Thursday, February 18, 2016

Yankees Continue to Corner Second-Hand Ticket Market

The New York Yankees are getting tough on counterfeit and fake tickets on the second hand market and the fans of the team are paying for it. The Yankees have released a new ticketing policy for the 2016 season and many fans feel like they are getting the short end of the stick. The Yankees will no longer be accepting print-at-home tickets at Yankee Stadium for the 2016 season.

The options you now have are hard-copy tickets or a mobile bar code that can be scanned at the gate of Yankee Stadium. Don’t have a smart phone? Well you and the nine people left in the world without one can’t get into the game without a real paper ticket. This also means there will be no last second decisions to buy a ticket off StubHub for cheap to head to the stadium, you can only buy tickets off the Yankees Ticket Exchange now due to these new rules.

Ticket sales are already down and they are going to continue to go down the more it becomes an inconvenience to even head to the stadium. Bad move Yankees, bad move indeed. 

TGP Prospects Night Open Thread featuring Ian Clarkin

Yankees Magazine profiles one of the Yankees top pitching prospects Ian Clarkin. Yankees Magazine follows Clarkin around this season while with the Surprise Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League after the lefty missed the entire 2015 regular season with an elbow injury. Clarkin's results were not great in the AFL this year but that's less important than showcasing his health and getting some all important professional innings on his arm. That he did and Yankees Magazine documented it all. Enjoy. 

Trenton Thunder Charities Award Grants to Three Local Non-Profits

The Thunder are pleased to announce that it has awarded grants to three locally based non-profit organizations through the 2015 Thunder Charities Community Grant Program.

The following organizations are receiving grants:

Grant Amount
Henry J. Austin Health Center
Asthma Education
Womanspace, Inc.
Children's Services
Eden Autism Services
P.O.S. Systems Training

TOTAL = $4,500

2015 marks the fourth year of the Thunder Charities Community Grant Program and has awarded $36,150 to charities in the region. The Thunder has donated over $5.7 million in goods, services and monetary donations to community organizers in its 22-year history.

"We're thrilled to continue to support outstanding non-profits in our community through this program," said Community Relations Manager Vince Marcucci. "Each year we look to support initiatives like the ones that the Henry J. Austin Health Center, Womanspace, Inc. and Eden Autism Services have put together."

The asthma education program at the Henry J. Austin Health Center conducts educational workshops for coaches and athletics trainers from schools, recreational and travel teams in Mercer County. The workshops will be conducted at various locations throughout the county and will aid the training of at least 100 coaches, parents and student-athletes in asthma awareness, its symptoms and will provide participants with educational resources and references. For more information on the Henry J. Austin Health Center,

The Children's Services program at Womanspace, Inc., supports children who have been exposed to the emotional and physical trauma in the home. Additional information about Womanspace, Inc. and their programs can be found at:

Eden Autism Services will use their grant money to purchase point of sale systems to train students with autism the skills required for meaningful employment upon graduation from The Eden School. The systems will enable students to practice skills such as clocking into a job, ringing up a merchandise purchase or taking inventory. Learn more about Eden Autism Services at:

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 or by calling 609-394-3300.

Mike Axisa from River Ave Blues Top 30 Yankees Prospects

Mike Axisa not too awful long ago was in the same position that I am in, he was an aspiring writer and blogger that had a big dream and an even bigger work ethic. So many years later he runs the very successful River Avenue Blues Yankees blog, he works for CBS Sports as a writer, he's a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America and he's still a cool dude so when he talks I still listen. I have been showcasing my person Top 30 Prospects list here on the blog daily but this afternoon I wanted to bring you his list, well a partial look at it anyway. How about Axisa's Top 10?

1. Aaron Judge
2. Gary Sanchez
3. Jorge Mateo
4. James Kaprielian
5. Ian Clarkin
6. Robert Refsnyder
7. Bryan Mitchell
8. Wilkerman Garcia
9. Dustin Fowler
10. Luis Torrens

For the entire list and for all the write-ups, trust me it's worth the click and the read, CLICK HERE.

TGP Prospects Month Top 29 Prospects List - #12 Bryan Mitchell

Bryan Mitchell is a name that many Yankees fans, even the most casual fan, knows by now. He's been around the organization for what feels like forever now and has made appearances with the big league club in each of the last two seasons. Last season was especially notable for Mitchell because he took a line drive off the bat to the face that seemingly and presumably messed with his mind and psyche for the remainder of the 2015 season. If anyone has ever been hit in the face with a baseball whether it be in Little League or professional baseball you know more than anyone what an offseason can do for your mind. It's like a reset button so if this was the reason for Mitchell's struggles then I'm not entirely concerned.

Mitchell's stuff cannot be denied. He throws hard and has an absolute ton of movement on his pitches as both a starting pitcher and a relief pitcher. Mitchell has less than 40 innings thrown in the Major Leagues and at 24-years old is just entering the prime of his career. He will likely outgrow his prospect status this season as he is penciled in as a member of the team's bullpen but he could also conceivably lose out on the numbers game and start the season in Scranton. Either way I truly believe Mitchell could be the team's next Adam Warren as he can both start and relieve and he doesn't seem to let the game overwhelm him. Yes his MLB stats are ugly, although his minor league stats are comparable to Warren's for much of their MiLB careers, but the sample size is small and the comparisons to Warren are real.

Maybe I'm off base but behind the likes of James Kaprielian, Domingo Acevedo and the young guys who are two-to-three years away from the major leagues (Drew Finley, Ian Clarkin etc.) I believe Mitchell is the team's best starting pitching prospect. I can admit when I'm wrong, and I know I've been wrong before while letting my fandom get in the way, but I don't think I'm wrong about Mitchell. I don't.

12. Bryan Mitchell
13. Drew Finley
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: Anthony Swarzak

The New York Yankees continue to stockpile pitchers for the arms race that the American League East is about to turn into and the latest mercenary to join the squad is former Minnesota Twins starter and relief pitcher Anthony Swarzak. Swarzak was playing in Korea as recently as the 2015 season as a member of the Doosan Bears and is said to be grateful for a second chance after signing a minor league deal with the New York Yankees. The minor league deal will come with an invitation to spring training camp so before we officially meet him down at George Steinbrenner Field let’s meet him today. This is Meet a Prospect: The Anthony Swarzak Edition.

Anthony Ray Swarzak was born on September 10, 1985 in Florida where he attended Nova High School in Davie, Florida. While at the school as a pitcher Swarzak earned two High School All-American titles in 2003 and 2004 which led to the Louisiana State University Tigers to offer him a full ride for college. The scholarship promises were enticing but the Minnesota Twins offer of $575,000 after drafting him in the second round of the 2004 MLB First Year Players Draft was even more enticing and Swarzak accepted the Twins offer to begin his professional career.

Swarzak entered his first professional season ranked the 15th best prospect in the Gulf Coast League according to Baseball America while on his way to a Midwest league All-Star Game. Swarzak moved up the list and moved up the Twins ladder in 2005 and 2006 but in 2007 his stock and his development took a bit of a hit after a drug suspension handed down by Major League Baseball. On April 20, 2007 Swarzak failed a drug test for marijuana and received a 50 game suspension. Swarzak took a step back after being reinstated from the suspension and stumbled into the finish line in 2007.

In 2008 Swarzak was promoted to Triple-A and took off for Minnesota posting a 5-0 record with a 1.80 ERA in seven starts leading the Twins to add him to their 40 man roster. Swarzak was invited to the club’s spring training camp in 2009 although he did not make the club and was sent back down to Triple-A to begin the season. Swarzak was not long for the minors though as the team called him up on May 20, 2009 and he made his Major League debut three days later against the Milwaukee Brewers. Swarzak pitched seven innings of shutout baseball earning his first MLB win. For every high though for Swarzak was another low.

Swarzak missed a lot of the 2010 season after shattering his foot on a line drive and spent the entire season either on the disabled list or in the minor leagues rehabbing the injury. Swarzak entered 2011 looking to rebound from a 6.21 ERA the previous season and looked to do so while pitching both in long relief and as a spot starter for the Twins. Swarzak would continue to be a swingman for the team not only in 2011 but in 2012 as well as he became an asset for Minnesota. Another high for Swarzak and another low ad he began the 2013 season back on the disabled list with fractured left ribs while what he described as “wrestling around a little bit.”

Swarzak spent the remainder of the 2013 season as a long relief pitcher and appeared in 48 games posting a 3-2 record with a 2.91 ERA with 69 strikeouts in 96 innings. That was not enough to stick around with the Twins though after the 2014 season as the team outrighted him off the 40 man roster and allowed him to hit the free agency market. Rather than try to latch on with another team Swarzak went to the Korean Baseball Organization to rebuild his value with the Doosan Bears. Swarzak must have done something right while over in Korea because the New York Yankees came calling on a minor league deal that will pay him $750,000 if he makes the Major League roster this season.

Welcome to the team, welcome to the organization and most of all Anthony, welcome to the family.

Quick Hit: Prospects That Could Change the System

The New York Yankees had a good season overall in 2015 both on the field in the Bronx and across their various systems down in their farm system. Pulaski made the playoffs in their inaugural season and Staten Island won their division while players like Jorge Mateo, Gary Sanchez and others made huge strides. Domingo Acevedo became a household name in many Yankees households and Wilkerman Garcia is on the outside looking in at many of those same households. Who fits that mold entering the 2016 season?

Jorge Mateo made the list last season and he makes the list again this season. Mateo has dominated the short season leagues in the minor leagues but what about the full season leagues and affiliates? How will Mateo hold up when he reaches Double-A Trenton and how will he hold up when he reaches Triple-A and potentially the Major Leagues? If he proves he can hold up over the course of a full season, a real full season, he will be the #1 prospect hands down maybe not only for the Yankees but possibly in the major leagues. Yeah, I said it.

The combination of Ben Gamel, Slade Heathcott and Mason Williams are all on the 40 man roster and are all primed to make a big impact on the big league Yankees if and when an injury occurs. All three have had issues staying healthy in their own terms but all could be breakout candidates in 2016 as well.

The final piece is James Kaprielian. The Yankees have shown they can turn "failed" starters into great relief pitchers and the team has shown, especially recently, that they can produce positional players. The team is loaded down with catchers, shortstops and outfielders but one thing the team lacks is starting pitching. Sure they brought Luis Severino through the system but he was an International signing, Kaprielian was drafted and came through the system. If he can reach the majors and do well it may be the turnaround for the Yankees system as far as perception goes.

This Day In New York Yankees History 2/18: Roger Clemens Era Begins in the Bronx

On this day in 1999 the Toronto Blue Jays traded pitcher Roger Clemens to the New York Yankees for David Wells, Graeme Lloyd, and Homer Bush. The rest is history, no pun intended.