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You Need to See Players to Evaluate

Over the last few weeks, we have received numerous Twiiter inquiries about Pete O’Brien and others in the Yankees system.

These even lead to discussions about O’Brien’s ability to hit, play a position and just what type of performer he is. The same with SWB outfielder Adonis Garcia and RailRiders second baseman Rob Refsnyder.

We realize that, while we see these players and know them pretty well, scouts know them better. Can we offer an educated opinion? Absolutely? Are we on a scout’s level? Absolutely not.

One thing that has happened in the digital age is the availability of statistics, even on a smartphone. If you have the latest IPhone, Samsung Galaxy or other, and the MILB First Pitch app, a wealth of information about any of these players is in your hand. There also is MILB.tv.

Is there enough there to form an opinion? Yes. Is it an educated opinion? In all serious, no.

One such conclusion was Pete O’Brien is a lot like Shelley Duncan. The two are similar in that they hit a lot of home runs. The similarity ends there. O’Brien actually has a much more consistent swing than Shelley did, especially at this time in his career. Maybe this opinion came from the fact Pete is playing first base in Trenton right now.

Anyone who has seen both O’Brien and Shelley will quickly tell you, power numbers aside, there is no similarity between the two.

Garcia has gotten notice because he is presently hitting .312 in 54 games at SWB. Several opinions emerged that “Garcia should definitely be called up by the Yankees” and “He’s better than the outfielders the Yankees have now.”

Why? Because he is hitting .312. That looks a lot better in the box score than Garcia’s play in the outfield, which is average at best. How a player looks in the box score does not make Garcia a candidate to be called up. He is not as good as any Yankees outfielder, or he would have been summoned already.

Also, Garcia is not a prospect. He’s a 29-year-old Cuban defector who has shown he can hit a bit, but not enough to overcome the level of defense he shows at times.

Zoilo Almonte had a chance, but just hit .156 with the Yankees. Antoan Richardson also not a prospect. He is 31 and has been in a half-dozen organizations.

If you happen to see these guys play, you realize they are, at best “Four-A” players, not big-league talent.

Refsnyder, after hitting .342 in 60 games at Trenton, is batting .351 in 17 at SWB. He is learning how to play second base and, at 23, has turned himself into a prospect deserving of a September call-up. Had the Yankees not had such a logjam at DH, he may have gotten a chance sooner.

If his defense continues to improve at second base, and he continues to hit like this, the Yankees have something in Refsnyder.

To evaluate these players – a personal preference is to see 10-15 games for a position player and 4-5 starts for a pitcher and an equal number for a reliever – before any opinion is offered.

Evaluating without seeing is not believing.

Written By

Have covered the Yankees and their system for over 20 years. I enjoy writing about future Yankees and where a prospect stands in the system. One rule: I only analyze and comment on prospects I have seen play and have talked to.

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