• Farm Aid 2006

    Posted by on January 21st, 2006 · Comments (7)

    Three days ago, I said that Randy Johnson just might be the most important player on the Yankees team in 2006.

    Taking it a step further – I began to ponder today about who may be the most important player not on the Yankees 25-man roster (but still in the organization).

    If I had to rank the prospects for this in order, I would list them as follows:

    1. Sean Henn
    2. Matt DeSalvo
    3. Jorge DePaula
    4. Matt Smith
    5. Jose Veras
    6. Jason Anderson

    Let’s face it – between the health status of Mussina, Wang, Pavano and Wright – coupled with the chance that Chacon reverts back to previous form – the Yankees are going to need someone from the minors to come up and help with the rotation at least once during this season.

    Henn, DeSalvo and DePaula are probably the three pitchers in the system closest to being ready to make that leap. And, if none of them can do it, then someone like Small or Villone will have to step into the rotation and then a Smith, Veras or Anderson will need to come up to the majors and help out in the pen.

    Yankees fans should watch these six pitchers very closely this Spring Training. Those in this group who do well just might be the Chien-Ming Wang or Aaron Small story of 2006.

    Comments on Farm Aid 2006

    1. baileywalk
      January 22nd, 2006 | 10:00 am

      I love this blog — I read it all the time (you’re one of the few bloggers/writers who’s obsessed with numbers that actually comes up with an interesting way to use them) — but this particular post shows a lack of knowledge about our minor-league system. Not trying to offend here, but you left Steven White from your starters list, and he might actually be the first to be called up. Also, J. Brent Cox and T.J. Beam are much more highly valued than Jose Veras, who has never even played a game for the Yanks. Smith might get a shot, but they seemed to think of him as a lefty specialist. If anyone’s breaking the minors to make it to the show, it’s probably Cox. The truth is, the Yankees have a surplus of relievers at the lower levels. Veras will have to earn a spot among a panoply of great arms.

    2. January 22nd, 2006 | 11:22 am

      I was using 2005 MLEs to come up with my list. I don’t have the data in front of me now – but, I will look at it later. I think that might help explain who was on the list and who got left off. Thanks for feedback – it’s great.

    3. JohnnyC
      January 22nd, 2006 | 12:05 pm

      That’s o.k., Steve, Ed Coleman, supposedly a well-informed media type who “covers” the Mets just said on FAN yesterday that the Mets’ top pitching prospects (in the wake of trading Bensen)were, in order, Philip Humber (coming off TJ surgery) and Mike Pelfrey (yet to throw a single pitch professionally). That’s typical…even of some national names like Gammons (who wouldn’t be able to pick most hyped Red Sox prospects out of a Boston police line-up). The real issue here, Steve, is whether Cashman’s method of picking and choosing new reinforcements from the system has changed from past practice. The history of pitching prospects under the regime of Torre-Stottlemyre was abysmal, to be charitable. In the past, Torre has only accepted “ML-ready” arms, meaning usually lifelong minor-leaguers who are pitching at AAA…in other words, pitchers way past the “prospect” level…tantamount to 25 year old Aaron Smalls bascially. In the rare cases where Cashman has sneaked a younger, on-the-come guy in on Torre, Henn being the latest example, Torre-Stottlemyre let ’em hang and twist in the wind. Their clear “failure” was usually prelude to Cashman having to find someone like the Wayne Franklins, Tanyon Sturtzes, and Hideo Nomos of the world to “meet the needs” of the manager/pitching coach. If the moves of 2005 have actually ushered in a sea change in the way Torre operates, then we might be able to look forward to “the best arm” in the system getting an opportunity not just the guy with the most AAA starts on his resume. Not that there was ever such a thing as a “trusted veteran” AAA pitching prospect. Only in Torre’s world.

    4. DownFromNJ
      January 22nd, 2006 | 1:17 pm

      I’m a big DeSalvo fan. In his entire career since coming out of High School, DeSalvo has done four things well: strike people out, not allow home runs, pitch lots of innings, and keep runs from crossing the plate. Besides for 5 starts in late 2004 after being moved to AA, DeSalvo has only shined in the minor leagues.

      He is going to be a big deal. He should be called up first. Then Henn, DePaula, Karstens (replacement-level potential), White, and maybe even Hughes if he is shooting through by late season.

      DeSalvo has much better minor league numbers than Wang ever did.

    5. January 22nd, 2006 | 3:04 pm

      Johnny has an interesting point. Other than Mo and Wang, how many Yankees rookie pitchers have developed under Torre?

    6. tmcm650
      January 23rd, 2006 | 1:03 pm

      Off the top of my head, Steve, with no data here to refer to, the number of rookie pitchers Joe and Mel developed to success is zippo, Wang notwithstanding. Except when backed into a corner though, Joe hasn’t been a great advocate for young position players either. He allowed Spencer to play out his hot streak, but since then I can only recall Cano getting significant playing time. At the risk of overstating the obvious, Joe’s comfort zone clearly lies with the more established ball player.

    7. Raf
      January 23rd, 2006 | 3:11 pm

      Johnny has an interesting point. Other than Mo and Wang, how many Yankees rookie pitchers have developed under Torre?
      I don’t know if you can count Rivera, as he came up in ’95…

      But off the top of my head, I’m thinking Ramiro Mendoza (do we count Duque?). Maybe Boehringer and Choate. Not sure what you refer to as develop, as some guys were traded away (Lily, Halsey and Westbrook).

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