Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Yankees Add Two Arms to Spring Camp

The New York Yankees just opened up spring camp this week but that doesn’t mean General Manager Brian Cashman’s job is done. Cashman is still adding talent and arms to the team during this spring training camp in hopes of someone catching lightning in a bottle much like Jonathan Barbato did in 2016. The two arms vying to be the next Barbato for the Yankees are RHP J.R. Graham and LHP James Reeves. Both were listed as non-roster invitees for spring training and both were members of the 2016 farm system.

These arms were likely added because of Tyler Clippard, Dellin Betances and others preparing to go to the World Baseball Classic but either way it is still a shot for these two young players to show the organization what they have in their arsenal.

Graham was acquired from the Minnesota Twins during the 2016 season and spent most of the season in Double-A with the Trenton Thunder before being outrighted off the 40 man roster this past September. Reeves is a LOOGY at best and has not pitched much above High-A Ball during his minor league career but teams always seem to need pitchers who can get left-handed hitting out so who knows.

Stay tuned! Good luck to both!

Don’t Sleep on These Yankees Arms in 2017

The New York Yankees, much like every team at this point in the season, presumably feels pretty good about their starting rotation right now. Sure, they would have liked to have added more in terms of innings, stability and durability but if you look at things on paper the Yankees, remember that they are in a “rebuilding” year, are doing well. Luis Severino is working on his mechanics, Michael Pineda is in a contract year, CC Sabathia has shown an ability to pitch and not just throw, Masahiro Tanaka is pitching towards an opt-out clause in his contract, Chad Green should be back healthy and Luis Cessa was awfully effective last year for New York. The problem for the Yankees though is that these games are not played on paper and you always need a Plan B. Here are a few Plan B’s that the Yankees should not be sleeping on as we inch towards the 2017 regular season.

Brady Lail, for some odd reason, always reminds me of Rookie Davis (the prospect traded for Aroldis Chapman last spring) and for some odd reason Rookie Davis always reminded me of Adam Warren and David Phelps. None were aces but all are and/or have the potential to be solid MLB pitchers who can get MLB hitters out and give you five-or-six innings every fifth day. Lail, who was originally drafted in the 18th round in 2012, has been a slow riser but he has been an impressive since reaching Double-A. Lail is not going to blow people away or strike out 10+ a game but where he lacks in velocity he more than makes up in command and finesse. Lail throws three offspeed pitches to compliment his low 90’s fastball and simply gets opposing batters out, period.

Nestor Cortes broke out in a big way in 2016 while down with the Charleston Riverdogs which propelled him through Tampa and Trenton all the way to Triple-A with the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders. Cortes, like Lail, is not going to throw 100 MPH or strike out 15 every single game but he simply pounds the strike zone and doesn’t beat himself. Cortes, like Lail, pitches rather than throws and they both do it exceptionally well.

James Kaprielian. I know what you’re thinking, no one is sleeping on Kaprielian. Well, you may be wrong. Kaprielian entered the 2016 season as the first in line to come out of the minor league system if the Yankees needed an arm but an injury later and most of the 2016 season lost to injury it’s hard to feel that confident in Kaprielian heading into this season. Kaprielian did pitch in the Arizona Fall League and seems healthy though so the sky is the limit for the right-hander in 2016. Cautiously anyway. 

Yankees Release Seven MiLB Pitchers

The New York Yankees have released seven minor league pitching prospects this month according to our friends over at Pinstriped Prospects. The list includes seven names that many casual fans have never heard of including Artur Strzalka, Rafel Ordaz, Leonardo Garcia, Deshorn Lake, Moises Cedeno, Icezack Flemming and Zack Wasserman.

Strzalka is a name I recognize but only because he was the first player to be born and raised in Poland to sign with a Major League team. Strzalka struggled in 21 games with the Gulf Coast League Yankees before being cut lasting just 29 innings with New York.

Much of the rest of the list is compiled of players who were signed as International Free Agents that never made it much higher than the Dominican Summer League with one exception, Flemming. Flemming was selected in the 26th round of the 2015 MLB First Year Players Draft by the Yankees and climbed all the way to High-A Tampa with the Tampa Yankees before finishing the 2016 season in Pulaski.

Good luck to all seven of these young men as they begin the next chapter in their careers. 

Top 10 Prospects for 2017

So for the first time in the history of The Greedy Pinstripes we did not hold Prospects Month here on the blog. Well we kind of like to turn every month into prospects month as I could talk about prospects all day and half the night but we didn’t do it up all fancy like we have in the past. Instead of a daily countdown filling out my prospect list I am just going to give it to you straight, right here and right now, before the beginning of the 2017 regular season.

10.  Albert Abreu
9. Dustin Fowler
8. Chance Adams
7. Aaron Judge
6. Justus Sheffield
5.  Jorge Mateo
4. James Kaprielian
3. Blake Rutherford
2. Clint Frazier
1. Gleyber Torres

And there it is. That’s my list. What’s yours? Leave it below in the comments section. Let’s get this discussion going on here again. 

Suddenly the Yankees Are REALLY Right-Handed

As I mentioned in my post earlier this morning the New York Yankees agreed to a one-year deal worth $3 million recently with the National League leader in home runs, Chris Carter. Carter, most recently of the Milwaukee Brewers, hit 41 home runs in 2016 leading all of the National League playing in a career high 160 games and his signing continues a trend for New York as of late. The team, a team once built around the short porch in right field and left-handed hitting, is now REALLY right-handed. Does that matter? Will it affect how they play inside Yankee Stadium? Honestly it’s anyone’s guess but let’s try and decipher it anyway.

Carter is a power-only type player at this point in his career. Carter slashed .222/.321/.499 in 2016 with 27 doubles, 84 runs and 94 RBI on an offensively depleted Brewers squad. You would imagine having this team and cast of character behind him that at least the runs scored and RBI totals should go up but in the era of specialized bullpens, LOOGY’s and now ROOGY’s will we see the exact opposite happen in the Bronx?

Carter joins fellow right-handed hitters like Gary Sanchez, Chase Headley (switch hitter I know but stay with me), Starlin Castro, Matt Holliday, Aaron Judge, Tyler Austin, Rob Refsnyder and other potentials for the bench including Ronald Torreyes and Austin Romine. That’s potentially half the lineup or more, depending on Refsnyder playing in the outfield and Torreyes playing at shortstop for example), being right-handed on a daily basis in the Bronx.

Traditionally Yankee Stadium is not friendly to right-handed power hitters as far as home runs go although there have been clear exceptions to this rule including Alex Rodriguez and Lou Gehrig. Carter, Holliday, Castro and others are not Alex Rodriguez in their primes by any means but the thing about this team is they don’t have to be. The pressure and “need” to win is not on this team like it has been on teams of the past. So I say this, so what if the Yankees are “too” right-handed heavy. So what if the team is lacing a double in the gap instead of barely putting it over the wall in right field? A run is a run and a win is a win and this team is being built to win. That, by itself, makes me happy. 

So it Seems I’ve Missed A Lot

Call of the search party ladies and gentleman, I’m alive and it seems like I’ve missed a lot since I’ve been gone. I don’t really have a good excuse for why I was gone. I mean I was busy but I’ve kind of always been busy since we started this blog now over five years ago. I have a lot going on but my son is about to be seven and my youngest is now three so I’ve always kind of had a lot going on. I’ve always loved to write and interact with as many people as I could about the New York Yankees and I still thoroughly enjoy doing it. I’m tired but I’ve always been tired. I was burned out but I’ve been burned out probably throughout the entire 2016 regular season if I’m being honest. I don’t know what happened. Just one day I stopped checking news, I stopped updating the blog and I stopped getting on social media.

I stopped doing the Twitter thing. I stopped doing the Facebook thing. I stopped answering or even checking my non-work related emails. I completely checked out. It was a hell of a break and it was a much needed break from life and society but I think I can say with some certainty that I’m back and it seems like I’ve missed a lot.

Chris Carter is a Yankee. Brandon Phillips is a Brave. The league wants to change extra innings and pace of play rules again. The Yankees are in on Travis Wood, and now they aren’t. The Yankees are suddenly REALLY right-handed and so much more. Let’s get caught back up and let’s get back to work, shall we?

This Day In New York Yankees History 2/15: RIP Cory Lidle

On this day in 2007 the Yankees announced that the team would wear black armbands on the left sleeve of their uniforms in memory of late teammate Cory Lidle. The 34 year old right handed pitcher died when his plane crashed into a 52 story high rise apartment building in Manhattan last October.

Also on this day in 1931 the Yankees renamed their spring training site in St. Petersburg to Miller Huggins Field to honor their late manager.