Linkage: Minors, Players Aging, BABIP, 2009


Got some stuff worth bringing to your attention, but not exactly deserving of their own posts…

  • There’s a discussion about the Yanks’ farm system going on at John Sickels’ Minor League Ball. The recent trades have really cut into the system’s high-end talent, but there is tremendous depth when it comes to solid (three star prospects, as Kevin Goldstein would call them) prospects. The Yanks have plenty of young players coming up to fill out the bullpen and take over bench jobs and serve as decent trade bait, which frankly is all the Yankees really use prospects for anyway.
  • Michael Lichtman is running a series of posts at THT looking at his study on how baseball players age. Here’s parts one and two. It’s pretty intense reading, but it’s so worth it, there’s tons of great info in there. Lichtman wouldn’t do it any other way.
  • Adam Foster at Project Prospect looked at some batted ball and BABIP data, and shows that fly balls might have a more direct correlation to BABIP than line drives. It makes sense since fly balls are turned into outs more often than line drives and ground balls, meaning their impact on BABIP is negative.
  • Dave Cameron pointed out the obvious: that 2009 is not a constant. This particularly applies to the Yankees, who are replacing Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui with Curtis Granderson and Nick Johnson. You aren’t simply replacing the first pair’s 2009 production with the second pair’s, you’re really talking about what you expect them to do in 2010. Both Damon and Matsui enjoyed their most productive seasons in several years in 2009, and at their ages, is it realistic to expect them to perform like that again?
Categories : Links, Minors
  • jsbrendog

    that last bullet is a great point that a lot of people do not consider/understand

    you are replacing players who just had above average years and who are aging and possibly declining/about to decline with players who are younger and coming off solid years but years below their career production in previous years.

    In that equation I take the side that bets on the two younger guys having the same/better years than the two older guys to have the same/better years.

  • ColoYank

    Well, yes the Yankees use their minor-league depth to make trades for established major-league talent, but …

    Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, Robbie Cano, Dave Robertson, and Mark Melancon say hello …

    It IS a deep system, isn’t it? Especially in pitchers.

    • pat

      True but alot of those guys do not count because they have mlb service time.

      • ColoYank

        My only point being they were all prospects in the Yankee system that the team is now using at the major league level. The first bullett in the thread contained a general, and rather dismissive, statement made about how the Yankees use their prospects.

    • Bo

      The system is obviously better than it has been with the influx of the right handed pitching talent.

  • Johan Iz My Brohan


    ^^^Pretty interesting site measuring hitting performance and fielding using UZR/150, EqBRR, ISO and OBP to form a diamond shape. Since we’re talking about how it is possible that Matsui/Damon don’t return to their 2009 form in 2010, this site says that next year Damon will regress offensively, but bounce back defensively…. weird.

    • Steve H

      I can see the bounceback defensively. He went from very good to very bad in the span of a year. There may have beenmore factors than just age, he obviously still can run. It is strange that he would be in a year long defensive slump, as opposed to just being toast, but I certainly could see him improve. He won’t approach is pre-09 level of defense, but he can’t get too much worse than 09.

      • Evil Empire

        Didn’t he have that weird eye-flutter thing going on for part of the season? Could be a potential reason for some of his defensive shittiness.

    • Ed

      this site says that next year Damon will regress offensively, but bounce back defensively…. weird.

      That’s the obvious thing to say, no?

      Damon’s 2009 performance was well above his norms offensively, and well below his norms defensively. Any time a player has an extreme performance, the odds are they will regress to their norms the next year.

  • Steve S

    I am curious to see how they handle Montero next year. If he performs well at AAA and you have an injury to Posada or Nick Johnson, whereby they miss extended time, is their any temptation to call him up? Have they said that he has to spend an entire year in AAA?

    • Johan Iz My Brohan

      His bat could certainly handle it.

    • Rose

      I’d be willing to bet there would be temptation…but it would still be very unlikely. I think they’d look for a trade or something…or call up Juan Miranda (as their 2009 Bubba Crosby option this off season already).

    • pat

      I would think that is NJ goes down they’d call up Miranda first. I also think it would have to be a pretty serious injury to Posada and the Jesus would have to be killin it in Scranton to get called up to the big club.

      • Steve H

        Yeah, though I can see that happening. Miggy Cabrera came up at 20 for a WS champion (and had to play the field). If the need was there at DH especially, I wouldn’t be totally against it.

        • pat

          I wouldn’t be against it but I think the Yanks want him to spend a lot of innings behind the plate. It wouldn’t be terrible for him to learn at the feet of two very good defensive catchers in Girardi and Pena but I think they want him in AAA learning not MLB.

          • ColoYank

            Very good point. I think they’d bring him up to be a stopgap DH for a week to ten days, just to give him a taste of it. If he mashed, though, they would have to make that tough decision to keep him learning to catch, which they wouldn’t want him doing in the Bronx.

            • ColoYank

              DUUHHH … just saw scooter’s reply.

              Sorry, all.

      • scooter

        In other words, Jesus being Jesus

        He’d be called up as DH exclusively – and it would interrupt his development as a catcher.

        If he rakes in the majors, it would be hard to send him back down – but that’s a nice problem to have

        • YankeeGrunt

          I could see him as a September call-up who actually makes the playoff roster. If they’re serious about his staying at catcher though he needs a full season in SWB.

    • Bo

      He could probably DH this yr. But if he wants to be a catcher fulltime in the future he needs the AAA time.

  • mryankee

    I am not crying about losing Ajax who will probably at best be Granderson. Ian Kennedy who was not going to be a great pitcher in the AL. Mike Dunn situational lefty and Vizcaino who can be replaced by Chapman. I think the best players were kept and now its time to close the deal on Chapman. I really hope they don’t sign Reed Johnson you may as well just stay with Gardner. If its not Johnny Damon or Matt Holliday stay with Gardner in center move Granderson to left.

    • Nady Nation

      What are your thoughts on Aroldis Chapman? Would you like to see the Yanks sign him?

      • Steve H

        And what’s taking so long with Chapman? Don’t the GM’s have phones?

        • Evil Empire

          Per ESPN’s rumor central, Chapman is looking at losing about $3M due to waiting until 2010 to sign:

          “Had Chapman signed a week ago and received his signing bonus, only his salary would have been taxable because he would not have actually worked in the U.S. until 2010. Now he will have signed and worked in the same year, which would cost him $2-3 million in taxes if he were to accept an offer similar to the one made by the Boston Red Sox of $15 million.

          With just three days remaining in the year, it’s highly unlikely that the necessary paperwork could be processed in time, even if the lefty were to sign a contract today.”

        • jsbrendog

          burritos, microwaves, mryankees

          at least halladay has been traded.

  • J

    Mike, what can the Yankees do with a farm filled with bench type guys? Would other teams find them to be interesting, or are the Yankees spending money just to fill a farm system? If this were the case, wouldn’t it be more prudent to draft high upside guys in like the first 10 rounds, and then filler guys the rest of the way? Also, when the player is coined a “3 star guy,” does this mean they have the ability to grow into a top guy, or will they be a 3 star MLB player?

    • Rose

      We’ve been pretty successful thus far…we didn’t really get rid of much this year. AJax and Kennedy…the rest were basically what you’re describing above. And Melky Cabrera most certainly wasn’t a prospect…he was a 5 year veteran.

      I think we’re doing alright…nothing to be worried about at the moment.

    • mryankee

      Montero and Mcallister and Nova and Melancon,Heathcott and Murphy do not project as bench type guys. These guys have chanes to be solid to really good to maybe great players. I think the loss of Kennedy, ajax and Vizcaino can be easily compenstaed for.

  • Evil Empire

    I love the Yankees drafting high upside arms and up-the-middle position players. The corners take care of themselves just by having to move guys over that get too big or can’t handle more difficult positions on the professional level.

    Also – and this is purely a personal observation that could be totally off – it seems like the Yankees don’t draft many pitchers who were relievers in HS or college (Melancon [and Robertson?] is/are the only prospect I can think of who closed in college). Instead they focus on starters and convert them to relievers as needed, ala Aceves and Coke (and Chamberlain/Hughes for that matter, though the circumstances were very different for those two).

    • andrew

      Also – and this is purely a personal observation that could be totally off – it seems like the Yankees don’t draft many pitchers who were relievers in HS or college

      I think you’ll find this is the case with most teams… as we’ve gone over many times here, starters are better pitchers than relievers. So, with very few exceptions, if you are a reliever in college it is because you weren’t good enough to be a starter in college. That being said, average college starters (again, with some exceptions), would make better relievers than most college relievers. You might as well draft the starters and develop them that way until they can’t handle it.

      • Evil Empire

        Right, that makes sense that it is a trend not exclusive to the Yankees. I barely have the time to keep up with the Yankees’ system let alone the other 29 teams so I didn’t know for sure.

    • Ed

      Andrew explained it well, so I won’t go into it. I will expand on it a little though. You’ll also see similar things happening with position players. Teams will draft more shortstops than other infield positions. Second basemen are very rarely drafted – most MLB 2B’s are guys who couldn’t cut it at short, usually due to arm strength.

      I’ve never looked into this, but I’d also expect to see more centerfielders drafted than corner outfielders.

    • SM

      Yanks drafted Bittle and Brooks recently who were relievers. Dont forget JB Cox. I also think Elam, Stoneburner, Olbrychowski were relievers, though it gets tricky in college as guys move around more.

    • Bo

      They focus on talent. Not roles.