Thursday, February 20, 2014

PECOTA 2014 Has Yankees Winning 82 Games

What does $500 million plus get you when you go on a shopping spree in Major League Baseball you ask? According to PECOTA 2014 it will get you 82 wins, one game above .500, and a third place in the American League East. SEE HERE for yourself from Baseball Prospectus.

Here is the AL East:

Tampa Bay Rays (89-73)
Boston Red Sox (88-74)
New York Yankees (82-80)
Toronto Blue Jays (80-82)
Baltimore Orioles (77-85)

It is also worth mentioning that teams like Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers and the Seattle Cano's would all be ahead of us in the hypothetical second Wild Card race. Ouch.

Yankees In Discussion w/ Aledmys Diaz

This sure puts a monkey wrench into the "We Need Stephen Drew" camp as news broke today that the Yankees are among seven teams currently in discussion with Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz. According to Joe Strauss the Yankees are holding a workout for Diaz today as the free agent expects to sign rather quickly now that he is eligible and off a suspension for falsifying his age on his visa documentation.

Diaz prefers to stay at shortstop but has expressed a willingness to play second base, third base, or whatever position is necessary. Sounds like he could be a good match for a right handed platoon for Kelly Johnson at third base if the Yankees are not exactly sold on Eduardo Nunez yet.

Diaz will not count against teams international spending pools and is a true free agent that, according to his agent, could sign as soon as tomorrow or Saturday. The Yankees were also expected to work out fellow Cuban Odrisamer Despaigne. The Yankees have said they are not signing any more major league free agents so this may be all moot, or Brian Cashman may be pushing another Bubba Crosby over our eyes. Stay tuned.

Alfonso Soriano Considering Retirement After 2014 Season

According to George King Yankees star Alfonso Soriano is considering retirement after his contract runs out this season. This personally saddens me because Alfonso Soriano is probably my favorite Yankee right now, I even have a picture of him on my desktop of him pointing after a home run. Soriano is entering his age 39 season and entering the final season of that huge contract the Chicago Cubs signed him to.

It is worth mentioning that Soriano is a mere twelve stolen bases away from 300 steals for his career. Match that with his 400+ home runs and 400+ doubles and he would only be the fifth player in Major League history to achieve the feat.  That's the Hall of Fame right there ladies and gentleman.

Last word goes to Soriano:

“It depends on how I feel.” 
 “If I am healthy I will play [in 2015]. If not, I will let it go. It depends how I feel.”

Baseball America Releases Top 100 List w/ Two Yanks

Two members of the New York Yankees made the Baseball America Top 100 prospects list, Gary Sanchez is obviously one of them and the other is Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka was ranked all the way at #4, even though he has played so long in Japan, and Sanchez came in at #35.

Mason Williams, Tyler Austin, and Slade Heathcott were all on last years list and are notably absent this season in case you were wondering.

No subscription is required to read the entire post and see the list so CLICK HERE to see the list.

Not that you needed me to tell you but the Twins Byron Buxton was at the top spot followed by the Red Sox Xander Bogarts and the Cardinals Oscar Tavares. That's the way about every list has been but I felt like it was worth mentioning again.

Yankees Spring Training News & Notes For 2/21

The New York Yankees held their first full team workout today in spring training a day after all positional players joined the pitchers and catchers for Spring Training camps.

Adam Warren and Vidal Nuno threw live batting practice down at the Yankees minor league complex while Michael Pineda threw an early bullpen session.  Warren threw to catcher Jose Gil while Nuno threw to Francisco Arcia. Pineda threw to young Yankees catcher Peter O'Brien.

Corban Joseph took live batting practice today for the first time since a shoulder injury robbed him of his 2013 season. Joseph has been in Tampa since January finishing his rehab after playing through that shoulder pain for quite some time, maybe even before last season.

Derek Jeter took ground balls today with Brian Roberts. That could, if healthy, be a great middle of the infield and double play duo we have.

Alfonso Soriano is the first Yankee to miss time this season, it was just flu like symptoms though so don't worry. Soriano did not dress today but is expected to be back with the team tomorrow.

Once again Chad Jennings is Johnny on the spot with the assignments and stuff so a big thank you goes out to him:

Early live batting practice
Vidal Nuno (to Francisco Arcia)
Adam Warren (to Jose Gil)
Facing hitters Scott Sizemore, Corban Joseph and Tyler Austin
· Later live batting practice (begins at 12:05 p.m.):
Field 1
Preston Claiborne (to Brian McCann)
Jim Miller (to Francisco Cervelli)
Jose Ramirez (to Francisco Cervelli)
Dellin Betances (to John Ryan Murphy)
Dan Burawa (to John Ryan Murphy)
Nik Turley (to Austin Romine)
Field 2
Robert Coello (to Pete O’Brien)
Francisco Rondon (to Pete O’Brien)
Chase Whitley (to Gary Sanchez)
Fred Lewis (to Gary Sanchez)
Bryan Mitchell (to Jose Gil)
Shane Greene (to Jose Gil)
· Infield drill assignments
Group 1
Russ Canzlez (1B), Brian Roberts (2B), Derek Jeter (SS), Yangervis Solarte (2B/SS), Scott Sizemore (3B/2B), Dean Anna (3B/SS), Zealous Wheeler (3B/2B)
Group 2
Mark Teixeira (1B), Corban Joseph (2B/1B), Jose Pirela (2B/3B), Brendan Ryan (SS), Eduardo Nunez (3B/SS), Kelly Johnson (3B/2B)
· Batting practice groups
Group 1: Derek Jeter, Eduardo Nunez, Brian Roberts, Austin Romine
Group 2: Kelly Johnson, Brendan Ryan, Mark Teixeira, Brian McCann
Group 3: Dean Anna, Russ Canzler, Scott Sizemore, Francisco Cervelli
Group 4: Corban Joseph, Jose Pirela, Yangervis Solarte, Zealous Wheeler, John Ryan Murphy
Group 5: Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, Ichiro Suzuki, Jose Gil
Group 6: Zoilo Almonte, Brett Gardner, Alfonso Soriano, Francisco Arcia
Group 7: Tyler Austin, Antoan Richardson, Mason Williams, Pete O’Brien
Group 8: Ramon Flores, Adonis Garcia, Gary Sanchez

Gary Sanchez Makes Baseball Prospectus Top 100

Baseball Prospectus' Jason Parks has released their annual Top 101 Prospects list and Gary Sanchez was the only New York Yankees player to make the list. The list is free, no subscription needed, so check it out by clicking HERE, thank you BP.  Sanchez made the list ranked at #85 down from #47 last year, even after steps forward with his offense and his defense. Mason Williams was ranked #51 last year and totally fell off the list, and the face of the Earth for most of the season for that matter, after a disappointing 2013.

To no surprise Byron Buxton of the Twins was at the top of the list followed by the Red Sox Xander Bogarts and the Cardinals Oscar Tavares.

Meet A Prospect: Brian McCann

Brian Michael McCann was born on February 20, 1984 in Athens, Georgia. Brian attended Duluth High School in Duluth, Georgia before being drafted out of High School by the Atlanta Braves. Brian was taken in the 2nd round of the 2002 amateur draft and signed on July 11, 2002 to become a member of the Braves organization. Brian made his Major League debut on June 10, 2005 and spent his entire career in Atlanta before signing what could equate to a six year deal worth $100 million with the Yankees this offseason. Allow me introduce you to Mr. Brian McCann Yankees fans.

McCann came up in June of 2005 to be the personal catcher for then Braves pitcher John Smoltz and got off to a smoking start hitting a home run in his second Major League game. McCann also hit a home run in his first playoff at bat that season becoming the first Braves player to ever do that when he did so against Roger Clemens conveniently. The Braves traded catcher Johnny Estrada to the Diamondbacks that offseason and became the Braves full time catcher in 2006.

McCann responded in 2006 by leading all catchers in home runs with 24 home runs and was tied for the Major League lead for RBI's by a catcher with Jorge Posada and Victor Martinez with 94 RBI's. McCann's arbitration was bought out after this season as he signed a six year deal worth $27.8 million during Spring Training for the 2007 season.

In April of 2009 McCann was bothered by blurry vision in his left eye after receiving LASIK surgery to correct the problem in 2007 and opted to wear glasses. Oakley even made McCann his own line of glasses that fit under his mask for the 2009 season. You could tell his eyes bothered him in 2009 as he committed more errors, 12, at catcher then any other player in the Majors. McCann also had the lowest fielding percentage as well with a .988 percentage.

McCann has had a lot of highlights and low lights in his career as well. During Spring Training in 2011 McCann hit a line drive that struck coach Luis Salazar that blinded him in the left eye. Two months later McCann hit a game tying ninth inning home run and then a game winning two run home run in the 11th inning to beat the Houston Astros 3-1. Then again in 2011 McCann allowed 104 stolen bases which is the most among all major league catcher. IN July of 2012 McCann hit a home run in six straight games becoming the first player since Jim Thome in 2007 to achieve the feat and hit his sixth on the same day as teammate Chipper Jones tied Pete Rose's record for extra base hits by a switch hitter.

Brian's family is still very much a part of his life and baseball as a whole. His father, Howie McCann, coached baseball at Marshall University and is currently running Windward Baseball Academy. Brian's older brother, Brad McCann, played minor league baseball in the Florida Marlins and Kansas City Royals systems before retiring before the 2007 season. Brian is also married to his lovely wife Ashley Jarusinski when they wed in December of 2007 and have two children, Colt Michael McCann and Colbie McCann. McCann and his family have their home in Lawrenceville, Georgia but I have a feeling he may be purchasing something a little closer to New York soon.

Coming into the 2014 season Brian has career stats of .277 batting average, 1,070 hits, 176 home runs, and 661 RBI's.  Brian also has been an All Star seven times, won five Silver Slugger awards, he was the 2010 All Star Game MVP,  and even garnered an MVP vote or two in 2010. Brian will be 30 years old when 2014 season and will step into some big Yankees catching shoes formerly filled by the liked of Jorge Posada, Yogi Berra, etc. If anyone can do it I think Brian McCann can and I look forward to seeing him for the 2014 season and beyond in pinstripes.

Yankee Stadium Legacy: #39 Roger Maris

Roger Maris always had the media spotlight centered around him as he made his way into the record books in 1961. Maris chased down babe Ruth for the single season home run record with teammate Mickey Mantle, more commonly known as the M&M Boys. The Yankees slugger pounded out nine home runs in September that year to tie Ruth at 60 home runs and hit his 61st home run of the season on the last day of the season on October 1st. The Yankees would win that final game 1-0 in case you were wondering.

39 days until Yankees Opening Day.

What Should the Yankees Batting Order Be This Season?


The Yankees go into the 2014 season with a dramatically different lineup than they did last year. They upgraded the outfield by going from the likes of Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells, to Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, and a full season of Alfonso Soriano. Brian McCann steps in as the new starting catcher, a huge improvement there both offensively and defensively.
Still, the infield has become an absolute mess with the departure of Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano. Replacing them are Kelly Johnson and Brian Roberts, who has played just 192 games since 2010. They have to count on Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter to be healthy yet they played just a combined 32 games last year. 
So, while they are much better than last year, they seriously lack the centerpiece that they had in Cano. They'll probably be more balanced, given the speeds of guys like Ellsbury and Brett Gardner and the power of McCann and Soriano. But still, not having that main guy is going to be problem, as none of these guys are entirely a guarantee. 
Based on splits vs. LHP/RHP, I've constructed what I think the lineup should be. Now, it probably won't happen, as it's more than likely Jeter will bat at the top of the order behind Ellsbury because it's Derek Jeter. 

vs. RHP
Dale Zanine, USA TODAY Sports

CF Jacoby Ellsbury (.328/.374/.489/.863)
LF Brett Gardner (.285/.357/.410/.767)
RF Carlos Beltran (.315/.362/.509/.871)
1B Mark Teixeira (.239/.331/.438/.770)*
C Brian McCann (.266/.357/.512/.869)
DH Alfonso Soriano (.236/.278/.456/.735)
SS Derek Jeter (.294/.346/.377/.723)*
3B Kelly Johnson (.218/.295/.429/.723)
2B Brian Roberts (.227/.303/.362/.665)
* using the splits from Jeter and Teixeira's last full seasons, both in 2012. 
Ellsbury and Gardner should be able to set the table quite easily against righties. Beltran and McCann both hit 17 homers off RHP last year and now their swings will be perfect for Yankee Stadium. Teixeira probably hits LHP better but he will still obviously try to hit it into the short porch batting left-handed. But it'll be interesting to see if Soriano and Jeter will still be able to be consistent given their advanced ages. 

vs. LHP
CF Jacoby Ellsbury (.246/.323/.318/.641)
SS Derek Jeter (.364/.399/.542/.941)*
1B Mark Teixeira (.269/.333/.531/.865)*
DH Alfonso Soriano (.293/.349/.555/.904)
RF Carlos Beltran (.252/.281/.448/.729)
C Brian McCann (.231/.279/.337/.616)
2B Brian Roberts (.284/.327/.441/.768)
3B Kelly Johnson (.291/.337/.349/.686)
LF Brett Gardner (.247/.317/.427/.744)
* using the splits from Jeter and Teixeira's last full seasons, both in 2012. 
On the flip side, this lineup is going to have a huge problem trying to hit lefties this season. Other than Teixeira, Jeter, and Soriano (none who are givens), all struggle against them in the last few seasons. Johnson has one of the weirdest splits I've ever seen. Last year he hit for a bad average but hit 16 homers vs RHP, but hit .291 vs LHP but for zero homers. Roberts hit lefties very well in 77 games last season.

Prospects Month: Top 28 Yankees Prospects List #9

Continuing our look at The Greedy Pinstripes Top 28 prospects list as a part of Prospects Month we name our #9 prospect, Greg Bird!

Here is the complete up to date list. Check back every day as the list fills out and we continue our look at the prospects in the New York Yankees system during Prospects Month here on TGP.

9. Greg Bird
10. Manny Banuelos
11. Jose Campos
12. Gosuke Katoh
13. Shane Greene
14. Jose Ramirez
15. Peter O'Brien
16. Aaron Judge
17. Ty Hensley
18. Luis Severino
19. Abiatal Avelino
20. Rob Refsnyder
21. Nik Turley
22. Cito Culver
23. Ramon Flores
24. Mark Montgomery
25. Rookie Davis
26. Jake Cave
27. Ben Gamel
28. Angelo Gumbs

Throwback Thursday Interview w/ Mitch Hilligoss

I have honestly always thought all the "Throwback Thursday" stuff was kind of lame, sorry for those who think otherwise, but I wanted to use this Thursday to take a look back at our first ever interview. Our first ever interview was with former Yankees prospect Mitch Hilligoss. Enjoy our first, and probably last, Throwback Thursday here on the blog.

TGP: Was your dream as a child always to be a baseball player? If not then what did you want to be when you grew up?

MH:  I always wanted to play baseball. of course when you start off you never say hey i want to be exactly this or that. i was like any other kid. i just played and had fun. i live on a farm so i always thought i would stay close to my roots growing up. 

TGP: What team did you root for growing up as a kid?

MH:   I grew up a Cardinal fan and was a huge Ozzie Smith fan. I loved to watch him play shortstop.

TGP: Your biggest inspiration when it came to baseball?

MH:  That was definitely my parents. They were the ones that knew when to push or knew when to calm me down. They were always there through thick and thin, and they logged a lot of miles watching ballgames haha.

TGP: Favorite moment as a Yankees prospect?

MH:   Its hard to pick a favorite moment as a Yankee. There are so many really. I mean from the people you meet and the history of the organization. But if you would pin me down to one it had to be the 2007 Charleston Riverdogs team and when I had the 38 game hitting streak.

TGP: Who was the best prospect in the Yankees system that you ever played with?

MH:   In the Yankees organization, wow, there were a lot. A lot of guys you would sit there and think this guy is unreal what he can do. Probably the 2 best were Austin Romine and Jesus Montero. Pitcher wise David Robertson was pretty much unhittable in the SAL league.

TGP: Do you keep in touch with any other current or former Yankees prospects or coaches?

MH:  Oh absolutely I keep in touch with guys and coaches. Now as we get farther apart and farther away from the game its harder, there are a lot of guys I still try to keep in touch with and a few coaches. They were the ones that made it fun. That is what makes minor league baseball special, the people.

TGP: Hardest part of being a prospect?

MH:  Hardest part is sometimes you know you are not performing. And I’ve been on both sides. You have a pressure of an organization, but more importantly you want to live up to expectations.

TGP: Coming out of college and in your early Yankees career you were a short stop but moved to third base. Was that an organizational decision? Was it based on size? Maybe as a way to climb the organizational ladder faster?

MH:  Well, that was the best option for all of us. They try to fit you where they think you can perform the best and where they will need help in the future. That decision was discussed way before draft day. A lot goes down before draft day.

TGP: Were you disappointed when you were traded to Texas for outfielder Greg Golson?

MH:  No, I was not disappointed. I was excited to get a fresh start. I was excited but at the same time it was starting over. From learning names, coaches, and new philosophy. It was tough, but something I enjoyed really.

TGP: Will you try and continue your baseball career after your release from Texas this December? Do you have any plans for life after baseball?

MH:  I think I’m done. I think it’s time. I would have liked to make it one more year, but it just didn’t happen. I have plans after baseball. Nothing in concrete, but I have ideas. We’ll have to see how they all unfold.

TGP: Most famous person in your cell phone?

MH:  My most famous person is probably Austin Jackson, but he probably doesn’t have the same number he gave me years ago haha.

TGP: Most embarrassing song/artist in your ipod?

MH:  haha, Donna Lewis, I Love You Always Forever. There is a story behind it from my first spring training. Everytime I have it on shuffle and I hear it, it takes me back to then.

Thank you again to Mitch for taking the time to do this interview, even though we only started this blog in January of 2012. We really do appreciate it and hope you, the fans, enjoyed the interview as much as I did.

This Day In New York Yankees History 2/20

Surprisingly nothing has happened on this date in New York Yankees history so I wanted to take the time to remind everyone that Prospects Month is almost over here on TGP. We appreciate all the comments and views that we are getting and all the Twitter activity, it is appreciated.

Also the first full squad workout of the spring is today so stay tuned for that. For fun quote the picture above, what do you think A Rod is saying to David Ortiz the future Yankee?