While we’re waiting for something more than rumors and hypotheticals on the hot stove, I thought we might try looking occasionally at some of the new members of the 40-man roster. We’ll start with Eduardo Nunez.
In his career, Nunez has been almost exclusively a shortstop with a handful of starts at second and third. He was once highly touted by Baseball America, but the magazine has since written that it overvalued him back when it put him in the Yankees Top 10. The bat came along the past two years, though, and that led the Yankees to protect him from the Rule 5. I saw him in the Triple-A playoffs, but he spent all of the regular season in Trenton.
Naturally, I asked Mike Ashmore for his take. Here’s what Ashmore wrote…
Realistically, Eduardo Nunez is at least a year away from the big leagues. He needs a lot of work defensively, but if his defensive skills can ever catch up to his bat, he’ll be a solid big leaguer that can probably start on some teams.
Defensively, Nunez has an outstanding arm that he doesn’t always seem to be able to harness. Whether it’s issues with footwork or just getting lazy on a few throws, errors have plagued him throughout his career, and last season was no different. Nunez’s 33 errors were good enough to earn him the Eastern League’s Pewter Glove… he led the league with his penchant for the E-6. Nunez likely needs to develop a bit of a better work ethic in the field as well, as for someone who clearly needs to improve defensively, I’d often see him not taking his time in the infield during batting practice as seriously as he should.
Offensively, Nunez had what must be considered his best season in 2009, hitting a career high .322 with nine home runs and 55 RBI. Nunez is a relatively free swinger who makes contact more often than not. While you can’t argue with a batting average like the one he posted, 22 walks in 497 at-bats would suggest he might be better served to improve his plate discipline as well. He doesn’t have a ton of power, and primarily hits for singles, but he did connect for a career high in home runs last season, and his bat may overshadow his glove enough to where he may get a big league look at some point in the near future. While his speed is slightly above average, I can remember him running the Thunder out of several innings last season, sometimes at key points in the game. The speed is there, the instincts aren’t necessarily always connected to his feet.