Tuesday, February 16, 2016

TGP Prospects Night Open Thread featuring Lane Adams

We met Lane Adams earlier this morning in our Meet a Prospect daily post but reading my words can only do so much. Some have to see the man in action themselves so we allowed him to showcase his skills tonight on our Prospects Night open thread. Lane Adams, ladies and gentleman. This big bat could be in the Bronx in 2016 and would be a sight for sore eyes, the problem is finding him a position to play while he does it. Adams is a beast.

RiverDogs Announce Game Times for the 2016 Season

Club Offers Fans Three Day Games as Saturday First Pitches Continue at 6:05 pm

CHARLESTON, SC – From the zany food creations at the ballpark to the one-of-a-kind Thirsty Thursday experience and the best local fireworks show in town, there’s truly something for everyone at The Joe during baseball season. A night at the ballpark has become a staple of a summer evening in Charleston. With Opening Day just around the corner, the Charleston RiverDogs have announced the game times for their 2016 schedule.

“Opening Day will be here before we know it and our fans have plenty to look forward to this season,” said RiverDogs President and General Manager Dave Echols. “With the game times now on our schedule, we hope our fans are just as excited to get underway as we are.”

All Saturday home games will once again have a 6:05 pm first pitch while the team’s games on Monday through Friday will continue to feature the traditional 7:05 pm start time. Each Sunday first pitch will feature a 5:05 start time.

The RiverDogs also have several special days in which the normal start time will be slightly adjusted and that list of games include:

·         Wednesday, April 13 vs. Asheville – Education Day at 11:05 am;
·         Wednesday, May 10 vs. Hickory – Education Day at 11:05 am;
·         Sunday, July 3 vs. Augusta – Independence Day Celebration at 6:35 pm;
·         Wednesday, July 13 vs. Greenville – Big Splash Day at 12:05 pm;
·         Thursday, Sept. 1 vs. Hagerstown – Season Finale with postgame Fireworks at 6:35 pm.

As always, fans have the opportunity to see two games for the price of one when The Citadel plays a Southern Conference contest prior to the RiverDogs and those dates are:

·         April 8-10 vs. Columbia (The Citadel vs. UNC Greensboro)
·         April 22-24 vs. Augusta (The Citadel vs. Western Carolina)

The RiverDogs will be managed by Luis Dorante for the third consecutive year. He will be assisted by former big leaguer and Mt. Pleasant resident Greg Colbrunn as hitting coach, Justin Pope as the pitching coach, Travis Chapman as the defensive coach and Michel Hernandez as the catching coach.

The RiverDogs, the Class A affiliate of the New York Yankees, begin their season - the 20th in their history at Joseph P. Riley Park - on April 6 with an exhibition game against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans at 7:05 pm and then follow that with Opening Night, also at 7:05 pm, that begins a seven-game homestand that features in-state rival Columbia Fireflies (April 7-10) and the Asheville Tourists (April 11-13). Ticket information may be secured by contact the box office at 843/577-DOGS (3647) or online at www.riverdogs.com.

Fantasy Baseball: So You Need a Shortstop?

The shortstop position around Major League Baseball is much like the second base position and the catcher position, offensively speaking it seems to either be feast or famine. All three positions are very top heavy with a few average replacements and a whole lot that don’t offer much in the terms of fantasy value. The shortstop position may be the most anemic of the three though which is why so many find it hard to find a suitable shortstop once the likes of Carlos Correa and the other top-tier shortstops come off the board, that’s where I come in to help. 

Carlos Correa is probably the best shortstop in the game right now while Troy Tulowitzki, in his Coors Field days anyway, and Brandon Crawford fill out the top three in no particular order. Behind them is in my opinion a steep fall off in production as far as fantasy goes so if you don’t get these three recognizable faces you may be left wondering what to do. If it was I and I missed out on one of those three I would definitely take a look at Corey Seager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Xander Bogaerts of the Boston Red Sox or Ian Desmond if he ever finds a home between now and draft day. The longer Desmond has to wait for a job, and especially if it eats up some of his spring training time, the farther away I step away from him. See Stephen Drew the year he was offered a qualifying offer, it could happen to Desmond as well. 

Behind this group of men are some rookies and young guys looking to take the next step forward towards superstardom. These players come with risks of taking a step back or having the sophomore slump but if they continue their production like they did last year they can be notable additions to your team. This list includes Francisco Lindor of the Indians, Addison Russell of the Chicago Cubs and Didi Gregorius of the New York Yankees. Some may think I think too highly of Didi or that I am letting my Yankees fandom get in the way but his stats after the first two months of the season were fantastic. Once he settled in and got comfortable he was one of the most consistent hitters in the Yankees lineup and he’s only going to get better as he matures. Again, he comes with a risk but he is a high risk and high reward type player at least. 

Speaking of Didi his teammate Starlin Castro will be eligible at second base and shortstop next season and is just 26-years old. Castro hit much better after moving to second base last season with Chicago and could be in line for a nice season in the Bronx in 2016. Behind Castro is another fall off that starts with Elvis Andrus and ends with Jhonny Peralta. These players along with Alcides Escobar, JJ Hardy, Marcus Semien and Brad Miller are what they are, you basically know what you are going to get from these players. They are not your last resort but they aren’t your first resort either, they are more marginal players as far as fantasy goes. If you miss out on one of these players, well your draft may be over unless you can find a nice sleeper pick, maybe Ketel Marte of Seattle or Jean Segura of Arizona. 

Shortstops can be a tricky position to draft unfortunately so I tend to personally go high and grab one of the top tiered players. The shortstop can make or break your draft because if you go too high on a guy and he busts or gets injured you are left reeling for the rest of your season but if you wait too long you may be stuck with a Andrelton Simmons or Adeiny Hechavarria and nobody wants that… do they?

Alex Rodriguez the Mentor?

As the Yankees youth movement continues, they should begin to place a greater emphasis on having their veterans teach younger players everything they can. While players like Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran and C.C. Sabathia all have valuable knowledge to impart on younger players I firmly believe that Alex Rodriguez is the player who can help the young guns the most. 

Rodriguez is often mentioned as a future managerial candidate. He has eaten, slept and breathed baseball since he was a teenager. His entire adult life has been about the game. He is going to be a baseball lifer. The skills and techniques he has picked up along the way are something that should not disappear when he retires.

Rodriguez has already started helping the Yankees beyond being a player. At the beginning of the 2015 season, Didi Gregorius was struggling offensively and defensively. The shadow of Derek Jeter still loomed largely, and Shane Greene was off to a blistering start. Fans and reporters were calling the trade a bust. Rodriguez worked with Gregorius on his footwork and defense. Gregorius' defense improved too, and that allowed him to focus on his offensive game which was always the biggest concern for him. His offensive game improved steadily throughout the season. The concerns are no longer about if he is a long-term solution at shortstop but rather how much better is he going to get.

Alex Rodriguez tutoring Didi Gregorius

Having Rodriguez as a mentor seem strange considering that until Jenrry Mejia was suspended for life last week, A-Rod was the player who had served the longest PED-related suspension. However, his path to redemption adds to what he can teach players. For the longest time, A-Rod was all about himself. His banishment from baseball changed him, and he is now all about the team. A team first mentality is something you want all players to have. His PED history also serves as a reminder what happens when shortcuts are taken. At one time a sure-fire future Hall-of-Famer he will now be lucky to get in.

Just as Manny Ramirez served as a Player-Coach for the Triple-A team of the Chicago Cubs, I believe A-Rod should fill a similar role with the Yankees albeit playing more often. What do you think of the Yankees using Alex Rodriguez to mentor young players and be a Player-Coach?

TGP Top 29 Prospects List # 14 - Mason Williams

The New York Yankees seemingly go after one position every year or every other year in a draft and grab as much talent at that position as they can. For a long time the Yankees looked stacked at the catcher position, and still do is Luis Torrens comes back from a shoulder injury with a strong season in 2016, and right now the focus seems to be on the middle infield and the shortstop position specifically. There for a while though it was the Yankees outfield that seemed to be the focus of the organization and that mindset produced many talented outfielders including recently traded Ramon Flores, 2015 Minor League Player of the Year Ben Gamel, yesterday's prospect showcase Slade Heathcott and the prospect of the day today, Mason Williams.

Williams was added to the 40 man roster last season and many doubted the decision by the Yankees GM Brian Cashman. Myself included. I did not understand the protection for Williams from the Rule 5 Draft because I did not see any team taking a waiver on the struggling prospect that still had the recent DUI conviction on his plate. What a difference a year can make though as Williams was not only protected but he was also called up to the Major Leagues to make his MLB debut. Williams did well in limited opportunities before a shoulder injury ate up much of his 2015 season.

Williams only lasted eight games and 22 at bats but in that extremely small sample size he did not look over-matched by MLB pitching and he did not seem to be affected by the limelight of the Bronx and the show. That's important. Much like Heathcott yesterday if he can stay healthy he should get plenty of opportunities this season and may graduate from prospect status in 2016, that's a big "IF" but it could happen. Williams' injury last season was a product of the way he plays and less of what kind of prospect he is. Williams is a center fielder and could have a future with the Yankees or another big league club and that begins this season.

14. Mason Williams
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: Lane Adams

The New York Yankees have some flexibility for maneuverability after reshaping their 40 man roster this winter and it seems that anyone that becomes available with any sort of upside may be destined to wear pinstripes. We’ve seen it many times this winter with the signings of Anthony Swarzak and Vinnie Pestano and we’ve seen the trades for Tyler Olson and Ronald Torreyes (twice now) but one of these men left Lane Adams no longer on the team's 40 man roster. Adams was designated for assignment and traded to the New York Yankees just last month and has already been designated for assignment again, this time to make room for the newest Yankee to grace the 40 man roster, Torreyes.... again. Adams is now a former member of the Kansas City Royals but he's back with the New York Yankees and coming to spring training camp.

This is Meet a Prospect: The Lane Adams Edition. Lane Weston Adams was born on November 13, 1989 in Oklahoma where he attended Red Oak High School. Playing for the school’s basketball team Adams scored a whopping 3,251 points which was good for the fifth-highest scoring total in the school’s basketball history. This caught the attention of Missouri State University who offered him a basketball scholarship but the Kansas City Royals took a chance and drafted him anyway in the 13th round of the 2009 Major League Baseball First year Players Draft. The rest, as they say, is history. Adams signed with Kansas City opting not to go to college and immediately begin his professional career in baseball, not basketball.

Adams spent the 2009-2013 seasons in the Royals minor league system until the team came calling on September 1, 2014 calling him up to the Major Leagues for the first time. Adams made his MLB debut that night replacing Raul Ibanez as a pinch runner in the 8th inning against the Texas Rangers. Adams was back in the minor leagues for the entire 2015 season before being designated for assignment this winter by Kansas City. The Yankees made a waiver claim on Adams and was awarded the designated hitter leading the team to designated Torreyes for assignment.

Adams is listed as an outfielder on Baseball Reference but is more thought of as a DH in many prospect circles. Adams is a big guy, he’s 6’4” and listed at 190 lbs. on Baseball Reference and is an imposing right-handed bat in the batter’s box. I cannot lie I’m a bit excited about adding his big build and big bat to the team. Welcome to the organization Lane and more importantly, welcome to the family.

USA Today’s Top 100 Names You Need to Know Features Four Yankees

The Top 100 names that you need to know in Major League Baseball this season brought to you by the outstanding crew over at the USA Today. We brought this list to you last season and it has just one Yankees prospect or player on it, Luis Severino, and this time around New York boasts four players on the list. Those players are Luis Severino, Gary Sanchez, Robert Refsnyder and Aaron Judge. Surprise, surprise right?

The Top 10 list is pretty impressive with Corey Seager (Dodgers), Kyle Schwarber (Cubs), Byron Buxton (Twins), Steven Matz (Mets) and Luis Severino of the Yankees filling out the Top 5 followed by Aaron Nola (Phillies), Michael Conforto (Mets), Ketel Marte (Mariners), Byung-Ho Park (Twins) and Stephen Piscotty of the Cardinals rounding out the Top 10.

Here is the write up for Severino:
5. Luis Severino, LHP, Yankees: After bursting onto the prospect radar with a brilliant 2014 that saw him pitch his way to Class AA ball, Severino seized an opportunity to join the Yankees’ big-league rotation in early August. The right-hander will be 22 on opening day, and his three-pitch mix built around a mid-90s fastball bodes well for his future. 

And the write up for Sanchez:
40. Gary Sanchez, C, Yankees: A long-heralded prospect on a slow journey through the minors, Sanchez re-established himself as the Yankees’ catcher of the future with a strong 2015 season split between Class AA and Class AAA and a great performance in the Arizona Fall League. Sanchez, 23, has hit at nearly every level and reputedly has a great arm, but some mechanical kinks behind the plate and the presence of veteran Brian McCann mean he is likely ticketed back to Class AAA. 

It’s Refnsyder’s time to shine: 
57. Rob Refsnyder, 2B, Yankees: The addition of Starlin Castro blocked Refsnyder’s route to steady big-league playing time, but the 24-year-old likely has a major league future as a platoon bat or a reserve infielder. Though Refsnyder doesn’t particularly excel in any one facet of the game, his good on-base skills and improving defense suggest he’ll earn a role with the Yankees in the not-too-distant future. 

And finally it’s Judge’s time to rule:
90. Aaron Judge, OF, Yankees: Judge, 23, stands at 6-7 and 275 pounds and boasts shocking athleticism for a man of his stature. In his second year as a pro player in 2015, Judge struggled against Class AAA pitching and has yet to turn his massive size into massive power numbers, but his smooth swing and imposing frame get scouts excited.

This Top 100 names you need to know list began way back in 1997 and is still going strong today in 2016 so be sure to CLICK HERE and check out the original post and give those guys a click or two for their hard work. There are – other names to read as well that are not Yankees related and it’s a long read so it will give you something to do while we wait for pitchers and catchers to report to spring camps. 

Baseball American Boasts Three New York Yankees

Baseball America has released their Top 100 Prospects List finally and the list boasts three members of the New York Yankees. This list showcases the cast of usual characters for the Yankees that are seemingly showing up on every one of these lists this offseason and this list includes Aaron Judge, Jorge Mateo and Gary Sanchez.

Jorge Mateo - 26
Hit: 55. Power: 50. Speed: 80. Fielding: 55. Arm: 60. ETA: 2018. Age: 20

Gary Sanchez - 36
Hit: 50. Power: 60. Speed: 20. Fielding: 50. Arm: 70. ETA: 2016. Age: 23

Aaron Judge - 76
Hit: 45. Power: 75. Speed: 50. Fielding: 50. Arm: 60. ETA: 2016. Age: 23

Oh and by the way Yoan Moncada of the Boston Red Sox is third seen on THIS list.

This Day In New York Yankees History 2/16: Yankees Trade Alfonso Soriano for Alex Rodriguez

On this day in 2004 the Texas Rangers traded Alex Rodriguez with a boatload of cash to the Yankees in exchange for Alfonso Soriano and Joaquin Arias. This comes days after the Red Sox tried to acquire Alex for Manny Ramirez but the Red Sox needed Alex to restructure his contract, something Alex was willing to do, but the MLB Player's Association denied the request and ultimately the deal.

Also on this day in 2001 the Yankees re-signed Mariano Rivera to a four year deal worth $40 million. Mariano passed Dennis Eckersley's major league record with 16 saves in the playoffs the season before and was coming off a 7-4 record with a 2.85 ERA with 36 saves.

Finally on this day in 1967 Red Ruffing was selected to be in the Hall of Fame by getting the most votes on the second ballot after the BBWAA did not choose anyone in the first vote in January. Ruffing had 273 wins.