The All-Ceiling Top 20

While attempting to sleep last night, an idea popped into my head. Why not have some fun and rank the top-20 Yankee prospects by ceiling alone? Here’s the list I scratched down late at night, with some comments on what their ceiling looks like. I excluded mostly busted prospects so not to make the list too silly. Sorry, Garrison Lassiter. I also excluded some IFAs that I don’t really know a lot about. Here is the list.

  1. Jesus Montero – Poor defensive catcher who slugs .600
  2. Gary Sanchez – Good defensive catcher who slugs .500
  3. Dellin Betances – Josh Beckett on a good day
  4. Manuel Banuelos – Cliff Lee
  5. Andrew Brackman – A right-handed Randy Johnson, but not as good
  6. Melky Mesa – Somewhere between Granderson-2006 and Granderson-2010
  7. Slade Heathcott – Hard to compare, but I’ll say Mike Cameron
  8. Angelo gumbs – A shortstop who can hit home runs
  9. Mason Williams – A little slower than Brett Gardner, but with 10-12 HRs
  10. Evan Rutckyj – Pick your power lefty starter
  11. Brett Marshall – Pick your power righty starter
  12. Austin Romine – Good defensive catcher who slugs .450, but lowish OBP
  13. Jose Ramirez – A strong across the board power starter
  14. Matt Gamel – A high-average, modest power left fielder
  15. Graham Stoneburner – Derek Lowe
  16. Robert Segedin – An all-around above average third baseman
  17. Hector Noesi – James Shields
  18. David Adams – Orlando Hudson with merely above average defense
  19. Cito Culver – The good years of Marco Scutaro
  20. Corban Joseph – Mark Ellis

Don’t take the list too seriously.… Click here to read the rest

Another Thames?

Via Steve Adams at MLBTR, we’ve heard that five teams are interested in Wily Mo Pena. The Yankees originally signed him as an amateur free agent, then traded him away.

As Steve said, he had a strong finish in 2010 in AAA Portland and offers minimal risk. Chances are, he could be had on a minor league deal, just like Marcus Thames in 2011. So, is he worth an offer? Let’s take a look.

Pena hasn’t played in the Majors since an awful 64 game stint with the Nationals in 2008. He had a .509 OPS in 206 PAs. The year before, he split time between Boston (.675 OPS) and Washington (.855 OPS). For his career, Pena’s got a .447 SLG (.194 IsoP) but a .307 OBP (.054 IsoD, 5.87 unintentional walk rate). His career actually looks a lot like Marcus Thames’s before Marcus came back to the Yankees in 2010. Before coming to New York this past season, Thames had a career line of .243/.306/.491 (.248 IsoP, .063 IsoD, 7.74 uBB%).… Click here to read the rest

Non-Jeter Options

The Yankees and Derek Jeter are (apparently) so far apart that the latter’s agent is “baffled” by the hard-line stance the former has taken in contract negotiations. Since that’s happening, let’s take a quick look at the non-Jeter options the Yankees have at shortstop.

Internally, they have (relatively speaking) the youngsters Ramiro Pena and Eduardo Nunez. Both offer something, but it’s not all that much. Pena hit an empty .287 in 69 games in 2009 (.317 OPB, .373 SLG), but flashed decent leather at third and short. In 2010, he hit .227/.258/.247 in 85 games. He would a more typical field first, hit later shortstop, but his offense is just too bad to plug into the lineup every day.

Eduardo Nunez carries a .274/.318/.369 career minor league line, though he’s hit better there of late. In 2009, he hit .322/.349/.433 and in 2010, he hit .289/.340/.381. When he was called up to the Majors, Nunez hit .280/.321/.360 with five steals thrown in for good measure.… Click here to read the rest

The Yankees' Top 10 WPA Swings of 2010

After toying around with the Yankees’ cumulative WPA scores, I became increasingly curious to find out the individual plays that were the most impactful on the Yankees’ 2010 season, and it appears that neither Fangraphs or B-Ref contains sortable lists of team (or league) leaders with said data. I also discovered that full-season WPA scores, while a helpful benchmark, like any other isolated statistic doesn’t always tell the full story.

Hitting on that latter point first, it’s no surprise that Robinson Cano led the Yankees with a 3.64 WPA on the year, followed by Alex Rodriguez and his 3.58. Nick Swisher was third, at 2.09, followed by Brett Gardner (0.99), Mark Teixeira (0.79) and Curtis Granderson (0.39). I imagine this is roughly the order one would expect this past season’s iteration of the Yankees to fall in line in terms of WPA, although it is a bit surprising to see Gardy ahead of Tex and Grandy.

However, in 2009, Cano managed a -1.51 WPA, the worst mark of his career — not to mention the fifth-worst in the American League — in a season that he wOBA’d .370.… Click here to read the rest

What if the Yanks do nothing?

We were discussing this yesterday in EJs post on Cliff Lee and I thought it was an interesting starting point for a debate, so I wanted to pick it up again in a formal post. What if the Cliff Lee bidding gets out of hand and the Yanks decide to pass? What if the Yanks decide to do nothing but fill out the bench and bring back the same group for 2011? Would the 2011 Yanks be better than the 2010 Yanks if they keep the roster largely the same?

I say yes, they would be better for the following reasons.

-Aceves coming back healthy would stabilize the bullpen tremendously. I think he was a key (yet still underrated) factor on the 2009 team and a big part of what was missing on the 2010 team. He kept the team in many games, giving the lineup an opportunity for late-inning heroics and vultured a bunch of wins along the way.

-As down as we all are on Joba Chamberlain, his peripherals suggest a much better pitcher than the one we saw in 2010.… Click here to read the rest

Behold, thy name is leverage

  • Derek’s significance to the team is much more than just stats” This is true. Jeter is the Captain, the team’s moral compass and ever-present driver to achieve. Jeter represents all that the Yankees want the franchise to represent: Class, Respect, Excellence.  Yet, the Yankees franchise will live on in the post-Jeter era, whenever that starts, be it 2011 or sometime in the future, just as it succeeded pre-Jeter.  The Yanks have paid Jeter handsomely during his incredibly successful tenure, some $205 million so far in salary alone.  In return, the Yanks have gotten all they could have asked for from Jeter.  His ten year contract has been a boon for both sides, an absolute rarity in professional sports.  Each side has thrived during the length of Jeter’s career to date.  The team’s success in the 1990’s helped fuel the crazy spending of the 2000’s (in an effort to keep the ‘dynasty’ alive).  Jeter is one of the main reasons for the team’s successes, but not the only one. 
Click here to read the rest

Implicit Acceptance

If I gave you a number series of 29, 109, 200, what would you think it meant? You’d have no idea, right? In order for these numbers to have meaning, you have to give them names, and this is where historical circumstance creates problems. If the technology and investigation into statistics wasn’t very good, then there was little verification of the validity of these statistics, and if there was no verification, then we don’t know exactly what the numbers are telling us. When they named those statistics, however, they gave those numbers meaning, but the meaning wasn’t always accurate because, again, there was no investigation into the statistics before introducing them to the public. It wasn’t laziness. It wasn’t stupidity. It was a combination of something with little importance at the time (the importance of stats has since grown with the introduction of awards and the growing value of players, thus necessitating analysis) and insufficient technology. There really wasn’t anything they could do, and they had to name the statistics to tell people what they meant according to what they understood the statistics to mean.… Click here to read the rest

Preview: NL Most Valuable Player

Joey Votto

Though Pujols is awesome, Votto has been just as awesome and maybe better. Votto’s .324/.424/.600 line is ever-so-slightly better than Pujols’ (just better is still better), and it gives him a .439 wOBA that is quite a bit better than Pujols’ .420. The issue in discussing Votto’s value comes on defense. FanGraphs (7.4 fWAR) has Votto at just above average, and he was just below last season after being way above the season before. B-Ref took a dump on Votto’s defense and put him well below average, tanking his bWAR to 6.2. So which is it? Is he good or bad? Up to this year, B-Ref and FanGraphs had essentially agreed on his defense, but because B-Ref flies way down while UZR stabilized, I’ll side with UZR as long as no one else knows of a reason it should be so low, which means that the 0.7 difference in bWAR should be quite a bit smaller. Then again, I’ve heard UZR doesn’t do a great job with first basemen, so this could all be for naught.… Click here to read the rest