Phillies Top 10 Prospects

I’m not a huge fan of prospect lists, which provide a momentary snapshot of a system that is in constant flux and evolution. But the internet loves lists of all kinds and I can’t deprive you of that, can I? As always, I see just about everyone in person and get info from scouting and front office sources to supplement my own evaluations. If you want long form, detailed scouting reports on most of these guys, you can find them here. Enjoy 4000 words of Phillies prospect realism. Continue reading…

Phillies Prospect Conversations: Keith Law (ESPN)

Two and a half weeks ago I was fortunate enough to spend most of my Saturday with Keith Law as I took in that afternoon’s tilt between East Carolina and Virginia. We sat basking in the glow of the first vibrant sun either of us had seen in months, wearing the same clothes we had the day before (at least I was), drinking up every ounce of pleasing stimuli emitted by the world around us. The warmth from the sun, the sights and sounds on the field, the smell of the barbecue stand behind us. It was perfect. And then, as if the baseball gods had decided we were having too nice a time, a little, blonde, southern boy proceeded to kick the seat between Keith and I for the next seven innings with what had to be a heavy pair of BK Ratch Techs. Keith, who was filming swings and needed the kid to cease and desist, politely asked him to stop several times while I spent most of the game hoping Pai Natal actually existed and that this child would be butterless on Christmas Eve.

You probably don’t need an introduction to Keith and his work, which can be found on ESPN.com and is well worth a subscription to Insider on its own. Keith’s Phillies top 10, headlined b J.P. Crawford, is here. Our conversation follows. Continue reading…

The Future is Unwritten: Jan Hernandez

Until the Ben Wetzler Tattletale garbage surfaced, everything about the Phillies 2013 draft was pie. Delicious, creamy, tooled-up pie with a buttery, athletic crust. Jan Hernandez became a key ingredient in that pie when he was drafted in the third round and signed for $550,000. He became the first ever player from the Carlos Beltran Academy to be selected and is one of the more talented players we’ve seen come out of Puerto Rico over the last half decade. Only four total Puerto Rican players were selected with a top 100 draft pick from 2007 through 2011. Talent on the island appeared to have dried up until the loaded 2012 draft produced four top 100 talents on its own, including #1 overall pick Carlos Correa. Let’s hope that the last two years are signs that a once rich baseball locale is emerging from the dark ages caused by the draft’s blatant anti-trust violations and experiencing a talent renaissance. But back to Hernandez… Continue reading…

Phillies Prospect Conversations: Josh Norris (Baseball America)

Better than anyone, Baseball America has been providing comprehensive coverage of all levels of America’s Pastime for over three decades. Whether you’re a subscriber to their website, magazine or purchase the annual Prospect Handbook (which you can find here) you’re going to get well written, informative, dynamic content. I visit their site on a daily basis and encourage you to do the same. The July 2 coverage is second to none, they do outstanding reporting (like Aaron Fitt has on the Phillies/Ben Wetzler story) and generate content with excellence in all forms of media. I’ve been purchasing the Prospect Handbook since my senior year of high school (when Phil Hughes was on the cover) and have been a subscriber ever since I left the IronPigs and could no longer steal the new mag issues from the Coca-Cola Park press box. This year the BA writer covering the Phillies list is Josh Norris, formerly of The Trentonian. Our conversation follows. Continue reading…

Crash Bag, Vol. 94: Ben Wetzler Lightning Round

NBA trade deadline, labor strife, Little Big League…we’ve got it all this week.

@truelladelphia: “How great is Sam Hinkie?”

Pretty great. Early in the season, I had an expectation of getting at least one first-round pick (either this year or next) for Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes, but that stopped being realistic a while ago, thanks to the quality of this year’s draft and the NBA’s inscrutable player movement rules, which gridlocked the draft pick market to a certain extent. Hawes and Turner were both going to walk as free agents this summer anyway, so getting literally anything for them was a win. I would’ve liked to see Hawes go to either Oklahoma City or the Clippers, where I think he could’ve played a significant role on a title contender as a rotation big, but Hinkie got a return on Hawes and Turner while not panic trading Thaddeus Young for 50 cents on the dollar. Second-round NBA draft picks are one of the most useless commodities in sports, but this is where the Astros comparison I’ve been harping on all year comes in–if you take over a team without serious assets, you bide your time by placing a bunch of long-shot bets until you can get some assets. Anyway, Hinkie got rid of three veterans (including Lavoy Allen) for which he had no use and took on a net of either five or six (almost certainly six) second-round draft picks. A smart team can get one rotation player out of six second-round picks, or trade them for something else. This is the guy trading the red paper clip for the house.

Continue reading…

Phillies Prospect Conversation: Kiley McDaniel (ScoutingBaseball.com)

We continue our discussions on the Phillies farm system with Kiley McDaniel, he of MSN’s ScoutingBaseball.com and formerly of ESPN, Baseball Prospectus and some front office work, all before the age of 30. Based in Florida, McDaniel does an enormous amount of in-person work on amateur and Latin American talent and, for our purposes, sees plenty of Florida State League action as well. He provides excellent video content, rock solid scouting opinions and even breaks an occasional news story once in a while, including this doozy. You can also make the case that he has a better head of hair than I do. I wouldn’t, but you could. While Kiley’s stuff is mostly behind a pay wall (it’s absolutely worth it if you’re a hardcore baseball geek) his Phillies list is not. Lucky you. Here’s our discussion: Continue reading…

Longenhagen’s 2014 College Scouting Schedule

I did this last year so I figured I might as well publish it again. This is my college baseball scouting schedule for the spring. In addition to these games (most of which are probably withing driving distance of Eastern Pennsylvania readers) I’ll also be seeing a handful of prep players (Liam Sabino, Joe Gatto, Devin Smletzer, etc.). Now I won’t get to all of these games and I don’t expect to write about any of these kids for Crashburn so I’m only posting this is for you, the readers. If you’re looking for a reason to see more baseball this spring (including baseball in late February and March when there isn’t any other way to get it) or to expand your horizons as an observer by watching baseball in a strange and interesting environment, this list is a nice guide for you to follow.

The chart is fairly self-explanatory. Players are sorted by conference and then by school. I have the dates those players are within driving distance of me and, in the next column, the schools at which they play for those dates. I have notable players emboldened. The first date on the list? East Carolina’s Jeff Hoffman comes to Virginia on February 21st. Some people think Hoffman has a case to go 1-1 in the upcoming draft. I’ll find out whether or not that merits consideration when, on March 21st, I go to College Park to see Carlos Rodon. There’s more going on in the northeast than usual this year and I encourage you to get off you ass and check it out. If anyone has questions I’ll answer them in the comments. Happy scouting. Continue reading…

The Future is Unwritten: Yoel Mecias

“So, who’s your guy?”

This is the question that former Baseball Prospectus prospect writer and current Houston Astros Scouting Director, Kevin Goldstein, would ask current BP prospect writer, Jason Parks, as they were about to finish discussing a team’s farm system on the now defunct Up and In Podcast. The vague simplicity of the question is a bit misleading. Really what the question means is, “What player deep in Team X’s system do you like more than the rest of the industry and media seem to? Who’s your favorite sleeper in the system?”

Yoel Mecias is my guy. Continue reading…

The Future is Unwritten: Zach Green

A regularly discussed factor in prospect evaluation is risk. The youngest prospects, while often possessing tremendous upside, have a long developmental road to travel before they can reach the Majors. Often, somewhere along the way they take a wrong turn and end up lost, short, an organizational player. AS we project prospects we have to be mindful of the number and degree of difficulty of the developmental hurdles a teenage player must clear on his way up the farm system. Third baseman Zach Green is no different. Green’s ceiling is quite solid, that of an above average everyday player. If everything breaks right for him the Phillies are looking at a decent defensive third baseman with well above average power, enough to make up the acceptable amount of swing and miss in his game. The great, yawning chasm between that optimal outcome and where Green is now will take years to close. Continue reading…

Phillies Prospect Conversations: Chris Crawford (MLBDraftInsider and ESPN)

And so we begin a new season’s worth of conversations with the internet’s best prospect writers. We’ll examine those writers’ lists and talk with them about the Phillies system. Our first participant this year is Chris Crawford, he of ESPN’s MLB Draft coverage and MLBDraftInsider.com. Chris does really terrific work and his readership is deservedly growing at an exponential rate. He’s currently mowing through farm systems as he pumps out reports with his Top 14 in ’14 series. The Phillies list is here. It’s free and it includes meaty reports on all fourteen guys he ranks as well as present/future tool grades. If you like his work (you will) and you’re interested in the upcoming draft (you should be) then I’d encourage you to buy Crawford’s excellent Draftbook. It’s just $1.99 and for that you’ll get 150 amateur scouting reports in a neat and clean PDF whhich will be emailed to you within an hour or two of purchase. You’ll also get an updated version of the book closer to draft day. It’s a terrific resource, one I used to build my preliminary amateur schedule for this spring, and it can be ordered here.  Let’s get to my chat with Chris. Continue reading…