Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Greedy Pinstripes, Milestones and the BYB Hub

I received a tweet the other day that the BYB Hub had been put on notice. The Hub was approaching 10,000 views! The Hub has since passed the plateau and is continuing to grow and I couldn't be happier and more proud to be a part of it. The Hub now showcases 25 blogs and they aren't just Yankees related blogs either. There's Red Sox blogs and Oakland A's blogs and blogs committed to just the SALLY League and Major League ballplayers with Dutch backgrounds. It's got something for everyone.

The BYB Hub is the place to be so check it out. If you're looking for a one-stop shop of all MLB News its the place for you. If you're an aspiring writer or blogger or you just want a little more recognition and a free place to add some reads, the BYB Hub is also for you. Just contact us and we'll get you put on there.

The Hub is great and I want to share this milestone and accomplishment with you all. Check out the BYB Hub!

Meet a Prospect: Chad Green

Chad Green was the second prospect that the Detroit Tigers sent to the New York Yankees in the Justin Wilson Trade. The other prospect, Luis Cessa, we already introduced you to today so without further delay it’s only right that we also introduce you to Mr. Green as well. This is Meet a Prospect: The Chad Green Edition.

Chad Green is 23 years old, will be 24 years old on May 24, and has a great right-handed pitcher’s frame standing at 6’3” and 210 lbs. Green entered the 2015 season ranked as the Detroit Tigers 12th best prospect, although Baseball Prospectus gave him a C+ grade on their rankings. Green was an 11th round pick in the 2013 MLB First Year Players Draft out of Louisville.

Green has long arms, long legs and has the build to be a durable power pitcher for quite some time. He throws from a ¾ arm slot across his body and has above-average arm speed. Green can touch 94 MPH with his fastball but sits comfortably at 92-93 MPH. BP gave Green a 55 rating out of 80 with a future of 60 on his fastball, also known as nothing to write home about.

Green sports a low 90’s fastball but his biggest downfall may be the effectiveness of his secondary pitches. Some of this may be because it is easy to detect and pick up the ball out of his hand due to a long arm extension and straight up and down delivery. Green is said to have below average command on his fastball and secondary pitches and projects to be an organizational prospect in my opinion.

Green projects to be an innings eater and maybe the last man on a 40-man roster. Green lacks movement, velocity and deception on his fastball, changeup and slider. A move to the bullpen may be Green’s only hope of making it to the Major Leagues. I hate to sound like the bearer of bad news here but I am not impressed with Green. Not at all.

The Surprising Patient Fans

I've been impressed with the amount of patience many Yankees fans have shown this offseason.

"It hasn't been easy, but we can do it."

When it comes to what needed to be done to best prepare the team for 2016, I believe getting a starting pitcher was priority #1 this offseason. And when I say "starter", I don't mean just anyone.

The Yankees don't need a middle to bottom of the rotation starter. Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi, Ivan Nova, CC Sabathia... the Yankees can use those four to fill 80% of the rotation. However, the Yankees won't use all four of those starters in the rotation because they also have Masahiro Tanaka and Luis Severino. That's six options four five rotation spots.

Wait.... Do the Yankees even need a starter?

Speaking of Severino and Tanaka, the Yankees don't necessarily need an "ace" either. That's not to say neither of those guys have questions marks surrounding them. In fact, both of them have questions marks... Masahiro is somewhat of a health risk, and Severino only has 11 MLB starts under his belt. But if you assume they can stay healthy then a team could do a heck of a lot worse with those two at the top of the rotation.

Again... Do the Yankees even need a starter?


While it would have been nice, the Yankees don't need a "David Price" or "Zack Greinke". The Yankees simply need somebody that they can lean on to throw 200+ innings, which means giving them 6+ innings over 30-32 starts. Someone along the lines of an Andy Pettitte or Hiroki Kuroda.

That guy may be Wei-Yin Chen, although he has yet to reach the 200 inning mark in any of this 4 MLB seasons, despite starting 31 or 32 times in three of those four years.

Johnny Cueto could fill that role fairly well. A 2.81 ERA over the past three years, and has thrown 455.2 innings over the past two? Sure!

Yovani Gallardo has started 30 or more times in each of the last seven seasons, and had an ERA below 4.00 in all but one of those years.

So what's the problem?

Well... money. Hal Steinbrenner will not let his general manager spend on free agents, so Cashman has to use trades to make any and all improvements to the team. But when you have pitchers like the aforementioned three available as free agents, teams willing to trade away their own pitchers are reluctant to do so.

Look at it this way...

If you're the general manager of a team, and you have a good/young pitcher you're willing to part with in a trade, would you deal away that player now when "buying" teams have more options, or would you wait until those "buying" teams have no other choice but to ask for your guy?

If you're smart, you'd wait until people are desperate for your guy, so you can charge them more. It's simple economics... supply and demand.

"What in the World is 'supply and demand'?"

The fact of the matter is the Yankees are unlikely to get their new "Andy Pettitte" or "Hiroki Kuroda" until those other pitching options are no longer available. And that requires patience... something that Brian Cashman has, but few Yankees fans (me included) do.

Which is why I'm so impressed with... *sigh*... Yankee Universe (I don't like that name). If you had told me the situation the Yankees would be in on December 13th, after the GM Meetings, and after two other trades were made, I would have predicted that Yankees fans would be up in arms that nothing has been done to improve the rotation.

But here we are... and the majority of Yankees fans I've spoken to are not worried. It's not as big a surprise, but a number of fans are not worried about the team replacing Adam Warren and/or Justin Wilson, either.

Of course, there will always be that fan who will call Brian Cashman an idiot. There will always be that fan that goes nuts over the Yankees passing up a "David Price" or "Zack Greinke". But for the first time in what seems like forever, Yankees fans in general are being patient and allowing Cashman to rebuild.

Does that mean we'll see another Core Four (or Five) soon? Unlikely. I wouldn't count on ever seeing a core like that develop again. But the Yankees finally appear to see the big picture, meaning that the future is no longer something they will take care of later. And I like that. Because as nice as it would be if the Yanks were true 2016 World Series contenders, it'll be so much better when they are World Series contenders year after year in the near future.

"I got this, folks."

Brian Cashman… Don’t Even Think About It!

The New York Yankees bullpen has taken a hit in recent weeks with the trades of both Justin Wilson and Adam Warren and Brian Cashman is presumed to be scrambling and working the phones to fix the problem. A problem it is as the Yankees starting rotation fails to give the team six innings per start on a consistent basis leaving the pressure on the bullpen for three or more innings a night. The Yankees traded away a lot of bullpen innings from 2015 and traded away two of their more trusted arms in big spots, bottom line is the Yankees need a new Adam Warren.

That’s the part that worries me. While many beat writers are wondering if it’s going to be James Pazos Jacob Lindgren or the laundry list of other names we’ve donned the “Scranton Shuttle” from the minor leagues to fill the spot or another big trade, say for the Nationals 8th inning man Drew Storen, to fill the spot I’m over here genuinely worried. There is a man still on the free agent market that has spent parts of the last two seasons with the Yankees. He’s a veteran pitcher that can both start and relieve. He’s a pitcher that Joe Girardi has fallen in love with for whatever reason and an arm that Brian Cashman seems fond of. He’s also an arm that was designated for assignment like 19 times last year, an exaggeration to drive the point home. I don’t even want to say his name because he may be like Candy Man and show up back on the 40 man roster for a 3rd season.

Chris Capuano!

Cashman, don’t even think about it. Fine, I can’t really stop you from thinking about it but I can strongly advise against it. Please? Chris Capuano is not the answer, he’s not young, he’s not as versatile as you think and he’s just not good or serviceable anymore. Bottom line. Don’t even think about it Cashman. Chris Capuano…. Crap… that makes three times doesn’t it?

Sorry everyone, in advance. The next Adam Warren is coming. Call it a hunch. 

Brace Yourselves: A Robert Refsnyder Trade is Coming

Brace yourselves Yankees fans because more trades are coming and one of those trades will likely include Yankees second base prospect Robert Refsnyder. The New York Yankees acquired Starlin Castro from the Chicago Cubs for Adam Warren and Brendan Ryan at the Winter Meetings leaving the Yankees with their second baseman for at least the next four years, five years if the Yankees pick up a very team friendly option for the 2020 season. New York has concerns about Refsnyder’s defense and are not going to let him play a bench role on the team unfortunately, eventually he will have to be traded.

Refsnyder is Major League ready now despite what a lot of fans say. His defense is adequate and his bat is getting better all the time. Refsnyder looked poised and relaxed in his small shot in the big leagues in 2015 and teams would be heavily interested in his services I would think. But who would New York send Refsnyder to in a hypothetical trades? There are a few teams actually.

The Cincinnati Reds come to mind immediately as they are shopping their third baseman Todd Frazier, first baseman Joey Votto, outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Brandon Phillips. Frazier would interest the Yankees the most at third base and would cause the team to make yet another trade involving Chase Headley but it could work with Refsnyder and a whole lot more. Frazier is a pipe dream, I know, but what Brian Cashman is doing right now goes to show you that even a pipe dream is a possibility at this point.

The second base market is quickly coming together with Ben Zobrist going to the Cubs and the Mets getting Neil Walker so many teams are now scrambling for former Met and postseason hero Daniel Murphy. All the teams that lose out on Murphy’s services could be interested in Refsnyder as a backup. Another option could be a team like the San Diego Padres or Atlanta Braves who are seemingly rebuilding and would be willing to send either Julio Teheran or James Shields, Tyson Ross or Andrew Cashner back to the Bronx.

If the Yankees don’t trade Refsnyder, and they will eventually, he will begin the season back in Triple-A and back at second base for the RailRiders. Rest assured though, a trade is coming and Refsnyder will be a part of it. It may be this winter or it may be in July, but it is coming!

2016 MLB Draft Compilation Rankings #1 (Top 60)

by: Ben Embry (Guest Contributor from The Bronx Empire)

It's finally that time of year when I issue the first compilation ranking for the next MLB Draft.  It's a little thing I like to do to stay up on who the big names are in the draft pool.  What I do is take rankings from 4-5 different sources that I trust the most on the subject of draft prospects and I compile them into one board.

1Jason GroomeSPH.S.
2A.J. PukSPFlorida
3Alec HansenSPOklahoma
4Blake RutherfordCFH.S.
5Corey RayCFLouisville
6Riley PintSPH.S.
7Connor JonesSPVirginia
8Nick BanksRFTexas A&M
9Delvin PerezSSH.S.
10Mickey MoniakOFH.S.
11Cal QuantrillSPStanford
12Kyle LewisOFMercer
13Bobby Dalbec3BArizona
14Matt KrookSPOregon
15Will BensonOFH.S.
16Buddy ReedOFFlorida
17Logan ShoreSPFlorida
18Drew MendozaSSH.S.
19Nolan Jones3BH.S.
20Ian AndersonSPH.S.
21Alex SpeasSPH.S.
22Ryan BoldtCFNebraska
23Robert TylerSPGeorgia
24Reggie LawsonSPH.S.
25Kevin GowdySPH.S.
26Austin BergnerSPH.S.
27Bryan ReynoldsOFVanderbilt
28Nick Senzel3BTennessee
29Brandon McIlwainOFH.S.
30Kyle FunkhouserSPLouisville
31Avery TuckOFH.S.
32Josh LoweSPH.S.
33Jordan SheffieldSPVanderbilt
34Forrest WhitleySPH.S.
35Jesus LuzardoSPH.S.
36Michael ShawarynSPMaryland
37Daulton JefferiesSPCalifornia
38Chris OkeyCClemson
39Carter Kieboom3BH.S.
40Bo Bichette3BH.S.
41Braxton GarrettSPH.S.
42Dakota HudsonSPMississippi St
43Zach JacksonSPArkansas
44Brad DeboCSouth Carolina
45Zack BurdiSP/RPLouisville
46Dane DunningPFlorida
47David HamiltonSSH.S.
48Matt CrohanSPWinthrop
49Alex KiriloffOFH.S.
50Matt ManningSPH.S.
51Jeff BelgeSPH.S.
52Zack BrownSP/RPKentucky
53Willie AbreuOFMiami (FL)
54Eric LauerSPKent St
55Seth BeerOFH.S.
56Joe Rizzo3BH.S.
57Bailey ClarkSP/RPDuke
58Ian HamiltonRPWashington St
59Alexis TorresSSH.S.
60Jake FraleyCFLSU

I've finally been doing this long enough that I'm recognizing names of college kids from when they were HS prospects. Not that 3 years is a long time, mind you...but I think it's cool. AJ Puk, Corey Ray, Connor Jones, Cal Quantrill are just a few kids who popped up as HS kids the first time around.  Quantrill is one that easily comes to mind because the Yankees drafted him the first time around. Count me as a big supporter of the idea of redrafting this one.  New York currently has the #20 pick.  That could go up... or go away completely... depending on what happens with the remaining qualifying free agents.

I like to give credit where credit is due regarding the inputs for my compilation. This time around I used ESPN (Keith Law, Eric Langenhagen), (Jim Callis, Jonathan Mayo), Fangraphs (Kiley McDaniel), and MY MLB Draft. I suggest you check those sites out. Always good content from all.

The New Pecking Order in the Yankees Bullpen

The New York Yankees rebuild on the fly mission continued through the Winter Meetings and will likely continue all winter long if Brian Cashman has his way. The Yankees have traded away a ton of innings out of their bullpen already with the Adam Warren and Justin Wilson trades all while trading two of their most trusted relief pitchers in the process. A new pecking order or totem pole is being established in the Yankees bullpen and on paper it’s far from the super bullpen that Cashman set out to build and emulate just a few season’s ago. 

Andrew Miller is still here for now holding down the 9th inning while Dellin Betances seems like a lock for the 8th inning but what else? Presuming the Yankees bring a 12 man pitching staff with them to Yankee Stadium on Opening Day there are five bullpen slots wide open right now in the Bronx. Bryan Mitchell likely fills one of those roles, although not likely the 7th inning role, while Ivan Nova leads the charge for the long relief role but what about the other three? Take your pick I guess, remember the Scranton Shuttle we all saw in 2015? 

Fresh arms like Nick Goody, Nick Rumbelow, James Pazos, Caleb Cotham, Branden Pinder and Jacob Lindgren to name a few were called upon more times than most to fill the void in the Yankees bullpen. The best arm, in my opinion, out of the bunch here is Lindgren and he will likely earn a spot if healthy. Remember Lindgren has bone spurs removed from his elbow last season and missed the second half of the year after looking good in a small sample size earlier in the season. Chasen Shreve is also likely to get a spot out of spring training and will likely slide into the 7th inning role for Joe Girardi. There is evidence that his downfall last season was due to fatigue (release point issues, over throwing, etc.) and not mechanics or injury so it’s also very likely that he returns to his first half form in 2016. 

Two more slots for a whole lot of arms. Obviously Brian Cashman could flip prospects for another relief pitcher, Drew Storen maybe, but as of right now you have to think that James Pazos gets a roster spot as well as Branden Pinder. These two were used more often than any others in their short time on the roster and both did exceptionally well when called upon. It’s hard to work your way into the Circle of Trust and one bad outing can get you out of that circle but both men were on the postseason roster in 2015 and both men seem to have earned the respect of the manager, which goes far here in New York. 

So there you have it. The Yankees bullpen, as of today, will consist of Andrew Miller, Dellin Betances, James Pazos, Branden Pinder, Chasen Shreve, Ivan Nova and Bryan Mitchell. That’s far from the super bullpen that Brian Cashman reached for in multiple offseason’s but it could definitely get the job done in my opinion. It will take a lot of mixing and matching and bullpen management but that is one of the few areas where Joe Girardi excels. 

Meet a Prospect: Luis Cessa

Luis Cessa knows a thing or two about minor league baseball and New York and it’s a good thing since he was just recently traded to the New York Yankees in the Justin Wilson deal. This marks the second time that Cessa was traded this calendar year as he was also traded to the Detroit Tigers by the team who drafted him, the New York Mets, in the Yoenis Cespedes deal. Now Cessa, along with teammate Chad Green, head to New York to give the Yankees some Triple-A starting pitching depth, let’s meet him. This is Meet a Prospect: The Luis Cessa Edition.

Cessa is 21-years old and has a natural right-handed pitcher’s build. Cessa stands 6’3” and weighs 190 lbs. with plenty of room to grow and fill out his frame. Cessa was considered an underrated prospect while pitching in the same rotation as Steven Matz and Gabriel Ynoa but is still considered to have less upside than a frontline starter. Cessa is the type of pitcher to aggressively attack the zone and relies on his excellent pinpoint control to survive. Cessa keeps batters off balance with his developing curveball and is still considered raw since he was converted from the infield. The Mets drafted Cessa as an infielder in 2008 and converted him to a starting pitcher in 2011 so the 2016 season looks to be just his sixth professional season as a pitcher. That equals upside.

Cessa’s downfall may be his durability and the fact that he loses velocity the deeper he goes into games. Cessa doesn’t have electric stuff by any means but he gets the job done and could be an excellent relief pitcher eventually. Cessa is truly raw and the sky is the limit.

 I was scouting around on a Mets Minors and found these grades from before the 2015 season:

Fastball: 45/55 Change-Up: 55/60 Curveball: 35/50 Control: 55/60 Mechanics: 60/60

Cessa is not going to change an organization by any means but at age 21 you never know. Justin Wilson was replaceable either inside the organization or via free agency so it’s not the biggest loss. At worst Cessa could become a serviceable relief pitcher, at best a decent starter.

This Day in New York Yankees History 12/13: A Rod and Giambi

On this day in 2007 the New York Yankees and recently opted out free agent Alex Rodriguez agreed on a 10 year deal worth $275 million with incentives that could bring the deal to $320 million. A Rod now owns the two richest deals in Major League history.

Also on this day in 2001 the New York Yankees signed free agent first basemen Jason Giambi to a seven year deal worth $120 million to steal him from the Oakland Athletics. Giambi was the 2000 American League MVP and the runner up in 2001 before coming to New York. Giambi led the A's to a Wild Card berth after driving in 120 runs, hitting 38 home runs, and batting .342.