Kiley McDaniel Chat – 1/22/20

12:20

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: Hello from ATL! Scout is eating lunch and I’ve got a busy day so let’s get going before a quick review of recent pieces

12:21
12:21

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: and post Ozuna signing, there’s lots of ATL questions in the queue but I’ll try to limit them

12:22

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: I also wrote about what’s next for the Astros: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/whats-next-for-the-astros/

12:23

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: and Prospects Week is set for February but lemme find the actual date for you

12:24

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: on Feb 10

12:24

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: through that whole week

12:24

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: and lastly

12:24

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: we wrote a book

12:24

Avatar Kiley McDaniel:

 

Kiley McDaniel
@kileymcd

 

Proud to announce that @longenhagen and I wrote a book: FUTURE VALUE, coming in April 2020.

We explore the tension between analytics and scouting along w/the state of the art & old school ways teams find superstars.

Preorder now triumphbooks.com/FutureValue for 20% off w/code FV20

22 Nov 2019
12:24

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: to your questions:

12:24

Pat’s Bat: Did you submit a fake fangraphs Hall of Fame ballot?  Who was on it?

12:25

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: I did not and I guess I’m one of the few professional baseball writers who doesn’t really care about the HOF? There’s so much illogical nonsense and grandstanding that I choose to not expend energy on it.

12:26

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: That being said, Jay Jaffe is the best at analyzing it and congrats to the people who were notified about their induction while wearing a Spongebob shirt

12:26

Mister Baseball Man: Did one of you guys say the Tigers list is basically done and will be posted soon or did I dream that?

12:26

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: They are probably next? We’ve done a good bit of work on them

12:26

v2micca: Possibly silly question.  Is a four-seam fastball with good spin rate and thus good vertical movement less effective when thrown in the bottom of the strike zone?  And if so, how much less effective than throwing it at the top?

12:28

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: generally yes. the unexpected (to the hitter’s eye) movement ideally fits at the top of the zone, moving above it, rather than into the zone. also the approach angle of the pitch is another variable you aren’t addressing here that make the answer easier and we address it in detail in the book actually

12:28

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: short version is shallow approach angle is best up in the zone, steep is best down in the zone. try to not have an average approach angle for your pitch

12:29

Someone’s Mom: could they really have been using buzzers?

12:29

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: they definitely could have, we just don’t know if they did

12:29

Someone’s Mom: Can you imagine being mad a mike fiers?

12:30

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: That does seem like a weird angle to take on all of this. I get that the culture of baseball is anti-snitch and that’s fine, but the unspoken part is we’re anti-snitch because they’re gonna come for us one day…because we’re breaking the rules, too. But then the players argue for wanting an even playing field…?

12:32

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: And if the argument is the betrayal of someone breaking the code of the clubhouse, that’s just an extremely weak argument because, like, don’t cheat.

And even if we want to grant that players will cheat regardless (which is quite something), then don’t cheat in such an obvious way that the whole team knows and so when thirty players that know are on other teams, it is inevitable that everyone will know and you’ll get caught?

12:33

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: Like did no one on the Astros think this would ever get out? It’s like the most inevitable thing in the world. Almost everyone paying any attention to this knew this was happening in some way years ago and just couldn’t prove it. It was all one on-the-record quote from one of dozens of former teammates from being public and then invalidating a huge swath of your career. For some extra hits. Really, guys?

12:34

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: The best case scenario is it doesn’t come out in a confirmed way until after your career ends and you get 10 years of benefit from it and the whole league hated you your whole career and now all your stats are sullied after you’ve banked 15% more money instead of during your career

12:34

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: Like most plans, this was a bad one

12:35

Someone’s Mom: Why didnt the astros lose any int’l money?

12:35

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: Covered this last week, but there’s no logical reason why J2 money wasn’t part of the punishment

12:35

James: What is life like for someone like Nick Bitsko right now, as far as being approached by the professional world? He’s just declared he’s gonna go in the draft, probably gonna be top-10ish, make $6 or $7 million, right? So are agents approaching him? Are pro teams allowed to interact with him now? Are they all rushing to get advanced readings on him cause they thought he was gonna come out next year? Does the NCAA prohibit or care about any of this like they do with basketball/football?

12:36

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: I’d pump the brakes on definite top 10 pick b/c he’s a prep RHP after all, so I’d say anywhere from pick 5 to pick 50 is his 25 to 75 percentile range

12:38

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: I’ll set his over/under at 16.5 overall pick.

I don’t know if he has an agent already but I think he does; usually reclassifying happens once the agent is in play, but not always. We get questions from agents about 2022 kids, so 2 to 3 years before draft day, agents are on these the top prospects.

12:39

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: Pro teams are always allowed to interact with prep prospects, it’s colleges that have restrictions

12:39

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: Luckily Bitsko went to a summer event (East Coast Pro) that was heavily scouted and had TrackMan, so they have as much info on him as later-emerging prep arms

12:39

DJ Tanner: How do teams select which prospects to bring to Spring Training? Seeing some similar prospects (age/level) on teams where one gets the invite and other does not. For example, Giants invite Bart but not Heliot (both AA last year). DBacks invite Perdomo but not Alek Thomas (both in A+ last year, same age). Curious on thought process if there is one.

12:40

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: A lot of it is how much the coaches like them and how advanced they are mentally, but also will they get added to the 40-man next year, is there a veteran they should be able to learn from, etc. The actual skill level isn’t in the top couple criteria once you grant that we’re talking about non A-Ball top prospects.

12:41

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: (Bart has Posey)

12:41

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: It can also be a reward for doing stuff the org likes, even something as little as offseason camps

12:41

Someone’s Mom: Why havent the Padres aquired an ace?

12:42

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: 1/It’s expensive
2/I think they think Patino/Gore/Paddack will fill that role

12:44

Andrew: Been doing a lot of research for an upcoming minor league prospect draft. I think I will miss out on many of the top first year players and international signees. Been focusing on Drew Waters, Alek Thomas, and Corbin Carroll. Would you rank them in this order? The speed aspect of Carroll makes me want to take him prior to the other two.

12:44

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: I would put them in that order, yes

12:45

Will: Looking at the BA Top 100 that was just posted today, and they also have average exit velocities in their player evaluations. There’s some notable discrepancies between what’s in their blurbs and what’s on THE BOARD, so was hoping you could give us some insight on why that may be.

12:46

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: I assume they get it from asking teams as well, but there’s a couple different ways to calculate it and teams have proprietary ways of correcting/cleaning the data as well, so no two teams have the exact same numbers for everyone, but they should be pretty similar.

12:46

Yo Soy La Manzana: Prime Lebron James if he played baseball is a X/X/X hitter with X SB and X HR

12:47

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: Not very good. He’s enormous w/no evidence of swing qualities of Aaron Judge

12:47

Zach : Braden Shewmake‘s stock seems to have risen a bit since the draft. Does he now have the ceiling of an everyday SS/2B?

12:47

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: I think he did before, but the odds and proximity have improved

12:48

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: and ceiling is a little higher

12:48

Garth Flamingoes: Any 2020 J2 kids making that Franco/Luciano/Dominguez type buzz yet?

12:48

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: Nope, I’d guess 45 is the top FV we give in this class apart from Cuban defectors

12:48

Sirras: Having worked in a front office, what’s a major part of the job that most of us out here wouldn’t think about?

12:49

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: Politics get in the way of doing a good job more than you’d guess and the hours are even more insane than you think

12:49

Matthew: Do you think the way the astros run their system necessarily creates the toxic environment that manfred warned about, or can a team be as analytically inclined and efficient and avoid the negatives?

12:52

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: They can be analytically-inclined and have morals, but it is unlikely a team can be defiantly pushing the boundaries of analytics/corporatization and not have stuff like this happen. This is the logical extreme of that approach and they were at the extreme.

Defiantly is the key, though. You can be at the forefront and stay out of trouble. I would also submit that the other teams that are rumored to have been stealing signs in an organized way (anecdotally, of course) are almost all on the progressive end of things.

12:52

Guest: Robot umps, how long until completely integrated?

12:52

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: I would guess either 2022 (new CBA) or the one after that, say 2026-2027

12:54

fulltimesavage: Trevor Bauer recently said on the Pardon My Take podcast that he believes that it’s possible, though unlikely, that some members of the Astros could have been unaware of the cheating.  Is he just talking about bullpen guys who can’t hear the trash can from the dugout?  I can’t see how any other players wouldn’t have known.

12:55

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: I would think pitchers have plausible deniability, since there’s no reason for them to be involved, so they wouldn’t really know what’s going on unless they asked around. There’s plenty of rumors that teams have the bullpen helping with sign stealing, but off-day SP wouldn’t be in the loop.

12:55

Jim Crane the Innocent: How did Nick Frasso look this summer with Team USA?

12:55

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: Projection, okay command, above FB/CB

12:57

GSon: which cuban defectors?

12:58

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: Currently, it’s RHP Norge Vera, and OFs Oscar Colas and Pedro Leon. I’d guess they all wait until 2020 and the first two both seem ticketed for well into the 7 figures. Vera is 40+ or 45. Not sure what the other two are yet.

12:58

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: Here’s Josh Herzenberg on Vera’s workout in the States: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/prospect-dispatch-cuban-right-hander-norge…

12:58

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: Vera is throwing again the DR in a few weeks

12:59

The Amish: What FV grade would you give Starling Aguilar? Is he basically a lock to sign with the Mariners?

12:59

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: Probably 40

12:59

Jeff: I’ve noticed a ton of scouts using the term “hook” lately. Is that just a catchall phrase for a breaking ball or can you explain further?

12:59

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: It’s one of many

12:59

Jeff Luhnow: How hard would it have been for me to continue to run the Astros while I was suspended?  Encrypted chat apps would allow me to communicate with my lieutenants without anyone knowing, and given technology, there’s no reason for me to be actually at the park — I can do everything I was doing anyway remotely.

1:01

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: 1/There’s probably gonna be a new GM relatively soon
2/If it goes well, you won’t get credit and likely it’ll work against your legacy even more
3/you got a payout of some amount to do nothing, so like, take a nap or something
4/you’d kill any chance of working in MLB and maybe any higher level business

but other than that it sounds great

1:02

graphman: was patrick mahomes anything as a baseball prospect? he was in the back of the BA top 500 in his HS draft year, not sure how much he developed when he played at texas tech, but the athleticism would seem great on the mound

1:02

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: Intriguing two-way guy that needed to go to college but showed glimpses of top 3-4 round talent as 3B/OF and RHP

1:03

Clint Eastwood: I want to scout. How should I work a game I’m attending? Radar gun, stopwatch, notebook with rosters. Take notes selectively, chart every pitch, go down the line to see swings? I’m unsure what the priorities should be.

1:04

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: We go into this in a lot of detail in the book, but I’d recommend sitting behind home and trying to identify each pitch type as a good first step. Keeps you engaged on each pitch and then you can branch out to more complicated stuff

1:05

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: To a question I won’t publish from Mike about regretting a decision, I appreciate the sentiment

1:05

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: Okay now we’ll run through all the Braves questions at once

1:05

Gary: Which of the Braves 2019 picks were you most positively surprised by the reviews on?

1:06

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: Braden Shewmake, Michael Harris, Bryce Ball, Vaughn Grissom. DeVito, Paolini and Backstrom beyond that.

1:06

Larry: How concerning is Ian Anderson’s spin rate on his curveball? I’m a little new in understanding spin rate, but how is it possible for a curveball to be effective if the spin rate isn’t good?

1:07

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: it’s highly spin efficient and also his third best pitch. there’s lots of ways for offspeed pitches with non-ideal spin rates to succeed. for fastballs, spin rate tells you much more since once you point out the grip, they’re all kinda the same so the spin rate alone tells you more

1:08

LioneeR: Looks like Riley will play 3B mostly this year.  Is there any reason to expect an offensive bounce because he won’t have to deal with playing a brand new position?

1:08

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: eh, not really

1:08

Alex Anthopoulos: Am I done making moves after the Ozuna signing, or do I take a swing at Bryant, Lindor, or Arwnado to really push the Braves over the top?

1:08

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: they’ll kick the tires on everyone but I the odds they get anyone of that stature is like 15%?

1:08

fulltimesavage: Can the Braves sign a normal international class this year, or are they still under penalty from the Coppy scandal?

1:10

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: They have a half pool for 2020 and I think they just lost more of it to the Ozuna signing. They’ll sign some players but nothing splashy

1:10

Bearry: Do Pache and Kiermaier have essentially the same ceiling? All the risk included, seem to map pretty well with defense, solid power, okay hit tool that determines their yearly productivity.

1:10

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: Reasonably similar likely outcomes, but Pache has a shot to beat that offensively given the tools, though unlikely

1:10

H Sizzle: I love AA’s focus on short term contracts to make the Braves contenders this year without sacrificing future payroll and top prospects. The Braves will have ~60 mil coming off the books after this year via Ozuna, Hamels, Melancon, and Greene. Could they be players for someone like Mookie (10yr/300mil) or do you think they will stick with their short term deal strategy?

1:10

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: I would guess more shorter term deals but his approach allows for this

1:10

Will: Reading the ATL top prospects, was intrigued that you had Alex Jackson and Shea Langeliers only a half grade apart defensively. Was curious if you had availability to Trackman reports on catcher framing, and if so how much did that play a factor in the grades on an improving but historically below avg. defensive C in Jackson relative to a lauded college defender like Langeliers.

1:11

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: Langeliers is closer to 60 than 50 but yes, Jackson’s framing was confirmed to be very strong, like near the top of the minors via TM measures

1:11

Brian: Do you have any concerns about Bobby Witt Jr’s offensive performance last season?

1:12

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: Not really, his underlying stuff (exit velo, tools, etc.) is all what we expected

1:12

Tino: totally not a fantasy question- Would you rather have Yordan for Wander in the 2020s?

1:12

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: Wander

1:12

Dave G.: Better prospect: Mize or Kelenic?

1:12

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: Mize

1:12

Nick: Different players, but who is more likely to rocket up the rankings? Ethan Hankins or George Valera?

1:12

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: Valera by a lot

1:12

Baby Yoda: How do you feel about the minor league contraction thing?  Are some of the stadiums really that bad?  Is it going to happen? And how does this change player dev?

1:13

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: I’ve gone into this in more detail in past chats but yes, MLB does have a point that these facilities are bad and pay is low and there’s a lot of teams, maybe more than we need and many of them aren’t viable businesses without MLB’s subsidies. Doesn’t mean this plan is the way to fix it, but they do have a point.

1:13

Desperate Times: I politely request Desperate Measures.

1:13

SpicyBoy: inject those prospect lists directly into my veins kiley

1:13

John Oleruds Helmet: Read FUTURE VALUE man it was great So much better than Harry Potter 8 Tolkien, George RR and Stephen King too Everyone of those chumps now bow to you What you gonna do next I’m dyin to know A VR THE BOARD please say it’s so! He don’t bang trash cans, no buzzers on his chest McDan don’t cheat cuz he already the best!!!

1:13

Baby Yoda: *force chokes Matt Damon*

1:13

Avatar Kiley McDaniel: I guess that’s all for this week, see you guys next time

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Kiley McDaniel has worked as an executive and scout, most recently for the Atlanta Braves, also for the New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates. He's written for ESPN, Fox Sports and Baseball Prospectus. Follow him on twitter.

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