[翻譯]Pitching Prospect Slipped Onto Yankees’ Radar

September 07, 2007


Pitching Prospect Slipped Onto Yankees’ Radar



By TYLER KEPNER

Published : September 7, 2007 / The New York Times



In the 1980s, when Damon Oppenheimer was a catcher at the University of Southern California, the Trojans’ players knew the story of Fred Lynn. A first-team all-American as a sophomore, Lynn did not repeat his success as a junior and slipped out of the first round of the 1973 draft.

時間是1980年代, 當Damon Oppenheimer還在南加大(USC)的校隊中擔任捕手時, 隊中的每個球員都對Fred Lynn的故事耳熟能詳, 他在大二那年就被選入全美大學明星隊, 不過卻在大三那年因為表現不佳而未在1973年的首輪選秀會中被選中。



“Boston took him in the second round, and two years later he was in the big leagues as the rookie of the year,” Oppenheimer said. “That was a story we always heard about. We’ve just always tried to remember that and think about the whole career of a guy.”

"紅襪隊在第二輪才選了他, 不過僅僅兩年之後, 他不但成功升上大聯盟, 更成了年度最佳新人獎得主," Oppenheimer說道, "我們對他的故事全都耳熟能詳, 除了將其銘記在心外, 也重新思考評估一個新秀未來表現的方法。"



Oppenheimer is the Yankees’ scouting director now, and Lynn’s tale was instructive in deciding whom to take with the Yankees’ first-round pick in last summer’s draft.

如今Oppenheimer成了洋基隊的球探負責人, 而Lynn的故事所帶來的啟示也影響了洋基去年選秀會時的決定。



Ian Kennedy, a U.S.C. right-hander, had slumped to a 5-7 record and a 3.90 earned run average as a junior. But various publications had named him a first-team all-American as a sophomore, and that was the pitcher Oppenheimer wanted.

在大三那年, Ian Kennedy的成績退步至5勝7敗、防禦率3.90, 僅僅在一年之前, 大二時的Ian Kennedy還被許多運動報導媒體選為全美大學第一隊的成員, 而這也正是Oppenheimer夢寐以求的球員。



So when the Yankees’ turn came with the 21st overall pick in 2006, Oppenheimer chose Kennedy and let Brian Cashman, the general manager, work out a $2.25 million bonus with Kennedy’s agent, Scott Boras. It seems clear now that history guided Oppenheimer well.

當2006年選秀會時輪到第26順位的洋基隊宣布其首輪選擇時, Oppenheimer選了Kennedy, 並且還說服了Brian Cashman和Kennedy的經紀人Scott Boras簽下了內含225萬美元獎勵金的合約, 現在看起來, Lynn的故事幫助Oppenheimer作了正確的決定。



Like Lynn, Kennedy reached the majors in September of the year after he was drafted. Lynn went on to win the Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards while leading the Red Sox to the 1975 World Series. The Yankees would settle for less from Kennedy, who has already exceeded expectations.

就像Lynn一樣, Kennedy也在被球隊選上的隔年九月就升上了大聯盟, 而當年的Lynn不但在隔年贏得了年度最佳新人獎, 而因為帶領紅襪打進世界大賽而贏得了年度最佳球員的殊榮。洋基球團並未對Kennedy設定如此高的標準, 因為Kennedy的表現早已超過洋基球團的預期。



Kennedy makes his second major league start tonight in Kansas City after beating Tampa Bay with seven strong innings last Saturday. Like Joba Chamberlain, who was taken with the Yankees’ next pick in 2006, Kennedy climbed three minor league levels to reach the Yankees this season.

今晚面對皇家隊的賽是將是Kennedy的大聯盟第二戰, 他在生涯初登版的比賽中投了七局好球幫助洋基打敗魔鬼魚。就像洋基在同年選秀中在Kennedy之後所選中的Joba Chamberlain一樣, Kennedy只花了不到一個球季的時間就一路從1A爬上了大聯盟。



“Getting to the big leagues and staying in the big leagues are very different things,” Oppenheimer said. “He’s a kid. When you drafted him, you could see him sticking in the big leagues. But getting there so soon is beyond my wildest dreams, for sure.”

"升上大聯盟是一回事, 能否留在大聯盟中又是另外一回事," Oppenheimer 說道, "他(Kennedy)還不過是個小孩, 雖然當我選中他時, 我就認定他有長期留在大聯盟中的潛力, 但是能夠用這麼短的時間就升上大聯盟, 還是遠遠超過我的預期。"



As proof, the Yankees long ago gave Kennedy permission to schedule his wedding for Oct. 6. The minor league season is over by then, but the major league playoffs are just starting.

而這點我們從洋基球團在之前還答應了Kennedy在今年的10月6日舉行婚禮就可看出端倪, 屆時小聯盟的賽季已經結束, 不過大聯盟的季後賽才正揭開序幕。



The date falls on a day off during the division series, and the wedding is being held in St. Louis, the hometown of Kennedy’s fiancée, the U.S.C. basketball player Allison Jaskowiak. Kennedy does not seem to know what to root for.

他預定的結婚日將是今年季後賽分區系列戰的表定休兵日, 而婚禮將在其未婚妻(南加大籃球校隊球員Allison Jaskowiak)的家鄉 - 聖路易舉行, Kennedy自己也不知道該不該期待能在季後賽進行時仍然穿著條紋球衣。



“There’s only been two or three September call-ups to actually participate in the playoffs, right? Like Francisco Rodríguez?” Kennedy said, hopefully, on Wednesday. “I try not to think about it. She might get upset.”

"應該只有2、3個小聯盟call-up可以在季後賽期間仍然被留在球隊陣中是吧?就像Francisco Rodríguez一樣," Kennedy在星期三接受訪問時滿懷希望地說道, "我試著不去想她(未婚妻)會因此(結婚受影響)大發雷霆這件事。"



By the wedding date, Kennedy could be a crucial contributor the way Rodríguez was for the Angels in 2002. The Yankees, who hold a three-game lead in the American League wild-card race, could fit him on the roster. 

在他預定結婚的日期到達前, 他可能已經像2002年球季時的Francisco Rodríguez一樣, 成了球隊中不可或缺的重要球員。在美聯外卡爭奪戰中暫時以兩場勝差領先水手隊的洋基隊需要他這樣的先發投手。



Of course, nobody knows if Kennedy will fade like other rookies who pitched well in their debuts this season, like Chase Wright, Matt DeSalvo and Tyler Clippard. Phil Hughes and Chamberlain have come closer to sustained success, and Kennedy is a prospect in their category.

當然我們也不知道Kennedy會不會像其他在今年球季首次出賽表現傑出的洋基年輕投手 - Chase Wright, Matt DeSalvo和Tyler Clippard - 一樣, 在之後的賽事中表現欠佳, 不過當和Kennedy被視為同一等級農場新秀的Phil Hughes和Chamberlain都相繼證明了自己的價值後, 我們沒有理由不看好Kennedy的未來。



Kennedy, 22, went 12-3 in the minors and earned his promotion when the Yankees dropped Mike Mussina from the rotation. Kennedy has been compared with Mussina; each commands the low fastball at his best.

現年22歲的Kennedy在小聯盟中取得了12勝3敗的佳績, 並且在Mussina被迫離開先發投手輪值進行調整時被球團拔擢上了大聯盟, Kennedy時常被拿來和Mussina作比較, 因為他們對於偏低的速球都有高人一等的掌控力。



But Kennedy’s top off-speed pitch is the changeup, with his curveball still developing, and he is short for a right-handed pitcher.

在所有變化球種中, Kennedy的變速球被認為是他最主要的武器, 而他的曲球仍然需要一段時間的磨練, 除此之外, 以右投手的標準來看, 他的身高過矮。



“For a guy who’s right around six feet, he still gets a good plane on his fastball; it’s all downhill,” Oppenheimer said. “It seems kind of strange, but he gets way out on his front side, so it seems like he’s closer to the plate. That creates some deception.”

"對一位身高正好六呎左右的投手來說, 他的速球算是相當具水準的," Oppenheimer說道, " 他的投球姿勢看起來或許有些奇怪, 但是那種方式讓打者產生投手離自己較近的錯覺, 這也讓打者感到迷惑。"



To Jeff Clement, who made his debut for the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday, Kennedy’s quick rise was predictable. Clement was Kennedy’s catcher at U.S.C. in 2005, when he went 12-2 and was named pitcher of the year in the Pacific-10 Conference.

對於在周二晚上首次代表水手隊出賽的Jeff Clement來說, Kennedy能如此快速升上大聯盟並非意外, Clement曾經在2005年球季擔任Kennedy在南加大的投捕搭檔, 當年Kennedy繳出12勝2敗的佳績, 並且被選為Pac 10的年度最佳投手。



“Off the field, he’s easy to get along with,” Clement said. “But when he gets on the mound, he competes like no one else I’ve ever caught.”

"球場外的他, 是個相當容易相處的人," Clement說道, "不過一旦站上投手丘, 他所展現出來的鬥志是我前所未見的。"



Clement mentioned Kennedy’s performance as a freshman on a team trip to Cuba. With one out, Kennedy loaded the bases with walks and a broken-bat single. But he struck out the next two Cuban players to strand the runners.

Clement提到Kennedy在大學菜鳥球季一場面對古巴當地球隊的友誼賽中的表現, 在一人出局的狀況下, 對手藉由Kennedy的連續保送加上一支斷棒安打攻佔了滿壘, 不過Kennedy三振了接下來的兩位打者, 讓對方跑者無法再越雷池一步。



“He punched out the next two guys like it was nothing,” Clement said. “So I knew he had the mentality to go out and get after it.”

"他輕描淡寫地解決了接下來兩位打者," Clement說道, "光憑這點我就可以確定他有足夠的心理強度面對接下來的挑戰。"



Oppenheimer said the Yankees scouted almost all of Kennedy’s games in his first two college seasons, although they were not always there to see him. Kennedy also stood out when he pitched for Team U.S.A. against hitters with wood bats. 

Oppenheimer表示, 洋基球團派了球探去觀察Kennedy在大學前兩年球季的大部分球賽, 而Kennedy在代表美國隊出賽的比賽中, 也展現出他對抗使用木棒打者的能力。



When Kennedy slipped as a junior, Oppenheimer noticed that he did not seem as comfortable with his catcher as he had with Clement. The Mariners had drafted Clement third over all the previous June, and Kennedy might have gone that high if he had been eligible.

當Kennedy在大三那年出現成績滑落的狀況時, Oppenheimer注意到Kennedy和其所搭配的捕手似乎不像之前和Clement合作時那麼契合, 水手隊在Kennedy大二那年以首輪第三順位選中Clement, 要是Kennedy在同年參加選秀的話, 他應該也會在前三順位被選走。



“If he would have had a year in ’06 like he had in ’05, he would have been a top-five pick, easily,” Clement said.

"如果他在2006年球季(大三)的表現能像2005年(大二)一樣, 他可以輕而易舉地成為在前五順位被選走的新秀," Clement這麼說道。



Kennedy said he put too much pressure on himself to carry the team as a junior. He has no other explanation for the slump that indirectly landed him with the Yankees.

Kennedy本人對於大三那年低潮的原因只有一個解釋, 或許他給自己太大的壓力, 試著用一己之力撐起球隊。



“The only thing I can think of is I failed a couple of times, and I had never really failed before,” Kennedy said. “Even in my losses in college, I didn’t give up a lot of runs, we just lost. Just failing, I didn’t know how to deal with it. Now I’ve dealt with that and I’ve had success again, and I know how to bounce back from it.”

"我唯一的解釋就是...我在那年(2006年)之前實在沒有真正面對過失敗的經驗," Kennedy說道, "在那之前, 就算輸掉比賽, 我也從未出現過大量失分的狀況, 會輸球不過就是運氣欠佳罷了, 因此, 我從不知道該如何去面對全盤皆輸的狀況。現在的我已經有過失敗的經驗, 並且藉以學習到如何克服失敗重新站起來。"



The Yankees have surrounded Kennedy with a support system that includes his Class AAA pitching coach, Dave Eiland, and Chamberlain, who said he considered Kennedy a brother.

洋基球團也提供了Kennedy相當好的學習環境, 陪在他身邊的人除了3A的投手教練Dave Eiland之外, 還有將他視為兄弟的隊友Chamberlain。



Kennedy is inquisitive, asking detailed questions of coaches and teammates, and he said that before tonight’s start, he would ask the veterans how to approach a young team like the Royals.

Kennedy是個十分好學的球員, 他時常會向教練和隊友針對許多細節提出問題, 在今晚的比賽前, 他也不例外地向球隊中的老將們請教該如何面對像皇家隊這樣年輕的球隊。



“He just has a great feel for the game,” Eiland said. “The way he watches, he’s always trying to learn and absorb as much as he can. You tell him something, he looks you right in the eye, and you can tell he’s listening.”

"Kennedy相當樂在比賽," Eiland說道, "他觀察比賽時的認真程度令人印象深刻, 他總是試著學習、吸收更多資訊, 每當你試著告訴他些什麼時, 他總是直直望著你的眼睛, 像是告訴你他正專心地聆聽著。"



With eyes wide open, Kennedy is learning on the job for a team that never expected to count on him so soon.

有著一顆好學不倦的心, 洋基球團從未想過會這麼早就如此仰賴其能力的Kennedy, 正藉由實戰經驗的累積而持續不斷地學習中。









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