Thursday, April 12, 2007

Chase Wright: Possible Callup?

The Yankees have been struck with some untimely injuries of late and may need a pitcher to fill in for Mussina for a few starts. The main idea is to start KArstens when healthy, but what about if he and Rasner arent ready? You have the young guys like Hughes, Clippard, and Ohlendorf, who all show great potential but are not MLB ready and not on the 40-man roster. This leads me to my main man, Chase Wright. Those of you who watch a lot of Spring Training may remember himas the guy who held the Tigers starting lineup to 3 runs in 6 innings. He had another good appearance in spring too. He is a lefty pitcher with a fastball about 91 that he can spot well. He has an outstanding changeup and decent curve. He was kind of a late bloomer as he won the single A pitcher of the year in Tampa last year at age 23. He had a 1.89 ERA as a starter during the season. Many thought he wouldnt be able to keep it up this year in AA and, Ill admit, even I had my doubts but he has shown nothing but good stuff and poise on the mound. So far this year, he has pitched 14 innings allowing 5 hits, 1 walk, and NO runs. He has also collected 17 Ks in those two games. I understand its only two starts but he has an advanced approach and oozes confidence that pitchers need to have to survive at the ML level. A thing to remember about Wright is that he is already on the 40-man roster. He was put on it to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. Being on it means to call him up wouldnt cost the Yankees anything but if they wanted to call up someone like Hughes they would have to put someone on waivers. If the Yankees indeed look to the minor league system for a spot start, they should take a look at Wright who wont buckle under pressure and has the hot hand.

Hughes Pitching Tonight

Tonight, top prospect, Phil Hughes will be pitching against Richmond. With Mussina going down, who knows, maybe if he pitches very well he might get a spot start. You can follow his progress here: Look on the scoreboard and click Scranton.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Minor League Update

Who's Hot

Jose Tabata(High A)- 14 ABs, 8 Hits, 1 3b, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 SB, .571 AVG

Eric Duncan(AAA)- 13 AB, 4 Hits, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2 Walks, 308 AVG

Chase Wright(AA)- 1 Win, 7 Innings, 4 Hits, 9 Ks, 0 Walks

Wilmer Pino(Low A)- 15 AB, 5 Hits, 2 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, .333 AVG

Yankees Minor League Starting Pitching(All Levels)- 69 Innings, 45 Hits, 18 Walks, 70 Ks, 2.48 ERA, 0.91 Whip

Who's Not

Bronson Sardinha(AAA)- 12 AB, 0 Hits, 3 Walks, 2 Ks, .000 AVG

Tim Battle(High A)- 17 AB, 1 Hit, 1 RBI, 3 Ks, .059 AVG

Mitch Hilligoss(Low A)- 19 AB, 4 Hits, 1 2B, 5 Ks, .211 AVG

Reegie Corona(High A)- 17 AB, 3 Hits, 1 2B, 5 Ks, .176 AVG

Ross Ohlendorf(AAA)- 5 Innings, 7 Hits, 4 Walks, 3 Runs, 0 Ks, 5.40 ERA

Monday, April 9, 2007

My Trip to Scranton

I have not been posting for the last few days as I have been in Moosic, PA watching the AAA Yankees. This trip had been planned out for a while and I lucked out when I discovered that I would be seeing Hughes and Ohlendorf pitch. I live in the middle of Long Island so it was about a 3 and half hour trip which isn't bad all things considered. The trip went very smoothly and wse did not hit much traffic even going over the GW bridge. It really is a nice area that is pretty rural, until you get to the area where the stadium is. In a very small radius around the stadium, their is a full town. Their is a HUGE shopping outlet that has almost every kind of store you can think of, a nice Marriot hotel, a really nice movie theater, and 4 or 5 restaurants to eat at. This is all within 30 seconds of each other. So needless to say, their is plenty to do for 2 days their.

After we arrived at the hotel, we checked out our room and rested up. We knew it was going to be very cold outside so we dressed warm and went out. After the 30 second drive we got to the stadium and went in. I noticed that the merchandise was still grossly overpriced as I thought it would be cheaper because it is a AAA team. I still bought a hat anyway. Nice Logos. We did have good seats, but it is not that bug of a stadium so there were not really bad seats. Their are 2 decks, upper and lower, the lower seeming about 3/4's full and the upper seeming about 1/4 full. I was in the upper. Phil Hughes was pitching this game so I didn't care about the seats. Hughes came out to a huge ovation. People got really charged when he would K someone or just get an out, myself included. In 5 innings, in almost freezing weather, he pitched 5 innings giving up 2 hit and runs while K'ing 6. The 2 runs were scored the same way. He either walked or hit the batter. The runner advanced to second and the were driven in with a single. The interesting thing was the same guy got both rbi singles. Hughes couldve pitched more as he was only at 74 pitches , 50 strikes, after the 5th but the Yankees decided to pull him because of the cold. In the bottom of the 5th Eric Duncan hit a huge homer to put Hughes in good position to win. After that the bullpen finished them off going 4 innings with only 1 run aloud. Chris Britton got the save. Other notables were Alberto Gonzalez going 2 for 3 and the latest callup, Kevin Thompson, had 2 hits and 3 stolen bases. They won 6-3.

The next day it was Ross Ohlendorfs turn to pitch. I was excited to see the new young arm who was an important part of the RJ deal. Before the game, a bunch of others and I were waiting for autographs on the third base line. You could tell everyone was pulling for Hughes to come out and sign but he never did. Most of them didn't. The autos I got were Shelly Duncan, Alberto Gonzalez, and Ben Kozloski. Eric Duncan ran right passed me so I was a little disappointed he didn't stop to sign. Ross looked shaky off the bat. His control wasn't there and it didn't seem like his sinker was very effective. On the bright side he was throwing with good velocity, constantly sitting between 90-94. He managed a line of 5 innings 7 hits 3 runs. A little disappointing but not horrible. The big hit came when Eric Duncan hit another big homerun over the right field wall. The crowd went crazy. The crowd also seemed to go crazy when any player who has spent time in the ML came in. Guys like Kevin Thompson, TJ Beam, and Andy Phillips all got huge cheers. Especially from the one woman who seemed particularly enamored with Andy Phillips, constantly yelling his name. The bullpen did good once again as Justin Pope and TJ Beam pitched 4 scoreless innings. Scranton won 5-3.

Overall, my trip was a a lot of fun. I would suggest to you who like to see the young guys play to take a trip to Moosic. Their is plenty of things to do their and you are sure to have a good time. I would suggest you go when it is a little warmer though.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Starting Rotation

Enters the 2007 season ranked by Baseball America as the seventh-best prospect in the Yankees' organization...also rated by Baseball America as having the "Best Changeup" in the Yankees' system...Led all Yankees' minor-leaguers with 175 strikeouts while posting a 12-10 record with a 3.35 ERA in 28 starts with Double-A Trenton...led the Eastern League in strikeouts and games started (28), ranked fourth in innings pitched (166.1) and seventh in ERA (3.35)...his 12 wins were tied for second-most among all Yankees' farmhands...became the first Trenton pitcher in the 13-year history of the franchise to toss a no-hitter in a 9-0 win vs. Harrisburg on 8/17...won his final nine decisions of the season from 7/4-8/27, surpassing the Trenton-franchise record of eight straight wins held by Carl Pavano (1996) and Tomo Ohka (1999).

Enters the 2007 season ranked by Baseball America as the top right-handed pitching prospect throughout all of baseball...ranked as the Yankees' number one prospect for the second straight year and rated as having the "Best Curveball" and "Best Control" among all Yankees' farmhands...Capped a noteworthy season with multiple honors and accolades, including the 2006 "Kevin Lawn Minor League Pitcher of the Year" Award, given annually to the top pitching prospect in the Yankees' organization...posted a combined record of 12-6 with a 2.16 ERA in 26 starts with Class-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton...led all Eastern League pitchers with a 2.25 ERA and ranked fourth in the league with 138 strikeouts... was selected to participate in the Eastern League All-Star Game and was named to the U.S. team for the "Futures" All-Star Game at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

Spent most of the season with Double-A Tennessee, going 10-8 with a 3.29 ERA in 27 starts (177.2IP, 180H, 70R, 65ER, 29BB, 125K)...won a season-high seven straight decisions in a span of 11 starts from 5/11-7/3 and was named the Diamondbacks' organization "Player of the Month" for June, going 4-0 with a 1.98 ERA...led all Southern League pitchers with four complete games, ranked second in innings pitched and shutouts (two), ranked fourth in wins and fifth in games started...following the Smokies' season, was promoted to Triple-A Tucson for the Pacific Coast League playoffs and made one start, recording no decision (5.0IP, 1ER).

Combined to post a 6-10 record with a 6.40 ERA in 27 games (24 starts) with Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Columbus...began the season with Columbus and went 1-6 with a 7.68 ERA in 11 games (eight starts) before being transferred to Trenton on 6/7...earned the win in his first appearance (on 4/9 vs. Scranton-WB) before losing six straight decisions from 4/14-6/5...tossed a season-high 7.0 innings and surrendered just one earned run on 4/19 at Scranton-WB, but still suffered the loss in a 2-1 Red Barons 16 starts with Double-A Trenton from 6/10-9/3, posted a 5-4 record with a 5.77 ERA...won each of his final two starts of the season (on 8/29 at Erie and 9/3 vs. Reading), allowing just two earned runs in 11.1 IP.

Posted an 8-11 record with a 2.65 ERA in 24 starts with Double-A Tennessee...ranked second among all Southern League pitchers with his 2.65 ERA and he limited right-handed batters to a .204 batting average (68-for-333) six starts with Surprise in the Arizona Fall League, posted a 0-2 record with a 7.11 ERA.

Short Dellin Betances Pitching Video

I know its not much but it is cool to see him if you never have before.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Yankees Prospect Sleeper: Cody Ehlers

Ehlers has been a personal favorite of mine for a while. Not because of his stats but because every report I have read on him says he has a great work ethic and is always trying to get better. Though he is old for his league, 25 in AA, he still has the potential to be a very good player if he can hit like he did last year in Tampa, where he was the hitter of the year.
Here is a scouting report influenced by pinstripes plus:

Age: 25
Position: 1st base
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 185 lbs
Drafted: 11th Round in 2003 out of the University of Missouri
Bats: Left

Batting: Ehlers is an extremely good gap hitter as he hit 38 doubles last year. He also knocked out 18 homers. Also remember this is all playing in a park that waters down offensive production by 12%. Ehlers has very good strike zone judgement and has the ability to walk more then strike out in any given season. He seems to rise to the occasion with RISP as he hit 322 last year and came through in many clutch situations. Ehlers projects to be able to hit over 300 and hopes some of those 38 doubles will become homers.

Speed: Ehlers is not really a base stealer but is an intelligent base runner who wont hurt team on the base paths.

Defense: Ehlers defensive game is extremely smooth. He has great footwork and range at first. He also has a solid throwing arm at first which may seem unimportant but after watching Giambi butcher throws for 4 years its important. He has the potential to be a gold glover.

Projection: Ehlers has been flying under the radar for most of his career due to not having the tool set of a usual top prospect. He has shown now that he does have the potential to be a big league starter if he can develop a little more power. Even if he were to stay in the 15-25 range it would be suitable because the Yankees already have tons of power. He is a very steady player who will always give 100 percent and strive to be better. He could be compared Don Mattingly who never hit for huge power in the majors but was consistent with the bat and a clutch hitter.

Phil Hughes Crystal Ball

Awhile back John Sickels of did one of his crystal balls on Phil Hughes. Here it is:

I think this is a decent prediction. People may be expecting 300 wins and such with all the incredible hype around him but this is an extremely successful career. Sickels has him peaking early, having his best years in his early 20s, and then tailing off a little later. He also has him injured in 2013 which he has no way of telling. So overall he has him having a great career with maybe a cy young or 2. But remember this is just one mans prediction.

Yankees Get Postponed 4/4

No makeup date has been set.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Minor League Rosters

Scranton Yankees
Pitchers: TJ Beam, Colter Bean, Chris Britton, Erick Burke, Tyler Clippard, Matt DeSalvo, Phil Hughes, Steven Jackson, Ben Kozlowski, Charlie Manning, Ross Ohlendorf, Justin Pope

Cathchers: Raul Chavez, Omir Santos

Infielders: Chris Basak, Andrew Beattie, Angel Chavez, Eric Duncan, Alberto Gonzalez, Andy Phillips

Shelly Duncan, Kevin Reese, Bronson Sardinha, Kevin Thompson

Players to Watch: Phil Hughes, Eric Duncan, Ross Ohlendorf, Tyler Clippard, Alberto Gonzalez

Trenton Thunder
Pitchers: Gerardo Casadiego, Michael Gardner, Alan Horne, Jason Jones, Jeff Kennard, Jeff Marquez, Scott Patterson, Edwar Ramirez, Brett Smith, Paul Thorp, Kevin Whelan, Steven White (DL), and Chase Wright.

Catchers: Jason Brown, J.T. LaFountain, P.J. Pilittere.

Infielders: Aarom Baldirs, Cody Ehlers, Juan Francia, Gabe Lopez, Carlos Mendoza, Ramiro Pena.

Outfielders: Matt Carson, Justin Christian, Brett Gardner, Shawn Garrett.

Players to Watch Jeff Marquez, Kevin Whelan, Chase Wright, P.J Pilittere, Cody Ehlers, Brett Gardner.

Tampa Yankees
Pitchers: Erick Abreu, Wilkins Arias, Joba Chamberlain, Anthony Claggett, Phil Coke, Ian Kennedy, George Kontos, Zach Kroenke, Mike Martinez, Elvys Quezada, Josh Schmidt, Jose Valdez, Bryan Villalona, and Eric Wordekemper.

Catchers: Francisco Cervelli, Jared Greenwood, Joe Muich

Infielders: Reegie Corona, Mario Holmann, Juan Miranda, Tim O'Brien, Kevin Russo, and Marcos Vechionacci.

Outfielders: Tim Battle, James Cooper, Colin Curtis, Edwar Gonzalez, and Jose Tabata.

Players to Watch: Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy, George Kontos, Franciso Cervelli, Reegie Corona, Marcos Vechionacci, Tim Battle, Colin Curtis, Jose Tabata

Charleston Riverdogs
Pitchers: Eric Hacker, Garrett Patterson, Edgar Soto, Gabe Medina, Paul Patterson, Mike Dunn, Nick Peterson, Tim Norton, Jonathan Hovis, Luke Trubee, Grant Duff, Angel Reyes, David Robertson, Brady Martinez

Outfielders: Austin Jackson, Josue Calzado, Seth Fortenberry, Brian Aragon, Andres Perez

Infielders: Chris Malec, Eduardo Nunez, Wilmer Pino, Mitch Hiligoss, Chris Kunda

Catchers: Jose Gil, Kyle Anson, Bryan Baisley

Players to Watch Mike Dunn, Jon Hovis, Angel Reyes, Austin Jackson, Josue Calzado, Wilmer Pino, Mitch Hiligoss

Monday, April 2, 2007

Yankees Win On Opening Day

The Yankees beat the D-Rays 9-5 to become 1-0 on the season.

Carl Pavano started the game and didnt look half bad for the first few innings. He was really trying to get into a rythum but Yankees horrid fielding disrupted it. His was keeping his fastball down for most of his outing but towards the end of his outing his fastball was staying up in the zone and gettting hit. Overall he did better then I expected but by no means did a good job. His final line was 4.1 innings, 6 hits, 4 ER, 2 walks, 2 Ks.

Bruney then came in a looked pretty good. He let up a hit that scored a run but it was Pavano's run.

Henn also looked decent. He pitched an inning, giving up 1 hit, and being helped out by a double play.

Newly aquired Luis Vizcaino looked sharp pitching a hitless inning and collecting the win.

Farnsworth wasnt throwing as consistently fast as he usually does but managed to throw some nice pitches. He pitched a scoreless inning giving up a hit and strikeing out 1.

Rivera looked dominate strikeing out the side with ease.

Damon went 1 for 2 with a walk and left early due to cramps in his leg.

Jeter went 1 for 4 with a clutch 2 rbi single that tied the game.

Abreu went 2 for 5 with an rbi but did leave 6 on base.

Arod didnt look sharp early but finished 2 for 5 with a 2-run homer.

Giambi went 2 for 5 with 2 rbis.

Matsui had a rough day going 0-3 but did have a walk.

Posada had a great day going 2 for 4 with a solo homer.

Cano went 1 for 4 with a run.

Phelps worked 2 walks before being taken out for Minky.

Minky laid down a great bunt and went 1 for 1, although, it was more of an error then a hit.

Yankees Farm Preview


Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre

Eric Duncan, 1B
With everything Duncan has been through, it's hard to imagine he'll play the 2007 season at the ripe old age of 22. The Yankees' first-round pick back in 2003 was perhaps rushed a bit through the system, but he's still ahead of the curve in terms of his level and age. If someone had said he'd be in Triple-A at 22 back when he was drafted, everyone would've been thrilled. But because he stalled a little in Double-A and took a step backward last year when his first taste of Triple-A didn't pan out, people think of him as a disappointment. Most of his struggles, however, have been injury-induced, including dealing with a bad back for much of 2006. He'll need to work hard to keep that from being a chronic problem so he can reach his considerable power potential. Defensively, he's made a fairly smooth transition to first base and should be at least average there in the future. The Yankees are still confident he'll hit, but also understand that this is an important season for Duncan to show he's more than just potential.

Phil Hughes, RHP
The Hughes clock, at least among Yankee fans, has already begun in earnest as everyone wants to know when the right-hander -- arguably the best pitching prospect in the game -- will get his chance. He'll get a nice long look in big-league camp this spring before heading to Triple-A at least to start the year. There are a few reasons why he may not be there long. First is his package of stuff and command. Just 20, Hughes has ridiculous pitchability while offering up two plus fastballs and a nasty curve. He's got a slider which can be an above-average pitch, but he rarely throws it anymore. His changeup is still a work in progress, but no one doubts it will come. Second, when people look at the Yankee rotation, they see age and question marks behind Chien-Ming Wang. No one knows what the Yankees will get from Carl Pavano or Kei Igawa, while Mike Mussina and Andy Pettitte aren't spring chickens. The time will come -- and it could very well come by midseason -- where Hughes will join Wang as a very dangerous and effective 1-2 homegrown punch.

Others to watch: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre could very well have the deepest pitching staff in all of the Minors. Behind Hughes, there's Humberto Sanchez, Ross Ohlendorf and Tyler Clippard, just to get started. Steven Jackson, Steven White and Matt DeSalvo all want to be there as well. ... OF Brett Gardner reached Double-A in his first full season and stole 58 bases across two levels. He's a hustler who is simply fun to watch. ... Bronson Sardinha, who's been slowly making his way up the Yankee ladder since 2001, will join Gardner in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre outfield. He set a career high with his 16 homers and played well in his first taste of Triple-A last year.

Double-A Trenton

Cody Ehlers, 1B
As an 11th-round draft choice in 2004, Ehlers would have been a perfect choice as a sleeper or Cinderella story. Then he went and won the Florida State League MVP and kind of blew the door off of that secret. Yes, an argument can be made that he was a touch old for the level -- he'll play this season in Trenton at age 25 -- but the FSL is notoriously pitching-friendly and Ehlers led the league in total bases, RBIs, extra-base hits and doubles while finishing in the top 10 in a host of other offensive categories. The lefty-swinging/throwing first baseman will be the type who has to prove himself at each level, but any time a guy drives in over 100 runs in a season, it's worth watching what the follow-up year looks like.

Kevin Whelan, RHP
While Humberto Sanchez was the top young arm acquired in the Gary Sheffield trade, Whelan wasn't exactly a throw-in. Since the Tigers took him out of Texas A&M in the fourth round of the 2005 draft, he's saved 42 games, posted a 2.30 ERA and struck out 110 (against just 37 walks) in 78 1/3 innings. Last year, he spent all season in the FSL and had 27 saves to go along with a .178 batting average against. This is all coming from a guy who was a catcher and closer for most of college and didn't commit to pitching only until that 2005 season. He's got an above-average fastball that hits 94 mph and a killer splitter which is his true out pitch. He'll spend much of this year simply learning the nuances of pitching while developing his slider to go along with his other offerings. It could click for him soon and, as much as it hurts Yankee fans to hear this, Mariano Rivera will not be New York's closer forever. Whelan could be the heir apparent.

Others to watch: There likely will be some trickledown from the Triple-A pitchers listed above. They may not be happy about it, but any of the aforementioned arms who end up in Trenton could dominate the competition. ... RHP Jeff Marquez doesn't have to worry about Triple-A yet. Despite a shoulder strain that cost him to miss a month, he finished the season strong, then pitched in Hawaii. His stuff is still raw, but could start coming together this season. ... Yet another intriguing arm is RHP Alan Horne. A Tommy John surgery recipient while in college, he finished last season in Tampa very strongly and hopes to build off of that in Trenton.

Class A Advanced Tampa

Jose Tabata, OF
You almost get the sense the Yankees are trying hard not to giggle when they talk about Tabata, who'll move up to the Florida State League and won't turn 19 until August. The Yankees have had some success developing some Latino hitters with Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrera the current examples on the big-league roster. Tabata is one to two years ahead of that duo in terms of development and has been a better hitter than either was in the Minors. Simply put, Tabata is the best hitting prospect among the young Latino players they've had coming through the system. And he's not just a bat, though that is special. He can run and has flashed a plus-throwing arm from the outfield. There really is no ceiling for a player like this and the Yankees have been stressing things like discipline, work ethic and pre-game routines with Tabata to help ensure he can maximize his considerable talents. If he stays healthy this year -- he got dinged up a bit in 2006 -- he could really start taking off, allowing Yankee fans to start the "Tabata clock" by 2008.

Joba Chamberlain, RHP
At some points during last year's draft season, Chamberlain looked like a possible Top 10 pick. But some injury concerns allowed him to drop to the Yankees in the supplemental first round. He signed too late to make his debut last summer, probably a good thing because of the workload he shouldered at Nebraska. He did sign in time to go pitch in the Hawaiian Winter League and was named the league's top prospect. He touched 97 mph there and his fastball sat in the 93-95 range. He complements that plus-fastball with a slider, curve and changeup, all of which are usable pitches. Part of what scared some teams off were his conditioning and past knee surgery and Chamberlain will have to continue to focus on conditioning to stay healthy and maintain his power-command combination. Already making some adjustments to the pro game in terms of his delivery and his pitch selection, he could move up extremely quickly and join the upper-level pitching logjam in the near future.

Others to watch: RHP Ian Kennedy was another college right-hander the Yankees took in the first round. He barely got his feet wet in Staten Island last summer before joining Chamberlain in Hawaii, where he struck out 45 in 30 1/3 innings. He's not a power pitcher, though. Kennedy has outstanding command, mixes his pitches well and keeps hitters off-balance, helping him maximize his average stuff. ... Reliever Anthony Claggett came over along with Whelan and Sanchez in the Sheffield deal. He's coming off a season in which he finished with a 0.90 ERA and a .175 batting average against. ... Joining Tabata in the lineup should be 3B Marcus Vechionacci, another Venezuelan product. He'll play the season at age 20 and has nearly as high a ceiling as Tabata and is a plus, plus defender to boot. There's a chance that OF Colin Curtis will make the leap to Tampa in his first full season after being a fourth-round draft choice out of Arizona State last June.

Class A Charleston

Austin Jackson, OF
An all-around athlete, the Yankees took Jackson in the eighth round of the 2005 draft and convinced him to give up on playing basketball at Georgia Tech. His first full season was a learning experience as he showed some positive things -- 37 steals, 61 walks and some raw power -- as well as some negative things -- 151 strikeouts and a relatively poor ability to make adjustments. Some of that, of course, is to be expected from a relatively raw high school outfielder and the Yankees are hoping his athletic ability translates into better performance in 2007. There's a good chance he could be pushed to Tampa, in which case Curtis would probably start in center for Charleston.

Dellin Betances, RHP
Betances, a local product out of Brooklyn, was surprising enough in his debut when he posted a 1.17 ERA and 27 K's in 23 1/3 IP in the Gulf Coast League. Then he was touching 98 mph last fall, making the Yankees clearly realize they made the right decision by drafting Betances in the eighth round and throwing enough money at him to get him to give up his commitment to Vanderbilt. If that weren't enough, Betances showed up early to camp looking like a different person. The 6-foot-8 right-hander was around 205 pounds last fall. He showed up this spring at close to 230 pounds. What that can do for his fastball and his stamina is a little mind-boggling. He's also shown an above-average curveball and a changeup that's usable now but will get better. With his height, he has a significant downhill plane with a good delivery. He's a quiet, hard-working kid who the Yankees can't wait to watch develop. Of all the pitching the Yankees have in their system currently, there may be no one with a higher ceiling than Betances.

Others to watch: Catcher Francisco Cervelli had a nice year in the New York-Penn League, hitting .309 for Staten Island. But the Yankees like his catch-and-throw skills even more. ... He'll get a chance to catch lefty Angel Reyes. The Yankees aren't nearly as deep on the left side of the rubber, so they'll be watching the 20-year-old closely. ... RHP George Kontos went from Northwestern to Staten Island as a fifth-rounder last summer and helped the Yankees win the NY-Penn League title by posting a 2.64 ERA during the regular season and winning two playoff starts. OF Josue Calzado got a brief taste of Charleston last year and fared well and should at least get the chance to compete for a job there to start the season this spring.

Under the Radar

Tim Battle, OF
The Yankees have been excited about and patient waiting for Battle's tools to turn into performance ever since they took him in the third round back in 2003. There have been some glimpses, like when he hit 16 homers and stole 40 bases in 2005, his first try at full-season ball. Of course, he also struck out 195 times that year. The move up to Tampa didn't go well for him last year, and he ended spending most of the season back in Charleston. His makeup and resolve are off the charts. Just a month into his pro career, he was diagnosed with B-cell lymphoma and underwent six months of chemotherapy. While there are some players who have tremendous tools who never quite put it together, the Yankees are going to continue to be extraordinarily patient with Battle, not just because of his potential, but because of his work ethic and attitude. The Yankees liked what they saw in him during their winter program, where he made some nice strides with his overall game. This could be a big year for him to get back on the map at the ripe old age of 21.

Juan Miguel Miranda, 1B
Back in December, the Yankees quietly signed Miranda, a Cuban defector, to a four-year contract worth $2 million. While it didn't garner that much attention, it was a Major League deal that required the Yankees to put the lefty-swinging Miranda on the 40-man roster. Miranda, 23, played on the Cuban national team from 2001 until 2004 when he successfully defected to the Dominican. He had tried twice previously to leave by raft. He left his parents and three brothers behind to chase his big-league dream. Now he's in Major League camp and has picked up a couple of at-bats so far this spring. The Yankees think he could be a guy who'll hit 20-plus homers annually and could push Eric Duncan in the near future in the upper levels of the system.

Francisco Cervelli, C
Signed out of Venezuela just shy of his 17th birthday in 2003, Cervelli initially played first base for the Yankees' Dominican Summer League team. He spent 2004 there as well -- as a catcher -- before making his United States debut in the Gulf Coast League in 2005. Nothing really made him stand out in any of these three seasons outside of his defense. He hit .239 back in 2003, .216 in 2004 and dropped to .190 in 24 games in the GCL in 2005. Then came last year. Catching for the New York-Penn League champion Staten Island Yankees, Cervelli hit .309 and had a .397 OBP in 136 at-bats. He'll give full-season ball a try at age 21 this season and the Yankees just might have a bona fide catching prospect on their hands.

Justin Christian, OF
Simply making it to Double-A as a non-drafted free agent is enough to put Christian on most Cinderella-type lists. He not only made it there, he played extremely well. After two seasons in the independent Frontier League, Christian was signed with the Yankees as a middle infielder. He's moved fairly quickly since with a .304 career average, .375 OBP and 182 steals. Last year with Trenton, he swiped 68 bags while hitting .276. He did all of that while playing outfield for the first time. Don't get too excited yet. Christian didn't even get a non-roster invitation to big-league camp this spring and will play this season at age 27. But wherever he is this season -- perhaps patrolling the outfield in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre -- you can be sure he'll be running all the time and continuing to try to defy expectations.

2006 Draft Recap

OF Colin Curtis (fourth round), hit .311 with a .374 OBP, almost entirely for Staten Island. He hit .333 in the playoffs. ... RHP George Kontos (fifth) turned it around from a subpar final season at Northwestern to help lead the Staten Island Yankees to the NY-Penn League title. He went 7-3 with a 2.64 ERA in 14 regular-season starts, striking out 82 and walking only 19 in 78 1/3 innings. ... INF Mitch Hilligoss (sixth) hit .292 and went 12-for-14 in stolen-base attempts for Staten Island. ... RHP Tim Norton (seventh) had a 2.60 ERA in 15 starts for Staten Island, striking out 83 and walking 14 over 72 2/3 IP. He didn't allow an earned run over his final four regular-season starts, then tossed seven shutout frames in a postseason start. ... RHP Dellin Betances (eighth) really opened some eyes in the GCL, posting a 1.16 ERA and striking out 27 over 23 1/3 innings. ... RHP Daniel McCutchen had a 1.86 ERA over 29 innings for Staten Island and Charleston. He struck out 29, walked six and held hitters to a .175 average. He'll start the season serving a suspension for testing positive for a performance enhancer, something he said was a result of a prescription he was talking. ... C Brian Baisley (24th) was probably too old for his levels, but he did hit .326 over 23 games, mostly in the Florida State League. His brother, Jeff, plays in the A's system.

Opening Day Lineups

Carl Crawford LF
Ben Zobrist SS
Rocco Baldelli DH
Ty Wigginton 1B
Delmon Young RF
Akinori Iwamura 3B
Dioner Navarro C
Elijah Dukes CF
B.J. Upton 2B
Scott Kazmir LHP

Johnny Damon CF
Derek Jeter SS
Bobby Abreu RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Jason Giambi DH
Hideki Matsui LF
Jorge Posada C
Robinson Cano 2B
Josh Phelps 1B
Carl Pavano RHP

No huge surprises exceot maybe Phelps getting the call. I think its a good move on Torres part becasue it sets up righty vs lefty and Phelps has the hot bat.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Chase Wright Scouting Report

Age: 23
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 190 lbs
Drafted: 3rd Round in 2001 out of High School
Position: Starting Pitcher
Throws: Left

Stuff: Wright used to throw a lot harder, but right now he throws an 89-91 mph two seam fastball. He throws it from a very deceptive three-quarter angle. The fastball has a lot of movement to it and he uses it to get a significant amount of ground ball outs. He also throws a decent changeup, at about 78-80 mph. The changeup has a surprising amount of sink to it which is his go-to pitch. Wright has been trying everything he possibly can to find some sort of successful breaking pitch. He has tried throwing both a conventional 12-6 77-78 mph curveball and a much slower 70 mph loopy curve. Neither has worked with any success.

Command: Wright will never walk people like Carlos Silva. He has average control at best, although he has learned a thing or two about pitching. He constantly pounds the bottom of the strike zone with his two seamer, without a ton of precision. When he misses, he misses out of the zone. He is going to walk 3-4 per 9 innings in the major leagues, which will limit his utility. That said, he manages to get by despite his command problems.

Health: Wright struggled to stay healthy almost immediately after being drafted. He was not able to pitch more than 100 innings from 2002 until 2005. Part of that was ineffectiveness, but Wright suffered from a series of minor growing pains (the kind of thing that are more the norm than completely healthy seasons for young pitchers). His command was significantly worse than present during this time, which prevented him from putting together any effective innings in the lower A ball leagues. His velocity started north of 93 and ended where it presently is today.

Performance: After these years of terrible play, Wright was still a sleeper pick on a lot of people's radars. Lefties get a lot of chances, and Wright still had the stuff to show promise. He put together a decent campaign in Charleston in 2005, posting an ERA of 3.75 in 144 innings. He struck out 110 and walked 69. Wright had found himself a nitch. He allowed a lot of guys to get on base, but was able to succeed by showing an uncanny ability to prevent the extra base hit. His high walk rate prevented him from winning a spot in the crowded Tampa rotation, so Chase was moved to the bullpen. He pitched excellent, posting a 2.53 ERA in 32 innings through June. He then moved back to the bullpen when the demotion of Zach Kroenke opened up a spot. He then did something very special: he posted an ERA of 1.64 in his next 87.2 innings. For the season he struck out 100 while walking 42 in 119.2 innings on the season. Due to this performance, the Yankees could not hide him from the Rule V draft anymore, and he was added to the 40 man roster a few weeks ago.

Comparison: I have never seen a pitcher who fits his description. Maybe you guys can help me out. Bruce Chen doesn't throw a 2 seamer, but he seems as close as it gets.

Outlook: Wright will head to Trenton, where his two pitch combination will be tested by more advanced hitters. From there, he could very well enter the Yankee depth charts in terms of both starting pitching and the major league bullpen.

Originally from

2007 New York Yankees

Infielders (7)
Miguel Cairo
Robinson Cano
Jason Giambi
Derek Jeter
Doug Mientkiewicz
Josh Phelps
Alex Rodriguez

Outfielders (4)
Bobby Abreu
Melky Cabrera
Johnny Damon
Hideki Matsui

Catchers (2)
Wil Nieves
Jorge Posada

Starting pitchers (5)
LHP Kei Igawa
RHP Mike Mussina
RHP Carl Pavano
LHP Andy Pettitte
RHP Darrell Rasner

Relief pitchers (7)
RHP Brian Bruney
RHP Kyle Farnsworth
LHP Sean Henn
LHP Mike Myers
RHP Scott Proctor
RHP Mariano Rivera
RHP Luis Vizcaino

Joe Torre
Larry Bowa
Ron Guidry
Joe Kerrigan
Kevin Long
Don Mattingly
Rich Monteleone
Tony Pena
Rob Thomson


Come on Joe. This is unacceptable. Wil Nieves as a back-up catcher. Yankee fans may be spoiled with good players but never at the back-up catcher position. To go from Kelly Stinnet last year to Wil Nieves this is year much of a jump. Nieves has never really proved he could be a ML backup and certainly hasn't proven it this spring. I guess his position could be attributed to weak competition but it shouldn't be that way. Mr. Cashman, its time you put all this young pitching to good use and get a projectable back-up catcher. Their are some nice young catchers out their that can be obtained for some close to ML-ready pitching. Yankees have a plethora of that so whats the hold up. Im not asking you to trade Hughes or anyone very highly touted but some of the lower ceiling guys too teams who desperately need 4th and 5th starters. Im looking for a catcher that could backup for a few more years and then be able to take over and be successful. Is it so much to ask for a catcher who can play solid defense and hit over 250. This may be a dead subject considering the backup catcher plays about once a week but the point remains that Posada wont be here forever and the Yanks need to realize that its best to develop catchers out of your farm.

Henn and Phelps Make Yanks

Two of the spots that were in question for most of the spring were the second lefty relief spot and the back-up/platoon first baseman. These two spot have finally been filled today as it has been announced that Henn is the lefty reliver and Phelps is the first baseman. Phelps completely earned it hitting 400 in spring and belting 3 homers. Also, his competition, Andy Phillips, hit under 200 which helped Phelps campaign. It's a shame for Phillips who was never really given a chance throughout the minors due to many position changes. He will most likely be let go. If Phelps can continue to hit well during his playing time and Minky doesnt hit, a switch may be in order. Henn was more of a long shot then Phelps coming into spring. With Villone being resigned it seemed as the Yanks would once again carry Myers and Villone but because of some horrid performances out of Villone and great outings from Henn the tide changed. Henn has always had a good fastball for a lefty but has never had the secondary pitches or control to compliment them. I still remember his horrible 3 starts in 2005. He has improved his command and secondary pitches since then and can hopefully be a good reliever.

Pavano Opening Day Starter

Well, this is definitely not the ideal situation for most yankee fan but it seems like it has to be done. As unfortunate as it is, Carl Pavano will start opening day. It doesnt seem right that PAvano of all people will open up the season but the circumstances are reasonable. Im hoping he can manage a decent outing. Figure if he does really bad he will be bashed uncontrolably. The fact that he is versing Tampa helps but Scot Kazmir doesnt. The bright side about this is that figure Kazmir is the Rays only good starter, that means yanks have Mussina and Pettitte versing two bad pitchers. Hopefully this works out and Pavano earns a little respect on opening day but I wouldnt count on him.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Charleston' Spring Training Game 3/28

Angel Reyes line wasnt too good as he couldnt get his control down today. His line was 2+ innings, 5 hits, 6 runs, 2 walks, and 3 Ks. He still remains one of the Yankees best lefty starting prospects.

Austin Jackson had a rough day going 0-3 with 2 Ks

Jesus Montero went 0-2 with a K

Prylis Cuello went 1-3 and apparently showed some good speed

Jon Hovis was nasty today with a line of 2 innings, 1 hit, no runs, 4 Ks

Toolsy OF Melky Mesa went 1 for 3 with a nice double

Seth Fortenberry had the best day with a homer and 2 rbis

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

J.B Cox to Have Tommy John

UPDATE: Well it turns out most of you were right. I was a little to quick to pull the trigger on info I thought was correct. It turns out he had a similar sugery that instead of replacing the ligament, his was just repaired. This will take less time to heal but still at least most of the season.

Scranton and Trenton Spring Training Games

I thought you guys might be getting bored of meaningless yankees spring training scores, so heres some meaningless minor league scores.

Heres how some Scranton players fared vs the Phillies AAA team:

Phil Hughes showed his age today with a line of 3.1 innings, 5 hits, 3 runs, and 2 Ks. He threw a decent amount of strikes but had trouble locating his curve. Outings like these are probably why the Yankees are hesitant to bring him up to fill thatt starting position.

Alberto Gonzalez and Bronson Sardinha both went 0-2

Eric Duncan struggled AGAIN going hitless in 4 at bats

TJ Beam pitched two innings of unearned runs

Justin Christian had 1 hit to lead off the game but that was it

Heres how some Trenton players fared:

A day to forget for Jeff Marquez as his line is pretty scary. Look away if your pregnant. His line was 2 innings, 8 runs, 9 hits. Not his best day but will get better

PJ Pilittere had himself a nice day going 2-4 with a RBI triple

Cody Ehlers (my big sleeper this year) went 1 for 4 with a 2 RBI double

Prilys Cuello one of the yankees very young stars had a nice day for trenton going 1 for 2 with a RBI

Humberto Sanchez Scouting Report

Age: 23
Height: 6'6"
Weight: 230
Drafted: Draft and Followed 31st Round out of Junior College (Originally from the Bronx)
Position: Starting Pitcher
Throws: Right

Stuff: Sanchez has some of the best stuff in the minor leagues, on par with top prospects like Giovany Gonzalez, Chris Volstad, Matt Garza, and Nick Adenhart, although still a step below Homer Baily, Phil Hughes, and Jeremy Sowers. He throws an incredibly heavy 92-95 mph fastball. This heavy fastball will break bats, miss bats, and pound the ball in to the ground. He backs it up with an above average curveball and average changeup. Brian Cashman believes that Nardi Contreras can the changeup into an above average pitch and the curveball in to a plus pitch. He uses his height to his advantage, especially when throwing his curveball.

Command: Humberto has been inconsistent with command. He has the ability to pump his velocity up to 96 when he wants to, but this usually results in Sanchez becoming very wild. He is much more effective when sitting in the 93-94 mph range, where he can pound the bottom of the zone. When he learns to calm down and not overthrow, he is going to become an elite pitcher. His walk rate has improved every year since 2003.

Outlook: Sanchez has struggled with health problems in the past. He suffered from a number of nagging injuries in 2004 and 2005 which resulting in him missing time, including a sore elbow, knee surgery, and an oblique strain. However, he put it all together in 2006, pitching 123 innings between AA and AAA (his innings were limited because of past elbow problems) of 2.63 ERA ball. He struck out 129 and walked 47. He is considered major league ready, although the Yankees plan on sticking him in AAA for awhile to work on his changeup. Despite the injuries and the slow development of his 3rd pitch, the Tigers stubbornly refused to move him to the bullpen. He has the ability to be an elite closer in this league, but he could also be a top starter. If Nardi Contreras can indeed improve his two secondary pitches, and he stays healthy, look for Sanchez to be something very special. The overall pitching depth of the Yankees at AAA will enable them to take it slow with him. Sanchez would have been rated higher, but his health issues concern me.

Grades: Ceiling A, Health C-, Comparison: I've heard Roberto Hernandez, but I am still confident that Sanchez can remain a starter.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Jose Tabata Scouting Report

Age: 18
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 160 lbs
Drafted: Signed Out of Venezuela in 2005 for 500,000 dollars
Position: Outfield (Where is yet to be determined)
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Batting: Jose Tabata is all about the projection of his bat. This is one weakness that I have in evaluating prospects. I'm no scout. I can only rely on the consensus of others. The consensus is that Jose Tabata has a big league bat capable of Manny Ramirez type numbers. I doubt that to an extent, even though I do not doubt that Tabata has the ability to be a major impact player, but I do doubt his power potential. Tabata is a small baseball player. He's not Phil Rizzuto, but there is no way to get around Tabata's size. He isn't a lot smaller than Manny Ramirez, but Ramirez is a special type of player. Ramirez is a hall of fame talent who comes along once in a generation, and immediately hit a ton of home runs in the minor leagues at Tabata's age. Tabata is "built like a fire hydrant", but can he really hit 40+ home runs? I doubt it. Tabata does however have two very good skills that he shares with Manny Ramirez: near inhuman plate discipline for an 18 year old and a tremendous ability to get base hits. He will hit a ton of doubles and get his share of extra base hits. Scouts rave about his swing and his ability to keep his hands in. He'll be a batting title contender if everything turns out right.

Defense: Tabata's position is uncertain. At present, he has plus range in the outfield and an average to above average arm. He has been playing left field in Charleston. He could probably be an average centerfielder, but the Yankees played him in the corners in 2006. This was in part due to Tim Battle and Austin Jackson being in Charleston for much of the season, who don't have the bats to hold down a corner position. We'll see if the Yankees try to shift Tabata back to center, but his likely destination is probably left field. He wouldn't have a terrible arm in right field, but it would be average at best there. With hitting potential like Tabata's, position is less of a concern. Still, it would be nice if he were to end up in Centerfield for at least his prime years.

Performance: Tabata spent his age 17 season showing the Gulf Coast League who was boss, hitting .314/.382/.417 in 44 games with 22 stolen bases, 15 walks, 14 strikeouts, 3 home runs, one triple, and five doubles. The power numbers may have been down, but Tabata had a phenominal season for a 17 year old (he actually didn't turn 17 until August of that year). He immediately show toward the tops of prospect lists, but he would really prove himself in 2006 when he was sent to Charleston. During his first three months, he owned A ball hitters, hitting .321/.432/.450, all before his 18th birthday. Unfortunatly, a wrist injury began to sap his power and playing time in June, resulting in a long fade which would land him on the disabled list. He was thought to be healthy after the season ended and was sent to the DWL, where he hit .288/.431/.404 against intense competition before going down with the same wrist injury.

2007 Outlook: If he's able to play (and nothing that we've heard so far indicate the contrary) he will be sent to High A Tampa, where he will be among the youngest if not the youngest player in the league yet again. He made strides in the power department in 2006, but the Yankees will be looking for a lot of those doubles to turn in to home runs. He is going to be in a tough ballpark for hitters, so the numbers may be a little more subtle than they could be. The Yankees will probably keep him there for the entire year, unless he really blows the league away (which is certainly possible). Tabata is years ahead of schedule. Health will be an issue, which I will discuss later. If the Yankees hope to keep him at centerfield, they will have to make a move back there in 2007. Tampa should be an exciting place.

Health: This wrist issue is a major concern about Tabata. No one thought that it was serious when he left Charleston, because presumably the Yankees would have a short leash on an 18 year old. But when Tabata went down in the DWL, a lot of people (myself included) grew worried. Very little information has come out of the Yankees' organization about this, so I can only speculate, which I won't. Wrist injuries can be very tough, and statisically this one clearly hurt his play. Other health issues revolve around his frame and weight. He has a lot of growing to do, and a lot of people are speculating that he could end up with "chunky" legs. This could hurt his range in the outfield. As good as Manny Ramirez is with the bat, we don't want Tabata looking like him in the field.

Ceiling: Very high. In my opinion it is still limited due to size, but Tabata certainly has the ability to hit like an MVP candidate. If nothing goes terribly wrong, he is going to hit #3 somewhere someday for a long time. I don't think that he has the kind of ceiling that a guy like Montero has, simply for lack of power. Of course, this all changes if Tabata ends up in centerfield, where he could be on a Carlos Beltran/Vernon Wells level.

Reaching Ceiling: Tabata will have plenty of chances to fail in the coming years. He probably has at least two and a half minor league seasons to go at bare minimum, and these injury issues don't make things any better. For an 18 year old to be as high as Tabata is on everybody's radar is very special. I think that we'll see a quick rise out of Jose.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sorry If Their Was Confusion

A recent commenter said I was plagurizing and not giving credit. This is not the case. I have in fact been getting my reports from their but if you look under the Dellin Betances scouting report I say taht I am getting it from that site and also say every report I get will mostly be from that site. I also have it linked on the right side of the page under the category, Great Minor League Scouting Reports. It was never my intention for you guys to think I wrote the reports and I apologize to those of you who did. As of now to avoid confusion I will post a link under every scouting report. Once again, i am sorry for the confusion.

Ian Kennedy Scouting Report

Age: 22
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 185
Drafted: 1st Round in 2006 out of USC
Position: Starting Pitcher
Throws: Right

Fastball: Kennedy throws a 4 seamer around 88-92 mph, although it dipped in velocity during his final year at USC. He is learning a 2 seamer down in Hawaii, which may be to blame for most of his struggles there (more on this later). "But EJ, why did we waste a 1st round pick on a guy who throws 90?". Johnny, it is pretty simple. Kennedy locates his fastball with extreme poise, ala Mike Mussina.

Changeup: Kennedy has a plus changeup, which he uses with ruthless efficiency. The changeup is essential to Kennedy's approach on the mound. He uses it to out smart the batter, with a lot of success. It is one of three pitches that he will often use to finish off a batter.

Slider: Kennedy sports an above average slider, sitting in the mid 80s. He uses it to make his changeup look a little lighter, forcing the hitter to account for harder breaking stuff. He is one of the rare pitchers who can reliably throw their slider for strikes. When it misses, it misses in the dirt, not in the zone.

Curveball: He also sports an above average curveball, which he can again use with pinpoint accuracy. The curveball gives Kennedy a third strikeout pitch, making him incredibly deadly in that department (and it showed in college, which I will get to soon).

Command: As previously mentioned, Kennedy's command is excellent. He is a very smart pitcher who learns how to get each individual batter out. He has a strategic mind not unlike that of Greg Maddux and Mike Mussina. He handles pressure extremely well. In terms of "polish", the Yankees believe that Kennedy is already far ahead of most AA prospects.

Performance: Ian Kennedy put up two of the more dominant seasons in NCAA history. In 2004 and 2005, Kennedy pitched a combined 209.2 innings. He posted a 2.70 ERA between the two years, striking out 278 and walking just 69. for a 19 and 20 year old just entering college, these numbers were monumental. He had a reputation as the best pitcher in USC history - a group which includes Randy Johnson and Mark Prior. USC also happens to face the highest level of competition in the NCAA. What happened? Kennedy had a poor - by his standards - Junior year. He posted a 3.90 ERA in 101.2 innings, striking out 102 and walking 36. He did not allow any more home runs than his freshman year, give up significantly more his, or walk a ton of batters.

2007 Outlook: Unfortunately, Kennedy signed late. He only got 2.2 innings in at Staten Island before the playoffs started. Any thought of Kennedy starting in Trenton was immediately dismissed. He will start in Tampa, where he hopefully should do very well. Kennedy went to Hawaii, pitching 30.1 innings, striking out 45, walking 11, and posting a 4.56 ERA. He allowed 27 hits. A lot of Kennedy's struggles may be due to his attempt to develop a 2 seam fastball. In addition, almost half of Kennedy's earned runs came in one game, where he gave up 8 runs. Other than that game, Kennedy had an ERA of 2.48. Kennedy still struck out over 13 per 9. Still, he will go to Tampa.

Health: A lot of speculation about Kennedy's significantly worse 2006 season has been speculation about health. This is just speculation, although it may have merit. Rumors are that his velocity dropped, although no one can specifically say that it did. I am skeptical. Kennedy pitched a lot of innings in college without arm problems. He has a pretty good health record. B.

Ceiling: Kennedy's fastball is a knock against him. If you read BA, you would think that Kennedy would be lucky to get out of AAA. I cannot disagree more. I strongly believe that Ian Kennedy is going to be a major steal in this draft. A steal in the first round? Yes. Absolutely. His fastball is average. I understand that. However, Kennedy has a ton of Maddux/Mussina in him. Hell, he even does Mussina's stretch move. You cannot ignore those college numbers. Those are crazy dominant strikeouts, walks, and ERAs. I believe that Kennedy can put up a lot of typical Mussina years - 3.40 ERA, 220 innings, 200 strikeouts, 40 walks. That doesn't look like "#4 Starter" that BA seems to have doomed Kennedy to.

Reaching his ceiling: It will be up to Kennedy to prove that his 2006 season in college and Hawaii was a fluke. I believe that he can do it. Intelligence is underrated in baseball, and Kennedy appears to have the ability to outsmart his opposition. The Yankees can also afford to take their time with Kennedy and let him learn at his pace. Maybe he'll learn a gyroball or something.

Comparison: Mike Mussina, no doubt. Like I said, he resembles Mussina in almost every way. Strikeouts. No walks. Average fastball. Lots of secondary pitches. The same strange stretch move. This is the easiest comparison on this list.

10 AL East Predictions

1. A-rod will have a huge year and the fans will love him

2. Frank Thomas wont play more then 100 games

3. Yankees will be in 3rd place at the all-star break but will still finish in fist

4. Carl Pavano will start 12 games and either be pulled or injured

5. Nick Markakis and Daniel Cabrera, of the Orioles, will be absolute beasts

6. Josh Beckett will bounce back from giving up over 30 homers by giving up over 40

7. Evan Longoria, Devil Rays, will take the 3b spot from a struggling Akinori Iwamura

8. D-Rays outfield (Baldelli, Crawford, Young) will be considered the best young outfield in the MLB

9. Blue Jays were further regret signing A.J Burnett after he gets injured for half the season

10. The rookie of the year award winner will come from the AL East

George Kontos Scouting Report

Age: 21
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 215
Drafted: 5th Round in 2006 out of Northwestern University
Position: Starting Pitcher
Throws: Right

Stuff: George Kontos has a nasty fastball. It tops out in the mid 90s, but he primarily throws it as a 2-seamer. Watching him on TV, I saw exactly why Kontos was picked in the 5th round despite a terrible college record. His stuff is just electric. He also throws a straigher 4-seamer, a decent change (it used to be about 84-85 mph, compared to a 94 mph fastball, but the Yankee coaches refined it and it's now in the 78-80 range). His best pitch is however his slider, and he gets a lot of swing and misses with it. It is probably the best or second best slider in the Yankee farm system. He has a curveball but doesn't use it too much.

Command: Kontos had a bad record of walking people in college. He walked 123 in 219.2 innings in three college years, including 53 in 95.1 this season. However, this was one case where the scouts were able to tell what statheads like myself could not. Scouts said that he did not have control problems; he simply was forced to nibble against aluminum bats. His mechanics were sound. As soon as he met wooden bats, Kontos excelled. The inside third of the plate opened to him and the strikes came like crazy. He pounded his slider to righties and located his fastball like a seasoned pro. In his 78 innings, Kontos only walked 19.

Outlook: I am a huge Kontos fan. He is probably my favorite prospect on this list. He has a first round slider and a great fastball to go along. His future is certainly going to be determined by the development of his changeup. Without a reliable third pitch, his future is in the bullpen. The Yankees seem confident however that Kontos will stay in the rotation (they are less confident in Tim Norton, who is primarily a fastball pitcher). If his changeup becomes an average or better pitch, look for a major steal from the 5th round pick. He has handled significant workloads between college and Staten Island (over 160 innings this season) and has a clean bill of health. I would not be surprised to see him pitch in Trenton at some time during 2007. I am a fan.

Grades: Ceiling B+, Health A-, Comparison: I really don't know who to compare Kontos to.

Spring Training Game 3/25

The Yankees lost 9-5 to the Tigers.

Jeff Karstens struggled mightily today giving up 6 runs in 2 innings. This was his game to prove he deserved to pitch while other were injured. But he didnt have it today. Sean Henn followed him, also trying to win a spot, and also blew his shot. With Villone struggling this was a big day for him but he couldnt capitalize going 1.2 innings with 3 runs. He also had control problems, walking 3. Britton, Proctor, and Vizcaino all pitched one scoreless inning. Their was a very unexpected Eric Wordekemper sighting today as he pitched 1 inning. He got into trouble but didnt give up a run. For those of you who dont know Wordekemper is a lower level prospect who had a good year last year but was old for his league.

Offensively, their were really no standout days. Giambi went 2 for 2 with a rbi. Their were a few offensive player surprises also with Marcos Vechionacci and Austin Jackson getting some at bats. Vech went 0-2 but Jackson went 1 for 2 with an rbi double and a run.

Yankees 2012 Bullpen

This is my projected Yankees 2012 bullpen. Note that some of these guys are converted starters that couldn't make the rotation so became a reliever.

Long Reliever: Jeff Marquez
Many Yankees fans are very high on Marquez. I don't share that same enthusiasm but I do recognize his talent. Marquez was a first round pick that hasn't fully lived up to expectations but has had some nice years. Marquez fastball sits about 91-93. Its a very hard sinking fastball that induced tons of ground outs. Marquez's strike out pitch is his Change up. It ranks as one of the best in the organization. Marquez's final pitch is his curve ball. Its a power curve between 76-78 MPH and has shown plus potential. Marquez Will be a great long reliever because doesn't give up many home runs and would be able to hold the score where its at.

Middle Relief 1: J.B Cox
J.B Cox was a second round pick out of Texas. He was one of the most highly touted relievers and he showed why. In his time in the minors he has had great success and is close to a minor league call-up if he gets off to a strong start in Scranton. Cox throws a sinking 2-seam fastball that sits between 88-93 with great movement. He has a side-arm delivery that allows him to get even more ground balls. Cox then throws a very nice slider, sits about 80-85, that serves as his out-pitch. His final pitch is an 80 MPH changeup that he is still developing. The only flaw with Cox is some character issues. He recently injured his hand in a fight which stopped him from coming to spring training.

Middle Relief 2: Christian Garcia
This a pitcher who has a very good chance of making it as a starter. In his minor league career it always seemed like his numbers never matched up with his stuff. Garcia's fastball sits between 92-95. Its very consistent but he sometimes has trouble commanding it. His curve ball is his bread an butter. Its a power knuckle curve in the 82-84 range. It has amazing movement and is top 3 in the system. Garcia also has a plus changeup that has greatly improved since last year. Now with this report your probably wondering why he couldn't be a starter. For one he is getting Tommy John surgery and will be out for the entire season. Secondly, his work ethic has been questioned many times.

Middle Relief 3: Mark Melancon
Melancon was a guy who would've went in the first or second round but slipped to the yankees in the 9th due to injury concerns. He had a very good college career and was definitely a steal for the Yankees. Melancon's fastball sits between 92-94 MPH but he can dial it up higher if he chooses. Melacncon's best pitch is his power curve ball. It has great sinking break and it a very nice strikeout weapon. Melancons final pitch is a very good change up that has nice break and he can control it. Unfortunately, the injury concerns during the draft were correct, Melancon will have to undergo Tommy John surgery but will hopefully come back healthy and strong.

Set-Up Man: George Kontos
George Kontos is a personal favorite of mine. He's a guy who struggled mightily through college but the Yankees still drafted him in the early rounds and he showed why. He pitched incredibly well in his first year at Staten Island, even winning MVP of the playoffs. Hes another pitcher who could remain a starter and I hope he does but for now he is my set-up man. Kontos' fastball sits between 92-95 and he can control it very well. Overuse in college took some MPH away in Staten Island but has sicne been regained. His best pitch is his slider. It sits between 83-86 and has very sharp break to it. He also has great control of it. He also throws a curve ball that shows strong potential to be a plus pitch,he just needs to gain some confidence in it. He also has recently found a change up grip that fits him well which has greatly improved his change. Kontos is going to be very goes someday no matter what role hes in. He's a dog on the mound that goes right after the hitter every time.

Closer: Humberto Sanchez
As you all know Sanchez was the main piece in the Gary Sheffield trade. Though the Yankees knew the injury risks they still decided to pull the trigger. It has come to mixed results. Sanchez reported to camp looking thin but soon after it began he felt pain in his forearm. Nothing serious but its these things that make me wonder if hell be able to go 7 innings every 5 days. That being said, he still has very dominant stuff and is going to be very good no matter where he plays. His fastball sits between 93-95 and has excellent movement. His location is sometimes shaky but he can control it for the most part. His best pitch is his curve ball that he could throw for strikes. It has great movement and is a true strikeout pitch. His Change Up leaves a little bit to be desired but some time in the minors should let him master it.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Austin Jackson Scouting Report

Age: 20
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 180 lbs
Drafted: 8th Round in 2005 out of High School (800,000 $ bonus)
Position: Centerfield
Bats: Right

Tools: According to Travis at Pending Pinstripes, the Yankees started scouting Jackson when he was 12. They clearly had interest in his athletic talent, and it showed. Jackson is an excellent athlete, but that is only hlaf the story. His speed is 60 on a 20-80 scale, or about equal to a Bobby Abreu. He is still learning how to steal bases but has already shown 40-50 base ability. The speed translate well to centerfield, where is one among many excellent Yankee defenders. He has the arm of an average left fielder. Jackson has a Derek Jeter-like swing to right field, producing surprising gap power. Austin is extremely patient at the plate for a 19 year old, although he struck out a ton in 2006.

Performance: At first glance, Jackson did not follow up his strong performance in 2005 when sent to Charleston in 2006. He hit to a .260/.340/.346 line with 151 strikeouts, 61 walks, 37 Sbs and 12 CS. The strikeouts were not the result of a long or loopy swing but rather Jackson taking too many pitches for strike 3. That said, he came in to the season as a 19 year old pure-athlete. It is very rare that an athlete of his caliber does not swing at everything - so the pitch-taking is encouraging. He will learn as he ages to get ahead in the count and drive hitter's pitches. Jackson certainly looks to have 80-walk potential written on him. In addition, he showed excellent raw power in Charleston, hitting 33 extra base hits. With his inside-out swing he probably won't hit a lot of home runs, but he will get his share of doubles and triples (especially with his speed).

Outlook: Jackson is my pick for a breakout prospect in 2007. Except for the strikeouts, he has done everything right. If he could cut those strikeouts down considerably he looks to be a .290/.380/.450 player who can steal you 40-50 bases every year. He is still a long way off, but the Yankees may push him to Tampa next year. He will join teammates Battle, Corona, Vechionacci, and others there. He is at a stage where the average high school prospect would still be trying to figure out how to tie his shoes in professional ball, so it is easy to underrate his performance so far. He is ahead of where Bernie Williams and Derek Jeter, similar in terms of talent, were at this age.

Grades: Ceiling A-, Health B, Comparison: Kenny Lofton

Spring Training Game 3/24

The Yankees and Blue Jays had a 4 to 4 tie after 10 innings.

Mike Mussina started this game. He didn't look very good at all the first inning, allowing run after run. After the first however he looked very sharp as he pitched 5 scoreless innings. It was nice to see Mussina pitch well but his velocity was still down and he did leave some pitches up. Overall it was a good outing though. Rivera, Farnsworth, Bruney, and Kozlowski all did well, pitching a scoreless inning each.

Offensively, their wasn't much going on. It seemed like they were hitting the ball hard but to no prevail. Abreu had another good day going 2 for 3. He has been impressive since coming back. A-rod also looked good as he hit a homer to tie the ball game.

Wang Out For April

Sorry I was late on this, I just figured everyone already knew but Ill keep it short. Yesterday, while Wang was in a light jog, he pulled his hammy. Word is that its a very slight pull but Cashman wants to be careful. YOu also have to figure in the rehab because hes missing time in spring so he still gonna have to build up strength when he healthy. Jeff Karstens will probably nstep into the, now open, 5t spot. This may be critical for him becasue if he cant outpitch Pavano until Wang gets back he might get to stay.

Yankees 2012 Rotation

This will be the starting 5. Bullpen will be tommrow.

Ace: Phil Hughes
As most of you fans already know, Hughes is very highly regarded by scouts and regular fans alike. He has a chance to be one of those special pitchers that doesnt come along much. He has a certain modest confidence about him, that he needs to deal with all the expectations and hype. Pitching wise, he has a 93-95 MPH fastball that he can locate at will. He then throws a 1-7 curveball taht has imporved greated over the last year( He threw a nice slider when he was first drafted but then scratched that for the curve). He also throws a Changeup. This is by far teh weakest pitch in the repetoire but is by no mean a bad pitch. It shows potential and he should be able to master is in his time in AAA this year. Its very easy, with all the hype, to forget that he is just 20 years old and by some said to be ML ready. Its rare that players like this come along so the Yankees should be careful that he turns into the next Clemens and not the next Prior.

Number 2 Starter: Dellin Betances
People who know me know that I believe Betances will be an absolute monster. He has all the intangibles to be such an opposing force on the mound. Hes 6'9 and has gained some much needed weight this offseason. It shows how much influence "signability" has on the draft as he dropped to the 8th round for the yankees and that was believed to be a stretch. Pitching wise, he throws a 94-97 MPH fastball. Thats impressive in itself but hes only 18 years old. He also throws a Knuckle Curve that got rave review from all scouts. HIs changeup is also said to be close to being a plus pitch. The only problem with this guy is that he may have some trouble repeating his delivery. Although that is often true with tall pitches, the yankees have great coaches that usually excell at teaching mechanics. Though he is far away, look for him to become something special.

Number 3 Starter: Joba Chamberlain
Once projected to be a top 10 draft pick entering the 2006 season, injury concerns caused him to slip to the yankees in the supplemental first round. Yet another risk taken by the Yankees, in the draft, that seems to have been a great decision. Chamberlain's fastball sits about 93-96 and can dial it up higher at times. His best secondary pitch is his hard bitng slider taht sits in the 80-87 range. His curveball is also very good as he didnt throw is much in colleghe but the yankees see high potential in it. Like most pitchers, the changeup is the main problem in his pitches but the yankees have made that top priority for him this offseason. Their will always be injury concerns for Joba but if he can live up to potential he could be a Number 3 pitching like an Ace/Number 2.

Number 4 Starter: Angel Reyes
Reyes is a young power lefty that was signed out of the Dominican Republic as a 16 year old in 2003. He has proceeded to do very well at every stop hes been at and project to be in the Charelston rotation at 20 years old. He has a very good fastball for a lefty as he sits 92-94 and can touch 96. He has decent control of it but the yankees hope it will develop into plus control as he matures. He then has a plus curveball that he worked very hard last season and the results show. His Changeup has left a little to be desired but it has greatly improved and he isnt far away from being able to throw it in any count. Though he is still very young, he has a nice pitchers body and has an oppurtunity to be very good.

Number 5 Starter: Tyler Clippard
It isn't easy to pick Clippard over some of the more talented/higher upside pitchers in the Yankees farm but he has earned it pitching consistently well and even dominating for the second part of last year. The main knock on Clippard's stuff is his fastball. Its about 88-92 MPH but has nice movement and he can spot it anywhere he wants. He then throws a very good curve that may be a little inconsistent at times but for the most part its a plus pitch. Finally, he is the opposite of the former guys as his est pitch is his changeup. It has great movement and he can throw it for strikes in any count. Clippard will fit in the rotation as he knows how to pitch and would be a nice change of pace pitcher for the opposing hitter.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Yankees of 2012

This article will be the way I predict the 2012 Yankees using only the farm system for players. Their will be no current MLB players on the team so lets just say they all retired (I know Robinson Cano will still be on the team but just ignore that). Here we go:

Catcher: Jesus Montero
At 6'4 and 225 pounds, Montero is a huge force at the plate. He has tremendous power very rarely found in 16 year olds. It rates at an 80 on the 20-80 scale and is raved about by all scouts. As the case with most young player, he does have flaws in his swing. They are now working on correcting it at instructs and don't believe it will be a problem for long. They say once he gets to the majors he could also hit for very high average. A problem people see going forward is if he out grows the catchers spot. This is a reasonable concern but guys like Joe Mauer have shown it could be done. He also has a very strong arm behind the plate and is adept at blocking balls. He just needs to work on how to call a game.

Back-Up Catcher: Francisco Cervelli
Cervelli is a defensive wizard behind the plate. Hes has the kind of great defense you could want from a back-up catcher. Although I say he will be the yankees backup, do not sleep on him because he has shown ability to hit and is still very young. IF he can continue in his development and pan out, a switch to first base might be necessary for Montero.

1st Base: Eric Duncan
After being a first round pick in 2003, Eric Duncan has failed to live up to expectations. He hasn't done horrible but he was significantly rushed and has had a series of back problems. He has always shown huge power potential and makes people wonder what he could do if he was 100 % healthy all season. He doesn't project to hit in the 300s but his power potential more then makes up for it. Defensively he is a decent 1st basemen. He not exactly fluent after he switched from 3rd to first due to 3rd being locked up. IF he cant put all his talent and potential together he could really be a force in the majors.

2nd Base: Abraham Almonte
Almonte is a a 17 year old coming to play in the states for the first time this year. Scouts have been ravings about his upside and potential. Comparisons to Jose Reyes are already being made as his power is evident and his speed ranks an 80 on the 20-80 scale. He also has great patience was 55 times and only striking out 46 times in his first year.The only real apparent flaw in his game now is his defense. He needs to get his footwork and glove work. He is definitely one to watch going forward.

Shortstop: Eduardo Nunez
Nunez is yet another young player from the yankees system that has tremendous upside. After a great year in Staten Island the Yankees tried to rush him and it backfired. He seemed over matched in Tampa and obviously wasn't ready fro it. While he struggled that season he still impressed with his attitude and still have great tools. At the plate Nunez is a solid hitter. He doesn't show plus power but enough to be respected. He can hit for solid average and projects to be more of a doubles guy. Defensively, he is very talented. He has amazing range and a very strong arm. The problem is he trys to make plays there is no shot of making so his error totals have piled up. If a good coach could teach him to harness his abilities he could be a gold glover.

3rd Base: Marcos Vechionacci
Vech has one of the highest ceilings of any yankee position prospects. He started his career off great but struggled last year as the yankees felt the need to implicate changes in his swing. Though he struggled all through last year, it appears as it was worth it. His swing is now short and quick. He able to hit the ball to all fields and has shown plus power. Defensively, he is an incredibly smooth 3rd basemen drawing raves from even Joe Torre. Look for him to be a gold glover in the future.

Outfield (the yankees are very deep in the outfield so I am going to just pick my top 3):

1. Jose Tabata
As most of you know, Tabata is an absolute beast. He has shown everything you would want to see. Last year he was one of the best hitter in Charleston at the age of 17. He projects to hot 25-35 homers a year and to be a great average hitter. He is also fast on the base paths and is very aggressive. Defensively, he could play any outfield spot with gold glove ability. He has a strong arm,good range, and good first steps. This is the guy to watch for in the future.

2. Austin Jackson
Jackson is simply one of the best athletes in the Yankees farm system. He has an exceptional combination of power and speed. 2006 was the first year he really focused only on baseball, as he was a 2-way star in college and couldve played B-ball for a division 1 school, so its no wonder the fatigue set in at the end of the season and he struggled. His strikeout totals were very high but he has also shown good Patience and the ability to go the opposite way. He is very raw but his talent is unquestionable.

3. Brett Gardner
Gardner is the safe choice here as I could go with a number of younger higher ceiling guys but Gardner has earned his spot. Gardner is the ideal lead-off man. He shows great patience at the plate taking many pitches. He is an extremely fast center fielder who has done well at every stop in the minors after being drafted in the third round. He is a great center fielder with a surprisingly solid arm for a little guy. The main problem with him is his loss of power since Staten Island, where he hit 5 homers in short season. This could be a problem as pitchers wouldn't respect his power at the higher levels and wouldn't be afraid to give him fastballs. He needs to develop just enough to power for the pitchers respect. If this can happen he will be a solid replacement for Damon.


Tyler Clippard Scouting Report

Height: 6'4"
Weight: 200
Drafted: 9th round in 2003 out of High School
Position: Starting Pitcher
Throws: Right

Fastball: Tyler Clippard does not throw hard. He throws between 88-92. Kennedy has his smarts, Chamberlain has his fastball, but Clippard has his control. He can place the ball within inches of where he wants it - every time. The fastball is certainly an obstacle to success, but Clippard has not faltered. Despite the big frame, he hasn't aided any velocity to the fastball after gaining over 15 pounds of muscle. That is all right, because his other pitches get him by.

Curveball: Clippard dominated the low minor leagues by combining great control with a great changeup against hitters as young as he was. He got strikeouts like crazy by hitting a corner or expertly placing a ball just out of the strike zone. However, this is not an approach which will get whiffs out of more advanced hitters. Clippard started to learn the curveball in the begining of 2005, and Nardi Contreras yet again succeeded in teaching a true plus pitch to his pupil. Clippard quickly adopted his approach with his new out pitch, thrown at about 76-77 mph.

Changeup: Clippard has long thrown the changeup, but over the past two years it has been his trademark. He combined an already deceptive delivery with the ability to throw an 80 mph change without any indication that it is coming. He throws it for strikes and is willing to use it in any count. It isn't as good as Jeff Marquez's, but it isn't far behind.

Command: Clippard can throw all three of his pitches for strikes very consistently. His strike throwing capabilities have allowed him to eat innings throughout his minor league career. He puts the ball exactly where he wants it. His command isn't perfect, but it is very close. His height makes his top-down delivery very deceptive.

Performance: Tyler Clippard has about as good of a minor league pedigree as it gets. He pitched 149 or more innings in each of his full major league seasons, posting a collective ERA of 3.33. In 513.1 total innings, he has struck out 557 and walked just 126. He has steadily advanced from league to league, pitching in all three levels before AAA without fail. He appeared to falter to start off 2006 - posting of 4.07, 4.06, and 5.81 in April, May, and June. The stuff-crazy pundits were saying "See... we were right! He can't be that good with a 90 mph fastball". Of course, stat heads like myself were saying "Hmm... his ERAs don't match his peripherals. Something is up". Clippard had struck out 87 and walked just 30 in 86 innings, allowing 8 home runs. Statistically, he was doing the same thing he had done in the two years previous. He was either getting unlucky or his defense was letting him down. Clippard recovered, playing some of the best baseball in the minor leagues in the remainder of the season, pitching 80 more innings with an ERA of 1.91 and 92 strikeouts to just 25 walks. Clippard was top-5 in the minor leagues in both innings and strikouts.

2007 Outlook: Clippard has a luxery right now. A lot of ballclubs would take Clippard's mind blowing second half and set him up in the major leagues right away. However, Clippard is a finesse pitcher. Finesse pitchers take a little longer than power pitchers to adjust to new leagues. Clippard will benefit from a near-full season at AAA, and I would be very surprised if we see him in the major leagues in 2007 before September. He has the talent to do it, but he is behind Karstens, Rasner, Hughes, Sanchez, and White in the depth charts. That is not a knock on Clippard - as he is only 21 years old. We'll see him starting full time in 2008.

Health: One of the reasons that Clippard is rated so high is his health situation. His effortless delivery, lack of reliance on velocity, and consistent 150 inning performances through his age 21 season are all great signs for a young pitcher. You could not ask for more in a pitcher. A++

Ceiling: Clippard has a flaw. Thanks to his average fastball, Clippard is prone to giving up the home run. He's no Eric Milton, but Clippard will probably allow 25-30 home runs every season in the major leagues. His home ballparks have been big and traditionally helped him a lot in this regard, but he is going to have a little trouble remaining elite in the majors. Luckily, his great control has helped to dull the damage from the bombs. It will keep him from winning Cy Young Awards, but Clippard can certainly be a reliable starter. His ability to throw strikes and eat innings will make him a very useful pitcher in the major leagues. His ERA will over between 3.70-4.20 most of the time.

Spring Training Game 3/23

The Yankees lost to the Pirates 3-2.

Not an overall intresting game to talk about. The pitchers did ok. Rasner didnt allow an earned run in 4.2 innings but did allow 7 hits. He alaso struck out 5. I am not a huge fan of Rasner and would like to see Karstens get the starting long man spot over him. Colter Bean was the only pitcher to give up earned runs as he gave up 2 in 1 inning of work. HE has actually been decent this spring but this shows more who he really is. Note that Sean Henn threw a scoreless inning and has not aloud a hit in 6 innings. Look for him to seriosuly challenged Villone for the 2nd lefty spot.

Offensively, expect for a couple of hits, theirs nothing really worth noting. Matsui and Abreu had a rbi each. Phelps went 1 for 1 and Minky went 0 for 2. Come on Joe, when if that light going to go off in your head.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

C'mon Joe, Start Phelps

Spring Training is an important time of year for all players. Players are trying to get in shape and are battling for a spot on the team. This year, for the Yankees, their is really only one battle for a starting position. It wasn't really considered a battle before the spring started and even now but it really should be. The battle I am speaking of is between Josh Phelps, Doug Mientkiewicz, and Andy Phillips. Lets just scratch Phillips out now as the Yankees really could not justify keeping him over Phelps. Phelps is better at just about everything other then defense. So that leaves Phelps and Minky. I am in no way an advocate of spring training stats mean a whole lot but in this case I believe they are important. Josh Phelps is 11 for 25 with 2 homers while Minky is hitting under .100 with no significant hits. Phelps has shown his calmness in clutch situations while Minky has found his double play stroke. I was disappointed when the yankees first signed Minky. Were they fooled by his decent average last year? Did they feel his defense would justify his offense? I agree that defense is important but the Yankees had survived with Giambi at first for the good part of the last 5 years. They could manage to get an average 1st basemen in turn for a solid bat. They obviously felt different as they decided to sign Minky. Minky has not had a good year since his days with the Twins. He wasn't even that good then! He also hasn't proved he can handle the media as his first tour in NY was laughable. I have no faith that this guy could justify hitting what he may with his defense. He just seems over matched at the plate even in spring. That brings us to Josh Phelps. He is 29 years old and was acquired in the Rule-5 draft. Admittedly, I kind of overlooked this signing as insignificant but its starting to look like a good pickup. Phelps had a solid year in AAA last year and was held down mostly because he had no where to play. He has been tossed around alot and hasn't had a chance to play since 2003 when he hit 20 homers and hit 270 in 119 games. Not the best numbers but is still respectable for a then 25 year old. He also has a career MLB average of a 981 fielding %. This guy needs a chance to suceed and the yankees should give it to him. He has tons more upside then Minky and can produce more over a full season. Coming into spring training it was his job to lose. IF this spring continues, he should lose it.

Spring Training Game 3/22

The Yankees lost to the Reds 8-7.

Carl Pavano got the start today and had yet another shaky outing. His line was 4.1 innings, 8 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, and 2 Ks. He once again left fans disapointed as he started off terribly letting up 3 hits right away. Even though he got out of that jam, it was a sign for things to come as he struggled the rest of the way. He really needs to use these final spring trainging starts to put it together or he may soon lose his starting spot.

The bullpen didnt fare to well today either. Villone had the worst outing, letting up 3 runs in 0.1 innings. Hes making Henn look very good and almost makes me wish he signed soemwhere else and we got a draft pick. Bruney and Beam also each allowed a run in an innings work.

On the offensive side of the ball, Cano continued his hot streak going 2 for 4 with a double. Abreu and A-Rod went deep and Jeter collected 2 hits. Nothing much more then that.

Opinon On Arod's Contact Situation

There has been a lot of talk recently on the clause in his contract that would allow Arod to opt out of the final three years of his deal. He is set to make somewhere between 72-81 million dollars over his final 3 years. That works out to about 25 million per year. This immediatly strikes me as strange when a player is making 25 million a year in one of his best chances to win a championship and he would want to opt out. IS he that egotistical to really think some team would give him that much more then 25 mil per year to play a decent defense? I dont mind Arod that much at all. He probably one of the best players I will see play. But why does he have to be so concerned with money and championships? His best chance of helping the yankees towards a championship is forgetting all this shit and just playing like he can. Imagine what a monster year is for a guy who has a down year with a 290 35 121 clip. I just truly believe that their is less drama behind the scenes then people like jim rome make it out to be. Now I could see Arod staying if and only if he has a good year and the yankees make it at least to the ALCS. I think if he has another off year he could react 2 ways. HE could just opt out and leave or his pride may get in the way and he will stay and try to prove his haters wrong. Either way if the yankees come close to a world series. I dont think he'll go because I believe it when this guy says he wants a championship. An interesting situation would be the few teams able to pay him more if he does opt out. Think about it. Would Arod go to Boston in spite of the fans that gave him so much grief? I think it could happen. Fortunatly for now the yankees have one of the greatest hitters of all-time in their lineup and I wouldnt mind if it stayed that way for 4 more years.