Eric Longenhagen Prospects Chat: 2/20

12:03
Eric A Longenhagen: Good morning from surprisingly chilly Tempe.

12:03
Eric A Longenhagen: If you missed some notes from my weekend looks, they are here: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/draft-notes-from-college-baseballs-ope…

12:04
Eric A Longenhagen: I also saw Oregon St (Madrigal, Larnach, etc) but those guys are back in town this week so waiting to write them up after the weekend.

12:04
Eric A Longenhagen: Also wrote up the guy TB got back from MIN for Odorizzi, Jermaine Palacios: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/instagraphs/scouting-new-rays-prospect…

12:04
Eric A Longenhagen: Okay, lt’s begin.

12:04
Tommy N.: With the Hosmer signing what happens to guys like Naylor and Austin Allen now?

12:05
Eric A Longenhagen: You just hope they play themselves into a trade around the time when you’re looking to add to the big club on the trade market.

12:05
A big dumb idiot: Will reduced mound visits have any tangible effects on pitching?

12:06
Eric A Longenhagen: Probably in some subtle ways. The “here’s how we’re going to pitch to this hitter your about to face’ visit probably goes away, which maybe makes some other form of hitter-specific prep important for batteries before starts.

12:06
Armandus: Good Afternoon and what can we all do to help bring back Bionicle?

12:07
Eric A Longenhagen: You need a time machine to go back and kidnap my brother at age 10, then make enough copies of him to create sufficient demand.

12:08
Zonk: Do you think Ian Happ can repeat his decent rookie year, or does the K-Rate give you pause?  Was his defense better than advertised?

12:09
Eric A Longenhagen: Think he’s a super utility guy who provides above-average value over the course of a season and he’s the go-to regular if someone gets hurt at a position he’s capable of playing. He;s a 55. Don’t know if the defense is better, but I think it’s worth asking if you’d rather have a guy be a 40 or 45 glove at like four position instead of a 50 glove at one.

12:10
DR: The Zac Lowther type of prospect (college performer without elite velo, spin rate star) who profiles as a relatively low risk4/5 starter will almost never make it on a Top 100, but will keep being a big league asset, is that fair to say?  Or are evaluators changing how they rate guys like that

12:11
Eric A Longenhagen: Since the 100 is made up of 50 FV guys, low-variance 45s (that’s what a #4/5 starter is) don’t make it.

12:12
Eric A Longenhagen: Unless your org has reason to prioritize probability over upside in a really significant way, that’s probably not top 100 for anyone even if they’re thinking progressively about how you line up prospects.

12:12
Q-Ball: Did the clubs who acquired IFA space for Ohtani but not use it (SEA, TEX), figure out a way to deploy it well?

12:14
Eric A Longenhagen: I know Seattle just signed a few kids, but I don’t have much on them. Texas signed Keithron Moss from the Bahamas for $800k. So they’ve each spent at least some of that mooney but I don’t know off the top of my head how much either of them have left.

12:15
45blowzbillygoats: What can we expect from Christin Stewart this year.  Does that power play him into any role in the Detroit lineup?

12:17
Eric A Longenhagen: There’s a non-zero chance he hits enough at Triple-A to foce their hand, at least in September, but the 40-man already has  DH/bad glove guys in V-Mart and Castellanos, they probably want to do whatever it takes to roster Victor Reyes all year, Gerber is a better platoon partner for Mahtook, etc. Lots working against a quick Stewart callup

12:17
Big Joe Mufferaw: Do you think MLB should allow draft picks to be traded? If so, what would the value of a 1st round pick? Would, let’s say, a good, not great RP at the deadline be worth a 1st?

12:19
Eric A Longenhagen: I’d like them to do that but everything that ties picks to free agency would have to be scrubbed for it to work.

12:20
Eric A Longenhagen: And the second question depends on the team. Would a team fighting for a playoff spot move a first rounder that’s likely to be in the 20s for an impact reliever? Maybe. But a team likely to pick 12-17 or something would never do that.

12:21
Bored Lawyer, Esq. : Any rumblings you’ve heard as to which prospects may be given challenging assignments to start the year, or too early yet?

12:21
Eric A Longenhagen: Too early, that buzz starts surrounding guys who go nuts in spring training, especially if a pitcher has had a clear uptick in stuff.

12:22
Q-Ball: How do northern colleges start playing baseball in February?  There’s still snow on the ground up here!   Do they just play in colder conditions than the pros?

12:24
Eric A Longenhagen: Many of them head south for a weekend or two, but there are still plenty of games in the northeast and mid atlantic in March and April that are really miserable. Area scouts will be sitting on cold, wet, metal bleachers for hours just hoping to see a team’s closer at the end of the game.

12:25
Michael Moore: Can Nick Senzel succeed at shortstop? Is there any history of guys moving up the defensive spectrum in the minors like this? Would be huge for the Reds

12:28
Eric A Longenhagen: There’s a chance. The number of teams who think you can hide a lack of range with good defensive positioning seems to be growing. He has other physical attributes that work fine at short. I have no idea what his actions are like around the bag, if I had to pick a reason he doesn’t work out there, it’s that.

12:29
Josh Nelson: Nick Madrigal is having a hot start to the season. Is size really the biggest concern that scouts have with him? Could Madrigal be the next Jose Altuve?

12:31
Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah, some are concerned about his size. If you think he’s more brittle because  of it, I guess I get that. But why else does that matter? He’s shows you he can do everything else. I don’t like “the Next X’, for anything, especially a player as unique as Altuve.

12:31
Bert: Do Hunter Harvey or Brady Aiken have a good chance to return to form after several injuries?

12:32
Eric A Longenhagen: Harvey has a much better chance because, when he pitches, his stuff is good, Aiken’s hasn’t been since he returned.

12:34
Kyle: How deep Is this years draft?

12:34
Eric A Longenhagen: 55 depth? Maybe 60 HS pitching depth?

12:34
pH: Where would Julio Urias fit in the top 100 prospects if he was still eligible?

12:35
Eric A Longenhagen: Just have zero idea until we see him pitch.

12:35
Lance: Did Trevor Larnach change his launch angle?

12:36
Eric A Longenhagen: I have to look and see if there was a swing change but I don’t think so. He just hits the ball rally hard. The HR I saw him hit on Friday left the bat at 114mph. He hit several other balls in the 109-111 range.

12:36
Eric A Longenhagen: Here are our draft rankings, by the way: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/mlb-draft-rankings-2018-2019-and-2020/

12:36
stlscott: Your thoughts on Drew Ellis of the Diamondbacks? Enough of a hitter to be a regular?  Thanks as always.

12:37
Eric A Longenhagen: Has a chance, yes. But I don’t think he’s a fit at 3B, so really has to rake.

12:37
Oddball Herrera: What do you make of Acuna’s highish SwStr and low SB success rate in the minors? Would you say this is just a matter of needing more experience or are these warning signs that the world should pump the brakes a bit on the hype?

12:39
Eric A Longenhagen: His approach needs polish and I don’t think he’s ever going to be a great basestealer. He’ll slow down before he refines that skill. But the hype is founded in the power and bat control. Those are both amazing.

12:39
Mike: What point do you think age matters when it comes to the draft when comparing players? For example, Singer is almost a full year older than Mize and McClanahan. De Sedas is almost a full year older than Gorman. Seems like that stuff should matter, but I’m curious how much you think it does (or should)?

12:39
Eric A Longenhagen: Matter much more for hitters than pitchers

12:40
elfuego25: The A’s have a pretty solid looking young infield. Barreto or Mateo will likely take over for Lowrie at some point. But their pitching doesn’t look good enough to compete. Is their system strong enough to allow them to rebuild their pitching staff (or get close enough that they could afford enough in free agency to fill in the holes) without giving up young position players and undo the progress they’ve made there?

12:42
Eric A Longenhagen: I think they have good pitching in the system. Puk and Luzardo are both very promising and are both probably ready in the next 2 years. If either of Kap or Jefferies can stay healthy, they could be, too.

12:43
Eric A Longenhagen: I also think Montas, Holmes and Luis Miguel Romero all have potential bullpen impact

12:43
Mac: International free agents and the draft are no more, what kind of contracts would say the top of the class be signing if they were typical free agents in this scenario?

12:44
Eric A Longenhagen: Boston paid like $63 mil for Moncada, so that’s as close to precedent as we have for that kind of hypothetical.

12:45
Alex: Hey Eric. Starling Heredia: why does he not seem to receive a lot of love? He’s in as a 40 FV, but just annihilated the AZL, and will play 2018 as a 19 year old. What are your thoughts on his ceiling, and is he someone who could shoot up your midseason list?

12:46
Eric A Longenhagen: We had him on our upside 40s and 45s. He has huge power and runs well for his size (he’s huge, definitely more than his listed 200lbs) but strikes out a ton and he was much more physically mature than his peers in rookie ball last year. He’s a high variance prospect with big upside.

12:47
Guest: Is Palacios as light a return for Odorizzi as is commonly believed?

12:49
Eric A Longenhagen: If you think Odorizzi is a 2 WAR guy moving forward, it’s a little light in a vacuum.

12:49
Eric A Longenhagen: Palacios is a 40 FV guy, Odorizzi is a 45 or 50 if he bounces back, but I doubt TB had trade leverage in a market full of FA pitchers who haven’t signed.

12:50
bgkc: Excellent prospect package two weeks ago!… With the news the Kyle Lewis had a surgery two weeks ago to clean up a bone spur/chip floating in his repaired knee and that it may have been the cause for his multiple shut-downs last year, can we hope for a return to elite prospect status (minus the speed)?

12:51
Eric A Longenhagen: He was already a 40 runner but let’s see him play at least half of this season without issue before declaring him healthy.

12:51
Hannah Hochevar: With Hosmer officially gone, what of Hunter Dozier? is there any there left there?

12:53
Eric A Longenhagen: Another guy who just hasn’t been seen much lately because of injury. Caught him a little but last year while he was rehabbing and thought he looked okay. I’d like to see lots of him, Cuthbert, O’hearn, Bonifacio, maybe Duenez at the corner spots just to get a big league look this year.

12:54
Zach: Do you think the Pads would be making a mistake if Franchy Corderdo doesn’t get a look?

12:55
Eric A Longenhagen: He should get a look, yeah. I’m skeptical of what he’ll do with it, but he has monster tools and would be great if he became more selective.

12:55
Jeff: I read a comment yesterday from Jeff Luhnow about how the Astros briefly considered calling up Forrest Whitley last Sept. Sounds like he could be ready from a skills standpoint, but what are your thoughts on pushing a guy like him that hard vs letting him marinate in the minors for a few years to build up his innings count? I felt like the Dodgers did well in this regard with Julio Urias…and then they didn’t. Seems risky

12:57
Eric A Longenhagen: If you’re trying to Win The Thing, you talk about every marginal roster improvement you can think of. I don’t think LAD handled the Urias stuff well but I don’t think they’re responsible for injuring him.

12:57
He Hate Me: Everyone is so high on Ohtani that he should be a controlled substance (only legal to play in certain states?). That said, is it possible to scout how well he will do the third time through a big league lineup? I would think that’s harder to know for a Japanese import compared to a guy who’s been on display for several years in the minors.

12:58
Eric A Longenhagen: Well, consider the things that get you through the lineup a third time. Ability to throw a breaking ball for a strike (Ohtani checks that box), a deeper repertoire than the  guys who struggle with it (check), stuff so good it doesn’t matter (check)…I like his chances

12:59
JP: I’ve had an idea of a fangraphs shirt that says “Fangraphs” with a little description on the front and on the back a big “70” with “FV” below it..thoughts?

12:59
Eric A Longenhagen: Sending one to Ohtani right now.

12:59
Walter: Do you have any thoughts on draft-eligible Vandy players (Patrick Raby, Alonzo Jones, Chandler Day, Julian Infante, etc.)?

1:01
Eric A Longenhagen: I really like Raby and think he’ll have helium during the spring. Jones has big tool sbut hasn’t really performed. Infante is a R/T college first baseman so those guys have to hit their way up the board and through the minors.

1:01
Van: Do you see Daz Cameron as someone who could leap (back) into the top 100 in the next year?

1:01
Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah, he could be a low or medium variance 50 next year.

1:01
Oscar: What do you think Jordan Sheffield’s chances of starting at this point are? How has your evaluation changed since he was drafted?

1:03
Eric A Longenhagen: Maybe a 25% chance he starts. Throws really hard, lots of violence. Stuff great, so probably an impact reliever if he can’t start. The shift toward multi-inning relief roles for guys like this would continue to inform how we view prospect like Sheffield, yes.

1:04
Jeff: Do you see teams heavily favoring bats, especially college bats, early in the upcoming draft?

1:05
Eric A Longenhagen: If by ‘favoring’ you mean ‘moving them up artificially because of perceived safety’ then yes. But there isn’t exactly a glut of big time college hitters in this year’s draft/

1:07
Gustavo Chacin: Lots of AFL buzz around TJ Zeuch of the Ajax’s last year. Any chance he can come up mid-season and contribute? With 3/5 of the Jays starters unsigned after this year, they’ll need someone to step forward. Think he’s a better bet than Borucki, long-term?

1:09
Eric A Longenhagen: I like Zeuch as a potential #4 starter but Borucki’s changeup probably keeps him ahead.

1:09
Jeff: Shane McClanahan has a crazy arm but does a smaller college pitcher with a surgery and a very light workload actually have a shot at 1:1or even the top 5?

1:12
Eric A Longenhagen: Probably not 1:1 but how far down do we get before his stuff is just far better than whoever you’re considering as the alternative? I like Rolison and Gilbert but they were each 90-93 or so this weekend. McClanahan was up to 100 with a bunch of 55 and 60 secondaries.

1:12
fried: Do you think Dansby Swanson will rebound this year?

1:12
Eric A Longenhagen: Yep

1:12
mets fan: What is Marcos Molina’s of the Mets floor / ceiling, do you see him making the team in ’18. Scouts were real high on him in ’15 haven’t heard much since.

1:13
Eric A Longenhagen: Don’t think the pitch mix works as a starter (it’s deep but only a few of his pitches are good and they’re all firm) but like him as a kitchen sink reliever

1:14
George: If one overlooks Hiura’s blitz of rookie ball, his line, especially his K:BB looks kind of pedestrian.  Wouldn’t one expect an elite hitter like the one he supposed to be to show a little more control of the strike zone in A ball?

1:14
Eric A Longenhagen: I wouldn’t sweat a month of A-ball from an injured guy playing deeper into the summer than he ever has before.

1:14
Wes: ZiPs seems super high on Willie Calhoun. Do you think he can have a 2 WAR rookie season? Best comp?

1:15
Eric A Longenhagen: Yup. He’s Willie Calhoun.

1:16
Jeff: Thoughts on HS MIF/IF Bryce Reagan?

1:17
Eric A Longenhagen: I dig the bat. Swing is handsy but the bat is quick from both sides of the plate, think he has a good chance to hit. Not sure where he fits on defense, didn’t think his hands were great when I aw him over the summer and am not sure he’s an infielder, or at least not a good one.

1:17
Ricky Bobby: If you ain’t first, you’re last

1:18
Eric A Longenhagen: Sure, but probably more correct.

1:18
James: What are your thoughts on Evan White? Good discipline and low K% in his short time in A ball last year. Does he become an everyday player and if so, when?

1:18
1:18
Eric A Longenhagen: Has an ETA and all that

1:19
greg: I know we’re still a long, long way off.  But do you know if you’ll be doing the live video thing for the draft again this year?  That was an immensely enjoyable way to watch things unfold that day.

1:20
Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah but I’d like to do it somewhere that has a much better internet connection than Longenhagen Manor.

1:20
Kevin: Lolo Sanchez is getting recognition after his strong performance in the GCL. What adjustments did he make after not showing much with the bat the previous season in the DSL?

1:21
Eric A Longenhagen: Didn’t have notes on him from his time in DSL and wouldn’t put my stick into stats from such a low level.

1:21
Stovokor: What’s your take on Kyle Cody? Still an RP or has he vaulted himself to potential MOR SP?

1:21
Eric A Longenhagen: Stock is up but still think he’s a reliever.

1:21
Saber Tooth Tiger: how close do you find winker’s value to be to Acuña?

1:22
Eric A Longenhagen: We have a 65 on Acuna and a 50 on Winker. So, that means we think Acuna is a 4-5 win player, and Winker is a 2-2.5

1:23
Morbo: I get the concept of giving a compensatory draft pick to teams that loose a free agent that has been given a qualifying offer but what’s the logic behind the team signing that FA loosing a draft pick? Wouldn’t it just be easier to a lot x number of spots for compensatory draft pics and if they aren’t needed they aren’t assigned and every team gets to pick essentially one pick earlier? Would benefit small market teams loosing FAs while not damaging the FAs value, or am I missing something?

1:23
Eric A Longenhagen: There are probably corner cases that make this imperfect but I agree it’s better than what we’ve got.

1:23
Spring Training: Any early buzz or excitement yet?

1:23
Eric A Longenhagen: Oh yes. Dbacks/ASU tomorrow.

1:24
Jeff: What’s up with Heimlich and Oregon State? How could they actually allow that guy to play ball?

1:28
Eric A Longenhagen: It dominated discussions I had with scouts at the field this weekend. Nobody wants to condemn someone forever for what they did at age fifteen, but this something was particularly heinous and repeated. And now the family is backtracking his guilty plea and the kid won’t speak with the media, which is just making things even more complicated. Everyone comes off looking bad in this situation, literally everyone.

1:28
Dusty: Is Wander Javier someone to keep an eye on this year? What would you say is his biggest obstacle?

1:29
Eric A Longenhagen: Yes, needs to mature, physically.

1:29
Kelvin: How likely do you think Jeren Kendall will be to capitalize on his outstanding tools?  Basically, be a Major League starter.

1:30
Eric A Longenhagen: More likely than I would have said in June. Swing changes (which he needs) are becoming more common and more readily accepted by players.

1:30
JP: Jon Heyman wrote a little while back that Scott Kingery will play 2B, 3B, and SS before a mid-season promotion. Any chance Kingery might get called up to play 3B (in place of Franco) if Hernandez is still sticking around at 2B?

1:30
Eric A Longenhagen: If Franco hits like he did last year, yeah.

1:30
Cold in Minnesota: I’ve seen it mentioned the Twins could move Fernando Romero to the bullpen. It’s way too soon for that discussion considering the lack of frontline SP they’ve been able to develop or sign, right?

1:32
Eric A Longenhagen: I agree that it makes sense to continue developing him as a starter in case it works out, yes. Because the value he adds if it does is really substantial.

1:32
Sharp: The Nationals added Kelvin Gutierrez to their 40-man this year.  As a slap-hitting, doubles power 3rd baseman, does his defense play up enough to hold the corner (or a shift to being a 6-5 2nd baseman) or is he doomed to not have a MLB level profile?

1:32
Eric A Longenhagen: He’s a 45 or 45 glove at 3B but played 1B in the Fall League and could either be a low-end regular or good corner bench bat.

1:32
Nuschler: Edwin Rios has hit everywhere but seems buried in the Dodgers’ system. What is his future?

1:33
Eric A Longenhagen: He’s 1B-only for me and needs to become more patient for me to feel good about him clearing that offensive bar. Can he really hold a .350+ BABIP forever?

1:34
LudeBurger: Any word on what happened to Hankins?

1:35
Eric A Longenhagen: Someone from BA (I think it was Carlos) reported it’s his shoulder….

1:35
Brady: Would you have drafted Hagen Danner as a pitcher or a catcher?

1:35
Eric A Longenhagen: I had him in as a C but I was in the minority

1:35
A Boy Named Yu: What happened to Trevor Clifton?  He started off 2017 like 2016 but then imploded.

1:36
Eric A Longenhagen: Velo and command were both bad when I saw him last spring but I don’t know how or why it happened.

1:37
Finnaly Leaving Las Vegas: What kind of OPS does Guillorme need to be regular ML. Is his D that good?

1:38
Eric A Longenhagen: It is very good. He could be a 45 like Jose Iglesias is: put the ball in play a ton, play great defense

1:38
Dominik: Can hoskins play the of? Statcast speed had him like second slowest of all guys playing of last year.

1:38
Eric A Longenhagen: He’s 1b-only for me.

1:39
Hunky Dory: When was the last position-player heavy class?  Feel like every year we say “oh look, deep in pitching once again…”

1:40
Eric A Longenhagen: 2015 maybe? All those SS, Tucker, Benintendi, Kingery, Newman, Hayes, Grisham…

1:40
Eric A Longenhagen: Mountcastle has been okay…I’m probably missing some

1:40
Jack: Has the “launch angle revolution” begun to affect HS and collage approaches? Are there any major programs that have begun to teach kids the uppercut?

1:41
Eric A Longenhagen: Yup. There are Driveline kids all over JUCO ball and some D1 programs, like Oregon St and Vandy, are into that stuff.

1:41
jkim: Is it just me, or does the Dodger starting pitching look a bit depleted? Kershaw-Hill-Wood-Maeda-Ryu? The no.2 spot looks weaker than other contenders no?

1:42
Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah, but they fought through that stuff last year, too.

1:43
Eric A Longenhagen: Okay, that’ll do it for me today. Thanks for stopping in. Kiley may not be chatting tomorrow because he’s in Santo Domingo for the MLB IFA showcase so if you show up tomorrow and he’s not here, that’s why. Have a great week, see you next Tuesday.

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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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Vision1
Member
Vision1

Missouri State is another team heavy in on the launch angle revolution. They hired a guy who used to run the player development for the Texas Rangers Dominican camp to be a video/analytics analyst and they use the StatCast data to identify current launch angle, then exit velocity from different launch angles to tweak the swings of their hitters for maximum impact.

Then they do the opposite with the pitchers to identify the type of contact hitters make off of their different pitches to maximize their usage. It’s pretty cool stuff. I’d imagine that any college team that has StatCast machines installed at their stadium will be in on things like that (or it’s being underutilized just for scout data for their players draft positions).

JackS
Member
Member
JackS

Thanks! Interesting stuff