Author Archive

Introducing the 2016-2018 Sortable Draft Ranking Boards

I announced yesterday my looming exit from FanGraphs to join the Atlanta Braves later this week. It wouldn’t be me unless I went out with a bang, so we’re rolling out sortable boards for the next three draft classes today, all of them months in the making. Here’s the current draft order, though it will change as free agents move around this offseason.

For the 2016 class, I ranked as far as I felt like there was some separation (63 players), then gave you 101 additional players who project for the top 3-4 rounds. For the 2017 class, I gave you a ranked top 30 then 42 additional players who have already emerged as early round prospects. For the 2018 class (that’s high school sophomores and the incoming college freshman who were high schoolers eligible for the draft last summer) I gave you 30 players and, within that 30, included four high schoolers who already have scouts excited. The additional players in the 2016 and 2017 sortable boards who aren’t ranked are grouped by pitcher/hitter and high school/college and then ranked roughly in order of my preference within those listings.

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Kiley McDaniel Prospects Chat – 10/6/15

11:57
Kiley McDaniel: I’m making a few calls but will drop in at noon eastern to baseball chat with you

12:04
Comment From Tim
Best college hitter in the 2016 draft?

12:05
Kiley McDaniel: Either Florida CF Buddy Reed or Louisville CF Corey Ray, both from Team USA this summer. Slight edge to Ray right now, but Reed has more upside and could overtake him this year. Both in the top 5-6 picks at this point for me.

12:05
Comment From Mike
The Orioles received some grief for taking Ryan Mountcastle with their 1st round compensation pick. But he performed pretty well in his first professional experience. What is his longterm outlook?

12:07
Kiley McDaniel: I like him as a prospect, I thought he was more of a 3rd round talent, but right before the draft there was buzz of a few teams looking at him in the early to middle 2nd round, so I think Baltimore had to take him there to get him.

Projectable frame, above average raw power, average to slightly above runner, makes a lot of contact, has had some trouble getting to the power in games but he’s still just 18. Most scouts say LF fit, but BAL thinks he can play 3B. Fringy arm and just okay feet/hands.

12:08
Comment From CoolWinnebago
Hi Kiley, have you written any in depth pitcher scouting articles? Specifically what you look for in throwing mechanics?

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Kiley McDaniel Prospects Chat – 9/29/15

11:57

Kiley McDaniel: Giving you guys a minute to get some questions in before I start my yapping

12:05
Comment From Some Guy
What are you hearing about the teenage Cuban defector “Lazarito” that’s currently training in Haiti?

12:06

Kiley McDaniel: Fitting to start with one of the two buzziest topics among scouts right now. The hype on this kid is already pretty heavy and many heavy hitters haven’t really seen him before. I was going to write something about him this week, but it wouldn’t have too much hard info, so I figured it may be better for the chat.

12:12

Kiley McDaniel: So he’s a 16 year old Cuban named Lazaro Armenteros that defected. He’s about to start open workouts and I’ve talked to some scouts that saw him in int’l tourneys and one guy that saw him working out for smaller groups of scouts in the Caribbean recently.

He’s a built 6’2/205 with some projection, 65-70 speed, at least plus raw power and at least a plus arm, with the grades varying a bit on each of those grades given the incomplete looks and an age where things are still improving, but the lowest I’m hearing so far on those tools is 60. It’s a CF/RF fit, though he’s played some 1B/3B. You can see why Yasiel Puig is a common name mentioned as a similar player.

He’s more physically developed that almost all the recent big July 2 names you’d ask me to compare him to and the guys I talked to said he isn’t a tools goof with no feel, he’s actually got some instincts.

You can try to triangulate this and you end up in the Yoan Moncada type territory ($31.5M bonus from BOS that came with $31.5M penalty and two-year sanctions on signings over $300K) pretty quickly. Hard to say for sure if it’ll be above or below that, but everyone I’ve talked to said it will be huge money.

Way too early to know a team to project, but I’ve said many times that all the top Cubans this period will be tied to the Dodgers by default since they have limitless amounts of money and are going over during this period…which was a direct result of passing on Moncada late last period to instead go over for more than just one player. There’s a number of other Cubans that would be $5M+ types and would be pool-eligible once they get cleared to sign…so the Dodgers may finally find their financial limits in this market, but not without getting plenty of talent first.

12:16
Comment From Blaine
Wanted to thank you for the top notch content. You do a great job! I was just wondering what upside do you see in Blake Rutherford? How far is he from. Superstar draft prospect, 60 FV? And as a Braves fan, I see the Phils going with an arm at 1, do you think the Braves are in on Rutherford?

12:19

Kiley McDaniel: And now to the other topic getting buzz in scouting circles right now. I’m in the final stages of wrapping up my calls/emails on the draft list and there’s been some shuffling from the off-the-cuff names I’ve been mentioning recently in chats/twitter.

Rutherford has slipped a few spots but is still in the top tier of players, which is probably 6-7 names. He’s the oldest of the top prep prospects and is a tweener defensively without much physical projection. So, while the now ability is really good, he still projects and a top 10 pick, and he may have looked the best over the summer of this group, you can see why some scouts may downgrade him a bit when projecting into the future.

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Kiley McDaniel Prospects Chat – 9/22/15

12:06
Kiley McDaniel: Lets have a baseball chat

12:13
Comment From GPT
Other than Christian Arroyo, who has impressed you the most in the Giants system this year? From what you’ve seen personally and the reports you get.

12:14
Kiley McDaniel: There hasn’t really been a huge riser in their system this year, but I like the guys they’ve added: Lucius Fox from July 2 and the draft crop of Phil Bickford, Jalen Miller, Chris Shaw and Andrew Suarez. Those guys are all 45s and 50s FV-wise to a system that needed some of those.

12:14
Comment From Rick
Can Austin Riley stick at 3B?

12:15
Kiley McDaniel: I didn’t think so last summer but he dropped some weight and now it looks like yes.

12:15
Comment From You up?
Will you ever have a chance to finish the tool grades for MLB players? Seemed like a cool idea

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Kiley McDaniel Prospects Chat – 9/15/15

1:04

Kiley McDaniel: Kiley’s here, get used to it

1:08
Comment From James
Will AJ Reed’s power and hitting ability translate to the majors? Seems the Astros have a black hole at first base right now. Thanks.

1:12

Kiley McDaniel: In college it was a bit of a concern that there was some stiffness to his swing, but he had a good approach and he hit all while pitching each Friday. So, there was a slight concern about contact but it was more that he was 1B only and weren’t quite sure what he was, with most scouting looks coming in his one big year in college.

He’s obviously answered those questions. It isn’t a perfect swing and I think expectations are getting a little too high given his numbers. He won’t be Schwarber just because the minor league numbers are the same–there’s a reason they were drafted so far apart.

All that said, it’s possibly 30 HR power (70 raw) and he should be able to hit around the .250 or .270 range and draw some walks, so he could still be really good. This is why a bit of a mystery player went in the top 50 picks as a college 1B–if it was 60 power he slides another 20 picks lower.

1:12
Comment From Limp-Wristed Liberal
Hey Kiley! Can you give a current MLB comp for an average outcome for Max Kepler? Blackmon? Polanco?

1:13

Kiley McDaniel: He’s a bunch of 50 and 55 tools that’s an OF tweener defensively. A name doesn’t come to mind for a comp, but you can probably figure that one out.

1:13
Comment From James
Colin Moran has put together a good season in AA at 22 years old. Will he see a rise in his stock this off season? Does he have enough power potential to make an impact at MLB level?

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Kiley McDaniel Prospects Chat – 9/8/15

11:58
Kiley McDaniel: I’ll be back in a few moments to answer your fantasy football start ’em/sit ’em questions for week 12. Thanks!

12:13
Comment From Fitch+McTeer
Have Archie Bradley, Jon Gray and Henry Owens held firm on their FV grades or have any slipped? Do any of these three have a high risk to bust?

12:16
Kiley McDaniel: Preseason, Gray was the lowest 60 and Bradley/Owens were the high end of 55, just a few slots behind. So, basically there were all the same in the 55-60 area. The only slight change is Gray slid down a few spots to a 55 and all three missed the in-season update since they have big league time but not enough to graduate and just missed the top 26, which includes all the 60’s and a few 55’s http://www.fangraphs.com/bl…Being power-based righties, Bradley/Gray have more risk than Owens, but trying to guess who will bust even with AAA/MLB arms isn’t very easy.

12:16
Comment From Emmett
Theoretically, if a hitter had an 80 grade hit tool and 50 raw power, could the power actually play up in games because of the amount of quality contact they would make?

12:17
Kiley McDaniel: Yep and that happens with some big leaguers like Mauer, but it’s very rare and to project a 70-80 bat that would make this happen, means it’s very tough to predict in advance since 70-80 bat projection in the minors means top 10 prospect in the game.

12:17
Comment From Fitch+McTeer
Can Richie Shaffer be the starting 1B in TB next year? Or will they re-sign superstar James Loney to block him?

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Likely Scenarios for Current Front-Office Vacancies

Two seasons ago, I ranked the job security of each general manager and listed GM prospects. I think I did a pretty good job with both lists given what we knew at the time, and may do it again as Opening Day 2016 closes in. We’ve had less executive movement in the last few off-seasons than usual and it looks like the regression is happening this year, with four GM jobs currently open and a likely fifth coming soon. This seemed like a good time to cover each of the situations in flux and target some possible changes in the near future, along with some names to keep in mind as candidates to fill these openings.

The Open GM Spots
We have two teams without a top baseball decision-making executive, in Seattle and Milwaukee:

Mariners
The Mariners moved on from (now former) GM Jack Zduriencik recently, a long-rumored move that club president Kevin Mather admitted he waited too long to execute. Mather has said they’re looking for a replacement sooner than later (likely eliminating execs from playoff teams), with GM experience (eliminating most of the GM prospects you’ll see below), and that the team doesn’t require a rebuild (meaning a shorter leash and higher expectations from day one). This should prove to narrow the pool of candidates a good bit, but this is still seen as the best of the currently open jobs.

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Kiley McDaniel Prospects Chat – 9/1/15

12:07
Kiley McDaniel: Kiley is here

12:07
Kiley McDaniel: Don’t worry

12:09
Comment From GRANDPA
KILEY YOU’RE LATE

12:09
Kiley McDaniel: Good to hear from you, internet

12:09
Comment From Mark
Comments on the Nationals bringing Trea Turner up without giving him playing time?

12:11
Kiley McDaniel: Talked about it on the podcast this week. On the face, it doesn’t make much sense when he could get regular AAA at bats for a few more weeks, but the fact that he’s likely the opening day starter next year means there’s a little more urgency to see him around the big leagues and gauge his mental readiness.

And, since they’re in a race and can’t play him everyday, it would take longer than 4 weeks for him to get a true 4-week experience in the big leagues. That’s me trying to figure out why WSH did it this way and you can kinda see where they’re going.

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Kiley McDaniel Prospects Chat – 8/25/15

11:08
Kiley McDaniel: I’ll be back and start answering questions in a couple minutes.

11:17
Kiley McDaniel: Kiley is here and ready to chat with YOU

11:17
Comment From Bret
Not a pure prospect question, but definitely one about an exciting young player. Should the Jays have any apprehension about having Marcus Stroman return to the rotation in a few weeks if his rehab goes well?

11:18
Kiley McDaniel: The answer to any question about returning from an injury is1) they should be careful to not risk his future in coming back to soon
2) they know way more about his body than I do, so I can’t tell you much more than you already know

11:19
Comment From Xolo
Were he eligible, where would Javier Baez fall in your rankings?

11:20
Kiley McDaniel: I was always low on him–I think I put him in the teens a few years ago and people were telling me I was crazy to not put him in the top 5. He’d be a 50 or 55 at this point but I haven’t really thought about him much since he lost prospect eligibility and everyone I’ve talked to about him said he hasn’t made any adjustments…and makeup/coachability/attitude concerns are the reason I’ve always been the low one on him

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Kiley McDaniel Prospects Chat – 8/19/15

12:09
Kiley McDaniel: Kiley is ready to chat now

12:09
Comment From Hobbes2d
Hey Kiley,

12:09
Kiley McDaniel: Hey!

12:11
Comment From Nelson
Which list did Pompey not make it onto? Is he less than a 50FV?

12:12
Kiley McDaniel: Noticed that a few guys for that rookie list slipped through my filters, like Pompey (50) and Alex Gonzalez (50). I’ll go back in and add them after the chat.

12:13
Comment From Colby
Would Kopech have made your updated list of the non 200 if he wasnt suspended?

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The 2015 In-Season Prospect Update

Since I made you wait a little longer than I intended for a mid-season/trade-deadline prospect rankings update, I decided to expand upon the form with four lists instead of just one. Each of these lists uses tiers like my other lists, but each list is also ordered by preference within each tier. I’ve also started using Present Value (PV) in addition to the normal Future Value (FV) as a better way to show how close a prospect is to reaching his ceiling, or being ready for a call-up. See this article for more about FV and the 20-80 scouting scale in general.

The first list is the standard top-prospect list with the standard 130 at-bat/50 innings pitched qualifications, so prospects in the big leagues are eligible for the list. That said, a few players like Kyle Schwarber and Daniel Norris are about a week from losing their prospect eligibility and are in the big leagues, so I moved them to another of the lists below in anticipation.

The second list features players who were eligible for the Top 200 Prospect List last year that didn’t make it, but would do so comfortably now. Think of this as the minor-league version of “pop-up guys” that you’ll hear referred to more often in the draft: players that improved greatly in a short period of time. The standard for being listed is 50 FV, which was the 80th through 143rd prospects on the preseason list, but, for reasons I’ll explain below, should be even higher this year.

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Kiley McDaniel Prospects Chat – 8/11/15

12:14
Kiley McDaniel: Alrighty I’m back home after 3 weeks of travel and now I can buckle down on some fresh rankings that will be coming your way soon

12:15
Comment From groucho
Thoughts on Alex Reyes? What do you think his ceiling is?

12:16
Kiley McDaniel: Saw him right before the DL stint and put up video and a report here: http://www.fangraphs.com/bl…

There’s frontline upside if he can harness everything.

12:18
Comment From ceee
With Anthony Alford starting to get a tone of attention in the Jays system with his HighA performance thus far this year, has it overshadowed what former first rounder D.J Davis has done in A ball? Eerily similar #’s, albeit one level lower. Does D.J Davis still have 5 tool potential/high upside? Or is Anthony Alford now the far and away better prospect?

12:20
Kiley McDaniel: I had Alford 9th in the system entering the season and Davis 30th: http://www.fangraphs.com/bl…

Alford is younger, performing better, at a higher level and is coming off a multi-year layoff from playing football. Davis’ improvement is encouraging, but Alford was a better than Davis when he was playing football and the gap is even wider now. He’ll be a top 100 prospect.

12:20
Comment From Xolo
Colin Rea makes his big league debut tonight. What do you expect from him short and long term?

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Grading the 58 Prospects Dealt at the Trade Deadline

This breakdown starts with the Scott Kazmir deal on July 23, but there weren’t any trades from the 16th to the 23rd, so this covers the whole second half of the month, trade-wise, up until now. I count 25 total trades with prospects involved in that span that add together to have 58 prospects on the move. Check out the preseason Top 200 List for more details, but I’ve added the range that each Future Value (FV) group fell in last year’s Top 200 to give you an idea of where they will fall in this winter’s list. Also see the preseason team-specific lists to see where the lower-rated prospects may fall within their new organization.

40 FV is the lowest grade that shows up on these numbered team lists, with 35+ and 35 FV prospects mentioned in the “Others of Note” section, so I’ll give blurbs for the 40 FV or better prospects here. I’ve also linked to the post-trade prospect breakdown for the trades I was able to analyze individually, so click there for more information. Alternately, click on the player’s name to see his player page with all his prior articles listed if I didn’t write up his trade.

I opted to not numerically rank these players now, but I will once I’ve made the dozens and dozens of calls necessary this fall and winter to have that level of precision with this many players. Look for the individual team lists to start rolling out in the next month, with the 2016 Top 200 list coming in early 2016. Lastly, the players are not ranked within their tiers, so these aren’t clues for where they will fall on the Top 200.

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Kiley McDaniel Prospects Chat – 7/31/15

12:09
Kiley McDaniel: Running out to the car to get the charger for my laptop. Will answer questions alongside my Chipotle bowl in moments.

12:17
Kiley McDaniel: I’m here!

12:17
Comment From AJ Preller
Can Javier Baez stick at short?

12:19
Kiley McDaniel: I don’t think so, but some people think maybe. I think at best it’ll be like Corey Seager where it’s fringy and you put up with it for a few years if he hits, then eventually move him before he makes the big money.

I mentioned the whispers about Baez’s makeup when I was lower on him than the other publications two years ago and it seems like those whispers are getting louder. In general, iffy makeup guys that have trouble with their bread and butter (hitting for Baez) can’t be asked to also do another thing slightly out of their comfort zone, skills-wise (play shortstop). I’d hope for second, settle for third and hope it isn’t right field.

12:19
Comment From Pale Hose
Oh, look it’s Kiley.

12:19
Kiley McDaniel: It is.

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Scouting the Prospects in the David Price Deal

In case you missed it, I’ve broken down the prospects in the Johnny Cueto (Reds to Royals) trade, Scott Kazmir (A’s to Astros) tradeTyler Clippard (A’s to Mets) deal, the Troy Tulowitzki (Rockies to Blue Jays) trade and in one post yesterday covered the prospects in the deals of Ben Zobrist (A’s to Royals), Jonathan Papelbon (Phillies to Nationals), David DeJesus (Rays to Angels), and David Murphy (Indians to Angels) trades.  This morning I wrote up the deal sending Cole Hamels from the Phillies to the Rangers. Here’s the breakdown of the 3-for-1 David Price deal sending him to Toronto, and I bet I’ll write a few more of these.

Everyone is going to compare this trade to the Johnny Cueto deal since it’s one rental MLB ace for three minor-league lefties. I gave Finnegan, Reed and Lamb 55, 50 and 40 FV grades, respectively — with all of them pretty close to the big leagues — while the combination Norris, Labourt and Boyd received 55, 50 and 45+ FV grades, with Labourt the farthest away of the six (although not by much). I’d lean to the Price haul and I’d lean strongly that way if Norris can work out his delivery issues.


Daniel Norris, LHP, Detroit Tigers, FV: 55

Coming into this year, Norris was riding a wave of positive momentum after a non-descript start to his pro career, itself coming on the heels of a $2 million bonus in the second round in 2011 out of a Tennessee high school. The big question on Norris coming into pro ball was his delivery and those questions still exist now, even though they disappeared in the second half of 2014 when he steamrolled his way to the big leagues from A-Ball.

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Scouting the Prospects in the Hamels Trade

In case you missed it, I’ve broken down the prospects in the Tyler Clippard (A’s to Mets) deal, the Troy Tulowitzki (Rockies to Blue Jays) trade and in one post yesterday covered the prospects in the deals of Ben Zobrist (A’s to Royals), Jonathan Papelbon (Phillies to Nationals), David DeJesus (Rays to Angels), and David Murphy (Indians to Angels) trades. It sounds like there’s still a few more deals to come, but last night’s huge deal sending Cole Hamels to the Rangers has plenty of interesting young players to cover.

In short, scouts were surprised that the Phillies sent Hamels to Texas without getting 3B Joey Gallo, RHP Alex Gonzalez or RF Nomar Mazara, but by paying down Hamels and taking Matt Harrison‘s contract, Philly got three prospects from Texas’ top tier, which makes it a nice trade for both teams at this point. You can see Eno’s take on the deal from a big-league perspective and also see my preseason reports on the Rangers deep system and my preseason Top 200 for more notes/context on these players.


Jorge Alfaro, C, Philadelphia Phillies, FV: 55

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Scouting The Prospects In the Zobrist/Papelbon Trades

In case you missed it, I’ve broken down the prospects in the Tyler Clippard (A’s to Mets) deal and the Troy Tulowitzki (Rockies to Blue Jays) trade. I’ll catch up here on yesterday’s deals, breaking down the prospects involved in the Ben Zobrist (A’s to Royals), Jonathan Papelbon (Phillies to Nationals), David DeJesus (Rays to Angels), and David Murphy (Indians to Angels) trades.

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Scouting the Prospects in the Tulowitzki Trade

Lead Prospect Analyst Kiley McDaniel is currently scouting the East Coast Pro prep showcase in Tampa, Florida. What follows is a collection of scouting reports written by McDaniel concerning the three players traded by Toronto to Colorado in exchange for Troy Tulowitzki — compiled and updated to account both for recent developments and/or likely role with the Rockies.

Jeff Hoffman, RHP, Colorado Rockies, FV: 55

In Hoffman’s offseason scouting report, I noted that he was in contention to go #1 overall until his elbow surgery just before the 2014 draft, in which he went ninth overall. He made his first pro appearance this year and started making buzz right away, showing big velocity in a late big-league spring-training appearance, then in extended spring training and in his regular season debut at High-A Dunedin (he was just promoted to Double-A in the last few days). In the video, the first game shown is when I saw Hoffman about a month ago and the second game is when our own Chris King saw his first start for Dunedin about a month before that.

I like to keep all the clips we have of a player in the official video on the FanGraphs YouTube page (now over 1 million views and 1,000 videos in less than a year) for reasons just like this, so we can see the changes over time. Notice from the third game in the video (the summer before he was drafted, in the Cape Cod League) how aggressive Hoffman’s delivery is (and the knockout curve at 3:00) and note that much of that is still there in the second game, his pro debut in Dunedin. Now look at the first game, the most recent one, and notice how much more upright, stiff and generally tall-and-fall his delivery is, rather than attacking the plate.

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Scouting the Prospects in the Cueto Trade

If you’re reading this, you already know that the Reds dealt ace Johnny Cueto to the Royals yesterday for three lefties: Brandon Finnegan, Cody Reed and John Lamb. For an idea of where these Future Value (FV) grades would fall, check out the top-200 prospect list and the Royals prospect list from just before the season. For the big-league perspective on the deal, see Jeff Sullivan’s take, and for a more statistical look at these three prospects, Chris Mitchell has also published a piece at the site.


Brandon Finnegan, LHP, Cincinnati Reds, FV: 55

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Breaking Down the Prospects in the Scott Kazmir Trade

With significant deadline trades, we’re going to attempt to provide an evaluation of the prospects changing teams from both Kiley McDaniel’s scouting perspective and Chris Mitchell’s statistical breakdowns. The numerical breakdown of both players appears below Kiley’s write-ups.

Today, the Houston Astros officially decided to go for it, acquiring Scott Kazmir from the A’s in exchange for for A-Ball prospects RHP Daniel Mengden and C Jacob Nottingham. Both were late cuts from my preseason prospect list list, which by Opening Day, with the Evan Gattis trade and losing Delino DeShields in the Rule 5 draft, included 22 players.

Both players were among the group of six given 35+ FV grades, so they were both in the 23-28 range in Houston’s system entering the year. I don’t have inside info on how the negotiations went down, but I’m guessing Kazmir was long a target for Houston (as they took a run at him this offseason) and Oakland was holding out for a top 10 prospect in the Astros organization. Based on the preseason rankings, this will look like a light return, but given Nottingham’s breakout season, they did indeed land a guy who would have ranked in the Astros top 10 if the list was re-done today.

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