Monday, July 19, 2004

Stop me before I draft again!

The Yanks recently reassigned scouting director Lin Garrett, and probably were long overdue for that change. As Peter Gammons noted, the Yanks have not developed a starting pitcher from their own system since Andy Pettitte, even though there have been some good young starters who have come and gone through the Yanks' system -- Ted Lilly, Jake Westbrook, Zach Day, Tony Armas, Jr. (when healthy). And the Yanks would love to have Lilly back.

For some reason, the Yanks aren't getting tough-minded kids. Brad Halsey seems OK, but he needs some more development time. Give him credit: good starts against the RedSax and Dodgers despite rampant inconsistency.

But Alex Graman (removed after 0.1 IP tonight), Denny Walling, Ed Yarnall, Brandon Knight, Ryan Bradley, Randy Keisler, Todd Noel, Ben Ford -- all names that have passed through Yankeedom and have flopped despite having at least some passing ability to pitch decently, as evidenced by their AAA records. Noel/Bradley/Knight had a hard fastball, Ford had a deceptive two-seamer, Yarnall/Keisler had deceptive pitching motions that led to high strikeout totals despite non-95 MPH heaters, blah blah blah. (Note that former prize-prospect Brandon Claussen has a high ERA for Cincy's AAA team).

What's the solution? (1) Time. Something in short supply in Steinbrennerdom. How much time? A year or so for Halsey. Hopefully Jorge DePaula, who would have competed for the fifth-starter spot this year, will fully recover from elbow surgery (he has potential -- hard-thrower with good control). Hopefully Ramon Ramirez, who led the Arizona Fall League in ERA last year after one season at high-A ball, will continue his recovery from his early-season problems in AA. Hopefully Matt DeSalvo's wacky delivery will translate to higher levels. That's a lot of hopefullys.

(2) Better instruction in HOW to pitch. The Yanks have the resources, they should pay a devotee of Joe Kerrigan/Ray Miller/Orel Hershiser/Wayne Rosenthal to be a roving pitching instructor and work with the best of the kids on pitching keys. What keys? From Ray Miller: work fast, throw strikes, change speeds. From Orel Hershiser: master the control of your fastball; then gain control of your other pitches.

My biggest complaint against Torre and Mel is that they haven't developed a top-line pitcher (Pettitte was a rookie in Showalter's last season). The Yanks can't always depend upon Montreal to supply them with decent starters that the 'Spos cannot re-sign; and the old re-treads are notoriously undependable.

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