Scouting the Yankees

Si Si!
Padres place Nova on waivers

Part of our jobs as fans is to develop opinions about everyone on the team, for better or worse. Everyone once in a while it’s nice to get an outside opinion on our boys, and thankfully Mark Feinsand spoke to a Major League scout recently about the team. I’m not going to repost the entire article obviously, but here’s some of my favorites. Make sure you check it out, it’s a great read.

“Jeter is the No.1 guy on the club no matter how you look at it. He makes that team go. He can play for my team any day. He has the damndest inside-out swing I’ve seen in my life. He’s a smooth player. He doesn’t have a lot of time left at shortstop, but he’s what he should be – a captain. He’s the leader of this team and has the greatest makeup of any player ever. He’s the consummate professional. His defense is solid. He can make all the plays, can turn the double play and still has good feet. Is he the best? No. But he’s still good enough. I like everything about Jeter.”

Defense is solid? Well, Cap’n Jetes can make the play on any ball he gets too, but the problem is that doesn’t happen often enough.

“Ransom has been released twice – and there’s a reason for that. He did a good job last year when he came up, and in the utility role, he’s fine. As a starter, he won’t see a fastball. Changeups and sliders get him out, and when the season starts, that’s all he’s going to see. Players can live on the first-pitch fastball in March, but in April that doesn’t happen. He’s been a subpar hitter at the major league level, so there’s no reason to think that will change if he plays regularly. If they’re lucky, he’ll get hot for the first month. Pitchers are going to slider him to death.”

This is something worth watching. Ransom saw just 46.5% fastballs last year, and 34% breaking balls according to Fangraphs. It’s too bad he doesn’t have much big league experience before that to compare it too.

“Wang’s sinker ball is terrific, but he needs his stuff to be working and his command to be right. He drives scouts crazy with his windup, but he puts hitters to sleep. If you don’t get to him early, he’s got you beat.”

That last little line is so true. You can usually tell what kind of game it’ll be for the Wangster based on how the first inning goes. If he mows through the top three hitters on like, nine pitches, then you know you’re golden. If not, then more often than not you’re looking at one of those 3 IP, 10 ER games he’s capable of putting together.

Here’s the scout’s take on Joba:

“The first two outings this spring, he looked terrible, but after he got it back together, he’s had great movement in the strike zone and knee-buckling breaking balls. I think he’s better off as a setup man for Rivera, because it fits him best to come in and blow it out for an inning or two. Can he be effective as a starter? Of course. They just have to build his innings up and hope he doesn’t break down. I understand why they’re doing what they’re doing.”

So this guy’s a B-Jobber, but that’s okay because at least he acknowledges that it’s smart of the Yanks to give him a shot at starting first. No one is guaranteeing that Joba can hold up as a starter, but isn’t worth trying at least?

“Rivera is absolutely remarkable. The first couple outings in the spring, he looked as good as ever. You know what’s coming, and whether you’re lefty or righty, you just can’t hit it. He’s just fabulous. I hope he goes on forever, even though we know he can’t. Teams know it’s over when he comes in. As long as they keep feeling that way, he’s got the upper hand. It’s a beautiful thing to watch.”

Amen, brother.

Si Si!
Padres place Nova on waivers
  • The Greek

    If not, then more often than not you’re looking at one of those 3 IP, 10 ER games he’s capable of putting together.?

    And how often has that happened? Wang goes deep into the game on a regular basis. After reading this line the rest didn’t matter because the scource is a jagoff.

    • pat

      Mike’s a jagoff?

  • Rich

    This scout believes that Nady “fits well on this club as a whole” yet Cash has said that the team wants to get back to emphasizing plate discipline and good defense, and Nady is below average at both.

    He also said that he doesn’t think Swisher is “that good a fielder,” however, he is provably better than Nady according to both observation and UZR.

    Lastly, he said that Posada has to throw better. Really?

    Sorry, but I think this scout is an idiot.

    • El Generalissimo

      Rich, you pinpointed the things that are wholeheartedly wrong by the scout.

      If Posada continues his current throwing towards the end of the spring Ill be very happy. He will never get the unreal speedsters out, unless its a perfect throw and Pettite or Sabathia are on the mound. (They clearly hold runners well) But, he threw out Ellsbury the other day and if he can be adequate in that there is no problem and his offense will make up for it.

      Molina should be Joba’s personal catcher, because he has a gun and Joba can’t hold runners. And maybe catch Wang against good base-stealing teams. Not to mention, he doesn’t give Molina kudos for being one of, if not the best defensive catchers in the league.

      The Swisher comment was just wrong. He apparently gets along with everyone and as you said all his metrics dictate he is above average in the field, while has had a better career at the plate. Dont know how you mess that one up…?

    • steve (different one)

      This scout believes that Nady “fits well on this club as a whole” yet Cash has said that the team wants to get back to emphasizing plate discipline and good defense, and Nady is below average at both.

      actually, he isn’t.

      his career OBP+ is 100. he is, by definition, average.

      also, his career UZR in RF is -1.4. that’s average.

      do we have SO MUCH confidence in UZR now that a 1-2 run swing in either direction is meaningful?

      you are right, Swisher is a better player than Nady. and he will eventually get the job.

      but defensive metrics are not gospel, and there is a degree of subjectivity in there.

      -1.4 is average.

      that doesn’t mean Swisher isn’t better, but let’s not sell Nady short to make the case.

      • steve (different one)

        bold tag fail…

      • Rich

        OK, he’s sort of average, but he isn’t good enough to be starting on a team that is emphasizing those two skills. It’s clear that the “scout” likes Nady but doesn’t like Swisher the goofball.

        • steve (different one)

          fair enough. if his reasons for dismissing Swisher are b/c he’s a goofball, that’s obviously absurd.

  • Mike Pop

    Why does everyone think Joba is better off as a setup man!!!!111!!! It will suck if the Yankees eventually put Joba back in bullpen, Kruk, Reynolds, Plesac, and all other B-Jobbers will be saying we told you so.

    /crawls into fetal position

    • Yankeegirl49

      I wish I had each of these guys phone number because I would love for each of them to tell me why not one of them has suggested Price be put in the Rays pen on a permanent basis. I would also like to know why none of them suggested than Johan be moved to the Mets pen last season, lord knows their pen needed help. Why is Joba the only guy with “ace” type stuff that the discussion goes on and on (and on) about??

      • Mike Pop


        • Doug

          So’s Price.

          • Doug


        • Ed

          Imagine Price as the ultimate LOOGY.

          He’d pitch like 40 innings all year, but you’d know the game was on the line every time he pitched, so it’d all be worth it.

  • anonymous

    Mo is our Mantle.

  • Steve

    With regard to Ranson, I can’t believe that he has only seen fastballs during the spring. Pitchers are working on all their pitches — moreso the offspeed stuff because those pitches take longer to come around. I’m not saying that Ransom will do as well during the next month as he did in the spring — but I think he has shown that he can hold his own as ARod’s replacement until May.

  • Frank

    The scout doesn’t make a big deal about Joba’s velocity… but the New York Post seems hell bent on making it a front page story.

    I think it’s obvious to ANYONE who has watched Joba pitch this spring what he’s been working on.

    He worked on his mechanics in his first few starts and when he got that worked out – and was able to throw is breaking stuff – you saw the results. In his last start it was obvious he was working on his changeup. I started counting how many but got distracted… but I would say he threw double-digit changeups in his last start.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a rough April… but I’m personally salivating at the thought of having him at full strength for the whole season.

    • steve (different one)

      I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a rough April… but I’m personally salivating at the thought of having him at full strength for the whole season.

      i kindof agree, and that is why ultimately, it was a good decision to bring Pettitte back. i was as irritated as anyone when he seems to be refusing a pay cut, but in the end, Pettitte gives them 4 guys who are very capable of throwing 200 IP.

      that really gives them the opportunity to break Joba into the rotation without a TON (everything in NY is over-dramatic) of pressure. they can develop him like any other team.

      he might take some lumps, but they shouldn’t have to send him down after 2 bad starts b/c the rest of the guys are going to shoulder the load.

      Joba will be fine. if he gets his 150 innings and has an ERA under 4, i’d consider that a whopping success. but somehow, i think the expectations are much higher and that would not satisfy the b-jobbers.

      • El Generalissimo

        Plus he is sandwiched between Wang and CC, which is NOT a mistake. Those two guys can give the bullpen lots of rest, when Joba’s starts they might need 3-4 innings out of the pen.

  • Frank

    BTW I read over at LoHud that Brett Gardner had a son in November… named Hunter. Hunter Gardner.

    What’s his middle name, Gatherer?

    Heh. I is on fia!

    • Mike A.

      • Raf

        haha that button is great.

    • pat

      A better middle name would have been accidentally-kills

  • Matt

    I haven’t had a chance to see any games yet. What has Mo’s velocity been averaging? If it’s still that 94 mph cutter, then I’ll be a happy man.

    • El Generalissimo

      First start he was at 92, 3rd start he was at 90. Only games on tv, which I saw. I almost want Mo to have 1 rough outing, and get his always early April dead arm period out of the way.

      • Matt

        Yea I always hate those week periods where Mo becomes mortal. It always seems to happen in April and then about late July. Other than that he’s unstoppable. Although I hope that 90 was just him getting back into it, although you can’t knock the results so far!

  • Ellis

    This scout seems a little too in love with the yankees.

    My favorite line: “[Molina is] very, very adequate as your backup catcher.” Not just adequate, but “very, very adequate”. hrm?!

    • steve (different one)

      well, the Yankees are going to be one of 3-4 best teams in baseball this year. he should give them some love.

  • Troy

    eh, I’m in disagreement (again) with the notion that Joba should be in the pen over starting, but like Mike said…at least the scout is smart enough to acknowledge that he should be given the chance to start.

    A B-Jobber who’s actually somewhat rational. Who’da thunk it?

  • Darth Stein

    I am really shocked at how far from reality some of these scouts fall. The difference between what they see with their eyes and what metrics capture is so very different. Obviously human error comes into play with scouts but some of the statements in the article are just dumb. It makes me wonder if the scout as ever actually scouted the player that they are commenting on. Molina is a bad defensive catcher . . . did you really mean to say that? Is that really what you saw with your eyes?

    For me, some of these guys just come off looking like uninformed blowhards who need to learn when to keep their mouths shut. In fact based upon that assessment, I feel that Kurt Schilling now has a long career ahead of him as a scout.

  • andrew

    Loved this quote from a scout in the NY Post about Joba’s lack of velocity:

    “He was very stiff, almost as if he was working on something,” a scout said of the Yankees’ No. 5 starter.

    Working on something?! In spring training!?! This guy must be nuts…

    • Darth Stein

      Inside the mind of a scout:

      Joba looks a stiff on the mound . . .
      he looks very stiff . . .
      things are just not coming naturally . . .
      almost like he is trying something new . . .
      he must be working on something . . .
      my scout senses tell me his velocity is down today . . .
      he is working on lowering his velocity ! ! !
      I never would have believed it if I had not seen it with my own eyes . . .
      this is big news ! ! !
      I need to tell someone right away . . .
      where is that douche bag from the Post that was hanging around earlier ? ? ?

  • Hawkins44

    Agreed, he should start the year as a SP….when he breaks down in June he will come back as a reliever and we will be all set for the playoff push in August……

    • Darth Stein

      . . . and that is just one example of how we use the power of positive thinking to support the Yankees.

  • touchtoneterriost

    Surpised the article started with Jeter.As great as a guy he is he is a PR man,thats it.If Jeter can stop the double plays maybe he’s singles would be better.

  • Wanger

    I can’t get no respect.

    • steve (different one)

      maybe if you learned to type, Mr. Billy Wagner, we’d respect you more.

  • The Greek

    No not Mike, the scout is a jagoff. Wang goes deep on the reg Kenny Powers style!