Friday, February 19, 2016

TGP Prospects Night Open Thread featuring Jorge Mateo starring as Derek Jeter?

Jorge Mateo wants to be Derek Jeter so I thought now would be a good time to cover Mateo at 20-years old and compare it to Jeter at 20-years old. Mateo wants to be Jeter but does Mateo compare to the Yankees legend?

1992 18 Rk,A 58 244 23 44 10 4 29 2 26 52 .210 .311 .314 .626
1993 19 A 128 590 85 152 14 5 71 18 58 95 .295 .376 .394 .770
1994 20 A+,AAA,AA 138 617 103 186 27 5 68 50 58 61 .344 .410 .463 .873

Jorge Mateo, does he compare? It's too early to tell but he isn't doing bad, that much is for sure.

All Levels (4 Seasons)21093314522939107514696178.279.359.410.769
FRk (2 seasons)Minors78368658811834534663.281.379.438.816

New York Yankees Spring Training Uniform Numbers

Things will really get interesting now that RHP Mark Montgomery and RHP Kyle Haynes will be joining Yankees spring training camp. It is announced that Alan Cockrell will share his #62 with Montgomery while Marcus Thames will share his #63 with Haynes.

Via Yankees Lohud and Chad Jennings:

11 Brett Gardner
12 Chase Headley
13 Alex Rodriguez
14 Starlin Castro
17 Carlos Corporan
18 Didi Gregorius
19 Masahiro Tanaka

22 Jacoby Ellsbury
25 Mark Teixeira
26 Donovan Solano
27 Pete Kozma
28 Joe Girardi (manager)
29 Dustin Ackley

30 Nathan Eovaldi
31 Aaron Hicks
33 Greg Bird
34 Brian McCann
35 Michael Pineda
36 Carlos Beltran
39 Kirby Yates

40 Luis Severino
41 Anthony Swarzak
43 Austin Romine
45 Chasen Shreve
47 Ivan Nova
48 Andrew Miller

50 Nick Rumbelow
52 CC Sabathia
53 Joe Espada (thrid base)
54 Aroldis Chapman
55 Bryan Mitchell
56 Tony Pena (first base)
57 Branden Pinder
58 Larry Rothschild (pitching)
59 Rob Thomson (bench)

60 Mike Harkey (bullpen)
61 Vinnie Pestano
62 Alan Cockrell (hitting)
63 Marcus Thames (assistant hitting)
64 Rob Refsnyder
65 Jacob Lindgren
66 Mason Williams
67 James Pazos
68 Dellin Betances

70 Eddy Rodriguez
71 Slade Heathcott
72 Gary Sanchez
73 Nick Goody
74 Ronald Torreyes
75 Tyler Olson
76 Domingo German
77 Diego Moreno
78 Jonathan Diaz
79 Cesar Puello

80 Vicente Campos
81 Tyler Cloyd
82 Ben Gamel
83 Johnny Barbato
84 Richard Bleier
85 Luis Cessa
86 Kyle Higashioka
87 Brady Lail
88 Tyler Webb
89 Francisco Diaz

90 James Kaprielian
91 Santiago Nessy
92 Sabastian Valle
93 Jorge Mateo
94 Tyler Wade
95 Dustin Fowler
96 Chad Green
97 Deibinson Romero
98 Lane Adams
99 Aaron Judge

USA Today Doesn’t Necessarily Like the Yankees Chances Either

Earlier today we took a look at just how low the expectations for the New York Yankees were on the ESPN side of things, or BSPN as I like to call them when they are being what I feel to be anti-Yankee, so now we will look at a prediction from a publication I trust, the USA Today. The USA Today is usually pretty anti-bias in their predictions and in their write-ups but they apparently aren’t too keen on the Yankees chances this season either unfortunately. Thankfully for the Yankees though is a lot can happen between today, the middle of February, and the end of September and the beginning of October. Injuries can occur, prospects can come up and make an impact, big money free agents can falter in their first years with a new club and a plethora of other reasons. That’s some of the many reasons I don’t put much stock into these rankings.

If you want to see the complete rankings head over to the USA Today and check them out but we will focus on the American League East Division here since this is a Yankees blog and all.

1.       Boston Red Sox (88-74)
2.       Toronto Blue Jays (86-76)
3.       Tampa Bay Rays (83-79)
4.       New York Yankees (83-79)
5.       Baltimore Orioles (78-84)

According to these rankings the Blue Jays would host the Texas Rangers in the Wild Card Round while the Kansas City Royals would miss the playoffs entirely. Meanwhile Boston’s win total was bumped by the Kimbrel trade, the Price acquisition and a “MVP” ceiling year for Mookie Betts. I’m not sure I would go that far but they called their predictions “semi-scientific” so who am I to argue, right? The publication may be stretching a bit on Mookie but they seem spot on in their worries about the Yankees. This is only a four win deduction from 2015 and the publication points out that the team got over 50 home runs from Alex Rodriguez, who turns 41 this year, and Carlos Beltran, who is 39-years old, and has question marks everywhere in their rotation.

Hopefully we’ll look back on these predictions and the earlier ESPN predictions in October and laugh. Either we’ll laugh because they were wrong and the team far exceeded expectations, which I truly think that they can, or we’ll laugh to keep from crying as we watch David Ortiz go for one more World Series ring before riding off into the sunset. Let’s hope for the former and not the latter…

Making the Case for Yulieski Gourriel

The next big thing from Cuba is headed to the United States and could be ready as early as sometime in the 2016 season. Yulieski Gourriel is his name and he is bringing his younger and equally as talented brother Lourdes Gourriel with him. The Yankees are a long shot to sign Lourdes since he will be subject to international spending caps and limitations set by the league but the 31-year old Yulieski will not, he will be a true free agent. While the Yankees spending spree a couple years back will likely keep them from Lourdes only their own limitations will keep them from Yulieski, especially after he announced his preference to play for the Bronx Bombers. 

Yulieski wants to play here, you absolutely cannot put a price tag on that. Having a player that wants to be here in the Bronx rather than what many refer to as “hired mercenaries” shows up not only in their on the field play but in their clubhouse presence and off the field presence as well. This is not talked about enough and this may be more important than anything assuming the talent and production is there to boot so that’s why I listed it first. 

With that out of the way let’s get to the talent and the need that Yulieski would potentially fill in the Yankees organization. Yulieski is a third baseman by trade, a position the Yankees lack in behind Chase Headley,  and has put up a healthy .333/.415/.576 triple slash in his career with 235 career home runs in just 849 games. His bat is strong and his glove may be better as many scouts call him a “plus-defender” while gushing over his makeup, instincts, first move ability and mechanics. Some scouts have even gone as far as to call Yulieski a .300 hitter with 40+ doubles power due to his speed. That’s not a free agent, that’s a game-changer. 

The Yankees may not have the room now but they will have the room for Yulieski going forward. Mark Teixeira will need as much rest as possible at first base and Headley can handle first base with relative ease opening the door for Yulieski. Also Alex Rodriguez will need to play in less than 150 games next season to keep him fresh and healthy opening the door for DH at bats for Gorriel as well. Next season, 2017, the Yankees can take their time with the injured Greg Bird and have Headley play first base while having the Cuban-native play third base until Bird is deemed healthy and ready to return to the Bronx after a shoulder surgery that caused him to miss the entire 2016 season. 

This also sounds good on paper but we all know how the league and the endless paperwork can slow these things down. We have seen the process of declaring a Cuban-defector a MLB free agent take a few months up until a year with a seven month average eliminating any chance of Gourriel, plural, competing at all this season. Gourriel is already drawing comparisons to Adrian belter and Bobby Grich though so this may be a risk worth taking for the Yankees. This makes the team ultimately better and younger while allowing the organization to slowly dip their feet back into the Cuban waters and the Cuban market before a potential international draft is imposed. This is important, maybe one of the most important potential free agent signings of my time, and the Yankees need to get this done. It makes too much sense not to and that’s what worries me. 

TGP Prospects Month Top 29 Prospects List - #11 Jacob Lindgren

This has to be one of the most bittersweet feelings in the world of being an MLB prospect. You have to be happy to be listed as the 11th best prospect in what is strongly considered to be a strong prospect but at the same time it’s almost like being the first runner up in a race. You want to be in that Top 10, everyone talks about the Top 10, but at the same time you don’t want to seem ungrateful for your inclusion at #11. That’s what Jacob Lindgren, the Yankees left-handed relief pitcher, might be feeling if he’s reading this now because he’s the 11th best prospect in the Yankees system according to the TGP Top 29 Prospects Month List.

Lindgren was the Yankees first pick in the 2014 MLB First Year Players Draft and was a second round pick overall out of Mississippi State University. Lindgren was thought to possibly reach the Major Leagues by the end of that same season but it was early on in the 2015 season before Lindgren made his MLB debut and pushed his way into Joe Girardi’s “Circle of Trust.” Lindgren pitched well and looked well on his way to being a weapon for Girardi going forward before an elbow injury ended his season prematurely.

Lindgren is said to be completely healthy and ready for all the things that come along with spring training camp, hey did I forget to mention that pitchers and catchers are down in Tampa as we speak, as he looks to battle his way back into the Yankees bullpen this season. That pen seems a lot more crowded this time around than it did last season but I don’t think Lindgren will mind, all he does is pitch and get hitters out no matter the level or the competition. The Yankees future closer here ladies and gentleman, write it down.

11. Jacob Lindgren
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: Pete Kozma

The New York Yankees snatched up a member of the St. Louis Cardinals this winter when they signed shortstop/infielder Pete Kozma to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training. That we know but I am venturing that many of us Yankees don’t know much more about Pete other than what baseball Reference tell us and the information that these blogs keep recycling over and over again. That’s where The Greedy Pinstripes come in. This is Meet a Prospect, the Pete Kozma Edition.

Peter Michael Kozma was born on April 11, 1988 and spent his amateur baseball career playing for Owasso High School in Oklahoma. There as a member of the school’s baseball team the infielder caught the eye of the St. Louis Cardinals who drafted him in the first round of the 2007 MLB First Year Players Draft. Kozma was set to begin his professional career with one of the more storied franchises in all of Major League Baseball.

In Kozma’s first professional season, the same season he was drafted in 2007, he played for three of the Cardinals minor league affiliates hitting a combined .233 with two home runs and 11 RBI in 42 games. Kozma followed that up with a .258 average, five home runs and 50 RBI in 123 games played in 2008 while adding the stolen base, 12 SB’s in 18 attempts, to his repertoire. Kozma put up similar numbers in 2009 and 2010 before finally getting the opportunity to reach the Major Leagues in 2011. Kozma was called up on May 18, 2011 and played in 112 games that season as he replaced an injured Nick Punto. Kozma was also placed on the 2011 Cardinals postseason roster and helped the team win the 2011 World Series over the Texas Rangers.

Kozma began the 2012 season back in Triple-A before the team called him up to replace another injured middle infielder, this time Rafael Furcal, on August 31, 2012. Kozma was once again added to the postseason roster and once again made an impact in the NLDS hitting a home run and driving in five RBI in the Game Five victory over the Washington Nationals.

Kozma became the team’s every day shortstop in 2013 and played in 143 games. Kozma only hit .217 with 20 doubles and a single home run in 143 games but his defense continued to stay on point for the Cardinals. Kozma was once again added to the postseason roster and made a key defensive play in the sixth inning of Game 3 of the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Dodgers infielder Juan Uribe hit a line drive in the hole that Kozma somehow got to and started an inning ending double play that led St. Louis to a 4-2 victory.

Kozma lost his job in 2014 after the Cardinals signed Jhonny Peralta as a free agent forcing Kozma to the bench initially. St. Louis then signed second baseman Mark Ellis and plugged Kolten Wong onto the MLB roster forcing Kozma back to Triple-A. Kozma used the time to work out at all infield positions including the catcher position and was up and down between Triple-A and the Major Leagues until becoming a free agent after the 2015 season.

Kozma has your typical shortstop build, he’s 6’ 0” and weighs in at just 170 lbs. Kozma is athletic but not going to give you the 20-30 home run power that many clubs ask out of their shortstops in recent years. Kozma throws and bats right-handed so he may give the Yankees some depth on the bench, can you say Brendan Ryan upgrade, if he makes the club out of spring training. If not, there is no such thing as a bad minor league deal.

Welcome to the family Pete. You have a tendency of being in the middle of things in a big spot and coming up even bigger, we should enjoy you here in the Bronx.

ESPN & Their Ridiculously Low Expectations for the New York Yankees

ESPN is not a publication I trust, I have to preface with that before I start this article. This is my opinion and I could be totally off track here but I feel that the sports channel seems to lean towards Boston and Red Sox Nation. They are bias, especially on their Sunday Night Baseball showcases, and they don’t attempt to hide it anymore. It’s blatant, it’s a slap in the face and 99 times out of 100 I don’t watch them unless I have to. Now that may change a bit this upcoming season with the removal of Curt Schilling and John Kruk from the booth and with the addition of Aaron Boone and non-bias Jessica Mendoza but while their Sunday night broadcasts will become bearable their preseason 2016 predictions still seem to be showing that bias just a tad.

Again, I may be off track here but last season ESPN had the Yankees winning 78 games and finishing in last place in the AL East Division. As we all know the Yankees finished with 87 victories last season and had it not been for a late season collapse they would have been a 90+ win team. This year the sports channel is once again down on New York and once again hovering around the .500 mark. ESPN has the Yankees ranked 17th best in the league and has the team finishing with an even 81-81 record.

The common gripes about the team have been heard everywhere. Masahiro Tanaka can’t stay healthy, the team is old, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira cannot replicate their 2015 seasons and Aroldis Chapman has a potential suspension looming over his head. All this while ignoring the absolute plethora of minor league depth New York has in the farm system and also ignoring the depth and versatility placed on what should be one of the strongest benches the team has seen in ages. All this while ignoring the fact that the team has a shutdown bullpen with 11 or 12 potential pitchers all capable of locking down a spot while four spots, at most, are up for grabs which could shorten the games, keep the starting pitching healthy and boost production across the board.

But hey, ESPN, if you want to harp on all the negatives and completely ignore the positives that’s 100% okay. You’ve been doing it for years in my opinion and as a whole nobody likes change. I get that, I just won’t change the fact that I basically ignore your publications and channel on my DirecTV. Andrew Marchand and others are your one saving grace, appreciate them because apparently they don’t make them like that anymore. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 2/19: Lou Gehrig Signs for $300K

On this day in 1935 the New York Yankees signed Lou Gehrig to a one year deal worth $30,000. The season before the All Star first basemen hit .363 with 49 home runs and led the American League with 165 RBI's. Underpaid much?