Crazy little thing called Melky

Hughes strong as SWB resumes winning ways
Stadium hits: Politics, rent and rocks from a Sox fan

Yesterday was Melky’s day, except when it wasn’t. Take away two of his at bats and he’s 2 for 4 with two homers, a walk, and 3 RIB — including, of course, the game-winner. He did have those two at bats, though, and he looked helpless in both, striking out both times on eight pitches total. This game basically embodies Melky’s young 2009 season. He’s 7 for 25 on the season with four homers (to three singles). Yet on the majority of those 18 outs he’s looked pretty foolish.

I don’t think I’ll ever understand Melky Cabrera. Some times he looks like he could be an average starting center fielder, getting on base at a decent clip, though not with much power, and playing a solid if unspectacular defense. Plus, his arm doesn’t hurt his case. Other times he looks like he can’t catch up to a Jamie Moyer fastball. We saw way too much of the latter last year, so that’s what most people remember. There was a time when Melky had quite a few more advocates.

The hype around Melky started in early 2005, after Pinsripes Plus ranked him the No. 2 Yankees prospect. Baseball America had him at No. 8. Despite a poor 2005 campaign the Yankees called him upon July 7. They ended the experiment just six games later. He had little chance of breaking camp in 2006, but he made a statement by hitting .385/.430/.566 in 135 AAA plate appearances. That earned him a call-up after the Yanks lost both Hideki Matsui and Gary Sheffield to injuries.

Many a Yankees fan fell in love with Melky that summer. It was hard not to. He had youthful energy the team lacked at the time. Plus, he didn’t suck, hitting .280/.360/.391. That’s not bad for a 21-year-old. It seemed everyone was high on Melky during the 2006-2007 off-season. That wore of a bit after he started slow in 2007, hitting .190 on May 1. Compounding matters was Johnny Damon and his calf issues. But Melky stepped up, OPSing .762 in May, .811 in June, .939 (!!) in July, and .818 in August. Then it all came crumbling down again, and his September was as bad as his April.

We all remember last year: beast in April, horrible the rest of the year. How could someone — who has two solid Major League seasons under his belt — go from hitting .299/.370/.494 in April to finish the year .249/.301/.341? I’m having a hard time recalling exactly how Melky looked in April 2008, but I wonder if it’s kind of how he looks now: Overmatched at times, in control at others. Apparently, I thought this way in 2007.

What does it all mean? If only there were an answer. After having watched him with my lying eyes for the past three-plus years I say fourth outfielder. Yet he shows flashes of brilliance. Do they reveal his true potential? I don’t know. All I do know is that I alternate between saying Melky! and saying it like this (usually after a flailing strikeout):

I wish Melky would just pick one and stick with it.

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Hughes strong as SWB resumes winning ways
Stadium hits: Politics, rent and rocks from a Sox fan
  • A.D.

    I remember thinking that Melk just looked like a good hitter last April, less of the stupid swings & ugly at-bats.

    • http://gearupforsports.com greg

      Cabrera’s performance may have switched the debate of who should start from Melky and Gardner in center to Melky and Swisher in right. I’ve seen Swisher have an explosive April and noticed his .714 slugging percentage so far this season. But I also remember his numbers with Oakland and the fact that he’s never hit over .262 in 5 major league seasons. I hate to rain on his parade but something tells me his average may dip below .300 soon and not come back up.

      http://yankees.gearupforsports.....al-chairs/

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    It could be worse.

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

      Yup.

  • Thomas A. Anderson

    Besides not having a neck, his biggest problem is pitch recognition. And combine that with a startling lack of speed, average ability to read fly balls, below average range and ugly swing, I will never like melky as a player too much.

    But hey, he has a good arm.

    • John

      BUT TEH .826. SLUGGING!1!1!1!one!1!!!

    • Drew

      Below average range. I think not!

    • tim randle

      But hey, he has a good arm.

      unlike your neck!

    • Peter Lacock

      Careful with the ‘never’, it makes one frequently wrong.

  • Chris

    He has average speed, above average fly ball reading abilities and range.

    He also strikes out at a good rate and makes great contact.

    • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

      Uh, I think you and Thomas need to have a sit-down.

    • Thomas A. Anderson

      He barely has average speed for a centerfielder. He takes questionable routes to fly balls, and because of the combination of the first 2 points, I would say that he doesn’t have great range either.

      He is and always will be a 4th outfielder. I wouldn’t mind him if they definitely had 3 starting outfielders better than him. He really shouln’t be a starting CF for the New York Yankees. He is just not an average MLB player. Don’t see anything in his production that can reasonably lead me to believe he will be for 8-10 years in the bigs, either.

      • MattG

        “He is and always will be a 4th outfielder”

        Yeah, except that he is, at this moment, a good deal better than that. He may keep it up for two days, two weeks or two months. Put his name in the lineup and hope it lasts.

      • Peter Lacock

        Careful with the ‘always’. It makes one frequently wrong.

      • ron

        Melky may not be anything more than a fourth outfielder but Gardner is DEFINATELY NOT the answer

      • jon

        I think you need to look at stats before making stuff up

        http://www.hardballtimes.com/t.....mit=Submit

        in 2008 melky has the 6th best range of any CFer

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

          UZR has him ninth, though at just about average

          http://www.fangraphs.com/leade.....38;month=0

          The Fielding Bible ranks him 14th. But again, we’ve been over the flaws in defensive stats.

          • Bo

            Just because Melky doesn’t have Carlos Gomez speed doesn’t mean he doesn’t have range.

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

              That’s exactly what I implied. He looks decidedly average, which is just fine.

  • MattG

    This is one instance where the objective overrules the subjective. Melky has 4 homers and 3 strikeouts in 25 PAs, and the alternative (Gardner) has struggled. You don’t project success due to 25 PAs, but you can have realistic hope for a good game tomorrow. Let Melky play.

  • John

    Gardner’s stats: 240/.283/.300

    Here’s an interesting fact from NoMaas:

    Of the 16 ML CFs who’ve played at least 100 innings, Gardner has shown the 3rd worst worst range in the group, per Fangraphs Range Runs. According to the Hardball Times Revised Zone Rating, there is no one who covers less ground in CF than Brett Gardner.

    • del

      ^SSS.

      • John

        what’s that mean?

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

          SSS=Small Sample Size.

          • Peter Lacock

            And as evidence of how ridiculous it is to draw any kind of conclusions now or any time soon, Gardner’s great catch set the tone for Andy’s 7 strong yesterday. Brett also had a huge clutch hit along with Melky’s HR’s and 9 shutout innings from the bullpen, we got 2 wins we might not otherwise have.

            • steve (different one)

              Gardner’s hit was big, but let’s be honest:

              he hit a ground ball right at the 2nd baseman, except the A’s had inexplicably pulled the infield in during the 2nd inning of a 2-0 game.

              the catch was sweet though.

              • steve (different one)

                “of a 0-0 game”

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  • Rich

    From two-thirds of the 2007 season, when he was 22, he put up the following splits:

    .315/.369/.472/.841.

    That may well overstate his ceiling, but whatever his ceiling is, I think it’s higher than Gardner’s. He should be the starting CFer for now.

    • Brian

      I agree 100% with that last sentence.

      Right now he is more productive than Gardner, so right now he should be in CF.

      • John

        especially if Gardner’s range really does suck as I posted earlier.

        • http://deleted RollingWave

          he’s fast. but his jump and read is even more questionable than Cabrera.

          • Chip

            Which are things you can learn. You can’t teach Melky to be faster

            • El Generalissimo

              Gardner is obviously not an everyday player. We were all hoping he’d be serviceable play great defense and not be a complete black hole in the #9 spot.

              Gardner also is streaky, his swing is atrocious, but he gets hits in bunches, kind of like melky…. the hot hand should play. But for the future, I love having gardner on the bench as a 4th OF, pinch runner- because he could change games that way with his speed.

              Melky’s biggest problem has always been, he thinks he’s a power hitter. The minute he starts hitting HRs, he starts swinging for the fences every time.

  • MattG

    I debated this with TSJC at the end of March, when it was clear that Gardner had won the open audition. Gardner’s spring is now a distant memory, nothing more than a hazy dream. We are suddenly talking about Melky’s April of ’08, his 2006, and so on. Neither of these players is good enough to hold down center long term. If one of them gets hot, you’ve got to play him. There is just no reason to stick with either guy through any sort of slump–least of all spring training statistics.

    • steve (different one)

      yeah, i think this is basically the answer. just play whatever guy is hotter at the moment.

      if anything, Nady’s injury has given Melky the opportunity to showcase his abilities for the future…..meaning future 4th OFer.

      nothing wrong with that. a switch hitter who can field and occassionally hit one out is a solid bench player.

      • Chris

        nothing wrong with that. a switch hitter who can field and occassionally hit one out is a solid bench player.

        But no one was happy with Betemit. I know he couldn’t field, but he could hit one out more often than Melky.

        • steve (different one)

          i was happy with Betemit as a bench player.

          • Bo

            Betemit was a terrible bench player. Struck out everytime. Couldn’t play SS or 2b. Has no speed. Whats he good for?

            • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

              Being a bench player. What more do you expect out of a bench player than basically replacement level stuff? That’s essentially what a bench player is; anything else is a bonus.

            • steve (different one)

              well, he had 290 PA’s as a Yankee.

              that’s about 1/2 a season worth of ABs.

              in that 1/2 season, he had 49 RBIs and 27 XBH’s.

              so that’s what he was good for. a little pop off the bench.

              offensively, it’s hard to ask for much more from your UIFer.

              his defense was suspect, but he could play all 4 IF positions in a pinch.

              for a team like the Yankees who have SS and 2B covered 155 games/year, he had value.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            i was happy with Betemit as a bench player.

            Me too.

            • Mr.Jigginz

              I’m mad late,but I third this…A bench player that can play every infield position and give you power is a pretty solid bench player.Betemit was a-ok with me.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      There is just no reason to stick with either guy through any sort of slump–least of all spring training statistics.

      Yup. Melky and Brett are both fungible cannon fodder. They’re both 4th outfielders who are currently placeholders. Play whomever’s hot.

  • Drew

    Melky is a year and a half older than me, 24. He hasn’t reached his physical nor mental prime by any means. He’s posted two solid MLB seasons, already.. Let go of last year people. Embrace the Melkman and let him deliver!

  • Ellis

    Wow, amazing, one walk-off homerun and we forget that Melky was probably the worst regular player in the majors last year. Forget 2008?! That would not be smart for the 2009 yankees.

    Gardner has a higher ceiling, largely because he has an actual skill. His exceptional speed will one day be joined by a high average, give the kid a little time. He did hit .296 at AAA last year.

    • Spaceman.Spiff

      I’m not a big fan of Melky but Gardner has shown nothing to me that would suggest he will hit for a high average in the majors.

    • Drew

      You don’t forget last year, but you forget 2006 and 2007.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

        You mean the other two seasons when he was also the worst regular on the Yankee? It’s hard to make a case for Melky based on anything he’s done in the past, Drew. Your best bet is to say that he was young and is now showing signs of improving. Even that though is subject to the small sample size warning.

        Objectively, you’re fighting a losing battle until Melky shows he can produce consistently at or above league average levels.

        • Drew

          Andy Phillips was a regular on that ’06 team. Let’s be honest, being the worst on a team isn’t always an indictment on a player.

        • steve (different one)

          Objectively, you’re fighting a losing battle until Melky shows he can produce consistently at or above league average levels.

          i disagree.

          why? because right now the debate isn’t whether or not Melky is a good player.

          the debate is whether or not Melky is a better player than Brett Gardner.

          and right now (which is admittedly too early), the answer is very possibly yes.

          b/c even when Melky was “the worst regular on the team”, he was still MUCH better than Gardner is right now. the Yankees would take an average of Melky’s 2006 and 2007 “worst player on the team” seasons in a heartbeat.

          that would be .277/.343/.391 with an OPS+ of 92. huge upgrade.

          sad, but true. sorry.

          again, it’s still early on Gardner. but there IS an “objective” argument here.

          • Bo

            Take a deep breath. Melky had a good April last yr too.

            He’s a 4th OF. He’s doing exactly what he should be doing right now being that 4th OF.

            • steve (different one)

              Take a deep breath. Melky had a good April last yr too.

              this comment has nothing to do with anything.

              we were talking about Melky’s entire 2006 and 2007 seasons.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Gardner has a higher ceiling, largely because he has an actual skill. His exceptional speed will one day be joined by a high average, give the kid a little time. He did hit .296 at AAA last year.

      And that actual skill (speed) is moot if he’s incapable of actually getting on base.

      I’d say both Melky and Gardner have equally high ceilings as solid all around centerfielders, but they both have equally LONG odds of reaching that ceiling and they’ll both end up as what they basically are now: 4th outfielders.

      We HOPE that it will one day be joined by a high average. Hope. There are some reasons for hope and some significant and very real reasons for doubt. The deck is stacked against him. Gardner eventually hitting well enough to be serviceable is far from the forgone conclusion you portray.

  • Steve S

    Just play the hot hand. Gardner and Melky are both part time players, play the hot hand and evaluate in August if it makes sense to call up Austin Jackson. But Gardner has looked awful defensively in CF, thats one thing that has been extremely disappointing. He seems to get awful jumps on the ball and its not as if he plays extraordinarily shallow.

  • claybeez

    I’ve grown to be pretty quiet around here when talking of Leche. There was euphoria – yes, I overstate – last April, followed by a severe sugar crash. In a growing crescendo terminating yesterday, it seemed to be cool on RAB to dis Melky. Yeah, he was brutal. But, he is young, though without the ceiling of Hughes or Kennedy, who sucked as mightily (MLB games). Still, he’s young enough to improve. I’m not saying he will, just that there’s nothing wrong with supporting all the young kids. Patience be applied to each lest Melky be to RAB what The Big Three are to WW.

    • Drew

      A lot of RABers love to hate the Melkster.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

        We don’t love to hate Melky. In an ideal world, Melky was be the next All Star center fielder from the Bronx. What we don’t like is a player with over 1600 plate appearances, a career OPS+ of 85 and rate stats trending downward every year. It’s not personal. It’s just an extreme case of “what have you done for me ever?”

        • Drew

          I know your displeasure with Melk isn’t irrational and in the perfect world he would be a perennial AS. For me though, I want him to have another shot. I would like him to be our CF if he can hit .270, carry a .330+ OBP, drive in 75, score 75 runs, steal 20 bases eventually, and record 13 or so OF assists. He has already done all of the above, excluding the steals which will come over time. He’s only 24. If you get a minute, check out Bernie’s stats at age 24.
          http://www.baseball-reference......html?redir

          • Hobbes

            Did you just compare the guy who was laughing after getting caught stealing last night with Bernie? There is no way you watched Bernie in his prime. I suspect you are 26 or below.

            • jsbrendog

              i am 26 or below and i watched near every game of bernie in his prime. i watched most games the year before as well when roberto kelly was in his “prime” before bernie got a shot. so dont go making obnoxious generalizations such as this.

              • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

                I cannot stand age-ism.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  +1.

                  I didn’t personally see John F. Kennedy. Doesn’t mean I don’t understand his presidency.

              • Hobbes

                My point was that only someone who did not see Bernie with their own eyes would compare Bernie’s and melky’s stats at any point in their career.

                LOL ageism.

                • Drew

                  I wasn’t comparing. I simply suggested someone should look at his line. I never claimed “Melky is like Bernie at this age.”

        • claybeez

          I disagree. I think in this post alone “what have you done for me ever?” was answered. He has had continuous months of good play.

          And, it is personal around here. Seriously, how many times have you guys prefaced an intro with something like, “We don’t dislike/have anything against/hate Melky, BUT…”?

          I’ll drop it after this. I enjoy this site and how complete it’s become, but you guys are just as tone deaf to your anti-Melky snarkiness as Lombardi was last off-season when I and others asked him to stop the hate. I used to cringe whenever you guys mentioned Melky, now I just stop reading. So, please, not another post tomorrow explaining your stance and how it’s only based on stats. It’s gone beyond that.

          Maybe he won’t amount to much or Hughes or Kennedy or Brackman either, but why not pull for them to reach their ceiling while they’re still young enough to have one?

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

            No one said we’re not pulling for them. You’ve completely read through the point for a change. How many outs or games are you willing to give up though before you accept that a player with a sketchy track record of MiLB offensive success just might not be good enough to be a starting outfielder on a playoff team?

            • claybeez

              You always say that “you’re not saying you’re not pulling for him” before reminding us for the umpteenth time that he was one of the worst regulars in the league last year.

              Point is same snide remarks could be said about Kennedy who is doubted in lots of baseball circles despite his AAA number and brief success in his 1st call-up. Yet, there is a double standard in the way he’s written about by you, Joe and Mike.

              Sorry, but you sound like Lombardi. Instead of just arguing, why not look at the posts on Melky. Be objective. It’s part of good writing.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                You always say that “you’re not saying you’re not pulling for him” before reminding us for the umpteenth time that he was one of the worst regulars in the league last year.

                Saying “I’m rooting for Melky to succeed” and “Melky has not been a good player and is not likely to ever be a good player” are not mutually exclusive.

                Rooting for a player is wishing for them to succeed. Stating who a player is and is likely to be is an evaluation of factual evidence.

                I shouldn’t have to suspend reality in order to wish success on someone.

              • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

                I am being objective. How hard is this to understand? Objective means looking at the facts — in this case, Melky’s stats — and drawing the right conclusions from them. He sucked last year. That doesn’t necessarily mean he is going to suck this year, and it doesn’t mean that I can’t root for him.

                Part of analyzing a team is taking off the blinders.

        • Drew

          I posted a whole long thing about Melk but it’s not showing up for some odd reason. Melky can hit 270 with an obp of 330+. He can drive in 75 and score 75 runs. He can make 13 OF assists. Natural progression suggests he can steal 20 bases one year soon. These are things he can do and has done, excluding the SB’s. We can talk about what he can’t do until we’re blue in the face, but the preceding are things he can do. At the end, I pointed out Bernie’s line at age 24. Check it out if you have a minute.

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

            .270 with a .330 OBP isn’t very good.

            • Drew

              At 9 in the lineup?
              I’m not saying it’s great, for a good CF it’s not bad though.

            • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

              Not in a vacuum, but for a CF who can play average defense and bat ninth that’s alright.

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

            We’ve been over the Bernie projections a billion times. I know I’m upsetting claybeez by speaking ill of Melky (though I thought the article was a pretty even-handed take on the Melkster), but Melky is nothing like Bernie. It’s all about the swing. Bernie had a short, compact, quick swing. Melky’s is much, much longer.

            • steve (different one)

              agreed. the bernie comparison is nuts.

              but there is a nugget of truth in his rants. if Melky can hit .270 with a .330 OBP, he not only can hold the fort down until AJAX arrives, he has a potential future as a 4th OFer.

              • Bo

                You can defend Melky all you want but bringing hitting stats into the equation and then comparing him to Bernie really doesn’t help the cause.

                He’s no Bernie Williams.

  • Thomas A. Anderson

    Yankee fans in particular love to overreact to everything. I would love to have heard all of the Melky supporters’ thoughts of him after the most embarrassing at-bat by any player I’ve seen this season, in the 7th inning with the bases loaded.

    I wish Melky would give me reason to be optimistic about his future as an everyday player. I really do. It would provide a solid regular for the Yankees that doesn’t make 10 mil+ per year. But the evidence and skill set he has show us in 3+ seasons in the big leagues isn’t very inspiring.

    • Drew

      I don’t think anyone is overreacting in this situation. Some want Melky to play, and some don’t feel it’s worthwhile. I’ve wanted him to play since he got sent down last year.

    • Alex

      He’s 24. That’s sort of how 24 year old’s in the big leagues who never fully developed in the minors are. He’s shown that he still has tons of talent, with 5 homers last April, and 4 so far this April. He has a solid glove, a great arm, and he has, at times, shown a good batting eye, above average power, and some speed. He hasn’t put it all together, but his numbers thus far compare very favorably to his #1 Pecota comp Bernie Williams up to the age of 23. You can’t give up on someone with this talent, at this age, who succeeded at a high level in his early 20s. I think he still has plenty of room to develop. Maybe he will, maybe he wont, but he’s earned some playing time with his play so far this season, and I wouldn’t give up on him long term.

      • Tony

        He does not have “tons of talent”

        He has had hot streaks just like every other professional baseball player has had hot streaks. Cody Ransom has had hot streaks. People don’t have personal issues with Cabrera, they have issues with someone that wasn’t particularly good to begin with, and then proceeded to get worse over 3 consecutive seasons. The loyalty people have towards this guy is nonsensical.

        Obviously, if someone plays well he should get playing time, but I’m still going to come down on the side of the CF that has a tangible skill to bring to the team (Gardner).

        • steve (different one)

          but I’m still going to come down on the side of the CF that has a tangible skill to bring to the team (Gardner).

          this is absurd.

          Melky hit 2 HR’s yesterday. how is that not “tangible”.

          he has shown better OBP skills than Gardner has thusfar. how is that not “tangible”.

          he has a better arm than Gardner.

          Melky is not great. he might even not be good. but on the other hand, Gardner might be awful.

          i’m not saying he is, b/c it’s too early to say that, but there are TONS of super shitty players that are really fast.

        • jsbrendog

          people think he has “tons of talent” because he was rated so high in our system when he was a “prospect.”

          what these same people do not realize is that at that time we had one of the absolute worst systems in the sport. Melky on any team in the top 10-15 ranked milb systems would never have been ranked that high. i dont think.

          • Alex

            I believe he has tons of talent because he has shown every skill he needs at one point or another. He’s made good contact, shown a good batting eye, hit for power, shown some good speed, shown an ok glove, a great arm. I’m not saying he will ever put it together and be a starting outfielder, but he’s displayed the tools and he’s just as far along as Bernie was at this point in his career. I wouldn’t give up on a 24 year old that has displayed skills the way Melky has. I am aware that he was not worthy of a starting role last year, but if he’s given an opportunity he might actually surprise some people. The ability is there.

  • Peter Lacock

    Absolutely correct claybeez but ya know, 99% of the population does not practice keeping an open mind.

    • claybeez

      Just think the site should recognize its biases and look at them objectively, particularly as it broadens its audience.

      • Alex

        To be fair, he’s been horrible for the last couple of seasons. An objective analysis of his stats so far say he’s crap. A biased, Yankees fan one says he’s solid. It’s hard to argue he hasn’t been horrible for a couple of years, but his age/level numbers still show he has some upside. Giving him a shot is one thing (probably a good idea), but saying he’s been a productive major leaguer is ignoring everything he’s done in the league.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

        Maybe I’m just saying it because I wrote the article, but I thought it was as objective a take on Melky as we’ve ever posted, and that it recognized the biases (I even linked back to an old post about Melky).

        • Spaceman.Spiff

          Joe, I think this was a very fair and objective take on Melky but I gotta agree with claybeez on some of RAB’s previous articles and comments. Just the way you guys take digs at him when he does well and seem to say told you so when he fails. Just how I see it.

  • Steve B Ball

    Who cares …. he won the game
    We all know that we need a Real Centerfielder.
    Melki is a good 4th outfielder for the Yankees and Gardner is a good 4th outfielder….somewhere else
    Let’s just enjoy the great win Melki gave us yesterday!

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      M-E-L-K-Y

      Seriously, how the hell do you mess up that name? It’s so freaking easy. Five damn letters. That’s it.

  • BigBlueAL

    My only thing about Melky is that we all know RAB hates him (Sorry couldnt resist). Thats fine he isnt a starting caliber CF and has an ample enough sample size to prove that. But if Melky sucks, then WTF is Gardner???? Everyone here seemes to love Gardner, who makes Melky look like Mickey Mantle.

    Gardner’s career OPS, granted in only 176 Ab’s, is a whopping .585. Melky last season in by far his worst season had an OPS of .642 and a career OPS of .707. Gardner would probably sell his soul to the devil to have an OPS of .642, let alone .700. Plus his defense comes no way near making up for his bat. Im not surprised his defensive stats dont look to good, just watching him play with the naked eye its pretty obvious his range isnt as good as it should be. He plays so shallow that he has a hard time cutting balls off and turns singles into doubles, nevermind his Damonesque arm.

    Alot of Gardner supporters point to his superior Minor League numbers, but his best stat is his OBP which due to his horrible BB/K ratio isnt going to translate as well to the MLB, and considering Gardner has drawn a total of 3 bb’s so far this season its not looking good for him. Melky has at least proven he can have decent stretches of play at the ML level, plus he is still actually 1 year younger than Gardner.

    To me Melky is at best a 4th Ofer, but thats better than Gardner who is a 5th Ofer/pinch-runner at best. But Gardner for some reason has a decent sized fan club where as Melky is treated like the great plague. In all honesty they both suck, but Melky is much better than Gardner and should be playing alot more. Neither of them deserve to be the everyday CF, but for now Melky should be getting the greater number of AB’s between the both of them.

    • Chip

      If Gardner still has a .585 OPS after 1455 AB’s, then I’ll have long since given up on him. Fact of the matter is, we don’t know what we have in Gardner because we don’t have a large sample. Brett Gardner isn’t exactly tearing the cover off the ball but he also hasn’t been swinging at pitches above his head.

      Melky has had his opportunities to show that he belongs in the big leagues. Yes, he’s a young guy yet but he still has far too many moments where he looks overmatched. The guy has had 3 full seasons to make adjustments to major league pitching and has trended downward.

      Gardner on the other hand has only 176 AB’s and is learning that pitchers are going to come right after him so he might have to swing earlier in the count. I’m not saying that he’s going to be a HOF CFer but why can’t he hit .280/.350/.420? Fact is, we don’t know if he’s capable of making the adjustments that could cause that to happen but I think we do know that Melky can’t make those adjustments.

      I’d love, just LOVE, to see Melky Cabrera be the next Bernie Williams. But you realize that Melky’s career stats compare well to Bernie just because he’s the same age Bernie was when he first came up. Bernie made the adjustments after a season and didn’t look back while Melky has never turned the corner. I saw we give Gardner a shot just like we gave Melky a shot the last 3 years.

      (And this is all almost meaningless because the Yankees will either have A-Jax in center next year or sign/trade for a guy that’s much better than Melky/Gardner)

      • Spaceman.Spiff

        If Gardner slugs .420 in a season, I will eat my hat.

      • Spaceman.Spiff

        For perspective, Gardner’s career MiLB slugging percentage is .385 across 4 seasons of various minors seasons. He’s probably a major league pinch runner/defensive replacement at best but people seem to be so much more forgiving of his shortcomings.

        • BigBlueAL

          My point exactly. Again, trust me Melky doesnt have a snowball’s chance in hell of coming close to anything Bernie ever did in his career (for the person who is trying to compare them at the same age) but to me he is much better than Gardner by any statistical measure and especially from just a visual perspective.

          But again problem is they both basically suck, just one sucks alot less yet is looked upon worse than the other player who truly sucks but is constantly praised for his one rather useless attribute of speed.

          • Steve B-BALL

            I agree totally, but we still need a real centerfielder.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      My only thing about Melky is that we all know RAB hates him…But if Melky sucks, then WTF is Gardner???? Everyone here seemes to love Gardner, who makes Melky look like Mickey Mantle.

      The overwhelming majority of RAB’ers who doubt Melky’s ability to be an actual valuable major league player also doubt Gardner’s ability to be an actual valuable major league player.

    • Alex

      Bernie Williams up to age 24 (first three years): 1295 PA, .262/.339/.388, 20 homers, 26/36 steals.

      Melky Cabrera up to age 23 (first three years): 1608 PA, .268/.329/.374, 23 homers, 34/46 steals.

      So it’s not “just that they came up at the same time” and Bernie certainly did not make a quick adjustment to the big leagues. His OPS was 24 points higher, but that’s pretty close, also considering Williams had a couple more years in the minor leagues prior to his callup.

      I’m not saying Melky is the next Bernie.. don’t get me wrong. But I’m saying giving up on 23/24 year olds that have shown a wide range of skills in the past is a bad choice.

  • Spaceman.Spiff

    Gardner’s MiLB triple slash – .291/.389/.385 in 1456 at-bats
    Melky’s MiLB triple slash – .296/.349/.420 in 1489 at-bats

    Gardner’s MLB triple slash – .233/.284/.301 in 176 at-bats (sss-alert but that’s still a third of a season)
    Melky’s MLB triple slash – .268/.330/.377 in 1455 at-bats

    Melky’s age – 24
    Gardner’s age -25

    Neither one are the answer long-term at centerfield, I can agree on that. But Gardner has shown me nothing to suggest that he’s any more of a viable major leaguer than Melky. I’m not so critical of the Melky-bashing cause he earned it last year but let’s not pretend like Gardner isn’t as poopy as he is.

  • Andy In Sunny Daytona

    I like to imagine that last August, as Melky was taking the train to Trenton and Robbie was hearing boos raining down on him in Yankee Stadium, that those two had a conversation about their respective futures. They both realized that to be successful, you had to treat this game like a full-time job, because that’s what is.
    Both Robbie and Melky look like they dedicated the offseason to becoming better baseball players, and their early results bare the fruits of that labor.
    I’m not the biggest Brett Gardner fan, but I truely believe that he is absolutely the best player that he can be.
    Now I’m hoping that Robbie and Melky have finally seen the light.

    • BigBlueAL

      If Gardner is the best player that he can be, he is some real big problems.

  • melk man deliver

    For me .melky is an inmature player,he has the ability to be an average starting cf but he mind hasn’t follow his physical ability.

    The evidence is in 7 the inning with bases loaded last nite ,he sung at a very bad pitch to end his at bats, not even a high fast ball.He was overwhelmed by his emotion so much that he can’t stop his bat.I think he need to grow up not just physically but mentally. He is still like a 10 years kid….

    • Spaceman.Spiff

      Too bad people stop maturing mentally by the age of 24. Oh wait.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      The irony in this comment is off the freakin’ charts.

  • Hobbes

    I can’t help but think that without the caught stealing he found so funny, or his impression of me facing Major League pitching in the 7th, or his ridiculous throw to the plate, we wouldn’t have needed 7 more innings.

    • http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/00mwbIM15ofMv/340x.jpg Mike Pop

      Ya, but without his first hr, we wouldn’t of either. Without his 2nd hr, we would of needed more. The 7 extra innings aren’t great I guess cause it’s more wear and tear on the players and can tire the bullpen. But ya know, Veras looked amazing, Marte was solid, and same goes for Edwar. Maybe this gets their confidence up, Axl’s confidence up, and I won’t have to read so many comments of Marte, Veras, and Edwar suck after 7 innings of work. Which is just ludicrous in my mind and was really starting to get to me. Veras and Edwar pitched great last year and Marte has a proven track record and has shown he can relieve in the AL East.

      Ya know what really “grinds my gears”? Fans who do that bullshit.

      • Hobbes

        This is a good Melky optimist/pessimist test. If you think that Melky’s two HRs won the game for us, you are a Melky Optimist. If you feel that we should have won that game easily in 9 without Melky’s baserunning, pitch selection and touted “gun”, you are a Melky Pessimist.

        • MattG

          What if you are a Melky pessimist, and a Gardner pessimist? It’s all relative.

        • http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/00mwbIM15ofMv/340x.jpg Mike Pop

          Hmm? I think CC giving up 7 runs is why the game lasted so long. If you blame Melky’s baserunning for making the game go long, than you just hate him. Gardner popped up with bases loaded and Jeter also did not succeed. I don’t love Melky, I don’t hate Melky. Do I think he can split time to play CF with Gardner this year and the Yanks can still compete and win it all? Yes, I do. I blame CC for the extra innings but that’s okay because he just didn’t have it and Joe G left him in too long. In my opinion, you’re short sighted if you think it was Melky’s fault that the game went 14 innings.

          • steve (different one)

            you could also blame Jeter for not going to 1B to complete that DP.

            or Damon for putting that guy on base to begin with.

            • http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/00mwbIM15ofMv/340x.jpg Mike Pop

              Heh. Exactly. I said in the game thread that I just feel like when they put up 7 with CC on the mound. You have to win that game, that’s all. CC needs to pitch better than that. But, “he pitched to the score”, that is what the great ones do.

          • http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/00mwbIM15ofMv/340x.jpg Mike Pop

            Or wait, should we blame the bullpen for making it go 14? We should of lost in 10 to teach Melky a lesson!

          • Hobbes

            You, sir, are a Melky optimist

            • http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/00mwbIM15ofMv/340x.jpg Mike Pop

              Good way to backup your opinion there. I liked it.

              • Hobbes

                :)

      • steve (different one)

        right on, Pop.

        the “DFA Veras” movement was pretty embarrassing.

        • http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/00mwbIM15ofMv/340x.jpg Mike Pop

          Ya, that shit just pisses me off. These guys are good and the same fans bitching about them now are the same that were saying that the Yanks have a lockdown bullpen before the year started. Of course, the B-Jobbers were always bitching no matter what. Noone would ever be good enough for their precious 8th inning not named Joba. Just after 2 weeks, people are already saying the relievers are horrible….facepalm.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            WHY THE FUCK IS MY BURRITO TAKING THIS LONG TO COOK IN THIS MICROWAVE?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!??!

  • Sizeole

    Has anyone said anything about his antics after hitting the walk-off yesterday? He showed a lot of ass for a 4th OF who lost his job to a rookie. Get around the tags like you’ve done it before, dude.

    • jon

      how dare he enjoy hitting a walk off HR in the bottom of the 14th

      i bet jorge yelled at him after that

      • Bo

        God forbid he enjoy the moment of a walk off homer.

        He should run around the bases as fast as he can next time with a serious face on.

        • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

          Speaking of running at inappropriate times, am I the only one who hates that Eckstein flat out sprints to first when he works a walk?

          • http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/00mwbIM15ofMv/340x.jpg Mike Pop

            No, that’s Bill Heywood’s special move.

  • Hobbes

    Someone just did. Someone just did.

  • MattG

    I don’t understand the timing of the Melky criticism. Melky is not a long-term answer in CF. Neither is Gardner. Any objective analysis has both of these guys as average 4th outfielders. This is undeniable.

    So you play the hot hand. It is irrelevant if Melky has a horrible at bat. He is not being evaluated as the long-term answer. He is hotter than Gardner. He has 4 home runs, and 3 strikeouts, in 25 plate appearances. He will not have 40/30 in 250 in July. In fact, he may have 10 strikeouts by the end of the weekend. But he is not taking at bats away from anyone of consequence. Gardner is not the long-term solution either, so you just play who’s hot.

  • A.D.

    Yesterday was a microcosm of the frustration of Melky, he can blast a HR from each side of the plate & then work a walk, but also throw in 2 at-bats where he looks easily over matched.

    When people compare Melky and BG I think its obviously that Melky has the higher ceiling, with his ceiling being a very good major league CF, but he also has lower probability of making that ceiling.

    At this point Melk is one of those guys who needs it to “click”. With Cano’s new plate discipline & pitch selection thus far this season I wonder if similar intensive off-season work with Kevin Long could help Melk.

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

      With Cano’s new plate discipline & pitch selection thus far this season

      This has been one of my two pleasant surprises so far this year, the other being Jeter’s rage in a small sample size.

      I think the important thing to remember about Melky and Brett is that neither one of them will be the CF in 2011, and probably not in 2010, and maybe not even for the rest of ’09. If BG keeps hitting shitty and Melky regresses to his norm, they may as well just measure Mike Cameron for a jersey.

  • Rob in CT

    Yay Melky!

    This one game didn’t prove anything, one way or the other. Melky may indeed be the lesser of two evils. I, for one, would give Gardner some more playing time before making the decision to re-annoint Melky the starting CFer.

  • Bo

    Only Melky could inspire such hate after a 2 homer day including a walk off.

    • steve (different one)

      i actually….agree with this cynical BoGrant remark.

      2 HRs and he’s ripped for smiling.

      • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

        There’s no smiling in baseball. It’s as serious as geopolitics.

        • http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/00mwbIM15ofMv/340x.jpg Mike Pop

          Heh. We love to hate Melky but then hate to love him because he gets our hopes up.

  • Stuckey

    Is Melky Cabrera/”4th outfielder” the most overused cliche in MLB?

    I’ve been reading and listening to analyst pin this on him since 2006, and I suspect it has much to do with his size (not big enough to be a prototypical corner outfielder, too big/not speedy enough for a lead-off CF type).

    The thing is Cabrera may never wind up being a quality long term major leaguer under any circumstances, but I’d argue NO one knows when his ceiling really is.

    With my own eyes I’ve seen Cabrera square the ball for sustainable stretches, multiple times. The guy, when right, CAN hit.

    Purely analyzing stats might lead you to the conclusion he has marginal skills. But actually watching him play tells you there are two Cabreras, one of which can play at an above average ML level for sustainable stretches, and one that is awful for sustainable stretches.

    The question is, will experience and maturity lead to the good Cabrera showing up more often, because if it does, he can be more than a “4th outfielder”, he can be a quality starting ML outfielder. But perhaps just not on the Yankees whose fans feel like all positions must be manned with players with “All-star” ceilings.

    Here’s the thing though. Forget even where the balls landed. Yesterday he did something twice that Gardner might not do in a month. He squared the ball.

    Gabrera has times when his approach is high quality, He’ll use the whole field, drive the ball the opposite way, turn on bad pitches, handle good pitches.

    Gardner’s swing is ALL arms and hands and he looks like he goes up there just hoping to get the bat on the ball.

    I’d rather go with the guy that we KNOW has certain clubs in his bag.

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

      Purely analyzing stats might lead you to the conclusion he has marginal skills. But actually watching him play tells you there are two Cabreras, one of which can play at an above average ML level for sustainable stretches, and one that is awful for sustainable stretches.

      It’s that lack of consistency (pardon my Morgan-ism) that makes him a bench player and not a full time starter. If he could do what he did in ’06 and defend like he did last year (0.8 UZR/150 in CF*), Gardner wouldn’t be a factor. But, he can’t do that regularly and that’s why this “cliche” of Melky as a fourth OF is perpetuated.

      *Melky’s got solid UZR numbers in left and right, which is a double edged sword for him. It’s great that he can field that well but his bat is no where near able to carry LF or RF.

      • Stuckey

        CONSISTENCY is clearly the rub, but to argue that a 24 year old that clearly has maturity issues (and who was called up to the big leagues at a very young age) can’t and will NEVER find a consistent approach is PURELY speculative and somewhat arbitrary.

        There is no stat that predicts if and when a player will “get it”.

        The league is littered with guys who wore out their welcome with their original organization that went on to have productive careers in the majors.

        If the Yankees had 3 superior OF options on their roster, I’d say maybe Cabrera’s future was elsewhere, but it doesn’t take statistical analysis to see one player can hit and the other can’t.

        So long as the Yankees have the opportunity (or lack of other options), it makes sense to use the time most productively.

        Thing is, I think that might be exactly what they are doing. I can’t believe that the Yankees see Gardner as a long-term option. I think what we’re seeing now is the Yankees plan to motivate Cabrera.

        I suspect he’ll be the everyday CF by mid-May.

        • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

          There is no stat that predicts if and when a player will “get it”.

          Except for playing time. Melky’s gotten a lot of ABs to prove himself and he really hasn’t done so yet. All he’s shown is the ability to be streaky. Not good.

          So long as the Yankees have the opportunity (or lack of other options), it makes sense to use the time most productively.

          Which is why I think the Yankees will just continue to go with the hot hand. If Melky gets cold, they’ll throw BG in there and vice versa.

          I suspect he’ll be the everyday CF by mid-May.

          Maybe you’re right, but we’ll see. Unless a trade is made, I don’t see any one guy nailing down the every day job in center. Since his two CF options are incredibly streaky, General Joe should–and probably will–go w/the hot hand.

          • Stuckey

            Except for playing time. Melky’s gotten a lot of ABs to prove himself and he really hasn’t done so yet. All he’s shown is the ability to be streaky. Not good.

            Agreed, but he’s also done it all at the major league level. A lot of guys have careers/years like this in the MINOR LEAGUES until they put it together, then most fans only see the more mature, consistent ML player.

            Since his two CF options are incredibly streaky, General Joe should–and probably will–go w/the hot hand.

            Well, one of this options hasn’t shown a good streak yet, let’s be real about that.

            • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

              Agreed, but he’s also done it all at the major league level. A lot of guys have careers/years like this in the MINOR LEAGUES until they put it together, then most fans only see the more mature, consistent ML player.

              Maybe I’m still reeling from the stench that was in my sink that my roommates don’t like to clean, but I don’t get your point. Melky has had over 1,000 ABs to prove his worth and he hasn’t developed into anything more than a streaky, barely league average CF. I don’t think there’s much more room for development here.

              Well, one of this options hasn’t shown a good streak yet, let’s be real about that.

              From Aug 15 ’08 to the end of the season, Gardner hit .294/.333/.412/.745 with an 88% SB rate. That’s pretty good. I’m not saying he’s gonna do that for a sustained period of time, but he has shown the ability to at least hang with ML pitching at points.

              • Stuckey

                but I don’t get your point. Melky has had over 1,000 ABs to prove his worth and he hasn’t developed into anything more than a streaky, barely league average CF. I don’t think there’s much more room for development here.

                Its a pretty simple concept. A lot of productive major leaguers between the ages of 20 and 23 got a LOT more AB’s than that at the minor league level, and might have been equally inconsistent.

                With Cabrera, we’ve all seen the growing pains on a daily basis, where as normally we might just see minor league box scores, if even that.

                The point is, Cabrera’s inconsistent, feast or famine, frustrating production is fairly typical for a guy his age. It’s just unusual to see it all play out at the major league level.

                The conclusion that he can’t develop the ability he HAS shown consistently with age, maturity and experience is born out of frustration and impatience.

                The majors are filled with players who put it together in their mid-20s and later.

                Not sure why this is so hard for same fans to grasp.

                From Aug 15 ‘08 to the end of the season, Gardner hit .294/.333/.412/.745 with an 88% SB rate. That’s pretty good.

                Actually, no, it’s not.

        • steve (different one)

          I can’t believe that the Yankees see Gardner as a long-term option.

          they don’t.

          Austin Jackson is their long-term option, and Gardner is clearly a stopgap with a future on the bench.

          • Stuckey

            they don’t.

            Austin Jackson is their long-term option, and Gardner is clearly a stopgap with a future on the bench.

            I was referring to THIS year. Yankees don’t play long-term. They play to win every year.

            • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

              Even playing a win-now situation–such as trading for Mike Cameron–has the resemblance of a long term situation because he’d be a one year stop-gap for Austin Jackson. Just because the Yankees spend big money and like to “win now” doesn’t mean they’ll forsake future plans. Like Tommie says, the Yankees aren’t just a “win now” team, they’re a “win now and later” team.

              • Stuckey

                This is all beside the point. The question is who would be more effective in CF before Jackson, Cameron or whomever is available and more effective.

                Be that for the next 2 months, the next 5, or whatever.

                I don’t think the Yankees envision Gardner playing CF in October under ANY circumstances.

                I think the Yankees could envision Cabrera being out there, IF he puts it together.

      • MattG

        “It’s that lack of consistency (pardon my Morgan-ism) that makes him a bench player and not a full time starter.”

        You can improve consistency. Jorge Posada is one excellent example that comes to mind of a guy that threw away at bats early in his career, but put it together later on. Of course, he had the disadvantage of having to learn catcher early in his career too, but still.

        Melky does not have the talent to get by for sustainable stretches. He does not have Posada’s bat speed or short swing. It’s going to be very hard for Melky to improve his pitch selection, because he can’t get the barrel to the ball as well as he should. But he does have some things going for him–his contact rate is strong, and he’s young. He can learn to shorten up his swing, let the ball travel, and slap it the other way. He can learn to become a tougher out.

        It’s easy to play him while he’s hitting. It’ll be easy to bench him again when he goes cold, too.

        • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

          It’s easy to play him while he’s hitting. It’ll be easy to bench him again when he goes cold, too.

          Yup. The same applies to Gardner.

  • gxpanos

    I read all these comments, wanting to make up my mind on one or the other. At the beginning of the season I was with Girardi with Gritt, and I WANT to like him, because when he gets on base, he’s a force. But I just don’t think he’ll ever “catch up” to pitching in the bigs like he did in the minors. He takes a lot of pitches–and those pitches are strikes, because MLB pitchers have control, and they’re not afraid of him because he literally has a tough time hitting the ball out of the infield (even two of his “clutch” hits were ground-outs with the infield in, one last year and the one this year). I mean, his swing is ridiculous. It’s all hands, and he generates NO power. Plus, he hits a lot of fly balls. You would think that he’d have learned to hi mostly grounders with his friggin’ junkyard swing.

    What good is speed when you have a .285 (!) OBP? Only three walks? To get walks in the bigs, you have to make sure pitchers can’t just pour over strikes, which is what they’re doing. That said, the book on Gritt is he has an adjustment period at every level. How long is that period? It’s got to be longer than he’s gotten. Give him a few more weeks before just throwing up your hands and going with who’s hotter. They’re both just occupying space until AJax.

    • Stuckey

      That’s the thing about Gardner. If his typical game is to get on first base once every 3 or 4 ABS (closer to 4), he can be almost as productive as a late inning pinch runner, without giving up the other 2 or 3 ABS.

      With Matsui, Posada (Molina), and Swisher on the roster, he might get the opportunity most games.

      Gardner might be able to get the first base as often from the bench than he can from the batter’s box.

  • Steve B-BALL

    all very good comments.
    I grew up in the Mantle era and if Mick only knew what and who was patrolling his centerfield, he must be turning over in his grave

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      This was not a good comment.

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      Eh, not really.

      After all, he personally witnessed Ross Moschitto and Roger Repoz man the position, neither one who was measurably better than Melky.

  • jon

    Melky should our starting CF based on how much more useful gardner is on the bench

    They both arent adequite CFers for the yankees but at least you can use gardner as a pinch runner late in the game when he rides the bench

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

      How is Gardner more useful sitting on the bench because of his speed? Isn’t his speed, which is his best asset–the dude’s ridiculously fast–better used in centerfield where he has better range than Melky? And, if he’s a good base-stealer, why only put him in a situation in which he can only steal one time? Wouldn’t it be more effective to put him in a situation in which he can get on base multiple times?

      • Stuckey

        Isn’t his speed, which is his best asset–the dude’s ridiculously fast–better used in centerfield where he has better range than Melky?

        Speed does not equal range, not by a long-shot.

        Wouldn’t it be more effective to put him in a situation in which he can get on base multiple times?

        That’s the question. CAN he get on multiple times? I’m not convinced Gardner can get to 2nd base with his legs any more often than Cabrera can get to 2nd, 3rd and homeplate with his bat.

        • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

          Speed does not equal range, not by a long-shot.

          No, but it helps. I know Gardner hasn’t done too great in CF in a small sample this year, but he did more than fine last year. Chances are, he’s somewhere in the middle, which for him, is above average; and that’s better than Melky’s range.

          That’s the question. CAN he get on multiple times? I’m not convinced Gardner can get to 2nd base with his legs any more often than Cabrera can get to 2nd, 3rd and homeplate with his bat.

          And I agree with that question. Neither guy has proven to be good for long periods of time. But Jon’s reasoning for putting Gardner on the bench solely for pinch running is just silly.

      • jon

        Mekly has better range and is better in the outfield

        and gardner would be great IF he got on base to steal 3 or 4 times but that wont happen. He needs someone else to get on base for him

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Melky should our starting CF based on how much more useful gardner is on the bench

      This is batshit insane.

      • jon

        why take 2 CFers

        melky has the edge in D and bat

        gardner can steal bases

        which would you rather playing every day and which would you want on the bench?

  • claybeez

    Joe, I did think your post was fair. I’m just asking that you guys be consistently fair, not just pick and choose when to be so. The site has ridden Melky pretty hard while making excuses for failures of preferred players. Just asking for balance, fairness and an end to the snide Melky in-house humor. He’s a young ballplayer from our system and doesn’t deserve all the cheap shots.

    Again, I’m not implying he’s the 2nd coming. But with 1400+ AB he’s just early into his 3rd season’s worth. That at 24, when peak is said to be 27-28. Perhaps, that leaves time for improvement. He shouldn’t be completely written off just yet.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      The site has ridden Melky pretty hard while making excuses for failures of preferred players.

      No, it hasn’t. It’s ridden Melky pretty hard while making excuses for failures of players who have either 1.) demonstrated sustained brilliance at the big league level, like Swisher, CC, Jeter, Cano, etc. or 2) demonstrated enough brilliance at the minor league/amateur level to warrant true high-end prospect status, like Hughes, Kennedy, Brackman, etc.

      Melky doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt that other Yankees do because he has nothing in his past track record to warrant it. The rest of those players do.

      If you have a high ceiling or a good history, you get the benefit of the doubt. If your ceiling and history says you’re probably not going to be a star, you don’t get the benefit of the doubt. That’s the way it works.

      • Sweet Dick Willie

        To be fair Tommie, RAB has not been nearly as hard on Gardner as it has on Melky.

        While neither one will be the Yanks CF of the future, Gardner has shown no more than Melky at the minor or major league level to warrant the pass he has received (in relation to Melky).

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          To be fair Tommie, RAB has not been nearly as hard on Gardner as it has on Melky.

          I disagree for two reasons:

          1) I think there’s a few Gardner acolytes who pimped him loudly and repeatedly. The majority of RAB has always been very skeptical of Gardner. And, like I said elsewhere, most/all of the Melky-“bashers” also did a lot of Gardner-“bashing”.
          2) That being said, RAB should be relatively higher on Gardner than it is on Melky, because Gardner is younger (in the MLB experience sense). Many Melky-“bashers” centered their arguments against Melky in terms of the fact that he’s already been given multiple seasons to succeed or failed and he’s largely failed, so while the odds are Gardner probably sucks too, he should be given the same chance that Melky got since Melky basically is what he is and been given priority over Melky in terms of starting going forward.

          • Sweet Dick Willie

            First, when I said RAB, I was talking about the three proprietors, not the commenters.

            Second, I disagree with your statement “RAB should be relatively higher on Gardner than it is on Melky, because Gardner is younger (in the MLB experience sense)”

            Melky has (slightly) better MiLB #’s, so Gardner should get no points there. But most importantly, actually watching them both play reveals that Melky occassionally puts together a good at bat, whereas Gardner looks totally overmatched by MLB pitching.

            While you can’t make chicken salad from chicken shit, I believe Melky gives Kevin Long more to work with than Gardner does (although admittedly, that’s not saying much).

            To reiterate, I don’t think either is the CF of the future. I just think that this site has consistently displayed an anti-Melky bias while cutting others (Gardner) some undeserved slack.

        • Am I the only Kevin?

          This is clearly a case of the known suckitude with marginal upside (Melky) being less preferable than likely suckitude with marginal upside (Gardner).

      • claybeez

        The hitters you mentioned are older and have more experience. Swisher was no great shakes last year, but many were drooling over the thought to get him. The idea being he’s had success and was young and could be due for a rebound. Why is it so impossible that a 24 year-old Melky could also rebound and have more success? Not Jeter-like success, but success given his ceiling.

        Melky is also not on their level prospect-wise. His success really shouldn’t be compared to theirs. He wasn’t as good in the minors so it should be no shock that if he develops it would take him longer.

        Kennedy has had less sustained major league success than Melky. He dominates AAA, but didn’t Clippard and Sowers and Bean. Many think he doesn’t have the stuff to be better than a 4 or 5, if that. Yet, he gets cut a lot more slack.

        Again, it’s not that Melky is the second coming. It’s just that he is the RAB whipping boy.

  • Sal

    Why they didn’t sign Edmonds is beyond me

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

      Because he’s old, can’t play CF anymore, and is left handed. The Yankees don’t need an old, lefty hitting CF who is coming off a -23.3 (minus two+ wins) UZR/150 season.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Jim Edmonds v. LHP, 2008 – .146/.212/.229/.441

  • Slightly Cordial Axl

    You’re saying this about Melky like this only applies to him. Check out most of our other prospects. Phil Hughes has showed signs of brilliance and has looked foolish and ridiculous in others. Ian Kennedy is an even better example…pitching brilliantly at the end of 2007 with a 1.89 ERA in 3 starts only to follow up with an 8.17 ERA with zero wins and 4 losses in 9 starts. Hughes wasn’t any better with his deceiving 4.46 ERA in 2007 while following up with a 6.62 ERA with zero wins and 4 losses in 8 starts in 2008. Both succumbing to “injury” not soon after.

    Then we have Joba. Who has shown signs of excellence through out both the bullpen AND the starting role having a 0.38 ERA in the bullpen and combined 2.70 ERA in the bullpen and starting role respectively in 2007 and 2008 before also succumbing to injury. And now we see him starting off entirely in the starting role and he has a Hughes-Kennedy-esque 5.06 ERA with zero wins in 2 starts…but the worst part is that he has only pitched 10.2 innings in 2 starts combined while striking out 9 (not bad) but walking 6 and allowing 10 hits in 10.2 innings. Not exactly anything to be comfortable about.

    Is it that he’s ALSO another slow starter on our team?? And the bullpen played as a warm up so when he came in as a starter he was at full force yet vulnerable to injury?? Or is he just as streaky as the rest of the prospects we’ve had over the years.

    Honorable Mention: Robinson Cano

    • MattG

      Inconsistency is expected out of pitchers. One lousy pitch can ruin a start. One bad swing does not ruin one at bat, much less a whole game, or five games (the amount of games before said pitcher can get a fresh chance).

      Gardner should not be fielding this poorly. I suppose fielders do go through slumps, but lets be real–why is he such a disappointment in CF?

      As for Cano, the league adjusted to him, and he did nothing. He is a fine player, but all the Rod Carew comparisons aren’t doing him any favors. It’s good to see he is putting in the work now.

    • Tony

      That’s a lot of assuming based on two starts in his life

  • Ben

    This wasn’t that well of a thought out article. ‘I just wish he would choose when and stick with it?’ Are you kidding me? If you have been watching baseball for years you would realize that baseball players don’t just consistently produce in a robotic way at this early stage of their career. Melky is still young, that’s not defending him, that is just stating a fact. He has 3 years under his belt and what he has shown is an inconsistent ability to adjust to pitchers making adjustments on their approach to pitching him. Hence, bad looking AB’s like the one yesterday with the bases loaded and no one out. While he probably won’t approach Cano’s offensive prowess, he could follow in Cano’s foot steps so far this season. Cano tweaked his stance allowing his natural ability to take over and it has shown with his best start since ’07. Long and Melky have been working on similar things. The problem with most analysts in baseball is that they see a young kid on the Yankees who has been marginally great and sometimes over matched and the idiots say it is shameful for a team that spends $200 million to have a question mark of a player like Melky, while at the same time sitting so high and mighty saying the way to win is to grow your own players through the farm system. Apparently the Yankees are not allowed to go that route, f****** hypocrites. One last part to my rant, idiots (sportswriters) who continue to needle the Yankees about the home runs or the empty seats, no one who is a fan cares. Maybe fat cat Levine does, but an average fan like me doesn’t. Is it frustrating that Yankee tickets don’t cost the same as Nationals’ tickets? You bet. But don’t think you are on my side, you are just needling the Yankees because you can’t deal with your pathetic life.