Some couple of few things:
Cliff Lee…it begins.
Jay Jaffe on the coming of Jesus Montero. (With more on Montero from Ben Kabak.)
That said, Jorge Posada still wants to start, according to Christian Red.
Steven Goldman on Derek Jeter.
Larry Koestler on Vlad.
Steve Lombardi dips into the new Bill James Handbook to see how the Yankees did in the field.
New York City Pictures
"He’s got a strong arm, and while he drew praise for improved throwing accuracy this year, he still threw out only 23 percent of runners attempting to steal. Admittedly, that’s better than both Posada (15 percent) and Cervelli (14 percent) but well below the major league average of 28 percent"
So Jesus is 5% below 'average', meaning for every 20 attempts, 1 more is successful. I can live with that for 'Frank Thomas' type bat, can you?
Also, I believe a player needs around a 75% success SB rate to help his team. So if other teams steal at a 77% rate.... well, it ain't that bad.
Montero's bat projects to be better then Posada's (.867 mIlb OPS vs .804 with much more power). Even with Posada's 'less then average' defense, he has been HUGELY valuable to the Yankees.
So.... unless Montero is a total butcher behind the plate, or he fails to hit as expected, he will be HUGE for the Yankees.
Yeah, I also found the Montero thing the most exciting to think about.
It's so difficult to predict his success as a catcher. On the one hand, I believe that it's just stupid to listen to professional evaluators' judgments about catching prospects. (The Moneyball sections about Jeremy Brown were pretty persuasive, for instance.) On the other hand, sabrmetric measures of defense kind of suck, and measures of catchers suck worse, and projecting from a small AAA sample is worthless. (For instance, it's just ridiculous to assume that Montero will throw out 23% of MLB stealers.) So what are we supposed to think?
I'm psyched. Montero's second half slugging, slurp.
Montero exciting indeed.
May he earn rings of joy, in contrast to the intriguing situation of Bengie Molina.
Has anyone won one more bittersweet?
The Yankees would definitely be foolish to let anything but his own play in the majors force a move from behind the plate.
I'm surprised to see that according to BRef.com, Piazza only gave away 5 runs/yr based on his defense. He also had a carrer OPS+ of 142 (sick). For comparison, ARod is at 145. Annnnnnnd... Jorge logs in at 123.
Bottom line. If Montero hits, he will probably Catch until his knees give out.
Oh... at 1B (sss), Piazza was a -22 defender, so that move didn't work out too well.
 I think Piazza intentionally was bad at 1B. He was at least as stubborn as Jorge in wanting to catch.
So Jorge to DH -- can't be any worse than Nick Johnson, Frankie to BUC, Jesus to catch with Romine to mature and be the future backup to Montero, who could become DH in 2-3 years if his defense is really that bad?
Ug... didn't read this earlier:
In his preseason Top 11 list, my Baseball Prospectus colleague Kevin Goldstein called Montero “a well below-average catcher” whose “big, thick build doesn’t provide much agility defensively.” In a more recent assessment of Montero’s progress via Twitter, he was brutally blunt: “Bad receiver, doesn’t block well, bad vs running game.” Could he handle 40 percent of the current catching load? “No.” Other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?
There are doubts as to whether he’ll be able to stay at the position long term. [ESPN's Keith] Law is concerned about his size: “[Montero is] a guy who is listed at 6’4″, 225, and is likely heavier than that is massive for a catcher
Brian Cashman as saying, “I do have people who believe he’s major league-ready at the catcher position with a tremendous offensive bat.” One of those people is Mark Newman, the Yankees’ Senior VP of Baseball Operations. In June, he told the Daily News, “[H]e has come light years (defensively) since the middle of last season,” and later during the summer he told NoMaas.org that “He’s receiving well and growing as a game-caller.”
Or is that jus 'we may trade him soon' talk?
In any event, I can't wait to see his bat. My guess is June.
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