Sunday, February 19, 2012

A.J. Burnett Traded for Mediocrity

As most of you probably know, AJ Burnett is about to be traded.  In return for Burnett the Yankees are getting two prospects.  They are Diego Moreno and Exicardo Cayones.

Diego Moreno is a 25 year old, right handed throwing relief pitcher.  His first professional season after being signed out of Venezuela, was in 2007 at age 20 in the Venezuelan Summer League (VSL).  That first season he pitched in 13 games, going 1-0 with a 2.42 ERA with 2 saves, 16 strikeouts and 5 walks in 22.1 inning.

In 2008, he returned to the VSL for a second season.  That year he made 7 appearances and went 3-1 with an amazing 0.87 ERA with six starts.  This would be the only season that he would start any games.  He also struck out 21 and walked 4 in 31 innings.

During the 2009 season his career started to heat up.  After starting in the NY-Penn league (Low A Short Season (SS), like the Yankees Staten Island Yankees)) and only making 2 relief appearances (Had a 1.80 ERA in 5 innings), he was promoted to Low A (Comparable to Charleston RiverDogs) where he went 1-3 with a 2.60 ERA, 5 saves, 57 strikeouts and 14 walks in 45 innings (18 appearances).

The 2010 season started out a High A (Equivalent to Tampa Yankees) where he pitched quite well over 28 appearances.  Going 4-1 with a 1.17 ERA, 1 save, 57 strikeouts,38.1 innings and 5 walks, in 38.1 innings.  Then he was promoted to AA (Equivalent to Trenton Thunder) where in seven appearances he did not do well.  He had a 7.01 ERA with 2 saves, 12 strikeouts and 3 walks in 7.2 innings.

For the first time in his career Moreno was demoted to start 2011.  He started the season back at High A. There in 34 appearances he was 2-4 with a 3.21 ERA, 5 saves, 31 strikeouts and 15 walks in 33.2 innings.  This is the first season that his strikeout to walk ration wasn't very good.  This 2:1 ratio looks to be one of the big reasons he did not quite repeat his success in 2010 at High A.  However, he was still promoted again to AA, where in 7 appearances he carried a 4.91 ERA with 14 strikeouts, and 3 walks, in 11 innings.

That brings us to up to the trade.  As these stats show this is a very middle of the road prospect.  He has never pitched over 50 innings in season in his career and he has spent most of his minor league career as a reliever.  There is a reason pitchers are switched to being relievers, they aren't as good.  Therefore since Moreno has been a reliever almost the entire way through the minors and has not been completely dominant isn't a good sign for his hopes of making the big leagues.  The one good thing that he has able to maintain, except for part of one year, has been a great strikeout to walk ratio.  This shows that he does in fact have good control on his pitches.  That is the one thing that he does do very well and could be his one hope of moving up through the minors.

Going forward I think that Moreno will start the 2012 season in the bullpen in Trenton (AA).  Hopefully he has his control fully back and can be a key contributor to that team.  There is a chance with a great season he could be called up to AAA at some point, since at 25 they want to give him a chance to prove himself before he is too old to be considered a prospect.  However, I predict that he has a decent year in AA but never has any major league impact.

The next player is Exicardo Cayones, a 20 year old outfielder who was signed in 2008 out of Venezuela.    His first professional season was 2009 in the VZL.  There he hit .302 with 1 HR, 18 doubles, 38 runs, and 43 RBIs in 65 games.

He played the 2010 in the Gulf Coast League (GCL).  He hit .263 with 11 doubles, 25 runs, and 22 RBIs, in 46 games.

He started the 2011 season back in the GCL.  There in 27 games he hit .293 with 5 doubles, 14 runs, and 12 RBIs.  He was then called up to Low A SS where in 11 games he only hit .063 with 2 hits.

Cayones, just like Moreno, is a mediocre prospect.  The one thing that Cayones does have going for him is his age.  He is still only 20 years old and played part of a season in Low A SS.  His stats also reveal a weird oddity.  He does not have many home runs, so therefore is not a power hitter, and also has very few stolen bases, so therefore is not a speedster.  He doesn't seem to do anything particularly well.  Unless he can mature to do something better I don't see him ever making the major leagues.

Going forward he will most likely start the season at Low A SS and see if he can contribute with a full season at this level.  Since he was so horrible in his short Low A SS appearance before I am not particularly enamored with his abilities going forward.  Then again he is only 20 and a lot can happen in a few seasons in the minors.  However, this is not a top guy and don't expect to see him roaming the Yankees outfield any time soon, or if all.

These two new additions don't really do anything to help the strengthen the Yankees farm system.  However, that was not the purpose of the trade.  The purpose of the trade was to save money to then sign Raul Ibanez.  The real outlook on this trade is Burnett for these two prospects, plus whomever they sign with the saved money.  I think this was a very shrewd move by Cashman to unload his excess pitching in able to sign more hitting.  These prospects just don't mean that much and don't have a ton of potential.

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