What a great win, huh? After the first inning, it looked like we were never going to score again, as Livan Hernandez was, for some reason, shutting us down. But Chien-Ming Wang turned in a decent outing and the bullpen was lights out from there. It’s nice when you can take your starter out in the 6th inning and still have 5 relievers(Coke, Hughes, Bruney, Aceves and Robertson are all very fine relief pitchers) whom you can use to set up Mariano Rivera. I’m sure Girardi feels very comfortable with his bullpen right now.
However, we could use a complete game soon, because you don’t want to use your bullpen everyday. Those guys have really earned a rest out there in the ‘pen. Now, Joba Chamberlain is starting next game against the Mariners, so it’s quite unlikely that he’s going to pitch a complete game. And hey, since we have an off day today, that should be enough for the ‘pen for now. But I don’t like that we use them every day. I’d like to see Joba pitch a complete game, obviously, since he is capable of doing so. Let’s face it, though, the only way Chamberlain’s going to pitch a full game is if it’s a no hitter. And even then, there are doubts.
Mariano got the 500th save of his career in the most extraordinary way: with his first career RBI. I mean, if Mo was going to drive in a run, you would think it’d be of the home run or double variety. That dude can swing it! But, Francisco Rodriguez, clearly screwed up by Rivera fouling a ball off, attempted to blow a fastball by Mo, and missed with two balls to walk him. That’s just pure embarrassment, right there.
So now it’s time to have a little off topic fun: before this season, in the month of February, I gave predictions on the awards and league leaders of the American and National Leagues. Today, with a day off, I’m going to look back at those predictions and, with the information that we have thus far as we head towards the All Star break, realize how dumb and wrong I am.
Cy Youngs: Oswalt and Halladay
I wanted to get funky with the Roy and Roy thing, and I’ll tell you what, one of those predictions was pretty good. Who’d have thought Zack Greinke would be as dominant as he is this year? Oswalt, on the other hand… quite past his prime, definitely, but again, who could’ve seen Matt Cain be this dominant? Dan Haren, arguably, is better this season, and you could’ve seen Haren coming, but even with that, Oswalt was a dumb prediction.
MVPs: Miguel Cabrera and David Wright
Miguel Cabrera was a strong prediction, you have to admit, but Joe Mauer has been out of his mind since he made his season debut in May. He’s just been off the charts. Now, Miguel Cabrera’s had a very good season, too, and he does have a shot at making me right if he continues his Miggy Cabrera season and Mauer cools off, but the Wright prediction was not all too sound. Sure, Wright is leading the NL in hitting, but how could I have possibly picked someone other than Pujols?
You guys look at the rest and tell me how good my predictions were.
Thanks to Vanessa for hosting the game last night, it was real fun.
Stay positive, Yankee fans…
-EJ the Kid From New York
So today is a day off for about freaking everybody, so what a fantastic oppurtunity to recap the season’s best 5 starting pitchers thus far? This is something I’ve kind of wanted to do for a while. so now I got the oppurtunity. I already gave my thoughts on yesterday’s game, so there’s no need to discuss that now.
But before I get to what would be the year’s best starting rotation in the MLB, I have to tell you, I am addicted to something. No, it’s not the addiction to baseball that I’ve had since ’07. In fact, it’s the addiction to a musical artist that I get about every now and then. It seems like I’m always addicted to a band or artist or rapper every day. Well, right now– and I’ve had this addiction for a few weeks now– I am addicted to Breaking Benjamin.
There’s only one or two song by these guys that I don’t like. I have their 2006, most recent album, Phobia, and I have 3 songs from Saturate and only one song from We Are Not Alone. I love Ben Burnley, their lead singer, I love their music, they’re a fantastic band. Not really the kind of band Julia would like, but still.
I’ll leave 3 Breaking Benjamin songs you should check out at the bottom.
Onto the matter at hand; ladies and gentlemen, the best 5 starting pitchers based on 2009 statistics. Obviously these numbers will go down and we’ll see things even out as the season advances, I’m just going to show you who’s been the best so far. Let’s be clear on that. This is not the best in the game, this is the best in 2009.
5. Matt Cain (SFG): 9-1, 2.39 ERA, 86.2 INN, 68 SO
Matt Cain has been dominant all year, save for a few rusty outings. He’s put up a 2.39 to go along with his 9-1 record in 86.2 innings. He’s been perhaps the biggest reason that the Giants have been 34-28 this season, as he’s truly been one of the best pitchers in the game this season.
4. Dan Haren (ARZ) 5-4, 2.20 ERA, 94 INN, 90 SO, 13 BB
Daniel John Haren has been known for his strong fastball, his great splitter, and his solid command. This year, although he’s been unable to get solid run support, he has lived up to his great reputation and pitched like an ace, even in the abscence of sinker balling ace Brandon Webb. Haren is really one of the guys you can point to when people want to use record as a highly important stat in comparing players; sometimes your team just can’t back you up.
3. Jered Weaver (LAA) 7-2, 2.08 ERA, 90.2 INN, 74 SO, 1.00 WHIP
Here you have another guy who the baseball world hasn’t really payed attention to, but Jered Weaver of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim has really been sick this season. You can see the numbers up there, and you can check out his other numbers this season. He doesn’t have fantastic stuff, but he locates and he makes his pitches and he’s able to retire hitters without a 100 mph heater or a gigantic breaking ball.
2. Roy Halladay (TOR) 10-1, 2.53 ERA, 103 INN, 88 SO, 12 BB
Do I really have to explain this one?
1. Zack Greinke, 8-2, 1.72 ERA, 94.1 INN, 97 SO, 5 CG, 0.99 WHIP
If you don’t agree that Zack Greinke has clearly been the best pitcher this season, you’re too blinded by the bias that you have for Roy Halladay. I don’t care what his record is– 8-2 is actually really good when you’re not comparing it to other guys– when you look at that ERA and all those other numbers, Greinke is definitely dominating most of his opponents, and he has since the beginning of the year.
Alright, so here are some Breaking Benjamin songs before I go:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XC-jnqGH-sI – Break My Fall
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IvhNqA9BVk – Polyamorous
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKKpd5piitc – Until the End
Listen and enjoy, rock fans…
Stay positive, Yankee fans…
-EJ the Kid From New York
We’ve played a somewhat significant amount of time already this year. We haven’t seen too many games where we can make a sound and un-risky judgment on how the season will end, but we’ve seen enough games where we can take a look at all the happenings of the season, and say “This has been so thus far, and this has not been so.”
And let’s face it. Us baseball fans love giving people awards, especially giving people who are underrated awards. So let’s do so right now, here are the early season awards for teams and players as of May 16, 2009.
First are the Most Valuable Players.
May 16, 2009 NL MVP
It’s really hard to argue with Hanley Ramirez to win MVP in the National League here so far. A 166 OPS+ at shortstop is extraordinary and quite rare, and of course you can’t doubt the obvious power speed combination that Ramirez has. 6 homers and 6 steals. Han-Ram seems to have flown under the radar thus far in the year, but he has truly produced for the Fish.
Now if only they could win games.
Raul Ibanez, Philadelphia Phillies: The veteran outfielder has consistently crushed balls in for the Phillies this year, as he’s really been a great pickup, with a 173 OPS+.
Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals: Check out how well represented the NL East is! The young third baseman for the struggling Nats notably picked up a 30 game hitting streak this year. Zimmerman not only has produced offensively, with a 159 OPS+ and leading the league with 54 base hits and 21 extra base hits, he also has played stellar defense, as his range is well above league averages.
Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals: Do I really even have to say anything? He’s done really well defensively, with a range factor per 9 innings of 10, but he’s also been Albert Pujols offensively, leading the league in slugging percentage and putting up an OPS+ of 182.
Adam Dunn, Washington Nationals: The slugging outfielder known for his tape-measure big flies has put up a 172 OPS+, is 6th in the league in runs created and, strangely enough, has only whiffed 34 times. Nice job, big guy!
Brad Hawpe, Colorado Rockies: Hawpe’s production has really seemed to fly under the radar out there in Denver, but this guy’s got a 173 OPS+ and his .363 batting average is good for fourth in the National League.
May 16, 2009 AL MVP
I mean, this seems fairly obvious to me, I don’t know if it really was so easy for you, but it was definitely not challenging for me to get this one. Victor Martinez is a catcher– and he’s hitting .400. I mean, think about that for a second. How many people hit .400? How many of them are catchers? Look, he’s probably not going to do it all season, it’s not like I’m saying that, but these are the May 16th awards, not the end of year awards, and when you lead both leagues in hitting, put up an OPS+ of 186, lead both leagues in hits, times on base, runs created, 4th in the league in slugging percentage, 2nd in the league in on base percentage, and you’re a catcher? No, it’s too easy for me.
Kevin Youkilis, Boston Red Sox: Youk’s the only guy who I can accept voting as AL MVP over Martinez. I mean, this guy has been ridiculous even though he’s on the disabled list now. He’s been on base literally over half of the time(leading both leagues in OBP with a .505 clip), he’s leading the majors in slugging and thus, OPS, he’s leading both leagues in OPS with 206. Even though he’s been sub-par defensively at first base this year(check the statistics, Julia, you can not tell me otherwise), he’s also played third base a fair amount, which is ridiculous. How many guys who are hitting like he is will be willing to play third base as often and, as a matter of fact, as well as he does? …although Albert Pujols did play 2nd base once last year…
Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers: 8 steals, 11 homers, a 156 OPS+ and a .318 average to go along with solid defense at a premium position in second base? I’ll take it.
Aaron Hill, Toronto Blue Jays: Aaron Hill has dominated offensively, with a 146 OPS+ and above average defense at second base. He’s also tied with Victor Martinez for the most hits in both leagues and his .347 batting average is good for 7th in the league.
Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays: The young third baseman for the Tampa Bay Rays has played great defense, and he also kinda sorta has a 175 OPS+.
Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles: This guy has really stood out for me. Power? He’s got a .669 slugging percentage and has hit 8 jimmy jacks this season. Speed? He’s got 3 stolen bases and has 13 extra base hits, which also partially has to do with speed. Average? .370 good enough for ya? Defense? This guy’s range factor is well above league average, and he’s got 3 assists to go with it.
Now for the Cy Youngs. This should be really easy.
May 16th 2009 AL Cy Young
Not even a question at all, really. His ERA+ this year is 773. 773. No, this is way too obvious that it’s almost silly.
Edwin Jackson, Detroit Tigers: Did you know that Edwin Jackson’s ERA this year is 2.42? Did you know that he has a WHIP of 1.038? Neither did I.
Roy Halladay, Toronto Blue Jays: Halladay has been classic Halladay this year, really. He’s got the most innings pitched in the majors with 61, he has a very nice ERA+ of 157, he’s been a workhorse, he’s been efficient, he’s only walked 7 hitters and is leading the majors in most strikeouts per walk with 7, he’s really just doing his thing for those surprising Blue Jays.
Kevin Millwood, Texas Rangers: Milly’s really performed astoundingly, as he’s got an ERA+ of 163 in 58.2 innings, good for 3rd in the league. This is for a Texas Rangers ballclub known for it’s bad pitching, in part due to the park they play in in Arlington which puts Millwood in a large disadvantage because it’s so favored to hitters.
May 16, 2009 NL Cy Young
Again, not really much difficulty making this decision. 11.7 strikeouts per 9 innings, 566 ERA+… this guy’s pitched like the ace that he is for the first place Metsies so far.
Johnny Cueto, Cincinnatti Reds: The Dominican righty with a great heater and a stellar changeup has been living up to his promise, putting up a 241 ERA+ in 46.2 innings.
Wandy Rodriguez, Houston Astros: Wandy has undoubtably gone under the radar, as he’s put up a 231 ERA+, good for 3rd in the NL. In 52 innings, the southpaw hasn’t allowed a homer yet, and he’s put up a great WHIP of 1.000.
Dan Haren, Arizona Diamondbacks: The hard throwing right hander has really dominated the teams that have faced him so far this year in his second season in Arizona, as he’s put up a 227 ERA+, and his 0.857 WHIP is good for tops in the NL.
Jair Jurrjens, Atlanta Braves: Jurrjens has really been surprising, as the young righty from Curacao has racked up a solid 213 ERA+ in 48 innings pitched.
Now for the rookies of the yearrrr!
May 16, 2009 AL Rookie of the Year
This decision was difficult to make, not because there have been so many good rookies in the AL; rather, it’s because they’ve all been sub par. Uehara has been decent this year, as the righty from Osaka Prefecture who pitched in the Nippon Professional League before coming to the MLB this year at 34 years of age has put up a 123 ERA+ and a 1.125 WHIP in 42.2 innings.
Scott Richmond, Toronto Blue Jays: The 29-year old Canadian has a 108 ERA+ in 40 innings.
Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers: The main, big prospect acquired by Texas in the Mark Teixeira trade, Andrus has hit 3 triples, 2 homers, has stolen 6 bases, and he’s provided terrific range at the shortstop position for Texas.
Trevor Cahill, Oakland Athletics: Cahill performed stellarly in the minors last season, well enough to make it to the big leagues this year as a 21-year old. While he’s shown mediocre command to say the least, his 3.69 ERA is still the best for an AL rookie this year, and that’s gotta be something.
May 16, 2009 NL Rookies of the Year
Dexter Fowler has been decent this year, so he shares the ROTY award with Shairon Martis, mainly because he’s stolen 10 bases including I believe 5 in one game, a rookie record. Not only that, he’s also had very good range in center field, and he’s beginning to develop some major league pop in his bat. As for Martis, well, he’s yet to lose a start for the Washington Nationals, and his ERA+ of 110 is pretty decent.
Stay tuned for part two, where I will give the second string of awards; Comeback Players of the Year, Managers of the Year, and my own personal award, Underrated Players of the Year. That is, as of May 17th, when the blog will be out.
Stay positive, Yankee fans! Back to back walkoffs!
-EJ the Kid From New York
You’ve heard about Dellin Betances, Joba, Hughes, Coke, Horne. Those guys are well-known, talented arms in the Yankees minor league system. However, have you heard of Andrew Shive? Brandon Braboy? These two, along with many others, are guys who were drafted in 2008 and have put up some nice minor league numbers. I’m going to introduce you to ten young pitchers in the Yanks minor league system that come into 2009 with a nice taste of professional baseball, I’ll rank these guys in order from least impressive to most impressive.
10. Luke Greinke
If you’re wondering why the name Greinke sounds so familiar to you, that’s because Luke is indeed the younger brother of young Kansas City Royals ace Zack Greinke. Little Luke certainly has the talent to have the sucess of Zack. He has a nice delivery from the scouting video I watched, but his stuff wasn’t standing out. However, The Pinstripe Press says otherwise.
“Greinke’s fastball (touches 96mph) is an above-average offering and has a developing changeup. His slider is his out pitch. With a violent delivery, similar to Scott Kazmir, Greinke hides the ball well but repeatability will be a concern. He was a superb two-way player in high school and boasts an athletic frame (6-1, 195).”
The righty was a tough luck pitcher in 9 starts for Staten Island in 2008. He went 0-6, even though his 4.01 ERA and .248 BA against in 33.2 innings pitched shows he wasn’t bad. This guy has upside, definitely, as do the next guys on the list.
9. Brandon Braboy
The mystique of most of these pitchers on this list is that few of them have accessible scouting reports. Brandon Braboy, selected in the 18th round, is one of those guys. I was able to watch a 2008 scouting video of him, and I got an average look at his stuff and command. I saw a lot of balls of his, mainly breaking balls, go high above the zone. However, his stuff looks pretty good. All of the fastballs he threw in that video came in consistently at 93 miles per hour. His delivery looks decent, alhough I really wouldn’t know if he had some flaws in it.
He looks like he puts a lot of effort in that delivery, which is somewhat concerning. He also has that Okajima thing going for him where his head kinda takes a sharp, wild tilt to the side after he throws a pitch. That could affect his command. I was able to find out that he’s actually fairly new to pitching, and that he is a converted shortstop. I guess that explains the command and possible delivery issues. Anyways, Braboy’s stats in 2008 with Staten Island are pretty impressive: 42 innings pitched, 42 hits, 3.21 ERA, 31 strikeouts, 18 walks. I would imagine that this starter is a couple years away, probably 2 or 3, and he’s 23 years of age, so it’s not like he has all the time in the world. This guy should not be forgotten, however, because he has potential.
8. Nik Turley
The Yankees picked this guy, a lefty, in the 50th and last round of the 2008 draft. He’s 6’7″ and 195 pounds: extremely tall and lanky, a Randy Johnson build if you will. Here is some information from The Pinstripe Press on Turley:
“I recently emailed Turley’s high school coach, Matthew LaCour, for a scouting report. His response:
‘Nik is a three pitch guy (fastball, slider/slurve and changeup). His best pitch and the one that he goes to right now is the fastball. He is consistently in the upper 80’s but this summer saw his velocity jump a bit which is a big reason why the Yankees went hard to sign him. Nik’s second pitch is a combo slurve/curve that is relatively inconsistent. The pitch is really projectable, has good speed (70-72), and good spin. It has late break but is inconsistent. One day it’s a great strike pitch and the next it is not. As time goes by I would assume that this pitch will become a real weapon. It was at times this year for us.
“Nik’s 3rd pitch is a change-up which he is developing. He used it this year but has a problem with slowing his arm down, when he gets a better feel and throws the pitch more it will be fine. [It’s] never going to be his pitch, but could be part of his repertoire. I wouldn’t be surprised – with the size of his hand and his arm speed – if they don’t develop a split finger pitch in the coming years.
“Nik’s mechanics are pretty good. He does wrap the ball behind his back a bit as he brings it out of his glove. I am sure they will try and fix this; I’m not sure it will happen nor is it bad enough to cause a lot of concern.
“Nik, like most high school pitchers that get drafted, just needs to clean-up what he already has. He has the tools, just needs to be refined. He has the work ethic and determination. Our coaching staff came to our school two years ago and we have seen Nik make huge strides. He is nowhere near his ceiling!'”
Here are Nik’s statistics for the Gulf Coast League Yankees, in very limited time: 8 innings, 13 K’s, no walks, 6 hits, 2-1 record. Keep an eye on this 19 year old. One last note on the young southpaw: born on 9/11 of 1989. I know it doesn’t matter, but considering he’s in the New York farm system… and it’s just a really unfortunate birthday, too. I’m not saying anything, I just wanted to bring that up.
7. Matthew Richardson
He’s got the least impressive stats among the 3 named so far, 3.86 ERA, 14 innings, 17 strikeouts, 6 walks, 12 hits. However, the 6’1″ 175 lbs right hander put up these nonetheless nice numbers in the GCL… at the age of 18, straight out of high school. I watched a 2007 video of the 15th round selection, and he showcased a decent fastball coupled with a nice curveball that has a good hard spin on it. The Pinstripe Press’s scouting report:
“Richardson also played shortstop at Lake Mary HS. He is tall with an athletic build, runs well and is a strong defender. On the mound, Richardson has flashes a plus, late-life low-90s fastball and tight spin curveball – thrown from a high ¾ arm slot. His athleticism translates well to the mound with an effortless delivery and easy arm action.”
This is certainly a guy who has talent. I’m looking forward to seeing what this guy will do in 2009.
6. Brett Marshall
The Yankees have a thing for signing high school pitchers with a very high ceiling; and I love it. It’s risky, but it’s fun to talk about, certainly, haha. Anyway, Brett Marshall is another one of those talented high school pitchers. Drafted in round 6 of the 2008 draft, it’s easier to find information on this guy. From MILB draft tracker:
|“Fastball:||Marshall threw his fastball in the 94-96 mph range.|
|Slider:||It’s a plus pitch now and he threw it in the 84-88 mph range.|
|Changeup:||It’s a below-average pitch right now.|
|Control:||His command was slightly below average, but it projects to average with more experience.|
|Poise:||He was very competitive on the mound.|
|Physical Description:||Marshall isn’t that tall, but he’s strong and has a Jason Marquis-like build.|
|Strengths:||A huge jump in velocity has him with a plus fastball to go along with a plus slider.|
|Weaknesses:||Formerly a shortstop, he’s still learning how to pitch. His mechanics are inconsistent as he doesn’t always maintain his arm slot.|
Marshall has leapt on the map showing a huge jump in velocity, from 87-88 mph a year ago all the way up to 96 this year. He’s got a plus slider to go along with it. The changeup lags behind, but that can come in time. He’s relatively new to pitching and it shows in his delivery and his inability to repeat his mechanics. But with two plus pitches right now, Marshall’s name is certainly on the rise.”
A little more info on the 18-year old(turns 19 later this month). from The Pinstripe Press.
“High school right hander Brett Marshall, the New York Yankees sixth round selection in the 2008 MLB Draft (200th overall), was said by many online scouting reports to have emerged from “nowhere” during his senior season. Indeed, Baseball America magazine ranked Marshall the No. 87 prospect in the country thanks to a 10 mph jump in velocity. But Marhsall finished his junior season strong, hitting 93 mph on the radar gun during a playoff game at Deer Park.”
His minor league numbers 6 innings pitched, 8 strikeouts, 2 walks, 2 hits. 0.00 ERA. Really small sample size, but he was still pretty dominant. Look out for this guy.
5. David Phelps
I have looked over and over for a scouting report on this guy, to no avail. There aren’t even that many images of the 22-year old. I at least got to look at a scouting video from 2008 of the right hander, and I gathered that he has an 88 MPH fastball, a slow breaking pitch in the low 70s in miles per hour, and what I’d assume to be a changeup in the high 70s. So why am I high enough to put this guy ahead of Brett Marshall on the list? Well, it starts with his terrific numbers in Staten Island. In his first professional season, Phelps went 8-2 with a 2.72 ERA, 52 strikeouts, 18 walks and 67 hits, a 1.17 WHIP, in 72.2 innings. So how could a guy with such average stuff be so dominating?
Well, that’s the thing. I don’t know. Few people know how he’s been so successful. One thing I did notice from the 6’3″ 180 pound right hander is that he has kind of a tricky delivery. After his leg kick, as he lowers it to the ground, he takes a stop in that motion. He just seems to slooow down his motion as he gets ready to throw the plate. His numbers show he did have very good contol, so that is probably a factor. Maybe he’s been able to change speeds with that fastball and slow breaking ball effectively. I don’t know. One thing that I do know is that I’ll be keeping an eye on this starting pitcher out of Notre Dame.
4. Jeremy Bleich
If there’s one team that really needs a good left hander in their system, it’s the New York Yankees. They picked a solid southpaw prospect in Jeremy Bleich.
This is a guy who doesn’t have the stuff of a Sabathia or a Jonathan Sanchez, certainly not. But what he does have is a factor that is widely underrated in the pitching universe: intelligence. He’s not overpowering, although his stuff isn’t Kenny Rogers-esque. Jim Callis says:
“Some media outlets have described Bleich going in the supplemental first round as a reach, perhaps because he didn’t make our our overall Top 200 Prospects list. But last summer, I ranked him as the second-best 2008 draft-eligible lefthander in the Cape Cod League, trailing only Christian Friedrich, who went in the first round to the Rockies.
I don’t think Bleich would have been an early first-rounder had he been healthy all season, but he could have been regarded as a consensus sandwich-rounder. He’s a lefty who knows how to pitch with an 88-91 mph fastball, a curveball and changeup, and his changeup grades as his best pitch. I wouldn’t call him a steal in the supplemental first round, but he wasn’t a reach either.”
His numbers in an extremely small sample size for Staten Island were not impressive: 6.00 ERA, 2 hits, 1 HR, 4 K’s in 3 innings pitched, but his numbers in Hawaii Winter Baseball for the Waikiki BeachBoys were truly outstanding: 1.77 ERA, 33 K’s, .221 BA against, 12 walks in 35.2 innings. This Stanford alum has a future in the Yanks organization.
Before we move on, I’d like to make an announcement: we are done with the starting pitchers, pretty much. The next three prospects are relief pitchers.
3. Andy Shive
This is another guy, who like David Phelps, is extremely mysterious. There are few pictures of him, no scouting reports, not even a scouting video. I have no clue why this guy is so successful. All I can say is: WOAH! This guy is DOMINANT!
I mean, he must have nasty stuff to put up the numbers he’s put up: a 1.96 ERA in 46 innings, 42 hits, 50 strikeouts, 17 walks. He made one start and 22 relief appearances. He also set the Staten Island record for wins in a season with 9. I mean, that’s full fledged domination.
The guy is big: 6’6″ 260 pounder. That could mean he has a big fastball. I wouldn’t doubt it, with those numbers. But really, few know about the 23-year old’s stuff. I certainly don’t. Oh, by the way, this guy was the 1070th overall pick in the 08 draft. That shows you how unpredictable drafts can be.
2. Brad Rulon
Andy Shive was truly dominant in 2008. However, if you wanted to know what true dominance is, from a first year professional player, then you wouldn’t have to look any further than the pick one round ahead of Shive, Bradley Rulon. This guy was, in my opinion, easily the most dominant reliever in his first professional year in the minor leagues last year. Rulon, who is 5’11” 186 lbs, was really completely unstoppable for Staten Island. A scouting report from The Pinstripe Press:
“His repertoire consists of a live fastball, a power breaking ball, and a changeup. Brad Rulon averaged better than a strikeout per inning during his career, posting an 11-4 record and 11 saves.”
If you really want to know just how fantastic Rulon was on the mound, then I’ll give you his statistics. Warning, these may blow your mind. In 44 innings… Rulon walked 20, so his command was not very good. Now onto the mind blowing stats: in those 44 innings, he got 68 batters out on strikes. He allowed a mere 21 hits. His batting average against was .142. His WHIP was 0.93. And, the most incredible statistic, the most outstanding number on his resume… a 0.41 ERA. 0.41. That’s just, those are Joey Devine-esque stats for Rulon in Staten Island.
So if Brad Rulon, who had a 0.41 ERA in 44 innings with 68 strikeouts in Staten Island is number two, then who in the heck is going to be number one? Well, I think you know.
1. Pat Venditte
I mean come on. Who else?
You can call him overrated all you want, this guy is not only dominant, he’s not only in command of the strike zone, he’s also AMBIDEXTROUS. In case you, the reader don’t know who he is, he is pretty much the only player ever to throw well enough to pitch with both arms. He can face any 3 hitters in a lineup and have the advantage. It’s not possible to platoon against him.
Overrated? Maybe. Overhyped? Possibly. However, this guy throws from both arms. Do you get how insane of an advantage that is? How about some stats from Staten Island? 32.2 innings pitched, 0.83 ERA, 42 strikeouts, .117 BA against, 23 saves, 0.70 WHIP. If he continues his dominance in the minor leagues, and gets to the major leagues… I mean, he can possibly be the most valuable arm in any bullpen. He throws sidearm from both sides. Venditte throws significantly harder from his right siede, which is his natural side, but he can still throw proficiently left handed. Pat Venditte should have a loooong professional baseball career, you can pretty much count on that unless he gets a freak injury. Anybody can use a switch pitcher.
A bullpen with Shive, Rulon, Venditte, and Melancon who was not drafted in 08 but is the best reliever in the Yankees’ system, would be fantastic. We’ll see if that dream comes true and if these guys dominate MLB, as I hope.
So that’s the top 10 pitchers of the Yankees’ 08 draft. We’ve seen guys with nasty stuff who are harnessing their potential, and we’ve seen guys who have just come out of nowhere to dominate. Stick around for a few years, so we can find out when these guys come up and how they do.
Stay positive, Yankee fans.
-EJ the Kid From New York