• Abraham: Behind Scenes With Yanks Scouts

    Posted by on February 24th, 2009 · Comments (14)

    Peter Abraham takes a look “Behind the scenes with Yankees’ pro scouts.” It’s a good read worth checking out.

    Right now, I’m on the fence with respect to Billy Eppler. In the past, I’ve heard good things about him. However, in reading the Torre/Verducci book, I’m coming away from it thinking that maybe we should be suspect about Eppler’s skills.

    It was nothing specific that Torre said in the book to make me feel this way. More so, it was a matter of Torre expressing that he engaged and tolerated Eppler but didn’t take his input as something that should be run with as if it was two stone tablets coming down from the mountain. Then again, maybe I’m misinterpreting what was written in the book?

    So, like I said, right now, I’m not sure if Billy Eppler is a great asset for the Yankees or just another one of Brian Cashman’s yes-men. What’s your take on Eppler?

    Comments on Abraham: Behind Scenes With Yanks Scouts

    1. asdf
      February 24th, 2009 | 9:34 am

      Man, I sure hope this Eppler guy doesn’t try to use fancy stats like OBP.

    2. February 24th, 2009 | 9:45 am

      Be careful what you wish for…in the Torre book, Joe said that Cashman sent him a line-up suggestion in 2007 stating that Torre should bat Abreu lead-off and Giambi second because they had the best OBP among the Yankees regulars.

      Granted, yes, you want high OBP guys at the top of the line-up…over guys with a low OBP.

      However, it’s a sign that you don’t understand the game if you suggest that Jason Giambi should bat 2nd in the line-up because he has a high OBP. One, it’s a waste of his SLG% contribution, and, two, he’s a base clogger.

      Sabermetrics are great. And, I love them. But, there comes a point where you have to use common sense too. And, clearly, with that line-up suggestion, Cashman had his head stuck in a stat book and was showing no baseball-sense recommending that Torre should bat Abreu and Giambi one-two in his line-up.

    3. Raf
      February 24th, 2009 | 9:48 am

      It was nothing specific that Torre said in the book to make me feel this way.
      ———–
      Well, if the book is supposedly a “hit job” on Cashman (for lack of a better term), and Eppler’s a Cashman hire… ;)

      Anyway, having scouts all over the place is a good thing. One of my coaches lamented at the decline in scouts back in 1998-99. He mentioned that teams were cutting back on scouting, for whatever reason, and a lot of kids were going unscouted.

      Don’t get me wrong, college kids will get their $$ and they will get scouted, it’s the guys that play in leagues like the Westchester Baseball Association (WBA) or in the smaller leagues that will fall through the cracks. Maybe they pan out, maybe they wont, but it couldn’t hurt to check.

    4. YankCrank
      February 24th, 2009 | 9:53 am

      Right now, I’m on the fence with respect to Billy Eppler. In the past, I’ve heard good things about him. However, in reading the Torre/Verducci book, I’m coming away from it thinking that maybe we should be suspect about Eppler’s skills.
      ——

      In the past, I heard a lot of good things about some of the people Torre trashed in his book, but I don’t let Torre and his bitter exit from the Yanks dictate my feelings. I understand what you’re saying, but we need to take Torre’s views and opinions, especially on anything dealing with Cashman or his staff, with a grain of salt.

      The scouting part of the game, and statistical emphasis on the game, grew very large over the time of Torre’s Yankee tenure and it didn’t seem like he grew along with it. I can’t say for certain but I seem to remember stories of Cashman filling out stat sheets, or matchup sheets with statistical analysis for Torre to use and he continued to ignore them, using players like Bernie and Miguel Cairo far too often. Torre’s philosophy seemed to wear thin at the end and he does a lot of blaming on Cash, so idk if I want Torre’s opinions in his book to speak for my opinions as well.

    5. YankCrank
      February 24th, 2009 | 9:55 am

      Cashman sent him a line-up suggestion in 2007 stating that Torre should bat Abreu lead-off and Giambi second because they had the best OBP among the Yankees regulars.
      ——

      I never saw that, if that’s true than yes that’s a little odd haha

    6. YankCrank
      February 24th, 2009 | 10:00 am

      And, clearly, with that line-up suggestion, Cashman had his head stuck in a stat book and was showing no baseball-sense recommending that Torre should bat Abreu and Giambi one-two in his line-up.
      ——

      One question though. Do you know when that lineup recommendation was suggested? If I remember 2007 correctly, there was a good chunk of time where the Yanks were having trouble scoring runs. I remember when we got to Shea, Andy threw a great game and was so pissed at the constant lack of run support that he threw a hissy-fit in the dugout. But anyway, I can see that lineup suggestion as a move of desperation. Something along the lines of “we need to get this lineup moving and maybe a significant change is needed.” I’m not defending the idea, just wondering when it would have been possible for him to suggest such a dramatic change.

    7. Raf
      February 24th, 2009 | 10:02 am

      However, it’s a sign that you don’t understand the game if you suggest that Jason Giambi should bat 2nd in the line-up because he has a high OBP. One, it’s a waste of his SLG% contribution, and, two, he’s a base clogger.
      ————–
      Wade Boggs started 927 games @ leadoff. He had a high OBP.

      As for SLG%, in 2007 he posted a .433 SLG% which was less than the #2 guy in the order, Derek Jeter :)

      As for base clogging, see above. Wade Boggs certainly wasn’t a blazer, yet he batted 1st or 2nd in the order. On the flip side, you also have guys like Luis Polonia & Juan Pierre, who batted high in the order, and had speed but couldn’t do much with it, because they didn’t get on base.

      Alex Rodriguez batted 2nd in 2004, Ryne Sandberg batted 2nd for the bulk of his career, so it isn’t like you can’t have an offensive minded player batting 2nd in the order.

    8. thenewguy
      February 24th, 2009 | 10:03 am

      One, it’s a waste of his SLG% contribution, and, two, he’s a base clogger
      ——-

      Steve, you obviously haven’t read any FireJoeMorgan. They (and I) see very little wrong with a “baseclogger” since, indeed, a team needs baserunners to score runs. If Giambi batted in front of Johnny Damon, how many times do you think he would prevent Damon from taking an extra base, or stealing, vs. Melky Cabrera? Most of the time that Giambi would get onbase, Damon would fail to get a hit, so it wouldn’t matter. A lot of the time Johnny Damon got on base, Giambi would have gotten an out beforehand, so Damon would be free to steal second. Even in those instances when Giambi got on-base, and then Damon got on-base, is Giambi just sitting at second base when Damon could have made it home? I mean, maybe Giambi would prevent Damon from stealing 2nd base a few times if his fat butt was sitting there, but if Melky was at 2nd base, I don’t think there would be a double steal.

      That whole paragraph might be complete jibberish, but the point is that “clogging the basepaths” is a very important way of winning baseball games.

    9. MJ
      February 24th, 2009 | 11:01 am

      Right now, I’m on the fence with respect to Billy Eppler. In the past, I’ve heard good things about him. However, in reading the Torre/Verducci book, I’m coming away from it thinking that maybe we should be suspect about Eppler’s skills.

      What’s your take on Eppler?
      ———–
      It seems like the Torre/Verducci book has really made an impression on you, Steve.

      I don’t know anything about Eppler to have an opinion on him. My only thought is that the Yanks need as much help as they can get on the scouting side of things and I don’t think that a scout who is interested in sabermetrics is a bad thing. Now, if he’s bad at his job, that’s a separate issue. But I won’t automatically dismiss him just because he and Cashman might see eye to eye on things.

      As I said yesterday, the Torre/Verducci book should be taken with a very large grain of salt.

    10. February 24th, 2009 | 11:24 am

      Raf – what was Wade Boggs SLG%? That’s why it was OK to use him at the top of the order – high OBP and low SLG. A SLG% of .433 is too low for a 3 or 4-hitter. A-Rod batting 2nd? Yes, he did that – but, IIRC, that was to take pressure off the head case – by not making him feel like he had to hit a grand slam every time up.

      YankCrank – I just remember it was 2007 where Cashman reportedly made the recommendation – not sure if they mentioned when in the season. Still, regardless, what would have happened if Torre made the move? The media would have killed him. And, the players would have questioned him on it too. So, what could Torre do? Make the move and say it was Cashman’s idea? Then he gets killed for allowing the GM to make out his line-up. Cashman should have thought of those things, too, before making a suggestion like that – but, he didn’t. Unless, of course, he was looking to put Torre on the hot seat with such a suggestion?

      newguy – yes, I understand that there are studies out there that suggest taking an extra base and attempting to steal is risky, etc. Therefore, it suggests that it’s better/smarter to take it one base at a time, etc. However, again, in the real world, Torre has to live with Giambi walking with one out and then not being able to get to third when the 3 hitter singles, and then not being able to score from 2nd when the clean-up hitter singles, and not being able to score from 3rd on a fly to left by the 5-hitter, etc. (when Giambi bats second). And, then, again, the media comes in – and the players grumble – and Torre is left looking like an idiot for batting Giambi 2nd or like an idiot for allowing his GM to make out his line-up for him.

      Oh, and, by the way, it’s also the last year of Torre’s contract in 2007 – and he was also fired at the end of 2006. So, why bring that on yourself by batting Giambi 2nd?

      MJ – read the book. No offense meant, but, until you do, it’s not fair for you to attack it – because you don’t know what’s in it. You cannot just cherry pick what the media has decided to share on it. That’s not being very fair to the authors, is it? Unless, of course, you prefer to be unfair in your approach towards it…

    11. Raf
      February 24th, 2009 | 12:03 pm

      Raf – what was Wade Boggs SLG%?
      ———-
      For his career, he SLG’ed .443. Not sure what that has to do with anything, tho’.

      I didn’t word my response clearly, but the number I quoted was Giambi’s SLG% in 2007, which I noted, was lower than Jeter, who actually batted 2nd.

      A-Rod batting 2nd? Yes, he did that – but, IIRC, that was to take pressure off the head case – by not making him feel like he had to hit a grand slam every time up.
      ————-
      Can you prove that Rodriguez batted 2nd because of “Z0MG PR3SSUR3!!!11!!1!”? He was 3rd on the team in SLG (behind Matsui & Sheffield) & 4th in OBP (behind Matsui, Sheffield & Posada). Rodriguez batted no lower than 4th. And if it were the pressure killing him, why not move him down in the order, instead of up?

      Still, regardless, what would have happened if Torre made the move? The media would have killed him. And, the players would have questioned him on it too.
      ————–
      So? The media is clueless when it comes to player moves and evaluation. Players are clueless as well. How many times do you hear them yapping about protection in the order, when it has been shown that it is nonexistent?

      If it’s the right move to do, then do it. If someone is afraid to do their job because they’re afraid to be criticized, then they’re in the wrong line of work. Was Billy Martin afraid of the media when he had Reggie try to lay down a bunt? Was Torre afraid of the media when he started Cecil Fielder & Charlie Hayes ahead of Tino Martinez & Wade Boggs in Atlanta?

      Oh, and, by the way, it’s also the last year of Torre’s contract in 2007 – and he was also fired at the end of 2006. So, why bring that on yourself by batting Giambi 2nd?
      ———–
      Why bring that on yourself by ignoring the GM?

      MJ – read the book. No offense meant, but, until you do, it’s not fair for you to attack it – because you don’t know what’s in it.
      ———
      He’s just expressing an opinion :D

    12. sonnymooks
      February 24th, 2009 | 3:04 pm

      I read the book, I can’t say that I really got any kind of impression of Billy Eppler one way or another.

      Almost like he was just another guy there that Torre knew and worked with, but there isn’t much there for me to form an opinion one way or another.

    13. butchie22
      February 24th, 2009 | 9:12 pm

      YankCrank – I just remember it was 2007 where Cashman reportedly made the recommendation – not sure if they mentioned when in the season. Still, regardless, what would have happened if Torre made the move? The media would have killed him. And, the players would have questioned him on it too. So, what could Torre do? Make the move and say it was Cashman’s idea? Then he gets killed for allowing the GM to make out his line-up. Cashman should have thought of those things, too, before making a suggestion like that – but, he didn’t. Unless, of course, he was looking to put Torre on the hot seat with such a suggestion?

      Sabermetrics are great. And, I love them. But, there comes a point where you have to use common sense too. And, clearly, with that line-up suggestion, Cashman had his head stuck in a stat book and was showing no baseball-sense recommending that Torre should bat Abreu and Giambi one-two in his line-up.

      Quotes from Steve

      What else do you expect from Brainless Cash Man? The way the organization has being going as of late is an indication of a failure across the board BUT it comes down to the GM.ON the other hand, he looks out for himself like everyone else in the world. Even though , the sons haven’t put pressure on him , the media will soon enough. IF the team falters this year and Girardi is canned and Pena comes in Cash Man and his ideas will finally have a limited shelf life.

      Steve, your comment about common sense rings so true. what sometimes looks good on paper, doesn’t work in practice. I feel the last couple of years some of the decisions have been mediocre ones includling the examples of Eppler’s and Cash Man that you expected.

    14. sonnymooks
      February 28th, 2009 | 9:20 pm

      Intersting article here about Eppler

      http://tinyurl.com/bygfda

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