• Judging The Mets Package For Santana In Terms Of Yankees Prospects

    Posted by on January 30th, 2008 · Comments (30)

    Yesterday, within an hour of when the news broke on the Mets-Twins agreement for the trade involving Johan Santana, I wrote:

    To me, this would be as if the Yankees traded Ian Kennedy, Jose Tabata, Alan Horne, and Dellin Betances for Johan Santana.

    To be candid, when I wrote that, I did not spend a lot of time doing heavy analysis in coming up with that suggested Yankees package. I probably spent 30 seconds noodling it and basically was pulling names from some corner of my mind. In any event, what I wrote rankled many who made comments to that suggestion – as well as some others outside of this blog.

    Yeah, I know, stupid of me to dare compare Yankees prospects (who are all wunderkind and Über-valuable) to prospects from an organization other than the Yankees (who, being non-Yankees prospects, are all therefore just minor league filler). Stupid, stupid, stoooop-id!

    In any event, since it’s done, I’ve decided to take a deeper look into who the Mets gave up (to the Twins) and compare that to my suggestion of a comparable Yankees package – using an independent source for information – just to see how wacky my off-the-cuff idea was in retrospect. To that end, I’m going to use the most recent scouting profiles from Baseball America on each player. Here goes:

    Carlos Gomez – Mets: A true five-tool athlete, Gomez has game-changing speed and a well above-average arm, tools that help make him a premium defender in center field. He also has excellent bat speed that leads to projections of at least average power, if not more. Scouts said Gomez brought needed energy to the Mets. Hitting will be the last tool to develop for Gomez. He’s still searching for the balance between aggressiveness and plate discipline. While he showed increased patience in 2007, it came at the expense of his power production.

    Jose Tabata – Yankees: Despite his injury, Tabata was one of the high Class A Florida State League’s top hitters, and he has a natural knack for making consistent hard contact. His wrist problem sapped some of his power, but scouts still project Tabata to have at least average pop, and some even see him more as a slugger than hitter. While he flashes plus speed, he projects as an average runner and right fielder with a solid average arm. Tabata’s offensive future still involves some projection, and there’s some concern his thickening body could lose some athleticism, rendering him more one-dimensional. Scouts outside the organization chide him for failing to give a consistent effort.

    Sounds like they both have potential – but both are projection cases. Tabata, three years younger, has yet to play above A-ball – whereas Gomez has already done pretty good in Triple-A. How anyone can say, with confidence, that one of these two will be a star, for sure, in the majors, is beyond me. Therefore, since both are more promise than certainty, I would rate these two pretty close to being the same.

    Deolis Guerra – Mets: Guerra has two present above-average pitches that could become well above-average. His fastball had below-average velocity for most of his first season, but now it ranges from 89-94 mph and touches 96. He features excellent arm speed on his changeup, his best offering since he signed, and it should become a big league out pitch once he commands it. While Guerra’s curveball remains a below-average pitch, he has shown an ability to spin the ball and it projects as an average offering. At 18, Guerra still is learning the finer arts of pitching, such as holding runners, fielding his position and pitch sequences.

    Dellin Betances – Yankees: Betances’ stuff is as good as anyone’s in the system. His fastball sits at 93-94 mph and touched 98 in the club’s fall minicamp. He uses a low-80s power curveball as an out pitch. His changeup has made significant strides in his short pro career and grades as a future plus pitch with sinking, diving action. He’s athletic and intelligent, and adapted quickly to the mechanical adjustments New York asked him to make. While he’s shown some feel for his changeup, Betances needs to throw it more to master it. At his size, he’ll have to work to keep his mechanics in sync and maintain balance over the rubber. At times, he rushes his delivery, making it hard for his arm to keep up with his body and costing him command. [Note, this report is a year old.]

    Betances is a year older than Guerra. Both are big kids who throw hard and who need better command of their breaking pitches. Neither one has shown anything over A-Ball. Again, since both are more promise than certainty, I would rate these two pretty close to being the same.

    Two down, two to go, and so far, it’s looking fairly even.

    Kevin Mulvey – Mets: Mulvey throws four pitches for strikes and keeps everything down. His fastball, which sits at 87-91 mph and touches 94, features good sink and run. He dominated righthanders, limiting them to a .224 average and no homers. His mid-70s curveball with 11-to-5 break and his low-80s slider both are average pitches, and at times his slider is a put-away offering. His changeup shows signs of being average. His competitiveness makes his whole greater than the sum of his parts. Mulvey has trouble against lefthanders because he can’t work them inside easily. At times his changeup is too firm. He has lost 2-3 mph off his fastball from his days at Villanova, but he could gain some of that back as he gets accustomed to the pro workload.

    Alan Horne – Yankees: At times, Horne shows four above-average pitches, starting with a fastball that usually sits at 92-93 mph but also can park at 94-95. He flashes a power slider and curveball, and he throws his changeup with good arm speed. Horne’s arm action is long, leading to inconsistent release points and below-average command, and it likely contributed to his past elbow injury. The Yankees have shortened his delivery in other ways to compensate, but it’s not a correctable flaw and limits Horne’s ceiling. He doesn’t field his position or hold runners particularly well.

    Both of these pitchers have proven themselves in Double-A. In a perfect world, they both learn some more in Triple-A this season. Mulvey is two years younger than Horne. Both throw in the low 90’s and top out at 94 MPH. Horne has some issues with command and Mulvey has some issues getting the ball inside to lefties. Both held Double-A batters to a .250 average last season. They seem like the same prospect to me.

    Three down, one to go, and, it’s still looking fairly even.

    Philip Humber – Mets: Humber still has the best curveball in the organization, and he has learned to shorten it up a bit and throw it for quality strikes. He’s learning to spot his fastball better down in the zone, where it has more life. His changeup, which he has used since junking the splitter he had in college, has developed into an average pitch. At times Humber still tries to pitch up in the strike zone, and he doesn’t have that kind of velocity anymore. His fastball ranges from 87-91 mph after he used to touch 94-95 at Rice. He’s still refining his command two years after his elbow reconstruction. Humber is likely ready for on-the-job training in the majors, but he’ll have to earn the spot in spring training. He now projects as a back-of-the-rotation starter.

    Ian Kennedy – Yankees: Kennedy has mound presence and moxie to go with above-average major league command, and that helps all his pitches play up. His 88-92 mph fastball, his curveball and his slider all are average pitches. His plus changeup is his best offering, featuring late fade. He repeats his compact delivery. With only one above-average pitch, Kennedy has to hit his spots, but he usually does. At times his curve is too slow, dipping to 69-72 mph, and lacks sharpness. Compared to Mike Mussina because of his similar stretch delivery, Kennedy has less pure stuff than Mussina once did. Kennedy fits a No. 3 or No. 4 starter profile and should fulfill such a role in 2008.

    Kennedy is two years younger than Humber. Both of these pitchers throw in the high ’80’s to very low ’90’s and need to spot their fastballs – and spot them well. Humber’s weapon is s good curveball and Kennedy’s weapon is a good change. Humber “projects as a back-of-the-rotation starter” and Kennedy “fits a No. 3 or No. 4 starter profile.” Gee, is it just me, or, based on these reports, do these two hurlers sort of grade out the same, too?

    Do I (?) dare say: Four down, none to go, and, on the whole, it looks even between what the Mets gave up and what I quickly suggested.

    But, then again, this is based on scouting reports from Baseball America – who complies their information from talking to scouts and other members of baseball front offices (and the like). And, those people don’t realize the dynamic behind the principle that dictates “All Yankees prospects are future stars in the making whereas prospects from other teams are all hyped wannabes and failures in waiting.”

    It’s too bad. If only these reports would say what many Yankees fans want to hear. It would make so many people feel better now.

    In the meantime, in retrospect, and finally doing some research, I’m feeling a little better about my ability to think on the fly and pull things out of the back of my brain – at least when it comes to something Yankees-related.

    Comments on Judging The Mets Package For Santana In Terms Of Yankees Prospects

    1. j
      January 30th, 2008 | 11:03 pm

      Instead of just trying to look for similar words and pitch velocities, why don’t you just get the top 100 prospect list from BA and go number by number? I’m sure you’ll fund that you’re pretty far off.

      Also, when did this become a you vs. the readers blog?

    2. SteveB
      January 30th, 2008 | 11:07 pm

      Bully for you.

    3. Yu Hsing Chen
      January 30th, 2008 | 11:09 pm

      No, they don’t.

      For one. looking at Sickles.

      Humber = B-
      Kennedy = B+

      There’s a good reason for that, Humber fought a lot with injuries over the last few years. and he wasn’t great last year in AAA. and was shelled in a brief call up.

      let’s just look at what they done through the minors. overall IPK has a ERA south of 2! and a WHIP south of 1. Humber has a ERA north of 4 kidna summed up a lot.

      IPK also happens to give up a lot fewer dingers and whiffed a little more. and more impressively he tore through all levels in 1 seasons and was essentially equally effective at each stop.

      they’re the similar “type” of pitcher, but so is Jeff Karsten and Darrell Rasner, that doesn’t mean those two guys are the same type of value as IPK. that’s like saying that Carlos Silva and Roy Hallday are both groundballers of similar age. so they must be the same thing.

      Guerra also is better than Betance. there’s a difference between Low A and high A. not to meantion that he pitched more IP last year was double what Betance did in the last 2 year… again they’re similar class. but Guerra simply done better so far.

      Mulvey and Horne are very similar though, different approach, similar ends.

      Gomes and Tabata are much harder to compare though. different level , age, progression, strengths. Tabata is very good at the one area where Gomez is a major question mark.

    4. January 30th, 2008 | 11:14 pm

      ~~~Also, when did this become a you vs. the readers blog?~~~

      It’s not, for me. But, for many of the readers, it seems that it is.

      ~~~Instead of just trying to look for similar words and pitch velocities, why don’t you just get the top 100 prospect list from BA and go number by number? I’m sure you’ll fund that you’re pretty far off.~~~

      I think, when you start to compile lists of the top 100, after a while, anyone who’s not in the top 10 (or so) – maybe the top 20 – could be number 21 or number 51, just as easily, no?

      There are your five-star blue chippers at the top, and those at that bottom to help make out the list, and those in the larger, middle of the bell curve, are all sort of close to each other – too close to say who is really better. It seems to make more sense to look at the individual reports and see their +/- and compare them, HTH, that way.

    5. Rich
      January 30th, 2008 | 11:18 pm

      Instead of just trying to look for similar words and pitch velocities, why don’t you just get the top 100 prospect list from BA and go number by number? I’m sure you’ll fund that you’re pretty far off.

      That was my thought as well (and BP’s), but I can only find the 2007 lists, which aren’t that relevant right now.

    6. January 30th, 2008 | 11:22 pm

      ~~~Humber = B-
      Kennedy = B+ ~~~

      Sickels says that all grades, by him, are shorthand – and that you have to read full comments, from him, on the player to get the full opinion on the player.

      In his 2007 book, on Humber, he wrote: “At worst he will be an inning-eating number three starter, and at best he could be a staff ace.” And, on Kennedy, back then, he wrote “…his control should be sharp enough for him to be an innings-eater type at the back of the rotation.” (But, again, that was based on stuff before his 2007.)

      FWIW, in the 2007 book, Sickels had IPK at B- and Humber at B+ – and, according to you, now he’s flipped them.

      In any event, it seems like he has them being close, at least he did in 2007.

    7. daneptizl
      January 30th, 2008 | 11:32 pm

      You’re comparison is based solely on potential. The reason that the comparison was crazy was because when you compare their numbers along with their potential, your proposed Yankee offer blows out the Mets. Sure, the Mets’ offer could turn out to be as good as the Yankees’, but the Yankees prospects have already experienced success. If this were the case, then surely you’d take Daniel Cabrera over Kennedy, Kyle Farnsworth over Mike Stanton, and any guy with potential over someone with proven, right? Because of course potential far outweighs results.

    8. January 30th, 2008 | 11:44 pm

      daneptizl – how can you use the numbers when most of these guys have yet to play at Triple-A?

      I can list thousands of players who have posted great numbers in the low minors who never did squat in the show. And, for that matter, there are probably a thousand players who posted awesome numbers in Triple-A who bombed in the bigs. When it comes to scouting prospects, it’s not just about the numbers. Sometimes it’s about the ability too – and the projection off that.

    9. baileywalk
      January 31st, 2008 | 12:19 am

      Yeah, I know, stupid of me to dare compare Yankees prospects (who are all wunderkind and Über-valuable) to prospects from an organization other than the Yankees (who, being non-Yankees prospects, are all therefore just minor league filler). Stupid, stupid, stoooop-id!

      Why do you feel the need to belittle people who disagree with you? No one ever said the prospects mentioned were supermen; they simply said they were better than the Mets’ prospects, who were universally panned yesterday. Why don’t you compile the mounds of negative press the deal got?

      Here’s the bottom line: you were wrong immediately for including Ian Kennedy in any discussion of those players. He is, simply and irrefutably, a better prospect. He torched the minors and pitched well in the majors. No one else — in your Mets OR Yankee list — can claim that. Gomez and Humber were both putrid at the big league level, and Gomez has never done well at AAA, which you state.

      Humber had a 4+ ERA in AAA and didn’t look good at all in his brief stint with the Mets in the big leagues. It’s tragic, but he simply hasn’t recovered from his TJS and probably never will. Comparing him to Kennedy is a great insult to your man-crush.

      Horne and Mulvey are closer to a wash, because of age and injury, but Mulvey has weak stuff and Horne is a strikeout pitcher. He also put up better numbers in the same league and clearly has a higher upside.

      Tabata and Gomez have nothing to do with each other — different players with different futures.

      Guerra/Betances — whatever. They’re both too young to even go there. Others disagree with those gun readings on Guerra, though. But no one disputes Betances’ stuff. I would give the edge to the the physical freak, but again, it’s pointless to even go there.

      But don’t take my word for it. I’ll let you in on a little secret: I once said I thought T.J. Beam was going to be a good, reliable relief pitcher.


    10. baileywalk
      January 31st, 2008 | 12:24 am

      Here are the takes of Jim Callis and Keith Law about this trade, with plenty of info on the prospects. It’s a great read for anyone who wants a real perspective of the players involved and what they’re thought of:


      With a full no-trade clause and the right to walk away as a free agent after the 2008 season, Johan Santana was able to exert more control over his destiny than most players ever could dream of. After trade rumors swirled around him throughout the offseason, he wanted his situation resolved this week. The Twins risked getting nothing but two draft picks for the best pitcher of baseball if they stood pat for now and he decided to exercise his no-trade rights in the future.

      The Yankees apparently took Phil Hughes off the table in their trade talks with Minnesota, and perhaps the Red Sox were happier to let Santana go to the National League rather than part with a considerable package of young talent to get him. That’s the best explanation as to why the Twins agreed on Tuesday to send Santana to the Mets for four young players: outfielder Carlos Gomez and righthanders Deolis Guerra, Philip Humber and Kevin Mulvey.

      That deal hinges on New York’s ability to sign Santana to a long-term contract before a 5 p.m. ET deadline on Friday. Santana’s asking price is reportedly as high as $150 million over six years.

      Minnesota might be better off if those talks collapse, giving new Twins GM Bill Smith a chance to find a better return for Santana. While he’s going to command possibly the richest contract ever given to a pitcher, Santana is the best pitcher in the game. And Smith didn’t get enough for him.

      Guerra (No. 2), Gomez (No. 3), Mulvey (No. 4) and Humber (No. 7) all ranked prominently on our Mets Top 10 Prospects list. But there’s simply too much risk involved in this deal for Minnesota.

      The two best prospects in the trade, Guerra and Gomez, come with high ceilings but also lack a lot of polish and have a long ways to go to reach their potential. The odds that they both will do so are slim.

      Guerra has an 89-94 mph fastball and a promising changeup and he’s only 18. But he also has a below-average breaking ball, has yet to pitch more than 90 innings in a season and while he has held his own, he hasn’t dominated. Gomez had the best package of tools in the Mets system, but his bat is still extemely raw as evidenced by his career .273/.331/.384 averages in the minors.

      Mulvey has an arsenal of four average pitches and throws strikes. He’s not overpowering and he’s most likely a No. 4 starter. Since having Tommy John surgery in 2005, Humber hasn’t fully regained the stuff that made him the No. 3 overall pick in the 2004 draft. His curveball is his best pitch but his fastball now sits at 87-91 mph. He too projects as a No. 4 starter.

      The Twins have traded Santana for two high-reward but also high-risk prospects, and two back-of-the-rotation starters. They didn’t get a prospect whose combination of ceiling and certainty approaches that of Hughes, whom the Yankees were willing to deal for Santana earlier in the winter. They didn’t get a package comparable to the ones the Red Sox reportedly offered earlier, fronted by either Jacoby Ellsbury and Jon Lester and also containing two solid prospects nearly ready for the majors: righty Justin Masterson and shortstop Jed Lowrie.

      By this point, however, the Yankees were no longer willing to part with Hughes and the Red Sox may have reduced their offers as well. But even if that left the Mets as the only serious bidders, the Twins should have insisted on New York’s top prospect, outfielder Fernando Martinez.

      As it was, Minnesota’s return doesn’t compare favorably to the six-player package the Athletics extracted from the Diamondbacks for Dan Haren. The A’s also got two quality arms from the White Sox for Nick Swisher.

      The Twins entered the offseason with three potential frontline starters on their big league roster. They since have traded Santana and Matt Garza, and they’re going to need Francisco Liriano to return to health and their offense to pick up an awful lot of slack.

      KEITH LAW:

      The Mets get Johan Santana without giving up Fernando Martinez, their best prospect, or Mike Pelfrey, their best young pitcher. They also immediately make themselves the favorites to win their division and have a good argument that they’re the best team in the National League. It’s hard to see this deal as anything other than a win for New York, and given how many people claimed (erroneously) that the Mets didn’t have the prospects to get Santana, it must be doubly sweet for Omar Minaya right now.

      For the Twins, or at least for their fans, this has to feel like a huge letdown after a winter that saw names like Jacoby Ellsbury and Phil Hughes bandied about by the media, although whether those players were actually available in trade talks is another matter entirely. The Twins deal their best asset and the best pitcher in franchise history — not to mention the greatest Rule 5 pick in the history of that draft — for quantity, but not the type of quality you expect a pitcher of his caliber to fetch in return.

      In Santana, the Mets get one of the game’s best pitchers, a two-time Cy Young Award winner who has to be the early favorite for the NL Cy right away, given his track record and the run and defensive support he’ll get in New York. It’s a five-win upgrade at worst, more if you consider the sixth- and seventh-starter types the Mets might have had to employ this year had they not made this deal. But the addition of Santana does two things for the Mets above and beyond the direct value he provides with his pitching. One, he’ll give the Mets 50-75 more innings than they would have gotten from the starter he replaces in the rotation; he takes pressure off their bullpen and allows Willie Randolph to give his best relievers more rest, which he wasn’t able to do last August and September. Two, he pushes everyone in the rotation back into a more suitable spot. Pelfrey now has to “win” a starting role in spring training, which, given the work he still needs to do, is not a bad situation. Oliver Perez and John Maine won’t line up quite as often against opposing No. 1 and 2 starters.

      Santana is not without his red flags; he stumbled to the finish in 2007 and in the past has had elbow chips, a problem that tends to recur. He’s become more flyball-oriented recently, leading to a big spike in his home run rate this year; the acquisition could encourage the Citi Field architects to push the fences back a few feet. And the days of him shouldering 230-240 innings a year may be behind him, although facing the pitcher two or three times a game may help him recover some of the lost workload.

      The Twins’ package includes two raw prospects with high ceilings and two near-in, low-upside arms. Carlos Gomez is a plus-plus runner, has a quick bat and makes a lot of contact with a wrist-heavy swing, but doesn’t project to hit for power now because he doesn’t use his lower half to get more power into his swing. He’s an excellent defender in center with a plus arm — imagine a Coco Crisp who could throw the ball to the catcher without 15 hops — which may encourage the Twins to use him in the majors right now, even though his bat’s not ready.

      Deolis Guerra is almost all youth and projection at this point, with his one major current skill an above-average changeup. His velocity is fringe-average and wildly inconsistent within outings, so the optimistic projection is that he’ll eventually sit 92+, but there’s also a good chance that he settles in where he is now. His curve has some depth, but like his velocity is inconsistent, and his feel for the pitch is particularly poor. He has a great pitcher’s frame, 6-foot-5 with very broad shoulders and lots of room to fill out, and the fact that he has an advanced secondary pitch bodes well for him improving his command and feel with experience. But the bottom line is that he’s 18 years old, so in the best-case scenario, he’ll be contributing in the majors in three or four years, and that’s if he doesn’t get hurt or hit a snag in his development.

      The other two arms are major-league ready or close to it, but have limited upside. Philip Humber’s curveball was once a big-league out pitch, but since Tommy John surgery, it hasn’t been as tight and he hasn’t commanded it as well, leaving him more reliant on his average fastball to get hitters out. He has good control and an average third pitch in his changeup, but his days of upside as a No. 2 starter are gone. Kevin Mulvey also has a three-pitch repertoire but lacks any kind of out pitch, making up for it with good command and a willingness to mix his pitches up to get hitters out. Humber has a chance to break out of the 4/5 pitcher group in Minnesota, which also includes Glen Perkins and Kevin Slowey, while Mulvey just gives them another cheap option if one of those guys isn’t ready in April.

      In the abstract, it’s hard to accept dealing your marquee player and top trading asset without getting your partner’s top young player in return, and that’s what the Twins did. They did get back significant economic value in four young players, each of whom has under one year of big-league service and two of whom aren’t even on the Mets’ 40-man roster yet, so the Twins will have each of them under control for six full years of service. That return in exchange for just one year of Santana’s services is reasonable. But premium players should fetch premium prices, because there’s value to a club in having so much production coming from a single roster spot. And in this case, Minnesota GM Bill Smith did not get a premium prospect in return.

    11. baileywalk
      January 31st, 2008 | 12:55 am

      What the hell — one more. From Steve Goldman:

      The Mets got Johan Santana, one of the best pitchers in baseball, and they gave up very little to do so. The Twins overplayed their hand. Had they taken the Yankees’ rumored best offer a month ago, they would have received a better return. Instead, they stuck to their guns, saner voices in the Yankees organization talked the team out of the deal, and the Twins had to take the Mets’ leavings instead of the Yankees’ prime rib.

      It also seems obvious that the rumored Red Sox offers were never serious and/or were vastly overstated, as any of the many suggested configurations easily trumps the collection of K-Mart specials the Twins received.

      The players the Twins are said to receive if the deal goes through (Santana must pass a physical and agree to a contract extension with the Mets first), outfielder Carlos Gomez and pitchers Phil Humber, Deolis Guerra, and Kevin Mulvey are strictly Grade B, No Big Deal prospects. Gomez is both very fast and very young (22), but with little power or patience he’s going to have to hit .300 to be useful, and he’s not going to do that. He should be a plus defender due to his ability to outrun anything this side of a stealth bomber, but darn it, if the Flash didn’t learn to hit the bad guys he would have just been a sprinter in red pajamas.

      Guerra, 19 in April, might be something someday and he also might be the guy listed as “minors” in the trade index. His offspeed stuff is supposedly better than his fastball, which is a bit backwards for a teen. I like Mulvey as a blue collar pitcher, but his strikeout rates are uninspiring and at 23 he’s not going to add five mph to his fastball. Phil Humber was once someone to watch, but Tommy John surgery seems to have wrecked not his fastball, but his signature curve.

      In short, the Twins gave up one a perennial Cy Young contender and got back zero star potential. Zilch. Nada. Nothing. We have no way of knowing what the Yankees’ real top offer was, but any possible package that would have included Phil Hughes would have been stronger than this one.

    12. vocallytrnsfrmd
      January 31st, 2008 | 2:12 am

      Right on, Lombardi. Yankee fans do overhype their prospects a little too much, so I agree with you in principle. However, I think Alan Horne is significantly better than Mulvey and Kennedy is better than Humber. As the previous commenter mentioned, Kennedy had dominated every where he’s been, including the MLB (small sample size I know, work with me). For real, Kennedy is real deal, and though his stuff isn’t awesome, his command is impeccable. Phil Humber has performed much worse. The stuff is the same, but the results are not.

    13. gphunt
      January 31st, 2008 | 7:57 am

      For me I don’t know if it’s the fact that I over-hype the prospects the Yankees have more than the fact I’m excited that the Yankees are working on a new game plan by keeping their own players. I think everyone knows that prospects don’t pan out, but when was the last time the Yankees had three pitchers ready to pitch at the MLB level, or a decent farm system? When the farm is ranked in the top 5, how is that not exciting? It means you’ve got some pretty good guys in the minors. It gives some hope that hey we may have a couple Andy Pettittes at a cost controlled price. How great will it be if in a few years the payroll is slashed and these young guys win us a World Series? I can’t stand the “Yanks buy a championship rant” that I always hear from other fans.

      Honestly, if Santana were a few years younger then I’d be all for trading away prospects for him. But not when the majority of his contract is going to be in the decline of his career.

    14. January 31st, 2008 | 8:07 am

      I think the problem with your comparison lies in the kennedy/humber comparison. Humber has a lifetime losing record in the minors and an era over 4. IPK has dominated at every stop so far including the Bigs. A better comparison can be found @ http://www.yankeegm.blogspot.com.


    15. williamnyy
      January 31st, 2008 | 9:07 am

      Steve….you are getting ridiculous. When EVERBODY disagrees with you, it’s time to reassess your position.

      This latest post lacks credibility because you simply use your own interpretation of BA profiles to support your claim. In a sense, you are simply re-stating your opinion, but attributing it to BA.

      Here’s an example:

      BA says:
      On Guerra:
      “His fastball had below-average velocity for most of his first season, but now it ranges from 89-94 mph and touches 96.”

      On Betances:
      “Betances’ stuff is as good as anyone’s in the system. His fastball sits at 93-94 mph and touched 98 in the club’s fall minicamp.”

      Somehow, from those profiles, you conclude, “Both are big kids who throw hard and who need better command of their breaking pitches. Neither one has shown anything over A-Ball. Again, since both are more promise than certainty, I would rate these two pretty close to being the same.”

      Guerra sits 89-94, while Betances sits 93-94. Clearly, you can see that Betances maintains much greater consistency than Guerra. Also, did you ignore the “stuff is as good as anyone’s” comment. How anyone could read these profiles and come away thinking Guerra and Betances are rated similarly is beyond me.

      I could point out several other examples, but I think your credibility on this issue has already been exposed. What’s more, resorting to childish ad hominem attacks doesn’t improve your argument…instead, it makes me want to read your blog less.

    16. January 31st, 2008 | 9:48 am

      ~~~Why do you feel the need to belittle people who disagree with you?~~~

      Why do people feel the need to belittle me when they disagree with what I write? It happens, all the time. You, and a few other regular commentors, do it frequently.

      If someone, like you, or the others (and they know who they are) would be willing to honestly answer that question – then I would offer that answer as a possible reason to the very question that you’re asking me here.

    17. NYYFan50
      January 31st, 2008 | 9:51 am

      Long time reader, first time poster. I read your blog daily, but it’s finally time for me to leave a comment.

      On this one…you are just way off. Citing the same source you used, Baseball America, Jim Callis said in yesterday’s ESPN chat (paraphrasing) that Gomez, the best of the Mets prospects in this deal, would have been ranked somewhere between 6-10 in the Yankee system. I’m almost sure this is what he said, but someone else with Insider Access could go check.

      6-10, Steve. Even if we give Gomez the benefit of the doubt and put him at 6, it’s not close. Now look at the BA list for the Yankees. Note that Kennedy, Horne and Tabata all rank higher than 6th (4, 5, 3 respectively). So you are comparing two packages of players that are, frankly, not even close. The BEST of the Mets prospects in the deal wouldn’t be ranked higher than the THIRD best prospect in the Yankee side that you compared it to.

      This is using your same source, but not your analysis. Their analysis. I’m not saying those four Yankees are going to be great by any means. They could all flop. But comparably, anyone taking the Mets side of that has lost their mind.

    18. bfriley76
      January 31st, 2008 | 10:19 am

      You’re right…here’s the exchange on Gomez.

      Where would Carlos Gomez have placed in the Yankees and Red Sox top 10 prospect lists?

      SportsNation Jim Callis: I’m not a big Gomez fan. He would have been in the 6-10 range for both clubs.

      Also from that chat, since it’s relevant:

      Hey Jim, some people and I are having a bit of a dispute, can you settle it: Who is better Kennedy or Mulvey? And Gomez or Tabata?

      SportsNation Jim Callis: Kennedy. Tabata

      Steve compared Kennedy to Humber, but Baseball America ranks Mulvey higher in their Mets Top 10 Prospects list (#4 compared to #7) so it’s still relevant…maybe even more so.

      Seems like you might be all alone on this one Steve. I agree that fans of every team have a tendency to overvalue their own prospects, you it seems like you’re going to the other extreme here and undervaluing…at least in comparison to the Mets.

    19. williamnyy
      January 31st, 2008 | 10:22 am

      Mike R. (San Juan, PR): Where would Carlos Gomez have placed in the Yankees and Red Sox top 10 prospect lists?

      Jim Callis: I’m not a big Gomez fan. He would have been in the 6-10 range for both clubs.

    20. williamnyy
      January 31st, 2008 | 10:25 am

      More from Callis, posted only because BA was cited as a source here:

      Kyle (Brockport, NY): Hey Jim, some people and I are having a bit of a dispute, can you settle it: Who is better Kennedy or Mulvey? And Gomez or Tabata?

      Jim Callis: Kennedy. Tabata.

    21. Raf
      January 31st, 2008 | 10:47 am

      Yeah, I know, stupid of me to dare compare Yankees prospects (who are all wunderkind and Über-valuable) to prospects from an organization other than the Yankees (who, being non-Yankees prospects, are all therefore just minor league filler).
      Don’t feel bad, it happens all the time… Like for instance, when one suggests that the Yanks are just like the rest of the teams, that playing in NY doesn’t give them some sort of special advantage.

      Or when Jeter’s compared to other shortstops, and fans come back with 0MGWTF C0UNT T3H RINGZ B1TCH3Z!!11!!1!one!!!1

      If anything, at least some Yankees fans are consistent 🙂

    22. January 31st, 2008 | 12:01 pm

      NYYFan50 – I love long time, first timers! Thanks for reading and posting.

      Others, yes, I am in the minority here. But, allow me to offer the following:

      “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” –

      – Arthur Schopenhauer
      German philosopher (1788 – 1860)

      I can wait until that third stage – and, then, we’ll see…..

    23. bfriley76
      January 31st, 2008 | 12:19 pm

      One good quote deserves another.

      “I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.

      – Leo Tolstoy
      Russian philosopher and writer (1828 – 1910)

    24. keithny
      January 31st, 2008 | 12:34 pm

      After being shot down by your source you cite a quote about the essence of “truth”. Give it up, man.

    25. baileywalk
      January 31st, 2008 | 1:42 pm

      Why do people feel the need to belittle me when they disagree with what I write? It happens, all the time. You, and a few other regular commentors, do it frequently.

      I don’t know why you would say this to me, Steve — and I mean that seriously. Certainly things can get heated around here and these back-and-forths get combative, but I’ve never belittled you. I respect what you do — it takes commitment to run this blog daily. There are certain subjects (specifically Hughes and young players) where you kind of drive me a little insane. But belittle you? You know I’ve never done that.

      And if I have (and, hey, I’ve written a million words on here and I’m sure it could have happened) you should have pointed it out and I would have apologized. This is, after all, YOUR web site and it is our privilege, not our right, to comment here.

      Anyway, I feel like this site has edged toward a negative vibe and I’m going to try to even my tone a bit in the future. Someone asked when this become a “you versus your readers” blog and I wondered the same thing.

      I still think this is the best blog around — with an incredible group of readers (MJ, Rich, Raf, etc., etc.) — and it’s definitely the only one where you’ll find quotes from Tolstoy and Schopenhauer.

      So… best — blog — ever.

      Peace and love.

      And yes, there was a time when I crushed on T.J. Beam. God bless America!

    26. Bob R.
      January 31st, 2008 | 2:37 pm

      As evidence that any prospects list is provisional at best, in the two top 100 lists that came out today, Keith Law had Lars Anderson at #28 while Kevin Goldstein had him at #100.

      Nonetheless, if we are looking at comparisons of the packages, here is how those two saw the players being compared here:

      Law has Tabata at #21 and Kennedy at #45. He does not rank either Horne or Betances. He has Gomez at #35 and Guerra at #80. He does not rank either Mulvey or Humber. As Humber only has 9 innings of major league pitching, I think he is still eligible for these lists.

      Goldstein has Kennedy at #34, Tabata at #48 and Horne at #67. He does not rank Betances. He has Gomez at #65 and Guerra at #79 and does not rank either Humber or Mulvey.

      Their comments are available at their respective sites and in their chats. As unauthoritative as these rankings may be, they do indicate that these two people rate the suggested Yankee package as significantly better than the actual Met package.

      Incidentally, I have written some very harsh things on this site. I do not think I ever directed them at a person; as far as I recall, they always referred to what was written, and I do not apologize for that one bit. In the last case that I remember, I think it was entirely justified. If I have ever gone ad hominem, that was wrong and if it is ever pointed out to me that I did I will be glad to retract and apologize.

    27. January 31st, 2008 | 8:13 pm

      ~~~So… best — blog — ever.~~~

      Thanks for making my day. Hugs all around!

    28. Yu Hsing Chen
      January 31st, 2008 | 10:21 pm

      Another note Steve, when you note that Sickles gave IPK a B- last year while Humber B+ , you overlook that IPK hasn’t really even pitched in pro ball yet at that time !

      JS admit himself that he doesnt’ like grading guys just after they’re drafted, because the translation is often hard to predict.

      most people thought IPK would progress fast, but no one expected him to essentially tear down the minors in one season.

      Humber came off a strong campaign in AA, people thought he will continue to regain his stuff. he didn’t and was only decent in AAA.

    29. Josh
      February 1st, 2008 | 11:33 am

      Gomez can’t hit.

      Hes Ruben Rivera.

      One thing EVERYONE says about Tabata is he can flat out rake.

      Big difference there.

    30. Don
      February 1st, 2008 | 9:28 pm

      Mets may have Santana, but I think they are a deteriorating team even with him.

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