Saturday, February 13, 2016

TGP Top 29 Prospects List - #17 Hoy-Jun Park


The New York Yankees have not sent a team to travel to Korea in quite some time but they did just that when they decided to sign their top athlete and shortstop Hoy-Jun Park. Park signed with the Yankees as an 18-year old amateur player in 2014 and has made an immediate impact for the club at a position the team is suddenly stacked in. Park became the first ever Korean-born international free agent to sign with the Yankees but it's not the sideshow that attracts me to Park it is his pure talent that has him ranked so highly on my list.

Park is not only an average and contact type hitter but he has been known to add a little bit of pop to the ball every once in a while. He is still growing into his body and he may never be a double digit home run guy but he has gap power, speed and a batter's eye to boot making him a tough at bat for any minor league pitcher. If you don't believe me though here is MLB.com's scouting report on Park when the Yankees signed him in 2014. It's only gotten better and it's only gone up from here as he has impressed with the Pulaski Yankees and every minor league affiliate stop he's made since signing.



Scouting Grades: Hit: 60 | Power: 45 | Run: 60 | Arm: 55 | Field: 60

Park and his teammates from Yatap High School in South Korea spent more than a month in the United States playing against top high school teams from California earlier this year. There’s a real possibility the young infielder will get a chance to see a lot more of the country in the near future.

A legitimate shortstop prospect, Park has the tools to stay at the position as he develops. What’s more, some scouts think he has the potential to be above average in every facet of the game, except for power. That said, there’s the belief that he could still hit at least 10 home runs when he gains strength. He can also spray the ball to all fields.

Scouts view him as a good defender with solid fundamentals and compare him to Tampa Bay infield prospect Hak-Ju Lee. Park has been scouted heavily by the Yankees.


17. Hoy-Jun Park
18. Luis Torrens
19. Cale Coshow
20. Chance Adams
21. Miguel Andujar
22. Jonathan Holder
23. Tyler Wade
24. Nick Rumbelow
25.Jordan Montgomery
26.Trey Amburgey
27. Ben Gamel
28. Austin DeCarr
29. Thairo Estrada
30. James Pazos

Meet a Prospect: Eddy Rodriguez


With Spring Training right around the corner there will be a ton of new faces in Yankees camp this year including Eddy Rodriguez. Rodriguez was born in Villa Clara Province, Cuba on December 1, 1985 to Edilio and Ylya Rodriguez. Rodriguez comes from farming and fisherman parents who defected from Cuba on his father’s fishing boat when he was eight years old. Rodriguez spent his college career playing college baseball at the University of Miami before entering the major leagues.


During the defection the boat Rodriguez and his family were on nearly capsized before the family ran out of food. The family resorted to eating ground up coffee beans before being discovered by the United States Coastal Guard. The hardship led to Rodriguez being drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 20th round of the 2006 MLB First Year Players Draft where stayed until the 2009 season. Rodriguez left the Reds after reaching Double-A and began playing baseball in the Independent League.


Rodriguez stayed in Independent League baseball until the 2011 season signing a minor league deal with the San Diego Padres where he got his first cup of coffee in the major leagues. August 1, 2012 Rodriguez was called up and by August 2nd he made his major league debut replacing injured starting catcher Yasmani Grandal. Rodriguez responded by hitting a home run off Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto in his first major league at bat. Rodriguez was subsequently sent back down to Triple-A on August 9th of that season before being designated for assignment that September.


Rodriguez signed a new minor league deal with San Diego for the 2013 season and signed a minor league deal with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2014 before signing his minor league deal with New York in 2015 and signed one again this season. Rodriguez has been invited to minor league spring training camp and looks to either back up or replace Yankees catcher Austin Romine in Scranton if he is put on waivers, designated for assignment or is traded by Opening Day before 2016.

Our Annual Prospects Month Interview w/ Robert Pimpsner


What would a Prospects Month be without an interview with my very dear friend and owner of the YES Network affiliated Pinstriped Prospects blog Robert Pimpsner? Pimpsner is back on the blog for the third Prospects Month in a row with his third interview he has been so gracious to give us and this time he comes with a little bit of an announcement. Before we get to that and the meat and potatoes of the interview I want to thank Mr. Pimpsner for reaching out and doing this for us a third time, it truly means the world to me to have friends and colleagues in this business that are willing to help out and take the time. Robert, thank you! And without further delay or mush from me I bring you the interview we did with the owner of Pinstriped Prospects, Robert Pimpsner.



The Greedy Pinstripes:

Robert, thank you once again for taking the time to do an interview with us during our Prospects Month. This is our third year interviewing you for the event and we have seen some amazing changes in your site Pinstripes Prospects. In the first interview you just teased us with its opening and now you have a great team of writers including Matt Kardos, Gershon Rabinowitz, Josh Sabo and others and a well-oiled machine in the world of covering Yankees prospects. Do you have any advice for anyone trying to get into the world of writing, blogging or covering prospects?

Robert Pimpsner:

First is don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to those who have been doing this a while. Second remember to stay humble, sometimes in this business it is easy to get an ego and you start to build a reputation as someone. Also remember that to be in this business you need a thick skin and to be able to take constructive criticism. It is just part of the job.


TGP:

So I have been reading your Top 50 Prospects list that you guys released, SEEN HERE, and I have a lot of questions for you. The main difference between your list and my list is Tyler Wade. While I don't think he's an organizational prospect by any means I just don't get why he is listed so high on so many prospects lists. Can you explain to me and anyone else who may scratch their head when they compare his rankings to his stats and scout grades?

RP:

From a scouting standpoint there is just a lot to really like about the guy. He does a lot of things very well and has the potential to be a contributor at the MLB level in the next few years. That said if you look at his stats he has pretty much hit everywhere he has been except for the brief cameo he had in AA. The key for him now is how takes that challenge and if he can make the adjustment to get back to his previous success.



TGP: 

Kyle Holder is another prospect that is all over the place on many prominent prospects lists for the Yankees. Some have him and his elite defense in or around the Top 10 while others, like your list, have him in the late 20's or early 30's. Is it because he is so raw and has only been playing full-time baseball for a couple years now or is it because his bat just simply hasn't translated yet that keeps him so low for you?

RP:
I really like Holder as a player personally. He does not strike out a lot, he gets the bat on the ball but always seems to find a glove. He is a guy that if he had a bit more muscle a lot of those balls would have gotten past the fielders and be base hits, and a few would have gone over the fence. Now he can put the muscle on in the off season but everything will depends on if he can make the adjustments to go along with it.



TGP: 

Luis Torrens had a very serious shoulder operation and missed the entire 2015 season. Torrens was once thought to be the best catcher in the Yankees minor league system, even ranked ahead of Gary Sanchez on most projection lists, so what do you know about the surgery he had and what are his chances of getting back to his 2013 form after the surgery?

RP:

Well the Yankees like to keep injury information close to the chest, not much information gets out but from my understanding everything was a success. We tweeted out in September that he returned during the Instructional League where he got time as Designated Hitter, everything seems to be okay for him now but can’t really make a statement on the health of the shoulder until I see him in game action. He is a guy that I have a lot of high hopes for, to me he is a better all-around catcher than Sanchez. He can defend and hit the ball well when healthy, let us not forget that Brian McCann went through something similar.



TGP: 

Speaking of prospects with a lot to prove, what are your thoughts on Tyler Austin and what do you think he can do in 2016? Personally I think he is in line to be the next Mason Williams, the prospect that gets outrighted off the 40 man only to force his way back onto the scene with a big season. Your thoughts?

RP:

I am struggling to find a place with the Yankees for Tyler Austin. He is crunched out of the outfield in the upper levels and his only other position would be first base. Now the question is: do the Yankees give Austin the shot as the everyday first baseman in Trenton or Scranton or is he regulated to a bench bat? Unless he has a big season and really bounces back I do not expect him back with the Yankees in 2017.



TGP:

And quite possibly the biggest reclamation project and the prospect with the most to prove to me is Ty Hensley? Personally I love the guy and his family as people but I left him off my list completely while you have him ranked 24th. Is that because of his projections and ceiling or do you know something that I don't? I am generally pessimistic about players in the first year removed from Tommy John surgery.

RP:

The first year back from Tommy John surgery is the worst, that is when they are struggling the most and will have a short leash out there. He is a guy that I believe come back from, after covering his season in 2014 with the Staten Island Yankees I have said he is the most mentally strong person I have ever met. The guy has the best outlook on life and with all the struggles he has had he needs it. Having seen his stuff there is a lot to like, his biggest issue is staying healthy. When he is healthy his stuff is great and he can be a big league starter eventually.



TGP: 

Who has the better chance to make the Major Leagues in 2016, Chance Adams or Will Carter? Why?

RP:

Good question, there is a lot to consider. Does Chance Adams move to the rotation for the 2016 season? Can the Yankees push Carter through the system quickly? It is really tough to say right now without knowing where they will be.



TGP: 

The two prospects the Yankees acquired from Detroit in the Justin Wilson trade, Luis Cessa and Chad Green, were brought in as Triple-A starting pitching depth. Do either have a spot on the Yankees in the future in your mind?

RP:

It is tough to say. I really don’t know that much about either of them. I am looking forward to seeing them pitch and get a better feel for their stuff and abilities.



TGP: 

And your 50th prospect, Jhalan Jackson. I love what he brings to the plate but do you think he can cut down on his strikeouts and if he does what do you think his projection is in say five years?

RP:

Amazing plus raw power, this guy can really knock the ball out of the park. His struggles last season was mostly because of the injuries he racked up, whether it was his thumb, back, leg, etc. He spent a lot of time on the disabled list for a short-season team. I think he can be a contributor in the future, especially if he goes back to how he was the first 2 weeks of the SI Yanks season.



TGP:

Besides James Kaprielian who do you think the Yankees best starting pitching prospect is left in the system?

RP:

Hands down Domingo Acevedo. He is a guy that profiles as a front of the rotation starter with a plus-fastball that has already hit 103MPH, his slider has seen great improvement over the few months he was with Staten Island and has a changeup that has been effective so far. At worst the guy can be a lights out closer but I don’t see that happening. A lot of people bring up the Betances comp with him and I don’t see that, I saw both play early in their careers and can tell you that they are two different guys. Acevedo has the ability to stick, just have to be patient and let him work things out. The guy has the best work ethic I have seen ever.



TGP:

Which prospects can you see falling off the list due to inning pitched or at bat milestones and who do you think is in danger of falling off due to development and progression?

RP:

I think we can see Jacob Lindgren and James Pazos could see a lot of time in The Bronx this season and exhaust their rookie eligibility. Guys like DeCarr, Hensley, etc do need to come back strong this year or they are in danger of either falling to the back of the list or off the list completely.



TGP:

Name one prospect that the casual fan probably doesn't know now but will know by the end of the 2016 season?

RP:

Wilkerman Garcia, this is a guy that is similar to Jorge Mateo in many ways but is also a bit more well-rounded and has better power.



TGP:

I know you have a passion for cooking, what’s the last thing that you cooked that you were truly impressed with or proud of?

RP:

I just recently branching out and trying to be a bit more creative. I made a nice spicey-meatball mac and cheese that was delicious but still love my Beef Wellington the most.



TGP: 

You're a fan of WWE, what Yankees player (prospect or established player) do you think would do the best in the WWE assuming it was real? You don't have to be realistic here.

RP:

Hmm. I have never thought about this before. You need to be a natural athlete to success in wrestling. It is probably one of the hardest things to do, nothing can compare to cardiovascular durability you need to go even 5 minutes in a ring. Guys like Mateo, Garcia, etc. could be good luchadores. Aside from that I am not sure.



TGP: 

You used to wear suits in the booth when you covered the Staten Island Yankees and you're still the best dressed person I know, where do you get your attire?

RP:

Most of my clothes now are custom made from this place called Enzo Custom Clothiers. They make awesome clothes and I get to pick everything I want and fits perfectly. I highly suggest checking them out, and if you do drop my name.



TGP: 

Tell us a little bit, or as much as you can, about your soon-to-be launched Amazin Prospects which covers the prospects of the New York Mets.

RP:

Amazin’ Prospects will launch in March on the 2-year birthday of Pinstriped Prospects. Myself and a several members of the Pinstriped Prospects team will be contributing to Amazin’ Prospects in one fashion or another. We really want to bring MLB-quality coverage to the minor leagues for all teams, not just the Yankees.



Once again I want to thank Robert for taking the time to do this for us. I truly enjoy speaking with you and we don’t do it nearly enough. You can check out Pinstripes Prospects HERE directly or on the YES Network where they are affiliated. Also be on the lookout for Amazin’s Prospects if you’re a fan of the Mets as the crew over there brings you the same up-to-the-minute news and coverage for that OTHER team that calls New York home and their prospects. 

This Day in New York Yankees History 2/13: Ron Hassey


On this day in 1986 the Yankees acquired catcher Ron Hassey from the White Sox along with Neil Allen, Scott Bradley, and a minor league player. This is significant because just a few weeks earlier the White Sox acquired Hassey from the Yankees and they gave him right back.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Breaking News? Vinny Milano Will Not Return to Bleachers in 2016?




I have no words. At first I thought he was kidding. He's not. GOFUNDME and now! Damn :(

New Helmets For Pitchers


Last year Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Alex Cobb, who has been hit in the head by a line drive in 2013, tried a mock-up of the above helmet design and had this to say about them...
“It felt great and looks good, similar to a helmet with the top cut off,” Cobb said.
It turns out that only 20 MLB pitchers will try out the helmet in 2016, and there's no word on which ones. Furthermore, the headwear will not be mandatory to wear, however if they prove to be useful in preventing injury I hope all pitchers will wear them. Especially when you consider how much pitchers are making these days, I imagine all teams would want to protect their investments.

TGP Prospects Night Open Thread featuring John Ryan Murphy


John Ryan Murphy can learn to hate the New York Yankees? Say it isn't so John Ryan, say it isn't so.

The Next Wave of Cuban Imports & Stars


The New York Yankees cannot sign an international free agent for more than $300,000 during the current IFA signing period and the next IFA signing period due to the fact that the team blew past their league-mandated restrictions during the 2014-2015 signing period. Just as an FYI the international signing periods go from July 2nd to July 2nd so the current signing period ends on July 2nd, 2016 and the next signing period ends on July 2nd, 2017. After this date the Yankees will be allowed to spend again and you have to wonder if the next two latest Cuban defecting imports will be available before that date or after that date.

The top two prospects left in Cuba reportedly defected the country recently and will look to latch on with major league teams in the United States. Yulieski Gourriel was an infielder playing in Cuba before him and his younger brother, Lourdes, slipped away from their hotel in the Dominican Republic and defected from their native country Cuba. Yulieski has been one of the most highly sought after Cuban players after showcasing his talents during the World Baseball Classic in 2006 which his brother wasn’t considered to be a slouch either drawing rave reviews from many around the Cuban game and MLB scouts alike. Yulieski is not attached to the international spending cap and prefers to play for the Yankees while his brother will have to be fit into the international spending cap handed down by the league.

Yulieski is now 31-years old and was recently seen playing for the Yokohama Dena Baystars for $1 million as well as playing for the national team in Havana. Yokohama terminated his contract this spring after Yulieski told the team he was injured and needed to recoup and rehab back in Cuba. Yulieski and his brother Lourdes went on to play for Team Cuba in the Caribbean Series but their team fell to Mexico just short of the finals. It was after the series and their exit that they defected.


Whether they will establish residency, presumably in the Dominican Republic, and be declared free agents during this signing period, the next or the next remains to be seen. This takes quite some time unfortunately and can be delayed for a slew of reasons so whether or not the Yankees have a shot at either of these latest Cuban imports remains to be seen. You would think that they would come in a package deal though so stay tuned as this all gets figured out. 

Fantasy Baseball: So You Need a Catcher?


If you have played Fantasy Baseball one time or 100 times you know one thing for sure, there are certain positions you have to get a little bit early or you won’t get them at all. One position that immediately comes to mind is the closer position as there is basically a finite amount of them (unlike an outfield that has three per team and a total of 90 outfielders not counting bench pieces) and another one of them is the catcher position. There just aren’t that many run producing offensive catchers that you can snag for fantasy purposes so you may want to grab them early if you want a good one. Everyone knows the Buster Posey’s of the world as he sits atop the position but what about below him? That’s where I come in, hopefully.

Buster Posey is the best catcher in real life and in fantasy but if I were to fill out a Top 5 list behind him I would have Salvador Perez, Yadier Molina, Kyle Schwarber and Jonathan Lucroy in some order behind him. Brian McCann comes to mind as well only because he possesses 20-25 home run power and plays inside Yankee Stadium where the runs and RBI opportunities are as plentiful as the beer and the suits in the stands. If McCann is 6th on my list then in some order behind him Matt Wieters, who should be better in his second year removed from Tommy John surgery, Travis d’Arnaud, Russell Martin, for his power only, and Yan Gomes probably fill out my Top 10.

I know many will call me crazy but if I had to stretch the list to a #11 I may go with Francisco Cervelli of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Yes I know I am ignoring the likes of Yasmani Grandal, Devin Mesoraco (little protection behind him and no reason to pitch to him), Derek Norris (Petco Park), and Stephen Vogt (see Derek Norris) to name a few but they all have legitimate reasons to worry about their offensive production. Plus I like Cervelli and the player he has become since leaving New York and heading to Pittsburgh, I admit though that I may be higher on him than most. I think I’m also pretty high on Yadier Molina as well and that’s okay.


If you don’t grab one of these catchers you are taking a true risk in your league. You may get something out of J.T. Realmuto in Miami, especially with the fences drawn in a bit, or John Ryan Murphy in Minnesota over the course of a season but if you have to rely on a Wilson Ramos of Washington, Miguel Montero of Chicago, Nick Hundley of Colorado or Blake Swihart of Boston to name a few you may be in trouble just a tad. My strategy over the years, for better or worse, was to grab a catcher early so I knew that I had one. That’s the best advice I can give you, reach for Posey and settle for a guy in the Top 5. If you miss then you’re in trouble. Don’t miss. 

TGP Top 29 Prospects List - #18 Luis Torrens


What a difference a year can make in someone's life, especially the life of a prospect inside a Major League Baseball farm system. Last season Luis Torrens was listed as my 10th best prospect on my Top 28 Prospects List for Prospects Month 2015 but he has fallen all the way down to the 18th slot this season. Why? Well Torrens underwent a torn labrum surgery in his throwing shoulder and missed the entire season, sound familiar?

At one point Torrens was considered to be the best catcher inside the Yankees farm system, the same farm system that included John Ryan Murphy and Gary Sanchez at the time. Torrens turns just 20-years old in May of this year and has gotten clearance by doctors to start throwing and working out with his eye on the prize for the 2016 season.Torrens seemed to be on the fast track before the injury reaching the Charleston Riverdogs in just his second professional season.

The Yankees will likely be slow with Torrens this season and probably won't let him get past Tampa but New York knows a thing or two about catchers and torn labrum surgeries. Their starting catcher, Brian McCann, is proof positive that a catcher can recover from the injury and still control the running game and hit home runs. Torrens has youth on his side and youth and aggression, no matter what older people tell you kids, sometimes is a match for experience and wisdom. Especially when it comes to health.

With a strong 2016 showing Torrens could easily be back in the Top 10 on my list for Prospects Month 2017.

18. Luis Torrens
19. Cale Coshow
20. Chance Adams
21. Miguel Andujar
22. Jonathan Holder
23. Tyler Wade
24. Nick Rumbelow
25.Jordan Montgomery
26.Trey Amburgey
27. Ben Gamel
28. Austin DeCarr
29. Thairo Estrada
30. James Pazos