2011 Draft: Potential Signability Players

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

If you’re new to this whole amateur draft thing, “signability” a fun little term that defines players with bonus demands so large that they fall in the draft because no one (or very few, anyway) wants to pay them. The Yankees and other teams have grabbed a few of these players in the mid-to-late rounds of the draft and met their demands in recent years, landing a premium prospect far below where their talent says they should have been taken. Dellin Betances is a perfect example of this; the Yanks grabbed him in the eighth round back in 2006 and bought him away from a Vanderbilt commitment for a cool million bucks.

Big market clubs aren’t the only ones gobbling up these signability players anymore, teams like the Royals and Pirates have smartened up and starting taking advantage of the generally broken draft system as well. That makes it that much harder for the Yankees to land premium talent, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Here’s a few high-end guys that could fall a few rounds in the draft because of money, not talent…

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Tinkering with the lineup, but not too much

I’ve burned a good amount of pixels over the last few days talking about lineup makeup. I based my assumption for when Derek Jeter would get his 3000th hit on the fact that he’s going to bat leadoff and also explored how the Yanks’ lineup order doesn’t matter all that much. Tonight, Marc Carig throws an interesting tidbit into the mix.

The Yankees, he reports, will tinker with their lineup after their off-day next week, but they’re going to be conservative in the tinkering. He writes:

If Derek Jeter gets moved in the batting order, the Yankees captain won’t be bumped out of the upper-third of the lineup, hitting coach Kevin Long said Tuesday. “That’s not even an option,” Long said.

If that’s the case, should Yankees manager Joe Girardi decide to make a change and install Brett Gardner in the leadoff spot, Jeter’s most likely landing spot will be hitting second in front of No. 3 batter Mark Teixeira.

Even if there are shifts in the rest of the lineup, Long said the same general rule applies, with middle-of-the-order bats remaining in the middle of the order even if their exact order changes. “You know that Tex, Alex and Cano are going to be in the middle,” Long said. “You know in the beginning it’s going to be Jete, Gardner, Swish or Granderson. We know the pieces.”

On Monday, I linked to David Pinto’s Lineup Analysis Tool analysis for the 2011 Yankees based on Marcel projections, and it returned an interesting idea. The “ideal” Yankee lineup would look like this:

Gardner
Teixeira
Jeter
Cano
Rodriguez
Granderson
Swisher
Posada
Martin

Of course, Jeter’s not batting third, and Teixeira will not hit second, but you get the point. It would take something of a leap of faith for Girardi to slot Cano into the three or four hole this year; it would be a tacit admission that either Teixeira or A-Rod aren’t fit for their old spots. But it’s easy after 2010 to make the case that Cano could and should handle on of those spots.

Again, though, I’m left with the same conclusion I had on Monday: There is no wrong answer here. The Yanks are still projected for over 5.29 runs per game, and the 0.003 difference in runs per game isn’t worth upsetting anyone who might take offense. Still, as Spring Training plods toward Opening Day, the lineups might start to get more and more interesting as we go.

Open Thread: March 8th Camp Notes

What's that, a slider? (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Today’s news and notes…

  • The Yankees topped the Braves by the score of 5-4 today. Freddy Garcia tossed three perfect frames and had to throw more pitches in the bullpen afterward. Dellin Betances allowed a run in two innings while Andrew Brackman threw a scoreless frame. David Robertson struck out the side, but allowed two runs as well. Curtis Granderson tripled, and both Nick Swisher and Eduardo Nunez singled twice. Here’s the box score.
  • Greg Golson left last night’s game with a sore ribcage, but it’s not expected to be a long-term issue. (Mark Feinsand & Erik Boland)
  • Ronnie Belliard got in some hitting and fielding drills this morning, which, as far as we know, is his first action since hurting his calf a week ago. (Chad Jennings)
  • Joe Girardi said that Jorge Posada will start seeing more time at first base, and could serve as a backup at the position during the regular season. (Marc Carig)
  • First cuts will be coming this weekend. (Carig)

Here’s tonight’s open thread. Today’s Yankees game is being replayed on both YES and the MLB Network while SNY is carrying a replay of the Mets-Astros. As for meaningful games, both the Devils and Islanders are in action. Talk about whatever, enjoy.

Learn to talk like a scout with Keith Law

While spring training is a time to welcome back familiar players, it is also a time to learn about the new guys. This has been a prominent feature in Yankees camp this spring. We’ve heard far more about guys such as Dellin Betances, Manny Banuelos, and Jesus Montero than we have Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira. That brings about plenty of prospect talk, which involves scouting language. Some of it you might know. Other parts you might pick up from context clues. Still others might remain a big mystery. Thankfully, we have a translator around to help us out.

At ESPN, Keith Law breaks down some of the more common terms. There are terms that you’re probably familiar with, such as “org player.” Mike uses that one frequently enough. There’s also a definition of “fringy,” another good one. You probably can figure out what people mean, but Law puts a solid definition to it.

He saves the toughest ones for the last two. If you’re looking for an exact delineation between command and control, you won’t find it there. But Law tries to ask questions that get to the heart of what scouts mean when they say command. The last section, makeup and intangibles, is tough because, as Law says, “they’re almost entirely subjective and unverifiable.” Yet they’re quite an important part of player development.

The RAB Radio Show: March 8, 2011

Freddy Garcia took his turn today and again looked good. What does he have to do at this point to not make the team? Mike and I discuss the possibility, however remote it may be.

Cuts are coming up, which means the regulars will start getting more playing time. How is this going to affect the batting order and other considerations?

Podcast run time 18:52

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Cervelli gets good news about fractured foot

Via George King, Frankie Cervelli received some encouraging news about his fractured foot over the weekend. “I saw the doctor [on Sunday] and he said it was going to be quicker,” said Cervelli, who indicated there may be a chance that his timetable will be accelerated. “I hope so. I am doing everything I can.” The initial diagnosis had Frankie in a walking boot for four weeks minimum, so his return was pegged at six-to-eight weeks when factoring in the time he’d need to get back into baseball shape. He still won’t be ready for Opening Day, but good news is good news.