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Sunday, February 29, 2004
 
ALMOST FAMOUS No, it's not necessarily the best mention for my parents/elders, who do read this blog, to see, but it's a mention nonetheless. That's right readers, today I made my name, and this site's, made its debut in the mainstream press and I would like to thank everyone who has visited and linked to this site making me noticeable enough to receive my blurb. Also, thanks to Peter Abraham for taking the time to do the story and include me in it. To the new readers generated by the blurb, welcome to the Minor Yankee Blog, and check out some of the archives. Now it's time for me to get a start on that schoolwork. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to mcnallyf@taftschool.org
 
Friday, February 27, 2004
 
RETURN OF THE DEAD Well, when I said I would return in a couple of days with a new post, I really thought that that was the case, I was wrong. That night I became very sick and spent the next few days rehabilitating myself, since then, I have forgotten whatever it was I was planning on writing about (which is probably a sign for me to start writing these things down somewhere), so I am just going to do a little bit of a quick hits on Yankee news today, and then get something off my chest. *** I probably should have addressed this in the A-Rod post, but I didn't, so I'll do it now. For some reason, while many public opinion polls have shown the vast majority of fans feel that A-Rod is a better SS than Jeter; a vast majority also simultaneously feels that Jeter should play SS. This makes no sense, whatsoever, if you are in agreement with this position, I want you to personally e-mail me and convince me why. The most common excuse for this proposal that I have seen is that since Rodriguez is so clearly the better SS he would be the better 3B, quite frankly, that is probably true, but there is another aspect to this. A SS is involved in many more plays than a 3B, so why would you lessen the opportunities of someone who is good at something? It is counterproductive to the goal of fielding (no pun intended) the best Yankee team possible and hopefully the Yankees realize this sooner rather than later. *** Bernie Williams' appendectomy, as Cliff noted, could be a blessing in disguise, as it will lead to Kenny Lofton rightly receiving the CF job. Unfortunately it will also weaken the offense for whatever amount of time he is gone, though with THIS offense it should not be too much of a problem. Acknowledging that that injury is obviously not baseball related; it seems like clockwork how injury prone older players become as all the little bumps and bruises along the way start piling up. And once again, I KNOW this is not a baseball related injury, but it did scare me a bit since for all the potential greatness this Yankee team has, they also have a great potential of being one enormous train wreck with all the 30+ year old players on one field. *** I will talk about this more in the future hopefully, but a Mariano Rivera contract extension should not be as much of a slam-dunk as I am hearing some Yankee fans proclaim it. *** The Yankees now have Travis Lee. I don't have a particular affinity for Lee because he is a defense first 1B and those don't do much for me in most cases, that being said Lee could be helpful if Giambi goes down for any period of time, hopefully that does not happen. On a side note, for some of the misguided souls in Yankee fandom, and I have interacted with them so they do exist, who think that Travis Lee provides anywhere near the production of Nick Johnson, you are dead wrong. *** As you may have noticed while perusing this site, something I take pride in, other than sabermetric analysis, is the business of analyzing baseball prospects. Recently, the recognized leaders in the prospect game, Baseball America, came out with their top prospect list for 2004. BA is infamous for placing a ton of value on tools, which sometimes works out in the case of Alex Rodriguez being ranked 6th after signing a contract, but before playing a professional game, and sometimes you get Ruben Rivera. I feel that they may have made a Ruben Rivera type mistake with the generous, in my opinion, number 6 ranking of Alexis Rios. Player A: .352/.402/.521/.311 (AVG/OBP/SLG/GPA) Player B: .409/.474/.591/.361 (AVG/OBP/SLG/GPA) Player C: .304/.373/.480/.288 (AVG/OBP/SLG/GPA) Well, each set of numbers seems pretty different. Player C performed well, Player A performed great, and Player C performed otherworldly. However, let's see what happens when we take batting average, something that can be fluky, especially in comparison to power and discipline/patience, out of the equation. Player A: .169/29.8% (Isolated Power/XBH Percentage) Player B: .182/27.3% (Isolated Power/XBH Percentage) Player C: .176/33.1% (Isolated Power/XBH Percentage) Taking batting average out and looking at what each player did when not hitting singles, changes the picture quite a bit. Player C, who had the lowest slugging percentage of the 3 by far, now comes out looking the best in terms of power displayed this past regular season. What about plate discipline/patience? Player A: 0.46/13.18 (BB:K/AB:BB) Player B: 1.53/8.34 (BB:K/AB:BB) Player C: 0.63/10.78 (BB:K/AB:BB) What we now have is Player B demonstrating an incredible control of the strike zone, far above the others, and Player C lagging behind in this department. Thus far, just judging on offensive performance, and all of the aforementioned performances were in substantial sample sizes at the AA level, Player B rates ahead of Player C, who then rates ahead of Player A. Now, it gets complicated. All three players currently play CF and while they COULD play CF in the majors, most reports have each of the three moving to a corner OF spot making their defensive responsibilities/abilities negligible. Scouting reports on the players have them ranked A, C, B, in terms of overall raw tools package. Generally, having a good or great tools package is indicative of players with clearly higher ceilings, but this situation is not as simple as that. Though Player A has the best tools, these superior tools saw him lag behind Players B and C in regular season performance though he is 4 months Player B's senior, which is negligible, and a whopping 18 months Player C's senior, which is an enormous difference. The reason this is important, to be simple, is that tools ideally become performance at some point. The longer a player takes to translate his superior tools into superior performance the more likely those tools were either overrated or non-existent. On the other hand, sometimes scouts underrate a player's tools and they are actually better than their initial scouting reports would indicate. So yes, Player A has great tools, but despite being older than the other two players, he is not performing as well as he should when taking comparative tools into account. So while Player A wins the battle of tools, in terms of performance versus age and level, he is slightly behind Player B and very far from Player C. Judging on tools and performance, I would put the prospects in the order of Player C, Player B, and then Player A. BA, however, has Rios (Player A) at number 6 overall, Sizemore at number 9 overall (Player C), and Reed (Player B) at number 25 overall. In perfect descending order of tools, (heavy sarcasm on) I didn't see that one coming (heavy sarcasm now turned off). There are some statistical disclaimers that I need to make before I proceed. One is that I did not represent the full year of baseball for any of the players. With Reed I eliminated both his Team USA and High A ball performance, which were comparable to his AA performance regardless. With Sizemore I eliminated his Team USA performance. With Rios I eliminated his winter league performance, which was similar to his regular season performance, with added power. The reason I excluded these performances was that I wanted to compare how the players did on a similar level: AA. And for those that would say that this arbitrary qualifier hurts Rios disproportionately, I did not consider his winter ball numbers that much of an improvement as power numbers (his main improvement) in winter leagues are hard to quantify. That said, BA's evaluation, as shown by their rankings, of the three players irked me and this feeling was only furthered when I realized some of the comments made on the 3 players. In their comment on Rios, BA directly compares him to Dave Winfield. Keep in mind that Rios is 23 now, BA itself has his major league ETA at 2005, and he plays for an organization that likely will not accelerate that date, so he will be 24 when making his first significant major league impact. At age 24, Winfield was working on his third full major league season; in addition he never spent a day in the minors compared to Rios who has spent 5 years there already. Though I realize that BA's prediction was more based on production than a completely parallel career, it still stands that Rios is going to have to show even more improvement to "catch" Winfield. Later in the day, Jim Callis, on an ESPN.COM chat compared Sizemore to Mark Kotsay. I personally feel this is underrating Sizemore since though they had similar AA numbers, Sizemore did his about a year earlier in his career than Kotsay has. Also, if the comparison is being made in regards to how Kotsay has performed in the majors thus far, this is further underrating because his performance has been under whelming when compared to how his tools were viewed, his draft position, and minor league track record. At the time of this writing, no questionable player comparisons have been made for Reed as far as I know. Overall, I had quite a few questions with BA's ranking, as I always do, but this is appreciated because it usually leads to good discussion and they do a generally great job regardless, this just stood out to me the most. I'll try and write about the Yankees some more next time. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to mcnallyf@taftschool.org
 
Monday, February 23, 2004
 
LINKAGE Everyone should give a look to Larry Mahnken's powerful piece on a topic close to all our hearts. It is the post I wish I had written, because it perfectly expresses how I feel about that particular Yankee situation. Also, a message board friend of mine has a new blog up and running, The Yankee Report, so you should all check that out as I'm sure he will have some great content, judging by the quality of his message board posts over the years. In addition, I would like to thank the guys over at Yankees, Mets, and the Rest for linking to my site. If anyone links to me, it would be great if you could just let me know in order that I can thank you. Look for a new post in the next day or two since I should have some free time on my hands and I have a couple of things I need to get off my chest. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to mcnallyf@taftschool.org
 
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
 
THE DEAL If you had asked me which Yankee I would most like to deal this winter, immediately following the 2003 postseason, I would have told you Alfonso Soriano. My response would have had nothing to do with his horrid postseason performance, because in the end I blamed Joe Torre for the World Series loss. Rather, I felt that he was the Yankee with the largest gap between actual value and perceived value, for he did things like hit home runs and steal bases that casual fans and less sabermetrically inclined front offices loved. Meanwhile, he was not the best on base guy, to put it gently. In addition he was relatively young and cheap, making him an even more inviting trading chip. When I found out that it was Nick Johnson, and not Soriano, leaving the Yankees during the Vazquez deal, I was destroyed, I felt the Yankees should have dealt Soriano at that moment, but this was more due to my allegiance to OBP Jesus than to rational thinking because Soriano is a more valuable player than Johnson. During the subsequent A-Rod to Boston drama I felt a great deal of animosity towards the Yankee front office. They had gotten rid of my favorite Yankee, the aforementioned Johnson, and here was the best player in the AL, waiting to be traded and they were not trying to get in on the deal. My thoughts at the time were that the Yankees should have just offered the Rangers a package starting with Soriano, gone from there, acquired A-Rod, stuck him at short, and win countless games. However, nothing was done and the Yankees made a point of saying how they did not need to get involved in the A-Rod sweepstakes since they already had a great SS of their own. Following Aaron Boone's attempt to make the NBDL, where "you can develop the skills needed to be a successful pro basketball player", the Yankees got involved in the A-Rod trade front. When the story first broke in The New York Post last Saturday, my reaction was non-existent. Nothing against the people who run that newspaper, but despite the fact that I buy it whenever I can, I take everything they say with a ton of salt, plus the price they mentioned seemed too high. Sure, the Rangers can have Soriano if they want, but I did not want to give up Contreras and Pudgito. When The New York Newsday reported a similar story, but with the package being Soriano and prospect for A-Rod, in the same day's paper I still refused to believe it was anything more than the result of a slow news day. Around midnight, I returned to my dorm to find that ESPN was reporting the story now and it all became a reality for me. My first reaction was to turn to my roommate and say "this is the best day of my life...this is the best thing to ever happen to me, and it's not even happening to me". I spent the rest of the night and subsequent morning smiling as I contemplated the possibilities and awaited the approval of the trade. Then, a funny thing happened, the trade was approved and I started thinking about the ramifications, and suddenly I was not so sure anymore. My mixed feelings were borne out of realizing that the Yankees are rapidly becoming a team of mercenaries, which is excellent in the sense of winning baseball games, and less of a largely homegrown team where I can proudly say that I followed (insert favorite Yankee here) for their entire career. That being said, my doubts led me to closely analyze this trade and try and see if there were any objective reasons for my doubts, and it turns out I may be SOMEWHAT justified in my doubtful thinking. 167 164 152 148 Those are Alex Rodriguez's OPS+ numbers for the past 4 seasons. OPS+ is the measure of a player's offensive contribution, as measured by OPS, when compared to league average and adjusted for park effects. Basically what this is showing is that for 4 consecutive years A-Rod's offense has been slowing steadily, so that while he is still a terrific offensive player and has a huge advantage over Soriano in OPS+, Soriano has posted a 131 and 128 the past two seasons, he is not as good as he once was and is not getting better. His Equivalent Averages adjusted for seasons during the last 4 years also agree with this notion of offensive decline, as they are .337, .332, .327, and .325. Something that has been harped on a lot since the trade, both by the mainstream and sabermetrically inclined media communities is the upgrade that A-Rod will provide for the Yankees defensively. At first, this was perhaps the greatest shining grace in the deal for me. After all, I had never been the greatest fan of Jeter's glove work and here we were getting a Gold Glove SS. Well, not exactly. First and foremost, it looks as though the Yankees are going to keep Jeter at SS, for the time being at least, and probably in order to pet his ego because I do not see how the front office can deny his inferiority with the glove when the main stream media has been swayed by his gold glove and the "statheads" by his superior stats. Secondly, A-Rod's defense is actually not as great as I initially assumed and in fact has an alarming trend attached to it: 109 108 106 103 Those are A-Rod's Rate2 numbers over the last 4 season, the same timeframe as his declining offensive numbers. In 2000, over the course of 100 games, Rodriguez would save 9 more runs than the average shortstop, the number of runs saved has declined each year since and he is now 3 runs above average per 100 games, which works out to 5 extra runs saved per year. Since I try never to rely on just one defensive statistic, I would also like to point out that in 2003 Alex Rodriguez had 6.43 defensive Win Shares, in 2002 that number was 7.07 (I would go further back, but for that I would have to buy the book). What these stats show, is that Rodriguez is still an above average to good defensive SS, just not as great as some would have you believe, unfortunately, he is trending downwards, which has a couple of ramifications. One is that while he would be an improvement over Jeter at SS, it probably will not be as huge as a difference as one would expect when changing from the worst defensive player at a position to the Gold Glove winner 2 years running. Second is that Rodriguez may in fact be in an overall physical baseball decline, not just a hitting one. Those negatives about Rodriguez out of the way, I feel the trade is a positive one, just not great, though whatever I thought of the trade was pushed further into the positive direction when I found out that Soriano and A-Rod are only a few months apart in age, instead of Sori being 2.5 year Rodriguez's junior. One thing I will warn about though is that many Yankee fans will probably expect A-Rod to duplicate his Texas plate performance in the Bronx, which I think is unreasonable when comparing the two parks and that Yankee Stadium is death for right handed power hitters (see Soriano, Alfonso), this coupled with Soriano's numbers likely being inflated by Texas will probably lead to a few boos, hopefully that does not bother Rodriguez (and I doubt it will as he has never succumb to booing before). *** Soriano being 28 instead of 26 has tempered my expectations about what type of numbers he will put up this year, but I will go on record right now and say I expect him to put up a line of .305/.345/.580(AVG/OBP/SLG). If he plays CF he will be amongst the best with these numbers, at 2B he would be the best, at SS he would be the best. Speaking of Sori and SS, wouldn't it be ironic if Texas places him at SS and he plays spectacular defensively? *** According to Baseball America, the names on the PTBNL list are those of Jose Valdez, Robinson Cano, Bronson Sardinha, Joaquin Arias, and Rudy Guillen. Four of these guys are on both my top 10 list and BA's, so clearly I would like if Valdez, the odd man out, were the player gone. BA seems to think decently of him due to his supposedly "good stuff", but thus far this has not translated to fooling many batters and unless it is an extreme case, I do not think highly of minor league pitchers not fooling batters. Therefore, I hope Valdez is gone; otherwise I will have to adjust my top 10. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to mcnallyf@taftschool.org
 
Sunday, February 15, 2004
 
WORDS CAN'T DESCRIBE IT I will be back with an update tomorrow, as long as I finish my work in time, but I think it is pretty clear that God is in fact a Yankee fan. I have not stopped smiling for several hours now.
 
Sunday, February 08, 2004
 
AROUND 3(B) AND HEADED HOME I had a lot of things on mind about the Yankee prospects and couldn't really come to a conclusion as to whom I should make my main focus, so here I won't be focusing on one thing today. Someone that I briefly mentioned in the Saturday post was Bronson Sardinha, I just mentioned him becoming the number 11 prospect on my list, but didn't really go much into my thoughts on him and I would like to do that today. Sardinha was drafted in the supplemental first round in 2001 out of a Hawaiian high school, that year he was rated the number 10 prospect in a Yankee organization that still included Henson, Claussen, and Johnson as prospects. Clearly, he must have had SOMETHING special about him. Based on his first summer of professional play, which was as a member of the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League Yankees, Sardinha did in fact look pretty good. He hit .303/.394/.473, with a .296 GPA, which would be a great line for any 18 year old in their first taste of professional ball. Adding to his prospect credentials was his position, as he played SS, so at the time he projected as an offensive SS, which is always valuable (especially those who hit left handed with Yankee Stadium as their home, as was Sardinha's case). Defensively, Sardinha was commended for his arm and hands, though there were concerns that he would be too slow to play SS if he added too much weight. Following this promising short season debut, Sardinha made his first full season appearance as a teammate of Robinson Cano's on the 2001 Greensboro Bats. Though many, myself included, felt that he would not have much problems adjusting to full season ball as a result of his advanced approach at the plate, demonstrated by walking in 15.5% of his at bats that first summer, Sardinha did in fact have much initial trouble. Eventually, Sardinha "figured it out" and closed his first Low A season with a line of .263/.334/.406/.252 (AVG/OBP/SLG/GPA). His walk rate saw very noticeable attrition, but he managed to keep it at the "break even" point of a walk in 10% of at-bats, Sardinha also managed a very respectable extra base hit percentage of 27.8. All things considered, at this point his offensive full season debut was solid and while it did not enhance his prospect status too much, it also did not diminish the luster in my eyes. However, during the course of staying steady offensively, Sardinha had some horrific times at SS, leading him to be changed to LF by the end of his Low A tenure. Needless to say, he did not look nearly as promising. The Yankees then switched him to CF and moved him to the New York Penn League, in order to aid the Staten Island Yankees with their championship run where in 124 at bats he hit: .323/.433/.484/.316 Not only did his batting average increase, his peripherals improved to signify this being a "real" change, the only negative was an increase in K rate, but a CF that hits the way he did was very valuable so to close his first full season in this fashion, Sardinha had definitely shown improvement in his prospect status. That combined with other changes for the worse in the Yankees system led him to be named the number 2 prospect in the Yankees system by Baseball America. .286/.369/.440/.276 .193/.279/.264/.192 The first line is Bronson's career minor league performance through 2002; the second line is what he did at High A Tampa over the course of 212 at bats to start the 2003 season. Clearly, this train wreck of an offensive line was not expected. His inability to hit, much less the lack of any discernible power, prompted the Yankees to move their now CF prospect back to Low A. This time he played for the Battle Creek Yankees of the Midwest League. He spent the rest of the year, 269 ABs, there and hit: .275/.374/.424/.274 The first thing that jumps to mind is that it is eerily similar to his career line entering 2002 so I'm willing to bet that it is closer to his actual level of performance than his 212 at bats in the Florida State League. The second thing I thought about was how did he perform compared to his previous Low A experience, has he advanced as a hitter since he was last in Low A? 2002 (A-):.263/.334/.406/.252 2003 (A-):.275/.374/.424/.274 Yes, and no. The improvement in walk rate from about 10% of at bats resulting in a walk up to 14.9%, along with the decrease in K rate from one every 4.4 at bats to one every 6.7 at bats leads me to believe he has improved his plate patience/discipline. However, much of his improvement in slugging percentage was tied up in batting average as his ISOP (Isolated Power) only saw a rise of .006. His extra base hit percentage contradicts this though as it saw about a 4% rise, the reason this does not show up in his slugging percentage being that he had a higher doubles rate, but a lower home run rate. Resultantly, I am going to call the discussion of his power development a wash. To summarize, as it stands, Sardinha from 2002 to 2003 has become a better, but not more powerful hitter. Where does he go in 2004? By the accounts I have been privy to, Sardinha will begin the 2004 minor league season back at High A Tampa, which is a about 1 level behind where you would ideally want a 21 year old. This is a pivotal point for him, if he can manage to keep his peripherals consistent despite the almost inevitable drop in batting average provided by the FSL Sardinha will not have lost a step as a prospect. If he can manage to perform well enough to end the season with some decent AA time under his belt, Sardinha will have taken a major step forward as a prospect, especially since he has now been transformed into a 3B by the Yankee brass, a position that he has all the defensive tools to keep. All this makes Sardinha a prospect you will want to keep an eye on for this upcoming season and someone who could definitely take huge strides up the Yankee prospect list. *** Now it's on to another prominent 3B prospect in the Yankee organization, Eric Duncan. One of the cardinal sins of following prospects is to become too excited or sure of one prospect because there is a very high attrition rate in this field, few of the can't miss guys actually hit. Another of the major don'ts is to make too big of a deal about a player who has not had much experience, it's like the sample size rule of prospects. That being said, I can't help, but be waiting impatiently for Eric Duncan's 1st full season. Originally I was just waiting to see his offensive numbers in order to be able to gauge the comparisons I have heard on his hitting ability, which range from Thome and Chipper to OBP Jesus. Now, I am just excited about him in general. Around draft day I had read all the reports about his "great makeup" and "wonderful work ethic" and one of my friends, who was his classmate, had confirmed this, but it is still encouraging to hear that "At 6-3, 212 pounds, Duncan has added 17 pounds since he was drafted in June, while lowering his time in the 40 this winter from 5.0 to 4.6 seconds, and increasing his vertical leap from 22 to 29 inches". Especially when "Such is the reward for a winter of work with two separate personal trainers, one for speed and another for weight training, as well as daily sessions with a personal hitting instructor he's used for years". Turns out Mr. Duncan is not comfortable with just being appreciated for his hitting ability, but wants to put in the work to improve his 3B problems. If he can stay at 3B and hit the way the scouts and stats seem to indicate he can hit...WOW. If you didn't have him there before for some insane reason, then add Duncan to the list of Yankee prospects to watch closely this year. This brings me to another point. I will be the first to tell you that in it's current state; the Yankees farm system is putrid. However, that does not mean it is not exciting and that it does not have potential. That's what makes observing prospects so great, one year Angel Berroa has one of the worst seasons in the AAA International League, the next he is robbed of the MLB ROY award. One year Rocco Baldelli looks like another Devil Ray tools outfielder bust, the next he is minor league Player of the Year in Baseball America. One moment Drew Henson is talked about having"Mike Schmidt", the next he could be every great NFL QB ever rolled into one. So while the Yankees system is pretty pathetic, it is still exciting to observe, and for me to write about, because at any moment a suspect of the Yankees could become a major prospect, which is always exciting, especially when you know what to look for and I would like to think that I do. *** In today's New York Daily News, Mike Lupica made a comment along the lines of, the Yankees should pay Aaron Boone his salary just because of his October home run. To this I say Mike Lupica should pay the people in charge of his heat, light, etc. for their services this year even if they slice off their own arms and do absolutely nothing. *** Comments, questions, suggestions to mcnallyf@taftschool.org
 
Saturday, February 07, 2004
 
ME VERSUS AMERICA...BASEBALL AMERICA Well, a little while back I made my very own Yankees Top 10 Prospect list: 1. Dioner Navarro 2. Rudy Guillen 3. Eric Duncan 4. Joaquin Arias 5. Ramon Ramirez 6. Estee Harris 7. Tyler Clippard 8. Melky Cabrera 9. Brad Halsey 10. Sean Henn 10. He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named Leaving out Dre...He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, let's compare my list to Baseball America's: 1. Dioner Navarro 2. Eric Duncan 3. Rudy Guillen 4. Joaquin Arias 5. Ramon Ramirez 6. Robinson Cano 7. Ferdin Tejeda 8. Jorge DePaula 9. Estee Harris 10. Bronson Sardinha Through the first five selections, things look pretty similar (and no this has nothing to do with the fact that I published my list around the same time as BA's, because I actually knew what I was going to go with already). However, from 6 through 10, confusion ensues. While I chose to give the number 6 spot to Estee Harris, BA had him down at number 9, ahead of him are Robinson Cano, Ferdin Tejeda, and Jorge DePaula, none of whom made my list. Seeing as they are the dominant prospect publications, allow me to defend my reasoning. Much of what BA sees in Cano at this point is based on projectability and what he will do in the future, I appreciate this, but at the same time, since I do not have the up close perspective that they MAY have, I need to see statistical evidence of what could or will happen with a player down the line before I start believing it. In Cano's case I don't see much of anything to be overly excited about. Cano has been relatively, not overwhelmingly, young for his levels and this past year in particular did not perform too well. More than anything else that is what put a damper on my expectations for him. In 2002, Cano spent the vast majority of the season playing for the Yankees old Class A affiliate, the Greensboro Bats in the Low A South Atlantic League. He hit .276/.321/.445, for a GPA of .256, and I was very excited about his "prospects" as he displayed the ability to hit for average and power, I pinned my plate discipline hopes on his being young. He also had pretty good defensive reports. Entering this season I felt that he might slip some in performance, due to going to the High A Florida State League, which is a notorious hitters hell, shockingly, he started off on fire, hitting about .400 for a few weeks. Soon after he considerably cooled off and when his time in A+ was done, he had compiled a line of .276/.313/.377 with a .235 GPA. I was somewhat under whelmed with his progress because while he maintained his batting average, he went from walking in 6% of his at bats to a walk in 4.6% of his at bats. Though on a positive note, his K rate went down from striking out in 16.5% of at bats to a strikeout in 13.4% of at bats. More alarming to me was that though I expected his power numbers to go down in terms of slugging percentage, because of the change in environment, I expected him to keep his extra base hit percentage around the same range. Unfortunately, Cano went from sending his hits for extra bases 32.8% of the time down to a meager 23.8% of the time, a huge drop-off. Whatever negative feelings I had about his season at that point were only exasperated by the Yankees promotion of him to AA-Trenton, in the middle of a slump no less, where he proceeded to hit .280/.341/.366. Upon initial glance this was an improvement for a player moving from a lower level to a higher one, however, this is not the case. In 2003, the AA Eastern League was one of the best hitters leagues in the minors and coming from the Florida State League, Cano probably should have shown even more than he did, though there is a small sample size caveat as he only had 164 ABs there. On a very positive note, his walk rate went from 4.6% of at bats to 5.5% (once again, small sample size). Thus far the one thing Cano has demonstrated consistently is the ability to hit for average, his power has come and gone, his plate discipline has not really developed. If he corrects either the plate discipline or power "problems" this year, he jumps from 10 to 15 on my list of Yankee prospects, up to the top 10, until then I will hold my excitement for him (for those of you wondering about his defense, Cano reportedly has a strong arm and soft hands though his range can be lacking, he was voted best defensive 2B in one of his leagues this year and most believe if not at 2B, his future will be at the hot corner). The second major discrepancy with the lists lies with BA's number 7, Ferdin Tejeda. I think this MUST have something to do with the tools, which they can see due to their relatively close proximity to prospects, because there is nothing in his statistical profile that piques my interest. Defensively, he's supposed to be some kind of wizard with the glove, but that's not enough for me if all a player is going to do is hit for average, and that is all Tejeda seems capable of at this moment. Tejeda is also not especially young for the amount and level of experience he has had so he cannot use that as an excuse either. Basically, I can see him as a super utility kind of backup player, but that is not valuable to me when discussing prospects. Speaking of potential major league impact, while BA goes and places DePaula at number 8 on their list, he does not make mine. My reasoning behind not having him is simple, DePaula, in my opinion, will not be able to be a starter because he is incredibly susceptible to the gopher ball and this being the case I think his future is in the bullpen. The fungible nature of the bullpen is a theory I subscribe to, and as such he has no real value for me. Finally, I would like to add BA's number 10 pick, Bronson Sardinha, as my new second number 10, with the departure of "that other guy". When the minor league season officially starts I will try and constantly update the progress of the Yankees top prospects so there'll probably be more features like this, just stay tuned, especially if anyone on these lists begins to make major moves either positively or negatively. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to mcnallyf@taftschool.org
 
Friday, February 06, 2004
 
PROBLEM SOLVED Of course, when I say "problem solved", I am referring to my being able to connect to the internet again, not the situation with Aaron Boone. Speaking of which, when last I promised an entry I said I would put out a radical idea to solve the situation. However, since my hiatus began, pretty much everyone in the blogging community has put out their two cents on the situation, some in much better ways than I ever could (check out Cliff's Big Red Blog, which I think is at the head of the pack on this issue). In addition to this part of my solution to the situation no longer exists. But, hey, just for fun, I'm going to put what my idea would have been out there anyway. As soon as the Boone situation broke, my first thought was of Drew Henson, of course I then thought of his struggles at AAA the last few years. Despite this, I still had not completely soured on his as a prospect; his power was just too intriguing for me. At the same time, it was very evident that you could not just give him the full time job based on how much he had been stinking up AAA. After establishing this, I felt that the Yankees instead of looking outside the organization, should just invite every person who can play 3B, and who is already in their organization, to spring training and have a good old competition. During the competition, special attention should be paid to Drew Henson and Brian Myrow, who I wanted to compile the eventual 3B platoon. This move would have benefited the Yankees because they would have gotten an even clearer of picture of Henson (because as wacky as it seems, there are players who perform better in the majors than they did at AAA) without over-exposing him as he would only start against lefties, this of course is contingent on my unsubstantiated belief that like many RH, Henson is better against LHP. Myrow would then play against RHP and though I expect a huge drop-off in offensive performance due to the jump from AA to ML and him no longer being much older than his competition, it helps his case that he is 27 and in his prime, making a potentially fluky season more likely. All things considered I felt that this platoon would have no major problems performing similarly or better than Boone on the offensive side. Defensively, I expected a dropoff, but overall I thought it was the best way to handle the situation. Of course, this all means nothing now with the buying out of Henson's contract, lack of spring training invite for Myrow, and Yankees' acquisition of every mediocre hitting, craptacular fielding 3B ever, which is why I decided to cut back on the major statistical analysis. That said, I think Jay Jaffe has a pretty good take on what should be done based on what IS actually on hand now. In related Boone-gate musings, there is only one thing I truly, truly fear in this entire situation. If the Yankees feel the need to make a big name acquisition they would clearly have to give up what is left of the farm, in an offseason where I have already lost Nick Johnson (I too let loose the Gollum screen, and then went about 3 days without actively checking on the Yankees, which just does not happen), I do not think I would be able to additionally handle the loss of Navarro, Duncan, Guillen, Ramirez, Arias, Harris, Clippard, or Cabrera. That is all. Sorry for the relatively brief nature of today's post, but there should be a lot of new content this weekend so just keep checking in. Barring any major newsbreaks, next entry looks like I'll be headed back to the minor league blogging. *** Questions, comments, suggestions to mcnallyf@taftschool.org
 
Sunday, February 01, 2004
 
IT WAS BOUND TO HAPPEN As some of you may or may not have noticed, I have not updated in a while. There is an explanation for this, and this time, it does not involve school work. My laptop, for some reason, can no longer open Internet Explorer so I cannot access my account for long enough to type a new entry. Once this problem is fixed, I'll be back with a passion. Sorry for the delay and thanks for your patience.
 
Blog about baseball in general and the Yankees and their prospects specifically.

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    Alfonso Soriano

    Batting Average:.279
    On-Base Percentage:.322
    Slugging Percentage:.464
    Gross Production Avg:.261

    Alex Rodriguez

    Batting Average:.284
    On-Base Percentage:.372
    Slugging Percentage:.536
    Gross Production Avg:.301

    Nick Johnson

    Batting Average:.258
    On-Base Percentage:.365
    Slugging Percentage:.404
    Gross Production Avg:.265

    Javier Vazquez

    Earned Run Average:4.16
    Strikeouts:111
    Walks:37
    Home Runs:23

    Brandon Claussen

    Earned Run Average:4.02
    Strikeouts:9
    Walks:7
    Home Runs:2