The Right-Handed Outfield Bat Scrap Heap


(Stephen Dunn/Getty)

With each day that ticks off the calendar, the less likely it is the Yankees will spend real money to upgrade the roster. That could change in an instant of course, but the currently available options aren’t all that appealing or worth big bucks. There are no legitimate starting catchers available, few quality DHs, and outside of Scott Hairston and his demands for a multi-year deal, no right-handed hitting outfielders of note.

The Yankees have been stocking up on miscellaneous right-handed outfield bats in recent weeks, or at least as much as signing Matt Diaz to a minor league deal and claiming Russ Canzler off waivers can be considered “stocking up,” anyway. Melky Mesa is the team’s best in-house option for the role, so I expect them to continue digging around for low-risk players to compete with these three in camp. Here are five such players who could presumably be had on minor league contracts.

Shelley Duncan
Fun Fact: Duncan actually started three games as the cleanup hitter for the Yankees back in 2008. That was the year after the big five homers-in-seven games binge put him on the map. The 33-year-old moved on to the Indians a few seasons ago and has hit .238/.316/.421 (102 wRC+) against left-handers over the last three years (92 wRC+ in 2012). As always, Duncan will draw walks (9.5% walk rate since 2010), strike out (24.8%), play poor defense in the outfield corners and at first base, and smash forearms. More than anyone else in this post though, Shelley can hit the ball out of any park when he does run into one. That just doesn’t happen often enough.

Ben Francisco
Francisco, 31, has been typecast as a right-handed platoon bat over the years despite a negligible split — .247/.315/.408 (97 wRC+) against lefties and .252/.324/.380 (94 wRC+) against righties since the start of 2010. Having no platoon split is generally a good thing, but it doesn’t help when the player is a below-average hitter overall. Like everyone else in this post, Francisco won’t steal any bases or offer much help on the bases. He fits best in left field but can play right in a pinch and center in an emergency, so that’s nice. Still, if you’re looking for a platoon bat, it would be nice if he could, you know, actually hit well against pitchers of the opposite hand.

Lou Montanez
Once upon a time, the Cubs made Montanez the third overall pick in the entire draft (2000). He has just 323 career plate appearances in the show since then, during which time he’s posted a 50 wRC+ overall with a .204/.234/.279 (31 wRC+) line against left-handers in a meaninglessly small sample. Over the last two seasons in Triple-A, the 31-year-old had tagged southpaws for a .345/.429/.525 batting line with a 8.1% strikeout rate compared to a 12.3% walk rate. More walks than strikeouts is always fun. Montanez has a ton of experience in all three outfield spots and actually played the middle infield once upon a time (drafted as a shortstop), but that ship has sailed.

(Christian Petersen/Getty)

Juan Rivera
Another former Yankee, the 34-year-old Rivera had the worst season of his career in 2012 (81 wRC+ overall) while battling hamstring issues. He still managed a decent .260/.312/.433 (107 wRC+) line against southpaws, and over the last three seasons it’s a .270/.329/.434 (109 wRC) line. Rivera’s strength remains his ability to get the bat on the ball (12.9 K% and 84.2% contact rate since 2010) and be somewhat willing to work a walk (7.1 BB%), though he’s butcher defensively both in left field and at first base. There’s more big league experience here than with the other four guys in this post combined, but I’m not sure how much that helps Rivera’s case at this point of his career.

Vinny Rottino
Rottino, 32, received 97 of his 110 career big league plate appearances with the Mets and Indians this past season. He owns a miniscule 43 wRC+ in the show, but that tells us nothing given the sample size. Rottino has tagged Triple-A southpaws for a .333/.383/.502 batting line over the last two seasons though, which includes an 11.4% strikeout rate and a 7.5% walk rate. He has a ton of experience at the four corner positions as well as first base and behind the plate, though he’s just an emergency option at catcher. Still a nice skill to have. No one in this post offers as much position flexibility or as little big league experience as Rottino.

Categories : Hot Stove League


  1. Austin Aunelowitzky says:

    Pass, pass, pass, pass and pass.

  2. ThatstheMelkyMesaWaysa says:

    I would be in favor of bringing Duncan back only because I want to see him high five Marokovits the way he high fived Kim Jones that one time.

  3. Blake says:

    Good last resorts…..aim higher via trade first Cash

  4. karlovau says:

    Why does everyone keep ignoring Ronnier Mustelier as an in-house option?

    • Austin Aunelowitzky says:

      Hopefully he and Romine are ripping it in AAA and force promotions by the ASB.

      • RetroRob says:

        He’s not being ignored. He’s just an unknown, even more so than Diaz and Canzler. The team can’t just hope that Mustelier can hit, so he is just one of many options.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Ignoring? I wish we had the chance to ignore him.

      I’m not ignoring him. He just shouldn’t be what’s behind door #1.

    • Yankee insider says:

      I don’t know why he’s not being talked about A’s much he’s definitely the best hitter if you put him in a group with these guys and a solid defender at the corners (like a Spanish Russ canzler but hits better). Also what about Jose Pirela because he plays each INF position (SS the best) and he plays the OF (Corners mainly but is emergency CF). To go along with that my half-cousin Adonis Garcia can mash the ball, plays each OF Position, and literally has a rifle arm with sniper accuracy. So although we may not know it we’re kind of set other then DH which I think should go to Luke Murton who plays 1st and blasted 25 HR in double A last year.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        And, if Jeter goes down, just stick Austin Aune in there. Set.

      • Thomas says:

        literally has a rifle arm with sniper accuracy

        Must be a real pain trying to get on a plane.

      • Havok9120 says:

        Well, for one thing, you seem much higher on his defense than many of the guys here who have seen him. I’ve seen no real scouting report on it, but most of the eye test guys here prefer “butcher” or “subpar” to “solid.” What’s more, if it’s one of these guys on a flyer with RM waiting in the wings all season in AAA, I’ll do that.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        The transition from the minors to the majors is really difficult. Those guys will all be in the system and have a chance to earn promotions, but minor league success doesn’t always translate. Especially for a veteran professional in his mid-to-late 20s.

        Would be great if one of those guys contributed.

  5. Get Phelps Up says:

    I guess if I had to pick one of these I’d pick Rivera.
    I think they can (and will) do better though.

  6. Upstate Yanks says:

    *cough* Nick Johnson *cough*

  7. Drew says:

    Thanks but no thanks on everyone.

  8. Mister D says:

    Francisco would be the best option in that group given that another major Gardner injury would lead to full time work. But being the best option of that group means little more than being the best option in that group.

  9. Havok9120 says:

    You know what the best part of this post is? The comments section of the post on Melky Mesa is where we officially ratified “Future hall of famer Ronnie Mustelier” as an RAB meme.

  10. Robinson Tilapia says:

    Jeepers. This thing STARTED a Shelley Duncan, who gets a “no” from me for not acknowleding Section 203 when we were saying hello to him a couple of years ago with Cleveland.

    Half-kidding there.

    If Francisco or Rivera would take an MiLB, they can gladly come to Spring Training. An MLB deal? Oof.

    • Southpaw Killa says:

      What about Montanez who hit .345 against Lefties? He sounds better then Francisco although Francisco is more well known and knows the AL EAST.

  11. mitch says:

    Good list. I think any of these guys would be nice fits as the right-handed outfielder for the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees.

    wait…you were talking about the major league club?

  12. Jersey Joe says:

    I’d love to have Shelley back, he’s always been one of my favorite AAAA players.

    Juan Rivera seems interesting, so I’d take him on MiLB.

    The rest of them I could live without.

  13. jeff says:

    what’s bam bam meulens doing these days?

  14. Ray Witt says:

    Bring in Vladimir Guerrero and give him a chance…I think he can still hit!!

  15. Yankeesfan says:

    Yankees suck

  16. MannyGeee says:

    OK wait… Shelly Duncan is THIRTY THREE YEARS OLD?????? He is forever young to me.

  17. Ted Nelson says:

    Raburn is another guy who might be interesting on a MiLB deal. No idea what happened to him in 2012, but maybe it’s fixed or fixable.

  18. trr says:

    OMG, is this what we’ve become? To paraphrase Trent Reznor, this is our empire of dirt

  19. BIll Tetley says:

    Austin Kerns?

  20. CapitalT says:

    Give the AAAA a guys a chance and hopefully one finally gets it: Montonez and Rottino

    • Havok9120 says:

      Those are certainly my two preferences on the list, if for no other reason than they might stick in AAA for depth.

  21. soxhata says:

    What Yankees fan wouldn’t root for a guy named Vinny Rotino?Give em an invitation to spring training and fuggedabouit!

  22. Adam says:

    It is so sad/disgusting that we have to even mention the possibility of signing any of these scrubs to play for the Yankees. This team is going to suck so bad this year.

  23. Mister D says:

    Can you guys believe Scott Fucking Brosius is our starting 3B this season? He had a .259 OBP last year with Oakland. This team is so fucked.

    • M Python says:

      Brosius was a newt, but he got better.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Well played.

    • RetroRob says:

      I can not believe the Yankees traded away one of the few prospects they’ve developed in years, Roberto Kelly, a speedy CFer in his prime for the under performing, overrated Paul O’Neill. I mean, O’Neill is a headcase. If our man Lou Pinella doesn’t like him, then we know he’s not good. Louuuu, Louuuuu, Louuuuuu! Never should have fired Lou. Much better manager than this bozo Buck Shoewater.

      O’Neill will totally destroy the clubhouse chemistry they’re trying to develop and he will NEVER be accepted by Yankee fans. And who is going to replace Roberto? Mr. Zero, Bernie Williams? The kid is too passive to make it in NY or lead this team to a championship. Clubhouse leader Mel Hall was the only guy with fire and passion, and they just let him walk. And we got nothing for him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Fire Gene Michael. He can’t assess talent and he has no plan!!

  24. Laz says:

    Who would have thought 5 years ago that Shelley would be the only of the 2 Duncan’s still playing. His brother was actually pretty good once upon a time.

  25. hogsmog says:

    What about Juan Miranda? He’s got a pretty intense reverse split, and did fine in his last Yankee tenure. Would also cost next to nothing.

  26. soxhata says:

    I will take Delmon Young over these bums.He actually raked in the playoffs,compared to our fat cats.Plus any behavior problems will be addressed by Jeter ,Youk,and the other true to the game players we have

    • Hoss says:

      There is a photo of Delmon Young next to the definition of “Bum” in Wikipedia.

      • soxhata says:

        He hit the crap out of Yankees pitching in the playoffs-WHERE IT COUNTS! Maybe we need a see ball hit ball guy,instead of guys working the count and leaving balls right down the middle go by.Two embarrassing postseasons tell me we could use a hacker or three.

  27. long ron daniels says:

    I’d rather set a warm pail of yogi berra’s feces in the right handed batter’s box than sign anyone on this list.

  28. Matt DiBari says:

    That was depressing.

  29. Bobbyc says:

    If you are going for this type of guy, why not just keep someone like Darnell McDonald- who can play corner spots and hits .274/.342/.436 v. LHP in 431 PAs.

  30. Rich says:

    saw Vinny Rottino play for the Kane County Cougars about 5 years ago. Fastest bat I’ve ever seen and I can’t believe he hasn’t established himself in the big leagues. I think he just got caught behind established big leaguers. Gap power and pretty good speed, plus ability to play multiple positions, including catcher. This could be his break.

  31. Vic says:

    Trade for j UPTON or Giancarlo Stanton ……………………….. There young.

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