Kiley McDaniel Chat – 9/11/19

12:24

Kiley McDaniel: Hello from ATL. Scout is eating lunch and I’ll get to that after I’m done with you people

12:25

Kiley McDaniel: We’ve done some board adjusting and video on the usual FG_Prospects twitter and fangraphs instagram but are mostly doing behind the scenes work now that you’ll be aware of in the coming weeks

12:25

Kiley McDaniel: some reading, if you’re so inclined:

12:25

Kiley McDaniel: Rosenthal on the Rockies and trading Arenado?: https://theathletic.com/1202375/2019/09/11/rosenthal-after-the-teams-s…

12:25

Kiley McDaniel: Sawchik on if the minor leagues are necessary: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/do-we-even-need-minor-league-base…

12:26

Kiley McDaniel: to your questions:

12:26

Gumby: What percent of your working time do you spend speaking with scouts and other team personnel to collect information as opposed to directly scouting yourself? And does a lot of the consolidation of opinions happen in the offseason?

12:28

Kiley McDaniel: Scouting myself goes in fits and starts. The six to eight weeks before the draft, I’m out all the time since that’s the best way to collect information for a number of reasons. Just after that in the window for showcase season/college summer/Futures Game there’s also a lot of in person stuff. The rest of the year is more based on need and focus. As I mentioned at the top, lots of behind the scenes new things are happening (rather than incrementally changing things, which is boring and would drive me nuts) so there hasn’t been as much bandwidth lately for just going to games and being open to discovery. I went to the ATL/CLE Triple-A playoff game last week because there were a ton of guys less than a hour from me, so I couldn’t pass that up.

12:29

Kiley McDaniel: When I tell non-baseball friends how my day usually goes, they’re surprised when I say “well I do this and then that, workout, cook, etc. but then if someone calls and it’s something that demands a 2-hour conversation, then that will eat up a lot of my day, but if I try to schedule it for later, it may never happen.”

12:29

Kiley McDaniel: That may not be the best way to handle things, but I have tons of flexibility so I like to try to take advantage of it

12:31

Kiley McDaniel: That also means there’s lots of weird off-topic calls in the middle of the day, like when someone called me last week to tell me they heard Dombrowski would be out soon (this is almost a week before it happened). I didn’t really buy it, then made some calls and it seemed like it had a good chance to happen, but at least weeks later, then poof it happened…and there wasn’t really anything I could report. There’s like dozens of those things that randomly pop up a month, a handful end up being exactly true like that one and you guys hear about one or two of them.

12:31

Kiley DcManiel: Have you ever sourced info on a prospect from a non-scout person? Like an umpire? They may be too close to get good reads on mechanics and such, but they might have insight about makeup. Seems like a Cal League umpire for example would get more looks at a player than a scout could

12:32

Kiley McDaniel: If in the stadium, I like talking to the people that are at the park every day in a non-scouting capacity since they have a better sense for the personality and makeup than I can ever get in a few games

12:32

Kiley McDaniel: But if you listen to those people too much, you’ll look pretty silly. I would submit the scouting observations of opposing managers are about as useful as a rival broadcaster–it’s just not what either one is assigned to or is good at doing.

12:32

Dan: Brennen Davis looks pretty incredible for a 19year old, two sport, first full professional season. You guys gonna bump his FV?

12:33

Kiley McDaniel: We’re locked now, but I bet he’s a 50 FV in the offseason

12:33

matt: has jasson dominguez started playing in instructional league yet. If he has have you heard anything about how he looks so far

12:34

Kiley McDaniel: Instructs happen in late Sept/Oct and I haven’t seen the NYY roster but I have to believe he’ll be on it. More teams are having closed instructs with no games, but NYY and the FL teams around there seem to always play at least a few games per week.

12:34

Kiley McDaniel: All I’ve learned from his IG is he loves aguacate, so he’s def getting those healthy fats

12:34

Christian: What did you think about Travis Sawchik’s article on if there’s a need for the minors in developing players?

12:35

Kiley McDaniel: Yes, very interesting. It’s been discussed a lot in an open-ended sort of way in my circles, both as a larger part of CBA/improving the game and also how to actually make players better.

12:38

Kiley McDaniel: I’m generally against incremental change and doing things one way because that’s how they’ve been done, but there’s also 6-7 levels worth of about 200 minor league teams with stadiums and contracts and employees. Cutting half of them and expanding spring training complexes and making the soccer model happen would take a really long time to see all the way through. It’s a nine figure expenditure league wide all to improve some players at the margins, screw over 100 minor league cities and save six figures per team on MILB salary. The finances make it like parallel parking the Titanic in Manhattan.

12:39

Chris: Jim callis thinks Julio and kelenic will both be top 10 prospects next year. What are your thoughts on these two and what the mariners should do with their excess outfield prospect depth?

12:40

Kiley McDaniel: You could argue Kelenic should be around 20th now, near Drew Waters and over half the guys ahead of that spot are now in AAA or MLB and will thus graduate before him. So just logically, that answer is yes.

12:42

Kiley McDaniel: Julio is 9th among all teenagers (pretty tightly packed, so a hot month or two in 2020 could get him to 5th or so) and you can project a few more guys to emerge/be drafted but that also logically puts him in position to be the next Jo Adell if he continues on this trajectory

12:44

Kiley McDaniel: And the OF depth is those two blue-chippers that are 1-2 years away, then other guys like Kyle Lewis and Jake Fraley and Braden Bishop that are either part-time types or wait-and-see guys. I always say having too many good players isn’t a problem and this is far from being something that needs to be solved, particularly for a club like Seattle that’s in asset collection mode.

12:44

Joe: Any rumors on where the Braves Hi A team may relocate?

12:44

Kiley McDaniel: Has to be to the new ST home in North Port. Maybe a one-year fill-in if the timelines don’t line up?

12:44

Jaffe rhymes with Taffy: Kiley – in your opinion should there be more of a backlash against MLB for this alleged juiced ball?  Have people just become conditioned to this kind of manipulation from ‘authorities’?

12:45

Kiley McDaniel: In general, people saying “the game was better back in my day” or “kids these days SMH” or “they changed a thing I like, so I’m mad” get the most eye-rolly eye-rolls from me.

12:48

Kiley McDaniel: You could argue that the juiced ball and the type of play that this and the more power-based approach to pitching and hitting have created is objectively worse BUT the main case for that is “it’s worse because it’s different” AND the main prescription is more weak grounders and small ball WHICH was already the worst aesthetic part of baseball according to ANYONE who’s being honest SO I’m gonna need something stronger before I think anything needs to be actively changed in some way.

12:49

Kiley McDaniel: And if you could prescribe 50 years ago how to make baseball purely more fun to watch, wouldn’t it be more home runs and more velocity and nastier breaking balls? This is akin to (generally older) people saying basketball is worse because it’s so iso-dominated and there’s too many 3’s but using the “50 years ago, what would you change?” rubric, dunks and 3’s and elite athletes matching up 1-on-1 would be the answer

12:50

Kiley McDaniel: so it just seems like any change in sport or app UI or whatever will have a solid 20% “this is great!” and a solid 20% “this sucks” and a solid 60% “I like a good bit of this but also don’t love change, but lemme see how I feel later”

12:51

Kiley McDaniel: And no one represents the 60% in media because people aren’t drawn to milquetoast, measured opinions

12:51

Kiley McDaniel: in conclusion, get off my lawn

12:52

Not Evan: How do the mechanics work when a prospect’s career ends without reaching the majors? Like is there a particular day when hundreds get the call that their team doesn’t have a spot for them anymore and they’ve been released?

12:54

Kiley McDaniel: Generally they lose playing time at AA or AAA and in the later stages in-season when there’s a roster crunch or at end of spring training when rosters are set, they get the talk with their player dev director and it’s usually a lot of nodding and “yeah, I know” by the player but inside a lot of turmoil about a stage of their professional life ending. When you lose playing time or the PD guy asks if you ever thought of coaching, you get an idea that the clock is running out.

12:55

Tacitus Kilgore: What do you see Josh Donaldson signing for in the off-season? He’s been great and seems to fit Atlanta. And what’s your too-early-but-I’m-asking-anyway guess on how the Braves outfield would look between the AAA kids and Riley/Markakis/Ender if JD stays in Atlanta?

12:57

Kiley McDaniel: Seems like JD likes it in ATL but you’ll be make a decision on his age-34 season, coming off a 5 WAR year with Austin Riley behind him and Pache and Waters coming to the OF, so you can’t just move them out there. It feels like all four will settle into their spots (Pache CF, Waters RF, Riley 3B) and with Acuna, Swanson, Albies, Freeman there, you don’t really have a spot and they’re all at the minimum except for Freeman, so there’s tons of free money around.

12:59

Kiley McDaniel: Donaldson is probably in line for a 2 or 3 year deal and paying close to retail for an older guy off a late-peak type year doesn’t seem like the sort of move ATL would make. They would probably make a one-year+option offer, he hits the market and ATL would be a backstop if his market craters, then otherwise spend that money on pitching or trades or opportunistic low-dollar stuff as backups if the kids don’t pan out

1:01

Kiley McDaniel: But you could also see ATL being all-in on Donaldson, bringing him back at a slight discount from market and treat Riley/Pache/Waters as 3 guys for 2 starting OF spots and the Donaldson backup.

1:01

Sir Nerdlington: How do the fall league rosters get constructed?  E.g. can each team send a certain number?  How do ‘they’ ensure the right number of players for each position?

1:02

Kiley McDaniel: Each team has a set number and the AFL communicates to the clubs what positions are filled once the priority (2-3 must guys per team) are in place. After that it’s more a balancing act of which guy goes to winter league, which guys rest, this guy will get a month of instructs and that’s enough for him, this guy gets a part-time/taxi role in AFL because they need an OF, etc.

1:02

CW: I guess its not really that important, but any thought of including prospects’ peak ranking on The Board somewhere, and/or their ranking each year?

1:03

Kiley McDaniel: Already there! Click on their FV (like click the number “70” for Wander Franco) and the historic rankings pop up

1:03

Jm: Eta for pache and waters? No chance the Braves call them up this year I’m assuming?

1:04

Kiley McDaniel: No shot this year. Either could be a “2 weeks into 2020” callup like Acuna was, but I think it’ll be more like Super 2 cutoff a month or two later

1:04

Kiley McDaniel: And if it’s a half-season with neither of them, then Riley/Markakis in the OF and Donaldson at 3B makes more sense, because half season can become most of the season at some point.

1:04

Booker: I think in a podcast last year you and Eric guessed at which players might shoot up the draft rankings with good seasons, and as I recall Eric picked Hunter Bishop (good job Eric). Any top candidates for such a jump this year?

1:05

Kiley McDaniel: Yeah Bishop and Misner were both examples of toolsy guys that didn’t play the summer but with performance could jump last year, and both did, to varying degrees

1:06

Kiley McDaniel: I’m looking at our yet-to-be-published 2020 rankings for some guys below the top 30 that could go mid-first-round

1:06

Kiley McDaniel: Carmen Mlodzinski, RHP, South Carolina. Missed almost all of 2019, shoved on the Cape

1:07

Kiley McDaniel: Cole Kmet (LHP) and Joe Boyle (RHP), Notre Dame. Kmet is a SP-looking lefty that’s also a TE on the football team and hasn’t played much yet. Boyle has been up to 100 for a couple years and is slowly putting it together.

1:09

Kiley McDaniel: Hudson Haskin, CF, Tulane
Joey Wiemer, RF, Cincinnati
HS: Kyle Teel (C), Masyn Winn (SS/RHP), Mac Horvath (SS/RHP)

1:09

Jose: Who’s the better long term OF for the Indians: Daniel Johnson or Ka’ai Tom?

1:09

Kiley McDaniel: Both probably role players but Johnson has more upside for sure

1:09

BeefLoaf108: Can you give us White Sox fans any thoughts on what to expect from new Scouting Director Mike Shirley?  I know he’s been with the org for awhile, but any insight into his preferences or approach?

1:10

Kiley McDaniel: You never really know, but sounds like it won’t be markedly different than the drafts under Nick Hostetler

1:12

BlueJayMatt: Nate Pearson is shooting up other prospect rankings, is it just health concerns that is keeping him lower on yours? What does he need to do to move up THE BOARD other than just stay on the field?

1:15

Kiley McDaniel: 1st 17 games (55 IP): 2.37 FIP
Last 8 games (46 IP): 3.41 FIP

1:16

Kiley McDaniel: Not to say he isn’t good, but that context is important

1:16

Kiley McDaniel: if you take that mid-3’s FIP and look at the 2019 stats of all the top 100 pitchers in the minors (we use xFIP there, but basically the same): https://www.fangraphs.com/prospects/the-board-scouting-and-stats?pos=&…

1:16

Kiley McDaniel: that’s right in the middle

1:17

Kiley McDaniel: He isn’t young for the level and we have him rated in the top third of that cohort

1:18

Kiley McDaniel: It’s positive that he’s stayed healthy and you could easily argue he should be about 20th instead of 36th, but I think there’s a little too much scouting the stat line/radar gun in some other rankings

1:18

Kiley McDaniel: Would you rather have a guy that throws as hard as anyone on Earth (incredibly risky historically, both for reliever and injury reasons) or Kelenic or Waters? I’d take the hitters.

1:19

Kiley McDaniel: I’ve already talked about the Luis Robert stuff at length

1:21

Kiley McDaniel: If you’re ranking players on a rubric where its tools + numbers and very little else considered, then you will have rankings that often don’t agree with ours in the top 50 or so. We try to both predict the future of what we think the players will produce in terms of WAR and mirror what teams are valuing/thinking, so some guys like Pearson or Robert will appear that we’re just late because this guy has power and goofy numbers or throws 103, but a computer can very easily replicate that process

1:21

Kiley McDaniel: and then why would you need us or the people we talk to?

1:21

Kiley McDaniel: and also can’t we be better than that?

1:21

Jake, not from State Farm: What were your thoughts from that ATL/CLE AAA playoff game?

1:23

Kiley McDaniel: Ian Anderson still needs to clean up the fastball command a bit but otherwise should be ready to contribute next year. Pache still swings a lot but is really talented. Waters is a much safer bet to hit and hit early but also swings a little too much. The Cleveland guys didn’t stand out a ton. Zimmer was off-balance, Logan Allen was solid in a boring “2 WAR 5 years in a row oh crap this guy is pretty good” sort of way

1:23

Ben: Do you see Austin Martin as a legit 1-1 candidate for next year?

1:23

Kiley McDaniel: Yes. Could be Dansby if he takes well to SS.

1:24

Kiley McDaniel: Some have suggested there’s some Bregman-like qualities as well

1:24

Austin: Does Luis Medina have a chance to be the best Yankees arm in the system by this time next year?

1:24

Kiley McDaniel: Sure, lots of upside, not a clear winner of that title

1:25

Billy Beane: RE: Sawchik’s description of the soccer model, do you think that the possible improvement of a handful of elite prospects would be worth giving up on random pop-up guys? I know it has also been discussed that it might make sense to have as many guys as possible. As an exmaple, the A’s have gotten almost a full win out of Seth Brown this year, and there’s no way that’s a dude who gets kept around in a team with 4 minor league teams and a complex.

1:25

Kiley McDaniel: That just gets scooped up by a broader independent league system, which is what those minor league towns with no team would do

1:26

Kiley McDaniel: they would have teams like always, just not tied to MLB, they have to pay the players and would sell the good ones to MLB clubs

1:26

Kiley McDaniel: so it may be crisper play with older players, but very few prospects playing at like Johnson City and Kingsport if it was an Indy League

1:26

Vincent Adultman: I might have missed it but why was Dombrowski fired during the season as opposed to right after the WS?

1:27

Kiley McDaniel: Point of discussion with some baseball friends yesterday. I proposed 6 reasons and one friend gave no more than 25% but at least 5% to each of the 6 reasons. I think 5 of the 6 have been widely discussed publicly.

1:27

von: Just wanted to note that Ben Clemens uses the word milquetoast in his article that was just published, which is a really odd coincidence

1:28

Kiley McDaniel: That is odd because I don’t think I’ve used it in like a year or two

1:28

Guest: I agree with your analysis of change in sport, but now that everyone is hitting 20 homers, it makes them less exciting.  Also, it really messes up fantasy baseball.  Won’t someone think of the fantasy players?!

1:28

Kiley McDaniel: lol no one will ever care about you fantasy team bro

1:28

Brandon: Are the Angels tied to any big names in 2020 J2 class?

1:29

Kiley McDaniel: Yep, we’ve got them on one 7 figure guy, a DR SS

1:29

James: When will the 2020 draft be updated on the board? Any big movers?

1:29

Kiley McDaniel: Maybe late this week, certainly by next week

1:29

Kiley McDaniel: and yes

1:29

April: I assume I’m in the minority but I don’t like home runs for their own sake. Defense and baserunners are more exciting to me. That said I like baseball for its stories and homeruns produce great stories.

1:30

Kiley McDaniel: And there’s way more elite athletes/defenders now more than ever before. I guess that also affects baserunners?

1:30

Kiley McDaniel: And more story tellers!

1:30

Kiley McDaniel: more of everything!

1:30

The West Is Wild: Kiley, if a foreign-born player is released in, say, High-A and doesn’t sign with another club, is it customary for the parent organization to pay for transportation back to that player’s home country?

1:30

Kiley McDaniel: Yes

1:31

Brett: Any new reports on Tirso? Reasons for struggles? Swing still look good?

1:32

Kiley McDaniel: sounds like injured and swing change are the reasons. we’re still optimistic

1:32

mamsk: i mean, come on, donaldson isn’t going to give ATL a discount of any kind.

1:32

Kiley McDaniel: He already did it once?

1:33

White Sox Fan: What’s your view on a guy like LuBob getting some much-needed MLB exposure vs. starting the clock?  How important would 100 AB’s be this year?

1:34

Kiley McDaniel: In the scheme of things, I get what CHW is doing. The chance he’s a elite 4-5 WAR guy means if he gets those 100 AB now or next year, whatever happens will happen but doing it 2 weeks into next year means you get an extra season on the backend for delaying it by 1/3 of a season on the front end.

1:34

Kiley McDaniel: makes financial sense, even if it’s bad for the player and arguably for the team

1:34

Nathan: Thoughts on Aaron Ochsenbein and Brett De Geus of the dodgers? Potential high leverage relievers?

1:35

Kiley McDaniel: Ochsenbein throws mid-90’s and had goofy numbers at EKU and I feel like I have to shout his name with a German accent but he’s also 23 and in Low-A

1:35

denali2001: what’s the best way to find a MLBers historical prospect rankings?  anything that would have all the different lists (FG, MLB, BA, BP?

1:36

Kiley McDaniel: I think some people keep spreadsheets of such things. We try our best to make these pretty easy to find for free and electronically, but I can’t say the same for some other sites.

1:37

Roger: Re: Braves Hi-A affiliate, I understand Port Charlotte has territorial rights to veto a move to North Port if they wish to do so.

1:37

Kiley McDaniel: lol these games average like 35 fans, this isn’t the WSH/BAL distpute

1:38

update puhleaz: Matthew Liberatore…up arrow? Down arrow? Sideways arrow? Expectations for level reached next season?

1:38

Kiley McDaniel: Slight up

1:38

WeeJee: Love your work and use it often in my dynasty leagues.  Are the Giants in on any of the top players in the 2020 J2 signings?

1:38

Kiley McDaniel: don’t have them tied to one of the top dozen or so guys

1:38

Not Evan: Is power less important of a tool to display at the lower levels, now that everyone hits thirty homers once they reach the show?

1:38

Kiley McDaniel: maybe a little bit?

1:38

Jason: Do you have any memory of Nick Anderson (Rays’ reliever) as a prospect, and if yes, do you recall ever thinking he had the type potential to do what he is doing now? Like has he always thrown 95-98 with a lot of movement, or was that a late and recent development?

1:38

Kiley McDaniel: I do not recall his minor league career at all

1:39

Mitch Haniger’s Ruptured Testicl: I’m nut quite 100%, but getting there.

1:39

Kiley McDaniel: ugh almost got through without hearing about that

1:39

Jake: Do you still have hipe

1:39

Kiley McDaniel: oh it’s long gone

1:39

Let’s get weird: May All The Things Dogs Ascertain Motivate Only Newbs

1:39

Hungry: Many Apples Take Time Diamond Apples Mutate On Neptune

1:39

Matt Damon: MATT. DAMON.

1:39

Kiley McDaniel: see you guys next week

We hoped you liked reading Kiley McDaniel Chat – 9/11/19 by Kiley McDaniel!

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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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Robert
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Robert

@booker great memory. As soon as I read your question, that segment popped back into my head. Doubt I’d thought about it since I first listened to it.