• Yanks Getting Kicked In The Jewels This Season?

    Posted by on June 29th, 2008 · Comments (25)

    Coming into this season, the general consensus of the experts was that Joba Chamberlain, Alan Horne, Austin Jackson, Ian Kennedy and Jose Tabata were the top five prospects in the Yankees farm system. (Note: I’m just listing them in alpha-order here.)

    So, now that we’re half-way into 2008, what’s the current status of these five? Are they still on a good track? Or, have they regressed? Let’s look at each of them:

    Joba Chamberlain: He’s been as real a deal as a real deal can be…no issues here.

    Alan Horne: He’s missed about 8 starts this season due to injury. And, when he’s pitched the results have been so-so. Most recently, he’s complained of having a dead arm. When you’re 25-years old and pitching in Triple-A, and having a season like Horne is to date, you’re losing some of that luster off your prospect status star.

    Austin Jackson: He’s 21-years old and playing in Double-A where the average age of both position players and pitchers (this year) is 24.6 years old. So, he’s young for where he’s playing – but he’s holding his own in the process. Maybe he’s not a can’t-miss, superstar to be, type prospect? But, he’s still a very good propsect and maybe the Yankees best position-player prospect (in terms of age, overall game, and resume to date) in their system.

    Ian Kennedy: He flopped in the majors this season. And, he’s suffered a back-related injury for the second season in a row. Further, it seems that he’s slipped down in terms of what the big league staff thinks of him. It’s not a reach to say that Kennedy has taken a step backward, to date, in terms of his prospect status.

    Jose Tabata: At 19-years old, he’s young for playing in Double-A. Maybe it was a mistake for the Yankees to have him at that level this season? He’s struggled with the bat this year, to date, and his defensive game has lapses. Worse, he’s getting the rep of being someone with a bad attitude. Right now, the only thing he has going for him is his age – as there are more questions around his prospect status, today, than there are good things to say.

    So, in summary, it’s not all rainbows and cupcakes this season for the “crown jewels” of the Yankees farm system. Yes, Chamberlain is great. And, yes, Jackson appears to be on track. But, it’s not been a good season for Horne, Kennedy and Tabata.

    The Horne and Kennedy thing is most distressing – because, when you add that to the poor seasons (this year) of young Yankees pitchers Phil Hughes, Jeffrey Marquez, and Dellin Betances (who, all three, were also rated very high by the experts as being high-potential young hurlers), it makes you wonder if the Yankees reported stockpile of young arms (in their system) is really everything that it’s cracked up to be…no?

    Comments on Yanks Getting Kicked In The Jewels This Season?

    1. dpk875
      June 30th, 2008 | 1:52 am

      Prospects flame out all the time, that isn’t news to anyone. The fact that they do get hurt or don’t develop as often is a good reason to stock the system with high ceiling arms.

      For the struggles of Kennedy, and Horne, it looks like Melancon, Robertson, and Cox have established themselves as legit prospects on multiple levels this year and will all likely be in the Bronx in September. McAllister is also having a solid year, and has already been promoted once. Even if Hughes and Kennedy do not get back to the Major’s this season, then they will still be two legit pitching prospects who are under 25 y/o.

      As much as Tabata has struggled, he is still on a higher level than most guys his age, I’m more worried about his attitude than his play at this point. Gardner, Montero, and Romine have been solid this year, so that is a real postive note.

    2. MJ
      June 30th, 2008 | 8:52 am

      Since Thursday, this is the third such post. What part of “We concede the point that not all prospects pan out” doesn’t work for you? Why do you need to keep beating people over the head with this concept? No one is disagreeing with you hear. The “prospects suck” mantra is draining the life out of this blog and, by extension, the conversations that are a part of it.

    3. MJ
      June 30th, 2008 | 8:53 am

      hear = here. Silly typo on my part.

    4. TurnTwo
      June 30th, 2008 | 8:56 am

      agreed with dpk. recognizing that most of tthe pitching prospects wont make it is half the battle… thats the reason why you can never have enough pitching.

      i’ll disagree in the sense that Horne had a solid spring training and wasnt bad this season, just that his injuries have held him back. he hasnt done anything on the field that would take away from his actual value, he just needs to get healthy.

      same with IPK. he rocketed thru the system and had a setback this year. he’s certainly young enough to say its way too early to claim he’s a bust or that he’s lost all of his luster… but if you moved him now, you’d be selling low.

      Tabata is, i think, the second youngest player in the Eastern League. he’s holding his own, and theyre working on his hitting issues, which apparently has to do with being able to turn on inside pitches and drive them with authority. the fact that he is working his average back close to .250, and he’s got a HRs under his belt is a good sign for his development.

    5. mehmattski
      June 30th, 2008 | 9:48 am

      Part of your disappointment is your own fault, Steve. You were the one who put Ian Kennedy on a pedestal before the season, even though we all warned you that he had the worst “stuff” out of the Big Three.

      Horne is 25 and that’s a problem, if he doesn’t work out his injury woes he’s going to become the next Steven White. Overall, though, with pitching prospects, I think you need to do a google search on TINSTAAPP, and understand what they mean by it.

      For the hitters, I think it’s premature to give up on any hitter that is one or more years younger than the average age at a given level. Hitter development is not linear, and it should not be expected to be- every hitter has a down year. At the age of 22, Jorge Posada had one of his worst years ever as a very young catcher at AAA. If you were blogging then, I bet you would have given up on him!

    6. June 30th, 2008 | 9:53 am

      ~~No one is disagreeing with you here~~

      MJ – is that 100% true? Is every comment left on these entries telling me that people concur…every person? No, not really. So, is it then wrong for me to provide further analysis that may stimulate some additional thought on the matter?

      Here’s what I think. You do not agree with what I’m suggesting on the farm system. So, you don’t want to hear it. And, you certainily don’t want to hear it more than once.

      That’s the funny thing here, sometimes…

      I can write, “X” amount of times in “X” amount of days, that Johnny Damon is having a great season…and no one says “boo” because it’s something that everyone agrees on…

      But, heaven forbid that I say something that’s not 100% pro- or rah-rah Yankees…because some people just can’t handle it. And, worse, shoot me if I try to show additional data on the same topic…then I’m “sucking the life” out of something…

      Am I really sucking the life out of something…or…is it more a matter of presenting the facts that some people prefer to ignore?

    7. June 30th, 2008 | 9:59 am

      ~~Part of your disappointment is your own fault, Steve. You were the one who put Ian Kennedy on a pedestal before the season, even though we all warned you that he had the worst “stuff” out of the Big Three.

      Horne is 25 and that’s a problem, if he doesn’t work out his injury woes he’s going to become the next Steven White. Overall, though, with pitching prospects, I think you need to do a google search on TINSTAAPP, and understand what they mean by it. ~~

      Whoa. First of all, do a search on this blog on “Big Three” and you’ll see that I’ve always thought that was a stupid label, etc.

      In fact, do a search on THIS BLOG for “TINSTAAPP” and you’ll see that I understand the notion and have been preaching it here for a while…

      Kennedy? Yes, I’ve said in the past that I liked him the most between Joba and Hughes…but, that was based on the feeling that I thought he was more grounded than Hughes and had a chance to be a more immediate impact in the rotation because of his command. I also thought that he was less of a spot-light grabber than Joba. So, that’s why I liked him more – personally. But, I was WRONG there – and have admitted that in posts here since then…Kennedy has a lot of growing up to do…the Yankees know this too…so, I have changed my stance on him…and have, again, written that here many times.

    8. TurnTwo
      June 30th, 2008 | 10:04 am

      “is it more a matter of presenting the facts that some people prefer to ignore?”

      i think its moreso the notion that you consistently present the facts that tend to skew arguments to your favor without also including facts from the other side.

      i dont think you’re 100% wrong, but i also dont think you’re right either.

      i think its a glass half full/half empty thing… more about perspective.

      i realize its a yankees site, and you dont have the time to undertake a project of its magnitude, but i wonder how, say, the top 10 ranked farm systems in the league’s consensus ‘top 5′ have all faired.

      i’d imagine its like the yankees bullpen problems. when viewed simply thru the eyes of NY fans, it looks bleak, but then you take a step back and compare bullpens around the league to what resources the yankees have and have available to them, and its not really THAT bad.

    9. TurnTwo
      June 30th, 2008 | 10:06 am

      “i think its moreso the notion that you consistently present the facts that tend to skew arguments to your favor without also including facts from the other side.”

      and let me say, thats not necessarily a bad thing… it certainly invokes discussion, and thats the point of having one of these blogs, right?

    10. MJ
      June 30th, 2008 | 10:08 am

      Too sick of this to respond. You win. I don’t care anymore.

      I hope every prospect that the Yanks ever sign turns to total shit. I hope the Yanks fire Brian Cashman and bring back whatever genius you think will do the right thing of trading every single prospect we draft for every single free agent out there. Hopefully Kyle Lohse signs a four year deal with the Yanks this winter and hopefully Hughes breaks his finger typing a blog and never pitches again.

      River Avenue Blues…here I come.

    11. mehmattski
      June 30th, 2008 | 10:28 am

      Actually a search for TINSTAAP returns just one hit. http://waswatching.com/?s=tinstaapp

      Intriguingly, the lone post on the subject is in reference to the Red Sox farm system, and how you don’t believe that they’re “all set” just because they have a few pitching prospects. TINSTAAP, you said. So that’s great, you understand that the best way to get young pitchers is to stockpile prospects- because they’re always one dead arm or injury away from being out of baseball… and once they’ve proven themselves in the majors, they’re no longer prospects.

      So what boggles my mind is how you can have that kind of perspective when it comes to another team’s farm system and not understand that same principle about the Yankees. Joba’s made it, so he’s not a prospect any more. If just ONE of the following pitchers spend significant time majors, that’s a win for the organization: (Horne, Betances, Brackman, Melancon, Kroenke, Marquez). Those are really the ratios we’re working with when it comes to pitchers. Expecting great things from every player in the top 10 of someone’s rankings is setting yourself up for disappointment.

      Hitters are a different story. I echo what others have said here many times- Tabata is young. Jackson is young. When they’re 24 and not hitting at AAA, that’s when you give up on them. Also- if Brett Gardner comes up and hits .300 for the rest of the Season on the Yanks, that will make two impact players from the farm THIS YEAR. Will you alter your story then?

    12. June 30th, 2008 | 10:37 am

      ~~I hope every prospect that the Yanks ever sign turns to total shit. ~~

      FWIW, I don’t. I like prospects. I like it when they do well. I love it when it happens on the Yankees.

      It’s just that I don’t agree with many – fans and media – who say the Yankees farm system is one of the best in baseball – - because it’s so deep with talent. I’m just not seeing it.

      If that drives you to go read another blog, so be it. It’s a free country. I hope you find what you’re looking for…

    13. June 30th, 2008 | 10:41 am

      ~~So what boggles my mind is how you can have that kind of perspective when it comes to another team’s farm system and not understand that same principle about the Yankees.~~

      It’s because of what the prospects are doing…

      Look at the Rays…they’re rolling… and it’s all because of the prospects that they’ve built up in their system – via the draft and trades. Good to great prospects and many have paid off for them.

      The Yankees prospects? Well, as I’ve written here…how many do you really have when the FIVE BEST in your system are really only TWO players that have some value right now?

      If the Yankees system was truly overflowing with talent now, I would be saying it’s great, etc.

      But, I’m not seeing that now…as much as some other fans and the media say it is…

    14. June 30th, 2008 | 10:45 am

      ~~i think its moreso the notion that you consistently present the facts that tend to skew arguments to your favor without also including facts from the other side.~~

      If I missed facts, it’s not intentional. And, in cases where those facts have been presented to me, and they’re legit, I have revised my position on things in the past.

      But, people don’t tend to give me credit for that…it’s just easier to whine about me not being a Yankees cheerleader…100% of the time.

    15. mehmattski
      June 30th, 2008 | 10:53 am

      “Look at the Rays…they’re rolling… and it’s all because of the prospects that they’ve built up in their system – via the draft and trades. Good to great prospects and many have paid off for them.”

      That’s a GREAT example- of being patient! How many years did the Rays struggle in last place before they put it all together this year? They bided their time for FIVE YEARS and put together the right trades. It also helps to be picking 25-30 picks ahead of the Yankees in the draft every year…

      It took BJ Upton three years and three different positions before he settled in CF. They could have traded Carl Crawford every year since he was 19 for a bucket load of prospects. James Shields had a rough first season in the big leagues. If all of these things had happened on the Yankees, you might be screaming about the farm system too.

      Forget the mainstream media- they’re not used to the Yankees having ANY farm system at all, so it looks shiny and new. But what Cashman and Oppenheimer are trying to do takes time and patience.

    16. yankeemonkey
      June 30th, 2008 | 10:54 am

      Yes, look at the Rays, who are rolling now…after being absolutely terrible for a decade. It’s easy to have good-to-great prospects when you consistently have draft picks in the top 5 every year. Obviously, you also need smart FO to take advantage of those picks (cf: Pirates, Royals), but I’m pretty sure the Yankee farm system would be rolling too had they been in the same situation.

    17. TurnTwo
      June 30th, 2008 | 10:55 am

      “Look at the Rays…they’re rolling… and it’s all because of the prospects that they’ve built up in their system – via the draft and trades. Good to great prospects and many have paid off for them.”

      and its the first time we’ve seen them, as an organization, have success like this. and the reason isnt because they built their team from within… its because Steve Phillips is retarded and traded Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano, and Andrew Friedman took a chance on giving up some offense in Delmon Young for pitching, in Matt Garza. they brought in a veteran FA closer to help fill out the weakness in the bullpen, and the team, under Maddon, is finally living up to the potential theyve supposedly had now for the last 3 or 4 years.

      theyve been in the league for what, i think 10 years now? its about time some of these prospects pay off for them

      the yankees have been in the playoffs every year the Rays have been in existence, and really only put the emphasis on rebuilding the farm the past 2 or 3 years or so.

      so for this type of argument, how about we take another look in 2015, and see where Austin Jackson, Jose Tabata, and Ian Kennedy are then, or what they helped bring to the organization.

    18. June 30th, 2008 | 11:02 am

      ~~But what Cashman and Oppenheimer are trying to do takes time and patience.~~

      I’ve already documented how Cashman said, back in 2000, that it was the Yankees plan to stockpile, and fill their system, with young arm prospects, etc.

      He failed then – why should it be any different this time? Same guy. Same plan.

    19. June 30th, 2008 | 11:03 am

      ~~so for this type of argument, how about we take another look in 2015, and see where Austin Jackson, Jose Tabata, and Ian Kennedy are then, or what they helped bring to the organization.~~

      2015? Seven years from now?
      How about 2010 or 2011? Isn’t that more fair?

    20. yankeemonkey
      June 30th, 2008 | 11:05 am

      Steve, Yanks had consistently lost their first-round draft picks in the early 2000s because they signed all those free agents. That can’t be ignored.

      “He failed then – why should it be any different this time? Same guy. Same plan.”

      But-but-but Damon Oppenheimer!!! Whatever happened to your mancrush on him? Or did you forget that Oppenheimer wasn’t running the Yankees drafts back then?

    21. TurnTwo
      June 30th, 2008 | 11:08 am

      i was referring to the 10 year anniversary of when Cashman received full authority as GM of the organization. he got it during his last negotiation, and started organizing things from there… i think that was what, between 2004 and 2005, or 2005 and 2006?

      in any case, point being we cant say these guys were ‘top 5 consensus’ coming in to 2008 and have been a disappointment, thus failures to BC’s prospect and farm system resume based on a couple months of the 2008 season.

    22. TurnTwo
      June 30th, 2008 | 11:10 am

      “Yanks had consistently lost their first-round draft picks in the early 2000s because they signed all those free agents. That can’t be ignored.”

      thats a good point, too. didnt even think about that.

    23. June 30th, 2008 | 12:15 pm

      Re: not having many picks in the 2000′s…When you have the ability to pay above slot…how important are those first rounders? Shouldn’t you then be able to use your money to grab guys who slide down in the draft because of signing concerns?

    24. TurnTwo
      June 30th, 2008 | 1:00 pm

      if the talent comes off the board in the first or second round before you get a chance to pick, doesnt matter how much you can pay over slot, you dont have anything worthy enough to spend your money on.

      and i dont even know what the yankees FO policy was re: paying over slot for draft picks early this decade. perhaps with Cashman’s push to revamp the system came the assurances from the FO that he’d have reallocated funds to do what he needed to do in the amateur draft to make it a success. we dont know.

      besides, noone is saying that losing draft picks is the only reason why the Yankees would have such an unimpressive prospect crew, or so you’ve dubbed it, but one of a combination of factors relative to other teams rated as having top 5 or top 10 farm systems.

      but this is all based on the notion that the yankees top 5 prospects overall have been ultimately a bust, which is a premise that most would not necessarily buy into.

    25. DJ21996
      June 30th, 2008 | 1:55 pm

      Tabata is just being humbled. It will aid him in the long run and keep him level headed at all times.

      Joba is Joba.

      Horne is missing the boat due to injury and control issues. Its a shame.

      Kennedy is a headcase. He will dominate the minors for the remainder of the year and leave every perplexed as to why he looks like a bum at the Big League level.

      Jackson confuses me a bit. His numbers are good enough to say he is doing well.
      But they arent the numbers that make you stand up to attention.

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