Commenter Rob brought up a point in our post about Melky. The quote was that we are “setting [ourselves] up for an embarrassing fall should Melky prove to be legit.” I considered responding directly to that comment, but I wanted to clear the air with everyone.
We don’t wish Melky ill. He wears pinstripes; therefore, we hope for the best. But from what we’ve seen, it doesn’t appear that he’ll live up to those PECOTA comparisons to Bernie Williams and Carlos Beltran.
This is the entire point of our posts on Melky. Mike, Ben, and I have come to a consensus that Melky is likely best served as a fourth outfielder. Many decry this position, citing his defense (which we’re not completely sold on, though there’s no denying his arm) and relative success at a young age as an indication that he’ll improve and become an average or above-average center fielder.
I will not argue with that position. If we think it’s likely that Melky is a 4th outfielder in a long-term sense, then it’s entirely possible that he ends up being a bit better than that and can serve as a league-average centerfielder.
I’ve made clear my position that the Yankees should be focusing on superior talent at the premium positions. That is, second base, shortstop, catcher, and center field. I don’t think Melky represents superior talent, hence I’m not so hot on him. But he does have some value as a league average CFer.
So, in short, we believe that Melky will be a slightly below average center fielder. Some people think he can be average or slightly above, and I’m not going to argue with them. It’s possible, but I like seeing superior talent in those premium positions, hence my dislike of Melky. At this point, I think that seeing Melky as the next Bernie or Beltran is seeing things with rose-colored glasses.
And that really encompasses at least my position on Melky. Until something happens — that is, we see the results on the field — I don’t think there’s much more to say on the issue.
Despite an acrimonious divorce following the 2006 season, the Yankees still appreciate all that Bernie Williams gave to the game. To that end, they would like to honor him before the Stadium closes down in seven months. “Obviously, Bernie is special to us,” Hank said yesterday. No date has been set for Bernie Williams Day, but that is sure to be a hot ticket. · (7) ·
Well, the collective you must be wondering what happened to Melky Cabrera and River Ave. Blues. After an off-season in which we seemingly took turns expressing our doubts of Melky, we cooled the Cabrera criticism for the last few weeks.
Worry not; Melky — and the Yanks’ center field spot — is back in the news. This time, we’re not the only ones noting some doubts over the long-term viability of Melky Cabrera. In a PeteAbe piece, Brian Cashman notes that Melky doesn’t have a center field stranglehold:
But while general manager Brian Cashman has locked second baseman Robinson Cano into a long-term contract and has staked his own reputation on the abilities of young pitchers Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy, he’s not yet prepared to invest as heavily in the 23-year-old Cabrera. “Melky has to fight for what he has,” Cashman said. “I can’t stand here and tell you he’s going to be our center fielder moving forward. That’s up to him.”
Cabrera hit .273 with eight homers and 73 RBI last season, taking over for Damon in early June. But there were concerns. Cabrera hit .180 in September before going 3-for-16 in the division series against Cleveland. His on-base percentage fell from .360 in 2006 to .327 last season…
It wouldn’t be wise to get comfortable. In 24-year-old Brett Gardner and 21-year-old Austin Jackson, the Yankees have one player on the verge of being ready for the majors and another who is moving quickly in that direction.
While Gardner is less of a threat to Melky than Austin Jackson is, the Melk Man is right to work hard for that spot. Prospects are a-knockin’.
But despair not, Melky Lovers. As E.J. Fagan noted at Pending Pinstripes, Melky’s PECOTA comparables are promising. E.J., urging as to wait another season before passing judgment, notes that Carlos Beltran and Bernie Williams, to name a few, are high on the list of comparables to the young Mr. Cabrera. While much of that has to do with the fact that Beltran and Williams are two of the few outfielders to break into the Majors at such a young age as Melky did, Cabrera could develop into a top-flight player. We just don’t quite see it yet.
Feel free to hate away on our Melky hating. Much like Brian Cashman, we too are expecting Melky to fight for what he currently has and hopefully improve in the process.
We’ve added a neat little feature to the RAB experience today, an Organizational Depth Chart. It runs 5 deep for the players at each position, and can always be accessed via the link up top. Everything else you need to know about it explained in the page’s intro.
Update: Pitcher listing has been shortened due to popular demand.
The Baseball Tonight crew just unloaded on Hank for his comments about ESPN being full of Red Sox fans, claiming he doesn’t know what goes on behind the scenes. John Kruk even invited Hank up to Bristol for the look-see.
Immediately after that, Kruk said Beckett was a HOF pitcher (based on four playoff starts) and Gammons said Varitek was more important to the Red Sox than any other player on any other team in the game. They also said the Yanks will struggle with two kids (Hughes & IPK) in the rotation, neglecting to mention that Buchholz & Lester will be Boston’s rotation because of the injury to Curt Schilling. That was after Donald Duck picked Donald Duck to win both the AL MVP and Cy Young awards. I’m dead serious.
Update: Goofy just picked Pluto and Mickey to win the NL Cy Young & MVP awards, respectively, but oh snap! Donald Duck sabotaged it and it looks like he’ll bring home those awards too. Karl Ravech is in mid-season form, cracking snarky little comments that manage to go over everyone else’s head. What the hell happened to ESPN?
FYI – Joba will be on in a bit. Hopefully he’ll give Kruk some double-chin music. · (25) ·
Welcome to the 2008 version of the Game Threads. Those of you who were here last year know the deal. For everyone else, use the comments here as a way to discuss the game. Today’s is the first New York-televised Spring Training game, so enjoy.
The lineups and pitching schedule:
Andy Pettitte (2 innings)
Steven White (1-2 innings)
Krum, the Yanks’ 9th round pick in 2007 (and recipient of an above-slot $110,000) was arrested early Saturday morning for trespassing because he returned to a Tampa restaurant after police escorted him off the premises for trying to start a fight. He acted up enough that the cops had to wrestle him to ground to get handcuffs on him. Kontos was arrested for a very similar incident last April. Grow up and act like professionals guys. You play for the Yankees, not the Bengals. · (5) ·
The guys over at Project Prospect did something that was long overdue: they took all of this year’s major top 100 prospects lists (BA, Keith Law, BP, Moundtalk and of course, their own) and mashed them all together to come up with a composite list. The general consensus has Joba ranking as the fourth best prospect in the game, with IPK, Jose Tabata, and Austin Jackson coming at numbers 30, 37 and 38, respectively. Having four of the top 38 prospects in the game is pretty damn impressive.
If that wasn’t enough, they also threw together a mock fantasy draft, where each publication selected the top available player on its list. As expected, Joba was a first rounder, and the first pitcher taken. IPK was a fourth rounder, Tabata and Jackson both ninth rounders, Jesus Montero a 21st rounder, Alan Horne a 23rd, and Dellin Betances made a bit of a surprise appearance as a 28th rounder. Based on a quick glance, I’d say the Project Prospect crew came away with the best haul in the mock draft; they got some seriously premium arms in the later rounds. Very interesting stuff; check it out. · (4) ·