Mailbag: Killer B’s, Igawa, A-Jax, Culver

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I’ve got four questions this week, three of which deal with a current or former Yankees prospect. The other has to do with a guy taking up space in the minors. Remember to send in your questions via the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar.

Boom or bust? (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Joe asks: Do you think there is any chance the Yanks keep and develop all of the Killer B’s?  I know the odds of all three reaching their ceiling and staying healthy are long, and as you or Joe or Ben said last week don’t fall in love with your prospects, but it be nice to see them all on the big club.  What % do you think it will occur?

If you’ve got three pitching prospects of that caliber, my general (and completely amateur) rule of thumb is that one will reach (or at least approach) his ceiling, one will fall short of his ceiling but still be a productive big leaguer, and the third will be a complete bust. The Yankees exceeded that with Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, and Ian Kennedy, turning them into two viable big league starters and a reliever. Look back at the Red Sox five years ago; they got an ace, a reliever, and a bust out of Jon Lester, Jonathan Papelbon, and Craig Hansen.

I’d expect Manny Banuelos to approach his ceiling, Andrew Brackman to fall short of his ceiling but be a useful player, and Dellin Betances to be the complete bust out of the Killer B’s. Nothing personal, it’s just that Dellin’s health record scares me. That said, I fully expect them to trade one of those guys, probably sometime this year. The big league team needs pitching right now, and the Yankees have some high end pitching depth and can afford to move one of those guys.

Of course I’d love to see all three of them stay with the team and flourish in the big leagues, but the odds are so stacked against it. I’d give it less than a 50-50 chance that all three will stay with the Yankees for the next few years, and less than a 5% chance that all three turn into productive players. Prospects will break your heart, the Killer B’s are no different than the hundreds that came before them.

Nicolai asks: If Kei Igawa was blocking somebody from being promoted to Scranton, could the Yankees just send him down to Trenton, Tampa or Charleston?

Yep, absolutely. The Yankees actually sent him all the way down to High-A Tampa for two starts in 2007. Igawa’s not blocking anyone from anything.

A different Joe asks: I was listening to the Yankees game and it was the Tigers radio crew. They claimed A-Jax would be a 15 homer and 40 SB guy this season. I personally don’t see this happening at all. Any thoughts on it?

(AP Photo/Jim Mone)

This year? No way, not in Comerica. Austin Jackson has 17 homers total in his last 1,816 plate appearances dating back to 2007, so I don’t see a sudden spike happening. I could definitely see 15 homers at his peak, maybe even 20, but 2011 is too soon for that. If Jackson did pop double-digit homers this year, that would mean everything went right for him and he even squeezed in an inside-the-parker or three. Of all the projection systems out there, only CAIRO and ZiPS have him hitting more than six homers, and both forecast seven.

I like Jackson and there’s no doubt that he’s an above-average player, but expecting 15 homers out of him this year is a bit much. Even the 40 steals is a bit of a question mark (27 last year), but it’s not as unbelievable as the power numbers. Just for some perspective, only three different players have had a 15-40 season in the last three years, and Carl Crawford was the only one to do it twice.

Anthony asks: What’s the projection for 2010 first rounder Cito Culver as a major leaguer? Does he have the potential to be a solid starter on a high caliber team?

Culver’s long-term value is going to lie mostly in his glovework, which, luckily, is really really good. Is he going to be Derek Jeter? Absolutely not. Is he going to be Cesar Izturis? Eh, maybe. It’s always possible. I think the best case scenario for the Yankees’ 2010 first round pick is an above-average defensive shortstop (probably not Gold Glove caliber though) that hits for average, draws some walks, and steals some bases. Culver doesn’t have much power and doesn’t project to down the road, but he’s switch-hitter with some contact skills, and he did manage to a walk in nearly ten percent of his plate appearances in his pro debut last summer.

If I had to put numbers on it, which I hate doing, I think his offensive ceiling is something like .300/.360/.400, right around a .350 wOBA. Culver also has the speed and skills to steal a healthy amount of bags, maybe even 40+ in his basestealing prime. Stick that at shortstop over 600 plate appearances with say, +4 or +5 run defense, and you’ve got a four win player. Again, that’s not Derek Jeter, but that’s a player good enough to start on a championship team. Of course, Culver has a long, looong way to go to live up to that potential.

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  • Fair Weather Freddy

    If Austin Jackson turns out to be that good, I could ee the yanks trying to get hm back someday when he gets to expensive for the Tiers to keep, ala Granderson. That being said, I still think the Yanks mae the right move. Grandy really came on last year in Early August, and finished strong and had a good postseason. Jackson looks like a solid player, but with very little power and strikes out way too much

    • Mike HC

      Yea, I wrote the same below. The Yanks might end up with Jackson again at one point.

      As for the perpetually analyzed trade, I think it was a fair deal. I like having Granderson on the team, and I also think we would have been fine keeping Jackson, Kennedy and Coke. Either side would have been good with me. And that is the key. Having good enough prospects where if we don’t trade them, they are still good players (Hughes, Joba, Cano, Gardner etc …) and they are highly regarded enough throughout the league to get good players back like Granderson and the 2009 version of Javy (who inevitably turned into what we all watched last year, unfortunately).

    • Ted Nelson

      I agree with the rest of the points, but the Tigers are not a poor team. They have a hundred million dollar payroll, they have 2 guys with $20 mill per contracts and another 3 with 10+ mill per contracts.

  • Scout

    Well, the description of Cito Culver makes him sound a lot like the second coming of…Eduardo Nunez. Maybe a little better plate discipline, but less power. Sure glad the Yankees passed on Nick Castelanos for that.

    • Mike HC

      My thoughts exactly. Seems like Axisa holds Culver in about the same regard as he holds Nunez. Maybe slightly higher just because of the unknown factor.

      • Ted Nelson

        As I say below… seriously? Culver is 18 and Mike has him ranked above Nunez on his prospect list. Mike doesn’t seem to think Nunez even has a shot at being replacement level, and says Culver could be a 4 WAR player. It doesn’t seem at all close to me.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

          I don’t think I’ve ever said Nunez will be below replacement level. Below average, sure.

          • Ted Nelson

            You didn’t have him in your top 30 prospects… how could you not have a guy who is already in AAA and you think will be above replacement as a MLB SS in your top 30? Brandon Laird looks like a borderline starter at corner positions and you had him at 15 on that list.

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

              Nunez was six spots behind Culver…

              http://riveraveblues.com/2011/.....cts-39597/

              The difference between #21 and #27 is miniscule, not worth arguing about.

              • Ted Nelson

                I’m not arguing, I just disagreed with the initial comment that you are as low on Culver as Nunez. I think you are irrationally low on Nunez.

                Post draft you had Culver at 14 and Nunez not in the top 30: http://riveraveblues.com/2010/.....cts-33792/

                And 6 spots means more when you consider the probability of an 18 year old vs. a major league ready guy.

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

                  He’s Major League ready because you saw him putz around in the bigs for 50 plate appearances in September? Haven’t we been over this before?

        • Mike HC

          I responded below. What you are saying is definitely true though.

        • MannyGee

          lets hope the Twins FO doesn’t read R.A.B….

          /Trade Bait’d

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Except that Nunez isn’t as good defensively either. The guy can’t make a straight throw to first base. That’s a problem.

      • Mike HC

        Do you know if that was a problem of his in the minors too, or is that something that just popped up when he came to the majors?

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

          Oh no, it’s always been an issue. Read back through some old DotF’s, about 90% of his errors are throwing errors, and there are lots of ‘em.

          • Ted Nelson

            He made 15 errors in 2010 across AAA and MLB, after averaging 30 the previous 5 seasons. Certainly that doesn’t mean he’s “cured,” but it’s a good sign and certainly could be a real improvement we continue to see going forward.

            • MannyGee

              a defensive SS who can’t throw, huh? sounds like we have Doug Meikevaerom^#$@oaemveitz in the making here… don’t sleep on that, get him a 1B glove!

    • pat

      Mike said he could see Cito as a 4 WAR player. For comparison sake, only three SS in the entire league accumulated more than 4. That would make him a top 5 player in the league at his position. I’ll take that for a late 1st round pick.

      • Mike HC

        That was basically a ceiling. I wouldn’t bet on that happening, but it could.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        I want to see another year of SS data in 2011 before declaring the position a total sinkhole. Only three with 4+ WAR in 2010, but six in 2009, five in 2008, seven in 2007…

        • Ted Nelson

          Since 2006 there have been an average of 6.8 guys listed as SS on fangraphs with 400 PAs and under 1 WAR, an average of 13.2 with under 2 WAR.

          I didn’t count how many have had 400 PAs every season, but if you assume 30 then 23% have under 1 WAR and 44% have under 2 WAR.

    • Chops

      or Ranuado. or Asher Wojchegeigjeasfski.

    • Ted Nelson

      I didn’t get that impression at all. Mike barely thinks Nunez is a prospect: he wasn’t in his top 30 a few months back and was only at #27 recently… at 18 Culver is already well above that on Mike’s list. He said Culver has the chance to be a 4 WAR player who hits 300/360/400 .350 wOBA… He doesn’t seem to think Nunez is even replacement level.

      • Mike HC

        I can see where readers can get both impressions by what Axisa wrote here, “Is he going to be Cesar Izturis? Eh, maybe. It’s always possible. I think the best case scenario for the Yankees’ 2010 first round pick is an above-average defensive shortstop (probably not Gold Glove caliber though) that hits for average, draws some walks, and steals some bases.” But then of course, the 4 WAR player talk is more optimistic.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

          The 4 WAR thing is basically best case, as I said. But I was just throwing numbers out there, I didn’t exactly refine my projections over multiple iterations.

          • Mike HC

            Yea, no problems on my end. That is how I took it as well. The 4 WAR was best case scenario, but more likely, even ending up with a Casar Izturis type is not a sure thing. Which is how prospects should be talked about, not as definitive, rigid outcomes.

            • Ted Nelson

              Agreed. Culver is a whole lot more volatile than Nunez. You know you’re not getting an “All-Star” in Nunez, but he’s already knocking on the MLB door. Culver may never make AAA, but he could also end up being one of the better SS in the game.

              • Mike HC

                Right, but more probably, he ends up somewhere around Nunez, or slightly better.

  • Mike HC

    Entertaining mailbag. Nice job.

    As for the three B’s, they all seem to have Major League stuff, so short of injury, I would expect all of them to be able to contribute to a major league team throughout their career. Of course, injury is quite common with pitchers, so expecting all of them to be healthy might be a lot to ask, as you point out with Betances.

    I’m still a big fan of Austin Jackson’s. I enjoyed following his minor league stats here at RAB, and then playing well as a major leaguer with the Tigers. I will always root for him. And you never know, he may once again be a Yankee down the line.

    • Mike

      Betances does not have Major League stuff right now. Command is half (more?) of “stuff” and he is really shaky with that, particularly on his off speed pitches. There is also a big difference between flashing a plus curveball and consistently throwing one.* The injuries are his biggest concerns, but there are legitimate concerns about his ability. He’s only thrown around 200 professional innings so he has a lot of time to develop those weaker areas. Seeing how he fares in Double A, where he won’t be able to get by on just velocity is a big test for him.

      *I wonder what the success rate of guys that “flash” a plus pitch in the minors turning that into a consistently plus pitch in the majors.

      • Ted Nelson

        There are concerns about his control, but he may already have largely overcome them. He cut his BB in half in 2010. Maybe that was luck, but maybe it’s a sign of things to come. His 2010 BB/9 was significantly lower than Banuelos’ last season, for example.

  • Mister Delaware

    Betances becomes a legit 1/2, Baneulos a solid 2/3, Brackman busts. Yankees win. Tha-aaa-aaa YANKEES WIN!

    • NJ_Andy

      Why do you see Betances over Baneulos? As I’ve understood it, if they both make it (which is a big if) Baneulos is better in just about every way. Great stuff, superb command, cool calm and composed.

    • pete

      I don’t see it. I think Betances is more a #2/#3 ceiling, with a back-end floor IF he remains healthy. I just see a lot of AJ Burnett in him. Banuelos has got a near-Santana level ceiling.

      • Ted Nelson

        I don’t think it’s fair to say his ceiling is only a #2/3 starter. That may or may not be what you realistically expect, but ceiling would involve him continuing to improve.

        Even Burnett’s ceiling, for example, was higher than Burnett’s career level. Burnett never cut his BBs the way Betances did in 2010, though, and he doesn’t throw many pitches… he’s mostly been a fastball/curveball guy his whole career.

  • http://www.twitter.com/Bill_Style Bill Style

    I like the (almost) Izturis comp for Culver. It’s going to be very difficult comparing the next SS to Jeter, the next LHSP to Pettitte, and next closer to Rivera, as far as home grown talent goes. Hopefully Montero fills in right where Posada eventually leaves.

    • Mike HC

      And unfortunately for Banuelos, he isn’t even being compared to Pettitte, they are jumping straight to Johan Santana.

      Agreed about Jeter and Mo. That is going to be tough to anybody.

      • pat

        A lot of people compliment Manny for his composure and mental toughness, especially for a 19 year old. He might be a lot like Pettitte in that respect.

        • Mike HC

          True. We can only hope.

          Now, Banuelos has to be as talented as Santana and as mentally tough as Pettitte, ha. Good luck.

        • UncleArgyle

          Baseball America quoted a Yankees offical who compared him to Whitey frickin’ Ford a couple years ago….no pressure or anything kid lol

          • Accent Shallow

            Ford is an easier comp, pressure-wise, than Santana. Baseball players are notoriously ignorant of the game’s history – one of the Nats asked Fran Robinson “hey skip, you ever play in the Show?” When he was their manager.

            • boogie down

              WOW. I wish that story had been fabricated.

      • Johnny O

        Or better than Clayton Kershaw. I’m looking at you russell martin.

  • Reggie C.

    I agree with Mike’s esteemed opinion that Betances carries the highest risk of bust. If Cashman can pull a Liriano trade with Betances and Joba as the main pieces, we should all be ecstatic.

    • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

      Betances also carries the highest ceiling I believe.

      • MannyGee

        Banuelos had the highest ceiling, no???

        • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

          I could be wrong, but I think Betances has the highest ceiling, but since Manny is a lefty and has a greater probability of making it, he’s the better prospect.

          • Tank the Frank

            Agreed. Betances is a freak. He throws harder and has better numbers than Brackman right now. Manny seems like the only thing keeping from the majors is age and experience. It’s only a matter of time. His size worries me though. A guy listed at 5’10, 160lbs starts hitting 97mph immediately has me thinking get him to the big leagues asap because he won’t maintain that velocity for long. But of course, if he continues to improve on his change and curve, he can do very well at 90 or 91.

            • Ted Nelson

              I’m not too worried about the size. I think size is more important in that guys his size are less likely to have that kind of stuff than a bigger guy with more power. However, guys like Pedro and Tom Glavine were fine at 5-11, 6-0 and 170 lbs or so. Whitey Ford was 5-10. Someone like Chris Young is huge and it doesn’t mean he throws hard or stays healthy. And a lefty starter can definitely sit high 80s and be fine. I’m not worried about him losing a few MPH.

              • Sweet Dick Willie

                Ron Guidry. 5’11” 160lbs.

        • Big Apple

          Only cause he’s the shortest

          • boogie down

            LOL, nice one.

        • boogie down

          Generally, Betances’ injury history is what raises concerns about his long-term viability. Since it’s more extensive than Banuelos’, most evaluators (professional or amateur) are hesitant to anoint him as the player who’s most likely to make it to/remain in the majors. In terms of overall ceiling, Betances bests Banuelos because of the height/build disparity and the caliber of Betances’ stuff. However, the notorious difficulty that taller pitchers have in maintaining their mechanics combined with Betances’ injury past makes him probabilistically inferior to Banuelos.

          That said, Betances had to have TJS, if I recall correctly. Since that has a roughly 92% success rate, this season will go a long way toward helping clarify Betances’ ability to stay healthy for multiple years AND be highly productive. Should both of those things happen, he’ll be a top-15 prospect without a problem, based on what I’ve read. Here’s to hoping that happens, because many feel he has the capacity to be a legitimate ace.

          • Ted Nelson

            I think Banuelos also has the capacity to be a legitimate ace. I don’t think stuff necessarily separates Betances, because Banuelos’ stuff is also nasty.

            The other big question mark with Betances is control. That’s also a reason a lot of people have him projecting as a closer rather than starter. He cut his walks in half in 2010, but that doesn’t mean they can’t rise again.

            I’m not saying Betances isn’t as good as Banuelos or can’t be a top 15 prospect next season, but Banuelos is already in a lot of people’s top 15. I think they can both be aces and have similar best case ceilings. I feel like Banuelos left handedness almost cancels out the size difference.

        • Ted Nelson

          I think you could go either way… both guys can be #1 starters and even Cy Young winner types and eventually HOFers in the absolute best case, so it’s hard to say which has a higher ceiling.

    • AndrewYF

      Hmm…nah.

      Liriano is going to get injured this year. He has a *horrible* medical history, and his attitude is apparently shit.

      Unless he can be had for Nova + lesser guys or Joba + lesser guys, no thanks.

      • MannyGee

        I will post this on RAB every time I see someone say that Lirianos attitude or work ethic is in question…

        ready? wait for it…

        “Yeah, Cano’s attitude/work ethic was labeled “shitty” in 2008, and look how that worked out…”

        • AndrewYF

          Two things:

          Cano had near-zero value on the trade market after 2008.

          Cano also had one trip to the DL in his career for a standard hamstring pull.

          Work ethic issues for an oft-injured pitcher with arm problems is FAR more serious than a position player who is deemed lackadaisical. Let me know when Liriano actually starts taking his work/rehab seriously, and I’ll let you know when it would make sense to deal a premium pitching prospect (plus more) for him.

          • Ted Nelson

            Cano wasn’t 6 WAR in 2008, he was replacement level.

            I agree that Liriano is a big risk and would hesitate to deal too much for him, but it’s tough to speculate about someone’s work ethic or their medical history/future if you’re not a doctor. He’s got to have done some work to have a 4 WAR and a 6 WAR season as a MLB pitcher, and he’s had enough health that he could stay healthy. We certainly can’t declare as fact that he will get injured this season and believe every rumor about a player’s attitude.

            • Tank the Frank

              I really wish people would take this same attitude in regards to Greinke. I personally would love to have had a rotation of CC, Greinke, Liriano, AJ, Hughes and wish the Killer B’s the best of luck.

              • AndrewYF

                Great, an unhappy pitcher who can’t be around people because it tires him out, and a pitcher whose arm is in a sling.

                YAY!

                • Tank the Frank

                  And a combined 21.7 WAR over the last two seasons.

                  YAY! is right.

                  • AndrewYF

                    I assume this means you have a time machine, and also have altered baseball’s rules to allow their respective stats, accumulated on those teams, to somehow magically apply to those Yankee teams the past two years.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      I think you’re being pretty unreasonably pessimistic about Greinke and Liriano, while prospect hugging the hell out of the Yankees guys.

                      Greinke and Liriano are not locks, but neither are the Yankees prospects. I would suggest Greinke’s chances of being a frontline starter for the next 10 years are WAY higher than any individual B… very possibly higher than their combined chances. Liriano I’m also more leery of, but you just can’t act like he’s doomed to fail. He was a 6 WAR pitcher in 2010, and while I’d take the under he absolutely could do that for the next 7 or 8 seasons.

              • Ted Nelson

                I would probably value Greinke higher than Liriano, since he’s been healthy and productive.

                Obviously I have no inside knowledge of the negotiations or Greinke’s psyche, but the Brewers gave up a former top 15 prospect at the most premium position, a top 75-ish young pitching prospect, a ML ready OF, and a major league ready reliever (with a fairly high risk of being banned from baseball I believe). I sort of laughed at that package at the time, but we might be talking Montero, a B, Nunez, and Nova/Noesi/Warren/Stoneburner to match that package in the Royals eyes… so I can see backing out of that.

                • All Praise Be To Mo

                  Montero by himself is better than the package KC got back for Greinke.

                  • Ted Nelson

                    I tend to agree, but we’re Yankees fans. If we were Brewers fans I’m sure we’d also feel like our former top prospect Escobar was going to shake off a terrible rookie campaign on his way to Cooperstown.

            • kosmo

              I agree .If NY had interest in Liriano I´m sure they would have to take into account any rumor about his work ethic.

            • AndrewYF

              “but it’s tough to speculate about someone’s work ethic or their medical history/future if you’re not a doctor”

              First of all, we can garner the work ethic issues by the team and Liriano’s own statements, that he slacked off his rehab in the offseason, and his lack of work ethic was a big factor in the large amount of time it took for him to recover from Tommy John surgery. That’s a HUMONGOUS red flag. It’s hard enough coming back from injury even when you do give it your all. Again, no we don’t know every fact, but the fact that there are rumblings of this turn it into an undeniable risk.

              And I think we can agree to defer to Yankee doctors and scouts, who probably know pretty much what’s up with Liriano. Cashman has said that he won’t include Banuelos or Betances in any deal for Liriano. I think that’s telling enough as it is to how the Yankees view Liriano.

              By no means should the Yankees give up premium, top-end talent for a pitcher who is more likely than most to blow out his arm.

              • Ted Nelson

                “That’s a HUMONGOUS red flag.”

                A red flag doesn’t mean he’s doomed to fail or hasn’t learned from his mistakes. There’s just no need to or reason to say that you know Liriano is a bum who will fail. You can’t possibly know that. And MSM rumors are totally useless and not at all credible as a source of information anyway.

                He did make it back to post a 6 WAR season. Perhaps he started working harder and learned. He’s only in his mid-20s.

                “turn it into an undeniable risk.”

                Again, risk doesn’t mean no. Every decision Brian Cashman makes has a varying degree of risk involved.

                “Cashman has said that he won’t include Banuelos or Betances in any deal for Liriano.”

                He also said they weren’t giving up a pick in 2011, that Bubba Crosby was the starting CF, that he wouldn’t sign Tex…

                You realize Betances is not a model of health, right? And that even high-end prospects are unlikely to make it?

                “And I think we can agree to defer to Yankee doctors and scouts, who probably know pretty much what’s up with Liriano.”

                That is exactly my point. Have you spoken to them? Have they told you their opinions on Liriano’s health going forward? Why are you just assuming you know what their expert opinions are?

                “By no means should the Yankees give up premium, top-end talent for a pitcher who is more likely than most to blow out his arm.”

                That’s your opinion. I’m not particularly excited about the prospect of dealing for Liriano either, honestly. However, Liriano is “top-end talent.” If they do acquire him, it’s not going to be for free. Liriano’s chances of being a 6 WAR starter going forward are WAY better than any of the B’s. If it took Andrew Brackman or Dellin Betances to get a Liriano who the Yankees felt was worth acquiring… I’d be perfectly fine with it. Probably Banuelos too.

  • CAYANKSFAN

    Brackman is the bust, Betances is the Ace and Banuelos will be an Aceves.

  • kosmo

    Just for the record

    Derek Jeter in 451 MILB games made 133 errors a .934 FP
    with a whopping 56 errors in 1993 .

    Eduardo Nunez in 636 MILB games made 167 errors a .938 FP

    maybe this shows on a developmental level that players can turn corners.Da.

    Also Jeter in the minors did not project to be on average a 15 HR a year type of hitter.
    I remember when Mattingly came up no one and I mean no one thought he could generate the power numbers that he did in his best years.

    • Mike HC

      I think you are overstating a bit with Jeter. He was 6’3, and although lanky, many people expected the power to come as he got older. Some probably expected more than ended up actually being the case.

      • kosmo

        My point being no one can really determine power numbers or fielding percentages.Austin Jackson might turn out to be a 10 HR a year type or he could put up 20 HRs per same can be said for Nunez´s fielding habits.

  • http://danielslifka.wordpress.com Jerome S.

    I feel sorry for Culver. I think he’ll be like Murcer, in the respect that Murcer, while a very good player, always had to live in the shadow of Mantle; Culver, at least when he arrive, will suffer from being compared to The Captain.

    Other people to feel sorry for: The Next Yankee Closer, The Next Yankee Third Baseman, the Next Cardinal First Baseman.

    • Ted Nelson

      I don’t really feel sorry for them. If they’re good they’ll hold their own.

      Tino Martinez replaced both Don Mattingly and Mark McGwire, for example. I don’t really think of either of those guys when I think of him. Pujols moved to 1B only 2 seasons after McGwire retired. Wettland wasn’t nearly Mo, but the year before Mo took over he was an All-Star and finished 19th in MVP voting. Mantle himself took over from DiMaggio.

      I can see Jeter haunting Culver or whoever takes over, but maybe more so if the team isn’t as successful as they’ve been with Jeter. Also, if Jeter has a long, expensive decline fans might be somewhat relieved to see him replaced in the short-term.

      • Sweet Dick Willie

        Mantle himself took over from DiMaggio.

        And was booed mercilessly by Yankees fans.

        It wasn’t until 1961, when he was locked in the HR race with that interloper Maris, that Yankees fans, especially the ones who had seen Joe D. play, finally embraced Mantle.

        • Ted Nelson

          He won 2 MVPs and was in the top 5 of MVP voting 6 seasons before 1961. He was a 9 time All-Star by then, making the team every season from his 20 year old season on.

          A. If he was booed mercilessly for 10 seasons before 1961, it sure didn’t seem to negatively impact his performance. If Culver is “booed mercilessly” and is a two time MVP and 9 time All-Star with 5 rings going into his 29 year old season I will not feel sorry for him.

          B. I highly doubt it is accurate to say he was booed mercilessly for 10 straight seasons despite getting MVP votes every season after his 19 year old season and winning 5 World Series in 10 years.

          • Sweet Dick Willie

            It obviously didn’t impact his performance, but he was not accepted by those fans who saw DiMaggio play until the 1961 season.

            For kids growing up in the 50s who were too young to have seen/remember Joe D., Mick was the man.

            But for a large contingent of fans, he was not embraced until 1961.

            I’m not making this up, it is history.

  • EndlessMikeJr

    As long as the Yankees learned from there mistake in 2008 when they had Hughes,Joba,Kennedy in the rotation and we all know what happened that year.

    But the killer B’s have more higher ceilinga and have better stuff then the other three guys.Can they stay healthy?Thats the big difference.An Bentence reminds me of Daniel Caberea.

    • Ted Nelson

      “But the killer B’s have more higher ceilinga and have better stuff then the other three guys.”

      I don’t think that’s true. Hughes was BA’s #4 prospect in baseball after his 20 year old season. They had Joba as the #3 prospect in baseball after his only minor league season. Kennedy checked in at #45 after dominating his way all the way through the minors in his first full pro season. In about 2008 their collective ceiling was through the roof.

      This season Banuelos, Betances, and Brackman check in at 41, 43, and 78 in the BA prospect rankings, not that those are all about ceiling.

  • http://MLB.com Bill Hao

    Culver will easily match Jeter’s glove because A) he has a quick release, second only to Boston’s Jose Iglesias and B) Jeter, at best is an average glove. Nothing personal. Also Brackman will be the bust. Too wild.