Eric Longenhagen Prospects Chat, the Thaw

12:02
Eric A Longenhagen: Hi everyone. There’s actual baseball being played here in AZ this week, rejoice rejoice.

12:02
Eric A Longenhagen: Oh, the Pirates list is done and being edited, I’d expect that tomorrow.

12:02
Eric A Longenhagen: Let’s begin

12:02
Owen: Dylan Cease: SP or RP?

12:03
Eric A Longenhagen: SP until he proves he can’t do it. I like the progression he’s shown since returning from TJ, less violent delivery, better fastball and curveball control.

12:03
Zonk: Is there something Mark Zagunis can do to get more interesting for you as a prospect guru?

12:03
Eric A Longenhagen: Hit left-handed

12:03
John Coppy: If you were me, the GM of the Braves, would you rather bet on Ozzie Albies or Travis Demeritte being the long term answer for 2nd base?

12:05
Eric A Longenhagen: Can someone explain to me where all this Demeritte hype is coming from? He’s a solid prospect but nowhere near the talent Albies is. Consider the package that brought Demeritte to Atlanta. Who’s driving this bandwagon?

12:05
Erik: What are some of the most common mistakes people make when scouting the stat line?

12:06
Eric A Longenhagen: They don’t marry it with in-person looks.

12:06
Alex: I have the 2nd pick in my prospect draft so I’ve been debating this for a couple weeks now. Do I go Zack Collins or Jason Groome? OR do I pull a fast one and pick Gsellman? I am certainly competing this season.

12:06
Eric A Longenhagen: Groome

12:06
Dan: Hoping you can clear something up for me. I read a lot of reports about the concern for a guy like Chance Adams (6ft, 215) to stay in the rotation because of his frame. Yet, I don’t hear much of the same concern for a guy like Justus Sheffield (5’10, 195). What accounts for this difference? Is it just a lefty/righty thing? What are the indicators that lead to this concern? Thanks for the great work!

12:09
Eric A Longenhagen: I think generally we care a little too much about on-paper height/weight. The general thought is that smaller pitchers require more effort to get to their velocity and that more stress is put on the arm, making it less likely that they can pitch 200+ innings free of injury.

12:09
Eric A Longenhagen: I don’t agree with that.

12:11
Eric A Longenhagen: If you want to measure stress on the elbow with torque, well….part of the equation for torque is distance from the fulcrum and TALLER pitchers with longer arms/forearms have more of that and arguably just as much if not more stress

12:11
Eric A Longenhagen: If the delivery looks sustainable, regardless of the pitcher’s size, I’m open minded about it.

12:12
Wes: Your former colleague was not a supporter of high school arms attending college and turning down signing bonuses. What is your opinion with the train of thought that high school pitchers should choose the pros over college?

12:15
Eric A Longenhagen: I think every kid/family situation is different and that some have different priorities and needs than others. In general it makes sense to take the money because of all the reasons Keith and several others (including me) have talked about for a while. But I’m not some hardline absolutist on this and, because I know he’s a reasonable dude, I doubt Keith is.

12:15
Dan: Miguel Andujar: Average 3B? Less? More?

12:16
Eric A Longenhagen: Just the glove or overall? Glove could be better than that. Overall profile probably right there at average with a chance for more if everything clicks.

12:16
Zonk: What do you think Albert Almora will hit in the majors? Is he an everyday CF in your book?

12:16
Eric A Longenhagen: 40 bat speed, don’t see him being an offensive weapon. Could play everyday because the glove is so good but I don’t see him hitting very much.

12:17
Dave: With the recent discussions about the Brewers’ excess positional depth, albeit with the lack of top level talent, how do you see the Brewers OF playing time situation playing out? Would “riding the hot hand” be detrimental to the development of their young OFs, who may benefit from assured playing time at the big league level?

12:19
Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah, it’s a tough situation and a good question. Here’s how I think the young Brewers outfielders on the 40 man line up talent-wise: Brinson, Broxton, Santana, Phillips, Reed. I’d do whatever it takes to get those top three guys at-bats.

12:19
Erik: What is it about athleticism that links it to changeup projection? I get that athleticism should help every thing always, but I don’t see why a changeup should require any more athleticism than any other pitch.

12:19
Eric A Longenhagen: Refinement/mechanical consistency are big parts of it and athletes develop that.

12:20
Ted: Does their prospect pile make the Yankees a legit threat to become a dynasty in the next 4-5 years?

12:21
Eric A Longenhagen: Maybe, but as we’ve seen in the recent past a loaded farm system doesn’t guarantee you multiple rings. Kansas City looks like they’re gonna get one out of it.

12:21
Conrad: Having seen Adrian Morejon during instructs, does it appear that he’s ready to start next season at a full season affiliate?

12:22
Eric A Longenhagen: He only threw two innings and then was shut down with some arm soreness as a precaution so I can’t say for sure. But if reports are true (and in my brief look at him, it appears as though they are) then that would be aggressive but not nutty. The tricky part is budgeting his workload.

12:22
joe: where do you expect the Reds system to rank overall?

12:22
Eric A Longenhagen: Probably in the top third of clubs

12:22
John : Jose Altuve: BABIP AVG OBP
.347 .338 .396
Luis Urias (A+): BABIP AVG OBP
.348 .330 .397

12:23
Eric A Longenhagen: Cal League tho

12:23
Bork: Are you surprised that Jose Fernendez signed for so little?

12:25
Eric A Longenhagen: Kind of but not because of talent, he was pretty overhyped. 28y/o 2B only without the power to play there everyday, he hasn’t gotten game reps in a few years so he’d need to get up to speed quickly, scouts didn’t love the shape he was in at some of his workouts. He’s been on the market cleared to sign for a whiel and when it takes this long it’s because teams don’t like something.

12:25
Eric A Longenhagen: I was surprised by the number because we’ve seen lesser prospects go for more. Teams like CIN, SD, OAK are all pot committed to this year’s J2 class and it makes sense for them to scoop up as many lottery tickets as possible, even if they’re overpaying for them.

12:26
Eric A Longenhagen: The Dodgers did this last year. $200K for Fernandez, they probably found that under the clubhouse couch.

12:26
Justino: How legit is Ian Happ?

12:26
Eric A Longenhagen: Quite

12:26
Erik: When a team like the Reds has an abnormally high number of relief prospects, is that the result of some odd organizational focus, or just the quirk of who happened to develop well so far?

12:28
Eric A Longenhagen: I think it’s more of an acquisitions trend. Let’s look at the high profile draft picks and signings CIN has made: Lorenzen, Cingrani, Howard, Stephenson, Iglesias, Gutierrez. Lotta pure relief guys for me or at least likely relievers.

12:28
Jerry Johns: If Hunter Greene comes out this spring and consistently throws 97-99 mph in starts, and the slider shows half grade improvement, do the Twins take him with the first pick?

12:29
Eric A Longenhagen: If a prep righty is gonna go 1-1 then yes, that’s what it looks like. I think the new regime scoops up a college arm, though.

12:29
Deb: Should the team that signs Otani pull the plug on him hitting regularly, or do you think he can hit enough here? Can he realistically DH every game and pitch every 5th for an AL club?

12:30
Eric A Longenhagen: I think pinch-hitting more often than the average pitcher is fine but he’s a pitcher only for me.

12:30
Buff: Anderson Espinoza or Yadi Alvarez? And will they be your top two pitching prospects?

12:31
Eric A Longenhagen: I’m abstaining until the top 100 but Reyes will very likely be #1

12:31
Rays Fan: How well will Brent Honeywell’s Screwball play in the Majors? Does it play better or worse than more traditional pitches because of its rarity?

12:31
Eric A Longenhagen: I think it will miss bats and that it plays better because it’s such a freakish thing.

12:32
DR: Triston McKenzie has absurd K/9 and control numbers, and reports of control more than command and not quite elite velo. Cody Reed had absurd K/9 and control numbers but then got lit up in A+, evidently because higher level hitters can hit strikes better. What makes you confident T Mack won’t face the same fate?

12:33
Eric A Longenhagen: I’ve never seen Cody Reed break 90. Ate up lower level hitters with a curveball but I haven’t spoken with a scout who has seen him in pro ball and liked him. McKenzie’s fastball plays.

12:33
Joey: Deep keeper league. First pick. Maitan. Yadier Alvarez. Triston McKenzie?

12:33
Eric A Longenhagen: Yadi

12:34
YKnotDisco?!: Kyle Lewis ceiling/floor comp, please. Do you see him staying in CF?

12:35
Eric A Longenhagen: The craziest ceiling comp I’ve ever gotten on Lewis is Gary Sheffield. That’d be pretty extreme. Low end, Michael Taylor? Hard to say if he has the wheels for CF after the ACL tear.

12:35
Ron J: Comments on new Cuban defector Luis Robert?

12:35
Eric A Longenhagen: He’s really good.

12:35
Eric A Longenhagen: And Cuba is officially dry.

12:36
Dave: Do you think it’s possible that Giolito is somehow underrated by some in the industry at this time? I get that the concerns have perhaps decreased his upside, but he still had some dominant starts late in AAA that it feels like some people are forgetting about/ignoring.

12:39
Eric A Longenhagen: I do. If you’re a pro scout and only crossed paths with Giolito this year or if you’re an exec looking at reports from this year only you might not know how dominant this guy looked in past years and would have no reason to hope that guy returns because you’ve never seen it.

12:40
Eric A Longenhagen: I talk to pro scouts all the time who don’t know or care when a guy was drafted or what his pedigree is. There’s something freeing about that and that ignorance (if you want to call it that) definitely removes bias but it also means the scout is working with less information. I’m not sure which way is correct. For my job I need the info.

12:40
Names: Is there a better name in the prep 2017 class than Cash Case?

12:40
Eric A Longenhagen: That one is pretty good. I still like Adisyn Coffey.

12:41
Japanese Imports: Would you estimate that Shohei Ohtani is a 70 FV with hitting included?

12:41
Eric A Longenhagen: 70 FV without it

12:41
2018 Draft: Odds on favorite for first pick in 2018 draft? Seth Beer?

12:41
Eric A Longenhagen: I guess but (shrugs)

12:41
Aidan: Who of the trio of Greg Allen, Bradley Zimmer, and Yandy Diaz is best equipped to really help Cleveland in 2017? More likely that there are multiple immediate-impact players there or zero?

12:43
Eric A Longenhagen: Probably Diaz. He could put on an Indians jersey right now and play great defense at a bunch of spots. Allen would be next and I like him better than Diaz as a prospect. Zimmer’s swing and miss would probably take some time to iron out before he’s ripping homers and doubles.

12:43
Mike: What role do you see Norge Ruiz filling on a ml roster?

12:43
Eric A Longenhagen: Relief.

12:43
Padres: How well does Brice Turang stack up against previously drafted Shortstops early in the first round?

12:43
Eric A Longenhagen: Pretty well. Even if you think it’s mostly average to above average tools (I do) that’s basically what Dansby Swanson was and he went 1-1.

12:44
The Tone: Eric, Desmond Lindsay is a guy for the Mets who has been getting a good deal of attention (rightfully so given his pro debut and tools) and seems like a breakout candidate for full season ball this year. How concerned are you, though, by a guy this young who has been plagued by soft tissue (most notably, hamstring) injuries the past couple years? Is there reason to think this is something that will follow him throughout his career, and does it affect evaluations on him, particularly when it comes to whether he can handle CF long term? Thanks.

12:45
Eric A Longenhagen: I think you’re all over this one. Definitely an impressive physical talent, absolutely has some stiffness and the hammy issues are a concern as it pertains to his prospects in CF.

12:45
Eric A Longenhagen: I’m copy and pasting your graph for the Mets list, expect no payment

12:45
Dave: Is there anyone in the minors currently who projects to be a plus plus defensive outfielder? Or is this a skill set that can’t really be projected to that degree until they’re in the bigs already doing it?

12:47
Eric A Longenhagen: Cool question, I can’t think of one off the top of my head. Many plus defensive corner OFs are converted CFs and that’s tough to predict since you’re trying to project guys at their best position. Harrison Bader is a guy like this.

12:47
frank: I know you haven’t released your Pirate rankings yet so maybe you don’t agree, but what has Steven Brault done to jump into the Pirates top 10 prospects?

12:48
Eric A Longenhagen: I have Brault at #8. Athletic, command is much better than it showed in the big leagues. Slider usage is crafty. I like him as a #4/5.

12:48
Bam: Monte Harrison…future beast or athletic 4th OF?

12:49
Eric A Longenhagen: I’ve always been all in on Harrison and it’s absolutely the sort of ship I’m willing to go down with. Beast.

12:49
AJ Preller: Best under the radar catcher in the minors? Austin Allen maybe?

12:49
Eric A Longenhagen: Keibert Ruiz

12:49
Nick: Thoughts on Dakota Hudson? Can he start?

12:50
Eric A Longenhagen: I think so, was the second best college arm in the draft for me. Up to 96, plus cutter, viable change and curve. I think he’s a mid-rotation guy if he can stay healthy.

12:50
Eric A Longenhagen: Damn I loved the Cardinals draft.

12:50
Nick: Is there a chance that Luiz Gohara starts in the majors? What’s his ceiling?

12:51
Eric A Longenhagen: Definitely. #3 ceiling for me.

12:51
Lionel: Nick Neidert..what’s your quick take & possible ceiling if it all clicks?

12:52
Eric A Longenhagen: Command is going to be really important. Playable three pitch mix but will really max out if he locates everything because the parts all work well together. Probably a league average starter. Good pick for where they got him.

12:52
Luis: Can Zack Collins stay behind the plate?

12:52
Eric A Longenhagen: I’m skeptical.

12:53
ASN: What are your thoughts on how Nick Gordon’s bat will play in MLB?

12:53
Eric A Longenhagen: I think it will be a nice little hit/power combination for a SS, nothing crazy.

12:54
Ronnie: Could Mauricio Dubon turn out as kind of an infield version of Ender Inciarte? Looks like the same general skillset (high contact/average, little power, decent speed) with Dubon only lacking Ender’s truly elite glove.

12:54
Eric A Longenhagen: I think that’s a cool comp, can totally see that.

12:54
Tom M.: DL Hall (LHP) and Mark Vientos (SS/3B) are names that have intrigued me. But both also seem to have rather strong flaws in their respective games. Which do you think has a better chance of being a Top 10 prospect taken in the 2017 Draft?

Or have their flaws been overstated? Thanks.

12:54
Eric A Longenhagen: Hall. Lefty with velo and a curveball like that goes top 15

12:55
jake: Is Ronald Guzman in consideration for top-100 status? No real red flags at 21 in AA, and there seems to be more power to unlock there.

12:55
Eric A Longenhagen: Definitely the kind of guy that winds up in the huge 50FV pool of players that go from 75-150 on overall lists. I’m going to have tough cuts to make when I do it.

12:56
Andrew: Hi Eric, I just want to know what Scouts think about a quick delivery when it comes to starters. Watching the Video Baseball America had on Hunter Greene showed him having a tremendously quick delivery, which screams to me more of a bullpen arm, but I am not a scout so…

12:57
Eric A Longenhagen: Scouts definitely noticed the pace of Greene’s delivery because it is unique for a starter but nobody I’ve talked to is concerned about it and I don’t think am either. It’s not bad, just different. Different is okay for an athlete like Greene, he gets the benefit of the doubt because he’s so special.

12:57
Mike: Jaycob Brugman anything more than a 4th OF?

12:57
Eric A Longenhagen: 4th OF is where I’m at on him, too.

12:58
Jonathan: Two parts, but answer to any would be great: (1) what’s the distribution of pitching prospects to position prospects? (is it close to 50-50 or significantly skewed towards position players?), and (2) it feels like most prospects coming out of Japan have been pitchers. is this accurate, and if so, any reasons?

12:59
Eric A Longenhagen: Probably more pitching prospects. Identifying guys who throw hard and thus are prospects is easy. Hitting prospects can be more subtle and take more time to be unearthed where as I can see a guy touch 96 once and write his name in my notebook.

1:00
Eric A Longenhagen: Not sure on the second question, but it’s a good one.

1:00
HammelPants: Hey Eric, thanks for all the work you do, man! I know we’ll probably hear more about him when your Braves list comes out, but I’ve read some glowingly positive reviews of Joey Wentz and wondered what your take was? Seemed shaky in his first pro action (esp. compared to the other three pitchers he was drafted with) and the videos online didn’t see all that impressive. Am I just being fooled by a small sample size and shaky youtube videos?

1:01
Eric A Longenhagen: I’m a huge fan. Big, athletic lefty with velo, breaking ball feel and great changeup projection. If there’s anything to be concerned about it’s that he’s had some issues maintaining his stuff throughout a whole year and his workload is only going to get bigger.

1:02
Cole Blaque: Hey, asked this last time without an answer . . . What is your opinion of Clint Coulter after his good showing at AA? Small sample or was it closer to his potential after leaving B. County? Thanks!

1:02
Eric A Longenhagen: More of a SSS thing than true talent but I’ve only begun work on the MIL list now so that might change.

1:03
Grant: Some GMs referred to Glasnow as the top 1 or 2 SP prospect in baseball recently. Yet Pirate Insiders claim Mitch Keller is a better prospect. Are GMs stuck on the “close to MLB impact” bias or is Keller that valuable?

1:04
Eric A Longenhagen: This is in the same vein as the Giolito question above. Only a handful of executives in a given year have incentive to care about the top guys in the minors and therefore learn a lot about them. I have a 55 FV on Glasnow and think he’s a good pitching prospect with a monster ceiling but he’s not close to the #1 guy in baseball for me.

1:04
Wyatt: Worst farm in the majors?

1:04
Eric A Longenhagen: Dbacks, Angels, Marlins

1:05
ManBearPuig: You have a favorite, under-the-radar, breakout player of the Phillies’ organization this year?

1:06
Eric A Longenhagen: Maybe not a breakout guy but Tyler Viza keeps pitching well and climbing. He deserves some love.

1:07
Disco Dan: How many 40+ FV prospects do the yanks have? most depth of all teams?

1:07
Eric A Longenhagen: Not sure of the exact number just yet but probably close to 35 which is either 1 or 2 behind SD

1:08
Fred: Dillon Tate’s velocity seemed to come back with the Yankees. Do you buy the mechanical changes they made, or was this mostly from shifting to the pen?

1:09
Eric A Longenhagen: He was throwing harder during ST than he was for the Yankees in Fall League. I’d keep running him out there as a starter because if he gets back to what he was last spring he’s a potential #2.

1:11
asabin: Will you be at Stanford this year? I’d love to catch a game with you!

1:11
Eric A Longenhagen: They come to me this year.

1:11
Liam: Rank your cheesesteak preferences.

1:11
Eric A Longenhagen: I prefer no cheese steak

1:11
Eric A Longenhagen: Soft pretzels and pulled pork in Philly > Cheese steaks

1:12
Ford: Is there a list you haven’t done yet that you’re particularly looking forward to digging into to?

1:12
Eric A Longenhagen: Oakland

1:12
Bob: What is the most important thing to notice or the key elements when scouting the hit tool?

1:12
Eric A Longenhagen: Bat speed

1:12
dabos winning: have you ever put an 80# on a prospect’s fielding/defense?

1:12
Eric A Longenhagen: Lindor

1:12
Erik: How much of an attempt to scouts really make to judge makeup? Are they actually effective at judging a player’s character by watching a few baseball games? Or is all about being connected and knowing the gossip?

1:13
Eric A Longenhagen: They make an effort especially when their club is considering trading for that player. It’s more driven by discussion among scouts and coaches than it is interpreted by style of play.

1:14
Cutler: In a dynasty league setting would you use the projection for Thames to orchestrate a move with his value being high now or would you bank on those projections and see what he provides for your team instead?

1:15
Eric A Longenhagen: I’d check on the projections for Byung Ho Park form last year and draft someone else.

1:15
jon: When trading major leaguers for prospects, do teams value players close to the majors but with warts (Candelario, maybe Peraza) more or less than the higher rated but further away players?

1:15
Eric A Longenhagen: Yes, some teams don’t scout below Hi-A.

1:15
Rio Ruiz: Am I crazy for thinking Brent Honeywell is a better pitching prospect than Glasnow or Giolito?

1:16
Eric A Longenhagen: No, there’s room for argument there. I have Giolito ahead of the other two by a half grade and you can pick and choose Honeywell and Glasnow however you want as far as I’m concerned.

1:16
Zihuatenejo: Who of Bellinger, Calhoun, and Verdugo will see the most time in the bigs in 2017?

1:17
Eric A Longenhagen: Bellinger

1:17
Chuncey Wiggins: Does your scouting of baseball players give you a keen eyes to cricket prospects? Is there any correlation between the skill sets at all?

1:18
Eric A Longenhagen: I don’t even know the rules of cricket.

1:18
Hank: Is Lucas Sims still a starting prospect in your mind? Or is just a matter of time before he’s moved to the bullpen?

1:18
Eric A Longenhagen: Relief for me

1:18
E: I’ve seen some pretty varying reports on Francis Martes across Fangraphs, Baseball America, and some other sites that have scouting reports base on in person looks. Do you think he has number 1/2 starter upside? Baseball America in particular seems very high on him.

1:18
Eric A Longenhagen: I do not.

1:19
Eric A Longenhagen: I haven’t done HOU yet so my opinion is almost entirely colored by what I saw in the AFL right now and it was just okay.

1:19
Trent: When do the Brewers call up brinson? Bryant-esque mid April or post super two in June?

1:19
Eric A Longenhagen: No idea, as always these things have less to do with the prospect and more to do with injuries and trades for the big club.

1:20
Greg: What have you heard about Atlanta’s A.J Minter? Started off being viewed as a throw-away draft selection but now appears to have the makings of a possible elite reliever.

1:20
Eric A Longenhagen: You’re on it. Only have one report but it’s what you’re describing.

1:21
Pat: Have you scouted Nolan Martinez? Seems to have pretty strong stuff for scrawny HS kid.

1:22
Eric A Longenhagen: I have and really like him. Low-90s, athletic, curveball feel. Not as physically developed as others in his class. A very vanilla prep righty profile but vanilla is delicious.

1:22
PieTraynee: Would you still consider Barrett Barnes a prospect? I know all of his injuries have slowed his development time significantly, but there still seems to be a good player in there.

1:23
Eric A Longenhagen: He’s on the honorable mentions on the PIT list. 5th OF type of guy

1:23
Nick Saban: What are your thoughts on Ian Anderson? Anything new since the draft?

1:24
Eric A Longenhagen: Not really. Was erratic when I saw him during instructs.

1:24
Royal Intangibles : Should Matt Strahm start or relieve?

1:24
Eric A Longenhagen: I think he can start which is why I ranked him #1 in that system.

1:26
Eric A Longenhagen: Okay everyone, thank you for stopping by. Pirates list will very likely be up tomorrow so check that out. See you against next week.

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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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