Monday, December 17, 2007

Yankees' Development Strategy

WasWatching asks the question - whether the Yankees are being smart developing their own pitching instead of focusing their resources on postional players and signing pitching. He cites the following study by Victor Wang. Wang looks at top pitching prospects and the probability of success against top postional prospects and the results are not good for pitchers. Was Watching states the following;

"Like I said the other day, the Yankees have focused their "draft" strategy around drafting, signing, and trying to develop pitching prospects. As Wang notes "top pitching prospects are a bust over half the time." Note we're not talking about "prospects" here but "top prospects." And, note we're not talking about them being "less than great" here but about them being "busts." So, again, I have to ask the question: Is Brian Cashman making the smart move by going with older and expensive position players, with no one to force them out of the picture for less money, and going very heavy with pitching prospects where it's risky to project performance and health at the big league level?

While some teams may argue it, success in NY and success in other cities is not achieved the same way. Teams prepare for the Yankees and know their players unlike any other team in baseball. Players' weaknesses get exposed and the pressure gets to even the most seasoned and talented imports (see Clemens, Roger and Johnson, Randy). Most positional players will eventually come back to their career norms even if they do feel the NY heat at first (Arod, Giambi to a degree before he broke down, Tino, etc.). Pitchers who lose confidence, however, can be lost forever (Vazquez, Weaver, Contreras, etc...).

For this reason and this reason alone I agree with the Yankee strategy. Signing and trading for established pitchers has proven to be just as much of a crapshoot for the Yankees as developing prospects. The main difference is that our homegrown talent seems to be more impervious to Yankee pressures.

So if it's the same crapshoot either way, why not spend $1 million instead of $100 million?

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