Eric Longenhagen Holiday Chat- 12/20/19

12:07
Eric A Longenhagen: Good morning from Tempe, folks. I’ll spare you links to this week’s work, you know how to find them.

12:07
Seth : I know it’s still early, but any 2020 draft prospects who have rapsodo friendly (ie a lot of rise) FBs?

12:08
Eric A Longenhagen: We have very little 2020 data at the moment, it’s been harder to source than pro stuff and our current focus is on the pro stuff

12:08
The West is Wild: Eggnog: bad or sick?

12:09
Eric A Longenhagen: I can really only do a small glass of eggnog/bourbon, too rich. But churn it into ice cream? Now we’re talking.

12:09
The West is Wild: Daulton Varsho‘s best non-catching position is _________?

12:10
Eric A Longenhagen: I think he’d be best at LF but the *most valuable* spot he might be able to play would be 2B if ARI was willing to get kinda frisky. I expect they’ll just let him catch, though.

12:11
Markus: I think a good headline when the Padres traded Xavier Edwards would’ve been “Gotcha Pham.” Any regrets on how you guys covered this one?

12:12
Eric A Longenhagen: No, but we’re four questions in and I’m already regretting letting hundreds of strangers send me questions like this.

12:14
Rhaye: What’s the deal with Johnathan India? 55 raw power but he’s not tapped into almost any of it in the minors. Is this a similar situation to Andy Sugilio, where everyone thinks that he’ll hit for more power with a swing change?

12:16
Eric A Longenhagen: No, India’s fallen for me. Probably still a soft 50 FV, but his junior spring at Florida looks like the outlier. I don’t ever see Sugilio hitting for power, btw.

12:16
Nat’s Homer: Kieboom really struggled down the stretch to hit any double or homeruns in the PCL last season why should we believe in his bat? Should the Nats sell high or is this just an anomaly of sample size? Also feel like you undersold Turner’s defense quite a bit by comparing Kieboom to him but I only saw him briefly and he was a total butcher while he was up in the majors for his cup of coffee last season.

12:19
Eric A Longenhagen: Kieboom was the age of a college junior last year and hit like .300/.400/.500 at Triple-A, he’s been hitting like that his entire life. He’s not a good defensive shorstop, he’s worse than Turner who I consider a 45 there.

12:21
Jomman: How will Nick Madrigals soft contact translate into an impact hitter?

12:22
Eric A Longenhagen: He’s gonna be in the David Fletcher, Eric Sogard area, exit-velo wise, so the impact has to come from how much contact he makes. And he makes a ton. https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders/minor-league/?pos=all&lg=2,4,5,6,7,8…

12:24
Josh Donaldson real estate agent: Should I close on a house in MD or GA?

12:25
Eric A Longenhagen: Think he’s gonna be in either place long enough to merit buying a house? I’d rent in ATL.

12:25
Chadwick: What’s up with Julio Rodriguez? He seems like he’s got star potential. Would you consider him touching the top-10 or top-5 on your prospect list by midseason 2020?

12:26
Eric A Longenhagen: He’s a stud. He’s already corner only because it’s 40 run, but it won’t matter. He rakes, he’s going to be great.

12:26
Jim Leyland Palmer: At this moment, if you had to pick one as your 1B for the next decade, Tork or Vaughn?

12:27
Eric A Longenhagen: It’s truly a toss up. I watched them take BP within 45 minutes of eachother in the fall and it was comically similar. I think I’d take Tork just because he has the more traditional build. He’s got Luke Voit‘s body, Vaughn is more stout and I don’t know how that’s going to look when he’s 28-ish.

12:28
TarzanStretch: Best baseball names for this time of year? Matt Holliday, Noel Cuevas, Steve Christmas?

12:29
Eric A Longenhagen: okay I’m done

12:29
Laremy: If there is such a way to rank the top GMs in the game who would you put in your top-5?

12:33
Eric A Longenhagen: I’m not sure there’s a great way of evaluating this objectively. You’d have to exclude some newer ones who haven’t had enough time to really show anything (like you can’t possibly include Farhan Zaidi or Mike Elias, though in a year and a half it might be clear they’re up there once we’ve seen the direction of the rebuilds). I think Cashman is on the list, Preller would be in my top 5 favorites by maybe not top 5 best because of how some of the big league contracts have worked out, guys like Dipoto, who’ve pivoted, are tough to evaluate. I’m not dodging this one so…

12:37
Eric A Longenhagen: Top 5 best (in no order)
Cashman
Lunhow (I know, I know, but he’s gotta be on here)
Friedman (the Dodgers don’t technically have a GM)
Forst
Neander

12:39
Eric A Longenhagen: Top 5 favorites
Preller
Cashman
Daniels
Chernoff (CLE can’t help what ownership does to them, budget-wise)
Neander

12:39
Eric A Longenhagen: Obvs Bloom, Hazen, Farhan, Elias could all be up there with time

12:39
Ed: Luis Rodriguez from the Dodgers seems very intriguing from the J2 reports. Big believer in the offensive potential?

12:40
Eric A Longenhagen: Yup, we had him ranked 3rd in the class: https://www.fangraphs.com/prospects/the-board/2019-international/summa…

12:40
David: I hope the Holiday season treats you well! A couple questions. 1) Is there an order for the Prospect lists?

12:41
Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah, we’re doing spring training/complex pods/clusters this year. So,
Scottsdale (COL, SFG, ARI) is done
Fort Myers (MIN, BOS) is done
we’ve moved on the West Palm Beach (WSN done, MIA next, HOU and StL after them, we might sneak NYM in here, too)
then we’re doing the Northwest Valley (SDP, SEA, TEX, KCR)
after that is still flexible

12:42
David: Second question: I understand all the knocks against Penn Murfee, older prospect pitching at A+, not an overpowering fastball. But between his performance in A+, AFL, and internationally I’m a little surprised he isn’t a 35+, Does he need a strong performance at AA to have some prospect sheen?

12:42
Eric A Longenhagen: He’s in consideration for that tier on the SEA list

12:42
matthew: How does Raimfer Salinas‘s ceiling compare with the other yankees high ceiling young outfielders (dominguez, alcantara, cabello, pereira, etc)

12:43
Eric A Longenhagen: It’s lower than Dominguez and Alcantara, similar to Cabello (but lower probability) and higher than Everson’s

12:43
Weenie : Do you think Dipoto seems to be a little too aggressive with promoting his prospects? White, Lewis, and Dunn haven’t played AAA and Sheffield struggled there last year, yet Dipoto seems to imply that all 4 are likely to have an opening day roster spot.

12:44
Eric A Longenhagen: No, I think more and more teams are pushing guys until they fail, then slowing down, and I think this strategy is appropriate. I’m not sure the PCL is great for dev.

12:44
AD: On the Jeremy De La Rosa write-up you say that he has solid average speed but his grades are 40/30. Is that just a typo?

12:44
Eric A Longenhagen: yeah, that’s a manual error that I’ll fix after the chat

12:45
Wait, what?: Why are the Cubs the way that they are?

12:45
Eric A Longenhagen: ownership, mane

12:45
TomBruno23: What do you think of Zack Thompson? Seems head and shoulders above any other Cardinal pitching prospect right now.

12:45
Eric A Longenhagen: I really like him, he’d be a 50 FV if not for the injury history (which is also what kept him from going higher in the draft)

12:45
Jonathan: We’ve seen a few cases already where you guys are slapping a 40+ on a previously unranked player, usually because of new information about the body or performance in instructs. How rare is it for you to take note of a pop-up player that you’d bump to a 45, especially considering how far away most of these players are?

12:49
Eric A Longenhagen: With players who are age-appropriate for instructs, we’re almost always using the draft as a barometer to dial in their FV. The rate of physical change for teenagers and the slower rate at which we’re get info from the DR means someone can go from being an innocuous $300,000 signee to spending a year in the DR to finally coming to the US for instructs at which point we finally have some reports and they belong in the late first/second round area of a draft.

12:49
The West is Wild: Can you share a little about the new book? How did that come about? How was the process for you and Kiley?

12:50
Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah so here’s the book: https://www.triumphbooks.com/future-value-products-9781629377674.php

12:50
Eric A Longenhagen: if you preorder with promo code FV20 you get 20% off

12:52
Eric A Longenhagen: It’s basically spills the beans on how Kiley and I go about doing our jobs and how teams go about scouting, sort of a state of the industry book. The publisher approached us. We wrote it during the summer and then had crunch time during the fall. Our editor told us we had to stop writing new words or else we’d have to put the book in a special spine, so it’s very us.

12:52
AD: What changed in the evaluation of Andry Lara since your initial 35+ grade to bump him all the way to a 40+?

12:53
Eric A Longenhagen: Breaking ball execution is super advanced, delivery is great. We don’t love the body but other, physically mature arms like this have slimmed down in pro ball (Francisco Morales, Sandy Gaston, Forrest WHitley during his senior season in high school, etc) so we’re not ruling out a velo bump

12:53
RoxPile: What are your thoughts on Song’s situation? What probability would you assign to him getting a waiver at this point and how would 2 years off potentially effect his development?

12:55
Eric A Longenhagen: I have no idea what chances he has of getting some kind of waiver, I’m not going to try to predict the behavior of this administration nor its various arms. We may re-evaluate his FV if he starts flight school and it’s clear that he won’t be back for two years, at which point they’ll need to rush him as a reliever because he need to be put on the 40-man winter of 2022. We almost need to value him like a 23y/o getting TJ because of the layoff.

12:56
Bailey Ober: I’ve read in some articles that his fastball sits low 90s, wondering if his injury this year may have sapped velocity on evaluation. If he climbs back up to 90-93, does he shoot up the twins leaderboard?

12:59
Eric A Longenhagen: Maybe? I’m pretty certain he was largely 85-87 this year (that was from his April starts when he was shoving and I checked on him early) and then he was still there in his first rehab start back from injury, but I admit I have nothing from the August stretch at Double-A. It’s possible he was into the low-90s during that time, but I’ve got multiple time periods where he isn’t, so I’m going with that.

12:59
Dan: Who do you prefer between Riley Greene and Corbin Carroll in terms of overall offensive potential?

1:00
Eric A Longenhagen: Greene because I think he has a better chance of hitting for power, or at least the path to it is more obvious.

1:00
Jo-Nathan: I pre ordered your book, any chance of you guys doing some book signings?

1:01
Eric A Longenhagen: Very high

1:01
Eric A Longenhagen: probably not many of them together, though.

1:01
mike: Which starting pitchers do you think are actually available for trade? Because it is looking like the Twins will pass on FA starters that are likely to be good….

1:03
Eric A Longenhagen: I think Robbie Ray is still in play even though the Dbacks have behaved like buyers since the Gallen trade. Happ, Boyd, Caleb Smith, uhh….I guess Clevinger?

1:05
Jonathan: I know you haven’t done the Rays list yet, but I’ve seen very little written on Abiezel Ramirez on the interwebs and wonder if you could shed a bit of light. Or if that’s too greedy an ask, two key questions: do you think the frame supports more power down the road, and do you think he has a realistic shot at sticking at shortstop?

1:05
Eric A Longenhagen: He’s got a medium frame, already kinda strong and there’s more power there now than is obvious given the statline.

1:06
Pip: A little surprised Rutledge didn’t get a 50 FV in the Nats list. With a strong first half, do he and Denaburg have a good shot of jumping up to 50 in the midseason update?

1:07
Eric A Longenhagen: Rutledge was where we had him predraft, I’m not sure what he did that would’ve changed our minds. They both have top 100 talent, Denaburg needs to be healthy and Rutledge needs to keep throwing strikes.

1:07
Kevin Maas Forever: When should we get worried about Florial’s BB/K issues? He absolutely tanked this year.

1:08
Eric A Longenhagen: In 2017

1:08
Mike: I hate asking a Wander Franco question, but I can’t help myself. What his power look like in game or BP? His hit tool and approach always seem to overshadow the power, and rarely have I seen anyone spotlight it other than saying he projects for + power. Care to elaborate? Thanks!!

1:10
Eric A Longenhagen:

I’m doing BP spray charts for the Futures Game again. Here are Nolan Jones, Wander Franco (who had the best session), Nick Madrigal, and Evan White.
7 Jul 2019
1:12
Eric A Longenhagen: the lighter blue dots here are Franco. I thought he had one of the better BPs at Futures Game and the best infield. His swing has more traditional pull/lift from the right side and is more geared for all-fields contact from the left

1:13
Eric A Longenhagen: I don’t think we have great feel for where the game power output will settle as far as home runs are concerned. He might be an 18 homer guy with 40 doubles and a bunch of triples, which is still great

1:14
Eric A Longenhagen: let’s wrap this up in the next few…

1:14
Chris: Will Donaldson sign before or after Christmas?

1:14
Eric A Longenhagen: after

1:15
Sammy Sooser: Michael Busch drew walks at a ridiculous rate, did you get to see him in the AFL? Any impressions, if so?

1:15
Eric A Longenhagen: i did, but i still have not seen him play 2B, which is what I’m most interested in seeing. We like him regardless.

1:15
Timofey: I was just looking at some exit velo data, and surprised that Eduardo Escobar showed up at the 29th percentile this year, 17th percentile for Hard Hit %. Any concerns there about sustaining his performance?

1:16
Eric A Longenhagen: Nah, he’s great

1:16
Greg: He’s no longer a prospect, but what grade would you give Tyler Mahle now?

1:16
Eric A Longenhagen: Still think he’s in that 45/50 area, I’m kinda surprised the Reds have seemingly moved on. That ballpark is maybe not a great fit for him, though.

1:17
Matt: How do trades like the Luis Urias trade affect public prospect valuations, such as the one you help produce? When a player that was a consensus top-10ish prospect gets traded for a prospect that wasn’t even in the top-10 in the team system, it surely makes you think. It seems like either : the public(not remotely just Fangraphs) was way off, player values swung drastically in a short period, or 28 teams are just being irrational.

1:17
Eric A Longenhagen: Eh, I kinda reject the premise. We 55’d Urias and 50’d Grisham, so they’re not all that far apart…

1:18
Guest: what would a regrade of Vlad Jr be after his first year?

1:19
Eric A Longenhagen: I don’t think we would, 7 years is a long time and that’s the window we care about

1:19
Mister Baseball Man: Tigers fans are encouraged by Adinso Reyes and Jose de la Cruz’s start to pro ball. How much do DSL stats matter?

1:19
Eric A Longenhagen: they don’t

1:19
Justin : Hi. Nationals fan here. How annoyed should I be about Sterling Sharp? With the 40 man nowhere near full, losing him seems like an unforced error.

1:20
Eric A Longenhagen: Not terribly annoyed. He’s more of a speculative “this might work” sort of player and the Nats have a title to defend, it’s not like they can mess around with a sinker/changeup/funky delivery guy in that division.

1:20
TomBruno23: I’m biased but given the track record it’s hard to exclude Mozeliak from a top 5 (even though he’s technically not GM anymore as far as his title)

1:21
Eric A Longenhagen: Oh yeah, he should probably be in there

1:21
Billy Beane: Hey Eric, I got a job with a pro team for next season, and answers you and Kiley gave to chat answers actually helped me. So thank you, I appreciate you guys.

1:21
Eric A Longenhagen: Good, we also have an entire job seekers chapter in the book, so hopefully we end up helping a lot of people (even if that help is making them realize they do not want to work in baseball)

1:22
Dusty: It’s the most wonderful time of the year! With the holidays finally here, I was wondering what your thoughts are on Wander Javier. What’s his upside?

1:22
Eric A Longenhagen: Dusitn, we did just write him up on the Twins list, that hasn’t satiated you?

1:22
RAndoM: Which lower ranked guys are you most bullish on possibly rocketing up the list?

1:22
Eric A Longenhagen: I really like the Red Sox group of 35+ types, like Belen

1:22
Guest: Thoughts on F Whitley? Bounce back?

1:23
Eric A Longenhagen: Yes, but he definitely wasn’t as nasty this fall as he was last fall

1:23
Ceilings: Hi Eric – Did Biggio and/or Arraez show enough at MLB level last year to jump their ceilings at all?

1:23
Eric A Longenhagen: Yes, I was light on Cavan. His approach is incredible. He has 80 ball/strike recog and Arraez has 80 bat control. They should both have been top 100 guys.

1:24
Weenie : What do you think of pushing the start of a young starting pitching prospect’s season back to avoid needing to shut them down late in the season before the playoffs due to an innings limit? Like Minnesota/Graterol, etc. why don’t teams ever use this strategy?

1:24
Eric A Longenhagen: I like that strategy, especially if the guy might factor into a big league postseason push

1:24
Colby: Will Riley Greene move fast and stick in cf? Bellinger comp fair?

1:24
Eric A Longenhagen: No, that’s not fair to Greene

1:24
Jake: Thanks for the Nats list. Was pleased to see Eddy Yean included, but surprised that Karlo Seijas didn’t make the cut. Anything hurting his future upside?

1:25
Eric A Longenhagen: let me dig up our notes. we talked about him…

1:26
Eric A Longenhagen: 85-89, relatively unprojectable frame, longer arm action but it’s deceptive, over-the-top arm slot, fastball has carry at the top of the zone

1:27
Eric A Longenhagen: the current velo and lack of projection combined to table him for now

1:27
Just a Guy: Did you see Cole Uvila throw in the AFL? Legit?

1:27
Eric A Longenhagen: yes and yes

1:27
Eric A Longenhagen:

The arms, legs, and changeup of Rangers righty Cole Uvila.
14 Oct 2019
1:28
Brandon Marsh: If I can’t tap into my raw power, am I just Ryan Sweeney?

1:28
Eric A Longenhagen: I think the swing got dialed in during fall league

1:28
Jeff: What’s the outlook on the secondary pitches of RHP Ryan Jensen with the Cubs?

1:28
Eric A Longenhagen: meh, I thought they were just okay. Think the changeup has the best shot at being good

1:29
Keith: Are there any guys outside the top 10 on the board that you could see being top 5 picks in the draft?

1:29
Eric A Longenhagen: Nick Gonzalez from NM State

1:29
Jones: How would you compare Nico Hoerner and Nick Solak? Seems like they have relatively similar profiles, does one have more value than the other?

1:29
Eric A Longenhagen: Nico is a better defender

1:29
Jeff: Who will survive in America?

1:30
Eric A Longenhagen: bubbling bubbling bubbling bubbling bubbling

1:30
Ghost of Bobby Thigpen: Benyamin Bailey put up an interesting stat line this year. Is he someone worth getting excited about? Thanks. Happy Holidays.

1:31
Eric A Longenhagen: Yes, he’ll be on the Sox list (I think he was put on last summer, so there may be stuff on the 2019 board archive) projection OF with feel to hit

1:31
Cito’s Mustache: You guys have a 40 future hit tool on Oneil Cruz. Is that generally seen as enough to tap into at least some his 80 raw power at the big league level? Or will he simply not hit enough to maintain a regular role so his power won’t really matter.

1:31
Eric A Longenhagen: I think it’ll be enough, I think he’s going to be a monster

1:31
Jeff: Is Josh Lowe the best CF prospect no one’s talking about?

1:31
Eric A Longenhagen: He’s toward the back of the early draft of our 100

1:32
Eric A Longenhagen: which we’ll start shuttling around for feedback in the coming weeks

1:32
Slothrop: Do you think it would have been more fun to be a scout way back in the old days, when for instance like 80% of baseball world wasnt scouted at all and if nobody saw a guy youd never hear about him, and youd have to read local papers for all the info,etc

1:32
Eric A Longenhagen: yes

1:32
Ron Sansone: What is your assessment of Hunter Renfro for 2020

1:32
Eric A Longenhagen: I’m not a big renfroe guy. 1.5 war 2020

1:32
Estevão: What is the ceiling for Gavin Lux and Dustin May?

1:32
Eric A Longenhagen: all stars

1:32
Cito’s Mustache: Is Dodgers 3B Miguel Vargas on the way up for you? He looked to really hold his own at High-A as a 19 year old.

1:33
Eric A Longenhagen: like, don’t love. give me Cartaya, De Jesus first.

1:34
Dee Arby: How many chats have you done while on the porcelain throne?

1:34
Eric A Longenhagen: I’ve left the desk and come back many, many times

1:35
Jeff: Is the Cubs’ drafting of Nico Hoerner and his almost immediate rise in name recognition and value basically a clinic on how to break the prospect ranking algorithm? I’m stunned at the level of confidence people have in a guy no one was talking about for the first round, isn’t particularly toolsy, doesn’t have a huge skillset he’s demonstrated repeatedly, hasn’t dominated the minors, and yet now it’s generally accepted he’s got ML AS potential and might even be a SS.

1:36
Eric A Longenhagen: Meh, we had a 45 FV on Nico pre-draft, that’ basically a late first rounder. He was a 70 runner with a plus bat, so I disagree that he’s not toolsy. The Cubs changed his attack angle immediately after the draft and he started getting to power. Don’t think anything is ‘broken’, players just change.

1:36
Jeff: What is your assessment of Tsutsugo?

1:37
Marlins Man: You still slap a 50 on Isan Diaz after his poor MLB showing?

1:37
Eric A Longenhagen: Yes, too early to second guess. Ask me in another year, though.

1:37
Alex: Do you think the Indians light package in return for Kluber causes them to lose any sort of leverage in Lindor/Clev trade negotiations? Easy for rival GMs to point out that return when trying to work with them.

1:38
Eric A Longenhagen: Is it light or are we just undervaluing relievers? Nick Anderson, Pete Fairbanks, Clase…we might just be undervaluing them.

1:38
Jeff: DAMMIT that was my worst Hoerner question

1:38
Eric A Longenhagen: sorry, dude, I’m just scrolling and clicking, scrolling and clicking…

1:38
Eric A Longenhagen: couple more then I gotta split

1:39
Guest: Daniels in fav five, really?

1:39
Eric A Longenhagen: I just like the kind of players Texas typically acquires (giant framed dudes with big tools)

1:39
Tom: RE: Cavan Biggio’s 80 ball/strike recognition, is that something that was missed, or just something you can only know when you’ve seen a guy react to MLB breaking balls and command?

1:39
Eric A Longenhagen: a little of both

1:39
Al Hrabosky: What year will Knizer become the starting C for the Cards? Slash?

1:40
Eric A Longenhagen: I think he gets reps there next year, enough to graduate, but splits time at 1B, too

1:40
Salty: Eric – congrats on the book! Do you think the acquisition of Urias by MIL was made to transition Hiura to 3B, or maybe just trying to acquire a post-hype guy at a cheaper than expected price?

1:41
Eric A Longenhagen: I think they’ve said Urias is going to play SS, but I do think we’ll see some late-inning Arcia/Urias MIF stuff because Hiura is the worst defender of the bunch by far

1:42
Eric A Longenhagen: okay that’s all for me. I hope everyone has a great holiday and restful couple weeks leading into the new year.

1:43
Eric A Longenhagen: thanks for reading FanGraphs in 2019, please consider an ad-free membership for yourself or a fellow baseball nerd this season (it’s worth it)

1:43
Eric A Longenhagen: see you guys next week, i think?

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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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