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Eric Longenhagen Chat – 11/15/18

2:01
Eric A Longenhagen: Good afternoon from Tempe. here are some links to things:

2:01
Eric A Longenhagen: I wrote up the Luplow/EGon trade here: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/cleveland-and-pittsburgh-swap-surplus-…

2:02
Eric A Longenhagen: There’s been a ton of prospect stuff on the site this week. Short of linking all of it, I’ll just point you to the prospect land page where you can find all of it. https://www.fangraphs.com/prospects/

2:03
KW: What’s currently keeping you from hanging a 50 FV on Nico Hoerner? Would you need to see more power out of his bat to justify him inevitably moving to 2B?

2:03
Eric A Longenhagen: He might move up when we do the Cubs list

2:03
Eric A Longenhagen: The power he’s shown here in AZ has been surprising

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Cleveland and Pittsburgh Swap Surplus Big Leaguers

On Wednesday, Cleveland and Pittsburgh swapped a combination of big league role players and prospects in a five-player deal that looked like this:

Cleveland gets

OF Jordan Luplow
INF Max Moroff

Pittsburgh gets

INF Erik Gonzalez
RHP Tahnaj Thomas
RHP Dante Mendoza

Over the last two seasons, Luplow owns a .194/.274/.371 line across 190 sporadic career big league plate appearances, but he’s been a .300/.378/.479 hitter at Triple-A Indianapolis during that time. His inconsistent usage while in the majors is at least partly to blame for his small-sample struggles. Of all the players in this deal, the 26-year-old outfielder is the one most likely to have an immediate big league impact as Cleveland looks to fill gaps left by departing free agents. He’s a pull-only hitter with plus power who has also exhibited slightly above-average strikeout and walk rate throughout his minor league career. He quite comfortably projects as a corner outfield platoon bat in a Cleveland outfield that is very left-handed.

The 25-year-old Moroff’s departure from Pittsburgh clears a 40-man spot for the Pirates and presents Cleveland with upper-level depth. A patient switch-hitter capable of playing several infield positions, Moroff became a KATOH sleeper as he reached base at an above-average clip for several consecutive years in the minors. He suddenly started hitting for power in 2017 at Triple-A but regressed significantly in 2018. He could play a bench role in 2019 based on his approach and versatility.

For Pittsburgh, this deal adds arm talent to a farm system in which it is largely lacking. Aside from Mitch Keller, most of the Pirates’ upper-level pitching prospects have a backend starter/relief profile while several of the lower level arms have dealt with injury and been slow to develop. 19-year-old Bahamian shortstop convert Tahnaj Thomas immediately becomes one of Pittsburgh’s best pitching prospects. Ultra smooth and athletic, Thomas has a gorgeous delivery that generates mid-80s velocity (92-95 in my looks at him this year) that plays well in the upper part of the strike zone. He can also spin a good breaking ball and has some nascent changeup feel that, for someone so new to pitching, is very promising. This is a prototypical teenage arm and, though that demographic of prospect has concerning attrition rates, Thomas has a good chance to be the best player in this deal one day.

The Pirates also acquired a big league piece in shortstop Erik Gonzalez, who has been blocked by two of the best players in baseball for the last several years. Gonzalez’s prodigious physical abilities have long been undermined by his lack of patience (3% walk rate) and complete inability to hit the ball in the air. He saw time at all four infield positions in 2018 and is capable at all of them (plus hands, plus arm, average range), which means Gonzalez could play any number of roles for the Pirates in 2019. He could compete for the starting shortstop role with Kevin Newman or platoon at third base with Colin Moran or at second base with Kevin Kramer.

There’s enough raw thump here that Gonzalez could have a breakout if Pittsburgh can tweak his swing. The change of scenery makes this more likely to occur than it would have been in Cleveland, where they’ve struggled to get Gonzalez and Yandy Diaz to lift the ball. But at age 27, it’s probably not happening.

For Pittsburgh, this deal also clears the runway for 2B/3B/OF Pablo Reyes, whose strong September — .293/.349/.483 — is supported by his underlying batted ball data. Both Reyes (Licey) and Gonzalez (Escogido) are playing in the Dominican Winter League right now.

The final piece of the deal is 19-year-old righty Dante Mendoza, a 12th round high school draftee in 2017 who spent 2018 in the AZL. At 6-foot-5, Mendoza joins a system full of huge-framed pitching prospects. He has been up to 93 but sits 87-90 with the fastball and has an advanced changeup and breaking ball. There’s a strong possibility that Mendoza’s stuff ticks up as his body matures and he turns into a good big league pitcher of some kind.

After a few years without dedicated complex-level coverage, the Pirates had multiple scouts scouring backfields in Florida and Arizona again this year. This deal is the first farm-system fruit from that labor. It also marks the second time in five months that Cleveland has traded away one of their very promising group of teenage prospects who began their pro careers in Arizona this year. In both cases, the outfielders are likely to play a big league role fairly soon (they traded teenage outfielder Jhon Torres for upper-level outfielder Oscar Mercado at the deadline) in anticipation of this offseason’s departures.


Eric Longenhagen Chat: 11/8/18

2:01
Eric A Longenhagen: Howdy howdy howdy, let’s do the thing…

2:01
RIP McCovey: What is your take on the Farhan Zaidi hire for the Giants and the sentiment that he could move Bumgarner?

2:03
Eric A Longenhagen: I dig the hire, Zaidi seems capable of helming a club. I’m skeptical that about Bum being good when the Giants are good again, so I think it makes sense to explore the idea of moving him.

2:04
Junction Jack: What’s the buzz around JB Bukauskas in Arizona? The stuff has looked very sharp from what I have seen.

2:05
Eric A Longenhagen: He looks good. 94-96, t98, four pitch mix, everything has flashed plus. Changeup hasn’t been as good nor used as heavily of late. Don’t think the fastball plays like 95+ because this is a small guy who also has a short stride and I tend to think of him as a nasty multi-inning relief piece more than a true 170+ inning starter, but he is good.

2:05
Jim Leyland Palmer: Have you gotten to see much of Daz Cameron in the fall league? What do you think the Tigers have in him?

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Eric Longenhagen Chat: 11/1/18

2:02
Eric A Longenhagen: Good morning from Tempe. Let’s begin our final pre-prospect list chat.

2:02
mark: Do you know if Anderson Espinoza has started throwing, and if so how he looks?

2:03
Eric A Longenhagen: He did not throw during Padres instructs. He may be throwing off a mound but, if he is, it’s private, so I don’t know how he looks.

2:03
Josh Nelson: Hey Eric. How do Luis Basabe and Luis Robert look so far?

2:04
Eric A Longenhagen: LouBob has been fine, Basabe has not been great.

2:04
mark: Do you guys have any planned draft coverage coming up?

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Eric Longenhagen Chat: 10/25/18

2:02
Eric A Longenhagen: Good morning from Tempe where we’re approaching the Fall League halfway point. Let’s chat for a bit.

2:03
NotGraphs Revivalist: What kind of prospect package would ATL or SD need to put together for Syndergaard?

2:03
Eric A Longenhagen: I’d be surprised if the the Mets move a big fish this winter. The new regime is going to be operating with incomplete information, there’s real risk of making a bad deal.

2:04
Tommy N.: Padres ownership seems to want to make a splash this offseason. It would be unwise to start trading top prospects with where the Padres are at in the rebuild process, right?

2:04
Eric A Longenhagen: They have to start consolidating talent at some point and I do think we’ll see some action this offseason, even if it’s just on the fringe of the 40-man.

2:04
Ace: When evaluating pitching prospects, what mechanical aspects of a pitcher’s delivery point to SP vs RP? Is it a certain arm slot, arm path, stride length, violent delivery, etc. Thanks

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Eric Longenhagen Chat: 10/18/18

2:01
Eric A Longenhagen: Hey there, everyone. Time to chat.

2:01
RS: Giants catcher in the AFL, Matt Winn, profile good enough to be a major league backup?

2:03
Eric A Longenhagen: Several caveats when evaluating AFL catchers: they’re probably tired, they’re catching a whole new staff of guys, they’re catching once or twice a week. So the error bar around evals of catchers here is greater. Having said that, I’d answer your question with a ‘no’

2:03
Jay: Should the A’s let Lowrie walk and give Barreto a shot at 2B, or trade Barreto for pitching?

2:03
Eric A Longenhagen: I’d hold onto Barreto

2:03
Pip: Who’s the better prospect moving forward, the National’s, or the Phillies’ Luis Garcia?

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Eric Longenhagen Chat: 10/11/2018

2:02
Eric A Longenhagen: Oh, hi there. Welcome to today’s chat. I’ll get right to it.

2:02
Tumbler, Whiskey: Hi Eric, thanks for the time today. Are Kristian Robinson and Geraldo Perdomo the two best prospects in the Diamondbacks’ system?

2:04
Eric A Longenhagen: I woudn’t have Perdomo all the way up there, he’s still behind guys like  Jazz, Varsho, Dup, Thomas…but he is a good prospect. Kristian, you already know.

2:04
JJ: Just seen Santiago Espinal has been sent to the AFL – thoughts on him as a prospect?

2:05
Eric A Longenhagen: Fall League disclaimer: It’s early and I might change my mind on these guys over the next six weeks. Think Espinal is probably an org guy.

2:05
Daniel: Were there any exciting names in Cubs extended or AZL? Reivaj looks interesting (and not just b/c the of the name)

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Eric Longenhagen Chat: 9/26

12:03
Eric A Longenhagen: Good morning from Tempe, where the heat just won’t quit.

12:04
Eric A Longenhagen: I have two links for you

12:04
Eric A Longenhagen: The first is our updated draft rankings which shifted based on the summer festivities on the Cape, showcases, etc.  http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/fall-equinox-draft-board-update/

12:05
Eric A Longenhagen: The next is https://www.fangraphs.com/prospects which is where you can find all our prospect resources in one place.

12:07
Eric A Longenhagen: I think I might be having some technical issues with the chat software right now, so please be patient if there’s a gap between responses today as I might be playing with stuff to try to get things running smoothly.

12:07
GPT: Are you still going to be visiting Giants camp during fall instrux even though they won’t be playing games?

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Eric Longenhagen Chat: 9/13/18

2:02
Eric A Longenhagen: Hey from Tempe, everyone.

2:03
Eric A Longenhagen: Not much to link to because I was off last week and have been doing work on the guts of the Board this week in preparation for the offseason, so let’s hop right in to this…

2:03
Padulla: Out of all the recent international signees by the Yankees, which one are you most excited to see?

2:05
Eric A Longenhagen: Kevin Alcantara, who is simply the kind of player I like to watch. Yankees instrux games start the 25th. Haven’t seen their roster yet but lots of July 2 signees are here in the fall for instrux so he can be seen, domestically.

2:06
Ben: The Yankees system didn’t quite hit the highs of previous years – should Yankees fans be disappointed? Or is the ‘fall’ of the system in rankings more due to Major League graduations, which are obviously good?

2:06
Eric A Longenhagen: I think it’s clear their recent record of player dev means the system is always ‘good’ if there’s malleable talent in the lower levels, and there is.

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Daily Prospect Notes Finale: Arizona Fall League Roster Edition

Notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

Note from Eric: Hey you, this is the last one of these for the year, as the minor-league regular season comes to a close. Thanks for reading. I’ll be taking some time off next week, charging the batteries for the offseason duties that lie ahead for Kiley and me.

D.J. Peters, CF, Los Angeles Dodgers
Level: Double-A   Age: 22   Org Rank: 7   FV: 45+
Line: 4-for-7, 2 HR, 2B (double header)

Notes
A comparison of DJ Peters’ 2017 season in the Cal League and his 2018 season at Double-A gives us a good idea of what happens to on-paper production when a hitter is facing better pitching and defenses in a more stable offensive environment.

D.J. Peters’ Production
Year AVG OBP SLG K% BB% BABIP wRC+
2017 .276 .372 .514 32.2% 10.9% .385 137
2018 .228 .314 .451 34.0% 8.1% .305 107

Reports of Peters’ physical abilities haven’t changed, nor is his batted-ball profile different in such a way that one would expect a downtick in production. The 2018 line is, I think, a more accurate distillation of Peters’ abilities. He belongs in a talent bucket with swing-and-miss outfielders like Franchy Cordero, Randal Grichuk, Michael A. Taylor, Bradley Zimmer, etc. These are slugging center fielders whose contact skills aren’t particularly great. Players like this are historically volatile from one season to the next but dominant if/when things click. They’re often ~1.5 WAR players who have some years in the three-win range. Sometimes they also turn into George Springer.

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Eric Longenhagen Chat: 8/30/2018

2:00
Eric A Longenhagen: Hey there, let’s chat. Last Daily Prospect Notes of the year will be out later today and I’ll have Fall League roster stuff at some point, too. They’re exciting this year, as always.

2:00
Rosie: who’s the biggest sleeper in the AZL that could become a big spec one day?

2:02
Eric A Longenhagen: Depends on what kind of perspective you have. Reivaj Garcia isn’t a sleeper down here but he might be to you. I’ll say Wilbis Santiago. Old for AZL but really loose, quick hands.

2:03
Joe: Best prospect from this group? Neidert, Palumbo, Duran, Thorpe, Widener, Santillan, and poche

2:03
Eric A Longenhagen: One of those guys is a 50 FV on The Board, the rest are not (yet)

2:03
regular: DeShawn Knowles has comparable slash to Wander (albeit weaker ratios). What kind of upside are we looking at? Shane Victorino a decent comp?

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Daily Prospect Notes: 8/29/2018

Notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

Cal Stevenson, OF, Toronto Blue Jays
Level: Advanced Rookie   Age: 21   Org Rank: NR   FV: 35
Line: 3-for-4, 2B, 4 SB

Notes
College seniors are expected to dominate short-season leagues after signing but what Cal Stevenson has done merits some discussion, in part because he played through a hand injury this spring that may have clouded his actual skill. Stevenson has a .513 OBP at Bluefield because he has walked nearly three times more often than he’s struck out. He’s also stolen 21 bags in 22 attempts since signing. These numbers corroborate scouting reports which compliment Stevenson’s plus speed and bat-to-ball skills before noting his likely corner-outfield defensive projection and lack of characteristic power for the position. But let’s keep an eye on this guy because Toronto has a track record of making swing adjustments to bat-first college players that have helped those players become more viable prospects.

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Daily Prospect Notes: 8/28/2018

Notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

Performances from 8/26

Evan White, 1B, Seattle Mariners
Level: High-A   Age: 22   Org Rank: 2   FV: 45
Line: 3-for-4, 2B, 3Bho

Notes
We now have a full season of data to help us figure out whether Evan White’s weird profile is going to play. A plus-running backwards guy (bats right, throws left, a generally unfavorable combination due to the defensive limitations and platoon issues caused by both) who plays plus defense at first base, White was slugging .391 at the start of August, which is rather uninspiring for a college hitter in the Cal League. In August, however, White has 30 hits in 90 plate appearances and is slugging .763. He has made subtle changes to his lower half, drawing his front knee back toward his rear hip more than he did at Kentucky, and taking a longer stride back toward the pitcher. White is more often finishing with a flexed front leg, which has helped him go down and lift balls in the bottom part of the strike zone by adjusting his lower half instead of his hands. It’s a more athletic swing that was implemented before White’s explosive August, though he may just be getting comfortable with it now. Read the rest of this entry »


Eric Longenhagen Chat: 8/23/2018

2:03
Eric A Longenhagen: What’s up, everybody? Baseball chat engage

2:03
Mike: Your Bryse WilsonMichael Fulmer comp has me really intrigued. What is that based on? Velocity and GB rate? I was impressed with Wilson’s first start.

2:05
Eric A Longenhagen: The body, the pitch mix and quality of the stuff, the limitations with pitch utility and repertoire depth. Lotta similarities.

2:06
Dan: Brailyn Marquez. Thoughts?

2:09
Eric A Longenhagen: 19y/o Cubs lefty in short season. Thoughts are same as last year. Low-to-mid 90s, will show a 55 curveball and knows how to work it to both-handed hitters. I bet the changeup comes, he has good feel. Body went backwards from last summer to this year but it hasn’t affected performance.

2:09
Chris: Any clue what has happened to Mickey Moniak as of recently?

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Daily Prospect Notes: 8/22/2018

Notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

Bubba Thompson, CF, Texas Rangers
Level: Low-A   Age: 20   Org Rank: 5   FV: 45
Line: 4-for-6, HR

Notes
Were Bubba Thompson wrapping up his season with poor numbers, I’d be excusing it based on context. A multi-sport high-school athlete who had focused solely on baseball for just one year, Thompson also had his reps limited, after he signed last summer, due to nagging lower-body issues. I expected him to hang back in extended spring training and then head to Spokane in June. Instead, after a month in extended, Thompson was pushed by Texas to a full-season affiliate as a 19-year-old. He’s hitting .295/.350/.460 with 28 extra-base hits in 323 PAz and 28 steals in 35 attempts. He’s projects as a center fielder with power.

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Daily Prospect Notes: 8/21/2018

Notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

Johan Quezada, RHP, Minnesota Twins
Level: Low-A   Age: Turns 24 on Saturday   Org Rank: 46   FV: 35+
Line: 3.1 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 R, 6 K

Notes
This was Johan Quezada’s first career appearance in full-season ball. An imposing mound presence at a towering 6-foot-6, he has recovered from the shoulder surgery that cost him all of 2017, and his velocity has returned. He sits 94-97 with extreme downhill plane created by his height, and he’ll show you an average slider every once in a while. Quezada’s breaking-ball quality and command need to develop as they’re understandably behind due to his limited pro workload. He’s a older-than-usual arm-strength/size lottery ticket. On the surface, he seems like a candidate for extra reps in the Arizona Fall League.

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Daily Prospect Notes: 8/20/2018

Notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

Mark Vientos, 3B, New York Mets
Level: Appy   Age: 18   Org Rank: 7   FV: 45+
Line: 3-for-3, 2B, BB

Notes
The Mets have made effectual changes to Mark Vientos’s swing since he signed. His stance has opened up and his hands set up in a way that has enabled him to lift the ball better than he did in high school, especially pitches on the inner half. His hands are more alive and powerful than they were a year ago, and Vientos has launched balls out the other way even when he doesn’t fully square them up. His size/build might eventually cause a tumble down the defensive spectrum (he’s been projected off of shortstop to, at least, third base since he was a high-school underclassman), which would mean power alone won’t be enough to enable him to profile. His early-career contact rates are positive, especially considering Vientos doesn’t turn 19 until December.

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Daily Prospect Notes: 8/16/2018

Notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

Bryse Wilson, RHP, Atlanta Braves
Level: Triple-A   Age: 20   Org Rank: 12   FV: 45+
Line: 8 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 R, 13 K

Notes
Bryse Wilson touched 97 several times last night and sat 93-95 late in the outing. He pounded the zone with his fastball (72 of 98 pitches were for strikes) and blew it past several hitters up above the strike zone. His slider (mostly 83-85, though he lollipops some slower ones into the zone for first-pitch strikes) flashes plus but is mostly average and is only capable of missing bats when it’s out of the zone. Wilson’s changeup is fringey and firm, without much bat-missing movement, but the velocity separation off of the fastball is enough to keep hitters from squaring it up, and it’s going to be an effective pitch. The entire package (Wilson’s physicality and stuff) looks very similar to Michael Fulmer and Wilson’s delivery is much more graceful and fluid than it was when he was in high school, when scouts thought it would impact his ability to command the fastball and possibly move him to the bullpen.

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Eric Longenhagen Chat: 8/16/18

2:02
Eric A Longenhagen: Hi from Tempe everyone, I’m back from Area Codes/PGAA and chatting again. I’ll get right to it so I can finish today’s prospect notes and get those up this afternoon.

2:03
Gerald: Do you like prospects? Baseball prospects to be clear.

2:03
Eric A Longenhagen: I’ve been called a ‘Prospect Pragmatist’ so I guess not. I’m interested in them, though.

2:03
Snooker: If you were to rank the various organizations based on player development, who would be up top, who would be at the bottom, and where would the Tigers fit?

2:06
Eric A Longenhagen: Top ones for me are CLE, LAD, NYY, hard not to put BAL at the bottom.  Some orgs, and I think DET falls into this category, are tough to evaluate through this lens because their roster situations have made it difficult.

2:07
Eric A Longenhagen: So for DET they’ve moved a bunch of players in trades or acquired them and two dev groups have touched them, so it’s hard to say who’s responsible for success/failure

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Daily Prospect Notes: 8/15/18

Notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

Tanner Houck, RHP, Boston Red Sox
Level: Hi-A   Age: 22   Org Rank: 4   FV: 45
Line: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 BB, 1 R, 7 K

Notes
The Red Sox have been tinkering with Tanner Houck’s arm slot and pitch grips throughout the year in effort to find the best combination of pitch types for him. Earlier in the year that involved raising his arm slot and incorporating more four seamers into his mix, but now Houck’s fastball and arm slot look more like they did in college. His results have been better of late as he’s walked six and allowed nine runs combined over his last six starts. His low slot makes it easier for lefties to see the ball out of his hand and Houck will still need to find a way to counteract this issues to profile as a starter.

Mickey Moniak, OF, Philadelphia Phillies
Level: Hi-A   Age: 20   Org Rank: 14   FV: 40+
Line: 2-for-4, 2B, 3B

Notes
While his overall line is still disappointing, Mickey Moniak is slashing .298/.341/.465 since May 22. He’s made a subtle swing change that has him taking a using bigger leg kick with his knee driving back toward his rear hip (similar to the one Adam Haseley adopted while in Clearwater this year) and he’s also striding closed which has helped Moniak deal with stuff on the outer half, which had been a problem for him as a pro. I’ve asked teams for updated reports on Moniak and the pro side of the industry think he has tweener outfielder tools but acknowledges it appears he’s been playing a level ahead of his ability so far. The industry considers him a big leaguer but thinks it’s going to take some time.

Bryan Abreu, RHP, Houston Astros
Level: Low-A   Age: 21   Org Rank: 28   FV: 35+
Line: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 0 R, 10 K

Notes
Bryan Abreu has generated varying reports throughout the year, at times 92-94 with a 50 breaking ball and 40 control (which is barely a prospect) and others when he’s been up to 97, sitting 94-95 with big vertical action on one of two his breaking balls. He’s accrued double-digit strikeouts in two of his last three starts and has a 69:13 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 42.4 innings this season. The Astros are great at installing coherent pitching approaches into their prospects, most of whom are high-spin fastball/breaking ball guys who work up in the zone with their heaters, an approach which leads to more strikeouts. This, combined with Houston’s piggyback approach (where hitters don’t often see the same pitcher three or more times), leads to lots of strikeouts. I think the fastball (which is pretty straight) plays better out of the bullpen and I’m skeptical of Abreu’s short-term walk rate improvement because I’ve still got scouts questioning his command and it’s been an issue for Abreu in the past. I have him projected in relief and have added him to Houston’s team page on The Board.

Meandering Thoughts

Kiley wrote today about how he thinks the Rays have identified pitching subtypes that have skills to fit somewhere on the value spectrum between the perhaps unnecessary extremes of typical six or seven-inning starters and single-inning relievers. I’d like to talk about a few other oddball skillsets that might have a place on a 25-man roster as they help perform traditional and necessary on-field tasks but come in atypical packages. I’ve given them names that that the Cespedes Family BBQ kids will improve upon.

Waxahachie
This role, in which a player acts as relief specialist who can also play the outfield, has actually been utilized in the recent past and has been explored by other clubs in the minors even more recently. Outfielders with superlative arm strength or pitchers with plus athleticism could put an extra late-inning hitter or two at platoon disadvantage. The Astros have done this with Tony Sipp, bringing him in to face a lefty before sending him to the outfield while someone else gets righties out, and then returning Sipp to the mound to face another lefty. It seemed Houston might have hoped Rule 5 selection Anthony Gose would have been able to do something similar, but he didn’t make the team out of spring training and was returned to Texas.

Texas also has several candidates for this type of role in Gose (who is also a 70 runner and good defensive center fielder), James Jones (plus runner, plus outfield defense, low-90s with loopy breaking ball on the mound) and Jairo Beras (right-handed, mid-90s fastball, plus-plus raw power) who have all converted to the mound but have one or two other useful skills that could enable them to be deployed in the right situation.

James Jones, LHP, Texas Rangers from Eric Longenhagen on Vimeo.

Former big league OF Jordan Schafer would seem to have fit this archetype as well and he was used in various ways by different clubs (Atlanta played him in the outfield, the Dodgers tried to make him a base-stealing specialist for the 2016 stretch run and St. Louis tried him on the mound) but never in several different roles at once.

Rick Ankiel, who is attempting a big league comeback, is perfect for this kind of role, too. He could shuttle back and forth from the outfield to the mound a few times, while also pinch hitting when it makes sense to have a power-before-hit bat at the plate and pinch-running on occasion.

If someone like this already exists in the Rays system it’s RHP/OF Tanner Dodson, who the Rays wanted announced as a two-way player when he was drafted out of Cal in June. Dodson sits in the mid-90s on the mound and is also a plus runner who hit near the top of Cal’s lineup last year. He’s not polished in center and has a slap/slash approach at the plate, but there’s premium arm strength and speed here.

Pull-Side Infielder
There are certain hitters who don’t pull the ball enough to merit a shift but still pull the ball on the ground more often than hit it the other way and, perhaps, that means your rangiest infield defender should just play on the hitter’s pull side, even if that means swapping your 2B and SS, hitter-by-hitter. I think this idea is half-baked but I’d argue the Brewers are candidates for something like this right now as they’re playing Travis Shaw out of position at second base to shoehorn better hitters into their lineup. In my opinion, they should be swapping Jonathan Schoop and Shaw, hitter by hitter, something to maximize Schoop’s defensive touches and minimize Shaw’s. Perhaps my name for this type of thing is too narrow but the concept interests me. Tampa Bay has a slew of bat-first 2B-types who are either athletically viable all over the field in a dynamic defensive equation like this (Vidal Brujan, Nick Solak, Lucius Fox) or benefit from being hidden by it (Brandon Lowe, Taylor Walls, Jake Cronenworth)