• Yanks Farm Lacking Impact Player?

    Posted by on June 28th, 2008 · Comments (15)

    The second of two today from Ken Rosenthal:

    Rival scouts and executives are somewhat divided over the quality of the Yankees’ farm system, which ranked fifth in the 2008 Baseball America organization rankings.

    Critics, pointing to the stalled developments of pitchers such as Ian Kennedy and Jeff Marquez, say the Yankees overrate their prospects, something to which practically every organization could plead guilty.

    “I’ve seen a lot of guys who will play in the big leagues and pitch in the big leagues,” says one rival scout who is assigned to the Yankees’ system. “But I haven’t seen an impact player.”

    The Yankees, however, possess so many highly regarded young arms, some are bound to succeed. What’s more, they might need to deal only one top young player — say, right-hander Phil Hughes — if the Indians value quality over quantity in a Sabathia trade.

    Another area of depth for the Yankees is center field; Melky Cabrera, 23, is in the majors; Brett Gardner, 24, is at Class AAA; Austin Jackson, 21 at Class AA.

    Gardner an 80 runner on the 20-to-80 scouting scale, is a Juan Pierre/Brett Butler type, only he draws more walks than Pierre. Some scouts question whether he will hit, but at worst he should become a good extra outfielder.

    Jackson has perhaps the highest upside of any position player in the Yankees’ organization.

    Back in 2000, the Yankees reportedly had a wealth of up-and-coming pitching talent. And, as I shared yesterday, in 2002, the Yankees – according to Baseball America – had the fifth best farm system in all of baseball.

    So, from 2000 to 2002, the Yankees were supposedly teeming with prospects – more so than most teams in baseball. Well, it’s now 2008 – and how are all those prospects working out today?

    I don’t know about you; but, I’m really starting to get tired of hearing about how the Yankees future is so bright because of all the prospects in their system. It’s starting to look more and more like a bill of goods…being sold by Brian Cashman…when you consider that we were hearing these same things back in 2000-02.

    Comments on Yanks Farm Lacking Impact Player?

    1. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      June 28th, 2008 | 10:20 am

      You make it sound like Brian Cashman is selling a “bill of goods” that he KNOWS to be false, as if he KNOWS that the vast majority of these prospects will crash and burn. Some will crash and burn, some won’t.

      I obviously have no investment in arguing whether Brian Cashman is good or bad for the team, but this broadside seems especially gratuitous and harsh.

      It just might be that more and more fans are realizing, after a lot of disappointment, that over-reliance on aging stars on the downside of their careers isn’t the best strategy. But at the same time I don’t see anyone who advocates that “the prospects will be great, just let them develop” to the exclusion of the other tools of roster development, free agents and trades.

    2. thenewguy
      June 28th, 2008 | 10:58 am

      So what would you like instead? Everyone used to complain about the Yankees not developing a farm system, and now you complain that they spend too much time developing it and paying attention to it?

      I don’t think anyone is counting on the system to develop key impact players. Where do we need an impact player in the farm system for at this moment in time? Until we let the older guys walk (Giambi, Abreu, Matsui, Damon) and switch Posada to 1st or DH, we don’t really have a need for an impact player from the minors. Except of course for pitchers, for which we certainly have had impact players come up from the farm system.

      No one expects everyone on the top 10 Yankees prospects to be all-stars. But if we can trade one or two of them, use one or two of them in the bullpen, and start one or two of them in the field isn’t that a successful farm system?

      If Hughes pans out and is actually good, how can you complain about what the farm has done recently? Cano, Wang, Joba, Hughes, and some bullpen help. Also a servicable player in Melky Cabrera. What more do you want Steve? Find a happy place and go there.

    3. June 28th, 2008 | 11:17 am

      ~~So what would you like instead?~~

      I’d like to see/hear the following from the Yankees:

      “We realize that we should always be looking to improve our product on the big league level. To that end, we’re going to focus on all available avenues in which mjor league talent can be acquired. This includes, in addition to developing players through our own system, looking to acquire key free agents where we have immediate needs as well as trading for key players when they become available in the market.”

      But, I’m not hearing that. All I hear is “Free Agents will kill you” or “There is no trade market these days.” And, that’s BS to me.

      If you’re smart, you can sign the right free agents. And, if you’re willing to deal, you can make trades. Other teams do it – so, the Yankees should be able to…as well.

    4. mehmattski
      June 28th, 2008 | 11:41 am

      Did you ever consider the possibility that Baseball America was wrong about the 2000-2002 Yankees farm system? What makes them such gods of the talent evaluation world? I wasn’t following the farm system as closely as I do now, but I can say for sure that the Yankees clearly did not value the amateur draft at all, and had very few first/sandwich/second round picks because of all the free agents they were signing. That’s going to dry up the talent pool very quickly.

      Off the top of my head: Nick Johnson, Robinson Cano, Chien-Ming Wang, Ted Lilly, Jake Westbrook, and Juan Rivera all played in the Yankees minor league system, during 2000-2002. All of them have had one or more seasons of OPS+ or ERA+ above 115… I’d call that “impact,” wouldn’t you?

    5. gphunt
      June 28th, 2008 | 11:41 am

      I don’t understand?

      I thought that’s what the Yankees have been doing. They just don’t want to go out on the free agent market and sign a guy for 7-8 years anymore. They don’t want to be burned with Giambi sized contracts.

      But it’s also harder for the Yankees to make the trades anymore…teams want an arm and a leg from the Yanks and then take less from other teams. Look at the Schilling to Sox deal, look at the Gagne deal last year. Those teams asked for outrageous returns and then accepted less from other teams. There were reports that the Indians wanted a package around Cano and Chamberlain for Sabathia.

    6. DJ21996
      June 28th, 2008 | 12:22 pm

      If you disregard anything below the High A+ League. No position play has stamped their authority as a sure fire All Star caliber player this season.

      Austin Jackson is having a nice year but it isnt a eye popping, jump up and down type of year.
      Tabata has stalled slightly…and Gardner is having a great year but he isnt going to be a great Major Leaguer.

      Pitching wise…Our best pitchers from AA and AAA are relievers. Which isnt a bad thing but they wont be valued like a top notch starter.

      At the end of the day. The pitching doesnt concern me because Wang, Hughes and Joba will all be very good and we have some good bullpen arms coming up.
      The bats do concern me though and it would be nice if someone at High A+ or higher would bust out and force their way into elite status.

    7. June 28th, 2008 | 12:32 pm

      ~~Did you ever consider the possibility that Baseball America was wrong about the 2000-2002 Yankees farm system?~~

      Sure. Did you ever consider the possibility that Baseball America is wrong about the 2006-2008 Yankees farm system too?

    8. mehmattski
      June 28th, 2008 | 12:41 pm

      Sure. Did you ever consider the possibility that Baseball America is wrong about the 2006-2008 Yankees farm system too?

      I anticipated that response. And yet, already the Yankees have at least one impact player coming out of their farm system, in Joba Chamberlain. That a player can race through the farm system and make an impact at the major league level so quickly suggests the following:

      The Yankees are evaluating talent better than they did in 2000-2002.

      In particular, they are paying attention to the amateur draft in ways they failed to prior to 2004. We know this change in philosophy to be true, and we see its results in the form of solid pitching staffs at AA and AAA the last three years.

      Your impatience with the farm system is quizzical. There is no evidence that the Yankees have abandoned trades and free agents; they have abandoned signing free agents to long term contracts and trading prospects for aging veterans. How can you say that’s a bad thing?

    9. thenewguy
      June 28th, 2008 | 2:15 pm

      So Steve, what do you want us to do? Do you want Yankees fans to not be excited about potentially good prospects? Do you want Baseball America to stop ranking the Yankees farm system highly so we don’t have any expectations? Do you want to blame Cashman for giving us too much hope? What do you want? What’s the point of saying “Oh by the way, most of these prospects won’t pan out.”

      Do you want there to be a shift in philosophy so that they just empty out the farm system since, well, it’s unlikely these prospects will become anything except good trade bait?

      Hopefully, for every 10 “Top Prospects” that don’t pan out there is one unknown prospect that can contribute, even if its only for part of a season or the stretch run.

    10. June 28th, 2008 | 2:31 pm

      ~~Do you want Yankees fans to not be excited about potentially good prospects? ~~

      No, it’s OK to have some good feelings about it. But, I want them to check that excitement – because it just may be a situation where reality is about to pull the rug out from underneath them.

      It’s OK to be pleased about having a good farm. It’s another thing to have this blind faith that the farm system will lead to all things glory in the future…and that’s what I’m hearing/seeing from many Yankees fans who buy into what Cashman is selling now.

    11. June 28th, 2008 | 2:32 pm

      ~~There is no evidence that the Yankees have abandoned trades and free agents; they have abandoned signing free agents to long term contracts and trading prospects for aging veterans.~~

      See: Santana, Johan.

    12. AndrewYF
      June 28th, 2008 | 2:53 pm

      Johan Santana is an aging veteran. Sure, he’s a pretty good aging veteran, but how will he look next year? Or in 2011? And even then you’ll still likely be paying him more than any other pitcher in the game.

      Going by this logic, you should be lavishing Cashman with praise for trading for Kevin Brown, who did provide the Yankees with some good, solid innings when he first came over. You should laud him for signing Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright. You should grovel at his feet for trading for the best pitcher in the game, Randy Johnson.

      Frankly, you can’t ever, ever, ever again criticize Cashman for signing a veteran free agent. After all, only Yankee prospects never, ever, ever work out. Ever. In fact, they should abandon the farm system altogether. What good has it ever done?

      You’re a joke, Steve. You’ve sold out to SNY, the METS network, and you fill your posts with contradictory anti-Yankee nonsense. Which is why SNY even wanted you in the first place.

      Having a good farm system is VITAL to building a championship team. Trading away your best prospects who already had shown they can have major league success for an aging, declining pitcher that you then sign for the richest contract for a pitcher in major league history is exactly what the old Yankees would do.

      Heck, using your method for analyzing prospects’ future success, we can even examine recent history for how Johan Santana would do: Kevin Brown, bust. Randy Johnson, not a bust but nothing close to what they expected. Javier Vazquez: unexpected bust, even though it was the right thing to do. So Steve, using your logic, trading for pitchers is the wrong thing to do, and it has not worked for the Yankees in this decade, and we can conclusively state that Johan Santana would likely be a bust. Or do you not like this stupid, idiotic logic when it’s used against you?

    13. yankees76
      June 28th, 2008 | 3:49 pm

      I think mehmattski identified quite a lot of production from the farm system during that period. I’d be perfectly happy with that type of production for the 2008-2010 period.

      And hey, during the same time period, there’s also ALFONSO SORIANO, who played most of 2000 at Columbus. DIONER NAVARRO, who played 2000 in the GCL and 2001 at A and A+ Tampa. WILY MO PENA played 2000 in SI and Greensboro before being traded to the Reds.

      You tell me whether Damaso Marte counts, signed as a minor league FA in the offseason before 2001, and pitched at Norwich for part of 2001 before being traded for Enrique Wilson. I think that’s player development, identifying unsigned minor league talent that you can develop or use in a trade. Probably should have kept him, though…. Of course, then we wouldn’t have had all of those 2Bs that the otherwise pathetic Wilson hit off Pedro.

      There’s also guys like Marcus Thames, who are seeing regular action now.

    14. AndrewYF
      June 28th, 2008 | 4:22 pm

      Of course, yankees76, where are they now? Not on the Yankees. No, they were TRADED. FOR MAJOR LEAGUE VETERANS. Only one of which worked out, Soriano for A-Rod, because Boston completely screwed up the deal and A-Rod fell to the Yankees for the mere price of Soriano.

      So, just to get this straight – the Yankees farm system of 2000 failed, solely because none of the people on those lists are on the Yankees at this time. But, the reason why none of them are on the Yankees at this time is because they were traded away for major league veterans. So, a surefire way for the prospects of 2006 to not be on the Yankees in the future, and therefore ‘fail’ for the Yankees, is to trade them away. And yet, that’s exactly what you’re proposing.

      Honestly, I would retract this post, and this line of thinking you (or SNY) has set up for you. It’s one of the most idiotic things you’ve ever said on this blog, and Steve, that is saying something.

    15. June 28th, 2008 | 5:04 pm

      ~~You’re a joke, Steve. You’ve sold out to SNY, the METS network, and you fill your posts with contradictory anti-Yankee nonsense. Which is why SNY even wanted you in the first place.~~

      AndrewYF – this one’s for you:


      If there’s a joke here, I believe it’s on you.

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