Eric Longenhagen Prospects Chat: Open the pod bay doors please, Trackman

12:02
Eric A Longenhagen: Hi everyone, give me like 2 min (I’m wrapping up a call about Cubs prospects)

12:02
Eric A Longenhagen: (sorry)

12:04
Eric A Longenhagen: Okay, thanks.

12:04
Eric A Longenhagen: The Cardinals list is up on the site (but you probably already knew that)

12:04
Eric A Longenhagen: Let’s begin

12:04
Bloop and a Blast: Any chance Senzel moves to MI in the MLB? My fantasy team needs a SS…..

12:05
Eric A Longenhagen: Scouts considered him at 2B as an amateur and I suppose Eugenio Suarez’s success could force the Reds to ask themselves if he can actually do it.

12:05
Jimmy Ballgame: Willy Adames starting at SS opening day for the Rays?

12:06
Eric A Longenhagen: Maybe? What we know about TB and service time gives me pause in declaring him an opening day starter.

12:06
Tommy N.: Last time you had a reliever in the top 100? And does Andres Munoz have a chance of cracking that list one day?

12:08
Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah, the guys I think will be dominant fit the bill. I’ve had Frankie Montas on there in the past and Sandy Alcantara will make this year’s while likely projecting in relief. Munoz could get there, sure. I’m guessing he blew up this weekend because he was on TV? Lotta questions about him in here. This is when I remind you to read the in-season Daily Notes: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/instagraphs/daily-prospect-notes-515/

12:09
James: Who among the Astros’ corner infield backlog of White, Reed, Moran, and Davis has the best shot at making the team and having an impact? Do they trade some of the others?

12:09
Eric A Longenhagen: I prefer Davis of that group, then Reed.

12:10
Silly Beane: Eric, I’m enjoying the Cardinals top 23.  Thanks!  I’m curious about ranking Mercardo all the way down at #16.  Given all of the buzz I’ve seen about his “break out” I expected him to be higher than that–at least above Garcia.  Could you please elaborate a little bit on your ranking process and criteria?

12:12
Eric A Longenhagen: On the process: Between my in-person looks (one game in Springfield and all of Fall League) at Mercado and in discussing him with scouts, I arrive at the tool grades you see in the list. Those tool grades have real-world translation to on-paper performance and we can interpolate a player’s overall role projection based on that.

12:14
Eric A Longenhagen: On Mercado: He had been bad, really bad, for four years. He can run, he’ fine in CF and had a good year with the bat, but his pull-only approach and aggressiveness, in concert with one another, gave me pause about his offensive future. I’m not convinced he hits enough to play everyday, so I have a bench grade on him.

12:14
James: Any chance the Astros take the Chris Sale route with JB Bukauskas and put him in the bullpen with an eye towards possibly stretching him out down the road?

12:15
Eric A Longenhagen: I have no inside info on that, but I know lots of clubs saw him as a reliever pre-draft, so yes I think that’s possible. But I think it’s more likely they just leave him in the bullpen (maybe in a multi-inning role) if he’s dominant in their initial try.

12:16
Johnny: Giants desperately need a lefty reliever in the majors, anybody worthwhile in the pipeline? Snelten?

12:17
Eric A Longenhagen: I still think Okert is a better option

12:17
LegallyEagle: His pitching more established, how would you grade Ohtani as a hitter? 65 grade overall?

12:20
Eric A Longenhagen: 70 overall, said in offseason (and I think summer 100) that he’d be my top guy. As a hitter I’ve got 40/45 hit with at least 60 raw.

12:20
EVH: With his strong season, does Dustin May make your top 100? What’s your opinion on his ceiling and most probably outcome?

12:21
Eric A Longenhagen: Not a top 100 lock. He’s in that 45/50 limbo for me right now. Chance to be a mid-rotation guy more due to command than stuff.

12:21
Mike S: On your 5/2/17 chat someone asked Ignoring proximity to majors and the likelihood of reaching his full potential, which prospect in the minors has the highest ceiling?  You mentioned Moncada and Delvin Perez.   Obviously Perez had a disappointing year, but is he really no longer in the Cardinals top twenty?

12:22
Eric A Longenhagen: Yup. Six months of bad reports will do that.

12:23
Zwibi: How much does Senzel’s ranking change with the rumors of him playing multiple positions next year. Seems he could have a serious impact as a MI

12:23
Eric A Longenhagen: Sure. League wOBA at 2B is like .317 and at 3B it’s closer to .330

12:24
Eric A Longenhagen: I’d like to see him play there, obviously.

12:24
Eric A Longenhagen: He’s already a highly ranked player, not sure how much will change.

12:24
Padres88: Brett Kennedy hasn’t shown up on any lists despite a seemingly successful AA debut. The Padres are deep so he is understandably buried… is he a real SP prospect?

12:24
Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah, a possible #5 for me. Saw him this summer with San Antonio. 91-93 with some movement, average secondaries.

12:24
Cody: Would the Braves be smart to move Allard in a deal this winter to maximize his value, considering the depth of LHP prospects in the system and the concerns regarding his fastball?

12:26
Eric A Longenhagen: If there are concerns about his fastball then trading him now would probably not be ‘maximizing his value.’

12:26
Cleg: Any chance Urias’ raw power gets  a bump up from the future 40 you gave him last year?

12:27
Eric A Longenhagen: I have a 45 on it based on AFL BP looks. He might hit so much that his game power outpaces his raw, though.

12:27
Jeff: How does Jose Albertos compare to say a Carlos Martinez or Luis Severino at the same age?

12:28
Eric A Longenhagen: Body is worse, arm health more concerning. But he’ll already show you three plus pitches whereas the other two needed time to tinker and find that extra weapon.

12:29
Bleh: How much does a year like the one Yadier Alvarez have on his prospect value?

12:31
Eric A Longenhagen: Maybe a half grade reduction. Still a 21-year old who reached and missed bats at Double-A. I still look at the delivery and think he’ll eventually find enough command, though his lack of progress (on the breaking balls, too) is frustrating.

12:31
PandaMan Does what Panda Man wan: Does a 80 hit, 20 everything else player play in the MLB?

12:31
Eric A Longenhagen: Nope

12:31
Junkyard Dog: What are the chances Eric Haase makes the Indians opening day roster, either as the starter or backup?

12:32
Eric A Longenhagen: 5%? I think they’re contented with their current catching situation, hence the attempt to move  Mejia to 3B

12:32
Dodgers catchers : Who ends up being better, Will Smith or Keibert Ruiz?

12:32
Eric A Longenhagen: Smith

12:32
Carlton: Eric, what role do you see Tyler Wade playing for the Yanks this upcoming year?

12:33
Eric A Longenhagen: Super utility

12:33
Lilith: Could you talk a bit about the SS’s at the top of the 2018 class (Turang, De Sedas, Madrigal)? How would you rank them and how do they compare to other classes with great SS’s at the top, like 2015 with Swanson, Bregman and Rodgers?

12:36
Eric A Longenhagen: That’s tough. I so love Madrigal but if you think De Sedas stays at SS, that’s the guy. There are some similarities between this group and the 2015 trio with Turang playing the Swanson role (tools aren’t loud but he plays SS and can do a bit of everything), Madrigal as Bregman (not consensus lock at SS and, if he’s not, how much pop is there?) and De Sedas as Rodgers (highest ceiling bat of the group but obviously the riskiest)

12:36
John: Where would Otani rank in terms of best prospects in the last 5 years?

12:37
Eric A Longenhagen: Okay so starting in 2013, not 2012 (which would include Harper and Trout who’d both be ahead of Otani for me) and being careful NOT to be revisionist:

12:40
Eric A Longenhagen: Seager, Buxton, Lindor (he was my #1 overall in ’15)…that might be it?

12:40
Eric A Longenhagen: Jose Fernandez probably belong up there but, again, we’re not allowed to be revisionist here. Only looking at how we thought of these guys before they debuted

12:40
BB: Does Bo Bichette stay at SS long term, or does he move to 2B/3B?

12:40
Eric A Longenhagen: I think he moves

12:41
Padre: Who ends up being the SS in San Diego in the long run, Tatis or Urias?

12:41
Eric A Longenhagen: Gabriel Arias

12:41
JaysFan: Edward Olivares seemed hidden in the shadows of Vlad and Bo and friends. How many of his tools will play?

12:42
Eric A Longenhagen: Aha, yes. I like Olivares. Scouts have concerns about him swinging and missing at upper levels but he’s got a great frame, some natural loft, his bat is quick, chance to stay in CF. He’s a nice prospect.

12:42
Mario Mendoza: What’s your current projection for Anthony Alford?

12:42
Eric A Longenhagen: Above average regular. He has monster tools.

12:42
WeMissDarvish: What can Rangers fans expect from Ronald Guzman next year?

12:43
Eric A Longenhagen: Ii think he’ll be a terrific all-around everyday first baseman, more hit than power.

12:43
Dood: The Angels look like a system loaded with low level talent and could be a top 5 system in a couple years even though they are middle of the pack currently.  Any other teams fit that mold?  thanks!

12:46
Eric A Longenhagen: Good question. I’d look toward the systems who do well casting a wide net in Latin America. Mets, Nationals both have great programs, Dodgers too. Pittsburgh does well there and might be selling off big league pieces that make their system more loaded than it is already. Cubs have a lot of young, interesting depth.

12:46
Phan: The phils young arms, bar Nola, have underwhelmed at the major league level so far. Any of them stick out to you?

12:46
Eric A Longenhagen: I think Eickoff and VV have looked the best when they’re healthy.

12:46
WeMissDarvish: Cole Ragans seems to live off of fastball life in lieu of decent velo. Is there a chance at an uptick given his physique? What kind of upside should we expect here?

12:48
Eric A Longenhagen: I’d guess not. Lots of HS arms never throw harder than they do in HS once they’re going every fifth day instead of once a week, and for six months instead of three or four. I still think Ragans is going to be really good. That fastball plays even at 88-82

12:48
Alex A: What prospects should I shop to improve the big league club?

12:48
Eric A Longenhagen: Why not just develop the prospects?

12:48
Jordan: Do you know anything about joey krehbiel of the diamondbacks?

12:49
Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah, 24 y/o reliever who missed bats at Double-A. Violent arm action, plus curveball. Good shot to be a big league contributor out of the ‘pen.

12:49
Peg: Can Naylor change his swing to tap into his power without taking too much from his hit tool?

12:50
Eric A Longenhagen: Maybe not change the swing, definitely change the approach.

12:50
Moltar: Looking forward to reading all your great work in the top prospects series! Is there a particular schedule for their release? Are you going in order or just presenting them as they’re ready?

12:50
Eric A Longenhagen: Thanks very much, it’ll be the latter.

12:50
Padres88: Despite the demotion, is Pedro Avila another example of a starter prospect lost in a deep Padres system? Tons of Ks…Great FB command, a nice curve and a chance at a plus changeup

12:51
Eric A Longenhagen: Yes, definitely a dude overshadowed by Baez, etc. Was like 92-94 with command this fall, and I agree both the change and curve will be effective.

12:51
Upcoming Schedule: Hey Eric, looking forward to your upcoming prospect releases. Any idea of what teams are next? Thanks.

12:51
Eric A Longenhagen: Cubbies next then the rest of the NL Central

12:51
Mitch: Willy Adames, future 20 HR SS in the MLB?

12:52
Eric A Longenhagen: I believe so

12:52
Babe Lincoln: Have you scouted Ohtani at all?

12:52
Eric A Longenhagen: Spring of ’16. It was insane.

12:52
Eric A Longenhagen:

12:53
R: If they redrafted the 2015 draft, would Chance Adams  be taken before Dillon Tate?

12:54
Eric A Longenhagen: Hmmm, I’ll say no. I don’t think the industry missed on Adams as much as NYY knew what they were getting/could make out of him.

12:54
Mike from Tempe: Tough question, any MiLB free agents that are interesting to you?

12:56
Eric A Longenhagen: Bethancourt is still interesting to me, so is Ronny Rodriguez. Enrique Burgos had a bad year but I once thought he’d at least be a setup guy sitting 96+ with a plus slider.

12:56
Eric A Longenhagen: umm….

12:57
Eric A Longenhagen: Angelo Gumbs, (sorry I’m peeking at the list now)

12:58
Eric A Longenhagen: Several of the Marlins guys coudl play niche roles (like Yefri Perez can really run)

12:58
Eric A Longenhagen: Yadiel Rivera can play SS but not hit

12:59
Eric A Longenhagen: Yimmi Brasoban, perhaps

12:59
Eric A Longenhagen: okay, that’s enough

12:59
Andy: Would it be wise for the Cardinals to hold both Knizner and Kelly or should they trade one this offseason?

1:02
Eric A Longenhagen: That’s tough. I think there’s a good argument to be made that Kelly makes Yadi better by lightening his workload and Yadi is under contract for a few more years. Knizner isn’t ready, but I think he has more impact potential with the bat than Kelly does and it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s a better player than Kelly in 5 years, but it makes more sense to move him now, especially if you’re trying to hop right back into contention.

1:02
LudeBurger: Man, I’m just glad fangraphs has a prospect writer for consecutive seasons! I’m liking the new format too

1:03
Eric A Longenhagen: Shaking that Defense Against the Dark Arts label one year at a time

1:04
YKnotDisco!?: Evan White: LF? 1B? Both? Where do you see him eventually settling in at?

1:06
Eric A Longenhagen: Running into the same sort of discourse about White as was had with Bellinger (I AM NOT COMPARING THEM) in that some people want to see him in CF (he runs well enough to play there) while others think he’s too damn good at 1B to move. This is probably more important for Seattle to decide than it was for LAD with Bellinger (whose bat plays anywhere) because some think White’s not a regular UNLESS he’s a CF.

1:06
Justin: Great write up on the Cardinals prospects. Which one of their non-top 10 prospects could elevate into the top 5 or top 3 with a big 2018 season?

1:06
Eric A Longenhagen: Oviedo

1:06
Nick: Would Ryan O’Hearn be a serviceable replacement for Hosmer?

1:06
Eric A Longenhagen: I believe so but scouts are mixed on him.

1:07
YKnotDisco!?: Furthest HR you’ve witnessed live in-game?

1:08
Eric A Longenhagen: Miguel Sano hit one over the freaking jumbotron in Reading. I’ve also seen Greg Bird, Aaron Judge, Dylan Cozens and Joey Gallo vaporize balls 450+ feet away.

1:08
Seth: Any players in the AFL surprise you? Pleasantly or otherwise?

1:10
Eric A Longenhagen: I’m in on Lamonte Wade as an everyday player. Troy Montgomery with LAA has been good. I think Thairo Estrada might be a fringe regular now instead of just a nice bench guy. Knizner, Nicky Lopez, Will Smith, Kody Eaves, Austin Riley’s glove, Blake Trahan’s makeup

1:11
Eric A Longenhagen: All good things

1:11
Dan: Can you tell me what your cubs call was about?

1:12
Nick: College players becoming draft-eligible after 2 years instead of 3 would be a good thing right? Any talk of changing the current requirements?

1:13
Eric A Longenhagen: I’ve heard nothing about changing those rules. I’m always for what’s best for scouts and players, the two primary labor groups with whom I interact, and I’m not sure how moving the requirement impacts the latter.

1:13
Guest: What does Flaherty need to do to reach a #2/#3 ceiling? Improve his secondaries command?

1:13
Eric A Longenhagen: Yeah that’s what I’d say: max out the breaking ball command

1:13
Matt: Luis Patino a sleeper in Padres system? What’s his off speed stuff like?

1:14
Eric A Longenhagen: Yup. Wrote about him in June: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/instagraphs/daily-prospect-notes-629/

1:14
Eric A Longenhagen: Average slider, I’d say

1:15
Eric A Longenhagen: I’ll say Robles aaaaaandd Forrest WHitley

1:15
Eric A Longenhagen: To this:

1:16
Christian: Eric who would you pick as the NL and AL Rookie of the years next year?

1:16
Dan: So just how good can Ademan from the Cubs be? Would you rather have him or Paredes long-term?

1:16
Eric A Longenhagen: I prefer Ademan. Ranked him aggressively last offseason and mid-year. Better athlete, god chance to stay at SS and have a well-rounded offensive gam

1:17
Denard: What kind of realistic upside do you see from Bryan Mata and Christopher Torres?

1:17
Eric A Longenhagen: Mid-rotation starter and Doubles-machine MIF

1:20
Eric A Longenhagen: Okay, I must depart for the ballpark. Thanks for all your questions this week. Good bye

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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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ELIDrake
Member
ELIDrake

On the 20/80 scale can someone rate Otani’s best three pitches, as well as his hit tool?