Archive for Prospects

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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Kiley McDaniel Chat – 10/16/18

2:12

Kiley McDaniel: Sorry for the delay and the weird day but I’ll be traveling tomorrow so here we are. Still working on some projects behind the scenes that you guys will see soon. Have some preliminary FA projections (105 of them!) if you guys are into that, starting work on prospect lists, doing some work on THE BOARD and new features with Sean Dolinar, podcast is coming weekly and working on some research for the THT annual and some stuff with Craig Edwards that will be coming in the next week or two that I think you’ll really like. Warning: we will quantify everything, even the stuff you don’t want us to.

2:12

Tommy N.: How much do you think Eovaldi gets this offseason? 3 years $40M?

2:12

Kiley McDaniel: My guess was 3/45 at first blush, so yeah something like that

2:13

Nate: How do scouts balance the “eye test” and analytics when evaluating talent?

2:15

Kiley McDaniel: Well that’s about a 5,000 word article if we’re breaking down both how the execs and scouts do it. In short, scouts are instructed by most teams to avoid analytics and allows the professionals in the office to apply them, since some scouts will see tiny sample size hitter split data and apply that info incorrectly and skew the report, for instance. In reality, most teams show scouts exit velos and spin rates so they aren’t in the dark, but they generally don’t know how to use it, so they’re given very basic instructions like “round up if the curveball spin rate is x and you graded it y but it’s a borderline grade,” and stuff like that. On the amateur side it’s almost not used at all by scouts other than the basic stuff you can see like this college hitter is striking out 30% of the time, we all know that’s bad.

2:15

GPT: Updated thoughts on Giants front office search?

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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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FanGraphs Audio Presents: The Untitled McDongenhagen Project, Ep. 4

UMP: The Untitled McDongenhagen Project, Episode 4
This is the fourth episode of a weekly program co-hosted by Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel about player evaluation in all its forms. The show, which is available through the normal FanGraphs Audio feed, has a working name but barely. The show is not all prospect stuff, but there is plenty of that, as the hosts are Prospect Men. Below are some timestamps to make listening and navigation easier.

0:25 – What the guys have been up to

1:34 – TOPIC ONE: Playoff Thoughts with Jack Handey

2:14 – Plans ahead for eliminated teams

2:20 – Colorado Rockies: which prospects are ready, players headed to free agency or one year away, what sort of moves do they make given their competitive situation, featuring Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, Brendan Rodgers, German Marquez, Garrett Hampson

8:34 – Atlanta Braves: the various ways to approach this offseason, featuring Nick Markakis, Kurt Suzuki, Johan Camargo, J.T. Realmuto, A.J. Pollock, Bryce Harper

14:05 – Who is the NL East favorite in 2019?

16:43 – Cleveland Indians: solving the big holes in the outfield, building on the rock solid rotation, possibly trading from the strength of elite international program

20:50 – Breaking down how Cleveland fell short in the series vs. Houston, including Kiley’s thoughts about an article from The Athletic

24:24 – We make ill-advised World Series picks

25:34 – TOPIC TWO: The Mesa brothers + Sandy Gaston workout

28:30 – Kiley’s adventure in Miami and why this even was different than other open Cuban workouts

30:42 – Eric gives his take and we get into the FBI investigation

36:48 – Does an international draft solve some of these problems? Will the FBI investigation impact the next CBA? What’s the track record of MLB and the player association fixing these sorts of issues?

43:56 – TOPIC THREE: The Kyler Murray intrigue is increasing!

44:18 – Eric usurps Mel Kiper’s draft coverage hair throne

44:50 – Eric is steamed at the football draft illuminati

50:26 – Cal quarterback/center fielder Brandon McIlwain is back on the radar in both sports

51:20 – Kiley has some beef about Kyler Murray as well

53:22 – The guys audition to be football scouts, finding some similarities with baseball

1:00:45 – Eric has to leave to go have his mind blown by Forrest Whitley

Don’t hesitate to direct pod-related correspondence to @kileymcd or @longenhagen on Twitter or at prospects@fangraphs.com.

You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or other feeder things.

Audio after the jump. (Approximately 1 hr 1 min play time.)

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Scouting the Mesa/Gaston Workout

Marlins Park hosted three Cuban prospects — CF Victor Victor Mesa (our No. 1 international free agent on THE BOARD), RHP Sandy Gaston (No. 20), and OF Victor Mesa, Jr. (not ranked) — for a workout on Friday. The media was not allowed at this scouts-only event, but we’ve collected thoughts from some evaluators who attended the showcase, which featured a standard array of activities for a baseball workout, including a 60-yard dash, outfield drills, and some reps against live, Marlins instructional league pitching. We’ve compiled some thoughts from people who attended the workout below, as well as some of our own thoughts on what kind of bonuses talents like this typically command on the pool-capped, international-free-agent market.

Cuban prospects have sometimes undergone drastic physical transformations between the point at which they’ve last been observed in Cuba and their workouts for teams. Sometimes these changes are positive (as with Luis Robert, who looked like an Ancient Greek sculpture when he worked out for teams in the Dominican Republic in 2017) and sometimes they are not (Yasiel Puig’s living conditions made it impossible for him to remain in baseball shape for his eventual workout in Mexico), but this was not the case on Friday. Victor Victor Mesa, 22, looks to have retained the sort of physicality he possessed the last several years in Cuba. He ran his 60-yard dash in about 6.5 seconds (give or take a few hundredths of a second, depending on the stopwatch), which is in the 65-70 range on the 20-80 scale, and he’s a 60 runner in games as he was in the past, while his arm remains above average.

Mesa hit some balls out to his pull side during batting practice, showing 50-grade raw power, but he has a linear, contact-oriented swing that we think will lead to below-average power output in games. There’s no question he can hit, defend, and add value on the bases, but there’s real doubt about the game application of his power. In aggregate, it looks like an average to slightly below-average offensive profile on an above-average defender at a premium position. Scouts think Mesa is a low-risk, moderate impact prospect who should be ready for the big leagues relatively soon. He garners frequent comparisons to Cubs CF Albert Almora. There’s a chance Mesa has a three-win season or two at peak, but expectations are more of a solid 1.5- to 2.0-win type player. He’s a 45+ FV on our July 2nd version of THE BOARD, which would be somewhere in the 130 to 175 range overall in the minors.

Mesa’s talent would typically be valued between $5 million and $10 million (depending on market conditions when he became a free agent) in the prior, non-pooled international environment, and that would come with a matching tax for exceeding pool limitations, so call it about $15 million in a total outlay. That kind of money isn’t available on the July 2 market anymore. The lack of comparable talents still available at this point, however, could help Mesa earn a larger bonus than Shohei Ohtani ($2.3 mil) did last year, even though Mesa isn’t nearly as talented, because everyone with money left wants to land him. We consider the Marlins the favorites to do so.

Cuban righty Sandy Gaston, just 16, ranked 20th on our July 2nd board as the lowest 40 FV, and he was the clear second-most interesting prospect at the event. Kiley saw him in February when he topped out at 97 mph and flashed an average curve and change, but Gaston also sent four balls to the backstop in a one-inning showcase against other 16-year-olds. Last Friday, Gaston worked 94-97 with similar secondary stuff, but with better feel, particularly in his first inning. There’s still a reliever look to him due to his delivery and mature physicality, but at age 16, so much will change that you can’t project that with certainty at this point, and Gaston has one of the most talented pure arms in the world at his age.

There generally is not a market for $2-plus million bonuses for 16-year-old pitchers, as teams tend to spend more on hitters. The track record of flame-throwing teenagers is not good. We consider Gaston to be a seven-figure talent but think many teams probably have him valued a bit lower than that because of the risk associated with his demographic. New Phillies RHP Starlyn Castillo is pretty similar to Gaston (we ranked Castillo 18th in the most recent July 2nd class) and he got $1.5 million, which is close to where we think Gaston’s bonus will be if teams engage in a bidding war for him after Mesa signs. Gaston was rumored to have a deal for that much or more with the Marlins around July 2nd, but it never materialized.

Victor Mesa, Jr. ran his 60-yard dash in the 6.9 second, which is average. He also showed a 55 arm and a linear swing geared more for contact. He’s 17, so there’s still room to project improvement based on maturing physicality, but he’s currently a tweener with hit and throw being his only above-average tools — and some scouts lower than that on the hit tool. On talent, we think he fits in the low, six-figure range.

Reading the Market

So what teams are best positioned to sign these guys? A glance at the market reveals that the Orioles have the biggest hard-capped pool amount remaining at about $6.7 million. That’s the most anyone can offer a single player, making any price that a team pays for Victor Victor a bargain compared to what he’d get in an open market. The Orioles ($6.7 mil) and Marlins — who just traded fringe pitching prospect Ryan Lillie to Cincinnati and reliever Kyle Barraclough to Washington in exchange for pool money — can offer the most at this point.

For reference, Jon Jay is a past-his-prime version of Mesa, and he garnered $4.4 million in 2018 ($3 mil plus what he earned in attained incentives) for his age-33 season. Victor Victor will likely get close to that amount, but represents six years of similar production instead of one and, at age 22, also possesses the possibility of turning into a better player than we’re projecting, He’d also be very marketable in Miami.

The Marlins, as noted, have made some moves to increase their pool size, and buzz among scouts and executives is that they’re looking to add all three players (the Mesa’s are likely to sign with the same team), which would cost at least $5 million, possibly over $6 million. The Orioles are obviously already in position to offer something like that, but that organization is currently in a state of flux due to the recent departures of the manager and GM, and you’d understand if the three Cubans would prefer a comparable offer from the Marlins. Thus, it seems reasonable that they’ll wait and see how much the Marlins can add to their pool.

As for what will be left over for the clubs that don’t land these Cubans, there’s some chatter among scouts that some clubs have deals with Mexican prospects who aren’t eligible to sign at the moment, as MLB has shut down the country to clubs for an unspecified period. If it doesn’t open before next July 2nd, then those clubs would have to find somewhere else to spend their pool money. We think they’d try to spread it around across several six-figure talents and that prospects in Asia may be targets.

There’s more intrigue surrounding this process due to the recent Sports Illustrated report regarding the U.S. Department of Justice investigation of MLB affairs in foreign countries. All three of these Cuban players are represented by Scott Shapiro and Barry Praver of Magnus Sports Agency. Praver and Shapiro once employed Bart Hernandez who in 2017 was convicted of illegally smuggling Cuban ballplayers to the U.S. via other countries.


Kiley McDaniel Chat – 10/10/18

12:15

Kiley McDaniel: Hello from Florida! Think I just saw my last instructional league game yesterday, have a podcast and big Victor Mesa article both going up later today, we’ve already started work on offseason lists and new features for THE BOARD

12:15

RS: How do you scout for useful spin rate? Trackman just provides raw spin rate, but not all 3000 RPMs are equal.

12:16

Kiley McDaniel: Well you wouldn’t be scouting at that point, that’s data analysis. But if a curveball has a huge raw spin rate and also really big movement, then you can assume there’s a good ratio of useful spin. You either need a fancy camera or Rapsodo to know useful spin and neither is really practical in game situations.

12:16

Rbrewers : No love for  Brandon Howlett on the board? He’s looked great as a pro for the Red Sox so far.

12:17

Kiley McDaniel: Big swing and miss issues this spring, but he may end up on there when we do the Red Sox list

12:17

Ryan: Hey Kiley, what do you think of Dbacks shortstop prospects Geraldo Perdomo and Blaze Alexander? Thank you!

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Kiley McDaniel Chat – 10/1/18

11:23

Kiley McDaniel: Apologies for the delay, ran late on a scout call

11:24

Kiley McDaniel: We’re chatting at this odd time since I’m traveling this week and we have day baseball today in 90 minutes

11:25

Kiley McDaniel: I’ve been around instructs this week — ATL, DET, TOR, NYY, TB, BOS — and put out the most recent podcast last week: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/fangraphs-audio-presents-the-untitled-…

11:25

Kiley McDaniel: we also have a new prospect land page where you can find all of our content: https://www.fangraphs.com/prospects/

11:26

waks: does nick senzel’s bout of vertigo do anything to his projections? i forget how nick esasky dealt with it, but can it be a recurring thing?

11:26

Kiley McDaniel: don’t have a ton of experience with this in baseball, so we’re just assuming he returns back to where he was until there’s evidence to the contrary

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FanGraphs Audio Presents: The Untitled McDongenhagen Project, Ep. 3

UMP: The Untitled McDongenhagen Project, Episode 3
This is the third episode of a weekly program co-hosted by Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel about player evaluation in all its forms. The new show, which is available through the normal FanGraphs Audio feed, has a working name now, but barely. The show is all prospect stuff, but there is plenty of that, as the hosts are Prospect Men. Below are some timestamps to make listening and navigation easier.

0:43 – BONUS TOPIC #1: Eric runs down some instructional league notes starting with the Brewers: RHP Nash Walters, LHP Aaron Ashby, RHP Caden Lemons, RF Larry Ernesto and CF Carlos Rodriguez

2:20 – Eric continues with Rangers notes: RHP Cole Winn, RHP Owen White, RHP Michael Matuella, RHP Emmanuel Clase and briefly on RHP A.J. Alexy, RHP Reed Anderson, RHP Hans Crouse, CF Julio Pablo Martinez, CF Leody Taveras, CF Pedro Gonzalez

4:21 – Royals RHP Brady Singer, guys that seemed to increase their FVs in instructs thus far, feat. Rangers RHP Yerry Rodriguez

5:38 – Kiley shares notes from his first instructs game: Braves CF Cristian Pache, C Alex Jackson, 3B CJ Alexander

7:00 – Kiley moves on to the Tigers, SS Wenceel Perez and RHP Carlos Guzman

8:02 – And back to the Braves arms: RHP Odalvi Javier, RHP Patrick Weigel, RHP Tristan Beck

9:30 – BONUS TOPIC #2: Why instructional league games are starting to dry up

12:31 – TOPIC ONE: Draft rankings update to THE BOARD

13:23 – Adley Rutschman (C, Oregon State) as the top prospect for 2019, vs. Giants C Joey Bart (#2 overall pick in 2018), the historic comparison to Matt Wieters and the path to an amateur 60 FV

17:00 – Candidates to pass Rutschman by draft day: shortstops galore

18:30 – Will Bobby Witt, Jr. be able to hit? How will we know? Why do we hate him (according to the commenters)?

21:35 – The other elite shortstops: C.J. Abrams, Bryson Stott and Greg Jones

23:46 – Explaining the concept of Future Value (FV) tiers briefly

23:34 – Exploring the elite corner bats: 1B Andrew Vaughn, 1B/RF Michael Busch, 1B/RF Michael Toglia, RF Riley Greene

26:35 – Eric breaking down rising prep CF Corbin Carroll

27:43 – Who would we compare Carroll to historically?

29:02 – Talking about the most unique player we ranked, LHP/1B Spencer Jones

31:05 – TOPIC TWO: top organizations to win the next 5 World Series

34:44 – Eric proposes another top tier organization

35:28 – A quick conversation about manipulating service time and the non-economical approach sometimes being best, featuring Peter Alonso, Eric Lauer and Joey Lucchesi

42:25 – Kiley talks about the Yankees, what makes them successful and what teams in the top tier have in common with them

45:54 – Working through the second tier of clubs, finding the ones most likely to break through

48:39 – Kiley pinpoints a division in transition to keep an eye on the next 12 months

53:54 – TOPIC THREE: Super Mesa Bros. feat. Sandy Gaston

54:22 – Sorting through the background and context for the Cuban market

56:04 – Running down all three players’ from a scouting perspective

57:03 – Handicapping the teams with int’l pool money to spend

1:04:32 – Factoring in MLB’s ban of signings from the Mexican League, including short discussions of Isaac Paredes, Tirso Ornelas, Jose Albertos, Luis Verdugo, Reivaj Garcia

Don’t hesitate to direct pod-related correspondence to @kileymcd or @longenhagen on Twitter or at prospects@fangraphs.com.

You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or other feeder things.

Audio after the jump. (Approximately 1 hr 9 min play time.)

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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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Fall Equinox Draft Board Update

The summer, rich with relevant amateur baseball, has ended. With it ends an important stretch on the player-evaluation calendar, one that is being weighed more heavily with each passing draft. We consider this checkpoint to be a sensible time to revisit our draft prospect rankings and make a sweeping update to the amateur wing of THE BOARD. A link to the 2019 draft board is here, but it can also be accessed through our brand new prospect landing page, which encompasses all of our content (shout-out to Sean Dolinar!) here.

Below we’ve attempted to anticipate some questions readers might have and to answer them as well as possible.

Q. Why is the summer so important for draft evaluation?

A. The high concentration of talent in collegiate wood-bat leagues and in scout-run high-school showcase events (which are designed to be evaluation-friendly) more closely approximates the talent environment of pro baseball. It’s hard to know if a high-school hitter facing a lot of suburban varsity, upper-70s fastballs is actually any good, but watch a prep hitter face Division I breaking balls and 90-plus mph fastballs for eight weeks, and you’re going to learn a lot about him.

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Kiley McDaniel Chat – 9/19/18

12:19

Kiley McDaniel: Hello! Slight delay today for some paperwork issues but we’re all good now and Scout is napping. Let’s see what you people have for me

12:20

Kiley McDaniel: Oh, and in the way of promotion, we have a couple fun things coming, I will guess, on Monday. We have a new weekly podcast about prospects and the big leagues, from a front office POV. Here’s episode 2: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/fangraphs-audio-presents-the-untitled-…

12:20

Kiley McDaniel: We also did a refresh of THE BOARD, as our last update before we get into the offseason list time of year

12:21

Kiley McDaniel: As always, THE BOARD is here: https://www.fangraphs.com/scoutboard.aspx

12:21

Kiley McDaniel: and the article detailing why some guys are rising is here: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-final-pro-side-update-to-the-board…

12:21

Oyster Burns: roansy have better upside than justus?

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FanGraphs Audio Presents: The Untitled McDongenhagen Project, Ep. 2

UMP: The Untitled McDongenhagen Project, Episode 2
This is the second episode of a weekly program co-hosted by Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel about player evaluation in all its forms. The new show, which is available through the normal FanGraphs Audio feed, has a working name now, but barely. The show is all prospect stuff, but there is plenty of that, as the hosts are Prospect Men. Below are some timestamps to make listening and navigation easier.

0:15 – Uncomfortable Paul McCartney discussion, feat. questionable impressions
1:12 – Update on the guys not from Liverpool
2:38 – Deciding on the name of the podcast
4:00 – New recurring segment: TV Talking Head Auditions
6:00 – Eric’s Take
8:40 – Kiley’s Take
10:30 – Satire is over, as PTI possibly should be
11:45 – TOPIC ONE: Updates to THE BOARD
13:12 – Vidal Brujan (2B, TB, Hi-A) and Brayan Rocchio (SS, CLE, RK), briefly Kristian Robinson (RF, ARI, RK)
19:38 – Luis Patino (RHP, SD, Lo-A), briefly Carlos Vargas (RHP, CLE, RK)
23:15 – Bryse Wilson (RHP, ATL, MLB),
24:11 – Bubba Thompson (CF, TEX, Lo-A)
24:43 – Nolan Jones (3B, CLE, Lo-A)
26:50 – Michael Kopech (RHP, CHW, MLB)
27:21 – Wenceel Perez (SS, DET, Lo-A), Carlos Vargas (RHP, CLE, RK), Cole Roederer (CF, CHC, RK), Josiah Gray (RHP, CIN, RK)
30:22 – TOPIC TWO: Front office scouting staff intrigue
31:03 – How cavemen invented scouting
33:00 – How different team philosophically approach their pro scouting department
34:03 – Something that should really surprise you
39:59 – Houston is the leading example of restructuring a staff
41:38 – Where Houston could get outflanked
43:48 – Delving into makeup and how important it is
47:07 – Running down some staffing changes in the industry
50:15 – Pennsylvania impressions!
53:55 – Minnesota accents!
54:42 – TOPIC THREE: Acuna, Soto, Vlad and the next teenage sensation
58:00 – WHO YA GOT?
1:02:00 – Who are the next potential teenagers in the big leagues?
1:08:00 – Kiley’s first scouting experience with Wander Franco…when he was 14.
1:10:38 – the 2017 July 2 class is looking prettay prettay good so far
1:11:46 – Kiley discovers the limits of technology
1:12:15 – The guys discuss Jibarito (the Puerto Rican KFC Double Down) and discuss Kenan Thompson doing David Ortiz talking about mofongo

Don’t hesitate to direct pod-related correspondence to @kileymcd or @longenhagen on Twitter or at prospects@fangraphs.com.

You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or other feeder things.

Audio after the jump. (Approximately 1 hr 16 min play time.)

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The Final Pro-Side Update to THE BOARD

Over the last several weeks, we have seen and/or sourced opinions on a handful of pro prospects whom we felt should move up our pref list, some of them into the 50 FV tier. Rather than wait until this winter’s full-scale update of each team’s farm system to reflect updated opinions on these players, we’ve moved them now to more accurately reflect our present evaluations (we have thoughts on each of them below) and also because we consider several of them perfect touchstones for discussion this offseason.

We have also shuffled a handful of players on the top 100. Most of the players we’ve moved up haven’t experienced tool change per se but have outperformed similarly evaluated talents; those who’ve moved down thanks, meanwhile, did so largely due to injuries. This isn’t a comprehensive update, just what we consider to be a more accurate snapshot, grabbing the low-hanging fruit. There’s also a handful of players whom we debated moving but decided to leave alone for the moment because Eric will be seeing them a lot in the Arizona Fall League, allowing us to provide a more well informed judgment in the near future. In his AFL preview, Eric names most of these players.

A reminder: THE BOARD is here. We’ll also be updating our 2019 MLB Draft rankings in the coming days.

Moving Up into the 50+ FV Tier

Vidal Brujan, 2B, TBR – Brujan’s speed, bat control, size, and feel for the game are all comparable to the sort exhibited by Ozzie Albies, Nick Madrigal, Luis Urias, and other pint-sized dynamos who seem to be multiplying lately. We had an aggressive 45 FV on him preseason in anticipation of a solid full-season debut, but he blew even us away, stealing 55 bases with 63 walks and 68 strikeouts.

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Kiley McDaniel Chat – 9/14/18

12:16

Kiley McDaniel: Hello, I’m coming to you people on Friday since I was on the road Wednesday. Let’s get to your questions

12:16

I hate avocados: When will we see rankings updates next?

12:17

Kiley McDaniel: I’m guessing Monday? We have one more update of about 15 players to shuffle around before we head into the offseason. We’ll probably lock all those in this weekend as far as where they go exactly, but the list is done

12:19

Arms: Long term who makes the better MLB Pitcher? Shane Bieber or Chris Paddack? Or will both be exceptional?

12:19

Kiley McDaniel: Similar kinds of guys, but Bieber is already there and performing and hasn’t had a TJ, so I’ll take him, though Paddack has a little more ceiling

12:19

Matt: are you buying the Luis patino hype? I believe he should be considered a top 100 prospect, plus velo, athletic, throws strikes, 3-4 usable pitches

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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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FanGraphs Audio Presents: Untitled McDongenhagen Project

Introduction to the McDongenhagen Project
This represents the first episode of a weekly program co-hosted by Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel about player evaluation in all its forms. The new show, which will be available through the normal FanGraphs Audio feed, doesn’t have a name yet, but reader input is invited. The show won’t be all prospect stuff, but there will be plenty of that, as the hosts are Prospect Men. Below are some timestamps to make listening and navigation easier.

2:13 – What Eric’s been up to feat. reggaeton horn.
3:49 – What Kiley’s been up to feat. self-promotion.
6:31 – TOPIC ONE: September call-ups that will impact the NL races.
7:24 – Arizona Diamondbacks, including a big picture discussion.
13:15 – Atlanta Braves, including a guy you didn’t think we’d talk about.
19:30 – St. Louis Cardinals, including lots of Harrison Bader talk.
22:31 – Chicago Cubs, briefly.
22:58 – Milwaukee Brewers, including Robin Hood talk.
24:26 – Colorado Rockies, eternally confusing, including eye-level science.
28:43 – Los Angeles Dodgers, including Joe Arpaio talk.
29:46 – Philadelphia Phillies, including Scott Kingery symposium.
36:05 – TOPIC TWO: Should we change how we evaluate pitching prospects?
41:45 – Kiley tries to shoehorn more Nassim Taleb into conversation.
46:28 – Objectively measuring command: ¯\_()_/¯.
50:02 – Eric compares these challenges to the NFL combine.
52:23 – TOPIC THREE: 2019 MLB Draft overview.
1:01:50 – Eric reveals his West Coast draft fascination.
1:03:06 – Kiley brings this to a merciful end.

Don’t hesitate to direct pod-related correspondence to @kileymcd or @longenhagen on Twitter or at prospects@fangraphs.com.

You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or other feeder things.

Audio after the jump. (Approximately 1 hr 4 min play time.)

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Kiley McDaniel Chat – 9/5/18

12:18

Kiley McDaniel: Sorry for the delay! Was going back and forth with offers/counters on a house, so that took slight precedent over this baseball chat

12:19

Kiley McDaniel: So, for those that haven’t seen it yet, I posted something today breaking down Dylan Cease (CHW), Matt Manning (DET) and Brendan McKay (TB) and which of those three types of players is normally underrated by list season

12:19

Kiley McDaniel: Now to your questions

12:19

squeeze bunt: What do you think is the best predictor of a pitcher taking a step forward with command?  Do you think there is a correlation between height/length and command?

12:21

Kiley McDaniel: Athleticism is the best single direct comp for command we have, but it’s usually a combination of factors. I’d tend to bet on longer-limbed elite athletes that are growing into their frame in the mid-20’s to improve, particularly if they aren’t a high 90’s type that’s always trying to throw it through the backstop

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Should We Adjust How We Evaluate Pitching Prospects?

Evaluating pitchers is a real challenge. A combination of experience and knowledge can help one to better understand how variables like velocity, spin, and pitch mix translate to the majors. Even with that information, though, the influence of other factors — like injury risk, like a pitcher’s likelihood of responding to mechanical or mental adjustments — creates a great deal of uncertainty.

Nor is this a challenge that faces only prospect analysts like myself and Eric Longenhagen: even front-office execs who have the benefit of substantial resources — in the form both of data and personnel — have trouble reliably projecting outcomes for otherwise similarly talented young arms.

In my role as a talent evaluator both with FanGraphs and with a few major-league clubs, the question of how best to assess pitchers is obviously one to which I’ve returned with some frequency. In my recent efforts to get some final looks at certain top pitching prospects, however, I began to rethink how Eric Longenhagen and I should approach rankings this offseason. Three prospects, in particular, help to illustrate my concerns.

Tigers righty Matt Manning was the ninth overall pick in 2016, is an athletic 20-year-old who stands 6-foot-6, and was promoted to Double-A last week. In addition to that, he sat 94-96 and hit 98 mph in my look, mixing in a spike curveball that flashed 65 on the 20-80 scale. The positives here are numerous, and very few other minor leaguers could match even a few of these qualities.

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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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