• Brackman The Bust

    Posted by on May 26th, 2011 · Comments (29)

    Andrew Brackman isn’t doing so well, is he?

    Shame the Yankees passed on Brett Cecil, Tommy Hunter and Travis d’Arnaud to pick this guy.

    Comments on Brackman The Bust

    1. MJ Recanati
      May 26th, 2011 | 1:21 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Shame the Yankees passed on Brett Cecil, Tommy Hunter and Travis d’Arnaud to pick this guy.

      Every year you go down this road with some player in the organization and every year people tell you the same thing: it’s absurd to play this game.

      Plus, what the heck is so special about Brett Cecil or Tommy Hunter anyway? With your first round pick, you should be aiming for a guy with a top-of-the-rotation ceiling, not two guys that were pegged as back-end starters with mid-rotation ceilings.

      You roll the dice and hope to hit big in the lottery. If it doesn’t work out, it’s not the end of the world. After all, the draft isn’t just one round and talent can come from later-round picks.

      Moreover, for a team like the Yankees, it’s absurd to aim so low as a Cecil or a Hunter in the first round. That’s why the Mets struggle so much: they always go for slot signability guys instead of using their market power to be aggressive on the upper-echelon talent. If you’d rather the Yankees run their Rule IV Draft operations like the Mets I certainly won’t stand in your way. But I’m thankful the Yankees reach a little bit higher.

    2. MJ Recanati
      May 26th, 2011 | 1:24 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      With your first round pick, you should be aiming for a guy with a top-of-the-rotation ceiling, not two guys that were pegged as back-end starters with mid-rotation ceilings.

      From Baseball America’s write-up of Cecil and Hunter:

      On Cecil:

      Cecil’s delivery and stuff have improved significantly since his days at DeMatha High (Hyattsville, Md.), where he was a one-and-a-half-pitch, soft-bodied lefty. His draft stock climbed significantly last year when he nearly doubled Maryland’s previous saves record with 13 as a sophomore. He then ranked among the top 10 prospects in the Cape Cod League, posting a 40-9 strikeout-walk ratio in 29 innings. Cecil’s body, arm action and stuff have all improved significantly during his college career. While Cecil was used primarily in relief during college, he took a turn in the Terrapins rotation late this season and his future figures to be as a starter. He has four pitches, solid-average command and durability. His fastball has been up to 94 mph and sits near 91. His slider can touch 86 with good tilt and depth. His repertoire includes a a curveball, changeup and split-finger fastball, and the changeup has enough fade and deception to become a usable third offering, especially against righthanded hitters. He should find a spot safely in the back end of the first round.

      On Hunter:

      A draft-eligible sophomore, Hunter could garner attention as a third- to fourth-round pick if he’s willing to sign for slot money. He stepped into the Tide rotation as a freshman last season and won 10 games, then made 14 appearances out of the Team USA bullpen last summer and compiled an impressive 23-4 strikeout-walk ratio. With a soft body that’s not well proportioned, Hunter flunks scouts’ eye test. He’s a two-time junior Olympic champion in judo, however, and more athletic than he looks. He has a four-pitch repertoire, working off a solid-average fastball that bumps 93 mph and a power slurve at 82-84. His delivery is passable and his arm works well. Some scouts see him as a two-pitch set-up man in the mold of Braves reliever Tyler Yates, something of a poor-man’s Jonathan Broxton. Others point out his ability to hold his velocity late into games and believe he profiles as a back-of-the-rotation starter.

      Meh…

    3. MJ Recanati
      May 26th, 2011 | 1:27 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      As for D’Arnaud, the Yankees drafted Austin Romine in the second round of that same draft. Seems like they liked Brackman’s upside more than D’Arnaud’s, knowing that they could get a prep catcher in the next round with a similar skill-set.

    4. May 26th, 2011 | 1:54 pm

      Ask all 30 big league GMs right now if they would rather have Andrew Brackman over Brett Cecil, Tommy Hunter or Travis d’Arnaud and 29 of the 30 would say “No way!”

    5. MJ Recanati
      May 26th, 2011 | 2:42 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Ask all 30 big league GMs right now if they would rather have Andrew Brackman over Brett Cecil, Tommy Hunter or Travis d’Arnaud and 29 of the 30 would say “No way!”

      That’s your opinion but I highly doubt you’re right about the unanimity of such a sentiment.

      Again, it’s all about the ceiling on a player. If Brackman doesn’t reach his eventual ceiling — and it’s certainly more than fair to doubt him ever reaching it — he still has a floor as a late-inning relief arm because of his plus fastball and plus breaking pitch. Neither Hunter nor Cecil have front-end starter capacity so we’re more or less seeing what they are now. They’re back-end guys. Nothing wrong with that but nothing you’d necessarily choose over upper echelon talent.

    6. May 26th, 2011 | 2:56 pm

      Even if they’re back-end guys, that’s 100 times more value than Brackman who stinks at AAA.

      Ceiling? That’s like signing Jack Black to a $20 million contract to do a movie because his ceiling is winning an Oscar. But, what are the odds of him giving you an Oscar performance? It makes much more sense to sign someone like Philip Seymour Hoffman for $10 million because he’s more of a sure thing to perform.

      Again, these are 1st round picks and huge signing bonuses. That’s not the place to take risks. Do that in the later rounds. For what you pay for a #1 pick, and for what you have to pass on to pick him, you better do a better job than taking a flier on a high priced dud like Brackman.

    7. MJ Recanati
      May 26th, 2011 | 3:24 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Even if they’re back-end guys, that’s 100 times more value than Brackman who stinks at AAA.

      Combined bWAR of Brett Cecil (1.8), Tommy Hunter (2.2) and Travis d’Arnaud (0.0): 4.0. That’s not 100 times more valuable. That barely registers.

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Ceiling? That’s like signing Jack Black to a $20 million contract to do a movie because his ceiling is winning an Oscar. But, what are the odds of him giving you an Oscar performance? It makes much more sense to sign someone like Philip Seymour Hoffman for $10 million because he’s more of a sure thing to perform.

      This analogy is absurd on its face and not remotely parallel since Hoffman is an acknowledged superior actor and Cecil and Hunter (we’ll stick with the major leaguers) are just marginally above replacement-level.

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Again, these are 1st round picks and huge signing bonuses. That’s not the place to take risks.

      There’s no right or wrong place to take risks. Since not even the #1 overall pick always pans out, it’s incorrect to assume that a blown 1st rounder at the end of the round is somehow crippling. In an ideal world, all draft picks pan out and each team receives maximum value for all of their picks. That’s just not realistic so it makes more sense — much more sense, in fact — to draft the best available talent at all times because the rewards are much greater when the selection works.

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      For what you pay for a #1 pick, and for what you have to pass on to pick him[...]

      The three examples you cite of what the Yanks passed up isn’t much at all.

    8. MJ Recanati
      May 26th, 2011 | 3:34 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      I should also point out that because of supplemental picks, Cecil, Hunter and d’Arnaud represented the Blue Jays, Rangers and Phillies third, fifth and second picks of the first round, respectively.

      I point this out because it demonstrates how these three teams — the Blue Jays and Rangers especially — went for players they perceived to be higher-ceiling before they took these guys. To me, that speaks volumes about how those teams proceed in the draft. They value the best available players first which is the logical course of action.

    9. Evan3457
      May 26th, 2011 | 5:47 pm

      Last year at his time, Brackman was getting hit hard at Tampa. They promoted him to Trenton anyway, and he did well there. He’s still 25. Pitchers can come up later than hitters, and still have good careers.

      The final word on Andrew Brackman is not yet written, merely because someone chooses to hit the shutter release button at this moment.

    10. 77yankees
      May 26th, 2011 | 10:09 pm

      You can go through any team in any major sport and cherry pick, “Oh, they should have drafted x instead of y” years after the fact. It’s not strictly a Yankee foil.

      And, Brackman instead of Brett Cecil is not exactly Portland picking Sam Bowie ahead of Michael Jordan back in 1984 either.

    11. MJ Recanati
      May 26th, 2011 | 10:20 pm

      77yankees wrote:

      And, Brackman instead of Brett Cecil is not exactly Portland picking Sam Bowie ahead of Michael Jordan back in 1984 either.

      Cecil is in the minors right now so, clearly, no, picking Brackman over Cecil hasn’t set the franchise back any.

    12. Ryan81
      May 26th, 2011 | 10:39 pm

      “You saw what David Price did, right? Well, up until April of last year, the question in the industry was who was going to be the No.1 pick, Price or Brackman. So as much as the talk was about Price that day, I was thinking, ‘I can’t wait until our guy has a chance to get out there and feature the stuff he has.’ Because he was neck-and-neck with Price until he hurt his arm and I believe we’ll see that same kind of talent when he comes back.” -Brian Cashman, March, 2008

      And now we’re comparing him to Brett Cecil.

    13. Raf
      May 27th, 2011 | 12:42 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Ask all 30 big league GMs right now if they would rather have Andrew Brackman over Brett Cecil, Tommy Hunter or Travis d’Arnaud and 29 of the 30 would say “No way!”

      With 20/20 hindsight, certainly.

      Again, these are 1st round picks and huge signing bonuses. That’s not the place to take risks.

      Yes it is. The entire Rule IV draft is a risk. And of all the organizations in MLB, the Yanks are the ones who can afford to take the risk.

    14. BOHAN
      May 27th, 2011 | 4:28 am

      I could have an awesome draft this year if I could go 4 years into the future and see how everyone progress.

    15. MJ Recanati
      May 27th, 2011 | 6:30 am

      @ Ryan81:
      No, Steve is comparing him to Brett Cecil. Brackman had top-10 talent in his draft class. To argue otherwise is to be completely disingenuous.

    16. May 27th, 2011 | 7:00 am

      @ MJ Recanati:

      Bottom line, answer this question: Do you feel that Andrew Brackman, to date as a professional, has performed well enough that makes him worth the draft selection and the millions of dollars that the Yankees used to acquire him? And, if the answer is “no,” then how is he not a bust?

    17. MJ Recanati
      May 27th, 2011 | 8:52 am

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      I never said he wasn’t a bust. Go do a Control-F search for the word bust and you’ll see that I never once even used the word.

      I said there’s certainly a fair shot that Brackman doesn’t reach his ceiling. Taken to its logical conclusion — which may another year or more into the future — it’s certainly possible that Brackman does become a busted pick.

      But my entire point — one which would be abundantly clear if you bothered to read any of the comments I left in this thread — is that it doesn’t matter if he’s a bust or not. The best draft strategy is one that has a team picking the best available talent and Brackman was the best available talent at the time he was selected. You were framing the argument as what the Yankees could’ve done instead and were using three specific players to back up your argument.

      Not only have those players not distinguished themselves in any way such that Yankees fans should lament their being passed over but they didn’t represent the best available players at the time the Yanks had their pick (nor did they represent the best possible pick given the fact that the Yankees had only one first-round selection while the Rangers, Blue Jays and Phillies had two or more and could afford to reach early).

      If this post were merely about Brackman being a bust I would’ve said it’s possible that he will eventually be known as a bust. But, as Evan pointed out, it’s also too soon to make that determination. Since this post was about who the Yanks passed over, I argued that both your logic and your examples were flawed.

    18. May 27th, 2011 | 9:06 am

      So, if Brackman is a bust, or, at the best, knocking on the door of being a bust, and the three I mentioned are not busts, how are those three who I mentioned, who the Yankees could have drafted in place of Brackman, not something to lament about?

      You make it as if I’m trying to make a wild and crazy claim here. But, it’s not at all – bottom line, there were better players that the Yankees could have taken, over Brackman, and they did not.

      Sort of like when the Yankees picked and signed Jeremy Bleich…

    19. MJ Recanati
      May 27th, 2011 | 9:12 am

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      Brett Cecil and Tommy Hunter are not busts insofar as they have pitched in the major leagues. If that’s your threshold then, sure, Brackman, to date, is a bust.

      But why would being a replacement-level player be considered the threshold? If that’s the case, I have countless examples of players on the Yankees whom you’ve denigrated despite the fact that they’re above replacement-level.

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      You make it as if I’m trying to make a wild and crazy claim here. But, it’s not at all – bottom line, there were better players that the Yankees could have taken, over Brackman, and they did not.

      No, there were not better players that the Yankees could’ve taken. There were worse players that turned out better. You make it seem like it was perfectly obvious to all that Cecil or Hunter would pan out when, in their draft write-ups, they were deemed back-end starters or bullpen arms.

      You’re telling me that you disagree with drafting the best available talent? If so, that’s fine. I’m not sure many people would agree with that draft strategy but that’s neither here nor there.

    20. MJ Recanati
      May 27th, 2011 | 9:13 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Sort of like when the Yankees picked and signed Jeremy Bleich…

      There’s a difference between drafting the best available player like Andrew Brackman and an overdraft like Jeremy Bleich. Not parallel examples at all.

    21. May 27th, 2011 | 9:39 am

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      You’re telling me that you disagree with drafting the best available talent? If so, that’s fine. I’m not sure many people would agree with that draft strategy but that’s neither here nor there.

      You’re confusing “talent” and a fastball thrown at 90+ MPH (as was the case with Brackman). To me, talent is more than just a fastball. It’s the ability to throw strikes, not walk batters, while getting people out. And, that’s the talent that I want to draft. The game is littered with “prospects” who threw really hard but had no clue on how to pitch and get people out. You don’t have to be a genius to know to avoid these guys.

    22. MJ Recanati
      May 27th, 2011 | 9:45 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      You’re confusing “talent” and a fastball thrown at 90+ MPH (as was the case with Brackman). To me, talent is more than just a fastball. It’s the ability to throw strikes, not walk batters, while getting people out. And, that’s the talent that I want to draft. The game is littered with “prospects” who threw really hard but had no clue on how to pitch and get people out. You don’t have to be a genius to know to avoid these guys.

      Brackman had a plus-plus fastball and a plus curveball with an average changeup that scouts listed as a potential plus offering. Read the Baseball America write-up on him from the 2007 draft:

      As an awkward 6-foot-7 16-year-old at Cincinnati’s Moeller High, Brackman wasn’t considered a top 50 prospect in baseball or basketball. His basketball game blossomed as a senior, and when N.C. State offered him a chance to play both sports, he eagerly accepted. A bout with tendinitis assured he wouldn’t be drafted highly enough out of high school to buy him out of college, and after giving up basketball as a sophomore (he had thrown just 77 innings in his first two years at N.C. State), he’s begun to come into this own. Now a legitimate 6-foot-10, 240 pounds, his upside is considerable. His athleticism helps him repeat his delivery, but he struggles with his balance and release point, leading to erratic command, especially of his secondary stuff. He touched 99 mph in the Cape Cod League in 2006 and again during an early-season outing in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and he pitches at 94 with exceptional plane. His mid-80s spike-curveball is filthy. Brackman’s changeup was the pitch that had improved the most this spring, and grades as a third potential plus offering. He’s still unrefined, but even without the polish, Brackman shouldn’t slide out of the top 10 picks.

      You can selectively remember or ignore what you want but, at the time of the draft, Brackman was more than just a fastball. He was a projectable front-end starter that was considered one of the best arms in the draft. He had his warts — command issues and health issues — which caused him to fall to the Yankees at #30 but that’s exactly why the pick was so smart: a top-10 arm shouldn’t be available at #30 and if the selection pans out, the reward is much, much greater than anything a Brett Cecil or Tommy Hunter can do.

      Don’t confuse what you want to remember for what the facts were.

    23. Raf
      May 27th, 2011 | 9:48 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      You’re confusing “talent” and a fastball thrown at 90+ MPH (as was the case with Brackman). To me, talent is more than just a fastball. It’s the ability to throw strikes, not walk batters, while getting people out. And, that’s the talent that I want to draft. The game is littered with “prospects” who threw really hard but had no clue on how to pitch and get people out. You don’t have to be a genius to know to avoid these guys.

      Yeah, but to scouts, they tend to look for tools and talent (fastballs thrown at 90+), they figure everything else will fall into place.

      There have been pitchers that throw strikes, don’t walk batters and gotten people out at the lower levels and have gotten hit as they’ve progressed.

      The game may be littered with flamethrowing prospects, but there have also been wild flamethrowers that have had HOF careers; Randy Johnson and Nolan Ryan quickly come to mind. Wrong, right or indifferent, if scouts see a 90+ fastball, they’re going to take an interest in a player.

      The fact of the matter is, more often than not prospects (pitching and hitting) flame out. It’s the nature of the industry.

    24. MJ Recanati
      May 27th, 2011 | 9:54 am

      Raf wrote:

      Yeah, but to scouts, they tend to look for tools and talent (fastballs thrown at 90+), they figure everything else will fall into place.

      Exactly. The odds generally favor a player with tools succeeding over a player without tools.

      Further — and I know that your comment wasn’t intended to do so — your point belies the fact that a team should still draft the best available player.

    25. clintfsu813
      May 27th, 2011 | 10:31 am

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      I think that may be where the argument side stepped. Was the argument, Is he a bust? or, Should NYY have taken Cecil or Hunter? 2 different questions, IMO.

    26. May 27th, 2011 | 10:38 am

      clintfsu813 wrote:

      I think that may be where the argument side stepped. Was the argument, Is he a bust? or, Should NYY have taken Cecil or Hunter? 2 different questions, IMO.

      The question was if he was a bust, or not. The other part was not a question/suggestion. It was a lament – as in it’s a shame that the Yankees didn’t get a more useful player with that pick, such as the examples I shared, who were still on the board when they picked Brackman.

    27. MJ Recanati
      May 27th, 2011 | 11:49 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      The question was if he was a bust, or not.

      He might be. We don’t know yet and we won’t know until some time in the future (meaning we don’t even know when we’ll know if he’s a bust or not).

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      it’s a shame that the Yankees didn’t get a more useful player with that pick, such as the examples I shared, who were still on the board when they picked Brackman.

      Hindsight is 20/20. At the time, those players were not the right picks to make. Moreover, considering how the two major leaguers (Cecil/Hunter) are replacement-level players, I’d hardly classify them as “useful”. The Yankees have their own version of a Brett Cecil or Tommy Hunter; his name is Ivan Nova.

    28. Raf
      May 27th, 2011 | 12:22 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      The Yankees have their own version of a Brett Cecil or Tommy Hunter; his name is Ivan Nova.

      Nova doesn’t count, he wasn’t drafted, he was signed using the Steinbrenner family checkbook ;)

    29. MJ Recanati
      May 27th, 2011 | 12:41 pm

      Raf wrote:

      Nova doesn’t count, he wasn’t drafted, he was signed using the Steinbrenner family checkbook

      LOL, I meant they have a replacement-level arm like Cecil and Hunter are. :-D

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