• Jeff Cindrich

    Posted by on January 31st, 2008 · Comments (15)

    This the story of Jeff Cindrich (whose last name in some baseball references is also spelled as “Ciendrich”).

    He was drafted by the New York Yankees in 1990 – the Yanks’ selection in the 54th round that year – out of Edison Community College. (The same school that later produced Joel Pineiro.)

    Cindrich, from Cape Coral, Florida, was a pitcher – and a big one, at 6 feet, 6 inches, and 230 pounds.

    While I cannot tell you how he did in the minors prior to 1992, I can tell you that he was near unhittable in ’92.

    That season, as a 21-year old, pitching for the Gulf Coast League and Oneonta Yankees, Cindrich pitched in 14 games, making 11 starts, and threw 72 innings – allowing only 45 hits and 20 walks in the process. He also struck out 90 batters in those 72 innings and had an ERA of 1.25 – and, that ERA was the 8th best in all of the minor leagues (for pitchers with at least 50 IP).

    The next season, 1993, he pitched for the Greensboro Hornets in the South Atlantic League (A-Ball) – mostly out of the pen for the Yankees affiliate. And, Cindrich struggled – in 111 innings he allowed 97 hits and 62 walks, and fashioned an ERA of 3.81 (on the year). He did strikeout 88 batters that season.

    In 1994, it was somewhat the same for Cindrich. Then, he was 23 and pitching for the Tampa Yankees. In 42 games, all out of the pen, he threw 54 innings – allowing 57 hits and 30 walks, while fanning 59 batters.

    The following season, 1995, the Yankees invited him to their major league Spring Training camp. After that, Cindrich found himself pitching for Tampa, again, in the Florida State League. Appearing in just 24 games, all in relief, he logged 39 innings – giving up 50 hits, 17 walks, and an ERA of 4.38 (with 32 strikeouts).

    That was the end of his affiliated professional baseball career – at the tender age of twenty-four.

    Based on his stats in 1992, Jeff Cindrich looked like he was a prospect – despite the fact of where he was drafted in 1990. But, it all turned on a dime for him the next season and, just three years later, he was off the map.

    I cannot say what happened after 1992 – or just even in 1995. Maybe he was injured? Maybe it was something else? I can’t find out what from my research. But, something happened – for sure.

    Still, you just can’t tell sometimes, based on one season in the minors, if a guy is a legit prospect or not, can you? Just use Cindrich as an example.

    Update: I just remembered that I had Baseball America’s 1992 Almanac – and was able to find Cindrich’s stats from 1991: With Tampa, in the GCL, he pitched in 13 games (9 starts), threw 57 innings, allowed 61 hits and 21 walks – and fanned 55. Not terrible – but, no where near his awesome 1992.

    Comments on Jeff Cindrich

    1. January 31st, 2008 | 8:56 pm

      … so what point are you driving at here? Is there something else that you’re implying here?

    2. January 31st, 2008 | 8:58 pm

      Nah, just telling a story about a Yankee that most people know nothing about.

    3. Rich
      January 31st, 2008 | 9:37 pm

      Drugs?

    4. unmoderated
      January 31st, 2008 | 9:38 pm

      i remember him – from my hometown o-yanks (now oneonta tigers, yuck.

      i was only 13 or 14, but i used to go to all the games back then.

    5. Basura
      January 31st, 2008 | 9:39 pm

      I love coming here, every entry is so uplifting.

    6. kunaldo
      January 31st, 2008 | 10:03 pm

      seriously, quite the negative nancy…

      i was under the impression you were implying that our young guys dominating the minors has no bearing on how good they’ll be(well, it’s not a guarantee at least)….i somewhat agree with you, although dominating the GCL isnt exactly an accomplishment…hughes/joba/ipk have dominated every single level of the minors, which is why everyone is so excited about them…they also have personalities suited for NY, in that they are very even keeled and dont let things get to them(think Mo)

      In any case, who the heck knows how good they’ll really be…one elbow pop here, one tricep tear there…well, ya know

    7. Sonny M
      January 31st, 2008 | 10:04 pm

      Not to make things more depressing, but anyone realize that if this kid had been drafted in say the first 3 rounds and not the 54th, he probably would have given as many 2nd chances as possible, and might have wound up getting a cup of coffee in the big leagues.

      Bottom line either way, guys like Cindrich are pretty common, happens alot.

      My rule of thumb is to look at tools first, see how they are developing, and then get excited after they have a body of work to look at.

      This guy only had one good year, there are plenty of guys who had several good years and saw their careers end before 25 for a variety of reasons.

    8. j
      January 31st, 2008 | 10:04 pm

      I’ve gotta tell you Steve, most people who know your writing were probably reading this and saying “at what point does he say that Phil Hughes will become Jeff Cindrich?”

    9. January 31st, 2008 | 10:19 pm

      Hughes would really have to tank for that to happen, j.

      ~~~Not to make things more depressing, but anyone realize that if this kid had been drafted in say the first 3 rounds and not the 54th, he probably would have given as many 2nd chances as possible, and might have wound up getting a cup of coffee in the big leagues.~~~

      So true, Sonny, so, very, very true.

      See Andy Brown:

      http://www.waswatching.com/archives/2006/03/estee_harris_-.html

    10. Rich
      January 31st, 2008 | 10:38 pm

      I actually think the only open question about Hughes is whether he will be great or just really, really good.

    11. Sonny M
      February 1st, 2008 | 1:43 am

      Steve,

      I actually brought this up because I remember the Andy Brown story.

      My fault for not mentioning it (or citing it and giving you credit).

      Some parts of drafting and development still stick with me, like how a guy who sucks but gets big money early, gets every chance in the world, while a guy no one thought of, and gets drafted late, has only one shot and thats it.

      remember Pulojs was in the 13th round, if he had had any bad years, the cards would have dumped him, while other guys get shot after shot after shot.

    12. Raf
      February 1st, 2008 | 9:50 am

      remember Pulojs was in the 13th round, if he had had any bad years, the cards would have dumped him, while other guys get shot after shot after shot.
      ———————–
      That’s not necessarily true. If a player has any game in the minors, he will eventually get a shot somewhere, provided he doesn’t give up.

    13. Tcindrich
      February 9th, 2008 | 10:17 am

      I can tell you Jeff Cindrich’s problem was definitley not drugs! He blew out his elbow in 1995 and ended up having 5 surgeries and was eventually released by the Yankees.

    14. Tcindrich
      February 9th, 2008 | 10:21 am

      We have hope for his son, who at 18 months is already 33 lbs and 3 ft. tall.

    15. February 9th, 2008 | 12:01 pm

      Tcindrich – thank you for this update to the story, and, of course, best of luck with the little one! Or, should I say “Not so little” little one!

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