Eric Longenhagen Prospects Chat: 1/23 by Eric Longenhagen January 23, 2018 12:01 Eric A Longenhagen: Oh hi hello, Eric Longenhagen here from relatively chilly Tempe (38 degrees this morning). I hope you’re all ready for baseball. It approaches. 12:01 Eric A Longenhagen: Some stuff really quick… 12:01 Eric A Longenhagen: I was on the pod with Carson: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/fangraphs-audio-luis-robert-and-the-wh… 12:02 Eric A Longenhagen: And wrote up Conner Greene, who was dealt over the weekend: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/instagraphs/scouting-the-talented-frus… 12:02 Eric A Longenhagen: Okay chat, let’s do this. 12:02 Greg: Favorite under the radar Braves prospect? 12:03 Eric A Longenhagen: ‘Favorite’ as in the guy I like watching? Would have been Randy Ventura before he was traded, is now probably Josh Graham. Love his stuff, think it’s three 55 or better pitches. 12:04 Dilly Dilly: If Barreto is moved to CF, how much is his MLB timeline pushed back? 12:04 Eric A Longenhagen: Totally depends on his feel for the position and how quickly it comes if it isn’t already there. No real set timetable for that kind of thing. 12:04 GP: Huge discrepancies on prospect lists for Nick Gordon. What’s your take? 12:06 Eric A Longenhagen: This is a great opportunity to remind everyone of some stuff we believe here at FG. First and foremost, as I’ve said before, I try not to comment on the work of other publications for a number of pretty obvious reasons. 12:07 Eric A Longenhagen: Second, remember that that 1-to-100 number next to the prospect’s name isn’t what you want to be thinking about, that’s why we try to have a FV grade for everyone on team lists and overall lists and trade write-ups, etc. The talent gap between the #4 overall prospect and the #54 overall prospect is probably very big, the talent gap between prospect #54 and prospect #104 is probably not, so just a half grade difference in opinion of a single player can really alter where they are on a list. For example, on my summer top 100, the tier of 55 FVs started in the early 30s but there are 50 FV guys running into the 120 range, so there might be a 100 place gap between two guys that aren’t wildly unequal talents. 12:09 Eric A Longenhagen: Lastly, if you believe in the work/process of the person/publication you’re reading and such discrepancies DO exist, I think it says more about the player than the publication. Read the scouting reports. See what the language in them indicates about what the writer has seen or has from sources in baseball. That should tell you why they do or don’t like the player and it paints an even more well-rounded picture of that player than just reading one publication’s work. 12:09 Luke: When looking at young (18-20 year old) players, what common mechanical flaw – in the swing for position players or in the delivery for pitchers – is most easily correctable? 12:11 Eric A Longenhagen: For hitters there isn’t a lot of great lower half use. I used to be very laissez-faire about pitching mechanics but I’m warming to proactively improving arm actions through things like weighted ball training, though I admit it bothers me that we don’t have data on what that does to pitchers who do that stuff for 10+ years, entire careers. 12:11 Anthony: Do you see any more velocity for Allard, or is he destined to be like 89-91? Everything else in the profile seems great, no? 12:13 Eric A Longenhagen: Like most pitchers drafted out of HS, going every fifth day instead once a week and pitching for 6 months takes a toll on your velo. I’d guess this is close to where his fastball settle but agree, the rest of the profile is very good and he’ll be fine. 12:13 Barry Bonds: Giants made a lot of good, not great moves–i think they are done other than maybe a few minor league signings and non roster invites to spring training–your thoughts?? 12:14 Eric A Longenhagen: I think they make another move yet, just nothing as splashy as the Longoria or Cutch trades. 12:15 Anthony: Do you see any offensive upside with Melendez? Is he KC’s best prospect for you? 12:16 Eric A Longenhagen: Yup, really like him. Not sure if I like him better than Pratto but I think it’s close. Chance for a plus-plus glove, plus arm, plus power. Amateur scouts were worried about the swing and miss, scouts who saw him in AZ thought he was one of top 5 guys in loaded AFL class and a bunch had him #2 behind Adell. 12:16 Trent: Hey Eric, I saw on the Fangraphs youtube page you recently put up a lot of videos on the Angels prospects. What can you tell me about the pitchers Jose Soriano, Stiward Aquino and Christopher Molina? Thanks 12:18 Eric A Longenhagen: Angels list is done and should be up tomorrow, maybe Thurs? Soriano is my favorite of those three — up to 96, great curveball feel, frame, athleticism — while Aquino is a developmental project but 6-foot-6 and also already up to 96. Molina has interesting stuff but is a distant third of that group. 12:19 Captain Jerkface: Now that FG has 2 excellent prospect experts on staff, will the team Top Prospect lists be released with greater frequency? 12:19 Eric A Longenhagen: yep 12:19 Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: How is command projected? 12:20 Eric A Longenhagen: Some combination of present command + athleticism (looseness, fluidity) and other traits that indicate the pitcher will eventually learn to repeat the delivery. 12:20 Anthony: Is Guillorme an 80 defender at SS? Are there are other players that would be in the conversation for an 80 glove? 12:22 Eric A Longenhagen: 80 hands and actions for Guillorme but not the overall defense. Simmons is an 80, maybe you slap an 8 on Lindor. Not Guillorme, but he is freaking great. 12:22 ericstephenisgod: How would you rank the following Dodger outfield prospects? Diaz, Heredia, Kendall, Peters, & Verdugo 12:24 Eric A Longenhagen: Off hand, Verdugo, then Heredia, then Kendall and Diaz in some order (Kendall is riskier because of the bat but his tools are better, so that depends on your preference) then Peters who is similar to Kendall from an offensive standpoint, but his frame is so big he’s more likely to move to a corner than Kendall. 12:25 ericstephenisgod: Favorite Dodger sleeper? 12:25 Eric A Longenhagen: 12:25 Rick: What kind of offensive player do you see Jeimer Candelario turning into? Had a great debut for DET last year 12:25 Eric A Longenhagen: Think he’s a good everyday player, a 50 or 55. 12:26 Deathclaw: Does Pedro Gonzalez still have as high of an upside as anyone in the Rangers system? 12:26 Eric A Longenhagen: Think he’s way up there with Leody and Bubba Thompson, yeah. 12:27 Eric A Longenhagen: And I think the light started to turn on in the fall for PGon. He was a monster during instructs. 12:27 YouthBerry: What sort of power upside does Nick Madrigal have? 12:28 Eric A Longenhagen: Small guy so very little projection on the body and, it follows, the raw power. But, I think the contact quality will be so good that he still hits 18 or so, annually. 12:29 Thad: If you were the Angels GM, how would you handle Ohtani heading into the season? Do you think his value is higher as an OF or SP? 12:29 Eric A Longenhagen: He’d be a starter only for me, maybe pinch hit here and there. 12:30 Paul: How would you grade out Eric Haase of the Indians Org? 12:30 Eric A Longenhagen: I ‘ve spoken with scouts who think he’s an everyday player 12:31 Frank: I know he’s not technically a prospect anymore, but can you talk a little bit about Brandon Nimmo and why some people think he’s so valuable (Mets refusing to trade him for mccutchen?!) 12:33 Eric A Longenhagen: Probably most important is he’s cost effective and the Mets would probably rather have Nimmo’s production for his price than Cutch’s for his. I like Nimmo as a high-OBP guy who plays plus defense in a corner. .250/.340/.410 or so. 12:34 FreeAgentsGalore: I know he’s not technically a prospect anymore, but what is a realistic typical season for Albies going to look like? 12:36 Eric A Longenhagen: I think he’ll eventually hit .300 and reach base at a .370 clip, 12 homers, steal a bunch of bases and play plus defense at 2B 12:36 Dmoney: What’s your early take on Ronny Mauricio? Worth dreaming on? 12:37 Eric A Longenhagen: Love him. Athletic for his size at this age, has all the tools to stay at shortstop even as he fills out, frame portends more power. Very much my kind of IFA prospect, I think NYM do a great job in that market. 12:38 Shawn: Is Melvin Jimenez a top 30 prospect in the Dodgers system? He was young for his level and the stats are pretty good. Is he underrated since very little information can be found on him? 12:41 Eric A Longenhagen: I have him up to 97 and flashing a plus breaking ball. Really generates a lot of power with his hips, which open up the way Ubaldo Jimenez’s do. Scouts think he’s probably a reliever. He’s small, delivery is not typically found in a rotation because it’s hard to repeat. But his stuff is good. Yeah, that’s probably “top 30” in that system. He’s probably a 40 for us. 12:41 Dekkar: Who has the highest ceiling among the Angels trio of top OFs? 12:41 Eric A Longenhagen: Adell, but Marsh is close. 12:42 resumeman: Hi Eric, thanks for the chat. What are your thoughts about Blake Rutherford and Zack Collins as prospects in a Scoresheet keeper league? In Scoresheet protecting prospects costs you picks at the *end* of the draft. I’ve got a few other guys I know I’m hanging on to, so this would be like my picks 30 or 31. Thanks! 12:43 Eric A Longenhagen: The question with Rutherford has quickly become his power. I saw him take BP last week and have a 45/50 on his raw now, which is a bit below what I had for him coming out of HS. I don’t have a great feel for why this has happened, not yet anyway. Collins is the same. High OBP, has power, will strike out a ton and isn’t great as a C but should reach enough to play as a 1B. 12:44 troke: Is there anything positive to say about the Mets scouting, drafting, and player development? 12:45 Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah, look up and down the 40-man and see all kinds of good stuff. deGrom alone is amazing. Get a better owner, how’s that? 12:45 Adam D.: Where do you stand on Heliot Ramos and his future projection? Giants fans are frothing at the mouth over him, but I feel like that has more to do with the complete lack of upside in the system rather than a realistic point of view on what Ramos could be. 12:47 Eric A Longenhagen: I think there’s some truth to this because, while they might be big leaguers of some kind, Beede and Shaw and Gregorio are probably not stars while Ramos could be. Ramos is very impressive, though. You can put a 60 or better on his speed, arm, raw power, he’s got great makeup and hit better in the AZL than I expected given the reports coming out of PR before the draft. I wouldn’t want to trade him, either. 12:48 FR: Most talented out of this group, Camilo Doval, Jose Marte, Raffi Vizcaino? And why for the first one at least? 12:49 Eric A Longenhagen: Doval. Will show you 97 with angry cut, flash a plus slider. Velo and pitch quality range from pitch to pitch is astonishing, though. He has very little feel. 12:49 Chip Ferguson: Is Michael Chavis the real deal, or does it look like a fluke season? If he keeps it up, he looks like he could be the 1B of the future for the Red Sox 12:50 Eric A Longenhagen: I buy it. Like him better than Travis. 12:50 Joe: Thoughts on Ryan Vilade? Is he someone to monitor due to his strong showing in Rookie ball for the Rockies? 12:51 Eric A Longenhagen: Yup, really liked him pre-draft and some pro scouts who saw him during the summer and fall actually think he stays at SS 12:52 Fullsend: Did the scouting report on Nicky Lopez change at all after his performance in the AFL? 12:53 Eric A Longenhagen: I went from thinking he was a utility guy to thinking he was an everyday shortstop 12:54 waltharius: Thanks for chatting! Appreciate your insight as always. My question is, who in the Padres organization do you think will have a breakout season this year and crack the top 100? 12:54 Eric A Longenhagen: One of Gabriel Arias, Jorge Ona or Jordy Barley. 12:55 PukinAround: Over under 1 WAR at the major league level for Gohara next year? 12:55 Eric A Longenhagen: I’ll tke the over 12:55 Delvin: Which team is best positioned going forward for the next 5 years? (current roster, prospects on the way, financial prowess, etc.) 12:55 Eric A Longenhagen: NYY 12:56 Fred: Do you see the move to Miami as affecting Sandy Alcantara’s likely development? 12:57 Eric A Longenhagen: I do. Was very probably headed right to the bullpen with StL, has more time to continue developing as a starter for MIA. It was why I stayed away from him in my sim-league draft. Just no idea what kind of big league tie he’ll see next year. But I like that we’ll have abetter chance to see what Sandy might become this way. 12:58 Big Joe Mufferaw: Hello From Ottawa. Where we had an inch of ice on our cars this morning and 5 inches of snow last night. Stop whinning about 38 degrees! 12:58 Eric A Longenhagen: HAhaha, that’s fair. I had to turn my heat on today for the fourth time since we moved here. RIP Ottawa Lynx. 12:58 v2micca: Any work on how Kevin Maitan is looking in the Angel’s farm system. I know some of the hype had come off of him before the move. Wondering how he is adjusting now. 1:00 Eric A Longenhagen: He’s here in Tempe working out, which is good. We have a 50 on him for the Angels list. Reports from last year were not good but we think it’s more likely that he was mishandled and has time to bounce back (he’s still just 17 as I’m typing this) than we think the entire international scouting community misjudged his talent. 1:01 Kevin: Hello Eric, which prospect that you believe will make their debut in 2018 are you most excited for? 1:02 Eric A Longenhagen: Easy to say guys like Acuna and perhaps Guerrero, but I wanna see Kingery do it simply because he was a favorite of mine at U of A. 1:02 Barry: How far off is Albert Abreu? And is the stuff legit enough to be a front end starter? 1:02 Eric A Longenhagen: Wouldn’t feel comfortable thrusting him into a big league rotation spot right now but yeah, his stuff is that good. 1:03 Kristen: Ronald Guzman’s ceiling? Big guy hasn’t shown big power yet. 1:04 Eric A Longenhagen: Definitely a hit-over-power prospect but think the overall profile is fine at first base and his defense has come such a long way. Another great makeup guy. Think he’s an average everyday player, chance to be a tick above. But agree, not much game power there. 1:04 Cam : Should the Yankees hold on to Frazier? They only have about a year or 2 left with Gardner 1:06 Eric A Longenhagen: I think so, because I do think Frazier is good and want to see what he does in that ballpark (I bet he’d hit 10 oppo bombs in that stadium every year) but if the right deal presents itself…. 1:06 Matt : I know that Boston hypes up young prospects so much, so I was wondering you could clear the air on Darwinzon Hernandez, Bryan Mata, or Roniel Raudes. They are talked about a lot up here as the next big pitching prospects. Thanks again 1:11 Eric A Longenhagen: Mata is first among them for me. Big-framed, fluid, projectable, has touch and feel for his age/size, maybe he grows into much better stuff but what he’s working with now is already fine. Hernandez is a reliever for me. Unique arm slot, big hooking breaker, doesn’t really throw the amount of strikes you want from a rotation piece. Raudes is very small, stuff is very average and command went way backwards last year. 1:11 Kevin Mick Latchy: Where would Bryan Reynolds slot into the Pirates system rank-wise? Is he an MLB-regular or just 4th OF? 1:11 Eric A Longenhagen: Sourced opinions on him range between those two outcomes. I think he’s a 50, avg everyday guy. 1:12 Eric A Longenhagen: And thanks for reminding me to update the PIT and StL lists with the prospects they’ve acquired. I’ve been meaning to do that. 1:13 Gerald : What is Justus Sheffield in his prime? Is Marcus Stroman a good (righty) comp? 1:13 Eric A Longenhagen: Thihnk he’s an above-average big league starter. No, would not make that comp myself. 1:14 Phil: In all your years doing this, what prospect has most outperformed your expectations of him? 1:17 Eric A Longenhagen: The scope of my work has broadened over this time, but it’s been 10 years. I didn’t think Altuve or Jose Ramirez would do this. Ender Inciarte another one. Carrasco and Pomeranz both took a while but I wasn’t a fan of either when they were in the minors. 1:17 Grahm : How much does advanced analytic scouting go into the top 100 rankings? I’m thinking about things like minor league pitchf/x, statcast data, etc. 1:18 Eric A Longenhagen: We consider what we have, but it isn’t nearly as much as what teams do. 1:18 Kevin Mick Latchy: What NCAA ball are you most excited for this season? 1:18 Eric A Longenhagen: TCU and Oregon St here in AZ the first weekend of the season. 1:19 jackItaly82: Pitching:Whitley, Keller or Buheler? 1:19 Eric A Longenhagen: Whitley 1:19 Billy: How easily correctable is an approach problem? For instance, Estevan Florial? 1:20 Eric A Longenhagen: Sorry, that’s one thing I’m just not sure about. I think a better approach can be learned but not sure if it can be taught, and I don’t know how to separate the guys who can learn one from the guys who can’t. I wish I had an answer for you. 1:20 Ethan: Which mid-level shortstop prospect do you like better: Christopher Torres or Isaac Paredes? Who do you think has a better offensive profile? 1:20 Eric A Longenhagen: Paredes, but don’t think he’s a SS. 1:21 Zihuatanejo: It has always been weird to me that despite the different skills required in baseball for pitching, hitting, playing the outfield/infield/catching, etc., all scouts are expected to scout all players and skill sets. Within the scouting community are there scouts who are known to be better at scouting pitchers, hitters, catchers, and so forth? 1:23 Eric A Longenhagen: Yes, I know scouts who are specialists in one area or another but that isn’t pervasive throughout baseball, just a few select teams with a few scouts with what I guess you’d call specialties. 1:23 Dan: Can you think of prospects traded in a fair-looking deal at the time, that ended up becoming stars? 1:25 Eric A Longenhagen: Gio Gonzalez, German Marquez might get there, Lo Cain, Didi, Souza had a good year…there are many 1:26 Jake: Your sleeper in the Indians system? 1:26 Eric A Longenhagen: Aaron Bracho 1:26 Phil: When scouting players live, do you sit and chat with other scouts to open yourself up to other perspectives or sit alone and observe on your own to avoid groupthink? 1:27 Eric A Longenhagen: A mix, I guess. 1:27 Dan : What is the most dominant that you’ve ever seen one player at a particular level? 1:28 Eric A Longenhagen: Stephen Strasburg at Double-A. Guys had no chance. 1:28 greg: Do you see a big difference in tools between Luis Robert and Jose Siri? 1:29 Eric A Longenhagen: Think there might be a difference in bat control with Siri > Robert, but Robert has an edge in raw, all-fields power 1:29 A-aron: Who invented the 20-80 scale and why didn’t they just do 0-100? 1:30 Eric A Longenhagen: Supposedly Branch Rickey and 20-80 is a better way of parsing through a normally distributed population where 50 is average and each 10 away from it is a standard deviation from the mean. These values are more communicative than they are scientifically exact, which is actually a good thing, in my opinion. 1:31 Chloe: Austin Beck – what are his best and worst tools? 1:31 Eric A Longenhagen: Best- Arm Worst- Hit 1:33 Jake: Mitch Longo, one of the best performing bats in Class A/A+ last season. What’s your take? 1:36 Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah, he’s very interesting. First person to flag Longo for me was actually Mike Baumann from The Ringer, who was covering college ball out of Columbus for D1 baseball at the time. Had some premium physical ability in college. Well-built kid, above-average bat speed at the expense of some effort, swing had natural loft, runs pretty well. They’ve opened up his stance in pro ball, have altered his footwork in a way that I think is meaningful. Definitely has moved up, still trying to nail down exactly what kind of role he might eventually play. 1:36 Matt Chapstick: Is Matt Chapman somebody who could be an offensive force soon? He seems to be overlooked. He can take a walk, has always had incredibly high FB rates, and if he can get his HR/FB to a modest 20%, aren’t we looking at a guy that .330+OBP, 35+ HR 3B? 1:37 Eric A Longenhagen: 35 homers is a lot, but yeah he’s that type of player. I was too light on Chapman last offseason by a lot. Thought he was closer to Pedro Feliz than what it appears he’s going to be. 1:38 Jerry : Which core of 4-5 players would you take in the MLB right now? 1:41 Eric A Longenhagen: If I’m building a team in my image? Lindor, Ohtani, Buxton, Machado. I know Trout is the best player on the planet, I’m folding in what I consider aesthetically pleasing because I can’t help it. 1:41 Big Joe Mufferaw: I heard from Kiley last week that Andujar “pounds the ball into the ground a bit too much” but his 38 doubles, 2 triples and 16 HRs in 487 AB seem to tell a different story. Can you elaborate? 1:42 Eric A Longenhagen: No, I said that. Think the swing plane leads to more grounders than average is all. Think his game power plays beneath his raw without an adjustment. 1:43 Alec Asher Wojciechowski: How many Wander Francos make the majors? 1:43 Eric A Longenhagen: 1 1:43 Oden: Hey Eric, 1:43 Eric A Longenhagen: Hi, Greg. 1:43 Eric A Longenhagen: I still have your jersey somewhere in my parents’ basement… 1:43 Alec Asher Wojciechowski: Who is your favorite under the radar Astros prospect? 1:44 Eric A Longenhagen: Chuckie Robinson, but I may have a new answer next week as I start work on Houston system today. 1:46 Will: What are your recommendations for places to see, things to do, etc. in the Lehigh Valley? 1:47 Eric A Longenhagen: Drinks here: https://www.bookstorespeakeasy.com Dinner here: http://www.boleterestaurant.com 1:48 Eric A Longenhagen: Those places were occasional treats. Mostly I was like any other Catasauqua townie: I liked going to one of the two major playgrounds to watch summer league hoops and to drink within walking distance of the house. 1:49 Eric A Longenhagen: Okay everyone, I must go. Thanks to all of you for stopping by again this week and for your continued readership and support. See you next week.