Yankees Get Help, Tigers Get Help, D-Backs Get Projects

I was asked the other day why there hadn’t even so much as been any noise on the Yankees trying to find a new shortstop. It was a known wide-open hole, and it didn’t seem like any negotiations had developed. But, sometimes, things come together quickly. Other times, things come together slowly, and we just don’t hear about them in the lead-up. The Yankees now have their new shortstop, and it’s a player who’s been rumored to be available for a while. Yet what we don’t have is a two-team straight-up player swap.

The Yankees are getting Didi Gregorius, who’s long been a candidate to fill the vacancy, what with Arizona also having Chris Owings. But this is a three-team trade, with the Tigers involved, and they’re getting Shane Greene from New York. Finally, the Diamondbacks are getting Robbie Ray and one Domingo Leyba, both from Detroit. It’s a trade full of second-tier intrigue, and I think the best way to do this is to discuss the move by breaking it up into team-specific sections. It seems to me like the Yankees did well, and the Tigers did well, too. The Diamondbacks are taking the biggest risk.

A quick note on team-control considerations:

  • Gregorius: 5 years remaining, will be Super Two
  • Greene: 6 years remaining
  • Ray: 6 years remaining
  • Leyba: 6 years remaining

There’s a lot of team control getting swapped around. Everyone’s getting something that could be a part of the long-term future. Onward!

The New York Side

For the Yankees, it’s Gregorius for Greene. They lose a year of service time, and Gregorius will cost millions before Greene will, but these are lesser considerations, and also, it’s the Yankees — they can afford it. It comes down to getting a shortstop with questions for a pitcher with questions. Both are big-league caliber players, but given the relative risks, it makes sense to take the position player over the arm with only a short record of success.

Somewhat famously, Kevin Towers once drew parallels between Gregorius and Derek Jeter, so in that way it’s fitting that Gregorius will serve as Jeter’s replacement. Gregorius and Jeter don’t actually have that much in common, but then Jeter’s one of the best shortstops ever, and Gregorius is capable of starting. While Jeter, clearly, represents an offensive threshold Gregorius will never approach, Yankees fans who grew accustomed to Jeter’s defense will suddenly start noticing fewer base hits to center and left.

Defense is Gregorius’ greatest strength, even if it hasn’t necessarily shown up yet in the numbers. His reputation exceeds his statistics, and while historically that burned us in evaluating a young Yuniesky Betancourt, Gregorius has all the physical skills to be a plus shortstop in the field. It’s safe to consider him at least average, and probably better, and he’s very quick on his feet. The Fan Scouting Report results have been fond of him; he just ranked tied for being the sixth-best shortstop. He’s credited with having a strong arm and consistent, steady hands.

As with so many talented defensive infielders, the questions are about the bat. Gregorius owns an 84 wRC+, projecting for 86. He makes only an average amount of contact, and somewhat surprisingly he’s been a fly-ball hitter. He’s neither patient nor a hacker, and all of his power exists to the pull side. But that’s a good thing for him in New York, with right field beckoning, so Gregorius should have a fine transition to the ballpark. It’s worth noting that Gregorius has been mostly acceptable against righties, but he’s been a mess against southpaws. It’s way too early in his career to make too much of that, but in the season ahead, the Yankees could spell Gregorius sometimes with Brendan Ryan, without losing anything in the field.

An issue is that Greene projected to be a member of the Yankees’ starting rotation. So one hole has been plugged and another has now been opened. But there are more pitchers available than there are shortstops, especially promising long-term shortstops, and the Yankees can afford to take on extra pitcher salary if they want to. In the big-picture view, Greene is only a few months removed from seeming like a non-factor, so the Yankees did well to turn a new asset into a needed asset.

The Detroit Side

While it’s Gregorius who will attract the most attention in this move, Shane Greene is probably the most interesting player. At least, he’s the most interesting player to me. Never before considered a prospect, Greene joined the Yankees in 2014 and immediately showed big-league stuff, starter stuff, with the variety of pitches to stick. The Tigers were in need of a better fifth starter than Kyle Lobstein or Robbie Ray. In Greene, they’ve found one, as bewildering as that might be.

Here’s the simplest way to put things. Greene owns a minor-league ERA over 4. He owns a Triple-A ERA closer to 5. He doesn’t have a long history of missing bats. But in the majors, among starters, Greene just ranked in the top 25% in groundball rate. He ranked in the top 20% in strikeout rate, and he also ranked in the top 20% in average fastball velocity. Once you have a remarkable big-league performance, how much stock do you put in the numbers against minor-league competition? Matt Shoemaker owns a Triple-A ERA of five and a half. He just finished as the Rookie of the Year runner-up. So how much should we care about the minors?

You can’t fake stuff. Greene’s stuff is documented, and it seems good. The strikeouts speak for themselves. Here’s a sinker:

GreeneFA

Here’s a cutter:

GreeneSL

Here’s a slower slider:

GreeneSL2

Here’s a changeup:

GreeneCH

About that changeup: Greene didn’t throw it a ton, so he seems like a sinker/slider kind of righty. But he also has that cutter, and when he did throw changeups, he located them pretty well, suggesting that perhaps the pitch isn’t a weakness. Maybe Greene isn’t actually doomed to a career of big platoon splits.

greenechangeups

That’s where you like to see changeups go. Greene didn’t leave many up or over the plate. Actually, Greene hardly left anything up. Via Baseball Savant, and setting a minimum of 1,000 pitches, here are the top guys in terms of pitch rate below the middle of the strike zone:

Greene pounds that lower area like nobody else. It’s almost reminiscent of Derek Lowe. Now, when a pitcher does that enough, hitters can gear up for it. Greene wound up with more hits than innings. But this isn’t just about what he’s been — it’s also about what he could become. I talked to Brandon McCarthy a few months ago for something I wrote for the Hardball Times Annual, and at one point we got to discussing Shane Greene somehow. McCarthy is a big fan of his, and he noted that the Yankees gave Greene an offseason project: work on improving a high four-seamer, to keep hitters honest. It’s an adjustment McCarthy made in New York, that he credits with leading to a lot of easy outs. When a hitter has to protect against good stuff up and down, there’s little a guy can do. I don’t know how much progress Greene will make, but he didn’t throw many elevated four-seamers in 2014, and 2015 could feature more pitches like this:

GreeneFA2

If Greene succeeds in elevating a bit more, it would also be good for his pitches down. Plus, it would give him another weapon against lefties. Last year, righties whiffed 23% of the time they swung at a Greene fastball. Lefties had a rate of just 5%. Lefties are good at tracking right-handed sinkers, so Greene could offset that not only with more changeups, but also with four-seamers upstairs. It’s reason to believe Greene might get even better.

But just looking at what Greene actually did, he had a better-than-average ERA, a better-than-average FIP, and a better-than-average xFIP. He also threw better-than-average stuff, so it’s not hard to make the case he’s at least something like an average starter, with upside. An average starter with upside, and six years of team control? That’s a valuable asset. The Tigers don’t have a lot of valuable, long-term assets. Greene’s one, now, and while it’s possible he becomes irrelevant as quickly as he became relevant, you believe in the pitches. And it’s the pitches that make the pitcher. We weren’t all dreaming those 94 mile-per-hour sinkers. We weren’t all dreaming the location.

To get Greene, the Tigers gave up on a pair of prospects. You could say, then, they exchanged two potential long-term assets for one. But the one has much higher odds of actually working out, and he’s got six years to go, beginning with a year in which the Tigers intend to win.

The Arizona Side

An interesting note, from Buster Olney:

Obviously, a year ago, the Tigers must’ve been mighty high on Robbie Ray, to justify getting him as the centerpiece in the Doug Fister trade. But Ray’s stock only went down in 2014, and though there’s promise here in what the Diamondbacks are getting, they’re getting the least-sure things. Gregorius is an almost sure big-league shortstop. Greene is an almost sure big-league starter. Ray and Domingo Leyba are simply sure prospects.

A note I don’t quite understand:

The Diamondbacks had initially rejected a Gregorius for Greene trade until the Yankees got the Tigers involved in the deal.

I’d rather have Greene, but I suppose that’s me.

The focus here is going to be on Ray, because he’s the prospect people have talked about before. He ranked in the Baseball America top-100 a year ago. But a few weeks back, BA ranked its top ten Tigers prospects going forward, and Ray was seventh, while Leyba was fifth. That indicates good things about Leyba. That indicates bad things about Ray.

Over the last two years, here’s what’s happened to Robbie Ray’s strikeout rates, by level:

  • High-A: 29%
  • Double-A: 24%
  • Triple-A: 17%
  • Majors: 14%

Ray did well in reaching Double-A in 2013, but last year he was only mediocre with Triple-A Toledo, and he allowed almost as many runs as he had innings in the bigs. At 23, he’s young, and he owns a pretty solid changeup to go with his fastball, but his fastball isn’t a true swing-and-miss pitch, even though he throws it upstairs, and he still doesn’t have a great breaking ball. Ray’s stock has dropped justifiably, and right now he’s not a major-leaguer starter. He could become one, but he doesn’t come with a tremendous ceiling. The Tigers must’ve loved something a year ago, and that something can’t have totally disappeared, but Ray was a weird return before he struggled.

So there’s Leyba, to try to balance things out. He’s about the same age as Franklin Barreto, who was an exciting acquisition by the A’s in the Josh Donaldson trade, but Barreto’s the better prospect. Leyba just ranked fifth in a thin Tigers system. Barreto ranked fifth in a better Blue Jays system.

Not long ago, the Tigers spent $400,000 to sign Domingo Leyba, and they spent $420,000 to sign Willy Adames. Adames is the guy people forget about when they discuss the David Price trade. Both Adames and Leyba are 19, and they’re both shortstops, but Leyba’s also spent time at second, implying Adames’ defensive tools are preferred. These two are similar prospects, but Adames, again, is better, having just ranked No. 1 in the Rays’ system according to BA. Leyba’s a good player to have in the system, and he’s probably a more valuable player to have than Robbie Ray, but Leyba’s upside might be an infielder with similar value to Gregorius. The Diamondbacks must see more in his tools.

Between Arizona and Detroit, there’s an interesting matter of prospect pedigree versus results. Ray has been considered a pretty good prospect. Leyba is considered a pretty good, toolsy prospect. Greene was never a prospect, but he’s done what neither Ray nor Leyba have — he’s looked real good, with skills to match, against advanced competition. For that reason, I prefer Greene, especially since he can help today and for the next six years. I don’t think Arizona got ripped off, since Ray and Leyba have talent and Gregorius is only so valuable, but if I had to pick the worst exchange, I’d see it as Arizona’s. And I like this a lot for Detroit, even though New York also got something it needed. Gregorius and Greene — they’re fine players now. Oddly, Shane Greene might have the highest ceiling in the whole group.



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Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.


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Compton
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Compton
1 year 5 months ago

Underrated aspect of the deal: Gregorius’ walk-up song is gonna kill in NY.

“No, no, no, Notorious!”

Nick SD
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Nick SD
1 year 5 months ago

Not bad. But nothing tops CC walking out to “big poppa”

Sam Fuld
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Sam Fuld
1 year 5 months ago

I guess Greene only pitched against Toronto.

Whatever
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Whatever
1 year 5 months ago

umm, you mean the team that scored the 4th most runs in the whole league?
who let you out of the minors son?

Trotter76
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1 year 5 months ago

I like it Fuldy. Mr. Whatever must not have noticed that all 5 GIFs are against the Jays.

Wallace Mustard
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Wallace Mustard
1 year 5 months ago

Dave Duncan, save us all.

Cool Lester Smooth
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Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 5 months ago

I think you’re selling Greene’s pedigree a little short here. He was quite good in AA in 2013, and his “struggles” in AAA this season largely consisted of him shaking the rust off after having broken camp with the MLB club as the last man in the bullpen and not pitching for a month. He went back to his AA levels after that and had been pitching well for a while when he was calle up.

I think this is a deal the Yanks had to make, but the Tigers made a really good deal here. Greene’s been one of my favorite sleepers for a few years at this point. I think he’s a 4 or better going forward.

The Humber Games
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The Humber Games
1 year 5 months ago

This seems like it has huge blowup potential for NY. Their pitching is already thin as can be (would Greene have been their #3 out of camp?) And the NY media is going to devour Gregorious if he hits like he did last year. The NY market is not renowned for its ability to look past surface numbers and/or be patient with player investments. Also Dean Anna is projected to have a similar WAR next year and he got cut.

The Humber Games
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The Humber Games
1 year 5 months ago

I should specify for Anna, projected for a similar WAR/162 games played, player page only had him at 40.

Cool Lester Smooth
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Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 5 months ago

The reason he got cut is that he isn’t very good. Projected WAR for a 27 year old who has played like 10 MLB games mean less than nothing.

The Humber Games
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The Humber Games
1 year 5 months ago

Why exactly would the projection mean nothing? It’s not like they just hand out above replacement level projections. A projection is a projection, and either the model is broken, which I doubt, or the numbers mean something. I think I’ll take the projection engine over the guy who writes off a career after 10 games.

The Humber Games
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The Humber Games
1 year 5 months ago

Besides this is less about Anna than it is about thinning out a rotation already in the conversation for division worst in exchange for a guy who is primed to be crucified by NY media expectations

Cool Lester Smooth
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Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 5 months ago

He’s about to be 29 years old and has 12 MLB games to his credit.

There’s a reason he had never gotten an MLB job before this year, and there’s a reason he didn’t even get a spot on the 40 man after getting cut.

When a player not good enough for any team in baseball to deem him worth of a 40 man spot is projected to be above replacement level, the problem is the projection.

Also, I’m not sure why you’re of the opinion that the 4th best rotation of 2014, despite having 9 different starters pitch at least 10 games, is now “in the conversation for division worst,” unless you’re dumb enough to think that the Yankees are done adding pieces in the first week of December.

BMarkham
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BMarkham
1 year 3 months ago

@CLS,

The Cardinals not only liked him enough to give him a 40-man spot, they gave him a big league contract.

BMarkham
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BMarkham
1 year 3 months ago

hah, forgot I was reading an old thread.

francis
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francis
1 year 5 months ago

The Yanks are going to give Lester the best offer he sees. He might not take it, but I’m pretty sure he’s their plan A. They will get one of Lester, Scherzer, Hamels, or Shields; but they prefer a lefty. I imagine they are also confident in Tanaka’s health if they traded Greene.

JimNYC
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JimNYC
1 year 5 months ago

How is the Yankees’ rotation “in the conversation for division worst”? Yes, it’s certainly high-risk, injury-wise. There’s a distinct possibility that the Yankees could lose all of their pitchers to major injuries.

But even just 16 starts from Michael Pineda and 16 starts from Masahiro Tanaka gives you, essentially, one Felix Hernandez. C.C. Sabathia obviously has injury issues, but he was a useful pitcher in 2013. Ditto Ivan Nova. Assume the Yankees re-sign Brandon McCarthy (who’s given indications he’d like to return) and you have David Phelps, Bryan Mitchell, Manny Banuelos, and Adam Warren, any one of whom is just as capable of stepping in and being just as good as Shane Green (well, maybe not Phelps).

And if the Yankees get even a tiny-bit lucky with their injury problems — if Pineda and Tanaka can put together 180 innings apiece; if Nova and Sabathia can return to 2013 levels of production; if McCarthy signs and pitches like he did last year after the trade — this could be the best rotation in the American League.

RobM
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RobM
1 year 5 months ago

Greene is an interesting pitcher, whose name recognition just went up a tick by virtue of this trade. It’s probably a bit misleading to judge him by his minor league numbers. Since the Yankees drafted him, he had an arm to dream on, throwing 95+ but had some real command issues. Gil Patterson joined the Yankees after 2012 and he helped Greene straighten out some of his mechanics in AA, and that was the first year when Greene began to show he could harness his arm. His early numbers in AAA this season are misleading. The Yankees kept him late in Spring Training as a reliever and was never stretched out, then while in extended ST they had to call him up to sit in the pen. He wasn’t sharp his first few outings in AAA because of that, but after building his arm strength back he was form and very sharp his last few outings when the Yankees called him up, and he continued that success on the MLB level. The Yankees pitching coach, Rothschild, has a very good record going back to his days with the Cubs of helping pitchers do two things well: throw ground balls and increase their swing-and-miss percentage. Critical in both Wrigley and Yankee Stadium. He worked with Greene, which may have helped his K percentage. He did the same with McCarthy once he came to the Yankees. McCarthy gives him a lot of credit for turning his season around. I mention that simply because McCarthy also saw a bit of Greene, and earlier today he said Greene has “top 1% stuff.” Even if he’s off by a few percentage points, I think it says a lot about Greene’s arm. I think at the worst the Tigers got a #4 starter with some upside. I don’t think Greene’s K% will remain as high, but his stuff is more than good enough.

I like the deal is understandable from the Yankees side, too. A young SS with upside is not an easy get. He may not hit much, but the Yankees had -2 WAR at SS in 2015. I think Gregorius can give them a 1.5 to 2 WAR player driven by his glove once he plays regularly, and that’s a nearly four win swing for the Yankees.

I’ll be interesting to see how this works out for the Diamondbacks. A little more risk on their side, yet the last time these three teams pulled off a three-way deal, the Diamondbacks got a solid starter in IPK, the Yankees got a 40-HR, lefty hitting CFer, and the Tigers got Scherzer and a CF. All of those players will probably be gone from all three teams by the start of 2015, but all three teams got value. That’s probably rare in itself. Maybe they’ll do it again.

Cool Lester Smooth
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Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 5 months ago

Exactly. Greene was a big stuff, no control guy, until the light turned on in 2013. The strikeouts were always gonna come if he figured it out.

I do think Greene is the best player who changed hands, but I think Gregorius over Drew is a bigger upgrade than Greene over McCarthy or whoever they end up signing would have been.

elgato7664
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elgato7664
1 year 5 months ago

Who needs Doug Fister & Trevor Bauer when you have Shane Greene & Robbie Ray?

Michael
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Michael
1 year 5 months ago

i don’t love this deal for the yankees, but they have to fill holes, and Didi will fill that hole decently, and if they are a little lucky, better than that. they were killed last year by simply not having competent infielders to put out there (and, I include the 40 year old Jeter in that). Prado can play second or third, and the Yankees can figure out which spot it is when they assay the trade and free agent markets. Greene might very well turn out to be an overpay, but something they needed to do. The alternatives weren’t really there–for one, the trade price with, say either the Cubs or Rangers might be out of sight. Would you really want to trade something useful and take on Andrus contract? And, do you want another go-around with Drew, not knowing if he’s going to be a complete bust, or how much Boras would demand?

Slider v cutter
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Slider v cutter
1 year 5 months ago

The slider gif looks just like the cutter gif, seems like a stretch to call them different pitches based on the videos provided.

Jeff
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Jeff
1 year 5 months ago

Would you rather–Trevor Bauer or Ray/Leyba?

shoewizard
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shoewizard
1 year 5 months ago

Bauer

Jeff
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Jeff
1 year 5 months ago

That was kind of my point. A couple bad moves by a GM hurt for a while (of course).

radicalhenri
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radicalhenri
1 year 5 months ago

There’s no mention of leyba’s numbers in the minors, as although they may not mean much, they suggest his offensive ceiling is higher than that of gregorious.

Demi
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Demi
1 year 5 months ago

I’d like to point out that Mccarthy also displayed a half year of pretty great pitching for the Yanks, and Phelps before him, and Colon before them, and Chacon and Small in ’05. Radner was so so good for a brief moment NY decided to stick with him. Ouch.

So, what I’m saying is The New York Yankees is a great destination for shitty ballplayers because of its cache – Hey, Mom! I’m a Yankee!, and average or below avg pitchers (and positionals) may play above their heads for a spell, but that euphoria shit has a time limit.

Nothing in Green’s career – except for these < 80 IP in question – indicate he's more than ML flotsam, so chances are he won't be. And since NY traded that for next year's SS, they raked. As for Green, he will be replaced by two other non-descripts, each whom will rake for 3 months. They'll be no worse.

G. Perry
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G. Perry
1 year 5 months ago

So you’re saying that Greene struck out more than a batter per inning not because of the stuff (clearly shown in Sullivan-y GIF form) but because of some Yankee mystique?

Cool Lester Smooth
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Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 5 months ago

Well, there was his play in A+ and AA last year.

And his last 5 starts in AAA this year after he shook the rust off from not having started in the first month of the season.

And every scouting report on him since 2011 that said “He’s got big stuff, and could be a good starter if he figures out where it’s going.”

Other than all that stuff, he’s done nothing to “indicate he’s more than MLB flotsam.”

Although I’m surprised you have that long a list of names, considering that your assessment of McCarthy returning to his Oakland form for the Yanks seems predicated on not having followed baseball before 2013.

IsIt2015Yet?
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IsIt2015Yet?
1 year 5 months ago

This is really gross-sounding Yankee fan mythmaking. This sort of stuff makes me so happy to think about the Yankees not being a very good ball team.

Rob
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Rob
1 year 5 months ago

I’m not sure your posting is any better than his. On the plus side (for you), it’s no worse.

Bill
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Bill
1 year 5 months ago

First GIF in this post makes me think fangraphs can sell ads in its GIFs! new media!!! the future is now!!!

james
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james
1 year 5 months ago

I am happy to see that the 2nd guy returning with Ray is a solid prospect, since he was left out the reports i saw yesterday. That really balances this trade out a lot better. We are looking at 2 guys that are C to C+ prospects, but the Dbacks are not a big market team, so these guys could turn into starters for them.

Oddly, in talking about Star trades the other day, the discussion became about getting a boat load of lesser prospects instead of the marquee player/prospect in return. This actually looks like the Dbacks did well for themselves on the prospect return. These guys are not stars, but they are quality prospects and as we keep seeing, top prospects are not the only guys that turn into very good major leaguers. A lot of guys of similar pedigree become very good players for winning ballclubs. It comes down to buying a lot of 1 dollar scratch offs that pay out 1k if they win, or the $5 ticket that has a top prize of $100k. Since teams need to fill out a whole roster, for small market teams, they are better off buying more tickets with lesser payouts. A team full of guys that return a 2 War (roughly league average) is still a .500 club, and if you get big returns from releivers it can be more (how the royals were good last year, it is easier to get 2 WAR from your first baseman who plays 150 games, it is harder to get any WAR/marginal wins from your bench and bullpen… they had marginal wins from every slot on their roster rather than just starters)

I.A.L. Diamondback
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I.A.L. Diamondback
1 year 5 months ago

So, if Shane Greene indeed had a really *interesting* live arm while he was posting poor season after poor season in the minors, why didn’t scouting-based Baseball America take him at all seriously at any point — even when he performed solidly (at age 24 mind you) in A+ and AA in 2013?

Twelve months ago, after Greene’s supposed Hyde-to-Jekyll transformation under the guidance of Gil Patterson, in a pretty poor Yankee farm system (one representative in BA’s top 100 once you exclude Tanaka) Greene couldn’t even crack the top 11.

So what are we left with? Basically, bad performances AND implicitly bad scouting reports.

The GIF’s are cool of course, but when you get down to it they constitute a kind of Greatest Hits package don’t they? I mean, one could assemble a similarly impressive highlight reel for a great many mediocre MLB pitchers, given an hour or two.

I’m betting the Yankees shrewdly sold high on a small sample fluke, and Greene produces <5 WAR for the remainder of his career as a starter. (As Wade Davis and others will attest, ya never know what could happen with a switch to the pen.)

Cool Lester Smooth
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1 year 5 months ago

Actually, anyone who follows the Yanks system has known Greene as a big-stuff/no-control since 2011. Once the control came in 2013, a lot of people expected big things.

I.A.L. Diamondback
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I.A.L. Diamondback
1 year 5 months ago

Follow-up:

After Greene’s nice 2013 season, John Sickels ranked him between 27th and 38th in the Yankee system. (Greene was in the “others” section, rating a grade C or below.) There were 181 comments from Yankeefan prospect mavens and others observers of the minors. In none of the 181 comments was Shane mentioned even in passing — and again, this was after his best season of his career.

Sickels talks to people, lots of people. And there isn’t any evidence that he heard good words about Shane during any year at any point. Going back a bit, before the 2013 season, Sickels rated Greene outside of the Yankee top 41.

Before 2012, outside the top 43. Pre-2011, not in the top 36. And before 2010, absent from the top 38.

In other words, it seems at the very least severely revisionist to suggest Shane Greene was ever viewed by any but the most optimistic members of his Yankee family (or actual family) as more than a career organization arm.

I don’t wanna be a strident dead-horse beater; I’ve nothing against the young man, and I hope he continues to have MLB success. But given his lengthy MiLB track record and the non-existent positive scouting reports, he simply feels very much like a classic one-off.

KDL
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KDL
1 year 5 months ago

But you don’t understand! Cool Lester Smooth SAW him!

Iceman
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Iceman
1 year 5 months ago

I hope you’re not insinuating that CLS is extremely optimistic on Yankee players. After all, he had the balls to admit that the Yankees system is GREAT:

“It’s actually looking up this year! Thanks for asking. They’ve got 3 locks for the top 100 in Severino, Sanchez and Judge, three guys on the fringes of it in Mateo, Refsnyder and Clarkin, along with a massive flood of international talent coming in.

If we manage to snag Moncada, we’re gonna be looking good going forward.”

Cool Lester Smooth
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Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 5 months ago

Hey, Iceman. I don’t particularly like the taste of your shit, so I’d appreciate it if you’d stop pulling words out of your ass and sticking them in my mouth.

Why don’t you try to pick my quote apart? It’ll be difficult, because every word of it is factually correct.

Back on topic: IAL, I’ve actually been part of the Minor League Ball community for a few years now. I know for a fact that both cookiedabookie and charles wallace had had him as an interesting upside guy for a couple of years.

Besides that, he’s been talked about on other Yankee sites, like, River Ave Blues as a guy who threw 95 but didn’t know where it was going since 2012.

I’ve always been higher on Greene than a lot of people (which means I thought/think he could be a No. 4 starter, rather than a #5/Long Reliever, David Phelps-type), but there were reasons to like him before he hit the MLB.

Bob
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Bob
1 year 5 months ago

While BA does the best they can, scouting prospects is still as much art as science. When Arizona traded Max Scherzer to Detroit BA summed up Max as follows: “With a fastball in the mid- to upper-90s and a sharp slider, he dominated at times. But his lack of feel for a changeup limits his upside.” They ranked him 66th on the top 100 for 2007.

That analysis was accurate for the first 2 years of his time in Detroit, good but not great, then he finally figured out how to maintain his control consistently, game to game, and went on to become one of the best pitchers in the MLB, winning a Cy Young along the way. Look at his 1st half/2nd half splits for 2012 to understand what can happen when a guy with good stuff finally figures out what to do with it.

I’m certainly not saying that Greene will be another Scherzer, but he was a similar big stuff/no control player. Jeff’s article highlights Greene’s potential to be more than simply a #5. As an Diamondbacks fan I would be very worried about Ray. When Dombrowski trades a high profile prospect after a short, unimpressive stint in the majors, they rarely pull it together later. Jair Jurrjens is about the only Tiger prospect to actually workout for the receiving team.

RTM
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RTM
1 year 5 months ago

All good points. Greene definitely has a high-end arm but with flaws that prevented him from being considered a legit prospect. One of those lottery ticket type of players. Pretty much every team has a few of those, but some of those guys do pay off. Not being listed on BA’s top 100 list, or Sickels’ list of top prospects, etc. isn’t all that meaningful. Players in the top 100 turn into total busts, while other players who can’t make the lists turn into meaningful players. Doug Fister, anyone?

Cool Lester Smooth
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Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 5 months ago

Yup, he’s always been a big arm, so I was pumped when he put it together in 2013.

There’s a reason these guys never make Top 100 lists, and it’s that they almost never do figure it out.

Rob
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Rob
1 year 5 months ago

Why? Because it’s baseball.

Max G
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Max G
1 year 5 months ago

Cashman: “He’s a hitter who struggles against left-handed pitching,” Cashman said of Gregorius. “We believe he hits right-handed pitching and so, at the very least, we expect him to be utilized in probably a split platoon with Brendan Ryan until he separates himself. The high-end projections are we think there is more in the tank as he develops.

I thought this was funny. What Cashman is basing his ‘high-end projections’ on, I do not know. What more is in the tank? It is certainly not based on Gregorious’ history at the plate, which has demonstrated him to be a below-average hitter now at the MLB-level now and in the future. He doesn’t get on base much, doesn’t steal often when he does get on base, and has zero power. In addition, his wRC+ in the minors was routinely well south of 100.

His defense appears okay, not as elite as Ryan of course, but even ‘okay’ will be a large improvement to the Yankee infield. For that reason, this is not a bad acquisition for the Yankees, but also is definitely not what Cashman is making it out to be in the press, in terms of long-term impact.

Could this also signal, once and for all, that the Yankees have no interest in acquiring Tulowitzki and we can finally shut the door on that nonsense?

shoewizard
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shoewizard
1 year 5 months ago

There is a little more upside in Didi’s bat than you are allowing for. He has a little pop. He takes at least a respectable amount of walks. He might have a couple of 90-100 wRC+ seasons in him. I’d give that a 60% chance actually.

Cool Lester Smooth
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Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 5 months ago

Yeah, I think it’s entirely possible that Didi settles in as a 90-100 wRC+ guy longterm.

If he can maintain his 2013 offensive performance, and his defensive stats catch up to his reputation, he could be a solid piece, and a perfectly good placeholder.

Iceman
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Iceman
1 year 5 months ago

I’m worried about Greene’s consistently high babip’s. Except for one 19.2 inning stint in 2010, every other stop in the minors has resulted in a babip of .330 or above. Then he posts a .330 babip in limited time in the majors. Some groundball-oriented pitchers are able to produce lower than expected babip’s for their groundballs, but I wonder if he will be an exception. I don’t think the Yankees defense is responsible for his major league babip because their team babip is a middle of the pack .298 and their infield defense produced 6 DRS and 11.3 UZR.

RTM
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RTM
1 year 5 months ago

Understandable, but a couple items to consider. He is not the same pitcher he was for most of his minor league career. BABIP in the minors, especially the lower minors, is not very indicative. The Yankees infield defense was not strong, although they did make use of defensive shifts to cover some of their infielders range problems (Headley aside).

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