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  1. Hope he turns out better than Marcos Vechionacci, who was another guy who had good eyes in the level where he was one of the younger (12.8% walk rate in sally as 19 yr old) but not much in the other facets of the game.

    Comment by Always Sunny in CP — February 24, 2012 @ 2:59 pm

  2. Minor nitpick: Gardner isn’t a “tweener”. He’s just a centerfielder on a team with another great CFer. The Yankees have another tweener though, in Chris Dickerson.

    Thanks for the article, good stuff.

    Comment by Steve — February 24, 2012 @ 3:04 pm

  3. On Yankees blogs that I’ve read, it’s been reported that Flores has gotten a little bigger (6 foot 2, 200 pounds) but that sites like bballref and MiLB haven’t updated the size listing on him.

    Comment by Jerry — February 24, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

  4. A little bigger? From 5’10″, 150 lbs. to 6’2″, 200 lbs. is a HUGE change. I did not see a guy who was that size last summer.

    Comment by Mike Newman — February 24, 2012 @ 3:52 pm

  5. I think it’s safe to say at this point Gardner has wildly exceeded expectations of him coming up through the system. My recollection of him as a minor leaguer was that he was okay at everything, but not really a guy who truly fit anywhere. That’s pretty much the definition of a tweener. I was more referencing his receiving an opportunity in the first place instead of what he is now. The perception of Gardner has changed drastically from his fringe prospect beginnings.

    Comment by Mike Newman — February 24, 2012 @ 4:00 pm

  6. I’m going by Mike Axisa’s report here http://riveraveblues.com/2012/02/2012-preseason-top-30-prospects-59150/

    Comment by Jerry — February 24, 2012 @ 4:00 pm

  7. Good example. I always use Nolan Arenado as my example of a guy with great contact ability, but not the best of approaches. He was dinged for his walk rates in the Sally, but anybody who actually saw him knew the bat control was special. The lack of walks was an area he could improve upon and he had the baseball IQ to do just that. My being able to project for improved plate discipline actually increased his projection.

    Comment by Mike Newman — February 24, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

  8. Gotcha. I was thinking more of the definition of tweener as “not enough bat for a corner, not enough glove for CF”. My point was only that Gardner certainly has the glove for CF, but I get what you are saying now.

    Thanks for the response.

    Comment by Steve — February 24, 2012 @ 4:35 pm

  9. I had read that too. So I was a little confused by this article. If he’s now 6’2″ 200 lbs. he has plenty of projectability to get excited about.

    Comment by Preston — February 24, 2012 @ 5:00 pm

  10. Who knows, but prospects’ listed heights weights can stay with them for a while, and and it can get misleading when they’re signed at such a young age. Extreme example: Pineda was listed at 6-5 180 til like last year, when those were probably his measurements at 16, and he was obviously at least 80 pounds heavier. Manny Banuelos is listed at 155, but you can tell by looking at him that he’s likely a good 30 pounds heavier than that.

    And to repeat: baseball inches. A lot of these guys are just as tall as they feel. I’ve always noticed that 6’3″ Derek Jeter seems to tower over players supposedly his height or an inch shorter. 4 inches seems like a big jump, but I’m sure a lot of these 6 footers are really 5’10 to begin with. Looking at Flores in that video though, there’s no way in the world he’s 200 pounds. Still a thin kid.

    Comment by Greg — February 24, 2012 @ 8:24 pm

  11. I can only go off of what I see – and I did not see 6’2″. For arguments sake, if you said 5’11″ or 6′ and 170 lbs., I probably wouldn’t protest, but as a habit, I’ll generally work from the listed height/weight at Fangraphs unless I see something wildly out of the ordinary. For example, when I scouted Hector Sanchez with the Giants, he was listed at 6’2″, 200ish. He was closer to 230 and I commented his listed height/weight was light. I very well could have said Flores seemed a little bigger than his listed height/weight and almost did, but his size didn’t strike me in a way that would compel me to write about it.

    If you need a frame of reference, check out the Flores video versus the video of Braves Edward Salcedo. Salcedo is listed at 6′ 3″, 195. Look at his development versus that of Flores. Then, look at both of them in their stance/load versus a catcher in a deep crouch. The top of the catcher’s helmet comes to the base of Flores’ letters. As for Salcedo, the top of the catcher’s helmet comes to Salcedo’s belt. For the record, the catcher behind the dish for Flores is 2″ taller than the catcher for Salcedo so it’s a slightly imperfect comparison, but I’d still say Salcedo has at least 3-4″ on Flores.

    Comment by Mike Newman — February 24, 2012 @ 9:20 pm

  12. In the Sally, a 6’2″, 200 lb. teenager is a presence with a frame to dream on. Bogaerts, Salcedo and others had that frame, Flores did not. If he’s a legit 6’2″, then he’s the most unassuming player of that height I’ve ever scouted.

    Comment by Mike Newman — February 24, 2012 @ 9:34 pm

  13. They likely have their centerfielder playing left and their leftfielder playing center. At least that is my opinion. But that is nothing new for the Yankees as for years they had their shortstop playing third and their thirdbaseman playing shortstop.

    Comment by Shane — February 25, 2012 @ 12:42 pm

  14. Your recollection is correct only in part.

    It’s true a lot of prospect gurus missed the boat on Gardner and he was generally projected as a 4th OF or marginal starter.

    But it is patently incorrect to say he was okay at everything, but no more, so essentially a tweener.

    Gardner was always an excellent glove man in the OF with the range and reliability to play a string CF. He was consistently a good on-base guy who drew walks with a decent to good average, He was always an excellent base stealer both in quantity and SB percentage.

    The reason he was viewed without much enthusiasm by many was because he had little to any power along with a lack of elite contact skills (as well as a below-average arm) Also, he shuffled up the system, struggling a bit with each promotion, though he made steady progress.

    I thought then he was quite underrated. I saw him as a top-of-the-order table-setter who would get on base and cause havoc on the base paths while contributing as a defender in the OF. As per his history, he struggled when he came up, which should have been expected given his track record, but instead re-enforced the belief of those who had been underrating him.

    In any case, Gardner is in no way, shape or form a tweener as that is typically understood. An outfielder tweener is typically someone who lacks the defensive skills to play centre and lacks the power to play the corners. As someone else pointed out Gardner is a CF playing a corner to allow a big-contract Granderson to play centre.

    Comment by rotofan — February 25, 2012 @ 6:32 pm

  15. He reminds me as the type of player who could become a James Loney type. Not exactly a compliment, but not an insult.

    Comment by jhering51 — February 26, 2012 @ 3:23 pm

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