Friday Night Linkage: Gardner, Draft, Ohlendorf

Open Thread: An Embarrassment Of Riches
The new Nick Swisher

Here’s some link to check out if you’re stumbling in at 3am…

Could Gardner be the next Nyjer Morgan?

Over at FanGraphs, Matt Klaassen wonders if gritty, gutty Brett Gardner could develop into this year’s version of Nyjer Morgan. Morgan, who posted a measly .320 wOBA and 0.9 WAR in 2008, broke out last season by putting up a respectable .340 wOBA to go with spectacular defense that made him just about a five win player. It was until the Morgan was traded to the Nats at midseason (and moved to centerfield) that he really took off, so maybe the Yanks should just stick Gardner in center right from the get-go.

I’m not bullish on Brett’s offensive ability, but if his defense is as good as the small sample sized metric says it is, he could legitimately be a four win player out of the 9-hole next season. That would be some helluva boost.

KLaw’s Top 50 Draft Prospects

It’s still super early, but that didn’t stop Keith Law from posting a list of his top 50 prospects for the 2010 Draft (sub. req’d). Bryce Harper predictably tops the list, and is followed by righties Anthony Ranaudo and Jameson Taillon of LSU and The Woodlands High School (Texas), respectively. KLaw ranked Lakeland High (Florida) third baseman Yordy Cabrera as the 32rd best draft prospect, which is where the Yanks are picking. At this stage of the game, these are nothing more than a very preliminary rankings, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun with it.

Ross Ohlendorf is a nerd

As you probably know, one time great Yankee Ross Ohlendorf interned with the Agriculture Department this winter, and talked about his experience with Tyler Kepner. “If there are things that interest me, and I am interested in a lot of things, I try to make an effort to learn more about them,” Ohlendorf said Wednesday. “If I’m going to do something, I want to put in the time to do a good job with it.” Next winter, Rock ‘N Rohlendorf wants to work in the legislative branch, perhaps in a the congressional agricultural committee. If that doesn’t work out, he wants to go home to Texas to work for a private equity firm. I’m serious.

Well, excuse me if being a big leaguer isn’t intellectually stimulating enough for you, Ross. Some guys…

(I kid, I kid)

T-Dubs holds the World Series trophy

Longtime RAB reader T-Dubs got to chill with the 2009 World Series trophy at the State Capitol in Connecticut on Friday. The first link takes you to some photos of his little adventure, and I have to say I’m pretty jealous.

Open Thread: An Embarrassment Of Riches
The new Nick Swisher
  • Joe LA

    I went to high school with Anthony Raunado. We were in the same gym class 6 years ago. He was the third player in our school’s history to get 1000 career points in basketball.

    How things change…

    • JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

      /Cool story, Bro’d

  • My Pet Goat

    Bret Gardner’s Fangraph article made me JIMP

  • JobaWockeeZ

    Golf clap to whoever is “TEH FEAR’ on FanGraphs

    • bexarama

      The other day I was talking about something with a non-baseball-fan friend and I said “It doesn’t put the Jim Rice fear into me” without thinking about it. Said friend was verrrry confused.

  • JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

    How awesome is Ross Ohlendorf? I’m not sure that he’d be interested in the position, but he has future star GM written all over him.

    Definite favorite non-Yankee in baseball, although a pregnant Manny Ramirez is a close second.

    • chriskeo

      I think he would probably make a great GM, has the brains for it.

      • Richard Deegan

        Sure, with all that agriculture experience he should be great at running a farm system.
        Did Manny’s use of PMS meds and Mydol injections make him pregnant?

        • andrew

          with all that agriculture experience he should be great at running a farm system.


    • pete

      he’s my favorite former yankee. not my favorite non-yankee though. That’d probably be Franklin Gutierez (Majors) or Desmond Jennings (minors)

  • T-Dubs

    Thanks for the shout out Mike. Hopefully that beautiful trophy will be back next year.


    This revelation about Ohlendorf isn’t that surprising – remember Matt DeSalvo? He’s a voracious reader (and also king of the minor league contracts and subsequently getting released from them) who is reputed to have been reading 5 books at a time in an effort to polish off a list of 400 titles.

    • andrew

      Well, the difference is that DeSalvo, while he loves reading, also went to Marietta College, while Ohlendorf completed one of the most rigorous academic programs at one of the most rigorous universities.

  • Reggie C.

    Ross Ohlendorf might be the highest profile intern the Agriculture department has ever had. I’m sure Ohlendorf can land a full-time gig at Agriculture tomorrow and be counted in Obama’s federal jobs-generated stats.

    Didn’t Ohlendorf finish a baseball-related thesis a while back? Anybody remember the topic?

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    What the hell is wrong with Fangraphs? Nyjer Morgan is African-American and Gardner is really, really White. You can’t compare the two.

    • Steve H

      Brett Butler I can see, but Morgan just doesn’t fit.

  • Accent Shallow

    I have trouble believing Gardner’s defense really is that good. I’m also skeptical of his ability to throw up an OBP good enough to make him useful.

  • OldYanksFan

    The bottom line I see on every blog, and even here (but to a lesser extent), is that Defense will never get the same ‘attaboy’ that offense does.

    With Offense you see HRs, RBIs and runs scored. With great defense, the scoreboard doesn’t change. I just think that even when the 2 equate (via RS/RS), people just ‘see’ offense more. I believe it’s just the nature of the beast.

    As such, fans will probably never value defense oriented players as much as offense oriented players.

    Giambi posted a .925 OPS while with the Yankees. If Tex posts a .900 OPS, is there any doubt that he is still more valueable (then Jason) due to his glove?

    It will be interesting to see how $0.5m of Gardner will stack up to $6m worth of Damon. I’ll still bet on JD, but it will be close.

    • bexarama

      1B defense is not that important. As in, if you’ve got two choices for 1B, a total butcher in the field who OPSes 1.100 and a defensive whiz who OPSes .850, you should definitely take the butcher. CF and SS defense are much more so. That said, of course I’d rather have Tex in the field than Giambi.

      • bexarama

        and by “much more so” I mean “much more important.”

  • Joseph M

    When the fog clears Gardner will battle Winn for the 4th outfield position. It’s about even now although veteran players can sometimes pull it together in spring training and capture a roster spot on know how more than talent. Winn’s contract is more than Gardner’s so the Yankees might be reluctant to cut him. Gardner is a not a starter in the major leagues and I believe Winn is finishing up so the Yankees will have a hole to fill in left. How they go about that process and how much this will ultimately cost remains to be seen.

    The quetion as far as I’m concerned with respect to Gardner is whether or not he can be a 4th outfielder in the majors or not. I don’t think we have the answer to that question yet.