Eric Longenhagen Prospects Chat: 3/20

12:02
Eric A Longenhagen: Hi, everyone. Some links before we get rolling….

12:02
Eric A Longenhagen: I wrote up a deep Marlins system: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/top-29-prospects-miami-marlins/

12:03
Eric A Longenhagen: And dumped some amateur notes: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/scouting-oregon-righty-matt-mercer-and…

12:03
Larry: Breakout Braves prospect from outside you and Kiley’s top 32?

12:03
Eric A Longenhagen: I think Anyelo Gomez is going to be very good.

12:03
Waltharius: Is there any updates on prep guys like Hankins, Gorman, Turang and Kelenic?

12:05
Eric A Longenhagen: Hankins should be back soon, Gorman hasn’t looked great (seeing more of him today), Turang has been better than in the fall, Kelenic is frozen solid is Wisconsin.

12:05
Steve: Any rookie relievers (and potential closers) we should keep an eye on this season?

12:05
Eric A Longenhagen: Like half-way down the page are a bunch of names you want: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/heres-some-lower-ranked-prospects-we-l…

12:05
Waltharius: Is there a possibility that by the end of the year, MacKenzie Gore is the best pitching prospect?

12:06
Eric A Longenhagen: Very possible.

12:06
THE Average Sports Fan: What could the Braves say about sending down Acuna that could convince anybody this is not a service time thing?

12:07
Eric A Longenhagen: I literally can’t conceive of anything

12:08
Eric A Longenhagen: Right now they’re trying to sell “We don’t wanna push this kid too quickly, ya know, the one who really thrived last year while he was being pushed super aggressively.”

12:08
Randy: This is more of a request than a question…a requestion, I suppose. But could you and/or Kiley do a post one day with video or gif examples of common negative scouting terms like headwhack, arm bar, casting a breaking ball, and such? That would be great.

12:08
Eric A Longenhagen: This is a good idea and I’m stashing it

12:08
Alec Asher Wojciechowski: I was a little surprised to not see Ryne Birk on the Astros write up, what can you tell us about him?

12:10
Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah, could have been an HM. 23, mostly in A-ball last year. Short to the ball, has some bat control, strong hands, some loft in there. Mostly got squeezed because of his age relative to level but he’s an interesting ballplayer.

12:11
RyanW: do scouts (who are often themselves low paid) ever talk about the low minor league wages of players? Any sense as to whether, if given the power, scouts would want to pay them more, or provide better nutrition, health benefits, etc.?

12:14
Eric A Longenhagen: Things like nutrition are talked about through the lens of player development, and yeah scouts talk about who has better programs (food, cultural assimilation, actual baseball stuff, etc) but I’ve never directly asked a scout how they feel about minor league wages. I assume they realize it’d be better if the kids got a living wage because the scouts don’t have whatever weird affection for the owners that fans have which influence their thinking as far as players getting paid goes.

12:14
Jason: Why do you think we don’t see more splitters/split changes like the ones thrown by Alex Cobb or Casey Mize? Is it because of the thought of potential arm trouble? Too hard to master and consistently pull off?

12:15
Eric A Longenhagen: I do think we’ll see more splitters but there are orgs who would prefer their prospects didn’t throw one.

12:15
Lawgiver: If I described Acuna’s swing as “Objectively long and unlikely to play against MLB level pitching” I would be ____________.

12:15
Eric A Longenhagen: so far up your own ass that you can’t see the special talent staring you in the face.

12:16
Eric A Longenhagen: Gary Sheffield had a horrible bat wrap. If he has that kind of bat speed, who cares?

12:16
B: What are you thoughts on Eric Haase? Is he the future at catcher for the Indians now that Mejia appears to be moving off the position?

12:18
Eric A Longenhagen: We really considered him for our overall 100 because the power is for real and some scouts think he can catch. But when we bounced his name around we got back a lot of 4A feedback, concerns about strikeouts and more mixed opinion about the glove. So, there’s a chance he’s their guy in CLE eventually, but know that the industry is mixed about it.

12:18
Connor T.: Ceiling of Thomas Eshelman? Apparently he’s been working with Brad Lidge on developing a slider.

12:18
Eric A Longenhagen: 5th starter for me, but if there’s a better breaking ball in there, that’d be good.

12:18
Jim: He is not technically a prospect, but what are your thoughts on A.J. Reed after he was optioned yesterday. He appears to be fourth on the depth chart at 1B behind Gurriel, White, and JD Davis. Is he just a AAAA guy or is Houston’s line-up that hard to crack (even if the three guys ahead of him are not household names)?

12:19
Eric A Longenhagen: I’ve never really been on Reed.

12:19
DBRuns: Eric, have you had the chance to check out the Indians’ J2 prospects? If so, what has been your impression?

12:19
Eric A Longenhagen: Next week, TUE/WED/FRI.

12:20
Adam: I’m constantly finding references about “character” concerns regarding Jeisson Rosario. Is this the usual “give a kid a lot of money and learn about his priorities,” or something else?

12:22
Eric A Longenhagen: I know nothing of ‘character’ concerns. He didn’t always play smart or hard last year when I saw him, but ‘character concern’ is too general a term for that and might lead you to believe there’s more bad stuff going on than what I’ve seen. He’s very talented, he just dogged it at times last year.

12:22
Alec Asher Wojciechowski: I’m sure you’re not the person to talk to, but I keep getting sent to some advertisements on separate pages that I can’t back to fangraphs when browsing on mobile, it makes the site darn near unusable

12:23
Eric A Longenhagen: We’ve talked about it and Appelman has told us it’s not an FG issue but a mobile internet issue that is undoubtedly a problem, but not one we can fix. I get those weird add popups, too, on sites other than FG (the MiLB live box scores do it a lot) and Bill Mitchell told me to use Firefox Focus as my browser. That’s worked. Try that?

12:24
Prancer: Thoughts on Tyler Mahle?

12:24
Eric A Longenhagen: League-average starter

12:24
Dick Bosman: Carter Kieboom: if he continues to hit in the minors, do you think the Nats try to move him to second base?

12:25
Eric A Longenhagen: If he reaches the upper minors and his bat is ready but Turner is at SS, yes. 2B or 3B. His bat plays at either.

12:25
They call me Jay Tibbs!: Any reports on Corey Ray or Blake Rutherford from the spring.  Feels like for both they’re in spots where they need to bounce back or get passed by.

12:26
Eric A Longenhagen: Saw Rutherford take BP early in spring, put a 45 on his raw power. Had a 55 on it in HS. Ray I haven’t seen.

12:27
Bird Man: Jesus Luzardo, Nate Pearson, Jorge Guzman…highest ceiling, safest floor?

12:27
Eric A Longenhagen: Luzardo has three pitches and command right now, safest floor for me (independent of injury)

12:28
Eric A Longenhagen: Ceiling is tougher to nail down

12:28
Braník best : Did Logan Allen get worse last season? You had him as a 45 in late 16, but I haven’t seen anything since (and he wasn’t on the 45 FV list).

12:29
Eric A Longenhagen: The list of 45s we posted were guys we think will be 50s or better next year. Allen is still a 45. Saw him last week. Up to 94, 55 changeup, command and delivery were just okay.

12:29
Owen: Tell me why Padres fans should be excited about Esteury Ruiz? or why they shouldn’t be. Thanks, Eric.

12:30
Eric A Longenhagen: Should: Crazy all-fields pop
Should not: Defense at 2B

12:30
Giancarloooooo: Any recent news on how Maitan looks physically and performance wise?

12:32
Eric A Longenhagen: Saw him two days ago and he’s heavy. Gonna give him all of extended to work it out before we re-evaluate on paper, but right now it’s not good.

12:32
ericstephenisgod: What becomes of Edwin Rios of the Dodgers: traded, bench piece, minor league flotsam?

12:32
Eric A Longenhagen: I’m more on Peter than Rios

12:33
Wayne: Kyle Funkhouser has had decent success in his first two seasons. What does he need to do to restore his pre-draft prospect status?

12:33
Eric A Longenhagen: Stay healthy?

12:34
Brett: Reds GM Dick Williams had an AMA on Reddit yesterday evening and had this to say about the prospect coverage on media outlets like Fangraphs: “We see all the coverage. I think those periodicals do some of their own scouting but a lot of their info comes from the scouts in the field that work for teams so they are getting a reasonably good feel for players. Some teams understand this and actively hype bad players, hoping to trick other teams. I trust my scouts more than the magazines.”  In your experience how prevalent is hyping up bad players in the industry to boost a prospects stock?  If what Dick says is true then it seems counterproductive.

12:37
Eric A Longenhagen: I’ve been doing this long enough now that I have a pretty good bullshit detector, or at least I like to think I do. I vet opinions regarding players against other scouts’ opinions and I also seeing a ton of stuff on my own, so my system of checks and balances feels sound. If teams/scouts/whoever lies to me (and it has happened) I usually figure it out.

12:37
Anonymous: I’m thinking of going to the Stanford/USC game this weekend. Any prospects playing I should look out for?

12:39
Eric A Longenhagen: Stanford: Beck, Bubic, Hoerner for this year, Timmy Tawa for the future
USC: Longrie, Nootbaar for this year, Hurt and Ramirez for the future

12:39
Nick: What’s the latest on Michael Matuella? I’ve read about his upside and health issues. Have you seen him pitch recently?

12:39
Eric A Longenhagen: Haven’t seen him but heard he’s throwing harder than last year

12:39
Big Joe Mufferaw: Would you rather be: an Ace SP, a top Closer, a #3 hitting DH, or a slick fielding SS?

12:39
Eric A Longenhagen: SS

12:40
Andy: Thoughts on Driveline?

12:42
Eric A Longenhagen: They’re generally positive. Total pervasiveness of that style of play on both sides of the ball might have unintended consequences from an aesthetic standpoint, but I’m not going to stand in the way of science just because I used to like watching Juan Pierre play ball.

12:43
Craig: Do you think Connor Scott is a top 15 pick?

12:43
Eric A Longenhagen: Yes

12:44
Rex: Any idea how to pronounce Cionel Perez’s first name? And what do you think he needs to become a mid-rotation pitcher?

12:45
Eric A Longenhagen: I’ve mostly heard it SEE-oh-nell.

12:45
Eric A Longenhagen: Also heard the second syllable accented

12:45
Eric A Longenhagen: but less often

12:46
Eric A Longenhagen: Mid rotation? Probably develop a half grade better change than I have projected right now

12:46
patrick: Speaking of the Marlins, does Sandy Alcantara stick as a starter? What does he need to do specifically to do so?

12:47
Eric A Longenhagen: I think StL was going to ‘pen him right away, MIA is backpedaling to develop him as a starter. Want to see a more consistent breaking ball and command.

12:48
Quinn: Not quite a prospect, but is there reason to believe Joe Jimenez could be an average reliever (or more) this year?

12:48
Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah, he has the stuff to be a good big league reliever

12:49
Nick: I’m a big fan of meta-cognition. It’s really helped me in my career and personal life. Do you know of any teams teaching player about meta-cognition and similar concepts?

12:50
Eric A Longenhagen: I don’t know of teams weaving it into player dev, but I’d say, personally, hyper-awareness of my own self has led to a lot of anxiety, not anything helpful.

12:50
TKDC: Would Adam Hill be moved higher onto your college prospect radar with his 49 Ks in 27.2 innings (including 14 against Clemson)? What would be the biggest thing holding him down?

12:52
Eric A Longenhagen: Stock is up. Throws hard, locates his offspeed stuff, set hitters up for secondaries with the fastball, attacks hitters in. If you wanna nitpick, maybe you don’t like the delivery? And obviously there are guys in the draft who just have nastier raw stuff. But Hill looks great.

12:53
Andrew: I read a positive report on Yadier Alvarez. What have you heard or seen? Are you any more optimistic about his future?

12:54
Eric A Longenhagen: I have not seen him yet. He threw on Friday which puts him on track for tomorrow at the Ranch, I believe.

12:54
Eric A Longenhagen: I’m still in on him, btw.

12:54
Eric A Longenhagen: But frustrated

12:55
Sharp: Why can’t teams just be open about service time manipulation?  If as a fan my team’s management doesn’t think they have a change to win, I’m cool with them being smart in the long term.

12:55
Eric A Longenhagen: Because it’s shitty to suppress your employee’s ability to earn a better living.

12:55
greg: Are you planning on seeing Hunter Greene anymore this spring?

12:56
Eric A Longenhagen: Probably not. He throws today but I’m seeing Gorman on the east end of the valley, then ASU.

12:56
Craig: Do you still see Matt Mercer as a first round pick?

12:56
Eric A Longenhagen: Still? No.

12:57
Eric A Longenhagen: He put up a 98 and a 00 on the stadium gun on Friday night but I triple-checked with multiple scouts and the guys running the Trackman, he didn’t throw anything over 96.

12:58
Mario Mendoza: Hi Eric, What do you think Jeimer Candelario’s ceiling is? He’s got me pretty excited with his DET appearance and Spring Training. Would you pick him over Andujar?

12:59
Eric A Longenhagen: Think he’s a 50. Depends what you mean by ‘pick him’, I guess. In a redraft league for this year? Probably. Long term, as a ballplayer? Andujar.

12:59
Quentin: Do you think the players should strike?

1:00
Eric A Longenhagen: I think they should start by hiring a lawyer to run the MLBPA.

1:00
Go Blue: What are your thoughts on Melvin Jimenez of the dodgers, Urias type potential?

1:00
Eric A Longenhagen: Probable reliever

1:00
Eric: Why do fans have such an affection for ownership? What can be done to uhh reverse this trend?

1:01
Eric A Longenhagen: They have affection for their own cities and associate the team with the city.

1:01
Nick: I know its just spring training, but Ryan O’Hearn has had a good one. Can you see him as an average regular when he comes up? Is the power legit?

1:02
Eric A Longenhagen: Yes and yes.

1:02
Billy Beane: Have you gotten a chance to see Norge Ruiz in Spring? He seems like he’s pretty much not a guy anymore.

1:02
Eric A Longenhagen: Haven’t seen him this spring. Multiple times last year. Agree he isn’t a dude.

1:03
Vincent Vega: Any recent thoughts on Jose Soriano?

1:04
Eric A Longenhagen: Was sitting mid-90s on Sunday. He looks great.

1:04
scottz: What do you think is the most likely outcome for each of these current Twins shortstop prospects: Lewis, Gordon, Javier?

1:04
Eric A Longenhagen: Star in CF, average everyday 2B, potential above-avg regular at SS

1:05
Billy Beane: Eric, have you ever scouted a female baseball player who you thought was even a fringey prospect?  If not, what would you be looking for if you did?

1:06
Eric A Longenhagen: I have not. I’d be looking for the same things I’d look for on any other day. I think, athletically, she’s out there, but probably on a basketball scholarship at Notre Dame or something like that.

1:07
Kyle: Usually we talk about makeup in a negative sense, but are there any prospects in the upcoming draft that stick out for having outstanding makeup? Any 80 makeup dudes?

1:08
Eric A Longenhagen: Off the top of my head, it’s impressive what Kyler Murray must be doing from a workload perspective.

1:09
Sean: Where do you feel the top of the 2018 draft compares to the past several years?

1:09
Eric A Longenhagen: It’s better

1:09
Billy Beane: Jesus Luzardo has been nails this spring. You had a chance to see him?

1:09
Eric A Longenhagen: No but he’s very good. Has been up to 97, three pitches, strikes.

1:10
Mike: Any thoughts on Ernesto Martinez Jr? He seems like he could be a potential star if the hit tool plays up

1:10
Eric A Longenhagen: Bueno bueno bueno, oo la la

1:11
Eric A Longenhagen: He’s raw, but he has 8 raw power projection. He was on the HM section of the Brewers list

1:11
Rick: Whatever happened to Nolan Watson and Ashe Russell?

1:13
Eric A Longenhagen: Watson was 93-94 with 45 secondaries this weekend. Russell needed to step away from the game last year.

1:13
Mike M: What are YOUR impressions of Ohtani thus far?

1:14
Eric A Longenhagen: He’ll be fine. Saw him once against Tijuana. Was up to 95, saw a few 7 splits and sliders. No curveball feel, command not there. He’s working through things but I’m not concerned.

1:14
Andy Ibanez: Am I even a 40 grade prospect at this point?

1:15
Finnegan: Should the Red Sox be worried about Jay Groome’s WHIP from A ball last season?

1:15
Eric A Longenhagen: no

1:15
Martin: Can Brailyn Marquez end up as a top 10 prospect for the Cubs after the season?

1:15
Eric A Longenhagen: Yup. Rare arm strength for a lefty, secondaries are solid.

1:15
Curious Reader: How do you chose which questions to answer?

1:17
Eric A Longenhagen: I take them in the order they come in. If I don’t have a good answer off the top of my head (which is the case with open-ended questions like ‘Which rookie pitcher will have the most impact the second half of this year’) it usually gets skipped. Or if it references other publications, also skipped. There are a lot of question fragments in here where people thumbed the ENTER key too soon. Mostly I just go in order.

1:18
Wilmer Font: What is my ceiling at this point?

1:18
Eric A Longenhagen: Good reliever

1:18
Wayne: One more question on Funkhouser: is his stuff all the way back to where it was in college?

1:18
Eric A Longenhagen: When healthy, yes. And I’d argue his changeup is better than it was in college.

1:19
mike sixel: If  a GM didn’t trust his scouts more than a “magazine”….that would be bad.

1:19
Eric A Longenhagen: Correct

1:20
Kevin: Fascinated by your convo w/ Carson on “reverse projection.” Are there any prime prospects of the 2018 class that come to mind who may be in line for a bump once immersed in pro ball?

1:20
Eric A Longenhagen: Grayson Rodriguez

1:21
IndyMets: What names come to mind when you think of toolsy high risk, high reward hitters that are sleeping outside the top 100?

1:22
Eric A Longenhagen: You can add Alexander Canario to the guys halfway down the list: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/heres-some-lower-ranked-prospects-we-l…

1:22
Bravesy McBravesface: How many of the first 30 draft picks do you think will come from Georgia or Florida?

1:23
Eric A Longenhagen: Twelve

1:23
Charles Finley: Did you play baseball in high school?  College?

1:25
Eric A Longenhagen: In high school I was cocky and had just finished reading Moneyball so I didn’t want to bunt, didn’t like the coach, quit the baseball team as a sophomore. That was it. I was also out of shape and would have sucked. Have logged thousands of hours playing wiffleball, though.

1:27
Frank Menechino’s Dog: I have a somewhat theoretical question about upside.

Can a player ever really *lose* their upside? For example, if a teenage prospect receives very high marks from scouts, but then “falls off,” so to speak, with a run of poorer performance, isn’t that initial appraisal still valid? It seems like, more than other sports, baseball prospects have a longer route to “figuring it out” as they progress through the minors.

As an A’s fan, I’m thinking specifically of guys like Matt Olson. He was considered one of the better high school hitters when drafted, and made a couple Top 100 lists those first couple pro years, then he seemed to disappear from top-prospect discussion entirely. After 2017, it seems like the high-upside appraisal is entirely justified.

Put another way: should we be less reactionary with prospect appraisals, and instead have a longer-term mindset?

1:32
Eric A Longenhagen: Lots to unpack here. We can talk about whether ‘upside’ should even be a word we throw around and about how player dev is changing (Olson made swing changes

Matt Olson 2016
14 Sep 2017
1:32
Eric A Longenhagen:

Matt Olson 2017
14 Sep 2017
1:33
Eric A Longenhagen: and we can talk about being overly reactionary as writers and the things that influence our thinking and how it deviates from people in baseball.

1:34
Eric A Longenhagen: In general, my answer would be that most people in baseball look at prospects as amorphous talents. They see how things might break for a guy, good or bad, and have a good sense of who they like better of the players they’ve seen based on that.

1:38
Eric A Longenhagen: The whole idea of ranking these guys (which is just what gets clicked on most and that’s why it’s done) leads us to do things like what you’re describing and creates this idea of granular certainty that just isn’t true. It’s our best guess and we put a lot of effort into trying to line guys up in a way that makes sense.

1:39
Eric A Longenhagen: Like with Maitan. He looks bad right now. He’s also a teenager who everyone was raving about two years ago. Those two things need to be balanced against one another and you have to rank the guy, but those are extreme things to balance and so there’s probably not an objectively correct way to do it.

1:40
Eric A Longenhagen: Okay, I must go. Thanks for sticking around this week and please consider a FG subscription.

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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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RonnieDobbs
Member
RonnieDobbs

That was an absurd reply to Lawgiver. A pre-swing bat wrap has nothing to do with a swing path. That is the point where I stopped reading your chat. You either have to fight those condescending tendencies that do appeal to scouting types or you are going to lose…

zwibi
Member
zwibi

What ever happened to “sticks and stones?”

Hyper-sensitive people like you crack me up. It wasn’t even that bad. Suck it up