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 www.yankeeprospects.blogspot.com

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


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

Nieves?!!?!

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.

www.yankeeprospects.blogspot.com

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.

www.yankeeprospects.blogspot.com

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sorry If Their Was Confusion

A recent commenter said I was plagurizing yankeeprospects.blogspot.com 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.


PITCHERS TOMORROW

Tyler Clippard Scouting Report




Age:22
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.

J.B Cox: Future Set-Up Man?




Age: 22
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 205 lbs
Drafted: Second Round in 2005 out of the University of Texas
Position: Relief Pitcher
Throws: Right

Fastball: J.B. Cox is not going to blow his fastball by anybody. He throws a 2-seamer at about 91-92 mph from a 3/4 arm slot. Previously, Cox had proven to throw a very durable near-sidearm fastball, but the Yankees decided to change this. He was throwing 86-89 when they drafted him, in part due to fatigue after throwing so many college innings. The new arm slot vastly improves his breaking stuff, and retains the movement on his fastball. His delivery is still deceptive, and very repeatable. He controls his fastball very well, throwing strikes with ease. The sink on his fastball has been compared to Derek Lowe's.

Slider: Cox has a plus slider, on par with T.J. Beam's. He throws it at about 85 mph, with excellent control. It breaks hard and in to left handed batters, getting him a decent amount of swings and misses. He is by no means a strikeout pitcher, but his slider is certainly a strikeout weapon. He doesn't use the pitch to get strikes, but it certainly looks like a strike when he is throwing it. The weird arm slot that he throws from makes it even more deceptive.

Changeup: Cox entered 2006 with a feel for a changeup, but it wasn't good enough to be thrown in a pressure situation. That changed. He worked very hard, turning it in to a major league quality pitch. It isn't anything special, but it gives the hitters something softer to think about. He will continue to work on it coming in to 2007, and the Yankees believe that he can make the changeup a near plus pitch.

Command: Cox has absolutely stellar command, which is easily his biggest asset. He does not get himself into trouble by walking people. He does not leave balls over the middle of the plate, resulting in an astronomically low 6 career home runs allowed in 290.1 innings between college and the minor leagues. Cox has pitched in 13 CWS games, handling the pressure as well if not better than fellow-Texan Huston Street.

Performance: Cox put together three excellent years in the NCAA's storied University of Texas, pitching 185.2 innings, striking out 190, walking 53, and posting a 2.03 ERA. He got the final out of their 2005 Championship before signing with the Yankees. He has one of best pedigrees for a college closer in the short history of drafted college closers. He doesn't throw as hard as most power relievers, but he has certainly showed up on the mound. Between High A Tampa and AA Trenton, Cox has pitched 104.2 innings, striking out 87 while walking just 29. He has allowed only 23 earned runs during that time for an ERA of 1.98.

2007 Outlook: On a lot of teams, Cox would already be in the major league bullpen and perhaps a major league closer. However, the Yankees refused to rush Cox, seeing Joe Devine on the Braves and Craig Hansen on the Red Sox crash and burn after being rushed from high end college programs to pressure situations in the show. With a suddenly loaded Yankee bullpen, Cox will start 2007 in Scranton, which will give him time to work on his changeup. He will likely be second or third on the Yankee relief depth charts, behind Chris Britton (if he gets optioned down) and T.J. Beam (who is starting to get old). There is no doubt in my mind that Cox could perform better than Kyle Farnsworth or Scott Proctor next year if sent immediately to the Yankees.

Health: If there is one reason to be concerned about Cox, this is it. He pitched well over 100 innings in 2005 between the college season, the CWS, and Tampa. The Yankees slowed it down a bit this year, giving him 77 innings before shipping him off to Team USA. He pitched well there, but went down with an elbow injury in the final days of play. He was supposed to go to Arizona, but was pulled from the team roster. No Yankee official seems to be making a big deal about it though. Hopefully they are not trying to mask a bigger problem.

Ceiling: There is debate as to whether or not Cox can be a big league closer. His fastball is below average for an ace reliever. Most closers (even Mariano) sport a 95+ mph fastball to blow by people. I think that Cox has the ability to close, but will not fool anybody to thinking that Mariano had yet to retire. In terms of quality, I would compare him to John Wetteland. Wetteland was a decent closer, but not a great one. Think about some of Tom Gordon's good years, or one of Shield's better years. The ability to eat innings should not be underrated here. Cox could be one of the average closers in this league or one of the better setup men.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Matsu-who?

Well, it is official ladies and gentlemen, it appears Boston's new God, Daisuke Matsuzaka, is going to be the greatest pitcher of all time. They might as well just vote him into the Hall of Fame now. I honestly dont even know why hes even going to play. He,apparently, has 4 plus-plus pitches with great control, doesnt give up too many homers, and has no chance of becoming the next Hideki Irabu. So, whenever Dice-K comes to town, the Yankees players should just say "Hey, Dice-Ks pitching? Yeah? Ok were going home." This would save the embarresment of versing this beastly pitcher. Right? WRONG. This Dice-k fenzy thing going on is beggining to get unbearable. I'd expect it from Red Sox fans but even ESPN is falling into the Dice-K mania as its hard to watch ESPNews for an hour without hearing how good he is. This was ok for awhile because of the excitment but come on people, he has only pitched a few innings in spring training. SPRING TRAINING. Since when is it a fact that doing good in spring means your gonna be so great. I really wish this logic applied as the Yankees would probably have the greatest bullpen in history (minus Kyle Farnsworth of course). I really do understand the amount of coverage due to the heresay of his stuff and his posting price but whats with making a big deal out of everything he does. What has he proven? He can get out some hitters in spring training, he can strike out some college players. Yeah, color me unimpressed. How about we wait and see how he does when the pressure is on. When he has to verse MLB hitters going all out for 9 innings. LEts wait and see how he reacts to the pressure of the Boston media and fans that, I can guarntee, wouldnt be too slow to turn on him if he deosnt suceed immediatly. What makes him so inept to failure? What if his supposed amazing stuff isnt all taht amazing and doesnt translate to the MLB? These are all questiosn that none of us can answer. The only time we will know is during the real season. IF he is amazing then, I will say touche Sox fans, you got me. But for now, instead of sayign how good hes going to be, how about we wait and see.

Joba Chamberlain: Future Ace?





Age: 22
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 230
Drafted: 1st Supplemental Round in 2006 out of University of Nebraska
Position: Starting Pitcher
Throws: Right

Fastball: Chamberlain is a big guy. He has a big fastball. Chamberlain throws 94-97 with plenty of life. There were reports out of Hawaii that he was being clocked at 98-99. Chamberlain's weight problem prevented him in the past from maintaining his ideal fastball throughout the later stages of each start, but he has whipped himself into shape over the last two years. More on his weight later. Chamberlain locates his fastball with the best of them.


Changeup:
Chamberlain has an average 80-82 mph changeup. The Yankees are working on it and believe that it has a chance to become significantly better. He has throw it a lot in Hawaii, using it to get ahead in the counts.

Slider: Chamberlain has an above average to plus slider, which is his strikeout pitch. A typical power pitcher, you can imagine how he uses it. He has command with it, rarely leaving it up in the zone (although, like most pitchers, he can't really get a called strike with it). It is his best secondary pitch.

Curveball: Chamberlain has an above average curveball. Chamberlain may or may not abandon it as his primary "slow" pitch in favor the changeup. Lately the Yankees have been encouraging curveballs over sliders for their high school draft picks, so we'll see how Chamberlain goes.

Command: Chamberlain has plus control, but not plus command. Of course, he has the advantage of throwing 97. He'll pound the zone for strikes, but won' tbe able to hit a one inch box like Kennedy or Clippard, but he won't walk the ballpark either. Unlike those two, Chamberlain can afford to lay the occasional fastball over the middle of the plate. He illustrated his control in the HBL this winter, striking out 46 while somehow walking 3.

Performance: Chamberlain does not have an Ian Kennedy resume. He played for one year for a Division II college, weighing close to 290 pounds. He had a strong fastball but not much else, posting an ERA ove 5.00. He transfered to Nebraska, and set about improving his weight. The results were excellent, and he pitched 118.2 innings of of 2.81 ERA ball. He struck out 130 while walking just 33 and allowing just 7 home runs. He entered 2006 as a top-5 pitching prospect in the draft, but a triceps injury scared a lot of people away. His performance suffered early on, although he would eventually recovery and end the season well. He pitched 89.1 innings of 3.93 ERA ball, striking out 102 and walking 34. He allowed 8 home runs. The injury scared scared off a lot of people, causing Chamberlain to sink to the Yankees at the 41st pick. He signed late, preventing him from pitching in Staten Island. Instead, the Yankees sent him to Hawaii, where he blossomed. He pitched 37.2 innings of 2.63 ERA ball, posting that mind blowing strikeout to walk ratio of 46:3. The hitting competition wasn't great in Hawaii, but those numbers are beyond insane. Chamberlain was clearly the best pitcher in the state.

2007 Outlook: The looked like a foregone conclusion two months ago that Chamberlain would start the year in Tampa. He hadn't played an ounce of professional baseball and hadn't blown away NCAA hitters. However, as a power pitcher with tons of life on his fastball, Chamberlain may find wooden bats easier than Kennedy might. His HBL performance was nothing short of dazzling, and the hitters there are supposed to be roughly equal to High A ball level. The Yankees may push him and start him at Trenton, especially considering that Trenton may be the only minor league club that the Yankees aren't going to have a huge surplus of rotation spots. He could excell and could find himself in the major league picture as early as Spring Training of 2008.

Health: Chamberlain has two primary health concerns. First, he has weight problems. He used to be downright fat. He weighted over 280 pounds, with some claiming he was closer to 300. He had all sorts of knee and muscle problems throughout his early college career. However, someone must have lit a fire under his fat ass because he lost over 50 pounds and began pitching like an ace. The knee problems have gone away, but his triceps started to act up at the begining of this year. The injury hurt his velocity and his control, and as a result all of his numbers dipped. It was enough to make teams shy away from his top-level stuff and let him fall to the Yankees at 41.

Ceiling: Chamberlain is a bona fide potential #1 starter. He has the control, power, and secondary stuff to do it all. He has been reported to be an unceasing competitor who wears his emotions on his sleeves. He certainly has the ability to strike out 200 while posting an ERA over 3.50, which makes him an ace in my book. He'll probably pitch his fair share of innings and even have a shot at a Cy Young down the line.

Reaching his Ceiling: Time will tell whether or not Chamberlain's triceps injury is serious. I expect that it is not. His weight problem will on the other hand be a constant issue, and similar problems have derailed the careers of many a Bartolo Colon.


Comparison:
C.C. Sabathia. Sabathia is a little bit taller and wider, but they have the same basic pitching style. They both have a strong fastball which sits at 94-95, and both throw a slider/curve/changeup setup. Sabathia's achilles heel prior to his successful 2006 season involved a lot of maturity issues, which Chamberlain (who is already a father) does not seem to have. The college polish is certainly there.

Spring Training Game 3/20 aka BFOX Eats His Words

The Yankees beat the Phillies 5-2 in thier latest spring training game.

Well, after my Igawa bashing article, it seems like I have to eat some of my words. This might change by next start but for now Igawa has shown some promise as his line was a sharp 5 innings, 2 hits, NO runs, 3 walks, and 3 Ks. This marks Igawas first real good performance and I hope to see many more like it. The only real negative I could see was leaving some pitches up and some shaky control. Other then that he was solid.

Rivera, Vizcaino, Myers, and Bean followed. They all looked sharp and none of them allowed any runs.

Nothing much happened offensively except a few 2 for 3 days by Cano, MAtsui, and Cabrera. This was a good sign for Melky who had been really struggling this Spring.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

AL East Predictions

Team Win Loss
Yankees 95 67
Red Sox 93 69
Jays 88 74
D-Rays 76 86
Orioles 73 89



I may be a little biased because i'm a yankee fan but I honestly believe that they will come in first. First of all, they have one of the best if not the best offense in baseball. Every hitter in the lineup is a serious threat for a quick run except Doug M but hes their for defense. Then it comes to bullpen. Many people think the Yankees dont have a solid bullpen but if used correctly it could be very solid. They have one of the best closers in the game and Kyle Farnsworth (who should be able to put it together this year). They also have a nice young power arm in Brian Bruney and aquired young Chris Brittain in the trade for Jaret Wright. Also, Scott Proctor will be their until Torre makes him pitch another 100 innings and his arm falls off.
Then comes to the achilles heel of the Yankees. The starting rotation. Ill be the first to admit it is weak but guys like Mussina and Pettitte will give you solid season and hopefully Wang will have similar numbers to last year. That leaves Igawa and Pavano. Reports on Igawas stuff havent been spectacular but hes supposedly having a nice camp and could be a solid number 5 innings eater. I dont expect Pavano to be able to pitch the whole season so Im expecting (hoping) Phil Hughes will be able to come up and have an effect close to that of Verlanders or Weavers.

This was obviously a very close race. Boston has improved their lineup this year with the additions of Lugo and Drew. Everyone knows what to expect from Manny and Ortiz but their are some question marks. Will Lugo return to form after a horrible stint with the Dodgers? Can JD Drew become a solid offensive force in the lineup? I believe they both can and the Sox could also have one of the best lineups. Then comes starting pitching. They have a HUGE question mark in Dice-K. Although he seems like he will make the transition well, you never know. Then there is Curt Schilling who is still probably going to be a solid pitcher but he is getting older and will be more injury prone. Then comes to another wild card in Beckett. Will he be able to get his control and home run tendencies in check? Jon Papelbon is another guy who your not sure what your gonna get. IT will be intresting to see if he can be as dominate as a starter as he was as a closer. Hopefully he didnt get used to only pitching one innings. Finally Tim Wakefield will be Tim Wakefield. Then comes to the weakness of the Sox. Their bullpen. They signed many guys this offseason but none of them too impressive. As a Yankee fan watching them vs the Sox last year, even when a starter would be solid, the bullpen would blow it. The only saving grace of the pen last year was Papelbon and now hes gone. Hopefully for the Sox guys like Tavarez, Hansen, and Donnely step up.

Toronto is a very solid team. They have a lineup full of solid hitters with some big guns in Wells, Glaus, Thomas and Rios. This could be a solid lineup that could win some games for them. There bullpen is also decent with a good set-up man in League and a top 10 closer in BJ Ryan. Then comes the starting rotation. Their is the always great Roy Halladay who if stays healthy could be in contention for a Cy Young. Then comes AJ Burnett who really needs to stay healthy this year and live up to his potential. The rest of the guys are definate back-end starters like Chacin, Thompson, and others who may have solid season but also have to watch out for injuires which have plagued them before.

This is a out on a limb pick but I feel the D-rays will be better then the Orioles. The D-rays have a great young group of guys on offense like Young, Upton, Crawford, Baldelli, and more guys coming up through the minors like Brignac and Longoria. Though their entire pitching staff is shaky they have a solid ace in Kazmir. They also have a young guy in Niemann who could be very good for them. That brings us to the Orioles who have traded away a solid reliver for Jaret Wright. They also signed Steve Trachsel to start. I dont see how that could possibly imporve your team. They didnt improve much offensively and I can fully see the D-Rays pulling a good season outta nowhere and finishing ahead of the Orioles.

Kei Igawa: Smart Move?

As you know, Kei Igawa was signed by the Yankees last offseason for a contract total of around 46 million. This includes the 26 million dollar posting fee the yanks had to pay to talk to him. This came as a shock to many as that was more then Dice-K was projected to get (even though he wound up getting over 50). I for one was really disapointed with this careless toss around of money. Sure, he has been a beast in Japan but this isnt Japan. Guys like Igawa arent the aces they are over there. Igawa sits 89-91 and has barely above average breaking/off-speed pitches. This is not the repotoire of a AL East pitcher worth paying 26 million to talk to. Also, his game is flawed as he has pitched up in the zone in Japan all his career and favors it. This will not go well in the MLB. Players like Vlad, Sheff, and Pujols will tee off on 90 MPH fastballs up in the zone. I suppose the slap hitters in Japan werent exactly power hitters. All of this combined with somewhat sketchy control doesnt make this look like a worthwhile investment. Torre has even said hes not opposed to starting him in the minors. Are you kidding Joe? 46 million spent on this guy to be solid and he has a chance of opening up in the minors. This is ridiculus. People say we drastically needed another pitcher. Well during the negotiating period we signed Pettitte. That gave the yanks a solid 1-2-3. With Pavano rounding is out. Then you can say he will fill in the 5th spot but 46 million for a 5th starter. Their is no difference between Karstens/Rasner to Igawa except the hand in which they throw. They are throwing the same stuff with Karstens breaking pitches probably a little better. This is why I was hoping that after they signed Pettitte they would just call off negotiation with Igawa, save their 26 million and spend it soemwhere useful. They could have even saved it, god forbid. I honestly hope Igawa does good this year. We need him too. But my concern is the yankees just paid 46 million for a middle class long reliver.

Sean Henn Has Rare 4th Option

Six weeks before spring training, Yankees GM Brian Cashman learned that Sean Henn qualified for a rare fourth option to the minors because he did not have 90 days of service between 2001-03 and had less than five years of service entering this year. The Yanks consider this a blessing. Rather than be forced to make a decision this spring on Henn like they thought they were going to have to, the Yanks are likely to take Mike Myers and Ron Villone as the lefties in the pen, and send Henn, 25, to Triple-A.

"I continue to believe he is like Scott Proctor, that given time he has a great arm and will emerge," Cashman said. "Now, with the option, we will get more time developing the rare lefty reliever who throws 92-95 mph with movement."

www.nypost.com/seven/03182007/sports/mets/damon__mets_were_wise_to_sign_schoeneweis_mets_joel_sherman.htm


This was a very good turn of events for the yankees. It now allows them to send Henn back down to the minors to finally master his control and secondary pitches. Until recently, I have been very unimpressed with Henn. We all remember the three horrible starts he made in 2005. But he has shown potential this spring and im glad hell get another shot to prove himself. That being said there is a small chance he makes the team out of spring and all of this becomes irrelevant.

Monday, March 19, 2007

A Personal Favorite Prospect: Dellin Betances



Age: 18
Height: 6'9"
Weight: 185-215
Drafted: 8th Round in 2006
Position: Starting Pitcher
Throws: Right

Fastball: Betances is 18 years old. He is a big guy. He has yet to put a lot of muscle on his frame. He throws a 93-97 mph fastball, hitting 98, with nasty movement on it. He throws it with command and consistent mechanics. His fastball can do nothing but improve. Betances entered camp a raw talent, throwing 3-4 mph slower and with a mechanical delivery all over the place. The Yankees took him in and almost immediately corrected his flaws, resulting in a beautiful product.

Curveball: Betances throws a knuckle curve. He entered camp with a slight feel for it, but it was not much of a weapon. As would be a theme for Betances, this would change almost immediately. In less than two months, Betances transformed a pitch which he had little feel for in to a true plus pitch. His curveball is a strikeout weapon that sits in the low 80s.

Changeup: Yet again, Betances entered camp without much of a changeup. In fact, he entered camp barely knowing how to throw one. At least he had some experience with a curveball. With a little instruction, Betances was almost instantly able to throw a plus changeup, which compliments his fastball perfectly. He does not yet use it as a strikeout pitch, but that could change in the future.

Command: Betances entered camp with the typical "tall man syndrom", meaning that he had difficult repeating his delivery. That lasted about a week. To compare, it took Randy Johnson the better part of a half decade to do the same. That said, Betances is not 6'10". People tend to overestimate height, and I would say that Betances is more likely closer to 6'7" than 6'9". After that week of adjustment, Betances never let up. He was dominant.

Performance: Betances has a short pedigree in professional baseball. After signing, he tossed 23.1 innings (the Yankees limited his workload, as they do with a lot of 18 year olds), striking out 27, walking 7, and allowing just 3 earned runs (1.16 ERA). Betances did this following a 40+ inning high school performance where he struck out over 100. Why did he fall to us in the 8th round? Well, there are a few reasons. First off, no one thought that he would sign. Second, he pretty much said "If I am going to sign, it is only going to be with the Yankees". Third, he was not a three pitch pitcher prior to attending the Yankee camp. He tossed a live fastball and had little in terms of secondary pitches. This is a steal.

2007 Outlook: Dellin will certainly head to Charleston, where he will join a very talented rotation. The Yankee goal in 2007 will likely to simply keep Betances healthy, marginally effective, and adjusted to everyday baseball. He has no lingering issues with injury to worry about, but at such a young age who knows what health problems he may encounter in the future. He could very well take the Phil Hughes path, moving up to Tampa after some limited time in Charleston. If he manages to pitch 120+ innings, we Yankee fans should be very optimistic about his future. If he dominates Charleston, we may have another top-flight prospect on our hands.

Health: Incomplete. He is too young to determine anything about his health, although he has no immediately apparent health issues.

Ceiling: Betances has no ceiling. He is that good. If he can continue to stay mechanically clean and throw three plus pitches, he will be a success in this league. He is so young that he should be considered years ahead of schedule. I have not seen Betances pitch, but after reading a lot about him something struck me. He knows how to adjust. He quickly learned pitches, he quickly learned how to fix his mechanics, and he quickly learned how to attack hitters in professional baseball. Who does this remind me of? Phil Hughes.

Note: I will be getting more and more reports from www.yankeeprospects.blogspot.com as this was from that site also.

Phil Hughes Scouting Report




Phil Hughes
Age: 20
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 220 lbs
Drafted: 1st Round in 2004 out of High School
Position: Starting Pitcher
Throws: Right


Season: 146.0 2.16 12 - 6 0.86 10.4
IP ERA Record WHIP K/9

Fastball: Phil Hughes' fastball sits in the 93-94 range. He can dial it up to 97 when need but prefers to sit lower in order to command it as well as possible. Although his fastball could be straight at times he cancels that out by putting it almost exactly where he wants it to be.

Curveball: Hughes used a slider during high school but the yankees decided to throw that out and teach him a curve. I turns out that was a great move as now he has one of the best curves in the minors. It is a deadly strikeout weapon that lands on it's spot every time, with a solid 1-7 break.

Changeup: Hughes' changeup sits about 78-79 MPH range. It is about a major league average pitch right now but with his work ethic and great coaching he should master the change during his time in AAA.

Command: Lots of pitchers have a 65 fastball, 70 curveball, and 60 changeup. Phil Hughes compliment them with 70 control. He can put his fastball and curveball wherever he wants without fail. He barely walks anyone. If a ball bounces in the dirt, he meant to do it. He has a career BB/9 ratio of 2.05 (which is roughly Mike Mussina level). He is a smart pitcher who always thinks one step ahead of the batter.

Projection: I think Hughes has huge ceiling and he could have a quick impact for the yankees in the near future.

Yankee Player Predictlons

Damon
287 AVG 22 homers 76 rbis 33 doubles 26 SBs

Jeter
320 AVG 16 homers 92 rbis 37 doubles 34 Sbs

Abreu
298 AVG 19 homers 101 rbis 34 doubles 21 Sbs

Giambi
252 AVG 35 homers 108 rbis

A-rod
301 AVG 39 homers 126 rbis 30 doubles 16 Sbs

Matsui
295 AVG 23 homers 111 rbis 38 doubles

Cano
325 AVG 19 homers 87 rbis 48 doubles

Posada
274 AVG 20 homers 88 rbis

Mientkiewicz
269 AVG 11 homers 55 rbis

Pitchers:
Wang
17-7 3.60 era

Pettitte
15-9 3.91 era

Mussina
14-10 4.08 era

Pavano
11-11 4.53 era

Igawa
12-10 4.32 era

Hughes(just in case)
7-4 3.88 era

3/19 Spring Training Game

The Yankees got beat 9-1 by Toronto today.

The hot Jeff Karstens took the mound after snowballing some hype for the 5th spot. Unfortunatley for him, he didnt pitch as well today as he did others. In 4 1/3 innings he allowed 6 hits resulting in 4 runs. It wasnt a shock as he doesnt have the stuff to be consistanly dominant.

Chris Britton also pitched for the yankees only to be belted. I asummed after looking at last years stats he was a lock for the pen but he has been disspointing in evry sense of the word as he let up 5 runs and only managed 1 out.

Although both Karstens and Britton were bad Proctor, Bruney, and Henn were all good each pitching a hitless, shutout innings.

The yankees didnt get much going offensively. Their only run came on a double play by the always bad Minky. Cano was the lone bright spot with a double. Minky is now hitting 077 this spring with phelps looking very good. Can you say 1st abse controversy?

A Huge Fans Take on the Carl Pavano Saga

Its hard to look back in retrospect to see if the Yankees shouldve signed Pavano. People who are completely against him now may be the very same people who were pushing to sign him. Though irrelevent now, lets look back at Pavanos two years before becoming a yankee. In 2003, Pavano was a pretty solid pitcher. Posting a 4.30 era and 12 wins, he showed himslelf able to hold his own in the majors. He also pitched over 200 innings that year to only increase his value. Jump to 2004 and you have a pitcher winning 18 games with a 3.00 era. Those are obviously ace numbers including a few strong playoff games. He once again pitched over 200 innings, had a low walk rate, and didnt give up to many home runs. Finally free agency rolls around and the bids begin. The only problem is while people are falling in love with his stats, no teams are really looking at his stuff. Teams like the Yankees werent thinking if his 91 MPH sinking fastball and barely above average off-speed stuff could truely make an impact in the AL East. As it turned out other teams were more caught up in the numbers too, as Boston apparently offered him more then the Yankees. Unfortunately for us Yankee fans, he chose to take less money (if you can even call 10 mill per year "less money") to play for the yankees. The resounding applause of yankee fans were heard not knowing what was in store for the future. Well the middle part of teh story is well-known to Yankees fans as a period of grief and every other fan as a time of jokes. It seemed every fan from Boston who was dieing to get Pavano all of a sudden never wanted him becasue he knew he was gonna suck. Now after a serious of ridiculus injuries and some backlash against him, he is now back supposedly ready to starting earning his money. For this I am happy but the real question is, do we want him back. Yankees seem so reliant on Pavano coming back, thinking he would fill the rotation needs to perfection, but what was forgotten in this fiasco was the cold hard facts. Pavano is nothing more then an adequate 4th or 5th starter in the AL. He sitting at about 90 now and he hasnt thrown many impressive breaking balls all spring. People need to relize that hes not going to come back and be that 18-8 pitcher taht he was for that one year. He is now nothing more then an average starter taht had a big year at the right time. Yankees have the youth in their system to come up and give more effort then Pavano ever has with better stuff then he has/had. Please do not take this as a I hate Pavano letter but take it as fustration as money lost on a player who never seemed to have the drive to play. I hope this is a learning block for teh yankees as they hopefuly wont sign the PAvanos and Jaret Wrights of the world. But in change have their farm system flourish and sign guys based on consistency and work ethic.