Link Dump: Javy, Cano, Romine, Draft

We have links, and not the sucky kind either…

What’s wrong with Javy Vazquez?

It’s the question everyone’s trying to answer these days, though there’s only one guy who can truly answer it. That’s not going to stop us, though. Tommy Rancel at Bloomberg Sports looked at the numbers, and while there’s definitely some unsustainably high rate stats working against Vazquez (3.13 HR/9 (!!!)) so far, the root of the problem might be his fastball. Not so much that the lost velocity means he’s afraid to throw it, but that the lost velocity has closed the gap between his heater and changeup. Instead of one pitching losing effectiveness, it’s two pitches.

Also, make sure you check out this Baseball Prospectus piece by Jay Jaffe’s mustache on the same topic (subs. req’d). He notes that Javy’s strikeout rate drops with men on base, which is bad news for a fly ball pitcher. The Yanks are skipping their Opening Day fourth starter this turn through the rotation, so hopefully he can iron some things out during the break.

Is Cano’s hot start for real?

Well, it’s hard to imagine Robbie Cano maintaining his current production over the remaining 137 games, he is on a 58 homer pace after all. Dougbies at Beyond The Box Score went deeper into Cano’s start, and while the Yanks’ second baseman has certainly enjoyed some good luck early on, none of it is out of world insane like Austin Jackson’s BABIP (up to .532!). Long story short, Cano is legitimately having the best season of his already very good career, which really isn’t all that uncommon for a player in his age-27 season.

Love for Austin Romine

While Jesus Montero has scuffled a bit in his first 100 Triple-A plate appearances or so, the Yanks’ other elite catching prospect has been hitting the snot out of the ball in Double-A. Romine is up to .351-.429-.554 (.418 wOBA) following last night’s 2-for-5 effort. In his Daily Futures piece at ESPN (Insider req’d), Kevin Goldstein mentions that Romine is probably the Yanks’ catcher of the future, because “his overall tools are well above-average for a backstop and scouts project him as an above-average defender down the line.”

It’s great to see him off to such a fast start, but the key is for Romine to maintain it all season. Catching is a grueling job, and this is the first time in his career he’ll be a full-time starting catcher from wire-to-wire.

Top draft picks by round

In the latest Ask BA, Jim Callis digs through the first 25 rounds of every draft over the last five years to find which player was the best pick in that round. Unsurprisingly, Tim Lincecum took the 1st round honors, but three Yankees’ picks joined him on the list: Joba Chamberlain (sandwich round), Austin Jackson (8th round), and Graham Stoneburner (14th round). The Yanks have done a nice job of turning late round picks into useful players, even if they’re just relievers like David Robertson (17th), Phil Coke (26th), and Mike Dunn (33rd). Those guys developed into far more than what their round usually produces.

Minor Notes: Montero, Prospect Lists, Draft

Got some minor league notes to pass along…

  • As I’m sure you’ve already heard, farm director Mark Newman confirmed that Jesus Montero and Austin Romine will start the year in Triple-A and Double-A, respectively. Montero’s bat is definitely ready for the jump, though his glove isn’t, so that will be a big challenge for him. Romine’s ready for Trenton, he probably was in August.
  • Kevin Goldstein ran down his top eleven Yankee prospects, with Montero topping the list as the team’s only five star prospect. Since departed Arodys Vizcaino was the team’s only four star prospect, and they’re followed by a slew of three star guys. Trust me, trading Arodys stings, but remember that he’s a 19-year old that has yet to play in a full season league. He’s just a lotto ticket.
  • Coincidentally, Marc Hulet at FanGraphs posted his list of the Yanks top ten Yankee prospects, and had Vizcaino fourth behind Montero, Romine, and Zach McAllister. He also had Mike Dunn rated 6th, which is about as high as you’ll see him on any list. I like Mike Dunn, but sheesh, not that much.
  • Meanwhile, Hulet is also running through his annual review of each team’s recent drafts, and hit the Yankees yesterday. If you’re looking for the quick recap of the last four drafts, then I highly recommend it, Marc does a great job. Five members of the Yanks’ 2006 draft class have already reached the big leagues, and three others are legitimately on the door step. Quite a haul.
  • The Yanks signed outfielder Javier Herrera to a minor league deal. Baseball America rated him the sixth best prospect in Oakland’s system as recently as 2007, though he had Tommy John surgery and never quite figured it out. He’s a career .282-.358-.468 hitter in the minors, though he has just 15 plate appearances above Double-A. Decent little gamble.

Montero, Romine ranked the two best catchers in the FSL

Continuing on with their league top 20’s, Baseball America named Jesus Montero and Austin Romine the second and tenth best prospects, respectively, in the High-A Florida State League. Montero was behind only Mike Stanton of the Marlins, and the pair were the only two catchers to appear on the list. In the subscriber only scouting report, Montero was called “the toughest out in the league,” while Romine was noted as having very few weaknesses in his game.

The Eastern League comes out on Friday, so Montero might be making an encore appearance.

Scouting Austin Romine & DJ Mitchell

Adam Guttridge took a trip down to Tampa for THT, taking a look at two of the Yankees’ better prospects: Austin Romine & DJ Mitchell. Guttridge notes that Romine is “well-composed at the plate” but a “mixed picture” on defense. Mitchell was sitting high-80’s with the sinker, had good control of his slider, and flashed a promising changeup. Check it out, it’s a nice quick read. (h/t dan)