Kiley McDaniel: Sorry for the delay, family was just packing up and leaving so had to see them off. First Christmas in the new house is now completed and it’s still standing. Now to finish up some NL East lists, finalize the draft update, make plans for NYE and chat with you people
Kiley McDaniel: I think the lists will go Phillies then Mets then it looks like we’re headed to the AL East.
Seth: Andrew Vaughn going to be the first strictly 1b to go in the top 5 in a long time?
Santa’s Marginal: Right now- Witt Jr or Abrams?
Kiley McDaniel: Yep, that’s how it looks right now re: Vaughn. Again, here’s the current draft board (https://www.fangraphs.com/prospects/the-board/2019-mlb-draft?type=0&te…) and the update will just be sliding 10-12 names around and expanding the end of it, mostly moving guys around in the middle of the list. Vaughn is in the 50 FV tier behind the clear #1 Rutschman and that 2 thru 12 could be in a lot of orders. Since Vaughn is a track record college hitter, he’s probably in the top half of that tier, but it’s still super early, so guys will move with performance in season.
Kiley McDaniel: And on Abrams/Witt, its probably about 50/50 in the industry right now and they’re both in that tier. I think we’ll basically have them back-to-back in the update, so it’s more deferring the decision until we get more info.
GPT: Have you heard anything about changes afoot in the Giants organization pertaining to the minor league system, under Zaidi?
Kiley McDaniel: Have not, but imagine there will be some updates there now that the scouting side got some new blood in JP Ricciardi and Michael Holmes.
Purple Mays Haze: What kind of FV would you put on Tyler O’Neill? (I guess he’s not eligible anymore..?)
Kiley McDaniel: He was a high 50 FV when he graduated, which is still accurate
Amateur Scouting: What does a coordinator of amateur scouting do on a daily basis?
Kiley McDaniel: Making pref lists and prioritizing coverage, assigning games to scouts, staying on top of the admin work and working with the analytics dept along with scouting to allocate time/resources the best way. Often is multiple daily calls with the scouting director, managing information flow and scout travel, budgets, workouts, etc.
Robert: How are Braves fans supposed to reconcile $410M+ revenue last year with only an estimated ~$130M payroll? That is an embarrassing low ratio in my opinion.
Kiley McDaniel: This applies to any team, we just have Braves financials since they are a publicly traded stock right now. First, there’s a $50 million one-time MLBAM outlay from that investment taking off. Secondly, one way to handle payroll is for it to be mostly static while revenues will jump all over the place depending on if they team is competitive late in the season or if your stadium is new.
Kiley McDaniel: So the $50M is a weird, one-time deal and the new stadium mixed with a playoff run and the first in awhile means this is about as good as you’ll do revenue wise…but if they miss the playoffs and revenue goes way down, you don’t want them dropping payroll that amount…so this is one way to keep things sustainable and stable.
Kiley McDaniel: You could argue it should bounce around more based on competitive/non competitive cycles, which is what TB does and it sounds like what SEA is doing. The idea is to slash payroll in down years so that you’ll have a higher ceiling in good years. That’s another way to do it and stretch your ceiling a bit higher
Ozzie Ozzie Albies Free: If the Phils don’t get Manny or Bryce, and the fail to land Arrenado, do you think their farm is remotely good enough to make them contenders during 2020-2023?
Kiley McDaniel: And we’ve reached our pessimistic fan question of the day. No, the farm isn’t currently good enough to just keep everything internal and make a contender. But the reason people think the Phillies will be much better is they have the money to sign one or two of these types…so they will. Factor one or even two 4-5 WAR players into what your farm has and things get a lot easier to imagine being playoff caliber.
IsIt2015Yet?!: Any word on what Int’l players teams like the Pirates and Rangers could be targeting with these trades for bonus pool $ now that everyone “known” has already signed?
Kiley McDaniel: We asked around to probably close to 10 international scouts after the Profar trade and they all said there isn’t a premium guy out there, or at least a consensus one. The theory is that TEX wanted to sign a couple $200-300K type players and that price point is low enough that 1) not every team will know about those players since they’re out of money and not shopping as hard and 2) one team could say the players are worth $50K and it wouldn’t be weird for another to say they’re worth $250K
TKDC: How many of 30 GMs do you think went all day yesterday without doing any work?
Kiley McDaniel: There’s a decent chance it was 0, but I’ll say 2 or 3.
Guest: If I see a writeup that projects a position switch, should I assume the grades apply to the current position, or the projected ones. I mean, I tend to assume that very broadly speaking an arm/glove that’s a 45 at CF or SS would
Kiley McDaniel: Whatever position is listed in the header or on THE BOARD is the one we’re projected the tool grades for
Jeter: The NL East is almost a fully functioning division. What’s the path forward for the Marlins putting a MLB worthy team on the field?
Kiley McDaniel: They’re still in asset collection mode and the core isn’t there currently to where you’re ready to move into the “supplement the core” mode. This could happen by multiple prospects/young MLB players getting much better, but they probably need another year or so of high picks/July 2/JTR Trade, etc. to get the core pieces in place.
Red: What are your thoughts on the Phillies hire of Jason Ochart out of Driveline? Also, is MLB clubhouse culture changing, and if so, to what degree? i.e. does having no professional playing experience hurt a coach’s chances of getting through to players, or are players more willing to buy in today than they may have been in past eras?
Doug: Please talk about Jason Ochart joining the Phillies. I beg you.
Kiley McDaniel: Ochart is a smart dude, have talked to him a few times and I’m a fan. There aren’t an abundance of hitting coaches out there that are on top of the various tech and tools available to them. Some of the ones that are just philosophically open to this stuff have been double and triple promoted in the last few years because there’s so much less progressive, scientific testing of though on the hitting side vs. pitching.
Kiley McDaniel: I get the impression that if a coach is open minded and humble and brings results, the players don’t care what his background is. If a guy didn’t play, it matter more if he comes in and acts like he has all the answers and doesn’t deliver results
Owen: Hi Kiley – When colleges have Trackman, how much data do they actually share with people like you or MLB clubs who are interested in maybe drafting their guys? All the info? Some of the info? Only the stuff they want to share? Also does having that in your stadium have any effect on how many scouts come through in a year?
Kiley McDaniel: The MLB teams get all the data from games at the colleges as part of their deal with TrackMan and the colleges get a lower price than the MLB teams do for minor league TrackMan b/c the colleges are letting TrackMan sell it to teams.
Kiley McDaniel: We get some from the stadium directly, some schools like Ole Miss and LSU post a lot of it on analytics twitter accounts and use it for recruiting, etc. but non-teams cannot buy that full data set.
Asst GM: What do most Asst Gm’s make? It seems like they are one of few FO employees that get paid what they are worth.
Kiley McDaniel: Generally AGMs and up are paid fairly for what they contribute, some directors, then most of the spots below that take pay cuts from what they should make or could make doing similar things in the private sector. Generally, AGMs make $150K to $500K depending on tenure and if a team has one AGM or 3-4. I’m sure some of the GM-in-waiting types are making above that, but that role has mostly become “GM underneath a president” and GMs generally start at $1M.
Agent vs FO: What are main differences in day to day life between agents and FO employees?
Kiley McDaniel: Lots of front office questions today but I’m here for it. Agents generally work remotely and it’s lots of phone calls and babysitting and traveling when you’re lower level, I guess still lots of phone calls and traveling but a little less babysitting when you’re higher level.
Kiley McDaniel: FO also is lots of phone calls and traveling, too. I guess it’s more process/information/execution whereas agent-ing is more relationships and salesmanship and services
Red: Happy Boxing Day, Kiley! If you had your druthers, would you shorten the draft? Is there much practical difference between a 50 round draft much less popular than the NFL or NBA drafts, and, say, a 20 round draft followed by a bunch of senior sign UDFAs to fill out low minors rosters?
Kiley McDaniel: I’d say 20-25 is all you really need and some team do it in a different order in terms of their $125K or over-slot pool signings after the 10th, but it would be streamlined a bit if all those signings were condensed into fewer rounds and all the filler types were later. It’s also a way for clubs with good processes to get better players, since you’d just be recruiting all those undrafted FA’s with similar money.
bencole2727: Does Adonis Medina have legit #1 or #2 SP potential? Chances that he gets there?
Kiley McDaniel: Chance to be a #2, still needs to be more consistent. Maybe 15-20% chance?
Doug: Do any of Kelenic’s tools project towards plus-plus (65+)? I saw a whole bunch of 55s slapped on him predraft, but am reading a bunch of pundits calling him a high probability star since the Cano trade happened. Did his pro debut show more than what amateur scouts were seeing?
Kiley McDaniel: His tool grades are there. The raw tools are basically 55 to 60 across the board, but game power is probably more 50 and defense probably settles closer to 50, but he would be a 55 defender on a corner.
Kiley McDaniel: I would also caution if you’re reading national-type writers that are forced to have a trade hot take and don’t do prospect stuff. When they write about a handful of the top 100 types every winter, they’re all a star compared to the low level throwins in most deals…so the word star means a little less when guys like that are using it
Kiley McDaniel: Also, mostly 55-60 tools in center field is a 3-4 win player generally and that’s probably a star?
Kiley McDaniel: I wouldn’t say there’s many guys in the minors that are high (over 50%) probability to be a star
Jeff: Thoughts on these 2019 HS draft arms: Reggie Crawford, Paul Labriola, Spencer Jones. Is Jones a better bat than arm prospect?
Kiley McDaniel: Jones is on the above-linked draft board. Something like mid 1st round pitcher, 2nd as a hitter, so it’s still close
Kiley McDaniel: Labriola and Crawford are wait-and-see projection type arms
Unlce Rico: Bryce to Boston? Trade JBJ, not like Mookie is going to sign next year anyway.
Kiley McDaniel: Mookie is exactly the kind of player that I could see signing the huge Votto/franchise player level extension where they forego free agency but get paid close to a market rate for a super long term.
vince clortho: Why aren’t more long term free agent contracts front loaded? They provide more economic value to the player due to the greater net present value, and from the team’s perspective, better align performance with compensation and so making the back end less of a sunk cost.
Kiley McDaniel: Tends to go the other way, with a bit of a moral hazard, to save payroll now and maximize short term wins rather than maybe give your replacement a nice contract to work with
Kiley McDaniel: Also why teams are hesitant to really add multiple DSL teams and other long-range investments
Colin: Hi Kiley. Is Xavier Edwars’ ceiling as high as Nick Madrigal’s? They have a number of similarities as prospects, apart from Madrigal’s college experience and X’s ability to hit from both sides of the plate.
Kiley McDaniel: Madrigal has 70 bat control and don’t think Edwards does, he’s more 55. Beyond that, the raw tools are pretty similar, so Madrigal’s college performance would be most of the gap.
Dave: Given the way Harper’s market is developing, if the Nats circle back and again offer $300M/10 with opt-outs this time, A) Does he take it, and B) Should he take it?
Kiley McDaniel: A) No B) Probably not
Kiley McDaniel: Judging from past Boras-helmed situations where the bottom fell out of the market (which is not what I think is happening here yet) he would focus on one thing that helps him save face (highest 1-year guarantee, 3 opt outs in a 4 year deal, etc) and get that to show he got a precedent-setting deal
Vinny R.: My son plays travel ball in the same organization as right-handed pitcher, Quinn Priester. A lot of talk that he has a chance to be drafted in the 1st round. Its early obviously, but do high upside players like him from cold climates have a chance to go in the First Round?
Kiley McDaniel: Chance? Yes. Probably more 2nd round right now, but has shown above average stuff, command to start, projection, cold weather arm, etc. where there’s plenty of examples that have made this jump before
Purple Mays Haze: Do all MLB teams have access to the minor league trackman data? Who owns it? MLB? When will we see a milb baseball savant?
Kiley McDaniel: The teams own the data and the TrackMan unit, they agree to pool it so all 30 teams can get the data, TrackMan facilitates. It’s well into the six figures per year per team and they aren’t sharing it with anyone. We just get it in drips and drabs.
Kiley McDaniel: The interesting element is if a college/HS/JC game happens at your minor league stadium, the team that owns the unit at that stadium owns the TrackMan data exclusively and can trade it with other teams for their exclusive data. So if you ever wonder why this college tournament or HS showcase is at the Single-A affiliate of your favorite team, there’s a good chance they’re paying/encouraging their affiliate to get that tournament so they can get exclusive data and trade it to the other 29 teams for the events they also have.
Kiley McDaniel: At an MLB stadium, all 30 teams get it (except for private workouts) since it’s under the Statcast domain and MLB owns the units in the MLB stadiums so they can own the Statcast data (TrackMan is the pitcher/hitter element of Statcast)
jordanalex91: Antonio Cabello or Wander Franco? Similar age and league adjusted stats as per Clay Davenport’s peak EQA (277 for Cabello, 283 for Franco)
Jeff: Spotlight or Zodiac? Trying to pick a favorite movie
Kiley McDaniel: Haven’t seen Zodiac but it’s on the shortlist of ones I need to get to. As for Spotlight all I have to say is
Kiley McDaniel: THEY KNEW!!!!
Logan: Any updates on the Carter Stewart grievance?
Kiley McDaniel: Keeps going on longer and I keep hearing it should be done soon…?
TooDamnTall: Hi Kiley, love what you do here. With the inherent level of uncertainty in scouting, I was curious in general about how you judge your own work in hindsight. How often do you think you missed something that you should have seen?
Kiley McDaniel: It’s normally either 1) player changed completely like a huge velo spike from a non-projectable guy, total swing change from slap hitter, etc. or 2) Interpreted information incorrectly, like dinged a guy for bad makeup and it was more he’s flamboyant on field or bad decisions than a bad work ethic guy
Kiley McDaniel: Between Eric/my eyes and other scouts, we don’t really misdiagnose tools, it’s just projecting into the future and guessing on coachability/makeup
Logan: So, I’m interested in hearing more about an answer you gave re: Pache. You said you want to like guys up once the lists are done and then decide if he’s a 60 or 55, basically making a judgement call on where to draw the line based on the distribution. I get that FV grades are theoretically based on population statistics (standard deviations from the mean), but shouldn’t that population be the MLB player pool and not the prospect pool? Also, doesn’t it make more sense to just evaluate the player based on his own merits instead of forcing the prospect pool to always look like a normal distribution?
Kiley McDaniel: Has nothing to do with distribution
Kiley McDaniel: It’s somewhat arbitrary that this guy is a 60 but this next guy is a 55, but we have to draw the line somewhere
Kiley McDaniel: and when it’s the 20th vs the 21st player is where we decide to draw the line…we feel much more confident when we know who is 20th and 21st. At this point, we know Pache and Ke’Bryan will be right at that cutoff, but we aren’t sure where they will slot exactly, so it would be silly to hold ourselves to the grade when we’ve done a handful of teams. It becomes much clearer when everyone is graded, but that’s why we’re doing that behind the scenes, so the top 100 can be ready whenever and this whole picture comes into focus before list 30 is done
GPT: Follow up, what are your thoughts on Michael Holmes?
Kiley McDaniel: Really good, respected scout. Has been seen industry-wide of deserving of a director job for awhile.
Identity Crisis: I also had Christmas for the first time in the new house this year, I also had to see family off today, I also have to work today and I also love prospects! Am I Kiley McDaniel?
Kiley McDaniel: unfortunately, it sounds like you are
Gregory: Speaking of Phillies list, what’s the word on Luis Garcia. Heard positive things off of his solid first year – how far has he moved up the list? Has he hit the 50FV?
Kiley McDaniel: Not quite there yet, we’re about to finalize that list but he’s just short of 50 FV in the current iteration
TooDamnTall: With the work FG did this year on putting a $ amount on prospects, could that translate into the value of a draft pick, and what teams expect to find at a certain pick? Or would that vary too much depending on the draft class to be a useful idea?
Kiley McDaniel: Oh we’re definitely doing that, then we’re gonna put a dollar value on all you people and fielding chat questions about if you question efficiency will tick up or if I should sell now because we won’t rest until everything has been quantified
Kiley McDaniel: (that’s just kinda how our brains work here)
2019 Draft: Any 65/70 Fastballs or Sliders in the draft this year?
Kiley McDaniel: Graeme Stinson LHP at Duke has a 70 slider. Lots of guys sit mid 90’s but I’m not sure that’s a 70 fastball anymore. There’s a scouting tab on the draft board but I’m too lazy to go look
chaz: best way to get an internship/job with an mlb front office?
Kiley McDaniel: Have a separator skill, like Spanish, SQL or R, on-field coaching, etc.
Kiley McDaniel: There’s a number of pitchers in the TJ rehab zone where we’ll downgrade them now, wait to see if stuff comes back and if it’s all the way back, then we’ll probably upgrade them to where they were, leave them where they are if it isn’t. We think that reflects their trade value a little more accurately.
Bearry: Of Brandon Lowe, Adames, Wendle, Robertson, Arroyo, and Solak, who would you be most loathe to trade? Could be due to absolute upside or due to a big discrepancy in their value vs. how you feel about them?
Kiley McDaniel: I think Adames is the keeper and the rest are available for the right price
Kiley McDaniel: He might be the other keeper with Adames
Dan: I’ve seen a little bit of uproar about about the fact that entry level player development and Baseball Ops jobs pay well below market rate. Does this trickle all the way up the organizational ladder? For example, how much do most directors of baseball ops/player dev make if you had to ballpark it? Does this vary greatly depending on the organization?
Kiley McDaniel: The college/MLB pitching coach issues (where college paid more until MLB needed those coaches and so now the pay is more how you would expect) underline how baseball teams can afford to pay any non-essential person whatever they feel like. There’s no direct substitute. Elite coaches/execs/scouts/players get paid like they matter. Non elite ones get paid way less and minor league players, front office interns, lower level coaches…they are the ones getting paid minimum wage or well below for their work. SEC pitching coaches and MLB pitching coaches is one area where there is a substitute and MLB teams are being forced to pay more for that one specific job, which I think is evidence of what everyone has been seeing forever, that all the middle and lower tier workers are paid peanuts b/c they can find another willing/qualified person that will do it and no other company/industry is competing with them
Ducklin: Zodiac slays, bruh
Kiley McDaniel: that’s what everyone keeps telling me brah
Muskies: Any chance Grammes pitches himself into the first round this year? D1 Baseball has his stock rising
Kiley McDaniel: Heard he’s in the upper 90’s, relatively new to pitching, but may be relief only and velo alone isn’t top round stuff anymore. Don’t know a ton and will definitely be monitoring early.
Santa’s Marginal: Dane Dunning update? Clean bill of health? No restrictions? UCL a ticking TBomb?
Kiley McDaniel: Yeah one thing I can say with certainty is no one on this site will ever refer to a human’s elbow ligaments as a ticking time bomb. Twitter/commenters/chat people/Youtube isn’t as empathetic
Eminor3rd: Kiley I guess what I’m trying to say is
This potato is on fire: hi 🙂
TKDC: If Derek Jeter were charged with murder, and the evidence pointed to him doing it, but he was acquitted (think O.J.), what percent of the HOF vote would he get on his first try?
Kiley McDaniel: whoa that kinda snuck up on me this time
LudeBurger: do you ever stop and think how delinquent we are for being here instead of being productive members of society?
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.