Top 30 Prospects: #25 Brett Gardner October 31, 2007Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Brett Gardner, Top 30 Prospects.
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Drafted: 2005, 3rd round out of College of Charleston
Weight: 180 lbs
Tools: Garnder has three tools: 80 speed (Carl Crawford speed), great contact, and a good glove and instincts in the outfield. He also has great plate discipline. However, he really lacks power. His contact is the weak, slap-hitter type that limits XBH and thus his ceiling. His arm is good, but not overly impressive.
Performance: He could start for the Yankees next season if only he could hit like 10 homers. He hasn’t hit 10 in 3 seasons in the minors, and went all through 2006 without one. He finally hit a homerun this year, and that was it (he hit 5 homers in Staten Island after being drafted). To be fair, he hit .300 this year at AA w/ a .392 OBP, but fell off a bit at AAA with a .260 AVG and .343 OBP. His XBH numbers deceive, as they are mostly a result of his speed, not power. As of this writing, in the AzFL, he is hitting .371 with no homers an 8 RBIs, with a .430 OBP and a .400 SLG, and if he maintains a pace somewhat close to this he may get a shot at New York next year.
Outlook: Gardner could start out like Melky Cabrera did two seasons ago (2006) when he makes the bigs, trying to make contact, steal bases, and impress on defense. The stats would come later. Everyone projected Melky to be a 4th outfielder, but isn’t he starting? Overall, Garnder could be as good, but in different ways. Garnder could conceivably have as high an average, but has more speed, better plate discipline, better outfield instincts, but less of an arm and power. If Melky needs to be included in a potential Miguel Cabrera deal, I wouldn’t fret much because Gardner or Johnny Damon could start. It takes a real understanding of the game to appreciate Gardner’s tools, and I think he could bottom out to be a 4th OF, or improve to be a capable starter and hold the role down for Austin Jackson.
Ceiling: B-/B, Health: A, Comparison: Juan Pierre
Top 30 Prospects: #26 Marcos Vechionacci October 30, 2007Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Marcos Vechionacci, Top 30 Prospects.
Drafted: International Signing, 2002, from Venezuela
Weight: 170 lbs.
Tools: Wow, this guy has a glove. It is really hard to determine who has the better one, Alberto Gonzales or Marcos Vechionacci. He has great plate discipline and awesome speed (not Carl Crawford, though). The Yankees have been trying to squeeze power out of him, but that hasn’t quite happened.
Performance: Vechionacci really slumped to begin the year, hitting in the interstates until the summer when really began to relax and pick up the pace. Many scouts believe his lower BA’s are because of the stress of playing in a league he is somewhat young to play rather than his lack of ability, and his being tried out at different positions. With his talent, I hope this is the case. He ended up with a .266/.327/.366 line at Hi A Tampa, although the pitcher-friendly FSL probably led to some of this. His BA was his highest since the beginning of his MiL career. At the same time, he hit a career-low 2 HR’s, although this largely due to the nature of the pitcher-friendly FSL. He finished so well, however, that he got a 2-game cameo for Trenton at the end of the season. Naturally, he struggled in 9 AB’s, getting but a double.
Outlook: Once a Baseball America top-100 prospect, and a Yankees top-10 prospect, Vechionacci’s inability to hit for a consistently high average and power have limited his status. His rankings have been dropping steadily since he first appeared, but I am confident that he will rebound this year. He should begin next year in Trenton, and if all goes well he would go to AAA the next year. He still has time, as he is young, but don’t be surprised if you don’t see him on this list next year or you see him at 15. He is at least two years away from the bigs. If he could ever hit for average and a little more power, he should give the Yankees a reason not to give away the farm for Miguel Cabrera.
Ceiling: B+/ Health: B/ Comparison: I don’t know. He could turn out to be like Eric Chavez at best, with less power, more speed, and no lefty problems, or he could bust out to Wilson Betemit with a glove and more speed. Let me go incomplete.
Worst Night for Yankees Fans October 30, 2007Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Alex Rodriguez, Black Sunday, Boston Red Sox, Opt-out, Rockies, World Series 2007.
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BoSox somehow swept the Rockies.
A-Rod opts-out (only bad for the short-term, though).
It’s Black Sunday. More thoughts later.
A-Rod Opts Out…Good for Everyone October 30, 2007Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Alex Rodriguez, October 2007, Opt-out, Postseason.
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A-Rod opted out as soon as the last out of the lousy World Series was recorded. Although expectations for this event died down towards the end, we all knew that Brian Cashman unwittingly sabotaged negotiations by not being willing to negotiate, then threaten him, then negotiate. The Yankees high command, in Rodriguez and Boras’s view, was a mess, as there was no manager, key free agents or potential free agents (Mo, Posada, Pettitte) may or may not have been back, and there seemed to be a feeling that Cashman was “playing” for his job security past next year (when his contract expires).
A-Rod saved the Yankees this season, but it is not incidental that the year before A-Rod arrives, the Yankees have 2 straight years of winning at least 101 games, and reached the World Series in ’03 on a dramatic walk-off HR by their 3rd baseman, Aaron Boone. With Boone lost for the year with knee ligament tears, A-Rod came. He led the Yankees past Minnesota in the 2004 ALDS and was on the verge of facing St. Louis in the World Series if not for one more out by Mariano Rivera in Game 4 (and ****ing David Roberts). Regardless, after that, he didn’t have a postseason homer until the 2007 ALDS Game 4, and had only 2 RBIs in that span. He was pathetic, striking out in seemingly every bat, seemingly popping out with the basis loaded, seemingly always thinking about something else. Until this year, A-Rod was no god in the regular season, and although he won the MVP in ’05, that should have been David Ortiz’s award. I am no A-Rod basher, I think he did well for anyone’s standards in New York, but not his (until this year of course).
This year everything changed. He had 7 9th inning HR’s, tops in the majors, and led the majors in HR’s, RBI’s, SLG %, R, OBPS, and runs created (a Bill James specialty for you). And even then, while hitting .266 in the postseason, second on the team, he still didn’t lead the team to a championship.
Wherever he goes, he probably is a little old and rusty to be a Gold Glove shortstop again, but that is certainly a possibility. He won’t be paid $30 million, I bet. At least $25.2 M again, but, if this was because of the money, he will realize that this was foolish.
But this isn’t because of the money. This is because of all of his treatment, by the fans and media, as a “choker” in the clutch, because of the outburst over his wife’s shirt, and the picture of him and that good-looking blondie. He can’t handle New York, and not everyone can, or in this case, wants to, handle it.. Good-bye, A-Rod, and while I think it is classless that you don’t even tell a teammate you’re opting out [ahem...Robinson Cano...ahem], I hope you break all the records you can and have a nice career, but losers who can’t and don’t want to carry pinstripes, which weigh a little heavier, don’t belong in New York.
Top 30 Prospects: #27 Jairo Heredia October 30, 2007Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Jairo Heredia.
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Drafted: International Signee, 2006, out of DR
Position: Starting Pitcher
Stuff: Raw, but with great potential. He has a 91-92 mph heater with a curveball. He is currently learning a changeup to add a third offering. Again, he is raw and very young, and since he is in the GCL league not yet highly-profiled. His fastball has good movement, inducing a 1.37 GO/AO ratio. Not all that much a whole known about him yet.
Control/Performance: He had nice control in his first season in the minors, with a 2.14 BB/9. Again, not a great amount is known on him besides the stats, so I am left with splits and sabremetrics. He had proportionately equal control against lefties and righties, but had somewhat noticeably better control as a starter than reliever for understandable reasons. He also did noticeably better at home (2.42 ERA), but his road performance was still very, very good (3.10 ERA). He did not do well with runners on base, as he had a 5.00 ERA with an opp BA of .238 (this is considering that the other BAA’s were around .220 or lower), and he did especially worse with RISP (8.38 ERA, .318 BAA).
Outlook: Heredia, striking out over 10 per 9, had a very good season for the rookie Yankees. Although not quite as hard-throwing or dominant as the previous Hispanic pitcher phenom to get to the Rookie Yankees, Dellin Betances, I expect that with is apprently good stuff and domination of the league (except for one bad outing) that he proceed to Lo A Staten Island and spend the full season there. If he does very well, he will probably go to Tampa, but if he does well with nothing special, or poorly, he will likely go to Charleston. I expect nice things out of him, but he is so young that he is somewhat hard to project. I imagine he is still growing and has time to fill out his frame, allowing him to add a few ticks to that fastball. I project him coming out of the bullpen because of the logjam of top-10 prospect starting pitchers, besides the fact that 5 of his 11 appearances were out of the pen. ETA: late 2012/2013
Ceiling: B+/Health: Incomplete/Comparison: Scot Shields
Top 30 Prospects: #28 Justin Snyder October 28, 2007Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Justin Snyder, Top 30 Prospects.
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Drafted: 21st rd out of University of San Diego
Weight: 190 lbs
Position: Mostly SS
Tools: Short, but incredibly physically impressive. Snyder has a quick stroke to all fields that resulted in him leading the NY-Penn League in hitting. He has great plate discipline and a great eye. He has average speed, but has a nice glove and a strong arm.
Performance: He was the first part of the “Big Three” at Staten Island, along with Damon Sublett and Braedyn Pruitt (both of whom are unranked in this Top-30). He led the league in hitting, with a .335 AVG, and had a .477 SLG % in 260 ABs (5 HR). He faded a bit down the stretch after hitting .400 through the early part of the summer, but still finished well. He played second, short, and centerfield this year.
Outlook: With Carmen Angelini leading the way for shortstop prospects, Snyder will likely play at second for Tampa next year, and will have to compete for playing time with others who have been their longer, as well as other newcomers
Ceiling: B-/Health: A- Comparison: Ryan Freel
Top 30 Prospects: #29 Mitch Hilligoss October 28, 2007Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Mitch Hilligoss, Top 30 Prospects.
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Drafted: 6th rd. out of Purdue
Weight: 200 lbs
Position: Utility (SS/3B/2B)
Tools: Four-tool player (contact, glove, arm strength, speed), but no power. Nice, concise swing, resulting in .300 AVGs. Very strong arm, great glove at short (his primary position), athletic and fast.
Performance: He increased his slugging percentage from .361 to a decent .415. Hilligoss also had a very nice season as the shortstop for Charleston, hitting career-high (in the minors) .310 with 4 HR and 53 RBIs in his first full season in the minors.
Outlook: He would have a very nice projection if he would have the ability to hit 12 HRs in the majors, but of course, he hit 4 in A ball. He will probably be a super utility player, a la Endy Chavez for the Mets’ outfield. If the Yankees want him to develop some power, then he will end up in Trenton next year to escape the extremely pitcher-friendly FSL. If they want him to learn some other positions extensively, then they should progress with him slowly and send him to the hitter’s hell that is Tampa. When he gets to the major leagues, he should displace Alberto Gonzales as the utility guy.
Ceiling: C+, Health A-, Comparison: Tony Womack
Is Homer Bailey still a top-10 MLB prospect…and other questions October 28, 2007Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Baseball America Top 10 Prospects, Homer Bailey, Steroids.
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Once the Yankees’ season ended I promised to try and expand topics. Here I am.
Is Homer Bailey still a top-10 prospect in the MLB?
That’s a tough one. The Texas fireballer, although he only had 9 starts (45.1 innings), he was roughed up semi-frequently and had a 5.76 ERA. He struck out a measly 5.56K/9, and walked the same amount of hitters (1:1 K/BB). He did well at AAA Louisville, but didn’t dominate, either, like he did in 2007. He may be #8-12 in the BA rankings this winter. Gun to my head, no.
Did Marcus Giles use steroids?
Hard to say without getting sued. All I am going to say is that a small guy (5’8″, 180 lbs) has no business hitting 21 homeruns in his age 25 season, considering you would have to go back to his age 20 season at A to find a 20-HR season (37 HRs). He hasn’t shown that power since. Read my lips: no new taxes (just kidding). I’ll let you figure this one out.
Why does it seem that Chris Snelling is always claimed?
I don’t know. His slugging percentage, SB’s, and AVG don’t shine in limited time, so he’s DFAed and someone claims him to fill out a minor leage spot. Then he’s promoted. Maybe it’s that he’s only made one error the last two years.
That’s it for this time folks.
Top 30 Prospects: #30 Angel Reyes October 28, 2007Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Angel Reyes, GCL Yankees, Top 30 Prospects.
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Drafted: International Signing, 2004, D.R.
Weight 170 lbs
Stuff: Of all the lefties in the Yankees’ farm system, he is the only one considered I consider to be a prospect. The rest of the top-30 pitchers will right-handers. He has an electric and deceptive 92-95 mph fastball, a change-up, recently learned, is 12-13 mph slower than that, and his curveball is even slower. He is very advanced in terms of breaking stuff and velocity for the GCL League
Control: Simply put, Reyes is wild. In his minor league career he has a 5.23 BB/9 ratio in 110 IP, and and this year, at Charleston (A), he had a 6.1 BB/9 in 31 IP. However, with his potentially dominant stuff, he strikes out a lot of hitters (9.58 K/9 at Charleston this year). He struggled mightily earlier in the year, especially in his 3-game cameo at Staten Island.
Outlook: Last year, it seemed as if Reyes would enter the realm of Yankees Top 10 this year because of his domination of GCL hitters at 19. This year, he regressed with all of his struggles, and so has his status. He is 20, and he started this year on the GCL Yankees roster before moving to Charleston, and then demoted to Staten Island. My take is that he will begin at Charleston this year, as he had a significant downfall of confidence after the demotion. I have my doubts that he’ll remain a starter, because there are so many good right-handed pitchers ahead of him that I have a hard time believing he can take a spot. As it is, the players in the top-10 are duking it out for rotation spots as it is.
Grades: Ceiling B, Health B Comparison: Eric Bedard at best
Yankees Top 30 Coming Soon October 23, 2007Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Alberto Gonzales, Chase Weems, Cody Ehlers, Damon Sublett, Steven Jackson, Tim Battle.
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And this time I mean it! A friend and I are ranking prospects, 1-30, in the Yankees’ organization. However, I would like your input on border-liners like Tim Battle, Alberto Gonzales, Steven Jackson, Cody Ehlers, Chase Weems, and Damon Sublett. Currently they are out of my list.