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July 1, 2005

Back With A Rant
by Fabian

I haven’t posted in a while, partially because I’m working two jobs and devote about 80-100 hours a week just being at work so free time is not plentiful, partially because…I don’t know. That said, something I read today forced me to write.

Whenever Baseball America does their chat sessions I always submit tons of Yankee questions if I’m at a computer, hoping some of them get answered. I don’t do this because I take BA as the be all end all of prospect evaluators, but rather because prospects are something no one has down to a science and making it very important to get as many views and opinions as possible. Since I DO value BA’s higher than the average prospect rating service or entity, I was QUITE disappointed with today’s chat. Due to lack of Internet access around the time of the chat, I was limited to reading over the questions that were asked after the chat was closed and could not rebut anything said by Chris Kline. So, because I need a public forum to vent, I’m writing this blog entry.

The first Yankee related question was a straightforward one, as someone just wanted to know the injury timetable for Phil Hughes. After that…down the hill we went:

Ben Delbanco from New York, NY asks:
Hi Chris, Thanks for doing the chat. Can you talk a little bit about the Yankees farm system? Is it possible that it's actually a bit better than people have been giving it credit for? Particularly, where do you think Phil Hughes and Tyler Clippard might rank among RHP prospects? With those guys, Tim Battle, Duncan, Cabrera, CJ Henry and Austin Jackson, it looks like the Yankees might finally have some high-ceiling talent again.

Chris Kline: Hey Ben, I think it's getting better, but it's not something I'm getting overly excited about

No problem with that, I’m getting excited, but it’s not like the Yankees are upper echelon yet, or close to it.

I like Hughes a lot, but I don't think I'd rank him in the Top 10 righthanded prospects in the game


Clippard is having a lot of success this year in the Florida State League with solid secondary numbers and has improved his stock, although he's given up a lot of long balls

Grudgingly agree.

Word is he's gained some velocity on his 87-91 mmph fastball

This already happened last season, but if you only want to report it now, sure, go ahead.

and you have to like a guy who isn't afraid to own the inner half of the plate the way he does--there's a lot of upside there if he can command the fastball the way he's shown flashes of

Wait, so you’re saying he lacks command of his fastball???

I'm not a big Duncan fan, or Cabrera for that matter,

You don’t have to be, so that’s fine.

but Henry and Jackson were key and both have high ceilings

That’s cool.

There isn't much depth, but it's improving


Ben Delbanco from New York, NY asks:
One more...why is Hanley Ramirez getting so much love? Sure, he's young, but it looks to me like a guy like Eric Duncan (who is having a pretty terrible year), and who is also younger at the same level, is still having a better year than Hanley--what gives?

Chris Kline: Come on!


Hanley deserves the love and there is no way Duncan is having a better year

…no, seriously…there is no way Duncan is having a better year…I mean, I guess it kind of depends on how you define “having a better year”. If you define it by pure statistical performance then, Duncan at .250/.348/.399 in a pitcher’s park is actually better than Ramirez’s .268/.328/.393 in a hitter’s park. If you define it by statistical performance within the adjustment for age…Duncan is still ahead, since he is about a full year younger. If you define it by work on the base paths I’m not so sure I WOULDN’T take Duncan’s 7 for 8 on steals over Ramirez’s 15 for 21. In fact, the only way I can currently think of someone saying that Ramirez is in fact having a better year than Duncan is if they feel Duncan’s offensive superiority in addition to equivalent or better base stealing ability demonstrated this year in addition to being younger doesn’t make up for Ramirez having 9 errors in 60 games while Duncan has 20 in 80 games. So, I guess it depends on how you define “no way”.

Ramirez hit a funk lately, but started off very hot whereas Duncan has only been lukewarm all season

…no, seriously…Ramirez hit a funk lately whereas Duncan has only been lukewarm all season. Well, since Duncan has only been lukewarm all season and his offensive numbers are actually better than Ramirez’s Ramirez must have actually hit one hell of a funk or just not started out that hot. Perhaps he started off warm. That’s if you want to believe Duncan has been lukewarm all season because in my experience following baseball, having a month where you hit .287/.412/.553 at the age of 20 in AA in a pitcher’s park would be considered something more than lukewarm, and that’s what Duncan did in June) When we were putting together Futures Game rosters, Hanley was easily the highest-profile guy on that team (I respect the work that most every person puts out, but either Kline is lying or something really stupid is going on or there are just way too many Red Sox fans in the world or, and I hope/think this is what it is, he was only referring to the World Team. Because in any game that features Delmon Young and B.J. Upton, there is no way Hanley Ramirez is or should be the highest profile guy. Actually, even on the World Team alone there is some guy who is about a year younger than Hanley who, while playing in the same league, hit .267/.310/.410, which is better than Hanley’s performance in case you forgot. In addition, the performance gap is widened considering the mystery player also played in a pitcher’s gap. Apparently, the mystery guy also projects as a solid defender in CF with Jose Vidro offensive ability, which would coincidentally make him one of the game’s better CF. Thy mystery guy is Melky Cabrera, but calm down because you probably shouldn’t think too much of him.