Written by: Ray Butler
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I’ve recently had the pleasure of indulging in Future Value: The Battle for Baseball’s Soul and How Teams Will Find the Next Superstar, a book written by FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen and ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel that focuses on prospect and player development and scouting in the baseball world.
In the vacuum of sports-centered books, it’s hard to overstate the importance of Future Value; the book will have a wide-stretching impact both presently and in the near and distant future.
Future Value isn’t for young baseball fans who want to dive head-first into the world of player evaluation and scouting. It also isn’t for veteran evaluators looking to supplement their immense knowledge database with a different perspective on the inner-workings of MLB front offices and mechanical nuances. Future Value is for everyone.
From a scouting standpoint, the information and storytelling inside Future Value is so extensive and all-encompassing that, as I read through these specific chapters, I pondered the thought of someday sitting in the scouting section of a minor league park and witnessing a fellow evaluator use this book as a reference mid-game. Seriously. The scouting chapters—often aided with helpful tables that utilize recent data to help illustrate certain skill/tool thresholds—are extremely thorough without overusing advanced language that would be difficult to understand for common fans or people just getting their feet wet in the sport. This book isn’t simply another weapon to add to your evaluation arsenal; it is an arsenal—and it will have a wide-stretching effect on the scouting world for years to come, beginning this baseball season.
The only facet of Future Value more enjoyable than the scouting chapters is the story-telling throughout the book. Specifically, I was enlightened by the many nuances of prospect development and ‘recruiting’ in Latin America, a branch of the book that includes stories on several extremely prominent prospects on 2020 lists. Longenhagen and McDaniel effortlessly travel to uncharted waters to shine a light on the Wild Wild West culture that is international scouting and prospecting, including a few stories on defections from Cuba and shady buscon dealings in the Dominican Republic. Future Value also pulls back the curtain on the many nuances of international evaluation, spanning from the living conditions of many prospects to the process of uncovering hidden gems. But the story-telling doesn’t begin and end with the wild and unique stories from Latin America. Longenhagen and McDaniel also take readers inside war rooms during MLB drafts, outlining the varying methodologies inside different organizations while detailing the thought process and analytical models that drive decision making throughout Major League Baseball.
Throughout the book, Longenhagen and McDaniel consistently highlight the driving forces that are sure to play instrumental roles in determining the future of baseball, extending from the aesthetics of the sport to future, trailblazing methods of prospect and player development.
The three above paragraphs should be arousing for any an every dynasty league player. Have your league mates recently narrowed the gap in prospect knowledge throughout the league? Or are you simply contemplating expanding your fantasy horizons to include dynasty leagues in addition to redrafts? I guarantee Future Value will undoubtedly separate you from your league mates. And as you know, a crucial facet of building a ‘dynasty’ in your dynasty league is mastering the present while efficiently predicting the future. Future Value is a reliable playbook that will dot the i’s and cross the t’s of dynasty league acumens around the world (the same can be said of card collectors who dream of hitting on the next superstar prospect at ground-floor price points).
As a talent evaluator who understands the importance of continuing to evolve and grow both as an individual content creator and as part of the prospect and fantasy industry, Longenhagen and McDaniel’s Future Value is the most influential baseball book I’ve ever read. Its content will have a positive impact Prospects365.com’s future publishings, and I suspect the same will hold true for other prospect-and-fantasy-oriented sites in the very near future. Aspiring prospector or scout? Dreams of someday working inside the front office of an MLB organization? Wondering how to become a hotter commodity as an amateur prospect? Seasoned evaluator who thinks you already know every trick of the trade? This book has the rare ability to cast an extremely wide net while also amazing readers with its many intricacies and attention to detail. No stone is left unturned, and there is something for EVERYBODY within the pages of Future Value.
Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel’s Future Value officially hits shelves April 14th; of course, with every corner of the country currently living in widespread isolation, you can also purchase the book online.
I promise you won’t regret it.
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