Thursday, February 19, 2015

Moncada Works Out a Second Time for New York

Yankees give Cuban phenom Moncada secret 2nd workout

The New York Yankees are definitely doing their homework on the latest and greatest product to defect from Cuba in Yoan Moncada. The Yankees have already hosted one private workout for the 19 year old Cuban infielder and hosted a second private and secret workout this week as well. While none of this means much in terms of an imminent signing it does speak to the level of interest the team has in the second baseman.

George A King III had it first...

Comparing the 2014 and 2015 Top 10 Prospects Lists

I thought it was be interesting to compare the pre-season 2014 Top 10 prospects list from Baseball America to the list that came out before the 2015 season on Friday. Looking at the lists I have come to the conclusion that the Yankees system definitely took a step forward in 2014 and that is evident by the amount of depth on the list. No longer is "all" of the talent three to five years away and none of the talent in the International market that was signed this year really made the list. Things are looking up for the Yankees and their farm system finally but anyway, on to the list.

2014 List:

1. Gary Sanchez
2. Slade Heathcott
3. Mason Williams
4. John Ryan Murphy
5. Eric Jagielo
6. Aaron Judge
7. Ian Clarkin
8. Greg Bird
9. Luis Severino
10. Gosuke Katoh

2015 List:

1. Luis Severino
2. Aaron Judge
3. Jorge Mateo
4. Greg Bird
5. Gary Sanchez
6. Ian Clarkin
7. Robert Refsnyder
8. Jacob Lindgren
9. Luis Torrens
10. Miguel Andujar

I think the most encouraging thing on this list is the fact that Gary Sanchez dropped four slots. Sanchez did not have a "fall off the Earth" type season, was not injured, and played pretty well. It goes to show you the extreme strides that the men in front of him took.

Throwback Thursday: Our Interview with Robert Pimpsner

It's Thursday so it's time for Throwback Thursday so we continue our look back with our interview we did last season with Staten Island Yankees beat writer and Pinstripes Prospects owner Robert Pimpsner. Pimpsner emailed me the other day and pointed out that he predicted the breakout for Dellin Betances last season so I guess we all owe him a big thank you. It was said and heard here first so here it is again in its entirety.

The Greedy Pinstripes: Being born and raised in Staten Island were you a Yankees fan growing up? Or were you brainwashed into being a Mets fan like so many at a young age?

Robert Pimpsner: I was always a baseball fan first.  Growing up in a family of Met fans I do have an appreciation for them but I will forever be a Yankees fan first.

TGP: Did you play any sports growing up as a kid?

RP: Growing up I played soccer and Tee-ball, I was not much of an athlete but tried.

TGP: What made you want to cover baseball from this side of the field?

RP: It is something I fell into.  I always had a love for writing and baseball is one of those things where I can get away from the world so it was just a natural fit.

TGP: Do you or do you not have the best job in the world covering baseball every single day? I am going to go with the former over the latter but I would like to hear your thoughts. 

RP: It is a fun job, something I wish I could do full-time.  I have had many great experiences covering the team and have met a lot of great people.  Nothing beats the first week of the season where you are catching up with the regulars whether it be media members or ticket holders at the stadium.

For the most part there is very high turnover year-after-year in the media contingent.  I am the second longest beat writer covering the team, having been around since 2002.  Only the Staten Island Advance beat writers have been there longer.  With that I enjoy helping out the new writers who are getting their first taste of covering a professional team. 

TGP: How did you get involved with baseball and covering the Staten Island Yankees specifically?

RP: It is actually an interesting story.  Back in 2002 I was pretty good friends with two pitchers on the team, Matt Brumitt and Ryan Bicondoa, and one day towards the end of the 2002 season we were talking by the bullpen before a game and they mentioned that their families were having trouble staying up-to-date on their progress.

This is when I was 13 years old and I was experimenting with web design back then so I came up with the idea for a website.  With that was born.  I ran that website from 2003-2009, I was a junior at St John’s University at the time and decided it was time to move on.  That is when I joined with Gotham Baseball and Going 9 Media who at the time ran

I was with them until 2011 when I started working full-time in marketing.  I tried to stay away in 2011 but the game called to me and I worked only 6 games that year (4 in Brooklyn, 2 in Staten Island) and I decided that in 2012 I would launch my own site again.  In less than a week I got Pinstriped Prospects up and running and it went well for the first year, that was until I lose everything on the sever and my computer as well as all my backups crashed.

I decided to take 2013 to try to rebuild it slowly, I am still working on the new design and look for the website.  While I was working on that I came up with the idea to use the visual storytelling techniques I love to use in advertising to tell the story of the games so I reached out to my close friend Rob at Bronx Baseball Daily with the idea.  We ran with it for the 2013 season and it was a big success.  As of right now I am not sure if Pinstriped Prospects will be ready for 2014 but I am looking at several options on what I might do this year in regards to baseball.  I say stay tuned to my Twitter account as whatever I decided will be announced there.

TGP: Best/Favorite moment covering the SI Yanks? Doesn't necessarily have to be related to the game itself. 

RP: There are several moments that stand out from my time covering the Staten Island Yankees.  I have been there for all the brawls in team history but the most interesting one was in 2006 when Gaylen Pitts was manager of the team.  On AUgust 21st the Staten Island Yankees were playing the Brooklyn Cyclones at Keyspan Park (now MCU Park).  Early on in the first inning Pitts was ejected from the game but by the eighth inning the Yankees had a 21-6 lead over Brooklyn.  Tempers flared in the eighth and both benches cleared.  With the players dueling on the field out came Pitts in a ripped tank top, shorts and flip flops to fight.  That has always been one of the most entertaining moments in team history.

TGP: Ripped tank top, shorts, and flip flops and ready to fight... I have now officially heard it all in sports, thank you Robert. That literally made me laugh, and the wife thought it was "cute" as well. 

TGP: Did you get to meet and speak with Hideki Matsui when he threw batting practice for the SI Yankees this past season?

RP: I had the chance to speak with him but I did not take the opportunity.  As much of a Yankees fan I am I figure I let him be, the media that follows him around pretty much asks any question I could think of.  But it was cool to watch him take BP before the final home game.

TGP: What current and former Yankees have you seen, spoke with, and covered down in the New York Penn League?

RP: Well this list is pretty long, there are many I have met including Yankees GM Brian Cashman, Gene Michaels, etc.  I have been around the Staten Island Yankees long enough to be around Robinson Cano, Brett Gardner, Adam Warren, David Phelps, Preston Claiborne.  The list is long, it was fun sharing the dugout with Phil Hughes during his rehab as well as the other rehabbing players.

TGP: Are you the best dressed beat writer in the history of beat writing?

RP: Well I do have my own unique style.  As you might be able to tell from my Twitter and Instagram I like suits.  It is something that I always loved since I was a kid (I know I am weird).  I say my style is sort of a mix between classic Rat Pack and Harvey Specter. 

I am always the most overdressed person in the press box, while my colleagues are in jeans and t-shirt I am there in a tailored suit complete with French cuff shirts and vintage cufflinks.  Last season I was in the camera wells for most games so I pretty much stuck to a collared shirt and slacks since it does get hot down there, the only downside is cleaning the clay off my shoes every night. 

TGP: Any other hobbies you enjoy doing besides baseball? 

RP: I work full-time in the marketing/advertising field.  That is something I really love to do and I stay very active in it.  In my free time I am always researching the latest in the field as well as trying to learn more about building websites and applications.

I am also a big believer in giving back to the community and with that in mind I volunteer as the Alumnus Advisor for the chapter of Kappa Sigma Fraternity I founded with my friends in college as well as do a lot of volunteering in the NYC area with them.  I enjoy working the undergraduates a lot as it allows me to teach them some of the things I have learned along the way.

TGP: Scrolling through your Twitter pictures I noticed you made beef wellington and it looks amazing. Are you a foodie?

RP: I would say yes I am a foodie but I am more of a cook.  I love to cook and there is nothing that relaxes me more than coming home after work going to the store to get fresh ingredients and then making something spectacular in my kitchen.  My beef wellington recipe started off as copying Gordon Ramsay’s recipe that I had at his restaurant in Las Vegas but I have since made changes to reflect my tastes and gotten good reviews of it so far.

TGP: How excited are you about this coming season with all the new additions to the Yankees squad?

RP: This is going to be an interesting year for the Yankees on all fronts.  At the major league level I am very excited for spring training and to see what Tanaka can do.  I have yet to see any film of him pitching so I am very interested.  I want to see some more of the young guys get a chance but I also want to win.

TGP: If you were GM for a day, and this doesn't have to necessarily be realistic, what one move would you make?

RP: I want to put together a long-term vision on how to be competitive in the future for years and decades not just individual seasons.  For that I would sacrifice a year or two to build up a competitive minor league system that pumps out quality player after quality player.  But I know that isn’t realistic in New York.  So for a day I would love to see the Yankees use the open spots in the bullpen to let all the young kids pitch.  I want to see Betances in the majors this year and give him a shot out of the pen.

TGP: Most famous person in your cell phone right now?

RP: Ahh I don’t like to reveal that.

TGP: Most embarrassing song in your iPod?

RP: Well I don’t own an iPod (I have a distaste for Apple products) but on my BlackBerry I have some Taylor Swift that some would consider embarrassing.

TGP: Boo! Long live Apple!

TGP: We'll finish with this, where do you want to end up in your career? What is your ultimate goal?

RP: My ultimate goal is to have my own company that is broken down into a sports/entertainment division, a marketing agency division and a publications division.  I am actually starting to put together my business plan for it together and will try to build it slowly.  I invite everyone to check out my personal website/blog at

We want to thank Mr. Pimpsner for taking the time out of his schedule to do this interview for us, it is much appreciated from all the writers here as well as our readers. It is appreciated and we hope you have nothing but luck and success in everything you do both on and off the field. You can follow Robert on Twitter by following@RPimpsner.

Greedy Pinstripes Top 28 Prospects List: #10

Prospects Month is in full swing and we're already up to our 10th best prospect in the farm system, Luis Torrens. We're into the Top 10 ladies and gentleman and this is where things truly get interesting. 

Here is the write up from Kyle McDaniel on Torrens:

Luis Torrens, C Video: Torrens is still a ways off–he’ll go to Low-A as a 19 year old next year–but he flashes a Jason Kendall like skillset. Torrens shows the ability for an average to above bat, enough power to punish a mistake (there’s a homer from instructs in the linked video), solid athleticism to stick behind the plate, a plus arm and good feel for the game.  The Venezuelan was converted to catching full-time after signing for $1.3 million in the 2012 July 2nd class and has taken to it well so far.

10. Luis Torrens
11. Tyler Austin
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

Throwback Thursday: Meet a Prospect Andy Pettitte

Since Andy Pettitte is getting his number retired and is getting a plaque inside Monument Park inside Yankee Stadium what better time is it then now to throwback Thursday with his Meet a Prospect Edition. Enjoy.

Andy Pettitte, left handed starting pitcher,  was drafted in the 22nd round in the 1990 First Year Player Draft by the New York Yankees out of  his high school in Deer Park, Texas. Andy did not sign with the Yankees that season and instead decided he would go to a junior college which, you may or may not know, allows you to get drafted every season rather then having to play two seasons of college baseball before being eligible again for the draft. Also, as the rules have since changed, no other team could talk to Andy Pettitte nor sign him until a day before the next year's draft because he did not sign with the Yankees. It did not matter anyway as Andy signed with the Yankees the very next season, in 1991, as an amateur free agent for $80,000 which was a nice bonus at that time. Andy turned down a chance to pitch for perennial powerhouse University of Texas to travel to New York.  

Pettitte made his pro debut in 1991 going 4-0 with a 0.98 ERA in 6 Gulf Coast League (GCL) starts followed by a 2-2 record with a 2.18 era in the New York Penn League (NYPL). Those two levels combined Pettitte had 83 K's and 24 BB's for nearly a 4-1 ratio, which is amazing. His command was very impressive but his velocity and "stuff" were considered nothing more then average. 

Throughout the minors his walk rates got better and better but his K/9 rate got worse and worse. While he showed all the way through the system that he could get advanced hitters out no one was every crazy about Pettitte due to his strike outs. He never once did rank as a Top 10 prospect in any league that he played in because of the low strike out rates and Pettitte projected to be a back end of the rotation starter due to his strike out issues. Pettitte was never graded higher then a "B" graded prospect in his entire minor league career but he had an uncanny ability to hammer the strike zone, keep batters off balance with his off speed stuff, and give his team a chance to win every single time out there. 

I think that his career, if it ended today, ended up being pretty good and was borderline Hall of Fame worthy. Let's start with where, in my opinion, he really made a name for himself and that was the post season. Who can forget the Game 5 duel with John Smoltz in the 1996 World Series that he won down in Atlanta 1-0 after being pummeled in Game 1 in New York. Who can forget Pettite's dominance going into the 8th inning in Game 4 of the 1998 World Series clinching game against the San Diego Padres? Who could forget his 2009 post season performance where he was the clinching winning pitcher in all 3 rounds of the post season including the World Series?  That is all before you consider his two 20 win seasons including a second place finish in the AL CY Young in 1996 to Pat Hentgen. 

Does Andy Pettitte's (current) 240-138 record with a 3.88 ERA and 117 ERA+ in 3055 IP get him into the hall of fame? He is a borderline candidate in my opinion but I honestly would not vote him in because I would not consider the post season statistics but I know that some will. He was also, lets not equivocate, helped a TON by run support playing in New York and even in Houston. In my opinion he was only dominant in three of his seasons and that is not hall of fame worthy. What say you?

Looking at the 2015 Draft: 10th Best Prospect

Continuing our look at the 2015 MLB First Year Players Draft we take a look at the #10 ranked prospect expected to enter the draft. As always we will include the mini scouting report from as we introduce the #10 prospect, Ashe Russell. Russell is a RHP and Senior at Cathedral High School in Indiana.

Here is the write up from

Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 60 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 55 | Overall: 55

Part of a Cathedral program that has produced big leaguers Jake Fox and Tommy Hunter in recent years, Russell is in the mix to become the first high school pitcher drafted in 2015. He had a fine summer on the high school showcase circuit, repeatedly showing one of the more devastating two-pitch combinations in the prep class.

Thanks to his fast arm and low-three-quarters slot, Russell imparts a lot of life on his pitches. He usually works at 92-95 mph with his fastball and when he stays on top of his 78-82-mph slider, it's a swing-and-miss offering with bite. With those two weapons in his repertoire, he rarely has needed a changeup against high school competition.

His frame, athleticism and long hair draw some comparisons to Clay Buchholz, though some scouts wonder if Russell's slinging delivery might make him better suited for the bullpen. After verbally committing to Notre Dame as a high school freshman, he decommitted this summer and signed with Texas A&M.

10. Ashe Russell
11. Justin Hooper
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

Seven Yankees Make Fangraphs Top 200 List

Fangraphs has been absolutely putting in work this offseason in the prospects department, which works well for us during Prospects Month, and yesterday the site released their Top 200 Prospects list. Obviously we wouldn't be here if there wasn't a member of the Yankees that made the list and in this case seven members of the Bronx Bombers made the cut. The Cubs highly touted 3B Kris Bryant tops the list followed in order by the Twins Byron Buxton and Cubs Addison Russell while the Yankees that made the list were Luis Severino, Aaron Judge, Jacob Lindgren, Jorge Mateo, Greg Bird, Ian Clarkin and Robert Refsnyder.

Severino came in at the #26 spot with this write up attached:

He’s quickly improved and developed starter traits, but on certain days the stuff, command and delivery may all look more like a reliever.”

Judge clocked in at #58 with the following attached:

“He’ll be 23 in Double-A next year and that will give us a better idea of if he’s a solid everyday guy or a potential star, but there’s clearly more here than people were expecting.” 

Lindgren came it at the #100 spot:

“(He’s) now knocking on the door of the big leagues with closer level stuff and just enough of the feel from his starter days to spot his hellacious slider where he wants it.” 

Mateo followed Lindgren at #102:

“(He) has top-of-the-scale 80 speed, has the tools to stick at shortstop, has surprising pop and was hanging with pitches three or four years older than him.” 

Bird surprisingly came in all the way at #120:

“Bird has plus power and good plate discipline, with some comparing him to a non-injury-prone Nick Johnson.” 

Clarkin came up the rear for the Yankees at the #137 spot:

“His velocity has settled near the high end of where it was pre-draft and his above average to plus curveball is still the separator, with his changeup and command making good progress.” 

Refsnyder was more of a "honorable mention" and less of a ranked player only because the bottom 58 players are not ranked per se and more thrown and lumped together. Therefor Refsnyder did not get a write up from Kylie McDaniels.

This Day In New York Yankees History 2/19: Lou Gehrig Signs for $300K

On this day in 1935 the New York Yankees signed Lou Gehrig to a one year deal worth $30,000. The season before the All Star first basemen hit .363 with 49 home runs and led the American League with 165 RBI's. Underpaid much?