Tuesday, February 14, 2017

In lieu of a contending team, the Yankiverse celebrates prospect rankings

Lost amid the news that Hannah Davis has been awarded the ultimate Jeter gift basket, Baseball America - the Bible of Human Potential - ran it's Top 100 prospects list yesterday. (We scored seven on it.) Simultaneously, Baseball Prospectus published its Top 101. (We had nine.) Analyst John Sickels unveiled his Top 200 (We placed 10.) If IT IS HIGH ever does one, it'll be the Top 1,000, and we'll score at least 20.

These lists have a purpose. Just remember to flush. They are parlor games, the type played by fund managers at Mar-a-Lago, while they oogle the nuclear football. Last summer, the fabled New York fucking Yankees stank so badly that their owner collapsed the circus tent and sold off the elephants. This spring, we're looking good on prospect lists. Excuse me if I fart. 

All you need to know about Baseball America's esteemed list is that two years ago, Boston's international man of mystery, Rusney Castillo, placed 21st. He had come north from Cuba and launched a bidding war. The Redsocks won it. They've already paid him $23 million, and they owe $49 million more. They'll have him until 2020, when he is 32. Last year at Pawtucket, he hit .263 with 2 HRs. When Redsock fans blather about future Hall of Famer Andrew Benintendi, cover your ears and shout "RUSNEY CASTILLO!" They will go away. 

But let's talk about Aaron Judge, the Yankee leviathan. In 2015, he placed 53rd on BA's list. Last year, he fell to 76th. This year, he ranks 90th. (Sickels dropped him to 143rd.) From all "expert" indications, Judge is on the verge of becoming our Rusney.

The reason for this pessimism is Judge's sorry play last August, when the Yankees sprang his escape from Scranton's coal mines. He flashed power and athleticism, but basically stank out the Bronx - fanning in half his at bats. (You all know this.) True believers note that Judge always struggled after promotions. Last year, a tweaked gonad took him out before he could adjust. We still don't know what we've got.

What if - say - Judge's gonad (which must be the size of a state fair watermelon) had barked last July, and Judge stayed in Scranton? His record for 2016 would show him crushing Triple A. There's be no bad September, no blitz of strikeouts. My guess: He'd be ranked higher on every list. The fact is, he is better off for getting a glimpse of MLB pitching - he's had a winter to adjust - but if he'd stayed in Scranton, he'd now be ranked higher by the "experts."

Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining that Aaron Judge should be ranked higher in these stupid lists. I'm just saying we should not get lulled into a sense of imminent success by them. They are baseball's equivalent of the "Most Popular" polls in high school. And we all know what happened to that former star quarterback, right?  

Over the last three years, the most heralded prospect in baseball has been Byron Buxton of the Twins. Last year he got the call. He played in 92 games. He hit .225. Maybe 2017 will be his breakout year. Or maybe rankings just don't matter. It's a tough game.

10 comments:

John M said...

We don't need no stinking rankings.

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

I'd like my team to rank high in Ws and low in Ls. Is that too much to ask?

Alphonso said...

Two reactions and a question;

1. We never do well with over-sized humans ( Jesus had a head so large, the mask he wore behind the plate had to be forged in Indiana).

2. Prospects are like dry dirt. They just sift right through your fingers. The ones that stick, are usually the ones you don't expect.

How were the Winter Meetings? The secret ones, where the Yankee future is plotted?

Anonymous said...

YOU ONLY TRADE YOUR BEST PROSPECTS FOR THE ABSOLUTE, RIGHT DEAL.
OUR MANAGEMENT BRASS DOESN'T KNOW HOW OR WHEN.
THE RED SOX DO.
CHRIS SALE.

Anonymous said...

Can't disagree with El Duque. I personally think the promotion of the Yankee players on the Top 100 lists is a sucker's play. El Cheapo and his gang know that they have very little on this club so they are promoting these prospects to sell tickets so that the Steinbrenners can continue to live their luxury lifestyles. They need your hard-earned dollars Yankee fans. El Cheapo, a few days ago, tried to promote El Chapo (to sell more tickets) but got nailed for it. Prospect hugging is not what wins World Series. It's foolish to put all your hopes on people like Sanchez who easily could have the "sophomore jinx" this year. I had followed Mark Montgomery a few years ago, who was being compared to David Robertson. Where is he today? Now, if Sanchez, Bird, Judge and others on this list make it to the majors and have good, consecutive seasons, then I'll become a believer. Until then, El Cheapo needs to spend money (wisely) to make money! -m

el duque said...

Answer to Alphonso's question regarding the winter meetings: Many were killed.

Anonymous said...

At least Sanchez, Byrd, and Severino have had some brief periods of success at the MLB level. Because this is not Boston, I'm not going to retire their numbers yet. But you are being much too pessimistic.

Caveat: hype about all other prospects is b.s. they need to show some success in MLB before I believe anything

Anonymous said...

Yes, Duque, that's what I heard too: Many were killed, but few were frozen.

What else to say?? Pretty much every commenter on this post is right on, imho. Oh - - except Yankee brass are quiet today, because they're too busy having breasfast with their Valentines. LB (No J)

Anonymous said...

Well, they may be having that, too, but I meant "breakfast" - - damned keyboard - - keeps moving around on me - - sorta' like Jos West's strike-zone. LB (No J)

Leinstery said...

It's the Yankees' farm system, where once promising talent dies. I'm not sure if it's from poor coaching that can never develop the kids from anything more than what they come in as, or if the constant reliance on old fucks in the majors has an organization wide effect that stunts everyone. Either way at this point I've been conditioned to expect every prospect amount to nothing. Name one star since 1997, aside from Joggie, to come out of these can't miss prospects. I'm just going to say it, none of them will pan out. Not even our sweet little Gary.