Feb
04

Open Thread: 100 Names You Need To Know

By

priceUSA Today ran an article today that basically amounts to 100 young players you need to know for 2009. David Price predictably topped the list, and was followed by Travis Snider of the Jays and Chris Davis of the Rangers. Three Yankees made the list:

35. Brett Gardner, OF, Yankees: Right now, Gardner is stuck in a five-man logjam in the Yankees outfield. Things could clear up for him (a trade of Xavier Nady or Nick Swisher, further club dissatisfaction with Melky Cabrera) or get more crowded (Jorge Posada forced to DH, pushing Hideki Matsui into the outfield mix). Gardner, 25, gives the Yankees a needed burst of speed (he stole 13 bases in 14 tries) and does the little things well, but will need to hit more — maybe a lot more — to get playing time.

84. Austin Jackson, OF, Yankees: The weak link in the Yankees’ lineup, at least offensively, is center field, where either Brett Gardner or Melky Cabrera is likely to be on opening day. By some point later in the season, it’s not an unrealistic scenario that Jackson, 22, could be there. He is speedy with the ability to hit for average like Gardner but has more power. Cabrera can do similar things as Jackson offensively but slumped terribly at the plate last year. If Cabrera slumps again, Jackson will be a call away in Class AAA.

97. David Robertson, RHP, Yankees: Robertson, 23, emerged as a steady big-league bullpen option, then hit the wall with an 8.18 August ERA and was sent back to Class AAA. He throws hard enough to be a factor again this season, if not immediately.

These lists are very tough to put together, because you’re not ranking guys based on who’s the best player or prospect, you’re ranking them based on who will have the biggest impact in the big leagues this year. That said, David Murphy (#11) over Colby Rasmus (#12) is laughable.

Couple other quick comments: Clayton Richard (#17) is way too high, Tommy Hanson too low (#34), and JA Happ (#95) extremely too low. I’d have Happ in the top 25, ditto Hanson. I love me some Jason Motte too (#25), dude had 126 strikeouts in 76.2 IP between Triple-A and the bigs last year. And I’m sorry, if you’re going to include guys like Jess Todd, (#44) Adam Miller (#45), Scott Elbert (#50), and Phillippe Aumont (#72), then you have to include Mark Melancon. That’s just crazy.

Anywho, there’s your open thread for the night. The Nets are in D.C., and the Knicks are getting visit from LeBron. Anything goes, just be nice.

Photo Credit: Al Tielemans, SI

Categories : Open Thread

206 Comments»

  1. Steve Sax says:

    wasn’t Francisco Butto Yankee property last year- what happened?

  2. u would think melancon would be on it above robertson

    • radnom says:

      Robertson has already tasted the big leagues. This list is about biggest impact this year.

      • Steve O. says:

        “This list is about biggest impact this year.”

        Exactly why Melancon should be higher.

        • radnom says:

          He has never pitched in the minors before. Much less of a sure thing, regardless of how much hype he is getting. Plenty of great players come up and struggle on their first tour.

  3. I’m hoping that #21 Steve Pearce and #22 Andrew McCutchen both blow up big time. That sorry ass club needs some good luck for a change. Seriously, this is disgusting. When you haven’t been relevant since Sid Bream was in the league, that’s a problem.

    Then again, it’s kinda sad that a bad team with basically no good players on it only has two players on this list. At least the Padres have a fairly bright future, according to USA Today.

    Yech.

  4. Steve H says:

    Not sure if this was mentioned earlier in the day (job gets in my way of reading RAB). I know the odds are against the Yankees getting Manny, but for all of the anti-Manny crowd, you should read Posnanski’s item on baseball’s greatest winner.

    http://joeposnanski.com/JoeBlo.....st-winner/

    • Mike Pop says:

      It really is a shame that the Yanks can’t get him. Manny sign a 1 year deal. We’ll take you for DH next year!

    • Let’s all forward this article to CashMoney next offseason when Matsui, Damon, and Nady drop off the books and Manny’s one-year deal expires.

      I’m very aroused…

    • radnom says:

      So he has played on winning teams?

      Not really a good argument, especially in baseball.

      • True, but the point is more that not simply has he played on winning teams, but he’s NEVER played on a losing team. Yeah, it’s not like Manny singlehandedly made the ’90s Indians or ’00s Red Sox great singlehandedly, but the teams never sucked and were basically always in contention, and he was the focal point of the offense ever year that kept those teams in contention constantly.

        The label that he’s a clubhouse cancer who blows up teams and that GM’s would be fools for bringing him to their team is the overstated myth Posnanski’s ridiculing.

        • radnom says:

          The 90′s Indians had one of the sickest offenses in the last few decades, which he was a big part of, but that team was stacked offensively.
          The Red Sox were built more on pitching, but it wasn’t like he had to carry that offense either.

          I don’t think it blows up the notion he was a clubhouse cancer, so much as it blows up the notion that you can’t win with a clubhouse cancer. Plenty of teams have done that. You have to remember though, if anyone knows how good Manny is its the Red Sox, and they chose to trade him away during a playoff race for less than his value. Thats all the evidence I need about his clubhouse presence.

          • Mike Pop says:

            ……….and it cost them a championship.

            • Steve H says:

              Which would have been their 3rd in Manny’s 8 seasons, after going 82 years without one. I guess they had a whole lot of “clubhouse cancers” in those 82 years.

            • radnom says:

              Thanks for proving my point.

              They knew there was a good chance it would cost them a championship but it was that much of an issue that they moved him anyway.

              But regardless, you can’t say with any certainty that Manny on the Red Sox = WS win last year.

              • Or, it could just be that they’re boneheads who handled the situation wrongly from the beginning.

                Here’s my question: Manny Ramirez is one of the best hitters ever, and the focal point of your offense. You’re going to be demonstrably worse without him, and he’s showing no signs of slipping. He comes to you in early 2007 or 2008 and says “ARod’s making more than me annually, and that’s ridiculous. I’d like to drop those last two option years and do a 4 year, 100M deal instead. It would make me feel better, and I can throw Boras a bone with a nice new commission.” Instead of saying “Fuck you, Manny, we’ve got you over a barrel with these last two option years and we’re going to use them and screw your market value”, they could say “You know what? Sure, why not. We’re the Sox, we’ve got more than enough money, you’re still awesome, and we could use your steady hand in the middle of the lineup while Old Man Ortiz slowly does a reverse Benjamin Button on us… yeah, we’ll kick you an extra 5M per year. That’s like walking around money for us.”

                I know it’s a bit of a crutch of mine, but I can’t ignore the fact that almost every Red Sox star ever has left the team in acrimony. I blame the Sox for a portion, if not all, of that messy divorce.

              • radnom says:

                Oh, I’m not saying that the Red Sox are blameless in most of these divorces, or even totally not at fault in this case; but I really can’t blame them in the above scenario.

                Its like when people complained last year that the Yankees went to arbitration with Wang. Could they have just ponied up a long term deal like with Cano? Yes. But why should you fault them for not, they had all the leverage in that scenario. The same deal with Manny. They had the leverage, if Manny really wasn’t declining at all, let him make his money when he gets to free agency, that is how the system works. Everybody plays by those rules, the Red Sox did nothing wrong by assuming Manny wouldn’t throw his team under the bus in order to force his way to free agency. And it is not ridiculous that Arod makes more annually, he is a better player.

                • And it is not ridiculous that Arod makes more annually, he is a better player.

                  Wrong. ARod profiles to be a better player. ARod is sometimes a better player.

                  For the durations of their careers to this point, Manny has been the better player.

                • radnom says:

                  Way to completely ignore my entire paragraph which sliced up your argument into little pieces and just attack the one little throw in line at the end :p

                  Some years Manny hits better than Arod, some years Arod hits better. Difference is Arod is much younger, plays some defense at a much more valuable position. To say its “ridiculous” that arod makes more than Manny is a ridiculous statement in itself. And I know you think Manny is ageless, but if I’m the Red Sox I wouldn’t give him a 4 year deal if I don’t have to.

                • To say its “ridiculous” that arod makes more than Manny is a ridiculous statement in itself.

                  FWIW, those words were words I was putting in Manny’s mouth. Even if you don’t think it’s ridiculous that ARod makes more than Manny, I can see how Manny would think that. Especially in the wake of two WS rings.

      • Steve H says:

        #1. He’s been a critical part of those winning teams.

        #2. The “clubhouse cancer” nonsense clearly isn’t applicable. If it was, if he truly drove his teams apart, they wouldn’t be winning all the time.

        • Old Ranger says:

          Players with the label of “Cancerous” get traded a lot, not outed. He has been traded a few times, remember the Rsox put him on wavers and the Yanks passed on him.

          • The Red Sox were putting him on waivers because they were trying to clear money to go after ARod.

            Which is understandable.

            • radnom says:

              This is not entirely true from what I recall.

              They did this several times, not just the Arod year.

              • Steve H says:

                No, pretty sure it was just the one time. Then they won the WS.

              • radnom says:

                Ok, that is true. But I knew it didn’t happen exactly the way it was said.

                They put him on waivers in October, way before the Arod talk heated up. Actually, when they were trying to get Arod the trade was going to be Arod FOR Manny. What TSJC said makes no sense. If someone had claimed Manny off waivers there would have been no one to trade for Arod.

                The reason they put him on waivers, according to a Neyer article at the time? He was the “11th or 12th best player in the league, with the second highest annual salary”.

                They just wanted out.

                • Steve H says:

                  And if they had gotten out, they’d be working on a 90 year title drought.

                • http://sonsofsamhorn.net/lofiv.....34797.html

                  My bad. I remember some NY tabloid theorizing during the 48-hour Manny-waiver window that the move was done on the part of the Sox in efforts to clear salary in order to bring in ARod.

                  That rather than ARod for Manny straight up (which, BTW, that October the Rangers were not initially interested in since they wanted to get salary relief and not simply swap one fat contract for another) it was going to be ARod for prospects (like, say, Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez or something) and the Sox take on most of ARod’s contract outright. I remember reading stories (or maybe hearing talk radio) about how the Yankees shouldn’t claim Manny because it would prevent us from trading for ARod.

                  The Manny-for-ARod idea wasn’t really hatched when they put Manny on waivers yet. I’m wagering that the reason the Sox put Manny on waivers was to get salary relief to be able to bring in ARod, or possibly some other elite player.

                • Mike Pop says:

                  March 20, 2007: The world discovers Ramirez’s eBay listing for a once-used BBQ grill. After bids reach nearly $100 million, eBay yanks the auction. (Ramirez later says he was helping a neighbor.)

                  Lol

  5. Mike Pop says:

    Tony Gonzalez might get traded..again?

    Maybe the Giants/Packers/Bills? Depends where he wants right.

  6. Mike A. says:

    Hah. Some dude in the Caribbean Series just got thrown out at first by the right fielder. Is it really that hard for 90 feet four times a day?

  7. Mike Pop says:

    Quick question. Who has more upside, Netfali Perez or Joba?

  8. YFSS says:

    Today a friend tried arguing with me that tennis is more difficult than baseball. Your thoughts?

    • Mike A. says:

      Tennis is more of an endurance thing. Hitting a baseball is much harder than hitting a tennis ball.

      • Mike W. says:

        You are usually dead-on with everything that you write. This is not one of those things.

        Are you talking about at the professional level or just in the play-fields?

        If you are talking about the professional level, it is just as hard, if not harder to hit a tennis ball.

        • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

          I have to agree, and the longevity of the careers is good evidence of this. Baseball players will often play into the 40′s as either hitters or pitchers. Top Tennis players are usually washed up in their late 20′s, though some hang around in their 30′s, but not at an elite level.

          That being said, tennis players are still a bunch of sissy boys.

          • Old Ranger says:

            But, but, but…Steve!
            Tennis is as, Mike so eloquently put it, “tennis is a endurance sport”.

            The *act* of hitting a baseball is harder, the sport itself is not.
            Do you play Golf? If you don’t, don’t take it up. I did, and went threw a bag of clubs. Until I controlled the kill emotion.

            • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

              You’re right, I read that too quickly.

              That being said, hitting a baseball isn’t as difficult as its made out to be. It’s a faulty argument. Hitters hit the baseball all the time, they just don’t get credit for a hit all that often because there are 9 guys out there trying to catch it. But they hit the ball.

              ‘Successfully’ hitting a baseball is one of the hardest things to do in sports, but that’s not because its so difficult to put wood on a fastball. Actually, if you subtract SO rates from a typical hitter you’ll find they still made contact around 85% of the time.

              By this standard, the NBA (shooting %), NFL Quarterbacks (completion %) are far more difficult than ‘hitting’ a Baseball.

              • Jack says:

                By using your “no defense” argument, though, we would have to only look at open shots or passes where neither the quarterback or reciever have anyone around them.

                • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

                  Ummm . . . . no. The pitcher is part of the “defense”. Actually, he’s the most important player on the field. And yet hitters still perform “The *act* of hitting a baseball” successfully around 85% of the time.

                  I guess my real argument is semantic. ‘Hitting’ a baseball isn’t the hardest thing to do in sports. ‘Successfully hitting a baseball’ is, but again, that has more to do with the design of the game than the “act of hitting a baseball”.

                • I guess my real argument is semantic. ‘Hitting’ a baseball isn’t the hardest thing to do in sports. ‘Successfully hitting a baseball’ is, but again, that has more to do with the design of the game than the “act of hitting a baseball”.

                  And in keeping with the semantics, “successfully” hitting a pitched baseball is probably just as hard as “successfully” hitting a tennis serve, IMO.

        • Old Ranger says:

          Sorry, the most difficult action in sports is hitting a baseball. Just think about it…tennis on the serve; 2 tries to return a ball with a (almost 1sq. ft. area) racquet. Baseball; trying to hit a round ball with a round bat…meaning one has about a 1/4″ of the bat to hit a ball coming at you 90+ miles per., or in some cases diving away from you.
          Which do you think is really harder?

          • Mike W. says:

            Ummmm… You only get one chance to hit a serve. And the top pros serve it 130mph+ with top spin. At different angles in the service box. And it is legal to serve it 150 mph directly at your opponent.

            • Steve O. says:

              Does it really go that fast?

              If yes, baseball is still a harder sport.
              If no, baseball is still a harder sport.

              So Mike, what’s your answer?

              • http://hypertextbook.com/facts.....eung.shtml

                According to that, Bill Tilden hit a tennis ball 163 MPH in 1931. That was with a wooden racket. I question the accuracy of that reading, but yeah, on the modern tour, the best female players (like the Williams sisters) dial it up to 125-130 and the men like Roddick or Federer can get it up to 140 or so.

              • Mike W. says:

                MPH are miles per hour in baseball and tennis. MPH doesn’t stand for something different in the two sports.

                So yes, the tennis ball goes that fast.

                And it is pretty clear you have either never played or watched tennis if you do not think that the elite tennis player is just as gifted as the elite baseball player.

                • Steve O. says:

                  “And it is pretty clear you have either never played or watched tennis if you do not think that the elite tennis player is just as gifted as the elite baseball player”

                  I have played tennis, when I was at Myrtle Beach over the summer. Yes, an elite baseball player is just as gifted as an elite tennis player, although baseball is a harder sport. So I guess that makes the baseball player a bit more gifted, no?

          • pat says:

            I dunno ranger. Have you ever played tennis against somebody whos good/ knows what their doing? Yes in baseball the bat is almost the same size as the ball but in tennis the ball a) is coming faster b) bounces before getting to you c) has just as much if not more movement than a baseball and most importantly d) a tennis ball is not confined to a 2×3 box through which it has to pass. In tennis you have to take a step or two in a direction and return the ball into a confined space not just smack the hell out of it. Also in tennis errbody has to be a switch hitter. I dunno if that makes it harder just thought I’d throw it out there.
            That being said I wouldn’t be able to do either on anything other than a drunk rec league level, but I think tennis involves more variables which would make it more difficult. Either way itls a pretty good debate and both sides can make a good case.

            • Mike W. says:

              Also, thank you Pat for including the everyone has to be a switch hitter argument in there.

              Next time anyone sees a great pitcher pitching, just think of what it would look like against a non-switch hitter if the pitcher could pitch it to either side of the batter. It would look ugly.

        • Steve O. says:

          I have to agree with Mike A. here. Trying to hit a 95 MPH fastball with a stick is a much harder than trying to hit a tennis ball that is going much, much, much slower with a racket that has a much greater chance of hitting the ball. Hence the reason why the best player in baseball hits the ball one third of the time. Tennis is pretty hard, but still easier than basketball and football. Tennis is more of an endurance thing, while baseball is much more of a talent thing.

          I win.

            • FWIW, the fact that hitting a major league fastball may be more difficult than returning a tennis serve does not mean per se that baseball is more difficult than tennis.

              Those are just two partial aspects of the larger games. Massive oversimplification.

              Furthermore, I challenge the veracity of that statement. Tim Lincecum may have one of the best arms in the game, and yet I’d say that there’s more MLB regulars who can hit his fastball well and safely in the field of play with a modicum of regularity than there are tennis players who can return a Rafael Nadal serve within the lines, and hard enough/well enough so as to prevent Nadal from not immediately getting a kill-point with a modicum of regularity.

              It may be easier to hit an elite tennis serve than an elite pitch, but it’s probably harder to hit an elite tennis serve well.

              • Steve O. says:

                “FWIW, the fact that hitting a major league fastball may be more difficult than returning a tennis serve does not mean per se that baseball is more difficult than tennis.”

                It doesn’t at all, the fact that pitchers have to pitch into a small strike zone with proper placement to succeed, and to throw it extremely hard at about 90+ MPH proves baseball is harder. The fact that opposing batters have to face those pitchers with a wooden bat, very small in diameter I might add, have to hit their pitches with success proves baseball is, in fact, harder. Players spend years after they are a “professional” to hone their talents because of the skill represented in baseball. Tennis is a difficult sport in it’s own right, but there is a smaller gap between the best tennis player and the average tennis player, then there is between the best baseball player and the average baseball player.

                “It may be easier to hit an elite tennis serve than an elite pitch, but it’s probably harder to hit an elite tennis serve well.”

                I’m sure a professional tennis player can give a serve that’s difficult to hit, harder to hit than an elite pitch. You’re oversimplifying the game by only assesing the serve/pitch aspects of these two respectable sports. Also, to play baseball one has to be great in many elements: Pitching, hitting, defense etc.

                • You’re oversimplifying the game by only assesing the serve/pitch aspects of these two respectable sports.

                  Actually, that’s the exact opposite of what I’m doing. I began my thought by saying that “the fact that hitting a major league fastball may be more difficult than returning a tennis serve does not mean per se that baseball is more difficult than tennis.”

                  Also, to play baseball one has to be great in many elements: Pitching, hitting, defense etc.

                  And, to play tennis, you have to be great not only at serving but at returning, running, jumping, maintaning endurance, and mastering different surfaces. Just like baseball requires a multitude of athletic talents, so does tennis.

                • Steve O. says:

                  I stand corrected, but baseball is the harder sport. What do you think Tommie, which sport is harder?

                • I think they’re both equally hard. Different skillsets. Not a copout, just my honest opinion. I’d say that on the professional level, the bell curves of excellent-to-average-to-poor players probably line up fairly evenly.

                • To paraphrase President Clinton, it probably depends on what your definition of “hard” is.

          • radnom says:

            Trying to hit a 95 MPH fastball with a stick is a much harder than trying to hit a tennis ball that is going much, much, much slower with a racket

            Huh? I’m on the side of baseball being a harder sport, but you are away that tennis serves are much, much, much, much faster than the fastest pitcher can throw right?

            • Steve O. says:

              I forgot just how hard they hit that light ball. I was just trying to defend the sport of baseball.

            • I know I’m coming late to the party, but tennis is (in my mind) indisputably harder than baseball. Dmitri Young could not play tennis.

              • K.B.D. says:

                Overall athleticism plays a greater role in tennis, yes. That doesn’t mean it is automatically, unequivocally HARDER than baseball. It just means that it requires a different skill-set on the whole.

    • Today a friend tried arguing with me that tennis is more difficult than baseball.

      Tell Chris “Mad Dog” Russo I said hello.

  9. Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

    Mike, how is Melancon Rule 5 eligible? He was drafted in 06 and spent 07 on the DL.

  10. Jake H says:

    I would really like Gardner to play center.

  11. Nady Nation says:

    LeBron has 20 after the first. Here we go again…

  12. Oscar says:

    I hope you guys are making a lot of money from the “reduce stomach fat” ads, but they’re really nasty and getting tiresome. Maybe you can convince them to have Curt Schilling model for the “before” photo — then they would at least be funny.

  13. Jamal G. says:

    Oh, the Resident Evil 5 demo came out for the PS3 – that shit is fun. I can’t wait for that game.

    I’m hoping to go to the Dominican Republic for Spring Break, and I think I’m gonna bring my PS3 and Street Fighter 4, The Show and RE5.

  14. Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

    Interesting THT article about pitch sequences, and lo and behold it get’s into our very own. . . . . Phil “Phranchise” Hughes.

    “Yankee prospect Phil Hughes is another interesting pitcher to track this with because of his large hump on his curveball. In fact, Hughes’ hump is the largest in the league by more than two inches. You would expect that Hughes would be throwing some high fastballs to help with the deception, but he didn’t once throw a high fastball followed by a curveball all year. In Hughes’ defense, his year was less than 40 innings but still you would have expected at least some high fastball/curveball sequences.

    Hughes mowed down minor league hitters at every level, but he is still a very young pitcher. He also is almost exclusively a two-pitch pitcher (fastball/curveball) so he needs both pitches working to be successful. His curveball last year was over two runs100 worse than a league average curveball. surprising considering how much scouts love the pitch and how much movement he gets with it.

    It seems pretty clear that Hughes just doesn’t have the necessary deception yet and big league hitters are recognizing his curve and either laying off the pitch or hitting it hard. It is very possible that Hughes’ great movement was enough to fool minor league hitters and up until this point he never needed to properly disguise the pitch. With the Yankees’ rotation looking full after their offseason spending spree, it seems likely Hughes will start the year in Triple-A. He is likely to do well there as he has already shown he can get hitters out at that level, but without some tweaks, I would be very surprised if he had a lot of success at the major league level. Obviously, he is a very young pitcher and has a lot of time to make the proper changes, but it can be hard to work on something at a level where you don’t really need to use it to be successful.

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/m.....curveball/

    • A.D. says:

      Curve was working just fine in his last few starts

      • Matt says:

        The curve could be working fine but if you don’t mix it up, it’s gonna get tattooed. Just look at Edwar–his changeup is incredible but when he can’t hit his spots with the fastball and doesn’t mix that pitch in enough, his changeup gets demolished.

  15. Jamal G. says:

    Al Harrington is a fucking beast – wow.

  16. Jamal G. says:

    IGN has more than a handful of gameplay videos of The Show: http://tinyurl.com/aj4g3g

  17. A.D. says:

    Anyone know the story on David Freese?

    The Cardinals just had him skip AA and he mashed anyways?

    • Mike A. says:

      He’s the kid they got from the Padres for Jim Edmonds. He’s a good hitter, but he’s nothing special. He’s a starter on a bad team, reserve on a championship team.

  18. A.D. says:

    Chris Dickerson #13….interesting

  19. Dave says:

    Yeaaa Ajax will impact the major league club next year like I WILL win the lottery in 2009 and i dont even buy lottery tickets.

    Gardner could contribute but i think most people already know his name – he already had 120 at bats at the major league level last season. Melancon is the ideal candidate for this list of biggest impacts among not well known players. Robertson may impact the club but it is a toss up with so many similar arms around him. And as i said, there is no way ajax even reaches the MLB this year so how he made the list is absolutely idiotic. Im surprised you guys didnt mention that in the post.

    • A.D. says:

      USA today is the #1 circulated paper in the country…probably most of their readers don’t know who he is.

    • And as i said, there is no way ajax even reaches the MLB this year so how he made the list is absolutely idiotic.

      A) AJax is going to be the starting CF in AAA on opening day
      B) Our 2009 CF big league position is unsettled
      C) Our lineup may be so complete everywhere else that we can afford to experiment in CF in the 9 hole in the lineup and see what sticks
      D) With two potential openings in the OF after the season and a new crop of FA’s available, it would behoove us to get an inkling of whether or not Jackson can make it in the bigs before we go into the offseason and start handing out contracts or extensions.

      I’d say those four facts alone make it highly possible that Jackson does see the big leagues this year. The only thing holding him back is a 40-man spot.

      In any event, the list doesn’t explicitly say that all 100 of these players will make the big leagues in 2009. Many of them most assuredly won’t, guys like Lou Marson. It simply was a list of young guys not everybody knows about who “could make the biggest impact during the 2009 season.”

      I could argue that Jackson could have an impact on the 2009 season without even playing in the bigs merely by how his presence shapes the Yankees decisions regarding the 5 outfielders on their big league roster, for example.

      • Dave says:

        You dont or shouldnt experiment with the best position prospect in the system if you do not need to. He is still VERY young and him not handling major league pitching next year is very little indication that he wont succeed at the major league level. yOU SAID we are good elsewhere thus, we could afford to have gardner or melky fill the gap for us this year while we continue to wait for ajax to develop. letting him skip AAA may be detrimental and there is no reason to do it.

        I think the article implied that they were talking about impacting the major league level. i MAY be incorrect but that is how it came across. I find it almost impossible to believe that ajax will be rushed to the major leagues for no apparent reason whatsoever and could result in his detriment.

        • I’m not saying he’s going to skip AAA. I’m just saying, the fact that he’s already at AAA means he’s knocking on the door. He has a good first half and Gelky has a bad first half, it’s not a bad idea to give him a taste.

          We’re not “rushing” AJax to the majors; this is his fourth year and he just turned 22. He’s not too old for his first taste of the majors in 2009, he’s not to young. A mid-2009 ETA is far from a bad thing.

          • Dave says:

            He took a step back in trenton last season by regressing from the previous seasons numbers at a higher level. That is to be expected but was not exactly a season that built confidence and im sure some in the organization probably even including austin himself were slightly disappointed with the end results. I think even if he hits the cover off the ball in AAA, it might be wise to leave in there for a full year with a deserving call up to the bigs in september. The kid turned 22 this week – feb first. There is no harm in letting him adapt to each new level. He has not played a single game in scranton yet, so in order to not skip AAA, he cant go up to the majors for some time still. I think we should try gardner, switch to melky if gardner struggles and make a midseason CF trade if they both do.

            If ajax is really just mashing in AAA then, i would bring him up but not until late in the season. I just find it very unlikely that ajax is on the team very any significant amount of time and even less likely that he has a big impact on the club. That was the main point i was trying to make – not really that it would be impossible just extremely unlikely. And as you said, the lineup is already stacked. Unless there are widespread injuries, we could probably afford to keep a mediocre CF on the team for next year. I dont feel there could be a need to bring jackson up to help the club significantly.

            • Reggie C. says:

              I doubt A-Jax “mashes” in AAA. He didn’t mash in a full season at Trenton , aside from that incredible 1 week run in which he clubbed 3 hrs. All Jackson has to do is make sure he can stay in the mid-.400 slugging wise. I think his BA is going to be solid as a major leaguer and his OBP is going to be respectable. Its the slugging that concerns me.

              • Dave says:

                You should not be too concerned with austin’s power and i will tell you why. He just turned 22 a few days ago so he has been playing through his ages 19. 20 and 21. At 20, in A ball, he hit 10 homers in only 258 at bats after adjusting to that level of competition.

                Last year, at age 21, he did show regression in his numbers but that is to be expected as he is facing a higher level of competition and needed time to adjust. Overall, he did show this adjustment by managing to hit 33 doubles and 9 homers in 520 at bats. That doesnt sound like a heck of a lot of power but it is because that was over an adjustment period and he is only 21 so the 33 doubles can turn into some homeruns to add to the 9 homers putting him in the 20 something range. Thats pretty decent for a center fielder with solid speed as well. i WOULD say he has the ability to hit into the 30s range in homers once fully developed and ready to face major league competition.

                I dont think this is next year outside of a september call up but by 2010 i think he will be on the major league club and by 2011, i think he will be our everyday starting center fielder and have the ability to hit 20 plus homeruns with 20 steals and hit for average to boot. This is not a one dimensional player but could excel with all five tools. I think if given the chance to properly adjust to each level and learn from his mistakes, he will be a premier center fielder by 2011.

                • Reggie C. says:

                  30 homer power? Jackson isn’t Cameron Maybin.

                  Jackson has got to learn to drive the ball more consistent. I think the term is “load up” … not sure. He’s got a solid contact rate. Hitting above .280 as a 21 yr old in AA is indicative of that. He’s just got to make harder contact. Honestly, i can live with Jackson settling into a 17-20 HR guy, as long as he’s good for at least 40 doubles.

                • Dave says:

                  20 homeruns should be expected in a few years but the key is how he performs next year following up a 2008 adjustment period. Do you know if he is scheduled to begin the year in trenton or scranton? Last I heard, I believe he will start in trenton and move up soon after. 30 is obviously a stretch but i think it is possible if he continues to develop. He was only 21 last year and still hit 9 homeruns and 33 doubles against a higher level of competition than he has faced thus far. I think 20 is likely and 30 may be possible in a few years. Either way, he will put up decent power and speed numbers while hitting to a 280 + average. That is a solid center fielder right there. iF he hits his ceiling, we could be looking at a 30 homerun 20 stolen base 300 avg center fielder with solid defense and good patience – 360 plus obp. I would think that he has that kind of potential. It is all a matter of harnessing and developing it.

      • Ed says:

        Jackson was drafted in 2005, so he’s probably going to be Rule 5 draft eligible after the season, right? If so, adding him to the 40 man isn’t going to be as big of a deal as they’d have to do it anyway after the season.

        • Dave says:

          yes they would but that has nothing to do with them bringing him up early in 2009. They could afford the time to allow ajax to continue to develop and have the luxury so that they dont have to rush him into something that he is not ready for. AJax didnt even mash in double A so i think he may even start the season off in trenton once again before graduating to scranton. i SEE absolutely no reason that the yanks should rush him. If they want a CF that bad that is not named Gelky then, they should have traded for one in the off season or trade for one during the season.

          • Ed says:

            I didn’t say anything about rushing him or not.

            TSJC was giving reasons why it was likely that they would consider calling Jackson up late in the season. One big reason he listed against it was that it would require adding him to the 40 man roster.

            My point was if they didn’t have to add him to the 40 man until, say, after the 2010 season, then maybe they would hold him back just to avoid using the 40 man spot. But if they have to add him by November anyway, then adding him in September becomes much more likely.

            • Dave says:

              TSJC was arguing that the yanks would bring him up – i dont remember him listing reasons against it. Maybe he did but the yanks do have to add him to the 40 man after next season anyway. I was just saying that it is highly unlikely the yanks would consider bringing him up earlier than a september call up. I agree that a september call up is likely just to get some experience but i seriously doubt he would have any sort of major impact on the yanks club as a september call up and i really dont think the yanks would call him up much earlier if both melky and gardner struggle. I think its far more likely that they keep him in AAA for the majority of the season and make a midseason trade. Why rush him and risk regression when they dont have to – that was my point and thats why i dont think he will be up before september regardless or whether or not melky/gardner are productive.

  20. Jamal G. says:

    Awesome, I just pre-ordered Street Fighter 4: Collector’s Edition via Gamestop. I got overnight shipping, meaning it better be here when I get home from school on the 17th.

  21. Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

    Mike, what’s your assessment of D-Rob?

    And why did that cutter I kept hearing about disappear when he got to the bigs?

  22. pat says:

    Sam Borden is so much cooler than pete abraham

  23. Nady Nation says:

    David Lee is beyond putrid defensively.

  24. Steve H says:

    Lebron’s night is vastly superior to Kobe’s. Everyone was talking about Lebron going for 61, instead he showed his overall game.

  25. C. Roy says:

    I dont know if anyone has mentioned this lately but wouldnt that cuban defect Yasser Gomez make a ton of sense for the yanks?

    • whozat says:

      We haven’t mentioned it lately because we kicked the idea around back when they defected, said everything there was to say, and there’s been no news since then.

      In short: if they’d take a minor league deal, either one would be reasonable. If they require a 40-man roster spot, neither one is worth it.

  26. tmoney says:

    Has anybody seen this article over on espn about moving Jeter to center?

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