Kiley McDaniel: Hello from ATL! Scout is eating her lunch and I’m still experimenting with grilled/smoked meats and various formulations of frose
Kiley McDaniel: I was at the East Coast Pro showcase this past week, so I’m updating the draft rankings this week, along with some pro adjustments while Eric is at Area Codes and the PG All-American game this week
Kiley McDaniel: There was some important content on the FG prospects social channels today
One of the top prospects we’ve captured on the high speed is Kiley’s puppy Scout
Kiley McDaniel: well you guys told us we were too low on him when he went on a tear after coming up and now we’re too high on him since he’s struggling. his report outlines how his swing got too big and he’s prone to streak/adjustments for this reason. i mean is any of this really shocking?
Mercado with a Mouth: Do minor league catchers get to call pitches? Is that taken into consideration for evaluation?
Kiley McDaniel: yes and yes
Hank: Hi Kiley, thoughts on a potential BRUSDAR call up pretty quickly after an extended injury absence?
Kiley McDaniel: some reliever concern is bubbling up from people we’ve spoken with, so seeing him in that role could be illuminating
DynastyStarter: I’ve seen conflicting reports on Larnach’s power. I know he has a good approach, but are you guys expecting a 30 hr corner outfield bat?
Kiley McDaniel: he was hitting balls 114 mph in college so I wouldn’t be worried about the 9 HR this year, if that’s what you mean. spoke with a scout that saw him during a hot streak and he said it’s 6 bat with 6 raw and he can choose how to deploy it
Hank: If you were GM of the Blue Jays, would you rather have the return for Stroman they got, or a Balazovic/Duran package from the Twins?
Kiley McDaniel: I think we would have SWR and Kay as the 1st and 4th best prospects among those four, so it’s kinda a coin flip leaning toward NYM package since they have the best guy
CW: How come Demeritte’s prospect status fell so quickly? I get that he has warts, but even in 2017 & 2018 he managed above average offense and isnt a stump on D.
Kiley McDaniel: he kind of is a stump on D and the motor runs hot and cold. going back to the discussion of Luis Robert in last week’s chat, the dude that hits .220 in Triple-A with poor pitch selection doesn’t translate to the big leagues well
Kiley McDaniel: Anyone can get a callup, hit at the bottom of the order and launch a couple fastballs for a few weeks, but I’m not optimistic he can string together more than that
pelkey: not trying to suggest that they are terribly similar players or anything, but could drew waters be on that moncada-like spectrum of players who don’t get exposed until they reach the highest level of competition? or is it more like his approach is too geared toward contact (which is why he isn’t getting to power)?
Kiley McDaniel: staying on the same topic…
Kiley McDaniel: There’s some thought that Waters is talented enough that he won’t adjust until he’s challenged and thus falls into Brinson/Robert/Acuna vortex where you need a slew of 6 and 7 tools to continue as is and succeed in MLB. He may also be hunting pitches and has enough hitter IQ to adapt his approach at each level and just always put up plate discipline numbers close to these. Being an up-the-middle guy with a history of hitting for years and young for the level allows you to believe more than this can continue as-is. But yes, Waters is in this general area where the pitch selection will dictate his offensive output.
Question: Kiley, I heard on your pod cast a few weeks ago that you hate cats. Why so much hate and what has the ENTIRE species ever done to you?
Kiley McDaniel: Well I hate the trailer for the movie CATS and i strongly prefer dogs to the animal cats
Jake, not from State Farm : Hey Kiley. I’m curious if you’re aware of any weaknesses you have when scouting specific player types. Like, I think every spindly 6-foot-8 wing will be Kawhi in the NBA. Do you have something similar when you’re out scouting and how do you mitigate it?
Kiley McDaniel: I think every scout has a weakness for supreme athletes that either are hitters, have super easy athletic actions and could play any sport they want or are pitchers and their stuff darts all over the place. When there’s a fatal flaw to those guys, it takes extra long to get off the bandwagon because you’re trained to look for those guys and that’s also what the stars in the bigs look like
cuvamc: When someone says a curveball has “teeth” what exactly does that mean? Still trying to grasp all the nuances of scouting jargon.
Kiley McDaniel: I don’t love that one because it isn’t that expressive. It just means there’s bite, which could mean it’s a 50 or a 70 depending on the context…so that alone means very little to me.
Kiley McDaniel: but you can see why teeth/bite get put together
Grocery Store Clerk: Paper or Plastic?
Kiley McDaniel: Now that I have a grill and use the chimney starter, having paper bags around is great since newspaper isn’t ahem as widespread as it used to be
Broby: Which one of Gavin Lux’s tools has developed the most since he was drafted? I remember “slick fielder but can’t hit” type reports a few years ago
Kiley McDaniel: In HS he was a good fielder that would play somewhere in the IF, feel for the game, some projection, cold weather guy, solid feel to hit and some power projection. A 5 tools across the board but like the instincts/makeup sort of thing. Looks like it could be 6 hit/power and 2B, so obviously the Dodgers PD group has worked some magic yet again after the scouting group found some good clay
Kiley Quips <3: Missed you man. Serious question today. If Brailyn Marquez keeps up this torrid run, does he vault into the 50 FV come 2020?
Kiley McDaniel: very possible
Slothrop: Why arent there any black american catchers
Kiley McDaniel: This comes up a lot with scouts, since Charles Johnson is the last good example I’m aware of. So when you’re scouting a black prep catcher, it’s like scouting a prep player from Mississippi where you know if you’re in on the player, you’re kinda bucking recent trends and it’ll be part of the discussion in the draft room.
I think the genesis is similar to the black QB thing where the racist stereotype means they get pushed to more athletically-geared positions over more cerebral ones. I would assume that’s much less prevalent now, but black participation in baseball isn’t surging, so the number of black catchers isn’t exploding either.
This also applies to Dominican (and to a lesser degree Cuban) catchers. I know until Gary Sanchez came up the only examples were basically backups, as most Latin catchers are Venezuelan. There’s some truth to the scouting stereotype that the lesser-tools-higher-IQ Latin shortstop tends to be Venezuelan, but there’s obviously tons of exceptions to things like this.
Kiley McDaniel: Until recently they tended to play more games in Venezuela, thus their players tended to have more in-game IQ, the hitters tended to be more patient and have in-game hitting feel, etc. but these things aren’t as clearly delineated as game playing is much more widespread across Latin America.
Kiley McDaniel: You can see how development/coaching patterns, once they compound over a few decades, can define the talent in an area in a way that isn’t really indicative of that area, but more of the development/coaching.
Kiley McDaniel: We think so. Paredes is a good notch or two below, missing some of the explosion and quickness but I can see why you group them together as similar sorts of tool profile
cuvamc: Do you personally have any concerns with Espino’s delivery long-term? I think he gets himself into elite positions to throw based on his athleticism, which maybe gives him more leeway when it comes to the lengthier arm swing.
Kiley McDaniel: Concern for me isn’t on the delivery, but just in a) throwing that hard at that age has a bad track record and b) when your value is tied to fastball/breaking ball which is heavily influenced by arm speed, what happens when the arm speed backs up, as it does starting around the mid-20’s for basically every pitcher.
Kiley McDaniel: In a world where you can draft whatever type of prospect you want in the draft or via trade, you pay retail for now stuff from teengers and that’s not the type of prospect I want to pay retail for
Kiley McDaniel: in the July 2 market, you pay retail for present raw power, which is why many of the teams that do best in that market don’t go pay 7 figures for a kid whose projection is heavily tied into raw power
Mountie Votto: Is the Aristides Aquino breakout anything more than small sample noise/good matchups?
So, Aristides Aquino: .636 SLG, 28 AAA HR. Now 7 hits (2 HR) in his first 17 MLB PA.
Hit balls 111 MPH (single) and 108.9 (HR) last night.
Kiley McDaniel: Both are on the list to add to THE BOARD when we get an extra opinion or two. Probably both 40, Matos maybe 40+
jamie: every now and then i just sit back and think… mike trout… damn
Dominik: Was there ever an mlb player with 5 80 tools? Mays maybe? Also what is the minimum requirement for calling a prospect a “5 tool player”? Is 5 50s enough or does it have to be 5 above average or plus tools?
Kiley McDaniel: Some scouts say Bo Jackson was the closest. I think the term gets used too much and it’s just 50 or 55 across the board. It should be 55 or 60 minimum on all 5 tools.
The Tone: Do you think the Braves will regret not turning some prospect capital into a quality starting pitcher for the playoffs (and possibly beyond) like Stroman or Bumgarner? The window is already open for them, I don’t know what they’re waiting for.
Kiley McDaniel: Well this is more of a 5-year window than a 1 or 2 year one, so I think they’re treating it as such
Daniel: Why was Rojas not on the board, then put on the board and called a solid utility piece as soon as he was traded? He has been great all year.
Kiley McDaniel: Well we can’t have up-to-the-second thoughts on every minor league and amateur player at all times, so sometimes a guy gets traded and we haven’t really considered if we should move him for the last month or so and he’s either improved or performed at a higher than expected level for long enough that he’s worth a move. We’ve been pretty clear what we though Rojas was for years, he’s just doing in Triple-A now, so an MLB bench future seems more likely than a year ago or even the start of the year.
Jerry: So like, where is Jasson Dominguez now and what do the Yankees have him doing?
Kiley McDaniel: Don’t know for sure but would assume he’s at their academy in the DR playing in Tricky League games. His IG seems to support that assumption
Asian Model: What does LuBob have to do to get the up arrow and 60 FV? 1 HR a day?
Dominik: I know it is extremely early but are the high ish k rates of riley greene a concern for his hit tool especially compared to a guy like abrams? Or does that mean nothing?
Kiley McDaniel: For a power hitter that’s a couple years younger than every he’s playing, playing in the longest season of his career, Greene’s K rates are actually pretty low
Kiley McDaniel: Abrams is a totally different sort of player, but he’s also exceeding expectations so far
Mike Taucman: How am I this good? How did no one see this coming?
Kiley McDaniel: Another Fringe Five guy exceeding expectations
Tony Stark: You going up to the Saberseminar this weekend?
Kiley McDaniel: Nope, I’ve been traveling enough lately
TheJoser: One of the Baseball Prospectus guys just characterized major-league GM’s as risk-averse group-thinkings (effectively). Do you agree, and is that ok?
Related question: which GM would you bring back from retirement to spice things up and Zig when others are Zagging? I’d love to see Omar Minaya try to operate in this environment?
Kiley McDaniel: Yeah, I/FG have written about this a good bit as well. This happens when the priority is getting another contract, so (broadly speaking) you can run the team heavily on a model, blame the model/luck if things go poorly and then everyone’s models are pretty similar so nobody wants to trade b/c they value everyone the same
Kiley McDaniel: The way to zag would be to have a model and be able to run with these current GMs on the progressive end of things but choose to pick some spots and go short/long on some sorts of players you think they tend to be wrong about. There are clear tendencies with most teams. Just being anti-analytics and ignoring that stuff is gonna make you more wrong than right.
TheJoser: True or false: baseball is more fun with breakouts aren’t immediately met with “zomgsteroids”
Kiley McDaniel: or blocking people on twitter that respond to a teenager hitting 97 with either a) TJ 4 sure! or b) well, actually velo isn’t everything and you’re just feeding into kids getting hurt by tweeting this c) that one terrible person that celebrates when guys get hurt
SFG: How much of Marco Luciano’s power output is related to playing Rookie ball in AZ? Is the competition significantly worse than single A? Are the fields smaller? I know he has power, but 10 bombs in 140 at bats as a 17 year old seems amazing.
Kiley McDaniel: released 4 years after hitting 10 HR in 173 PA in the GCL as a 17-year-old. and was 6’3/185, not some giant 1B-only type
Nick: Ian Anderson’s numbers are insane, and I keep reading his breaking ball is really good. But the spin rate you guys have on it is really low. What am I missing?
Kiley McDaniel: It flashed 60 as an amateur but is a 50 pitch now. The spin rate is very low, but it’s spin efficient so that sorta overstates the issue. The CH has improved as the CB regressed a bit.
Roland: Nick Gonzales just won Cape League MVP and Austin Wells was named best pro prospect. Neither have seemed to garner much 2020 draft love (it’s still early I know, but neither have been mentioned as potential first rounders that I’ve seen). Just curious if you see them as potential first rounders and if so, what do they need to do to get there?
Kiley McDaniel: If they keep hitting then they have a shot to keep moving up, though Gonzales is in the most hitter friendly park/league in college, so he may need a tools bump to move up into the top 30
Desperate Times: I hereby call for desperate measures!
Kiley McDaniel: lightning round
Punisher: Aquino Smash!!
Kiley McDaniel: indeed
LEMONADE: Armold. Palmer.
Kiley McDaniel: delicious
Scott: Any chance the Padres aquired Trammell with the belief that he is their CF of the future? His arm strength seems to be the biggest question, but all the other skills seem to be adequate for a CF.
Tommy N: Do you think Trammell will be a quality CFer even with the lack of arm strength? Padres seem intent to make it work there.
Kiley McDaniel: Probably LF, might be Carl Crawford, but you can try it in CF and see if it’ll work there too
AndrUUUUwWaters: Will Drew Waters, Pache, and Acuna be as amazing an outfield in real life as they already are in my dreams?
Kiley McDaniel: I’d rather not venture into your dreams!
Bo: Are you trying to take Keith Law’s job, or is there another reason for the condescending answer to my Riley question?
Kiley McDaniel: well you asked a terrible question. the issue he’s having now is the issue he’s had before. we explained how he got out of it, we said it was a swing that would need maintenance and we said he has the ability to make adjustments. ironically, i bet you casually use the word snowflake a lot.
Kiley McDaniel: so you could either try to predict the future using the past as a guide, or complain that either the sky is falling or we were too low on him a day-to-day basis
Kiley McDaniel: you choose
Khalid: What did you think of Austin Beck prior to the draft and what do you think of him now? He appears to become a big mistake for the A’s bet to bet on upside, especially given those who were taken right after him (Hiura, Adell, etc). Thanks.
Kiley McDaniel: Liked him, but didn’t like him in the top 10-12. Was hurt so didn’t do the summer showcase circuit. I compared it to trying to draft a hitter based on the amount of info we had on hitters 25 years ago, when it was much more common for a guy to not get out of A-Ball as a 1st round pick. Bc of that, the risk/reward was out of whack for me that high in the round.
Kiley McDaniel: When guys like Hiura were around that every single scout thought would get to the big leagues and be useful in some way
Kiley McDaniel: but at some point later, that guy makes sense
Jason: You can pick any three ballplayers who have to defend your yard from 30-50 feral hogs. Go.
Nils: Ezequiel Duran the Yankee’s top prospect by this time next year?
Kiley McDaniel: Very unlikely, let’s call it 5%
Jason: Do you think Joel Peguero of the Rays is a Rule V candidate in the winter and if yes, do you think it would be worth it for Rays to try and protect him? Only at A ball, but he is a guy that can touch triple digits consistently out of the pen from the sounds of it.
John Oleruds Helmet: Yo Kiley is it cool if I call ya McDan
I know it is cuz I’m you’re #1 fan
Lettin Scout run wild at the dog park
Oh snap son he got an 80 bark!
Round Rock one day then straight to Lakewood
Kiley don’t sleep he’s that damn good
Workin hard everyday updatin The Board
All hail McDan the prospect lord!!!
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.