Monday, February 22, 2016

TGP Prospects Night Open Thread featuring Nathan Eovaldi

Our fellow BYB Hub friends from bring you some video of Nathan Eovaldi when he was still in the minor leagues. As you probably remember Eovaldi was traded to the Miami Marlins in the deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers that brought then shortstop Hanley Ramirez to Dodger Stadium. Eovaldi was said to be the center piece of the deal and he has since been traded to the New York Yankees in the controversial deal that involved Martin Prado, David Phelps and Garrett Jones. 

Eovaldi started out the 2015 season sluggish with the Yankees but seemingly got better and stronger as the season went on in New York before an elbow injury ended his season prematurely. Before Eovaldi was a 14-game winner for the biggest franchise in Major League Baseball history though he was a lonely prospect in the South Atlantic League, better know as the Sally, and we watch some of his work here tonight. Enjoy. 

Prospects Month ICYMI: Yankees to have the Rookie of the Year in 2016?

The New York Yankees have had eight Rookie of the Year Award winners in their storied history that has spanned over 115 years. The Yankees haven't had one since that magical 1996 season when Derek Jeter came up from Triple-A and led the team to their first World Series championship of my lifetime joining big names like Gil McDougald, Bob Grim, Tony Kubek, Tom Tresh, Stan Bahnsen, Thurman Munson and Dave Righetti as Yankees to win the award. I guess you could say the Yankees are due to have a player win the award soon, will it happen in 2016?

Looking at the potential list of rookies that could win the sward for New York next season you have to wonder if any of them will get enough playing time in the Bronx. The difference between a lot of current Yankees prospects and Jeter in 1996 or Carlos Correa in 2015 is every day playing time. Barring an injury or an unforeseen trade I can't see enough playing time for the Baby Bombers. Injuries cannot be predicted though so here are the list of potential Rookie of the Year Award candidates heading into the 2016 season.

The Yankees are one Starlin Castro injury away from re-opening the book on the shelf labeled Robert Refsnyder. If the past is any indicator of the future this is the only way Refsnyder is going to get into the Yankees lineup so I wouldn't call your local bookie and put a bet on Refsnyder just yet.

Gary Sanchez is expected to be the team's backup catcher in 2016 but he will presumably be used elsewhere as well. I have said many times that the Yankees could add Sanchez's right-handed power in the lineup at the DH position to give Alex Rodriguez a day off to keep him fresh for the second half and it also wouldn't be out of the realm of possibilities for Sanchez to learn first base as wel. John Ryan Murphy was learning the position before he was traded so why not Sanchez? He may actually get enough at bats to make a difference, especially if the team wants to take some of the load off Brian McCann behind the dish.

Aaron Judge will likely start the season back down in Triple-A but he is one knee or elbow injury away from presumably being in the Major Leagues. The bad news for Judge is that Aaron Hicks can play any position in the outfield and would likely get the starting job, the good news for Judge though for lack of a better word is that the Yankees outfield has become injury prone all of a sudden with age. Judge may get plenty of opportunities and he may not get a single at bat. It's hard to tell with the Yankees organization.

Jacob Lindgren, the forgotten one, may also win the award and may get enough opportunities to do so in a wide-open Yankees bullpen. Lindgren was drafted with the team's first overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft and he made his MLB debut last season before an elbow injury ended his campaign a bit prematurely. Lindgren could start the season in the bullpen and could stick there all season long bridging the gap from the starter to the three-headed monster in the Yankees bullpen.

The final potential Yankees ROY Award nominee is basically the only Yankees starting pitching option other than Bryan Mitchell and whoever loses out on the spring training competition, James Kaprielian. Kaprielian was drafted out of college in the 2015 MLB Draft and is expected to be a fast mover through the Yankees system in 2016. The problem for Kaprielian is that he probably won't be up before July and that will likely limit any chance to win the award unfortunately.

Most Popular Article of the Week: Alex Rodriguez the Mentor?

From Eliot Podgorsky originally seen here:

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 Prospects Month Top 29 Prospect List - #8 Wilkerman Garcia

Now that we are in the Top 10 of our Top 29 Prospects List countdown that technically turned into a Top 30 just because we are starting to really showcase some of the top notch talent hidden in the Yankees farm system. The Yankees have arms, the Yankees have outfielders, catchers and they have recently began stockpiling middle infield talent. Some of that middle infield talent will be on display today with our #8 prospect on our list, Wilkerman Garcia.

Garcia joins an impressive group of middle infielders in the Yankees upper levels including Jorge Mateo, Abi Avelino, Tyler Wade, Angel Anguilar and Thairo Estrada and Garcia may eventually be the best of the bunch. Yes, better than Mateo eventually. It's already thought that Garcia will be the better offensive player of the two while the defense is up for grabs and the speed belongs to Mateo. Garcia began the season in the Dominican Summer League and ended up with the Gulf Coast Yankees where a hamstring injury derailed much of his 2015 campaign. Garcia, 17-years old, has plenty of years of development left to make up for the injury though thankfully.

Garcia is average to above average at every single "tool" scouts judge on and he especially opened eyes on his speed and offensive game. With a strong spring and beginning to 2016 Garcia could find himself in Staten Island with the SI Yankees and may end up with the Low-A Charleston Riverdogs or even the High-A Tampa Yankees by season's end. Garcia is an awfully long way away but he is a prospect I am going to salivate over for the next three or so seasons regardless.

8. Wilkerman Garcia
9. Ian Clarkin
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: Vinnie Pestano

The New York Yankees began the process of filling in the gaps in their minor league affiliates late this winter, specifically the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre team, and that included the signing of Vinnie Pestano. Pestano made his name with the Cleveland Indians and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and is just 31-years old. Pestano signed a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training with the New York Yankees this winter so now that he is Yankees spring camp we may as well meet him. This is Meet a Prospect: the Vinnie Pestano Edition.

Vinnie William Pestano was born on February 20, 1985 in California. Pestano attended Canyon High School in Anaheim, California where he played baseball catching the attention of the California State University Fullerton. While at Cal State Fullerton he caught the eye of the Cleveland Indians who drafted him in the 20th round of the 2006 MLB First Year Players Draft.

Pestano was called up by the Indians on September 23, 2010 and made his Major League debut the same day pitching in inning of scoreless relief. Pestano was dominant for two seasons in Cleveland, 2011 and 2012, before taking a step back a bit in 2013. In 2014 Pestano's struggles continued leading the Indians to trade him back home to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for Class-A pitcher Michael Clevinger.

Pestano spent just 12 games in the Angels bullpen in 2014 and those struggles continued in 2015. Pestano lasted just 19 games in 2015 before he was designated for assignment by the team on July 28, 2015. Pestano did not make it back to the Major Leagues that season and hit free agency this winter. The New York Yankees came calling hoping to find some lightning in a bottle while Pestano looks to harness the success that made him so great in 2011 and 2012 with Cleveland.

Pestano is a three-pitch pitcher. His fastball is clocked from 90-93 MPH on the radar gun while he also harnesses a 80 MPH breaking ball to keep batters off balanced. Some call his breaking pitch a curveball while others call it a slider, maybe we'll interview him one day and find out. His third pitch is an occasional two-seam fastball.

Will it happen? Who know! One thing is for sure though you have to play the game to win the game. The Yankees are playing the game with Vinnie Pestano. Will they win? Stay tuned.

USA Today’s First Set of MLB Power Rankings for 2016!!

Hallelujah! It’s baseball season again and the USA Today has released their first set of power rankings for the season. As you know last season we brought you the weekly power rankings every Tuesday morning and today we bring you the first set of the year. Obviously these mean little besides who the publication thinks won the offseason and did the most to improve their teams but it is still fun to look at. It means baseball is on the horizon, baseball that actually counts too, and things are about to get interesting again for the New York Yankees.

The Top 10 in order consist of the Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, New York Mets, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros, Toronto Blue Jays, Pittsburgh Pirates and the Washington Nationals. It’s interesting to me to see these teams and not some of the heavier spenders this winter, the Boston Red Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks for example, while a team like Los Angeles that lost Zack Greinke is still ranked so highly.

The next 10 spots in the rankings belong to the #11 Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers, Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Tampa Bay Rays, Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins and the #20 ranked Cleveland Indians. I can’t say I’m shocked to see the Yankees right at the middle of the pack, that’s where everyone has the team and that is close to where it finished last season. I have absolutely no issues being the underdog though, none.

The final ten spots begin with the #21 ranked Baltimore Orioles and continue with the Miami Marlins, Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres, Oakland Athletics, Milwaukee Brewers, Cincinnati Reds, Colorado Rockies, Atlanta Braves and bringing up the rear is the Philadelphia Phillies. This crop of 10 intrigues me the most possibly with teams that are considered to be “going for it” like Seattle ranked just above teams that are rebuilding like San Diego.

That’s it, the very first set of power rankings for the 2016 MLB regular season. Who’s excited?

This Day In New York Yankees History 2/22: Yankees Lose Johnny Damon

On this day in 2010 the Yankees lost their own free agent Johnny Damon when he agreed to a one year deal worth $8 million with the Detroit Tigers. Damon was 36 years old at the time and coming off a .282 with 24 home runs and a World Series championship in the 2009 season.

Also on this day in 2005 now deceased San Diego Padres broadcaster and former New York Yankee Jerry Coleman is selected to receive the Hall of Fame's Ford C. Frick Award. The then 80 year old broadcaster was the 1950 World Series MVP, played for teams like the Yankees, Angels, and Padres, and spent over 40 years in the booth as a play by play man.