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April 27, 2006

by Fabian

-Brett Gardner is off to a fast start in the FSL, hitting .406/.542/.531 with 8 steals in 11 attempts. This start has had some clamoring for his promotion to the Eastern League though I can’t help but think such talk is premature. Gardner has struck out 21 times in 64 at bats and that worries me. Hitters with strikeout rates in excess of 25% worry me, especially those who aren’t or don’t project to be power hitters. Gardner, at 33%, looks like he might have trouble with upper level pitching. That said, it’s difficult to come by more advanced information on the FSL and for all I know, he might just be striking out on a lot of deep counts, which is more acceptable and somewhat believable given his 18 walks drawn already.

-Hector Made, now a 2B thanks to the presence of a certain shiny new SS prospect, is off to an interesting start. His .254 OBP, the product of a 0:14 BB:K ratio, is less than terrific, his .254 AVG is decent for the FSL, but his .478 SLG and .224 Isolated Power is where the intrigue lies. Made has long been lauded for his tools, so it’s nice to see that the power is coming along through his first 67 at bats. How long this will last is anyone’s guess as Deivi Mendez, another toolsy SS, once got off to a promising FSL start power-wise only to fade into nothingness.

-Though his line only reads .198/.217/.395, I’ve been satisfied with Eduardo Nunez’s progress thus far. He’s obviously hit for power as demonstrated by half his hits going for extra bases as well as the .197 Isolated Power and while he hasn’t walked much, only 2 in 81 at bats, he’s only struck out in 19% of his at bats. He’s been a bit unlucky on balls in play thus far, so his BA should soon be on the rise. Lastly, Nunez has demonstrated the most important characteristic for a Yankee SS, he’s been incredibly clutch ranking 2nd in the league with 21 RBI on just 16 hits.

-Marcos Vechionacci is off to a slow start, which is incredibly depressing for me, as he’s one of my favorite prospects. The problem with Vechionacci as opposed to Nunez when it comes to being extremely young for the FSL is that Nunez is a guy whose scouting profile just seems to suit being rushed better. Vechionacci is a patient hitter who excels at working the count, especially given his age, but has yet to fully develop physically as a hitter as far as driving the ball. Nunez on the other hand is a guy who succeeds due to quick wrists and reacting to pitches. After a disappointing ’05 SAL season, I wasn’t expecting much from Vechionacci, but I didn’t expect him to be this bad either. He’s also been uncharacteristically error prone in the field in the early going. Hopefully he can turn it around, and even if he doesn’t, he still has time on his side due to being so young.

-Remember what I said about strikeout rates? Tim Battle, come on down.

-Phil Hughes is awesome.