Signability = It's About The Money, Stupid

So the Yanks drafted California HS RHP Gerrit Cole in the first round (28th pick overall) of the MLB Draft yesterday. First, his impressive scouting report from BaseballAmerica.com (emphasis mine, of course):

Cole is the best righthander out of Southern California since Phil Hughes starred at Santa Ana’s Foothills High in 2004. Cole’s four-seam fastball ranges from 93-96 mph, occasionally peaking at 97-98. He adds a hard, late-breaking curve which shows bite, tilt and depth. Cole used his changeup sparingly early in the season, though he used it more later. Adding to Cole’s considerable appeal to scouts is his tall, lanky and projectable frame, which is nearly ideal for a prep righthander. Scouts are split over whether Cole profiles as a starter or closer. He maintains velocity and pitch movement deep into games, but his inconsistent command and tendency to run up high pitch counts may move him to the bullpen. Some scouts have compared him to Mariners closer J.J. Putz. Cole does bring mechanical concerns. He lands on a stiff front leg, and he recoils his arm during his follow-through. Both hurt control and raise injury concerns. Complicating the situation, Cole’s adviser is the Scott Boras Corp., which may eliminate many clubs from consideration. Cole also hasn’t endeared himself to scouts or teammates with what one scout described as his immature mound demeanor.

Cole may have the best teenage arm in this draft. He throws a four seamer that peaks at 97-98 and a heavy two seamer that runs in the low-90s. Baseball America has ranked his fastball at the top of the high school class. There are two questions that have dogged Cole this spring: (1) his makeup and (2) his signability, as he is represented by the Scott Boras Corporation and has committed to UCLA. Slot money probably won’t do the trick here. The tall righthander could slide like Rick Porcello last year, but it is unlikely that he will receive a signing bonus approaching Detroit’s first pick in the 2007 draft.

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Moose impresses but not an All-Star

I’ll be the first to admit it: After his dismal 2007 and his first few starts of 2008, I thought Moose was done. But, he’s taken a page out of the Maddux Pitching Manual and has evolved into a different pitcher.

Let that be the lesson: It’s not the speed, it’s the location and the CHANGING of speed.

Without a fastball that can reach 90 mph any longer, Moose has gone the opposite direction, going slow, slower and even slower (that looping 63 mph eephus-like knuckle-curve or whatever it is).

Moose had a good night last night, lasting 6 IP, surrendering 5 hits while striking out 6 and walking just one. He looks confident, calm. Now, the YES Network guys, mostly Michael Kay, are claiming that Moose is an all-star this year, but with all due respect to his 9 wins, Moose is not an AL all-star pitcher. His ERA (4.01) ranks just 25th in the AL. Yes, his 9 wins has him tied for first but most sane minds can recognize that wins are not the single best barometer.

If I had to pick six-seven starters for the all-star game, my choices would be:
  1. Cliff Lee (9-1, 2.45 ERA) *starter*
  2. Dice-K (8-0, 2.53 ERA)
  3. Roy Halladay (7-5, 2.94 ERA)
  4. Joe Saunders (9-2, 2.63 ERA)
  5. Ervin Santana (8-2, 3.02 ERA)
  6. Shaun Marcum (5-3, 2.63 ERA)
  7. Javy Vazquez (5-4, 3.43)

Data source: ESPN.com

Interesting that the logical big-name guys (Beckett, Sabathia, Verlander, Bedard) are not having great years. Beckett’s doing well and I think he could easily be on this list (6-4, 4.07 ERA, 80 K in 73 IP) but his ERA ranks him one behind Moose. I also think King Felix, despite a poor 3-5 record, albeit with a nice 3.29 ERA, could be on the team if Ichiro is not voted a starter. I would have also pegged Wang an all-star but the last month has not been kind to him. Go figure.

Who would you put on this list and who would you take off?

Continue reading Moose impresses but not an All-Star

Jeter passes The Mick

Not much to say here other than offering Jeter a hearty congrats as he just passed The Mick on the Yanks all-time hit list. Jeter’s now #3 all-time, behind some other well known guys: Gehrig, Ruth. Pretty impressive company. Say what you will about Jeter (as some say: “overrated“), but this guy has done it every year, consistently and with class and respect.

Rank Player H PA
1. Lou Gehrig 2721 9660
2. Babe Ruth 2518 9197
3. Derek Jeter 2416 8655
4. Mickey Mantle 2415 9909

Nice work, Cap’n Jetes. Continue reading Jeter passes The Mick

Gammons on Kei: Blame Guidry

Interesting Q&A with Peter Gammons from his segment on the Mike Felger Show on 890 ESPN. Below is part of that transcript and this was particularly interesting on two fronts (emphasis mine):

don’t know if you’ve heard my spiel, but I wonder if you just have to make a few exceptions for Dice-K and really let throw more pitches than you’re used to allowing and let him go to 120?

PG: They’ve done that and I think it’s a good idea. That’s one thing that the Red Sox have really done. Ron Guidry was the Yankees pitching coach and he took Kei Igawa and changed his delivery and he’s never been the same. The interesting thing was that if the Yankees put Igawa on waivers the Sox, from my understanding, were going to put a claim in on him.
He needs to go back to doing what he does when he was a very successful pitcher in Japan.

Let’s review, shall we?

  1. Guidry screwed up Kei
  2. RedSox were ready to claim him if waived

What can we make of this? Just as a pitching coach is often credited with saving or returning a pitcher to a certain level, can we hang Guidry for messing up Kei? Can’t Kei simply go back to doing what worked for him in Japan, now that Guidry is gone? I need to go hunting for the pitch mechanics who can look at the before/after deliveries of Kei and weigh in. (If you have seen something like this, please send it to me!)

As for the Sox claiming Kei, well, I just don’t know. I can see them trying to “fix” him, hoping he’d be more comfortable with Dice, Okajima, etc. Maybe they were hoping to deal him for other spare parts. Maybe they were just eager to stick it to the Yanks.

Who knows? I just found it all pretty interesting. Continue reading Gammons on Kei: Blame Guidry

More Farnsworth

Seems that I’m not alone in my affection (ahem) for Farnsworthless. Good blogging buddies Shyster and Pride of the Yankees seemed to enjoy my disdain. [Update: even the Providence Journal was in on my spiel!]

So naturally, when I saw this in the NY Times today, I had to run with it:

GIRARDI BACKS FARNSWORTH

In his last seven games – six coming since Joba Chamberlain began his transition to the rotation • Kyle Farnsworth has an 8.59 E.R.A. Opponents are hitting .414 and slugging .897, with four home runs.

But while saying he would “mix and match” in the eighth inning, Joe Girardi continues to maintain that everything is fine with Farnsworth.

“It seems to me that Kyle’s history gets brought up during the course of this year, where I feel he’s had a ton of good outings,” Girardi said. “He gave up a run yesterday in a tough situation, but that’s not going to keep me from using him in a tough situation, because for this team to be successful, Kyle has to pitch in those types of situations and be successful.”

Taken as a whole, Farnsworth’s numbers are not much different from his track record in New York. He had a 4.36 E.R.A. in 2006, a 4.80 mark last year and a 4.44 figure this season.

Forgive me for channeling the Kevin Bacon “Chip Diller” character from “Animal House“, but I can see Girardi’s face on Bacon’s body, at the end of the movie, shouting: “Remain calm! All is well!” as chaos is breaking out.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not remaining calm about this.

REMINDER: As a result of this well-dispersed dislike for Farnsworthless, I created the following group on Yahoo! Groups: I Hate Kyle Farnsworth. Please come and join.

Continue reading More Farnsworth

Walk this way

With apologies to Aerosmith (or the always fun Aerosmith/Run-DMC version), Joba’s debut was not a good one last night. Some quick thoughts:

  • I was surprised by the lack of control. Just nerves? Strange, though, as he’s been super in high-pressure spots before.
  • Could the build-up have gotten to him?
  • I’m more concerned about the gaping hole in the bullpen than his eventual transition to starter.
  • The bullpen caved last night, again.
  • Could Michael Kay be any more breathless as the first pitch was delivered? Where were Suzyn Waldman’s tears?
  • Has Hank issued any ultimatums yet?
  • I still believe in Joba
  • Now that the first one is behind us, we can all dial it down a bit. Right? RIGHT?!?

Continue reading Walk this way

Congrats to Unit

Now, I was no fan of his before he joined the Yanks, during his thankfully brief tenure with the Yanks, and now that he’s back in Arizona… but a big old hat tip is due to the Big Unit as he passes Roger Clemens on the all time strikeout list. He’s now #2 behind Nolan Ryan. Quite the impressive feat.

Almost as impressive as his re-grown mullet, thumbing his nose at anyone who thinks mullets are strictly an 80’s phenomenon. Guess what? The mullet lives, baby.

Continue reading Congrats to Unit

Sometimes, it IS about the money

I love a good list, and this is about as good as they come (courtesy of SI.com)

Ranking the 50 highest-earning athletes in the U.S.

  1. Tiger Woods: $127.9m last year, including $105m in endorsements. “With close to $800 million in total earnings on and off the course over his 13-year career, Tiger should become the first billion-dollar athlete in the next two years — and he’s still only 32.” And that gets you Elin, which is a good thing.
  2. Phil Mickelson: $62.4m.
  3. LeBron James: $40.5m. (who needs college, right?)
  4. Floyd Mayweather Jr.: $40.3m.
  5. Kobe Bryant: $35.5m. With $16m in endorsements, like sponsors kinda sorta forgot about that whole “issue” that took place in Colorado a few years back. Just sayin’…
  6. Shaq: $35.0m. Funny how Shaq and Kobe are still inseparable.
  7. A-Rod: $35.0m. “Assuming A-Rod plays out his new mammoth 10-year, $275 million deal, he’ll have earned $445 million in base salary alone over the course of what would be a 24-year career.
  8. Kevin Garnett: $31.0m.
  9. Peyton Manning: $30.5m. And no Gisele.
  10. Derek Jeter: $30.0m. Cap’n Jetes, still on the list. And you needed another reason to hate him, or just want to be him?

Continue reading Sometimes, it IS about the money

Behold: The Awesomeness of Joba

With all the hubbub surrounding Joba’s first start tonite (not to mention all the second-guessing), Larry Dubrow at CBSSports.com had this to say:

Just how anticipated is Joba’s starting-rotation bow? The broadcast networks waved the white flag, serving up a mix of House reruns (“House makes an improbable diagnosis and acts all ornery and whatnot”) and election coverage. The NHL bumped the potential Game 6 of the Stanley Cup playoffs back to Wednesday so as not to intrude upon the low-brimmed righty’s spotlight dance. The NBA delayed the start of the 2008 Finals by two days, just in case the country needs Wednesday to digest the beacon of magnificent awesomeness that is Joba.

So outside of the expected — a no-hitter, a quasi-religious experience, the dawning of a new age in contemporary sports and, indeed, Western civilization — what can we expect from Joba’s first A-team night on the big stage? It’ll probably go something like …

I recommend a read of the entire article if you enjoy some tongue-in-cheek humor and can laugh at Yanks fans (or yourself, as the case may be).


8:28 p.m.: Joba throws his 71st and final pitch of the evening. It is a wonderful pitch, an otherworldly pitch, a cruel pitch, a slider. This slider is to all sliders that preceded it what Alec Baldwin is to Java Man, what brie is to Kraft American singles. It goes for a called third strike and Lyle Overbay retreats dugout-ward, demoralized. On his way off the field, Joba tips his cap ever-respectfully to the fans, who respond by lapsing into euphoria-induced seizures.

Awesome! Well played, sir.

Continue reading Behold: The Awesomeness of Joba