Saturday, February 20, 2016

TGP Prospects Night featuring Jacob Lindgren

Jacob Lindgren was deemed the forgotten one early on in the offseason by myself and this blog but it seems like suddenly the rest of the blogopshere is beginning to catch up. Everywhere we are starting to read about Lindgren, his bone spur surgery in his left elbow and how he is going to attempt to make the Yankees bullpen out of spring training this season. I said all these things months ago but now it's popular so now it's okay, I get it. I like to be different and I like to be original and I'm truly glad people are giving Jacob the attention he deserves. Good for him, truly!

Lingo Lightning is what we called him on Twitter last season and Lingo Lightning is set to make the Yankees bullpen this spring, write it down. Now seems like a good of a time as any to get to know the Yankees top pick in the 2014 MLB Draft. Watch the video, support the blog and get to know the next big thing in the Yankees bullpen. 

Anyone Worth a Gamble Left on the Free Agent Market?

Pitchers and catchers are in full swing and full team workouts are happening all around the league as we inch closer and closer to Grapefruit League games and MLB games that actually count in the win/loss column. All winter long teams have made a plan and seemingly stuck to it whether it be acquiring the top free agent talent available like the Red Sox did with David Price and Craig Kimbrel, selling off all their talent to jump start a rebuild like the Atlanta Braves did or sign nobody at all, literally, like the New York Yankees did. The Yankees did not sign a single major league free agent this winter but they have not shied away from handing out the minor league deals for depth down on the farm, is there anyone left on the free agent market worth that gamble?

Well yeah, Dexter Fowler is still out there on the free agent market but I strongly believe he isn’t going to settle for a minor league deal. There’s almost 0% chance of it. He may sign a one-year pillow contract with a team and test a no-so-stacked free agent market again in 2017 but there’s absolutely no chance he signs a minor league deal. The same can likely be said for starters Tim Lincecum, Cliff Lee and Alfredo Simon. Also Ian Desmond is another one of those names to add to the “no way, no how” list when it comes to signing a minor league free agent deal this winter. We know the names of who won’t sign a minor league deal but who conceivably could or would?

David Freese is a solid third baseman with a track record of hitting in the postseason but for whatever reason not many are knocking down his door to sign him this winter. New York needs a capable third baseman and a true third baseman, apologies to Starlin Castro, and if Freese is willing to sign a MiLB deal, however unlikely, I think the Yankees should pounce. The longer the winter drags on and the closer the spring comes closer the more likely other players like Juan Uribe, Justin Morneau and Pedro Alvarez may be willing to defy the odds and the doubters and sign a minor league deal as well with an opt-out clause simply to get into a spring camp and show teams they are still capable of playing at the Major League level. If the Yankees want to take advantage of any of those three I would also be willing to sign off on those deals.

Finally you have a laundry list of players including Rickie Weeks, Jimmy Rollins, Tommy Hunter, Matt Thornton, and others who would likely jump at the opportunity to sign a minor league deal in New York but I just can’t see any of them being true fits for the Yankees. I have always said there is no such thing as a bad minor league deal and I will stand behind that today as well but there are some I’d be willing to write a “Meet a Prospect” for and there are some I may just let slide and move on with, you know what I’m saying? 

Spring Training Competitions & Fantasy Baseball

Pitchers and catchers have reported to their various spring camps and first workouts are already underway as we inch closer to the 2016 regular season. As we inch closer to the 2016 regular season we also inch closer to the 2016 Fantasy Baseball season and your fantasy baseball drafts if you haven’t had yours already. I tend to like to wait until March, sometimes even late-March, before having my draft because so many things can happen between the beginning of spring training and the beginning of the regular season with injuries and spring training competitions being at the top of my precautionary list. You can’t predict or analyze injuries for the most part but you can analyze and take a stab at predicting the spring training competitions though and I will attempt to do just that in hopes of helping you with your upcoming fantasy baseball drafts.

We’ll start in the American League East with the Toronto Blue Jays and their closer situation. Will it be Roberto Osuna or will it be recently acquired Drew Storen? Storen could close and the Blue Jays could opt to place Osuna in the starting rotation or they could place Aaron Sanchez in the rotation and let Osuna and Storen battle it out for the 9th inning. In my opinion I think the team attempts their own dominant back end of the bullpen and at least starts the season, barring one disaster or amazing spring training from either one of these men, with Storen in the 8th and Osuna in the 9th.

Sticking with the AL East theme we head down to Tropicana Field with the Tampa Bay Rays to try and sort out their outfield, first base and DH position battle they have going on. As it stands now Kevin Keirmaier is a lock for the team with Corey Dickerson, Steven Souza, Desmond Jennings, Steve Pearce, Logan Morrison and Mikie Mahtook vying for playing time. The team also has James Loney at first base but with capable first base options like Morrison and Pearce his job may be on the line as well. This is going to be one of the tougher ones to predict but you have to think Dickerson gets one of the starting spots with Keirmaier and Jennings while Loney stays at first base and Morrison spends much of his time at the DH position. Pearce should see plenty of time off the bench though and is eligible at multiple positions this season once again.

I’ve said many times this winter that even the worst team is going to have around 30-50 saves throughout a season. Even a team that loses 100 games is going to have 62 wins so giving a team 30-50 saves is not out of the realm of possibilities. The real question is will all those saves go to one person, which is ideal in fantasy, or to multiple people, which obviously is not. This is the question you should be asking if you’re in need of a closer and trying to decide who will close games for team’s like the Miami Marlins, Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers to name a few. Spring competitions are all over with Will Smith battling Corey Knebel and Jeremy Jeffress in Milwaukee, David Hernandez battling Ernesto Frieri and Edward Mujica in Philadelphia, AJ Ramos battling Carter Capps in Miami and Jason Grilli battling former Yankees prospect Arodys Vizcaino in Atlanta. If I had to pick a winner in each of these competitions I would have to go with Will Smith in Milwaukee, David Hernandez in Philadelphia, AJ Ramos in Miami and Jason Grilli in Atlanta but all will have extremely short leashes on from Opening Day on. If you’re set elsewhere and you absolutely need a closer it may be worth grabbing two options from one team just to make sure you have the saves situation handled, one can easily be traded or passed through waivers to the free agent market later on.

So there you have it, the spring competitions that could impact your fantasy baseball draft and league this season. There are more, the Yankees bullpen, the Washington Nationals shortstop situation, the Tigers center field situation, whether Hanley Ramirez will stick at first base in Boston, various starting pitching competitions around the league and almost the entire Atlanta Braves team is up for grabs. Spring training is close and I can’t say how excited I am to be talking about it and how excited I am to be talking about fantasy baseball. That means real baseball is near and that makes me smile. Hope this information helps and if it does pass it on!

TGP Prospects Month Top 29 Prospects List - #10 Brady Lail

Ladies and gentleman we have an announcement. We have officially reached the Top 10 of our Top 29 Prospects List here as a part of Prospects Month on The Greedy Pinstripes. We have technically counted down from 30 with James Pazos all the way to #11 Jacob Lindgren and today we enter the best of the best. Everyone talks about the Top 10, everyone releases at least their Top 10 Prospects List. The Top 10 is where it's at and we kick off the Top 10 with one of the best starting pitching prospects in the Yankees system, Brady Lail. Are you hyped yet?

Lail was drafted out of High School by the Yankees in the 18th round of the 2012 Draft and has done nothing but pitch his way all the way to Triple-A and the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders in 2015. Lail now has 37 innings under his belt at the highest minor league level and owns a career 3.13 ERA and 1.168 WHIP with the organization.

Lail is not going to strike out 20 in a game and he's not going to strike out 200 in a season but he is a durable starter that knows how to get advanced hitters out. He reminds me a ton of David Phelps and Adam Warren when they were in the Yankees organization and he reminded me a lot of Rookie Davis as well who was recently traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Aroldis Chapman. Those are not bad comparisons and those comparisons could land Lail in the Major Leagues as soon as 2016. Many don't necessarily know his name yet, he's not the sexy or breakout name like Davis or Luis Severino was, but I have a feeling that by the time we see Prospects Month 2017 you probably will.

10. Brady Lail
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: Chase Headley

As many of you know we like to introduce you to Yankees prospects you may or may not know, especially during our Prospects Month every February. Over the years and over various Prospects Months that has evolved into also catching up with current Yankees who are established players while looking back at those players while they were coming up. You know, when they were prospects. Today Chase Headley gets officially added to the mix as The Greedy Pinstripes present Meet a Prospect: The Chase Headley edition. Enjoy!

Chase Jordan Headley was born on May 9, 1984 in Fountain Colorado and spent his high school career at Fountain-Fort Carson High School in Fountain, Colorado. Headley graduated in 2002 as the valedictorian as a two sport star in both baseball and basketball. Headley was a three time Colorado All-State player and was named to the South Metro All-League team all four seasons there. Headley took home Player of the Year honors as a senior in 2002 from the Colorado Spring Gazette and was selected to play in the Colorado Rockies Senior All Star Game. Headley would hit a home run in his first at bat and bounced around the Colorado Rockies Select Scout Team before heading to the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California where he transitioned from shortstop to third base.

In 2003 Headley transferred to the University of Tennessee where he suffered a meniscus surgery on his knee and a lengthy hamstring injury that hampered his season. Headley recovered quickly enough to draw 62 walks to break Todd Helton's 1995 school record and flirted with the college's single season record for on base percentage. Headley was named the team's Most Valuable Player in 2003 while also being honored as an Academic All-American with a 3.63 GPA majoring in Sports Management. Headley's hard work paid off as he was drafted in the second round of the 2005 MLB draft by the San Diego Padres.

Headley played well in his first professional season in 2006 and was sent to the Arizona Fall League as the only player there who had not yet reached Double-A. Headley was quickly donned the Padres best prospect and responded with a 2007 Texas League Player of the Year award after hitting .330/.437/.580 with an insane 1.016 OPS while leading the league in many stats. His 2007 season earned him an invite to 2008 Spring Training camp and Headley responded well again hitting .371 and leading the team with 12 RBI before being sent down to Triple-A to learn left field. Headley lasted only 65 games while hitting 13 home runs before the Padres called him up to the big leagues.

Headley was called up on June 15, 2007 after hitting .357 to replace the injured Kevin Kouzmanoff. Headley would only stay up for eight games but would collect his first major league hit two days later against the Chicago Cubs. Headley would ultimately get called back up and finish the season in the majors before starting 2008 back in the minors. Headley was not long for the minors and got called back up on June 17, 2008 and immediately wen't 2-4 at Yankee Stadium. Headley would hit a home run the next night in Yankee Stadium off Kyle Farnsworth and would finish the season with a .269/.337/.420 triple slash with nine home runs. Headley would start the 2009 season in the major leagues as the Padres starting left fielder and would put up a .262 average in his first full season with 12 home runs and 64 RBI. The Padres traded Kevin Kouzmanoff before the 2010 season opening the third base position up for Headley to take over full time.

Headley had another typical Headley season in 2011 but started to come into his own in 2011 when he batted .289/.374/.399 before an injury robbed him of some of his season and his power. Headley finished with only four home runs in 381 at bats but led the National League in putouts at third base. Headley really broke out in 2012 which led to the trade rumors. Headley finished 2012 with a .286/.376/.498 triple slash with 31 home runs, 173 hits, 115 RBI and was named the Padre Player of the Year by the San Diego chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Headley won the Gold Glove Award at third base and also won the Silver Slugger Award for all third basemen. Headley would finish in fifth place in the NL MVP vote and also won the MLB Breakout Hitter of the Year Award.

Headley looked to build on his huge 2012 season in 2013 but started the season by fracturing the tip of his left thumb in spring training when it got caught under the second base bag while sliding into the base. He started the season on the disabled list and missed a month with the thumb. Headley also tore his meniscus in his left knee during the season although he played through it. His production suffered as Headley ended the season with less than stellar numbers and underwent arthroscopic surgery on the knee during the offseason.

Headley had a slow start to the 2014 season including battling some back pain but has hit near .300 after receiving an epidural in the back. Headley was traded to the Yankees that season for Yangervis Solarte and Rafael DePaula and looks to start a new chapter in his baseball career with New York. Headley did enough to garner a new four year deal with the team the next offseason to be the every day third baseman for the Yankees. and began that contract last year in 2015. Headley struggled with the glove, well more so his throws to first base, and seemingly had all his power zapped from him hitting just three home runs in the second half. Was it his back flaring up? Was it him being overworked, he did play in the most games of any Yankee last season, or was it just a premonition of what is to come?

I don't know so I guess we'll all have to stay tuned

Jacob Lindgren, Elbows and Masahiro Tanaka

Even before Yankees pitchers and catchers reported down to George M. Steinbrenner Field this week to begin Spring Training camps all the eyes and discussions were on the elbow of Masahiro Tanaka. This is nothing new for Tanaka or Yankees fans but this year it was for a different reason. In years past the discussion and worry has been focused on his ulnar collateral ligament and his “need” for Tommy John surgery despite the fact that five doctors including specialist Dr. James Andrews diagnosis not to have the surgery but this year all the attention is focused on the surgery that Tanaka did elect to have. Tanaka had bone spurs removed from his elbow this offseason after the spurs hampered him and his ability to throw a splitter for much of the 2015 season, the same surgery that ended the season of Yankees relief prospect Jacob Lindgren.

Lindgren had bone spurs removed from his elbow late last June and he said after “about three months” he was feeling “great now.” Tanaka had the same surgery after the season meaning he is pushing the four month rehab and rest window now and yet fans and the organization are still worried and/or holding him back for precautionary reasons. I understand Lindgren is making $525K this season and Tanaka is making in excess of $20 million but the future of both arms should be equally as important, so why hold Tanaka back?

Let Lingo Lightning do his thing this spring and win his spot back into the Cirlce of Trust and let Tanaka do his thing and win the ace spot away from Luis Severino in the starting rotation. It is bone spurs, it’s not Tommy John surgery. Take the diapers off and let the kids throw! Just my two pennies this morning. 

This Day in New York Yankees History 2/20: Just Another Saturday

There is surprisingly no notable news that has happened on this day in Yankees history. Not much to talk about here. Pitchers and catchers have reported and they've even had their first workouts together yesterday afternoon. Today is just another day unfortunately. Maybe caption this picture for fun?