position will Nick Senzel end up playing long-term?

Eric A Longenhagen: He’s listed on the Reds instructional league roster as an OF, so perhaps it’s that. Think he’s good at 3B, though.

James: Could Forrest Whitley make the opening day roster?

Eric A Longenhagen: Barring injury i’ll guess no

Quentin: How excited are you for a second AFL with Monte Harrison? Will you have higher expectations/hopes for him?

Eric A Longenhagen: Super excited

Hunter: What does Bryan Reynolds need to do to impress in the AFL? Continue hitting around .300? Hit for more power?

Eric A Longenhagen: Either show that he can play a solid CF or that the swing change will still yield enough power to support the profile in a corner

TiredFan: Any studies you are aware of on how travel affects playoff teams.  If the Yanks go to the West Coast for a one-gamer, I assume that puts them at a biological disadvantage (e.g., crossing time zones, fatigue).  Would they send the starting nine out to Oakland if there is nothing to play for in the final game or two of the season?

Eric A Longenhagen: I think there have been season-long studies on travel but maybe not on single-game effects? There’s probably enough of a sample to look at how teams perform the next day relative to baseline after a cross country flight, though.

Eric A Longenhagen: Okay folks, I’m gonna wrap up. Thanks very much for stopping by, see you here next 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 Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.

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