Eric Longenhagen Chat: 9/6/19

12:33
Eric A Longenhagen: Good morning from AZ, where we’re waiting for the heat to start to break.

12:33
Tank: A few weeks back in a chat you said you didn’t really trust pitchers stats in the Texas League. Any reason?

12:37
Eric A Longenhagen: did I phrase it like that? and did I say Texas or Southern? If I said Texas, I meant Southern. It’s just been a putrid offensive season in the Southern League, most team ERA’s are below 4 and the ones that aren’t are just barely above it. So what I meant, more specifically, is that pitcher’s stats should be viewed through that lens

12:37
Nick A: Over/under on Yermin Mercedes career homers: 19.5

12:37
Eric A Longenhagen: under, but the wager is void if an electronic strike zone gets implemented

12:38
Guest: What do you make of the Yankees trading for international slot money right after missing out on Diaz? Also does reneging on that deal affect their ability to sign J2 prospects in the future?

12:38
Matthew: What happened with the yankees and jhon diaz and do they have something else lined up to replace him?

12:40
Eric A Longenhagen: I’m not sure what happened/is happening there. We assumed the Yankees would trade for space to be able to sign Diaz. They’ve made moves for space now, but we don’t know if they’re targeting specific players or just have other mid-level deals they still need money for after signing Dominguez gor as much as they did.

12:41
Eric A Longenhagen: As far as repercussions for whatever happened with Diaz, I don’t know how that situation unraveled so I’m not sure.

12:41
DJ Tanner: Meant to ask this is earlier chats, but with Luis Matos making it to the AZL, I’m assuming you got a personal look at him. I know you moved him to 40+ prior to that promotion, so want to hear your personal take on what you saw.

12:42
Eric A Longenhagen: He has great bat speed. hold on a sec…

12:45
Eric A Longenhagen: here are some swings, remember this guy is 17 until january…

12:46
Eric A Longenhagen: https://streamable.com/t4yd4

12:46
Eric A Longenhagen: https://streamable.com/lrp6t

12:46
Eric A Longenhagen: https://streamable.com/vi6o5

12:47
Eric A Longenhagen: he’s not as projectable, physically, as most elite 17 year olds, but the tools (power/speed) could be big

12:47
Eric A Longenhagen: so, he’s quite exciting

12:47
Fafafafafafafah: The Cardinals FO has gone mad for Dylan Carlson this year. Agree? Roughly speaking, where do you see him ranking nationally and within the Cards .org?

12:48
Eric A Longenhagen: we have him #42 overall and #2 in the org https://www.fangraphs.com/prospects/the-board/2019-in-season-prospect-…

12:48
mamsk: so…about heriberto hernandez? tearing up the playoffs after a monster season

12:48
Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah, we moved Heriberto into the 40+ FV tier, too. Present power and barrel accuracy. He can’t catch, but he rakes.

12:50
mamsk: does ricky vanasco have legit MORP upside? seems to have some helium.

12:51
Eric A Longenhagen: mid-rotation may be a little much. Vanasco has a plus fastball. Up to 98, has the relevant spin axis that I talk about in the ‘kershaws’ piece, so you could argue he’d be someone to include on here. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/lets-find-some-clayton-kershaws-to-scale/

12:52
Eric A Longenhagen: but yeah, i had him 90-92 last fall (vanasco) with a relief-only delivery. This year he’s 91-96 t98. fastball-centric relief prospect for me

12:52
Big Cheese: Thoughts on Joey Murray? Potential add to the board?

12:54
Eric A Longenhagen: Another guy, like Vanasco, with big life on his fastball. But Murray only sits 87-92. He’s more of a 35+ type of guy for us. Probably upper level depth more than someone who definitely holds a roster spot

12:54
Dan: Do you think with the off-season update the Cubs will have four “top 100” prospects in Hoerner, Amaya, Marquez, and Davis?

12:54
Eric A Longenhagen: i think 3

12:55
Tyler: Your thoughts on Jackson Rutledge’s pro start? The Nationals need a few of these pitching heavy draft classes to hit after the trades in the past few years.

12:57
Eric A Longenhagen: I know he was throwing really hard — like 94-98 — during his first few starts when he was throwing about 40 pitches. I don’t know what it’s looked like in the 60-80 pitch range since then, but his lines are good. Seems like a strong beginning

12:58
2020/2021: Has Johnathon Stiever become a Sox prospect to follow?

12:58
Eric A Longenhagen: Yup, velo spiked sometime during the season. Was 89-92 for me during the spring, up to 97 more recently: https://www.fangraphs.com/prospects/the-board/2019-in-season-prospect-…

12:58
Sad Giants fan: Are Kai-Wei Teng or Seth Corry candidates to move up after dominating single A this year

1:02
Eric A Longenhagen: I get a lot of questions about Corry. What is it Giants fans think he’s going to be now? Just because of the walks, isn’t there still significant risk he’s a reliever? To be fair, I think there’s an argument that he should be a 40+ FV now, even if you think he’s a reliever, but I feel like we were just in the right spot with him this whole time: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/top-29-prospects-san-francisco-giants/

1:03
matt: what are the “rave reviews” saying about alexander vargas and what is his ceiling

1:05
Eric A Longenhagen: Super loose, twitchy, can really rotate so there may be power, plus or better athlete, speed, really great frame. Everyone really likes him, some more than Kevin Alcantara, who we still like just a bit more.

1:06
Jim: Can you tell us more about Jhonkensy Noel?

1:08
Eric A Longenhagen: young Cleveland corner guy, very mature frame but big present power. Both he and Cristopher Cespedes have big present pop. Noel is three years younger but his body is arguably worse. I’d take someone with a similar tool profile but more mobility, like Neyfy Castillo with Arizona, before Noel, but Noel is an offseasons 35+ FV type because the power is near the top of his age group.

1:08
angels: Patrick Sandoval has been missing bats and sitting near mid 90s. FIP in low 3s. Does this velo uptick change his outlook/grade slightly?

1:08
Eric A Longenhagen: Maybe, but he may graduate this month, too

1:09
Eric A Longenhagen: SO, I just checked the pitching leaderboard…

1:10
Eric A Longenhagen: Among qualified starters, Robbie Ray has the highest WAR of anyone with a double-digit walk rate. Most starters with walk rates in the area that Sandoval’s career marks indicate he’ll be at, long term, are near the bottom.

1:11
Eric A Longenhagen: I guess what I’m saying is, I still have Sandoval as a #4/5 starter type

1:11
Salty: Suzyn Waldman mentioned in a recent broadcast that minor league players are better off getting promoted to the majors rather than playing in minor league playoff games simply for the extra meal money they get, since they get nothing extra for the playoffs. Is that true, and if so, why don’t they receive extra money for playing playoff games and/or winning a championship? The title means little, but the ML affiliate is receiving extra revenue – why not pass it down to the players?

1:12
Eric A Longenhagen: i agree.

1:12
v2micca: If the MLB expands to 32 teams as Manfred seems to want, do you foresee an NFL style re-alignment (North, South, East, and West) with each division having only 4 teams?

1:13
Eric A Longenhagen: hmmmmm, do the four division winners just make the playoffs then?

1:13
Eric A Longenhagen: I like two 8-team division better, I think

1:13
Jaffe rhymes with Taffy: How is the weather in Zona?

1:15
Eric A Longenhagen:

1:16
Brandon J.: A couple of days ago, Josiah Gray struck out Kelenic on what appeared to be a changeup, if he is able to keep developing that pitch, what is his ceiling?

1:18
Eric A Longenhagen: Is the three-pitch mix plus the command just in Nola range at that point?

1:18
Eric A Longenhagen: Maybe the raw breaking ball isn’t as good, the delivery isn’t as tough on hitters as Nola. But just off the top, that’s who has stuff like that, right?

1:18
Eric A Longenhagen: and command

1:19
Billy Beane: Hey Eric, thanks for chatting, have you ever scouted a knuckleballer? And if so, how do you do it? It seems difficult, because I don’t know how you would get reps at it.

1:20
Eric A Longenhagen: Like 3. All three times the guy go whacked. I don’t anticipate it coming back in a way that’s ever really relevant to what I’m doing such that I might need to get better at knowing who has a good one.

1:21
Archer: I know he’s not technically a prospect anymore, but does Victor Reyes have a shot to be anything more than a 4th OF? He seems to have taken a decent step forward offensively after Detroit basically kept him on ice for all of 2018.

1:24
Eric A Longenhagen: For me, he’s just a 4th OF. Due for BABIP regression, a .250/.310/.400 type with fine glove in CF. The switch-hitting is valuable off the bench…def plays a role, justnot a regular for me

1:24
ChuckNChino: Please tell me you patented The Board. Its an amazing tool, and I am very appreciative of all the blood, sweat and love you pour into your creation.

1:25
Eric A Longenhagen: It’s legally recognized as a sentient, conscious being and therefore cannot be patented.

1:25
Philip: The Padres have had some nice peripherals from young AZL arms such as Jeferson Garcia, Gabriel Morales, Martin Carrasco, Luarbert Arias, Miguel Rondon, Edgar Martinez, Jesus Gonzalez. Are any of the arms interesting or on the list of guys you plan to talk to scouts about? Do you guys know anything about them currently

1:27
Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah, you have them all bucketed correctly, too. The Padres seem to love squat pitch-ability types on the July 2 scene, and they have several from last year’s AZL group (this year’s MWL/NWL teams this year) as well. Manny Guzman, Efrain Contreras, etc. We have to sit and do apples-to-apples comparison’s with similarly aged and skilled teenagers from the domestic draft on guys like that.

1:29
Eric A Longenhagen: For example, we 40 FV’d Andrew Dalquist and Matt Thompson before the draft. Those guys have better stuff/physical projetion than most the the guys you listed. But we 35+ FV’d Will Rigney — less projectable guy with feel — which is more what that group is comprised of

1:29
Eric A Longenhagen: so yeah, a bunch of them will be at the tail end of the Padres offseason list

1:29
hinkskyism: who do you think has the most big league upside on a seemingly very talented Williamsport crosscutter team? bryson stott, johan rojas, kendall simmons?

1:29
Eric A Longenhagen: Stott. Lefty-hitting SS with power. Rojas is tooled up, too.

1:30
hinkskyism: if Reading is eliminated from the playoffs do you think Spencer howard will get called up to the Phillies to finish out the month?

1:30
Eric A Longenhagen: That just doesn’t seem like Philly’s style

1:32
Evan: It appears as if Fangraphs is the high man on Aramis Ademan compared to other publications. He’s a 50FV, 91 on THE BOARD with a 2020 arrival. What has he shown you this year to keep him at that level despite a poor repeat of A+ and other publications backing off his ceiling?

1:34
Eric A Longenhagen: He’s in that Andres Gimenez/Luis Garcia soft 50 area. Tools aren’t nuts but they’re well-rounde,d he has plate discipline skills, his line is not bad (92 wRC+, the average at SS since ’15 is 92) for a shortstop, let alone for one who was 20 all year at Hi-A.

1:35
kyle: What do the angels do with chris rodriguez next year assuming he is healthy? he pretty much missed the entire year, but dominated in his brief work. Send him to AA to keep dev on track or leave him in A+?

1:36
Eric A Longenhagen: He starts until he has feel for his entire repertoire, then I’m ‘penning him and moving him fast as an eff you, three-pitch reliever.

1:36
Eric A Longenhagen: That org needs to start winning

1:37
hinkskyism: any idea who replaces Johnny Almaraz as phillies Head of scouting.. any inkling of an inclination they’ll try to scoop someone up from the teams with powerhouse scouting depts. NYY, Hou, LAD?

1:37
Eric A Longenhagen: no feel for that one

1:37
Richard: Do you think prospect ranking/projection is more accurate today than in the past? If so, how much of an improvement has there been?

1:38
Eric A Longenhagen: not sure, it’d be an interesting thing for someone to study, but it’d have to be someone from a publication that has no prospect coverage for the sake of neutrality, so it won’t be us

1:38
John: If Julio Rodriguez tears up the AFL – will he be a top 10 prospect going in to 2020?

1:39
James: It seems like there are a ton of statistical pop-up prospects in AA/AAA this year. Is this normal or just the new high-minors ball creating a ton of noise? How can you tell if the improvement is legit (ala Muncy) or not?

1:39
Eric A Longenhagen: I’m struggling with it. Aquino seems to have emerged. How many of these guys per year, two to three?

1:40
NILs: For fantasy purposes, who would be your top 5 picks in a first-year player draft?

1:40
Eric A Longenhagen: So this would be A) players drafted in the 2019 amateur draft and B) 2019 July 2 guys (Puason, Bayron Lora, etc), right? Not 2018 J2’s (Luciano) who played their first pro games this year along with the 2019 drafts, right?

1:41
Eric A Longenhagen: We should just have a Board filter for those setting, huh?

1:42
Eric A Longenhagen: Well, if you type ‘2019 J2’ or ‘2019 Draft’ into the search bar, you can get the two lists you want.

1:43
Eric A Longenhagen: my top 5 would just be the order they’re all ranked

1:43
Evan: I have no idea what to make of Kevin Newman‘s long-term prospects. Is he producing up to what his pedigree was, or is this driven by the juiced ball? Can he be a 1-2 WAR starting SS for the next few years?

1:44
Eric A Longenhagen: from an overall value perspective I think you have the WAR range right

1:45
Eric A Longenhagen: Newman is definitely a bottom of the scale power guy, top of the scale contact

1:45
Eric A Longenhagen: we’ve seen examples of that before: Jose Iglesias

1:45
Eric A Longenhagen: Iglesias puts the bat on the ball, it just doesn’t go anywhere

1:46
Eric A Longenhagen: he also plays elite defense. He’s been a 1.5 to 2.5 war type his whole career. Newman is a similar offensive player with just okay defense, so he’s probably on the low end of that range/will live in a slightly lower range during his career.

1:46
Weenie: THE BOARD skips #43 on the overall mlb prospect rankings

1:46
Eric A Longenhagen: gracias, that’s probably someone who graduated

1:46
Red Thunder: At this point, what’s a realistic career outlook for Clint Frazier, assuming he ends up in a playing time situation sooner rather than later.

1:47
Eric A Longenhagen: i think he’s traded this offseason

1:47
Eric A Longenhagen: clint and the org seem like oil and water

1:47
Al Avila: How concerned should I be about Mize’s subpar performance after returning from his injury? What about the fact he tends to wear down each year as the season progresses.

1:48
Eric A Longenhagen: I think you’re right to have noticed it, but I wouldn’t fret. He’s got the whole offseason to rest now. If he starts next year in a similar fashion, we’ll revisit

1:49
Mitchell: Ought I make anything of Devin Sweet, an undrafted free agent signing in 2018 out of an HBCU who posted a 2.75 FIP, 30% K rate, 5% BB rate, in 127 IP over two levels this year?

1:49
Eric A Longenhagen: Yes, he’s Boardable this offseason. Low-90s, changeup. Seattle has started developing some arms, it seems

1:49
Pete: People always comment about ETA on THE BOARD. You could just make it default to 40 man roster add per RosterResource. Seems to approximate well enough.

1:50
Eric A Longenhagen: we’ve been doing it manually up until now, but with Jason on board this is likely what we’ll start doing

1:50
JupiterBrando: is modern pitcher usage affecting your FV evaluations at all? it seems like there’s an increasing use for guys who can throw 4-5 effective innings rather than pure starter or reliever. are there any profiles that start to look more effective in that mid-range requirement, or is it mostly just guys who aren’t good enough to be starters?

1:51
Eric A Longenhagen: Yup, we’re looking at three-pitch guys who are short on command or guys with one dominant pitch or who can live off deception for 4-6 outs at a time as 80-100-inning relief types. JB Bukauskas is someone we view as the top of that group.

1:53
Yankees Flop: Do you have any information on Antonio Cabello or Kevin Alcantara? Studying statlines in low minors can sometimes be pointless, but it is difficult to find a lot of information on players at their levels of the minors. Any information would be a pleasure to read. Cheers!

1:55
Eric A Longenhagen: Cabello hasn’t had a great year. Looked like plus-running C/CF with advanced contact skills and at least gap power right now, someone who might move quickly and who we really liked despite a lack of physical projection. Alcantara is all physical projection. Super wiry CF with uncommon body control for his size and age, natural feel for lift. Could be tooled up all star CF. more here: https://www.fangraphs.com/prospects/the-board/2019-in-season-prospect-…

1:55
Tony Plush: Any reason for Royals fans to be moderately optimistic about Ryan McBroom? Grasping at straws here

1:57
Eric A Longenhagen: yes, but be reasonable. There are lots of recent examples of players like this turning into something, even if it’s just for a little while. Bour, Walker, Aguilar, Cron, Cooper. Older mashers who get a shot. But you’ve gotta flip them when you can because, in my opinion, it’s not likely this guy is still good when the Royals are next competitive (he’s already 27) and, as evidence by the names above, these types of players move pretty freely, from 40-man to 40-man. Prove he can hit big league arms, then trade him while he’s years 0-3 to a team for which that really matters (TB, MIN, CLE, OAK types) for something with real potential to grow.

1:57
JK: What do you make of Joey Bart’s year? Hot end to the season in AA, struggles after the hand injury in A+

1:58
Eric A Longenhagen: he looked fine when I saw him in August

1:58
A’s and F’s: How much hope should an o’s fan draw from delmarva’s success this season?

2:00
Eric A Longenhagen: I think the improvement to some of the pitching in the minors (Grayson, Baumann, heck David Hess is better, Tim Naughton) is a great sign

2:00
Kylie McJenner: How valuable is the Arizona Fall League for judging/scounting top prospects? Great competition but small sample size and some end-of-season fatigue I’d imagine

2:02
Eric A Longenhagen: yeah, it’s a mix of good and bad. My mindset in AFL is to focus on positives. If a player is showing you things they can do, they can clearly do those things. If they’re missing something that might be explained by fatigue, etc., then I give them the benefit of the doubt in AFL.

2:02
Flying over the radar: Back in 2016 the reds signed Jose Garcia for 5 million which seemed like alot at the time, but he seemingly had the talent to justify it. He struggled initially, but this season has fared much better. There are also rumors out there that he has grown a couple inches and his frame maybe able to support added muscle. His fly ball distance has made a dramatic improvement over the course of the season. Any idea if he is starting to put it together? Is his frame filling out? Has he gone through a swing change? Thank you for taking the time.

2:03
Eric A Longenhagen: This is probably a situation where the 2018 line was poised by how he was handled. Didn’t play at all during ’17 instructs, sent right to MWL in ’18. Just too fast. He was so bad early his line never recovered. He’s an offseason top 100 candidate.

2:04
Dystopian Future: As a Marlins fan, I’ve been wondering how much Lewis Brinson being shuttled back to Triple A is hurting him, he seems like a raw tools guy and I was under the assumption that those types of guys tend to get better just with years of reps against MLB starting pitching. Clearly the Marlins have a plan to take on these toolsy types of players, but are they mishandling them/do they have the development team to successfully help this player type? I’m just worried because it feels like the Marlins are at the slot machines while everyone else is playing blackjack, metaphorically speaking. Not to mention that this reminds me of how we horribly botched Marcell Ozuna’s development at the big league level.

2:04
Eric A Longenhagen: I think there will come a time when he just needs to sink or swing at the big league level, but I did not think this year was the time to take that approach.

2:05
SJB: given you update the BOARD pretty often, should expect only minor offseason moves to your rankings/FVs or do you think time for reflection/analysis could reshuffle the deck meaningfully?

2:08
Eric A Longenhagen: No, the fact that games have stopped changes a lot. Our info-gathering process is different during the summer. We have our in-person stuff and players we hear about via convos at random or ask about because of statistical performance, etc. But now games have stopped and our approach to info gathering changes, we’re sweeping orgs top to bottom for new info that we didn’t come across during the year

2:08
Eric A Longenhagen: okay, i definitely should go

2:09
Eric A Longenhagen: thanks for stopping by this week, talk to you again next Friday

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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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bookbook
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bookbook

I’m not convinced that, “but Dustin Ackley!” Is a reasonable response to questions about great performances in minor league venues, such as the AFL. Just in this one specific instance, DA was a freshman in college at the age when Julio will be in the AFL. (Also, Ackley, Smoak, Montero was a thing. The Mariners had a toxic environment for prospects for quite awhile there.)

gavinrendar
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gavinrendar

Yeah, that caught me off guard too. Obviously Julio’s stock would go up if it happened, the question is simply how much.

It’s an especially odd litmus test because since Ackley’s 2010 award, there have been eight MVP’s in the AFL. Two of them are Nolan Arenado and Kris Bryant. And then the last three years they were Gleyber Torres, Ronald Acuna, and Keston Hiura. And most of this group were top 10 at one point.

So either the answer wasn’t serious, it wasn’t thought out very well, or it was a very narrow-scoped answer in the vein of saying “Someone COULD win the MVP and still bust as a prospect,” which is already obvious to everyone who visits this site.