Kiley McDaniel Chat – 9/26/19

1:16

Kiley McDaniel: Hello from ATL! Swapped chats with Craig and am juggling calls scheduled for today that have been shifting a bit.

1:17

Kiley McDaniel: this may be slightly abbreviated, but to your questions, as Scout sleeps in the other room:

1:17

David: Assuming the Rays have the money available, who says no: Diego Castillo, Liberatore, and Honeywell for Kris Bryant.

1:18

Kiley McDaniel: for 2 years of Bryant? Cubs turn that down pretty easily

1:18

A big dumb idiot : Is it fair to consider Vladito’s rookie season a disappointment? This isn’t to say his star has dimmed going forward, just that more was expected in 2019

1:19

Kiley McDaniel: i guess? the projection systems have him as true talent level north of what he’s done so far this year…but he’s also a college sophomore aged player that’s better than league average with the bat, so hard to say it’s been more than a slight disappointment

1:19

Dan: What are your thoughts on the Cubs moving McLeod out of the PD and scouting side of the org? Do you expect some big changes to their PD department?

1:20

Kiley McDaniel: It sounds like there will be some notable changes throughout the organization. It’s been pretty typical in recent years to move high level guys from the draft to other areas, not as a “this guy isn’t good, but let’s try to not embarrass him” but more or a “let’s get some new blood in this area and try this guy in another role that he’s qualified for”

1:21

Kiley McDaniel: the draft, PD and pro scouting are really different areas and you can be good at one but be great at another and being great at 2 of them is very hard over a sustained period given all the changes

1:21

Josh: Something I’ve been wondering–who pays for the tuition when a top prospect transfers into IMG or one of its imitators?

1:22

Kiley McDaniel: Kid has to pay, but I’m sure there’s installment plans and scholarships and whatnot like with most private institutions

1:22

Bobo: If you were a GM of a team with lots of highly rated Triple A or Double A talent, that was safer, projection wise. Would you consider trading some of it for lower level minor league talent, maybe guys who are more boom/bust to even out the weight of your system? I.E. Should the Braves send some of their Triple A’ers away for younger talent

1:23

Kiley McDaniel: I can’t see why that would be smart when ATL is a contending team that’s trying to straddle the line of spending money but also having homegrown guys

1:23

Get Two, Brute?: With the depressing recent news that Pittsburgh are retaining Hurdle (and apparently NH as well), what’s the roadmap for this organization? How do they get back into contention, since they obviously won’t spend a dime on FA?

1:23

Kiley McDaniel: (shrug emoji)

1:25

Kiley McDaniel: I mean all of the last 5 years or so, this has been the question. Have to nail scouting/PD to pry open a window then work like hell to keep it open, then sell off parts to keep from being bad for multiple years…it’s a high-wire act and it’s been the only real way to contend there in the modern era. So even if they’re coming off a 100-win season, this is still the question, because they would either be just opening the window or it’s about to start closing. Like, how long can it stay open with those resources? You’d have to thread the needle like TB has and OAK does at times, but it hasn’t happened yet. I don’t get the impression ownership wants to pay 2 people to do any of those high paying jobs and the job itself isn’t seen as one that would attract the top candidates for these reasons.

1:26

PSM2F: Braves have a ton of young talent already in the PROs or upper minors but Catcher is still a long term ? for me. Did you have a chance to see Willson Contreras or Shae Langerliers in person this year? Who do you think is most likely to be their Catcher of the future?

1:27

Kiley McDaniel: Slight Contreras lean but it could go either way in 2020. Alex Jackson is in the mix as a power over hit backup and the hope is one of those guys you mentioned takes over in the next few years as Flowers likely heads out. Having two guys of that caliber is better than the vast majority of clubs, though

1:27

Christian: Seeing as you and Eric have Martin and Torkelson as 50FVs, where would they fall into the top 100 if you had to put them on the list? Also thanks for being so insightful on these chats. It’s very appreciated

1:28

Kiley McDaniel: Probably 40-75 area

1:29

Doug: There were reports last week of turnover in the Mets pro-scouting dept, including their director. Is this lately to lay blame for some ugly trades, or are they maybe going to reorganize their scouting resources in a more modern way (complex level focus)?

1:30

Kiley McDaniel: Probably a more modern department, I believe these were holdovers, so it makes sense to evaluate them for a year and see who you think fits in the new version of the dept. Pretty standard stuff to make a handful of changes a year after taking over.

1:31

Harold: What stats would you recommend looking at when evaluating pitching prospects?

1:31

Kiley McDaniel: K%, BB%, GB%, xFIP or FIP

1:31

Kiley McDaniel: velocity

1:32

Taylor: Can Varsho be a catcher long term? Or is he a better fit in center field? Do you know how he looked out there? Thank you!

1:33

Kiley McDaniel: He’s passable, but doesn’t look like he’ll be everyday viable back there. 2B, LF, maybe CF, possibly 3B? Probably 1B as well.

1:33

Kyle: Twelve months from now, the Blue Jays #1 prospect is.

1:33

Kiley McDaniel: it’s boring, but I’d say Jordan Groshans

1:34

Don: Does Emerson Hancock have the stuff to make a Casey Mize level jump?

1:35

Kiley McDaniel: yep, I think I made that comp last week or the week before. Probably ahead of Mize at the same stage. Mize made his big jump in the fall/early in the spring after showing the elements. Hancock has been a shutdown guy in the SEC for 2 years, but had some arm soreness and skipped the summer, so he hasn’t been seen by everyone yet

1:35

Oklahomabrave: Do the Braves continue their trend of not trading any of their good prospects for talent or are they more aggressive this offseason? Or do they maybe spend more on FA’s?

1:35

Kiley McDaniel: Their approach has rightly been cautious, given that they’re a middle market team. I wouldn’t expect them to go all Dombrowski now, but I could see moving a few young pitchers in the right deal

1:36

mike: is biggio a bench guy or do you see him as an everyday player? Defence is limited

1:36

Kiley McDaniel: We think valuable platoon bat

1:36

Don: What pitching skill do you think is the best predictor of future success? Control/Command?

1:36

Kiley McDaniel: probably arm speed if I can only pick one?

1:37

Matt: Anyone in Indiana to keep an eye on for the 2020 draft?

1:37

Kiley McDaniel: Cole Kmet and Joe Boyle at ND. Kyle Nicolas at Ball State are all possible round 1-2 guys

1:38

Kiley McDaniel: Bo Hofstra at Purdue is a little after that. Charez Butcher was the big prep prospect in the state but he’s going to IMG Academy in FL

1:39

Kiley McDaniel: among the preps, SS Bryce Elbin, LHP Ryan Lynch, C Dalton Back would be the prep guys for us, in that order

1:40

Daniel: Which teams do you think are most likely to trade from prospect depth this winter for a big name?

1:40

Kiley McDaniel: San Diego, White Sox and Cincinnati all make sense

1:40

Oklahomabrave : “I could see could see them move a few young pitchers in the right deal” I.E. Waters and Pache likely stay off limits?

1:40

Kiley McDaniel: They would be the least likely to be traded, yes

1:41

mamsk: hasn’t the shine worn off on a lot of the braves’ arms in the upper minors?

1:41

Kiley McDaniel: i would agree but they’re still young with lots of control and loud stuff and generally good AAA numbers. Those guys are still worth a lot

1:41

Brendon: Who would you guess would be the surprise number 1 2020 draft pick if you couldn’t pick any of the current 50 FVs?

1:42

Kiley McDaniel: The prep OF just behind those guys (Austin Hendrick, Zac Veen and Robert Hassell) are the next most likely candidates

1:43

Bryan: Post-post-post-hype prospect question: Jabari Blash hit 33 HRs and had the 4th best OPS in the Japanese Pacific league this year.  Think he can get an MLB deal and/or be an MLB contributor in 2020?

1:44

Kiley McDaniel: He was this sort of guy in AAA/MLB recently. The guys that come back over go as washed out guys, go there for a few years and change, then come back as a better player. There’s no real evidence I’m aware of that Blash has changed at all, he’s just facing easier pitching, which was his issue over here, because he punished AAA.

1:44

DH: What position do you see Oneil Cruz landing at, and do you have a good ML comp for him?

1:45

Kiley McDaniel: Was just talking to someone on the phone that saw him recently. Said he looked like an octopus at SS (“he has 50 range just due to his arms”) and either will blow up physically and be like Sano 1B/DH (unlikely given his build) or go more the Kris Bryant/Cody Bellinger route and be 3B/CF/RF area (probably the right answer)

1:45

Brian: Early returns on Vlad, Jr.’s defense were very poor (-3 DRS, -17.4 UZR/150).  He said he’s going to work out more and work on the defense, but do you foresee him sticking at 3B for even another full season?

1:46

Kiley McDaniel: We always thought he’d end up at 1B, it was just a question of if it happens at age 22 or age 28, which will mostly be a function of his size/quickness.

1:46

Bruce: When a prospect gets traded mid-season, do you put less stock in the numbers he posts after the trade?  For example, Taylor Trammell saw a slight decline in his batting stats after the trade to SD, but it seems like a lot of that could just be trying to adjust to a new league, new teammates, new coaching philosophy, etc.

1:47

Kiley McDaniel: Also, nobody really looks at minor league 1st/2nd half splits unless they’re stark and/or there’s a narrative. But yes, you generally discount these even more.

1:47

BarryBondsJuicedForOurSins: Piggybacking on the O’Neil Cruz question: he’s got 8 home runs this year but a 70/80 power grade.  Is his BP just outrageous or something?

1:47

Kiley McDaniel: Yes. He’s a perfect example of why we separate raw power and game power.

1:48

Kiley McDaniel: Steven Moya is basically what happens when a huge dude has 80 raw and just wants to hit bombs https://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=11854&position=OF

1:48

Kiley McDaniel: so Cruz likely doesn’t hit 40 HR bc his arms are so long he’ll have to shorten up some to make enough contact to be a big leaguer

1:50

Kiley McDaniel: I remember seeing Gary Sanchez in Low-A and seeing him take slowpitch softball home run derby swings at the end of BP and hitting it off the top of the batter’s eye, basically 70 raw at age 18, but he didn’t hit them there in BP with a normal swing so it was raw power that wasn’t usable. You could argue he’s at 70 game power now.

1:50

Champdo : Do you think the Tigers should go with Martin or Tork?

1:51

Kiley McDaniel: I would tend to lean Martin, both because I prefer that type and when building a team he gives you lots of options and margin for error. Eric and I have both seen Torkelson a ton, but Martin playing SS will be new and that plus how he comes out of the gate hitting could make Martin the 1-1 favorite a couple weeks into the season

1:51

Joe H: I asked last week about about a glossary for all the various Baseball Operations titles. You said funny I asked. Is that already in the works?

1:51

Kiley McDaniel: It is. More on that in the coming weeks

1:52

Jason: I don’t think he gets a shot with the Rays to do so outside of injuries, but do you think Vidal Brujan could make it work at SS? He hasn’t gotten a chance yet, but same question for CF. I’ve seen some question his arm strength in CF, but you guys have him at a 55 grade arm on THE BOARD, which I would think should work fine out there.                                                                                       Also hate to ask a 2nd question, so if you answer, you can be very brief if you want, but do you think utility training/ playing someone at multiple positions like that hurts a player’s performance, whether with the bat or on defense?

1:52

Kiley McDaniel: He could, unclear at what quality since he hasn’t done it in awhile, but the tools are there

1:52

Kiley McDaniel: It can hurt given limited development time, but in an ideal situation, a guy with 80 makeup wouldn’t have a problem with it

1:54

Royce: The Reds got a lot of criticism when they had a policy requiring their minor league hitters to take pitches until they had a first strike, but Mike Trout recently described using a similar approach when he was developing in the minors.  Do you have any thoughts on this kind of approach to hitter development?

1:56

Kiley McDaniel: I don’t like one size fits all development. That can be perfect for some and ruinous for others. Why be so lazy as to assume it’s good for everyone? Just treat everyone differently. You’re already giving the prospects more attention so why not continue down the road of individuality. It’s often academic-style thought or office-only people looking at studies and coming up with these ideas while the field people roll their eyes bc they know how/why it’s not going to work in some instances. One clear drawback to what often happens with management consulting approaches to running a team by minimizing risk with one crazy trick

1:56

Casey Judson: First time caller. Have you seen Jordy Adams play. Do ypou think he profiles as a centerfielder who can hit some, like an Austin Jackson or Harrison Bader or somebody? Ort, do you think that he has a good possibility of being more? Your thoughts on him.

1:57

Kiley McDaniel: The upside exists to be Byron Buxton. He’s an 80 athlete, 80 runner, chance to 20+ homers, it’s just very limited baseball reps so far. But his year was encouraging given that reality.

1:57

Kiley McDaniel: Okay it’s time to dip out for another call, thanks for coming out

We hoped you liked reading Kiley McDaniel Chat – 9/26/19 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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Neils-Henning Orsted Joc Pederson
Member
Neils-Henning Orsted Joc Pederson

I’m confused about the Gary Sanchez remarks at 1:50. Kiley states that in Low A-ball Gary Sanchez had “raw power that wasn’t usable.”

But when Sanchez was in Low-A in 2011 — at the tender age of 18 — he posted an isolated slugging of .229 (about 100 points above the Sally League average), with 17 homers in just 82 games. In other words, he already had terrific game power. Hence my confusion.

Could Kiley or someone else clarify? Thanks!