• Cody Ransom (2009)

    Posted by on March 5th, 2009 · Comments (3)

    Jumpin’ Cody Ransom is no kid – as he turned age 33 back on February 17th of this year. Last season, in 423 At Bats in Triple-A, Cody had 22 homers along with a BA/OBP/SLG line of .255/.338/.482 (in 116 games). And, in his major league career, to date, Ransom has a BA/OBP/SLG line of .251/.348/.432 in 183 At Bats.

    When I look at all this, it makes me want to suggest…if you gave Cody Ransom a full-time job in the big leagues, this season, where he got close to 600 At Bats, it would not shock me to see him hit close to 20 homers with an On Base Average around .330…a season like one David Bell had in 2002 or Mike Lowell had in 2006.

    Or, in other words, not a season that would be a huge offensive plus – but also one that would not kill you either.

    Melky Cabrera 2009

    Posted by on February 19th, 2009 · Comments (0)

    Good news: Leche is still young. Bad news: Melky has shown no ability to hit for power in the big leagues and his ability to consistently reach base is in serious question. Further, while Cabrera’s defensive ability would suggest that he could stick in 2009 as a 4th outfielder, due to his age it would be better that Cabrera played everyday in Triple-A (rather than ride the pines in the Bronx)…except for one thing: He’s out of options.

    Therefore, at the end of the day, Melky Cabrera will either be the Yankees starting center fielder this season, or, he will be on their big league bench, or, he will be playing for someone else, other than the Yankees, in the majors at some point this year.

    Jose Molina 2009

    Posted by on February 16th, 2009 · Comments (3)

    Along with Chad Moeller, who also played for the Yankees in 2008, Jose Molina is probably the worst hitting back-up catchers to play semi-regularly in the big leagues since 1973. However, Molina’s defensive ability (and the fact that he’s under contract for 2009) assure him a role as New York’s back-up catcher in 2009.

    In any event, at the end of the day, Jose Molina is just another member of the Modern Day Bad Yankees Back-up Catcher Club along with Joel Skinner, Juan Espino, Mark Salas, Wil Nieves, Kelly Stinnett, John Flaherty, Chris Widger, Todd Greene, Chris Turner, Barry Foote, Johnny Oates and Fran Healy…

    Alex Rodriguez 2009

    Posted by on February 12th, 2009 · Comments (0)

    Since 2000, A-Rod has never posted an On-base Average below .375 or a Slugging Percentage below .512. And, since 2000, his overall OPS is .992 (in 6,233 PA). Expect another season from Rodriguez with an OPS somewhere in the 900’s. There may be debate over the game conditions under which they are derived, but, the numbers are always there for Alex.

    The only thing that can stop him this season would be injury and/or a mental breakdown…or a positive PED test.

    Derek Jeter 2009

    Posted by on February 11th, 2009 · Comments (5)

    Has it really been six weeks since I last left off with the 2009 Forecast Series? Yikes. Well, there’s just a few player left…so, let’s pick it up again and finish this off…and who better to start again with than Jeter?

    Over his first 38 games in 2008, Derek Jeter’s OPS was .778. In his 39th game last season, Derek was hit on the hand by a pitch from Daniel Cabrera. Over his next 21 games, Jeter’s OPS was .563 (in 96 PA). From that point on, over his last 90 games, Jeter had an OPS of .815 (in 403 PA). Something tells me that Jeter will be Jeter in 2009 – and he should post better numbers this year, barring injury, than he did in 2008.

    Joba Chamberlain 2009

    Posted by on January 1st, 2009 · Comments (4)

    Getting back to the forecast series, here’s Joba!

    Chamberlain’s skill level is high. However, his role and health are questionable – at least to me, at this point. At the end of 2008, it was suggested his shoulder may not handle the burden of starting. While starting is his preference, the team’s biggest need, and where he would offer great value, seeing Joba used out of the bullpen in 2009 – setting up Mariano Rivera – would not shock me.

    And, yes, I know…everything out of the Yankees camp says that Joba will be a starter in 2009. But, then again, that’s what the Red Sox said about Jonathan Papelbon prior to the 2007 season as well. Things have a way of changing in Spring Training…sometimes…

    Ian Kennedy 2009

    Posted by on December 16th, 2008 · Comments (8)

    The 21st overall pick in the 2006 draft, Ian Kennedy found himself in the majors the next season. He has shown great skill in the minors. However, in 2008, Kennedy was brutal in New York – showing poor command of average stuff. Further, some believe the Yankees have soured on his attitude. Ian’s a long-shot to have a role with the Yankees in 2009 (at this point). And, if the Yankees sign another free agent starter this off-season, that shot will get even longer.

    Hideki Matsui 2009

    Posted by on December 16th, 2008 · Comments (4)

    It seems as if years of playing on artificial turf and never missing a game in Japan have caught up with Hideki Matsui – as he’s missed huge chunks of the season in two of the last three years. When healthy, Godzilla can still hit. And, if healthy, he should be the Yankees primary D.H. in 2009. But, can Matsui stay healthy?

    If you told me Hideki was going to play less than 130 games for the Yankees in 2009, I wouldn’t fight you too hard over it.

    Alfredo Aceves 2009

    Posted by on December 4th, 2008 · Comments (8)

    Alfredo Aceves pitched in the Mexican League for six seasons before signing with New York in 2008. In the 30 innings that he pitched for the Yankees, his batting average allowed on balls in play was .233 (facing 120 batters). This suggests an element of luck associated to his pitching results. Still, he’s a candidate for the back-end of the Yankees rotation in 2009.

    But, who is he? Is he the next Francisco Cordova? Or, is he the next Jose Silva? Or, maybe he’s something in between, like the next Elmer Dessens?

    If the Yankees are smart, they won’t count on Aceves at all in 2009. And, then, if he’s good, it’s a bonus. It would be stupid to count/hope on him and then find out that he’s the latest Hector Fajardo…

    Phil Hughes 2009

    Posted by on November 30th, 2008 · Comments (0)

    In his few major league appearances, left-handed batters have fashioned an OPS of .876 against Phil Hughes (in 220 plate appearances). Reportedly, Hughes has been working on a cutter to address this situation.

    And, this makes sense. Left-handed batters can handle a fastball and a curve from right-handed pitchers (which is what Hughes mainly throws). After all, this is why batters learn to switch-hit – so that they can look at the curve from the “opposite” side of the pitcher. Further, for a right-handed pitcher, the cutter is the perfect pitch (when thrown correctly) to attack left-handed batters. (See: Rivera, Mariano.)

    So, how’s the cutter coming along? Well, in the Arizona Fall League this off-season, Hughes did an excellent job of not allowing hits to any type of batter (albeit righties or lefties). However, in terms of runs allowed, in the AFL, his ERA against RH-batters was 2.37 whereas his ERA against LH-batters was 4.09. This suggests that, while lefties were not getting many hits against Hughes, they were reaching base and the hits that they did get were producing runs. This also suggests that Hughes’ cutter (in addition to his overall ability to effectively pitch against lefties) still needs some work.

    According to the Yankees, Hughes is a candidate for the last spot in their rotation. However, it would be at the back end of the rotation and he must earn it during the spring. According to me, Hughes better show this spring that he can handle left-handed batters. If not, he should start the season at Triple-A and stay there until he proves that he can effectively pitch to all types of batters.

    Phillip Coke 2009

    Posted by on November 28th, 2008 · Comments (5)

    Phil Coke is a late bloomer who received an ample late season pen audition with the Yankees. While Coke was a starter in the minors, he’s a candidate to be a member of New York’s bullpen in 2009 – as a left-handed specialist and/or middle innings long-man. Held the 52 big league batters that he faced to an OPS of .392.

    Then again, 2008 was the first time that Coke, who is 25, pitched above A-Ball. And, you have to wonder if he’s a true late bloomer or if this past season was just a fluke.

    Mariano Rivera 2009

    Posted by on November 25th, 2008 · Comments (5)

    The last six seasons, Mo Rivera has been a lock for pitching in 64 to 74 games and providing 70 to 78 innings pitched. Further, in five of those six seasons, his ERA was under two. While Rivera will be 39 in 2009, he’s showing no signs of slowing down. Once again, he will close games for the Yankees.

    And, once again, he should be the rubber-stamp of perfection.

    Oh, my stars and garters, how he will be missed when he’s gone.

    Austin Jackson 2009

    Posted by on November 24th, 2008 · Comments (4)

    Austin Jackson more than held his own in Double-A during 2008 playing in a home park that somewhat favors pitchers. However, this off-season, in the AFL, he posted a BA/OBA/SLG line of .246/.298/.377 in 114 AB.

    Yankees GM Brian Cashman called Jackson one of two positional prospects in his system closest to helping the big league team. Given New York’s need in CF for 2009, Jackson could make the leap from AA with a strong spring – assuming the Yankees do not acquire a CF in the off-season. However, if that recent Jackson AFL experience suggests that we should not expect this prospect to make that leap…at least yet.

    Andy Pettitte 2009

    Posted by on November 23rd, 2008 · Comments (6)

    In his first 22 starts of 2008, Andy Pettitte’s ERA was 3.76 (in 139 IP). In the two starts that followed, he allowed 14 runs in 10.3 IP. Then, a report said Pettitte had stiffness in his left arm. Pettitte denied the report. In his final 9 starts, Pettitte’s ERA was 5.10 (in 54.6 IP). Sounds like the report was correct.

    Assuming what bothered Pettitte in 2008 can be cured with off-season rest, I think the Yankees should bring him back for 2009. He can handle New York. He’s good for 200 IP and around 15 wins. He’s left-handed. What’s not to like about that? And, the Yankees rotation, right now, should welcome an addition like this…if you ask me.

    Mark Melancon 2009

    Posted by on November 21st, 2008 · Comments (2)

    Mark Melancon pitched at High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A for the Yankees in 2008 – after having Tommy John surgery in November 2006. Scouts rave about his stuff and make-up – citing him as a future closer. He very well could work his way into the Yankees bullpen mix in 2009 – with his role increasing contingent upon his success.

    Jorge Posada 2009

    Posted by on November 20th, 2008 · Comments (16)

    Jorge Posada’s age (37) and health status (being post-op from major shoulder surgery) bring cause for concern with respect to his skills in 2009. However, given his salary, and team need, Posada will be given every chance to be the Yankees full-time catcher.

    But, what if his shoulder will not allow him to take advantage of that chance? Think about it…a full-time catcher has to throw the ball about 20,000 times a season. Granted, most of those are tosses back to the pitcher. But, still, that’s some stress on a shoulder. If Posada’s wing is not 100% healed, who’s to say that it can stand up to the demands of being a full-time catcher?

    Even if everything breaks his way, do not expect a repeat of the numbers Posada posted in 2007.

    Kei Igawa 2009

    Posted by on November 19th, 2008 · Comments (15)

    Kei Igawa is Yankees G.M. Brian Cashman’s albatross imported from the Land of the Rising Sun. While Igawa has shown an ability to handle Triple-A batters, in the Yankees scheme, he’s at the bottom of the ocean looking up at Luca Brasi. His best bet at this stage is a trade to another organization. But, is Brian Cashman finally willing to lose face on this one and let Igawa go?

    Edwar Ramirez 2009

    Posted by on November 18th, 2008 · Comments (5)

    Hardly used in April, Edwar Ramirez was stellar in May. But, then he was brutal in June. Yet, in July, Edwar was as impressive as he was in May. However, in August he was just as ugly as he was in June – and then he was barely used in September. At this point, both his skill and role are questionable at this point. He very well may turn out to be the Yankees’ secret weapon in 2009. Then again, he may not even make the team out of Spring Training.

    Just getting as far as Ramirez has, to date, is a heckuva story. Where it goes from here is anyone’s guess – and their folly too…if they think they know for sure…

    Johnny Damon 2009

    Posted by on November 17th, 2008 · Comments (15)

    For the last six years, Johhny Damon’s been good for about 145 games played and an OPS around .800 (give or take some) each season. Yet, over the last two seasons, Damon has come up with sundry aches and pains that suggest “Caveat emptor!” on any further promise of 145 games with a decent OPS. Hey, it’s a drag getting old, right?

    Damon was a pretty big part of the Yankees offense in 2008. With Jason Giambi now being switched out for Nick Swisher, and with Bobby Abreu probably being switched out for Xaiver Nady, and with Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui coming off major injuries, if Johnny does come up short in 2009 – albeit due to health or something else – it’s going to be a big blow to the Yankees batting attack, in my opinion.

    Betemit & Rasner 2009

    Posted by on November 16th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    Even though Wilson Betemit and Darrell Rasner are now off the team, I did have forecasts for them done and in queue. So, here they are, for what it’s worth – albeit that they’re both ex-Yankees now…

    Wilson Betemit:

    His role on the Yankees should be diminished if New York finds a first baseman for 2009 that does not require a defensive caddy. As a switch-hitter, Betemit offers no value against left-handed pitching. Defensively, he’s limited as a middle infielder. The career of this former prospect is heading in the wrong direction.

    Darrell Rasner:

    Rasner’s skill level, according to his production, is that of a “Four-A” pitcher: Too good for Triple-A and not good enough for the bigs. While still young, the clock is ticking for Rasner in terms of the number of chances to disprove this label. He should only get another big league chance if he’s needed to replace an injured pitcher.

    David Robertson 2009

    Posted by on November 15th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    David Roberston was selected in Baseball America’s 2008 “Best Tools” survey as the “Best Reliever” in the International League (AAA). He has good command of representative fastball to go along with a top-notch curveball. To me, Robertson is an up-and-comer in the Yankees bullpen. Think “Gregg Olson” of the early 1990’s as a possible comp in terms of an upside.

    Jose Veras 2009

    Posted by on November 13th, 2008 · Comments (7)

    After not making it in the Rays and Rangers systems, it seems that Jose Veras has found himself with the Yankees. However, in his last 21 games of 2008, he faced 90 batters allowing a BA/OBA/SLG line of .297/.404/.554 (in 18.6 IP). The Yankees are counting on him as a potential set-up man to Mo Rivera and that may be a mistake.

    Xavier Nady 2009

    Posted by on November 12th, 2008 · Comments (14)

    Nady’s New York numbers – Say that three times, fast! – with an OPS of .794 were much closer to his career levels than the wonderful numbers that his posted in Pittsburgh last season (before being traded).

    Xavier should be a full-time member of the Yankees outfield in 2009 with results close to what he’s produced career-wise.

    In a way, Nady is a Hank Bauer-type player. And, there’s nothing wrong with that. You can win a ring with a Bauer-type in your outfield…assuming you have other great pieces of the puzzle around him.

    Chien-Ming Wang 2009

    Posted by on November 11th, 2008 · Comments (3)

    On June 15, 2008, Chien-Ming Wang suffered a Lisfranc sprain and a tear of the Peroneus Longus tendon in his right foot. That knocked him out for the season. And, back in February 2008, one report suggested Wang had a torn rotator cuff that was never repaired. Other than that, Wang’s a very good pitcher – especially at Yankee Stadium.

    But, you have to wonder…back when the Yankees locked up Robinson Cano with a long-term contract last off-season, Wang raised his hand and said “How ’bout me?” And, the Yankees’ answer was “Thanks. But, not now.”

    …so, how come?

    Do the Yankees know more about Wang’s ability to stay healthy than Joe The Yankee Fan? And, if there is reason to be concerned, should Yankeeland be concerned right now, or, save that for a later date?

    Carl Pavano 2009

    Posted by on November 10th, 2008 · Comments (2)

    Carl Pavano the Yankee was not the same pitcher as Carl Pavano the Marlin, was he?

    Coming back from Tommy John surgery, this past season, Pavano allowed an OPS of .842 facing 154 big league batters in 2008. At this point, you have to question both his skill and desire. Good luck to any team who signs Pavano as a free agent in 2009.

    Actually, strike that. Any team who is stupid enough to sign Pavano, at this stage of his career, deserves whatever should happen to them as a result of giving him a contract.

    Ivan Rodriguez 2009

    Posted by on November 9th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    The last time Pudge Rodriguez was a productive batter was the year before baseball instituted a PED policy with teeth. Oh, yeah, it’s probably just a coincidence.

    That said, because of Ivan’s defensive reputation, I-Rod should land a job somewhere in 2009 collecting about 400 Plate Appearances and fashioning an OPS in the low 700’s. It just won’t be in New York.

    In the end, Pudge’s Yankees career will be looked at the same as those of Gaylord Perry, Stan Coveleski and Burleigh Grimes – meaning he was just passing through Yankeeland at the end of a long and note-worthy career.

    Damaso Marte 2009

    Posted by on November 8th, 2008 · Comments (6)

    Damaso Marte has faced 826 left-handed batters in his career and held them to an OPS of .583. He showed no signs of losing this skill in 2008. He’ll have a job as a left-handed specialist coming out of the pen in 2009. And, it’s possible that he could be asked to close out about a half-dozen games as well.

    The biggest question for Marte in 2009 may be “Where will he be playing?” The Yankees have declined his option for next season. Some say New York hopes to still sign him, at a lower cost per season, in a multi-year deal. But, now that Marte is a free agent, he will get other offers as well. At this point, no one can predict if Damaso will be pitching, or not, for the Yankees in 2009.

    Brett Gardner 2009

    Posted by on November 7th, 2008 · Comments (5)

    Who is Brett Gardner? Is he the next Brett Butler or the next Jason Tyner?

    At the big league level, Gardner has shown great speed, a decent glove in center, a willingness to work the count, and a hard-nose attitude – albeit in a small sample size.

    For what it’s worth, his OPS over his last 16 games in 2008 was .740 (in 54 PA). If he can maintain that, he could have a full-time job in 2009. That’s, of course, assuming the Yankees don’t go out and get someone else to play CF in 2009 (or find someone to play a corner OF spot and move Johnny Damon to CF).

    Brian Bruney 2009

    Posted by on November 6th, 2008 · Comments (15)

    Brian Bruney is the Daisuke Matsuzaka of relief pitchers. He walks a lot, but he doesn’t allow many hits and he strikes out a lot. He’s not easy on the nerves to watch but he can be effective in the end result. There’s no reason why Bruney shouldn’t be the 7th inning man out of the pen for the Yankees (or for some other team)…

    …well, except for his health.

    You see, Brian Bruney is 26-years old. And, he’s already broken down, twice. In 2006, he stretched ligaments in his elbow; and, in 2008, he tore a ligament in his right foot – both injuries leading to major down-time.

    Doesn’t sound like someone you can count on, does it?

    Robinson Cano 2009

    Posted by on November 5th, 2008 · Comments (5)

    Robinson Cano posted an OPS of .446 during the first month of 2008 and it killed his overall OPS for the season. While there were questions about his desire and hustle in New York, it appears that the Yankees will only move Robby out of town if they are floored by an offer. Still, Cano’s impatient nature at the plate and his borderline isolated power are red-flags to be noted.

    Next season could be a make or break season for Robinson Cano.

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