Twins Add Wins with Marwin Gonzalez

For the second winter in a row, the Twins have taken advantage of a depressed free agent market to load up on players via short-term contracts, even doing so after camps opened. On Friday, they made their latest move, adding switch-hitting superutilityman Marwin Gonzalez — who ranked 15th on our Top 50 Free Agents List last November — to the fold on a two-year, $21 million deal.

Originally signed by the Cubs out of Venezuela in 2005, Gonzalez has spent the entirety of his seven-year major league career with the Astros, who acquired him from the Red Sox in a Rule 5-pick-and-trade in December 2011. Last year, he wasn’t quite as super with the bat as he was in 2017 (.303/.377/.530, 144 wRC+), but he overcame a slow start to hit a respectable .247/.324/.409 in 552 PA, with 16 homers and a 104 wRC+; it’s the fourth time in five years he’s had a wRC+ above 100. He’s been above-average from both sides of the plate in each of the past two seasons, and has a negligible platoon split for his career (104 wRC+ vs righties, 101 vs. lefties).

The versatility of “Swiss G” — that’s agent Scott Boras’ name for his client, and I swear on a stack of baseball cards that I won’t use it unironically ever again — extends to the field, of course. Last year, Gonzalez made 65 starts in left field, 29 at shortstop, 21 at first base, 19 at second base, and two at third base; he also made late-inning appearances at the other two outfield positions, and probably manned Minute Maid Park concession stands on both the first and third base sides when he wasn’t playing. The story was similar in 2017 (38 starts in left, 33 at short, 20 at first, 15 at third, and 14 at second). He can spot start to give a regular a day off, hold down a position for weeks at a time during another player’s IL stint (as he did last year for Yulieski Gurriel, Jose Altuve, and Carlos Correa), or serve as a primary option when other plans fall through (as the Astros’ left field machinations did last year). Defensively, he’s been a plus in left, and more or less average everywhere else except shortstop, where the metrics suggest he’s stretched (-6.5 UZR and -8 DRS over the past two seasons), though as we’re dealing with small slices of playing time, sample-size caveats do apply.

With 4.0 WAR in 2017 but a more modest 1.6 last year, and a total of just 3.1 from 2014-2016, Gonzalez was never in the same class as Ben Zobrist in terms of delivering value, though Boras reportedly sought a Zobristian four-year, $60 million deal for his client. Even if that was never going to happen, Gonzalez — like so many other free agents — was expected to net a larger contract than he landed, because frankly, very few teams couldn’t use a player like him. For our Top 50 roundup, Kiley McDaniel projected him to receive three years and $39 million, while even suggesting that a four-year deal was possible; our crowdsource median came in at three years and $30 million. But with deals like these already inked…

Mid-Priced Free Agent Infielders
Player Pos Prev WAR Proj WAR Age Med Years Med Total New Tm Yrs $
DJ LeMahieu 2B 2.0 2.1 30 3 $36.0M Yankees 2 $24.0M
Daniel Murphy 2B 0.8 1.9 33 2 $28.0M Rockies 2 $24.0M
Josh Donaldson 3B 1.3 4.1 33 1 $23.0M Braves 1 $23.0M
Jed Lowrie 2B 4.9 2.1 34 2 $24.0M Mets 2 $20.0M
Mike Moustakas 3B 2.4 2.5 30 3 $36.0M Brewers 1 $10.0M
Brian Dozier 2B 0.8 2.2 31 3 $36.0M Nationals 1 $9.0M
Jonathan Schoop 2B 0.5 2.2 27 Twins 1 $7.5M
Med(ian) Years and Med(ian) Total contract values from our crowdsource balloting (https://blogs.fangraphs.com/contract-crowdsourcing-2018-19-ballot-1-of-7/).

…a three-year contract for that kind of scratch wasn’t happening, particularly at this stage of the winter. Against that backdrop, it’s worth noting that Gonzalez, whose contract projection was in the ballpark of those of Moustakas and Dozier, outdid them both in AAV and total dollars. He wouldn’t have been a bad choice for either of those jobs, and personally, I’d much rather have him in a multi-position role than LeMahieu, a fantastic fielder at second base but less of a hitter, and with less experience juggling gloves.

Gonzalez’s signing is of a piece with what the Twins have been doing lately. Last winter, fresh off 85 wins and an AL Wild Card appearance, the team signed Logan Morrison to a one-year, $6.5 million deal on February 28, and Lance Lynn to a one-year, $12 million deal on March 12, those after previously adding Zach Duke (one year, $2.15 million), Michael Pineda (two years, $10 million), Addison Reed (two years, $16.75 million), and Fernando Rodney (one year, $4.5 million) in December and January. Morrison struggled and then needed hip surgery, Lynn scuffled as well, and when it was clear that it wasn’t the Twins’ year to win, they flipped Lynn along with Duke on July 30, part of a flurry of pre-deadline deals that also saw them trade Dozier away to the Dodgers, Eduardo Escobar to the Diamondbacks, and Ryan Pressley to the Astros, before sending Rodney to the A’s in August.

Despite so much going wrong — including dreadful, injury-marred seasons from Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, and the since-departed Ervin Santana (who agreed to a minor-league deal with the White Sox on Friday) — the Twins finished 78-84. They’ve been busy handing out one-year deals this winter, adding Nelson Cruz ($14.3 million), Schoop, Martin Perez ($3.5 million), Blake Parker ($1.8 million), and Ronald Torreyes ($800,000), not to mention minor league deals for the likes of Lucas Duda and Tim Collins, plus C.J. Cron via a waiver claim.

Gonzalez is likely to reprise his multiposition role in Minnesota, filling in here and there while insuring against the possibility that things go south again for Schoop or Sano, whose 2018 performances offer less hope than their relatively sunny projections for two-plus wins apiece. Schoop, who split his season between the Orioles and Brewers, dipped from a 122 wRC+ and 3.8 WAR in 2017 to 80 and 0.5 last year, while Sano, whose 2017 ended with surgery to implant a titanium rod in his left leg to help it heal from a stress reaction, hit for an 82 wRC+ with 0.0 WAR. The bummer of it is that Gonzalez could squeeze the wonderful Willians Astudillo off the 25-man roster, though it might be Ehire Adrianza, who can play shortstop but can’t catch, who winds up drawing the short straw.

Given his versatility and his relatively modest salary, Gonzalez could have helped a whole lot of teams. He figures to be well worth his money for the Twins.


FanGraphs Audio: Jeff Sullivan Animorphs Into a Sting Ray

Episode 856

Having announced his imminent departure from FanGraphs for the Tampa Bay Rays, Jeff Sullivan joins the program one last time to discuss his experience as an online baseball person, the future state of what Jeff has called “the one good place on the internet,” and the geography of Florida spring training. Plus, Jeff shares what he can about what he’ll be doing for the Rays, and I share an Emotional Tale designed to make Jeff squirm.

Don’t hesitate to direct pod-related correspondence to @megrowler on Twitter.

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

Audio after the jump. (Approximate 46 min play time.)

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No New Ohtanis, but Another Wave of Two-Way Players Is Coming

Shohei Ohtani won’t be pitching this season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, and 2017 first-round picks Hunter Greene and Brendan McKay are a long way from reaching the majors, but this spring, several teams are experimenting with the possibility of two-way players — enough that it’s worth taking a closer look. If spring is a time to dream on lefty knuckleball pitchers who have been woodshedding in South Korea, then we can certainly spare a few thoughts for what might become a new breed of the 25th man.

Mind you, we’re not talking about a new generation of Ohtani clones. For these position players getting more serious about pitching, and the pitcher getting more serious about position play, the model is probably something closer to Brooks Kieshnick. A two-time winner of the Dick Howser Trophy in college for his double-duty work at the University of Texas, and then the 10th overall pick of the 1993 draft by the Cubs, Kieschnick more or less flopped in 113 games played for Chicago, Cincinnati, and Colorado from 1996-2001. He returned to the mound with the White Sox’s Triple-A Charlotte affiliate in 2002, and then with the Brewers in 2003-2004, where he livened up a pair of 94-loss seasons by hitting .286/.340/.496 with eight homers in 144 PA, and pitching to a 4.59 ERA and 4.13 FIP in 96 innings of relief work. He was more successful in the former year than the latter, totaling 0.8 WAR in his dual capacity overall.

The parallels of this quartet to Kieschnick aren’t exact, as each player has taken his own path, and each of these teams has its own vision of how this will work. In an age of longer pitching staffs and shorter benches, this nonetheless rates as a very interesting innovation, even if the returns don’t yield an Ohtani-level star.

Speaking of Ohtani, on the heels of a remarkable season in which he hit .285/.361/.564 with 22 homers and a 152 wRC+, and pitched to a 3.31 ERA and 3.57 FIP in 51.2 innings, he underwent surgery on October 1. The Angels are hoping to get his bat back in May, but he won’t pitch in 2019, which doesn’t rule out the possibility that they will have a two-way player on the roster at some point this season. Jared Walsh, a 25-year-old former 39th-round pick out of the University of Georgia, where he pitched regularly — most teams liked him more as a hurler than as a position player — in addition to playing first base, right field, and DH, is in camp on a non-roster invitation and pulling double duty.

Walsh, who bats and throws left-handed, hit a combined .277/.359/.536 with 29 homers while splitting his season almost evenly between the Halos’ Hi-A, Double-A ,and Triple-A affiliates. He played both outfield corners and first (he’s considered a plus defender at the latter position), and also made eight relief appearances — at least two at each stop — totaling 5.2 innings, striking out seven while allowing six hits and walking two. He pitched in some close games as well as some blowouts, taking an extra-inning loss at Inland Empire and notching a save at Salt Lake. Not that minor league reliever won-loss records mean anything, but he also went 1-1 in two appearances for the team’s A-level Burlington affiliate in 2016.

The Angels liked what they saw of Walsh on the mound enough to send him to the instructional league last fall. He received a crash course in mechanics and arm care, and reported to camp with the pitchers last week and began throwing bullpens. He sports an 88-91 mph fastball that can touch 93 or 94 mph (reports vary) and a slurvy breaking ball that he’s working to improve. The Angels believe he can pitch at the major league level in a relief capacity, though if he moves directly to the mound from a position (as he did in three games for Salt Lake), the team loses its designated hitter for the remainder of the game according to Rule 5.11(a)(14). Thus, that gambit might be saved for interleague games in NL parks.

“We feel like he can do both [roles] at the Major League level, especially with what he did last year offensively,” said new manager Brad Ausmus earlier this month.

“It’s exciting, but I’m trying to keep it simple,” said Walsh. “If I overthink it, things get too complicated. Just hit and pitch and have fun. I’m on the pitchers’ arm care program, so I’ll be doing that every day, but I’ll also be talking to the hitting coaches about hitting and all that stuff. Whatever the schedule is, I just figure it out that day.”

Walsh isn’t even the Angels’ only two-way experiment. They also sent Bo Way, a 2014 seventh-round pick who plays center field, to the instructional league, though he did not get an NRI to the big league camp this spring. Way, who’s another lefty/lefty, hit .312/.383/.376 last year, split between Double-A and Triple-A and made six appearances on the mound, whiffing five in 6.1 innings while allowing six hits, two walks, and two earned runs; twice he pitched in the same game as Walsh. Much further down the system, 2018 fifth-round pick William English was chosen as an outfielder and right-handed pitcher, though he didn’t make any game appearances in the Arizona League last season.

The Angels also planned to let former first-round pick and Baseball America Top 100 prospect Kaleb Cowart try pitching, because let’s face it, the hitting thing wasn’t working (.177/.241/.293 in 380 career PA, with even worse numbers last year). They lost him on waivers to the Mariners in December, however, and then in January, the Mariners lost him to the Tigers, who considered drafting him as a pitcher in 2010. He was considered a first-round pitching talent coming out of Cook High School in Adel, Georgia, where his fastball “sat in the low 90s with sink,” according to The Baseball America Prospect Handbook 2011.

Cowart has played every infield position and left field in the majors, and added right field to his resume while in Salt Lake City. He hasn’t pitched in a professional game yet, but as Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said earlier this week, “We want him to get more involved in the pitching part of it right now. We know what he can do defensively… But he’s going to pitch for now. That’s the main reason we brought him in.”

Cowart has thrown bullpens in camp, but thus far, his control has been spotty. “He threw a pitch right over the hitter’s head and I was behind the screen. But it was right at my lips. I ducked and almost fell off the wheel,” said Gardenhire. “The ball came out of his hand really good, though. He has a nice breaking ball. But it’s going to be a process. He’s got arm strength, though.”

Speaking of former Baseball America Top 100 prospects, now-27-year-old corner infielder Matt Davidson made the list four times from 2011-2014, but has found major league success harder to come by, both with the Diamondbacks (2013) and White Sox (2016-18). He did show considerable improvement last year, hitting .228/.319/.419 with 20 homers, a 104 wRC+ and 0.8 WAR in 434 PA — not great, but big steps forward from his 84 wRC+ and -0.9 WAR in 2017. Though he struck out 165 times in each season, his walk rate climbed from 4.3% to 10.5%, with his strikeout rate dipping from 37.2% to 33.3%.

Last year, Davidson proved to be the most effective and plausible choice among position players to take up more regular pitching duty. Amid a season that saw a record 65 pitching appearances by position players (not including Ohtani), he threw three scoreless innings in three appearances, allowing one hit and one walk while striking out two (Rougned Odor and Giancarlo Stanton). At Yucaipa High School in California, he served as a pitcher/DH and wore no. 51 in tribute to Randy Johnson. Fitting, as he was chosen by Arizona as a 2009 supplemental first-round pick.

Beyond Davidson’s results, which amount to small-sample success in very low leverage situations, he showed an average fastball velocity of 89.9 mph, and maxed out at 92.3 mph. According to Pitch Info, he also threw a curve and a changeup, though Statcast classified some of those changeups as sliders and others as split-fingered fastballs, and various reports confirm that he does have a splitter in his repertoire.

The White Sox nontendered Davidson in November, and while the Rays and Orioles showed interest, he eventually signed a minor league deal with a non-roster invitation with the Rangers earlier this month, so he’ll get to rib Odor, whom he whiffed on a slider on June 29. He’s not aiming to be the next Ohtani. Instead he’s planning to reprise last year’s mop-and-bucket duty, and will work his way to throwing bullpen sessions. Via MLB’s T.R. Sullivan:

“I don’t want to make it sound like I am going to the big leagues and be a good pitcher,” Davidson said. “I’m not trying to be one of the seven or eight relievers. I want to be the pitchers’ best friend. Nobody wants to go in when it is a 7-0 blowout. I want to be the guy that helps them out.”

Finally, moving in the other direction is the Reds’ Michael Lorenzen, a 27-year-old righty who doubled as a center fielder and closer while attending Cal State Fullerton. He was considered draftable in the former capacity, though concerns about his ability to hit for average led him to be favored as a pitcher — favored enough to be a supplemental first-round pick in 2013.

After starting 21 games in 2015, Lorenzen has made just three starts from among his 150 appearances over the past three seasons, all of them last year. In 45 total appearances, he threw 81 innings with a 3.11 ERA and 4.16 FIP; he struck out just 15.7% while walking 9.9%. While he can dial his fastball into the high-90s, it’s generally a sinker he’s throwing (40.8% of all pitches last year, according to Pitch Info) rather than a four-seamer (10.7%); his expansive repertoire also includes a cutter, changeup, curve and slider — enough pitches to start.

On the other side of the ball, after homering once apiece in 2016 and ’17 while making a combined total of 17 plate appearances, Lorenzen bashed four homers last year, one of them a grand slam; in 34 PA, he hit .290/.333/.710. Two of last year’s homers, and his 2017 long ball, came as a pinch-hitter, a capacity in which he’s been used 22 times in his four years. Overall, he’s hit .250/.276/.500 for a 101 wRC+ in 92 PA.

All of which is to say that the Reds had an inkling of the possibilities before. Now they’re looking to take advantage of that to a greater degree, and, with the support of new manager David Bell, have let Lorenzen help craft a plan, which takes a lot of coordination across the coaching and training staff to prevent him from overexerting himself. On the pitching side, they’re stretching Lorenzen out to be either a starter or a multi-inning reliever, while on the position playing side, he’ll be available as a center fielder, though he’s not vying for the starting job, for which top prospect Nick Senzel, an infielder blocked at both second base and third base, is competing. Via MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon:

“It’s fantastic, the effort they’re putting in,” Lorenzen said. “A lot of the excuses were, ‘You know, we don’t want to overwork him.’ Well, let’s just sit down and talk about it then. They were willing to sit down and talk about it, which is one of the reasons why I love this staff so much and why I think the front office did a great job [hiring] this staff. They’re willing to find solutions for problems.”

…”We have the plan laid out. Everyone knows what I’m doing. When I need my rest, I will take my rest because I’m getting the work I need to get in, vs. me going out and getting extra work in all the time and wearing on my body.”

Said Bell, “I have to slow myself down, because I think it’s cool that he’s preparing himself the way he is … it’s very unique and pretty special that he can do it. I love his approach to it. He’s truly preparing himself to give as many options to our team to help us win. It’s nice.”

Because novelty — pitchers hitting home runs, position players taking the mound — enlivens the grind of the long season, rest assured that we’ll be following the progress of all of these players’ attempts to pull double duty, hopefully with some up-to-date scouting detail.


FanGraphs Audio Presents: The Untitled McDongenhagen Project, Ep. 10

UMP: The Untitled McDongenhagen Project, Episode 10
This is the 10th episode of a mostly 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.

We used to include timestamps so you could skip around by topic, but this episode has just one topic: the 2019 MLB Draft. If you’re not into that, we bet you’ll like the new into/outro music or the opening few minutes about non-baseball topics.

Among the draft subjects sampled on this podcast: the current state of our top five overall before next week’s re-ranking, what teams seem to be already zeroing in on which players with the top picks, which players made themselves into first rounders in the opening weekend, the Andrew Vaughn valuation dichotomy, prospects we think are moving down early on, our high variance picks for the guys who could jump way up THE BOARD by draft day, whom we saw last weekend, what happened in some games that happened literally hours ago, whom we’re seeing this weekend, and finally, tips for how to win an election for state office in Arizona.

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 41 min play time.)

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Effectively Wild Episode 1339: Jeff Got a Job

EWFI
In Jeff Sullivan’s final episode as the co-host of Effectively Wild (but not the podcast’s final episode), he and Ben Lindbergh discuss his new job as an analyst for the Tampa Bay Rays, what it was like to be courted by teams, why he decided to depart FanGraphs and why he feels guilty about it, why teams wanted him this winter, his hopes and fears as he enters a new phase of his career, his evolution and voice as a writer, his affection for Mike Trout, his personal and professional relationship with Ben, what the podcast meant to him, and more.

Audio intro: Guided By Voices, "Goodbye Note"
Audio outro: My Morning Jacket, "Thank You Too"

Link to Jeff’s first baseball blog post
Link to EW live episode
Link to Jeff’s last Trout post
Link to Jeff’s farewell post
Link to preorder The MVP Machine

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Farewell, One Good Place on the Internet

When I was preparing to join FanGraphs in the summer of 2012, I was warned about the comments. The comments, I was told, could be vicious. I suppose the same could’ve been said of comment sections everywhere, but yet on this site, I’ve never had a bad experience I didn’t deserve. If anything, the community has been warm and downright collegial. It’s even sometimes served as a helpful collective editor. Something that’s stuck with me is how, near the beginning, I was repeatedly told I took way too long to get to the point. So, let me get to the point!

This is my last post. I’ve thought about my eventual last post before, and this is it. I don’t know what the rest of this post is going to look like yet, because thinking about this would just always make my ears ring, but I am leaving FanGraphs, which is the only good place on the internet. I’m leaving because I have accepted a job with the Rays.

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Josh Tomlin on What He Learned at Driveline

When the Milwaukee Brewers inked Josh Tomlin to a minor league deal earlier this month, they acquired more than a 34-year-old right-hander coming off a train wreck of a year. They brought on a pitcher with a new and better understanding of his craft. His career badly in need of a jumpstart, Tomlin trained at Driveline from January 8-17.

Train wreck is a fair description of his 2018 campaign. As always, he threw plenty of strikes — Tomlin’s 1.24 walk rate is the lowest in baseball over the last eight years (min. 800 innings) — but far too many of them got whacked. In 70.1 tumultuous innings with the Cleveland Indians, Tomlin posted a 7.16 FIP and was taken deep 25 times. Cut loose at season’s end, he knew that something needed to change if he had any chance of returning to a big league rotation.

His visit to Driveline could prove to be a panacea for his troubles. Tomlin not only learned how his delivery had gotten out of whack, he discovered that he’d been underutilizing what might be one of his best pitches. As for the analytical data he’s seen in recent seasons, let’s just say that it’s no longer just a bunch of numbers and dots arranged on a chart.

Tomlin talked about what he learned, and what it could mean for his career, prior to throwing a bullpen session yesterday morning at Milwaukee’s spring training facility in Maryvale, Arizona.

———

Tomlin on correcting a delivery flaw: “I went to Driveline first and foremost to get a bio-mechanical assessment of my body. They put all of those electrodes on you, those little dots that tell you exactly how your body moves. I wanted to grade myself out. I wanted to grade how my body was moving down the hill. Once we got [the data] back, we could address the things I wasn’t doing well and try to correct them.

“I wanted to go through having cameras watching me from behind, to see exactly how my ball was spinning. When I got the assessment, I learned that the axis was creating more run — more lazy run — than anything else. I needed to work behind the ball a little better, to try to get more hop, more carry. Read the rest of this entry »


2019 ZiPS Projections – Chicago White Sox

After having typically appeared in the hallowed pages of Baseball Think Factory, Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections have now been released at FanGraphs for more than half a decade. The exercise continues this offseason. Below are the projections for the Chicago White Sox.

Batters

If only an outfielder was available in the free agent market, one who could bring a significant boost to a contending team!

Shoot, I’m self-plagiarizing. Let me try again.

If only an outfielder was available in the free agent market, one who could bring nearly as much of a boost to a rebuilding team as Bryce Harper could!

The White Sox have all but held a press conference to proclaim that they’re out on Harper and it’s a shame, really. While I like Manny Machado slightly better on a pure value basis (the loss of whom not doubt still stings on the south side), Harper’s upside is probably less “known” than Machado’s, so he would be an interesting play for a rebuilding team. The White Sox have been unable to develop their own Bryce Harper, because, well, it’s really hard to develop Bryce Harpers. Harper would not have gotten this team to the playoffs in 2019 without some very unexpected things happening, but you can say much the same about Machado. Plus, the White Sox have exactly one interesting outfielder on the roster at the moment, whereas Yoan Moncada, Yolmer Sanchez, and Tim Anderson could all conceivably contribute to a postseason contender. Read the rest of this entry »


Mike Trout Has Been as Good as Manny Machado and Bryce Harper Combined

FanGraphs loves Mike Trout. FanGraphs has always loved Mike Trout. FanGraphs isn’t unique in this regard — Mike Trout is the best player in baseball, and, generally speaking, people are aware of that. But FanGraphs is the home of WAR, and it’s by WAR that Trout dominates the competition. Trout is a frequent subject of articles. Trout is also a frequent subject of search queries. He’s commonly atop the list of the most-searched players.

Indeed, today, Trout is way up there, yet again. Although he’s not in first, and he’s not in second. Trout has been the third-most searched player of late, behind Manny Machado and Bryce Harper:

It makes sense. Machado and Harper have been two of the most desirable free agents in the history of free agents. Both players are 26 years old, and both players are among the best at their respective positions. Both players are among the best players, period. For that reason, the Padres just signed Machado for $300 million. Harper and Scott Boras are looking to top that number. Machado’s contract is already setting a free-agent record — or at least it will, once it’s official. There shouldn’t be any more significant obstacles.

Machado and Harper are great. We’ve written plenty about them, because they’re great. You’ve repeatedly been looking them up, because they’re great. But, remember how Trout is also great? Trout is so great he’s been as good as Machado and Harper combined. I am not making that up, and this is not some manufactured hot take. The numbers are just sitting right there.

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Eric Longenhagen Chat- 2/21/19

2:00
Eric A Longenhagen: Hey everyone, looks like they’re gonna try to play this A’s/Mariners game so this may be a shorter chat, but after last week’s marathon I’m sure you’re all cool with that.

2:00
Trent: What would it take for the Cubs to get into the top half of MLB farm systems this year? A miracle?

2:01
Eric A Longenhagen: It probably means Roederer and Davis take huge steps forward, maybe one of the young pitching prospects, too. That’s a good start toward a climb.

2:01
Tommy N.: Where would Tatis and Machado rank in the best SS/3B combos in baseball?

2:02
Eric A Longenhagen: Probably top 5 once Tatis is fully formed, right? Turner/Rendon, Ramirez/Lindor, Correa/Bregman, Arenado/Story…kinda run out of obvious ones in tthat area after that.

2:03
Twitter Handle: If you had to choose one of the Padres pitching prospects likely to turn into a 1/2; who would it be? Gore, Morejon, Paddack, Patino, other

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