B is for Brackman, B is for Bust

Trading a Drabek
Are CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett being overworked?

As pro debuts go, Andrew Brackman‘s has been far worse than expected. On the season, he is a woeful 1-11 with a 6.72 ERA in 85.2 innings. He has given up four more hits than innings pitched, but more alarming are his walk totals.

Brackman has issued 64 walks this year, and 46 of those have come in his last 35 innings. In six of his last ten starts, he has walked more than he has struck out. Opponents are hitting .277 against him, and the B word — the dreaded bust label — has been swirling for the last few weeks.

When the Yankees drafted Brackman in 2007, they did so knowing that he would be both expensive and injured. He signed a $4.55 million dollar deal with $3.35 million signing bonus and was ranked among the top 100 prospects in the game. He could hit the upper 90s with his fastball and had a plus curve as well as a change up. At six-feet, ten-inches, Brackman was drawing comparisons to the Big Unit.

As the Yankees try to figure out what they have in Brackman, numerous theories are out there. He is but a season removed from Tommy John surgery and has plenty of development time left. He could still turn it around next year or the year after and emerge as an effective, if old, prospect. The problem might very well be our expectations.

No matter the bonus, Brackman was the 30th pick of the first round in 2007, and those picks do not have much of a track record of success. In fact, since 1996, when the Devil Rays and Diamondbacks entered the draft, only two 30th picks have amounted to much. The full list is available here, and I’ll spoil it: Only Noah Lowry and Jack Cust have had any sort of Major League success as 30th picks in the June amateur draft.

Before the expansion of the draft in 1996 and after the initial increase in the draft with the onset of the Marlins and Rockies in 1992, the 28th pick was the last of the first round, and those four picks — Charles Johnson, Jamey Wright, Kevin Witt and Michael Barrett — have been better than most of the 30th picks. Before that, from 1977 through 1991, the 26th pick was the last of the first round. Those were a crap shoot as well. Alan Trammel, Dave Henderson, Rico Brogna and Dan Plesac had long careers, but beyond that, the round is marked by those with brief Major League appearances.

In the end, the problem with Brackman may just be time. He could need some more seasoning to get past his surgery. But the problem could just be one of tempered expectations. As the 30th pick of the draft — holding down the last spot in the first round — he shouldn’t be that good. The money might say otherwise, but history is not on his side.

Trading a Drabek
Are CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett being overworked?
  • 27 this year

    The only thing is his age. He was signed out of college and expected to miss about a year with TJ surgery and that set him back and as he takes his lumps, he ages. I think he will be a good prospect but that won’t happen until he is around 26. While he is good, his trade value and such will be diminished by age and that depends on how long it takes him to turn things around. However, he was worth the risk.

  • K.B.D.

    Can you even be a bust with only one year of professional experience?

  • http://leegrantphotography.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/madmax.jpg gxpanos

    Hey, who says he cant contribute when he’s 27, 28?

    We knew there’d be bumps in the road. Why cant we take them in stride? I’m not writing him off unless he shows no improvement by the time he’s 25 or so. At that point, it’s a wasted pick. But not now.

  • A.D.

    Man, he’s been ugly this year, can only hope that the experience of actually pitching is some help.

    Worse case can the Yanks sell him to Europe for hoops?

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

    C is for Cookie, that’s good enough for me.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyH1v8GRCGA (safe)

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

      Can you believe they almost made him the veggie monster?


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

        That story was debunked. He was never going to stop eating cookies, he just eats them less.

        It’s moot, anyway. Have you watched Sesame Street recently? It’s like 95% Elmo and 5% everyone else.

        • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

          I know. I miss Big Bird.

  • Esteban

    Was a ML contract though?

    • Nate

      Yeah it was an ML contract, he’s on the 40 man.

      Brackman won’t be a bust in my opinion until later down the line. There was no reason to expect him to be good fast. Did I expect him to implode like this? No. But I did expect him to struggle. Remember the nomaas post about Brackman and keep referring to that when you see Brackman struggle. It takes time for pitchers, and even more time for inexperienced pitchers (he didn’t pitch much in college, TJ surgery once he joined the Yanks)

      • Esteban

        whoops, I mean to say “was a ML contract necessary though?”

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

          It probably was. Remember, Brackman had a top-5 grade and only fell because of injury risk AND contract demands. If we didn’t give up the ML deal, he probably rolls the dice and goes back for his senior season.

          • jsbrendog

            and his college pays for the tj surgery?

          • Ed

            he probably rolls the dice and goes back for his senior season.

            How would that play out, considering he knew he needed TJ surgery at the time? Take a year off from college then go back post surgery? Join co-op or something to gain an extra year?

            • jsbrendog

              red shirt and take a light course load so the next yr he only needs like 2 classes to graduate?

              didnt leinart go back to usc and only have one class, ballroom dancing?

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

              He didn’t KNOW he needed elbow surgery. It was a possibility, not a definite. He may have just rested it and tried to pitch through it.

              He had TJS after we sent him to Andrews post-contract. At our urging.

              But yeah, it may not have played out well.

              • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                “He didn’t KNOW he needed elbow surgery. It was a possibility, not a definite. He may have just rested it and tried to pitch through it.”

                Yeah, but it seems (and seemed at the time) like a pretty well-known secret that he needed to go under the knife. I don’t think this is just people looking back in hindsight and assuming that people knew, before the fact, that a random event would occur. I think people had a pretty good idea that Brackman needed TJS.

                • Ed

                  My memory is that Boras wouldn’t even allow him to have a physical before signing the contract, which would imply he expected serious problems.

                  Minor league contracts can be voided/altered if you fail a physical after the signing, but major league ones can’t.

  • Reggie C.

    Looking at Ben Badler’s tweets from Brackman’s last start, it appears that arm strength or perhaps arm fatigue is an issue. I remember full well the HWB reports of Brackman throwing mid-90s heat so its likely a mix of fatigue and mechanics. That’s a toxic mix for a young man who really didnt pitch much the past 3 years.

    I think the promise of a power reliever is the brighter future course for Brackman’s development. Its not about getting him to YS tommorrow; its about making sure he gets to the majors as a real contributor and since the physical gifts are plentiful, the Yanks should really look to simplify Brackman’s plate.

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


      We’ve got club options on him through 2013. That means he’s got 4 more full seasons after this one to straighten himself out before we have to make a real decision on him.

      Tall pitchers take time. Patience is a virtue, we need to be virtuous.

      • Ed

        You start with 3 options. The Yankees played games in 2007 to avoid using up an option, and in 2008 he spent the year on the ML DL collecting service time instead of burning an option.

        This season is his first option, leaving two more. The team can request a fourth option year from the commissioner’s office because he missed a year due to injury. So he’s guaranteed to have options through 2011, and probably will through 2012.

        There’s not a way to get a 5th option year, is there?

        • Chris

          He was referring to team options in his contract. I don’t know that those are necessary to keep him in the system.

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

            Yeah, I’m talking about contract options and not minor league option years.

            Option-year wise, yeah, we can send him down for ’09, ’10, ’11, and ’12, so we’d probably need to put him in the bullpen in 2013 if he’s still not ready to join the rotation, but that’s far off still.

            Or, as Mike himself put it:

            Andrew Brackman is a very unique case, and just when I think I have his option situation figured out, another piece of information pops up that throws me off. From what I can gather, here’s what happened:

            * Brackman signed a Major League contract out of the draft in 2007, putting him on the 40-man roster immediately. He did not, however, spend twenty days in the minors that season, so an option was not burned.
            * After blowing out his elbow, Brackman spent the entire 2008 season on the Major League disabled list and was never optioned to the minors.
            * Brackman was optioned down to the minors out of camp this year, using up his first option year.
            * The Yanks still hold two of his three original options for 2010 and 2011, and assuming they use those up, Brackman is eligible for a fourth option because he will have less than five full years of service before his three options are eaten up.

            So, based on all that, the Yanks can option Brackman to the minors in 2010, 2011, and 2012, which should be plenty of time for him to develop. Of course he’ll be 26 by then, but that’s neither here nor there.


          • Ed

            That’s just a money thing though, it doesn’t change when he has to stick on the 25 man roster or when he hits free agency. Odds are he won’t even be arbitration eligible when the option years run out.

            Related, while digging into the details, RAB’s post on his signing says the contract included 4 minor league options. I wonder if the extra option year for injuries is still an option if the player started with 4.

    • Chris

      I agree that it is likely mechanics and/or fatigue. My only concern is that those two combined tend to be a recipe for injuries.

  • zs190

    Definitely very disappointed with Brackman’s performance, although I’m hoping it’s more of a fatigue issue than anything. If I recall, he pitched 25-30 innings in Hawaiian League in the winter then another 85 innings in the minors and we’ve noted that he was pretty decent in the first 50 innings in the minors.

    I imagine we are pretty close to shutting him down for the season and hopefully he’ll be fresh next season and regain that velocity.

  • Bo

    Hes a bust. They gave the guy a major league contract and he wastes a 40 man spot every yr now. Thats a bust.

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      Seymour Lanbo Strikes Again!!!

    • Pablo

      Bo, stop talking. its not a bust yet. give him some time. at least his name isnt BO

      • Tank Foster

        Let the man state his opinion. I don’t know what “Bo” did in the past but you guys are unmerciful to him on this board. People get roasted for not backing up their opinions. I think if you want to roast Bo, you do it by refuting his argument, not telling him to stop talking.

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

      Out of curiosity, if he didn’t have an ML deal and a 40 man spot, would he be a “bust”? Or just a struggling young prospect?

      • Pablo

        yea i agree. BO only thinks hes a bust because he takes up a spot on the 40 man roster. Honestly, BO doesn’t know what he’s talking about and should stop making stupid comments.

        • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          While I agree… You could also make those points without resorting to making fun of the guy’s name. That’s, just kinda, irrelevant, and really not funny, either.

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

            Yeah, it’s not like his name is something stupid-sounding, like, oh, I don’t know… Raúl.

    • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

      Bo, the problem with your logic in calling him a bust because he’s on the 40-man is that it implies that they gave him an ML deal with the expectation that he would be in the Majors very quickly. But that’s just not the case. He was an inexperienced (compared to other top prospects) injured guy with high upside. They knew he would need TJS. So, they knew that he would need a year of rehab before he started building up and learning to pitch.

      Would we all like the numbers this year to be better? Of course. But did the Yankees give him a Major League contract thinking he would be better this year? Nope. Giving him a Major League contract was part of a negotiation. It was about money. The team took a risk that it was worth it to tie up a 40-man spot to see if they could catch lightning in a bottle. We won’t know if that risk will pay off or not for a couple of years. And a bad first year statistically isn’t going to determine future success, which is the true judge.

      So, even with his 40-man status, you can’t call him a bust for another two or three years.

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

        And “wasting a 40-man spot” on him isn’t a big deal either. Virtually every team in baseball wastes a few 40-man spots on guys they want to protect that aren’t anywhere near the majors yet. That’s the reason it’s a 40 man roster and not a 30 man or 35 man roster.

        It’s not a big deal, all things considered. If Brackman wasn’t using that spot, some other minor leaguer probably would be.

        • Chris

          The Yankees are also ‘wasting’ a 40-man roster spot on Nady. Neither Brackman nor Nady has prevented the Yankees from making any moves.

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

            And Chris Garcia, and Ian Kennedy.

            • Jack

              And Alex Rodriguez.

              /”He’s a first baseman!”‘d

      • Pablo

        i think we can all agree that Bo is wrong and his logic is wrong. sorry BO

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    “The Curious Curse of the 30th Pick?” Kind of sounds like a ridiculous Jason Stark column.

    • jsbrendog

      or the ridiculous spelling of his first name, jayson….parents were probably hippies..

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

        Jayson Stark has murdered first name spelling history.

        • K.B.D.

          I think Jayson Williams takes the cake for both murder and murdered first name spelling…

  • The Scout

    There may be a lesson here about the somewhat casual attitude baseball people and fans have developed about Tommy John surgery. It is by no means certain that pitchers will recover from major elbow procedures, even if the success rate is better than it used to be. Humberto Sanchez and J.B. Cox (though not a TJ case) are two other touted prospects who had elbow procedures and thus far have failed to recover to pitch effectively. Investing a first-round draft choice in someone likely to need TJ surgery strikes me as overly optimistic about the recovery rates.

  • Tank the Frank

    As the 30th pick of the draft — holding down the last spot in the first round — he shouldn’t be that good.

    Very well written article, but I don’t agree with this point at all. Where a player is drafted and their degree of success in the big leagues is mutually exclusive in my opinion. Any comparisons that can be drawn aren’t more than fun little coincidences. We all know full well that a player can be drafted in the 22nd round – such as John Smoltz – and have an excellent major league career while a player drafted in the first round can bust. This is the exception rather than the rule, but otherwise entirely possible.

    I don’t think any team uses their first pick with the assumption that he “shouldn’t be that good.” He was a first round pick for a reason, and may have gone higher if not for money demands or injury concerns. I think we should always have some sort of expectations on our first round picks; including those that get a $4.5 million deal and are put on the 40-man roster. That being said, we all know Brackman was drafted for his upside, not immediate results. Here’s to hoping he stays healthy enough to show improvement next season.

    • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      I’m kinda with Tank the Frank on this one, but I think it’s for slightly different reasons… I think we have to be careful not to compare draft picks to similar (similar draft-position, I mean) picks made years ago, because the draft has changed. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but as I understand it the phenomenon of certain teams breaking the bank and grabbing top-flight talent with later picks is a relatively recent phenomenon. If that’s true, it stands to reason that players taken late in the first round (or elsewhere in the draft) for high bonus-money should have a higher likelihood for success than guys taken before this more recent era in which players began dropping in the draft due to financial concerns.

      So, if any of that made any sense… I think it’s a little misleading to compare all 30th picks, for example, for the last 20 years, instead of shortening the time frame and maybe narrowing the scope to only look at guys taken around that pick (say, 25-35) for way above slot money.

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

        maybe narrowing the scope to only look at guys taken around that pick (say, 25-35) for way above slot money.

        Agreed, but even if you leave the slot money portion out of it, simply expanding the study to the range of picks around 30 will help a ton.

        There may not be many 30th picks that were good, but maybe there were a handful of good 31st and 32nd picks that were good. Arbitrarily limiting it to that artificial barrier box of 30th picks is like saying that Lou Gehrig wasn’t a good homerun hitter because he only hit 493 and not 500.

        • Chris

          Also, it’s probably more accurate to look at the history of 30th overall picks, rather than the last pick of the 1st round.

          Mike Schmidt was a 30th overall pick. I think he was pretty good.

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

            True. The yearly incoming baseball talent pool doesn’t care how many teams there happen to be in baseball at the moment.

            • jsbrendog

              no matter how many teams there are/were, someone always got picked 30th.

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

                no matter how many teams there are/were, someone always got picked 30th.

                That’s right, jsb. And that reminiscent of the similar fact that no matter how many teams there are or were last year, my team was still better than your team in the RAB Fantasy Football League last year. Did I mention that I won the Inaugural RAB Fantasy Football League Championship?

                Just like Mike Schmidt demolished National League pitching for 18 years, I demolished the other 19 teams in the league on my way to the title. Just like Mike Schmidt was more of a man than the opposing hurlers he faced, I was more of a man than you, manimal, Jamal, Mike, Joe, Rafi, SAMIAMSPORTS, and everyone else, and I still am. Which means nothing much has changed, and you’re in for another pummeling this year at the hands of a far superior and more physically attractive competitor.

                I wonder if the dread you fear at having to be publicly humiliated by me again is similar to the dread in the hearts of those various NL pitchers in the 1970’s and 1980’s? Questions like that intrigue me, because they’re one of the great mysteries of life to me. Because I’ve never known dread, or humiliation.

                Because I’m a champion.

                [ Fantasy Football Championship Bragging Rights Name Drop #40 of 1000 ]

                • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  (golf clap)

                • Chris

                  Don’t forget that your limit of 1000 name drops expires when the football season starts. You better hurry.

                • Jacob

                  Nothing spawns the habitual verbal castration of one’s otherwise closest friends like fantasy football. That is why it’s glorious.

  • Usty

    Yes Brackman was the 30th pick but wasn’t that more due to signability and injury concerns and the Yankees were the only team to weigh both and be willing to go for it? His perceived talent was much more than 30th pick in the draft level if I recall correctly.

    • Steve A

      I was going to make the same point. Weren’t we all saying he was a consensus top-5 based on his talent and falling to the 30th pick was entirely due to contract demands. Talent-wise he was a lot more than that.

  • wtf

    In Feburary of 2007, Brackman was considered a top 5 pick based on his size, stuff and athleticism. His stock only dropped because of concerns with his elbow. Even if he doesn’t turn it around in the next year or so, the pick was worth the gamble. Not to often do you get someone of Brackman’s ceiling and talent at the back end of the draft. Quite frankly, when it comes to prospects including first round picks, shit just happens.

  • JGS

    If they DFA’d him, they would lose him. I think that means it’s too early to call him a bust

  • Dela G

    he will turn it around one day. No need to call him a bust yet

  • Pablo

    it’s way to early to call him a bust given his upside. The yanks knew they were drafting a guy who wouldn’t develop for a few years. While it has been a while, there is no need to label Brackman as a bust yet.

  • Jake H

    I think right now it’s fatigue more then being a bust. It usually takes 2 years before your fully back from TJS. Let’s give the guy some time. Most guys don’t just bounce back right away.

    Also since he’s a tall guy it was always going to take longer to get him right. His new mechanics are also something that he is going to have to work on. They changed him and he has only been pitching with these mechanics in a professional capacity since Hawaii. He might be struggling with them right now to go along with the arm fatigue.

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

    Pitcher A
    Age 21 season: did not pitch, injury
    Age 22 season: did not pitch, injury
    Age 23 season at Low-A: 64BB in 85.2 IP

    Pitcher B
    Age 21 season at SS: 24 BB in 27.1 IP
    Age 22 season at High-A: 94 IP in 119.2 IP
    Age 23 season at AA: 128 BB in 140.0 IP
    Age 24 season at AAA: 72 BB in 113.1 IP

    Pitcher A is Andrew Brackman. Pitcher B? Randy Johnson.

    • Simon B.

      Noooooo! Not more Randy Johnson comparisons!

    • Bg

      You’re not telling the whole story.

      Brackman has given up more homers, has a worse ERA, less K’s, and pretty much everything else is in Randy’s favor.

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

        I’m not saying that Brackman will become Randy.

        I’m saying that a tall pitcher walking a lot of guys at the beginning of his minor league career shouldn’t be a death sentence to his major league chances.

        • jsbrendog

          wins are a misleading stat!

          (brushes peripherals under the rug)

    • JGS

      Johnson also walked 152 in 201.1 innings as a 27 year old in the Majors (6.8/9). he also struck out 228 that year

    • zs190

      To be fair, Randy was doing this at much higher level at same age as well as striking out significantly more and allowing much less hits (6.4 H/9, 10.5 K/9 for Johnson in AA vs 9+ H/9 and 8 k/9 for Brackman).

      I think this first season has definitely been a failure, but I’m willing to cut him slack because it’s his first season on minors after coming back from TJ. If he has another full season like this in low A or high A next season, I would be worried that he might not turn it around, it’s not that time yet.

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

        To be fair, Randy was doing this at much higher level at same age as well as striking out significantly more and allowing much less hits (6.4 H/9, 10.5 K/9 for Johnson in AA vs 9+ H/9 and 8 k/9 for Brackman).

        And to be fair on the other hand, Randy wasn’t coming off elbow surgery and a lengthy absence from baseball.

        But my point is your point: we can and should cut him some slack. He’s only a bust so far if you had unrealistic expectations of him (namely, that he’d be contributing to the major league club quickly.)

  • KG Sturnz0r – Camilo Gerardo

    You’re better than this, RAB.

    • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Care to elaborate and make a substantive contribution to the conversation?

  • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    Ok, this might be a little weird, but I’m going to try to explain why, even if you didn’t love the Brackman pick in the first place (when it was made), you still gotta give the guy more than one year, especially coming off of TJS, before labelling him a bust and giving up on him.

    I think it’s important for those of us who liked the pick to keep in mind that this pick was never a slam-dunk. The only reason the Yankees had the chance to draft Brackman was because word was out that he needed TJS and because he hadn’t really had any sustained, overwhelming success as a pitcher in college. It was a pick that was made as an attempt to catch a shooting-star – a low probability but, potentially, huge payoff pick. He was drafted for his tools, without much of a track-record and even without good health.

    Now, whether you liked the pick or not, and whether you’re generally a reasonable, patient person, or not, it’s tough to watch a guy you have high hopes for flounder to the extent Brackman is floundering (I mean, the guy’s been terrible this year). But, this is the important part… He was drafted as a project. The Yankees took a big-time shot on a guy who could turn out to be very special but who also has a decent chance of never reaching his full potential. Even if things went according to plan this season (meaning he hadn’t performed as poorly as he did), the plan still was never for this guy to suddenly rocket up the charts in what is really his first time with a full workload (IP in college: 43, 28.1, 78) and as he returns from TJS. This is a guy who they are hoping will be a late bloomer. You don’t, and/or didn’t, like the pick? I think that’s a perfectly reasonable, defensible position (not saying I agree with it). But it’s completely missing the point of a pick like the Brackman pick to label him a bust after less than a full season in low-A ball.

    • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

      The bottom line is, if you’re the Yankees, you are always going to pick late in the first round (at least let’s hope so!). And if that’s the case, the only way you will ever get elite talent out of the draft is to take chances. That is, take a guy who is demanding a lot of money. Take a guy who is injured. (Or, like Brackman, who is both of those things.)

      The Strassburgs are not going to fall to the Yanks. So if they take a Brackman every year, and one out of three pans out, that’s actually not a bad thing.

      No offense to Jeremy Bleich, but I think we can all agree that we don’t want the Yanks to give in to their low draft position every year and take someone unspectacular and safe like Bleich. (I know Bleich wasn’t a first rounder, but you know what I mean.)

      • KG Sturnz0r – Camilo Gerardo

        excellent puntos, both of you! was going to try to create something as magnificent as mondesi, but it is my day off!

        • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          Then why even bother?

      • Reggie C.

        Bleich was likely an overdraft and there were at least a couple HS lefties still on the board that offered more projectability, but I can’t kill the pick. Bleich’s college career was solid , and the org. still feels they could mold him into a ML starter.

        Remember that was the Gerrit Cole draft so Bleich was never supposed to be the highest sign guy.

        • K.B.D.

          In all fairness, they were expecting to break the bank on signing Cole so they were likely looking for a kid who would sign for slot with the Bleich pick. They couldn’t know at the time Gerritt wouldn’t even talk to them.

  • Tank Foster

    The impulse to declare him a bust now would be valid, maybe, if we were talking about being able to somehow cut our losses, like unloading a bad stock that may drop further.

    I don’t think there’s anything further to lose on him; it costs little to keep him around. Although I can’t think of any reason why he can’t turn it around, I have trouble believing he could be this bad and eventually become anything other than a journeyman major leaguer. But that’s why I sit at a desk all day and guys like Brian Cashman and Gene Michael are paid big money by the Yankees to evaluate and trade for baseball players.

  • Jordan

    I’m confused. What is the relevance of the last picks in the first round being coincidentally unsuccessful? What I want to know is- is there a big difference between the type of player drafted last in the first round and the type drafted first in the second round, or second to last in the first round?

  • Malcard89

    All I’m wondering is why Brackman got a major league contract when just the year before, two pitchers with overall superior packages (if we’re including injury history, age, and better numbers at their levels), Joba Chamberlain and Dellin Betances were given LESS money than Brackman? I’m fine with taking a risk on Brackman, but why is it so impossible to have some balls at the negotiating table with Boras and bring up these points?

    Some might say that Brackman had more talent than those two, but i’ve always heard people like Klaw and Goldstein (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/chat/chat.php?chatId=447), as well as commenters here that have seen Brackman pitched saying they never understood what the big deal was. Outside of the velocity and curveball, you have uninspiring numbers in college, not that many innings pitched, control problems, and a pretty bad injury history.

    Is any prospect free of all those concerns? Obviously not. But looking at the smart deals they gave Chamberlain and Betances (who has been having similar struggles, but has time to put it all together because of his young age and reasonable contract), I find no justification in not just giving Brackman a $2 million signing bonus, end of story. Because what’s the justification for giving him more?

    • K.B.D.

      Maybe Brackman doesn’t sign if you only offer him 2M.

      Chamberlain and Betances weren’t regarded nearly as highly as Brackman when they were in the draft, simply put. Brackman was a top 5 talent with some injury concerns. You can’t say the same for those two.

      The fact that Joba dominated the minors and has already seen near 2 full years in the majors doesn’t change what he was seen as at the time: a kid who could throw hard, but had injury problems, came from a shaky household (whether you consider it important or not doesn’t matter, teams do) and was overweight.

      Betances also made it known he only wanted to sign with the Yankees, essentially killing his leverage in negotiations.

  • Rockdog

    I have to say, I loved the pick at the time, and still think it was a good pick. If you are picking 30th, you are going to need to take chances to get top notch talent, and I think we were all aware that the Brackman pick had risks to it. Yes, he has pitched worse than I had hoped to date, but it is far, far to early to declare him a bust. Time will tell. To be fair, who would the Yankees have taken at 30 if they hadn’t taken Brackman? And as to the comments about number 30 picks, I think the basic point it that not a lot of picks in the 30 range turn into major league starters.

    • Rockdog

      Damn, while I was typing that up, THCM made most of the same points better than me.

  • ChrisS

    I’d be okay if they keep trotting Brackman out there until they feel there is an injury risk. And if the Yankees shut him down tomorrow until next year, I’d be perfectly OK with that as well.

    His velocity is way down and he’s throwing the ball all over the place, but his talent didn’t just disappear. And he’s under contract, so the money is a sunk cost already. It was a gamble and the Yankees, fortunately, have three more years to see it pan out.

    He’ll be 26, but big deal, he’s not integral to their future success. It’ll be a nice problem to have in 2010 when he’s coming off of a 2.50 ERA / 11K/9IP season in AAA.

  • thebusiness

    Make him a 100MPH reliever. Piece of cake.

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