• Hawaii Winter Baseball News

    Posted by on November 27th, 2006 · Comments (6)

    Baseball America recently had this to say about some Yankees pitching prospects in the Hawaii Winter Baseball League:

    Joba Chamberlain, rhp, West Oahu (Yankees)

    Like the Arizona Fall League, teams were hesitant to send top pitching prospects to HWB, but because Chamberlain signed late, the Yankees wanted him to get more innings. The 2006 supplemental first-rounder from Nebraska didn’t disappoint. He pitched at 93-95 mph with his fastball while touching 97. While he’s shown a plus slider in the past, his breaking ball lacked definition in HWB and was somewhere between a slider and a curve, thrown in the low-to-mid 70s. Chamberlain already has a solid-average changeup at 81-82 mph with some fade. He can pound the zone with his fastball and boasted an astounding 42-3 strikeout-walk ratio. He was the only pitcher in the league to show true top-of-the-rotation potential.

    Jeff Marquez, rhp, West Oahu (Yankees)

    Though his ERA hovered around 7.00 for much of the HWB season, Marquez showed an impressive arsenal. He has a 92-94 mph two-seam fastball with late life that induces a ton of ground balls. His changeup is above-average, but his breaking ball is fringy and needs to be tightened, and his command within the zone needs refinement. He seemed to have difficulty avoiding the big inning, but his ability to pitch off of his fastball stands out, and his knack for getting ground balls portends well for his future.

    Ian Kennedy, rhp, West Oahu (Yankees)

    Like Chamberlain, the Yankees wanted to get Kennedy some innings this winter after he signed late. Even though he was taken ahead of Chamberlain and got a bigger bonus, he stuff was clearly lagging behind. He has good command of an 88-92 mph fastball that he complements with a curveball that has good depth and a changeup with late-downward action. Just 6-feet-tall, Kennedy pitches on a flat plane and his stuff is not overwhelming. He has good feel for pitching and a simple repeatable delivery that should allow him to be a solid back-of-the-rotation starter.

    It will be interesting to see how these three do in 2007 – and whether or not any of them have their reports go up or down. Still, at best, you won’t see these guys in the Bronx until 2009, at best. So much can happen in that amount of time.

    Comments on Hawaii Winter Baseball News

    1. SteveB
      November 27th, 2006 | 11:48 am

      42-3 K/BB??? That’s nuts.

    2. Paul
      November 27th, 2006 | 12:49 pm

      I hope to see Joba in pinstripes soon. I think he will be the first of the new Baby Bomber pitchers to come up this year.

    3. Raf
      November 27th, 2006 | 2:05 pm

      Still, at best, you won’t see these guys in the Bronx until 2009, at best. So much can happen in that amount of time.
      ==========
      Ya, but I can’t help but to be encouraged by the news.

      Depending on their progress, you may see these guys in ’08.

    4. November 27th, 2006 | 2:56 pm

      Actually, Joba’s k/bb was 46/3.

      The thing I like about Kennedy is he actually had a higher k/9 rate than Joba. And he didn’t allow a single HR in all his 30.1 innings (whereas Joba gave up 3 in 37.2).

      We may not have to wait until ’09. Joba & Kennedy will probably start at Tampa next year, so there’s a chance – if they dominate – to see the show in ’08.

    5. baileywalk
      November 27th, 2006 | 3:44 pm

      The Yankees took Kennedy with their first pick and gave him a huge signing bonus. He’s a polished college pitcher and it’s my guess they see him making the team sooner than ’09. I don’t know what their thoughts were for Chamberlain, but his stuff tells you he’ll be up before ’09, too. Even if it’s in the bullpen. He has a big-time fastball and excellent control. He’ll be here in one capacity or another. Marquez’s issues are apparently all mental/physical.

    6. joedel
      December 6th, 2006 | 9:57 am

      Did anyone read the article in Baseball America about Ian Kennedy and Joba Chamberlain? Kennedy’s fall pitching coach was trying to shorten his stride to the plate. From what I understand about pitching, if his stride is shorter he will be throwing even flatter and his velocity will drop. Probably not something you want to do to a first round — or any prospect. The Yankees even have some impressive minor league pitching talent in the lower levels. Guys such as Daniel McCutcheon, George Kontos, Tim Norton, Eric Wordekemper etc. One thing all these young pitchers have in common? – control. Most, if not all, have very low walk totals. This past 2006 draft will be looked upon as one of the best pitching drafts the Yankees have ever had. Also, it is about time they really increase Philip Hughes’ innings this year. He needs to be prepped to pitch over the long haul. Any thoughts?

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