Sunday, December 27, 2015

Trenton Thunder Press Release: Thunder Fans Make Holiday Wishes Come True

The 11th annual Trenton Thunder Gift of Baseball program, giving fans the chance to share the experience of cheering on the hometown team with underprivileged families in our community, wrapped up on Wednesday.

For each Season Ticket, Pic-A-Plan and Mini Plan purchased from November 23 through December 23, the Thunder provided ticket packages for families in the Holiday Gift Outreach program run by the Children's Home Society of New Jersey to attend a 2016 Thunder game.

"We're thrilled to support a great organization like the Children's Home Society of New Jersey with this program," said Thunder GM/COO Jeff Hurley. "Our fans deserve a big thank you for their participation."

This year the Gift of Baseball program provided 944 tickets to CHSofNJ, the most in the history of the program. Since its inception in 2005, the Gift of Baseball program has helped the Thunder donate 7,924 tickets to CHSofNJ.

The Children's Home Society of New Jersey provides at-risk children and their families with a range of services that empower them to achieve their potential. They are child-oriented, family focused, community based and outcome-oriented.

The 2016 season, the 23rd in franchise history, will begin at ARM & HAMMER Park on April 7 when the Thunder host the Erie SeaWolves (Detroit Tigers) at 7:00 p.m. Groups, season tickets, Pic-A-Plans and mini plans for the 2016 season are on sale now at or by calling 609-394-3300.

Recapping the Yankees Offseason Thus Far...


Yankees traded Jose Pirela to the San Diego Padres for RHP Ronald Herrera.

Yankees traded John Ryan Murphy to the Minnesota Twins for OF Aaron Hicks.


Yankees protect Johnny Barbato, Rookie Davis and Ben Gamel from the Rule 5 Draft.


Yankees sign Pete Kozma and Diego Moreno to minor league deals.


Domingo German elects free agency


Yankees trade Adam Warren and a PTBNL for second baseman Starlin Castro.


Yankees trade Justin Wilson to Detroit for Luis Cessa and Chad Green.


Yankees lose Jake Cave to the Cincinnati Reds and Evan Rutckyj to the Atlanta Braves in the Rule 5 Draft.


Yankees sign Domingo German to a minor league deal.


The Yankees send Brendan Ryan to Chicago as the PTBNL to complete the Castro/Warren deal.

Yankees 2015 Minor League Suspensions Recap

Baseball America is awesome, we all know that. They bring us the best of the best when it comes to all things Yankees prospects and prospects in general. Unfortunately they cover it all though and that included the Yankees minor league suspensions from this season. CLICK HERE for the entire article but I will sample the Yankees related material below.

Yankees SS Holman Miranda
Suspension Length: 72 games
Violating Substances: metabolites of Nandrolone

Miranda, 17, hit .246/.366/.324 for the Yankees’ DSL2 team this summer. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound shortstop is a switch hitter who signed with the Yankees in March.


 Yankees RHPs Anderson Acevedo, Anthoniris Santana and Carlos Santana
Suspension Length: 72 games
Violating Substances: metabolites of Stanozolol
The suspensions of the three players, who are all currently on the Yankees’ DSL roster, are effective immediately. Acevedo, 21, is 0-1, 4.76; Anthoniris Santana, 20, is 1-1, 6.00, and Carlos Santana, 20, is 0-0, 3.24.


Yankees RHP Wilking Rodriguez
Suspension Length: 80 games
Violating Substances: Furosemide
Rodriguez, now 25, was signed to a minor league deal by the Yankees this winter. He was originally signed as an international free agent by Devil Rays on Feb. 26, 2007 and rose as high as No. 17 in Tampa Bay’s organization. At his best, Rodriguez has a 90-95 mph fastball with natural tailing action that makes it difficult for opponents to barrel. Following seven years in the Rays’ organization, Rodriguez spent 2014 in the Royals’ organization, reaching the majors for two games, before signing with the Yankees. He had not pitched yet this season after spending time in big league camp.


Yankees RHP Moises Cedeno
Suspension Length: 72 games
Violating Substances: Clenbuterol
Cedeno, signed by the Yankees in 2011 out of Panama for $354,800, has spent the past three seasons in the DSL with varying degrees of success. Last season, he was 4-4, 3.23 and averaged more than a strikeout per inning. When he signed he was touted for his fastball (93 mph) and what scouts termed an advanced changeup. He won’t turn 20 until Aug. 29.


Yankees RHP Brayan Alcantara
Suspension Length: 72 games
Violating Substances: metabolites of Stanozolol
The 6-foot-1, 170-pound Alcantara, now 21, has pitched in the Dominican Summer League the past three seasons with varying degrees of success. In 2014, he was 1-4, 4.21, but had a career-low 3.16 BB/9.


Yankees SS Tyler Palmer
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substances: amphetamines and drug of abuse (second positive test)
Palmer, 22, was drafted by the Marlins in the fourth round in 2011 but was hampered by a hand injury that required three surgeries. He finished his amateur career in 2014 at Thomas (Ga.) and was the top prospect in the NAIA before he was signed by the Yankees as a nondrafted free agent in June. He slashed .262/.354/.443 in the Rookie-level GCL.

Meet a Prospect: Vinnie Pestano

The New York Yankees began the process of filling in the gaps in their minor league affiliates, specifically the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre team, and that included the signing of Vinnie Pestano. Pestano made his name with the Cleveland Indians and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and is just 31-years old. Pestano signed a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training with the New York Yankees this winter so we may as well meet him. This is Meet a Prospect: the Vinnie Pestano Edition.

Vinnie William Pestano was born on February 20, 1985 in California. Pestano attended Canyon High School in Anaheim, California where he played baseball catching the attention of the California State University Fullerton. While at Cal State Fullerton he caught the eye of the Cleveland Indians who drafted him in the 20th round of the 2006 MLB First Year Players Draft.

Pestano was called up by the Indians on September 23, 2010 and made his Major League debut the same day pitching in inning of scoreless relief. Pestano was dominant for two seasons in Cleveland, 2011 and 2012, before taking a step back a bit in 2013. In 2014 Pestano's struggles continued leading the Indians to trade him back home to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for Class-A pitcher Michael Clevinger.

2010 CLE 0 0 3.60 5 5.0 4 2 2 0 5 8 118 2.88 1.800 7.2 0.0 9.0 14.4 1.60
2011 CLE 1 2 2.32 67 62.0 41 16 16 5 24 84 170 2.67 1.048 6.0 0.7 3.5 12.2 3.50
2012 CLE 3 3 2.57 70 70.0 53 20 20 7 24 76 152 3.42 1.100 6.8 0.9 3.1 9.8 3.17
2013 CLE 1 2 4.08 37 35.1 37 18 16 6 21 37 94 5.03 1.642 9.4 1.5 5.3 9.4 1.76
2014 TOT 0 1 2.89 25 18.2 18 8 6 3 5 26 135 3.24 1.232 8.7 1.4 2.4 12.5 5.20
2014 CLE 0 1 5.00 13 9.0 13 7 5 2 1 13 81 3.47 1.556 13.0 2.0 1.0 13.0 13.00
2014 LAA 0 0 0.93 12 9.2 5 1 1 1 4 13 403 3.03 0.931 4.7 0.9 3.7 12.1 3.25
2015 LAA 1 0 5.40 19 11.2 15 9 7 3 8 13 72 6.56 1.971 11.6 2.3 6.2 10.0 1.63
Pestano spent just 12 games in the Angels bullpen  in 2014 and those struggles continued in 2015. Pestano lasted just 19 games in 2015 before he was designated for assignment by the team on July 28, 2015. Pestano did not make it back to the Major Leagues that season and hit free agency this winter. The New York Yankees came calling hoping to find some lightning in a bottle while Pestano looks to harness the success that made him so great in 2011 and 2012 with Cleveland.

Pestano is a three-pitch pitcher. His fastball is clocked from 90-93 MPH on the radar gun while he also harnesses a 80 MPH breaking ball to keep batters off balanced. Some call his breaking pitch a curveball while others call it a slider, maybe we'll interview him one day and find out. His third pitch is an occasional two-seam fastball.

Will it happen? Who know! One thing is for sure though you have to play the game to win the game. The Yankees are playing the game with Vinnie Pestano. Will they win? Stay tuned.

The Guyer Institute Steroid Scandal is About to Hit MLB

Another black eye is about to hit Major League Baseball if it hasn't already, and that bothers me. In a documentary that was leaked by Al Jazeera it was revealed that steroids are still prevalent in sports, and not just MLB. Some NFL players were revealed to be using steroids in this documentary as well as three major MLB players Ryan Howard, Ryan Zimmerman and Taylor Teagarden.

The documentary showcases a months long investigative report on PEDs in global sports and they even went as far as to send British hurdler Liam Collins undercover to expose other athletes.  Collins worked with pharmacist Charlie Sly who allegedly worked at an Indiana-based anti-aging clinic called the Guyer Institute in 2011. Sly reportedly told Collins that he sold both Howard, the Philadelphia Phillies first baseman, and Zimmerman, the Washington Nationals first and third baseman, a hormone supplement known as Delta-2. The drugs is specifically designated to evade drug tests and is included on Major League Baseball's list of banned substances per their collective bargaining agreement. Meanwhile Teagarden is seen on camera discussing how and when he took PEDs in previous seasons, ouch.

Howard and Zimmerman have denied using the drugs and NFL notable players like Peyton Manning, James Harrison and Mike Neal have as well. None of the three players that are named have ever been linked to steroids or PEDs and have never been suspended for any sort of drug or substance use. If the documentary, and the investigation that you know is to follow, proves to be true all three players will likely receive an 80-game steroid suspension.

Rob Refsnyder's Saying All the Right Things But…

When a prospect is trying to make his way through the minor leagues and to the Major Leagues no one bothers to ask him what he thinks about it all. Not that they should but he is the one that worked all his life to get drafted and then continued to work all his life to make it to the big stage. The prospect rode the bumpy bus rides to and from minor league games and got paid less than minimum wage in some cases when you count personal appearances and charity events for the team. The prospect went through a lot and it can be discouraging when a veteran is acquired to block his path to the Major Leagues. It can be hard to keep a straight poker face and say all the right things but the Yankees second base prospect Robert Refsnyder is doing just that.

In no way should anyone feel sorry for Refsnyder, that’s not the point of this article. Refsnyder was not promised the second base job, not even in a platoon with Dustin Ackley, and he was far from promised a place on the 25 man roster. The Yankees had an opportunity to upgrade at second base and they did it with Starlin Castro. Castro rode those same bumpy bus rides and did those same charity events that Refsnyder did after working all his life to get here. I just worry about Refsnyder specifically because he has seemingly let this bother him before.

Refsnyder seems to me, just based on watching his interactions as a minor league player and his interviews he gives and such, like a guy that wears his heart on his sleeve. He was brought up to work hard and be great at everything that you do and when he’s not he seems like he becomes his own worst enemy. You can get over that with age and wisdom but I just worry about it. Refsnyder, and the rest of us mind you, presumably thought he would get a look at the starting job last season when Martin Prado was traded only for the Yankees to sign Stephen Drew. Refsnyder presumably thought he was going to get an extended look after the All-Star Break with Drew struggling and he was sent back down to make room for Carlos Beltran. Refsnyder presumably thought he had a shot at the starting job again this season before Castro was acquired. Every time Refsnyder presumably thinks he is going to get the job only to get shot down his production seems to mirror his presumed mood.

If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a million times, you can absolutely over-groom a prospect. The Yankees are doing that with Refsnyder. At some point your development trends in the wrong direction and Refsnyder, who is set to turn 25-years old this season, may be close. Or he may not be, I don’t know the many personally and I’m far from an insider which my email has continuously reminded me, but I do one thing… I’m worried. 

Warren & Ryan Heard About Trade to Chicago on TV

The New York Yankees shocked a lot of the baseball world when they pulled off a deal with the Chicago Cubs for Starlin Castro at the Winter Meetings. In return the Yankees sent RHP Adam Warren and bench piece Brendan Ryan to the Cubs for Castro. When I say much of the baseball world was shocked I meant it, even the pieces in the trade were shocked.

Bleeding Yankee Blue was the first to report how Brendan and his wife Sharyn heard about the trade, if someone else had it first I'm tempted to say "tough." I had the Mike Leake info first and got zero recognition, except I need the recognition and you don't. Anyway, Casey and crew announced HERE that the news was leaked. The Ryan's found out about the trade on Twitter with the rest of us.

Now we have the news that Warren learned about the trade, hat tip to The Score, while on vacation by watching television. Warren and his wife were on vacation in St. Lucia when he heard on television the trade was made. He used his wife's phone to check who was in the deal and learned his was in the deal that way.

What in the world is going on here?

This Day In New York Yankees History 12/27: The YES Network and CBS

On 2001 the Yankees moved their spring training, regular season, and postseason games to WCBS-AM from WABC. The Yankees then signed a five year deal with the newly created YES Network worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 million.

Also on this day in 1984 the Yankees signed Ed Whitson to a five year deal worth $4.4 million. Whitson went 14-8 with the NL Champion San Diego Padres the season before but the Yankees never got close to that production out of Whitson. Whitson only lasted a season and a half with the Yankees and compiled a 15-10 record with 5.38 ERA in 44 games.

Finally on this day in 1943 former Yankee infielder Roy White is born. White would go on to play 15 seasons for the Yankees while batting a career .271. Not bad for a Los Angeles boy.