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Scouting the Orioles’ Return for Manny Machado

The prospect package acquired from Los Angeles in exchange for Manny Machado is deep on warm bodies who are likely to wear a big-league uniform and produce some kind of value. One or two of those new Orioles has a realistic chance of producing two wins or better annually and making enough noise to drown out the howls of a fanbase that’s losing its most talented player since Cal Ripken.

The collection of talent sent to Baltimore is headlined by 21-year-old Cuban OF Yusniel Diaz and 22-year-old righty Dean Kremer, the latter of whom had recently been promoted to Double-A. Up-and-down utility infielder Breyvic Valera, 21-year-old reliever Zach Pop, and 21-year-old breakout performer INF Rylan Bannon were also acquired in the deal.

Diaz, whom Kiley and I saw this weekend at the Futures Game, is a career .288 hitter who leaves behind a .314/.428/.477 slash line at Double-A Tulsa. Diaz homered twice on Sunday, once to right-center, once to left-center, and had one of the better batting-practice sessions on the World team.

For all that, Diaz hasn’t exhibited much over-the-fence power as a professional, even during his 165-game stay in the Cal League between 2016 and -17. He’s an all-fields line-drive hitter who keeps his hands inside the ball and peppers the right-center-field gap. He’s much more likely to display doubles power in games, which could cap his ceiling a bit, as the offensive bar in left field, where Diaz projects due to speed and arm-strength limitations, is quite high.

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The Futures Game Was Black

Because they feature such a high concentration of pitching talent and because everyone’s stuff plays up in short stints, Futures Games are often fast-moving, low-scoring affairs. Since the game’s inception in 1999, for example, a team has scored three or fewer runs on 18 occasions. That was not the case on Sunday, however, as baseball’s top prospects combined for eight home runs. In the end, Team USA defeated Team World by a score of 10 to 6.

The end result of a prospect showcase like the Futures Game is essentially meaningless. Batting practice and infield/outfield drills, which occur before the cameras even turn on, are more informative. But, to me, the scouting-related feats of strength and athleticism seen throughout Sunday’s festivities (which I promise to address further down) were secondary to another development — namely, the number of and the performances by the game’s African-American players.

Only 7% of big leaguers are African-American, which is way down from about 27% during much of the 1970s. Articles about the declining number of black athletes in baseball have been written so frequently over the last half-decade that I assume readers are at least somewhat familiar with the issue, but if you’d like background, USA Today conducts the annual census. Like any shift of this magnitude, a confluence of variables is probably at the heart of what has caused this decline. Some of those are probably cultural, and this aspect of the decline is one about which people are quick to speculate , but, as a 29-year-old white guy, I’m not exactly qualified to discuss the African-American experience and how it does or does not intersect with baseball.

But I know the scouting process and, like many systems and processes in the United States, it has grown increasingly less suited for economically disadvantaged people — and people of color in this country are disproportionately poor. Showcases and travel ball are becoming a more significant aspect of scouting and player development in youth baseball. These cost money for the participants — to say nothing of flights to and from places like Florida and Arizona for several tournaments a year, mandated hotels in these locations, and the cost of breakable wood bats and other equipment. To take one example, each of the 328 teams participating in this week’s 2021 Class/Under 15 World Wood Bat Association Championship in Atlanta had a $2,500 entry fee, and it costs spectators $55 for a tournament pass and $5 to park. Baseball is a skill-based game and those skills are best refined against high levels of competition, but it’s expensive for an individual kid to play the kind of high-level baseball that helps develop those skills.

When I broach this subject with people in baseball, I’m met with some resistance from individuals who think the game is incentivized to mine as much talent as possible and that, poor or not, talent will be discovered. And while I agree with this premise, I think there are young athletes in this country who have the physical capability to play professional baseball but whom the scouting industry will never discover because that talent is never cultivated.

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Eric Longenhagen Chat: 7/12/18

2:02
Eric A Longenhagen: Mornin’ from Tempe. Only link to plug today is this: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/early-2019-21-draft-rankings/

2:03
Beni and the Betts: Where would Clint Frazier rank on prospect lists if he were still eligible?

2:04
Eric A Longenhagen: A timely question as, while sourcing on NYY players for team list updates, I’ve asked on Frazier, who scouts still think is a 50.

2:04
Eric A Longenhagen: So, he’d be a 50 FV on the lists.

2:04
Chuck: For guys in the DSL and AZL, even GCL, at what point can you tell someone is a legit prospect? Obviously not everyone can see them in person, so much of it is stat line scouting or reading elsewhere.

2:06
Eric A Longenhagen: I see players myself and talk to scouts and front office people who have seen them or have info on them. No statline stuff, no reading elsewhere, all about evaluating the physical tools.

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Early 2019-21 Draft Rankings

The 2018 MLB Draft’s signing deadline passed last week, and more teams failed to sign their early picks than is typical. Ultimately, four of the top 36 selections opted not to enter professional ball, all from the prep ranks. Those players are as follows: RHP Carter Stewart (Atlanta’s pick at No. 8), SS Matt McLain (Arizona at No. 25), RHP J.T. Ginn (Dodgers at No. 30), and Gunnar Hoglund (Pirates at No. 36). Scouting details on those individuals can be found on THE BOARD.

This has left those teams with one fewer prospect in their system than anticipated (all four teams get a compensation pick in next year’s draft), but more significantly, it moves a handful of premium talent into future draft classes. This year’s crop of unsigned high schoolers now serves as a preview of the college talent pool for the 2021 draft, but there are also a few 2020 prospects who are eligible early because they’re old for their class. There’s also a possibility that some could find their way into the 2019 draft class if they opt to attend junior college. We’ll reclassify players on THE BOARD as they change.

With that in mind, we thought it reasonable to present snapshots of each of the next three draft classes based on how we have the players graded right now. The industry’s evaluation of the 2019 class is already underway in earnest (Team USA, Cape Cod, and prep showcases are all occurring as we speak), and we’ve lined up a short list of the class’s top names thus far over on THE BOARD. Our 2020 list is mostly composed of the players we regarded as the best college freshmen this year, though we know of a few high schoolers who look like early first-round talents, too. The 2021 list is just a ranking of the high schoolers who didn’t sign in this year’s draft, exactly as they appeared on our 2018 draft board. We’re skeptical of prep players who have popped up this early because it’s often the result of physical maturity, but we don’t think that’s the case for Pennsylvania high school RHP Kevin Bitsko, whom we have evaluated similarly to the lean projection arms who are 40 FVs on the July 2 list.

Click here to see the 2019-21 draft prospects at THE BOARD.

We’re still too early in the process to make conclusive statements about the talent level of the 2019 draft class as a whole, much less the 2020 or 2021 varieties, so all this could change. As it stands now, however, the 2019 class collectively appears to lack the depth of the 2018 crop. By this time last year, we had a rough idea of how deep the high-school pitching was and knew that the Southeast had an overwhelming volume of talent. College hitting is the strength of next year’s draft class, and there’s lots of depth to the college crop in general, but the prep class lacks the quantity of players who are regarded as in-a-vacuum first rounders that one customarily sees at this point. Moreover, the college pitching class lacks a guy who looks like a top-five or -10 selection right now, though Casey Mize didn’t fit that criteria last summer and then ended up going first overall to Detroit in June.

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Daily Prospect Notes: 7/10

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

Maverik Buffo, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays (Profile)
Level: Hi-A   Age: 22   Org Rank: NR   FV: 30
Line: 8 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 0 R, 5 K

Notes
Buffo, who has a tailing upper-80s fastball and average slider, is probably an upper-level depth arm. He throws strikes and has great makeup, so he’s nice to have in an organization. Sometimes those guys shove and make the Daily Notes, and sometimes they’re also named Maverik Buffo.

Carlos Hernandez, RHP, Kansas City Royals (Profile)
Level: Low-A   Age: 21   Org Rank: 24   FV: 40
Line: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 1 R, 12 K

Notes
Hernandez has a golden arm that produces plus-plus velocity and riding life, but he also has several traits that will likely push him to the bullpen. His secondaries are inconsistent, as is his fastball command, and Hernandez is a relatively stiff short-strider. It’s possible that some of these things improve, just probably not enough for Hernandez to be an efficient starter. Not much has to improve for him to be a bullpen piece, though — and potentially a very good one.

Victor Santos, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies (Profile)
Level: Complex (GCL)   Age: 17   Org Rank: NR   FV: 35+
Line: 6 IP, 5 H, 0 BB, 0 R, 9 K

Notes
Santos is a strong-bodied teenage righty with a bit of a longer arm action and presently average stuff for which he has advanced feel. He sits 90-93 with arm-side run and he locates it to his glove side, often running it back onto that corner of the plate. Santos doesn’t have much room on his frame, but at just 17, he’s still likely to get stronger as he matures, and there may be more stuff in here anyway.

Tristen Lutz, OF, Milwaukee Brewers (Profile)
Level: Low-A   Age: 19   Org Rank: 3   FV: 50
Line: 2-for-3, 2B, HR, 3 BB

Notes
Lutz had a putrid April that he followed with two months of pedestrian .250/.320/.420 ball, but he’s been hot of late and has been a .280/.350/.500 hitter since mid-May. Lutz is striking out more than is ideal and has a maxed-out frame, but he already possesses all the power he needs to play every day as long as a viable on-base/contact combination develops.

Notes from the Field
AZL games were rained out last night, so nothing today.


Daily Prospect Notes: 7/9

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

Victor Robles, CF, Washington Nationals (Profile)
Level: Rehab   Age: 21   Org Rank: 1   FV: 65
Line: 0-for-1, BB

Notes
Robles has begun to make rehab appearances on his way back from a hyperextended left elbow that he suffered in early April. He’s gotten two plate appearances in the GCL each of the last two days. The Nationals’ big-league outfield situation should enable Robles to have a slow, careful rehab process that takes a few weeks. He is one of baseball’s best prospects.

Adam Haseley, CF, Philadelphia Phillies (Profile)
Level: Hi-A Age: 22   Org Rank: 7   FV: 45
Line: 2-for-5, HR

Notes
The homer was Haseley’s fifth of the year and his slash line now stands at .301/.344/.417. He’s undergone several swing tweaks this year, starting with a vanilla, up-and-down leg kick last year; a closed, Giancarlo Stanton-like stance early this season; and now an open stance with more pronounced leg kick that loads more toward his rear hip. All that would seem to be part of an effort to get Haseley hitting for more power, his skillset’s most glaring weakness. But Haseley’s swing plane is so flat that such a change may not, alone, be meaningful as far as home-run production is concerned, though perhaps there will be more extra-base hits.

The way Haseley’s peripherals have trended since college gives us a glimpse of how a relative lack of power alters those variables in pro ball. His strikeout and walk rates at UVA were 11% and 12% respectively, an incredible 7% and 16% as a junior. In pro ball, they’ve inverted, and have been 15% and 5% in about 600 pro PAs.

Akil Baddoo, OF, Minnesota Twins (Profile)
Level: Low-A Age: 19   Org Rank: 12   FV: 45
Line: 3-for-5, 2B, SB

Notes
Baddoo is scorching, on an 11-game hit streak during which he has amassed 20 hits, nine for extra-bases. He crushes fastballs and can identify balls and strikes, but Baddoo’s strikeout rate has doubled this year as he’s seen more decent breaking balls, with which he has struggled. Considering how raw Baddoo was coming out of high school, however, his performance, especially as far as the plate discipline is concerned, has been encouraging. He’s a potential everyday player with power and speed.

Jesus Tinoco, RHP, Colorado Rockies (Profile)
Level: Double-A Age: 23   Org Rank: NR   FV: 40
Line: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 1 R, 7 K

Notes
Tinoco didn’t make the Rockies’ offseason list, as I thought he had an outside shot to be a reliever but little more. His strikeout rate is way up. He still projects in the bullpen, sitting 93-95 with extreme fastball plane that also adds artificial depth to an otherwise fringe curveball. He’ll probably throw harder than that in the Futures Game.

Travis MacGregor, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Profile)
Level: Low-A Age: 20   Org Rank: 21   FV: 40
Line: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 2 R, 6 K

Notes
MacGregor is a projection arm who is performing thanks to his ability to throw his fastball for strikes, though not always where he wants. His delivery has a bit of a crossfire action but is otherwise on the default setting and well composed, with only the release point varying. It’s pretty good, considering many pitchers with MacGregor’s size are still reigning in control of their extremities. MacGregor’s secondaries don’t always have great movement but should be at least average at peak. He projects toward the back of a rotation.

Austin Cox, LHP, Kansas City Royals (Profile)
Level: Short Season Age: 21   Org Rank: HM   FV: 35
Line: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 1 R, 10 K

Notes
Cox, Kansas City’s fourth-rounder out of Mercer, has a 23:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 11.2 pro innings. He put up goofy strikeout numbers at Mercer, too, but struggles with fastball command. He’s a high-slot lefty who creates tough angle on a low-90s fastball, and his curveball has powerful, vertical shape. It’s likely Cox will be limited to relief work due to fastball command, but he could be very good there, especially if the fastball ticks up in shorter outings.

Notes from the Field
Just some pitcher notes from the weekend here. I saw Rangers RHP Kyle Cody rehabbing in Scottsdale. He was 94-96 for two innings and flashed a plus curveball. Joe Palumbo rehabbed again in the AZL and looked the same as he did last week.

Cleveland has another arm of note in the AZL, 6-foot-1, 18-year-old Dominican righty Ignacio Feliz. He’s one of the best on-mound athletes I’ve seen in the AZL and his arm works well. He sits only 88-92 but that should tick up as he matures physically. His fastball has natural cut, and at times, he throws what looks like a true cutter in the 84-87 range. He also has a 12-to-6 curveball that flashes plus.

Feliz could develop in a number of different ways. Cleveland could make a concerted effort to alter his release so Feliz is more behind the ball, which would probably play better with his curveballs. Alternatively, they might nurture his natural proclivity for cut and see what happens. Either way, this is an exciting athlete with workable stuff who doesn’t turn 19 until the end of October.

Between 15 and 18 scouts were on hand for Saturday night’s Dodgers and Diamondbacks AZL game. That’s much more than is typical for an AZL game, even at this time of year, and is hard to explain away by saying these scouts were on usual coverage. D-backs OF Kristian Robinson (whom we have ranked No. 2 in the system) was a late, precautionary scratch after being hit with a ball the day before, so he probably wasn’t their collective target. Instead, I suspect it was Dodgers 19-year-old Mexican righty Gerardo Carrillo, who was 91-96 with a plus curveball. I saw Carrillo pitch in relief of Yadier Alvarez on the AZL’s opening night, during which he was 94-97. He’s small, and my knee-jerk reaction was to bucket him as a reliever, but there’s enough athleticism to try things out in a rotation and see if it sticks.


Daily Prospect Notes: 7/5

Monday through Wednesday notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen. Read previous installments here.

7/2

Brewer Hicklen, OF, Kansas City Royals (Profile)
Level: Low-A   Age: 22   Org Rank: HM   FV: 35+
Line: 4-for-6, 2B, HR

Notes
Hicklen has some statistical red flags if you’re unaware of the context with which you should be viewing his performance. He’s a 22-year-old college hitter with a 30% strikeout rate at Low-A. But Hicklen hasn’t been committed to playing baseball for very long, as he sought, late in high school and throughout college, to have a football career. He went to UAB as a baseball walk-on and eventually earned a football scholarship as the school’s defunct program was to be reborn. But Hicklen’s physical tools stood out as he continued to play baseball (plus speed and raw power), so he was drafted and compelled to sign. He hasn’t been focusing on baseball, alone, for very long and has a .300/.350/.525 line in his first full pro season. He’s a toolsy long shot, but so far so good.

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Eric Longenhagen Chat: 7/5/18

2:03
Eric A Longenhagen: Hi from Tempe. Links…

2:03
Eric A Longenhagen: Wrote up the new Reds prospects from the Floro deal…https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/instagraphs/scouting-the-reds-return-f…

2:04
Eric A Longenhagen: Today’s Daily Prospect Notes: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/daily-prospect-notes-7-5/

2:04
Eric A Longenhagen: Look for Futures Game roster reaction tomorrow, as well as something on ESPN Insider on July 2 guys

2:04
Eric A Longenhagen: Probably gonna stick to a tight 60 min today, so let’s boogie

2:06
Robert: With the new J2 class, anyone that jumps off the charts outside of the top 5 or so? I’ve read good things on Alcantara and Pie

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Daily Prospect Notes: 7/2

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

Today is July 2, the first day of the new international signing period. Both our rankings and scouting reports on the top players signing today are available by means of this ominous portal.

Brailyn Marquez, LHP, Chicago Cubs (Profile)
Level: Short Season   Age: 19   Org Rank: 14  FV: 40
Line: 6 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 R, 8 K

Notes
Marquez has a 20:4 strikeout-to-walk ratio at Eugene. I saw him up to 96 last year, but he was 88-93 in extended spring training, and his body had matured and gotten somewhat soft pretty quickly. It didn’t affect his advanced fastball command, though, or his arm-side command of his breaking ball, which comprise a large chunk of Marquez’s current plan on the mound. He projects as a No. 4/5 starter with several average pitches and above-average control.

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Daily Prospect Notes: 6/27

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

Jabari Blash, OF, Los Angeles Angels (Profile)
Level: Triple-A   Age: 28   Org Rank: NR  FV: 35
Line: 3-for-3, 3 HR, BB

Notes
Blash is no longer rookie-eligible, so while he’s a fun player to watch hit bombs and had a hell of a game last night, he’s on here today as a conduit to discuss what’s going on with some of the Angels hitters in the lowest levels of the minors. This is Trent Deveaux last fall, when he first arrived in the states. His swing was largely the same early this spring, albeit with a stronger, more involved top hand, which helped him drive the ball with more authority. This is what he looks like right now, which bears quite a bit of resemblance to Blash. No offense to Blash, who has had a long pro career and will probably play for another half-decade or so, but I’m not sure I’d proactively alter an ultra-talented 18-year-old’s swing to mimic that of a notoriously frustrating replacement-level player. Deveaux isn’t the only low-level Angels hitting prospect whose swing now looks like this.

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Eric Longenhagen Chat: 6/28

2:07
Eric A Longenhagen: What’s up everyone? Howdy from Arizona, where it is officially ‘Hot AF’ and the AZL is now underway.

2:07
Eric A Longenhagen: Some housekeeping:

2:07
Eric A Longenhagen: We’ll have a July 2 board up tomorrow

2:07
Eric A Longenhagen: Daily Prospect Notes are back and can be found here: We’ll have a July 2 board up tomorrow

2:08
Eric A Longenhagen: Submitted today’s to Carson just moments ago, will link if he gets it up during chat

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Daily Prospect Notes: 6/26

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

Taylor Hearn, LHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Profile)
Level: Double-A   Age: 23   Org Rank:FV: 45
Line: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 7 K, 0 R

Notes
Hearn’s peripherals (27.5% K, 9.3% BB) are exactly the same as they were last year when he was in High-A. He’s a little old for Double-A, but that matters less for pitchers and Hearn’s early-career injuries set back his development pretty significantly. He’ll flash a 55 slider and average changeup, and he throws enough strikes to start, though he’s not overly efficient. He was up to 97 last night and projects as a fourth starter or late-inning reliever. Here are his swinging strikes from yesterday…

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Daily Prospect Notes: 6/24 and 6/25

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

Joe Palumbo, LHP, Texas Rangers (Profile)
Level: Rehabbing   Age: 23   Org Rank: 18  FV: 40
Line: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 3 K, 0 R

Notes
Sunday was Palumbo’s first start back from Tommy John surgery. He was into the mid-90s with a plus curveball before the injury, which caused him to miss all of 2017. Yerry Rodriguez (more detail here) had a second strong outing in relief of Palumbo, striking out seven in six innings of four-hit, one-run ball. Video of Rodriguez appears below.

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Daily Prospect Notes: 6/20

Notes on prospects from lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen running slightly later than usual due to travel for the FanGraphs meetup in Denver this weekend. Read previous installments here.

Clay Holmes, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Profile)
Level: Triple-A   Age: 25   Org Rank: 27  FV: 40
Line: 7.1 IP, 5 H, 0 BB, 8 K, 1 R

Notes
Holmes has had mediocre command throughout his career and has generally projected to a bullpen role where he’d theoretically be a mid-90s sinker/slider guy. In the past month, he has thrown 66% of his pitches for strikes and has been locating his slider to the back foot of left-handed hitters effectively. He looks more like a backend starter than a reliever right now, but it’s a four-start run juxtaposed against more than a half decade of fringe control.

Alexander Montero, RHP, Boston Red Sox (Profile)
Level: Short-Season   Age: 20   Org Rank: NR  FV: 35+
Line: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 7 K, 1 R

Notes
Montero’s presence and early success is a welcome sight for one of the worst systems in baseball. He’s a relatively projectable 20-year-old with a three-pitch mix led by a fastball that’s up to 95 mph and a diving split changeup. Montero signed late for an amateur IFA last summer, inking a deal just weeks before he turned 20. He pitched in the DSL last year and was skipped directly to the New York-Penn League this summer after finishing extended.

Brandon Wagner, 1B, New York Yankees (Profile)
Level: A+  Age: 22   Org Rank: NR  FV: 35
Line: 3-for-5, 2B, HR

Notes
Wagner has had an odd developmental path. He was a chubby high school first baseman from New Jersey who spent two years at a Texas JUCO and became a 6th rounder as he improved his conditioning. He has displayed a career-long ability to discern balls from strikes and is a .365 OBP hitter over four pro seasons. During that time, Wagner has moved his batted-ball profile like a glacier from 50% ground balls down to 40% and has now begun to hit for significant in-game power. Six-foot first basemen with average, pull-only power are still long shots, but if Wagner keeps performing if/when he’s promoted to Double-A, he’ll at least force re-evaluation the way Mike Ford did.

Jackson Kowar, RHP, University of Florida (draft rights controlled by Kansas City)
Level: CWS Age: 21   Org Rank: NR  FV: 45
Line: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 13 K, 0 R

Notes
Kowar was dominant in his College World Series start against Texas yesterday, reaching back for 95-97 toward the end of his start and was flashing a 70 changeup. He also threw 121 pitches.

Jacob Amaya, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers (Profile)
Level: Short-Season  Age: 19   Org Rank: HM  FV: 35
Line: 1-for-1, 4 BB

Notes
Amaya’s tools have a utility vibe because his frame limits his power projection to something around average or just below it, but he’s an average athlete with defensive hands befitting a middle infielder and advanced bat-to-ball skills. If he grows into a 6 bat, which is unlikely but possible, it won’t matter that he doesn’t hit for a lot of game power.

Notes from the Field

I’m just going to drop a bunch of D-backs notes from yesterday’s AZL action. Alek Thomas went 0-for-3 but ground out tough at-bats and spoiled several good pitches while he did it. He also made two impressive defensive plays, one which might have robbed a homer and another in the left-center gap that robbed extra bases. Jake McCarthy looks fine physically (of note since he was hurt for most of his junior year at UVA) and took a tough left-on-left breaking ball the other way for a single in his first pro at-bat. Twenty-year-old righty Luis Frias was up to 96 mph, rehabbing Brian Ellington was up to 97. Finally, lefty reclamation project Henry Owens (Allen Webster, Owens, and Clay Buchholz have all been D-backs for some amount of time during the last year, which isn’t surprising if you know the roots of this current front office) K’d 5 in 2.1 innings with some help from the umpire. He was 87-90 with an above-average changeup, an average breaking ball, and arm slot closer to what he had as a prospect with Boston after he was side-arming last fall.


Daily Prospect Notes: 6/19

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

Forrest Whitley, RHP, Houston Astros (Profile)
Level: Double-A   Age: 20   Org Rank:FV: 60
Line: 4 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 7 K, 0 R

Notes
This is the best pitching prospect in baseball, wielding ungodly stuff that spiked when he dropped about 60 pounds throughout his senior year of high school. He’s also on Driveline’s weighted-ball program. He’ll show your four plus or better pitches over the course of an outing. Whitley has yet to allow a run since returning from suspension. The suspension might be a blessing in disguise for Houston, who could now conceivably weave him into their playoff plans without fear of overworking Whitley’s innings count.

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Daily Prospect Notes: 6/18

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

We’re entering a time on the scouting calendar when a great shift in resources occurs. Short-season leagues get underway this week (if they haven’t already), which means some amateur scouts will pick up regional pro coverage now that the draft is done, while others stay on the amateur showcase circuit to prep for 2019. It also means teams that know if they’re buying or selling at the trade deadline can target scouting resources more efficiently by identifying likely trade partners and focusing on those systems. For example, the Padres have probably considered what teams are in need of lefty relief help at the deadline and have made it an organizational priority to know about those teams’ systems more than the systems of other rebuilding clubs. Daily Prospect Notes returns as a space to explain and discuss concepts like this, individual performers, my in-person notes, and whatever else I see fit to talk about.

Yordan Alvarez, 1B/OF, Houston Astros (Profile)
Level: Double-A   Age: 20   Org Rank:FV: 55
Line: 2-for-5, HR

Notes
Sunday was Alvarez’s first game back from a hand injury that cost him about a month and a half. Injuries have limited him to 134 games combined in parts of three pro seasons. Between those extended periods of inactivity, however, Alvarez has dominated. This is a giant 20-year-old who is remarkably athletic and twitchy for his size and crushing Double-A in a modest sample. This was the relatively unknown guy that the Dodgers signed for $2 million just before the clock struck midnight on the 2015 July 2 period. He hadn’t suited up for the Dodgers before they sent him to Houston for Josh Fields, and now he’s the best prospect from that 2015 Dodgers July 2 class by a sizable margin. He’s a potential middle-of-the-order force and quickly closing in on an increasingly expendable A.J. Reed.

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Eric Longenhagen Prospects Chat: 6/14

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

2:02
Eric A Longenhagen: Here’s our recently updated top overall prospects list: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-updated-top-131-prospect-rankings/

2:03
Eric A Longenhagen: Not much else to link to as everything had been building up to the draft and that update, so now we have more irons in the fire than we do stuff to plug.

2:04
Eric A Longenhagen: I’m gonna chat longer than usual this week because I bailed on last week’s chat, so without further adieu..

2:04
Joe: Thoughts on the Brewers draft haul?

2:07
Eric A Longenhagen: I liked it. I’m not the biggest Joe Gray fan because I saw him swing and miss against good pitching a lot throughout his amateur career, but he’s been a known guy for a long time and you could argue we nitpitcked him to death. At worst he has a traditional power/projection right field profile, which is a fine thing to draft in the second round, and Gray has a better chance to stay in CF than most prospects like that because his feel out there is good and might enable him to stay there even if he slows down.

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Eric Longenhagen Prospects Chat: May, Fin


Eric Longenhagen FanGraphs Chat: 5/24

2:01
Eric A Longenhagen: Morning from Tempe. Let’s get right to it…

2:01
Mertz: Is Corbin Burnes’ recent mediocre performance more of a function of his home park/league, or is he really having problems?  Do you see him making any MLB starts this year?

2:03
Eric A Longenhagen: Very likely the ballpark. Not sure he debuts this year because so many other viable guys are already on the 40-man and Burnes is not. Houser, Woodruff, etc.

2:03
Larry: Still feel like Gorman is the most likely pick for Atlanta?

2:03
Eric A Longenhagen: Yep

2:03
Dan: Thoughts on Cubs pitching prospects so far this year? From Underwood to Albertos, a lot seems to happening, good and bad.

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Top 43 Prospects: San Diego Padres

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the San Diego Padres. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as from our own (both Eric Longenhagen’s and Kiley McDaniel’s) observations. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this.

All the numbered prospects here also appear on THE BOARD, a new feature at the site that offers sortable scouting information for every organization. Click here to visit THE BOARD.

Padres Top Prospects
Rk Name Age High Level Position ETA FV
1 Fernando Tatis Jr. 19 AA 3B 2019 65
2 Luis Urias 20 AAA 2B 2018 55
3 MacKenzie Gore 18 A LHP 2020 55
4 Michel Baez 22 A+ RHP 2020 55
5 Anderson Espinoza 19 A RHP 2019 50
6 Adrian Morejon 19 A+ LHP 2020 50
7 Joey Lucchesi 24 MLB LHP 2018 50
8 Logan Allen 20 AA LHP 2020 50
9 Cal Quantrill 23 AA RHP 2018 50
10 Gabriel Arias 18 A SS 2021 45
11 Tirso Ornelas 18 A LF 2021 45
12 Hudson Potts 19 A+ 3B 2020 45
13 Chris Paddack 20 A+ RHP 2020 45
14 Josh Naylor 20 AA 1B 2020 45
15 Pedro Avila 21 A+ RHP 2021 45
16 Jacob Nix 22 AA RHP 2019 45
17 Franchy Cordero 23 MLB CF 2018 45
18 Esteury Ruiz 19 A 2B 2022 45
19 Edward Olivares 22 A+ OF 2021 45
20 Jeisson Rosario 18 A CF 2022 40
21 Walker Lockett 23 AAA RHP 2018 40
22 Mason Thompson 18 A RHP 2022 40
23 Blake Hunt 19 R C 2022 40
24 Jordy Barley 18 R SS 2023 40
25 Luis Campusano 19 A C 2023 40
26 Eric Lauer 22 MLB LHP 2019 40
27 Franmil Reyes 22 MLB OF 2019 40
28 Brad Zunica 22 A+ 1B 2022 40
29 Robert Stock 28 AAA RHP 2018 40
30 Luis Patino 18 A RHP 2023 40
31 Ronald Bolanos 21 A+ RHP 2021 40
32 Buddy Reed 22 A+ CF 2019 40
33 Andres Munoz 19 A RHP 2020 40
34 Jorge Ona 21 A+ OF 2019 40
35 Mason House 19 R OF 2023 40
36 Luis Almanzar 18 R SS 2021 40
37 Reggie Lawson 19 A+ RHP 2021 40
38 Diomar Lopez 21 A+ RHP 2022 40
39 Trey Wingenter 24 AAA RHP 2018 40
40 David Bednar 23 A+ RHP 2019 40
41 Brad Wieck 26 AAA LHP 2018 40
42 Eguy Rosario 18 A+ 2B 2022 40
43 Michell Miliano 18 R RHP 2023 40

65 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic
Age 18 Height 6’3 Weight 185 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/55 60/70 40/60 55/45 50/55 60/60

Scouts in the U.S. became enamored of Tatis during 2016 extended spring training in Arizona, and San Diego poached him from the White Sox before he had even suited up for a professional game. He was sent to full-season Fort Wayne as an 18-year-old in 2017 and hit .280/.390/.520 with 20 homers and steals and, perhaps most impressively for his age, a 14.5% walk rate. He also flashes occasional acrobatic brilliance at shortstop, though scouts are not unanimous about his long-term prospects there because of the size of Tatis’s frame. He’s five years younger than the average regular at Double-A right now.

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