RJ Anderson at Fangraphs looked at the trio of outfielders that the Yankees have stashed in the minors:
That offensive state of mind exists beyond the pantheon of new Yankee Stadium. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, home to the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate, features a triplet of red-hot bats. Shelley Duncan, Austin Jackson, and John Rodriguez patrol the outfield while on defense, and hit balls into the outfield during their time on offense. The three are inseparable on top of most International League leaderboards. Here’s how they stack up:
Jackson is the only one with a foreseeable future in pinstripes, since most prospect analysts rank him as the top prospect in the system. It’s easy to see how, as Jackson plays a smooth centerfield and flashes impressive offensive production for a 22-year-old. Look for him to claim a starting gig in the Bronx sometime over the next 12 months.
Rodriguez and Duncan are journeymen, albeit with some notable history in the majors.
The left-handed Rodriguez collected his major league experience in 2005 and 2006 with the Cardinals. He didn’t hit for a lot of power, and was little more than an average defender in the corner outfield. He did hit righties decently, and was used primarily in a platoon role. Rodriguez was nothing to spill your checkbook over, but teams have become infatuated with players of inferior quality of the years.
Duncan incites brawls, and during his brief major league career hit both lefties and homers. A lumbering man, Duncan’s defensive repertoire is limited to first base, DH, or a corner outfield position. He’s not a full-time player, but again, a team could do a lot worse than Duncan as the right-handed half of a platoon.
With A-Rod having to DH once a week for the foreseeable future, I can see why the Yankees are carrying an extra infielder rather than call one of those three up. Once Xavier Nady returns, these players would be superfluous anyhow, so I am not sure of their value to the Yankees right now. Jackson still needs to work on his abundance of strikeouts and dearth of power, while Rodriguez and Duncan are unlikely to fetch much in a trade. If Nady re-injures himself or gets traded, these players may come into play for the major league club. Otherwise, they are all unlikely to see more than a September call-up.
Regarding the extra infielder that the Yankees are carrying, Cody Ransom will return tomorrow and push either Angel Berroa or Ramiro Pena off the roster. I would be shocked if Pena was the one who goes. On the face of it, the only conceivable reason to keep Berroa is to make sure they do not lose him to another club, a concern that seems silly considering the fact that he stinks. Ransom is probably a better player than Berroa at this point, and is more versatile defensively. At worst, this should give Joe Girardi more options off the bench.
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