Link Dump: Vazquez, Pujols, Montero, Draft WAR

Wang to throw off a mound in 6 to 8 weeks
The Misery Tenor

Ben, Mike, and I found a lot of interesting stuff today that we’d like to share with you.

Is Javy Vazquez unclutch?

So asks Jay at Fack Youk. Using information from Tom Tango, which we laid out last week, Jay examines Vazquez from a few angles, starting with his FIP to ERA relationship. It then moves to performance with bases empty, men on, and bases loaded, measured using tOPS+. Not satisfied, Jay looks at run differentials and leverage situations as well, and then finally at WPA.

The most important line in the article: there’s a big difference between hasn’t and can’t.

ZOMG! Yankees looking at Pujols to DH!

Yes, the linked column is as ridiculous as the headline I gave it. Phil Rogers, playing to his readers’ emotions, discusses the futures of Albert Pujols, Joe Mauer, Prince Fielder, and Adrian Gonzalez, four young starts primed for free agency in the next two years. He writes a few insane lines, which I’d like to highlight for your enjoyment.

Nothing happens in a vacuum, including the relative lack of spending by the Yankees and Red Sox this offseason.

Relative lack of spending? Relative to what? The Red Sox have spent over $100 million this off-season, signing John Lackey and Mike Cameron. No other team has spent over $100 million. How in the world is that a lack of spending?

The Yankees are keeping the DH spot clear, for the time being, as a potential way to accommodate Pujols, Fielder or even Gonzalez playing alongside Mark Teixeira.

Absurd. Yes, the Yankees will have a free spot at DH after this season. But that’s not to accommodate any potential free agent. It’s not exactly smart to tie up your DH spot for years into the future, and the Yankees are simply avoiding that. Yes, it’s nice to have that spot open for a big-hitting free agent, but even then, why tie down a non-position long-term? I guess when it involves a player like Pujols there are exceptions. But there are far better reasons for the Yankees to keep clear their DH spot than to save it for Pujols or Fielder.

Montero hitting cleanup

No, Jesus Montero won’t be taking Alex Rodriguez‘s lineup spot any time soon. But, as he stands among prospects, Jim Callis would slot him in there. Two other big-time prospects, Jason Heyward of the Braves and Mike Stanton of the Marlins — surround him, with Desmond Jennings of the Rays and Dustin Ackley of the Mariners hitting atop the order.

Callis then answers a question about Arodys Vizcaino, noting that he’d rank third among Braves prospects, the same spot he occupied for the Yankees before the trade. And don’t miss Callis’s All-Bust Team. It includes the “worst No. 1 overall pick ever.”

And, while we’re on the topic of Montero, check out Robert Pimpsner’s top 10 Yanks prospects. It’s as good a list as any, featuring Montero, Austin Romine, Manny Banuelos, Slade Heathcott, and Zach McAllister in the top five.

Career WAR of Yankee drafts

Greg Fertel, at the newly renovated Pending Pinstripes, examines Yankee drafts from 1975 through 2000, using the combined WAR of each pick. As you can imagine, the 1990 and 1992 drafts are up there, as are ’82 (Fred McGriff) and ’83 (Todd Stottlemyre). Greg does count players who didn’t sign, which certainly changes the equation. Takeaway line, regarding the dreadful drafting from 1997 through 2000: “If you take out Mark Prior, who the Yankees didn’t sign, the total WAR netted by those draft classes is -0.3!” I’m glad the farm system is back to being a priority.

How pitchers and teams fared in starts of X innings

The Baseball Reference blog, full of amusing trivia, breaks down every single start this season based on the starter’s innings pitched. It notes the runs, team win-loss, and pitcher win-loss. Notable and right on the top: There was only one start where a pitcher threw 9 innings and allowed five runs. That was Roy Halladay against the Yanks.

Wang to throw off a mound in 6 to 8 weeks
The Misery Tenor
  • iYankees

    “ZOMG! Yankees looking at Pujols to DH!” Too funny.

  • JGS

    The only 8 inning 8 run outing was also against the Yankees. Good times

  • Jordan – Cashman Has No Equal

    Keeping up the theme of link dump I offer this gem:

    In short, Jon Heyman is brain dead.

    • JGS


      I get the case for Morris, and I get the case against Blyleven. I don’t get one person making both cases at the same time because it just makes you sound like an idiot

    • steve s

      Heyman may be brain dead but he was smart enough to qualify to be a HOF voter; I’m sure we’d all be thrilled to trade resumes with him!

  • Evilest Empire

    I can’t help but laugh at the handful of knuckleheads who will now actually think Pujols is going to be the Yankees DH in a couple yeas.

  • Doug

    Hey Joe, any chance you guys can put all these top prospect lists in one location to more easily compare them?

    • Joseph Pawlikowski

      That will certainly be a future feature.

      • Mattingly’s Love Child

        Awesome. Looking forward to that!

      • Doug

        that’s great, joe….thanks!

    • Thomas

      Hey Joe, any chance you guys can put all these top prospect lists in one location to more easily compare them where you goin’ with that gun in your hand?

      Man, you really butchered that lyric!

      • king of fruitless hypotheticals

        nice music ref there :)

    • Greg F.

      We have that over at pending pinstripes…

      It’s always available on the right sidebar.

      • JMK aka The Overshare’s Excessive Back Hair Complex

        New site looks great, Greg.

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    I like this little gem by Callis:

    Vizcaino is a rare Yankees prospect who hasn’t been overhyped, mainly because he hasn’t reached full-season ball yet.

    But then he throws this out when asked about the 5 best starters in the minors:

    My No. 5 starter, Casey Kelly (Red Sox), has yet to pitch above high Class A

    Apparently the Yankees need a better hype man in the media.

    • Thomas

      I can’t blame Callis too much for that pick. He put Feliz at closer (stupid, but that is a different argument), which is one pitcher better than Kelly off the list. Also, he lists Tyler Matzek (Rockies), Jacob Turner (Tigers) and Martin Perez (Rangers) as similar level prospects, but they are as far along Kelly. So while we may be sick of hearing about Kelly and may see other prospects as better than him (Feliz, Matzek, Hellickson, etc), Callis has a strong defense and thus, I can’t really disagree with his choice.

      • J

        Well he only put Feliz there because that is where the Rangers used him. It’s not really stupid, he just went off of the evidence in front of him. Whether he believe that or not is a different story.

        And I agree with Thomas. He didn’t say that Kelly isn’t “overhyped.” Kelly has done it at a more advanced level. As Mike has stated numerous times, that means something. So yes, Vizcaino hasn’t been “overhyped,” but I don’t think this needs to be another example of Yankee fans thinking no one likes them and everyone is out to get them.

        • Andy in Sunny Daytona

          How can you honestly say that Kelly isn’t overhyped? He’s thrown 100 professional innings, as a high school kid, and he’s already the 5th best pitching prospect in ALL of baseball? Really?

          I’m not saying that Kelly isn’t going to be a solid ML pitcher one day, he may even become a great one, but to say he isn’t over-hyped at this time is, to borrow a phrase from TSJC, batshit insane.

          • Jake H

            The guy is overhyped. He isn’t over powering and I love how his fb was 90-91 but has super duper movement. My guess is Kelly turns into a number 3 starter.

            Look at how they hyped Bowden, now everyone is saying he’s a back end starter and not the #3 everyone was claiming him to be.

            • Mattingly’s Love Child

              It’s the same reason Jim Rice is in the HOF. The Red Sox have a sick propaganda machine. It’s hard to sort out the truth from the hype, even for smart people like Callis.

              • Jake H

                Actually Callis is a die hard Sox fan.

                • J

                  If this is true, I didn’t know that.

                  And as I said, he didn’t say Kelly isn’t overhyped. He did say that there are far more hitters that are top prospects right now then pitchers. I think if he didn’t use Feliz as the closer, that would bump Kelly. I’m not saying that Kelly isn’t overhyped either. I just think that there is far too much whining that goes on about how the Red Sox get preferential treatment in this area, and far too much whining that goes on in the Boston area about New York getting preferential treatment. I just think people need to stop crying.

                • JMK aka The Overshare’s Excessive Back Hair Complex

                  All kinds of THIS.

        • Zack

          It’s stupid for the same reason the Joba to the bullpen talk is stupid. He even says that ” the best closer among the current crop of minor league prospects is currently working as a starter.” Feliz is and should be a starter, every top starting pitching prospect should be a starter until they prove they cannot succeed, that includes more than 2 seasons.

          If we really wanted to be all conspiracy theory we could claim that he moved Feliz to the closer just so he had an open spot to put Kelly in the rotation.

          • radnom

            I think you are reading into this the wrong way. He fully admits that Feliz is considered (and will be) a starter, and goes further to say that he only put Feliz there because the next great closer out of the current crop of prospects is probably currently working as starter so it would be impossible to predict.

            And he is right. Failed starting pitching prospects have a much better chance of becoming a great closer than an ace “relief prospect”. There are many reasons for this and too many examples to name.

            • Doug

              i read it like this as well

              • J


                • radnom

                  I can’t tell if you guys are agreeing or disagreeing with me.

                • JMK aka The Overshare’s Excessive Back Hair Complex

                  I’m agreeing with your comment about inquiring as to whether other commenters agree or disagree with your statement.

                  Wait, what?

                • J

                  I’m agreeing with what you said. Failed starters are often times the greatest closers. And I read it the way you read it.

  • Aj

    Pujols as a DH, that would be such a waste. He is such a great first baseman. He’s going to command an A-Rod-like contract and I don’t see it ever happening. Use the 25-30M a year for a few great pitchers.

    • Aj

      Wait…why am I taking this seriously?

      • J


        • Riddering

          No way, that’s where Jeter is going.

          • Chris

            Boy it’s going to be crowded in LF in a couple seasons. Maybe that’s why they’re leaving it open now – hoping they can double up in a few years.

  • radnom

    The most important line in the article: there’s a big difference between hasn’t and can’t.

    Disclaimer: I am a big supporter of the Vasquez trade and think he will be a good fit for the team this year.

    That said, I don’t understand how this is the conclusion of this article, or how you can say its the most important line.
    The article spent a lot of time looking at stats (from a fairly sizable career sample size) and eventually saw that the numbers seemed to point in the direction of him struggling in higher leverage situations. To then say that this is the most important line in the article is ridiculously biased.

    Let me put it in a way which is easy to understand. Lets say the numbers showed that Javy was, despite popular conception, actually dynamite under pressure and just a victim of bad luck. Do you really think the conclusion of the article would be “well just because he hasn’t melted under pressure yet, doesn’t mean he won’t this year!!!”. No, that type of bias is reserved for waswatching, and yet it is no worse than what you did right here.

    • Charlie

      everyone thought a-rod was unclutch but the yanks wouldn’t have won shit this year without him. his stats probably don’t back his alleged unclutchness but the statement you are arguing against can be true. its a yankees site, i wouldn’t get as upset as you are about a little yankee bias. that said, i do understand what you’re saying.

      • radnom

        1. I’m not upset, just pointing something out. Obviously we are all biased towards the Yankees, but my generally feeling is that the authors of this site and its readers take objectivity/statistical analysis slightly more serious than the majority of the fandom.

        2. Of course anything can happen (although if you looked at Arod’s numbers before last year they would not be so clear cut, I regress). My point is not that player’s/performances can’t change, and that the statement is untrue, I’m just arguing its importance. Like I said earlier, if the article were the other way around and Joe was dismissing tons of data saying Javy was clutch by saying “anything can happen” people would be flipping the fuck out. No reason not to hold that standard both ways.

        • jsbrendog

          ::Fart joke:::

          but seriously, i hear what youre saying and it makes sense

    • Joseph Pawlikowski

      I see your point, and perhaps I unduly emphasized the point. But I still see enough “can’t” in place of “haven’t” that I thought it was worth emphasizing.

  • thurdonpaul

    im very surprised that there was only 1 start where a pitcher went 9 innings and gave up 5 runs. i would have lost money on that question in a bet.

  • Benjamin Kabak

    Ben, Mike, and I found a lot of interesting stuff today that we’d like to share with you.

    Also, won’t you be our neighbor?

    • jsbrendog

      nicely done

  • MikeD

    Yeah, I’m sure King Albert, who is regarded by many as the best defensive 1B in the NL, will be quite happy to become just a 4 AB guy for the Yankees. Money speaks, but other teams can also offer money for the best hitter around and allow him to play a position. Same for Gonzalez, another excellent glove man.

    Intresting the “the dreadful drafting from 1997 through 2000” started right after the Yankees return to the top, and ended right after the dynysty run ended. Didn’t they realize the reason for those great teams was the farm system that produced Derek and Bernie and Jorge and Mariano and Pettite, and to a host of second tier players, such as Mendoza and Leyritz who contributed to the team, and others who the Yankees were able to trade for better parts, including Tino and O’Neil.

    • JMK aka The Overshare’s Excessive Back Hair Complex

      Dude, we’ll just move Teix to SS if we sign A-Gonz or Pujols. Done deal.

    • Ed

      Pujols used to be a LF. He moved to 1B because he has ligament issues in his throwing elbow. Rather than having TJ, he choose to play a less demanding position in hopes of avoiding surgery. So far, it’s worked rather well. He may actually welcome a move to DH, as it might lengthen his career.

      All that said, the idea of Pujols being a Yankee is still absurd. Just not because of the 1B vs DH issue.

      As for the drafting, the peak drafting years were when the Yankees were picking near the top. The worst drafting years came after the Yankees started drafting near the bottom, and during a period when the GM position was unsteady. It probably wasn’t any sort of intentional neglect, just something that got lost in the shuffle.

      • J

        Didn’t he play 3B as well?

        • Bob Stone

          Yes – He played 96 games at third base for St. Louis in 2001 and 2002.

        • MikeD

          He did play third base as well, but he did not play it well.

    • radnom

      Money speaks, but other teams can also offer money for the best hitter around and allow him to play a position.

      Not to compare the caliber of the player’s in question (nor am I commenting on the possibility of Pujols coming to the Yankees), but this phrase was repeated verbatim an uncountable number of times as a big reason why Nick Johnson was not an option for the Yankee’s DH spot (without grossly overpaying).

      Lesson: Don’t be so quick to assume you know what a player wants/desires.

  • Tank the Frank

    Regarding Pimpsner’s Top 10 list: Where does a guy like Jonathan Ortiz land? Is he top 20?

    Career 1.92 ERA, 1.7 BB/9, 12.2 SO/9 in the minors. That seems filthy to me. Maybe a little old to be 23 in High A, but he should be considered a top prospect right?

    • JMK aka The Overshare’s Excessive Back Hair Complex

      23, reliever in A-ball. Definitely not a top prospect.

    • Jake H

      I don’t think he is even top 30. Mostly because he is a reliever and is old for the level. He was 23 and turned 24. He also had a 4 era as a reliever.

  • Lanny

    That Rogers article was an obvious plant by the agents. Nothing like tying your client into the Yankees even if it is far fetched. Just sad that a national writer like Rogers falls for it. Hope he got something good in return.