Monday, February 15, 2016

TGP Prospects Night featuring Domingo Acevedo

Robert Pimpsner, the owner and founder of the YES Network affiliated Pinstriped Prospects blog, called him the best Yankees pitching prospect besides James Kaprielian and, spoiler alert, he ranked awfully high on my personal Top 30 Prospects List. Domingo Acevedo may be the future of the Yankees farm system and the future of the Yankees starting rotation. At worst, his floor, his comparison is that of Dellin Betances. A shutdown All-Star reliever with 100+ strikeouts in consecutive seasons. At best he's an ace in the making that may struggle with command at times because of his heavy fastball and huge frame. Are you excited yet? If you're not watch him throw this bullpen session as a member of the Staten Island Yankees. If that doesn't get you excited then go and get your pulse checked, you may be dead. 

Most Popular Article of the Week: Keith Law Likes the Yankees System?

The New York Yankees have focused on their farm system more in recent years than most of us have seen during our lifetime's and the dividends are finally starting to pay off. The team is not only developing their own usable MLB caliber pieces like Luis Severino and Greg Bird but they are also using their players to not only acquire players but acquire players in a smart way. The Yankees are finally getting it right in the prospect department and it truly shows when a Yankees critic like Keith Law takes notice.

Now you may be saying, Keith Law is a Yankee critic? Since when? Well since last year and every year that Luis Severino has been in the Yankees farm system as a notable or top prospect. Now the fact that Law is a Yankees critic is my opinion much like the fact that he didn't like Severino or list him on any of his Top 100 prospects list is his opinion and we're both entitled to it, I just don't agree with Law's. Now that Severino has graduated from prospect status Law actually likes the Yankees system again, what a concept.

This week alone Law ranked the Yankees system the 13th best in Major League Baseball while naming four Yankees prospects to his annual Top 100 Prospects List. The usual suspects showed up for the Yankees, Aaron Judge (36), Jorge Mateo (55), Gary Sanchez (57) and James Kaprielian (87).

Law likes the Yankees system and so do I, again... what a concept!

Prospects Month ICYMI: Ten Years of Yankees #1 Prospects

The New York Yankees have seemingly made it their priority to finally build up the farm system for the team's benefit, not the other teams around the league's gain. While New York's system is still ranked in the middle to the end of the pack the team is finally starting to see some usable pieces come out of the system including former top prospect Luis Severino. Severino has graduated from prospect status and one of Gary Sanchez or Aaron Judge will be the 2016 top overall prospect which got me thinking, where are the former and current Yankees top prospects and what have they been up to over the past 10 years?

2015: Luis Severino

Waiting on Opening Day to re-join the Yankees starting rotation for his Sophomore season and his first full season in the Major Leagues.

2014: Gary Sanchez

Likely the team's back up catcher after having a strong 2015 season and an even stronger Arizona Fall League this season.

2013: Mason Williams

On the 40 man roster and made his Major League debut this season. Likely to miss out on the Major Leagues on Opening Day due to the roster crunch but will be one of the first to be called up if/when an outfield injury occurs.

2010 - 2012: Jesus Montero

Traded to the Seattle Mariners for Micahel Pineda and Vicente Campos. Benched, optioned to the minor leagues multiple times, came to camp overweight multiple times, attitude problems reported and apparently he takes offense to being offered a ice cream sandwich on a hot summer day. Brian Cashman win?

2009: Austin Jackson

Part of the trade that brought Curtis Granderson to the Bronx and sent the man they call A Jax to the Tigers. Jackson has since been sent to the Seattle Mariners before hitting free agency this offseason. Jackson is still one of the better defensive center fielders in the game although his bat never fully came around in the majors.

2008: Joba Chamberlain

From one of the best young set-up men in the game to midges to mediocre. Chamberlain has seen time with the Detroit Tigers, the Kansas City Royals and recently signed a minor league deal with the Cleveland Indians. It was Cleveland where he was attacked by the midges. Can you say full circle?

2006 - 2007: Phil Hughes

From hyped prospect to 18 game winner to gopher ball giveaway days at Yankee Stadium. Hughes had a roller coaster ride of a tenure in the Bronx before leaving for Minnesota via free agency. Hughes had a great first season in Minnesota before coming back down to Earth a bit in 2015. Hughes still has that rising fastball and some of the best command in the game. Hughes is an ace, he just wasn't an ace for the Yankees.

TGP Top 29 Prospects List - #15 Slade Heathcott

So we're officially half way through Prospects Month and halfway through our Top 30 Yankees Prospects list we do every single year. Up to this point we've seen just two players who have seen time in the Major Leagues and both of them have been pitchers, today that changes. Today we showcase an outfielder on the Yankees 40 man roster that already has a clutch and defining moment or two inside Yankees pinstripes, Mr. Slade Heathcott.

Everyone talks about fellow prospect Ty Hensley and his ability to battle adversity and keep his head up while continuing to not only fight but improve but not enough is said about Heathcott. Heathcott has been on the 40 man roster only to find himself released and without a job before returning to the club. Heathcott has battled serious injury after serious injury and had an even more serious battle with alcoholism before returning to the Yankees and his savior to get back on track. Get back on track he did and in a big way in 2015.

Heathcott returned to the 40 man roster and made his MLB debut all while making a name for himself with a huge three run home run that ultimately won a game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Heathcott will likely pass the threshold from prospect to MLB regular this season so enjoy him while you can, you're 15th best Yankees prospect for Prospects Month 2016.

15. Slade Heathcott
16. Abi Avelino
17. Hoy-Jun Park
18. Luis Torrens
19. Cale Coshow
20. Chance Adams
21. Miguel Andujar
22. Jonathan Holder
23. Tyler Wade
24. Nick Rumbelow
25.Jordan Montgomery
26.Trey Amburgey
27. Ben Gamel
28. Austin DeCarr
29. Thairo Estrada
30. James Pazos

Meet a Prospect: Armando Galarraga

The New York Yankees are gearing up for the 2016 MLB season just days before pitchers and catchers report to spring training and just a little over a week before the first full squad workout of the year. The team is all but set in stone this season which should spark up some spring competitions to keep us tuned into Grapefruit League games but that doesn’t mean the preparations for the season are done as far as the front office is concerned. The team is still adding minor league depth every day, both in terms of players and in terms of minor league pitching instructors. The latest player to enter the fray is Lane Adams after clearing waivers and the latest former player and coach to join the team is Armando Galarraga. This is Meet a Prospect: The Almost Mr. Perfect Edition.

Armando Antonio Galarraga Barreto was born on January 15, 1982 in Venezuela and has pitched for four MLB teams before his retirement during the 2015 season. Galarraga has pitched for the Texas Rangers, Arizona Diamondbacks and Houston Astros but made his name, for better or worse, while pitching as a member of the Detroit Tigers. It was June 2nd of 2010 that Galarraga had a perfect game going in the 9th inning with two outs when first base umpire Jim Joyce robbed the right-hander of immortality. Galarraga induced a ground ball for the final out and clearly stepped on the bag before the runner but Joyce called the runner safe ending his bid for perfection.

Galarraga was originally signed as a free agent by the Montreal Expos is 1998 and was acquired by the Texas Rangers in the deal that sent Alfonso Soriano, a member of the Washington Nationals, to Washington in 2005. It was in Texas that Galarraga made his MLB debut two years later against the Oakland Athletics. Galarraga was traded to the Detroit Tigers before the 2008 season for Michael Hernandez and after an injury to Dontrelle Willis he was right back in the Major Leagues. Galarraga finished his first MLB season with a 13-7 record and a 3.73 ERS with 126 strikeouts in 178.2 innings. That rookie campaign earned him a fourth place finish in the 2008 American League Rookie of the Year Award vote and put him on the map.

During 2009 and 2010 Galarraga failed to live up to the hype that he created as a rookie in 2008 causing him to fall back to Triple-A. Many questioned his attitude and drive to win during the 2010 season specifically after a slow start to spring training and Galarraga spent much of the season in and out of the Tigers starting rotation. Galarraga did throw his perfect game that was not a perfect game during 2010 but it was not enough to stick in Detroit as the Tigers designated him for assignment after the season.

Galarraga was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks after being DFA’d for pitchers Kevin Eichhorn and Ryan Robowski but his tenure with Arizona did not last long. Galarraga was designated for assignment once again on May 17, 2011 and sent the rest of the season in Triple-A with the Reno Aces before hitting free agency. Galarraga signed a minor league deal with the Orioles for the 2012 season but lasted four months before hitting free agency again and landing with the Houston Astros. Galarraga made it back to the show with the Astros for five games between July 28 and August 19 but he lost four of them leading to another designation for assignment on August 22. Galarraga continued his MLB dream signing contracts with the Cincinnati Reds, Colorado Rockies (via trade) and Texas Rangers before settling on a deal with the Chinatrust Brother Elephants of Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League for the 2014 season. Galarraga signed with Pericos de Puebla of the Mexican League in 2015 before officially retiring from the game last year.

Galarraga’s dreams of pitching in the major leagues may be over but his dreams of working for a MLB team is just beginning. Galarraga has signed on to be a minor league pitching instructor with the New York Yankees beginning this season. Welcome Mr. 28-out Perfect Game to the organization and welcome to the family. Enjoy your stay. 

Quick Hit: USA Today Ranks All 30 MLB Offenses

The USA Today is a great place for information and articles about just anything, especially sports and especially Major League Baseball. This week the crew over there ranked all 30 MLB teams according to the potency of their offense which can be seen in their article HERE. Where did the Yankees fall and what did the crew over there have to say about their offense, especially after Greg Bird went down with a season-ending injury? Keep reading.

16. New York YankeesBaseball’s No. 1 dad-strength offense, the Yankees entered 2015 featuring a ton of old players coming off lost seasons and now enter 2016 featuring a ton of even older players coming off strong ones. Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran all carried the Yanks at times last year, and the club will need them to stay healthy to compete again. Veterans Chase Headley and Jacoby Ellsbury appear strong bets to rebound from tough 2015 campaigns.

Here is the Yankees related material but I encourage you to go check out the full article again SEEN HERE on the USA Today. And just in case you were wondering the Top 5 offenses in MLB according to the article are the San Francisco Giants, the Detroit Tigers, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Chicago Cubs and the Toronto Blue Jays. This is obviously subject to change with a few free agents left out there on the market, the prospects that will undoubtedly emerge and the injuries that just tend to happen no matter what you do and no matter what precautions you take so stay tuned as they may update this list before the actual start of the season. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 2/15: RIP Cory Lidle

On this day in 2007 the Yankees announced that the team would wear black armbands on the left sleeve of their uniforms in memory of late teammate Cory Lidle. The 34 year old right handed pitcher died when his plane crashed into a 52 story high rise apartment building in Manhattan last October.

Also on this day in 1931 the Yankees renamed their spring training site in St. Petersburg to Miller Huggins Field to honor their late manager.