Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Quality Control
2006-06-07 09:49
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Rich Lederer watched Ian Kennedy, the Yankees' top pick in the 2006 draft, pitch in a college game earlier this season (check out Rich's pitch-by-pitch post of the game). Lederer's scouting report on Kennedy goes something like this:

Following in the footsteps of fellow Trojans Tom Seaver, Randy Johnson, Barry Zito, and Mark Prior...Consensus All-American...Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year...Two-time pitcher for Team USA...Although stuff is no better than average for a major league hurler, the right-hander exhibits outstanding command of four pitches...Fastball ranged from 89-91 all night...Throws strikes and changes speed...His stretch position is similar to Mike Mussina...Top ten draft pick unless his advisor and soon-to-be agent Scott Boras scares off potential suitors.

2006-06-07 10:08:09
1.   Marcus
Wow, Alex, you must have read my mind. I was just coming over to BB after reading the Baseball Analysts draft analysis from yesterday. Check it out here:

The comments are especially interesting, as both Rich and some commenters give the Yanks good grades for the day.

Given that I know nothing about prospect evaluation, it made me feel good to hear at least a couple guys who know a thing or two think that the Yanks had a good first day.

2006-06-07 10:14:43
2.   Dimelo
How many pitchers did the Yanks end up drafting ? Was it less than 100?
2006-06-07 10:44:26
3.   Rich Lederer
2. - I think drafting (lots of) pitchers makes sense. Given that starting pitchers, on average, cost more in the free agency market than any other position, why not draft and develop them in bunches? It becomes a numbers game at that point and should wind up being a much cheaper way of gaining frontline talent.
2006-06-07 10:51:11
4.   Cliff Corcoran
3 Also, pitchers are harder to project and more prone to injuries. The more you have, the better your chances of having one that stays healthy and actually contributes at the big league level.

Also, as hitters are more predictable, trading for position players is a safer bet than trading for pitching, so better to develop your own hurlers at the cost of a few draft picks and then pay the higher premium of pitching prospects (of which there is no such thing) or free agency money to fill in position players.

It's a good strategy, as is the fact that they're focusing college pitching. I just wish they had picked up a catcher in the early rounds. Could be they just weren't sold on Conger and the rest.

2006-06-07 10:53:16
5.   Cliff Corcoran
Incidentally, Rich's draft note on Kennedy is also worth noting: "Kennedy's stock fell this year, owing to a disappointing junior season. Agreeing to terms with agent Scott Boras could prove troublesome. If and when Kennedy signs--and for how much--should prove to be one of the more interesting post-draft stories."
2006-06-07 10:56:30
6.   rbj
Yeah, basically grab a whole bunch of pitchers, throw them against the wall and see which ones stick. It's easier to trade a pitcher for a position player than the other way around. As Yogi or Casey Stengel might've said, 90% of the game is pitching, the other half is physical.
2006-06-07 10:58:15
7.   Cliff Corcoran
More from Rich in the comments to that post:

"The NYY selected three highly rated pitchers based on your AdjDERA work in Kennedy (#21), Chamberlain (#41), and Melancon (#284). The latter could prove to be a steal when we look back at this year's draft in a few years. Add in high schooler Zachary McAllister (#104) and the Yanks obviously made a point of beefing up its pitching."

And from Red Sox fan Kent Bonham:

"seeing NYY take Betances right after BOS . . . and then Melancon go to NYY right after us made me want to throw up in my mouth."

Given the limited talent pool, I'd say that's two solid drafts in a row.

2006-06-07 11:31:27
8.   yankz
There has to be a catcher we don't know about, or something about a current catcher we don't know yet. The organization cannot be that shortsighted and foolish to have never considered life after Jorge.
2006-06-07 11:37:00
9.   Rob Gee
I wonder if the lack of a solid catching pick is because of Francisco Pena. I mean it's not like the Yankees can't notice they need a starter as soon as NOW. Maybe they've gotten word that his first choice is the Yankees and they figure why waste the pick and cash when they'll be getting a sure-fire first rounder in a few weeks? If anything, that's what the Yankee cash is for - to outbid for these guys - and I'm pretty sure it's not affected by the revenue sharing agreement - that is they can spend whatever it takes and there's no tax.

If young Pena is not the plan, then a giant "what the funk!?" is well-deserved.

2006-06-07 11:45:47
10.   Idaho Yankee
Draft picks through round 32. Looks like Yanks have finally drafted a couple catchers, maybe pick 884 is the next Jorge (I doubt it but he was a later round pick too)

21 R/R RHP Ian Kennedy, USC, 12.19.1984
41 R/R RHP Joba Chamberlain, Nebraska 09.23.1985
104 R/R RHP Zachary McAllister, Illinois Valley Central High 12.08.1987
134 L/L RF Colin Curtis, Arizona State 02.01.1985
164 R/R RHP George Kontos, Northwestern 06.12.1985
194 R/R SS Mitchell Hilligoss, Purdue 06.17.1985
224 R/R RHP Timothy Norton, U Connecticut 05.23.1983
254 R/R RHP Dellin Betances, Grand Street Campus 03.23.1988
284 R/R RHP Mark Melancon, Arizona 03.28.1985
314 R/R RHP Casey Erickson, Springfield College IL 08.28.1985
344 L/L LF Jeffrey Fortenberry, Baylor 09.01.1983
374 R/R RHP Nicholas Peterson, U Tampa 10.03.1984
404 R/R RHP Daniel McCutchen, Oklahoma 09.26.1982
434 L/L LF Donald Hollingsworth UC Riverside 05.28.1985
464 R/R RHP Gabriel Medina, Emporia St 02.17.1984
494 R/R RHP Paul Patterson, Norther Kentucky 05.08.1984
524 R/R RHP David Robertson, Alaabama Tuscaloosa 04.08.1985
554 L/L LHP Paul Howell, American Christian Academy 09.06.1987
584 R/R 2B Christopher Kunda, Oregon St 11.01.1984
614 R/R 2B Kevin Russo, Baylor 07.08.1984
644 R/R 2B Russell Raley, Oklahoma 12.30.1983
674 L/L LF Brian Aragon, NC State 01.12.1984
704 L/L LHP Brandon Thomson, Chandler Gilbert CC 08.17.1985
734 R/R C Brian Baisley U South Florida 12.19.1982
764 S/R SS Kevin Carby, Texarkana CC 11.24.1986
794 L/L LHP Timothy Dennehy, Chandler Gilbert CC 09.22.1986
824 R/R RHP Michael Lee, Bellevue CC 11.18.1986
854 R/R RHP Barrett Bruce, Flower Mound HS 01.15.1988
884 S/R C Orlando Torres, PuertoRico BB academy HS 08.07.1987
914 R/R C Brock Ungricht, SDSU 12.31.1984
944 L/R CF Zakary Presley, Carroll, TX HS 12.20.1987
974 L/L LHP Thomas Palica, Golden West Col 07.21.1987

2006-06-07 11:53:33
11.   Fred Vincy
And Jorge wasn't a catcher when he was drafted....

Seriously, while taking a catcher might be nice all other things being equal, by far the most important thing is taking talent. High-ceiling talent at any position is more likely to net a catcher in the long run (via trade) than a lower-ceiling catcher. For example, the Mets got Mike Piazza for a then-recent 1st round pick (Preston Wilson) and third-round pick (Ed Yarnell).

2006-06-07 12:02:52
12.   Cliff Corcoran
11 The Piazza trade is a bad example, as it was part of the Marlins' fire sale 1.1. Then again the Sox got Varitek and Derek Lowe for Heathcliffe Slocumb, so . . . It's also worth bearing in mind that the Yankees, unless they lose a type-A free agent to a terrible team, won't get truly early pick any time soon, so even if another Joe Mauer does emerge, they won't get him.
2006-06-07 12:24:09
13.   Rob Gee
12 Francisco Pena, Dioner Navarro - these must be the types the Yanks have their eyes on - I hope, I pray - they have the cash and can spend it freely here.

Though Kurt Suzuki they could have had last year in the late first round. He could arrive as early as next year for the A's.

2006-06-07 12:26:39
14.   Rob Gee
Sorry, Suzuki was a 2nd rounder in 2004.
2006-06-07 12:26:59
15.   wsporter
9 Rob, or maybe the big kid they had in during March, Jesus Montero could be the guy. They've taken 3 today but if one of those Int'l guys isn't on the way this would appear to be a strange set of choices. Conger and the kid from CA Tracey were supposed to be the guys to look at early. Maybe they considered the opportunity cost of drafting what was left to be too high when they examined the alternatives at other positions. We'll have to wait a couple of weeks to see how the international signings pan out. Gotsta find somebody or some bodies.

We do have a couple of guys at the lower levels (ie Pilittere in Tampa) but nothing close. How close the other youngsters could be if we get any one of them is also to be seen. I doubt we'll have someone ready to understudy Jorge next spring by going the draft route anyway

2006-06-07 12:39:00
16.   Idaho Yankee

The Dodgers aren't likely to keep three catchers, so they'll have to decide between Dioner Navarro or Sandy Alomar Jr. as the back-up. The only other alternatives are to keep Navarro in Triple-A, which is highly unlikely, or use him as a trading chip. -- Los Angeles Daily N

Navarro would be great to have back.

2006-06-07 12:43:14
17.   rbj
Three for one swap:
Erickson, Small and Long for Navarro. Think the Dodgers would bite?
2006-06-07 12:50:35
18.   Dimelo
did you guys read this about Seattle's top pick. He hurt himself picking up the phone.

I smell....Paaaaa.....vano.

2006-06-07 12:53:55
19.   Rob Gee
15 Oh, Jesus, I forgot about Montero. Okay, that has to be the plan - either Pena or Montero, maybe both. I mean if you're going to throw 40 mil at Meat, why not a few mil at young catchers. Montero may be too big to be a legit C though - he's 16 and already 6'3" 225.

16 I agree, but it just depends on the price. Unfortuntely, even with Kelly Flaherty I fear no young catcher will get PT under Torre unless Jorge hits the DL for an extended visit. The sad part is he'll lose his bat come September - as surely as summer turning to fall.

2006-06-07 13:03:50
20.   wsporter
17 Now that's funny!
2006-06-07 13:05:26
21.   wsporter
19 Nice word play Rob!
2006-06-07 13:07:32
22.   yankaholic
Forget catchers, how is our rotation shaping up for next year??

Randy (sigh) will behere,

Moose option will be declined (17 mill no way and this is the last yr of his excellence i think), but i think he will settle for a lesser arb figure

Wright (look at it this way, the payoff is 4 mill, i would rather they pay 3 more totalling 7 and keep him)

Wang ( i really think he will be traded in July or offseason next yr)

Chacon ( no idea)

I rad that the japanese pitcher Matsuzaka may be lapped up..

2006-06-07 13:23:06
23.   Rob Gee
22 There's no question: sign Zito to a Moose deal (5 years, 65 mil). Overpriced but not Past Prime.

He's 28.

He's lefty.

The guy's not a number 1 - he is a solid 2.

He has pitched a bunch of innings but no real injury history.

Every year he throw 200 innings with an ERA usually much better than league average.

There's no reason not to sign him, unless he doesn't want to come to NY.

If the price is right, sign Pettite too.

22 As for Wang, what are you going to trade him for? Another pitcher? The team has three OF's signed for the next three years (Matsui, Damon, and Melky). The IF is also covered. Jorge's option kicks in. The Bullpen is full with the big club and in the minors.

So you trade Wang for a 4th OF or backup IF? Because it doesn't make sense to trade him for pitching - he could be a solid 3 and is no worse than a 5. Unless this year's team falls apart with injuries I guess - but then why trade him?

2006-06-07 13:29:21
24.   yankaholic
23 Oh i was not advocating a trade for Wang, i mean if they can fix his men-on-base issue, he is a super-cheap guy for us..

but it was a gut thing, i just feel he may leave us in the off-season..

well, consider this, what if the Dudgers ask Wang for Navarro.. i will think atleast..

if he goes on a trade its either a RF or Catcher hopefully

2006-06-07 13:34:33
25.   wsporter
22 Mike over at Canyon of Heroes (another really interesting place) talked about Matsuzaka about a month ago. I recall him writing that both parties had each other on their respective radars. I was driving to a meeting I didn't want to go to this AM so I was thinking about next year's rotation (Jez do I need a life). I was thinking that we have to get another year out of Johnson when I remembered we have Pavano. I nearly got into an accident.

If they can get Wang to work out his problem working from the stretch he may convert from a capable #4 to a capable #2/3. I don't think they should give up on him just yet; unless Hughes, White and Henn just go ballistic and we can't keep 2 of them out of the rotation that is. I understand that he looked pretty good last night.

2006-06-07 13:42:02
26.   yankaholic
25 right abt getting on a life.. haha.. i have been thinking abt 07 rotation for a while now..


Well, i was hoping on Kelvim Escobar, but Angels resigned him.

2006-06-07 13:45:55
27.   Start Spreading the News
Game is rained out tonight.

No make up day announced.

2006-06-07 13:51:33
28.   wsporter
Rain Rain Go away we wont get a chance to smack around painted sawks today.
2006-06-07 14:10:38
29.   joejoejoe
Mussina's option is going to be picked up after he wins 20+ games, the Cy Young Award, and his first World Series. Moo$e is worth it.

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