A Reintroduction

We are thrilled to announce that Eric Longenhagen is re-joining the FanGraphs staff and will serve as our lead prospect analyst going forward. Eric brings experience, insight, and determination into this job, and we’re excited to see what he’ll be able to do with our prospect coverage both now and in the future.

I’m Eric Longenhagen, and I’m very excited to be joining the FanGraphs staff and seizing the reins of full-scale prospect coverage here. I’ve been ramping up toward a role like this for eight years, and am looking forward to wrestling with the enormity of this job’s scope and the processes that must be built and polished to do it well. Perhaps the most attractive aspect of writing, in lieu of working for a Major League team, is the boundless diversity of baseball at your fingertips. I hope to cover and share with you the entire spectrum, from the rapidly approaching international signing period, to the draft and, of course, off-season analysis of each club’s farm system.

If you’re interested in my work history and in inferring my credentials therefrom, this paragraph is for you. I spent my college summers interning for the Phillies’ Triple-A affiliate. My duties were expansive and mostly menial, which is why I often skirted them in favor of slipping into the scout section to watch, listen and learn. I then spent two seasons doing video scouting at Baseball Info Solutions. During that time I began scouting and reporting on the Phillies farm system for Crashburn Alley. When I left Pennsylvania for Arizona’s oppressive heat in 2014, and could no longer properly scout the Phillies system, I bounced around. My work appeared at Sports on Earth, Jason Churchill’s Prospect Insider and then here at FanGraphs as part of the staff assembled by Kiley McDaniel. Early in the spring of 2015, ESPN brought me on to supplement its scouting and prospect content with a focus on the draft, and gave me the keys to their International coverage as well.

In my new role covering the totality of prospects in baseball, I plan on doing as much in-person scouting as possible while also imparting readers with well-sourced information. Living in Arizona gives me, and now you, access to a comically diverse palette of baseball: the spectacle of Spring Training, the eerie silence of the backfields during Rookie Ball and the budding prospect mecca that is the Arizona Fall League all occur in my back yard and will help compose the foundation of the content you can expect to find here. I look forward to providing firsthand accounts of prospects in Extended Spring Training and the AZL, sections of baseball’s underbelly that are only now beginning to be thoroughly scouted or mined for data by MLB teams. I’ll also be traveling to scouting hotbeds, domestically and otherwise, and spending more money on sunscreen than you can possibly imagine. I hope to continue to expand FanGraphs’ video library and our use of the Sortable Boards that McDaniel birthed during his time here. Additionally, I’ll be working with Chris Mitchell to further integrate his work projecting minor league players from a data perspective into the reports and analysis here, as we’ll work to provide quality information from as many sources as possible.

I need to offer thanks to those who have helped pave my path here. That list includes a lot of people whose bosses would be pissed to know they’re talking to a prospect writer. Ironically, however, those people are used to the thanklessness and anonymity that comes with scouting. Drinks on me, anonymous sources. I owe much to Lindsey Knupp, Dan Casey, Bill Baer, Jim Callis, Jason Churchill, Kiley McDaniel, Keith Law, Brendan Roberts and now Davids Appleman and Cameron for giving me a job and/or advice. Kim Contreras and Bill Mitchell each have an insatiable and contagious appetite for baseball, have been sources of great wisdom and are doctors of organization and efficiency. And of course my wife, Jillian, who is incredible but would also be furious if I didn’t mention her.

I’ll begin my tenure here with notes from Arizona’s backfields, coverage of the upcoming July 2nd international signing period and, by the end of June, notes from some prospects in the California, Carolina, Pacific Coast, International, Eastern and possibly South Atlantic Leagues. Coverage of the AZL and summer draft showcases will follow in July and August before organizational lists start churning out in September; yes, we’re going to prioritize getting those things out sooner this year. Fall League coverage will be liberally sprinkled in early on before the lists hit full gear in the winter. January and early February will be headlined by International coverage and the start of JUCO play until late February yields to Spring Training and scouting for that year’s draft.

And throughout the year, I’ll be providing insights in trade analysis as teams move minor leaguers around. I hope you’re as ready to read about these things as I am to write about them. I look forward to getting to know you all even better, and building off the foundation that has been laid for me.

We hoped you liked reading A Reintroduction by Eric Longenhagen!

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Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.

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