Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tanaka "looks good" during first throwing session

Masahiro Tanaka's first throwing session of spring training Tuesday might not have been a very large sample size, but according to one of Tanaka's teammates, it was still pretty impressive.

"That's unbelievable," fellow Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova told MLB.com. "I didn't know that he would be able to do it like he did it."

Tanaka arrived at the Yankees' minor-league complex Tuesday morning and worked out indoors for just under an hour, heading outside to play long toss with his interpreter around 11 a.m. EDT. 

There Tanaka hurled from distances ranging between 90 and 200 feet, and made 16 pitches on flat ground at 60 feet. Tanaka is said to have declined to talk to the media until Friday, when pitchers and catchers are set to report. 

Tanaka is recovering from a partially torn UCL which kept him out for much of last year, and the Yankees say they have no plans to hurry him back. 

"We won't rush him into it," Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. "I know what he's done [in Japan], I just want to see how much effort and force he's using, and then we'll go from there."

Tanaka was 12-4 with a 2.51 ERA in 129 1/3 IP through July 8 last season, but due to the aforementioned elbow injury, didn't take the field again until September 21. All in all, he went 13-5 with a 2.77 ERA and 141 strikeouts last year  -- recording a 1.06 WHIP. 

It's a safe bet the Yankees are rooting for a repeat of those numbers in 2015, and if they are indeed, it's fair to say this was a good start. 

"[Tanaka] looked good," Nova said, via Newsday. "[Looked like] the same guy."

So Far So Good on Masahiro Tanaka

Masahiro Tanaka has arrived at Yankees spring training camp early and the results are so far so good for the Yankees ace and right hander. Tanaka three long toss for 34 minutes today after missing a huge chunk of the 2014 season with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament. Tanaka reported no pain, and remember he did make two pain free starts in September last season, throwing from 60 feet or from 200 feet at the Yankees minor league complex in Tampa.

So far so good on Tanaka and that's better than nothing.

The Apology from Alex Rodriguez Yankees Fans Have Been Waiting For...

But does it matter? To some, probably not. To me, absolutely.

To the Fans,
I take full responsibility for the mistakes that led to my suspension for the 2014 season. I regret that my actions made the situation worse than it needed to be. To Major League Baseball, the Yankees, the Steinbrenner family, the Players Association and you, the fans, I can only say I’m sorry.
I accept the fact that many of you will not believe my apology or anything that I say at this point. I understand why and that’s on me. It was gracious of the Yankees to offer me the use of Yankee Stadium for this apology, but I decided that next time I am in Yankee Stadium, I should be in pinstripes doing my job.
I served the longest suspension in the history of the league for PED use. The Commissioner has said the matter is over. The Players Association has said the same. The Yankees have said the next step is to play baseball.
I’m ready to put this chapter behind me and play some ball.
This game has been my single biggest passion since I was a teenager. When I go to Spring Training, I will do everything I can to be the best player and teammate possible, earn a spot on the Yankees and help us win.

Greedy Pinstripes Top 28 Prospects List: #12

Prospects Month is in full swing and we're already up to our 12th best prospect in the farm system, Bryan Mitchell. Mitchell is knocking on the door in the Bronx and is ready to get his first real shot and opportunities in the 2015 season.

Here is the write up from Kyle McDaniel on Mitchell:

Bryan Mitchell, RHP Video: Mitchell has been maddeningly inconsistent with his feel and command, but got a cup of coffee in 2014 and looks ready to contribute in the big leagues in some way. Mitchell reminds me of Chris Tillman and that’s the 3rd/4th starter upside you’re hoping for here. Mitchell sits 92-94 and will run it up to 98 mph at times, with a knockout curveball that’s plus when he stays on top of it and a cutter and changeup that are both average at times.  He’s becoming more of a pitcher rather than thrower and could become a starter, but also has the stuff to break into the big leagues as a late inning reliever.

12. Bryan Mitchell
13. Miguel Andujar
14. Eric Jagielo
15. Jake Cave
16. Austin DeCarr
17. Tyler Wade
18. Juan DeLeon
19. Dante Bichette Jr.
20. Domingo German
21. Slade Heathcott
22. Nick Rumbelow
23. Jose Ramirez
24. Ramon Flores
25. Gosuke Katoh
26. Chasen Shreve
27. Taylor Dugas

28. Johnny Barbato

Andrew McCutchen's Story on The Player's Tribune

Andrew Choices Pull

Normally I don't fall into the hype just because everyone else is doing it but everywhere I see people are raving about the article that Andrew McCutchen posted on Derek Jeter's blog The Player's Tribune. McCutchen wrote about the hardships facing poor youth when it comes to being able to play Little League Baseball. It also touches on this past season's Little League World Series and honestly, this one time anyway, I am glad I fell into the hype and read the article. I will leave you with an excerpt down below from the article and I will ask you to check out the rest of the article HERE because it's lengthy but totally worth it and enjoyable.

A bunch of 12-year-old kids had their hearts broken this week. Jackie Robinson West, a team from Chicago’s South Side, won the U.S. title at the 2014 Little League World Series. They achieved their dream in dramatic fashion. I remember watching their pitcher give up the go-ahead homer against Nevada in the title game and he was so crushed that he physically doubled-over on the mound. His team fought back and won in an amazing game, and the joy on that kid’s face after the final out was something that made even me jealous.
During the celebration, the cameras cut to a gym on Chicago’s South Side where people were gathered to watch, and they were going crazy supporting these kids and their community. It felt so good to see that the game I love still matters in the inner-city.
Then on Wednesday, Jackie Robinson West was stripped of its title for using players who lived “outside the geographical area.” There’s been a lot of the debate about what happened here, but one thing is clear to me. The incident shined a light on a very complicated issue. Baseball used to be the sport where all you needed was a stick and a ball. It used to be a way out for poor kids. Now it’s a sport that increasingly freezes out kids whose parents don’t have the income to finance the travel baseball circuit.
McCutchen TeeBall Pull
I grew up in Fort Meade, Florida. Our town had literally one stoplight. It didn’t even have a McDonald’s until a few years ago. But we did have a baseball field and a football field. I spent most of my days in the dirt, having fun. From the time I first stepped up in front of a tee-ball stand, I was trying to waggle my bat just like Ken Griffey Jr. Honestly, I was kind of a natural. My grandad used to come out to the field with a big camcorder and tape my tee-ball games. I used to think him and my dad were lying about how good I was back then, but I stumbled upon the tapes a few years ago and I was crushing balls off the walls and running around the bases like crazy. I was good.
But the thing is, nobody outside of Fort Meade knew who I was, even when I was 12 years old, the same age as those kids playing in the Little League World Series. When you’re a kid from a low-income family who has talent, how do you get recognized? Now, you have to pay thousands of dollars for the chance to be noticed in showcase tournaments in big cities. My parents loved me, but they had to work hard to put food on the table, and there wasn’t much left over. They didn’t have the option of skipping a shift to take me to a tournament over the weekend. The hard choices started when I was very young. “Do you want that video game system for Christmas, or do you want a new baseball bat?”
A lot of talented kids my age probably picked the Playstation, and that was it. It was over for them. I always chose the new bat or glove. But all the scraping and saving in the world wasn’t going to be enough for my family to send me an hour north to Lakeland every weekend to play against the best competition. That’s the challenge for families today. It’s not about the $100 bat. It’s about the $100-a-night motel room and the $30 gas money and the $300 tournament fee. There’s a huge financing gap to get a child to that next level where they might be seen.
Thankfully, an AAU coach by the name of Jimmy Rutland noticed me during an All-Star game when I was 13-years-old and asked my father if I’d ever been on a travel team. At that point, I had barely left the county. My dad told him that it was just too expensive, and coach Rutland basically took me in as if I was another one of his sons. He helped pay for my jerseys and living expenses. My parents took care of what they could, which was basically just money for food.
But this wasn’t a Disney movie ending. It wasn’t like Jimmy noticed me and I went straight to the top. That was just the first step. There were so many things that had to happen for me to get to where I got. If you’re a poor kid with raw ability, it’s not enough. You need to be blessed with many mentors to step in and help you. Kim Cherry, Michael Scott — I could list so many names of people who took me in and treated me as if I was their own son. When people talk about the Jackie Robinson West team and blame the adults who took in kids from outside the boundaries that the Little League organization set, remember that those adults may be saviors to those kids. They’re the ones buying them shoes when they need it or an extra protein drink after the game.

Fangraphs: Yankees Top 10 Prospects List

I really respect what Fangraphs brings to the baseball community, especially to the New York Yankees community since Kylie McDaniel is involved in a lot of the material that goes up, so when they speak I tend to listen. This week McDaniel posted in-depth scouting reports for an absolute ton of prospects in the Yankees farm system and ranked them. While I won't go over all of them I will list Fangraphs.com 's Top 10 Yankees prospects here on the blog a mere three days before Prospects Month here on The Greedy Pinstripes.

1. Luis Severino
2. Aaron Judge
3. Greg Bird
4. Jacob Lindgren
5. Jorge Mateo
6. Ian Clarkin
7. Robert Refsnyder
8. Eric Jagielo
9. John Ryan Murphy
10. Luis Torrens

Meet a Prospect: Jose Pirela

Jose Manuel Pirela was born on November 21, 1989 in Valera, Trujillo, Venezuela. Pirela is a right handed infielder in the New York Yankees organization. Pirela has also played for the Aguilas del Zulia of the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League while under contract with New York, with permission from the team of course.

Pirela signed with the New York Yankees as an International free agent in 2007 after signing for a $300,000 signing bonus. Pirela was immediately sent to the Dominican Summer League Yankees 1 team. Pirela stumbled around the Yankees minor league system until he reached Triple-A with the Scranton Wilkes Barre RailRiders for the first time in 2013 where he stayed until yesterday afternoon. Pirela spent the entire 2014 season with the RailRiders where he hit .305/.351/.441 with ten home runs.

Pirela signed a contract with the Yankees last season before becoming a minor league free agent and now has all six years of team control in front of him. With his ability to play all over the field he seems like almost a shoe-in for the Yankees bench heading into 2015. 

Looking at the 2015 Draft: 12th Best Prospect

Continuing our look at the 2015 MLB First Year Players Draft we take a look at the #12 ranked prospect expected to enter the draft. As always we will include the mini scouting report from MLB.com as we introduce the #12 prospect, Carson Fulmer. Fulmer is a Junior and a RHP from Vanderbilt University. 

Here is the write up from MLB.com:

Scouting grades: Fastball: 70 | Curveball: 60 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 55

Fulmer helped key Vanderbilt's run to its first College World Series title when he moved from closer to starter last April, not allowing a run in his first 29 2/3 innings in his new role. He spent the summer with the U.S. collegiate national team, leading the pitching staff in wins (three), ERA (0.73) and opponent average (.141).

Fulmer has an electric arm that delivers 93-97-mph fastballs and power breaking balls. His changeup is an effective third pitch and coaches and scouts alike rave about his competitive makeup. Some scouts think he'd be best off channeling his energy into becoming a closer because he lacks size, his delivery features effort and his control can get wobbly at times.

A 15th-round pick by the Red Sox from a Florida high school in 2012, Fulmer would have gone in the top five rounds had he been signable. Now he's one of three Commodores who figure to go early in the first round in 2015, joining Walker Buehler and Dansby Swanson.

12. Carson Fulmer
13. Alex Bregman
14. Nick Plummer
15. Trenton Clark
16. Ian Happ
17. Phil Bickford
18. Mike Nikorak
19. Kyle Cody
20. Cody Ponce
21. Riley Ferrell
22. Chris Betts
23. James Kaprielian
24. Jake Lemoine
25. Beau Burrows
26. Richie Martin
27. Kyle Tucker
28. D.J. Stewart

Jason Giambi Calls it Quits

Former Oakland Athletics, New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies and Major League Baseball player Jason Giambi has decided to hang up his spikes and retire after 20 MLB seasons.

Giambi spent seven seasons in New York and compiled the below stats:
2002 ★ 155 560 120 176 34 41 122 109 112 .314 .435 .598 1.034 172 AS,MVP-5,SS
2003 ★ 156 535 97 134 25 41 107 129 140 .250 .412 .527 .939 148 AS,MVP-13
2004 ★ 80 264 33 55 9 12 40 47 62 .208 .342 .379 .720 90 AS
2005 139 417 74 113 14 32 87 108 109 .271 .440 .535 .975 161 MVP-18
2006 139 446 92 113 25 37 113 110 106 .253 .413 .558 .971 148 MVP-14
2007 83 254 31 60 8 14 39 40 66 .236 .356 .433 .790 107
2008 145 458 68 113 19 32 96 76 111 .247 .373 .502 .876 128
NYY (7 yrs) 897 2934 515 764 134 209 604 619 706 .260 .404 .521 .925 143

Giambi finished his career, however much tainted by steroids, with 440 home runs, a 50.0 WAR, an MVP Award in 2000, the 2nd place MVP Award in 2001, two Silver Slugger Awards and five All Star Game appearances.

Giambi released a statement thanking his fans and such and was quoted as saying the following:

“I want to thank the fans for being a part of this incredible journey. I especially want to thank the fans that gave me a second chance to let me show you the human being you see today.”

This Day in New York Yankees History 2/17: LOL Carl Pavano

On this day in 2007 in a poll conducted by his hometown newspaper more than half of the poll takers though Carl Pavano would not bounce back with the Yankees in 2007. The myrecordjournal.com poll revealed that 54.5% believe the Yankees pitcher would continue to struggle for the Yankees.

Also on this day in 2006 White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen issued an apology to Yankees star Alex Rodriguez after criticizing him about his decision on which team to play for in the World Baseball Classic. Alex was born in the United States but could also play for Team Dominican Republic since his parents were from there and could play for either team and ended up playing for Team USA.

Also on this day in 1987 Don Mattingly wins his arbitration case for $1.975 million breaking the record for the largest amount ever awarded to a player, set by Jack Morris just four days prior.

Also on this day in 1943 Joe DiMaggio enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces without notifying the team. Joe will not play for the Yankees again until the 1946 season. DiMaggio asked for no special treatment in the war but spent most of his time out of harm's way.

Finally on this day in 1937 the New York Yankees purchased Red Sox first basemen Babe Dahlgren to replace the retiring Lou Gehrig. Dahlgren would spend four seasons with the Yankees and post a .248 batting average before being bought by the Braves for the 1941 season.