Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Breaking Down the Trade, One Yankee Prospect at a Time

By now, I'm sure you have all been able to figure out the following:

The Yankees Get: Curtis Granderson

The Yankee Gave: IPK, A-Jax, and Phil Coke.

Now, to figure out whether this deal is beneficial for us we have to see what we gave up, and what we got back, and do the pro's and con's. However, this is tougher to do with prospects. We may not know if this is a good deal for a few years. If A-Jax and IPK never become big league talents, this trade will look genius. If IPK wins a Cy Young, and A-Jax an MVP, we'll look like idiots. So it may take a few years before we can see anything but for now, lets just evaluate each player, beginning with what we gave:

Ian Patrick Kennedy

Player Compared to Most: Mike Mussina.
Player he May Become: Jeff Karstens.

RJG Scouting Report: IPK impressed many when he first came up in 2007, posting a 1.89 ERA through three starts and averaging 6.1 innings a start. It was enough to make the Yankees think he could start regularly in 2008, which he did, terribly. Through 9 starts he posted an 8.17 ERA. Good for a demotion back to the minors. Kennedy missed a large stretch of the 2009 season in need of surgery, but in his 4 starts in AAA he did post a 1.59 ERA. He's not exactly tearing it up in the winter leagues, but for someone coming off the DL, he was showing some promising signs.

Our take? IPK may become a decent pitcher if allowed to develop correctly, but we beleive he may amount to more of a bottom of the rotation NL pitcher. The AL East would have been tough grounds for him to thrive in, and he may have either been traded down the road, or left as a free agent.

Austin Jackson

Player Compared to Most: Curtis Granderson.
Player he May Become: Brett Gardner.

RJG Scouting Report: A-Jax hit .300 this last season at AAA, driving in 65 runs and stealing 24 bases. The lack of power (4 homeruns in 505 AB) is a concern for some critics, and his strikeouts (123 last season) is another. He will be 23 next season, and could be very close to the big leagues.

Our take? Hard to say with A-Jax since we've yet to see a lot of him. Power could develop with age, but as a leadoff guy, he really doesn't need to be a 20 homerun guy to be effective. If he continued to grow, I'd say that A-Jax could develop into a good leadoff hitter who hits for average, but power lags behind. Think Carl Crawford. If his bat doesn't develop, (striking out that often against AAA pitching is a bit concerning) he may be little more than a 4th outfielder.

Phil Coke

Player Compared to Most: ???
Player he May Become: Ron Villone.

RJG Scouting Report: Coke was a late season call up in 2008, and he impressed in his short time pitching. Through 14.2 innings he posted a paltry 0.61 ERA out of the bullpen. This basically earned him a regular spot in the bullpen for 2009, where he had moments of brilliance and moments of despair. He ended the season with a 4.50 ERA through 60 innings. He gave up 10 homeruns, which was a bit concerning.

Our take? As lefty releivers go, he was passable, but eventually the league picked up on him, and his numbers suffered. He's still very effective at getting out lefties, but righties may be a different story. His ceiling may be as a lefty specialist.

Curtis Granderson

Player Compared to Most: Curtis Granderson.
Player he May Become: Curtis Granderson.

RJG Scouting Report: The good thing about acquiring a player like Curtis Granderson is that he's a known commodity. He's been in the big leagues since 2004, and has played regularly since 2006. What he's shown is he's a speedy player, with solid defense, and a good amount of pop in his bat. He strikes out a lot, and can't seem to hit lefties, but last season he hit lower than his career average against lefties (which tells me that he can improve), and just two seasons back he hit .300 while leading the league with 23 triples.

RJG take? There have been reports that the Yankees beleive he'll have more power hitting with the short porch in Yankee stadium. I agree. Take a look at his hit chart in Comerica Park, and see where he hit his doubles and triples. Some of those would be easy homeruns in Yankee stadium. I'm also intrigued by what a guy like Kevin Long could do with Granderson.

So was the trade worth it? Again, its hard to say now. If IPK amounts to a bottom of the rotation NL pitcher, AJax amounts to a 4th outfielder, and Phil Coke a lefty specialist, then yes, I would say its worth it. But if IPK becomes Mike Mussina, AJax becomes Carl Crawford, and Coke becomes Mike Gonzalez, then perhaps we got robbed.

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