Eric Longenhagen Chat- 9/18/20

12:01
Eric A Longenhagen: Good morning, chat. hope everyone’s well, let’s talk some ball

12:02
Mark: Will Ryan Pepiot rise in the prospect rankings for the Dodgers? Reports are of an extremely successful summer camp.

12:04
Eric A Longenhagen: Hmm, I’ve already got him stuffed pretty good. He’ll be reconsidered like everyone else during the offseason, but I already considered him a highly-ranked prospect entering the season. https://www.fangraphs.com/prospects/the-board/2020-in-season-prospect-…

12:04
Guest: Do you think Stiever is more likely to hang on as a starter beyond this season or is his stuff better suited as a reliever?

12:05
Eric A Longenhagen: Still probably a starter long term. Tough to see him enjoying enough of a velo bump out of the bullpen to be a late-inning weapon, and unless he’s a late-inning weapon he’d be more valuable as a 4/5th starter than any other kind of reliever

12:05
Larry Jones: What’s your opinion on Padres number 8 prospect Yeison Santana? Do you believe his bat will be able to play at the major league level?

12:05
Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah I’m pretty enthused about him which is why he’s ranked so high.

12:05
shortstoppin_: Is Marsh a good enough centerfielder to justify moving Trout to left field as soon as he’s up?

12:08
Eric A Longenhagen: In my opinion, yes. Not that he’s an elite defender or anything, just that he’s slightly better than Trout is at this point. But I can also see the Angels doing what NYY did with Jeter and just leaving him there rather than deal with “has our star lost a step, is this a passing of the baton?” media histrionics.

12:08
Billy G: Lew Brinson…doesn’t suck?

12:08
Eric A Longenhagen: Actually hitting for power during the last month or so. Still swinging a lot, though. I’m encouraged but not letting my guard down yet.

12:09
Guest: So if Adell were qualified he would be the worst player in MLB this year. I know he’s young and learning, but is being this bad a little worrisome?

12:10
Eric A Longenhagen: A little bit, sure. Guys who bust often do so in this way, but I’m still betting on him making adjustments and being a really good player, eventually. This is, after all, a small sample season and Adell is the age of a college draftee. It’s ridiculous to expect him to be great immediately.

12:11
Neesy: Any cheaper J2 signings from 2019 that have good reports on them. Patino and Espinal seemed to come out of nowhere for Arizona last year.

12:13
Eric A Longenhagen: Patino was ’17, Espinal was ’18. Maybe this will help: https://www.fangraphs.com/prospects/the-board?sort=18,-1&filter=statfi…

12:13
B: Jonathan Stievers is pitching for the White Sox against the Reds tonight. Any updates to his scouting report? How has he looked in jumping from high A all the way to the majors?

12:14
Eric A Longenhagen: This will be in the AL Central prospect update coming Monday: “Jonathan Stiever’s promotion was instructive because we got to see his velocity coming off of forearm soreness that ended his spring. He sat 91-94, which is a little below his peak 2019 breakout when he would touch 6’s and 7’s. His changeup looked good, though, and it was a stabilizing force during a jittery first start. He’ll need to locate his slider more consistently for it to be effective, and the same goes for his heater if it’s going to live around 93.”

12:15
TF Fredrik: Curious if you have still been hearing from team officials about player X or player Y looking amazing or leveling up even though they aren’t playing competitive games. Would teams be able to notice large improvements with the setup they have for player development this year? Or do you need real games to trust what you see at training sites?

12:16
Eric A Longenhagen: Prospect writing rule of thumb is to discount the opinions of team personnel regarding their own players for reasons that I hope are obvious to everyone reading this chat. I think the campsite environment is bad for evaluating players, especially hitters who are seeing the same pitchers over and over and over.

12:16
Joe: Have you heard any names that the Braves let go from their baseball ops?

12:17
Eric A Longenhagen: Yes, I’m aware of some on the scouting side.

12:17
Brandon J.: Now that the sample is getting a little larger in the bigs, what are your impressions on Tony Gonsolin?

12:18
Eric A Longenhagen: It looks to me like his arm slot is not as extremely north/south as before and that it’s maybe hurt the quality of his splitter but helped his slider, and I’m not sure how, on balance, that impacts his profile. Would still 50 him at this point.

12:19
BarryBondsJuicedForOurSins: DeMarcus Evans got the call up and I saw some blurb say he’s gonna be the next Karinchak…and that seems unlikely. Thoughts on that comparison?

12:22
Eric A Longenhagen: It’s possible. Of the minor league TM data I sourced last year, Evans’ fastball had the most vertical break, but six of the top eight fastballs in my data set were from the Texas org, which seemed fishy (as in, maybe they had a miscalibrated unit?)

12:22
Eric A Longenhagen: But if it’s true then his fastball is like Karinchak’s fastball

12:23
JJ: Hey Eric, as a fellow Arizonian, curious to get your take on what spring training could or should look like for fans in the spring. Might be too early to say but with schedules get ceremoniously released this past week it got me thinking.

12:23
Eric A Longenhagen: I think if they can do on-site rapid reagent testing or if there’s a way you can show you’ve been vaccinated, great. If not, nope.

12:24
YardGoat: Have any initial thoughts on Hayes so far or are you saving that for the NL Central rundown? Seems like he’s hitting the ball hard and just needs some lift to get to a 25 HR type player

12:24
Eric A Longenhagen: Agreed but that has been the case for a while now. I don’t expect it will change but I think he’ll be a very good player anyway.

12:24
Jason: Any intel on Mackeznie Gore? Figured he would be up by now.

12:25
Eric A Longenhagen: None, and SD’s campsite isn’t producing data so I have almost no way of knowing.

12:25
Justin: Do you think given the historical trajectory of hard throwing prep arms like Daniel Espino, that Cleveland should attempt to fast track him a little to extract the most value from that arm? He should have the polish to move somewhat quicker than most in his situation anyway?

12:26
Eric A Longenhagen: I think this is the approach teams should take with pitchers, generally. HS pitchers who are brought along more slowly than their stuff/execution would otherwise allow (for service time considerations, mostly) are basically hoping for no TJ whammies for four or five years, and that’s scary.

12:27
Nate: Are you buying that Framber Valdez is a viable starter now for Houston?

12:27
Eric A Longenhagen: yes

12:27
Guest: You had a “45 equivalent” grade on Dustin fowler heading into the year. The As have not been interested in even seeing him on the major league bench. Since he is out of options next year, is he destined for a DFA? Does Oakland try to trade him to a rebuilding club this off-season?

12:30
Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah I was wondering exactly this earlier this week. It’s possible he gets an opportunity in Oakland next year with Robbie Grossman hitting free agency but he probably needs to beat out Brown, Barrera, Bolt and whomever they bring in. He’s perhaps a buy low/change of scenery type for SF or BAL or Rebuilding Club X to try out.

12:31
Guest: Are Jose Garcia and Jazz Chisholm simply not ready for MLB pitching? Do you see either as their team’s starting SS on Opening Day 2021?

12:31
Eric A Longenhagen: Yes to both.

12:31
Philz: Moniak’s promotion seemed pretty out of nowhere, have you heard much about how good he might have looked at the alt site?

12:32
Eric A Longenhagen: I’ve seen Philly campsite video and Mickey Mo came in to camp without a leg kick and then reintroduced it pretty quickly and was hitting liners into the gaps against Philly’s campsite arms (Enyel De Los Santos, Garrett Cleavinger types). Thought he looked pretty good considering the layoff.

12:32
J.D. Martin: One more question RE: Adell, his tool grades look the same from preseason except for fielding got lowered by a half grade, so is his FV dropping from 65 to 60 more heavily influenced by needing a longer adjustment phase than first thought -> he won’t contribute as much WAR for his 6-7 years of team control? Or does the fielding grade have that much of an impact?

12:33
Eric A Longenhagen: The former, great question.

12:33
Dave: your thoughts on Corbin Burnes’ future?

12:33
Eric A Longenhagen: He seems to finally be doing what I’d hoped he would.

12:34
Appa Yip Yip: Do you think Julian Merryweather could start, or does his injury history make it more likely he just stays in the bullpen?

12:34
Eric A Longenhagen: bullpen, but perhaps high leverage

12:34
Billy G: Saw someone praising Matt McLain’s bat to ball skills and saying he’s similar to Madrigal…I’m obv scouting the stat line here, but those BB/K %s don’t scream awesome hitter. What am I missing?

12:35
Eric A Longenhagen: A madrigal contact comp is excessive (Nicky had the lowest swinging strike rate in all of the minors last year) but I do think the bat is what’s driving his profile.

12:36
Bobby Bonilla: I know you didn’t end up retroactively changing the FV on Evan White in your recent piece, but what are your thoughts on his bat this year? He’s hitting everything hard but the K% is so far above what I expected it to be.

12:36
Eric A Longenhagen: Me, too. Looked to me like he was trying too hard to hit for power. Head flying all over the place, etc. I think it’ll get dialed in.

12:36
Rodney: What are your early impressions of Daulton Varsho? Think he’s ready for a full-time or platoon role next year?

12:37
Eric A Longenhagen: Same here except I’m a little more worried about Varsho’s ability to cover the whole plate than I am White’s. Still think Varsho is a valuable everyday player (LF/C mostly) but probably more valuable to a real baseball team than to the fantasy owners asking about him in chat.

12:38
Dave: Any concern with Luis Patino’s debut? What does a team do when the results aren’t there in the bullpen-as-break-in dev model?

12:38
Eric A Longenhagen: Not concerned. He’s 20, he’s a child.

12:38
Deathclaw: Can Alex Reyes still make it as a starter in the future or is he a bullpen only guy now?

12:39
Eric A Longenhagen: I think he can start, or at least I think he has the best chance of starting as he’s ever had. Looks great, body is the best it’s ever been.

12:40
Jackson: How have you viewed Brady Singer‘s recent dominance using only the fastball and slider?

12:41
Eric A Longenhagen: It’s pretty rare for someone with two pitches to keep dominating like he has the last two starts. Still have Bubic ahead of him because Bubic has three weapons. Though, Singer’s fastball has added movement in his last couple outings…

12:41
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: What do you make of Josh Fleming‘s adequacy?

12:41
Eric A Longenhagen: I love me some sinker/slider pitch execution guys.

12:41
Eric A Longenhagen: I think he’s suited for the role he’s in

12:42
Jason: What makes Keegan Akin’s fastball so effective? The velocity is average and it doesn’t seem to move much but Braves’ hitters looked visibly uncomfortable against it this week. A lot of awkward, late swing at fastballs in the zone from guys who are generally very good fastball hitters

12:42
Eric A Longenhagen: He’s on the list of debutantes I shamefully haven’t watched yet, so bug me next week.

12:43
Tristan: Nate Lowe doesn’t have rookie eligibility anymore. But he’s still young and looks like he might be ready to be a quality option. Is there a bit of Rhys Hoskins in there? Maybe more? No obvious platoon split in the minors.

12:44
Eric A Longenhagen: I’d have Lowe and Hoskins valued the same

12:44
Ryan: What FV would you put on Lewis Bronson? Are you buying his improved numbers this year?

12:44
Eric A Longenhagen: Well, I 60’d him but that was clearly wrong. He’d be a 45+ now.

12:44
Brad: Triston McKenzie – any chance he’s a 55 in the offseason, or do you think he’s a 50 due to injury history, size, etc

12:44
Eric A Longenhagen: just a 50. velo has been falling in each start

12:45
Quarantino Martinez: Another potential campsite problem: pitchers not challenging their teammates up and in?

12:46
Eric A Longenhagen: hadn’t thought about that but yeah, I could see that sort of thing being true

12:46
Chris: How will you evaluate possible changes in prospect rankings this offseason without any minor league games to see the players?

12:47
Eric A Longenhagen: campsite video + data + whatever is learned during fall instruction should be enough to do some stuff. I’ll have to dig on players in other ways, I’m sure.

12:48
Luke: Do you have any hope that Alford can become a good player with regular at bats? Seemed as if he was starting to put things together in Pittsburgh

12:48
Eric A Longenhagen: I’m skeptical but he’s in the right situation since they have the opportunity to give him the reps he needs to improve.

12:49
JayA: Anxious/cautious Mets fan here.. How “real” is Dom Smith? Middling exit velocity (88) and babip around .400 are the only major blips I see. How much should we factor in his prospect narrative (great hit tool/fears of no power)?

12:50
Eric A Longenhagen: I’m in on Dom same as ever: 50. Still think it’s mostly doubles power, though.

12:51
David: Not sure if you covered this before; but if Luis Torrens hadn’t lost Prospect eligibility due to being a rule 5 stash, what would his FV grade be? 40-45?

12:53
Eric A Longenhagen: But based on how he’s playing if you wanna bump him to a 40+ to indicate he has sneaky upside, you could. Seems like SEA is going to give him regular playing time for a while and that’s enough to give him value in many fantasy formats.

12:53
AJ: Austin Meadow looked like a star to be in 2019, but not much to show for this year. Do you think this is just a short season/adjustment (or lack there of) thing, or is something in between the two years more of the real him?

12:56
Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah late last year I thought he clearly looked like TB’s best player and he just hasn’t been very good this season. Jeff Zimmerman wrote this: https://fantasy.fangraphs.com/sprint-speed-changes-lots-of-guys-out-of…

12:56
Eric A Longenhagen: I wouldn’t immediately conclude all of those guys were out of shape but I do think it’s interesting.

12:57
Dungeon Master: Tell me fun things about Marco Luciano? Future #1 overall prospect?

12:57
12:57
AJ: Do you think William Contreras showed enough to be considered the Braves’ catcher of the future? His swing in spring training and later from the clips from the alternate site really impressed me.

12:57
Eric A Longenhagen: Yes, I think he’s the guy

12:57
Eric A Longenhagen: like him more than Langeliers

12:58
viceroy: Jared Walsh’s tools are all listed as 40 or better (mostly much better) but his FV is onl 35+, why is that? How is FV determined if not based on the tools?

12:58
Eric A Longenhagen: basically it describes his role

12:59
Eric A Longenhagen: In this case 35+ would be “Hey this is an 4A hitter who has huge power and a two-way background that might indicate he has some late-developing upside”

1:00
Eric A Longenhagen: Walsh graduated from rookie eligibility as a 35+ (I can’t go back and retroactively change my opinion of him), but based on how he’s looked lately he’s better than that

1:00
Bort: Is there still some hope for Francisco Mejia?

1:01
Eric A Longenhagen: looks like they’ve stopped him from switch hitting (at least, I saw him hit righty vs a righty earlier this week) so let’s see if that makes him better at ID’ing balls and strikes. I think we’re likely to see him moved out fom behind the plate and put in LF again, though.

1:01
STEVO: Did you see Deyni Olivera pitch in 2019. What do you hear about him if anything.

1:04
Eric A Longenhagen: I did! Man, you’re going deep. Deceptive 89-93 with great command, 45 curveball that he knows how to use. Recipe for carving low level hitters but don’t know if the stuff will play at upper levels. Will have to keep proving it.

1:04
Bort: Do you think Cleveland tries to stretch Quantrill out next year as a starter? I recall a piece last year that said there were traces of pre-breakout Lucas Giolito in his profile.

1:04
Eric A Longenhagen: I think they will, yeah.

1:04
Jack: What would you look for in a prospect like Freddie Freeman that would give the indication he’d turn into a top 10 hitter in MLB without elite power

1:05
Eric A Longenhagen: Man, that’s tough. You’d just have to see/project him as a 70 or better hitter, right?

1:06
Eric A Longenhagen: alright folks, that’s my hour. Thanks for coming again this week. I’ve gotta move (again) soon (I know, Covid sucks) so my chat schedule may be variable for the next few weeks but I’m sure we’ll talk soon. Hope everyone’s still doing the right stuff and staying well. bye bye for now





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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Do you think Stiever is more likely to hang on as a starter beyond this season or is his stuff better suited as a reliever?