Eric Longenhagen Chat: 8/2/18

2:01
Eric A Longenhagen: Hi from Tempe, everyone. Let’s quickly do some housekeeping…

2:02
Eric A Longenhagen: We did a pref list on the prospects traded ahead of the deadline: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/ranking-the-prospects-traded-at-the-de…

2:04
Eric A Longenhagen: I see that we omitted Jorge Alcala and that Brett Phillips fits under the Drury/Paulino/Meadows roster limbo area I like to cover, so I’ll add those guys in today.

2:04
Eric A Longenhagen: Also, we updated The Board: https://www.fangraphs.com/scoutboard.aspx

2:05
Eric A Longenhagen: We did updates to all team lists and moved players who were traded around.

2:05
Eric A Longenhagen: Carson also had me on the pod: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/fangraphs-audio-eric-longenhagens-pros…

2:06
Eric A Longenhagen: I leave for Area Codes/PG San Diego on Sunday and will be there next week.

2:06
j: Should I be excited about Antonio Cabello?

2:09
Eric A Longenhagen: This is a 17 y/o CF in the Yankees system who is crushing the GCL. I think yes, we should be. He’s unique in some ways and they’re not all good. Essentially, it’s Alex Bregman’s body in CF.

2:11
Eric A Longenhagen: So this is a teenager with a relatively limited frame, he’s 5-10, short-levered. He takes big hacks, he’s strong, he has good straightline speed. It’s a weird package but I think it works.

2:11
Eric A Longenhagen: Was a catcher as an amateur, by the way. Really weird profile/background.

2:11
Matt: Blue Jays starting Clippard tonight. Is the opener revolution truly upon us now?

2:13
Eric A Longenhagen: I do think we’ll continue to see more creative pitcher usage at the big league level and that something that looks like this is going to be more pervasive. I also think Tampa Bay will be at the forefront of this.

2:16
Eric A Longenhagen: And honestly, I think it’s cool. I know not everyone is here for it and I get why, but I think the idea of Brendan McKay throwing an inning or two against a lefty-heavy lineup to start a game and then playing 1B the rest of the game is really interesting.

2:16
Tim: Would Matt Chapman be a good comp for Ke’Bryan Hayes?

2:17
Eric A Longenhagen: I don’t think Hayes has quite that much raw power and Chapman had strikeout issues as a prospect that Hayes does not. But I get how you might say they’re each elite defensive 3B with one-dimensional bats and comp them.

2:18
Jack: What is your current opinion on Jorge Alfaro?

2:22
Eric A Longenhagen: I think there’s a case he impacts the game in ways that are hard to capture statistically. His arm strength must change the way teams think about running, right? He’s also not a very good defensive catcher in some specific ways that, depending on who you talk to in baseball, don’t really matter.

2:23
Eric A Longenhagen: In general I think he’s a low-end everyday player.

2:24
Eric A Longenhagen: But catching isn’t exactly strong across the Majors right now.

2:24
Jeb: What is Mitch Keller’s upside? Taillon like?

2:24
Eric A Longenhagen: Sam kind of pitch mix but Keller gets more ground balls, fastball has more sink.

2:24
Bravo de ATL: Pache doesn’t seem have hype but scouts praise. Thoughts on potential?

2:28
Eric A Longenhagen: We love Pache (he’s #28 https://www.fangraphs.com/scoutboard.aspx) because we think, at minimum, he’s a plus-plus defensive CF provides competent, league-average offense. That’s basically what Albert Almora is right now and he’s a 2 win guy. And Pache has a chance to grow into some power.

2:29
Greg: So the Braves have Folty, Newcomb, Fried, Soroka, Touki, Wright, Wilson, Gohara, Allard at Triple A or the big leagues now. Add in Gausman for the next two years of control at the deadline and considering they have plenty of arms at High A, too, what do they do with all these arms? I’m assuming trade is the answer, but what holes should they try to fix this offseason?

2:30
Eric A Longenhagen: I think there’s enough natural bullpen attrition in their that there’s not a crazy surplus. It’s likely one or two of Fried, Touki, Gohara, Wilson end up in the bullpen.

2:32
Eric A Longenhagen: But then again, teams have been pretty efficient about poaching teams with logjams at the upper levels. Toronto has done this a lot (Teoscar, Drury, Aledmys Diaz if you liked him) and I guess something like that could eventually occur with some of those Braves arms.

2:32
Purple Mays Haze: Higher ceiling: Gavin Lux or Kevin Smith?

2:34
Eric A Longenhagen: Lux is a 20y/o Dodgers SS prospect who was at like .320/.400/.520-ish in the Cal League this year, just promoted to AA. Smith is a 22y/o Jays SS at Hi-A hitting for power, was 4th rounder last year.

2:35
Eric A Longenhagen: …

2:37
Eric A Longenhagen: I prefer Lux as a prospect but Smith has more upside. It’s hard to say how much of Lux’s newfound  power production is real. He’s had a shift to his batted ball data and the Dodgers have a track record of altering swings in good ways, but some of that power is coming from the Cal League, too. Smith we know the power is real, it’s always been part of his profile, but he’s a college hitter striking a lot in A-ball.

2:37
Eric A Longenhagen: So I think Smith is more volatile but I’m more inclined to believe he has a chance to be a SS with actual power than Lux.

2:38
Bailey: I don’t mean to be a wet blanket, but is Drew Waters being overrated lately?

2:44
Eric A Longenhagen: Not if you think he hits, hits for power and stays in CF, which is what it looks like he’s gonna do. If you look at our top overall list, the hitters on the top half of the list are almost all up the middle guys. We just prefer those types of players. The exceptions are near-ready, well-rounded hitters like Calhoun and Yordan Alvarez. We have Waters ahead of a lot of corner bats we like or up the middle players with one of hit/power, not both like Waters could have.

2:44
Rays Fans: Please tell us that there’s hope for Austin Meadows and *gulp* Glasnow.

2:46
Eric A Longenhagen: I will tell you that. Breaking balls like Glasnow’s pair well with four seamers. Glasnow’s fastball has natural cut. I know it seems crazy to want to mess with 97+ with cut, but it might be best for Glasnow to significantly alter his fastball’s shape and its usage. Plus, we’ve seen pitchers leave Pittsburgh and go to places that prioritize 4sm/curveball combos (Morton, Cole to HOU) and take off. Meadows i just think is good.

2:47
Blackburn: You guys ranked Cole Tucker much higher than other outlets, can you explain why and what you see with him and his upside?

2:51
Eric A Longenhagen: I wasn’t discouraged by his slow start and his line has been league average since the start of June. He’s one of those up the middle guys with viable but limited offensive ability. He’s 22 now and the cement is pretty much dry on the body. That was once a volatile part of TUcker’s profile because there was a chance he’d outgrow SS but also a chance he’d grow into power. He’s kind of just held serve and is just a fine SS without power. He’ll be a .340 OBP SS without power. It’s basically Addison Russell’s line, although they arrive there in different ways.

2:52
Satya: Eric, what’s the best player development approach for a switch hitter like Drew Waters, who has much better numbers from one side of the plate?

2:54
Eric A Longenhagen: I think more guys should give up switch hitting , in general. I’d caution against giving it up this soon though. Right-handed swings/feel take longer to develop, that swing sees less reps.

2:54
Adam: Adrian Morejon’s season is way more impressive after you realize that he’s 3 days younger than Mackenzie Gore, up until his recent injury that is. What have you seen from him in your looks this season?

2:55
Eric A Longenhagen: Last report I have on Morejon is 90-95, flash plus breaking ball, 55 changeup. He’s been injured a few times now, been shut down in spring/fall for little things. But yeah, he’s good.

2:56
Kevin: Tell me more about Jason Martin. Could he be a reason my the Pirates were more willing to move Meadows?

2:57
Eric A Longenhagen: Think he’s a 4th OF/platoon guy. Is Dickerson + Luplow + Archer > Meadows + Archer alternative? That’s the question I think the Pirates asked, don’t think it had to do with their own prospects.

2:58
Vinbaka: Love THE BOARD. Is there any way to add a search bar to it?

2:59
Eric A Longenhagen: Maybe? I know I want to hear what you’d like added to it. I wanna add everyone’e signing bonus and option year and drop downs for different signing classes over time, it’s just gonna take time.

2:59
Adam: It appears that Mejia would prefer to be a starting C in AAA than a starting RF in the MLB. Is his unwillingness to try to learn a new position a poor reflection on him or is this more common with position players than we think?

3:02
Eric A Longenhagen: I don’t think it’s common for players to be put in this kind of situation so I don’t think it’s possible to determine what is a common response to it. If my wife’s principle came to her and told her to go teach math instead of art, she’d probably gripe about it and be right to.

3:02
Eric A Longenhagen: And the Padres have said they’re going to catch him, so I don’t see why this matters

3:03
Jeff: If winker gets over this shoulder injury hes had since A ball, do you think it helps him get to more power? Would be a monster with even average game

3:03
Eric A Longenhagen: His issues have been so consistent that I just assume that’s what they’ll be moving forward. Injury-wise and power production wise. He’s a fine big leaguer as is.

3:04
Brian Anderson: I’m on pace for a 4 WAR rookie year… What do you think my projection is going forward?

3:05
Eric A Longenhagen: Hey, I think you’re doing it, buddy!

3:05
Eric A Longenhagen: I think 2-3 WAR, annually.

3:06
Elehuris Montero, 3b, STL: Thoughts on Elehuris. Does his scouting reports back up the stat line he has put up so far in A-ball?

3:08
Eric A Longenhagen: Elehuris Montero, 19y/o 3B slashing .320/.380/.530 in A ball. More 50/55 hit with 55 power which is good at 3B, but Montero has considerable 1B risk. He’s a pretty big kid.

3:09
Adam: As a whole, does it seem like the Padres farm system has underperformed this season?

3:10
Eric A Longenhagen: Nah, toss out the statlines for all the Fort Wayne teenagers. If anything it’s as if they have more guys now than they did when the season started because Marcano and several of the rookie-ball arms are interesting.

3:10
Frank: Give me a current under the radar minor league arm who has a high risk/high reward profile as either a SP or fallback as an elite RP

3:15
Eric A Longenhagen: Hans Crouse, Lenny Torres, Tyler Ivery if the fastball ticks up, Francisco Morales

3:16
Mr. Fister: How do yo think Brett Phillips will do now that he has a full-time gig for the foreseeable future?

3:18
Eric A Longenhagen: I think the strikeout issues are a real problem and I’ve had him projected as a low end regular. He’ll get every opportunity to find the right swing/approach for him, though.

3:18
LegalEagle: See you Friday in Boston?

3:18
Eric A Longenhagen: Nope, Area Codes in Long Beach.

3:18
Updated Lists: The top prospect lists are updated after trades? But I don’t see any of the new guys on the Baltimore list. Am I clicking the wrong link? Thanks for the answer and all your great work.

3:19
Eric A Longenhagen: There’s an Updated List drop down at the top of the page, the 2018 preseason lists are stored. https://www.fangraphs.com/scoutboard.aspx?draft=2018updated&type=0&pos…

3:19
Timmy: Why Will Smith > Keibert Ruiz?

3:20
Eric A Longenhagen: Better athlete, better body, defensive versatility, more raw power, time horizon to the big leagues is shorter.

3:20
MaineBall: When you say that a 50FV prospect is worth an average everyday MLB player in a trade, is that for 1 season of said MLB player? 2? 3?

3:21
Eric A Longenhagen: No, because you have the prospect for 6 years.

3:22
Eric A Longenhagen: But value is relative team to team. Like it isn’t just as simple as Machado for 2 months was worth 1.5 WAR and Yusniel Diaz was worth 13 WAR over six seasons therefore Baltimore wont the…

3:22
Enlightening Round: Can you update Brandon Lowe, turned a corner? Just got better?

3:23
Eric A Longenhagen: Swing changer, got helthy.

3:23
Alex: How has your opinion of Jeremiah Jackson changed since the draft? Think he can be the SS of the future for the Angels?

3:24
Eric A Longenhagen: Not really. We bought into the vision correction solving the bat to ball issues we saw last summer. The way he has looked in AZL has increased confidence but not altered his projection.

3:24
Quinton McCracken: Why does Austin Meadows always look like he isn’t finishing his swing? Does he need to thrust his hips more?

3:24
Eric A Longenhagen: We all should.

3:25
Johnny5Alive: its the mets system better than they’ve been given credit for? Lots of guys made huge strides this year, they drafted well and mauricio is looking like a potential stud (albeit a ways away)

3:27
Eric A Longenhagen: I think it’s a decent system and I think their international scouting department is underrated. Pro scouting hasn’t yielded much in trades, lotta A-ball relievers, guys you can just draft pretty easily.

3:29
Alex: Are you for or against pro comps?

3:29
Eric A Longenhagen: Mostly against but I get why casual fans like them.

3:30
FlowersMan: Is Lourdes Gurriel’s hit tool better than expected or just a hot streak?

3:30
Eric A Longenhagen: Running a .368 BABIP and 2% walk rate. If anything I think I underprojected the power.

3:31
E: I heard someone say ‘Every organization has a Willi Castro, they need to learn how to hit to make it.’ Is that putting it too simply? or is that true to some regard that a lot of these prospects are interchangeable and team/individual development is most important?

3:33
Eric A Longenhagen: I think viable shortstops with contact skills are fairly common but still valuable and that there are huge gaps, club to club, in the quality of player development right now and that one team can take a player and turn him into something that another org might not. Castro’s limitations are approach-based and I’m not sure how you fix that.

3:33
Benjamin: Is the royals farm system approaching middle of the pack status? Looks quite improved compared to beginning of this season

3:36
Eric A Longenhagen: It’s becoming very deep on pitching, think it’s light on hitting and that just due to the nature of their top guys demographics (Pratto is 1B only and has to rake, Melendez and Matias swing and miss, etc.)

3:36
Eppler: I turned RHP Wilkel Hernandez and OF Troy Montgomery into Ty Buttrey and LHP Williams Jerez and Jett Bandy into Patrick Sandoval + int’l money. Those are solid improvements, right?

3:36
Eric A Longenhagen: Yes. I like Wilkel but that’s improvement.

3:38
Khalil Lee: How am I not a consensus top prospect when I’m consistently outperforming Kyle Lewis at advanced levels for my age?

3:39
Eric A Longenhagen: Unless you become an elite walk rate guy, your ceiling is probably somewhat limited. Lewis could be a 30 homer dude, though we have Lee and Lewis each as 45s.

3:40
BlueJayMatt: Why is David Paulino ranked so low now? Has his stuff backed up or is it simply his health and durability?

3:41
Eric A Longenhagen: Combo of health and having plateaued in this org, needed a change of scenery, suspended a couple of times.. just time to move on.

3:44
Eric A Longenhagen: (internet issues brb)

3:45
Bum Ho Lee: What do you make of a guy like Pache (with 80 speed) having just 13 SB attempts (7 successful) while Downs (with 45 speed) has already logged 37 Attempts (and has been successful 29). Chalk it up to different orgs’ approaches to developing base stealers?

3:45
Eric A Longenhagen: There are some orgs that have guys run like crazy and others that don’t. Everyone with Colorado runs. I’d avoid gauging speed on SB totals

3:46
David: Yo! When does the AFL schedule come out?

3:47
Eric A Longenhagen: Typically very end of August

3:47
Flip: Thanks for the updated top prospects list on THE BOARD! Can we expect an updated ‘Graduates’ list with FVs as well?

3:48
Eric A Longenhagen: Actually, yeah. I have that stuff stored and can do something with it if you guys are into it.

3:48
Reggie: What is Wenceel Perez’s offensive likihood/potential?

3:49
Eric A Longenhagen: This is a teenage Tigers SS prospect who hit his way out of the GCL and up to the NYPL. Not sure how much power there’s going to be but he’s an elite-hand eye/bat control guy who stays at short and that’s a great place to start.

3:49
Andy: I live in DC. What restaurant did you go to with Appleman?

3:49
Eric A Longenhagen: Tail Up Goat

3:50
Keith: Do you have someone helping you weed through all these questions?

3:50
Eric A Longenhagen: Nope

3:50
Eric A Longenhagen: You guys are filling up the queue today, I tell ya. It’s why I’m still going.

3:50
Tim C: What’s your take on Alex McKenna (HOU) and his hot start so far in A ball?  Is he worth keeping an eye on?

3:51
Eric A Longenhagen: Their 4th rounder. Bat to ball CF. More of a 4th OF type to me, chance he outhits that.

3:51
Mike: Is there any hope for Dom Smith?

3:52
Eric A Longenhagen: I still think so but hope they move him so we can see.

3:52
Vic: Do you think Kyle Funkhouser’s broken foot hurts his outlook much?

3:53
Eric A Longenhagen: Not really. We already have risk baked into his FV because of how often he’s been hurt, and this isn’t an arm injury.

3:53
Mike: no love for Brewer Hicklen on the Board?

3:53
Eric A Longenhagen: Oh, that’s a mistake.

3:53
Houston Guy: Is Tyler Ivey legit?

3:54
Eric A Longenhagen: Yes. Good fourseamer, two breaking balls, learning how to use them together.

3:54
Fenway Faithful : I’m curious as to why we don’t hear much about Josh Ockimey. He’s hit at very level, and reports seem to think he can play a good 1B. Potential starter in Boston in a couple years?

3:57
Eric A Longenhagen: Disagree with the defensive eval, but yeah he has hit at every level and he’s a Philly kid so I want him to do well. But might be DH-only guy with K issues so just down our llist because he’s an extreme risk. All that power has to play for things to work.

3:57
Stanley: Did Kristian Robinson’s profile change much to shift him from a 45 to a 50 or was it just that he maintained it?

3:57
Eric A Longenhagen: Continued confidence in his ability to hit, the foundation of the swing.

3:57
Mike : Ronaldo Hernandez – is he in the conversation as the best C prospect in baseball by year’s end?

3:59
Eric A Longenhagen: Greater chance he doesn’t catch than others and I think catching is strong in the minors right now so he’s below a bunch of guys

4:00
Guest: Was Vargas really worth the 2.5 MM the Yankees gave him? Essentially was he worth Adam Warren lol

4:00
Eric A Longenhagen: Int’l scouts Kiley and I spoke with had him valued between 2-3 mil

4:01
john cale: does crouse have the highest upside in the TEX org?

4:01
Eric A Longenhagen: Bubba, for me

4:02
Bored Employee: Is Isaac Paredes the kind of hard-contact guy whose game power could outstrip his raw?

4:02
Eric A Longenhagen: Yes

4:02
Rob D: Your Pirates’ list in the offseason brought the name Sherten Apostel to my attention as someone to watch. Any word on how he’s looked in rookie ball?

4:02
Eric A Longenhagen: Pretty much the same, which is to say good.

4:03
Bryzzo: Who can we be most excited about in Cubs system these days? Who might we be able to dream on? Brailyn?

4:03
Eric A Longenhagen: Cris Morel is a INF with power in short season. I like him. Luis Verdugo could be a plus glove st SS, don’t think he’s gonna hit. He’s 18 in the AZL. Marquez, yeah, like him too. Kind of a unique mechanical look but stuff is good. Body is maxed out already, though.

4:04
Brandon: What has caused you to have Jeremiah Estrada ranked so high?

4:05
Eric A Longenhagen: Mid-90s, plus changeup. Others in the org are more stable prospects, few have that kind of stuff.

4:05
Mike B: Player in the minors most similar at the same stage to Altuve? Small guy who just hits the ball with awesome bat control.

4:05
Eric A Longenhagen: Madrigal I guess?

4:06
Jimmy: How would you rank these grade 45 pitchers: Wil Crowe, Reggie Lawson, and Jordan Sheffield? And who has the highest upside?

4:06
Eric A Longenhagen: Lawson, , Crowe, Sheff

4:07
Pio: How should the Padres split time between Mejia and Hedges?

4:08
Eric A Longenhagen: I think you set Mejia up to succeed by letting him catch guys whose stuff you’re confident he can handle

4:08
Lucas Sims: Do I wind up in the bullpen?

4:08
Eric A Longenhagen: Yes

4:10
Jessica: What was Jack Flaherty like as a prospect, and has he surprised you thus far as an MLBer?

4:12
Eric A Longenhagen: I had him as a 50, which is what he’s tracking as. Pitch mix was really similar to Jason Hammel’s as a prospect.

4:12
pirates hurdles: Can either Newman or Kramer play SS well enough to unseat Mercer?

4:13
Eric A Longenhagen: Sure, I prefer Kramer who I think could be a 5 there with good positioning.

4:13
Joe: Whats your opinion on Keston Hiura? Were the brewers right by not trading him for Machado?

4:13
Eric A Longenhagen: I wouldn’t have traded him for months of Machado. Think Hiura’s a middle of the order bat

4:14
Greg: Am I blind or can you not access the board from the home page?

4:14
Eric A Longenhagen: If you hover over “Leaders” it’s like a quarter of the way down

4:15
Tyler: Would you suggest any improvements to the 20-80 scouting scale?

4:16
Eric A Longenhagen: Maybe split the hit tool into two or three individual components (bat control/pitch selection/bat speed off the top of my head)

4:16
Chives: Jordan Luplow, what is his future in your opinion?

4:17
Eric A Longenhagen: Platoon guy. The power is for real.

4:17
BruceHaper: Honestly something that would be cool with THE BOARD is if you gave it almost continual updates. (I know this a lot of manpower) but that way if you see (or hear) of a grade change youd just have someone go right ahead and implement that

4:18
Eric A Longenhagen: This is what we’re hoping to do. I see a guy here in AZ tonight who we don’t know about but he’s touching 100 or whatever, he goes on the board the next day.

4:18
Gerald: Do you like prospects? Baseball prospects to be clear.

4:19
Eric A Longenhagen: And with that I depart. I’ll update y’all on twitter if Area Codes alters my chat schedule.

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

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