Buffalo vs Scranton, 08/23/07
One appearance in and I’m sold on Ian Kennedy. Signed by the Yankees with a dastardly above slot draft contract ($2.2 million bonus at 21st overall) in 2006, Kennedy is a product of the USC baseball program.
With an ongoing battle here at the MUD over control, stuff, and success, I was interested to see how Ian rounded out, as his stuff would grade as average on a 0 “ 70 scouting scale.
I do think the main difference between Kennedy & other RHP with average stuff is his control. He was consistently pounding the outside corner early in count with fastballs and he didn’t fall behind into a 2 “ 0 count until late in the 3rd inning. His fastball was primarily around 91 “ 92 and he mixed in a dropping change-up and a 75 mph-ish curve. Even with this tool set, Ian is averaging over 10 K per 9 IP.
Playing in three levels this season, Kennedy has a combined 12 “ 3 record, with a 1.91 ERA, an opponent’s batting average of .182, and a 163-50 SO/BB ratio in 146.1 IP. At 22 years of age, the Yankees appear to be loaded with a stable of young quality arms. Whether Kennedy will get a chance to start the season in New York remains to be seen due to George’s love of washed up free agent pitchers.
After a disappointing season in Cleveland, Lee is now seven starts into his 2007 AAA campaign. A shoe-in for a September call-up, Cliff has been impressive in his Buffalo outings, sporting a 3.25 ERA, & 44 K in 36 IP. His control has been up & down, as indicated by his 22 BB over his AAA time. During this game in question, Lee struck out 8 in six innings. He’ll have to battle for a rotation spot in 2008, and it will be interesting to see if he’d accept a bullpen role if that’s all that’s available for him next season.
Here’s a cut and paste of some past comments on Brett Gardner.
œSelected in the third round of the 2005 draft, Garnder has shot up the Yankees system and now resides in AAA Scranton. (it always sounds weird to say AAA Scranton instead of Columbus). After swiping 58 bags between two levels last season, Gardner has missed a large amount of time this season due to a hand injury, along with running into an outfield fence. In 54 games at AA Trenton, Brett hit an even .300, walked (33) more than he struck out (32) and stole 18 bases in 22 opportunities. The downside to his game is his complete lack of HR power, as he has failed to launch even one HR in over 700 minor league ABs.
With his speed and plate discipline, Brett could turn into a good leadoff hitter at the MLB level in the near future, although whether this is with the Yankees or not remains to be seen. At the very least, I’d expect Gardner to get a September call-up to serve as a pinch runner. He is also known as a strong defensive outfielder with limited arm strength.
I’d have to agree with everything we’ve said about him before. In this game, Brett made an absolutely spectacular running catch on a sure gap double/triple. Now this wasn’t one of those sportscenter catches were the outfielder mis-reads a ball and jumps at the last minute for the œhighlight reel catch. As soon as this ball was hit, Gardner must have ran across what seemed like half of the outfield and caught the ball in stride!
On top of that, he hit a triple and beat out the first baseman & the pitcher on an infield squib that was pretty much along the lines of Willie Mays Hays leadoff single in Major League. He should get a chance in Yankee Stadium in September. As a ceiling, I could see Brett becoming somewhat similar to Juan Pierre, with improved defense and a higher overall OBP, although with a lower batting average.
On a side note, this game in Buffalo marked 20 years in their downtown ballpark. I’ll probably do a side article/ballpark review at a later date. Promotion wise, the first 4000 fans scored a free Bisons hat, commerative keychain, a Buffalo baseball hall of fame ceremony, and a large post game fireworks display. Before the game just outside of the ticket office, the Bisons had a pre-game street party with $1 hotdogs, pop & beer. All in all this game was great on and off the field.