Friday, January 13, 2017

People are already wondering if the 2014 Agua Teen Hero Super Class is a bust

One of the best long-term acts the Yankees have done in recent years - along with last summer's garage sale - was signing the 2014 Agua Teen Hero Super Class. Hal Steinbrenner spent an ungodly chunk on about 20 top international children, most of them 16. It was the Yankees' Cancer Moon Shot and frankly, we must credit Hal for opening his iron-hinged wallet. Unfortunately, this happened a few months before Yoan Moncada arrived from Cuba, when our owner suddenly developed alligator arms, earning the name "Food Stamps." If the Redsocks launch a dynasty based on Chris Sale - who the acquired for Moncada - historians may pinpoint the 2014 signing class as the fulcrum point of disaster. Or... if we eventually find from that class a Miguel and a Melky Cabrera, it could be the smartest thing we ever did.

Two years later, well, it's hard to say if we're geniuses or dullards. Yesterday, Robert M. Pimpsner - a writer for the Yes-affiliated Pinstriped Prospects - looked at the Super Class in a post titled, "It's still too early to give up on the 2014 IFA class." He's right. It is too early. But the mere suggestion that this is up for debate is - well - the first possibly potential omen of perhaps a maybe future possibly potential troubling sign. Says Pimpster:

When it comes to judging international free agents, it is important to remember that scouting is never an exact science.  Especially when it comes to scouting players that are 16-years-old.  That is why there are always surprises out of each class, and of course the inevitable let down.

What he doesn't say comes through. Thus far, it's a let-down. No Melky. No Miguel. Not even an Estevan or a Florence. Again: It IS too early to judge these kids. Nobody should be waived, traded or lose his parking lanyard... but after two years, it looks like a bunch of Jackson Melians (who, BTW, is still playing in Venezuela.)

Last season, nobody - not one of them - batted higher than .270. Most hit below .220. The three most touted prospects - Dermis Garcia ($3 million bonus), Nelson Gomez ($2.25 million) and Juan De Leon ($2 million) - hit a combined .200. (De Leon had the highest average .212.) They showed power, hit a few intercontinental missiles, and they were only 18 - young for their leagues. Three years from now, they'll be the age when most college grads start their pro careers. It's too early... but...

Nobody broke out. Nobody stood shoulders above the opposition. Thus far, nada.

I'm not faulting the strategy. I'm just noting that, already, prospect-huggers feel compelled to defend this group. Surely, one or two Super Teens will step forward. They can't all fail, can they? Somebody has to develop into a star. We can't go 0-for-30, right?

Well, until somebody jumps out, a lot of money got spent on X-Boxes and Playstations, and Hal will have a quick excuse not to try it again.


John M said...

I don't understand why you consider these signings a failure. If none of them have hit over .270 and a lot have hit under .220, I'd say they're ready for the big club.

Alphonso said...

I think the answer if more obvious than anyone is willing to say.

" If it looks like a duck. If it walks like a duck. If it quacks like a duck."

Let's be real. The Yankees will get stringy, pig slop out of this investment. There is no magic here. Just wasted media space and poorly executed strategy.

What they did was say," give me any 20 kids who, at age 16, are playing baseball, speaking spanish and wearing a uniform when doing so." They then hope that one or two of said flock will develop into a " gamer." It is like human roulette. That is how 1% owners operate in a board room.

It is true that, somewhere, right now, stands a 16 year old who loves baseball, and who will become a superstar. No doubt about it. The problem is; The Yankees don't have him, know him, or have a clue how to locate him.

We sent some alcohol-addled "scout," on a mission to the Dominican and said, " if you sign a huge number of young kids, someone might turn out good." Probably, our scout was the former husband of that Steinbrenner woman who said, " we are all in, for eternity."

And we are less well off than the duck, referred to earlier.

Fuck a duck, I say.