New York Stock Exchange
New York Stock Exchange
I always like to try new things here, so instead of doing a “year in review,” I am doing a “Stock Up/Stock Down” heading into 2012 for New York baseball. This includes a “watch list.”
The list could include players, coaches, minor leaguers, and the media.
Curtis Granderson– When the Yankees acquired him in the three-team deal in December of 2009 I was skeptical of what kind of player they were getting. I saw a player that couldn’t hit left-handed pitching and struck out too much. Lynn Henning of the Detroit News gushed about Granderson on my radio program that winter. Henning believed that Granderson could fit into a loaded Yankees lineup and quietly put up big numbers alaBernie Williams. After struggling in 2010 due to injuries, Granderson reminded everyone of Bernie with a monster season in centerfield. Last season, he led the American League in runs and RBI and hit 41 home runs. He also finished fourth in the MVP voting. His woes against left handers are a thing of the past since his work with hitting coach Kevin Long. He’s become the Yankees most well-rounded player.
Ivan Nova– Already has a 16 win season and a start in a decisive Game 5 of a playoff series on his resume. Prospect gurus know how much Brian Cashman loved Nova from his days pitching in Trenton. Nova has produced results better than any Yankees homegrown pitching prospect sinceAndy Pettitte. Like Pettitte, he was thrust into a team with championship aspirations and has responded over the past two seasons with a 17-4 record and 3.86 ERA in 34 starts. He will come to spring training as a mainstay in the Yankees rotation and will be counted on for quality innings.
David Robertson– Had a season out of the bullpen that reminded everyone ofMariano Rivera circa 1996. A miniscule 1.08 ERA coupled with an insane 13.5 K/9 puts Robertson amongst the elite setup men. He is also doing a ton of good stuff off the field as his charity, High Socks for Hope started by him and his wife Erin, helped those affected by the multiple tornadoes that struck David’s hometown of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. You can’t ask for a better season on or off the field.
R.A. Dickey– Just two years ago he was signed as a minor league free agent by Omar Minaya. His claim to fame was this rant on WFAN by Chris “Mad Dog” Russo. Two years later he is one of the top 10 pitchers in the National League according to Baseball Reference Wins Above Replacement. In the coming months he will be climbing Mt Kilimanjaro for charity, releasing his memoirs, and possibly be one of the most desired pitchers at the trade deadline. Remember whenI was laughed at for saying he was better thanRoy Oswalt?
Brian Cashman– The Yanks are clearly Cashman’s team for the foreseeable future as he was signed to a 3-year deal. Whenever a tough conversation has to be had, Cash is the one throwing down the hammer. He doesn’t care if you are a long-time core member, rookie, or high-priced veteran. He’s the face of a new era in Yankees history where they combine big money spending with player development. This is his ship and he will be allowed to sink or swim on his terms. How many GM’s in post-Steinbrenner Yankees history could say they have that kind of autonomy? No, the period when George was suspended doesn’t count.
David Wright– Amazing how a player that is currently 7th all-time in OPS+ amongst third basemen can make the home fans feel so indifferent. Wright has battled physical and mental hurdles the last three seasons. Once the quiet “leader by example” for the Mets thatDerek Jeterwas for the Yankees, he’s been miscast as the focal point of an offense that missesCarlos Delgado,Carlos Beltran, and nowJose Reyes. I think David will be better served being a part of something great versus leading a team out of the doldrums. He very well could get his wish soon, as many believe his $15 million dollar salary will be traded no later than July 2012.
Phil Hughes– Came to camp out of shape and paid dearly for it. Once the symbol of the Yankees renewed focus on player development, Hughes has become the symbol of what went wrong with the ’08 kiddie pitching trio that includedIan KennedyandJoba Chamberlain. The best of the group is currently pitching in Arizona. The Yankees are going to rely on Hughes now that it appearsBartolo Colonwill not be retained. Is it too much to ask him to replicate Colon’s 2010 (8-10, 4.19)? Judging by how Yankees fans have pined forHiroki Kuroda,Yu Darvish, andC.J. Wilson it appears they don’t think he can.
A.J. Burnett- After 2010 couldn’t he only go up? Apparently not, as a lousy August actually led to similar results in 2011 where he finished 11-11 with a 5.15 ERA. Amazingly, for a team that has averaged well over 90 wins and won a World Series during his tenure, Burnett is a game under .500. He did pitch them to a Game 5 with his performance in Detroit, but you don’t get a good feeling about Burnett when he takes the mound. The whole “which A.J. will show up” deal has grown tiresome.
Hal Steinbrenner– The Yankees on a budget? That is what appears to be the case under the leadership of Hal. Carlos Beltran handed himself (again) to the Yankees this winter on a silver platter, but they didn’t have the money. No Hiroki Kuroda, Yu Darvish, or C.J. Wilson either. This is a new world of fiscal responsibility that has Yankees fans a bit uneasy. How will they fare with a normal roster sans a veteran or star at every position? If they struggle with the kids will the 3+ million Yankee Stadium denizens continue to show up for their Taj Mahal experience? Something tells me this might become an interesting theme in 2012.
The Wilpons– Amazing that both ownership groups made the “stock down” list. Fred Wilpon, Jeff Wilpon, and Saul Katz have done the impossible and replaced Jim Dolan as the most disliked owners in all of sports. As a matter of fact, they remind me of the intrusive Dolan but with the frugalness of the Clippers Donald Sterling. Worse yet, some have compared this current era in Mets history to the late seventies when M. Donald Grant was in charge. The $1.5 billion in debt will eventually sink them, maybe as early as March, so I doubt I will be talking about their finances at this time next year- at least Mets fans hope I won’t. If the Wilpons were a real stock they would currently be worth cents on the dollar on the open market.
Individuals to Watch
Daniel Murphy- If given a full season to play second base I think people will be surprised about how valuable a player he can be. Murphy has never really been given a home since he was called up in August of 2008. If he produced his 2011 numbers (.320/6/49) at second base, he would have the highest OPS+ amongst those that qualified for the batting title in the National League. The question is not whether he can hit, but whether he can master the fundamentals of the position where he can stay healthy for a full season.
Jesus Montero– Has replaced Joba Chamberlain as the apple of the Yankees fans eye. Like Joba, his work-ethic and performance hasn’t always matched the hype. He has an opportunity to prove his 4 HRs and 12 RBI in September is not just a small sample fluke.
Lucas Duda– Totally surprised about how much this kid turned it around. He look lost and lacked confidence at the plate early in the season. He was recalled in June and was the complete opposite. Hit 20 HRs and drove in 74 runs between Triple-A and the big leagues. Didn’t show any aversion to hitting LHP either. He belongs in left field, where his defensive shortcomings will hidden, butJason Bayand his albatross contract are currently blocking him. For now, he will play RF, look bad defensively, but could give you .270/25/90 hitting the middle of the Mets order in 2012.
David Cone– He isn’t Vin Scully, and he probably would fit in better at SNY withRon Darling, Gary Cohen, andKeith Hernandez, but Cone is a breath of fresh air on a network more known for indoctrination, pom poms, and Kool-Aid. Cone is none of that (much to his bosses chagrin) as he provides honest and in-depth analysis about all facets of the game – not just pitching. He also has embraced new advanced statistics and incorporated it into his on-air repertoire. If YES were smart they would give Coney more air time; that is if he wants it.
Ike Davis – one of the unluckiest and freakish injuries in Mets history. When Davis collided with David Wright in Colorado you didn’t think he would miss an inning, much less the entire season. The ankle injury stunted a year that saw Ike on pace for about 32 HRs and 112 RBI. If healthy in 2012, I suspect we may see Davis live up to those John Olerud comparisons that were bestowed upon him when he was called up in 2010.
Want to see my media Stock Up/Stock Down and People to Watch?Go to Sports Media Watchdog.
Don’t forget to vote for the NYBD “Person of the Year”as you have until 11:59 on New Year’s Eve to cast your vote
You can also vote in our Hall of Fame ballot by clicking here
I am closing up shop for the weekend and will be back on Monday. Happy New Year. Be safe and enjoy yourself.By Mike Silva
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