Monday, February 1, 2016

Fantasy Baseball: Who are the New York Yankees?

You didn’t think we would go all offseason talking fantasy baseball and not talk about the New York Yankees, did you? Well if you did you were wrong because today we focus on the Yankees specifically and some of their players that can help you win your fantasy leagues. I know that if you’re reading this you’re probably already pretty well versed in Yankees baseball so we decided to throw a little bit of a twist into this post. It is Prospects Month after all so we decided to look at what Yankees prospects and young guys could potentially help you win your league either now or around June or July when they are ready to come up to the Major Leagues.

Aaron Hicks is not a prospect by any means but he is a young guy and a former top prospect out of the Minnesota Twins organization. While Hicks is penciled into the Yankees bench role you have to think that he will get plenty of at bats this season. Injuries happen and the Yankees have three potentially injury prone outfielders out there in their starting lineup. Manager Joe Girardi is also known for mixing and matching and is not afraid to “give a guy a day” for rest giving Hicks plenty of opportunities. Hicks is available at all three outfield positions and should see an uptick in production as a platoon hitter against left-handed pitching and especially from Yankee Stadium. In deeper leagues he may get you enough at bats and produce enough to warrant him on your bench, in leagues with 10 players or less there may be too much talent left on the board to justify taking a chance on him.

Luis Severino may not be a prospect either but in my eyes he is a legitimate fantasy player that comes with a bit of risk. Severino enters the 2016 season with just half a season of MLB pitching under his belt and a presumed innings limit of some kind. While the Yankees are unlikely to hold Severino under 150 innings barring any injuries or setbacks next season they likely won’t let him see 200 innings either which may limit his fantasy value. While I want to think Severino will be the Yankees ace in 2016 I have to be realistic and think that he may regress a bit from his 2.89 ERA from last season. Severino did struggle with his command and walks a bit in his small sample size in 2015 and I believe that may become a bit more of a problem in 2016. That doesn’t mean he won’t give you 10-15 wins and an ERA in the mid-to-high three’s though.

Finally I want to lump both Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge together because their cases for next season are quite comparable in my opinion. While all signs seem to point to Sanchez being on the Yankees bench on Opening Day 2016 it is all the more possible that he could also join Judge in Scranton to start the 2016 season as well. These two storylines are comparable because they are both one injury away from forcing the hand of Brian Cashman much like Severino and first baseman Greg Bird did in 2015. Judge seems to be a right fielder only in the Major Leagues, although yes he has played some center field in Triple-A, meaning that an injury to Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury or Brett Gardner may lead to his name being called next on the Scranton Shuttle. Meanwhile Sanchez could start on the bench and get ample at bats relieving both Alex Rodriguez and Brian McCann (and possibly Mark Teixeira if they ask him to learn first base like they did John Ryan Murphy) or he could be in Scranton with someone like Austin Romine or Carlos Corporan backing up McCann. Either way he likely won’t be a serious option out of spring training but may be more suited for your watch list that you can reevaluate around June or July of 2016.

Also an honorable mention goes to James Kaprielian, the Yankees first pick in the 2015 MLB First Year Players Draft. Kaprielian was deemed MLB ready out of the draft and did nothing to make anyone think otherwise in his first professional season. Kaprielian could be up by July or earlier if injuries and ineffectiveness hit the club so keep an eye out on him as well. He’s likely starting in the minor leagues but could be done with Double-A within a month or two and could be in Triple-A by early June if the Yankees get aggressive enough just in time for your late season fantasy push.

So there you have it, a few Yankees young guys and prospects that could help you win your fantasy league or could help you for the future if you have a keeper league. There was a reason we covered most every other team and kept the Yankees out of the loop until now and now you know, we saved New York for the first day of Prospects Month. Hope this helps and I hope you enjoyed. 

The Swindler Has Been Swindled

The New York Yankees owner may have a reason for being “so cheap.” According to documents filed in Chicago federal court by attorneys for a sports memorabilia executive charged with fraud Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner may have had more than $30,000 stolen from him. According to those same documents the company Mastro Auctions is being accused of something they call “shill bidding” where the bookkeeper taking your bid actually raises the price of the bid to pocket some of the money involved. Call it a bid tax if you will.

Former Mastro president Doug Allen is accused of the shill bidding with Steinbrenner on more than a dozen lots in 2007 and 2008 before Mastro closed its doors in 2009. The court papers do not reveal what Steinbrenner was bidding on but some Mastro Auctions catalogues that have since been turned in as evidence show that Steinbrenner bought thousands of dollars’ worth of unopened packs of late 60’s and early 70’s Topps Baseball cards.

Allen has since pled guilty to wire fraud and is expecting to go before a U.S. District Judge this month to receive sentencing. The government estimated that Steinbrenner had about $35,000 stolen from him through shill bidding while defense attorney’s for Hal state that the Yankees owner loss $2,000 or less. Who knows? Steinbrenner declined to comment.

This is terrible news for Hal, not that he will miss the money by any means, and I hope it gets worked out quickly for him. 

Greg Bird Will Miss 2016 w/ Torn Labrum

The worst possible news the New York Yankees could have received this month just happened when they learned that first baseman Greg Bird would miss the entire 2016 season with a torn labrum in his shoulder. This is a reocurrence of the injury that caused him to miss time in May of the 2015 season and despite being checked back in October the Yankees just learned of the injury recently.

Bird informed the Yankees that there was some discomfort after the season and the team sent him to see Dr. Ahmad, the team physician, and Dr. David Altchek and both doctors suggested a rehab program for the first baseman rather than surgery. The problem flared up again in the last week to ten days after Bird started working out again for the 2016 season and surgery was now recommended from Dr. Ahmad.

Bird will miss the entire 2016 season. Mark Teixeira is in place for the 2016 season at first base but we all know his injury history and such so we now sit and hold our breathe for the remainder of the 2016 season.

Get well soon Greg!

Prospects Month ICYMI: Top 10 Yankees Starting Pitching Prospects

The New York Yankees, as it stands right now, will head into the 2016 MLB season with more questions than answers as far as their pitching goes. The bullpen was an absolute strength in 2015 but the trades of trusted relievers Adam Warren and Justin Wilson has left the bullpen depleted of trusted pitchers at Joe Girardi's disposal. The starting rotation may also be held on by a rubber band with the elbow of Masahiro Tanaka, the shoulder of Michael Pineda, the elbow of Nathan Eovaldi and Ivan Nova and the knee of CC Sabathia. For this reason alone the Yankees are adding as much depth as possible to the minor leagues, none more notable than the minor league deal for Vinnie Pestano, in hopes of being prepared for such an injury or blow to the rotation.

The easiest way to add some depth and options for the Yankees GM Brian Cashman is to build from within and bring up prospects from their farm system. With this in mind I wanted to go over the Top 10 starting pitching prospects in the Yankees system in my opinion. Here is my list, what's yours? Leave it below in the comments section.

1. James Kaprielian
2. Domingo Acevedo
3. Ian Clarkin
4. Bryan Mitchell
5. Brady Lail
6. Drew Finley
7. Jonathan Holder
8. Domingo German
9. Austin DeCarr
10. Jeff Degano

The only pitchers I can see being true MLB options in 2016 are Bryan Mitchell and maybe (MAYBE but unlikely) James Kaprielian. I know I rate Mitchell higher than most, or everyone to be honest, but I truly like his stuff. He just needs to learn how to harness it and the more he gets to work with coaches and specifically Larry Rothschild the better I think he will do. The Yankees have a ton of top level talent down in the minor leagues so the future is good, the present though I still worry about. Thank goodness for Luis Severino!

Most Popular Prospect Article of the Week: Baseball America: 2015 Draft Report Card: Yankees

The great minds at Baseball American have released their final 2015 MLB Draft Report Cards now that the 2015 season is all but over. Many of the players drafted in the June draft are now in winter leagues and such but Baseball America released their report cards anyway. The pitchers are hidden behind the paywall but the positional players are free and seen below. If you have a subscription click HERE and check out the pitchers as well, I hear BA was quite nice to James Kaprielian. Enjoy.


BEST PURE HITTER: The Yankees had strong belief in the hands and contact ability of 3B Donny Sands(8), and he rewarded them with a .309/.405/.364 debut in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League.

BEST POWER HITTER: OF Jhalan Jackson (7) set a Florida Southern record with 20 homers in the spring and hit five more in his debut, as did OF Trey Amburgey (13). Both have big power that is not limited to pull side. OF Isaiah Gilliam (20) is the increasingly-rare switch-hitter with power from both sides. 

FASTEST RUNNER: OF Jeff Hendrix (4) consistently turns in 4.0-4.1 second times to first base from the left side, and his speed plays defensively in center field as well. 

BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER: SS Kyle Holder (1) was the best defensive player in the draft class. He has body control, short-area quickness, a plus arm and easy actions, making him a potentially 70 defender.

TGP Prospects Month Top 29 Prospects - #29

It’s that time of the year again Yankees family, it’s when I tackle the impossible task of trying to rank the top prospects inside the Yankees organization during our annual Prospects Month. Now normally, either for the sake of simplicity or for the sake of being a little bit different, we release one prospect a day to make up a Top 28 Prospect List but this time around there are 29 days in the month so we’re going with a Top 29 Prospects list. We start at the bottom and build up anticipation so today we bring you the 29th best prospect in the Yankees organization in my opinion, Thairo Estrada.

Estrada is a shortstop by trade but was recently bumped from the position to give first round draft pick Kyle Holder the innings there in his first professional season. Estrada is not the biggest guy on the field and is what I like to call the Brett Gardner of the infield but he’s athletic enough and has a strong enough arm to make it at second base in the big leagues. Estrada, if he continues on this path of development, has a real shot at reaching the Major Leagues and sticking around for a while.

Thairo Estrada
5'10" 155 lbs. shortstop and second baseman
2013 17 Rk 49 199 28 49 11 2 17 7 12 30 .278 .350 .432 .782
2014 18 A--Rk 23 90 13 22 3 0 6 8 7 11 .272 .337 .309 .646
2014 18 Rk 6 23 2 6 2 0 4 0 1 4 .273 .304 .364 .668
2014 18 A- 17 67 11 16 1 0 2 8 6 7 .271 .348 .288 .637
2015 19 A- 63 279 37 66 17 2 23 8 23 30 .267 .338 .360 .698
Also, just for an even number’s sake, if I were to pick a 30th prospect for a nice, round and even number I would have gone with left-handed relief pitcher James Pazos. Pazos proved last season in a small sample size that he was capable of getting Major League hitters out and especially capable of limiting left-handed batters at the big league level. You don’t get added to the Wild Card Playoff round roster for nothing!

29. Thairo Estrada
30. James Pazos

Check back in tomorrow when we cover our 28th best prospect in the organization and all month long as we count down to #1. This is Prospects Month 2016. 

Meet a Prospect: Ronald Herrera

We kick off our Meet a Prospect series for Prospects Month with a player we haven't really heard much about this winter, Ronald Herrera. Herrera was the Double-A pitcher that Brian Cashman acquired this winter from the San Diego Padres for Jose Pirela and will be the pitcher that will join the Double-A Trenton Thunder pitching staff. Herrera was the first trade acquisition during the offseason so it's only right that he's the first prospect showcase during Prospects Month 2016.

The Oakland Athletics signed Herrera out of Venezuela back in 2011 for a modest $20,000 and eventually sent him to San Diego in the Kyle Blanks trade from a couple years back. Herrera was praised when he was signed for being exceptionally polished, a trait he still showcases today, for his age and the fact that he featured three pitches already. Herrera could touch 94 MPH on his fastball when he signed with Oakland despite being just 5’10” and 168 lbs. and also throws a changeup and a curveball.

Herrera’s fastball is said to feature some late sinking action that induces a ton of ground balls, but not a lot of K’s unfortunately. Herrera is not the type of pitcher, at least not yet, that will blow opposing batters away 200 times a season. Herrera relies on his impeccable control, his late movement and his repertoire of pitches to keep the batters guessing and off balanced. Herrera can rear back when he needs to and find his mid-90’s fastball but his strikeout pitch looks to be his changeup at this point in his career.

Here is Herrera's career minor league stat line that he brings to his new organization.

2012 Athletics FRk 2 4 2.47 14 58.1 66 24 1 20 44 1.474 10.2 0.2 3.1 6.8
2013 2 Teams Rk-A- 7 4 4.02 16 78.1 86 42 3 13 66 1.264 9.9 0.3 1.5 7.6
2013 Athletics Rk 6 4 3.82 14 70.2 76 36 3 11 58 1.231 9.7 0.4 1.4 7.4
2013 Vermont A- 1 0 5.87 2 7.2 10 6 0 2 8 1.565 11.7 0.0 2.3 9.4
2014 2 Teams A 6 9 3.93 26 132.2 146 71 11 25 82 1.289 9.9 0.7 1.7 5.6
2014 Beloit A 3 4 3.38 9 50.2 53 26 6 10 35 1.243 9.4 1.1 1.8 6.2
2014 Fort Wayne A 3 5 4.28 17 82.0 93 45 5 15 47 1.317 10.2 0.5 1.6 5.2
2015 2 Teams A+-AA 8 7 4.08 26 145.2 148 73 10 42 104 1.304 9.1 0.6 2.6 6.4
2015 Lake Elsinore A+ 5 6 3.88 18 102.0 100 48 6 28 69 1.255 8.8 0.5 2.5 6.1
2015 San Antonio AA 3 1 4.53 8 43.2 48 25 4 14 35 1.420 9.9 0.8 2.9 7.2
Welcome to the family!

Welcome to Prospects Month 2016

Welcome ladies and gentleman to this thing we like to call Prospects Month here on the blog. Every February with the exception of when the site was in its infancy back in 2012 we have hosted Prospects Month here on the blog and 2016 will be no different. Well it will be different, no other site that isn’t just prospects sets aside an entire month just for the up-and-comers and we like to do things differently every single season. One season we went hard on the interviews bringing you a different interview with a different Yankees prospect every single day while another year we focused on the upcoming drafts prospects since the Yankees had three first round picks that season. This year what’s on the agenda? Honestly, I have no idea. I haven’t been working on this month for two months prior and I am going to wing it and fly by the seat of my pants.

I think the best content comes naturally and unscripted anyway so I hope you come on this journey with us that we call Prospects Month and I hope you enjoy it. Be sure to check in all day and every day this month to learn about your favorite Yankees prospects and maybe even learn a thing or two that you didn’t know about them. There is an absolute ton of talent down on the Yankees farm that does not get nearly enough attention. We look to right that wrong in the next 29 days and we hope you enjoy reading what we have to bring to you.

So here we go, Prospects Month 2016. Prospects Month v.4. Prospects Month on TGP. Let’s go!!!

This Day In New York Yankees History 2/1: Hello Prospects Month & Hello Jim Leyritz

On this day in 2001 Yankees postseason hero Jim Leyritz signed a one year minor league deal with the New York Mets worth $500,000. The former Yankee has hit one home run every 7.6 postseason at bat making him the third best postseason home run hitting player with five or more home runs.

Also on this day in 1999 the New York Yankees traded highly touted third base prospect Mike Lowell to the Florida Marlins for pitchers Eddie Yarnall, Todd Noel, and Mark Johnson. Lowell went on to win multiple World Series, one with the Red Sox and one with the Marlins beating the Yankees, while none of the three prospects they received in returned turned out to do anything. Scott Brosious' 1998 campaign made Lowell expendable.

Finally on this day in 2013 the first ever Prospects Month was born.... On to season four!